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Re: Dress up my Fears #James

Rachel
 

James: "I am not a changeling, but I am changed.... answer my questions and I will let you rest" "The Carniflower only does what it must. As I did and do, neither of us could disobey the King's order, Jocasta and you know that"


"So you are not a creature… but you wish the freedom from choice that we…" the descriptor was a challenge, showed in the time and the squirm Jocasta required to eek out, "Enjoy?" 


Equating himself with a Carniflower - the most passive of creatures - was telling… the Green Duke did not want to take ownership of his actions. He wanted to be told. He wanted to obey. Jocasta obeyed because her flesh was no longer her own… but on some level, that pained her. She wanted to be sewing dresses, but instead, she was stealing them… 


If the Green Duke was appealing to that mediocre mandate of "must," then he was far weaker than she, her sisters, and her queen had anticipated. Or, he wanted them to think he was.


James: "Tell me what I want to know, and I will let you rest.... I will find you the most exquisite gown, Jocasta. Inlaid with jewels, you would be grander than any lady. Tell us, who brought you and your sisters back".


Joscasta rolled over, onto her stomach, and seemed to force herself to focus on James' face even through the haze of her exhaustion. Propping herself up by an inch or two on her elbows, and covered in dirt, she snarled. 


"What question is this? You know the answer. My queen told you..." Jocasta's lips curled, unpleasantly, not too different from the false expressions that had so often graced the once-handsome Duke-to-be's face. "Why should you ask me, now?" Her eyes were blurry, but she looked deep. 


"That thing inside you is not one of us. It does not even wear green…." Even if it thought it did. 


Her fingers dug into the soil, brittle because of the carniflower, but she showed no discomfort as twigs and bark bit under her nails. 


"You ask me what I am, but do you even know what you are?"

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Re: Dress up my Fears #James

turksgirl
 

She was drowsy, and James wasn't sure if it was the daylight since she was basically a vampire... Or whatever Succubus were related too. Or the Carniflower, who's toxic effects were starting to seep through the distance and his armor. James did not want to give himself over completely to the Green Duke as it had been in the past. It made them stronger and more vulnerable at the same time.

Jocasta was babbling in a barely coherent tone about her dress. James might have found it amusing, her being a tailor's daughter when she was alive, but he had no heart and this was a less than idea situation for amusements. "I am not a changeling, but I am changed.... answer my questions and I will let you rest" he replied, as he found himself having to lean on the scabbard of his sword to maintain his balance. Damnable plant. Even if his armor protected him now, as soon as it was dark this harpy would surely strip him of it and feed him to the Carniflower. Even if he wasn't physically in danger, one couldn't be sure about the mental effects that a Carniflower had with its toxins.

Jocasta's whining about her dress attracted his waning attention. His thoughts were straying from their purpose. "The Carniflower only does what it must. As I did and do, neither of us could disobey the King's order, Jocasta and you know that" James grunted out trying to focus on the task at hand.

"Tell me what I want to know, and I will let you rest.... I will find you the most exquisite gown, Jocasta. Inlaid with jewels, you would be grander than any lady. Tell us, who brought you and your sisters back". She had better tell him soon, because James Castile was faltering to the damnable Carniflower, and he couldn't trust the green devil not to just go and do whatever it pleased.

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Re: Don't Make Me Play Pretend #Malia #rafael

Manda
 

Malia: *NOBLEWOMAN TANTRUM*


Rafael wasn't expecting Malia's rather extreme reaction to the news that Sarnai had been the General and Scholar's choice but he also knew better than to allow himself a reaction; Malia certainly outranked him and he had no intention of inviting her ire. So he, like his father, kept his eyes averted as he finally settled back into his chair, awkwardly allowing Malia the privacy to . . . work through her emotions. 


Malia: "If I'm worthy to advise, I am worthy to…"


Rafael glanced at Malia just in time to catch the glare the Duchess threw in his direction. He wasn't sure what he'd done to catch her attention and he couldn't quite stop the narrowing of his eyes in response. Malia wanted to be Queen. Somehow Rafael wasn't surprised by that. She'd appeared from seemingly out of nowhere, married her way into a duchy and then had become its sole ruler with the death of her husband. She was ambitious, without a doubt, but had she truly expected to be chosen as Queen before the Consort? That seemed incredibly naive to him. 


Malia: "Commoners are stupid," ... "Shall we wait for the return of the true queen as we have the return of Princess Bridgette for these five years?" ... "We cannot search the kingdom, top to bottom, for some rumored leader to save us…" … "Those of us who are here for Eventyr will rule Eventyr." 


Convenient for you, Duchess. Rafael didn't say such aloud though. 


Malia: "The winged vampires," ... "Is there any precedent for them? Where did they come from? What are the implications?"


