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Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:24 pm
Lich King Lord-Regent
Kaly was somewhat taken aback when the girl appeared at her doorstep with an invitation from the Lord-Regent. She accepted, naturally, but asked for a few moments to do something about her hair. She had left the girl waiting for maybe a few minutes as she tied her appearance somewhat, cognizant of the fact he was high ranking and had a noticeable eye. The rumors suggested he was highly susceptible to whims of the flesh.
She let the bone comb straighten the errant hairs back into place and secured her headband in place, adding a glinting beaded dangle beneath it as a decoration. Pressed for time, she threw on her usual beaded necklaces and figured that would be sufficient adornment. There was no time for the captain's jacket still stowed in her belongings (she really needed to air that out) so she made certain her off-white shirt was at least spotless and strategically tucked into her nearly-black plants, adjusting the ties provocatively enough.
The walk to the man's home was quiet for Kalypso was intensely staring ahead, halting any attempts at conversation with a faint narrowing of eyes and somewhat distant gaze. What on earth did the Lord-Regent want? And with her, to boot. Perhaps, he was keen to gloat at the reversal in her fortune, for he had mentioned knowing of her Court and its downfall. He had certainly had the air of a man who played the political games with aplomb.
She was somewhat apprehensive considering she was out of practice, but it filled her with excitement at the prospect. Challenges again, something to ascend to.
At the treehouse - a house in a tree of all things - she looked up, unable to hide her bafflement at the sight. He built.. a tree house? Was he a bird? The Caledonians were strange. She thanked the girl, absently rubbing at the back of her neck as she gazed at the home, thankful that there was still a portion of the domicile on the ground. At least that seemed somewhat normal. Mysteries were interesting but they did make it so much harder to plan accordingly.
Lord-Regent? You summoned me? she called out, unsure but still intrigued.
Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:00 pm
Deep within a forest of silver birches pale and marred like spires of aged bone where pine trees grew intermixed, a lord of wood and ash surveyed his dwelling with a stormy scowl. He was torn, warring with himself on where he should place his possessions. What decor the home possessed was composed of moss and vines, skulls, pelts, as well as practical and fanciful items carved from dead wood. He shifted a stag skull from one shelf to another, raising a lip in reluctant resignation as he let it rest at last.
His thumb ran across the meat of the opposite palm as he rubbed at the small strip of cloth to scratch at scabbed flesh. The sensation was more meddlesome than the initial incision and it did nothing to improve his mood. Absent-mindedly his worrying thumb rubbed a little harder and tore the fragile skin open at its seam. Athras was too occupied to notice as his mind thrilled with the anticipation of his guest’s arrival. It began to bleed anew.
Kalypso Savoy had been a queen once, or so he'd been told, and he thought back to moons ago when Willow first mentioned their dearly departed Court. As it happened her information had been months out of date, and now here they were living within his own domain. New Caledonia was fast becoming the land of new beginnings. He should’ve been ecstatic, elated at the prospect of new opportunities: the dawn of a new era. Instead, he pined for the lost.
Utopia was a dusk grove, unburned, unburdened by war and death— a world where shadows thrived. In New Caledonia Athras created his own sanctuary from scraps...it wasn’t enough. He tried not to think of what and whom he had lost, for that was dangerous in and of itself. The adjacent line of thought caused him to reach for his throat involuntarily and his fingers stroked its length as if to soothe a long-forgotten ache. The half-shadow was rescued from his melancholy when a voice rang out clear and cool, though understandably apprehensive.
He did not answer immediately. Instead he straightened to tug at his dark leather vest and the russet robes beneath, smoothing them to his svelte frame and freeing them of wrinkles or folds. The high collar accented his long elegant neck and sharp features while the v-neck of his vest exposed a simple necklace of leather cord from which hung an antler tine. He grasped this briefly before exiting to the door and there he stood on the landing of the stairs surveying the new arrival with thinly veiled interest as his dark visage broke immediately into a warm and gracious smile.
The girl behind the once queen stirred uncomfortably. She looked between the man and woman with her mouth in a thin line, clearly she’d intended to announce their arrival and was beaten to it.
“Ah yes, Madam Savoy,” Athras called benevolently “might I have the pleasure of your company?” The Regent did not pause for her reply, instead he called to the young woman among them. “Miss Galenas, tea if you don’t mind.” Without acknowledgement Aerin set herself to the task, her face a mask of neutrality which disguised her intentions. It wasn’t clear whether she did his bidding out of compliance or...contempt. For the oaths of Taur were secretive pacts known only to those who made them, and Aerin’s family was tied firmly to Athras’s own. They were, for better or worse, bound by the promises of their forebears.
Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:33 pm
Bold, unwavering, relentless. Athras went about his actions with the deliberate air of someone confident in them and the intended outcome. Confidence. It was contagious, infectious, enviable. Kalypso was not given a moment to respond to his declaration, mostly by his own rushing words and orders to his subordinate girl. Her storm-sea eyes lingered on the Galenas girl set about her task without an expression on her face. She was not a slave so clearly the bonds there had been somewhat different than the relationship between an owned person and their owner.
Her attention moved back to the glowingly warm man and she felt the cautionary signs flashing in her mind. Dangerous, be careful, they said. Do not be lulled, they warned. Kalypso did not need them to blare so loudly for she knew that she had to be somewhat careful with herself and this man, this man who reeked of powerful charisma.
I suppose my answer will have to be 'naturally, of course', she said mildly, understanding that she likely had very little choice in the matter. She had been summoned and that had implied that she was needed. But it was all a game in the end. Kalypso was somewhat rusty at it, but she was no stranger to the idea of it. She would play that merry game until they ran in circles.
She was relatively indifferent to their glaring variation in rank, which would either win her points or risk more than she ought to have. Kalypso found herself unable to care overly much; she had been too careful for too long. It was more like her to be blase than any sort of sickeningly sweet obedient.
She jut a hip out in a fluid motion, resting her hand upon it as she fiddled with a large sea glass bead at her collar. But, I can't really say why you'd want to talk to me. I am but a lowly peon, barely better than a commoner, she lamented with a decidedly coy smirk. She wasn't really all that mournful, though. If anything, it suggested that she did not consider herself what her rank declared her to be.
At the end of the day, Kalypso still considered herself a Queen, even if a fallen one.
Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:42 pm
Athras Eryn was a man at war: with himself and his surroundings. His personality was a force of nature, and like the forces of nature he could be hot, cold, airy, or dark, all within the blink of an eye. He was fae-like and mercurial, often whimsical, but stormy within. He had all the canny confidence befitting of his title and station, but his goals were often beset by the devils of his nature, hedonism and secrecy which worked both for and against him. He kept his heart guarded, constricted as if by thorny vines and let none witness the truth he’d all but buried. Hidden even from himself as he swallowed it down deeper and deeper hoping against all hope that the past might soon cease to exist. Vanity, perhaps, but it was something he coveted with every fiber of his being.
He tilted his head favorably towards her with her answer, those eyes inviting and assessing all the same. Aerin went about her doing what she was told, throwing a handful of herbs to heated water towards the back of the grounded domicile. She stole glances at Kalypso with pale gold eyes where Athras could not see her.
The Lord watched the woman’s shift in stance, her hip cocking at she teased him, testing him perhaps in her own way as he had done to her. This would be fun.
His gaze traveled briefly to the bead she toyed with and he remembered her mention of jewel-crafting. Had she made them herself? Then his smile grew once more and sharpened at the edges. “For now.” The Lord affirmed kindly but carefully, refusing to offer even playful sympathy. That was indeed her situation and he would have her learn it. She might’ve already proven herself worthy of a rise in status, but she was just a single step above a commoner and he was Iomair’s second. But he was interested and intrigued by her. He wanted to know everything he could about her past, the rise and fall of her people, and matters a little more...personal.
Athras supposed he already had a reputation, whispers and mentions of the sight of him seen stalking the valley of Lebennin for the favor of a certain Cormier. And word from the recent diplomacy summit from those who’d seen him dance with more than a few women from varying kingdoms. Unsurprisingly, no mention of O’Brien. He wondered what Kalyspo had heard.
“Don’t sell yourself short, dear madam. I’ve heard you’re a woman of many talents. Please, come up.” Athras indicated the narrow spiraling stair that led up into his bed and living quarters, closed to prying eyes before he vanished within.
Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:10 pm
The looks of curious men were the same, even if they were somewhat altered by the intelligence that often varied between one and another. Some were obvious and clear in their intent. Others were far more complicated and calculating. More and more, Athras reasserted that he was of the latter. The looks were obvious, but there was quite a bit hidden behind that supposed warmth he portrayed. Whether it was a genuine warmth, she had yet to decide.
For now, she repeated, smiling faintly. She did not say more, knowing that there was plenty of risk to make any declarations to the contrary. It was obviously, though, that she was not planning to linger in the lower echelons for too long. It was mostly a promise than anything else.
She might not have aspired to royalty, having already tasted the fruit of that brand of nobility, and found herself more keen for prestige that did not have remotely the same quantity of responsibility and spotlight. There were things that could be done in the shadows that her mother had been infamous for and Kaly understood the necessity of that work.
