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The Colorful Stone Kings Read 11802 times

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #60 on: March 21, 2017, 08:45:51 am »
She wasn’t willing to play, and he supposed that was her call. He turned the cup until the ear had spun half way around his own axis on the pretty plate. “I didn’t mean to hurt Fendin so badly.” He reminded her and then turned the porcelain back so he could lift it again. “He was being ungentlemanly and it inspired the same response in me.” More of a confession than an excuse. “I am sorry it took so much out of Adalaide to correct what I did.” And that was true. He tried some more heat over his tongue to help with the bitter. The cup fit perfectly into its place in the plate again. At least Elleseon wasn’t vengeful in the ballistic sense.

“I would like to see her even if she’s not awake. Sentimental Romeo shit, if you’d like.” He smiled with no shame. It wasn’t to save an image of Adalaide sleeping form onto his aching heart, and write the sentiments with rhymes, it was to make sure Adalaide was well, that Elleseon’s lack of vengeance now wasn’t simply afterglow. “I don’t have any favors to call on, I realize, but you don’t seem opposed to my being near her. Just a glance would be sufficient.” He petitioned.

Alezand looked around, rubbing his wrist as he took in his new home. He would miss his siblings, but they’d not been destined to control their own fates, anyway. At least Bemeidra and Lukan were safe. He could find pockets of happiness anywhere. Morning was affluent and that made life easier. He wondered if he’d see war, the way he’d been primed to in Howlingbird. He could have no clue as to Elleseon’s suspicion toward him, on merit of him being what he was. Since he had been given no orders of deceit, Alezand did not think in those paths. Every now and then, without turning to her directly, he would sneak a look at his new mistress. She was quietly dangerous. He’d only met a few like her. Usually he could pass unseen with his unimportance, but he’d seen the depth of cold wrath, and feared it more than Millium’s outrage.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #61 on: March 21, 2017, 09:43:01 am »
Elleseon considered turning him away. It was a spiteful impulse fueled only by the fact that she could. But she liked directness and he had said exactly what he wanted. Surely, he wanted more, but it was enough. “As you wish.” She signaled a servant, a tall young man who advanced on one of the adjoining doors, opening it for Carxer and waiting to lead him to Adalaide’s room. Elleseon didn’t imagine Adalaide would make for a lovely Juliet this morning. She’d had the servants carry her to her room last night, after she lost consciousness, but she hadn’t instructed anyone to clean her up or change her into a nightgown. She was likely still bloody and rumpled from the night before.

“But do consider, Howlingbird, whether you’re interested in the stones or the Stigmatist.” She looked across at him before he left. “I’ve been generous and I may continue to make exceptions for her happiness, but I won’t let you take anymore stones from my Court.”

She’d let him go with that, returning her attention to her breakfast while a maid hurried in to refill her cup and take away Carxer’s. She’d wait until he was gone to look sidelong at the healer he’d brought. She’d have to at least display him for a time, so that she wouldn’t look petty. “Present yourself.” She picked up her cup again, warming her hands and then tipped her head slightly in the direction of the chair across from her. “And sit.” Elleseon liked to be generous. Unnecessary cruelty was a show of weakness and Morning had enough subjects to know better than to treat them like slaves. Respect and loyalty had men and women willingly laying down their lives for the Morning and fear, fear of their scorn and fear of other courts, kept them from misbehaving.

The doors opened again and she heard Fendin entering the adjoining room with guards and no doubt, Tempus. Well, fear kept most from misbehaving.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #62 on: March 21, 2017, 10:54:10 am »
Carxer also understood the value of staying level for tea-table politics. So he tried not to betray himself when she was so gracious. But his heart swelled when she abstained from the friction she could have offered. He wondered if they could have been allies if the circumstances had not become so unfortunate. And if Millium also did not attend here. If he thought he was being calm in the face of her allowance, his eyes were fixed on her, turned away. Even though it was to consider her for sarcasm, he still looked slightly eager. He stood when the servant came.

“You have been.” Generous. He should not reply to the rest. This stone was rightfully his. He wasn’t sure her words indicated he could keep it, for her part, or if she was simply still categorizing it as a theft to be dealt with later. If it meant he could be with Adalaide, or even her freedom, he might have given it up. Of course, nothing in Elleseon’s voice lead him to believe that kind of discussion was close. “Thank you.” He gave before moving with the tall servant.