Mathias: … "A man cannot live by what might have been. Only what is, now. The Consort is as Bridgette, then. An appealing fairy story, not a viable plan. These vampires, though... The Creatures of Eventyr each have their natures, and it is the nature of vampires to lure their prey in with seduction, lust, sexual need." … "There is nothing innately wrong with passion and romance." *pointed look*


Again, Rafael kept his mouth closed but he couldn't stop himself from shifting uncomfortably in his chair, his brown eyes drifting toward the fire. Passion and romance had no place in Rafael's life anymore and hadn't for a long time. Francesca's recent actions had only made that even more apparent. 


Mathias: "But, I'm sure you know, vampires take this to an unhealthy degree. Their needs consume their partners. And, sometimes, they take their partners and change them into new vampires. More of the same, historically-speaking. But, maybe, if dark magic were involved, some licentious ritual, some sacrifice drawing on the most profane corruption of passion, a new, more powerful form of vampire could be born of it... And one aware and capable of dark rituals to create new creatures would be a great threat, indeed."


James had recognized the winged vampire as one of the Eastern maidens who had been chosen for King Philip. Could that simply be coincidence? It maybe could, Rafael admitted, but he hardly considered it likely. If Poppy, who was last seen alive in the Eastern Woods roughly nine months ago, had been somehow turned into one of these winged vampires . . . 


"A dark ritual in the deep forests of the East, maybe?" Rafael ventured, his eyes landing steadily on his father again. "Perhaps one involving twelve maidens and a grief-stricken King," he paused, swallowed, "who had been having an affair with Francesca?"


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Re: If I Smile With My Teeth #Brandy

Manda
 

Pietro: "Captain, your stories are legend," he said, giving a flourished tip of his head and a turn of his wrist as a show of respect. "From those stories, I'd expect you'd rather be on the high seas or in a boisterous tavern instead of attending something like this. Don't tell me you plan to exchange your ship for a castle, to clear your name of all wrongdoing. You'd disappoint all my privateer associates dead-set on catching up to you for the bounty one of these days." … "Is it true that you escaped the navy by calling mermaids to your aid?" he asked, before looking back to Brandy a bit more appraisingly. "Are you perchance one of those lovely mermaids?"


Brandy: "Sorry, no - but, right? This red hair is totally rocking an Ariel vibe." … "Hashtag-little-mermaid-2021. Or maybe more like twelve-twenty-one?" 


Though he graced Brandy with a wry smile - New Yorkers spoke such nonsense - there was nothing the Captain could add without understanding the context of her words. Instead, he focused on Lord Weston and his politely fishing comments. "You've little t'worry 'bout," Zaire assured the nobleman, and his smile sharpened enough to show the glint of a golden tooth. "I never disappoint." As to whether his crew had used a tempting of mermaids to make their escape, well, that was a rumor he didn't plan to confirm nor deny.


Brandy: "The Queen's - uhh - accumulating quite the entourage, huh?" ...  "Vampires, and pirates," ... "And the Westons, now? Isn't your family like a big deal?"


Big enough, Zaire silently agreed while pointedly ignoring Brandy's tone. She'd made her opinions perfectly clear and now was hardly an ideal time to rehash that argument. Reaching out, Zaire plucked a full glass from the tray of a passing servant and handed it to Brandy, then took a second for himself. That he didn't bother to get one for Weston could be interpreted in whatever way the nobleman wanted and it was likely to be correct because there wasn't only a single reason for Zaire's actions. It was an intentional slight, a sign that the Captain had no reason to play nice - yet. Weston's could get his own damn drink. 


"She 'as persuasive friends," Zaire said, eyeing Pietro again and wondering if those expensive clothes hid distinctive puncture wounds. Not that he could talk. 


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Re: That's When I'd Get Knocked Down #Theo #Tristan

Steph
 

Who: Theo
With: Tristan
Where: Merchant's Quarter, King's City
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - Late Afternoon

Somehow, it came as a relief that Tristan didn't call Theo out, doubt him, or tease him. He treated it levelly--a new fact about a friend. And, walking side by side down the road with Tristan, even though it was a pseudo-medieval fantasy land, even though they were both far from home, now that this truth was out there between them and Theo didn't have to pretend to be a local, it honestly felt a whole lot more like he was walking along with a friend. Genuine truth could do that could do that.

"Maybe we do have to find you that missing princess, then, so you can be the next king," Theo joked. "Or, I'm sure there's nobility with problems to be solved by your errant ways."

When Tristan ducked and sighed, Theo followed suit, making himself just a bit more scarce. After the last couple of days of zombie hunting, he was getting pretty good at picking up on Tristan's cues. He checked the street intersection and tried to mentally map out where they were. Just inside the Soldier's Quarter now, so it really was a toss-up.

"I'm going to hope it's zombies, because otherwise..." Theo trailed off, figuring he didn't need to finish that sentiment. It would be a lot harder to stomach fighting and killing non-zombies now that he knew some of them could actually be from the real world, too.

