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The Colorful Stone Kings Read 7618 times

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2017, 09:46:03 am »
Callod had calmed down in the room. He had great skill in him, bred from prominent assasins, but he was still young, and proud over his court. It was not entirely out of his role to act out, not when he wasn't on a mission. He'd not gotten to fight for their lands, the lands they'd paid for with money earned by their trade. He looked on as she disptached of the guards while he tamed his silver hair and tied it high on his head. He was raw, and so his hands were balls by his sides, waiting for her to speak. A fleeting thought of killing her to bring thunderous conflict to Howlingbird.

The grim on his expression softened and eventually he was serene, bathing in the flattery. It should not be such a surpriset hat Morning respected their craft. This was the dispostion of many great courts. He bowed his head. On any other day, Salec was courteous and calm. "We have a good record of your mother. Morning never interefered with us. You paid your fee and sent the occasional gift." But then again, so had Howlingbird. Salec was also calculating.

A small smile, the appropriate ratio of wine and poison, at her small suggestion of a bridge between their courts. He dropped his head, bowing quickly again, with gratitude. She was really easing his day. "Of course." For theatrics, or perhaps only as a poorly contained idiosyncrasy, a few buds on the veins encasing his white leather shell sprouted flowers, moving the amethyst’s to their heads. A more pleasant Salec, then. “We are always open to new friendships.” His eyes swept over her form. It was an approving glance, the proximity seemed to please him.

“Would you like any friendly favors, Elleseon of the Morning?” he offered. “I’d like to start off on a good note.” Despite having half-heartedly tried to kill his newest prince.

-

Carxer regretted having imposed his new supposed superiority on the Salec. Not because he didn’t deserve it. It was more than a fair trade, insults for an attempt on his life, but because of how Adalaide had been affected. His hand was empty now, and he went on with the lesson paying unusual attention to what the teacher said. As the squire collected the manifests, Carxer did not even look at Tempus.

He felt at odds with his original plan of fading himself out of Adalaide’s company. In truth, perhaps he was exactly what Collad said. At the very least he was destined to be. His crown had gleamed in highlight on his black hair when she’d retracted her hand and he’d had to slide his off from her lap. It should be enough that she was safe. After all, he’d endangered her twice today, said the bandage on her chest. When Carxer stood and left, giving her the smallest nod, Millium would be visible, having arrived late and sat beside him. That Howlingbird was not upset. He was bloated with pride.

“He’s right, you know, the assassin.” Millium pointed out, macabre eyes half lidded in triumph, head rested on his hand. He jumped closer to her, Carxer’s seat as everyone started to leave for their next lesson, throwing a glance at Fendin in the process. “He’d probably fuck you senseless. He likes spending innocents like you.” A big lie, but would she know? “Maybe that’s what you like. A healer adopted by a war court. Hah. You’re better off without him. And he’s forgotten about you.”

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2017, 12:27:54 pm »
Elleseon watched him collect himself, patient as ever. She smiled when he accepted her suggestion of friendship. Her uncle had been killed by a Salec. She had been quite young still but he had been a beloved family member and honored knight of the Morning Court. It had taken month for her mother to find the one that paid for his death, and the things she had done to that family were nightmarish—but she’d never looked for the Salec. When Elleseon had asked, her mother had laughed in that hollow thin way she did when she was only barely interested in answering at all. She’d explained simply that there was rarely an excuse to shoot the messenger.

“No devious plans at the moment. I simply wanted to make sure the option was still available and the Salec Court was still wild—even if a fool thinks he has you in a cage.” She held out her hand, a truly bold offer to a Salec. “And I wanted to make sure you knew you had friends greater than Howlingbirds. Though, speaking of birds—I’m going to need that particular one alive.” Her smile curled. “At least for now.”

-

Adalaide cringed at the loss of him when he walked away. She told herself again and again it was for the best but her large gold eyes glassed over with tears. Someone slid into the chair beside her before she could finish gathering her things and from her curls she looked back at Millium. The veins of gold in the milky stone cuffed around her ear shone bright for a flash, reflected in her eyes before slipping away. She let out a tired sigh, not the frightened one boys like Millium might be used to. “Liar,” she said joylessly.

She couldn’t fight Millium. Could she fight anyone? She didn’t know because she’d never have to. She was a Stigmatist. The classroom had cleared—all but her, Millium, and the four Morning born standing like sentinels. There was much about Millium that would frighten others but Adalaide had known worse and what did a captive have to fear from the free? She stood and Fendin pulled out her chair as she did, arm to the side to direct her toward the door. His eyes, dark pits that betrayed his birth court, bore into the Howlingbird.

A new class began to pour in, edging around them and gawking. “Strange.” Fendin said, looking the bird over with no sign of impress. “We finally agree. It would be a shame even if an adopted Morning stooped to a Howlingbird.” He left the room with the others, giving Adalaide a little shove out the door to remind her that she wasn’t cared for even if she was holy.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2017, 04:46:15 pm »
Callod grinned widely. And to think he assumed today would be all tragedies. Maybe he would do more for his family than the ones who'd died in battle could. He hard his father was already speaking with Lyges, The King, The damned Rooster of the Howlingbird pen. Father didn't like taking orders, even if they get they'd symbolic stones as payment. As if currency was ever important when you could tip the scales of blossoming and extinction. He took her hand, and with it, some hope that they'd be allowed to be the tool of their justice again, one day. He kissed her knuckle carefully. The vines on his sleeve slept far away from the cuff to let her feel safe, if she doubted him.

"Wild." he agreed. As he let go his he tilted as it had before, in front of Carxer and the healer. "The Prince?" it wasn't such a big request. He'd been theatrical, but it wasn't like he could kill the son of the new, self-proclaimed lord of their court. Still, he'd thought Elleseon would dislike Carxer for what transpired this morning. Her court wasn't known to share well, and it had been obvious there was something between Adalaide and the Howlingbird chicken. "I will not slay him." he invited her to tell him if she wanted to, but he didn't expect her to give him her plans. "And if you ever want a favor, I won't run the request through our gauntlet." he offered. The Salec Court would be in disarray anyway.

-

He looked at her to ask her if that was what she truly believed as she accused him of being false as she left. Millium narrowed his eyes at Fendin's insult and stood with some threat in that motion. Elleseon wasn't here to steal their sparring now, but it seemed that also meant there was no one here that out-ranked Fendin who's honor he felt inclined to protect. He left the room before it was flooded with others. He needed to speak with his family. His father wasn't inclined to share too much, but there should have at least been mention of invading Salec lands.

-

Carxer went into the absorption room and pointed to a few of the immortals that were present. Their green light set in clear stone were well embedded into their armor. Not like he'd target the stones anyway. What would be the point? Usually he'd not fight in anger, not since his father had done it and cut his way through a legion before his younger eyes, but he felt a little lost today, and thought to look for anchor in other's misery. He understood it was bound to be fruitless.

The first partner collided with the wall, a red shard still stuck in his ribs. The two others shook their heads and raised their arms with the verbal signals of declining his challenge when they didn't recognize the meticulous, merciful student they were used to. Carxer was taken away when their limbs were contorted, and their green lights almost burned through their settings trying to set their bones back in place.

He sighed when he was asked to sit in the dungeon, which was little more than the cellar under the arena, filled with cages endowed with stones that would nullify his magic. They had to give permission to these kind of restrictions before entering the Academia Eseleth. He sat quietly in a corner with a stack of notes for the lessons he'd miss.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2017, 11:52:00 pm »
Elleseon smiled, her heart fluttering just the slightest when his lips touched her knuckles. She could imagine her mother scolding her if she hear the ever so slightly risen pulse. Her youth was an embarrassment but that was why she’d been sent to the academy with the others wasn’t it? To have all those first and second experiences? To find her footing on all grounds and harden her heart so that she could be sure to always get what she wanted. She was not fool enough to imagine that she could have all she wanted now. No. Not now. Not yet. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t have some of the things she wanted.

“We’re having a festival in the Morning hall tonight. A masquerade.” Not an uncommon event. “Everyone is invited.” That, on the other hand, was very uncommon. The purple light twirled in her irises and she smiled at the wild Salec. “I hope to see you there.”

--

Tempus was a curious boy. He was easily tempted and happily conflicted. He had never met a locked box he didn’t want opened. The one tucked under his arm, iron and elaborate in design, had not been easily unlocked. Nor had it been easily obtained. One of his friends from the Mayline Court—thieving little things, dressing with tiny chimes and bells that somehow only sounded when they wanted—had brought it to him. It had been repayment for something long passed and forgotten by Tempus, but that hadn’t stopped him from calling on the debt.

He’d wanted to see it the moment his cousin told him the Morning Stigmatist had birthed it. His long legs brought him elegantly down the winding stairs and into the dramatic dungeon. Tempus had heard about the spat Carxer had had with the immortals. Everyone had been talking about it—that is, until everyone was talking about the Morning Court party. “Oh, Cinderella, will you be sleeping by the fire tonight instead of attending the ball?” Tempus mused on his advance.

He stopped in front of that gilded cage and the prince inside. “I’ll admit. I’m a romantic.” He cocked his head and looked through the bars. Dark waves crashed against his pupils. “And there is something moving about the draw you have on one another. It’s cruel. Star-crossed, even. They’ll never let you have her and you wouldn’t know what to do with her if they did.” He twirled the little iron box in his gloved hand. “You’re a war prince and she’s the last of a murdered court. What could you offer each other?” He stopped twirling the box and looked at it. It had brought him there, hadn’t it? The color of the stone inside. “And yet the heart will not be reasoned with.”

