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The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

The realms where magic is the most prevalent. These are the realms of traditional fantasy but includes any setting where magic is the primary focus. Examples: LotR, Harry Potter, Dresden Files.

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Shakey Jake
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Shakey Jake » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:26 am

Verdant Lea.
Celene had arrived at Verdant Lea many hours before she decided it was time to do what she came here to do. She wasn't exactly sure what that was but she was confident it would become clear as events unfolded. She watched as aid wagons rolled into the town. The journey to Verdant Lea had been hard going through the bog, so she thought it better to rest for a few hours before she entered the town proper. From watching the people gathered outside Verdant Lea, Celene thought that many of them were there for no reason. She knew them to live in The Marshes far from where the trouble took place, they were there to soak up rations. Were she Lord Titus they would be made examples of.
The sound of the sharpening stone moving up and down the length of her sword soothed Celene's racing mind. Hoof falls pulled her attention from the sword, Lord Titus and a group of guards went riding by her. It was time. Sliding the blade into its sheath Celene Mc Tir headed into the town. Her mind felt as though it were filled with water. The noise and bustle muted, distant. Only one thing mattered now...
"EVERELDA!"
Outside the town hall Celene called to her. She knew Everleda would come. Today would see the end of it. From the first second Everelda appeared on the balcony she knew that it would be to the death. She stared up at the tropican woman and Everelda back.
"I knew you'd come for me sooner or later. What took you so long?" Everelda called down to the last remaining member of House Mac Tir, the one she had spared.
Celene found herself unable to utter a single word. This woman had plagued her mind for years and it was awash with thoughts of the night her family had died.
Everelda disappeared from the balcony, a few moments later she emerged from the main doors onto the street.
"Why..." Celene's voice was weak and quiet, she adjusted herself and cleared her throat "...why did you let me go?"
"I wanted you to feel at least of part of the kind of vengeance that I feel. I wanted you to let it simmer, to carry it with you. I wanted you to become strong in that hatred of me so that when the time came you would come for me and I would demolish you. In battle true." Everelda reached over her head and removed a golden metal pole that had been attached to her back. A naginata, when she extended it the weapons shaft was over one metre long not including the curved blade at the top. The length of the entire thing stood taller than the six foot Everelda.
The crowd had moved to the edge of the street the way the women were looking at each other, circling each other told them that this would be worth watching.
Celene pulled the sword from its place against her hip and struck at Everelda. The sword was long, thing and light weight. Celene's sword arm moved with great speed. Her enemy held the naginata sideways, hands at either side to block each swing of the sword. Celene attacking and Everelda defending went on and on until Everelda suddenly dropped low and swung the naginata knocking Celene's feet from under her. Lady Mac Tit rolled backwards to put space between them. The reach of the naginata was a concern. Everelda was now holding it point forwards and began to poke rapidly at Celene. One at her feet, one at her head, then chest, then legs. It was an exhausting weapon to defend. It was the kind of weapon that made multiple small injuries instead of one major blow. Celene doubted that at this range Everelda could even pierce her armour. To do any real damage the birhor warrior would have to lunge hard, and that was a risk. Everelda made no attempts to lunge, she tirelessly poked at Celene with swift sharp blows. A strike at her feet, Celene blocked low. Everelda lifted the naginata up over her head and poked down striking Celene on the shoulder. First blood. Celene Mac Tir was not afraid of some little flesh wound, she charged forwards and swung her sword hard, over and over. When the naginata rose she forward rolled under it and sliced through Everelda's upper arm. Second blood.
"Well, you've certainly put up a better fight than your family thus far, keep it up, I like the exercise." If Celene was anything like her kin then her temper would undo her. Everelda had tasted her skill with the sword and thought it exquisite, but knew how to break it down "Come on Mac Tir, come on."
The dance of Lady Mac Tir and Everelda continued. Celene hoped that the battle would remain as it was, she had little chance of defending against Everelda's magic. Sword and naginata struck at each other, both women sustaining more and more superficial flesh wounds. Celene sliced at Everelda and followed up with a hard boot to the gut knocking her back. The naginata struck out at full length and stabbed into Celene's face. She did not make a sound as pain exploded from her cheek. At full length the naginata was hard for Everelda to keep hold of. Ignoring the pain Celene grabbed the weapon with both hands and ripped it from Everelda's grasp. She tossed it behind her and pointed at Everelda with her sword.
Celene cricked her neck and moved the blade in a slow figure of eight motion. As she did this Everelda removed a tiny leather pouch from her belt. Everelda allowed Celene to press her advantage. The sword came whistling through the air toward her, she side stepped, rolled and back flipped out of harms way. Celene took up a two handed grasp of her blade and charged. The pouch opened and the contents tossed straight into Celene's face. Wasp Dust, a tropican weapon made from stings of the ferocious insects found in jungle, those who fell victim to it described at as nails being driven into ones face. Celene screamed but kept trying to strike Everelda with the sword. The sword was in Everelda's hands within seconds of the dust striking Celene. Everelda struck hard into Celene's stomach. Lady Mac Tir dropped to her knees.
The sword felt cold against her face, it felt nice. The wasp dust and facial wound were still stinging.
"Just do it." Celene said not looking up at enemy. She knew Everelda had faked the entire battle, she hadn't even attempted to use magic "Finish this."
"STOP!" Lord Titus came riding into the square, he quickly dismounted and moved over to his half sister who was holding Mac Tir's sword against her neck "Everelda don't. You have beaten her. There's no need for this. You have won. This is not who we are." She paid no attention to him.
"Did you know that your father took my mother hostage during the occupation?" Everelda asked Celene who nodded weakly "Did you know that your mother kept my mother in a dungeon and liked to whip her, did you know that?" There was a long pause "DID YOU KNOW THAT?!" Celene nodded. Everelda knelt down and leaned in close so only Celene could hear her "Did you know that you used to join in?"
Celene's eyes shot open "I...didn't...I don't...remember...I...I...." her head hung loosely "...I did...I whipped her...."
Everelda nodded "You never came here to kill me did you? You came here for me to kill you." she touched Celene's cheek briefly "Perhaps you should be forced to live with being a monster."
"I'm...sorry...." The first Mac Tir to ever utter those words.
"Everelda, don't let more blood be spilled in the name of that man. Cyrius Mac Tir was a monster. We must forgive. Not forget. Never forget. But we are better. I do not want her killed, she is nothing. We forgive." Titus put his arm on his sisters shoulder "Come...come..." Slowly she turned and began to walk away with him.
Everelda's eyes moved down the sword that belonged to Celene Mac Tir, on the hilt was an image of a dogs head. The symbol of House Mac Tir. The sword was lovingly maintained, the symbol of the house polished and dazzling. She stopped and let out half a laugh. With one swift spinning motion Everelda cut Celene Mac Tir's head from her body.
"NOOOO!" Titus screamed running to Celene's carcass as if there were something he could do "What have you done?! I told you no! What have you done?!"
Everelda closed her eyes and tilted her head up, it was starting to rain "I have done my duty. My people are avenged."
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by dinthalion » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:50 am

Rivka blushed a little when Rasheeba mentioned throwing up. She did every morning on dry land so she was sure would here too, at least it wouldn’t seem suspicious. They were just about to leave for their quarters when Bormin showed up. Freyr read his note gravely, Rivka read hers quickly. She looked up wondering what dangerous, foolish thing Divian was planning now.



Freyr looked concerned when the drow messenger prompted him for a reply. He doubted Maria could truly understand the political implications of a drow military presence within Briochi where most citizen’s believed the drow were aligned with Vilhelm. They would see their presence as a show the usurpers power, any protection they gave would be credited to Vilhelm. But he could not turn them away and put his citizen’s at risk.



Fryer stared at the paper a while longer before responding slowly, “Of course, if the need arises. But I ask her sincerely to act with as much discretion as possible. I’ll shorten my visit to Clayborne, I want to meet with her as soon as I return. This is very serious…and very delicate.”



He turned to Rivka, forcing a smile, “it’s nothing you need to worry about.”



He reached for her note and skimmed it with a frown.



“You are to deliver no more letters from Divinkul to Rivka.” He told Barris, “He has hurt and confused my daughter enough already. She needs stability, not a deranged man unsure of where his loyalties lay. Lady Maria is rightfully the head of Dul-Sansika now and she is still family to house Vennet, Divian is not.”

Rivka looked away out into the ocean. Fryer looked stressed as the messenger walked away. When they were led to their quarters he immediately sat at his desk and began writing. Rivka made her way back to the deck and sat down. She watched the men ready the ship for departure. A fast ship. It sounded exciting, but it also meant they’d get there sooner, that she would only have a few more days before everything changed again. She stared out at the familiar mountains from this unfamiliar side. She felt home sick already. But it was what she had to do.
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Skummy the Kitty
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Skummy the Kitty » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:12 am

Verdeant Lea

Ravenfoot sat idly as she dished out rations to everyone who came for help, Fang had sent her and a delegation of other cats to show support from a new fledgling noble house. House Fang was unlike the aristocracy they claimed ot be a portion of,t he title was simply to make it so Fang could legally challenge the rulers of this land on their abhorrent treatment of both the High Felines as a whole and the lower castes in general. The supplies, and reinforcement of city cats were a welcome sight to Prides and Grimalkyn alike. They could see friends and relatives, some of whom had been captured long ago, coming back to them with big smiles on their scarred faces. The reunion was filled with sorrowful howls for the fallen and joyous screeches of the living, it was a wonderful and magical sight even to a Mutt like Ravenfoot.

Ravenfoot was the illegal offspring of a Beast Tamer and a female Pride cat of the R clan, interracial breeding was deemed disgusting by Pride cats who indulged heavily in purity exercise of one alpha male and many females under his care. Beast tamers were less so, much more like wood elves they would mate with any tribe to increase their numbers. Sadly though Ravenfoot was also born odd, seeming almost stillborn, and left to die when she didn't cry out when born. When she actually did awaken she cried for her mother painfully and as luck would have it was picked back up in passing. Not by her mother, but by a wandering exile named Bitterfist.

Bitterfist took her to his lover and together they attempted to raise the half breed as best they could; Bitterfist being a snow cat from the north and his lover another exiled Pride cat but from the J Clan. In all she made it through infancy and so the trio moved into a countryside home. Bitterfist was a master of the martial arts school 'Iron Soul'. He had hardened his body to harm and the density of his muscles had increase exponentially making it seem as though he was made of sheer iron. Ravenfoot was brought up in this teaching, while her mother taught her how to dance and entertain, not seeing a point in Ravenfoot having to fight in her life.

She was given the name Ravenfoot because of how she walked was pronged on her toes like a raven on its talons, always ready to pounce at her father or jump to her mother. Overtime her parents grew older, and they moved into Everglow to give Ravenfoot a chance at success. She became a well known and highly sought dancer because of her mixed features being seen as a novelty to rich customers who enjoyed the sight of such an exotic feline. Ravenfoot tried to use her talents to buy High Felines kept in captivity, break them free through her strength as a student of martial arts, or kill clients if they harbored her fellow cats.

Ravenfoot has two sides to her, the fun loving and sweet cat who fell in love with Reynis and Katriel during her time in the city. A wonderful dancer, a quick footed playmate, a beloved citizen of the Bronze Way and Halfmoon District. Then there's the deadly side of her ancestry, her father's training, and her insatiable need to free her fellows. Fang sees both of these, and has since enlisted her services, while also caring for her aging mother now that her father had died in the expedition to the Untamed Isle. He had supposedly gone down saving people's lives while being burned to ash, breaking apart the demons with his fists of iron alongside fellow fighters.

Shaking herself out of the daze she continued to work with the other Felines in dividing supplies and giving them to those in need. They scrutinized those who's claims were suspicious and were keen eyed for those taking advantage of the kindness of the Felines, thought hey could do nothing for the other supply trains that had come through and were being picked at by opportunists, Ravenfoot and the others scared them off with their teeth and their strength. For the most part these supplies were being given to trusts Pride workers and Grimalkyn who could much better distribute the provisions as they knew the locals and could handle the displacements.

When Celene challenged Everelda many cats scaled the buildings, or otherwise because screeching and howling cheering Everelda onwards- seeing her as the Birhor Queen and thus the Savior of the Kin. When Titus stopped the execution they began to grow anxious, unable to contradict their employer and a man seen as Kin as well, but when Everelda finally chopped the head off of Celene Mac Tir's shoulders they bellowed out howls to the sky. They thanked the Shadewalker for delivering divine punishment to the oppressive Mac Tirs through Everelda, they praised the Birhor woman in howls and cheers, it was a cacophonous racket. It carried throughout Verdeant Lea, even those who had been away heard the victory chant and joined in, even Ravenfoot hearing her relatives carrying on had the impulse to shout cheers to the sky as deliverance came.

Everelda would know why they cheered, the Birhor and the High Felines were inexorably linked together form now until the end, when one needed the other they would come together against anything. This was not just vengeance finally laid bare, but victory for all those who were subjugated to know it was possible to fight back. They praised her strength, her power, her beauty of a warrior; they praised for the fallen and the yet to be born, and they kept singing until they could no longer stand the rainfall.
___________________________________________________
Bormin the Messenger

He showed no signs of the feelings he had towards Freyr's position on Divankul "Of course, Lord Vennet, we shall follow these orders to the letter; I will advise Maria to move forces farther from the Briochi territory if that is any solace. If it is any consolation I still view you as the only authority in Briochi....and if we are to stumble unto Vilhelm we will make movements to cease his illegal claims once and for all, by Maria's orders of course, she cannot bear to see her family in turmoil and is trying her best to overturn decisions made by her Uncle but it has been difficult, sir"
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Shakey Jake » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:53 am

Verdant Lea.

Everelda was perched against the writing desk watching as Xanala Spellpaw rooted through a leather bag. Xanala was a member of The Pride, several of them had been sent to Verdant Lea to ensure the security of the town, she was a shaman skilled in many arts.
"Xanala will stitch you up." The cat pulled a pin and a piece of string from the bag, for a brief second the dangling piece of string pulled all the shaman's attention "This will sting."
Everelda watched as the jet black cat with silver eyes began to sew her wounded arm "The kyn are very happy, Xanala is very happy. It was well struck. The Mac Tir pup is gone and a dark chapter is finally closed. Xanala would like to lick your blood but will refrain."
"Make sure you refrain." Everelda didn't much like the idea of Xanala Spellpaw licking her wounds. Though grimalkyn saliva was said to greatly enhance healing. The wound was stitched perfectly, Xanala's claws were deft and precise. The cat moved over to the large leather bag that was far from what one would expect a grimalkyn to carry around.
"I win this bag. At cards. Xanala loves cards. She smells the bluffs on the no furs." Slender clawed fingers rummaged through the contents until Xanala produced a small vial "Drink. It will fight infection...."
Xanala watched Everelda expectantly as she downed the potion in one go.
"...tastes like dog shit yes? Yes, yes, Xanala knows this. I makes it taste bad so that my dears do not abuse the healing art. A body must be respected. All done, yes, yes."
The door swung open and Lord Titus walked in "Leave us." he did not spare Xanala a single glance. The cat quickly gathered her things, the large black leather bag jingled as she moved. She paused as she got close to Titus.
"Xanala win this bag at cards...."
"LEAVE!" Titus had no patience for the grimalkyn quirks today.
"Yes, yes Xanala go."
The siblings said nothing for a long time. They just stood.
"I told you not to kill her. Why? What did that achieve?" Titus was the one pacing now, following the same path that Everelda had been pacing on mere days ago. The Sabres were all prone to pacing.
"I achieved peace for my people. You heard the grimalkyn when her head left her shoulders. She was festering wound in their hearts. Now she is gone." Everelda was calm, there was nothing Titus could possibly say to make her think that she had made a mistake.
"She was barely involved. She was but a girl at the time." Lord Titus had found his way to the drinks cabinet. He riffled through it until he found ash brandy at the back. Lady Attia's poison.
"Age does not absolve you of cruelty. The kyn know from moment they take their first steps that life is sacred. That all life is a treasure. From the smallest tree to the largest man. We know. She knew." She did not want to go over the crimes of House Mac Tir again, it was time to move on from those wounds.
"You ignored my order and killed someone in front of everyone...you..."
"You are not my lord." The words were not meant to pain her brother but they were true.
"Oh...so if my father asked you..." Titus was on his second glass of brandy now.
"Henriik is not my lord." Everelda stood from her perched position on the desk and turned to face her brother "I felt it. As I relieved Celene of her head I felt it. I am worthy now. To take my place...as Queen."