But, looking at them, seeing the way they were standing around, Theo really didn't think they could be zombies. Sure, he only had a couple days of so-called real life zombie hunting experience, but he'd yet to see them calm and docile. They were all looking at something, collectively.

There was a clatter, then a door slammed open, and another disheveled man came out carrying a bag. He joined the circle and dropped his bag in the middle of it.

"That all?" said one, voice rough, like he'd swallowed a few fistfuls of steel wool. "You can find better loot than this."

"Looters," Theo concluded in a whisper. "Should we go around them, try not to be noticed?"

<Tag!>


Re: Dress up my Fears #James

Rachel
 

James: "Jocasta" 


If the Duke hadn't known better - or perhaps if her wings weren't quite so conspicuous - Joscasta would have passed for a dead body. Beautiful, sure, but pale enough to suggest gravity was pulling blood away from her face. She had no heartbeat, her chest did not rise or fall with breath, her skin was cold. She was dead during the day, and at the first call of her name, she didn't move. Not a twitch, not a blink, nothing… not until James' gentle prompting triggered the panic center of her brain that called Jocasta back from the reaper's chamber. 


So she had panic, but not clarity, and certainly not strength. Jocasta rolled over, struggled to stand - then, failing, to sit - and ended up just sprawling pathetically… 


James: "Jocasta....where are your sisters, why are you alone?" 


The first question, Jocasta completely missed in her obvious daze. The second, though, she answered in a groggy wistfulness that suggested she might well still believe she was dreaming. 


"I wanted the dress. Isn't it beautiful…?" Joscasta mumbled, barely coherent, but she gripped the fabric of the red gown lovingly. Its soft texture sent a vague smile of pleasure across her lips. And there was the subtle scent of blood - from the lady who had once worn it, now dead at Joscasta's hands - that brought her special delight. 


Squinting made her vision blurry as Jocasta looked up at the man who had roused her. She recognized him, when her vision managed to center on his face, and she frowned in confusion. "If you were a changeling, you'd let me sleep…" 


And as if intending to return to exactly that activity, Jocasta tugged the stolen red gown to her chest… and found it stuck. The hem had been caught in the carniflower's sticky saliva. She pulled harder, but it wouldn't come, even after the grunted "come on, please, no…" that she whined out in her efforts. Any more force - not that she had it - would tear the fabric and ruin the garment's loveliness. 


"I guess you're both traitors," Jocasta complained, like a petulant, overtired child, seeming to lump James in with the inanimate creature at her side as she reclined on the forest floor, spent.

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Re: Don't Ask Me How I've Been #Jaya #Kira #Kyky #manfred

Rachel
 

Jaya: "My friend is far, far from home, and everything's been such a shock to her. We're all looking for a way to hurry home, before our families worry too much."


Appeal for sympathy. An effective tactic, even if the girls weren't part of the centaur's in-crowd. Kyky sent her friend an approving smile, and cast an equally optimistic glance to Kira. They were handling it - so it was going to be fine!


Manny: “Cornwallis, sir.... your offer of a foal is more than generous. If you would allow my companions the safety of the stables for the night, I am a suitable smith....” “Perhaps I could be of service before the transformation?” “I would repay the debt once I see to my family’s safety in the Northwest”. 


Manny was pretty good at this, too, Kyky deduced. He was playing up the insider connection, but also offering to pay his way so he didn't sound like a freeloader, and that was a powerful way to persuade. And it was lucky he had actual skills - probably, the political science student, the artist, and the adventurer weren't going to be quite as useful. 


And she could see that it worked, especially with Manny's punctuated conclusion. 


Manny: “You have my word as a fellow Centauri”. 


Cornwallis mulled it over visibly, pacing a few steps back and forth as he watched the small group, but he seemed primarily persuaded by Manny's acceptance of the foal. The boy needed to be returned to his natural state, and he wanted to be, and it was Cornwallis' responsibility to help facilitate that. He might have been consorting with human women - three of them - but if he was true to his roots then Cornwallis would help. 


"I don't have supplies to feed you all for long," he responded in preamble. But the centaur did nod. "Prepare yourself for the ritual tonight." He tipped his head, as if to invite them onto his property, and then went off at a gallop to address myriad other matters. 


Kyky turned to Manny, grabbing his hand to squeeze in congratulations. "That's good news, right?" She turned and gave the other two girls a beaming grin and a thumb's up to signal they had won the day. Instinctively, she asked, "What's the ritual like?" She imagined candles, a ouiji board, and rhythmic chanting on one end, or a human sacrifice right out of an Indiana Jones movie. So, curious, she reached up to brush Manny's distinctively disheveled hair out of the way so she could actually see his reaction to the idea...


The thought dawned on her, suddenly, that if it worked, and based on what she'd seen, Manny would be too tall to kiss tomorrow. It shouldn't have been a consideration since they hadn't gone there, but there was something about the sudden realization that they couldn't if they decided to that… somehow bothered her. Unable to deal with that confusion, Kyky turned away. 


