[P] set your sails for a new horizon
The King's Bastion
#1
[Image: springforth-02.png] Spring Forth, Words! - Passing Score vim

“What is this?” Daisy asked, her expression hard.

She held in her hand a shining metal ring, one whose rough make suggested it had come from the foundry. In the process of cleaning the room she and Percival shared, the wolfdog had uncovered a great number of hidden trinkets – most of them mundane – that she did not remember bringing into the space.

The likely culprit, a striped tomcat, licked his chest in the feline equivalent of a shrug.

“Eddy, did you hear me?”

“I don't know what that is,” he said. His tail twitched. Daisy could assume he was lying, but thought it best not to push her companion too hard. He had always been keen on taking things that weren't his, and didn't entirely seem to understand the concept of private property. Besides, there wasn't really any way to punish a cat (not that she would have, since Daisy didn't think his “borrowing” was any type of crime). She scoffed and added it to the pile of junk that she intended to relocate later in the day.

Following the siege, the King's Bastion had cleared out except for its long-term residents. While most of the largest rubble was long-removed, and the scents of blood and fear long gone, dust and debris still accumulated. Her shared room had begun to smell a little too musty for her liking, and with proper vim, Daisy had set her attention to giving the place a deep cleaning. She had pulled all the bedding out in another pile meant to be washed and aired out sooner than later, and was working on picking up the odds and ends that had gotten hidden in all the little nooks and crannies.

Both Eddy and Loslin were observing this. The tuxedo cat was lounging in a sunny patch near the small open window, while Eddy had made a point to get underfoot at every turn. Daisy's discovery of his secret stash had explained why he was so eager to see what she was up to, but he had been excessively clingy since the war.

Downstairs, she could hear the coming and going of the other residents, but paid them little mind.

My bros!! Daisy is in the room she and Percival share.
[+ 3]
It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.
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#2
Location: King's Bastion || NPCs: -- || Forms: Optime



The day was alive and well by the time Thistle had been appropriately vetted by the Isiltári, Fennore, and properly accepted into the ranks of the Realm. Now officially a Commoner, it was time to show the younger man around his new home. And what better way to start than within the walls of the King's Bastion, where he and Daisy resided together. With any luck, their sister would be in and they could have a proper reunion before moving on to other matters — both with regards to Thistle's newfound community and of the concerns that brought him to New Caledonia's borders.

"The King's Bastion," Percival announced as they approached the impregnable building. "It served as the Realm's stronghold during the war." He did not expand on the precise role that the Bastion had served — how it had become like a prison during the siege that none of them knew they would ever make it out of — but the debris and dust that remained still spoke of the trauma it had endured. Opening the heavy wooden doors, he gestured Thistle inside. "The room that Daisy and I share is on the upper level. This way."

Some days it was still hard not to see the halls clogged with the huddled masses; smell the dust and the fear and the blood; hear the whimpers and the prayers and the screams. With every passing day it was getting easier, but there were still times when the memories would come racing back into the forefront of his mind like a jolt of electricity.

"Ah. It sounds like she's home." Percy turned to Thistle with a modest smile as they neared their room. Behind the door, he heard movement and soft voices. "Daisy, we have a guest!" he woofed respectfully before opening the door. Upon revealing their room in disarray, however, the bearded Lord quailed comically, his bottom jaw dropping open. "What in the Goddess' name are you doing?!"

Looking over the piles of bedding and treasures and debris, Percival tucked his thumb beneath his jawline and rubbed his temple with two fingers. Then, stepping acquiescently aside, he allowed their brother into the chaos.

"Welcome to our home, Thistle," he said with resignation.



[WC -- 376]
OOC: eeee thank you so much for starting this! Takes place after this thread.
#3
OOC: Yee thank you! Awkward Fizzle is awkward.

IC:
So, Thistle was a New Caledonian now - more importantly, he had another thing to focus on, now, besides his beloved sister who may or may not have been in trouble. The young man wasn’t quite sure what being a New Caledonian meant - yet. He was certain he would discover that for himself in due time. For Thistle, in the moment, New Caledonia meant being with his elder siblings.

The Cormier lad followed Percival, skimming glances over their surroundings until the older brother led them to a structure that he dubbed The King’s Bastion. Thistle nodded at his brother’s remarks - he did want to hear about the war, not in some glory-chasing manner; he wanted to know how Percy and Daisy had got through it - and how they were recovering.

But that could wait. Thistle was quiet as they entered the place, his nose twitching at the dust that drifted around them. “This place’s seen some life, eh?” he murmured softly. Picking his way around the debris, Thistle did his best to keep no more than a few steps behind The High Lord of Dusk.

On the threshold of the room his siblings shared, Thistle hesitated. What if Daisy wasn’t pleased to see this muscular whippersnapper? Still, he’d never know if he didn’t actually greet his sister.

