every morning I'm staring shadows in the eye

Claire self-thread

POSTED: Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:01 pm

word count→ ::

It hadn't been long since his son had left, though Alistair felt his loss keenly. His home had never seemed so empty, first Lola, now Tristan- Guinevere had moved out months prior. As a father, it was hard to see one's children grow up, move on as Tristan had. The boy had found a girl, it was the beginning of the end. Life continued on in this way: love and by way of love, children (though hopefully not too soon). Parents became grandparents, sons became fathers. Alistair hoped his son had made the right choice.

He'd met Izrian, though he'd been drunk at the time, embittered by lost love - the Cavalieri king wasn't so good at first impressions. But she seemed alright, the daughter of a powerful family, though Alistair was wary of Palaydrian. The Vald had been involved (he suspected) with his father, to what end he didn't know. He prayed that whatever their acquaintence she was free of him now, and by extension her family, his.

More than that he worried that his son might get hurt. Love was by far the greatest risk of all and even the truest could fail. He knew better than most the perils of love; of giving yourself over to another in perfect surrender and then having your heart betrayed. He didn't want his son to experience the same. But he had to trust. Tristan knew his heart, Alistair could only spectate and hope for the best.

Merlin snorted fine mist in the cold. His hooves crushed and hard-packed the fine powder of snow as they traveled around the Halycon. It was treacherous terrain but Alistair took the utmost of care. He knew better than to take risks and hoped to stay in Vinatta for a time, were Florina to allow it.

He wouldn't arrive empty handed. The blue steel of Oathkeeper hung from his hip though it wasn't the only sword he carried. Another hung from the saddle and while it wasn't as impressive as the Sole's own he estimated it's value far beyond. The first sword Alistair had ever owned would fit his son's hand just as well and a small pouch held a pendant, the copy of another he held dear. He hoped Izrian would treasure it as much as he had, as Lola had- it was as good an apology he could think of.

Merlin stopped suddenly. Swiveling his ears he looked around, raising his dark head and inhaling deeply. "Is someone there?" The Sole called, eyes drawn to the shadow of the trees, searching for a sign of life.

Alistair Callow

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Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
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and the Shield

POSTED: Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:43 pm

word count→ 000 :: started writing this before the Outpost was dispersed

It'd been months since she'd perused the wares of The Outpost. While the stock was often poor, odds and ends, furs and meat one could still find a treasure or two hidden amongst the unremarkable. A keen and discerning eye was all one needed. That she had along with other carefully perfected traits that made conversation flow and goods change hands with relative ease. A slow smile, a flutter or two of her thick dark lashes these were the tools in her arsenal and when coupled with her natural talent of perception she was unstoppable. She knew how to read people as her father did, it was a useful trait. She was the best of him, more palatable: demure when required, bold when apt. She was an actress of no small talent.

A dark fur cloak camouflaged her pelt of de Valence gold as she treked across the bleak winter landscape. Daring as it was, she'd left Pluie at home. She worried for the exciteable mare and the hidden dangers that existed beneath the snow. A patch of ice gone unnoticed could cripple her prized horse. Without a speedy escape she was vulnerable to the monsters, the murderers that lurked beyond Salsola's borders, but Claire was not given to fear. She would not let a few miscreants restrict her freedom. She would go where she pleased.

She heard him long before she saw him, and scented him long before that: metal and stone, leather and salt, horse, and peculiarly, sawdust. It was heady masculine sort of scent and it made her wary. There had been no hoofprints at the scene of the murders but that meant little. She hid amongst the bristles of a tall conifer and waited for the dark horse to pass.

It didn't. The rider, tawny gold and brown of hair paused, his horse blowing smoke out of his great nostrils. "That depends on who's asking." She replied, though remained hidden. A pale hand slipped beneath the fabric of her cloak to the blade of a small knife. She wouldn't use it, not unless she had to.

Her view was partially obscured by boughs and needles, but there was no mistaking the violet cloak he wore. She searched her memory, she'd seen it's like before. Where had she seen it?

"You first," he called out. His voice was crisply accented though rich in tone and velvet-smooth. It brought warmth to the cold around them and made her feel strangely at ease. "You're the one hiding." He reminded her, "That's only fair, I think."

Syringa D'Angelo
Salsola
The Warden (NPC)
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Luperci Mercante Mate to Weaver

POSTED: Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:28 pm

word count→ ::

His ears moved in the direction of the voice. It was a young voice with a bright and almost musical quality, he immediately recognized the French lilt. It stirred the hairs on the back of his neck, a reaction colored by negative experiences. Pons...his father, they spoke it, as did Lola on occassion. He kept his guard up and waited for her to show, if she showed. There was a pause and then an airy sigh.

"Fine," She said at last. "But my way was much more fun." She revealed herself then, stepping out from behind a tree. Alistair altered his focus to observe her posture, it was instinctual by now. She carried no visible weapons, though his eyes flicked to her hidden hand with some suspicion. As if sensing this the woman let it fall to her side and smiled an enigmatic smile.