"We're good! Or, mostly, I think?" Her words were vague and unhelpful, but they did manage to beckon the other girls forward so she could give them the low-down on Manny's success and move on past the fence inside.

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Re: That's When I'd Get Knocked Down #Theo #Tristan

Vincent Gonzales <alchemicalnonsense2578@...>
 

Who: Tristan
With: Theo
Where: Merchant's Quarter, King's City
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - Late Afternoon

So, as it turned out, Tristan's squire was a bona fide superstar. That was...one of the more surprising things he'd learned since coming to Eventyr. And while Tristan could not, for the life of him, understand why someone who quite literally was living a dream life in New York would decide to come play out the role of a knight's assistant, of all things, he didn't push it, or tease Theo. While his music wasn't exactly to Tristan's taste, he at least knew who this guy was, even if he didn't know why he was here.

He had to have his reasons. Just like Tristan did. And that was enough, for now.

As they walked, Tristan picked up the conversation, leading them the Merchant's Quarter and towards the Soldier's Quarter - not exactly the nicest part of town. "I'm sure rent would be a hell of a lot cheaper here, then back home, but I've still got an apartment back in Brooklyn. I'm not nobility, so owning land is sort of out of the question for now. It's all part of the whole...Knight Errant thing."

Tristan ducked belong a low-hanging branch and eyed the street ahead of them with a sigh, where a group of disheveled men stood in a rough circle, just far enough that he couldn't make out details. "What do you think?" Tristan asked. "Zombies or cutthroats?"

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Re: Dress up my Fears #James

turksgirl
 

James had parted company with the young woman in red that he had met. Gather water from the unicorn springs and was returning to his men who waited in the safer regions of the woods when he found...her. His cursed child, as Francesca had called them so long ago. But they weren't they were a bane that his brother Phillip had placed upon his shoulders. One of twelve... eleven if one considered the consort was still alive, ten is you added that poor dear Polly was now truly dead without her head.

Curled under her heavy gown, near the base of a large carniflower in the brush. At first he thought it a carcass or slumbering animal, he was half right on both accounts. His armor felt warm, as Castille got closer with one hand gripping the hilt of his sword intent to behead this she-devil. The sun made the green metal glitter and his other half thirst for blood and the glory of destroying an enemy....

And then young Raphael's words came to mind, and the part of him that was still James latched onto them. Information. Malia had believed knowledge was power, and he believed it too. "Soon" he whispered to his other half to appease the Green Duke's lust for more physical activities. Cutting some of the brambles out of the way, he crouched down by the sleeping creature.

Odd, how she almost looked innocent like this, certainly beautiful in her own way. "Jocasta" he said her name quietly like a one trying to wake a lover. He knew her, James remembered the girls from his realm... actually he remembered all of the twelve. It was part of his burden. She was here because these woods are where they died and were reborn, something like himself.

"Jocasta....where are your sisters, why are you alone?" he shifted his bulk to keep the lowering sun from reflecting off the green metal of his armor and to keep the carniflower at a safe distance.

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Re: Don't Ask Me How I've Been #Jaya #Kira #Kyky #manfred

turksgirl
 

Who: Manny
With: KyKy, Jaya, Kira
Where: Brickstone Tavern, Merchant’s Quarter
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - Late Afternoon

“Cornwallis, sir.... your offer of a foal is more than generous. If you would allow my companions the safety of the stables for the night, I am a suitable smith....” Manfred said as he chewed his lower lip. 

“Perhaps I could be of service before the transformation?” He offered. “I would repay the debt once I see to my family’s safety in the Northwest”. Being a centaur, even on two legs, Manfred could see the the older stallion was judging him and the human females. Cornwallis seemed less than impressed.

“You have my word as a fellow Centauri”. They had a little time before nightfall, perhaps they could find something to barter a horse for the others. They needed at least one, Manfred would not be large enough to carry three humans. And a centaur just had too much pride to allow himself to be harnessed to a cart.

It also gave them time to find supplies among the ruins and abandon shops.

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Dress up my Fears #James

Rachel
 

Once upon a time, a lifetime ago, Jocasta had been the eldest daughter of one of the East's finest tailors. Extravagant clothing had been her passion - richly dyed cloth, supple leather belts, shimmering scarves… She had been fascinated, pestering her father with questions about how they were made, and frankly more interested in an apprenticeship than a husband. 


Except that said husband would have come with a wedding dress!


Now, those sparks of curiosity were deadened down to a blind, somewhat irrational need to steal fine gowns when she saw them… and the soul of the wearer while she was at it. 


But she had strayed too far, the night prior, in pursuit of a beautiful red dress. It had golden trim that glittered in the moonlight. Stalking behind the lady's carriage, Jocasta waited for her to fall asleep and then… once her work was done, found herself quite far away from her sisters. She had made most of the trip back, but soon the sun was rising, and with no caves in sight and unable to take shelter in anyone else's dwelling, Jocasta made a split-second decision. 


