[DND] my god is gonna owe me
#1
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Word Count → ??? :: made some pretty generous assumptions in this one gang, let me know what/if needs changed. lets get this party started ;>
TIME: Night, full moon
LOCATION: North shore, south of Bathurst





She thought about the man often; About his mended clothes, about how the fox had described his patient meditation. When she was decided upon what she wanted to do, she talked it over with O'Riley. He was harder to convince. Salsola had been isolated for the entirety of her reign; The war with Inferni had been born of tradition and the brittle bones of an old trade alliance. In this age of wealth Salsolans lived long and held their grudges longer still.


The Emissary had eyes along the coast, but it wasn't enough only to know about the existence of others. As a small child Elphaba had been chosen by her grandmother for the singular purpose of governing her legacy. She had lived all her life within Salsola's protective barbs, as much a prisoner to the might of the Law as its wielder. Its superiority was entrenched in her bones, her blood, her very cells. She could no more be apart from it than apart from her own flesh.


But it could only exist in this protective sphere for so long. The Curse was still at large; It had been two months since Portland last sent a convoy south. Inferni was gone. The Court of dogs was gone. Their predecessors, the cave-dwelling Anathemans, were gone.


Salsola presided now as the oldest, most established pack on the peninsula and the mainland both. Elphaba was determined to ensure it remained this way.


And a part of her plan hinged on the man.


The man - Athras Eryn, Lord-Regent of paupers and refugees that assembled beneath a banner called New Caledonia; Or at least they would, if they could survive the winter.


When she laid out her reasoning in this way - decisive, hungry, and full of assertion - her cousin could hardly refuse. There was a spark in him, after all; The tinder that had lit the first flames of war. He knew the power of such dominion. Neither of them were Salvia, but they had her blood, and it remembered.


-----------


O'Riley led them west, then north. On four legs he was as fast as her grey mare. Conditional to their escapade was the accompaniment of the Director, who rode his own sturdy feathered piebald at her side. The tip of his spear, sharpened especially for the occasion, gleamed like a giant tooth where the moonlight caught at it.


For the most part they traveled in silence. All plans needing to be spoken aloud had been done so back in the Ruins proper, where their security could be assured. Both men seemed tense, though perhaps for different reasons - They guarded Salsola's most precious cargo, after all. For her part, the Queen was auspiciously calm. The hood she wore up over her ears hid the golden tines of her circlet from view.


They kept Oromocto on their left, its peak concealed by the same greasy silver clouds that slipped over the face of the bright, full moon.


When the ground beneath the horse's hooves gave way to the rough pebbles of the coastline, O'Riley looped back to join them. They left the horses tethered at the treefront and continued on foot. As a united front, the three figures made their way down toward the hiss of the ocean. The bright light of a single lit torch showed them where, ahead on the strand, the New Caledonians were waiting.


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#2
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Going with her, as commanded, compromised everything.

O'Riley had known this would happen eventually. As much as he would have liked to live behind secrecy his whole life, he would one day need to expose himself to strangers. Doing this risked his work as a spy, but O'Riley – arrogant and clever – was already prepared for such risks.

A part of him was secretly terribly eager for an excuse to test his little charades in the field. He was smart. Thus far, he had never failed.

The darkness and the moonlight cast sharp light and deep shadows on the world through which they traveled. O'Riley led the way, following first directions and then his own senses, which illuminated signs he noted, assessed, and tried to remember.

He shifted when he returned and donned garments suited for their Last Suppers and not something as basic as dealing with Others. Despite this, he understood that presentation mattered – and so he tied his hair up and wore his tunic and kilt, strapped on the thick belt, and to this attached his sword. It had been a long time, he realized, since he properly carried it outside of Salsola's borders. The weight felt proper hanging there. The blade carried power in it, after all.

Whatever he expected from these men, the sight of them managed to surprise him. It was an ever-changing world.

This was better than the coyotes, at least.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
#3
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(505)

How could he forget her: the queen of thistle and pine with her hair like smoke and eyes like blood. Words sharp and sultry both, promises made, occupied his days that came and went until hours turned to days, weeks, a month.