Alezand almost jumped when she addressed him. He’d lost himself into the scene between the two heirs and forgotten his own presence. He cleared his throat and hurried quickly to straighten his posture. He almost wrapped his arm around his own waist in the sword greeting of Howlingbird, but realized that kind of allegiance was in his past now. “Alezand of the Rysakk Court, Princess Elleseon.” He bowed low. “Please command me as you wish. I excel in field healing.” Which was a crude, fast way of putting soldiers back together. He wasn’t bad at aesthetic mending, but he needed more time for that. He hurried quickly to sit where Carxer had, hands on the table, palms up. It was clear his purpose was to be used in war, with such a disarmed demeanor. The healer jerked when the doors opened, and but kept his eyes downcast since he didn’t know whom he was allowed to look at anymore.

-

Carxer closed his hand hard when he saw her. The collar he’d opened in passion was still sprawled. It looked as though she’d been violated, with blood on the white of her attire, and the fabric mistreated like that. “Get me water and cloth.” He demanded of the servant that wasn’t his own as he hurried to sit on the edge of the bed. This was more than a glance, but it was still far less than he was moved to do. “I’m sorry, Adalaide.” He said mostly to himself when the water came, and he started drawing the soft, soaked cotton over her face to clean Fendin’s blood away. He thought her throat was pretty, still exposed, but felt guilty for thinking such indulgent things when she was hurt because of him. He wrung the cloth into the water before sighing deeply. This was the most content he’d felt since yesterday. He found her hand and started praying quietly for a way to stay close to her.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2017, 01:40:21 pm »
Rysakk Court. She wasn’t overly familiar as it had belonged under Howlingbird for too long and been a quiet one long before. She watched him casually when he bowed and then sat. At least he wasn’t crying about being gifted to another Court. Although, since he’d been a slave of the Howlingbird Court she decided he should be grateful for the change. He wasn’t likely to be raped or murdered at Morning. They liked to play at civility. The maid poured his tea.

“Field healing?” She sounded amused because Fendin was marching into the room just then. "I take it you're not squeamish then?" She thought about the Mayline she had in a trunk in her room. It would be easier to return him if he was in one piece again. Adalaide could do it but she had such a habit of weeping and judging with her big eyes.

Elleseon turned her head, frowning a little at the sight of Tempus carried between two guards. His bare feet were dragging on the floor, narrow body clad only in leather pants, his belt buckled with a stone the size of a fist, and his hands gloved, each buttoned with another, smaller stone. His hair was a mess but blood dripped from his pretty mouth.

Fendin stopped short when he saw the stranger at her table, his head cocking to the side. “Who is this?”

Elleseon sighed. “A new friend. You’re making a terrible first impression.” She berated half-heartedly.

The guards carried Tempus in to the room and dropped him on his knees on the floor between Fendin and her breakfast table. He wavered but didn’t fall, finally tipping his head back to look at them through his tousled hair. He smiled with that bloody mouth, fine cheekbone broken and welted under dark bruises. “Good morning, princess,” he said sweetly as though he’d just woken to find her there. “You called?”

Elleseon sighed again and raised a brow at Fendin. “Did you have to be such a brute about it?”

Fendin looked unbothered by her name calling. “He resisted.”

Elleseon looked skeptical.

“I had a bedmate I didn’t want to leave,” Tempus confessed ruefully. “I may have been showing off.”

She nodded and then looked at Alezand, considering him for a moment before gesturing to their new guest. “Would you mind?”

Fendin sneered. “He’s a healer? Why is he here?” He already didn’t like the newcomer.

Elleseon waved off his scrutiny. “He’s my healer and he’ll go where he likes.”

-

She dreamt she was floating in a great red sea, with a sky to match above. It washed her onto a shore of stones and for a moment she was warm. Warm. And then the ice crept in and a great dragon came from overhead. It ate her alive and she woke with a violent start, grabbing at Carxer’s shoulder before she even knew it was him. The light from their stone had flared to life, called her awake, and then faded again into rest. Her other hand clung to his, gold eyes flung open and mouth dragging in swallows of air.

She sat up and her vision blurred, body swayed, before she remembered herself. She calmed, not because there were no dragons, but because the dragons would never give her such a quick death as the one she dreamt of. She blinked and found Carxer there, confusion pinching her features and breath slowly evening. She thought she was still dreaming when she reached up and touched his face, a blush flaring to life on her cheeks the moment she realized she wasn’t.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2017, 05:01:37 pm »
Alezand was visibly surprised, even distraught when the cup of tea, brimming with steam was obviously meant for him. His head shook a little, as though to deny it, before he quickly stole the cup to himself, as fast as he could without upsetting the liquid and spilling it over his knuckles. He knew luxury to some point, Howlingbird healers were brought along to functions and it was important to boast of servants treatment, but this kind of civility, to drink with Elleseon herself, he’d never encountered. He felt out of place, despite having been taught the basic courtesies of noble interaction.