She curled up in the substantive shade behind a carniflower, under much of the brush it, itself, used as camouflage. It would play defense for her during the day - any humans close enough would fall into its trap and might provide a snack for her when she awoke. As an extra measure against an errant ray of sunshine, she draped the hard-won gown over her head and fell into a deathlike slumber. 


Tag James!

Model: 


Re: Don't Ask Me How I've Been #Jaya #Kira #Kyky #manfred

Steph
 

Who: Jaya
With: Kyky, Kira, Manny
Where: Brickstone Tavern, Merchant's Quarter
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - Late Afternoon

>>>>
"Hadrian Cornwallis, we seek your assistance".
....
"We don't have much, sir," ... "But we're good folk."
>>>>

Jaya squeezed Kyky's hand back in return, then she took the moment to just observe what was going on around her. She didn't know how it happened, exactly, but sometimes she just became aware of something that could give her the upper hand in a situation like this--some small advantage, the right words to sway the moment in her favor, the trick to success. It was how she as the Ghost Blade had managed to build such a fearsome reputation. She almost wished they'd taken a moment to stand back and make a plan before the conversation started, but winging it wasn't the worst thing in the world. She shifted her weight back slightly, positioning herself at the ready to protect Kira if the need arose.

Kyky, she could see, was making the emotional appeal, trying to speak to the centaur's heart. Manny stood with assertive confidence, placing himself as equal in this exchange. And Cornwallis was looking at the two of them with an air of... was that judgment? She mentally backstepped through the conversation, trying to recall exactly when Cornwallis's expression had taken on that look. Since it wasn't aimed at her, it couldn't be because of her remarks on centaurs. No, it was focused on Manny--and on Kyky. On Manny and Kyky, together?

If Kyky's play was to underscore their innate goodness and worthiness, then Jaya had every intention of backing that up. "My friend is far, far from home, and everything's been such a shock to her. We're all looking for a way to hurry home, before our families worry too much."

<Tag!>


Re: Don't Make Me Play Pretend #Malia #rafael

Steph
 

Who: Mathias Gonzalo
With: Malia, Rafael
Where: The Castle, King's City
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - late afternoon

>>>>
"The Consort is gone; the new prince, as well." ... "There are rumors, though, that she was seen fighting off one of the winged vampires and many of the commoners believe she and her son made it out of the city alive . . ."
>>>>
"We cannot search the kingdom, top to bottom, for some rumored leader to save us…" ... "Those of us who are here for Eventyr will rule Eventyr."
...
"The winged vampires," ... "Is there any precedent for them? Where did they come from? What are the implications?"
>>>>

While Rafael explained the situation with the Consort, Mathias made a pointed effort to keep his attention on his son and respectfully away from the Duchess, but his gaze flicked her way a few times as she fumed. When she addressed the matter of leadership, with slightly more control than her first frustrated reaction, he merely dipped his head to her in silent deference.

Sometimes the best response to nobility was no response at all.

Besides, he felt his own measure of frustration over the news Rafael provided. He let out a sigh, shaking his head. "If we had agreed, a day sooner, if Merthin had been more decisive, the Duchess's plans would have been cut short, the Consort's place solidified, the void filled. And those who are here for Eventyr would have unity under the crown, even if Francesca still chose not to stand with Eventyr."

He shook his head then, letting this tangent go by the wayside. "A man cannot live by what might have been. Only what is, now. The Consort is as Bridgette, then. An appealing fairy story, not a viable plan. These vampires, though... The Creatures of Eventyr each have their natures, and it is the nature of vampires to lure their prey in with seduction, lust, sexual need.

"There is nothing innately wrong with passion and romance." Mathias might have given Rafael a bit of a look at that, knowing how his son fared in relationships. "But, I'm sure you know, vampires take this to an unhealthy degree. Their needs consume their partners. And, sometimes, they take their partners and change them into new vampires. More of the same, historically-speaking. But, maybe, if dark magic were involved, some licentious ritual, some sacrifice drawing on the most profane corruption of passion, a new, more powerful form of vampire could be born of it... And one aware and capable of dark rituals to create new creatures would be a great threat, indeed."

<tag!>


Re: Don't Ask Me How I've Been #Jaya #Kira #Kyky #manfred

Rachel
 

Jaya: "Right?" "I mean, I never really expected them to stand any taller than your average human. Although, if I'm being honest, before I came here I didn't give a whole lot of thought to the size and stature of imaginary creatures." "I really respect centaurs, though. Powerful, quick, not to be trifled with."


Manny: "Hadrian Cornwallis, we seek your assistance".