When all other calls for aid had been met with apathy the High King Iomair found little reason to decline the half-shadow’s appeal for Athras Eryn was a cunning man who could twist the words however he liked. In truth, what choice did they have? Their people were impoverished, disparate pieces of a greater desiccated whole, poor and wanting. He would see them return to the wealth and influence of old, upholding the legacies of the four clans, no matter the cost.


The wheels and cogs of his quicksilver mind turned swiftly, whirring all too quickly. Slippery as shadows the thoughts came and went, speaking truths and worries, for they were new to arrive and knew little of the politics of the peninsula at large. Powerful as her kingdom might be Athras considered again and again the offer she’d first extended...and her warning. Lust could be a fine tool, but flesh withered in the end. He wanted more for himself, for his people.


---------------------


The grey stallion whickered as Athras slid from his back, perhaps he thought their ride would be longer still. In the pale silver light the half-shadow sidled up to the torch-bearing King, his cyan eyes flashing as light was captured and trapped in black irises. He said little and stopped short of Iomair’s side, preferring to remain in shadow rather than the brilliant halo of the torch’s glow. They watched, waited, until at last three figures were made plain drawing nearer and nearer. The metallic flash of a spearhead was the first to catch the shadow’s eye, the men next for they were both new to him. For a moment his thoughts turned toward the ritual dagger hidden at his hip, its hilt sharp with antler tines, then away. Insurance, nothing more.


When at last his gaze fell to her Athras stepped into the light beside his King and into view. His eyes were bright in a dark countenance the features sharp with cunning, handsome. He looked briefly to his King, offering the faint inclination of his head before with a smile he extended his arms in welcome. “Well met, friends!” He greeted warmly. “I am Athras Eryn of House Eryn Lord-Regent of New Caledonia, and it is my honor to introduce Iomair Nartholiel, first of his name, uniter of the four clans, and High King of New Caledonia.”


“Your Grace,” he addressed Iomair, “allow me to introduce to you Elphaba Revlis, second queen of Salsola, Boss of the Familia.” To her he inclined his head as well, reaching slowly for her hand so he might touch his lips upon it. Then his head lifted, turning to the men who accompanied her. "And these sharp looking gentleman?" His smile was sharper still, eyeing the blades both carried, but briefly.

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#4
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Iomair spent the morning discussing the journey with Vodeva, assuring his wife that everything would be alright. She hissed and hummed the way she always did when she was worried, twining her fingers through the long veil that hung over her shoulders like a shadow of doubt. His wife spent a great deal of time fawning over the way his furs hung over his shoulders, the leather of his armor tied tightly into place against his broad frame. She had assessed him shrewdly before turning him towards the door and straightening the pin of his clansmen as he turned out into the darkness.

As he walked the torch he carried flickered and danced to cast embers of light against his cheeks and his eyes glittered like molten gold.

Athras joined him further afield, his eyes narrowed speculatively as he explained the figures who would join them from a mighty Kingdom called Salsola. There were friends to be had in this endless land, trades that would need to be accomplished in order for them to survive into spring. They chatted quietly to ensure that their voices did not carry, their sounds punctuated by the even breathing of the Lord-Regents mount, who’s breath fanned in misty plumes as the temperature began to drop.

When they found the meeting place Athras carefully dropped out of the halo of light that the torch afforded, cleansing himself in shadows and the grape-dark of the night.

Iomair stood bathed in golden light, his face set with a patient sterness as he awaited the arrival of the Salsolan delegation.

Like this, Iomair was a King.

They waited together quietly, murmuring when sometimes the silence of the forest grew too long.

Atlast, a flashing point of silver winked through the leaves and Iomair felt himself immediately straighten, raising the torch aloft to better see those who strode so proudly toward them. The first was a tall man, his shoulder riddled with great sweepings of scar tissue. His teeth were bared against the firelight, the spear in his hands hefted gently – a silent warning to those who waited in the dark.

Iomair adjusted the patchy cloak to reveal the hilt of his sword, but made no other movements – his eyes instead finding the pair who strode to overtake the apparent soldier.

She was beautiful. Elphaba Revlis did not tower over the group of men who stood around her, but there was something in her that made her larger than life – the sanguine of her eyes slanted as she took in the both of them, nostrils flared. The gold cheeked man who stood alongside her was virulent, the violet of his eyes cool as Athras began his speech.

