never as clear as you think
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8th-Jul-2011 10:09 pm - those who seek wonders (petra)
"Put a glove on both hands."

"Why?" Sharaf asked lazily.

"Because I told you to!" his father grumbled.

Theirs was an odd relationship. )
3rd-Jul-2011 07:43 pm - For Mask & Cloak [ Eithne, Eragos, Sleeping Tiger ] [close to home, eithne savastian, eragos feareborne, sleeping tiger, vera of beit-orane]
Mist moved through the roads of Simanel, enveloping whatever corner was bare of shadow. Early spring was the most common time for such weather. Clouds traveled in from the cool plains and sank under winds pouring from the hard northern mountains. If Vera did not know a Kulshe dragon manufactured their cover from Bahamut's temple, Vera might have believed fortune smiled on them. Instead the mist was a reminder that everything they did now, they did of their own power. Vera liked that idea far more.

Her white glove pressed into a shelf of soil as Elden pulled her from the ground. The sorcerer pulled her into the street and she rested on her knees for a moment. They had spent the past half hour in complete darkness. Vera found herself squinting, despite the heavy grey that began to occupy the sky. Large clouds, she thought. The sort that herald great windstorms to the west...

"Seems like our friends are doing their jobs," the old sorcerer muttered. He yanked Eithne out next. "We're not far from the advancing line of Greys. Do we have a plan yet?"

Vera shook the dirt from her cloak and stood up to brush the rest from her knees. The buildings around them were hard to see beyond pieces of their charred outlines. Strange to be standing in her home and not recognize anything. To not feel the welcome relief Simanel often provided almost shattered her right there. Simanel always lacked Agethlea's grandeur and Eistocene's imposing face. Instead of building monuments, Simanel built gathering places. It was a city possessed of community. A community who built itself up with a hard sort honesty. Vera walked the streets to visit the people there, not the sights. Void of sound and color, she knew that Simanel was hidden by more than just mists now.

"The plan..." Vera drew her staff from the holster at her back. The corners of her eyes crinkled as she looked at Elden, her smile hidden by the silver of her mask. "Don't get killed?"

Elden was not squinting when he glared in her direction. "You've been solemn as a damned stone since the Castel and now you want to joke?" he whispered, accusingly. "I can't joke when you took my flask."

"You should be sober."

And you should have a plan. )
25th-Apr-2011 06:27 pm - the outnumbered (eragos, sleeping tiger, vera) [close to home, eithne savastian, eragos feareborne, sleeping tiger, vera of beit-orane]
It was strange leaving the Castel in a tunnel made by Elden, she wasn't even sure how such a thing was possible, but he had made it and came with her back out into Simanel. Despite the fact that Agrippa was disappointed with her, he'd still given her this task to complete. Eithne had no room to complain any longer, and wouldn't complain. She was in higher spirits than she'd been in quite awhile. She was less elated about sneaking around the city that used to serve as part of her home than Elden was. He seemed quite good at such a thing, and Eithne thought she was sneaky. The man moved carefully around corners, and while he was probably drunk, he was at least good at hiding it. they were sent to check up on plans, plans which, Eithne still wasn't quite clear on. but Elden knew them, and he wasn't as grumpy as Agrippa so he made a fine enough partner. Eithne didn't have enough time to think about the grim things that had happened in these past weeks while they were travelling carefully from place to place.

There were people stationed all around the city, laying in wait for whatever it was that the Captain had planned. Eithne was surprised to see the numbers of plain clothed citizens sitting with White Riders. Ready, it seemed, for the end. Or the beginning. Whatever came, they were ready to defend their home. Eithne might have applauded them if it didn't make her sick to think of what would happen to some or all of these people. Riders included. She'd lost enough friends in this, and didn't want to see another fall. But there was no telling how or when this would end. Even if they managed to stop The Grey Riders, and Eragos' brother, what of Gavrie and Seca? What of Gola?

