[P] mórilanta
#1
a promise carved in stone, deeper than the sea


Sending their lone Councilor into the darkness was evidence enough for her to realize that they were woefully lacking in terms of leadership.

In times of peace, the Valar could manage well enough on its own; even with as large as the Realm had swelled in the past few months, the High King and Moon Queen had been steadfast and fair, she thought.

In times of war, however, it was too much for just two to bear.

Kalypso had been a blessing. Her experience with the Court of Miracles was invaluable. But she was just one woman against an entire throng of heretics that sought to do them harm.

With little protest, Iomair agreed that they would need to strengthen their Council and pull from the High Courts to assist them. They came to the same conclusions; the choice was clear. If anything, as foreboding and unnerving as the bloody message on the Bastion's front had been, it motivated them to act swiftly, before anything else befell the Realm.

Iomair sent for the two High Lords, and together they waited in tense silence in the privacy of his quarters; but even here, they weren't impervious to the low, echoing whispers of concerned Caledonians against the Bastion's walls below.

They were anxious, and rightfully so. Their safe haven was under attack by smoke and fire, the vengeance of a watery Goddess manifesting in a thousand unseeing eyes.

These next days, she knew, would decide their fate.

Fennore waited quietly, her face betraying nothing, as she exchanged a wordless glance with her King.

We're running out of time.

[+2]
dated December 26th after this thread
please let amanda post first <3

sig by Despi
#2
The morning sun did its best to banish the hoary frost from his windowpanes – but still the frantic circles glowed in shadows where the light did not quite penetrate. The trees that dotted the square stood like quite sentinels, their scraggly branches braced against the cold and the unknown enemy that hung over all of New Caledonia like a cloud.

The King lay sprawled against his bed furs, his fingers tracing the line of scars that could be felt across the bridge of his nose. There were other marks on his form that were remnants of the old war – a nick on his arm and a dent along his ribs that was hidden by shaggy fur.

Peace had allowed them to flourish, but he had been naïve to believe that it would last forever. He groaned from his place on the bed, kicking a leg out from under the blanket as if to test the chill on the air. Everything in the room was cold: the floor, the walls… the bed.

The King scrubbed his eyes and finally roused himself, shaking the weary feeling from his shoulders as he moved to the long set of drawers that had been placed beneath the window.

Change was coming. Soon it would sweep over them like a storm, and their preparations would be tested. He could taste it on the air, the nervous energy that ran through the core of his people. He had always seen to it to connect with them, to assure that he knew their names and faces – their families and the stories that had brought them to his Realm.

But they had grown, and it had been easy.

He traced the grains in the old wood, feeling for scuffs and rings that had been left by whoever had come before. He pulled on a thick tunic and this his fur trimmed cloak – the leather trousers tied at the waist as he watched the sunlight change. Kalypso had left for Salsola to cancel a standing invitation and assure that their focus turned to fortifications.

Once dressed he prepared the room for a meeting – rearranging the bed so that it did not look quite so forlorn, and arranging seats around the small table where the four of them would sit. Later still, Fennore arrived, sweeping into the room like a beam of moonlight. They greeted one another swiftly, and took up presence in separate corners – Iomair allowed only the briefest thought of the last time they had been gathered in this room.

She had been like a candle against the cold, a tiny ember of heat that had staved off the frost.

There was a knock at the door, a hollow sound that echoed in the emptiness of the Kings room.

”S-Sire?” It was Rabbit, ”I brought them round for for you.”

Iomair worked the collar of his shirt, ”Thank you Rabbit. Please tell them to come in.”

He heard the quiet shuffling as the man disappeared back down the steps. Through the window he could see Pippa waiting for him, eager to take his hand and disappear into the City Square. Despite his mood, Iomair couldn’t help the subtle smile that darted across his face at the display of young love on the cobblestones.

”I still can’t believe it-“ The King allowed a chortle through his lips, ”To think that all that time… it was Rabbit who wrote those strange notes.”

He turned from the window back to the Isiltari, giving his head a slight shake.

”Atleast there is some measure of good hidden in all of this.”

Everything else was ugly – a contortion of all the good that their gods brought forth into the world.

He could hear movement in the hallway, and so he flicked his head in the direction of the open door way.

”Please, enter.” The pair of men would hover a moment before he gestured to the chair, ”Be seated.”

(655) | NPCs: n/a

I made some assumptions - please let me know if you would like me to change them! Rabbit went round to collect them from their homes. :)
#3
out of character text here [+542]
He’d heard analogies before about iron being forged in flame. No doubt a comparison king Iomair’s faith in Dúr resonated with. But as for Bellad? Earlier that day he spent longer than average examining his own scars in a mirror before tossing on a capelet over his tunic.

Rarely were these instances of rises through the ranks a surprise. His closeness with the Isiltári made keeping such things under wraps improbable. Though they’d built much on trust, he would not expect Fennore to leave these things to chance and not ensure from him a modicum of preparation. He’s gotten better, though still dedicated to a more feral identity. If anything it was not the occasion itself that bothered him. It was the way that Fennore, in no unclear terms, detailed to him the circumstances that brought it about.