She was pale furred, lithe and little more than average height though it was her eyes that gave him pause. They were so familiar and yet he couldn't place them. He furrowed his brows thoughtfully, this was going to bother him. He'd never seen her before, it didn't make sense as to why. He just couldn't shake it, this feeling. He knew her, somehow.

"There now, that better?" She smiled playfully, running pale fingers absently through her lustrous dark hair.

"Much...and you are?"

"Persephone," she replied casting her eyes coyly at him. She glanced then at Merlin, "Now if you could just get down from your horse. That's only fair, I think?" She winked.

Alistair grinned in spite of himself. "I guess you're right." He swung his leg around and dismounted, his sword rattling in it's sheath as he landed. "Is that better?" He teased in the same fashion.

"Much," she grinned broadly though she quickly noted the sword.

"It's Alistair," he said before she could ask. And then the woman froze.

Alistair Callow

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Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
the Light
and the Shield

POSTED: Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:35 pm

word count→ 000 ::

She saw it now, the golden pelt, the tan accents around his eyes. She remembered now where she'd seen the bear-mantled cloak. It was a saddle blanket for her father's fiery mare, a trophy. She blinked away her surprise. "Alistair, leader of the Cavalieri?" If she was lucky her brother might think her reaction one of awe, admiring of his reputation and title. He was watching her curiously, a quirked brow so indicative of their father.

"So you've heard of me?" She watched as he fidgeted, "Nothing bad, I hope."

"That depends on who you ask." She smiled, recovering. It was remarkable how alike they were, Alistair and her father, and yet so different. Alistair was warm while her father was cold. Such kind eyes he had, so earthy and unassuming.

"Is that so?"

"Mhm." Impish, she hummed. She flashed him another enigmatic smile. She remembered both what her father had told her and, more recently, the drunken dual-pelted male (she didn't bother to remember his name). For as much hate her father possessed for "his mistake" Claire got the impression that he respected him as well. Despite the odds Alistair had made something of himself. It was remarkable.

"You're not going to tell me, are you?" Again, she smiled, though there was in fact a great many things she'd like to tell him. She just wasn't sure whether she should. "Tell me who it was at least," he pressed.

"Hmm," Claire hummed, the man's name evaded her still. Drunk and drugged, he'd been difficult to understand. "He was quite large, black and white- he seemed to believe that his father favored you when he should have favored him. It was sad, really."

"That sounds familiar."

"You must have felt so alone." Claire mused, concern in her clear blue gaze. Whether her pity was genuine or not was a mystery even to herself.

"Pardon?" He was as confused as she'd come to expect .

"All that time having to grow up without a father. You must have felt so lost." She explained, brows creased and voice low. She looked up into his eyes, he had his mother's eyes Aedan had said. "I couldn't imagine what it must have been like."

What are you -- h-how do you know that? Did Aro say something?" So that was his name. She was normally so good at remembering.

"About you being an orphan?" He, Aro, had said that but it hardly mattered. She knew that much already. "Yes, but he needn't have told me." Alistair didn't seem to follow and here father had said that he was so clever...

The line of his brow deepened. "How?"

"I'm afraid I haven't been entirely honest with you, Alistair." Claire frowned. "Father's told me so much about you. I wanted to meet you, apologize if you'd let me. Father, he can be so severe. I have nothing against you, however."

"Father?" He repeated.

"Our father, yes." She reiterated and watched as realization dawned at last. "Now do you understand?"

Syringa D'Angelo
Salsola
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POSTED: Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:27 pm

word count→ ::

He understood, he more than understood he'd known somehow. It was in her eyes, in the way that she held herself, her voice...her smile. The yellow cream of her fur so diligently cared for was an echo of their parentage. His head was buzzing, such incomprehensible noise. He couldn't sort it, he'd so many questions. The cacophony would not let up and for a moment he simply stared at her. Just stared.

He wasn't sure how he felt, what was he feeling? Shock? Bewilderment? Disbelief? Anger? He was angry, wasn't he? Aedan, he thought. This was Aedan's daughter, his sister. He had a sister...since when? How?

She was watching him carefully, the slightest furrow in her brow. Her whole body was on edge, he could see it in how rigid her limbs had become. She stood still, too still. There was only the shallow rise and fall of her chest to show that she was alive. She must be wondering what he was going to do. It was a good enough question. What was he going to do?

"You're my..."

"Sister." She supplied tonelessly. Alistair released the breath he was holding. "And it's Claire"

"Half- sister anyway."...And he was back. Cynicism and suspicion colored his voice, it was heavy with it. "So he told you about me." He was surprised Aedan had mentioned him at all but the fact that he had meant that the pair of them were close. The way she spoke of him it sounded affectionate and it turned his stomach. It took a special kind of person to love a monster.

