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Re: Still There Are Darkened Places #Liam #sarnai #Brandy #Killick

Silvy <afranklin09c@...>
 

Who: Killick.

With: Liam, Sarnai, Brandy.
Where: Marauders Camp, Northern Duchy
When: March 28th, 872 RoK - Morning


With Liam's help, getting the bodies out of sight was less work than dragging them on his own, but still a struggle. And once they were all locked up, they could move on-


But for the poor man in his cell, whose eyes Killick met briefly between Brandy's brief but intense impositions on him. What had he done, to wind up here? Enough prisoners were just unlucky. The wrong time, the wrong place, the wrong allegiance... He found himself glancing back at the cell across from the man in green's, even as he felt the promise implied in Brandy's gesture with the lockpick hollow.


"What's he mean?" His brows knit, and Killick looked to Sarnai first before turning back to the prisoner: "What do you mean?" Took his heart, left nothing? The words iced over his spine, raising the fine hairs on the back of his neck as he tried to make sense of it. 


People didn't survive without hearts... so what was the point of jailing someone who had to be dead? All the old stories aside - and he'd read them, once upon a time when he had much more of it on his hands - there were no actual documentations of a living, breathing person leaving the witch's woods without their heart. No real, trustworthy sources that weren't a friend of a cousin's grandmother's neighbor


And so, embracing that skepticism, Killick took a step back from the prisoner's cell...and turned to the other one, jaw clenching tight. His steps forward were unsure only for a moment, growing in confidence as he approached the bars and his thoughts drifted back to the smallest touch of a smile at the corners of Sarnai's lips. The soft curve of it, like everything else about her subtle until it wasn't-- he steeled himself to the task of drawing up the torch stolen from a dungeon wall, and watching the flickering light encroach further into the shadowed cell.


~tags~


Re: A Beauty Half-Betrayed #Andy #Theo #Zaza

Steph
 

Who: Theo

With: Andy, Zaza

Where: The Witch Queen's Palace, the Jewel of the Desert

When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening


Witch Queen: "Shall we sit?"


Zaza: "...It's good to see you well."


Andy:  "Please, after you, Your Highness."


Manners, snapped the voice of the diadem in Theo's mind as he at first started to take a step toward the chairs. It gave him just enough pause that he heard Uncle Andy give the most courteous "After you," and he remembered his own manners. Maybe he was more hungover than he thought. His mother had taught him so much better than to just barrel ahead. Ladies first, always.


The Witch Queen smiled almost warmly to Andy at his display of courtesy, though that warmth didn't quite meet her calculating eyes.


Theo matched Andy's gesture with a curt bow of his own and waited for the Witch Queen to approach a seat before he did the same. One of the servants moved in quiet as the dead to help the queen into her seat with an outstretched hand. Theo moved up beside Zaza to do the same, though even as he did, a little part of his heart panged in that too-familiar way. An echo of an old break.


Once the ladies were both seated, and the two lions had settled on either side of the grand chair that the Witch Queen had claimed, Theo chose the open chair to Esperanza's left, leaving the chair to her right to Andy. Servants started to flutter around them with trays of fresh fruit and golden chalices of some kind of drink. Theo waved them back with a polite declination. The last thing he needed right now was mystery drink.


"Your Eminence," he said, in his best courtly-manners voice. Calling her the Witch Queen to her face just seemed like a bad idea, even if it was a moniker she'd seemed to embrace as far as he could tell. "Thank you for accepting our request for an audience."


The Witch Queen raised a hand in a gesture bidding Theo to be silent. The lioness's tail twitched, just slightly, one way and then the other, attentive. Theo stilled.


"Let's not dance around," the Witch Queen said, looking toward Esperanza. "Why have you requested an audience?"


<tag!>



Re: Nothing but a Shadow in the Night #Jaya #Oseanie #zaire

Rachel
 

Oseanie didn't hesitate a second, plucking the axe from her father's hand and sinking it deep into the vampire's throat within a half-a-breath of when the beast seemed to rise from the dead to snap its pearly fangs, glimmering in the moonlight, at her. It's thirsty bite was no match for steady hands and steel, though Oseanie did turn her head away in disgust... 


The blood on her hands was cold, Oseanie noticed, as she leaned her weight on the blade to snap the beast's spine. Gross. She was glad to be on her feet again, with the bloodied axe in her hand at the ready….


Zaire: "Chione! Alby!" "Find my family!" "Spread th'word, ye bilge rats! Your King expects the 'ead'uv'a vampire from eachaya when this is over!" "Now get out there an' protect yer 'ome!"


Jaya: "There are probably more!"


The Captain was, reasonably, sending those among his elite to find his - their - family, but Oseanie stayed never more than an arm's length away from him. Her eyes were intent and alert, even against the dark, and she sent the axe into the wrinkled brow of a vampire three yards off, and stooped to retrieve a knife buried in a pirate's gut as they moved past him. Oseanie didn't look at his face; a weapon was a weapon right now. 


Oseanie's gaze was drawn, curiously, to the Peacekeeper. This was a defining moment: Would Jaya keep peace? Or fight..? 


Fight, it seemed, and Oseanie smiled her way, even through the darkness and the chaos. "What is this?" The navigator tried to ask, though breathless and distracted by the constant shadows moving about her. "Is this a last resort?" A dying breath of a waning rule? "Or does she think she could really reclaim…" 


Oseanie could see, even in the dim moonlight, that pirates were falling around them. They died fighting violently, thrusting swords or daggers into the undead, but the living inevitably fell while the vampires only stumbled. 