Thistle, standing behind Percival, could see the mess, though the odd sound Percy made caused the youngest Cormier’s ears to twitch, his muzzle tightening in restrained amusement.

“Welcome to our home, Thistle.”

Thistle bobbed his head appreciatively, plastering a grin on his square muzzle as he stepped into the room. He was unable to hold back his snort of mirth.

“Reckon I’m late t’ the party in more ways than one, eh?”

He glanced at the items strewn across the floor before lifting his gaze to smile at his sister.

“Hiya, sis'.”


[318]
#4
[Image: springforth-02.png] Spring Forth, Words! - Passing Score iconoclast

She was engrossed in her project when the voice spoke up from behind her. Visitors were uncommon these days: though there had been plenty of support for her the day she spoke out against High King Iomair's lackluster plan, Daisy now felt as if her circle had once again grown small. It was hard not to brood over the things that had happened. She and Percival had taken a life, even if the man they had killed had been an evil one. The things she had opened herself to believe in were being destroyed by iconoclasts blinded by hatred.

These days, she did not know where she stood or how she felt. Somehow, during the war, it had been easier.

The familiar sight of her brother's indignation was met with a smirk, though her expression soon morphed into one of shock and then delight as he revealed just who he had brought to their home.

“Thistle!” Daisy barked. She abandoned her mess and scrambled to her feet, tail whipping behind her in furious frenzy. Without waiting for permission or objection, Daisy wrapped her younger brother in a big hug and rubbed her face around his ears and head, both to take in his scent and show the sort of affection she might any other member of the family. Only when she was satisfied did she release him, though this was merely at arm's length. Her odd-eyes took in the sight of him.

“Yer lookin' real tall! He looks like Cora now, don't he, Perc?” She exclaimed, yet unaware of the reason their sibling had come to New Caledonia.

It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.
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#5
[Image: wolfmoon.gif] Leviathan Word of the Day - 1 May 22 noun | something large or formidable



Location: King's Bastion || NPCs: -- || Forms: Optime



Daisy greeted their younger brother with as much enthusiasm and warmth as he thought she would; with as much of those things that he had lacked showing in their own reunion. Percival allowed the thought to pass into and out his mind, much like a cloud drifting over and beyond the sun on its mysterious journey through the sky. He allowed his vexation to dissolve, revealing a small and affectionate smile as he watched his siblings come together after so many long and complex years. There was a lot yet to catch up on, both for Thistle to share with them and for he and Daisy to reveal to him, but there would be time.

Presently, the leviathan in the room was this business with Cora.

When their sister's name was brought forth by Daisy's own tongue, Percy shared a knowing glance with Thistle before drawing air in through his nares and closing the door behind him. While there was no concrete evidence, so far as he could see, that suggested trouble had undoubtedly befallen Cora, privacy was in order to allow the Cormier-Parhelion siblings a proper discussion.

"He does, yes," he agreed, looking almost wistfully at their brother again, then turned his eyes back on Daisy. "Actually, th' nature of Thistle's journey t' New Caledonia involves Cora, too. Thistle?" Percival lifted his brows inquiringly. "Why don'tcha share with Daisy what ya told me?" Better the whole story came from the mouth of the witness rather than secondhand from his own.



[WC -- 256]

#6
He’d never admit it, but a part of Thistle had wavered even as he’d given Fennore his speech about pulling his weight. He had guessed, by now, that Percy wasn’t as effusive in his interactions as the youngest lad was used to with Cora and their Mother - but still, he’d had to fight against the notion that maybe he was an interruption here.

If Percival’s welcome had been lukewarm, Daisy’s was like a glowing sun. Thistle couldn’t help letting out a laugh as his big sister - still a couple of inches shorter than him - embraced him and he wrapped his arms around her in kind, tail wagging. As her mismatched eyes took him in, Thistle beamed - but there was little chance to bask in the warmth of their reunion when his pale eyes met the depth of Percival’s brown ones.

“Yeah,” he murmured, the brightness in his expression lowering to dim uncertainty. “Cora met someone back in Portland - they got real close, real fast and she seemed real happy, too.” Thistle lowered his gaze. “But we saw less ‘n’ less of her - that’s normal, right? Except… when we did see ‘er, she seemed less ‘n’ less happy. More like she was lookin’ to him for ev’ry move she made. Then she came over t’ say they were goin’ away.” Thistle’s fingers wove together in front of him as he turned over the memory in his mind. “I dunno, Daisy - she seemed scared. Not the kinda scared ya get over somethin’ good - the kinda scared like she was trapped, or somethin’.”

Thistle’s hands parted and he lifted one to his face, curling it into a fist and rubbing his brow.

“Maybe I’m crazy?” It emerged as a question bearing a thrum of hope. Thistle could handle the idea that he was overreacting if it meant his family were safe. He looked from Daisy to Percy. “Am I?”