She nodded, not that he cared. "He's still alive, then?" Again, she nodded. He noticed the way her eyes batted here and there as if she were plotting a course of escape. Her hand tensed, the fingers curling for want of something, probably the certain something she'd been grasping earlier. A knife, then, or some other kind of small weapon. His own hand clutched at Oathkeeper's pommel just a little tighter but he held. "And you know where he is..." It wasn't a question.

The woman, his sister shifted nervously, avoiding his gaze.

"Look, I'm sorry about what happened...That, that's between you and him- I--" He cut her off.

"Where is he?" His voice was low, threatening. He spoke clearly so there could be no mistaking.

"I- I don't know..."

"You're lying." He growled, taking a single menacing step forwards.

"I'm not." She maintained,"I-"

Alistair Callow

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Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
the Light
and the Shield

POSTED: Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:45 pm

word count→ 000 ::

He took another step and she stood her ground. She was standing so still and yet her body was alive with nerves. Each breath grew increasingly shallow, each beat of her heart, bird-like, fluttering. "This isn't how it was supposed to go..." But it was foolish to hope. Her father had commited atrocious crimes against his family his blood, but Claire was an innocent. She harbored no ill will, though she should have. Her brother was a Cavalier, worse than an Outsider he was an enemy. This wasn't her Family of nettle, grasping weeds. He was nothing to her...and yet, Claire was not a hateful creature. Her intentions were pure, though childish- a curiosity she wanted to sate. She should not have given up the ruse. There was danger here.

He was having nothing of it, she'd been stammering, blinking rapidly. Her body betrayed her. She was a liar, as was her kin. "I'm sorry." She said. "I can't." Alistair's eyes were intense, such murderous intent. She trembled.

"You love him." It was true, he was her father. She was well aware of his flaws: the hatred at the center of his being, his lust for power, his need to exert control over others. He loved himself more than anything else, but Claire was a close second, she knew. Aedan was hard but he doted on her though he didn't coddle. She cared for him, deeply. She would defend him from Alistair and anyone who sought to do him harm. Even if it killed her, she would avoid it if she could. She didn't want to die...

"Please, Alistair." She begged him, holding fast, standing her ground. He was supposed to be so kind, so gentle: good. "He's old, what can he do to you now?" Her eyes implored him, she pleaded for Aedan's life for hers and she would not yield. She wouldn't tell him.

"That didn't stop him before, he was old then, too. How can you stand up for him after what he's done?"

"I'm sorry. I just can't." She couldn't, he was her father.

"So that's it, then?"

"It is. I'm sorry." He paused and for a moment all was still, silent. She watched him, wondering what he might do. He sighed, his expression suddenly pained, conflicted. He seemed to be debating, mulling over his options.

"I'm sorry, too," He murmured at last and drew his sword.

Syringa D'Angelo
Salsola
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POSTED: Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:31 pm

word count→ :: FIN

Behind him, Merlin threw up his head. He flared his nostrils and drew his ears forward, watching, waiting. For a moment Claire stood. She looked behind her and back at him, she was going to run. She wouldn't get far...

She turned and bolted, darting into the woods with Alistair hot on her heels. He could have mounted and run her down, but he didn't want to waste any time. If she were fast or clever she could use it to steal away, hide. He wouldn't risk it. He had to know.

He heard Merlin call sharply after him. The gelding bucked and half-reared in the background, forgotten in the chase. Alistair's long-legged strides carried him over the snow, but Claire was lighter, faster. She flitted through the trees. More than once she altered her course trying to shake him but Alistair was clever. He cut her off and nearly caught her, but she slipped through his fingers. He no longer knew where he was or how far he'd gone. In his pursuit he missed one important detail...he was no longer in the neutral territories.

Strange scents washed over him but were lost in the harsh rhythm of his footfalls. Claire's course became more and more erratic. She picked her way carefully through the woods, darting this way and then that as if she were avoiding hidden dangers. There was no time to ask why. Once more he cut her off and this time he was successful...

Claire slipped as Alistair grabbed at the fur of her cloak and pulled her down. He dragged her towards him, dropping his sword to grasp at her cloak with both hands. She struggled to undo the fastening at her throat and quickly worked herself free. Growling, Alistair threw the cloak aside only to recieve a well-aimed kick that caught him off balance. He fell.

Claire got up and tried to run but fell almost immediately as Alistair caught her ankle and drew her back. She slid across the snow but managed to drag her other leg up and this time her kick landed square in his face. Alistair grunted as Claire once again found her feet. She fled as far and fast as she could, Alistair regaining himself moments later to resume the chase.

He watched as she seemed to pause, her gaze catching on something up ahead of her, but he didn't stop even as she glanced behind her. Panting, she ran swerving sharply to avoid something. He kept on straight ahead stopping only when he heard something SNAP.

Alistair Callow

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Stormie
Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
the Light
and the Shield

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