Athras slipped form the shadows theatrically, extending his arms so that the sleeves of his robes billowed as he took them through their introductions. Iomair remained carefully neutral, adjusting the set of his mouth as all parties released a pent up breath to speak. Iomairs gentle burr warmed the space between them, "I thank you for agreeing to meet with us." He hummed, "Our Realm thanks you."

Iomair made no move to embrace them, and instead patiently watched the placement of their hands, and the way the spearhead bobbed each time the soldier adjusted his weight.




Open for one!


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#5
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Word Count → ??? :: oh heck yeah >:3





There was a man waiting for them on the strand that she had never seen before. He stood in the light of his torch, and everywhere the glow touched him, he was golden, regal of bearing.


It was the first time in all her life that Elphaba had ever seen a King in the flesh. She wasn't sure what it was that she had expected of him; A man who ruled over other the likes of other men. Was he huge, like one of her Blacksun giants? No. Was he fierce and merciless of expression, like her own fearless Erilaz? No. Was he stoic but congenial, like her charming gypsy Director? No.


Her first thought of Iomair, the High King of New Caledonia, was only this: He looks... Tired.


She was careful to keep the surprise from her expression.


Athras, cloaked in shadow and glossy charm, stepped at once from the side of his monarch and extended his presence outward to greet them. The queen's red eyes drew over him with ill-concealed pleasure, and she smiled at his verbose and courtly introduction. The warmth of his voice settled whatever nerves had stirred in her stomach at the sight of Iomair; For all her lurid confidence, Elphaba was still a young ruler of a very old kingdom.


They were near enough now that the King's torch warmed them, casting a gentle glow against all of their faces - some sharp, some long, some thick of jaw, some slender. The Boss reached up to her hood and pushed it back to settle on her shoulders. Free of the shadows, the golden tines of the crown resonated with the flickering flamelight.


"Lord-Regent Eryn, how delighted I am to see you again," Above the muffled hiss of the waves her voice was all that the Revlis line promised - smoke and wine and dark intentions. Her lips curved upward prettily. "Don't mind my man, he is here for my comfort; You understand, it can be dangerous for a lone woman to travel without company," She gestured to Brocade at her side but did not offer his name; The less attention on him, the better. Names carried power. If she had intended to intimidate, she could have put on a much grander show.


Flanking her opposite side was the formidable towering shape of her cousin. "And this is my Erilaz-" Seeing their confusion in the title, she amended, "My second in command, O'Riley of house Eternity."


She had never seen O'Riley act as a diplomat before. All their rule had been a time of war, conflict or strife - never negotiation. Certainly never treaty or alliance. This would be a first for them both. Excitement balled a fist in her stomach.


Unable to resist, she watched Iomair from beneath her lashes, desperate to perceive all the secrets hiding behind his heavy golden eyes. "Your Majesty, there is no need to give thanks - not yet, in any case. It is my greatest pleasure to meet you, finally." What about him had led others with great ambition - the silver-tongued Lord Athras Eryn, no less! - to bend the knee? He was dressed in foreign-styled finery, but even this was understated and practicable. The King of refugees was an enigma.


She would find the source of his power, and come to know it eventually. This, she promised herself.


All in good time. "Tell me about your people," The long dark locks of her hair rustled as she turned her head between the two Caledonians expectantly, "How do you find the Mainland? Is there solace and safety for your weary kin here?"

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#6
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His entire life had been built on the premise that anyone who was not part of Salsola was lesser. For this reason, these Others were already viewed poorly. It was no fault of their own. They might have been strong, decent men once, but now they were refugees.

O'Riley was a large, powerful canine. He had been given advantages in how he was sired and who raised him, though perhaps removing the boy from his parents had been selfish, and perhaps it had given him reason to consider himself apart from the normal, average people he lived with. He certainly believed himself superior, though in place of haughty arrogance was a disdain for all things beneath him.

The way he looked at the strangers suggested as much, at least. He was very good at muddling his true feelings, but his pale eyes and stern expression was far from friendly.

Still, Lord-Regent Athras and his King, Iomair, they seemed a curious pair. What was the rest of their shattered kingdom like?