Tempus looked at the boy in the cage again, eyes suddenly clear blue like that storm of thought had never bothered him at all. “Are you going to the festivities tonight, or are you staying here to sulk over your lost battle?”


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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2017, 01:08:29 pm »
Callod felt her pulse peck at his hand after his lips pinched her knuckle. It was a good thing to have such interests from Elleseon herself. He confessed to have noticed nothing with his demeanor, but he didn't deny it, either. Friends they could be. "I love masquerades." an assassin would. He'd never heard of one such event being for the public, not when thrown by the Morning Court. He wondered what kind of game she was preparing, if any. There was a need to be familiar with the politics of things in his trade. It left him curious and he let her know. "I'll come. Hopefully you'll know me by my lips." he teased. "Today hasn't been entirely wretched, after all."

-

Carxer looked up from the book when he heard Tempus. Homework was strangely easy to absorb when there was nothing else to do. He'd already devised a few possible ways to escape, and tried the integrity of some of them. There were only so many chins, pull-ups and push-ups you could do before even the pile of parchment he'd been provided started to look tempting. Anything to keep from realising why he'd put himself here. He stood and smiled, but the repartee he'd prepared on his tongue was swallowed when he saw the box.

He listened to the berating that came with the Stormer and hurried to the bars where the man and the little treasure was. Carxer held out his hand for it. Would there be a Blithe stone in there? Was this what The Gray was saying? "Give it to me, Tempus. I want to see." he demanded. It was a little fragile, every syllable less sure. The flexed bowl of his hollow palm and curled fingers ralaxed slightly upon the other questions. "We don't have anything to offer each other, that's why she is of no concequence to me. I thought she might be intressting and then she wasn't." Turquise hair and red cheeks. "Even I can be wrong." He turned red eyes to where their triplet sibling laid hidden in the cubic container.

"But you wouldn't be down here with that unless you had something worth my while, would you?" he was trying another excuse to get to the treasure that was sure to drive home Tempus's point. "I don't feel very festive right now, and staying here is the least I can do for the immortals I broke." The anger he'd tried to expel with trauma on others had simply taken a step back for grief. All manner of punishment has its time in the light. Suddenly the bird pressed up against it's cage and extended its wing all the way out to try and snatch the box. What had she birthed? The tips of his fingers sizzled with his magic, Beast's Blood growing on the nails and then flaking off from proximity of the warding stones in the cage.

"Give it here, Tempus." he demanded.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2017, 08:38:28 pm »
Elleseon’s head tipped to the side, as close to a bow as she could give to anyone other than her mother, and when she turned away, a smile played at the corner of her mouth. “I’ll be looking for those lips then.” She said on her way out and into the corridor. One of her scribes was waiting for her there, looking more than a little frightened. That wasn’t a good sign.

She sighed, losing her smile, and walked down the hallway. The scribe hurried to her side, always one step back, and leaned in close to whisper. Elleseon hadn’t intended to stop in her tracks. She hadn’t liked the way her body swung around or the purple on black shimmering scales that climbed her spine. “What?” She hissed and it was that—a hiss.

The scribe almost broke into tears. It wasn’t his fault. He wasn’t the one she’d sent with the box—the one that had been knocked out and robbed just as he was leaving academy grounds. The box was lost. As was her letter to her mother and the stone inside.

-

Tempus curled his lips into a near snarl at the Howlingbirds denial. “That war born pride won’t serve you well in this battle, Carxer.” The Gray Sky warned. He took a step back and held the little box to his chest. His blue eyes bore into the other boy, studying him. He slid back a step when Carxer burst forward and stretched for the box. He even tried demanding from behind his bars. He would try anything but actually saying he wanted it, wouldn’t he?

“I suppose you’re right. You should stay here tonight. The Morning court is having a party and given an open invitation. It should be interesting… considering Millium’s attendance and his interest in the Morning healer in your wake. Your brief, fleeting, interest in her has drawn attention. I suppose the spreading whispers of her talent won’t hurt either.” He swayed, pale hair falling over a pale cheek. “But, maybe they’ll all lose interest as quickly as you did.”

He opened the little box but without letting Carxer see inside. He’d removed the letter Elleseon wrote. He paused, staring at the silk satchel. “The Gray Sky Court had a stigmatist when I was smaller. We hid him well.” His voice dropped, quiet and far away in a memory. “He said each stone was a piece of his soul. He could tell me what each one had been born from and who it had been meant for.” Absently, he touched a finger, rubbing at a ring beneath his black gloves.

Tempus exhaled and rejoined the moment. He looked at the boy in the cage and wasn’t sure he was being a friend to him at all when he took the black silk weighed only by that perfect stone inside and tossed it to him. The box snapped shut in his hand, empty.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2017, 11:33:10 am »
Carxer's arm still hung outside of the bars, the other hand curled around steel as he listened to Tempus paint the situation in all the severe he could think of. Carxer knew this was a lot of air to push him into some kind of chains of events, but the Stormer did sound sciencere when he drew upon his own childhood. This was no political play from him, but that didn't mean Carxer should join in, anyway. The hanging set of fingers shrunk into an angry brick when Tempus mentioned Millium. "Just let me see." Her, he meant, at the end of, but there was only her stone available.

It felt like a mercy when Tempus finally flung the treasure. The sure Howlingbird snapped a shaking hand at the arcing gem. Reflexes, also war born, latched around the warm offering. As he squeezed it he felt a bit of comfort, and then he held the closed hand to his temple with sigh of ragged relief. When the palm unfolded, and he expected a perfect blithe stone, he was surprised to see a red like black-lit blood. His other hand reached to frame one of his own eyes with two fingers. "Adalaide."

He looked back at Tempus as red light made prisms from the light reflected on his black hair. The crown was vague but it marked an excess of Beast's Blood since Carxer didn't seem aware of it. Two beetle legs sprung from his wrist, set between bars, and easily pried the barrier open. It seems Adalaide's gift was enough to alter his magic that the warding spells he'd originally been fitted for didn't apply, anymore. "Thank you, Tempus. I don't imagine you came by this easily." he said and patted his shoulder.

"I think I have to find a mask." he said with a smile as he gestured to the stairs. "I take it you will go the the party, also?" suddenly he felt raw without her.

-

Millium was in a good mood, and sat in a great chair in his chambers, looking at one of the craftsmen he'd called upon to make his costume. He always wanted to look like a warrior. Today he'd given the man from the Tallim Court, renowned for their skill in armor work, black metal sheets to work with. It would have been easy for one so adept to make a superficial armor, but Millium had requested it was fortified for real battle, as well. He'd acquired quail's blood for weathering, too. He wondered if Elleseon would disapprove of such a barbaric display. Surely she would feel something when he chatted up Adalaide or challenged Fendin. Parties were always fun at Eseleth.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2017, 10:42:55 pm »
Tempus watched the other boy break free of the cage. He smiled when he wanted to cringe. What a tragic fate and he’d sent them running toward it. But what choice did they have? If she didn’t thrive, she’d whither. If she didn’t love, she’d hate.

Carxer acted casual. It seemed to be his go to. But Tempus saw the fragility of it and there, turning toward the stairs, he took advantage of it. His hand caught Carxer’s shoulder, turning him toward him and pushing his back into the wall. It was all fast enough to be sudden but slow enough not to be an attack. He leaned in, hips and chest and lips, and stole a kiss. It wasn’t a quick peck. It wasn’t innocent or even hopeful. In fact, it might have tasted like an apology. His tongue pressed in to see what a Howlingbird tasted like. Hopefully it would be his only chance to know. He had met other Howlingbirds and couldn’t imagine any such exchange would be willing or pleasant.

If he wasn’t pushed away, he’d draw back with a sigh and swollen lips glossed in saliva. He’d take that moment to drag air into his lungs and then blink with those ocean eyes at his now friend. “You should probably wear something with a crown. No point in trying to hide it.” He’d suggest and turned for the stairs. “I, on the other hand, might actually try to disguise myself. Not a bad idea to lay low—just in case Elle figured out it was me…not that I’d miss the party to avoid that fate.”

-

The Morning corridor was quickly, expertly, being transformed into a misshaped ballroom. Side tables of punch bowls and tiers of treats lined the room with heavy chandeliers sparkling above and half of the adjoining rooms with doors thrown open wide to invite guests into more private parlors.

Adalaide didn’t want to go but Fendin had explained to her staff that it wasn’t up for discussion. Her small suit of rooms were tucked at the back of his. Sometimes she imagined him as the dragon outside her little tower. They put her in a dress with a high lace collar to hide the bandage on her collar and pushed her curls up onto the top of her head, pinning them with gold pins. She scowled and felt ridiculous and childish for it. She knew she was pouting. She knew it because her heart hurt and no matter how she tried, she couldn’t make herself pretend to feel okay.

From her room she heard Elleseon in Fendin’s parlor. She was angry. She didn’t yell but the room got colder. It was the frost stone that hung on the long chain around her neck at all times. The chain looked delicate and thin but it was impossibly strong, the jagged pale blue pendant with amythest veins often tucked into her cleavage and going unnoticed. Adalaide knew it well. She also knew that the edges of it often cut at Elleseon’s chest, mostly shallow scratches but the new overlapped the old. She never took it off.

Something had gone wrong. They talked long. But when Fendin came into Adalaide’s room, he smiled thinly like nothing had happened at all. That was always how it was. Sometimes she knew what went on in the Morning Court simply because she was in the room when they talked about it. But if she wasn’t—they would never bother to tell her. She was a possession, not a member. “Not bad.” Fendin praised. It was praise from him because usually he didn’t bother. Something really was bothering him.

