Timber [closed] Read 22161 times


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2014, 05:20:29 am »
“Research,” Beckett repeated, as though the term were unfamiliar.  In a way it was – his background in farming and animals, not that of a scholar.  And given his recent captivity he’d not seen the library.  The queen had not mentioned any sort of curse to him. 

Or did she? He tried to think on it, but Mira’s touch was too distracting.  He decided to watch her instead.  With her head bent over him he couldn’t read her eyes, but her hair was just as pretty to look at.  She still wore it up.  He’d only seen it down once, but he preferred it that way where it could move and shift with the light.  Her formal dress and frame seemed artificial like she was hiding something.

“If I were her favorite perhaps I could report on wings or no wings,” his smile was there as he contemplated exactly how he might be shown the queens bare back.  “Alas, toy, or maybe pet best describes our…relationship. I had no idea what she had planned today.  I was just glad to go downstairs for a bit and see people.”  His fingers moved up to fondle with the collar.  The blood smeared against his neck, but a gentle tug did not dislodge the gold.

“I came to the clouds two years ago.”  He sat up briefly, leaning on one elbow as best he could, allowing the bandages to be wrapped around his chest.  As Mira tied the ends he said, “My brothers...”  A pause as he considered how much to say.  The truth seemed best.  “My brothers sold me.  I was forced to work in the rain mines.”  Harvesting water and lightening from the clouds was difficult and dangerous.  Beckett wasn’t the tallest or strongest, but he could be clever and lucky.  He still wasn’t sure that his presence here was luck however. “The queen noticed me and brought me here.”  He felt tired, and while there was more to say he found the words more difficult than he thought.  Sadness pressed against his heart already wounded.  He closed his eyes for a moment.  “Perhaps when you return to the land you can tell my brothers that I forgive them.  I have to believe they didn’t fully understand what they were doing.  There intent wasn’t evil, but driven by jealousy.  My fault.”  He sighed, “All my fault.”

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2014, 05:45:15 am »
It was the best Mira could do, to keep him from bleeding out. She had to hope it would be enough. She could do nothing to mend a wounded heart. ‘If he dies….’ Well, what more could Mira do? She supposed she could condition the Queen, but she was already plotting if that would be the best route.

She had just taken a step into the unknown with the woman, and she wasn’t sure how much more pressure might gain her.

Mira noted his eyes as they watched her, and his hands as they tugged at his collar. She didn’t like the looks of it. It fit too well with his term ‘pet’, and he didn’t deserve that. When he sat up, Mira finished tying up the ends and then drew her hands back to her lap. Her eyes looked him over as he spoke of how he got here, and the gray flashed over to him, sharp with anger—though it was not at him. She was furious with his brothers.

It softened with his words,
“You are kinder than me,” she noted. She wouldn’t forgive until they were begging.

‘But why him?’ The Queen had a good eye, and Mira was just starting to realize it was attuned to special qualities. She knew of no reason for Beckett to stand out from others, but that didn’t mean such a reason didn’t exist.

The Queen spared him for a reason, too.

“It is not your fault,” she smiled as she offered, “I would take you with me, to the land, if that is what you want. Perhaps your brothers would be willing to apologize before you offered your forgiveness.” She wondered if they did feel any guilt.

She would try to take him with her regardless. When she left, it would be because the destruction of the sky city was imminent. He would die, and she didn’t want that to happen to him.
“Living as a pet is no life for you,” she reached out, touched her hand to the collar. “I could try to remove it?” She could see if there was a way to remove it for him.   


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2014, 02:25:15 am »
The sigh had erased his smile, but it reappeared, although faint at Mira’s words.  Eyelids heavy, Beckett forced them open as she mentioned that he was kinder.  He might have contradicted her, but she continued on to other subjects and he considered what her ‘taking him’ might mean.  He could hope of course.  Something normal might come of it – family, children. But he sensed that could never be, so his thoughts didn’t dwell on the fantasy fast forward future. 

“I can’t leave.”  He reached up again for the collar, moving to intercept her hand.  He wasn’t sure what was in the gold.  Beckett wanted to get up and move but his legs were heavy like lead. “I put this on willingly.”  Not that he’d been offered much choice.  “Sometimes a bird will accept having its wings clipped if it means food and shelter.  Not all of us need to fly.”

But flying was what he liked best. His eyes closed again and a tear fell from one, streaking away the paint on his face.  Beckett’s voice was softer.  “Can you get me a drink of water before you go?”

He wanted her to stay, but knew that wasn’t wise.   At some point the queen would check to see if he lived.  She may not be able to leave the party, but the servant who never spoke would make an easy messenger.  Finding Mira here would be bad for them both.

“Don’t cross her Mira,” then he wondered if he really needed to warn her.  “She’s not as benevolent as she appears.  And the walls have ears.”

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2014, 02:57:32 am »
His words seemed to contradict themselves in small ways, and Mira couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to him here. “You can,” she affirmed. Her hand didn’t try to touch the collar when he intercepted her, “If it is what you wish, it will be so. You have time to think on it, to change your mind.” Mira offered, “I will be here a little while.” Longer than she’d like, no doubt. Longer than was safe, but she was already at that point. “I can get you water.”

There was a cup in the room, and there was a washroom connected. She picked it up, smiled at his warning,
“Thank you, but I knew that already.” She tended to know what the walls knew, too. She’d have to expand her reach, though. She’d have to stop worrying about others recognizing it—she was already caught. ‘There is power in being known, too.’ She remembered the days her father walked on eggshells, concerned about what he was thinking when he couldn’t help his own thoughts.

People were not usually kind in the privacy of their own minds, even if they did not mean half of what was thought. Her mother taught her that lesson.

She stepped into the washroom and filled the cup, returned, and offered it out to him.
“Is there anything else you would like, while I’m here?” She inquired of him, canting her head.


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2014, 11:47:19 pm »
He took the cup of water and managed a sip.  Mira seemed to accept and expect his warning.  Not much more he could do on that front.  Although his brain was fuzzy, he contemplated her offer on what else she might do.  He used humor as he typically did, “Rub my back, slay my dragon, have my children?”  He let his head rest back on the pillow, “But the last would likely be complicated in the time allotted. And I’m really not at my best.”

His eyelids closed again.  The effort of speaking was getting greater and he could almost hear footsteps below moving closer.   He needed to let her go but selfishly wanted her to stay.  “Maybe you can visit me again sometime.”  With hope he could see the morning.  His hand went to his heart and absently toyed with the makeshift bandages.  His words slipped from his lips more slowly. “We could talk about your work.”  He didn’t believe he could help, but hoped that if he thought more on it he could do something more useful than interpret dreams and give the queen information that she ignored.

And then he was asleep.  But the dream was more vision than fantasy; it had a golden hue to it, rather than color or black and white.  Beckett was back in the rain mine, but not where they harvested the water.  Rather he was below where machinery worked.  Giant gears and pulleys.  They moved like a huge clock tower that he’d once seen on land.  The teeth of the gears knit together and rotated to tick off the seconds.  Mira was there.  She was dressed differently, the pretty dress replaced with formfitting pants.  She moved with a sense of grace, but she slipped.  He wasn’t there to catch her.  Fortunately she regained her balance, but as she moved closer to the edge he wondered if the near miss was a warning.  “Wait,” he mumbled in his sleep.  Mira didn’t turn at the sound of his voice.  “Not that way. You’ll fall!”

He tried to move and pain lashed through his midsection as the skin resisted.  It should have woken him, but the dream continued.  This time the queen was present.  Her voice commanding and a few nobles around her rushing about the room at her direction.  She stood at a table with books scattered about.  Beckett tried to read one, but the page was covered in blood and the words swam in the red liquid all jumbled together.  Desperately he tried to reach for the words, but they ran through his fingers.