Have you people found a proper place to settle? O'Riley interrupted before either man could answer his queen. If Elphaba took offense to this, he did not notice – he was busy trying to take in whatever details and clues might be exposed in this first, formal meeting.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
#7
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(912)

Illuminated by the torch’s glow the party was revealed in stark relief, but just beyond the brilliant firelight shadows thrived, flickering upon the curves and edges of muzzles and ears and casting shapes upon the ground like inky stains. Occasionally a face would turn, causing a pupil to shine revealing them for the primitive creatures they were: dressed in fine fabrics and adorned with weapons and jewelry they were predators all the same.


Athras allowed his gaze to linger on she, the Queen, lifting with appreciation to the golden tines of her antlered crown. “The pleasure is all mine, I assure you.” His voice was full, rich as his earthen hues, and dark as the enveloping night. A motion at his side reminded him that they were not alone and his gaze passed coolly to the man she spoke of. Scarred, snaggle-toothed, and with eyes of feral hue, he was indeed imposing. But a nod acknowledged her intention. He hadn’t missed the subtle shift of the High King’s cloak as he bared his weapon, but felt no need to reveal his own. Let them think him unarmed. His secrets were his own.


The furrow of his dark brows smoothed at the Queen’s clarification and he paid the man greater heed. The half-shadow was dwarfed in O’Riley’s presence by height and bulk though his attention was quickly piqued by the lavender of his eyes. Such a lovely color in such a stern face. Despite this, Athras’s smile did not pale. He bent in a subtle bow, affording this giant of a man his due respect. The Erilaz’s visage was strikingly different from his queen’s. Athras could feel the subtle hostility brewing a veritable storm beneath his veil of stoicism. And so made note that charm would not win this man to his side. Instead, he refocused on the Queen lovely and pale-faced with her affability and promises of power.


The Lord’s ears twitched as the King and Queen exchanged sentiments. Iomair’s demeanor was strangely cold, at odds with the blazing torch he held aloft. War made many and broke far more and the Caledonians were intimately familiar with its cost. For Iomair, however, this was at once his strength and his downfall... What secrets Athras knew he held close to his chest. It was necessary to portray a unified front, despite the conspiratorial twist his words had taken at his and the Queen’s first meeting; A seed planted, but whether or not it would flower was yet to be seen. It was an unscrupulous risk for a long-coveted reward.


The half-shadow poised to answer the Salsolan royal, seeking an affirmation from his king but was interrupted. His teeth clipped firmly together and his cyan eyes drew slowly to the Erilaz. “Yes, to the north.” Said the rogue but failed to elaborate, and instead quipped "It's a lovely country. Though I find it rather...wet." The jest didn't quite reach his eyes, perhaps betraying an honest displeasure that wasn't entirely out of place for a person such as he: a man so often wrapped in sweeping fabrics whose long, silky hair was a thing of pride. "But, yes. It suits our needs."


Not about to abandon the topics presented by the fair darkling queen, the shadow pondered how best to sate her curiosity. The Caledonians had a storied past, rife with tradition and culture, though their future remained uncertain. He did not possess the optimism of the High King, for change came slowest to the lords of Taur.

“I mentioned four clans.” He harkened back to their introductions, and painted for them the world as they had known it. “And so we were before the war came to our lands. Taur, my Clan, was the first. We laid claim to a great swath of forest, working with the earth and never against it: mainly hunters, gatherers, Druids, and some of the best archers you've ever seen. Our blood dates back to the beginning of things, a legacy I now bear as the High Druid's last remaining heir." It was a boast, but as it was his clan perhaps they'd forgive it just this once. "Then from Taur came Lorn- the river clan, mainly fisherfolk and craftspeople." He made no mention of their competition and strife, nor the personal vendetta he bore the riverfolk. "Ours were the Wild Gods: gods of wood, and reed. Death and rebirth." His voice spoke of a priest's devotion, and he paused, catching himself with a knowing grin. He continued.