Adalaide still wore the stone cuff on her ear. It was the only one she had, the only one they’d give her, so she never took it off just in case they didn’t give it back. “You don’t usually make me go to festivals.” She pointed out.

He looked like he wanted to agree. He was dressed in black leather, scales cut into the material of his jacket and thin plates of metal fitted to his cheekbones as well as forming wings at the ends of his eyes. The effect of it would have been lost if his dark hair wasn’t swept back by long silver feathers creating a very dangerous looking mohawk. “The queen has other plans this time,” he explained thinly, picking up the white lace mask from her dressing table and holding it out to her. Did he look apologetic? “Tonight you’re the belle of the ball.” She took the mask and for a second he didn’t let it go. Those dark eyes bore into her. “Try not to make me kill anyone for you. Even the weakest person here, is owed better than dying over you.” He let go of the mask and she was left holding it when he walked away.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2017, 09:17:47 am »
Carxer held the breath that should have been pushed out when Tempus threw him at the wall, and collected the light hair at the back of Tempus's head and kissed his gossiping lips back. It was a grateful suction that the darker male offered, and he only breathed slowly through his nostrils as he watched Tempus lean back. A crown? There was an idea. "How about you dress up as a bathing boy in my rooms afterward?" he suggested. He could use the relief from stress, and he'd not had Tempus yet. Fingers slid out of blond.

They had to hurry up. No time for skinship, yet.

-

In the Nest Palace and in the lore of their Court, there was a legend of a familly saga away from the records of history. Folk lore with too many iterations to be true as it was commonly told, even if there had to be molecules of truth somewhere in the story. It was about the great warrior Atelmat, a titan among his group, that rose to power viciously, and then expanded the reach of the Court by virtue of his blood oath and strong magic. Without meaning to, whoever initiated the bed-time propaganda, created an icon in Atelmat's family. Carxer would go to the ball as Atelmat's son, Iveok, who was often depicted as wearing a mouthguard of teeth suspended by, yes, a crown with only two prongs. In the tale he was often referred to as The Howling Dobberman. He disobey his court but ended up being decisive for a great battle, coming back with skills he'd learned during exile for his rebellion. The lesson was that a bird shoul always return when family needs it, but the lesson was received as encouragement for own thought. Young boys especially adored Iveok.

For his suit, underneath the rusted crown and teeth, Carxer wore a suite of armor cionsisting of glass. He had paid a heavy sum for it. The scholars of art that had worked on it had intended to make it a part of a gallery signifying coexistence. They'd not been keen on the idea of selling it to Carxer, given todays conflicts and his court's preferred passtime. That passtime did afford him great wealth in minro stones and when he'd paid for one's tuition this semester, the others realized the potential of his patronage. The spell to make the pearlecent glass his usuall shade of red was a courtesy. He was satisfied enough.

At the entrance of the ball people who intended to go in without a mask was told otherwise. Carxer supposed it was a reason for won Courts to be placed there without it seeming too much of a military effort. Some of the students that were not so affluent or connected were grateful for the provided disguises. Carxer walked in, and winked at a particularly knowledgeable look from what he supposed had to be history buff. Only a handful of Birds fit into his own generation, and his narrow stature gave him away quickly, so people greeted him by his name, despite the red and black metal fangs worn over his mouth.

He fast found a room where the violin was complaining beautifully, tucked into electronics and a woman’s low song. Looking at the wall which boasted a thick half circle of people around it, he found that a Beaster, part panther and part girl’s bust, was providing the lyrics. In the place of her navel was an orange stone, silver veins radiating out to disappear into the blue fur and her pale skin. It wasn’t unusual for Beasters to find the arts. This one had been bought last year, if he remembered, and he only assumed it was on loan as a courtesy, or that it had been someone from Morning who’d made the purchase.

He was offered a thin vegetable cut exactly like Collaron’s emblem. The iron jaws unclasped to line his chin and the top of his forehead to allow the surprised server to put it directly into his smiling mouth. “Lovely ruckus, this.” He said and looked around, chewing the tart and bitter morsel. Iveok’s jaws bit firmly again to mask him. “Tell me, where do the royals play?” With that, where are your masters? He was pointed in the direction, the prince of Howling bird should qualify, after all, and went on his way, red eyes like the stone inside his armor looking for turquoise locks.

-

Millium was already at the center of gathering of young, hopeful warlords. Most of them only had enough magic to get them to lower ranks, one, who seemed the most insistent, Millium could only see as infantry. The Holwingbird was sharing stories of mayhem, and they boys were trying not to be appalled by the atrocities of war that Millium delivered boastfully. He had seen his cousin enter, and was looking for a good reason to start some bad blood. Elleseon should be here somewhere, and he’d find a way to interact with her. In the past Carxer had been hard to provoke, always without passion for conflict. Millium thought it a waste not to quarrel when your blood would ensure your victory. But lately, it seemed Carxer had developed a weak point, after all.

-

Callod wore an orange glass mouth guard. His disguise was gaudy, another suit of leather, wings in the back held in place by the black vines of his magic. He narrowed his golden eyes at Millium as he passed, but it seemed that red bird was not concerned by anything but telling his stories to brainless, fellow Neanderthal. With his silver hair swept tall and back to resembled nothings totem, a swan swimming through the people to find his hostess.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2017, 04:34:25 pm »
Fendin knocked briefly before opening the door and slipping into the grand bedroom to find his cousin. The party was kicking off, the halls swelling, and she was still nowhere to be seen. He’d made vague excuses for her, smiling all the while he knew for a fact she was elbow deep in the blood pulp of her scribe. It occurred to him, grimly, that Elleseon had never had anything taken from her before.

He stopped short, almost taking a step back in surprise when he saw her. He hadn’t realized he had expectations of her evenings costume until he saw her and was alarmed at how different she looked than anticipated. He would not have been surprised if he’d walked in and seen her in full armor or in a headdress of ram horns or draped in chainmail. What he found, on the other hand, was his lovely cousin in layers of flowing white and thin gold chains. Tiny fawn horns protruded from her forehead, skin smeared in shimmering gold dusting and a mask woven of thorns perched on her nose to obscure her violet eyes.

She smiled when she saw him, all pleasant and nothing like the furious demon she had been not an hour ago over her scribe.

The truth was, Elleseon had no idea how to deal with her disappointment. Someone had actually stolen something from her. Her. Something on its way to her mother. Something as important as a Stigmatist stone. She’d taken some of that fury out on the scribe she’d sent with the parcel and then felt utterly disappointed in herself for the slip of temper. Her mother never slipped. She could be brutal and deadly but it was never in rage. It was always calculating and decisive. It was never a mistake or emotional. Elleseon had not yet figured out how that was done.

She’d compensated with her costume. She didn’t need to strike fear. Her mother never tried and neither should she. “Coming, coming.” She chimed and started for the door and her cousin. A tigers eye stone hung on one of those chains twisted and tied around her waist, swaying when she walked and disappearing between folds of white every so often. A chokes made from dozens of those thin gold chains lined up wrapped around her neck, one opal the size of an eye resting in the center of her neck. Her hair fell over her naked shoulders in straight sheets of near white.

She paused when she’d passed Fendin and reached the door, turning back to him with the same infinite calm and soft smile. “Get me a Mayline tonight.” He looked confused so she clarified. “Gagged, bound, preferably drugged. I want to have a conversation.”

“A Mayline?” Fendin asked quietly. They weren’t exactly easily captured. Slippery, sneaky things that they were. Why would she want one? They didn’t belong to the Morning Court. It was risky. “You said the scribe didn’t see anyone—didn’t hear anything at all.”

“Exactly. Get me a Mayline or I’ll practice on you.” She smiled sweetly and slipped out into the music.

She made her way through the party to their favorite parlor at the back, touching shoulders and smiling at friends, tipping her head this way and that. She saw Carxer ahead of her, heading into the same room. And beyond him, she caught a glimpse of Adalaide sitting like a pretty lump in a plush chair. She was the picture of discomfort dressed up.

For a moment, just one, her pretend fell away. She wasn’t smiling or frowning. She just stood there, in the throng of others whirling and laughing, and felt the weight of her own fate. Of her own choices. Of the things she’d done and the things she would do. Would it make her happy? Did she care to be happy? Was she really willing to do what she planned if it came to fruition? Was she willing to fail?

Of all the voices, Millium’s broke through the mess of others. It jogged her from her thoughts perhaps because it didn’t belong in these halls. She turned, smile back in place and came face to face with Callod. Her smile grew true when she took in his costume and the guard over his mouth. It was disappointing to see it blocked from her, though visible, and yet thrilling at the same time. She bent her arms at the elbows, wrists up and hands fanning out as though to gesture to her fraction of Morning Court, skirts fluttering when her knees bent just a little in a playful sort of curtsey.

-

Adalaide stared at the movement of skirts for too long. She moved her gaze to another point to at least keep from being completely statuesque. She wanted to hide in her room. She glanced around, noting that Fendin was still gone. He’d shoved her into the chair and told her to stay before slipping away. He wasn’t anywhere within sight so she decided to be difficult and pushed herself and all her skirts out of the chair. She pressed the fabric down and started to weave her way toward the door of the parlor and the bulk of the party and music outside. Maybe if she left the whole party he wouldn’t follow her. She could probably sneak into the library.