Cornwallis approached the small group - and let some of the hostility out of his posture when the young man stepped forward. It was a bold move, seeing as Hadrian hadn't exactly been conducting business as usual, but the peculiar ticks in the boy's body language were a clear signal. Manfred was a centaur, even if he was on two legs in the moment. 


Unwise. Surely whatever the young one had endured this week with the invasion would have been easier to withstand on four hooves instead. 


"What assistance?" Cornwallis asked, but his words were flat enough that they barely sounded like a question, as he sized the boy up. After a thoughtful stretch, he seemed to shrug, in acknowledgement of his kinsman. "I can spare a calf, for you." For Manny's transition, presumably, back into his natural form. 


Kyky reached out to squeeze Jaya's hand for encouragement quickly, then stepped forward, up to Manny's side, and offered a plaintive smile. "We don't have much, sir," she said, tapping into her political background. This was a prosperous citizen, but likely one who took pride in not doing what the 'establishment expected.' If she had to put money on it, he was the type who'd respond stronger, the less they tried to deal by traditional means. More likely to deal without money, or promises, or appeals to wealthy or influential family. "But we're good folk."


Cornwallis' brow raised a bit, head tilting to the side, as he assessed the familiar relationship between the two, clear as day to his keen senses. The girl stood close at his fellow centaur's side, spoke warmly, her torso turned toward his, easy glances, and so he naturally assumed the attraction he sensed between the two meant that they were together.  But she showed none of the tell-tale signs of being a centaur herself - and, naturally, Cornwallis' face shadowed with judgement. Wearing a human form could be excused (if with effort) but also courting humans?

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Re: Don't Make Me Play Pretend #Malia #rafael

Rachel
 

Mathias: "I agree with the duchess, to an extent," "The decision we would have made before the succession of the Western Duchy may not have been the one we would reach now. If we'd reached a decision sooner, this might not have happened, but Merthin was..." "Well, scholars and soldiers see the world differently--but even for a scholar, he was exceptionally enamored more by the attention he gained from his title and less by its actual responsibilities. I will tell you what we were closest to agreement on, and advise you to choose a strong General and wise Scholar to support the Dukes and Duchesses, and the new royalty. We agreed that Altansarnai had the strongest claim."


Malia barely stopped herself from screaming, but there was not enough self-control in the world to stop the sharp inhalation that signaled her unbridled rage. The consort? They had been considering the consort? The Duchess surged to her feet and paced the room, unable to contain the adrenaline surging through her veins. 


Mathias: "Though she had not quite been appointed as Queen, she had brought forth a bloodline heir. But her youth and experience concerned us. We agreed that if we chose her, we would want to appoint some sort of regent or council of regents while she learned how to rule. We hadn't agreed on who might best serve as that regent. The Southern Duke's history and lineage showed greatest promise to me--or the Southern Duke and Northern Duchess together, as she--"


Malia couldn't control herself. This never happened. She knew that a careful, deliberate appearance was everything in politics, and she was no hot-blooded youngster. She could play the long game…


But she couldn't help it - a hand pressed against her forehead, as if the General's words were giving her a migraine, heavy breaths, steeling herself by staring up at the ceiling, gripping her hips hard enough her knuckles turned white. 


Not only had Mathias wanted to give the Kingdom to a common-born teenager, but he wanted the Southern nobles to advise her? Were she and James - who had been here, fighting through all the chaos - chopped liver


No wonder this fucking hack had fallen to the vampire's power. He was as weak as he looked. 


Mathias: "--you have experience rising to power, assuming your position, and gaining the respect and obedience of your people though you stepped into the role as relatively unknown outsider."


The words hissed out of Malia against her will: "If I'm worthy to advise, I am worthy to…" Only grinding her teeth stopped the rest of the sentence, and she tossed a glance at Rafael - she intended it to be cautionary, to assess his reaction, but her glare threw daggers instead. 


Mathias: "But the fact that the Southern Duke never came to show his respect to the Consort and her child personally was concerning. He and the duchess may well have been sick, poor timing, but--has Duke Khalil been in contact, at all?"


Rafael: "The Consort is gone; the new prince, as well." "It's likely they didn't make it since the Green Duke hasn't been able to find any sign of them on his travels out into the city." "There are rumors, though, that she was seen fighting off one of the winged vampires and many of the commoners believe she and her son made it out of the city alive . . ."


"Commoners are stupid," Malia snapped, keeping near the wall as if the distance from father and son might obscure her irrationally anger. "Shall we wait for the return of the true queen as we have the return of Princess Bridgette for these five years?" It was absurd. "We cannot search the kingdom, top to bottom, for some rumored leader to save us…" 


Taking a deep breath to steady her voice, Malia managed to sound rational, finally. "Those of us who are here for Eventyr will rule Eventyr." 


Get back to business. Get back to business. Get back to business… 


"The winged vampires," Malia said, and ventured a step back toward her seat when she felt a bit more centered. Royal General Mathias Gonzalo might have been an absolute moron, but he was an expert on creatures. She'd read all his books. "Is there any precedent for them? Where did they come from? What are the implications?"