It wasn't long before one of the creatures ran at Oseanie. She sidestepped quickly, putting herself between the beast and her father, whipped her weight around and dragged the beast to the ground until she straddled its back and plunged her knife into its skull. 


But as she withdrew her knife, Oseanie felt the very ground under her knees tremble and, over her shoulder, the young pirate saw yet another air-ship crash inelegantly into the trees. That would have killed men, but she knew instantly from the rustling of branches and the hissing - echoing like snakes - that there was a crew of vampires headed their way...  


Oseanie's dark eyes rose to her king, her captain, her father. She would never have given him orders, and so when she opened her mouth, her teeth ground as if in objection. But even if she trusted him as a leader, she knew that she could see further than he could. 


"Cap'," Oseanie shouted, over the din, with a knife ready in her hand and blood and brains dripping down her wrist. "You can't fight this fight. You need to get clear."

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Re: A Beauty Half-Betrayed #Andy #Theo #Zaza

Vincent Gonzales <alchemicalnonsense2578@...>
 

Who: Antiphales
With: Zaza, Theo, That Queen Lady
Where: The Witch Queen's Palace, the Jewel of the Desert
When: May 16th, 877 ROK - Evening

At the entrance of the witch who called herself queen, Antiphales called back on his training and knowledge of southern customs and bowed at the waist, head down, eyes up as he watched her enter, then rose to stand before her as her servants went about provided seats for the witch first, then her guests, then the lions. He'd half expected her to leave them standing, but he wasn't going to question the move. 

Instead, he gestured to the queen, "Please, after you, Your Highness," the former assassin offered with a smile that didn't reach his eyes. She thought of herself as a queen, here and now, and he had little in the way of contesting that with all of the changes the world around them had went through. So, like any smart man did, he was rolling with it. Time to see where this went. 

tags!


Re: Still There Are Darkened Places #Liam #sarnai #Brandy #Killick

Rachel
 

Locking up the guards was really the only option, and so Brandy made it happen. She dug about in her purse when the key they had didn't fit this lock, and what do you know? She got one to pop, so Killick and Liam could deposit their uniformed-but-lame bodies into the darkness. It was fucking magic, that the random bit of metal she'd stolen from whatever seamstress locked the cell back in place… 

Prisoner: "Ya ain't from around 'ere,"

Sarnai: "I'm not," 

Brandy stepped between the Queen-to-be and the bars, thrusting herself with all the power of her angry gaze at the prisoner. "Keep to your goddamn self, you worthless piece of shit…" 

Sarnai: "Think Liam's friend will be forthcoming?"

Brandy kept her gaze fixed on the obviously-malnourished prisoner who had retreated under her outburst. She felt a certain control over him, then, and so even as she took a half-step back, her eyes stayed fixed. A fleeting glance to Sarnai, Killick, and Liam brought her gaze back to the thin man in green rags cowering at a distance. She crouched. 

"Your friend…" Brandy gestured toward the cell across, which was obviously two or three times the size of his own, with chains upon chains as if it contained a more dangerous creature. She lifted the simple little lockpick that that imprisoned two guards not two feet from him, as if to promise to free him, if he could make it worth their while. "What's his deal?" 

The prisoner cowered as if he had been struck back, but he froze in place as Brandy's words drew his attention to the large cage across from his own. With the strange prisoner who opted for silence, even as the rest of them thirsted for any interaction, anything to keep the darkness and the cold from getting into their souls as well as their bones… 

"The Witch of the Roses got 'im," the prisoner breathed, words less than a whisper. "Took 'is heart. He got no…" 

Brandy could hear his struggle. No cares? No heart? No soul? And when he trailed off, Brandy knew what he meant: No nothing. Nothing.

She cast a glance over her shoulder to her companions. "Be careful. There's nothing in there."

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Re: Scars Left on my Heart #James #Malia #Kyky #manfred #rafael

Rachel
 

Rafael: "I will personally see to it that Francesca has not a single opportunity to break that truce," "I will be in attendance to her throughout her entire stay in the People's City and I can assure you, Your Majesties," "that she will not cross me." 


Malia's lips pursed into a bit of an amused smile. She knew the General's son to be a skilled hunter and quite knowledgeable, but she doubted he - or any of them - could understand the vast power of witchcraft that Francesca wielded. Malia knew a fraction of it - she could not, nor would she, command creatures, but she did know that the affection for the quite handsome and imposing husband that she felt… would wilt quickly with any promise of more power.


She was both sure that James knew this and yet didn't know this. It was an unspoken agreement between them. One that made them infinitely stronger than the witch who had only subhuman creatures as companions at best, not partners like she and James had in one another. 


James: "Don't be a fool, General. She has crossed you... and I, and will do so again" "We will not allow it again. We trust you over Rossi, and will hold you to your word" 


The NorthEastern Queen rose to her feet when her King so decisively wrapped the negotiation, lifting her heavy skirt as she descended the steps to take his massive arm as he invited their guests to dine. 


Her eyes lingered on the pale young girl who called herself the leader of what was once King's City… and found herself mildly impressed that Kyrilis of the Peacekeepers of Eventyr seemed to see the substance of her silence. Of course, it was likely easier to meet a Queen's eyes with a two-thousand pound bodyguard at her side, but still. What "Kyky" saw, Malia didn't know, but it did make her wonder… 


James: "Where are my manners? You must be tired and hungry from your journey. Let us sit... Bastard Kings have no need for extreme formalities". "You can tell us what you hope to gain in these talks aside from the obvious..."