She stopped when she saw someone red walking in the doors she’d been heading for. Frozen, she suddenly wished she’d put effort into her costume. Maybe just thrown a sack over her head. She took a step back, looking for another exit. Would it be too much if she crawled out a window? She took another step back, heat crawling up her neck and claiming her cheeks under the lace of her mask.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2017, 07:57:22 pm »
Callod thought they fit rather well. Beautiful, egg shell things they were. “How lovely.” He replied and had forgotten all about the slavery his Court had now been put under. They’d enjoyed uncommon freedoms before, killing at will and rarely faulted for the jobs they took. Salec believed they could dispense justice, and they were also prone to trust others were of the same understanding. With a quick repositioning of the orange glass to his head, still performing its duty as a beak, he could provide those lips, and those lips a smile. “But so provoking, Elleseon.” He complained dramatically, taking one long step closer. He was sure to mind manners with a bow, and the proximity wasn’t sordid. “What if my lips were cut on your mask of thorns?” he asked with delight.

-

Carxer saw something large move in the corner of his mask, and turned to see some poor creature maneuver in their costume. Layers.  He considered more food before finding the color of hair he’d been seeking piled ontop of that excessive dress. The stone felt warmed on his naked chest. He understood the function of her collar, but thought it looked exquisite. Mother of his eye’s color. There she was escaping poorly. Wasn’t that her life here?

He threw a fast glance at the singing Beaster, who seemed to be singing faster inside the quiet drama of the digital hum. Very urgent and very somber. He moved to it, the glass of his costume staying completely quiet as he danced subtly out of eyesight for either of the distressed healer. His shoulder rolled to let someone by, and he spun around another someone until he could see her again, another angle. The other dancers on the floor were wrapped up in the tunes, and moved with him as he snuck. It seemed the feet of these people, playing their games on the marble, were on his side. Eventually, he’d slipped and pivoted all the way to her.

He touched her waist to have her turn. Their stone was impossibly hot, and it didn’t burn him. “Eager to be off?" he asked and immediately raised the back of his hand to touch her temple, mask and then her cheekbone until the broad of his nail slid over her upper lip. As though he'd signed her. "I'm here to rescue you." It was bold, this kind of talk, this kind of course. He wasn't shielding her from ghostly poisons or extending a kindness when her adoptive Court would not. This was just Carxer petitioning for Adalaide's time. He thought it should be alright, called for, even, when she'd bore an object with his magic in it.

"At least dance." he insisted and spun her twice with her hand before he lifted her against him. "We can be scoundrels tonight." It was impossibly cruel to a girl who'd come undone in blush for far less, but he was thinking impossible things, now.

-

From a corner, watching all of it play out while still commanding the attention of young boy's dreams of bloodshed, stood Millium. He smiled darker than his stories suggested. His game was patience now. It was important the right people saw his weak-hearted cousin fawn over Morning's pet.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2017, 10:31:36 pm »
She watched his mask reposition with maybe too much interest. The thorns of her mask pressed against her own skin from where it rested, thorns so close to breaking skin but not quite. “I can’t say your mouth wouldn’t look lovely red.” She was almost surprised to hear herself say it out loud. She was many things—but a flirt had not been one of them until him. Maybe Salecs did possess something especially sensual about them.

Her smile lost some of its carefree nature, tempering back into perfection. “And anyone willing to try to kiss the heir of the Morning Court should be ready to bleed for it.” She said it with a smile and a laugh, like it was a joke at the expense of her own absurd situation and not a possible truth that haunted her teenage heart. Elleseon was beautiful—she’d been told so many times. She had many friends and even more admirers and fans. But in all her years, no one had ever dared to kiss her. Not even without the thorns of a mask in the way. Maybe they were always there.

-

When Carxer went the other way, Adalaide found herself a mix of relieved and devastated. How could she still be so drawn to him? She’d gone over this with herself, hadn’t she? Her body sagged and tears glossed her eyes. How could her heart hurt so much over a boy she barely knew?

Heat soaked through her wrist and into her veins. She twisted to the side and stared past lace cut outs to see red. She inhaled and held her breath tight in her chest when he touched her face, staring at him as though entranced. She frowned a little when he said he was going to rescue her, wondering if this was another game. Before she could convince herself to say something or leave—leaving being the thing the last shreds of self-preservation in her brain screamed for her to do—he was twirling her.

She gasped when he lifted her, eyes wide when he spoke of the night. Her hands rested against his chest. “I don’t understand.” She confessed in a whisper. “Why?” She knew what others thought—that he was reaching for the Morning prize either to be wicked or to cause trouble or to bring glory to the Howlingbirds. She didn’t believe any of it so she couldn’t accuse him of it with guesses. She stayed with him, moving on the dancefloor, spinning when he twirled her and resting against his armor when he brought her back to him. She wasn’t exactly elegant but she managed not to fall down either.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2017, 01:59:48 pm »
Callod listened to her words, and thought she revealed something she didn’t mean to, then. It wasn’t some forbidden secret, or a tactic for war. It was something about the woman underneath the title and the idea of Elleseon of the Morning. He liked it quite a bit. He made no revealing expression to let her know he thought he’d seen something, but his hand came between them until his fingers could examine her mask. As expected, the thorns left red pearls at the top of his digits. He let her see. “Is this enough, or should I open up an artery?” he asked, bold he knew, but he’d not lean in if she thought this was too audacious.

-

Millium had sent the boys on their way, promising sparring later. The fools thought they could learn from him. Maybe if their basics were shaky, and if they wanted swordplay. No other court had Beast’s Blood, and so maneuvers with their doctrines would not help those of other war magics. Nonetheless he was alone to see two very promising scenes. Carxer was swinging and having his game with the pet of the Morning court, and at another end of it all, it seemed Howlingbird’s newest subject was speaking rather intimately with Elleseon herself. Millium sat down with a vial of honeyed libation. The grim soldier was humming to himself and piecing together a plot to break as many hearts as possible. They’d come to war, sooner or later, and he’d be thrown into battle, as he was born to.

-

She was adorable in her confusion, and it was justified, he supposed. This was not the Carxer anyone knew, save for perhaps his littlest sister, who could be described as morbidly sweet under his pampering at the palace. His eyes were gentle on her, and the mask opened its mouth to let her see his face fully. He was a good dancer, better than most of his court because he’d taken the effort to learn. He lead her wherever he wanted, oppressing her a little with his technique. “Why?” he echoed as he moved them toward the edge of the dancers. “You dare ask me why I have eyes for you, Adalaide?”

He went into the crowd, but he had taken her hand now. It was not hard to whisk her all the way to the library, and to be silent inside the now fast music. He spun her into himself again, between shelves in a little privacy he’d found, away from others. “When you made magic that feels a lot like me from your own body?” He made sure with his arm on her waist that she was closely pressed to him. He started undoing the little bows on her collar until he could fold it to the side, and reveal her tell-tale bandage. How scandalous he was being. “Don’t be coy, anymore, Adalaide. You made the first move, didn’t you?” The stone glowed through the glass of his armor as though to have its mother’s attention. “A simple calling card would a sufficed.” He leaned in closer. “But here we are.”

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2017, 09:32:40 pm »
She didn’t move when he reached toward the wild mask of hard vines and vicious thorns perched on her nose and fanning her eyes and temples. Her violet irises were all that moved to watch those nearing digits. Her mouth parted with an inhale when he drew back with bloodied fingers. People were watching. Elleseon didn’t care. This wasn’t the sort of thing she worried about people seeing. She was Elleseon of the Morning. But for all her certainty, her pulse still jumped in excitement when she smiled at him. “That will suffice.” She wouldn’t lean in first. She couldn’t. But oh how she wanted him to start that motion.

-

Adalaide was too comfortable being pressed against him, watching him closely, studying all those subtle expressions on his noble features. Her brow pinched when he accused her of making magic that felt like him before smoothing out into disbelief. Had he seen it? Had he heard? Her eyes grew large, her breath shallow. He accused her of being coy and of making the first move. She started to shake her head, still confused, when she felt it. It hummed and she looked at her own hand, at the red tinted glass armor beneath it and the stone there.

Her breath caught and tears welled in her eyes, hand trembling at the glass that kept her touch from that perfect stone. She’d never touched it before, not really, not since it was pried from her body. “You have it. How? How did you…” She choked and swallowed, one of those tears rolling over her lashes and down the curve of her cheek. She thought if she ever saw it again, it would be mounted in a ring on Favia’s hand or adorning Elleseon’s first crown. But there it was, right where it belonged. She looked up at Carxer through her lashes. “You shouldn’t have taken it. Elleseon will not take it lightly…” The worry etched her voice, not for herself or the stone, but for Carxer himself. Now she knew why Elleseon had been so angry before the party.

-

Tempus slid through the party, mostly ignored, wrapped in black. Leather pants and a jacket wrapped around his narrow form with an aggressively deep hood drawn over the curved black beak of his mask.

He stood behind Millium’s seat, unnoticed, for long minutes, examining what the Howlingbird had taken notice of in the room. The rooms stretched out, packed with guests, most only interested in themselves. They weren’t prepared.

Stealthily, he leaned down closer, making out Millium’s humming beneath the music of the party. Oh, he was far too happy for the wellbeing of others. Finally, bolding, Tempus put his hand on Millium’s shoulder and slid it down his chest as he leaned forward until his masked cheek was on that shoulder, beaked face arched over it, and watching the party with him. His gloved fingers brushed a thigh with familiarity he had no right to. “Lovely night, don’t you think?” The mask distorted his voice a little but even if he hadn’t, it’s not like Millium would recognize it. They weren’t exactly in the same circles. “Everyone is getting along so well. Like the eye of a storm with a bunch of dancing butterflies… no idea the winds will soon rip them apart.”