There seemed to be more enemies than they could ever hope of arresting or defeating. )
13th-Apr-2011 03:09 pm - objects of desire (ithacles)
Ulbarich wanted nothing more than to seize the Prince's shoulder and draw him back of this. It was one thing to suggest that a Prince ought not to be informed about the doings in his kingdom. It was another thing entirely to put that same Prince in the room with a man who'd just attempted to kill a Captain of the army. If the man was willing to roll the dice on a Captain, how would he feel about the chance to kill a Prince? Yet there they were, Prince and Captain both, hustling down a narrow corridor of stone into dungeons that Princes had not seen in many a year. These were not the clean, bright blue stones of the city's jailers. These were a forbidding gray, caked with moss where water trailed down the walls, dank and dark as the day was long. The only light came from torches, and so the gray sometimes faded to orange in wide hideous circles on the wall. It smelled of smoke and oil and death. Not the sort of place one made a habit of visiting.

The business was important, indeed. )
13th-Apr-2011 12:28 pm - the savage (bébhinn, fiaethe) [fiaethe yávlindelë, ilúvatar voronwé, the heir]
From the time he was a boy, he'd been raised with one thought in mind. Do not be selfish. Do not set yourself on the path of the undesirable. Make your heart not a fortress of greed. Ilúvatar had taken to those lessons because a knight was meant to be all of those things. He was meant to be a sacrifice to his people, a defender and champion of his people. His people were any of the innocents who shrank away from the defense of their lives. His people were the ones who had nothing. It was for them that he must live his life. And yet here he was, a goblet before him, staring at the sun-haired beauty as though he'd never seen someone so perfect in all of his life.

He did not think that he had. )
12th-Apr-2011 01:17 pm - stolen hours (onainat) [onainat sjorl, vedette uthral]
There were wide open markets in Faustben, with every ware a man could have on open display. Stalls of all assorted colors lined the streets, with smells of warm food and warm ales. With chilled wines piled in long troughs meant for horses water, but instead filled with ice and snow from the mountains, where the wines were set in beautiful glass bottles of all sizes and shapes. Vedette stayed a few paces behind Onainat and watched the woman carefully. Her new friend had what Vedette liked to call fast hands. She'd turn something over and have it up her sleeve before someone could bat an eyelash, and there would be an ugly coin or a rock of somesort in the thing's place. Vedette had enough money with her to pay for more than dresses, but she certainly didn't have enough to buy everything Onainat would have an eye for.

The other dragon seemed to have an eye for shiny things. )
8th-Apr-2011 06:50 pm - aleatoricist (aeotha, leironuoth) [aeotha easaahae, leironuoth, skandra tyullis, the heir]
He knew this hill. It was just south of Trone, close to the water, and riddled with wild wheat that no one bothered to harvest. He recalled lying here, on his back, looking up at the stars and imagining an adventure at each one. A beautiful girl awaited him there, and swords, and derring-do. He would snatch a kiss and doff his cap, and he would be the king of those distant places. He would roam however he saw fit. His people would love him, for he would be just. A child's fancy was never captured so perfectly as it was in his own mind. That he could no longer picture an adult self having adventures such as those spoke more to his mood than his general state of childish wonder. He'd been stabbed by a lady with whom he believed he'd fallen in love. Now that love, much like these childish fantasies he only just recalled, seemed to be fading away. His adult self was cradling someone else when he checked. It was a vicious sort of thing. Not one that Skandra imagined ever felt good. To see all of your protective fantasies, all the small things that guarded your fragile heart, evaporating before your eyes.

Things made even less sense than they used to. )
16th-Mar-2011 11:46 am - the watch tower (petra)
There were always stories bandied about qa Yvutha Pharath. Hell, Sharaf had even told one or two himself, once upon a time. Objects in the desert could be swallowed entire by the shifting sands. A strong, sustained wind could uncover them as quickly as they'd been buried. The one thing you were always certain of was that these so-called 'ghost ships' were almost never worth exploring. They'd reveal themselves in sandstorms, but by the time the storm died, they'd be buried again. Sometimes in a matter of minutes. If you weren't fast, you could find yourself buried alive inside of them. Sharaf stared hard at them whenever he saw one, determined to match the fanciful stories of the other fellows the next time ghost ships were mentioned. This time he was staring at the thing for an entirely different reason.