Athras invited up her up the narrow staircase, disappearing from view. She peered at Aerin for a moment, thinking. She contemplated and weighed if she wanted to say something or not to the girl, mostly to assure her that she was not there to merely spread her legs for the pack's second. It would be clear quite quickly she would do no such thing. So, she nodded at Aerin and ascended the stairs.
Kalypso furrowed her brows at the room in its state of.. what was the word she wanted? Well, whatever it was, it was simply lacking. Cohesion, thought, and care. She could not hide her dissatisfaction. He had a tree house and he seeming had no idea what the hell to do with the unique space.
She clicked her tongue as she settled against the nearest window to disguise the uncertainty of where she was expected to settle herself. This is a very interesting home you've constructed, she praised vaguely, unable to compliment him on his decorating sense. Very secure. She looked out of the corner of her eye, peering out the window with that glance. Was it security that drove him to lift his home up, or vain hubris?
And no flooding. At least, unless there were leaks. She shot a glance up at the roof.
Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:53 pm
He tilted his head with a delightedly curious look as she echoed him, her faint smile neither returning nor spurning his warmth and welcome. Athras proceeded into his abode with the woman who had been queen not terribly far behind. And what a marvelous dwelling it was.
There was no accounting for taste. The druid’s home reflected his religion and an ancestry steeped in enigma, deep roots that were still- growing strong. The Lord Eryn had only the young Galenas to represent the ashen remains of Taur, but both were quick-witted and able-bodied, and poised to thrive.
His elegant robes swept the house’s floor gracefully as he crossed to tree-hollow shrine where a hand-carved idol decorated with moss and twisting vines rested prominently. Upon the unearthly stag-like figure spots of crimson could be seen both upon its antlered head and at its feet. A whittled bowl was set before it with a similar crimson residue and within were mushrooms and moss, dark peat soil, a pine cone, a tiny bird’s skull, and an antler tine: offerings to those who understood their purpose. For Lord Eryn, vain and flippant though he may be, was also a man of faith.
Once the jeweled woman passed through the doorway Athras flexed his hand to offer her a seat, but stopped short when a small sting drew his gaze to his palm. As the woman settled somewhere behind him he peeled back the strip of cloth and beheld a stain of fresh crimson, shining at him from the open but trifling wound. It did not seem to bother him and instead, he smiled. Casually he planted his palm upon the wooden stag-idol and pressed the excess blood into the wood before turning to face his guest, tying the strip of cloth back into place.
Her appraisal was hardly complimentary but Athras did not seem to care, for the only approval he sought was his own. Instead he smiled just as pleasantly affording her an indulgent chuckle for her ignorance. Though it was true in a sense, it was lacking but simply because it’s decoration was not quite completed. There was a small set of carved cups and plates and partially finished items on built-in shelving or comfortably carved benches, a sort of desk next to the window. One such item looked like a wind chime, though bones took the place of metal or glass and the pieces were strung together with dried vines. It’s top was set with a stag skull its antlers still attached and there were various borrowed tools set beside it in its disassembled state. What pelts he had were laid out on benches and window seats. On a raised platform towards the opposite side of the home was a pile of furs padded by dried grasses and moss, clearly a sizable bed. The tree house was comfortable, intimate but not at all cramped, with room to entertain a few luperci at a time, though the motif was grim and sparse of yet. In time, it would be quite fine indeed.
“It does not suit you.” Was his quick reply, his smile dagger-sharp, but pleasant— a weapon of its own. “I did not think it would. For what would you know of my people.”
“You wondered why I’ve summoned you.” The Lord went about his business in short order his expression benign, the smile holding, if enigmatic. He was hard to read. “Would it interest you to know that I’d sought out your Court moons ago? I believed it still existed and intended to barter for aid.” He stalked with silent step to the desk beside her and arranged himself comfortably on the bench. “But my information was, sadly, out of date. I am curious, however, about you, about your people. It was a missed opportunity if I may say so myself, and I’d very much like to make it right. Do you mind indulging me?”
Those intelligent eyes glittered with cunning, piercing teal in a shadowed russet mask. They did not wander obtrusively but his gaze was intent and attentive. He seemed to be devouring every detail, her hair, her eyes, her clothing, her form. He missed nothing.
Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:16 pm
No, no you're right. It does not, but it would suit Thyri. This is more the sort of thing she would love to live in, I think, she admitted without chagrin. She knew that the tree house as it was would never suit her. It was not decorated in a way that was of interest to her, nor was it in a location that screamed Kalypso. But they were not about to build near a tropical seaside or a luxurious waterfall. Those would have been more up her alley, but it was simply never meant to be. Not unless she wanted to return to the islands and join her mother's trading venture.