“No, I have seen some bad things, and I’ve been taught to be able to do my job anyway.” He replied. His practice especially required a strong stomach. When she turned to her other guests Alezand finally dared see who it was. He knew Fendin and had seen Tempus, too. Some defensive wounds and some blights were just purely the results of fisticuffs. Carxer had come in with worse on many occasions. Holwingbirds expected to train hard. His lungs filled to explain his presence here but Elleseon had already answered. Their repartee went on, and Alezand tried his best to hear it so he’d know what to do if they involved him.

“Not at all.” He insisted when she directed him toward Tempus. Alezand kneeled also and started brushing the light hair back from the battered face. “Excuse me.” He said and slipped his thumb into Tempus’s mouth, pinching from outside after he’d located the wound. There would be a jerking pain, but it would only be followed by two or three throbs, singing out into his head before the cut was shut and well. To take the color from the bruises on his torso, Alezand locked his hand around the back of Tempus’s neck to press his free palm hard against the purple marks. Uncomfortable magic, but very fast and effective. Nothing was broken and there were no large wounds. He turned back to look at Elleseon when he was done. There had been no real sign of magic other than the result, and a few stones lighting up in his vest. Carxer had seen fit to equip him well for today. It was hard not to smile and thank her for the freedom she extended to him. Alezand allowed himself to hope this court might be better than his last.

“Are you hurt anywhere else?” Alezand pressed, looking up at Tempus. This much healing anyone could do, even if field magic was quicker. Certainly it wasn’t such a beautiful trick as Adalaide’s craft.

-

Carxer also stirred when she moved about, anxious in her dream. He mouthed wordless commands for her to wake up when she reached for him, and he held on to her hand when she extended it. He recognized it for the nightmare it was soon, and tried to soothe her, but her eyes opened just as he touched her cheek. He held her steadily when she sat, and waited for her eyes to come back to him. Adorable Adalaide, and her red cheeks. “Good morning.” He bid and squeezed her hand. He took an easy breath, knowing she was at good health.

“I came to see how you are. I was worried they’d punished you.” He shook his head. “For something I did. Elleseon let me in here.” He said and then leaned forward quickly to kiss her forehead, covered mostly in her turquoise locks. He left his lips there as he closed his eyes, the scent from her distress still vibrant in her hair. It smelt wonderful. “I’ve missed you.” He whispered and then wondered if he could have her mouth again. It would be cruel when she was so recently awake, and weak. “I came here with a healer. Alezand. I hope you two might be friends.” He explained. The heat from their stone still brought warmth to his heart, even if it wasn’t searing anymore. “I would like meet you regularly, Adalaide, and I think there is hope Elleseon might allow it.” He said with a half a smile. “Do you think that’s possible?” This kind of courting was new to him, since most courting was frowned upon where he was from. It was strange not to think of bedding her only, and then move on.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2017, 08:56:07 pm »
Tempus watched the healer, one eyebrow raising just before he stuck thumbs in his mouth and sent a jolt of pain through his face. He cringed and hummed after. “You’re in the wrong nest.” He mumbled before the other boy pushed at his bruises.

He asked him if he was hurt anywhere else and Tempus smiled with a touch of sympathy. “That’ll do sweetheart.” He assured, leaning a little closer before Fendin jerked him up to his feet by his arm. He stood and waited for the next assault.

Elleseon remained seated, sipping tea. “I know what you did, Tempus,” she said it so simply and though he had prepared himself for it, it sent cold fear down his spine. “Do you have a reason you’d like to share?”

Tempus watched her take another drink before putting the cup down. “Romantic intrigue,” he cited.

She hummed. “So, no then.”  She looked at him and Tempus struggled not to hold his breath. He even grinned back. “Did you give him the note as well?”

“No.” Thing would have gone quite differently if he’d shown Carxer her scheming letter to her mother when he gave him the stone. He might not have taken it.

She nodded and looked away. “You have an hour to return it to me or I’ll put my new healer to the test. He says he’s good at field healing.” There was no real point in torturing a Sky born. Tempus could take a beating with a grin. She’d seen him put to the test before. “Your sister starts the academy next term, doesn’t she?”

His smile took on another shape, his eyes darkening and his shoulders pressing back. Just when he looked like he’d snap and call some of his storm, he bowed. “Your highness.” Tempus turned when he rose and walked away. Fendin let him this time.