Outside.

Xanala Spellpaw exited the town hall and padded over to where she could see her wombkyn. Xanaka Swiftpaw looked much like his sister though he was shorter and had far greater muscle mass, He also had a white fluffy chin and a tuft of white on the end of his tail.
"Kyn." Xanala said as she approached her brother, he turned to face her and they briefly rubbed heads. Rubbing heads was among the highest shows of affection the grimalkyn gave in greeting. Those who rubbed heads were either devoted to each other or family. There were nuances to head rubbing. Blood kyn would rub heads in two swift circular motions. Friends would rub heads once and lovers would coil tails as they did this.
"Xanaka wonders about Everelda. Is she wounded?" The male cats ears were always pricked up and twitching. Always alert.
"No, no Xanala has fixed her. A mere cut on her top leg." Xanala was trying to hide her bag from her brother.
"Arm. Xanala, they call it an arm." While grimalkyn were bipedal they could quite easily exist on four legs "Where did you get that bag?"
Xanala lifted it up slightly "Oh this bag? This bag Xanala found. In...a place."
"You have been out with the no furs again haven't you?" Xanaka thought that Xanala was immersing herself in Mainland culture too much. They were members of The Pride, he thought that their sole purpose. But Xanala was inquisitive and highly adaptable. She loved new sights, smells and experiences. Before Xanala could give a stuttered fibbing response Xanaka sniffed at the air, his eyes narrowed.
"Hmmmmmmow a sinister stench." With that he was off in the other direction climbing buildings and dashing along rooftops.
"Xanala won this bag...AT CARDS!"
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Skummy the Kitty » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:53 am

Verdant Lea, Ravenfoot

As everything settled down Ravenfoot finally had time to disengage and make it to the center of the vineyard town, she was a sight and most male cats couldn't help but eye her, sometimes getting paws from their mates. She had the fur of a Pride, but the swagging hips and bust of a motherly Beast Tamer, it were these same charms that allowed her to become so successful as a dancer for the aristocratic elite. They hounded after her truly unique interbreed physique, she noticed two Prides arguing with each other-clearly siblings. As one shouted form the rooftops at the other she realized they were form the X clan. She nodded, winning things at cards was what Garin would do if he wasn't very, very, very inebriated.

Ravenfoot missed her times with all the Bronzers, it had been fun but she had mission to accomplish and that was that, Fang trusted her more than most and had given her one of the hardest orders. She rapped on the door loudly calling upwards "Am Ravenfoot! Am from Fang House! Please talks?!" her Aradian was always horridly broken, just as much if not moreso than most cats, she had odd speaking quirks like calling women pretty somethings and men brawny others. Otherwise she was pretty understandable "Brought stuffs for peoples at place! Gave! Now want talks! Please pretty Queen Birhor? Brawny Lord?" she didn't understand the fundamentals of etiquette still after all this time, she was used to just shouting for people if they didn't open the door immediately like back home.
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Kotorchix » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:00 pm

Characters & Info
Elmer Twicefreed
Caybourne Countryside


The tall elf seemed to take some relief in the change of topic, his gentle smile becoming something broader when asked to talk about his home. Relief struck him that Drake was a man who would at least listen to the suggestion – and hope caught him that maybe some good might come out of the union if this was truly the man that Drake was.

A thought danced behind his eyes. He wished he could remember how his own culture treated women. He had a notion that perhaps it wasn’t very well. He could feel the scars on his mind of a past perhaps better left unremembered, so what horrors a woman might have gone through in the same setting, his wife for example, he almost didn’t want to imagine.

But regardless, he liked this idea of women not being treated as bargaining chips. That was where his dear Gauge Heartstone had gone wrong. The moment he set up that marriage between Amayl and Harold Umbridge, he signed the fate of generations to come.

This wasn’t particularly a topic Elmer liked. He had cautioned against the initial betrothal. And Gauge had always hated himself for not listening, right to his dying breath.

The moment a man in this world treated his daughter as property, so would every other man. That was what Gauge had learned the hard way. Amayl had never been the same since, and Elmer wouldn’t allow himself to forget that like everything else in his past, however much he wished he could.

"But yes, back to Caybourne; please you've lived here for some time, Mancel gave me an overview on how the Accord came to be but I'd like to know about the region itself and why its seen as the Free State. You have the highest per capita former slaves in Aradia, which is depressing since slavery is outlawed on the mainland but its hard to enforce outside of it. You also have the densest non-native High Feline population in the world, something Fang used to go on about when he would talk....he did so enjoy talking about his people, a jolly sort considering how badly he was broken before Divan took him.”

“I must admit I am unfamiliar with the High Feline Fang. Most of my affairs are to do with the inner workings of the Accord and Caybourne itself,” Elmer said. “I have lived on the mainland but have always been rather naïve when it came to people and history of note. As much as I like books, I always seemed to have my nose in the wrong ones in those days…”

They found themselves on the outskirts of a small town – a settlement just before the city, it would seem. The road diverged, one continuing on to a greater highway – and towards the city – the other into a simple cobblestone drive between idyllic little cottages and garden patches.

“As for the history of Caybourne, you could not ask a better person than myself. And you must let me indulge, for this is a topic close to my heart.”

He gave Drake a soft smile. “Aside from a few others – elders of their races, mostly – I am one of the only citizens of Caybourne to have known what it was like here before the Heartstones and Ludlows settled it.”

Light spilled from a tavern in the small town. It was a simple two-storey building, wooden but shored with stone walls at its shorter ends. A small crowd gathered on the porch of the building, laughing and sharing drinks over the jasmine climbing up the walls and rails. A tall, weathered tree sheltered the establishment, its branches long and winding, all slanted in a north-eastern direction.

The two elves didn’t stop there and continued walking past. A High Feline woman waved and Elmer offered a small greeting. As the light of the tavern faded behind them, he picked up his line of thought once more.

“The Ludlows did not intend for this to become a haven for freed or runaway slaves, I must admit. Although, I am glad for the reputation this place has gotten. A major factor was that Caybourne started off with an extremely strong navy, and I can only put that down to some strange fantastical luck the first modern sea-faring ancestor of their family had.

“Gauge Heartstone-Rodin (the first man I called Master by choice) was a merchant. He started out with two large cargo ships and a handful of ragtag mercenaries to keep them safe. Some of these mercenaries were men he had bought from illegal slavers on the mainland. In return for their freedom, they would work for him for a year and he would provide them with food and a small amount of pay. After that year, their pay would go up if they chose to stay. Very few left.”

The road had narrowed and wound up a hill into an orchard smelling strongly of feijoas, gravel again crunching underfoot.

“Eventually, these freedmen bought their own ships as their numbers grew. They picked up the practice of hiring on former slaves, all the while signed under Gauge as part of his ever-growing ‘merchant fleet.’”

Elmer picked a feijoa that hung too low above the path. Reaching into his duster, he pulled out a small dagger – simple in design, but the blade looked silver. He sliced the fruit in half, wiped the knife clean and put it away. One half of the feijoa he gave to Drake as they continued to walk.

“Many believe the slaves came to Caybourne in droves, but the truth was that it was only the High Felines and some Tropics peoples that appeared soon after the Ludlow Accord was founded. The truth was that the practice of taking in and hiring freedmen had started nearly thirty years prior to the founding.”

He took a bite of the feijoa, wiping juice from his chin with a delicate tap of his finger.

“Gauge first found Caybourne. He mapped the coasts and sent the first parties to explore the land. We found signs of previous civilizations here, but no living natives. A port was built at Shelter – the smaller island to the south-west, but it was Gauge’s son Keyair who established Caybourne’s first settlements.”

He pointed through the trees, towards the lights of the city rarely seen through the thick leaves and hanging fruits.

“Maria Vale was the first, and now the largest settlement. That is where most of the High Felines live, although there are some smaller settlements further in-land where some have had the freedom to revert to their old cultures prior to capture.

“As for why there was such a great influx at one time… Keyair Heartstone and Mancel Ludlow would be the cause for that. Shortly after forming the Ludlow Accord and cementing their house with the betrothal of Keyair’s daughter to Mancel, the Merchant King built his first Heartstone-mark battleship – the Jun. With the ship’s maiden voyage, Keyair and Mancel stumbled across a group of slaver vessels…”

Elmer smiled – it wasn’t as soft as the others, something more akin to one of smug delight. He chuckled.

“We were the largest ship they had ever seen, my friend. They couldn’t outrun us, we had one hundred forty guns on each side, and we just slid between the two largest ships. Harpoons shot out either side and we hauled the ships in at the same time, boarding both simultaneously.

“After disposing of the slavers on board, we didn’t even unhook from their ships before giving chase to the rest of their ragtag fleet. Below-decks on these harpooned slaver ships, the High Felines were freed from their shackles.

“I wish there were a way to show you that image. Roaring through the Sorrows with these two slaver ships dangling off her sides, the Jun was the most beautiful ship I ever saw, Drake. She was a force of nature herself, gliding effortlessly up in the midst of those slaver ships. They didn’t even scatter, Drake. They just flew white flags and dropped anchor.”

His eyes sparkled with the memory as he tossed the skin of the fruit aside. “Ah, apologies, my friend. I do go on. There are only eight functional Heartstone-mark ships in existence, and the Jun is now retired… I remember that first voyage with great fondness.”

He inhaled deeply, amber eyes sparkling with the starlight above. The gravel road was turning to dirt and the uphill climb was all the steeper. Elmer seemed quite comfortable despite the slope and the trees becoming wilder, thicker… some even tropical.

And he seemed comfortable in the choice of topic. He was in his element here. He didn’t even seem concerned that he was boring Drake.

“With the Jun’s maiden voyage, the High Felines were offered homes in Maria Vale. Nearly all accepted the offer and began to re-integrate into society. That was almost forty years ago, if I remember correctly… since then, the news spread. High Felines previously treated without respect found it in Caybourne. They gained careers, made families, and some returned to their roots as they had the freedom to… just not in their native land.”

Finally, he seemed to stop to take a proper breather. He halted his step beside a large boulder sitting off the side of the road, and leaned against its rocky surface. He didn’t seem tired, but perhaps all the talking had finally run him out of breath.

“There were four hundred High Felines recovered from those slaving vessels. These days, they have reached beyond two thousand in the city of Maria Vale alone if we are to believe the census of last year is correct.”

Again, he smiled, back to his soft smiles. “And I apologize for the walk, forcing you to work up an appetite… we are nearly there.”



The Provenire
The Sorrows
East of Briochi


Slowly meandering its way from the coastline, speed didn’t seem to be much of a priority for the Provenire at first. But then the sails unfurled, some familiar orders were barked out by Captain Kilias, and the ship bucked to life like a beast unshackled.

The prow sliced through the Sorrows like a blade, kicking aside white walls of frothy water. The sails were heaving with air – an almost unnatural wind urging them on. With a closer look, it was possible to see tiny glowing threads of silver in the green sails: some sort of aerothurge magic or blessing.

Carndas gripped the railing, blinking against the salt water thrown up by the ship’s rapid progress. He felt a laugh rip from his throat, turning to blink at Rivka with a wide smile. Decorum be damned, he was having the time of his life.

Rasheba returned to the deck and gripped a strapped-down crate to keep her footing. She smiled as she watched Rivka and Carndas, her hair throwing itself about in the wind like a wild thing.

“Like I said, my lady,” she shouted over the wind. “Fast.
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Skummy the Kitty » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:35 pm

Drake
Caybourne Countryside


"Oh, Fang is not some great historical figure, he was Divankul Dul-Sansiska's Hand and is honestly young in relation to the both of us at sixty years. But he is making a name for himself on the mainland as he's campaigning to end all slavery forever, though its misconstrued as him attempting to free all High Felines only. He's quite possibly the boldest man I know despite how much fear had been ingrained on him over his years of being a laboring slave, I think he's trying to start a revolution of words to upend what he sees as a flawed system of governance and care for citizenry. I respect him highly for his actions"

As the talks got underway about Caybourne's history Drake was hooked, it was enamoring that all this would take place and he reserved his commentary for after everything had been explained just so as not to break the narrative flow. As he bit into the offered half of feijoa, he found it pleasant to be sure but he was not a fan of exotic tastes outside the mountainside diet he and the rest of the Drow were so fond of. Drow for the most part dined on the comforts of the north no matter where they were. However Dul-Sansiska also loved marshland delicacies and incorporated the reptiles and marsh plants into banquets alongside snow hens and frell elk, though it all went well with the famed Ash Brandy the region was known for, despite Drake never having indulged in the liquor he knew that his Commander found it complimentary.

Ash Brandy was a step bellow Wyvern Mead and a step above Sabre Wine in terms of potency, but now that ti had been properly introduced thanks to Maria's party many nobles and wealthier commoners were buying casks on casks of the stuff due to Attia Sabre being a known fan. In just the span of two moons it had risen by 300%, the powers of popularity were staggering sometimes. Though Drake didn't partake in those inebriating concoctions he was still a fan of something High Felines called Bee Juice, but what most people called Honey Ichor for its heavenly smoothness and sweet fragrance. The Kyn had always been ones to add their own exotic twists to human life, they practiced their own cultures but would assimilated human practices like festivals into their lives, centuries ago they had begun to celebrate the birth of the young and the changes in the seasons. Adaptable but also their own kinds of people High Felines were amazing.

That led into the talk of the masterpiece of the Heartstone fleet, the Jun which Elmer found great pride in, Drake cut in himself "I remember that ship, even the reports that a slaver fleet had been attacked and dismantled by a capital class warship by Xankresh's own accord. He had been sailing to intercept the ships but the moment the Jun arrived he high tailed it because even the Leviathan's Ascent wasn't going to out maneuver it. It was truly a work of art, a tapestry is hanging in the Hurricane Palace on Nagari depicting the exact scene but it's very different to hear it form someone personally attached to the vessel."

As they finally settled down at a rock to ease themselves Drake couldn't help but burst out an amused laugh at the apologies for such a long and leisurely walk "No non, you have my apologies- I did not mean to laugh but-" he tried to suppress more chuckling "I train my soldiers to be able to run and keep pace with their horses for a mile in full gear, and I put on the heaviest plate I can find and join them during the planting seasons when we do annual training operations." he waved his hand dismissing the notion that such a walk could begin to bother him, in fact it seemed like quite the opposite.

"Trust me a leisurely walk through an exotic countryside is honestly a very splendiferous occasion I don't get too often. Most times I am rushed, we are performing military operations, hunting demons or practitioners of the dark arts, or being dragged into the mess that the Blackthorne Knox war is because of Divan and Mossa's rivalries. Honestly it helps to put my situation into perspective, this is a rather enjoyable time when I'm not being stabbed at, or where someone doesn't try to turn me into a thrall of evil" he looked outwards still in awe of such a beautiful landscape.

"Solstheim is different, truly, you have Raven's Rock which is where Redoran Keep lies- but then it's distant and spread thin farmland and villages until you get ot the northern portion and wander into the Snow Cat Tribes. Mighty white furred behemoths of men and women of cat, they make Grimalkyn look like kittens, Prides look like children when you size them up to just how bulky Snow Cats are. They are also one of the most gentle creatures, but they also love to enlist in the Redoran Army, seeking to hunt demons and fight evil, and for that we have borders for what is Solsetheim and what is Snow Cat Tribal lands." Drakes voice was low and level, speaking form the heart calmy but not betraying what emotions ran through his veins as he spoke of the cats.

"They make loyal compatriots and help to provide a gentle side to how vicious tribes can be out of necessity. High Felines are preyed upon for their ease of trust, so they began evolving to have hatred for non furs and even their own cousin tribes. What you people do here cannot be understated- you provide hope and love and structure for cats to have a life outside of fear. High Felines are not Aradians, they are something that grew up in line with how Aradian species grew up but they are closer to their ancestors than to any of us- they can even talk to cats and understand them plainly which is why people use that as an excuse to treat them as livestock rather than proper sentient creatures with culture so rich it it's almost like you drown in it" he sighed bitterly clenching a fist.