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2014, 01:42:01 am »
Mira found humor in what he had to say. “You should have come with me for coffee,” she chuckled. “We could talk all about dragons and children. I always wanted three.” Or she’d talked of three, and of upsetting the order. Spoil the middle child, give the youngest all the duties, and let the eldest seem left out. Of course, she’d never be able to do it to her own children. ‘And such is for another day, when these duties are done and I can go home.’

Soon, it would be, or so she kept telling herself.

She remained until he fell asleep, the smile present until then. It faded once he was asleep.
“We could,” she spoke to the air. “But perhaps it is better if you didn’t know it, if you are so afraid of Ilaera.” She didn’t know how good he was at keeping secrets, after all. If he knew nothing about the curse, perhaps he was not meant to.

Mira slipped the blanket over him, but didn’t cover the wound with it. Then, she left the room. Her fingers moved by her ear once more, and she decided to get back to trying to locate the basement to the castle, even if it required assistance.

Her influence spread out, an invisible web that caught anything that passed through it. There was a guard left behind that passed through it, and Mira planned accordingly to utilize the tool, slowing her steps so they’d turn the corner at the same time and bump into each other. Mira made as if to fall back, but he reached out his hand to quickly steady her.
“Woah, are you all right there, miss?” He asked as his fingers wrapped around her upper arm.

“Yes, fine,” Mira answered, straightening up. The guard was immediately familiar, a red-head, untried, “Thank you. I am a bit lost, though.”

“You are a ways from your room.”
He hadn’t seen her in this part of the castle. He didn’t tend to walk these halls, but with most of the guard staff reassigned to watch over the Queen at the feast, his path had been expanded to include more of the castle. “Where are you trying to go?”

“The basement,”
she answered. His hesitance was removed, the questions answered with ‘none of my business’—a guard wasn’t meant to ask such things, and it came strangely easily for this one to dismiss questions. “Do you know the way?”

“I do. I can take you to it,” he let go of her arm then, only to offer it for her to take. She did so, wanting to maintain the contact. She used that time while they walked to move through his mind. He was unguarded, save for a few areas. Most people had those, things they never thought about, or never wanted to think about. They locked them away.

His mind was easy to navigate. He was not a man with much to hide; he was a young guard in the service of the Queen, one of the reasons he wasn't allowed to go along. He had yet to do much here, to prove himself, or to make himself untrustworthy. He had a ridiculously high sense of respect for authority, too. It'd be annoying if he became an enemy, if only for that. Talking him out of following orders, or questioning them, would prove problematic.

Right now though, she didn't need to do that. He had a sense of respect for her as one of the Queen's assistants, and that was enough.

She made sure to observe the path so she’d know how to return this way. He took her to another set of stairs that, finally, led down.
“Do you need help finding something down there, or—”

“No,” Mira let go of his arm and touched his cheek. “That will be all. Thank you.” Fingertips remained, and the man would see for a moment her eyes go white. No color. The pain that followed caused no scream, but it was evident on his face as Mira targeted his recent memories, unchaining them and simply removing them from the flow of his understanding. There was no time to write new ones. It was something she’d rectify later.

Right now, he just needed to forget she was here, and this worked perfectly for he shut his eyes and brought his hands up to his head. Mira removed her hand before he could find hers, and turned quickly to the stairs and out of sight.
'Maybe I could slay a dragon.' Doubtful. But perhaps she could convince a dragon not to kill her.

When the pain subsided and the man opened his eyes, he had no idea what he was doing in that part of the castle. Attempting to remember only caused him pain, so he soon gave it up and walked on.


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2014, 07:47:52 am »
A woman was humming.  Beckett felt the sound merge with his latest dream, which involved people dancing and singing.  Perhaps he was watching the last of the party revelers downstairs?  Many were drunk, but the music was light and festive.  The humming fit the mood, and one side of his mouth twitched as he imagined joining in rather than watching.

Someone touched his hand. I don’t mind if I do. Beckett took the touch, intending to tell the hummer that ‘one should do more than enjoy music by sitting and listening’. This was life. It should be lived and felt in every pore.

A name was on the tip of his tongue as he opened his eyes. “Mmm,” but the name turned to “Mmmyy goodness.”  The embarrassment was genuine since he was holding the hand of the queen rather than Mira.

Ilaera was still dressed in her evening finery.  Beckett looked beyond her and scanned the room and only when he saw they were alone did he relax. The window remained dark, giving Beckett some clue of the time.  He shifted his shoulders and withdrew his hand with a sigh.  “Your majesty.  What brings you here?”

The queen leaned down and brushed the hair away from Beckett’s forehead.  “I wanted to check on you.” Surely that would be obvious, and she smiled over her kindness. “I see you managed to bandage the wound.”  A nod of approval as her palm moved to the blood stain and his heart.  The flesh warmed under her touch as she said, “You were right that they fear my power.” 

Beckett understood more than most what she could really do.  His own hand moved to rest over hers, and he pushed to break the contact.  He wanted to be healed, and yet he hesitated to accept what she might fill his most vital organ with.  “The wound is not deep,” he lied. “I will heal in time.  You need not trouble yourself.”

She nodded, accepting his words and stepped away with a loud shift of cloth and feathers.  “You were dreaming,” she prompted.

“Nothing important.” Beckett tried to sit up, but succeeded only in shifting his weight to his elbows.  “The party only.”

“No interesting conversations I should know?”  She pouted.  “No disaster we could predict?”

Beckett shook his head and lay back on the pillow.  “Not today.”

“Perhaps,” the queen said, moving closer to the window, “we should move you downstairs.  I feel that sometimes I forget my dreams by the time I have a moment to recount them.  If you were closer; in the room next door…”

Beckett didn’t volunteer an opinion.  No matter how much he liked the idea of not being caged in the tower he didn’t think being closer to Ilaera was in his best interest.  He closed his eyes and didn’t offer the traditional, “At your service,” he tended to say when she suggested he do something for her.

Ilaera thought he’d fallen back asleep and her look of concern turned to a frown. He was obviously too weak to move, but had somehow managed a glass of water and complicated bandaging.   No servant had come to her knowledge.  Moving tower rooms had not been part of her original plan, although she wouldn’t admit the teleportation magic differed when she wasn’t present to control it.   It had taken her longer to find him, and no one had been sent.

She turned her back on the window and studied Beckett a few moments longer.  He was a mystery.  She wasn’t sure why she liked that.   And yet now he looked pale and she was concerned.  She’d gone to all that effort to bring him back and he repaid her with more secrets.  That would have to stop.

“Tomorrow,” she said.  But what she promised in that word she did not explain as she let herself out of the tower and walked towards her room.

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2014, 06:52:02 pm »
Walls had ears, but few meant that literally. Walls existed around many things, and if they could speak, people would be truly wary about what they did.

Even so, the walls could tell a story, and Mira observed the change in the structure of the wall the further down she went. It was less of a wall, and more of a cave.
‘So, it does go deep.’ She wondered if it went deep enough, if it could lead her where she wanted to be. Not that it would ever be so easy. She and her father were of the same opinion, that regardless of what was holding the floating city up, it was spread out.

It would be far too easy if it was one, centrally located, thing in the obvious place.

The air was thick the further down she went, moist. She started to wish for a torch, for light was limited.
‘There’s something here.’ It was caught in that web, and pulling her forward. There was no thought, which was strange. She didn’t try to press her luck, deciding she would wait until she reached it, saw it.