They were being followed. )
15th-Mar-2011 11:15 am - the yard (vera, eithne, sleeping tiger) [close to home, eithne savastian, eragos feareborne, sleeping tiger, vera of beit-orane]
Cobbled stone clicked beneath his feet as he moved. The streets were not as narrow as they could have been, he supposed, but Montfort Tavern seemed smaller than it ever had. One of those iron fire pits had been moved from the watch towers to the street below. There were several civilians huddled around it. Their palms were open and extended, facing the flame, and a single Rider kept a watchful eye on them. "Spring" was a phrase that meant nothing at times, especially this early in the year, and the cold could still make every joint in a man's body ache with memories of sweltering heat. That was likely to start fights among men who thought they were going to die. Eragos had broken up four such fights himself, and he'd been here for only three baleful stares of the sun. His hood sat high on his head, and he stared at nothing and everything while he moved.

If these times were normal, he would have listened to Montfort's son sing a song about the sexual perversion of Sadon and tried to prevent any of the older Riders from breaking the young man's head. The fool had never even met Sadon, only heard tales of the man from his father. Eragos had caught a glimpse of the old and infirm Sadon, who'd joined Mearann and Agrippa for some sort of procession of Captains, but that had been long ago. Sadon's stories were racing into legend by that time. Hell, half of Mearann's wilder tales had been considered outrageous lies. Eragos had only realized the difference by watching Vargis carefully. The old Rider would nod soberly when Mearann remembered something incorrectly, and his face would freeze when Mearann accurately recalled an indiscretion. No one remembered why Sadon and Montfort had hated each other, though there were a thousand stories. In any case, breaking the head of Montfort's son was something of a cherished pastime. Like besting Cistal at horseshoes, if you could manage it. A story to laugh about later.

Nobody was laughing, now. )
3rd-Feb-2011 11:10 pm - attrition (aeotha, leironuoth, fiaethe) [aeotha easaahae, fiaethe yávlindelë, ilúvatar voronwé, leironuoth, npc, the heir]
He noticed almost immediately that the air felt strange around him. No. It did not feel strange. It smelled strange. Ilúvatar knew it well. It had begun, this familiarity, in the days of his father. When you were the sword of your house you were meant to know the stench of battle. Smoke and death were recognizable to you because it was your purpose and intent to cause them, in as much volume as you could, thus laying great waste to the enemies of your house. Here he was, now, the last male of his family. If he'd perished in battle yesterday the house would have gone with him. He was not one to think often on family honor - unless it were one of the more obvious obligations, such as caring for his mother, he found he had little use for them. Yet that thought lingered as he stared into the mirror.

The last of a kind. )
25th-Jan-2011 06:24 pm - No Way But Sideways [ Vargis ] [close to home, npc]
"Is that whiskey?"

Elden tucked the bottle back into his sleeve at the accusatory question. Hasna. He might as well have been turning to face a Drow for all the murder that was in her eyes. Ever since he came to the aide of the White Riders, he noticed that the women among them had a fine talent for catching him drink at the worst possible times. And he couldn't seem to wring a bit of sympathy from any of them. Elden could not exactly explain to Hasna what stressed him so about doing battle (other than the very obvious fear of dying in an old man's skin), so he often defaulted to saying that he was a drunk and that he thought more clearly if he had his whiskey. He opened his mouth to say this to the viper behind the mask but...luckily, Elden had a brief moment to lose his idiocy.

No, he'd rather die by the blade of a Grey Rider than whatever hellish way Hasna was picturing in her head.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Elden said instead. "Do you think we should put out this fire soon?"