"I think humans and elves are fearful of High Felines because they are happy and carefree, they don't need someone to be commanding them for their own good- they don't wage wars. They're peaceful to a fault that for centuries they were subjugated to the point that only now they're fighting back and fighting back with such ferocity it's astonishing. I love the Cat Folk, they provide me wonderful insight into how to live my life in greater ways and enjoy myself where I can......I'm sorry now I've begun to carry on, I just feel very strongly about them because of my experiences being allowed to live with them and practice in their beliefs, it's amazing and it's an out of this world journey"

He leaned up against the rocks as well, looking to the skies now fully and blatantly smiling, he had fully defrosted and was beginning to warm up to this strange land "It is good when you can find new friends in strange new places, such experiences make journeys worth it for every step you take"
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by dinthalion » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:25 am

Deck of The Provenire before departure Freyr

“Thank you.” Freyr replied to Bormin. “I don’t doubt Maria’s loyalty despite the betrayal of her uncle made. He betrayed her more so then us and damaged the reputation of his family. Tell Lady Maria I would like to meet with her as soon as my business in Claybourne is taken care of. Until then I will trust her judgement and discretion in this matter.”
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Kotorchix » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:22 am

Characters & Info
Elmer Twicefreed
Caybourne Countryside


"It is good when you can find new friends in strange new places, such experiences make journeys worth it for every step you take.”

Elmer felt a smile crawl across his features and he uttered a short, soft chuckle.

“I have friends among the Felines also. Likely my greatest is Commodore Moxus… who, frankly, could not be any further from the trusting image of most High Felines. A cynic to the last… Perhaps he was betrayed one too many times. He is not one to speak of history – he ‘lives in the present and prepares for the future’, as he likes to say.”

He remained silent a long moment, then abruptly straightened. “Enough dawdling, my friend. Onwards we go.”

The path they continued to traverse up the hill plunged into the depths of what could only be called jungle at this point. Overhead, a canopy of trees began to block out the starlight in patches and often the only natural illumination was that of the starlight dappling ahead on the path or Elmer’s amber eyes. But of course, light wasn’t something a drow had to worry about – and neither did Elmer, judging by his sure step.

Soon, the path began to wind. Around boulders, around trees too thick to cut down for such a simple gravel road – it took something more of a meandering twist. And one abrupt turn sharp to the left suddenly had them on a cliff.

The view was spectacular.

Maria Vale spread out for miles to the south-east, its lights glittering with startling clarity. Forest and jungle intermingled, small pockets of houses and cottages crawled up to the city’s edge, but even there the forest didn’t seem to end. From this high vantage point, it was all too clear that Maria Vale valued its greenery. Trees lined the streets, lights strung from them from branch-to-branch, tree-to-tree.

The city, although apparently built and added to as needed, seemed to have some form of idea to it. In the center of the city, its highest buildings seemed to be of a state function. These were high, grand buildings with a very strong Aradian-human influence, evident even from this great distance by the white marble pillars and red-tiled roofs.

Gardens spread out about these buildings a fair way, sprinkled with the odd building made of similar materials. But their design seemed to alter slightly – less blocky, nearly willowy in design. It was hard to make out from the distance, but they may have been of elven and human’s design, hybrid.

Further out from here was where it got interesting. The city roughly resembled the spokes of a wheel out from the stately buildings. But along these spokes, the main roads, seemed to be the thriving markets and commercial industry of Maria Vale.

One road in particular was extremely busy, lit up almost to the point of daylight as it marched towards the shore – likely the road which would eventually lead to the Caybourne Docks further along the beach and out of sight. Bodies swarmed like ants on that road. The night life of this city didn’t seem to dwindle from the day – perhaps it was even preferred for some.

Looking away from the city, over to the east, was the ocean. The jungle broke off at the top of this cliff, leaving a clearing wide enough to view both the land and the ocean. The gentle roar of the Sorrows sounded, its waves thrashing against the shore low below them. There appeared to be no way down the sheer cliff face.

To the north was an island. “Sylvie Isle,” Elmer stated by way of introduction. “Named for Gauge’s mother, the only Heartstone ancestor we know of.”

The clifftop itself also had a rather idyllic allure to it. Absolutely covered in flowers, it appeared some effort had been given to making the cliff a beautiful viewpoint. And further back, pressed into the edge of the jungle like some hiding creature, there was a little cottage.

This cottage had a long shape to it, constructed from wood and what appeared to be a thick cement of bark and clay. There was no light in the little cottage, indicating that it was likely no one was home. The windows were shuttered closed, but judging by the shutters’ size, they would likely be rather large if open.

And sitting on the woven wicker mat at the door was a large basket. Elmer went to it, hefting it up by the handle. Judging by the way it slung his arm, it was heavy. He flashed a quick smile to Drake as he brought the basket to the edge of the cliff and set it down in the grass.

From the top of the basket, he took out a folded fabric. Shaking it loose, he spread the large cream blanket across the ground and promptly sat down on it as he began to rummage through the basket. It would seem ‘dinner’ was in fact an organized picnic.

“I thought perhaps the view would be more impressive than keeping company in some busy bar. I believe my short perusal into your political files stated you weren’t a drinker.” He gave Drake a somewhat coy smile, almost apologetic for having the indecency to do a background check on the man. “And in my experiences, most bars require drinking to be actually enjoyable.”

From the basket came a variety of items, most wrapped carefully in linen.

First, there was a large stoppered clay bottle and two mugs, red-fired same as the roofs of the stately buildings. Elmer poured a sweet-smelling liquid into both. It was the same rich color of coffee but its scent was of honey and an anise fragrance, nearly berry-like, yet there was a spicy tang in the air with the bottle opened.

After their short walk, it was only fitting to start off dinner with a drink. Elmer delivered a full mug to Drake’s hands before offering his own mug in a toast to him.

“To a fruitful alliance, whether by marriage or friendship, and the extermination of loneliness with foolish traditions.”



Serenity Piers
Ludlow Estate - Dining Hall
Caybourne


Dinner was over and done with, but Serenity found herself still sitting at the long table even as the servants cleaned up around her. She pretended to read her book on the ballad of Killimandi and his beloved Brecilidian Nightingale, but despite turning the pages she hadn’t taken in a single word.

It was only as a sudden weight pressed on the back of her chair that she was startled from her reverie and squealed as the chair was tilted back. Hanging over her head was a curtain of brilliant red, curly hair.

“Oh don’t look so bleak, Nitty,” Jennifer Ludlow smirked over her. She let the chair thud back into place and sat down hastily beside her younger cousin. “If I in your shoes, I would be jumping for joy. That man is a fiiiine specimen.”

Serenity felt her face flush in embarrassment. It took a moment for her to even realize perhaps she should reflect on Jennifer’s words. And even then, the blush grew all the deeper… but somehow she felt whiter, like her heart was pulling blood from her extremities.

She didn’t think he was handsome. He was dark, mysterious, and sculpted with muscle. But his appearance was so intimidating she hadn’t gotten past the scars to see his face. Even with his gentle, awkward way with her earlier, she hadn’t been able to overlook the terror he invoked in her.

Jennifer bit her lower lip and grinned. She flipped her blanket of hair aside over one shoulder and leaned on the table with one elbow.

“Aw, Nitty. Come on. He’s a beast. Not some prissy prince or lordling with pimples on his arse from sitting about all day. That man has lived.”

She leaned all the closer and Serenity nervously closed her book.

“You know he’ll treat you right. I’d kill to have a man that long-lived, sexy and dark… You’re the luckiest of us all.”

“How…?” she stuttered. “He’s…”

“He’d be a phenomenal lover!” Jennifer laughed. “All those years of experience… oh, he would have gotten bored of seeking only his own pleasure.”

She made a crude gesture with a flick of her tongue between her spread fingers, then grinned fiendishly. Serenity looked down at her book, her face blushing all the harder. She didn’t know what the gesture meant, but it looked evil on Jennifer. She could only assume it meant something sexual.

Jennifer stood, patting a hand on Serenity’s shoulder. “Enjoy him. I would.”

Serenity could only breathe a deep sigh of relief as her cousin left, grabbing up her toddling sibling as she left the room. Baby Eason squealed in delight. Serenity resolutely stood, grabbing up her book and headed straight for the guest room she was staying in. She wouldn’t risk any more ‘advice’ from family members.

She was staying in the South Wing of the Ludlow Estate. Her guest quarters were those beside the meeting room which separated her quarters from that of Elmer’s. Occasionally, Commodore Moxus could be found in his guest quarters diagonally across the hall, but it was a rare occurrence for him to be here for more than the odd night where he wouldn’t head home or to Shelter.

Halting at her door, Serenity fumbled at the key about her neck to open her lock while tucking the book beneath her arm. She heard a soft step from further up the corridor, deeper into the unused guest rooms, and stopped.

In the shadows, she saw the figure. It was tall, leaning against a wall, eyeing her with strange white eyes that glittered in the faint light. With the landing of her eyes on it, it gave a slow, respectful nod.

Raw fear clenched her heart until she saw the bracelets on its gloved wrists – amethyst bracelets denoting the figure’s servitude to House Dul-Sansiska. Drake must have a bodyguard.

She gave a small nod in return before entering her room and locking the door behind her.
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by dinthalion » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:58 am

The Provenire Rivka

The wind made it hard to hear but Rivka was able to catch the last part of what Rasheba said by reading her lips. Fast . It was fast. She liked the feeling of the wind in her face blowing her skirt around. She saw her guard smiling broadly. Even the older woman looked to be enjoying herself. She felt a little nauseous but she also felt life and excitement in her veins. At first she just smiled. Finally she got up the courage to stand, holding on to the bench. She eyed the railing as if considering trying to make it that way. But when she let go of the bench and took a step, she stubbled.

She got back up still smiling. It took her a few tries but finally she managed to take a few staggering steps. She laughed a little at how silly she must look. She felt silly, but that’s what made it fun. She told her self she could be a lady when she got to Claybourne, but for now it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy herself just a little.
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Skummy the Kitty » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:18 pm

Drake
Overlooking Maria Vale:


He clacked the mug with his new compatriot "Here here" he declared happily bringing the mug up to his mouth, and drinking deeply of the concoction, it was certainly aromatic and reminded him of honey Ichor but with an exotic twist, much like jasmine and ichor. He found it delightful and couldn't stop himself from downing the mug. "It is certainly something worth such a long walk for, it reminds me of Honey Ichor but with a subtle nod to something almost flowering within. Mixed with the beautiful outlook it is quite a sight for even a man such as myself who has been about the world over so many years. I've certainly seen and tasted many things in those days but nothing quite like this to be sure- such a rich life, almost as if it were Everglow's smaller sibling"

Raven's Rock was not like this, sure it bustled but in a very strict manner, they didn't exactly ship a whole lot but did do trades with Caybourne- mostly well crafted weapons and armor. As well as protect shipping lanes which had prompted this whole union in the beginning. For the most part the mainland didn't require drow smiths because dwarves did it in such a way that they were the premium of the market places. So Raven Rock bustled to make equipment for those outside the mainland but not many people would come to Solstheim. There was nothing for them there, it was a military house that enforced rulings made by King Xankresh's decrees- half the island belonged to the Snow Cats. It was such a dead feeling place despite supporting so much life.

Here it felt like the island was bursting with enthusiasm, prosperity reigned, and the whole thing felt picturesque "It's amazing...." he looked down to his mug thinking about the toast with more vigor and looking into himself. Exterminate foolish traditions......Should he just speak to Xankresh? He had wondered whether this was in the same ways the siblings fought each other with vitriol , but Xankresh and Drake were different fundamentally as elves- could the same cultural barriers humans had with Drow be at play here between two diametrically opposed ancients? The traditions of elves confounded humans to no end and caused so much strife and misunderstanding because of how 'eccentric' or 'mad' drow were. They were 'quirky' and 'utterly intense', you couldn't speak to an elf how you spoke to a human because they were seen as perfectionists and almost snooty even though Drow for the most part pushed themselves hard but treated others with respect.

The only time this was not at play was with siblings, siblings would push one another to extremes lovingly just to force growth. He had recognized that was once of Divan's reasons for supporting Knox- to encourage his sister to enforce her dominance and show him she was capable. Sure it was also to cripple Blackthorne's growth, and to dissuade Freyr Vennet form continuing his alliance with the House, there were many reasons why Divan had done what he had done and it was confusing because he gave round about answers for everything or had fits of emotions. Drake had seen Divan's jealousy clearly that his ally had chosen a house of greedy defilers in his own eyes, and how much he wished for Freyr to 'man up' and face him when he supported Vilhelm.

He had understood that too, Vilhelm was more Drow than Freyr and Divan could see it; gave him the push and watched him run circles around Freyr. It was classic drow traditionalism. There was no doubt Divan loved all the Vennet family, all of the northerners he bragged about. He was just overreaching because humans were fundamentally different. Drake knew part of it was grief that he had lost his child, his wife, and his baby sister; that he had felt weak and utterly demoralized and it pained him that he could not save all of the Vennet family in the plague years. He was a sad and lonely man without anyone to help him because his family were Arkon loyalists who stabbed him int he back the moment they saw weakness. More tradtionalism to strike the weaklings away when you wanted to assert yourself....

Divan was Drake, the same confounding and horrific agony of loss consumed his every waking moment- superimposed by being a shell of someone who sold his soul to the Void in order to save is family. Judged and despised by many and simply brushed off as 'the madman who had no idea where his loyalties lie' because nobody understood just how deeply scarred he was. How could they? More insane traditions to try and present yourself as perfect and unshakable so that your enemies may never see weakness. Such ages were long since dead, shows of force would ultimately fail and crumble. Divan was destined by his own upbringing to completely fail in his new environment. It sickened Drake that even though he personally hated Divan, he could reasonably see why Divan was how he was and pitied him and had real empathy.

Humans lacked the longevity to truly grasp the concept of untold loss and to carry it more several human lifetimes; nobody comes away unscathed when you bear the weight that everyone you have ever loved and held dear has been unceremoniously ripped from your arms in one way or another. Seeing Rivka be married off to a young upstart lordling was the straw that broke him Drake could surmise, to see the last ray of light in his dark life being swallowed up by an old and vicious House of monsters sent him into such a shock he must've felt if he hadn't done what he had done he'd have died then. A crazed foolish man, but it was commendable in a way, he devoted his crazed suicidal outlook on life into hunting and studying demons to increase Aradian countermeasures and cleanse infestations with ease.

A man willing to throw himself into the maw of the abyss laughing....

Drake realized he had lapsed into though and apologized deeply "My apologies, I was thinking about how foolish traditions shaped us- and I thought of Divankul Dul-Sansiska.....and how through traditions and misunderstandings on a cultural level have shaped him into the man he is today- another person who has everything he's ever loved or cared about ripped away form him and he was forced to bear it alone much like the two of use have had to endure. But instead of shaping up and remaining solid, he's a crazed and brilliant man who puts himself in peril for selfish reasons but winds up benefiting all of Aradia through his insane actions. It makes me wonder how, if I were to shatter some of these long held beliefs, how it would affect how Drow are seen and how we act towards everyone."

"If I challenged Xankresh, win or lose, and finally break away the veil and allow modern advancement to dismantle millennia of stoic arbitration; what would happen? I think nothing but a slow process of reexamining who we are as a species and how we have hurt each other in these years. Hopefully it would allow for the healing to truly begin and to set an example to the world to live by- but that is far reaching and optimistic . improbable to happen but for some reason your company stirs these thoughts where it used ot be memorizing dictations and battle movements- or chess inside my head"
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Kotorchix » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:18 pm

Elmer Twicefreed
Overlooking Maria Vale
Caybourne


There honestly wasn't much left to be said for their current topic. Drake had covered both their thoughts rather efficiently after his thoughtful silence - albeit with his own Xankresh-flavoured view. Elmer poured them new drinks after the originals were drained, smiling at Drake's enthusiasm over the beverage.