She did raise her brow with plain surprise, carefully cultivated, so was it really even real? That's most unfortunate timing, then. She smiled at him without saying much more. He had come to them, to seek aid? Where had they been months prior when they could have been useful in clearing out La Marea from her borders? She nearly voiced her irritation at the whole thing, but kept it buried behind the pleasant mask that anyone with political talent maintained. God, she would have throttled Athras if she could have.
Ah, information. He wanted information. Everyone always did. She watched him with careful eyes as he settled himself on the bench near her, and she tilted her head slightly as he did so. She continued to lean on that window, though, enjoying the sun on her back, as much as she could considering it was such a weak thing in that season.
Curiosity killed the cat, my Lord Regent, Kalypso warned with a slight smile. It was not that she wanted to hide what had happened. Anyone from the Petite Cour could have told him what had happened with just as much ease as she could have, but none of them likely knew all the details behind the why's of what had happened. But I can tell you what you might need to know. Are you concerned that there is a threat to you by our being here? That those that destroyed the Court might come here to finish the job?
Kalypso raised a brow as she fiddled with her necklace, the beads clinking softly as they struck one another. I can assure you they will not be coming here. Death tends to be a rather permanent deterrent, you see. What else did the man want to know? And what on earth was he going to give her in return for the generous donation of information. Perhaps, you can enlighten me in turn? she asked, eyes glittering.
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:51 pm
“Your sister?” He said slowly, his eyes appealing for confirmation. “I’ll be sure to invite her, it is solid craftsmanship, after all.” Despite the man who made it, went unsaid. Athras could not argue the man’s skills, but that did not mean he admired the carpenter, himself. No doubt Alistair was thrilled to have finished his work, and Athras no less at his absence. “And her husband, wasn’t he interested in carpentry?”
He was wistful, listless as his thoughts continued to flow. His gaze wandered around the newly hewn walls not yet warmed and worn by moss and ivy, it was too young a construction to have that “lived in” feel. And while Alistair had done a marvelous job his tastes veered more for the human element, the architecture was not in keeping with the Lord’s Taur roots. But here, in New Caledonia, it would have to do. Alistair had not been trained by the masters, did not possess their unique vision for domiciles made and molded towards natural designs in harmony with their wild surround. His eyes lingered on the tree trunk jutting off center and the shadowed hollow within. This was his prized place, a sacred place, and it was here that he’d spent his first night. He recalled curling up on the floor beneath the watchful gaze of Nanin, and there he’d slept deep and peaceful.
“Mm, yes.” He hummed, “though in hindsight I should have sought direction from a more reliable source.” The smile he wore was briefly fond as months had passed to cool his vexation. Willow had told him to the best of her ability and news traveled slowly. “They,” he continued, purposefully keeping her identity a secret. “Believed yours was still a thriving kingdom, and I had only just arrived. I didn’t know where I was, neither was I in any shape to travel further.”
“You’ll forgive me.” He was admiring her languishing pose like an artist might admire the subject of their painting. She looked comfortable. “Fortunate for us we aren’t cats.” The Lord had since leaned forward, hands in his lap. His eyes were alight with tempered mirth and attentive interest that faded as the conversation wore on. She was right to question his motivations. After all, the true Caledonia had fallen to upstarts and war-mongers, neither he nor the King wished the New to suffer the same fate.
Teal eyes dropped to her necklace as she fiddled with it, the absent-minded motion nonetheless drawing his eye. “That’s a comfort to hear.” He sighed mildly, then tipped his head in acknowledgement of their fates.
It soon became clear that whatever information he sought would not be without cost. She had been a leader in her own right...once upon a time, but that was redundant. Of course she knew how to play the game, and he didn’t mind sharing a few details here and there so long as they weren’t...Well. He was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. “Naturally,” Athras replied, despite the rising tension that wrapped its bitter hands around his spine. “What would you like to know?”
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:42 pm
Kalypso smiled and nodded her head in affirmation. Thyri and Merlin would likely quite like the house in the tree. It was closer to Thyri's roots and also something that would likely entice Merlin. The mound houses that Kalypso had settled on in the Court had also been homage to her half-siblings' Vinattan upbringing, on top of the many benefits she had seen in that design. Athras's house was not quite the same but it was in the same vein. Were she Thyri, Kaly would have been in rapture.