[329]
#7
For all the delight of the reunion, the news that came with it was like that of a cloud passing over the sun – the warmth dissipated, and the shadow that was cast felt grave indeed.

Seeing her little brother (Goddess, he looked so much like Cora) struggle with his concerns made Daisy, far too empathetic for her own good, fold her ears back. She glanced at Percival. He had always been the stronger of the two – stoic, serious – and saw from his expression that this story was indeed the real reason for Thistle's arrival.

Would he have left home otherwise? Daisy could not imagine the sort of life he might have lived, away from the strife and horrors which had begun near the River of Fire and followed them all the way here to the north. Had he known terror and starvation? Had he been forced to watch the people he love suffer? She prayed he had not. Cora's absence seemed to be the first greatest catastrophe in the young man's life, and though she knew better, Daisy hoped it would be the last.

She smiled, though it was more subdued than before. Both of her hands came to Thistle's shoulders (they were broad now, like those of a man) and she looked into his face with earnest belief. “Don't ever doubt what yer heart says, Thistle. Never. Yer head might get confused,” she added with a wink. “But yer heart's a compass, and it ain't never gonna guide you wrong.”

With that, she withdrew her hands and put them on her hips. “How about we get y'somethin' t'eat? Y'came a long way, after all. Once y'get some food in yer belly and rest a bit, though, I wanna hear more 'bout what happened.”

She believed him, sure enough.

Later, when she heard the whole story, her conviction would solidify.

This will be my last post in this thread, but feel free to PP Daisy/wrap things up! :>
[+ 3]
It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.
Character Wiki | [Image: uOuyajto_o.jpg] | Player Wiki
#8
[Image: wolfmoon.gif] Paradox Word of the Day - 21 May 22 noun | a statement that seems self-contradictory but that may be true



Location: King's Bastion || NPCs: -- || Forms: Optime



Yes! cried his heart as he watched his siblings with a frown, the idea of their sister surrounded by sinister intentions utterly unpalatable. Of course you're crazy — you must be! Nothing so terrible could ever befall Cora.

But his head cried folly. The world was full of dangers; villains were found anywhere: setting flames to entire communities, violently tearing families apart... even living among the good people with which they shared a home, strategically and surreptitiously chipping away at the safety and sanity of their fellow citizens until trust grew scarce.

Percival released a long breath through his nose and closed his eyes, his head hanging subtly.

The paradox was that although his heart wailed against believing in such concerns, it did so because, in the depths of its cockles, it knew there was something to be concerned about. If the heart was a compass, as Daisy asserted, somewhere along the way, it seemed, Percy's own heart had lost its sense of direction.

Finally, he nodded. "Daisy's right," he conceded, slipping into his family accent again. "You've been 'round Cora more than we have lately — you know 'er best and I trust that your heart's steering you true." Again, he sighed. "Although I hope it turns out not to be."

Looking at Daisy again, and glad for her ability to rouse optimism with seeming ease, Percival gave his tail a slow wag and nodded again.

"A meal would be good," he agreed and clapped a hand gently upon Thistle's shoulder. "As would gettin' outta this mess." Glancing at Daisy, he allowed a small, playful smile to turn his lips. "C'mon, let's find somewhere quiet to eat and talk."

And with that, Percival turned his back on their half-cleaned room and began the short walk back out into the City Square.




[WC -- 309]
OOC: You can wrap 'er up with your next post, Rat! <3
#9
OOC: All done and dusted! <3

IC:
Thistle had always looked up to his distant elder siblings; he’d always known they’d been independent, strong enough to choose their own paths and for Daisy and Percy to subsequently rise up the ranks of New Caledonia. In their little brother’s eyes, both of them - different as they were to each other - were glowing examples of Luperci. Had he known more about the darkness of their experiences, obscured for him by that blazing pride, Thistle might not have put them on quite such a lofty pedestal. He would have still respected them, of course. His family were his heroes but they were not saints.

Somehow, in spite of the pride he had in Daisy for being his big sister and everything else that she’d come to be, he was overwhelmed by the curly-haired woman’s wisdom. As her mismatched eyes held his gaze, Thistle found his fingertips resting against his chest, pressing for a moment to feel the beat of his heart. He drank in her words like a man who’d been dining on sand for weeks and he silently promised himself to never forget them.

“Thanks, Dais’,” he murmured through a warm smile. His head turned and he offered Percy a nod. “Thanks, bro’ - fer vouchin’ for me t’ be here. I’m grateful - to both of ya.” No characteristic Cormier quips; Thistle wanted his siblings to know that he truly meant it.

“Food sounds like a good plan,” the youngest Cormier agreed with a swish of his tail. In truth, Thistle’s appetite had been lacking as he’d approached the Realm’s borders - but he felt more at ease now and his stomach was letting him know it was safe to focus on something other than the news that had brought him here. His concerns for Cora hadn’t miraculously been obliterated - but his brother and sister had given him the gift of no longer feeling alone.

[326]


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