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2017, 07:55:45 am »
How exciting. The pearls on his fingerprints grew slightly when she gave her permission. Callod rolled his fingers so their backs could touch her cheek as he leaned in. So soft, the head of Morning, here in their school. With chin tilted up, he came closer carefully, seemingly to avoid the smart of her mask. But as soon as he toucher her lips with his, he sought her deeper, the give of their mouth's allowing him to advance until his kiss tightened, since the thorns were now marking his cheekbones. It should hurt to be affectionate to Elleseon, he supposed.

With a sigh he retreated, and there were three tears of red coming down the side of his face, reflecting chandelier light. He smiled as though they were badges, and locked the hand he'd pricked behind his back with the other. "And that? Will it suffice as well?" It hadn’t for him. He would some more. But couldn’t imagine the punishment for taking when Elleseon wasn’t in a giving mood.

-

He looked at the stone too, putting its light out to call for its maker through the glass. Morning had been cruel to take it. Surely they could have let her keep it until they needed it. But that is not how courts treat their belongings . His hand over hers, to press her touch firmer toward the stone. "She should not have taken it from you and me." he said and wove their fingers. "How is it that you could make something like this, that holds my color?" he asked, but the words didn't matter much to him. He had already caught her lips with his, and spun her urgently to press her back against a shelf of instructional spell books, and the little stones came alive in that wall of hard- and paper backs, as though he’d kissed her into a star night.

-

Millium was quite annoyed at the intrusion, and looked down at the hand with some disgust. A smile, later, when there seemed to be plot in the ravenstork’ eyes. Some fowl knew when bad weather was coming. What did this beak have to tell? “I like your totem.” He said and kept eyes on Elleseon and Callod. There were no thoughts of alliances in Millium’s mind, but it was infinitely useful if the murderer endeared himself to her. He stroked the mask beside him as though the person was already his pet. “What kind of ripping are you talking about? If you tell me, I might help you.” He offered, wondering quietly if Carxer had finally made a proper toss with Adalaide, the way he’d disappeared with her. It would not be a bad show, Millium thought, to see his cousin deflower that pure thing.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2017, 03:05:23 pm »
He kissed her. Right there, in the Morning halls turned ballroom, with chandelier overhead and voices all around to rival the music. She sighed when he drew back and watched the red tears roll down his cheek. She marveled at him for a moment. What a pleasant surprise he had turned out to be. “I supposed it will have to do for now.” She conceded to their surroundings just as she caught sight of Fendin moving through the crowd toward them.

She looked away from her approaching cousin and back to her newest friend. She reached up with familiarity she rarely exhibited with others, and gently put his mouth guard back into place. “Is your dance card full yet?”

Fendin approached them from the side, ignoring the Salec and bowing his head to his cousin. He leaned in to her just enough to make it clear who he was talking to when he spoke, but she didn’t look away from Callod. “The Stigmatist is missing.” He ground out, sounding more than a little stressed.

“I’m sure she’s here somewhere enjoying herself.”

“Carxer is missing as well.”

“Then you aren’t looking hard, because that bird is not easily misplaced.” She cut into his words before exhaling disinterest. “Forget it for a night, Fendin. Let them be happy.” It sounded gracious—an excess of kindness beyond the norm of their social rules—but there was thin ice beneath it, beneath them all, and if they kept going it would crack. Let Adalaide’s heart swell. Let her happiness bare more fruit and one day, her heartbreak would give Elleseon the world.

Just then, there was a flare of lights from one of the tall doorways. The books of the library shimmered, pulsing outward to draw attention. People strained to look and those closest hummed with giggles and whispers.

--

Adalaide squeezed his hand back, lips trembling to find an answer that could explain the stone she’d made. Luckily she didn’t have to, because his mouth took hers and her whole world stopped. Her eyes closed and the hand not pressed into his, reached up to find his cheek. She touched his skin and kissed his lips and felt the rising greed for more. It was a desperation she’d never tasted and her arm curled around the back of his shoulders as though he’d pull away, as though it would end and he would vanish.

--

Tempus smiled inside his mask, enjoying the rush of putting himself so close to an enemy and even more so the interest in Millium’s voice. Not interest in him, of course, but in the prospect of ruin. “Oh, I do not need your help.” The masked crow stood upright, leaving Millium in his chair. He smiled wide inside his mask. “What help does the storm need from a bird?” He took a step back from the couch, ready to drift back into the party crowds when attentions turned toward the library doors, mostly closed, but open enough to let out flashing lights and the pulse of magic.

Those closest gravitated to it, drawing the doors open and then let out a murmur of whispers and giggles. Tempus took a few long strides and strained to see into that room, to catch a glimpse of red and turquoise against twinkling stars.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2017, 09:19:30 pm »
Callod tried looking his best, swan with long neck and head inclined down to see her, and to present his features in the best possible angle. He discovered he liked the contrasts in her quite a bit. Ever queenly, but also a girl, standing before him. He laughed softly into the triangular cover she replaced on his mouth. "Ah. It is if your night is free." he said. If he'd been taught to live in the earth for days to wait for the target passing by, then he could lift and twirl her for a few hours. He was about to take her hand and lead her toward the ground where bodies rode the music, but Fendin came along. Callod did not find opportunity to touch her.

He listened to her cousin but returned her gaze. Fendin was a good right hand. There were people like that in Salec too. Many of them had died by Carxer's family. It was easy to forget when being close to Elleseon. He wanted to say something dismissive to Fendin, too, in a reassuring way, like she did, so they could get ack to their closeness, but there was a distraction elsewhere. Callod touched her hand before he turned to the ruckus and flood of people.

-

With the honesty that came with Adalaide's urgency, Carxer was also further lost into her. He kissed her back, and sucked in a breath filling his head with her scent. She could be brave when she wanted something enough. He didn't know what this meant for them, but he knew the glower over his heart was powerful, and not in the way that it could make him better Beast's Blood. He recognized his own searching for something more in their physical connection, and knew to capture it before it could insist.

"You'll have to stop there, I think, or I won't be able to..." his own lips again, taking whatever answer she had from hers. And then he groaned and drew back to watch her in the reading lights that their magics had invited. "You see?" he said, and the desperation was only partially feigned.

-

"You have better make a good show of it, fellow bird." Millium said and stood. He flicked the back of the crow's hood and passed him, sliding into the crowd but moving against its waves to seek out Elleseon and her recent favourite thing. It seemed Callod was smitten, too. How perfect.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2017, 08:58:38 pm »
His hand brushed hers and Elleseon’s digits twisted to tangle with his before he slipped away. It was bold enough to touch the hands of a Salec, but she’d kissed this one and she’d heard stories of that being just as deadly. She might have blushed at making such a familiar touch, at holding on when he might have wanted to slip away, but with Fendin still standing there her face could be nothing but unmoved. “Don’t get involved unless you have to, cousin. She can have a love life.” They had agreed on it, in a way. That way being that Elleseon had said so and Fendin had decided to keep his tongue.

Fendin bowed, not even hesitating in his disagreement. The dark strands of his hair cut across the metal framework adorning his face. He slipped away into the crowd, toward the thick of it near the front of the library.

Her face softened when he was gone but she didn’t realize it. She looked to Callod and if he didn’t return the embrace of her fingers, she’d release his. “If you enjoy gossip, I could find you a better vantage.” The heir of Morning offered, realizing she might have been presumptuous to keep him. Perhaps he had more interesting things to do than dance. Many came to these parties with schemes. Hers were all set up so she need only keep a distant eye on them herself.

-

Adalaide flushed when he stopped, blinking at them with those big gold eyes. The light shone strangely in one, seeming caught there in her iris for a moment before she blinked it away. Her hair was already an intentional mess but he had opened her collar and from his kisses left her lips swollen and parted to gasp.

She blinked at him, hand still against his armored chest and the stone beneath, and then caught sight of the gathering crowd behind him in the doorway, peeking in and giggling. She blushed and looked away but couldn’t or wouldn’t remove her hand from his chest. “Don’t give it back to her…” She whispered. “It wasn’t meant for her.” Those eyes looked up at him again, neck moving when she swallowed. “I made it for you.”

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2017, 06:56:06 am »
Callod didn't realize he was holding on until she spoke to him again. He lead her a little closer to show enthusiasm toward her offer. "I am not opposed to gossip." he said and ran his thumb over her knuckles. "But I'd rather whisper about what other chambers of the Morning wing looks like than idle scandals." It was suggestive, bold, but also open enough that she could make a tour out of it, rather than what was in his tone. If she agreed, he would follow fast. The distracted crowd was good for that, at least, giving them a simple way to leave.

-

It was a hard vision to resist, her collar undone and her golden eyes shining dishevelment at him. War in his blood, and a fondness for her, made it hard to resist the impulses to play more with her dress, to see how much her innocence could take. Her words were sweet instead. "I won't." he promised and nodded to assure her. He kissed her thickening lips again and and twirled them deeper into the library, just out of sight for the voyeurs. He was not opposed to onlookers, and she seemed to be blushing about other things, so he'd not mind if they followed, but at least the peepers should reveal themselves.

He placed her sitting on the edge of a slanted bookstand, after having shuffled the old reading material off. Displayed like this, she could have been a sheet of music. He put his hand on her shoulder until she married her spine to the angled board. He was her conductor, too. He stroked the end of her jaw and down along a swelling column of her throat. "I am sorry for not seeing you before today, Adalaide." he said, as though to himself. It might be assumptive, and a bit selfish and cruel, as he started on the lacing on her chest. "But I won't look away, now."