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Re: That's When I'd Get Knocked Down #Theo #Tristan

Steph
 

Who: Theo
With: Tristan
Where: Merchant's Quarter, King's City
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - Late Afternoon

>>>>
"Alright. So let's find you a circle, then. Gotta get home for that... wait, what did you mean recording session?!"
>>>>

Theo's brow furrowed slightly as he weighed Tristan's story in his mind--a vet, skills transferred, this was his job. He knew in a vague theoretical way that the military didn't always serve its soldiers as well as they served it, but people in his life circles tended to be the crowd that supported the troops rather than becoming the troops. It hadn't really occurred to him to try to bring Eventyr coin back to New York to see what happened because he didn't need it. This was his escape.

And, since they weren't hiding anything at this point, he gave a bit of a rueful smile as he offered his response, openly. "I know I don't look it here--when I cross through, I get this golden blond, blue-eyed thing going for me. On the other side, I'm Theo Stryker, of Monday Goes Wild."

He let the revelation hang there. He knew that Tristan wasn't exactly the target demographic, but the band had been around for nearly eight years, and a couple of their songs had topped charts.

"We're doing a nondenominational holiday charity thing, couple of feel-good songs about hope and light the fans can download and choose how much they pay. All proceeds to... the Trevor Project this time, I think? I'd popped over here for a party before I dug into the publicity packet."

He got to his feet, starting to head for the door with a shrug. "I heard that there's a couple of apothecary-type places where the college students buy their eyes of newt or whatever they need for their magic potions--one that's on the shadier side of things in the Soldier's Quarter. I sort of doubt the zombies cared about raiding for fairy dust. If we can get inside, maybe we find a stash and get us home. Or... well, do you live here or just work here?"

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Re: These Mascara Tears #Marcus #Killick #sarnai

Vincent Gonzales <alchemicalnonsense2578@...>
 

Who: Marcus and some Marauders being supa sneaky

With: Sarnai, Killick

Where: The Northern Mountains

When: March 11th, 872 RoK - late afternoon


The trek into the Northern Mountains had been Marcus’ idea. Every fiber of his being told him that the Eastern Forest had grown too treacherous for his Marauders and so they headed North and West, out of the great forest and on to greener pastures. Well...whiter ones, at least. 


While the trees hadn’t quite given way to the greater mountaintops that lay further North yet, the bitter cold of winter was holding strong up here, and his people grew irritable. He’d allowed open hunting at night, but stuck to a forced march during the day, with a handful of advanced scouts - wolves, of course. 


The first few nights, they’d reported nothing, as he’d suspected. What kind of idiot would travel into the mountains on horseback and foot? But as they’d set out for travel, there were reports of a couple travelling just south of their position, moving in their direction. A woman and child with a male escort. Marcus had wanted to keep pace and just avoid them, but the hungry look in his wolves’ eyes told him they were itching for a fight. So he’d found a compromise. Eventually. 


His mottled grey horse trudged forward in plain sight, moving South, directly in the path of the travellers, catching the tail end of a question as he came closer. “Ho, travellers!” he called out, raising one hand above his head to call their attention, if he didn’t have it already. “Dangerous parts, these woods are. What sort of business do you have out here?”


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Re: That's When I'd Get Knocked Down #Theo #Tristan

Vincent Gonzales <alchemicalnonsense2578@...>
 

Who: Tristan
With: Theo
Where: Merchant's Quarter, King's City
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - Late Afternoon

Of course he was a fucking Mets fan... Well, no one could be perfect, Tristan supposed as he nodded along, taking the compliment for what it was. "I'm former military," he responded, "seems like a lot of my skills and gear kind of...transferred over. I got a lot of training on survival in adverse environments. The rest is just kind of acting on instinct." 

Tristan leaned in as Theo lowered his voice, realizing that they very well could have people listening in. Theo was way smarter than Tristan gave his New Yorkian squire credit for. "I think we're around twice as fast, here, but I haven't had time to test it. It's more of a...guess-timate," Tristan admitted, with a nod, hesitating as the other question hit. Family? Missing him? Right...

"This is my job," he said with a shrug, hand resting casually on the pommel of his sword. "Hell of a lot better than most vets get on offer, after the military is done with them..." Tristan couldn't help the bitterness in his voice as the grumble almost came out as a growl. "But here, I can make some damn good coin and it pays the bills back home. It's not a bad gig."

Despite the fact that it was fascinating, to hear about someone who, like him, wasn't from here, and it filled him with hope about someday bringing his grandmother with him, he realized that this did mean they were in kind of a time crunch. "Alright. So let's find you a circle, then. Gotta get home for that... wait, what did you mean recording session?!"