It was nearly blinding when at last she did see it, a bright white light that glowed out from the cave walls. It was a pillar of stone in the center of an wide opening, and yet, it floated. Stone reached down from the roof, and up from the floor, but the center was broken up. On that central bit of stone was the bright light, which only now did Mira discern as being a magical marking.

She had never encountered magic of this sort. She had only read of it in books on the sky and the histories of the city’s creation.
‘One.’ She should have gotten impatient a long time ago.

Mira ventured closer, despite herself. She wanted to get a good look at the symbols, which floating rock kept obscuring. She reached her hand forward, thinking to trace it to burn in an image into her memory, but as soon as she made contact with it, all thought ceased. It wasn’t painful, at least, not immediately.

It wasn’t painful until conscious thought returned, and Mira woke on the cave floor with a throbbing headache. The light was glowing brighter when she sat up, a hand to the place where her head hurt. There was no blood that she could see or feel, so she decided all was well and got back to her feet.
‘Don’t think I won’t be back.’

With that, Mira turned from the light and found her way back, eventually reaching the stairs she’d taken down. It was still night from what she could tell from the windows.

She walked back to the room she was given, making sure to lock it, before stripping herself of the fancier attire which was now dirty from the ground and dressing in a gown for sleeping, making a mental list of all she needed to do tomorrow, such as continue with this ‘researching’ for the Queen before figuring a way to travel to other places in the city.
‘Check other libraries, follow up leads on the curse, something….’ 


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2014, 06:10:38 am »
In the end it took two days for Beckett to be moved to his new quarters.  Part of the delay was a need to rest and recover; the queen didn’t want him showing his face to anyone around the castle unless he could appear in perfect condition.  The other part was the queen’s need for power and control.  The room she selected was obviously newly painted and prepared.  The expanse of luxury was something Beckett didn’t need, but he could certainly appreciate the large bed he awoke in, as well as the soft sheets.  The walls were a dusty blue with splashes of white to mirror the sky itself.  Fresh flowers stood in a vase on the nightstand.

All I need is a mint on the pillow.

He sat up in bed and looked towards the window.  This truly was a gilded cage. Thick bars blocked most of the sun.  Behind sad eyes he wondered who would feed the eagle.  He pushed back the covers and walked towards the window to confirm his suspicions.

There was large chest under the window.  Clothes were there.  He could see a small bathing alcove, and took the opportunity to make himself presentable.  He’d been transported here with no clothes, and while his face and bandages were clean, he still felt the tinge of magic that made his skin crawl.

No sooner had he dressed when he heard a door open.  The queen let herself into his room without knocking.  That was something he was used to, but now he could tell that her room was immediately adjacent – or if not her room then certainly the most opulent bedroom he’d ever seen.   The four poster bed was draped, and the walls were papered in red velvet.   A hound rested on the bearskin rug.

“I trust you like your new quarters?” the queen said as she strolled through.  A flick of her hand and the bed linens were straightened.  The action caused Beckett to feel more self conscious and crowded.  He moved back towards the windows.

The queen pursued.  She touched his bright cap of hair.  “I do like how it shimmers,” she said. The color remained from the feast night.  Beckett hadn’t really stopped to consider how the die remained until now, when he felt again like he was more pet than person.

“So,” Beckett said.  “Do you have plans today?”

If she noticed he didn’t answer her question about his likes and dislikes, she didn’t say.  There was a pause and what appeared to be a quick decision based on the contemplative look on her face.  “We will go to town,” she said.  “Get dressed.”

“I am dressed,” Beckett said.

“Yes, well.” She pursed her lips together.  “I suppose it will do for now.  You look pale.  Let’s go out and see the sun.”

Beckett glanced around looking for shoes.  The queen was wearing a fancy dress and tall heels that left him at a disadvantage.  She appeared to like it that way and didn’t tell him to put any shoes on as though the role of barefoot peasant was now his to own.  She took his arm and lead him out of the room to the hall.  Beckett noticed that the only way he could exit was through her chamber.  His room wasn’t large, and he vaguely wondered who had occupied it last – or if anyone even knew it was there.

They passed a few nobles as they walked down the hall together – the fancy queen and her favorite pet.   Beckett was waiting for the leash, but it appeared her grip on his arm would suit for now.  She spoke a few words and people scurried around.  Soon there was a decent size group heading out the castle door to the village.

Only Beckett seemed disappointed that Mira wasn’t among them.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 06:12:52 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2014, 08:04:15 pm »
Two days passed without fanfare. Mira continued to do research in the waking hours, and in the nightly hours she did her personal research, trying to figure out where the other glyphs might be. The books on the subject were never conveniently titled, and too many just had a paragraph within a chapter on the matter.

Even so, she was getting some idea that they were all within, so it would be caves and other such passages that would lead her to these sources of magic.

She was starting to make a list of all the possible places she would need to investigate. The number of them was too high for her to want to start with foot-work, so she continued with the book work instead, hoping to narrow it down so that she wouldn’t have to travel too much to find these sources.

Mira still maintained her usual habits, though Hendrick’s tune had changed. She supposed that was good for the Queen, even though the woman never knew how close she’d come to being assassinated for her favoritism. Now that Hendrick thought Mira might be killed at the Queen’s whim, he was appeased. Even so, the habit of going to get grapes had to be maintained. It gave her a breath of fresh air, and fresh news from outside the palace.

So, although she was not among those who went with the Queen, she was out that day, and she left the shop with her bag of grapes to see the entourage as it moved by. She didn’t leave the doorway then, but clung to it instead and observed, popping grapes into her mouth as she debated following.
‘They never know what’s going on.’ Those in the Queen’s entourage. They just did as told out of fear. It made them useless to spy on. They at least had a destination in mind, but Mira knew that could change.

‘Decisions, decisions.’
Another grape. It would be a great opportunity to explore more of the castle with the Queen and her guards absent. Mira inwardly smiled at the thought. There was still more to look in to, and she wanted to see if there were books in the Queen’s own quarters, or in places she wasn’t allowed that might tell her more on the sources.

And yet, Beckett was with her. She could see him, guided by Ilaera’s hand, when he shouldn’t be out and about. At least, she didn’t think he was ready to be out and about from the injury he sustained. 


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2014, 02:12:29 am »
They chattered like birds.  Normally Beckett liked birds but the sound of a dozen voices talking at once irritated him.  The sun was bright.  He squinted as the queen dragged him along the street, unable to think that being in the sun was going to do him much good.  He knew he was supposed to look happy. 

The queen even reminded him, “Cheer up, Darling.”  She smiled to show him how. “Prepare to be admired.”
But, if people recognized Beckett they certainly didn’t treat his resurrection with reverence.  A few glanced their way curiously.  One couple crossed the street.  It was times like these that Beckett wished he was an empath.  His imagination was busy filling in the blanks with anxiety and worry.  Surely that wasn't the truth? He didn't want to be a something people feared.

He thought he saw Mira beneath a shadowy archway.  He let his eyes scan in her direction only.  His feet continued to move in their natural rhythm, so no embarrassing stumble gave her away.  Finally his lips did twitch.  Years ago he used to react to her presence in an awkward fashion.  Once he’d even crashed into something he’d been so busy looking.  Maybe he was growing up.

Or, maybe your heart doesn’t beat like it used to.

He’d had quite the crush on her, although he doubted she knew. 

“There we are,” the queen said as she looked down and seemed to take his ironic smirk as pleasure.  “See, I told you a walk was just what you needed.”

The queen lifted her hand and led the group towards the town square and the park.  She would hold court at the amphitheater. The marble bench and grassy lawn were perfect for having the villagers visit and talk about their needs.  She was the benevolent ruler.  Approachable.  A mother with her children playing at her skirts.