The rafters had become quite bright with flame... )
23rd-Jan-2011 07:51 pm - hell for leather (sleeping tiger) [close to home, eragos feareborne, sleeping tiger]
They rode like wild horsemen of old, charging through brush and plain with equal verve, their eyes fixed always forward. Rand was not exhausted by the time they'd stopped for the first night. A day and a half, covered in a day's time. This was the pace they were meant to keep all the way to their destination. When you rode that hard, over that many miles, there was precious little time for conversation. In truth, Eragos did not know what they would have discussed in any case. He knew that the cold wind bit through everything he wore to shield himself. He knew that soon or late he was going to pay a price for what he'd chosen to do, and how he'd chosen to do it. It was his lot to lead the willing into danger. If they were unwilling - or unable - then it was his lot to keep them safe. Right now, the Lady Vera and Eithne were either unwilling or unable.

He was not sure it mattered, in any case. )
20th-Jan-2011 11:37 am - Stain (Eithne) [close to home, eithne savastian, vera of beit-orane]
The texture wasn't to ever be erased from her memory -- warm, thick, clinging to the skin more than any ink. Currents ran across her hand, a hand that was limp underneath that foul liquid that pulsed and swirled. It flowed over the edge of the platform that was parallel to where she lay. The floors were gold and engraved with hieroglyphs of the Great Hunter leading the men who followed him; she could speak the myths from memory even with as little time she'd spent in Armas' temple. The floors gleamed even beneath smears of blood. The floors of the Generals' Tower. If she looked up, she might have seen the sky through the glass dome.

Her eyes moved, but only because she could move nothing else... )
17th-Jan-2011 08:29 pm - what they saw (petra) [adward sharaf, petra fortis]
She draped flowers around his neck.

It was difficult to tell that there'd been a fight. Someone had thrown down sawdust to clean up what little blood there was. He could see narrow choked lines of it. As though it had been pushed about by some of those flat brooms they used on marble and stone. As though. He knew it as well as he'd have known if he'd watched it happen. Then one of those pretty temple dedicates with the straw hair had come out, sponge and bucket in hand, for the work of scrubbing what did not sweep. No one wanted a temple and a tavern to have anything in common, did they? This worked so well in the tavern that it was bound to make its way to the temple. They were not bloodless things, either of them. They were the places where life happened.

One of the dedicates had swept by him, thin waist easily fitting into the crook of his arm as she slung a string of flowers around his neck and kissed both of his cheeks.

Well, festivals were liberal times, here. )
17th-Jan-2011 12:12 pm - to what other end (ithacles, vedette, onainat) [ithacles, onainat sjorl, ulbarich, vedette uthral]
He should have been interrogating prisoners. There were four of them. As more than one lieutenant had pointed out, he was not an expert in interrogation. His training was that of a soldier, not that of a questioner, and it was important that he know the difference. That he keep himself apart from all of this. That was what found him not in the hall of the iron bars but in the hall of the creaking wood.

There were many such chambers in a castle. Long, rectangular rooms of naked stone that held banners from bygone eras. When he was a boy, and Gerbold had brought him to this place, it had been difficult not to admire the banners. There was history woven into their fabric. He'd stared long after he was meant to. Gerbold had been forced to drag him away. Now they seemed merely old. On the verge of becoming threadbare. Ulbarich had no idea what the future held for him.

The roots he had were being cut away, little by slow, it seemed. )
3rd-Jan-2011 06:43 pm - What the Smoke Left [ Eragos, Eithne, Sleeping Tiger ] [close to home, eithne savastian, eragos feareborne, sleeping tiger, vera of beit-orane]
Oak planks from a broken armoire were used for the campfire, which roared from the confines of a circle constructed of stone and metal pieces. Her brother, Gavrie, had taught her how to build a good fire when she was young. It was an odd, stray thought that came to her when she was tossing another piece of wood into the flames.

Gavrie had always been good at setting camp, at provisioning the right amount of supplies and looking ahead. She wondered if the coldness in his heart was as great as the man that he was named for. She wondered, as she had always wondered, what it was he believed. Would he agree with Faxril? Or would he agree with her father? Those questions never seemed important when she was younger.