"I believe politics and the application of tradition is a battle - one I am not a proficient warrior in myself, but I am observant of these clashes. I may not know how to wield the proverbial blade, but I know enough to see that the skilled political warrior feints a lie, lays out his footwork, deceives, and goes for the killing blow. Unfortunately, tradition is closely tied with politics. And Xankresh is a very diverse warrior. I do not believe you could challenge him and win, although I would be pleased to be proven wrong.

"I also don't doubt the resolution would be as you say: Nothing immediate. Xankresh does seem to enjoy fanning a good flame, though. Provide him with a spark, and who knows how far this advancement of your species (and others) will spread."

From one of the linen packages so carefully wrapped, he withdrew a date and walnut cake loaf. Setting it aside on its linen, he rifled through the basket until he found a small jar at the very bottom of the basket - it was warm to the touch, a strange runic from impressed into its clay. Taking the lid from the jar, he revealed butter - warmed by this magic jar, however primeval it appeared with its red-brick clay aesthetic. With his blade, he sliced the loaf into slices and spread the warm butter over each, setting the slices back down on the linen for him and Drake to share at their leisure.

Next came a larger clay dish with a lid, also found in the very depths of the basket with a similar rune. This, he opened to reveal strange, batter-covered objects smelling of the sea. Some were formed in thin round circles with a hole in the middle. Others were small finger-sized bars. And others were a slab about the size of a slender hand.

"That beverage was Sylvbruuq - its main ingredients honey and the finest licorice grown this side of the Sorrows. This is a date and walnut cake loaf - if you wish for honey to spread over the slices, there is some here in the basket. And this here is battered fish with squid rings and fish fingers. Help yourself, there's plenty more Sylvbruuq also."

He showed Drake another bottle still in the basket. "But let us drink and eat. I have no doubts the days until our voyage back to your home will be far less relaxing than this quiet moment."


Lady Amarika Ludlow
Ludlow Estate
Caybourne


The knock at her door stirred Amarika from her sleep. Turning over, she groggily wiped at her face and swept her red hair from her forehead where it had collapsed in a tangled mess.

“Come.”

She heard the door open and close, then the soft padding footsteps as someone approached. Sounded like Jen if she had to guess. The girl had a characteristic swish to her skirts as she walked with her large strides. Rolling over, Amarika found her guess to be correct.

“What is it, darling?” she asked, gently reaching out and brushing her daughter’s hand. “You knew I was sleeping…”

Jennifer sighed and sat down on the bed beside her. She held something behind her back and looked morosely at the ground. “Mama…” Her lip trembled and tears fell onto her freckled cheeks.

Amarika sat up quickly, one hand on her slightly-bulging stomach as she reached for Jennifer with the other. “Jenn? What’s the matter? What do you have?” She arched her neck to see beyond Jennifer’s shoulder, but couldn’t spy whatever object was there.

“I…” Jenn blinked, her face screwing up with a sob. “I didn’t want to die.”

“What?” the girl’s mother stared at her in confusion. She gently brushed her daughter’s hair over her shoulder and shook her head. “Jenn, what is this? What’s going on?”

“When it came for me, I screamed. I kicked at it. I bit it, but couldn’t find blood. It ripped my hair from my head as I fled…”

“Was this a dream? Jenn, honey…”

Then Jennifer turned her head and a chunk of curly red hair drifted to the floor. Amarika watched in horror as Jennifer climbed onto the bed, a bruise quickly forming under her eye.

“It struck me, Mama.”

She slid up the bed, her body pressing to Amarika’s legs. Amarika couldn’t shake the confusion, conflicted by what was happening before her eyes but also wanting to comfort her daughter, who… who wasn’t acting at all like she should be.

“And you know what it did next, Mama?”

Jenn leaned in close to Amarika’s face, that one arm still twisted behind her back. She smiled. The expression caved the girl’s face in with a bloody suction sound. Amarika gasped in horror, screaming without sound. But Jenn just smiled all the wider.

The arm came around unnaturally, over the shoulder rather than under. And in it, was a large, gleaming kitchen knife.

Amarika watched as it entered her belly with reckless abandon, stabbing in at the precious unborn life. Pain was absent, and she watched helplessly as the blade went in again, out, into her chest, out, and all she could feel was the deep thudding of her heart. All she could feel was the warmth of her blood as it poured down her body, and out from between her legs.

And then she was alone. The knife was gone. Her child was gone. The life within her was gone. And she watched dumbly as her blood also left her. But at least Mancel wasn’t going… at least he was here. Howling, clutching, trying to hold that blood inside where it belonged…

She couldn’t feel her hand as it traced a bloody trail down her husband’s face. She watched the paint in morbid curiosity as it dripped into his beard. He kissed her, yelled at her as he gripped her hard, begging her as her blood began to soak him in their sodden sheets.

The room began to fill with shapes, shadows, and mist. It roared around her in a din of noisome confusion, but the mist seemed to make it fade. She watched sadly as Mancel and all the shapes faded away, as a little hand plunged into hers and squeezed tightly.

Jenn…?
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by IronParagon » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:14 am

_______________________________________________________________________
The Drowned Man
_______________________________________________________________________


"Two wyvern-meads, and one barrel of it."

The innkeep squinted at her. "Come again, lass?"

"Two wyvern-meads." Arianne held up two fingers, and with the other hand, dropped the coinpurse onto the table. "And one barrel. For the dwarf. He won't accept any smaller container."

"Harroomph!" Ogden agreed proudly, thumping his chest with one fist.

Shaking his head, the innkeep went off to fetch the order.

J'Zara cleared her throat. "How much coin does Tribe have now? Were lucky to get silvers. Smith did not even buy whole load of armor."

"Enough coin to drink," Arianne said, darkly. Her long ears were pressed back against her head, a sign that she was rather unhappy with this topic.

"Not enough for supplies, or passage to Everglow." The Feline patted the table with one paw. "How does Elf propose we--?"

"I'll solve the problem when we come to it," their leader growled, and to preclude any further discussion, she rounded on Jaster. "What are you staring at?"

He had his eyes fixed on the far corner of the inn. "Knoxes."

Four of them, to be exact. Strapping men with spike-visor helms and tablards emblazoned with the silver fist insignia of their masters. They were huddled in a small circle beneath the mounted stag's head that gave this inn its name. They were drinking, but they seemed to be alert, like they were watching for something. One, a short man still wearing his helmet, threw a glance towards the mercenaries' table, inspecting the back of the Elf's head.

"You want to say that a bit louder?" Arianne's eyes were narrowed. "Invite them over for a drink, perhaps?"

Jaster's mouth formed a grim line. "They'll attack us."

"What, because of how I look?" the Elf scoffed. "You know how many of my people have red hair, lad? The answer is rather a lot."

"Stormlord bloodlines are--"

"--unique, superior, no-one would mistake us for some peasant..." Arianne made a masturbatory gesture with one closed fist, evidently to indicate her thoughts on that line of argument. "You think a bunch of grunts from the East can tell the fucking difference? And furthermore, that we'd lose a fight against a pack of--"

She was interrupted by the return of the innkeep, who'd brought a pair of wyvern-meads while a pair of his sons rolled a barrel of it behind him.

"Cheers," said Arianne brightly, clinking her tankard off the barrel. She went to do it with J'Zara's drink, but the Feline was pointedly ignoring the alcohol and had not taken it. "What's the matter?"

The cat hissed, the hair on her mane standing on end. "If Elf thinks J'Zara will contribute to starvation, Elf is very wrong."

~♞~


"J'Zara--hic--J'Zara tries so hard," the Feline wailed, dropping her empty third tankard back on the table, "J'Zara just wwants to hhhelp Elftribe. Keep Elftribe out of hic danger."

"There there," Arianne sighed, patting her distressed friend on the back. "There there there there there."

"Hic! J'Zara is always patching Elf and Dwarf up, healing wwwounds..." she wiped her eyes with the fur on the back of her paw. "J'Zara fff....J'Zara even patches up kitten! Saves him from death! Kitten gives no thanks! Iss...iss mean!"

"He's so mean," Arianne agreed, shooting their captive a glare from across the table. "He's so mean."

Jaster, who hadn't been allowed a drop of alcohol, gazed back at her dully.

"J'Zara never--hic. J'Zara nnever gets any thanks for anything!" The Feline bared her sharp, white fangs. Her mood appeared to be swinging. "J'Zara has had hicnough of this! From now on, Elf and Dwarf can heal selves, and--"

The Elf suddenly began to stroke J'Zara's mane gently, humming.

"And...and..." the Feline's eyes drooped shut. "Is very llllhicate...should...sleep..." She slumped forward, with a deep purr that made the table vibrate, and soon after that seemed to pass out.

"Poor thing. Never could handle a drink." Arianne stopped petting the feline and immediately claimed the next round for herself, draining both tankards in seconds, then dumping them back on the table along with the five others she'd already drained.

"If she can't drink, why'd you make her?" Jaster asked.

The Elf closed one eye and opened the other very wide. "Yerwhat?"

"If she can't drink," he repeated, louder and slower, "Then why did you make her?"

Arianne considered that for a long moment. She considered it for so long that she seemed to forget the question, and instead went to take another drink, only to find there was none to be had. She looked around, panicked. "Where's the--the fuckin'...this is an outrage. You! Go fetch more."

"Me?" Jaster said incredulously. "You're going to let me out of your sight? What if I run away?"

"You won't."

"...And why not?"

Arianne rested her chin on one hand and gazed at him coquettishly. "Cos you'rrre my prisoner." She intoned this in the same way a person might say you're my best buddy.

"Doesn't mean anything. I can just walk out of here." He folded his arms. "In fact, I think I'll do that now."

She shook her head enthusiastically, so much so that the griffin's feather she tucked behind her ear almost fell off. "You won't."

"I will!"

"You won't."

"I w--" He realized that this was somewhat of a pointless exercise. "Fuck this. I'm going."

He stood up, and was immediately accosted by the innkeep.

"Two more rounds for you, lad!" the old man said cheerily, pressing a tray into Jaster's hands. "Yer Dwarf is a marvel! The others are paying for kegs just to see him drink them!"

He pointed to where Ogden had dived into his eighth barrel of mead and submerged himself up to the ankles, as the patrons around him roared in amusement and burst into yet another verse of Black Manfred and his Enormously-Bosomed Wife.

"Now you sit right down, lad." The innkeep steered Jaster around in a circle. "I'll 'ave another one for yeh in a minute."

Jaster blinked. "But--"

And yet he found himself facing Arianne again.

The Elf peered at him skeptically. "Oh. You again. How's your escape going?"

~♞~


"And so I say to Spinner...I say, nawh! Nawh, the bow is ffff..." Arianne jabbed herself on the chest. "Izz mine! Thinks he can just...he can just...Aradia's knickers, I ought to hurry, it's bloody freezing out here..."

That last part was true, as a chill had set in over the outdoor stables, but she was not exactly in a good position for the climate. The mercenary captain had her trousers down around her ankles and was awkwardly straddling over the end of the horse trough, attempting to urinate into it. The steeds nearby watched her mournfully as she did this.

"Fuck you looking at?" she grunted at them. "Can't go when you're staring."

Jaster had positioned himself at the far end of the stables, near a particularly large pen which held a huge stallion with a coat as black as pitch. It seemed to recognize him, and was visibly agitated by his presence--whenever he locked eyes with it, the beast would toss its mane, scraping the ground with its back hooves, and give a deep warning whicker that was almost a growl. He could not shake the feeling he'd seen it before.

"Spinner thinks he's won, y'see, but once we get to the city HIC." After this particularly violent hiccup, she froze, staring into the middle-distance with her eyes half-lidded and her long ears drooping.

"Once we get to the city?" Jaster supplied.

"Once we get to the city," the Elf continued immediately as if nothing had happened, "I'll have...I'll do a thing. With the Bloodhawk. Then we'll see who's captain, eh? And it's not--snot gonna be Spinner."

He looked away dutifully as she fixed up her trousers, and spied a pair of the Knox guards lurking by the door of the tavern. When he looked back, she was wobbling dangerously, and without thinking he stepped forward, his boots sinking into the mud, to lend her a steadying arm. The Elf muttered something that sounded almost like a thanks, slinging an arm round his shoulders. He led her across the Stables and back towards the inn, but soon found he hadn't needed to bother; she was surprisingly steady for someone who'd just downed enough liqueur to poison a man twice her size.

"You aren't so bad, lordling," she muttered, tapping him on the chest with her knuckles. "Sorry I'm going to get you killed."

"Should've let you faceplant in the mud, bastard," Jaster grunted. They were drawing close to the Knox men. He listened carefully.

"--can't he just do it back at the Marshes?" one was growling.

"In front of all his men? They even see her, they know the rumors are true," his friend snapped. "He gets a deal here. Innkeep looks the other way. Listen, Sir counts on us to be confidential, so if--"

They stopped as he came close, staring at him suspiciously. Jaster kept going forward, keeping his eyes forward. There were goosebumps rising on the back of his neck. Like in the tent that morning, he was feeling something again, an actual emotional rush rather than the dull detachment. He remembered this. He remembered anger.

The black horse. They even see her, they know the rumors are true. All his men. Sir.

There was anger, yes. But most importantly, there was resolve. He knew what to do. He knew what would solve all of this.

Events began to blur before him, and it was like someone else was driving his body. He left the Elf downstairs with J'Zara (she nodded off as soon as he put her down), then went back outside. The wagon was parked around the back of the stables. He took the sword that had belonged to Baines. The weight of the steel felt good in his hand, felt familiar, as he cut the brace from his left arm. The bandages fell away, and he flexed his fingers. Two were still cold and numb and deadened. But he could still make a fist, still hold the sword steady. That was all he needed. He covered himself in a shirt of scale armor, and took one of Arianne's hooded blue cloaks.

There was only one Knox man by the door when he came to it. The man had his back turned. Jaster considered him for a long moment, then raised the blade so that it cut right through his spine. The man had a small coinpurse on him, and a little key marked 09. Inside, the festivities were still in progress. The Knox men were more interested in Ogden, who was crawling wearily out of his twentieth barrel, soaked in alcohol and looking even more dazed than usual.

The stairs creaked with each step Jaster took, and the sounds of the revelry behind fading away the farther up he went. Two floors up he came to a long corridor with a balcony that overlooked the party below. At the end of this corridor, there was a room marked 09.

Jaster stepped close to the door, drawing the sword from beneath his cloak. The key was pinched in the remaining fingers of his left hand. With a growl, he gave the door his boot. There was strength in him, still, and the wood splintered and caved and the whole structure swung open.

He had an instant to take in what he was seeing. The room was small, far from the lordly quarters its occupant would have been used to. Red armor lay bundled in one corner. There was a bed in the middle of the room, and on that bed was...it had been a young girl once. She had been about eight years old, maybe. In her current state it was somewhat difficult to tell. The room's occupant stood over her, as naked as she was, his cock standing to attention amidst a thatch of coarse black hair. It was the only visible hair on his body. His scalp had been shaved, and his head was horribly, nightmarishly mangled; there was a single, long scar dividing his face diagonally that appeared to be dubiously held together with thread. The wound looked mortified, pink and raw, and it emitted a grey stench. There was nothing left of his nose save a skull-like pit. Folks in the Marshes said his helm was the only thing that kept his face together. They also said that he wanted it that way.

The occupant looked at the new arrival levelly. His eyes were a yellowish green, and they glistened in the candlelight just like the scar. "I told my men I was not to be disturbed. Who the fuck are you?"

Jaster took one step forward, so the shadows covered the maimed side of his face.

The occupant blinked. Then he grinned, a wolfish grin that strained the thread holding his scar together. And then he laughed. There was no humor in the laugh. It sounded like a scream. And when it subsided, the occupant had a new look on his face, one that made the hair on Jaster's neck stand on end.

"Well, well, Blackthorne," Sir Preston Knox whispered, "It's been a while."

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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Shakey Jake » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:01 am

Xanala Spellpaw, Verdant Lea.