Beckett debated about asking a question during one lull in the conversation.  He wanted to know more about the curse Mira was researching.  If he knew something, she might visit again. But, once when he opened his mouth to speak he found that he couldn't.  The collar constricted around his throat – not tight enough to cut off his air, but enough to let him know that speaking would not be allowed.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 02:34:47 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2014, 10:13:11 pm »
There was a smirk for her when Beckett saw her, and she returned a smile, a bit wider and more cheerful than he could muster. He was not all right, but he was well enough to fake it.

If the Queen noticed her, she gave no indication, and Mira did not attempt to pry and give herself away.
“The Queen is holding court out in the air today,” spoke a man from inside. Mira glanced back and saw Amit, eating a chocolate bar. “It is a miracle he is alive, but the people are more afraid than they are awed. One can only hide the inside of themselves for so long. The people know what their Queen is, even if they say it not.”

Mira turned her eyes away, to the people who looked as if they recognized Beckett. He was right, it wasn’t awe on their minds. Fear was what had been inspired, and many wondered what dark arts the Queen had performed, who she was in alliance with, and so many other things.

“I’m taking a delivery back today,”
he noted.

Mira turned then, and he made the offer obvious.
“I could deliver something for you.”

“To Kayla?”
There his nose wrinkled. He was no fan, it was clear on his face and in his mind.

“I could…it will cost.”

“I will pay you for it when you return, in full. For now, half.”
Before he could say the price, Mira took the pouch from her side and counted it out before him.

He observed, a bit startled,
“How did you know?” His gaze lifted from the coins to her.

“I know the usual going rate. I have had to contact others for delivery tasks, after all.”

He had just made up the price, though. He didn’t question it, assumed he might have unconsciously worked off what he knew to be ‘fair’ prices for these sorts of things, and accepted the coins.
“What am I delivering?”

Mira didn’t answer, but walked to the counter of the store and bought paper, and a map, and requested the use of a pen. The man watched her writing, but couldn’t read any of it. The letters were almost identical. She did not know if Kayla could read the language, but imagined she could find someone who could. On the map were marked off locations of caves she’d figured out, and the ‘x’ at the castle circled. The letters would inform both parties of the magic found there.

She was asking information of both of them—where the others might be, where the best places to look might be, and how many they suspected. Kayla had her ways to figure it out, and Mira’s father had his own.

She folded the letters up and handed them off to Amit.
“The one with the star in the corner to my father, the other to Kayla,” she instructed. “The rest of your pay will be given to you when you return with responses.”

Amit nodded,
“It will be two weeks or so before I return,” he noted.

“I know,”
she understood he had quite a route to make before returning to the sky. He had friends to see, too. “I come here every morning, so I will see you then.”

He understood. Meeting at the castle or anywhere else would not be advisable. With that, he turned his attention to the man at the counter and began discussing shipment and things he wanted brought in from the land. Mira exited the shop, and went to see the Queen holding her court.

Plenty had arrived, but they were being overly polite, and cordial. Mira stood at the outskirts, under a tree. The villagers were acting humbled by this visit.
‘Oh please. Speak what’s on your mind.’

Perhaps they needed a little push.

Mira noted a young girl with her mother, eight or nine, a pretty blonde. There was an exchange going on, calm words from the mother to the girl. They’d heard the whispers of the Queen and what she’d done, and the girl had so many curious questions.
‘Sorry, mother dear.’

Children were much easier to manipulate, their guards not fully developed, and their impulse control not there. It was how Mira imagined manipulating animals would be, if they spoke the same language.

Mira waited until the mother went to greet Her Majesty, with no complaints at all. She pushed the thought through the child’s mind, too loud to be ignored and silenced. It blurted from the child’s throat,
“How did you make the man come back to life?”

The mother looked down at the child with a bit of horror, thinking the question highly inappropriate.
“People are saying you’re working with evil,” she said, “Is it true? Is it?”

Mira smirked under her tree. The child wasn’t at all confused about where the thoughts came from, or why. They were her own, just increased tenfold, after all.


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2014, 04:00:21 am »
The sun continued to bother Beckett as he stood by the queen’s side.  A small trickle of sweat formed between his shoulder blades and ran down his back beneath the bandages.  He wanted to scratch, but knew it would draw attention to himself, something he didn’t want.

He knew that Mira was present.  He glanced once in her direction, but her eyes weren’t on him.  She seemed interested in the crowd and proceedings.  Beckett didn’t know if the queen routinely came here, but the people seemed to accept her audience.  There was a certain polite protocol to the movements leading him to conclude that this wasn’t completely unusual, but still a unique priveledge.  He remained quiet and listened, a touch disappointed by the mundane topics of conversation.

Then, a little girl asked about the ritual he’d inadvertently participated in.  The queen’s reaction wasn’t quite what he expected.  He figured she’d offer to ‘demonstrate’ but instead she smiled as though pleased by the accusation hidden in the child’s question.

“You misunderstand what magic is.” A look to the mother to be more open with her teaching. “Magic is a good thing. Not evil.”

Her hand moved to Beckett’s shoulder.  “Is it evil to give life?”  She looked intently at the child.  “Would you have not wanted your father returned from the earth if such could have been done?”

The gasp was noticeable.  The mother bowed to the queen and hustled the child away.  The queen kept speaking since nearly all others present appeared willing to listen.  “Indeed the God have agreed with my choice to spare Beckett and they have bestowed on him a gift. He has offered a prophesy about the land.”

Beckett blinked.  He couldn’t think about any gift he’d received other than the fancy new bedroom – but then he realized she was twisting dreams and the interpretation although there was no cause and effect.

Ilaera said, “We will be tested this year.  They do not understand our way of life and will once again challenge us.  Thanks to my mercy for Beckett, and this new knowledge, we will be ready. I am making preparations to protect us based on the visions the god’s have provided to us both.”  She stood.  The audience was clearly over.

Someone in the crowd was bold enough to shout a question.  “What is it? Will there be war?”

The queen lifted her hand and the collar loosened.  Beckett figured he’d been given the directive to answer. 

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2014, 04:13:48 am »
Ilaera talked too much for Mira to get in another word, to challenge the Queen’s authority to give life to one who had lost it. There were those thoughts in the minds of some, but protocol had to be followed. The girl, her mouthpiece, was removed by the mother. Mira sent just one thought to the mother.

‘I do not wish him back. Not like this.’

It was the mother’s voice in her own head, whispering to her a thing she already knew and believed, even if longing wanted to steal over her heart. Mira glanced back at the crowd as the Queen rose, ending conversation. It would not be so difficult to whisper to some of them, either.

Another grape, a playful smirk.
‘War? Oh, don’t be so naïve.’ Beckett played prophet, it seemed. She wondered if it was a ruse, or if he had some powers of foretelling the future. ‘We are not so stupid to go to war.’ There would be destruction, there would be chaos, and there would be death, but no overt war.

It would be simple. The city would fall, and all the enemies would be slain.

There was no war if there was no enemy. That was her father’s logic. No casualties of the Land required.
‘And that’s why you have to leave, Beckett….’ But she couldn’t tell him as much, at least, not yet. It was far too early in the game to be revealing any secrets, any schemes of destruction. He might tell the Queen. He might have some love of this sky.

Mira did not need to do any pushing this time,
“How?” One was baffled at the idea that the Land could even assault them, “When?” There was no need to ask why, of course. The why was obvious to all in the Sky.

Mira was curious for this, too, if they knew ‘when’ this event was supposed to occur, or even ‘how’.


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #44 on: June 30, 2014, 06:09:01 am »

The Queen rose and waved one hand vaguely, as though she could calm the sea of questions.   She didn’t look at Beckett.  She didn’t need the answers.  “The what and when are of no consequence.  I will see to your safety.”