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #49 on: March 13, 2017, 05:51:29 pm »
Fendin was one for ruining moods. He wouldn’t say he enjoyed it exactly, but he didn’t shy away from it either. He pushed his way through the peeping crowd easily and stepped into the library. He had meant to check up on things. Yes, yes, he understood his orders to let Adalaide have her dalliance but that didn’t mean he was supposed to stand back and let a Morning party turn debauched and their Stigmatist become the joke of the Howlingbirds.

His teeth click and his head tipped back when he saw the healer on a table, laid out like a damned whore while the Howlingbird worked on the strings that held her dress together. How many maids had it taken to get her in that thing and she was going to let one bird undo it? He crossed the room in smooth, silent steps and caught the red knight by the shoulder, turning him hard and shoving him back into the room. “Do you think this is a game, pigeon?” He snapped, standing between them now. He had meant to give a warning, to disperse the situation and hopefully send them back to the dance floor, or even running off to someplace private. He had planned to be relatively civil until he caught the dying pulse of a stone beneath that red armor. A red stone. A new stone. “Thief!” He raged and power crawled up his arms, seeming to pour from a jagged black ring on his finger, making gauntlets for his hands with ragged spikes sticking out.

Adalaide had sucked in a breath of surprise when Carxer was pulled away from her. Was it disappointment or relief? She could barely think when he touched her. Perhaps she couldn’t think at all. She could only do blindly what her soul yearned to. She sat upright on the table again, not caring about the slight disarray of her dress or the way her plush flesh peeked out between the bindings of her corset now. “Fendin…” She tried to warn him off, to complain, but then he saw the stone. She jumped off the table and came up behind him, grabbing at one of those armored arms. “It’s not theft… It was made for him. I made it for him!” She shouted at the end of it, pulling hard at his arm.

He twisted to catch her by the neck and lift her onto her toes, staring hard at those gold eyes with his pits of black. “You have only what we give you. You have nothing to give others.”

-

Elleseon squeezed his hand, color threatening to pinken those perfectly pale cheeks when he subtly suggested they stray. She was about to nod, playful smile twisting at the corner of her mouth, and then a flood of magic rolled through the room. It was angry and lethal and Fendin. She frowned, tired and annoyed. She had been clear about not making a scene, hadn’t she? She gave the Salec a light, apologetic smile. “Another time, I hope.” She let go of his hand. “Duty calls. The folly of having parties rather than attending others, I suppose…” She left his side and started into the thick of the crowd. It parted easily for her.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2017, 08:48:33 am »
Carxer still had breaths full of her scent and her inviting temperature when Fending so rudely introduced himself between them. The bird smiled at the enforcer and listened to his question and insult. “If it’s not a game, it should be on merit of being so much fun.” He replied. The threat of this appearance was easy to detect but its gravity hard to grasp for the eager prince. The flare of Fendin’s eyes when he set his attention on the second heart underneath the glass was more than enough to awaken even the love-struck Howlingbird, though. Carxer turned away slightly, as though the angle might conceal the nova orb in the blood glass.

The pair of eyes that stone had mirrored were fixed on the weaponized arms as the ring clad them. The glass plates started to crack, clear dust breathing short huffs as the panels were slowly undone by real armor forming underneath. Suddenly it was paramount for Carxer to be on the other side of Fendin. When she protested anger crumbled from the noble-bred arrogance on his face and his mouth rounded in desperation. Fendin was not in a good mood to be contradicted. When the other lifted Adalaide it carved a sudden hole in Carxer’s insides. Her stone hummed.

Carxer immediately caught the offending forearm tightly. “You’re wrong.” He explained plainly in Fendin’s ear, second hand growing a skeletal blade that was meant to be thrust between the springs of the Morning’s armor, to pierce his armpit and separate the bone from the joint. “Now unclench your fingers.” He ordered. “Or your arm is forfeit.” But before Fendin would have any time to oblige or protest, if he had not been wise enough to do the former upon realizing Carxer’s offense, the blade inside, if it had found its way there, would communicate with the new stone, and sprout a rootwork of spears. Carxer would feel the change in his magic, which was yet too wild for such fine structures, and try to take back the recently surgical blade, which would only tear Fendin further.

-

Callod turned her back before she could fully spin away. He touched her shoulder, and a vine climbed from his armor to hers, carrying one of the small amethyst fragments with it. Once on her dress, it became a pretty brooch, flower with a gem center. He smiled and then let go so she would know he did not mean to keep her. When such tokens were found without the wearer knowing where it had come from, it was usually the same as being dead, but if you’d been gifted it openly, it was a promise of a certain degree of protection. He bowed deeply to see her off.

-

Millium was quite pleased with the scene, and continued to follow Elleseon. Since he had no real harmful intentions, and was only really following the stream of guests funneling toward whatever display Carxeer and Morning’s wallflower were offering, she might not notice him. He wouldn’t mind if she did though, with him wearing such a bloated, smug smile. If she did, he would hurry to her side and ask if she enjoyed his court’s most recently acquired slaves, and that he’d be more than happy to let her have her fun with Callod if she didn’t mind staying overnight in the servant’s barracks for it.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #51 on: March 14, 2017, 09:36:38 pm »
Elleseon looked down at the brooch, surprised, before seeing him bow. She smiled, subtle but true, and inclined her head in return, stretching that long neck before returning to her path—even more annoyed with Fendin for forcing her to follow him.

She made it only a handful of steps deeper, almost to the door, when she felt his attention tracking her. She frowned, paused, and then turned her head to eye Millium over her shoulder. Her eyebrow raised, inviting his approach and spew of unseemly words. She almost scoffed, almost. “Predictable bird. No imagination. And calling assassins slaves? I’d be careful with that tongue if I was you.” She smiled, and there was nothing happy or true about it anymore. It felt cold and that felt comfortable in a way. It was hers. Just like the Morning Court would one day be hers. And her tainted heart rejoiced with the certainty, that with it, she would break the Howlingbirds.

She wouldn’t be fool enough to make them kneel. She would see every one of them put down—erased. The way she’d seen Adalaide’s Court removed from time. Perhaps that was why Carxer always weighed on her heart the way he did. He would have been an exception, if the Morning made exceptions. She didn’t despise him the way she did the rest. She didn’t wish for his fall. But she knew, in her bones, in her soul, in her stone, that she would cut him down when the day came and leave his corpse in a heap atop Millium and every other fowl.

The sound of the crowd changed. Gasps and shouts and there, beyond it, the sound of blood spilling on perfect marble floors.

-

Adalaide drug in a thin gasp, throat caught in that gauntlets bruising grip. Her vision blurred and then suddenly she was released and sitting on the floor. She looked up and blood sprayed her cheek below one gold eye.

Fendin howled, one knee bending in a threat to drop him while the other locked to keep him standing. That blade was vicious, buried through Fendin’s armpit and protruding from his shoulder. It burst with more blades—spikes that cut through his shoulder and arm like his own style of armor but in the wrong color. And when Carxer pulled it out, it took his arm with it—ripping it right from his torso and finally throwing the Morning son to the floor beside Adalaide.

Her eyes were saucers holding tears, staring up at Carxer in shock.

And then the room went cold.

Elleseon had stepped into the room, amethyst gaze sweeping over her cousin on the floor, her healer tattered and bloody, and the Howlingbird standing over them all with that arm still caught in his magic. She walked deeper into the room and black ice flared out at her steps, darkness sizzling in her eyes until the violet there was but waves of lightning in the black of night. “You attack my family? In our home? At a party we invited you to?” Her terrible gaze took him in, confused, and then landed on the stone around his neck. “With magic you stole.”

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2017, 08:44:47 am »
Carxer watched Fendin’s life adorn the thorns of the weapon he’d not willfully conjured. The blade sprouting blades was still thrumming, reshaping as though to dress itself properly in blood. It was finding its true form. The prince breathed faster and looked down at Adalaide in all her dishevelment. For a short instance he thought she had been cut, but she’d only been hurt. The knife continued to morph and finally he was fed up with it inserting itself into the noise of the scene. “Quiet.” He hissed. Its light glared and then it was drawn out, like a beam over too much distance, until it was completely gone.

Before he could go to Adalaide, the Morning princess came. He saw Millium too, and his expression was surprised first, and then dreadfully pleased. Carxer shook his head. “He grabbed Adalaide. He was hurting her.” He said and stepped into the blood to stand between Elleseon and the healer. He wasn’t very worried for Fendin at the moment, assuming he’d think of vengeance before reprimand. “And this is not your magic.” he said, touching the chest of his own armor, the ornamental one he’d worn only glitter in the blood lake, now. “I didn’t know that it would do this. I’ll take responsibility for the difference in punishment I dealt and his slight.” He tried. Millium behind her seemed displeased with the direction of this conversation. Carxer knew then it was the only hope. “We have healers too. We can put Fendin back together.” Carxer pushed.

She did not seem poised for negotiations and peace offerings. He was still wearing bright red, which was not a color or ceasefire where he was from. In his past here in Eseleth, Carxer had become known to be a good enough fighter, but by no means exceptional. His role, to the dismay of his father, had been destined to be either tactical or political. He’d sought those paths himself to the detriment of his combat skills. He could overwhelm a Gray Sky who was not a war court anymore, and he’d done what could be equated to sucker punching Fendin. Elleseon embraced her blood, and knew her magic better than he knew Beast’s Blood. She was quietly vicious. He could not convince himself whatever advantage Adalaide’s gift afforded him would be enough to bridge their gap.