Xanala watched as Ravenfoot hammered on the door. She thought the other cat to be utterly peculiar "No, no friend." Moving over to Ravenfoot, Xanala put a hand on the younger cats shoulder "The Titus and Everelda are deep in talk. They not see you. Xanala will show you where to take stuffs. Stuffs go to stuff processing office. Stuff gets counted, stuff gets given out. Yes, yes." looping her arm with Ravenfoot's Xanala began to lead the cat away "Xanala is much pleased to be finding so many kyn in this place. When sent from the sands Xanala worried that there would be no kyn, just no furs. But so many kyn!" It was true that Verdant Lea had a higher Grimalkyn population than any other town "Xanaka say Xanala too happy here. Xanaka say we are Pride and should not play with prideless cats...Xanala disagrees..." she lifted the leather doctors bag so that Ravenfoot could get a good look at it "Xanala win this at cards. With no furs, Xanala smells their bluffs. Much exciting. But what Xanala really wants is beads. Beads for Xanala's mane." As they walked the leather bag made a lot of clinking and tinkling sounds. By the time Ravenfoot's aid had been processed at the sorting office Xanala's throat was dry. Xanala's brother said that she should have been called Xanala Swiftjaw because she could talk endlessly "...so that is why Xanala wants beads. Pretty beads. Come, we go to Golden Claw Inn, is good Inn. Milk with brandy, much good, come, come...yes,yes."
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by dinthalion » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:20 am

The Provenire Rivka

She was unaware of what had been said about her in the senate meeting, unaware of the danger her husband was in and unaware of the grief that her new husband would awake too. Right now for the first time in what seemed like forever Rivka was just having fun. She made her way cautiously toward the rail, slowly learning how to walk on the boat. The water was still calm right now but she stumbled and giggled, her thick skirts made it harder to walk.

---------

That Night

Sleeping turned out to be less fun then the day had been. Her stomach didn’t feel right rocking back and forth with the waves. The sounds were strange. And Clarissa was sick, and unable to give her much aid. She woke about 3 that morning to throw up. One of her maids cleaned her up and brought her some biscuits. She slept in a little but didn’t feel much rested when she met her father and the others for breakfast. She wore a simpler dress. No thick petticoats. Though it was more comfortable it made it harder to hide her growing belly. She looked at herself in the mirror as she dressed. It would be hard for someone like Rasheba who didn’t know her to notice but she could tell she was filling out. Her waist strained a little against her skirt and she could tell her breasts too pressed tightly and uncomfortably into the bodice that had been tailored for a girl still growing. Even her face seemed a little different.

After breakfast her father again disappeared into his quarters, busy thinking and writing out letters. Rivka went to her quarters and retrieved a book to read on deck. It was a book her maid had given her when she heard she would be married into the Ludlow Accord. A romance and adventure novel by Myran Umbridge about his son looking for his lost love, Amayl Heartstone. Her maid had said it was a sweet kind of sad story. She sat down on deck and began to read.
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Shakey Jake » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:02 am

House Sabre, Platinum Gardens, Everglow City.

Lady Attia Sabre was laying across the long dining room table. Her left leg dangling off one side and her right bent at the knee foot flat on the surface. Black hair hung loosely over the other end, her head only partially resting on the table proper. Plumes of smoke swirled up into the air from her ornate foot long solid silver pipe.
Guardsman Roth, soon to be captain of the guard, considered Attia's position for a long moment. He could almost hear his mothers voice in is head. That girl is trouble, mark my words boy, she is an asp! Despite the warning, despite everything, her presence gave him a tense feeling in his gut. A feeling that crept down into his loins and was always threatening to make him hard. There were two Roth's in this scenario. One Roth knew that she was always looking at a point in the distance. There was always a goal. A scheme. But the other Roth just wanted to fuck her right there on the table. How was her skin so flawless? Even lying across a table getting high she still managed to look like some all powerful Queen.
"How was your first day in the Senate?" Roth asked as he moved around the table and tilted his head to meet her eyes.
"Fucking shit." The Lady responded crinkling her nose and shutting her eyes as smoke moved over her face "I spent fucking years dreaming of being in there. Getting to the top. Well...I got there and let me tell you this. The view is shit. It's just a room full of boys measuring their cocks. That's all it is. Stupid fucking..." a few quick coughs broke her rant "...they speak of war as if they aren't sending thousands of common men to their deaths, and for what? For old names, old deeds, old grudges that are pigshit now. They're all cowards. Clinging to an old way that has long since had it's day."
"So, you're a New Aged Knight now are you?" Roth teased taking a seat at the table "Is this where the revolution starts? You laying across the table? They'll tell stories of this moment."
Attia lifted her head awkwardly and scowled at Roth "Go fuck yourself."
"Ah! Is this how a Lady of House Sabre talks? I am appalled." Ever since they were children Attia had had a bronze tongue. She taught him every bad word he knew, she could probably teach some of the Bronze Way criminals a few new words too. He thought it likely the influence of Velsa Velandra. During childhood VeeVee had been a great supporter of House Sabre and was frequently found in the villa or in her Tropics holiday villa. Attia used to watch the wild drow lady with wide eyes. VeeVee spoke every word that stomped through her head outright with no consideration for etiquette. Attia, having no mother figure to speak of, had aspired to be just like Velsa. Unfortunately the drinking and smoking seemed to have rubbed off too. It was common knowledge that Velsa had spent the last half a century on and off glowdust, sometimes you would see her dressed in rags and wandering the Halfmoon district rambling to the night sky. House Dul Sansiska were always on hand to help Velsa out of a dark time. Guardsman Roth had several times informed the drow House that Velsa was on the dust again. The noble drow never went into detail but Divan had once told him that Velsa's addiction was an altogether deeper problem, that she was a glint and needed to numb herself to the world. He didn't know what a glint was but Divan had asked him to personally keep an eye on Velsa so that's what he did. He saw alot of her in Attia and that gave him a quiet concern.
"You love me." Lady Attia sat up and dragged her arse across the table until she was sat directly in front of Roth. She closed in on him. Their lips met, gently at first but quickly becoming more intense. A wet heat filled Roth's mouth as his tongue moved against hers.
"Ow..." Pulling away Roth laughed and put a finger to his lip, there was a small smudge of blood "...oh...hello..." Her barefoot had found his crouch and was now rubbing at him "...my Lady....ah...I have to go. I have a meeting at the barracks....and...." Kissing again, heavy, frantic, his hands wandered over her "...I really have to..."
"Why don't you just fuck me? Right here." Attia laid back leaning on her elbows she gave him a grin that was near impossible to resist. Roth ran his hand up her dress and squeezed her inner thigh, he stood abruptly and moved away "Fine. Go." Attia turned herself on the table and went back to her original position.
"I'll be back later." As Roth left he gave the servants who were in the room an apologetic glance, a few seconds more and he wasn't sure he'd have been able to stop himself from wiping it out right there in front of them. His lips felt sore, it felt good. He was going to marry that woman and every man in Aradia would be jealous.
"Bring me some brandy would you sweetheart." She wasn't sure which servant she asked but she gathered someone would bring her some "I asked for brandy." Attia moaned when a scroll was passed to her "This is definitely not brandy."
"Urgent message from Verdant Lea my Lady."
Gingerly she sat up "Perhaps Titus is dead, did a Jaster and picked a fight with a dragon or somthin...nah he isn't that retarded." giggling, her finger plucked the seal off. She blinked several times trying to focus her eyes "Ooooh...ooooo....HA! OOOOH! THAT'S FABULOUS! MY SISTER KILLED THE LAST MAC TIR CUNT! HA! EAT SHIT ELF HA! OH SHIT I FEEL A PARTY COMING ON! I HAVE TO TELL EVERYONE I'VE EVER MET! CELENE MAC TIR IS DEAD! HA! Whereisthatfuckingbrandy?"
The Golden Paw Inn, Verdant Lea.
If Slinky Songpaw could blush he would be blushing right now. The darkness in Verdant Lea was starting to lift with the thinning of the refugee herd. Celene Mac Tir was dead and tonight there would be a great celebration. The grimalkyn patrons roared when he completed 'These our Golden Sands' on his flute "Next, Slinky shall play a classic. It is called..." he gave a dramatic pause "...'Keep that dog on a lead, bitch' " This sent the gathered cats into an excited frenzy.
"...And so... when he came to my door with his blade ready to slice me, I simply said..." Velsa Velandra was not quite sure why, how, or when she arrived at Verdant Lea but it was a wonderful surprise for her none the less "...you know I've quite forgotten the rest." Those gathered around her deflated in frustration, her story had been utterly gripping "I'm nine hundred and three...I forget things. Now, let's get some cards out ey?"
"Xanala shall find us a table." The inn was large and bustling but had the friendliest of atmospheres. This was the mark of the Sabres. Birhor, grimalkyn, human, elf, dwarf and even a resident fae that lived amongst the spirit bottles all in one place getting wasted peacefully side by side. Xanala was known by the grimalkyn population as a high ranking member of The Pride, she had no trouble finding them a seat.
Whiskey Wing, a bright yellow fae no bigger than a bottle of wine was fluttering around the bar, sometimes she helped serve drinks but mostly she helped drink them "Slowdown, fat man, or you'll be as yellow as Whiskey Wing!" Those at the bar laughed as the fae reprimanded a drinker for looking like he was about to vomit. Not helping the situation she landed in front of him and gave his enormous stomach a flurry of quick, utterly harmless, jabs "SHOW ME THEM GUTS FELLA!"
"Today is a great night my Kyn." Xanala said to Ravenfoot "The Mac Tir dog is dead. Kyn rejoice...Xanala sees cards!"
Jada Blue felt idiotic. Her inn was filled with people and cats alike riding high on the news that Celene Mac Tir was dead. But all she could think about was Titus Sabre. A swell in her chest made it fell like she couldn't quite get enough air. The inn was loud and full but she heard nothing. People said she was a fool for letting a man use her so. A Lord's mistress, they thought it was exactly how it sounded but they were wrong. She had tried to snap herself out of it but had never been able to. The thing between her and Titus went deep. She was a modern neo birhor woman free from the shackles of tribal life, she ran the best bloody tavern in all Aradia but still she melted for one man. It felt like a weakness, that some how she was betraying herself. But it was a betrayal she repeated over and over because it was exquisite. When Jada had heard that Titus was to marry she had cursed the Blackthorn's every night and day, something she felt rather guilty for now. Jada knew that a mere innkeep like herself had no influence on fate but she had wished ruin on Talia Blackthorn and her house. Jealousy could lay even the kindest person low. It was an all encompassing beast that lived deep in the caverns of the heart. Undeniable.
It was a great night for her people. But how she longed to leave this place and go to him. They had not been able to meet as of yet. The inn was full to capacity and near constantly full, Titus had much to tend to also. But they could feel each other near. Knowing he was just up the road made it difficult for Jada to think about anything else. Sometimes at night she exhausted herself when she should be sleeping thinking about the days when she worked in the Sabre palace on The Tropics. Titus was kind to her, and she had fallen madly in love with him. It was difficult for them at first because Lady Attia was like an ever present vulture waiting to swoop down and pick the flesh off anything remotely scandalous. Things had changed when the Lady was used to unify the tribes through marriage. There was talk in the palace that Attia had been possessed by a dark spirit. She simply vanished into dark rooms. It was during this time, when Titus was frantic with worry for his ever more fragile sister that their love blossomed. They had shared their first love with each other, and every first that came with it. Perhaps she was betraying herself, perhaps she was a fool. But everyone could just go fuck themselves because Jada Blue loved Titus Sabre and that was that.
The walk to the Sabre palace was not far. The inn would be fine without her for a few hours.
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Skummy the Kitty » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:01 am

A Lifetime Ago.....

Reynea had to keep her husband from grabbing at her bottom every few moments as they walked- they were not the kinds of nobles you would expect. For one Reynea was a former laundry wench, and Divan was a lackadaisical professor of light magic in the University. Their union had sparked outrage across the city, everyone had been furious but none so much as Lady Volia herself. Lady Volia was Divan's grandmother and the last child of Dul-Sansiska, she had already been forced to throw her eldest into the arms of the Pirate King Xanvani and now was made to see her only grandchild of the time go against her orders and marry outside of his preassigned partner.

Divan had fallen in love with Reynea as she stamped at his feet and jabbed her finger into his chest, berating him over the noble's treatment of the Bronze Way as a way to keep the common folk blind to the workings of the Senate. Divan had found her not only ravishing but bold, being a beloved professor and witty writer he was so used to people kissing ass and garnering favor he had been set aback by his Reynea was willing to get up into his face despite he had escorts about him.

From then on it was years of hounding her with visits and gifts and the like that she finally warmed to him and began to understand his great master plan to reshape the world into a democracy- an unfounded concept doomed to fail but based on optimism and a will to end the bloody backstabbery that was Everglowian politicking at the time. They got married in the Bronze Way Temple, to the astonishment and anger of just about everyone; the ladies were fuming because Divan was a studly single nobleman for their eyes, the men angered that some pretty boy stole one of the few good looking women accessible to them. The merchants and artists felt the union would send a ripple effect and disrupt business, the nobility promptly burst in outrage.

Blackthorne felt the whole thing was preposterous and refused to even humor the idea that commoners could be allowed to even lay with nobles, Mac Tir saw the whole thing as a disgusting example of degenerate genetics at work and scolded the couple, and Dul-Sansiska nearly tore the marriage to pieces before Marissa Dul-Sansiska, Divan's mother, endorsed the two and kept her mother at bay. However on wards they walked around in the Bronze Way now, Divan was a playful sort without cause for concerns- a carefree new age noble who wished to see an end to the ruling class. Reynea thought he was a foolish but lovable oaf of a prodigy and a little bit too sheltered to really make any true headway, the man had never known strife or conflict and probably never would. Even with the literal stabbings and assassinations that took place Dul-Sansiska was deemed as one of the untouchable three: Blackthorne, Mac Tir, and Dul-Sansiska were the greatest Houses of the realm and held power with resolve- everyone knew to assault them was pure suicide much like how House Fairmane had invaded Stormrise only to be quickly ousted and their Lord hanged centuries before.

Striking out against an untouchable house however, if successful or with the blessing of the other Houses, could net you the capability of filling int he gap in their place. To destroy one and to leave the power vacuum unsealed could cause a terrible destructing as senators vied for the influence and the other remaining main Houses attempted to retain the balance in the wake of the loss. The untouchables knew this rule well and took great lengths to remain in good standing with the other so that no one entity could disrupt the balance. Blackthorne controlled the West, Mac Tir the South, and Dul-Sansiska the North.

Nothing could happen....right?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Night of Broken Dreams

Divan screamed for Reynea to run, so she ran fearful of what his family was capable of. She couldn't believe what his own family was capable of doing to him and the very much pregnant Reynea, they were trying to murder the couple. Was it because he had traded his soul to Molak? Reynea had forgiven him for the deed because he did it with the greatest intentions of saving his grandmother. Was this her order? Or were their traitors just spying an opportune time. It pained her as she looked for Marissa, who took her up in her arms and quietly shuffled her inside her chambers.

"Mother" she eeked out terrified and hushed "They're trying to kill us! They're trying to kill my husband and our child and me!"

"I know child, do not worry, my son is far more powerful than they can handle, I have to try and defuse this situation however before he brings this place down around us. Stay hidden my Reynea, do not leave this room!" with that the powerful and enchanting Wife of Xanvani strode out- wielding a spear in her hands......

In the end nobody knows why Reynea left, or who supplied her a horse to make it as far out into the Wilds as she did, how she managed as pregnant as she was and why she ran form her husband and her mother-in-law. By the time Divan tracked her movements, she was gone from the world, he found her remains and determined her death to be childbirth....she had been alone and died giving birth to their child. Had she not left, had she stayed he could have protected her.....the child's body was not here however, Divan wanted to believe it was because someone had wandered by and stolen the newborn in order to grant it life. That was of little solace, he was broken, Divan would know true anguish and loss now.

He took out his agony on Mariana and Adurn's firstborn, Aldrin, killing him in a fit of rage as revenge for their plot to kill him and his wife. In return they attempted to have him executed by Xankresh intervened and declared the price for Reynea's death had been paid. In retaliation the couple petitioned Volia to exile him form everyone. Volia commanded it and Divan nearly incinerated her on the spot before his father and mother quietly took him aside and led him away from the city. The co-conspirators left outside of Adurn and Mariana were summarily executed by Marissa and Xankresh as a show of force that any further attempts on the lives of their children would be met with swift and unyielding punishment. Volia found this price to be a blatant show of disrespect and commanded Xankresh to leave.