Hungry! Formalities! Oh, that had been easier than Kyky had expected, and she restrained her smile to Rafael at their success but she knew that when she turned her gaze to Manny that he saw every ounce of joy and relief through her eyes. They would have a summit!


How much more progress could they make? For all the horrific rumors about the Green Duke and the Duchess of the North, they seemed reasonable to her. Maybe a little distant, but they were running two regions with success (even if some might debate what "success" exactly meant).  The Peacekeepers had a list of things a mile long! And the King's words even implied he was open to more talks…!


The Peacekeepers followed as they were invited into a lavish dining room that exceeded even the grandeur of the one at King's City. There was obviously a reason that the Northern Castle was lauded as the most beautiful in the realm - with its high ceilings and crystal windows that sent rainbows cascading along the stone walls, themselves embedded with glittering stone and jewels… 


Distantly, Kyky had to wonder how long the people would suffer before storming this grand palace and claiming broken bits of its wealth out of equal parts desperation and wrath. 


As they settled to dine, Kyky offered a pleasant smile and opened her mouth - pausing ever so briefly for a breath because (especially in the absence of privacy to consult) she expected Rafael would bristle at her words. "We have heard that the NorthEast has - understandably - become a refuge for those Eventyrians fleeing the West," Kyky began. The Peacekeepers had not only discussed but in fact seen the myriad of problems that had come out of this - peasant Westerners put into the dangerous work at the mines, if they had any work at all. Some were being recruited by the werewolf bands in their desperation. Dragons seizing the small fortunes of Westerners of means who made the journey, thus thrusting even nobles into destitution… 


Kyky spared a glance at Rafael, and it was too quick to guess his reaction to her turn of conversation. "In what ways might the Peacekeepers be able to support your efforts to integrate these refugees?" Which subtly implied, of course, that the NorthEast was not yet doing enough to integrate said refugees...

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Re: Nothing but a Shadow in the Night #Jaya #Oseanie #zaire

Steph
 

Who: Jaya
With: Zaire, Oseanie, Other Beach Party Pals
Where:  Island of the Pirates
When: May 16, 877 ROK, Evening

Oseanie: "Attack!" Oseanie screamed, at the top of her lungs. Her eyes cast up, she could see a massive flying machine no smaller than a pirate ship… except that it was in the air.

Zaire: "Spread th'word, ye bilge rats! Your King expects the 'ead'uv'a vampire from eachaya when this is over!" He lifted his eyes to the flying craft above them, a direction that none of them had ever considered an attack from, "Now get out there an' protect yer 'ome!"

This was the part in the conversation where Jaya expected to have a little more back and forth banter before they got to feasting and drinking on the beach, maybe singing around a bonfire late into the night. Even with Oseanie grumbling about Jaya's word choice in naming Zaire the Pirate King rather than King of the Coast, Jaya could tell that Zaire was amenable, listening, and more or less ready to say yes.

Then Oseanie leapt to her feet and went charging out, and everyone started grabbing up weapons. First priority? Arm up and assess the situation. The pirates got it. Jaya swept up her cloak and donned it, though she refrained from pulling the hood up. While Zaire's inner-circle knew who she was, besides a representative for the Peacekeepers, she didn't need to go broadcasting it to every single person in the beach and whoever or whatever was attacking. With the hood down, the cloak for the most part behaved like a normal cloak. She just wouldn't abandon such a precious magic artifact.

How was there an attack? Her eyes answered that question as she stepped out onto the darkness of the sandy beach along with Zaire and his men, gaze drifting up to a massive flying device. She'd seen the principles of the thing in a book once in her years at the Queen's College--as hot air rises, a balloon filled with heated air could lift a basket with people inside. But this must have been engineered with enchantments to be so large. Something like this could cross the sea without mermaids impeding its progress. Even mermaids with harpoons could only lob them so far into the air, after all.

Worse, there were low-hanging clouds in the air--almost like fog. She'd seen weather enchantments like this before. A concealing mist like this could hide dangers from sight and could explain why the island hadn't been warned by the merfolk in advance.

"There are probably more!" Jaya warned before she drew her own blades. She'd gone with a pair of short swords for this particular outing, knowing that the trip could be dangerous, but preferring something on the lighter side so that she could move swift. She pointed the tip of one of her blades toward the low clouds on the horizon, then sprang into motion as she saw a vampire tearing toward her, ready to meet its unnatural deadly grace with her own deadly training...

<Tag!>


Re: A Beauty Half-Betrayed #Andy #Theo #Zaza

Silvy <afranklin09c@...>
 

Who: Zaza

With: Andy, Theo

Where: The Witch Queen's Palace, the Jewel of the Desert

When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening


>>>Andy: "Don't let her see your discomfort. It will only embolden her," he warned


At Andy's suggestion, her large, rounded ears flicked forward with the slightest hint of annoyance, as though to bring attention to themselves. How did he expect her not to show whatever discomfort she felt, as clearly as though she were wearing a sign on her chest? It was, after all, the last time Zaza ventured this far South that she earned the curse that kept her painfully, blatantly honest. Still, she pursed her lips and nodded. 