Millium stepped surely and swiftly around the side, a wide crescent so Elleseon would know he wasn’t a direct threat. He knew very well of the discrepancy between the poet of the Nest Palace and the Creature Princess from Morning. He, on the other hand, had no such modest thoughts of his own capability. As the room flooded with late Morning guards, red shadows started to glow to match their numbers. A small red army amassed. Millium was his father’s son. He was not wearing his own armor over his costume, though. “Will you listen to reason, hostess?” Millium asked and then threw a disgusted glance at Fendin. “Or will we turn this ball into a coliseum?” He made a gesture toward Fendin as the base, idiot Carxer seemed to look for a way to shuffle closer to Adalaide. “Please, take your time in deciding. I’m sure Fendin will wait.”

Carxer held out his palm, knuckles up, a royal command to pacify soldiers. But the constructs Millium created weren’t sworn.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2017, 09:19:07 pm »
Elleseon studied Carxer, eyes fixed on him. His armor. Her stone. His position between her and Adalaide. Did he think she would hurt her own adopted cousin? Her own Stigmatist? Or did he mean to add kidnapping to the list of his offenses tonight?

He scrambled for peace with his boots in a puddle of Fendin’s blood. Her cousin was biting back agony but had the sense left to use magic to cap his shoulder, pressing the wound to stop the bloodshed.  She believed what Carxer said. She believed he intended well enough. The slight recline of her shoulders suggested she would accept it.

Romances between rival Courts were known to be volatile. She could chalk this up to that. Fendin could be healed. And her stone… her stone she could retrieve later when all was done.

Just as the darkness of her eyes began to receded and the edge of the cold in that room ebb, Millium moved in. He brought an army of constructs to block the guards swell the room behind her. Her eyes widened a fraction, nothing white left inside them. “You dare threaten me, bird?” Her voice wasn’t quite her own and the guards took a wary step back and it had nothing to do with the red constructs. “In my house?”

Adalaide exhaled and her breath formed in the icy air. Elleseon tapped into her frost stone often. It rested against her chest for just that reason. But that wasn’t the stone the Mornings feared. That wasn’t the stone that her legends would be made of. The Reaping Stone stirred in her eyes and wrapped claws over her arms, fingers elongated into black taloned fingers. Her gauzy white dress trembled when the spine crawled over hers. The Reaping Stone was always with her but not even Adalaide had ever seen it. But anyone in that corridor would feel it waking.

“You cleave one cousin’s arm from his body…” She started forward toward the Howlingbirds that stood between her and her kin. “You move to, what, kidnap the other?” The black gloves became scaled gauntlets up her arms, forming armor that wrapped around her body and up her neck, until the only flesh left was her face, pale hair lashing against the violet waves of magic. The extra stones she’d worn on her dress became embedded between those scales, scattered across stomach and sides and thighs. She stopped when she was within reach, not of an arm but of a blade and waited, staring at Millium but attention sharply focused on Carxer as well. “Ballroom. Classroom. Hallway. It’s always a coliseum when we’re standing in it.”

Fendin had managed to still at the feel of the Reaping. He clenched his teeth and kicked at the floor to shove himself further away from the Birds, grabbing Adalaide’s arm and pulling her along. “Run.” He tried to tell her but the Stigmatist was in shock, staring at the continued unraveling of horror before her that she thought would end after the first limb hit the floor.

The shadow of a beast rolled over the room, with the sound and gush of wind rushing past wings, moving from the path of a massive body. It sounded real. It felt real. But no one that tried to lay eyes on it could spot more than the streaking shadow. “Get out.” Elleseon, the girl, the one that knew better choices apart from the ones she ached to make, offered one last chance to the blood thirsty war boy in front of her. “Or I’ll take an arm for an arm.”

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #54 on: March 16, 2017, 09:33:11 am »
Carxer had stood on the peak of the tension before it seemed Elleson would at least listen. He didn’t fear the berating or the down-talk. He’d done harm to Fendin, more than he’d intended, in a misguided reflex to protect Adalaide. It was not unprincely to withstand some insults for such a slight. But Elleseon was not about to stand for the magic that made Millium an army of his own. His way of war, infused in every individual incarnation of his power, ready to fight. She made a formidable answer in her transformation and overtaking of the temperature in the room itself. Carxer turned back to see Fendin push Adalaide back. All he could do was nod when she found his abyssal but concerned eyes.

Millium had his jaws wide apart, the smile obsessive and satisfied as his fangs grew slightly. A ghastly face, delighting in his foremost task. Knife’s edges stuck out from underneath the rusted plates of his costume armor. His magic, dark and deep. The constructs of same hue were granted swords as-well, and their attention turned to their human counterparts. “Here’s my arm, Elleseon.” He offered, and the fingers were curled around a command for his bloodlings. “Let’s see if Morning is as proficient in taking limbs as you say.”

Carxer reached from behind. “There will be no such test.” He snarled and pulled Millium back by the shoulder, hand clasped in a new gauntlet. Millium seemed surprised by the force with which he was handled and twisted fast, producing a triangular dagger. He’d had quite enough of Carxer’s mild airs for one night. Carxer’s shoulder underneath the attention of the sturdy, stabbing weapon was encased in an arc curving from his upper spine, a bridge over his shoulder blade all the way to his sternum. Millium’s dark blade splintered upon contact. Carxer, who’d not seen this color of red outside of his own irises before either, dressed his other arm in it and threw a blow into his cousin, which shattered the Beast’s Blood spikes it collided with. Millium coughed and bent over, and Carxer took the opportunity to bow to Elleseon.

“I’ll take punishment if you can deal a fair verdict. I was only acting for Adalaide’s safety. She’d not come to me by any deceit. Fendin’s real loss is one of honor, if you ask me, and he did that to himself.” It was not out of neglect that he did not mention the stone she considered hers. He touched his chest as he took steps back in the blood on the floor, a furious Millium rising, huffing. Carxer, on his way from the scene, grabbed Adalaide’s arm because he couldn’t think of anything else to do, but realized as the sweetness of her heat spread even through the armor, that he couldn’t have more of her tonight. He looked to Elleseon and let go. “Millium. Let’s go. We’ve done enough.”

Millium’s face was wrinkled in anger, the trademark eyes full of hatred in all directions now, but the incarnations faded and he left with his cousin.

-

“You’re a damned fool and a disgrace.” Millium accused when Carxer followed him to his chambers. “Wait until your father hears of your cowardice and how you’ve painted us as weak.”

“You’re those things, cousin!” Carxer retorted and cut into a dividing stone wall with the blade of his armored hand. The dust was a good effect for his words. “all your facades of protecting me always end in threats of war. I was perfectly fine before you and your blood thirst came along! What about Adalaide? She’s alone in that den of dragons now!” His lip trembled with a shrill sigh before he gargled on his frustration. “Ah, you make me mad, cousin!” he roared, and the outburst seemed to please Millium.

“You’re quite mental for her, aren’t you, Carru.” The taller asked. Carxer reached out quicker than Millium could twist away. It was unusual for the runt of Howlingbirds to best one of its foremost warbringers so many times in such a short frame.

“Don’t you want me mental, Millium?” he asked, crushing panzer around Millium’s throat faster than he could conjure it. The war obsessed laughed as he was lifted.

“Perhaps you’re not so useless after all. What say we plot to let you have her, then, eh?”

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #55 on: March 20, 2017, 04:41:24 pm »
Elleseon couldn’t be sure where the greatest scorn had lain—in Millium’s disrespect, in her missed opportunity for his bloodshed, or in the way that stone moved for Carxer. It was everything a Stigmatist rock should be. But it was on his chain and not hers.

He left and took his cousin with him. Her head turned to watch them go, eyes like electric night and fixed on Millium’s shoulder. On the arm he’d offered with his taunts. She was sure, one day, sooner or later, she’d cleave it from him. The Reaping stone hummed in her flesh and blood, making her skull throb with its unfed hunger. Oh, what a disappointment she was to that endless thirst. A look to the guards and they cleared the room behind the Howlingbirds, pushing the stragglers out and closing the door. Outside the music came back to life, to push the party on.

She looked at Fendin on the floor, still conscious and biting back agony. Her Reaping stone subsided, armor fading when she walked toward him. She stood over him, eyeing his wounds, her eyes still electric violet but no longer black beneath. “So this is what your romance would bring us, sister.” She spoke when there was no one but the three of them left to hear it.

Tears rolled down Adalaide’s cheeks, her hands clutched together against her chest. She shook her head, as though to deny it, but his blood was cold on her cheek and neck.

Elleseon turned to look at the other girl. Not her mother’s daughter. Not any blood of hers that mattered as far as family rights might go. But blood all the same. Mother had wanted a Stigmatist in her bed and she’d found him. She’d kept him until he gave her the daughter she wanted and then given him back to his people. She hadn’t cared for his own daughter after that with one of his own Court until they burned them all and saved that one little Stigmatist child for themselves.

Favia had wanted Stigmatist blood in Elleseon. Not so that she could birth stones, but so that she could bear the Reaping sewn into her flesh.

“Heal him,” Elleseon ordered.

Adalaide’s eyes widened, mouth opening to inhale and plea. It wasn’t a job for one healer alone. It wasn’t a job for a student. But those violet eyes bore into her and she knew, with terrible certainty, that she could do it if for no other reason than because Elleseon said she could.