"Is that what you said to my son's wife? To leave before she found herself at the end of a blade commanded by you? When my son returns, after he has expelled the hate form his soul- he will strike you away from history and sate his vengeance. Enjoy your last few decades child of Dul-Sansiska, you destroyed the light of a man's life, he has nothing left in this world and thus your time is up.....and that goes for your sniveling shits for a daughter and her bloodthirsty husband"

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Forty years afterwards......

Molak peered at the elf curiously "What is wrong mortal? Have you grown tired of our arrangement? I gave you what you had wished for so long" He hadn't stopped trying to deflate Divan's ambition to expel the demonic presence, four decades of constant torment to attempt to break the drow's will to fight and surrender his body to Molak. The shadow creature knew that if he could take on the shell of a drow he would be able to set a precedent, and hopefully destroy the race as a whole once and for all and assure victory for the Void whenever they mustered again to claim Aradia, while also elevating his race's standing as the slayers of the Drow- an honor that would forever remove the stigma surrounding the Shadow Dancers.

However Drow did not claim their reputation without cause, they were stubborn to a point of exhaustion and so single minded in their pursuits everything else seemed to falter before them. Sure mortals could blindside them because mortals were odd and alien like the elves in some regards, but a demon could not sway the mind of one so resolute in his choices. "I lost my wife, I lost my child, I have lost everything to the woman I saved; Aradia has sent down her punishment for consorting with demons. There is no alternative"

"Aradia is a lie your people created to keep the masses happy, you disseminated the untruth because humans are scared infants and you are one of the ancients. Obscurans long ago made the myth and sent it far and wide in a bid to quiet the fear and unknowns, how better to pacify a people than to tell them a god can exist. It is just the terrestrial world and the endless abyss of the Void....Nothing more"

"Silence, Aradia does exist, somehow some way her energy does reach us"

"Where was she when my King laid siege to the world? Was she padding Jason's ass? Sleeping cozy with your ancestor? Was she just helplessly watching her creation die?"

"She was allowing her creation to do as it does, survive and thrive despite the challenges we face- for it strengthens and grows us" he finally set down his quill and sighed, looking over the spell he placed the final piece fo paper down and looked over his circle of runic words and stored energy. The carefully sculpted glyphs....the dagger in the middle.

"You cannot be serious to think this will work, I am part of you now, if you try you will be destroyed and I will simply leave" he sounded desperate, worried, and wary of the elven understanding of demons.

"No, this ends here..." and with that he stepped into the circle, and bathed in the blinding light of the world.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Soon After

Divan walked the steps up the Platinum Gardens, when guards attempted to seize him he glared and spoke a single word, they faltered and fell weak to his striking voice. He walked beyond them and down the road to where it began. He was dressed in the worst kind of condition: he was wearing foot wraps on his once pristine feet, as they had long since blistered and callused over into hard affairs. His pants, if they could be considered such were just a cloth of a soft unknown material wrapped about his waist and taking on the discoloration of off white with stains of dirt and filth caked in over years of use. His shirt was much of the same, just a long tunic of off white substance looking as though it had been worn for decades without end. His hair was long and placed into dreads sitting heavy on his head, with a chest length beard braided up into three distinctive tails. All in all he looked nothing as the once touted young lording of half a century ago.

He was untouched by any, nobles who saw him as they traverse the streets called for their guards to bear their shields in case the homeless man were to try and assault them- commenting on why such a being could be allowed to even dirty the Gardens with his footsteps and where were the guards? In the end nobody wished to come near him as he stank to high heavens and he seemed as though he would lash out at anybody. He seemed almost half starved by how ropy his muscles were and how underfed he looked. How could a man such as this come so close the the richest and most powerful?

Divan stood at the outer gate to the Azure Box, the guards tried to shoo him off but he declared himself "I am Divan Dul-Sansiska- you shall give me audience!"

"Divan was banished, if you were to be him you'd have no power here- off with you beggar before I cut you down-" he felt his face become crushed by an open palm of Divan's. He lept up onto the gate and spun himself, kicking the other guard in the side of the head knocking them both to the ground. "Th-the fuck?!" the main one sputtered out with a healthy dose of blood pouring from his broken nose.

"I had to learn combat while in exile, you plebians, away from this place before I destroy you" his red eyes bore into the common elves and they began to scurry, fearful on the look in the unwashed man's eyes. It was the look of resolute rage and determination to see his journey through.

As he walked into the Azure Box he nodded, it felt as though time had stood still in the cramped conditions of the home. He pressed his hand to the glowing symbol to call the elevator, as it arrived he saw knights of Ques Novich brandishing swords and holding them to his throat. His eyes seemed to burn into them and as he breathed out, they moved to slice him down on either side.

Divan walked out form the elevator, the remains of the two knights behind him caking the passageway, he had relieved them of their blades and flung them powerfully outwards as Soran, a master of the Golden Tongue and the Dul-Sansiskan General, walked in to detain the crazed elf. He raised a hand and the blades fell tot he ground with a racket. Divan felt a splitting headache as Soran spoke out words of the Tongue and he felt his body grow rigid. Soldiers bound his hands and led him forward in a march, Soran held him by the neck as they pushed him forwards- suppressing Divan's powers.

When they were before Volia she scowled at him with her scarlet eyes, utter disdain and contempt laced her every word "So, the prodigy returns to me- after having so wounded us all you came to what? Beg for return? Kill me? You shall do nothing of the sort! I shall have the life drained from you and your remains will be paraded. You family cannot help you, as you are no Dul-Sansiskan"

Divan muttered something as Soran pressed ont he back of his neck and the guards held him firmer still.

"Speak up child, tell me your last words, before I end your existence"

"I said, I hope you can take solace in that much" Divan declared not lifting his head up, he didn't struggle as the force of which he was held and seemed to be almost becoming a weight into the two men. This angered Volia and thus she struck out an order to the executioner, a pale looking drow in a half robe of black cloth, sleeves held to his forearms by amethyst bands. He had possession of a massive skeletal scythe and was a master of the necromantic arts. He slithered to the forsaken elf and uttered out the Prayer of the Defiled Servant, the guards let go of Divan but remained nearby as Soran released his neck and stepped back to allow the executioner to do his work without fear of catching the loyal subjects.

Divan seemed to rock backwards from exhaustion as he was released but came forward all in one. The executioner saw the play coming and sidestepped shaking his head, he raised a hand as an incantation and shot out a sickly green gas. Divan breathed it in and laughed, his body contorting from the reaction "Yeah, using the poisonous energy of the arcane doesn't help you here, I built up a solid immunity by ingesting slow amounts of many of the marshlands most deadly poisons and venoms" his eyes glowed form behind as Soran attempted to rear him back in with a hand to the neck to suppress him.

"Thank you for leading me straight back to my grandmother, saved me from killing you" the guards moved to stab into him with their swords, to silence him and to stop him. He simply broke form his bonds and stepped up towards Volia even as the whole of her court moved to engage the younger elf, he declared himself once more and they ceased all at once. "I am Divan, to strike out at me is to strike against a foe you cannot defeat; your mistress is dead already, she always had been" with that everyone had stopped moving, they saw Volia's head roll off her shoulders and plop onto the floor, with her body quickly meeting it there. They had not seen Divan strike, not seen a movement, nothing at all.

It was because his mother had been behind Volia, ready for her son to draw Volia's court away from her flank and thus giving her the capability to kill her own mother and end this nightmare of Volia's creation. The mother and son had instinctively come together to reap vengeance on the probable cause of Reynea's dead, something which harmed them both heavily.

From there it was simply a matter of who was left to challenge Marissa- some had the balls to attack the duo and we quickly killed for it, the rest fell in line completely. The end of an era and the birth of a new one had just come to fruition.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Arkon's Return

Ornia

Lady Ornia Dul-Sansiska, the second-born of Marissa and Xankresh and the beloved baby sister of Divankul Dul-Sansiska. A talented girl at only eighty she was the High Priestess of the Temple of the Servant in Ques Novich, her power to mend wounds and cure disease was highly sought fro the worlds over and it was thought she had accessed the fabled Tears of Aradia. This however, is very much a lie, instead it was the fact that Ornia's lineage lead her to the traits of healing while her brother preferred combat. She was no fighter, but a loving and compassionate young woman who took pity on the weak and preyed upon.

She had rekindled the love of her brother, who had lost his innocence when his wife had died far before her birth, but she was there to remind him there was still good left in the world; and without their grandmother that things could be repaired. However, ten years after she was born their mother had been struck down in the Senate by Lord Sanistar and his necrotic magic that the Executioner Lovias had bestowed upon the Hrow household in exchange for sanctuary when the duo had attempted to hunt him down. The price for this was dear, for even though he managed to escape the Senate after ending Marissa's life- Divan had ensured that Sanistar would never again pose a threat to anyone.

Divankul's purge of the entire Sanistar lineage, the utter annihilation of their manor in the Platinum Gardens, and the ravaging of their south western kingdom had sent out a clear message to everyone. To make an attack on House Dul-Sansiska was to incur the wrath of a vengeful and powerful man who went by the name of Divan. Ornia did not see her brother in this way, and had worked for years to repair what had come undone again, she was tireless in her efforts to remind him that while tragedies would come that the beauty of existence was that it would never define a person or their existence. she was a wise little girl and a beautiful picture of Aradian grace.

She had even began the diplomatic talks between Briochi and Ques Novich, who until this time had simply been wary of the other for hundreds of years having only basic interactions to move through the territory. It was Ornia's push in her much younger years when Divan was still seen as an angry and vengeful new lord that had brought the houses of Vennet and Dul-Sansiska into the folds of each other. She had introduced the two heads and in time Lord Felix and her brother had become great friends when Felix's father died, Felix had heard the rumors of Divan's brutality and excessive force in the face of anguish but unlike his father, never witnessed the power firsthand so he dismissed it in favor of the calm and composed professor. In time when Joseph and Freyr were just now born Ornia and Divan had become very well known in Briochi as a new kind of Drow.

A kind that was gentle and protective of their northern neighbors, that treated the entire kingdom as an extension of their family.

However it was on this day that a great and unbridled evil resurfaced, Arkon, the driving force that had fueled centuries of paranoia and contempt for modern drow and had decimated their own race two and a half centuries prior, returned. They rode on horses bearing the colors of Dargas, and thus were led inside. They claimed they were there to lay a commander to rest inside the Tomb of the Elves, the tomb being the final resting place of all elven kind if they so wished and a place where heirlooms and artifacts linked to the peoples were kept instead of in the Vauts. This was due to their nature of being mostly ceremonial and insignificant. It would so happen the High Priestess was there, tending to the mummified remains of Exarnkul Dul-Sansiska and Volia Dul-Sansiska, Dul-Sansiska's firstborn and thirdborn respectively.

One the mighty and celebrated slayer of ZZyxyzz the Conquer Worm, one of Vemrithrax's greatest generals who nearly destroyed all of the great Dwarven city-states buried in the foothills of Obscura before he met his end in the Deadlands as Exarnkul and his men slew the beast in anticipation of Jason of the Black Thorn's arrival and to hopefully stop Vemritrax's final march before Jason could make it to stop the wyvern once and for all. The other was the brilliant tyrant who masterminded the deaths of many political rivals, emboldened the slave trades, and helped to ensure that everyone would fear the Drow even after she allowed her daughter to marry into an alliance with the Pirate King to stop Arkon.

Arkon slew the guardians of the tomb, and grabbed several innocuous items to an average observer- but to those who knew their true strength it was as if they had garnered the greatest arsenal of the ancients. Ornia's guards slew several members of Arkon's ranks before being dispatched by a hungered Hrow Vampire, who ate of them as a woman covered in web and spider tattoos and the Lord Arkon himself stepped up to her. She screamed for her brother as she was bound by web magics and carried away. Divan would be there in but a quarter of an hour but by that time- even with the Rangers dispatched and the entire city on high alert, the final light of his life has been snuffed out forever.

He resigned himself at that point to never be beloved ever again and to never truly love again, because the pain of losing everything just hurt too much. However even in his numbness he took solace in his relationship with the people of Briochi and the Vennet Family, this would prove to undue him even further, to watch as beloved friends aged and died- he would attend ever funeral service in Briochi and was always counted among the mourners for even the most unknown of people in the territory. He knew them all by name, and had shared in their lives; to Briochians he was a favorite uncle who could always be counted upon to be sitting in a tavern, out helping carry lumber, or maybe he was in the Vennet's manor playing with the growing young lords Joseph and Freyr.

As the children grew older Joseph and himself became more estranged as time went on until he had his affair and Felix disinherited him, with this their friendship withered as he retreated away and Divan was left with Freyr and Marina, and soon Rivka and Tevon. Of course Divan still remembered Marina screaming to save Trevon and Rivka, it played out in his nightmares as he looked upon the plague stricken family he had left. Freyr had been the only one not on the verge of death- a testament to Felix's hearty legacy. Divan did what he could but Trevon was too weak to accept the treatment, and once Marina saw what Divan had to do to save Rivka's life........

The look of horror on her face, in knowing Divan's demonic power, the image was forever etched in his mind.

____________________________________________________________________

Metheryl's room, Azure Box, Present Day

Divan was dressed in white robes, quiet and quaint now that his family was off at the Senate meeting- or had it ended and they were in the midst of discussions? He couldn't care, there was much to be discussed in the now rather than to just let things simmer.

"Hello my dear, I've had time to rethink what Kraai had told me; I believe I have a fundamental understanding of how we can access the Void now" he looked to Elessia who bowed and left the two tot he comforts of the room. His arm went to smoke after she left "I plan to use the water as the gateway between the Void and here, essentially my body will act as the key mechanism because of my power over void magic. If my hunch is correct we can find my daughter, reclaim my soul, and confront Kraai together this time and have a true chance of defeating her and gaining you answers."

"Of course, I'm not going to go out there and try ripping apart reality unless you feel fit to leave this place- we are partners after all and I'm a terrible combatant compared to someone of your years as well as Kraai's and whomever else she has for allies. That and my meeting witht he Shadow Dancers could provide you your own valuable insights"

His arm snapped back to existence as a regular one "I long for the feeling of flesh and bone again, and to reclaim my soul, as well as to hopefully free you from Kraai's dark impressions once and for all. Because I have grown quite fond of you in our time together however short- though that may be because of our minds having melded together thanks to Kraai and our first meeting"

_______________________________________________________________________

Caybourne Countryside, Overlooking Maria Vale

The old warrior chuckled "Quite so, it shall be intriguing what will occur next..." as he watched Elmer unpack the delicious picnic of items Drake felt a powerful rumble form his core that noted that the foot looked absolutely phenomenal. A drow warriors rumbling stomach as a sure sign that their interest had been peaked. He took a slice of the dense break and gave it a light lather of honey before biting into it hungrily, washing it down with more of the exotic beverage. He rather preferred this style of enjoying one's food, formality was not something he took too well.

"This reminds me of being on a patrol with myself and my men, stopping and unpacking rations a diving everything about in the cold before we would cook everything in a massive pot over the fire and just eat bowls of our ration stew and dense loaves" he ate of the seafood finding it delectable, everything here filled him with a sense of quiet enthusiasm. Elmer could pick up on the fact the elder general was simply taking in the moment without worry or cause for alarm, he didn't think about what was waiting back for him. He just looked out along the view and ate of delicious exotics he could hardly pronounce, he was just being a man.

"This is some of the most fun I've had in quite a time, it is most delightful to be able to say that" he turned with a smile, and despite his gleeful indulgence his way of eating was still spotless and perfected, the man did not make messes. A proper gentleman and a soldier even out and relaxed, always making an attempt to remain well spoken and deliberately moving.

_______________________________________________________________________

Righteous Embrace, Cok-Vadan, North Eastern Obscuran Coastline

Ornia

Zani

Vosal

Makai

Ornia looked out the window of her chambers solemn, more than usual, she was having another fit of depression it would seem. While her husband had forbade her from attending the meeting, her son Vosal had filled her in on what Dorvan had in store for Aradia. It was comforting to know that Divan was still causing a ruckus even if she didn't agree with his methodology, she felt terrible knowing her brother was suffering and making poor decisions out of his crushing feelings. With a sigh Ornia turned form the window in her leisure gown, a thin wispy fabric Dorvan dressed her into due to relishing his lecherous hunger upon her, she disliked it greatly and her children agreed.