Beckett said, “But…” and he felt the silence around him as unnatural. 

In his imagination the air seemed to shift and he looked up.  His favorite eagle gave a piercing cry and cast a shadow over the park as it flew overhead. Typically the sight of the giant eagle would bring awe, but something about the way it circled and dived towards them held an ominous edge.  Several people ducked.  One person made a warding gesture. Beckett followed the path of the bird as it headed towards Mira, but then his eyes stayed on her, as the bird veered course and went on its way towards the castle.  His throat felt tight.  One hand lifted and toyed with the collar.  Mira was leaning on a tree, listening.  Watching.  He wondered again what research she could be doing in the village.

The Queen waved her hand again and rather than offer more reassurances she started to walk off, following the path of the giant bird.  Someone helped Beckett up with a rough pull under his armpits.  The pressure caused him to wince. He nodded his thanks, although he wasn’t terribly thankful and took a moment to brush a piece of grass off of his clothing.

He wanted to make some sort of motion towards Mira to follow, or perhaps find him later, but he didn’t want to draw attention to her.  The Queen’s focus on him was quite enough.  She didn’t need two pets.  Without further ado, he took his position with the parade of nobles as they ambled back towards the castle.

Beckett was tired.  The walk had taken much out of him.  Occasionally he’d close both eyes and take a few steps, trying to find solace in the dark and ease the pressure behind his eyes.  He regulated his breathing as best he could but his heart rate was faster than he liked and each beat hurt.

The Queen was artfully dodging questions, but Beckett paid little attention.  Thankfully she escorted him back to his quarters after dismissing the others in the hall.  It would not yet be obvious that the queen had a new guest in her private chambers.

She cooed over him sympathetically, but Beckett only wanted to lie down.  He refused food.  Feeling dizzy he managed to stretch out on the bed.

The queen said, “I will be taking my lunch.  We will talk again this evening.” 

Beckett didn’t hear her.  He was fast asleep.

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #45 on: July 01, 2014, 09:30:41 pm »
The eagle was an interesting development. No information was given about the whens and hows, much to the displeasure of some. It was quite easy from afar to push forward the doubts, the worry, to suggest Her Majesty had no idea.

After all, that was Mira’s hope.
‘But how does he know?’ Her eyes moved to Beckett again as the eagle swooped over the crowd. He had some power to him. The Queen must have sought him out for it. ‘And must have suspected me from the start.’ She was familiar with these things, to some degree. She must have understood that, now and then, those of the Land carried blessings of their own, talents that weren’t visible to the naked eye.

It would explain quite a bit.

There was a gasp when the eagle again dove low, this time near Mira. She didn’t move, didn’t flinch. The eagle wasn’t here to cause harm. What it was doing, Mira couldn’t guess.

The eagle turned towards the castle, and so did the Queen’s party. It almost looked as if they were following the eagle itself. Mira observed the progression. If the Queen had noticed her, she made no indications. Mira imagined she was noticed, though. Either way, she wasn’t going to try and sneak ahead of the Queen to pretend she wasn’t out and about.

She would simply stay out a bit longer. She could spend her time reading at the café for a little while before returning to the dim library. So, Mira walked across the courtyard and found her way to the café she would have taken Beckett to, and there ordered tea rather than coffee. She wasn’t truly in the mood for something as ‘heavy’ as coffee that day.

She spent a few hours there in peace, reading one of the books that was on her list of books to read before Kayla’s. In fact, she stayed until it was finished, though it was of little use. She knew it wouldn’t be much help, but that was not the point. The title, the subject matter, all of it suggested it would aid the Queen in her search to find a way to break the curse. The problem was, the book was too general. Mira knew that from the first page.

It was edging towards sunset when Mira arrived at the castle, and she beelined for the library. The book was returned to its shelf, and Mira left without a word to anyone in the library, debating if she ought to check the tower for Beckett or return immediately to reading as it was likely she’d been caught out and about, and needed to ‘make up’ for the departure from the castle. 


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #46 on: July 04, 2014, 06:19:36 pm »
Ilaera went to the kitchens and placed a special order with the cook.  She didn’t typically prowl around here, but she had a craving for something and wanted to see people jump when she spoke.  The outing had been less than adequate.  She had been hoping for more of a power fix. 

Her eyes  fell on the small bag of coffee on the counter.  Before departing she picked it up and offered a sniff.  Land based food.  She asked the cook. “Where did you get this?”

He was already busy with the special order.  Eager to have the queen leave he didn’t mince words.  “It was brought by Mira.  She wanted a special dessert.”

“Really?”  Bribery seemed to suit her - the judgement another conflicted feeling the queen had about working with the psion.  Ilaera shook the bag and listened to the small hiss of the grounds. “Why don’t you make another.”  Ilaera let him think it for her, rather than admit that she wanted an excuse to seek out the woman.

Indeed the espresso mouse accompanied her lunch in the formal dining room.  She ate alone, enjoying the silence and the sense of ease that came with having the large space to herself.  The Queen kept the small china plate for last, and when she was done she took the untouched dessert with her as she prowled through the castle.   She didn’t fine Mira in her room, so she went to the library and to the small desk where she had brought cocoa once before.   She set the plate down and went to fetch a book herself thinking to spend the time reading.  At some point Mira would come.  The queen wouldn’t waste time with pleasantries – whether here or in the hall she’d ask directly, “How do you know him?”

Meanwhile, Beckett was busy dreaming.  Seeing the eagle had burned the image into his subconscious  The was flying towards the castle and looking for an open window.  He made the leap, but he missed.

And he was falling....
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 06:29:42 pm by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #47 on: July 05, 2014, 02:58:39 am »
It was just before she escaped the library that the Queen interrupted her train of thought and all of her plots. She hadn’t intended to disturb the reading woman, but it seemed she had. She didn’t get away unnoticed. When she stepped out into the hallway, she turned back to the Queen to contemplate her approach.

The pointed question came, and Mira feigned confusion rather than answer. She did not attempt to guess who the Queen meant, and didn’t utilize her talent to see if the Queen’s mind was even open to her, withdrawing within instead.
“Who do you mean, Your Majesty?” Formality suited after the threat that followed their last meeting.

There were plenty of men she knew. It could be anyone. Of course, she had ideas of who the Queen referred to. Beckett. It was certainly the only one that mattered, considering how the Queen treated him as a pet.

She stopped just outside the library. If the Queen wished to return to the library, Mira would follow her in. Otherwise, she would rethink her plots. She couldn’t go looking for Beckett now, not when the Queen was aware of her return. Then it would be obvious who Mira knew. 


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #48 on: July 06, 2014, 06:35:32 am »
A lifted eyebrow was the Queen's response to Mira's confusion.  A pause.  A smile.

Oh, I think you know who I mean.She let the thought ring loud.  If she could have telepathed it she would have but her own gifts were limited and those in the cloud were too simple to practice on.   Ilaera considered laughing and bringing the game to a close, but then she rethought the idea. 

"The coffee vendor," she said.  "I hear you spend a great deal of time in the village.  The cook made another expresso mouse for you, and I've brought it here thinking to find you, but it seems again you were away."

She shook her head.  "I do hope you don't intend to sneak off on my Mira.  I can't lose you to the Land before our work together is done."  The Queen pointed to the door.  "Have you had an opportunity to read the book I brought you?"  A smile that held more chill than warmth.  "I was hoping we could discuss it.  The last chapter in particular.  I'd like to know if you find any credence in the theory of the skin markings."