>>>Theo: "I don't envy the task at hand for the other delegations--except maybe Jaya dealing with the Pirate King because the worst that happens there is still probably a beach party--but even though ours requires a careful hand, the Witch Queen hasn't been... duplicitous."


Antiphales was generally right. But as she allowed her gaze to wander to Theo, reluctant, and uncertain whether she would agree with him about Jaya's own task...


>>>The M'Fing Witch Queen: "That I am not," *flanked by lions and servants and dramatic entrances, oh my*


Esperanza took a breath and held it tightly in her chest as she forced her back to straighten and her eyes to abandon her childhood friend in favor of the Southern Queen. She didn't smile - couldn't - but she did adopt a practiced dip in acknowledgement of the elder Karim's arrival, honed in the fire of the Southern courts. A soft "Thank you, Your Grace," breathed past her lips as she forced one foot in front of the other to approach the chairs. "It's good to see you well."


Which wasn't a lie - obvious though that might have been to most present company. Certainly, if she were to lose her good friend and find herself cursed over the Witch Queen's installment in the South, it would not do to see all that anguish wasted


~tags~

 


Re: Nothing but a Shadow in the Night #Jaya #Oseanie #zaire

Manda
 

Jaya: … "So, let's say you come and play nice. Maybe we experience an ideal world where everyone talks peace and reaches some nice accords and no violence breaks out at all. Maybe you lay the groundwork to do this particular deed in a more subtle way after the Summit. Or, maybe you have the opportunity to do a little violence, and you take it. I can tell you for certain, though, if you don't attend, you'll be wondering what everyone there says about you, what deals they're making regarding you, where you're being left out."


Oh Zaire had made up his mind already, from the second Jaya had said Francesca would be there, but he liked hearing her persuade him. He'd always enjoyed having his ego stroked, after all, as a man, a pirate, a captain and now a King. So Zaire listened, nodded here and there, and let her continue lubricating those strokes with plenty of disparaging commentary on his biggest adversary…


Until Jaya quieted and a ripple spread through the hum of voices and laughter and song from outside the tent. 


Zaire's bearded chin lifted, his questioning eyes going to Chione, and the gunner took a few steps toward the door only to have Oseanie go tearing past her. There was a scuffle from outside, sand kicked against the canvas tent, and Zaire was just rising to his feet as Oseanie screamed her warning: "Attack!"


The tent erupted into action, the gathered pirates on their feet and drawing weapons even before Zaire could bother with an order. How was there an attack, though? While the Island's location wasn't exactly a secret anymore, it was plenty protected by the cannons aboard each ship, the small fort that dominated the eastern shore of the island, and the merfolk continuously on the lookout for any strange ship in their waters. So how had anyone gotten close enough to reach land?


It took Zaire all of three seconds to make sense of the scene before him as he stepped out onto the beach, his eyes going to the seemingly dead body at Oseanie's feet to the strange flying contraption above them, and then he was drawing the short axe from his belt and handing it to his daughter. "Take its head, Oseanie," he told her, then turned to quickly survey the rapidly blossoming chaos around him as he drew his sword. Where were the rest of his children? His wife?


His men were scattering to find their own families, desperate to protect them in the one place they should have been safe...


"Chione! Alby!" he shouted, catching the attention of his two fiercest pirates and, conveniently, two without families of their own. "Find my family!" 


Then Zaire turned to those still gathered near him, those who didn't have wives and children to locate, and beyond them caught the eye of one of the other captains, "Spread th'word, ye bilge rats! Your King expects the 'ead'uv'a vampire from eachaya when this is over!" He lifted his eyes to the flying craft above them, a direction that none of them had ever considered an attack from, "Now get out there an' protect yer 'ome!"


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Re: Still There Are Darkened Places #Liam #sarnai #Brandy #Killick

Manda
 

Who: Liam, Sarnai, Killick, Brandy

Where: The Bowels of the Northern Castle

When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening

Sarnai Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/82/45/df/8245dfe7161e5232e04d268038130084.jpg 


Brandy: "Thank you…" and then a more characteristic, as she took a deep, calming breath, "You should teach me that sometime."


Sarnai stiffened as she was pulled against Brandy's ample bosom, taken aback by the sudden show of affection and gratitude. She opened her mouth, blinking as the redhead's thumb smoothed across her cheekbone, then Brandy was pulling away and busying herself with digging through the guards' pockets and Sarnai swallowing back what was sure to be an awkward you're welcome. 


Instead, her eyes went to Killick and she let her lips twitch into the hint of a secret smile just for him. She liked that look he got in his eyes when she did something, well, violent.


Brandy: "Honor's all yours."


Killick: "We need to move them," … *to Liam* "You made that?"


Liam: "I did. It's one of a few tricks I have in my pocket for this endeavor," … "Killick's right--this is a little too obvious," Liam reasoned. "Two choices: We find a cell to put them in and leave the door without an obvious guard. Or, we prop them up unconscious with drinks in hand in case anyone stumbles across. Pros and cons to both options, I suppose. In a cell, they can't call for help if they wake up, though."


Sarnai didn't step forward to help move unconscious bodies; she'd leave that to the men, since as far as she was concerned, she'd done her part. Plus, both of them probably outweighed her by at least a hundred pounds. So instead, she flexed her hand around the pommel of her pilfered sword and stepped through the now open door. 


The dungeon was pretty standard fare - not that Sarnai has seen many of them in her short lifetime - with rows of barred doors lining each side of the main hallway running up the middle and, luckily, no more guards. She paused as movement came from behind the first door and a man peered through the bars at her, eyebrows lowered in curiosity. 