Zani came into the room in blackened leather, something was occurring, Ornia knew this quite well- however still seeing her twenty three year old was a delight as Dorvan did his best to keep the children as far from their mother as possible to avoid them colluding. However the three knew how to avoid Ornia's guardians, how to speak with Nakura about giving them time with their mother. Nakura was not their enemy here, she was still very much a Ques Novich woman and one of the Spider's court. She was also able to maintain her position due to her plotting and keeping Dorvan and his brother busy.

"Zani" Ornia said with a slight smile perking at her lips to the sight of her daughter, despite all the horrible things that had happened to her, Ornia did not regret that she had three wonderful children to call her own- despite their father. "What is your reason for coming to this wing today my daughter? You look as though you are dressed for battle, I would hope that isn't the case"

"Mother....we're getting to out of here; right now" she whistled and two handmaidens entered, both were very clearly set on a mission as Ornia looked them over in surprise. She didn't resist as they peeled away the hardly there gown, or as they dressed her up in woolen undergarments, wrapping her in dense robes and a male ranger's coat. It was very heavy and very warm, her head was pushed into a woolen cap and her face covered by scarves. This would be because of two reasons she could imagine, it was Last Moon which meant the mountainside was even more frigid that normal. Ornia was not like her children and could not handle the bitter frosts well, the second was to be able to move sneakily dismissing her as a ranger due to the coat- they had to move quickly now.

The handmaidens would stay, to distract, they would barricade the room and draw out attention- before plunging to their deaths bellow on the crashing coastline mountain. They could not be captured, they wouldn't allow it, Ornia uttered a tearful goodbye as they had been there for her. They were her friends here, and while she knew they had to stay to get her home- she felt terrible. They simply smiled "Lady Ornia, when you find your brother again, please hug him extra tight and don't let go. May Aradia be with us all High Priestess" they bowed and began to set upon barricading as Ornia left with her daughter.

"Mother, I know its hot but you'll have to get to Makai, I'm going to sound the wing's bell system to alert everyone to the handmaidens" Zani pushed her mother forwards, she stumbled confused but found her son waiting in much the same attire as her daughter. However he was already donned in his riding cloak. Without much for words the young man held up his mother in a carry and began to run them as commotion could be heard behind. First the bells and then shouting, followed by bashing and more shouting. She could even hear Dorvan and Moran Dargas rushing tot he scene yelling orders through the massive cavernous halls of the keep.

Makai was her second born, an a lovely child she wished had not been cursed by her family's heirloom of power and by the vengeance of the spiders "Makai, where are we going now? I have never been down these halls before" she was quiet, nestled by her son's strength and the heavy coasts.

"Momma, we are going to Big Brotha" his voice was distorted as always, torn up and reformed again and again "He's got the wagon set, we paid lots for guards looking other way momma. Almost there" there was a horrible noise of wood breaking far in the distance, it could only be surmised that they had broken through and that her friends were gone to the rocky expanse of the coast. Any death was preferred to being captured by that man.....

They were in a stable area, she could smell the animals, the hay, hear nays and whines and other odd sounds as she was placed up into a blocky wooden cart and covered by a large plank of wood. Making the box feel small but it was comfortable and packed with hay and blankets, pillows, and her own ration packs. Another plank closed it to most light, she was glad to be safe with her children "Momma?"

"Yes child?" Ornia replied to her son's concern as a good mother should, with quiet resolve and gratitude even though her nerves were shot and she was unsure of what the future would hold for them.

"Momma we ride soon- gotta wait Zani comin....Vosal here?" he jumped a little as his elder brother grabbed the thirty three year old's shoulder, Vosal himself was only forty but his younger siblings respected him highly. Ornia did as well for his accomplishments as a proper ranger, a good soldier and a lovely young boy she had raised in her time.

"Mother, I will head the cart, Zani and Makai are going to ride alongside. We're out of time so please excuse discomforts as I get us away form this place" Vosal was always a quiet boy and good to his mother, he had once tried to shoot Arkon in the heart for what he had witnessed Arkon abusing he rover and in return he had been forced into the wilderness to die of exposure before he came back and was respected enough to have one more chance as being a loyal scout to the Lord. He wore a scale plated breastplate and thick furs all over. Even his under shirt was woolen and he looked to be a good ranger still.

"Please, do not mind my comforts, let us just leave this place so that we may find your uncle- he will keep us all safe....I know he will, had he been there those years ago he would have kept me safe.....He needs me, he needs all of us" Ornia missed her elder brother Divan deeply, her children knew who he was by reputation and had a sort of celebratory admiration for their mother being his baby sister. When they were younger she'd regale them with tales of him doing wonderful things and being a dedicated warrior of the people. She had tried to instill the heroic spirit her brother had into her children, she wanted them tog row up and be fine adults.

They were well on their way to becoming that much, Ornia heard Zani screeching "GET MOVING! NOW!" then she saw them spring into action, Makai jumped to a horse, Zani doing the same now dressed in a rider's cloak. They looked as each other and nodded, they kicked off their horses as Vosal whipped the horses attached to the cart into a full gallop out of the stables. in the cracks of the wood Ornia saw that the other horses had been set loose and were running wild trying to follow out.

Sabotage to allow them more time for an escape, it was needed- she saw Morankul and Dorvan shouting for people to round up the horses to give chase to her now fugitive children and to reclaim her for his desire to lance her again with his malignant spear. She turned from the view as she felt the cart bounce and rock, they were going quickly along the path back to the city. No doubt guards would be there that he children could not bribe, she tried to remain comfortable as they made their way through the icy winds of an obscuran winter.

"Vosal?" Ornia uttered after a few moments, clearly still in shock that she was free from her hellish prison

"Mother?" Vosal replied, not turning to her and trying to keep the wagon steady while also gaining as much ground as he could, he was leading them off to a much better route than the main roads, that was was pure suicide. They would take a long unused road to a ranger's encampment, it would take them south but not nearly as south as Ques Novich. They'd wind up in the Briochi territories....

"Please, if they ever do catch us, send word to my brother as to where I am- I would like him to know where to direct his legendary fury"

"Of course, my mother" Vosal said grimly, ti was no secret this was not exactly their best plan- there was a high chance of being caught- but then, they were elves and so in theory the entire thing was perfectly aligned.

__________________________________________________________________

Outer Territories, Briochi

Aoria

Maria had chosen to, hold off on the ranger detachment until she and Freyr could have a proper sit down. She had been advised by Bormin by way of the Governor that placing troops in the territory would have two immediate propositions. Either everyone would think they were under attack and hate Freyr for leaving in a time of war- thus swaying things in Vilhelm's favor more, or even worse would be that the Rangers were signified by Divan's will to keep Briochi safe. Divan was linchpin to Vlhelm's plot, without her Uncle's massive stores of influence Vilhelm hardly had a good case, but with Divan every move Maria made could be read as part of Divan's broader strategy.

Hell maybe things were transpiring how the old fucker had wanted them to, it was impossible to say because he was a mad man than thus his ploys were unknowable. Nevertheless Aoria was alone in the wilderness, hunting for a mountain elk to bring back to Vilhelm, they two were finally growing much more into each other and it was nice. While not a hunter by trade Aoria was still some kind of hunter and thus could find way to make it work if she oculd just find-

The fuck was that?

It was a group of two damn horses, with a wagon behind, coming down a heavily snowed in divide. That region was only home to, oh shit, oh fuck no this was not happening. Not not and not while she was out here. There was not an Arkon ranger supply going back to their old fortification, for one Arkon was de-

That fucking bitch, that bitch knew Arkon had revived and was keeping it to herself so she wouldn't upset anything? Oh she was going to have fun witht him, but first....

Zani had held up her hand, her face covered by a dark hood "We've been spotted, it's not pursuit- it's form the south eastern area"

Makai snarled as his eyes shimmered "Not good, anyone who sees us coming form the mountain could mistake us for being loyalists"

"What is going on? Why have we stopped Vosal?" Ornia was in a bit of a light daze- they had been riding near nonstop for days only resting to allow the horses time to breathe and be fed. It was too cold to fall asleep, and too stupid to light a fire. Ornia was warm but she was also dehydrated and a bit worse for wear, her body was frail and unused to this sort of thing.

"Mother, silence please, we have been seen by an unknown enemy" Vosal lifted up his bow and notched an arrow- looking over the white forestry and open hillsides. It was then he felt the blade to his throat and knew he had been easily routed by someone far more skill than he. Her voice was pure elvish, and Vosal lowered the arrow in defeat.

"Why come here Arkon? Weren't you afraid of running into the elves who killed you last time? The humans down the mountains are our people so I won't let you come upon them this night or any other"

"We are not with Arkon, we are trying to run from him" it was then hi siblings turned to face the adversary. They could do little against the black cloaked assassin however.

"Then what's in the cart?" the sound of venom dripped off her words and made Vosal's heart sink

"Nothing that concerns you" he tried to sling his head back but she had already pivoted and he fell backwards with the woman now straddling him and a hand to his mouth.

"That so? Oh well then, guess I'll waste my time" her strength was impressive as she shoved Vosal unsteadily off the cart and into a snow bank, his sister attempted to say something but Aoria glared her deep red eyes and she fell silent. Aoria took some of the planks in hand and ripped upwards, what she found was a scared little feminine elf wrapped in blankets and coasts, on a bed of hay. Terrified, absolutely petrified of what would come next....

"......."Aoria was stunned in amazement, in disbelief, in a well of new emotions, the woman spoke first

"Please, do not hurt us, my brother is Divankul Dul-Sansiska.....I am Lady Ornia"

___________________________________________________________________________

Vilhelm's Cottage, Briochi

Aoria quietly opened the door to find Vilhelm pouring over something or another, he looked to her and instantly she knew he had questions. He was a smart boy who could tell what was off in his partner. "Vilhelm....We have a few guests, I hope you don't mind" she ushered in Ornia, and allowed Vosal, Makai, and Zani to follow though they had been forced to keep their weaponry sheathed. "This" she said gesturing to the elf disrobing the heavy clothing in response to the heat of the roaring fire of the cottage "Is Lady Ornia Dul-Sansiska, she is my aunt and Lord Divan's baby sister....she was abducted forty years ago by Arkon and just now escaped. These are her children, Vosal, Makai, and Zani.....Lady Ornia is the one who originally made contact with Briochi and brought the two families, Vennet and Dul-Sansiska, into their partnership. She's pretty much the light of Uncle Divan's life, so I was thinking if we let him know we have found his sister and use that to our advantage- we have an even greater chance at success"

"You would use to torment of my mother, just to further some ignorant political contest?" Vosal spoke, clearly unnerved by Aoria's choice to use Ornia as a tool. But Aoria shot him a backwards glace.

"I love my auntie, quite so, she helped to raise me- do not misunderstand me I am Aoria Notusi, daughter of Argavir Notusi the Lord of Avamor. Ornia knows exactly what I mean"

"It is true Vosal, please do not fret we are among most gracious friends" Ornia had a sort of life n her voice, she stepped to Vilhelm and cupped his face in her hands "You are young Jospeh's son, you have your father's face but I am not quite sure I ever had the pleasure of meeting your mother- though I can see she must've had wonderful eyes" Aoria did not interrupt her aunt's way of greeting Vilhelm, the older woman pressed her forehead to Vilhelm lovingly as if they were already familiar.

"You were the one who dispatched Aoria, and in turn she found us and helped us to here.....I thank you for that, and I am happy that my brother still regards the Vennets as rightful family. But I must ask that you please contact him as soon as you can, I would most graciously give anything to see him as soon as is possible. would you do this for me young child of Joseph?"
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Kotorchix » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:30 am

Characters & Info

Metheryl Arcaena
The Azure Box
Everglow City


Seated on the floor in the center of her room, Metheryl barely stirred as Divankul addressed her, not even turning to look at him. Something of a soft sigh escaped her lips before she stood, turning in a strangely fluid motion that didn’t quite look natural. It was almost as if her feet slid along the ground instead of actually supporting her weight.

Her eyes were black. She folded her arms across her chest, smirking at Divankul.

“How precious,” Kraai cooed, fluttering a hand over her heart.

She swept past Divankul, tracing a fingertip along his formerly ghost-like arm as she passed. Her hand drifted to the small of his back and rested there as she stood beside him, musing down at the ground. For a moment, she seemed to falter as if she hadn’t quite caught up with her own thoughts and her eyes flashed with vicious intensity. But then that spark of magenta was gone, replaced by black once more.

“She’s ferocious today,” Kraai purred. “I can barely keep her at bay. But she is not one for dark magics. She doesn’t put up the same resistance a man of your… talents could.”

She gave him an affectionate pat a bit too low on his back for comfort, then glided past him again. Falling was not delicate enough a word for the motion she took to the ground, reclining as if she were surrounded by cushions and not the simple floor. She let a bare leg slide from beneath the spidersilk gown.

“Fascinating that you have a daughter in the Void… oh, don’t look at me like that. I have no interest in hunting your spawn. Nor do I hold interest in collecting this lost soul of yours… my quarrel is with Metheryl. A shame you have chosen a mortal’s side, dear Caillte Aon. Many in the Void find you rather intriguing…”

It was with a sudden jerk of her head that she tilted over onto her side, her eyes snapping back to violet. She caught herself from falling face-first on the ground. With obvious anger, Metheryl climbed to her feet and readjusted her robe more tightly about herself.

“I am more than eager to rip reality apart if that’s what it takes to get this imp out of my mind.”


Ludlow Estate
Caybourne


The moon was high in the sky as Elmer and Drake made their way back up the long winding road to the Ludlow Estate. At the gate, Elmer laid a hand on Drake’s arm, his grip forceful as he brought the larger elf to an abrupt stop.

“Something’s wrong,” he murmured, staring up at the stone walls.

The guards were all absent. The gates were locked, but Elmer produced a key from about his neck and dragged Drake along the wall a few paces to reveal a tiny side door which he then unlocked. They slipped through into the gardens, in the shadows of the wall.

Elmer seemed to be naturally stealthy. He slid from shadow to shadow like a ghost, his steps silent. He paid Drake almost no mind, intent on reaching the estate to discover the cause of this strange silence. It was only once they reached the estate itself that they realized where the guards had been pulled in to. Elmer dropped all attempts at stealth and strode quickly to the five guards standing at the front doors.

“What has happened?” he urged quietly.

“They won’t tell us, my lord,” the senior of the guards said, his rank established by the emerald green thread along his armor instead of the typical dull silver worn by his peers. “Only that an intruder was here.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Elmer said as he pushed on through the doors.

The foyer was void of people save for a pair of guards awkwardly standing in the center of the room. Both reached for their weapons but stayed their hands upon recognizing Elmer. Still, these green-threaded guards seemed more cautious than their counterparts.

“State the importance of the Sinmae,” one barked.

Elmer hesitated at the odd command, but recognized it for what it was. “Sinmae was the name of my wife. Why do you say this? What has happened here?”

“A shapeshifter was here,” the guard said, still visibly tense although he obviously trusted Elmer was who he said he was. The green-thread eyed Drake with some suspicion, but said nothing to him. “Lord Admiral Mancel is with his wife now… she and their daughter Jennifer were murdered.”

All thought of decorum left Elmer in a rush as he bolted for the lord and lady’s bedroom. Rushing up the north wing’s corridor, he skidded through the door into their private sitting room which joined to their bedroom suite.

In the sitting room, little Aimee Ludlow was perched morosely on a loveseat, her sightless eyes filled with tears as she stared off at nothing. She sniffled, wiping tiny trembling hands over her face, oblivious to Elmer’s presence. His immediate response was to comfort her, but he knew not to startle the poor girl.

He knew she could smell the same blood in the air that he smelled. He knew it would be all the more intense for her with her amplified senses due to her blindness. Why she had been left here, he had no clue.

A soft clearing of his throat announced his presence before he gently took her arm. She clung to him, her little shoulders shaking as he wrapped her in a hug. They didn’t say anything for a long moment, and Elmer carried her from the room, delivering her to one of the guards in the foyer with whom she was familiar. Then he went back into the suite.