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #49 on: July 06, 2014, 06:55:53 am »
Mira laughed a bit at who the Queen chose to refer to. It wasn’t Beckett. “Did he?” About the mousse. “How thoughtful of him. He doesn’t usually make me anything unless I ask. I told him it annoyed me.” It did. It was wasted food if Mira didn’t want it. He had only done it once in an attempt to keep her from filching desserts on her own time.  “He must have forgotten.”

She didn’t reach for the mousse, as such. She hadn’t asked for it, didn’t see Ilaera as the sort who delivered desserts to others unless she wanted something.
“As for the vendor, I do not really know him. He works out of that store in the village that specializes in land goods, I go there often enough for grapes.”

Every day. Certainly Ilaera knew that.

She pointed to the door, and Mira leaned her body towards it, but didn’t take a step to return.
“I’m afraid I have not read that book yet. There remain a couple others ahead of it, so I can offer little commentary on the final chapter, Your Majesty. I finished one today at the café—the one I return. I’m afraid it was of little help, though,” she answered that final query. She hadn’t touched the book from the Queen, so she couldn’t really say anything. She had her own opinions on the matter. “I do not intend to leave your service until I’ve assisted you, though, so do not fret.”
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 05:40:28 pm by Krystal Itzume »


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2014, 05:41:42 am »

The queen was displeased but she chose not to show it.  She wondered idly what the girl was playing at.  If it weren’t for the fact that she honestly required her services she would have been done with the charade at the New Year.  But, since a knife jammed in the table then didn’t seem to make an impression Ilaera would need to move to other methods.

“Well,” she said, “If the first book revealed the answer then I wouldn’t need you, would I?”

For a moment she considered if that was the game.  Mira stringing her along to spend longer in the castle.  Could it be that there was more here to the prioritization?  A ruse? 

But then, what is the game?  Certainly not food and favors.

“I do hope you take the time to enjoy the dessert.  It is poor form to refuse a gift.”  She let the offer turn to a threat as she moved towards the hall.  “I will keep you to your word.” 


Beckett woke with a start.  His heart was pounding hard.  He brought a hand to his chest and realized that somehow he’d started bleeding again.   His fingertips were damp with blood and there was a small stain on his shirt. The skin had seemed relatively healed when he’d dressed – discolored, but whole.  This injury as new.

He took more time to breathe, testing how much he could fill his lungs without pain.  Surprisingly he could move without discomfort.  Now that his heart rate had slowed he sat up and pulled the shirt over his head, walking to the mirror in the bathroom.  There was no window here but even in the dim light he could see that the source of the blood wasn’t a knife puncture.  The wound was now more star shaped, and the rim of it was slick, like it had been carved into his skin, or maybe burned.

His eyes grew wide as he studied the injury.  He let his hands touch the lines to confirm the presence of the image he saw.  Confused he took a towel and cleaned the wound.  The lines were straight.  The mark, he'd almost call it artistic if it weren’t for the abhorrent idea that somehow he’d been once again scarred without consent.  Strangely self conscious and a little bit afraid, Beckett went to find a new shirt and to cover himself so that he didn’t have to consider the thousand questions.

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2014, 04:05:25 am »
Mira smiled at the Queen’s deduction skills, “Indeed, Your Grace. I will resume my readings, and should I find anything of interest I shall tell you.”

She was able to escape without any commentary on body markings at all, which suited her just fine. Her smile didn’t leave, though now it remained for a second reason—the Queen could deduce, but it seemed she couldn’t get it through her head that threats weren’t going to work with Mira. There was a reason Mira bribed people. More flies with honey.

“I think it poorer form to ignore someone, Your Grace, but your ways have always been strange to me. Tell the chef I appreciate his thought, but he may have the mousse.”
She couldn’t have him getting into the habit of making her desserts when she didn’t want them. “I can’t risk losing my figure,” a chuckle as she turned to walk away, opening her mind if only to try and catch a stray, self-conscious thought from the Queen. “It is difficult to get clothing I like here already.”

Mira took the opposite direction to head to her own room. Adventures would have to wait, it seemed, though she kept her mind open as she left the Queen’s presence. It was more comfortable, somehow.


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2014, 03:01:49 am »
The queen watched Mira walk down the hall.  Her mind refused to give into emotion – torn between curiosity, anger and suspicion.  The insult hung in the air.  Her kindness, as well as the cooks refused.  It mattered not that the motives were impure, she’d offered a gift and had it brazenly rejected.


Ilaera turned back to the dark of the library and barely restrained the impulse to collect the dish and toss it against the wall.  To her own disgust she’d used the word ‘need’ where Mira was concerned.  “A queen doesn’t say such things,” she admonished herself.  And she would not be forgetful again.

If Mira would not tell her what she wished to know, there was someone who would.  Leaving the library, Ilaera returned to her rooms.  She caried the dessert.  Mira wished not to waste, and so she would see that her prized possession enjoyed it.

A wave of her hand and she entered the antechamber where she’d hidden Beckett.  He was standing, and looking guilty, but she couldn’t sense his thoughts like she wished.  She’d have to ask, “You have recovered from the walk.”  Setting the dish down she explained, “I brought you something sweet.”

Beckett started at the entrance.  He didn’t need privacy, hiding little, but there was a sense of personal invasion when she came into his space without knocking.  The space was small and she seemed to fill it with silk and scent.   Beckett glanced at the dish, but didn’t ask over the unfamiliar dish, he was simply pleased to be allowed food.  “Thank you, Your majesty.”

His hands needed somewhere to be so he wouldn’t give away the presence of the new wound he worried over.  He pressed his fingers to the collar.  Ilaera seemed in a good enough mood to ask, “Would it be possible to take this off.  It seems silly to wear it since the party is over.”

The queen offered a pretty pout.  She closed the space between them, adding her own touch to the jewelry and crowding him further.  Beckett tried not to shy away but he couldn’t help the step back, even though the precious inches only pressed his side to the wall.

The move displeased the queen, or perhaps she’d never intended to honor the request.  She hesitated then said, “No.  It was a gift.  You will not refuse me a gift.  Mira has already done that today.”  Her lips closed and she studied Beckett’s face for sign of recognition over the name.  To her it seemed his eyes widened over the name.  “Do you know her?”

Beckett hadn’t considered that he’d be asked a direct question.  He’d done his best not to look at Mira when they were out, but this close to the queen he would be caught in a lie and he knew it.  “Our paths crossed years ago, when I lived on the land.”


He shrugged.  “I doubt she even recognized me.  Why do you ask?”

The queen had been seeking confirmation, and while she knew that Beckett was hiding something, she sensed it might be more broken heart than intrigue.  She could see them together – one dark and one fair.  One serious and one spontaneous.

Suddenly she didn’t want to probe and learn the sordid details.  She’d keep the knowledge that Beckett might have another weakness to herself, for now.  “No reason.”  She smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes.  “Get some rest and enjoy your dessert.”

She left and closed the wall behind her.  Beckett might have wondered over the conversation but she didn’t.  Suddenly she wanted to return to village.  Mira had not seemed curious about the threat of war and Beckett had mentioned the threat.  It was time to round up a few people and question what they knew.  Ilaera went to speak with her most trusted advisors.   Armed guards were sent to the village.  Known sympathizers were collected.  She would enjoy many hours into the night questioning them as only she knew how.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 06:23:33 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2014, 05:36:37 am »
The thought amused Mira. It was not what she wanted, but it brought a smile to her lips. Oh, she had pissed the queen off. ‘Go on then, dear. Keep threatening. You’ll be the one to fall if you want to play that game.’ Third strike, Mira thought. At the third strike, Mira wouldn’t wait for the castle to fall. She’d make sure the Queen lost her standing before then—death, insanity, coup. Mira had enough confidence in herself to think she could arrange it. She knew enough of the noble minds well enough that she could play them whatever way she wanted.