For once, she hadn’t the time to watch him prepare, give any reminders or words of encouragement. He knew why it was happening. And yet it did not help.

It was then, perhaps, of little surprise that his greeting to a fellow High Lord in the hallway was barren of banter. They may have crossed paths more often as of late due to the business of the pack, but the Songthorn’s mood for camaraderie has been at a significant low.

Rabbit too received little in the ways of friendly displays. It didn’t help the big-eared canine feel more comfortable, no doubt. Though his was the lesser crime, it was, perhaps, still a crime to rouse the suspicions of the pack at a time like this. Having given him a solemn nod with a blank face, the Songthorn received a far more nervous nod in response, then was left to his contemplation while the royalty of the pack waited behind doors.

He sat, and waited, and surprisingly the air started feeling heavy with this anticipation. Bellad’s ears flicked once, twice in response to hushed conversation behind the doors, then settled down, rendering him mostly statuesque, taciturn. Was he impatient? Not on most days. Yet something about this whole thing made him itch, as though someone had already pinned to him an ill-fitting garment.

Maybe the capelet was a mistake.

Finally, some good news, or as good as could be – they were invited in. Bellad rose, not particular about the order in which he and the fellow High Lord would enter the room. Iomair and Fennore stood there waiting. The Songthorn knew the King and his wife have been spending much time together as of late. No doubt there was much to discuss. His mind still struggled to comprehend the full scale of just what they’ve been preparing for. But he did know Fennore’s many requests.

Orders. They were orders. And he looked upon the two Souls who ordered him here.

“My King, my Isiltári.” He greeted with the open throat salute, to show that his trust for those he was greeting was absolute. Yet whatever the respect he allotted them, now he would have to sit down. Again.

He searched for something on his wife’s face, but soon let his focus enter a drifting state between the two of them, gravitating more towards sources of speech than the focal points of his thoughts and desires.
#4
It wasn't often that Tora was summoned by the High King himself. In fact, as far as Tora could remember it had never happened before. He kept his head down in the pack, staying out of whatever politics were being played behind closed doors and sticking to his chosen niches: carpentry, bushcraft and killing people. Occasionally he would be summoned as part of a group such as the Wraiths or the entire roster of the Malcrins but a solo call? That was a new one.

So when faced with a new experience Tora had done his best to make a good impression. Upon receiving the call he had taken a moment to preen, a quick pat down and a combing of fingers through his fur to clear it of any unsightly tangles or clumps of crud that might have gotten trapped. His teeth were picked clean of the bits of gristle that gotten stuck in them from his recent meal, hair combed back into its usual topknot so that he looked somewhat presentable. And top it off,the outfit Calan had made for him. Despite the samurai's hesitation he could not deny the fact that it looked good. 

Honestly his friend had put in far more effort than Tora was worth. A matching cape and vest of creamy brocade, a linen shirt dyed purple so as to compliment the strange violet hue of his eyes. And the whole ensemble had been fitted to his exact measurements, made specially for him instead of having being handed down or given away. It was a far cry from the tattered hide robe and dusty cowboy hat, far more fitting for a Lord. Tora wouldn't wear it all the time but he certainly wasn't going to let it languish in a closet forever.

If ever there was a time to start suddenly balling out a meeting with the number one man and the number two lady was probably it. 

He had nodded to Bellad when the Songthorn's attention was on him but said nothing more, simply waiting to be allowed in. Part of him wanted to ask the Isiltári's favorite what the deal was but he decided against it for no other reason than he'd fight out soon enough anyway. Perhaps Bellad was making some power play with the help of his wife, thrusting Tora out in revenge for some slight? It was unlikely but would certainly have been an interesting outcome. 

"Sir, m'am." 

He didn't fawn over them like Bellad, not like he once would have. He simply gave them each a nod of greeting and took a seat as instructed, resting his sheathed sword up against the leg of the chair so he could idly toy with its hilt. 

"I assume this is about the coming conflict? Seeing as you've summoned the head of Caledonia's elite fighters and the leader of the healers." 

OOC:
Wordcount 493
#5
a promise carved in stone, deeper than the sea


Rabbit brought them in, stutters and all, and he was dismissed at the two men were seated before them. She could sense that her husband sought her gaze, and she allowed herself only a brief, non-verbal exchange before she stood, her gaze flicking back from the two of them before lingering on the void in between.

"High Lords," she greeted solemnly, her fingers intertwining before the dark fabric of her dress. "Thank you for coming on such short notice."

The difference between the Tanaka and Songthorn were vast. When she had first met Toraberā, she thought him a mild-mannered, average man from across the sea; but as his time in the Realm grew long, there were changes about him that she deemed somewhat unsavory — though perhaps they were not changes at all, and she simply had not noticed that which she did not care for in the past.

Bellad, meanwhile, was respectable as ever, having a firmer grasp on the social hierarchy than when he first arrived. Though he would always carry a certain feral attribute about his person, he had indeed attempted to integrate and learn all that he could, applying himself in his area of expertise as best as he knew how.