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Re: If I Smile With My Teeth #Brandy

Rachel
 

Brandy noticed that the young lord showed a distinct non-reaction to her comment, and she found that interesting. No affirmation, no dissent, even if he made sure that they knew he'd heard and understood. Curious


Zaire: "Cap'n Zaire Visser," "Of th' Siren's Song."


"Captain, your stories are legend," "From those stories, I'd expect you'd rather be on the high seas or in a boisterous tavern instead of attending something like this. Don't tell me you plan to exchange your ship for a castle, to clear your name of all wrongdoing. You'd disappoint all my privateer associates dead-set on catching up to you for the bounty one of these days."  "Is it true that you escaped the navy by calling mermaids to your aid?" "Are you perchance one of those lovely mermaids?"


The interested, contemplative look on Brandy's face was overcome, at that last comment, by an overly-amused smile. She tossed her hair and gave a lock a theatrical twirl, "Sorry, no - but, right? This red hair is totally rocking an Ariel vibe." 


She didn't wait for the joke to land because it wouldn't, but that didn't make it less satisfying for herself... 


Or so she thought. 


While neither Zaire nor Lord Weston here laughed, exactly, Brandy heard a perfectly-timed chortle over her shoulder. She turned her head quickly, but she didn't see the man's face. He was coughing desperately into his sleeve - probably the unfortunate combination of drinking and laughing in the same breath. Her gut said that he'd been laughing at her joke… but she couldn't be sure of that. He stood in a circle of four, after all… 


She couldn't help it. She added, a touch louder, "Hashtag-little-mermaid-2021. Or maybe more like twelve-twenty-one?" 


He glanced her way, but there was no way to fight through her thoughts to determine if it was because he understood - that he was also a New Yorker - or if he was just alerted to the volume. So, Brandy shrugged it off, and returned her attention to her companions. 


"The Queen's - uhh - accumulating quite the entourage, huh?" Brandy said, her obscure choice of words and tone deliberate to try to draw out a bit more of their aquiantance's intention. No Lord of the West was about to be tipping his head to the likes of them without an agenda. Maybe he wanted connections on the coast, or a ship, or an ear to the ground with the commoners. They needed to know. "Vampires, and pirates," that word came out a bit sour, as Brandy was still in shock that Francesca had managed to pull Zaire in after killing his men and nearly executing himself, but she didn't linger there and instead added, pointedly, "And the Westons, now? Isn't your family like a big deal?"

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Re: Don't Ask Me How I've Been #Jaya #Kira #Kyky #manfred

turksgirl
 

Who: Manny
With: Kira, Jaya, Kyky,
Where: Brickstone Tavern, Merchant's Quarter
When: March 14t, 872 RoK - Late Afternoon

>>>>>

"I really didn't think centaurs would be so big," Kyky said under her breath as the small group approached the gates, careful to keep her voice low as she knew they had acute senses as well. Because her general attitude of what's the worst that can happen? had a brand new context now, didn't it?
>>>>

Jaya continued to feel responsible--for Kira coming through with her to Eventyr, and for... more than that, as well. Ever time she moved around the city, the weight of what she saw there hit harder than she expected. This was supposed to be a consequence-free vacation to fantasy land, but instead, ever since the king had died...

She didn't realize her thoughts had drifted while she walked with her compatriots down the streets of the King's City following a lead on where to buy some horses to speed up their exodus--not until Kyky spoke up and brought her back to the moment again. Maybe she could tell Kyky. They'd been adventuring together for a long time. Maybe Kyky would understand.

But not right now.

The smell more than anything else always surprised Jaya. Horses were huge animals. It shouldn't be a surprise that they smelled, regardless of how well-kept a stable was, how many hands were there to clean up the manure. It was the feed, too, and the wood chips, and sometimes the tang of metal from the horseshoes around the edges.

"Right?" Jaya agreed. "I mean, I never really expected them to stand any taller than your average human. Although, if I'm being honest, before I came here I didn't give a whole lot of thought to the size and stature of imaginary creatures." She paused and winced sheepishly as heavy hoof-clops came nearer. Had their host heard her? Was that offensive? "I really respect centaurs, though. Powerful, quick, not to be trifled with."
>>>>>>>

Manny tipped his head downward as they had walked to the stables, his mind in turmoil. What if this centaur proved unhelpful? He glanced over at Kyky, who seemed to have so much faith in him. Cornwallis was so much like his father, a mature stallion who took pride in being a centaur and rarely shifted to his two legged form. Looking upon the other horse-man Manfred suddenly missed his family, and the fear for them knotted low in his gut.

His brows arched as his female companions spoke a little too loudly. As the Cornwallis approached their group Manny threw his head back, and looked at the centaur with a wild eye stare from under his shaggy hair.  He gave a snort and stood his ground between the girls and the man-horse. It was a complicated dance of body language and with only two legs it was even more difficult to broadcast determination and not a straight out challenge.

"Hadrian Cornwallis, we seek your assistance".


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