Overconfident, she turned the corner all but laughing. She pressed her fingers to her lips to keep the sound from escaping, but it did when her gray eyes landed on the red-headed guard.

He blinked in confusion,
“Er, miss—”

“I’m sorry,”
she interrupted, “I’ve had a bit much to drink,” another giggle, “I can’t seem to find my room.”

He looked taken aback by the behavior, but offered his arm,
“I can take you to it, Miss.”

“Oh please,”
she said, “Mira. We’ve seen each other enough now, Sorin,” he had never given his name. He didn’t seem surprised that she knew it, though. She accepted the arm and pretended the help required, leaned a bit on him as he helped her back.

“You’ll say otherwise in the morning, Miss.”

“Not at all. Here, I do not mind being called Mira. Ah, even on the Land it annoyed me when I was referred to by my surname. Alekar. That was my father, not me.”
And while he lived, that was how it would be. When he died, then she would be Alekar until she married.

“Ah, they use surnames for formalities?”
He didn’t know much of the land.

“Titles of a sort. Formalities. Yes.”
She agreed, “We’ve another thing in common, too.”

“What is that?”
They were close to her door now.

“Gifts,” she answered him, and then parted from his side, reaching for the door with one hand. She opened it, but turned around to face him, now in the doorway. “So few realize it, think of it, but gifts do not signify how much one likes you. They signify a power relationship,” there was a subtle smile on her lips, “It varies by the circumstances. In birthdays, of course the receiver has the power, but in almost all other instances, it is the giver that has the power. To accept the gift, is to accept that balance. To be capable of giving gifts shows you are superior in wealth, in health, and all other ways. The other is indebted to you by that annoying bond of human guilt and gratitude.” A smirk, brief. It faded quick. “You never considered it, did you? This position of yours was a gift, given by your connections to Martin, who spoke well of you even though you may have needed more time to hone your skills.”

Now he looked startled.
“You know Martin?”

“Yes,” she agreed. She’d met him in passing. “He told me of you when you joined, and how responsible he felt. How worried," the guilt and worry deepened, the need to do well for someone who risked their own neck, "And you feel so indebted to him that you would obey most any order he would give you, even if it challenged your morals.”

Sorin bit the inside of his cheek, wanting to deny her, but he’d not been tested yet. Not even he knew how deep his need to prove himself ran. He would be tested that night, though neither knew it, when Martin ordered him to round up people and move them, with force, from their beds. No reasons given. Queen’s orders.

“Gifts have power when accepted. They create relationships. Remember that, Sorin. It may one day save your life to deny the right gift.” ‘Or give the right one.’ She winked, “Good night,” and shut the door.

She didn’t sleep immediately, but started the next book. After all, she had to keep pretending that she was doing the Queen’s work.
‘Because you need me.’ She almost started laughing again, but did not.

With a fourth of it read, she turned in, and in the morning resumed her routine of fetching grapes from the store she always went to. The only difference was that this time, on her way to the store, she caught sight of Sorin sitting in a café. He caught sight of her, too, but neither approached. The glance was all Mira needed.
‘…orders to move people from their beds, and I don’t know why but Martin asked and I….’

‘Obeyed.’ Mira didn’t smile but turned her head away to break away from the chain of thoughts.

‘Interesting movements in the night.’
And none were talking of it, none she detected were thinking of it. This had been done well, executed efficiently. Of course, when Her Majesty wanted something, she tended to get it.

Just as Mira thought of continuing on, though, she turned back.

She caught Sorin just as he was rising from his table to return to his own home,
“Good morning,” she greeted him and fell in step.

“Good morning, Miss.”

“Mira. I told you it wouldn’t be any different.”

Weak smile,
“My apologies,” he offered, “You were noble on the land?”

“Something of the sort,”
she answered. There weren’t exactly kings or queens. No true aristocrats, but there were families who claimed old blood. Most lied. She was of old blood, though. “Respected,” she clarified.

“You…the gift thing. You manipulate people, don’t you?”

“Everyone does. I just understand it. Admit it, even. We are inherently selfish creatures, after all, and every friend we have, my dear, is someone that is useful to us--even if they are only useful for making us laugh.”
Oh yes, she manipulated people, but she wanted to make sure Sorin doubted his own self-righteousness before this continued.

He did, his thoughts immediately drawn to a drunkard he didn't care for, but who did make him laugh. He bought the man drinks just so he'd continue to do so, too. He'd never thought of it that way before.
“I’d like to manipulate you, as you seem in a distraught state.”

“Is it…,” but he sighed. It had to be that obvious. Already she was at work. He had a respect for honesty already, and she let that pique his interest and quell worries. If she was being open about it, perhaps there was trust here. Perhaps she wouldn't be cruel if she was being upfront. "You are forward."

She could only smile.
“I want a gift.”

“People don’t ask for gifts.”

“I do. I suppose the term now would be favor,” she told him, “I would be in your debt.”

He frowned. He wasn't sure he liked this now, but he humored the request.
“What is it you want?” For he understood he was being manipulated now. He didn’t know why, or how, and he wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. He didn't want for much.

“I want in Her Majesty’s chambers.”
When his eyes widened, she said, “One of my friends was taken prisoner by her,” she had no idea if it was true, “And I am very curious if I can find answers in her private chambers.” It wasn’t what she intended to look for at all, but rather books or information about the magical markings that weren’t otherwise accessible.

“Do you have any idea—”

“I do,”
she answered calmly. “I can wait, it need not be immediate, but…,” she trailed off, a moment to let it sink in for him, too. He could work this when the Queen was out, and a favor from her could be useful. “sometime soon,” and she slipped into the store then, and took a glance down.

‘Thank you, love.’

The Gods smiled on her today. It must have pained them to look so far up, but they were.

She was quite certain he would do as asked, not for the debt, but because he was already conflicted. At the very least, she was quite certain he wouldn't breathe a word of the request to anyone. Either way, she'd erase the memory in a couple of days if nothing came of it.


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2014, 04:14:20 am »
He had the dream again – the one where he watched Mira in the clouds and saw her fall.  His hand reached for her, like he was close, but she slipped away from him before he could catch her.

She didn’t scream.

People falling to their deaths should scream, Beckett thought as he awoke.  So then I can only assume she doesn’t die.

He sat up and pushed the bedding aside unsure of the time or how long he’d slept.  It seemed all he did was sleep.  No windows to tell the time.  No bird for company.  Beckett put a hand to his chest, glad that the wound that had started there yesterday, the day before (he couldn’t be sure) was not bleeding.  Cautiously he lifted his shirt and inspected his skin. 

Perhaps it was some sort of random magic event? Some fairy that gives out tatoos and sparkle. But he knew even as the thought emerged that it couldn’t be so simple.  The mark was still star shaped but it no longer looked bloody and angry.  Etched with silver and almost artistic he wondered if he needed to do anything about it.  He didn’t want to show it to anyone, and pulled the cloth shirt back over the mark.  He rolled his shoulders under the restriction, considering the need to sleep covered for the rest of his life (which really was the least of his worries) as yet another simple pleasure denied.  He had few and resented the loss of more.

With a sigh he stood and started to pace.  As he’d done in prior hours he let his hands run along the wall.  The queen had visited, and entered here, but he couldn’t seem to find the door.

He let his fist hit the wall in frustration.  Then he decided to use his voice, “Your Majesty, are you there?”  Only silence.  He took a breath and found his throat clogged with emotion as the lack of sound seemed to stretch around him.  “Please let me out.”