"Ya ain't from around 'ere," he noted. 


"I'm not," Sarnai answered, simply, then turned to look at Brandy. "Think Liam's friend will be forthcoming?"


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Re: A Beauty Half-Betrayed #Andy #Theo #Zaza

Steph
 

Who: Theo
With: Andy, Zaza
Where: The Witch Queen's Palace, the Jewel of the Desert
When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening

Zaza: "She appreciates a forward approach..."

Andy:  "Don't let her see your discomfort. It will only embolden her."

*Yet don't lean into an overabundance of false confidence, as that might prick against her sorceress instincts,* Minnie added into the chain of advice, unheard by anyone but Theo. Her voice was clearer, her presence and grip on reality more firm as the soothing tea settled in  Theo's stomach. Just what he needed, he thought sarcastically, rolling his eyes just slightly, even as the more sound part of himself--the part that had driven him to become one of the founders of the Peacekeepers, affirmed that it was exactly what he needed. It was what they all needed: More resources on their side.

With his next sip of tea, the flavor seemed more tenable, his instincts a little keener, his tongue a little less sharp in his mouth. He lifted the cup again toward Andy, as if in a toast, and this time, when he said, "Thank you, uncle," it rang with a greater measure of sincerity. "We're here with a specific purpose. We should be forward about our purpose and not deviate or do anything that could be perceived as disingenuous. As long as we do that, we don't have reason for discomfort." He got to his feet then, setting the cup aside. "I don't envy the task at hand for the other delegations--except maybe Jaya dealing with the Pirate King because the worst that happens there is still probably a beach party--but even though ours requires a careful hand, the Witch Queen hasn't been... duplicitous."

"That I am not," the woman herself said, stepping out from an archway and into sight. The Witch Queen was dressed in the austere way of the Southern Desert, cream linen dress with golden threads of embroidery creating patterns at the edges, a few small glass beads for emphasis. Around her throat, she wore a pendant necklace made of turquoise and gold, designed in the shape of a hawk with its wings spread in flight. Elegant beaded slippers covered her feet, and her dark hair was pulled back from her face in a braid.

Though she was Sanya Nimr's grandmother, and at the very least somewhere in her late sixties in age--and as rumor had it, likely significantly older--there was a certain vitality in her appearance. Her hair showed no strands of grey. Her skin was smooth. The kohl around her eyes gave them an almost predatory edge.

A few steps behind her paced a maned lion and a sleek lioness, each with a metal collar at their throats. If rumors were true, the lion was her son-in-law, the former Duke of the Southern Desert. The lioness was her own daughter, the former duchess, who had betrayed her.

"Lady Esperanza, it is a pleasure to see you once again," the Witch Queen said, almost demurely.

Several servants appeared from various arches, carrying chairs with them. They made a bit of a wide berth around the two lions as they placed one chair for the Queen and her three guests, and then two large pillows, one on either side of the Queen's chair, for the lions to lay upon. All this was done so quickly and quietly that Theo barely had time to blink at the near-choreographed precision of it.

"Shall we sit?" the Witch Queen said invitingly.

<tag!>


Re: Nothing but a Shadow in the Night #Jaya #Oseanie #zaire

Rachel
 

Zaire: "We all liars, love," 


All? Oseanie's head swiveled in his direction, her chin tilted and eyes narrowed and eyebrows raised and nose scrunched in an expression she had long practiced to communicate nonverbally, "Maybe you're all liars…?" 


Zaire: "But ya ain't wrong. S'all bullshit." "Peacekeepers talk real nice 'bout keepin' the peace but they know that ofttimes the best way t' keep it, is to remove the problem piece." "That it? Y'all can't claim to be neutral if ye go an' remove that problem piece. Yer 'ands are tied." "Y'need a dagger and I 'ave the best chance of bein' it?"


Jaya: "Officially, I'm here to provide you with an invitation to the Peace Summit and address any concerns you might have, to persuade you to join us in the People's City," "Officially, the Founders of the Peacekeepers don't know why I have such a good relationship with you. Officially, they think it's a bit odd that an accountant like me who helps merchants balance their books can get on with the Pirate King..."


"King of the Coast," Oseanie interjected, although her tone did not insist on interrupting as much as correcting. So many called her father the Pirate King, but there were plenty of subjects on the mainland loyal to him and under his control who didn't sail under a flag… 


But Jaya was continuing, and Oseanie's analytical eyes weighed every claim skeptically, but felt herself relaxing over time as the Peacekeeper made more measured sense than she'd expected. And, bit by bit, it became clear to her that these were dynamics and negotiations outside the reach of her understanding, social protocols and dynamics that would have taken Killick a year to explain to her. She didn't always agree with her father, and she was fiercely defensive of him, but she had never doubted his judgment, and so she held her tongue. 


But as the Peacekeeper's voice quieted and Oseanie felt her attention shifting to anticipate her father's answer… something else caught her attention. 


Oseanie was the first to notice the sound, given how rapt everyone's attention was on the tense exchange, not to mention the general noise of the festivities outside. It was faint, at a distance, but rather calamitous… Nothing good had made that noise.


Oseanie bolted out of the tent,  knocking over at least one chair as she went. 


