empress of fire, in the reign of the lion

POSTED: Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:13 pm


The weather was finally cool enough—barely—to make travel possible. Gone were the days of unbearable heat and relentless humidity. Even near to the coast, what wind existed was not enough to keep the full extent of summer at bay.

Clementine was decidedly not a summer child. Only in the evening had she been going out as of late to listen to the insect-song of cicadas and grasshoppers. Trips to the sea caves might have been pleasurable during the day if she were not so damnably afraid of the water suddenly coming in, but alas, she had to content herself with watching from a distance.

Just as she was doing now, though her quarry was quite different. A whistling man picked his way swiftly down a well-trod path, a knapsack thrown over his shoulder in such a way that suggested it was neither cumbersome nor particularly heavy, except his straining shoulders directly contradicted this. Intrigued, she set her horse’s path to intercept him.

He’d heard them coming; the whistling had stopped, and his face mirrored hers, as it was one of studied confusion.

Didn’t think I’d see anyone out this late, Admitted an unfamiliar voice, and her lavender gaze intensified. you’re late for the songs and stuff.


Songs, poems, whatever, He accused, and she felt as if she were being assessed; maybe because she, in turn, was trying to decide whether he posed a threat. Even from her advantageous position on horseback, he was tall. they’ve got a poet or something, if you like that sort of thing.

What kinds of poems does he write? The redhead tried not to smile.

I don’t know, they’re okay, The stranger looked uncomfortable, like maybe he wasn’t there for the singing and spent his patronage elsewhere. there’s a saga about an axe-wielder, and a girly song about a nightingale or something.

Maybe I’ll check them out. She admitted, and he shrugged, eying her sideways as she directed her horse past him. Wherever he was going, she hoped it was either further north or to the southern coast where the knights resided. It was an awkward affair, admitting you knew an outsider.

Such as when her uncle had come calling some time back, and she’d been forced to admit that she knew him. It wasn’t that she misliked him—to the contrary, she liked his songs and poems—but when it ran so contrary to Salsolan culture, she was never sure whether to say she did or didn’t know someone.

Secrecy was a confusing business, no matter how skilled a liar she was becoming.

Swinging down from her horse, she walked him the rest of the way humming a familiar girly tune.

Last edited by Clementine Salcedo on Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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POSTED: Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:53 pm

<3 <3 <3

The summer was more than half spent, and with such turning came the realization that the world would soon plunge into winter. As the Troupe's Broker, he knew he must account for the swift changes in the season as he would any goods on which they survived. With his plans still but plans, Calrian had been gently urging their group to the southeast. It would be easier to relocate before the air turned cold again, and if they succeeded in their renovations before the snowfall, then Calrian anticipated they could drum up quite the interest in cold, weary travelers.

Calrian hollered at the end of Malik's song, his lone enthusiasm ringing loudly amidst the smattering of claps and a single "Woo!" They hadn't anticipated running a show, but their rehearsals had begun to draw interest from folks in the area. Like any good enterprising brother, Calrian had capitalized on the opportunity. From his seat on the ground, he turned to observe the faces of their audience, most of whom came to mingle with each other with the excuse of listening to his brother play. That was well and good for Calrian since they paid for it, although perhaps not so much for his brother's ego. As far as he was concerned, this was a sandbox in which to test all of their ideas, and he hoped Malik felt the same way.

In the lull between, Calrian rose to his feet to survey their patrons. They were a mixed group, some families, others lone traders looking to find some company for the night. As he made his way to the back, he spotted the young Salcedo, whose wealth and grooming was difficult to miss among their transient crowd, and picked his way over to her.

If it isn't our darling Clementine! He proclaimed, throwing out his arms to catch her in an embrace if she was willing. The girl had come to their performances a few times after reuniting with her true uncle, and Calrian was quick to grow fond of her as if she was his own niece. Their way of life wasn't entirely appropriate for such a young person, but she did not yet seemed turned off by their antics, and neither did they reject her.

Look at you! I swear you'll be taller than me the next time I see you, he laughed, tucking the pangs of panic back into his winsome smile. It was true children grew quickly, but he hadn't seen her in many months - they needed to get moving before they saw her next, he decided. I think your uncle might be doing a reading, if you can stay a while.

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POSTED: Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:04 pm

With the season passing so quickly Mateo felt sometimes that the year was spilling between his fingers like sand. The troupe had managed to create a tiny name for themselves in the wilds of Nova Scotia – and now that he often had visitors he felt more and more like this place made sense to him. Calrian was a master at handling the crowds that came to see them, ensuring that eyes sparkled as they gazed upon the players, their greedy hands eager to snatch up whatever food or drink was offered to them as a distraction.

Mateo had learned a lot about people since his time with the boys.

There were new faces here tonight, and as Malik strummed his lute to fill the air with his lyrical song Mateo couldn’t help but tap his foot eagerly. He kept his ears pricked forward and waved wildly when he recognized Clementine – the pale flame of her hair standing out like a pyre against the din. She sat with Calrian, who’s beaming face was visible even at this distance – but Mateo could say nothing as he prepared for his own time on the stage. He had spent the afternoon pacing, working words through his jaws with the careful magic of a poet.