“Carxer didn’t mean things to get out of hand.” She pleaded, edging closer to her half-sister.

Elleseon stared hard at her Stigmatist. She ground down the words she wanted to spit and forced back the violent need of her hands. She almost lost the edge on her control and then she saw it, the darker glint of one of Adalaide’s gold eyes. She swallowed, eyes glossy with tears, and looked down at her cousin on the floor again. “Put it right, Ada, and I’ll forget this happened. You can chase your happiness but it can’t come at the cost of our Court.” She sounded reasonable. She sounded hurt and tired and ready to endure for her the sake of her relative. She felt like a liar.

Adalaide nodded then, hands ringing together and eyes looking around to take in the scene. She almost slipped in the puddle of blood when she drug his arm to his body.

Elleseon stood watch as the healer, broke the magic he’d clasped over his wound and poured her own out to start knitting that ruined flesh together. Gold light glowed from the library, shining beneath the doors and into the party. Almost an hour later, the doors opened and Elleseon and Fendin rejoined the party. His jacket was a beautiful disaster with one missing sleeve, and the bottom of her white skirts were red with the blood they’d soaked up from the floor. They smiled at their friends and danced like nothing ever hurt them because in the Morning Court, they were taught never to let anything show.

Adalaide was discreetly carried through the side doors of the library and back to her own chamber. A boy in a bird mask peeked in to see her go but the rest of the night did not miss her. The party went on until exhaustion took them all and even Tempus took his leave.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2017, 05:27:13 pm »
At first Millium was only explaining war, as though it was a suggestion. Carxer waved with tired fingers and rolled eyes at him. There was some sharpness to that weary, like a rusted scythe can be sharp again if it’s broken. It sounded romantic to his warrior cousin, to topple a kingdom and boil it in its own blood for Adalaide. So many times Carxer had to hammer into Millium’s head Adalaide was not that kind of person, only to listen to Millium’s point that Carxer could not know what kind of person she was. What if she was treacherous, and all this was a ruse, better to answer the heart’s call with her when she did not have The Morning Court to fulfill their plans. How ridiculous. Give him a beautiful stone with powers he’d not seen fully yet, so she could seduce him.

In the end they could not decide on a common course, only a few details, and Carxer laid to sleep in his cousin’s chambers. Millium was hospitable as a principal, which was not enough to make him a pleasant relative, but Carxer would say it might be a redeeming quality, even if Millium could never be redeemed.

-

In the morning Carxer woke hastily, and was quick to steal clothes from Millium’s closet. Red forms underneath before he chose black plates with silver edges to set his Blythe stones in. Two on each shoulder, in the folds before the chest and the shoulder blades, and a little galaxy of them on the raised neck guard that left the throat open for the stacked leather cylinder that enveloped his neck, like a dragons throat. The red stone hummed against his chest. It felt wrong to hide it, but he wasn’t going to flaunt today. He left his hair free over his signature, hanging earrings. Black rings on his fingers, with a fat Blythe on his right thumb. Millium laughed at his vanity when he came out, naked but for a collection of lithe chains, black of course, holding riches of red gems around his neck. The warlord would not be sleeping without weapons. Carxer looked him over, impressed.

“I see where you get your ego from.” He teased and Millium looked down and shrugged.

“Pillaging and raping, cousin. I grow it with practice, as I do my Beast’s Blood.”

“It does make you balls look small, though.” Carxer pointed out and turned for the door. Millium laughed but was clearly buying time for his next insult.

“It’s kind of early. I don’t think even  you have any classes yet, prince Red.” He said to stop the leaving guest.

“I was going to The Morning court with a healer.”

“Empty gesture. They wouldn’t have let him bleed all night. Elleseon is fond of her pets.”

“Still. I’ll hang some stones on him and they can see him as a gift.”

Millium sighed but that kind of decadence did speak to him. He waved his idiot prince off and went about constructing his own armor for the day.

-

Alezand was of the Rysakk Court, bought and sent with Carxer upon starting here at the Academia. He enjoyed a careless life here, as he was not as skilled as Lukan, his older brother, and not as poorly thought of as Bemeidra, their youngest sister. Buying the three had been a show of economical power from Howlingbird. So it was quite a shock to Alezand when he was woken up, put in a vest, thickly woven with smaller stones, and pair of boots with excellent gems for his own craft. Carxer held his hand but they both knew this contact was a leash, today. Even Alezand had heard what had happened yesterday, and knew well enough of the royal plots to realize he was going to be performing this morning, whether it be as a healer or as property. The small man had been brought up much like a courtesan, and blushed slightly from the rough treatment. Carxer had liked him in the beginning, but after that he’d been left to find his own carnal practice. It had hurt him a little. His hair was so black it was green and his eyes shone with a deeper emerald today. Pale features could only boast pretty bones when highlighted by his blush, because his pallid disappeared his details in the morning light through the many windows on their way.

Carxer knocked on the door and would hurry inside once invited, eager to have Elleseon’s audience.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #57 on: March 20, 2017, 08:02:19 pm »
The knock came a room away at the entrance followed by a ruckus as servants voices rose in an attempt to sooth and stop. Obviously, their intruder was important enough to have those voices fluttering like idiots. Elleseon lifted her teacup to her lips, the wide silk sleeve of her robe falling to her elbow—printed almost as heavily with florals as her cup was painted. A thin silver chain of the necklace she always wore shone where the wide collar hung at the very edges of her shoulders, exposing pale skin. Her nails were long, painted white the thumbs bearing bright blue stones cut in the shape of diamonds.

The large window behind her bore the gleaming lights of dawn. She always sat here for breakfast—for sunrise. She turned and was only somewhat surprised to see Carxer. She let out a small sigh, not entirely displeased but tired. “I must say, I did not imagine you to be one awake at this hour let alone dressed.” She took another sip of her tea, the staff that had trailed him in bowing and slipping away at her words. Her interest in him was as good as an invitation.

Her little breakfast table was set with teapot and tiers of fruit and scones. She picked up a wedge of melon with naked fingers and slid it into her mouth, tips of her digits disappearing behind lips before coming out clean.

In another room, doors away, was her bedroom. A trunk in the closet with the tired, abused body of a Mayline son. Fendin had poisoned and whisked the thieving courtier from the party before losing his arm last night. He wasn’t one to fail. She wasn’t even surprised when she came back to her room and found the gift. The Mayline didn’t want to tattle on his own kin for the theft of her stone but she knew they had a hand in it. The Reaping stone had a way of drawing out the truth, whether it was in secrets or in hidden natures. It always brought out her most honest side, after all. She expected him to tell her that Carxer had put one of them up to it. But Carxer was not the name he finally let slip. She still wasn’t entirely sure how the Howlingbird ended up with her stone. Was Tempus romantic or did he have a game of his own? She'd sent Fendin to invite him to chat. She might have waited if she'd known Carxer would show up at her door this early.

“Tea?” She rolled a benevolent hand toward her table and the chair on the other side. There was only one. She took another sip and looked over at her intruders.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2017, 07:05:31 am »
Carxer followed when the servants moved. It wasn't hard to guess where their leader was with them swarming like this. A trail of aprons for him to follow. She had them trained rather well, to fear nobles. He even had one of them open the door for him with a hard look. He left Alezand half way to her table, and he stood there, awkward as befitted him. Carxer smiled and sat down. She looked as though she might be reasonable today.

"Yes please." he replied, despite throwing a searching glance to locate the flower brooch she'd gotten from Callod, and then gestured back for the healer. "Alezand. I've made sure he's good. I told you we have healers." He watched tea be poured. He lifted the cup to thank the maid before tasting it. He couldn't trust anything he was handed here to consume, not really, but this would al fall to nothing if he acted on his suspicions. The maid didn't seem nervous.

"I don't suppose you'll let the healers meet each other? Alezand can be a little shy, and perhaps Adalaide could show him around? He's a friend, I'd like to know he's well taken care of, even if he's a gift now." it was a casuall tone that spoke through the steam of the tea, and he didn't seem very interessted in the idea, but Elleseon would have to be an unfit leader if she didn't understand his investment in the suggestion. "You have a nice place here." no wonder it would look well lit in the morning. He put the cup down and continued to hold the pleasant arch of his kips. "So, how is your Court, back home? Any new campaigns? Our mines are doing well enough, but we're having trouble controlling some Wyverns now that their controll stones need to be replaced and the shipment is late."

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #59 on: March 21, 2017, 07:44:26 am »
She raised a hand to stop his trail of small talk. “I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know about Morning and you wouldn’t let anything slip to me either. Really, Carxer, aren’t we passed pretending at polite conversation? You’re trying to sleep with one of my cousins and chopped the arm of another last night. Let’s just skip it in private, shall we?” She took another sip of her tea and then put the nearly emptied cup down in its saucer.

She shifted toward the sun, away from the gift he’d brought. She’d be forced to accept the healer out of courtesy—a way of saying the bad blood of last night was put away, but she couldn’t exactly use him for anything. She couldn’t trust someone from Howlingbird not to kill her or her cousins when they were weak enough to need a healer. It wasn’t something most houses would play at because it would cause a ripple of distrust and fury. But Howlingbird breathed distrust and fury.

When she turned toward the dawn, the little amethyst brooch pinned along the wide waistband of her robe caught a bit of light, shining for it. “You came for Adalaide and I might be tempted to let you see her if she was awake.” She pressed back a smile. “It was a lot of work putting that arm back on Fendin, you see. You did quite a bit of damage and I wanted him dancing fit for the night. You may have to find someone else to play with today.”