The crashing noise was a warning. Oseanie was outside the fabric flaps with exactly one breath to spare before she could focus her precise eyes on the vampire rushing toward her, draw her knife, and toss it into the creature's heart. Had her accuracy been less than perfect, she would have been dinner. The young pirate dove forward to retrieve her knife from the dead thing's chest, and she realized too late that she couldn't be sure that steel would kill it… 


"Attack!" Oseanie screamed, at the top of her lungs. Her eyes cast up, she could see a massive flying machine no smaller than a pirate ship… except that it was in the air. The sails were round, instead of flat, ballooning the ship far above their heads. Maybe it carried twelve men? Maybe twenty….? 


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Re: Still There Are Darkened Places #Liam #sarnai #Brandy #Killick

Steph
 

Who: Liam

With: Sarnai, Killick, Brandy

Where: The Bowels of the Northern Castle

When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening

Sarnai: *is badass*

Brandy: *key!*

Killick: *gotta cover tracks!*

While Killick observed the need to hide the guards, Liam accepted the key from Brandy and stepped up to the door. He did flash a grin to Killick when he asked if Liam had made the shadow ball. He knew it wasn't the time to get into the alchemical principles of the glass marble, but he could still accept a compliment paid.

"I did. It's one of a few tricks I have in my pocket for this endeavor," he said. Before he placed the key in the lock mechanism, he bent over to check and be sure there weren't any other aspects to the lock--no obvious alchemical runes or triggers for traps. It looked clear enough to him, so he stood and placed the key in the lock.

With a satisfying click, the door unlocked, and he pushed it open.

"Killick's right--this is a little too obvious," Liam reasoned. "Two choices: We find a cell to put them in and leave the door without an obvious guard. Or, we prop them up unconscious with drinks in hand in case anyone stumbles across. Pros and cons to both options, I suppose. In a cell, they can't call for help if they wake up, though."

He crouched down and grabbed one of the two unconscious guards under the arm pits to start dragging him at least next to the door. He was open to either option, glancing between his companions. They didn't have a lot of time to debate things. Wherever they moved next, he was more than ready to figure out where his old friend was being held and ask some questions.

<Tag!>


Re: Scars Left on my Heart #James #Malia #Kyky #manfred #rafael

turksgirl
 

Manfred did not like the way the king was eyeing his companions. His tail swished back and forth in agitation, and he had to refrain from stamping a steel shod hoof on the floor. The man was like another stallion, testing a challenger to see their strength. Prodding. The queen too, in her own way, watching them like a hawk waiting for the proper time to strike. Kyky hand soothed his nerves enough to keep him focused, not to let his equine senses over ride his human logic. 

Kyky: "Because she would be putting herself in the midst of so many enemies,"  "Francesca will come bearing every defense, I am sure, but she would not put herself in a room with yourself and King Zaire and…" Here, she couldn't help but break her seriousness with a chuckle as she glanced at Rafael. He would be the Peacekeeper there, but as a woman, Kyky knew well it would not be an easy task to let your ex-fiance adjudicate a meeting that would ultimately undercut the power you hoped to claim. "...If she was not sufficiently desperate."

When the girl gave a little laugh James Castile's brows arched upward for a moment. A strange expression came over his face as if it jarred loose a memory of something, or someone from long ago. And then his carefully stoic expression returned as if hewn from stone, and he nodded his head at the young woman. He appreciated the fact that her idealism had not blinded her to the possibility of an all too ugly reality. 

He could feel his queen eyes on him and the younger man in the trio, Castile's mouth curled slightly and he glanced over his shoulder at Malia. Gonzalo had all the reasons in the world to want revenge on his former fiancee, just as James did... perhaps more so, since the Green King had no heart to give passion to such feelings.

Rafael: "I will personally see to it that Francesca has not a single opportunity to break that truce," "I will be in attendance to her throughout her entire stay in the People's City and I can assure you, Your Majesties," his eyes went to Malia then, and he inclined his head, "that she will not cross me." 


The Green King turned to face the three Peacekeepers. Eyes the color of an overcast sky stared at them and a mirthless smile pulled at Castile's mouth. "Don't be a fool, General. She has crossed you... and I, and will do so again" he stated. "We will not allow it again. We trust you over Rossi, and will hold you to your word" the Green King said.

He blinked his eyes and shook his head, "Where are my manners? You must be tired and hungry from your journey. Let us sit... Bastard Kings have no need for extreme formalities". James tilted his head and something vaguely like amusement passed his features, "You can tell us what you hope to gain in these talks aside from the obvious..."

~tags~


Re: A Beauty Half-Betrayed #Andy #Theo #Zaza

Vincent Gonzales <alchemicalnonsense2578@...>
 

Who: Andy
With: Theo, Zaza
Where: The Witch Queen's Palace, the Jewel of the Desert
When: May 16th, 877 ROK - Evening

Antiphales' brow quirked in slight disapproval at his nephew's apparent distaste for the tea, but otherwise he gave no indication that he particularly cared about the feedback one way or the other. He wasn't the drunkard stumbling around like he was on death's door, here. He had his own demons to battle on a mission like this, the last thing he needed was to also need to babysit his nephew. 

At word that the queen would likely be here quite soon, Antiphales' gaze moved instead to Esperanza and he leaned in. "Don't let her see your discomfort. It will only embolden her," he warned, though he tried not to make it sound like a reproach. Those in power, he'd learned, loved nothing more than to be reminded that they were your better. And that wasn't the kind of footing you wanted to start off on for any sort of negotiation. 