His fingers were still stained from where he had smudged out his charcoal, but he could feel the words like bubbles in his chest – and he was eager to share them with those who had gathered to listen. Malik plucked the final strings on his lute and then smiled at the crowd in that way of his – allowing his eyes to sparkle majestically as the note finally died out. He made his exit quietly after a soft round of applause and Mateo made his way toward the stage eagerly – allowing his tail to wag gently as he turned to face the crowd.

He saw all of the faces peering up at him – the eyes glittering like jewels against the dark. He attempted to grin the way the Amaranthes did – but he was sure that he looked pained instead of strikingly handsome and caught up in song.

”Welcome!” He managed with a sweeping gesture, ”Hi Clementine.”

With a great intake of breath he began – pacing the length of the stage as the rhythm in is words began to build.

He wove a story of firelight and gloaming, of a hero set upon rescuing a fair maiden from some tortuous fate. It was something that he had dreamt up after spending time with Theodora – and as he spoke he imagined that she was there, smiling up at him from the murmuring crowd.

Mateo finished his poem with a crisp bow, and ignored the silence which greeted him as he picked his way off of the stage and made his way towards his niece and Amaranthe comrade.

”Did you like it?” He managed breathlessly alighting next to them with a grunt.


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POSTED: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:03 pm


Her thoughts on the seasons were mixed; each—even having only experienced them once—held something of significant value, such as her brother’s death during midwinter, and her arrival within Salsola during the spring.

It wasn’t that she disliked the ofttimes nefarious group, but her only knowledge of it existed during a time of great internal strife. Even now, when normalcy no longer included Inquisitors investigating ne'er-do-wels, there was the constant feeling of something further existing on the horizon, some looming threat.

Often, she attributed this to some latent paranoia, her casual but constant fear of her aunt, and some unbidden desire for personal excitement, which the Troupe offered her by virtue of existing. Sitting around the crackling fire, the various members didn’t care a whit about what might be going on elsewhere, and she was content to simply exist in the periphery on the off-chance a trade opportunity might arise.

In the meantime, she was treated to the masterful performances of those she knew—like her ‘cousin’ Malik, and her uncle Mateo—all the while ignoring their more inappropriate behaviors like overt drunkenness and ribaldry among friends. She didn’t begrudge them these things, even knowing what little she knew about their hardships, but was careful not to bring any of it home with her.

An intelligent person might ask where she’d learned about such things, and vagaries were unappreciated by the higher-ups. Her continued lessons proved this, though the areas where she was adept were the sole focus now.

Darling, is it? She wondered, recalling nothing of noteworthiness that might lead him to such ideas; save, perhaps, the opinions of others which traveled seemingly by the speed of light. Traders’ tongues wagged freely, especially when alcohol and music were involved. Why do I always detect a tone of surprise when I show up, huh?

A waving hand indicated she didn’t expect a response to this, and instead she focused on his other comment regarding her height. It was due largely to her father, who was by all reputation a tall and slender man who loved the woods. Her temperament was all Salcedo, however.

I hope not, She quipped to Cal, her smile growing by the minute to mirror his charming one. I’m tired of growing, it’s an awkward business. Exaggerating wildly, she mimicked flopping arms and gangly legs.

I thought I’d missed it, She admitted quietly to both him and her faraway uncle who’d lighted upon the stage by this point.

It was a sweeping and courageous tale of a dashing rescuer and a woman who’d ensnared his affections—exactly the sort of story she so adored—and though its themes were familiar, it was her uncle’s voice and body language that sold it. There wasn’t an unaffected face in the room before he stepped down to come see them, and Clementine was no exception.

You were great! She announced with a level of warm affection she’d never thought to feel for a man who’d fallen out of a thicket.

You always know what a crowd wants, She teased, half-admiring and half-envious.

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POSTED: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:25 pm

<3 <3 <3

Clementine was as charming as they came; in his eyes, her descriptor it was entirely warranted, whether she thought so or not. Yes, darling, he confirmed with the shameless adoration of a doting relative. Part of him hoped she would abandon whatever quaint village she lived in to join their Troupe of rags and whimsy, and another part of him didn't want to see her grow any taller, or wiser, or learn the dangers of the world they lived in. Visiting, he supposed, was the best of both options.

He laughed heartily at her quip, seemingly because he was unable to restrain himself, but secretly because he liked to indulge in his reactions on the off chance it might embarrass her. She had so far shown to be a fairly unflappable girl, capable of rolling with anything the boys threw at her. He supposed one would have to be if they were related to Mateo - he was a wild card if there ever was one. I wish I could tell you it gets less awkward, he said. There was no conclusion to this thought, for it was then that her uncle came to the "stage" - which was little more than a space in the grass sectioned off by a line of rocks - and began his piece.

The audience had a look of boredom that gradually eased into the theatrics of the poem, a phenomenon that Calrian observed with wonder and pride. Mateo masterfully pushed and pulled them from emotion to emotion, and by the end, they were all so enraptured that when the final word was spoken, a reverent hush had fallen over the crowd.

As Mateo returned, Calrian hastily wiped any evidence of tears from his cheeks and drew a great smile. Oh, you know, he replied, clapping the Minstrel's shoulder with a hand as he passed, his voice tight. You just...really get... Clementine thankfully stole the words right out of his mouth, and he nodded. Yeah, what she said. You're great, Mat. Fantastic.

I don't know how you come up with these stories. He looked toward Clementine, Are all of you Salcedos this imaginative? From experience, he knew they were savvy with words; there was no winning any debates with either of them.

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