Both of their respective efforts had not gone unnoticed. And in the wake of the rising turmoil, it was time to put those talents to good use — not just because they had earned it, but because there was no one else to rise to the occasion.

"It is precisely the reason." She sought the High King's approval before she continued.

"We have been without a proper Council for some time. Lady Kalypso has toiled alone for close to a year, and we have patiently waited for others to mirror her tenacity.

"Though we regret that we are not approaching you under more ideal circumstances,"
she frowned, her muzzle tipping downward, "nor is this the joyous occasion that we would have preferred... we come to you in a time of need. The districts Othas and Osta are without Councilors. If we are to weather whatever storm comes our way, we will need your assistance."

Fennore cleared her throat.

"You should be warned that the title of Councilor comes with great responsibility, not just those restricted to your respective district. You have been exposed to some of this in the High Court, but you are representing far more than the Court of Dawn or Dusk, should you accept. You will become a face of our Realm, a representative open to scrutiny and criticism. You must learn to balance your duties with your image, whether you care for the politics or not: perception is reality."

Neither of the men struck Fennore as the sort gunning for power and prestige in the bureaucratic sense, but it came with the territory nonetheless.

"Decisions in your district will be deferred to you, to be approved by the Valar. We will trust your judgement and only intervene when necessary."

She seeped in a deep breath, letting it go slowly. It was a lot of information, not mention there was still so much more — but the urgency of their situation required a truncated synopsis. The finer details could be worked through at a later time.

"What say you?"

[+547]

sig by Despi
#6
Everyone deserved opportunity. Iomair believed it from the bottom of his soul. The two men before him had been a part of the Realm since the beginning – a founder, and later when the Court had come to join them… so too had Tora. They had at a time all been strangers to one another, but with time came familiarity, and with familiarity came trust. Both men had married women of high ranks, and had a line of respectable service that lay behind them.

They had proven dedicated and true. Iomair could ignore the rest as it was enough to keep their core strong. He greeted them quickly, clasping arms and bowing his head before allowing the Isiltari to begin her speech. They had discussed their decision at length and it was not time to bestow the pair with their official titles.

Fennore spoke succinctly, explaining the reason that they had been summoned to meet in the Bastion.

”We seek to bestow the title of Councillor onto those who have shown great loyalty to the Realm – to those who can bring their ideas and strive to make our Land a better place.” He frowned, ”It is not something to be done alone.”

”You would be Osta,” He gestured to Bellad first, and then Toraberā, ”And you would be Othas.”

”Growth and Sword. Kalypso is Lanya, the thread which ties us to others across the country.”

He echoed Fennore, ”We hope that you will accept these honors. They are not to be taken lightly.”

(252) | NPCs: n/a


#7
ooc [+566]
Both the Valar have spoken and, perhaps for the first time even since those private discussions of nobility and its obligations with Fennore, he felt a weight to those words. Enda to Malcrin, the path from the sea, through the woodland, up the mountain range all the way to the clouds like Asmin whom the stars remembered. Yes it’s been a journey, but ultimately never something he felt the added weight from to any significant extent. The healer remained a healer, even if he grew to instruct others. This? Being Councilor? An entire district of their home entrusted for him to look after?

Their home. Was the fact he felt concern over its further growth, the ways in which it could be aided, yet another sign of how deeply his roots have grown into the New Caledonian soil? Of course, the bond of marriage and the offspring he sired may have been proof enough. But for his heart to care so for this place? This was a height of years spent with the pack, from nascence through growth and towards now.

Yet the perils that may well have been waiting for them around the corner were not lost on him. Osta needed a Councilor not because a figurehead was meant to celebrate it and make for a Soul elevated to nobility as its symbol. Fennore was right. This was no joyous occasion. This was an arduous task and a portent of change that would not necessarily result in celebration across the land. His world, not for the first time, would expand. And this time it would no doubt introduce him to new perils.

He would no longer be but a man judged on the merit of the work he did with his hands. He would be held accountable for many. This, perhaps, was the sense of weight that the Elders who lead his tribe had carried on their shoulders. For but a moment he wondered how it came to be that he and not Ierian stood before the Valar to receive such an offer.

Bellad did not let his concerns or anxieties radiate outwards. This, of all places, was where his unreadable expression was maintained to near flawless effect. Considering his company, it could not be any other way. Even the Fennore before him was, foremost, his Isiltári for the moment. No time to ogle his beloved wife. He could not show weakness or second-guess the merit of the Valars’ decision. But the pause lingered, though all he conveyed was that he, the noble keeper of the pack's health, was clearly considering the offer bestowed on him by the mighty of the pack, thoughtful, respectful towards the sheer gravity of this instance.

Finally he nodded, slow, solemn, in part to himself and in part his superiors. “I respect the need of the Land and the Pack. New Caledonia is my cherished home. I have kept the health of the pack for a long time now. And if you would see me in the role of one who gives guidance beyond this, then so be it. I shall accept the role.” He weathered the eyes of both royals before him, an instance of eye contact with each of them in turn sealing his willingness to accept the post.

“I will be Councilor of Osta, and call on wisdom, mine and my peers’, to do what is best.”


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