But back then, she thought she could stop this. )
13th-Dec-2010 10:42 pm - towers of blood (leironuoth) [ilúvatar voronwé, leironuoth, the heir]
All wrought iron and vicious corners, these gates. Yet the massive wheel-and-pulley systems on either side began to hiss. Chain was wrapping around itself with dull metallic clanks. The gate began to rise. It was one of a hundred such gates spread throughout the city. The great wall of Terestai was in reality two walls - one outer, one inner - with about thirty yards of space between outer and inner. That space was occupied by murder holes, fox holes, arrow slits and heavy entrenchments from which a wall-saving stand could be made. Oil was boiling up above, distracting the mages with its scent of death and fear - oil and tar that had been pulled from the burning wood to the south. Those fox holes between the two walls were occupied by four pikemen each, but could hold up to fifteen. Ilúvatar could see eyes and helmets floating through the arrow slits. Elves stood ready behind the inner wall, waiting to fire on anyone who breached the defenses from the safety of stone.

Baila had done a fine job of preparing this city for battle. )
13th-Dec-2010 10:40 pm - sucker punch (aeotha, fiaethe) [aeotha easaahae, fiaethe yávlindelë, skandra tyullis, the heir]
Skandra did not stroll so much as strut. They were in the full grip of winter's fist, and with a coat buckled on it was all right to appear to have a great deal of bulk. The high, angled collar of his coat was raised to conceal his cheeks and his chin. Every clasp was worked up to the last, with the collar resting inside of the hood this time. No sense in taking chances, being recognized or whatnot. The only part of Skandra Tyullis' face that could be seen were his eyes. What malevolent eyes they were, staring hard at anyone who dared to meet them and challenging them to a fight. His belt was cinched on over his coat, riding somewhat high. Since the coat was split for riding it hung over left and right legs below the waist. On his belt were two swords - one, the cherry-grip sidesword he'd used for so long. The other was a late addition, with a basket hilt in the style of the latest schiavona the city had to offer. And then, inside of the coat, the weapons of alchemy were concealed in the bulky torso area.

In other words, he was armed and ready for war. )
12th-Dec-2010 07:32 pm - rudeness (sharaf) [adward sharaf, petra fortis]
It was morning now, light was streaming inside of her cell and Petra was trying to ignore it. Everything still screamed that she was tired. Perhaps she shouldn't try falling asleep with her mind full of clutter. From thoughts to what they were going to do, to things she wished they were doing, Petra had been very awake long after Adward's breath drifted into that relaxed state of slumber. She couldn't tell the time in here, without a clear view of the stars and their alignment, but she had guessed more than once that it was long after midnight when she'd finally lost track and shut her eyes tight and drifted. Now she fought the light. Scrunching her eyes, rolling on the hard mattress and covering her head in the singular pillow as she used the crook of her arm for a place to rest her head. The thoughts came flooding back. She wasn't home. She wasn't anywhere near home and she had to find her work. That was what was important. Sleep could wait. Food could wait. Waking Adward was going to be her task for the morning. It wasn't that he was a sound sleeper, but he could really sleep when he wanted to.

Unlike her, who slept when she was too tired to work any longer. )
12th-Dec-2010 04:35 pm - vicissitude (onainat, ulbarich) [onainat sjorl, ulbarich, vedette uthral]
The Otter and Fowl wasn't very far from the castle, but far enough away for her liking. She went there because he suggested it and because she hoped at least if he knew where they were that he might come to find them. But the hope was small because of how Ithacles had reacted, and even more so because of how she had reacted herself. The main of the inn was a Tavern, like most inns in the capitol it had too warm insides. Wood and stone keeping the heat of fireplaces inside the walls as much as they could. It was cold enough at night that you could set out water and it would be ice in the morning. Solid ice. It was those nights that Vedette enjoyed the best. But here she had Onainat to think of to a warm inn with many great big fires was the best idea. Ulbarich was still silent as he accompanied them. She wondered why he was so silent. Why he was taking them, and what exactly had happened in her absence.

There were likely too many things to say and not enough time to say them. )
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