Mancel was alone with Amarika, her blood still clinging to his skin and clothes as a terrible reminder. Elmer stopped at the door, staring at the body and at Mancel’s hunched form as he bent over his wife. The old man didn’t say anything, only slightly tilting his head aside to acknowledge someone was in the room.

“How did this happen?” Elmer softly asked, keeping his post at the door.

Mancel couldn’t reply. He just sat there. His hand was knotted in a fold of Amarika’s sheets, which he gently pulled up around her belly to conceal the mass that was once a budding life. He fumbled to pull the sheet further up to cover her chest wounds, his movements hindered as he began to shake.

“Casim… has gone to see Jennifer’s body,” he rasped out finally.

“You will not go to her?”

Mancel’s breath shuddered and he shook his head. “They said… they said…” He breathed deeply, his next words coming out with an explosion of air. “They said she was ravaged. Torn apart, ra-…” He choked, a massive hand covering his face to hide his tears. Nothing could hide the way his body shook though.

“Where is Eason?”

“Taken,” Mancel choked out. “The note’s on the bedroom door.”

Dear Papa,

Please don’t miss me while I’m gone. I’ll come back one day. I won’t be like Mama and Jenny, I’ll keep the red inside me.

Love, Eason



Serenity Piers
Ludlow Estate
Caybourne


She refused to have the door shut. Her guard, an older high feline named Willek, had been assigned to keep her out of harm’s way in her room. But she couldn’t stand the thought of being in there alone with him outside the door, not knowing what was out there with him. So he stood before the open door, glancing out at the corridor as his short tail flicked with anxiety.

She nibbled on a fingernail as she sat in the blue velvet loveseat opposite the door. Willek looked over his shoulder at her and tried to form a reassuring smile with his whiskers, but it looked more like a grimace.

“Shifter was not after Lady Serenity,” he warbled. “Lady Serenity said she saw this Shifter. Shifter had opportunity to kill, but did not.”

She shivered, wrapping her black shawl around her shoulders a little tighter. Her eyes strayed to the wall where her blade was mounted: a slender katana. She wondered if the Shifter really had something to do with House Dul-Sansiska. But it wouldn’t make sense, would it? What would any of the drows gain from assassinating Amarika and Jennifer? Why them specifically?

And why take Eason? Why hadn’t they killed the male heirs?


Casim Ludlow
Ludlow Estate Basement
Caybourne


He sat on a wooden crate with his elbows on his bent knees, his hands over his mouth as he stared at the lump under the blanket. Locks of torn red hair were scattered everywhere in the sawdust, in between the barrels and crates, beneath the wine stacks. A barrel had been smashed open, its crimson wine mixing with blood in the cracks of the stone floors.

Had it not been for the red hair, for her favourite dress, Casim wouldn’t have recognized the body as Jennifer’s. He swallowed back bile, trying to forbid the image from his mind, from the moment he had first seen her. He didn’t want to remember her like that. He never wanted to see anything like that again.

But something stirring in his gut told him this was only the beginning of seeing terrible things. Everything had been too perfect for too long. He had been too cozy, wrapped up in the warmth and comfort of a safe home. This… this destroyed everything.

Something in him screamed that he should feel sad. That he should be grieving. But even the sight of his mother cut open like that, the woman who had given birth to him and loved him and nurtured him… all he felt was this terrible chill in his veins. And that chill thrummed through him, faster and faster, until all his body felt like ice.

A creaking on the stairs had him lift his eyes. The giant boots of Commodore Moxus clomped down until the High Feline was visible himself. He halted on the stairs, a massive paw resting on the tiny wooden bannister.

“The undertaker will be here soon,” he growled low in his throat. “They will take her away.”

“And Mother?”

“Yes,” Moxus said, then turned and went back up the stairs. There was another creak before he came back down, crouching so that his face could be seen.

“It is wise we do not share news of their passing yet.”

Casim felt himself stand, his hands dropping to his sides. Everything felt numb. Or rather, not so much numb. There was nothing to feel, that was it really. He stared down at the blanket before abruptly turning his attention to Moxus.

“Did someone do this to make us look weak?” he asked.

Moxus formed his characteristically angry frown and said nothing.

“I can’t see any other reason to kill Mother and Jennifer. Why leave myself alive? I’m the heir. And why take Eason, why not outright kill him? And Aimee… why did they miss her? She is likely the easiest target of us all.”

“Lady Ludlow was with cub-… child,” Moxus murmured. “Removed a third male heir, likely. Females of no consequence, only to be used as pawns.”

Casim had to do a double-take before realizing Moxus was theorizing along with him, not stating some bizarre personal opinion. “Pawns for what?”

Moxus made a vague motion to the covered body. “It is personal. Killer removed her honor, destroyed her face, tore mane.”

“Personal to Jenny only?”

“Made to look like, as a mockery.” Moxus rubbed a claw over his whiskers. “Personal, but not to her. Killer is striking out at… the trading chips.”

“Trading chips?” Casim’s brow furrowed. “What?”

“Females in human culture are traded easily for alliances. This killer is mocking the leaders of the pride, the males.”

“He killed Mother to hurt Father,” Casim added. “To destroy him. Jenny… why Jenny? I don’t understand the connection. Of course she is my sister, the eldest child and female heir the killer had access to, but…?”

“Why are you not grieving? Why do you ask all these questions now?”

“Maybe the answer is in the people the killer left alive,” Casim went on, ignoring the question. That was one he could not afford to ponder right now.

“If we’re thinking like a power-mongerer, removing Jenny could be seen as removing a desirable… trading card, as you said. She could have been used to form an alliance somewhere, married off to some noble. Leaving me… I don’t know yet. But on that line of ‘desirable’… a power-mongerer wouldn’t see Aimee as desirable, both for her age and her disability.”

“The killer has left Mancel with the weakest of his pack, leaving him vulnerable.”

“And has taken his youngest heir as leverage.”

Moxus stared at Casim a long moment, then gave a slow, approving nod. “Yet… he wishes the line to continue. He does not want to destroy Ludlow completely.”

“Then what of Claire? Could she be in danger?”

“Yes. News has been sent along the Ravensyell,” Moxus stated. “She might be safer in the city.”

“But… then who? Who would hate us so much, yet not want to outright destroy our House?”

Whatever response Moxus had ready was lost as the undertaker and his attending made their way down the stairs. Moxus moved down to stand beside Casim as they watched the men and women surround Jennifer’s corpse.

“Grieve, cub. If you do not, it will strike you at a worse time. And then you will be useless.”
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Skummy the Kitty » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:40 am

Ludlow Estate, Caybourne

Drake's face hardened into an implacable wall of sheer cold as the events were explained by a clearly overwhelmed and shocked Mancel. Elmer could actually the cold tension of the room turn to sheer ice in the air, this was not just his sensation Drake legitimately began to give off a slowly drifting aura of frigid cool air that dropped down the the floor as if the temperature of the room was warming his frosted body. While they did not know his reputation outside of what he told them, he bore another title outside the Lizard. He was the Iceborn, a creature that spoke to the tundra and communed with the Drakes, that learned their secrets and bore their gift.

Drake pivoted on his feet in full soldier mode as he walked briskly from the chambers, instead moving towards the hall containing the bedchambers set in an array. With only one of them having a High Feline perched at a door waiting for signs of danger. He had to believe this is where Serenity waited for more news and assurances that the terror was over; as Casim was to Jennifer and the other child was in Elmer's arms. The cat noticed him and straightened, clearly ready to maul him if he took one move closer. "Willek will say this but once Drow, leave place, Lady Serenity will not have harm" his claws came and his paws moved upwards ready to destroy the general, he looked scared almost.

"Freecat, please rest assured I am the real Drake, I wish to speak with Lady Serenity, though she might find me frightening and strange I would hope to ensure her safety. If there is one thing that the Drow are- we are the antithesis of the Void and all the evil it stands for" his icy mane of air had suddenly ceased as he regained his composure soon after leaving the scene of Amarika's death "While I'm sure I would be the least comforting for Serenity, it is better than simply sitting alone awaiting news that one is safe"

Drake sighed, as it seemed the old cat was not going to move an inch, resolute in his duty to protect the Lady Serenity from anything that could cause her harm in these tense hours. He could not blame him, not only was Drake a stranger- but Serenity was mortified at the thoughts of Drake and completely consumed by fear of him. He decided he had made and error and decided to begin walking back to Elmer.
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Re: The Isles of Aradia (IC/New Settlers Welcome.)

Post by Kotorchix » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:01 pm

Characters & Info

Serenity Piers
Ludlow Estate
Caybourne


Serenity felt her hands tighten on the fabric of the shawl as she heard the Drow’s voice outside. She stared out the open door, but Willek had blocked the way. He warned Drake off and Serenity seriously considered letting him. She didn’t want to talk to him. Not by herself… not without Mancel, or Rasheba, or somebody

She took a deep breath. “Wait.”

Standing, she dropped the shawl on the loveseat and crossed the room in a few strides. She peeked around Willek’s thick arm at her betrothed. She hesitated, then slipped from behind Willek so she could face Drake properly.

She felt small in his shadow. It was not a comforting feeling. Fear gnawed at her and her palms began to sweat. She gave them a distracted wipe on her skirts.

“My lord,” she started. “I know what the Drow are renowned for, in their protection of the other races. I… do you think this was a thing of the Void? That killed my aunt and cousin?”



Claire Ludlow
Twicefreed Manor
Platinum Gardens, Everglow City


Her mouth was open but no sound would come out. She could feel Lyron’s grip on her upper arms, holding her steady. Was she falling? She was on the floor. The falling part was over, it would seem. She stared up at the structure on the desk, the alien shape of the Ravensyell and the reflection of Moxus in its crystal pane, his message repeating again and again.

A shadow blocked the cat’s image, a face slowly coming into focus as Nimbe hovered over her. The elven maid’s lips moved, but Claire couldn’t hear her. Her heart was hammering the words out in her head, over and over, over and over again.

They’re dead. They’re dead. They’re dead.

“Claire!”

She whipped her head aside to stare at Lyron. His eyes were dark and mournful as he held her wrists in his hands. A surge of tears came unbidden to her and she gripped his forearms tightly. Slowly, sensation came back to her, the taste of metal and the spiky touch of needles on her tongue, in her veins. Of Nimbe’s fingers gently smoothing her hair away from her cold face, of her legs buckled beneath her.

“I’m so sorry, Claire,” Lyron soothed. “I’m so sorry.”

She stared stupidly at him, thoughts struggling to travel the ooze that had become her mind. Why? Why!

Not only was it the confusion of the actual event, but it also brought up all the conflicted feelings she had of her mother and sister. Everyone had loved Mother, even if in recent months she and Claire had clashed. And Jennifer… she and Claire had never really gotten along despite sharing the womb, but her passing, and in such a violent manner… And Eason, stolen. Their unborn sibling, never to be born at all…

And this, after such a disastrous Senate Meeting, she couldn’t stop the panicked breath that came forth. Who? Who had done this to them? Why? She felt Nimbe loosen the lacing of her corset as she sucked in short bursts of air.

Could he have ordered this? The man who manipulated her like a puppet on strings in the meeting? Lord Umbridge, that soft smirk he gave, the way his moustache curled in that motion.

She shut her eyes tightly. No, she couldn’t think like that. Just because one man had attacked her didn’t mean he was out to get her entire family. And even then, what sort of monster would it take to murder her mother and sister? And what motivation was there?

“I’m going to be sick,” she felt the words mumble from her mouth.

There were more hands on her. Not just Lyron and Nimbe, but it was Darius’ strong arms that lifted her. How long had he been there in the study? She numbly pulled her legs beneath her, trying to gain purchase on the floor. Once she had her footing, Darius left the room and Lyron took over her support.

“Get a bowl, Nimbe,” Lyron softly commanded and the girl skittered away. “You’ll be okay, Claire. It’s just shock. This will pass.”

She choked back acid, more tears falling as she clutched his sleeve, holding herself steady. “Poor Father… I can’t… I can’t imagine how he feels. We have to go back…”

Lyron shook his head. “You heard Commodore Moxus. He said it was safer for us to stay here, and that he was contacting someone to bring in a proper guard force for this place. We have to stay.”

“We aren’t doing any good here!” she wailed. “Look at what happened in the Senate! Look at what’s happening now! How am I to deal with any of this? Mother was right, she was right all along… this is a man’s world, that I’m just a little girl in-“

She stared in shock, her cheek smarting. It hadn’t been a hard slap, but it startled her. Lyron took her shoulders in his hands and gave her a gentle shake.

“This was one day. There will be others. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you must not give up hope. For now, you may be the woman who grieves the passing of her mother and sister. But you have to bring back your fire, your strength – for your father. Bring out that anger you feel in knowing Eason is out there in a stranger’s arms.”

He released her. “You are not a little girl. You never will be again. And there are women in that Senate that would strike you far harder than I for saying it’s a man’s world. What of Talia Sabre? Maria Dul-Sansiska? You live in this world too. Yes, it’s hard right now. But that doesn’t mean you get out of it. You can’t fall back on the excuses of others to protect yourself from hardship.”

He folded her into a gentle embrace, but hardly apologetic. “You’re in this, and I’m with you.”

Her fingers knotted into the back of his shirt and she held him back, tight.



Darius Black
Twicefreed Manor
Platinum Gardens, Everglow City


He took the stairs up to the guest bedroom two at a time. Bursting in, he didn’t meet Na’este’s gaze until he had shut the door behind him. Instead, his eyes swept the room, taking in the furniture, the clothes draped randomly about the place, and the chipped wash basin on its stand.

With a sudden exhaling of breath, he seemed to relax and went to his bed, falling back on it without decorum. He rubbed a hand over his face, then finally looked at Na’este.




Rasheba Heartstone
The Provenire
The Sorrows


Rasheba had kept an eye on the girl. It wasn’t hard on a ship of this size, and Lady Rivka didn’t tend to stray too far from any routine she made. Rasheba had been tending to her blade while sitting on a crate near the base of the mast as Rivka made her way out onto the deck to read in the starlight.

She recognized the book and a smirk touched her features. Taking her sword, she sheathed it at her side and set aside the whetstone she had borrowed from belowdecks. A few steady steps had her move across the deck to hover over Rivka’s shoulder.

Only staying a moment to see the girl had only just started the book, she continued on past her to rest her arms on the railing. Having Serenity for a niece had taught Rasheba not to interrupt the journey that a book took a reader on. Perhaps it was that she had gone out to seek her own adventure that had meant Rasheba had never become a big reader. Books just hadn’t seemed that appealing, although she did read them from time to time.

Serenity had once said books were a poor man’s magic, but the most powerful of all magics existing. Rasheba could agree. Even Myran Umbridge’s book had some magic to it. Words on paper had brought attention and even some ridicule to his son, the main character of the story. What was more magical than cursing one through publication?


The Quest for the Heartstone – 105 pages

[…]… and thus, Harry set out to find the men who took her from him. He knew it would be too late to find her unsullied, but he was bound by honor to at least try. It would be a miracle if he found her even alive.

But should her corpse be all that he discovered, vengeance would be his… […]


It wasn’t terribly well-written. In parts it dribbled on with lengthy descriptions, overly wordy sentences and sometimes even paragraphs that felt like they never ended. But although the execution wasn’t good, the story had some strength.

But Milan Umbridge had published the book long before Amayl Heartstone-Rodin was ever found. So perhaps the story had a somewhat happier ending. Harold Umbridge found his betrothed shortly before her eighteenth birthday, heavily pregnant with a pirate captain’s child (it seemed the author had no disillusions to the horrors the girl would face had she survived). After a ferocious battle, Harold defeated Captain Jorn and took Amayl home to give birth to the infant.

The story wrapped up with Harold marrying Amayl. And with a promise to the infant girl that she would be raised as his own, given the best education, and that one day she would rule the very oceans where her birth father had once reigned.

Strangely, the conclusion seemed to be more focused on Harold and this baby Maggie’s father-daughter relationship. Amayl seemed to drift out at the end, simply the vessel for delivering Harold’s newfound obsession.
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