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Re: Scars Left on my Heart #James #Malia #Kyky #manfred #rafael

Manda
 

James: "Perhaps Rossi wishes to have all her adversaries in one place?" 


Kyky: "Because she would be putting herself in the midst of so many enemies," ... "Francesca will come bearing every defense, I am sure, but she would not put herself in a room with yourself and King Zaire and…" … "...If she was not sufficiently desperate."


Rafael let Kyky answer that question, though his eyes met hers as she left that last part hanging. There was very little left of the Francesca he'd fallen in love with all those years ago and he hadn't made any attempt since prior to the fall of King's City to try to bridge that gap. Notably, she hadn't either. But this summit could be a turning point if everyone played their cards right and Rafael was willing to do what he had to. 


James: "And you would trust them to keep a truce for this parley?" 


"I will personally see to it that Francesca has not a single opportunity to break that truce," Rafael said, making the decision there, on the spot. 


He knew, even as he was speaking the words, that he was taking a huge chance. Years ago, she'd risked everything to sneak him out from under her vampire's nose, but since then, she'd killed his father, seized his lands, executed his staff, and his brother had been killed while in her custody, but somehow Rafael knew that Francesca wouldn't move against him directly. She'd had her chances and she hadn't taken them. 


"I will be in attendance to her throughout her entire stay in the People's City and I can assure you, Your Majesties," his eyes went to Malia then, and he inclined his head, "that she will not cross me." 


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Re: Still There Are Darkened Places #Liam #sarnai #Brandy #Killick

Silvy <afranklin09c@...>
 

Who: Killick.

With: Liam, Sarnai, Brandy.
Where: Marauders Camp, Northern Duchy
When: March 28th, 872 RoK - Morning


>>>Liam: "Sarnai," "I'm going to blind the guard that's not drinking so he won't see your face. Take him down, but try not to kill him if you can? He's just doing his job. The darkness dissipates in a minute or so, so you'll need to be fast."


Dark eyes shot a look to Liam, a frown creasing his features, but he didn't say anything. The expression smoothed over a moment later, anyway - comforted, perhaps, by the confidence Sarnai displayed, though no less by the squeeze of her hand over his. He held his breath while the marble sailed out, and still, as Sarnai darted out and seemed swallowed whole by the black cloud that sprang forth from the shattered glass.


>>>Sarnai: *wins Badass of the Year* "Let's get this door open then."

>>>Brandy: *hug!* "Thank you…" and then a more characteristic, as she took a deep, calming breath, "You should teach me that sometime." *key! To someone! Anyone but her!* "Honor's all yours."


He only let it out again when she reappeared, stepping forward - hitching, to watch Brandy intercept Sarnai with a hug she seemed to need. Brandy, not Sarnai, who looked altogether good - and who'd set his heart to racing, seeing her rise in triumph. Only for a moment, before he glanced behind them to make sure they were still in the clear. And then, forward again as he crossed to one of the downed men. "We need to move them," He said, or else all their being quick and quiet would be for naught. 


"You made that?" He asked Liam, knowing the likely answer but wanting the details, as he bent to grab a pair of feet and start dragging. 


~tags~


Re: Nothing but a Shadow in the Night #Jaya #Oseanie #zaire

Steph
 

Who: Jaya

With: Zaire, Oseanie, Other Beach Party Pals

Where:  Island of the Pirates

When: May 16, 877 ROK, Evening


Oseanie: “Your kind are in the West, too, spewing the same bullshit to Rossi and her undead sycophants. Telling that bitch the same thing about stabbing him in the back. You’re liars; you’re worse than liars…!”


Zaire: "That it? Y'all can't claim to be neutral if ye go an' remove that problem piece. Yer 'ands are tied." His eyes were dark in the speckled skin of his face, intent, as he asked, "Y'need a dagger and I 'ave the best chance of bein' it?"


Jaya sat still as Oseanie berated her for being a dishonest liar and tried to tear down the reputation of the whole Peacekeepers organization along with her. This was always the thing with politics. She kept her hands folded neatly in her lap, her expression as cool and pleasant as if Oseanie had just been complimenting Jaya on her dress or some other equally bland thing. Jaya couldn't afford to get emotional at a time like this.


Ultimately, her job was to bring Zaire to the table, not to prove that the Peacekeepers were pure in heart, mind, spirit, and action. She released a bit of tension from her shoulders when Zaire followed up his declaration that this was bullshit with a thoughtful, calculated, reasonable explanation. She smiled a bit at it.


"Officially, I'm here to provide you with an invitation to the Peace Summit and address any concerns you might have, to persuade you to join us in the People's City," Jaya said. "Officially, the Founders of the Peacekeepers don't know why I have such a good relationship with you. Officially, they think it's a bit odd that an accountant like me who helps merchants balance their books can get on with the Pirate King."


She leaned in a touch, her shoulders hunching forward conspiratorially. "Unofficially, I've been sent on too many peacekeeping missions in the Western Plains where my hands are tied by our good-faith policies and I have to pretend I don't see how the bloodsucker given noble lands and titles put on a good show when anyone's looking directly at them, but their serfs and servants are looking a little anemic and covering their necks, keeping their heads down, afraid of reprisals."


She glanced over to Oseanie. "You say my kind is telling Francesca what I'm telling you? You have to realize we're one kind." She gestured to herself, to all the humans in the room. "The merfolk, humans, pixies,  centaurs, all of us are living people.  Vampires? They're creatures. Predators. Monsters. No royal decree will ever change that."