"Then of course, the newer clans: Aegas of the mountains. A hardy people of metal and stone, and fine warriors. Their lot has produced a fair few smiths." Athras tipped his head towards Iomair, the dark silk of his hair sliding softly down the side of his face. "Then the last, Menel, plain-dwelling traders and keepers of the skies. Hasufel was bred by their masters.” He indicated the pale horse, his fine head lifting at the mention of his name. “We had our lands, our own traditions and customs kept, our own gods. But nobility would often mingle for trade, you’d hear of the occasional inter-clan marriage.” His expression remained neutral but a flippant gesture revealed a certain displeasure at the notion of such unions. "Our faiths divided us. War united us. And now here we stand."

“Perhaps you understand now why we are so adamant to rebuild.” He would not abandon generations of history to the sands of time.

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#8
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In times like these Iomair felt infinitely tired. In times like these the future lay sprawled before him, twisting and turning like the roots of some ancient tree – all demanding to flourish and feed the mighty tree that towered high above. New Caledonia deserved growth, deserved everything good that the King could give, and here with the Salsolans he felt himself wondering at the tremulous bond that was sure to tie them together.

When she said Solace he had to blink sharply, his nostrils flaring.

Solas.

Iomair cleared his throat, ”It is thanks all the same my lady.” He canted his head, ”I face no qualm in telling you that we are still little more than fledglings of the North – but there is hope there, and our people are resilient.” The Clans had been through worse than the coming winter, and those who were note from Old Caledonia each had their own story that was added carefully to their loom. Together they wove a story that would stand the test of time, and the sound that Iomair made as Athras told their story was warmer, buoyed by their shared history.

He was a showman, and he did his job well.

Iomair cleared his throat, "To what do you owe your good fortunes? It would appear that your Kingdom flourishes," He smiled, "Athras spoke highly of your first meeting. New Caledonia seeks aide as winter approaches. How could you help us?"

He glanced between all those gathered, before speaking to Athras, "What say you?"





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#9
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Word Count → ??? :: sorry for the hold-up on this one, loves! I kept the end of my post nice and vague, but figured we can wrap it up here if y'all want! Amanda let me know if Elphie's teensy PP is no bueno and I will change it <3





O'Riley's interruption did not go unnoticed; A single ear twitched toward him and forward again. But Elphaba's face betrayed no irritation. It had been difficult to persuade her cousin to attend this risky yet portentous meeting in the first place. She would take his manners into consideration at such a time when they might be addressed - in private.


That was how she preferred to correct him, when she could use her touch and her power without fear of voyeurs.


Perhaps it was also how he preferred to be corrected. It was easy to twist old anger into new, excitable shapes.


A natural-born storyteller, Athras gifted them with the precious lore of his fallen kin. Having lost their homes, ancestral roots burned free of the ground, it was no small surprise that they had carried the burden of their stories with them all this way into the new world. Faith was everything to the disenfranchised. If he could recount the past just right, perhaps it would change something about his future.


Elphaba listened with a visage of interest, though the truth of what she thought of these myriad clans and their exclusive deities was hers alone.


When the storyteller was finished with his craft, the king spoke again.


His voice was quieter than Athras', and she had to tilt her head to make sure none of the words were snatched away by the wind or the ocean yonder.


Opportunity blossomed between them all, bright like the glow of Iomair's torch.


"Our fortune is old; Old blood, old boons." It had begun to press upon her of late - the weight of so much history, so much potential, "When winter comes, this land will take on new teeth. You are of the north? I suppose you do not fear the cold. But it will be a hard time for the ill-equipped. It will be long, and dark, and merciless. It will steal life from the young and the old."


Already the springs in Halcyon were feeding frigid water to their Pictou border. Soon the frost would come, and after it, the ice.


The fate of New Caledonia would hang in the resilience of its survivors, in their reserves of strength yet to endure. They had so much left to lose. And Salsola - well, Salsola had so much to give.


Everything has its price.


Elphaba smiled. Calmly, without invitation, she reached out and placed her hand on Iomair's pauldroned shoulder. It was a small touch, but very telling. It was a connection. It was a bind.


"All this way your people have marched, alone and friendless through the badlands; Haunted by war and strife, looking for the comfort of a benefactor. No longer! Let us ease your burdens. Let us salve the suffering of your kin. Come - step out of the wind, and we will talk further."


She coaxed the three powerful men into the cover of a nearby strand of trees. Shaded by large boughs from the oceanic breeze, the light of the torch grew pleasant and warm, and their voices hummed with conversation.

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