The queen wasn’t there to hear, and likely wouldn’t have bothered with Beckett anyway.  She was busy with her new toys in the dungeon.  What they told her caused her to prepare another trip to the mainland.  She found it hard to believe there wasn’t a plot to harm her.  Paranoia, once planted took solid root.  Bags were prepared and other arrangements made.  At dawn she would depart for the land.  She’d make a point of returning with gifts.  Grapes and coffee came to mind.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 04:17:17 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2014, 04:40:36 am »
The grapes were purchased as always, and Mira turned back towards the castle. There would be no reading out. She would be easy to find, should Sorin decide to trust her enough. Mira returned to her room, let the grapes slide into a bowl at her end table and kicked her shoes off. She began to read once more. She would have another book finished before the Queen bothered her, with luck.

There was a knock not too long after she’d settled in, though.
‘And I seem to have that.’ Mira shut the book and lifted herself from her bed to greet the man at the door. “Sorin?” ‘So soon?’

“You sent for me, Miss,” he had slipped into formality again, but it was nervous, and so telling. Even so, Mira smiled. She didn’t need to read his mind to understand he was doing his utmost not to give everything away within the walls.

“Ah, yes, forgive my forgetful mind,”
that was the last thing she had. “Lead the way, then.” No need for shoes. Sorin led on.

She was curious about this suddenness, so she took his arm and checked into his mind to make sure this wasn’t some trap.
‘No….’ He hadn’t turned traitor. Curiously enough, it appeared the Queen wasn’t in the castle. Information he’d overheard from other guards, those of higher rank. When he’d asked where she went, no answer was given. ‘No idea how long she’ll be gone, then.’ Even so, Mira would use the time she had and hope it was enough to truly search the room.

There were no guards posted outside of the room. Mira gave Sorin a confused look, but his expression didn’t change. His nerves wouldn’t allow it.
‘Ah.’ Guard switch. Sorin was to be on duty for one of them. The other was just slow. This might make it easy enough to get out the front door, too.

When Mira tried the door, though, it was locked.
“I don’t—”

“Sh.” Mira knelt before the door and moved a hand back through her hair. Even when it was loose, it was easy enough to hide a couple of bobby pins. She broke it in half, and used the two pieces until the lock ‘clicked’ and opened for her. She turned the knob and stepped in, smiled at Sorin and mouthed her thanks, before shutting the door and slipping inside. The bobby pin would be discarded later. For now, she kept it in her hand.

She had been here only once before, and hardly for long. She let her eyes take in the scenery of the bedroom once more, and then she took a deep breath. She would have to be quiet; the guards would react if she was too loud.
‘But I hear something….’ It sounded like a person, but it wasn’t coming from the way she’d entered.

She walked across the room on the tips of her toes to where the sound was coming from. There was no obvious door, but she could imagine hundreds of secret passages in this place. With only a moment’s hesitance and thought for her sanity, she whistled. 


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #56 on: July 18, 2014, 03:32:12 am »
Resting his head against the wall, Beckett wanted to cry.  It was weak he knew but he felt so lost and tired.  He wasn’t the kind to enjoy solitude.  There was no luxury here that he wanted.  Being denied the sun and air was worse than the tower, and that had been lonely as well.  Here his nerves frayed.  He imagined that he heard a whistle.

His hand pressed to the wall.  All five fingers splayed flat and his nails clenched as though he could grab the smooth paint like cloth and hold on.  He choked back a sob at the cruelty of the joke.  Like she knew he wanted the bird.  His other hand formed a fist and slammed into the wall.

“Stop it!”  He yelled.  His lip quivered and he hated how weak he felt.  Hair mussed, face pale he sunk to his knees, afraid of the taunt and that she might hurt the eagle.  His forehead dragged against the wall, scraping some of the skin with a brush burn. 

“Please,” he choked.  “Please let me out.”  Just for a minute.  So I can breathe. “I’ll tell you what you want to know.  Just open the door.”

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2014, 03:50:52 am »
Mira had definitely heard something, and what it was soon came to be understood. She jumped at the fist hitting the wall, but her back quickly straightened and she gave the wall a dull look, as if it should move because she was unimpressed with it.

It didn’t, of course, and she didn’t reveal who it was the speaker was addressing just yet. She’d wait for him to see.
‘And what is it she wants to know?’ Ah, some people just didn’t know how to handle torture. Of course, most people weren’t blessed with strong minds that could transport them to an entirely other world, a potent delusion, on a whim.

She examined the wall, red velvet and all, and soon caught sight of where the velvet broke up. She moved her hand there, and brushed up. It didn’t take long for her to discover the lock after that. It didn’t require a key, fortunately, so it was undone in one easy movement before she found the hold. She pushed forward without offering Beckett a warning

Either way, she would step into the doorway and seek him out with her eyes,
“Go out then,” and with a playful smile and glint in her eyes, she’d ask, “And do tell me what I want to know, I’m very curious about that. I never seem to know,” a laugh followed, quiet though it was, as she was still alert for the people guarding the Queen’s door. 


  • Posts: 809
  • I see you...
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2014, 04:12:47 am »
The wall slid away and Beckett fell face forward on the silk rug.  Head bowed he didn’t look up at the voice that addressed him.  The tone didn’t match what he expected, and he was too distraught to process it all properly.

On all fours he pulled himself out of the archway and into the queen’s chambers.  He could feel the change in light, the shift in the air.  He tried to breathe, but his emotions were close to the breaking point and it took a moment with eyes closed to grasp the concept of freedom.  His heart beat so hard it hurt.

Beckett tipped his head to the side, and noted the lack of shoes and fine clothes. It was Mira and not the queen.  He looked up and to the other side, fully surveyed the room to confirm Ilaera wasn’t here.  What had Mira asked?  “You shouldn’t go to the mill,” he said, offering the advice she might need, more than want.  “You’ll fall.”

He sat back on his haunches and brushed his fingers over his lips to be sure he wasn’t drooling.  He was embarrassed and crossed his arms over his chest.  For only a moment he considered this could be the latest ploy of the queen to test him, but he refused to believe Mira would go along.  She was no one’s pawn, employee or not.  The Mira he knew wasn’t cruel.

“I can’t tell if you die.” He shrugged like it was a puzzle he’d tried to figure and grown slightly frustrated with, “You don’t scream.” Random logic. All he had.

“What are you doing here?” He asked.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 04:14:12 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2891
  • A Tempest Must Be Just That
    • View Profile
Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2014, 04:25:20 am »
Mira observed him, and how it took him a while to compose himself after he fell. He felt his freedom, but he didn’t go running. He was wary, and it hurt her heart to see this caution. He had been trapped for a very long time. He must have been tricked often, too.

Yet, the words that came out of his mouth caused the smile to slip from her lips. It was not gradual. Her brow furrowed, and again she reached out to find his mind guarded.
‘Expected.’ Given this lifestyle, even the unaware would create guards. Still, his words confirmed something she had been wondering about. There had to be a reason for Ilaera to keep him. There had to be a reason for the Queen to think Mira might be more than she appeared.

Here it was. Beckett was more than he appeared.
‘And you never knew.’

Old blood hid itself well. “So,” Mira said quietly, “You’re a true diviner,” not quite like Kayla. “I understand now why you’re Her Majesty’s favorite,” even if he didn’t believe that. Mira leaned against the doorway, her arms crossing over her chest then. “You ought to run while you have the chance. I could make it possible.”

He wouldn’t run, though, and he had asked her a question. She looked away, looking over the room, as she answered,
“I am looking for information here.” She was vague, “Perhaps you’ve just told me what I want to know. Where is this mill at?” She didn’t want to have to search every mill. “Is there anything notable about it?” If she knew she was going to fall, could she prevent it? She wasn’t certain. It was worth the risk.