She had to swallow and push back memories from a time long enough ago that she would have expected the pain to be smoothed over by now, but the edges were always just as sharp as ever.


"I'm being honest with you, trusting you with my feelings and my desires because the bitch that sold out the people of the Plains to one bloodthirsty monster to keep them safe from the flesh-eating monsters doesn't deserve a crown on her head. "Unofficially, I've done more than a bit of accounting on your behalf, and I wouldn't mind helping you balance her accounts."


She sat up a little straighter. "So, let's say you come and play nice. Maybe we experience an ideal world where everyone talks peace and reaches some nice accords and no violence breaks out at all. Maybe you lay the groundwork to do this particular deed in a more subtle way after the Summit. Or, maybe you have the opportunity to do a little violence, and you take it. I can tell you for certain, though, if you don't attend, you'll be wondering what everyone there says about you, what deals they're making regarding you, where you're being left out."


<Tag!>


Re: Scars Left on my Heart #James #Malia #Kyky #manfred #rafael

Rachel
 

James: "Perhaps Rossi wishes to have all her adversaries in one place?"


Kyky's lips pursed as she felt the obvious and blatant scrutiny, and though she felt the threat in his gaze, Manny's strong presence at her side helped her ignore that. In that particular way, she did not feel vulnerable, but it was not the only weapon the king had to wield against her psyche…


Manny: *protective shrug*


Kyky sighed at the texture and warmth of Manny against her, but her mind still reeled to keep up with the Green King's obviously keen political calculations. Why was she - the girl, the girl of low blood - the one who stepped forward as leader on this occasion? The King's gaze made her feel every ounce of her simplicity, made her question her adequacy, but more, her competency. His question demanded an answer, and she froze, a moment, as her mind reeled under the pressure of answering...


"Because she would be putting herself in the midst of so many enemies," Kyky responded, and sounded refreshingly level-headed as she did. "Francesca will come bearing every defense, I am sure, but she would not put herself in a room with yourself and King Zaire and…" Here, she couldn't help but break her seriousness with a chuckle as she glanced at Rafael. He would be the Peacekeeper there, but as a woman, Kyky knew well it would not be an easy task to let your ex-fiance adjudicate a meeting that would ultimately undercut the power you hoped to claim. "...If she was not sufficiently desperate."


James: *to Raf* "And you would trust them to keep a truce for this parley?"


That, of course, was a question that had to be handled between men, and so Kyky gave her attention to pressing an affectionate and calming hand to Manny's side. They were all anxious, but his was amplified because of his size… 


And then Kyky's eyes strayed to the Queen, who sat on her throne with a passive aire that Kyky knew was a complete lie. She enjoyed Castile's aggression, Kyky guessed, because of how much his brutality - in form and in reputation - saved her in trying to feign the same. 


And Malia offered the girl the smallest curl of her lip. She saw the gears turning behind those young, blue eyes, and knew they would never match her. And so her gaze was brief, and turned to watch the exchange between her King and the General's son. She knew the boy was far more than he presented - perhaps more than he knew - and so she found herself curious how he would handle this role...

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Re: Scars Left on my Heart #James #Malia #Kyky #manfred #rafael

turksgirl
 

Well, they could agree on one subject, that Eventyr needed to be unified or it would be doomed. James noted Malia's interest when the girl mentioned that perhaps there needed to be a change in the laws of succession. His queen wanted power, and would not be satisfied until she had more. She was subtle in the taking of it, pulling who she needed into her web. Beautiful and enchanting, a seductress in ermine and bejeweled silks. And he wouldn't deny her the chance to make a bid for it so long as the realm benefited in it. So long as it brought...balance.

It wasn't love that he felt for his queen, his heartless form wasn't capable of it. And it was a foolish, blind emotion that made men stupid and reckless. No, he...they... admired her. Respected her. Her cunning, the way her mind worked. How she manipulated people, made them love her. Francesca worked the same way, but had none of Malia's subtleties, and only catered to nobles and those of wealth. Throwing parties, while those she considered common went hungry under her rule. 

James' fingers tightened reflexively against Malia's hand for a moment. She could be queen of all the realms, do as she pleased... so long as she remembered that she was his... theirs. Chaos and order, they belonged together. Sword and shield.

Castile stood up, and moved like a large, graceless reptile toward their guests. "Perhaps Rossi wishes to have all her adversaries in one place?" he said walking past the young blonde. Turning to grace her with a smile that said it was surely what he would do if the inclination struck him. If he hadn't given his word that they would be unmolested in his realm, she might be more worried about her own pretty head. But the peacekeepers were like the fabled hydra from his queen's books, and two more seemed to take the place if one was struck down. Ideas were not as easily slain as mortal coils that breathed life into them.

They were an interesting party. Humans, and centaur. Males. Female. Hope. Determination. The list went on, but there were seeds of doubt there. The Green King could smell it, like spilled blood. James turned to Rafael, because his opinion was of particular interest  "And you would trust them to keep a truce for this parley?"

Manfred bodily bumped himself against Kyky's side protectively. Although the king was moving around them like a hungry dragon looking for a weakness in their armor, the centaur's gaze remained focused on the queen on her throne. It was as if he squinted hard enough perhaps he could see what connected them, what was the leash she held on this thing that looked like a man but moved like a beast.

He hoped the others were making more progress on their mission than they seemingly were at convincing this power couple to come to the talks. 

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