Their discussion was both easy and difficult at once. It was easy to trade information that was in the past and had limited effect on the present. And yet it was painful to divulge freely, for it was not a flowing, bubbling brook but a watershed hidden beneath the earth. She needed to dig into the ground and build a well before she could pull out a full bucket.
I almost wish we were cats, she said wistfully, laughing softly. Cats landed on their feet and were graceful as could be. Their wisdom always seemed so logical, regardless of how skewed to felines it could be. Though, I like having thumbs, she added with a wiggling gesture of the mentioned appendages. Such useful things, but did cats even think them necessary when they saw the Luperci use them?
We all have a past, mine caught up to me unexpectedly. A group of.. I don't even know what to call them. Not mercenaries, not bandits. Kalypso hummed thoughtfully, doing her best to ignore the dropping sensation in the pit of her stomach. How was she supposed to describe the shades of vengeance that came hunting her in canine form? It was hardly eloquent or succinct.
Most of them died, but they made the Court impossible to continue. At least here. A good portion of us moved to our outpost near Portland. So, I suppose that the Court still exists, just not here, she added, waving her hands vaguely around her. They were, of course, no where near the old lands but that hardly mattered when storytelling was the point.
Athras agreed to her thinly veiled terms. It had only been fair for her to exchange one tale of woe for another. She was no bard, telling tales for the sake of passing them on. There was a price to be paid for everything, this she had learned young.
I'll answer whatever I can about the Court, she assured him, though it was hardly a promise to share everything. By nature it was impossible to know everything and so it was easy to justify it as a loophole. But tell me, about old Caledonia, for there couldn't be a New without an Old. I know almost nothing about what happened to drive you all away, but I'm guessing it was pretty cataclysmic. Her eyes drifted lazily across the room's furniture to plant firmly on the man with his silver tongue.
Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:02 pm
stopped it there for ease of conversation
He was enjoying their time together, marveling subtly at the way she languished upon his window seat, pretty as a painting. Though he wished her hair were longer. It’d suit her, he thought decisively. And when they spoke of cats Athras echoed her soft laugh, if only politely. “Would that I could agree.” By his thin smile his thoughts were clear. “I’m not fond of them, myself. They take more than they need for their own entertainment, squandering morsels better served to those who hunger for sustenance. They make a mockery of the balance of life, of nature.”
“So, no, I don’t much care for them.” His smile widened briefly as if in apology, not for what he’d said but the fact that it was far beside the point. He took in a breath to resume the real point of their discourse, listening keenly to her tale of Court's fall.
"Hmm." He hummed pensively, his fingers absently steepled as he listened, head canting with interest. "Portland? I hear of it from time to time, but I've no clue it's significance. Is it an outpost of some sort?" Athras was reminded of how little he knew of the surrounding areas. He didn't know whether it was north or south nor why it was so popular for habitation.
She assured him with a promise to be forthcoming and Athras nodded in appreciation. He would not pry the information from her though neither did he wish for an even exchange. Broad strokes suited him and bore a lower risk, and he could only hope she did not press him or this meeting would become short indeed.
Her questions were inevitable and his chest tightened, the muscles stiffening as he steeled himself for her inquiries. "Would it surprise you to know that Caledonia existed as an infant nation?" An intriguing truth to set them on their way. He wondered if the newcomers could sense the division between the men who lorded above them all, for they differed in more than appearance. "Yes, before Caledonia were the Clans. Four, to be precise: Taur," he indicated himself. "Lorn, Menel, and Aegas- home to Stonecarvers such as the King."
"It started slowly. A skirmish here or there, unknown entities testing our borderlands and harrying our hunters. It kept happening again and again until eventually it came to the nobility's attention that it wasn't just Taur but all clans." A tickle began in his throat and he cleared it before continuing. "Then the nobility, setting aside their differences— likely for the first time in their history, mind you. Decided the best thing to do was to unite, to form a nation out of our disparate pieces."
Again he cleared his throat. His hands were no longer before him but split. One held onto the edge of the stool beneath him while the other was restless in his lap. It worried at a fold of his robes until he noticed, settling it down and stilling it. "The High King was chosen for his prowess on the battlefield and respectable name. It mattered little, in the end." It was too late.
His eyes were distant and unblinking. His grip on the stool tightened, the knuckles beginning to ache as they grasped cold wood. His throat had long gone dry, and the longer the silence prevailed the clearer it became that Athras had finished speaking no matter his intention. Until he sputtered back into being, coughing once and again as he brought a hand to his mouth.
His eyes blinked rapidly, gaze sharpening as the Lord became present once more. He coughed again before clearing his throat. "Excuse me."