Elleseon rose from her table and turned, drawing her long robe with her. “Alezand, follow please?” She started down the hall in the opposite direction than she’d sent Carxer. “I hope you don’t mind if we talk while I get ready. I’m becoming pressed for time. I’m going to be frank with you. There’s no point in lying to healers, the idea is you’ll see the worst of things, is it not?” A butler opened the tall door to her bedroom. It was all vaulted ceilings, wide cushions and tall bedposts. Everything was in dark wood and soft pastels. Everything but one misplaced trunk. “Whatever rumors you may have heard about me are likely true. It is my duty to do horrible things for my court. I do not revel in it being known but it is what it is. It is not your duty to do these things, it is your duty to heal when I ask you to.”
She stopped by the trunk to look at it, considering whether she really wanted to put him to this test. He’d probably puke on her carpet. She tapped it once and walked passed, a low moan of discomfort coming from within. She cringed because her back was to the newcomer and he wouldn’t see it.

“I needed an answer from this one. I got it. I do not need to leave him maimed and it would be simpler to return him in perfect health.” She had considered not returning him at all. “If you find that working for me is too much of a task or… in conflict with your sensibilities, we can find you work for another in the Court.” Elleseon considered on her way to her wardrobe on the other side of the large room.

-

She closed her eyes when he kissed her forehead, breathing in deep to fill her lungs with him. He missed her. He came to check on her. Her heart swelled. Her hand touched his chest, not meaning to but finding their stone. It warmed her palm. She opened her eyes when he spoke of meeting more often and Elleseon. A smile spread slowly but unstoppably across her tired features, a shade too pale this morning but it had been a long night. “Are you asking to court me?” She almost laughed, a mix of happiness and disbelief.

In all her daydreams, she had never quite imagined that. Would Elleseon really allow it? She really had let him keep the stone. And she’d said she’d make allowances for Adalaide’s happiness. Nothing could possibly make her more happy than Carxer. His gaze made her pulse race and his nearness gave her a sense of peace and need all wrapped together in a tangled knot. “Do you really think she’ll allow it?” She bit her lip in a moment of fear before looking at his face again and pushing it away, smiling again. “I’ll ask her.” She cupped his cheek. “I’ll convince her.” She said, suddenly brave. Brave for him.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #66 on: March 22, 2017, 09:44:50 am »
"This is my place now." Alezand replied when Tempus wondered about his presence here in the Morning wing. He hurried a few steps back when he'd fulfilled what he could do for the situation. It felt pertinent to nod when Elleseon talked about him, even if it wasn't a pleasant subject. He smiled at Tempus, as though to promise he'd be able to help him, nomatter the state she'd put him in. Elleseon had meant it as a threat, of course, but it would seem out of place for the healer to press the sentiment with his own expression. It was stressful to know about the private affairs of Morning, but he supposed it had been just the same in the Howlingbird wing.

"Yes!" he called out through his own tension when she asked him to follow as though he could choose not to. At first he hurried, but saw soon he didn't have to, staying two paces behind her, to the side. "I don't mind at all." he assured her. It was a little strange for her to be asking. He thought it was simply her way of giving orders. He preferred clean cut instructions, since that's what he'd grown up with. This kind of language was nerve-wracking to him, since it was a conversational tone. "And yes, I've seen soldiers come home barely breathing." He listened to her mission statement and nodded slowly as he looked around in the chambers. It was approrpiately intimate and lush.

His attention fell on the chest and he swallowed as he turned to her for confirmation. All he got was her back. She was busy with her outfit, and all was right again, with him expected to do his work while they carried on with their day. He wondered breifly if it would ever be possible to choose one court over the other. It seemed far out of his station to ask.

The lid came open easilly enough, which he'd not expected. The scent of crusted blood was thick, concentrated, and it bent his knees so he had to catch himself on the edge of the box. He coughed twice, calling on old practice to get him through the initial queasy. The body was in bad shape, but still breathing. Most fatal wounds weren't painful enough to be incorporated to torture, and would usually be bargaining chips rather than punishment. "I'm sorry." he said before gathering the broken arms at intact places to pull the man out onto the floor. There was enough strength left in the body for him to groan and gargle at the pain this caused.

Setting the bones was a bit like the art assassins excelled in. Alezand’s fingers touched the naked torso where ribs had been ruined, and threaded magic into the bones, moving them and stacking them until a bond could be made. The spell to fixate them was small, but as soon as they were right, a quick tug of the existing material closed the seams. That would hurt and the thief arched accordingly. Alezand went about this process over the entire map of hurts until he reached his head. Squeezing cuts back together was always more sensitive on the face. The concussion took about five minutes because he was being through. He imagined a thief needed his wits. In the end there was just a sleeping man, laid out on the floor. Alezand rolled him over to lay by the chest, since he didn’t really know what else to do. Putting him in Elleseon’s bed seemed completely out of question, and folding him back in was cruel. He stood and bowed in her direction. “He should be fine now, princess.” He said, and worried suddenly she’d started to undress while he was busy. He fixed his wide eyes on the floor, and didn’t rise.

-

Adalaide was quite drawing, asking so innocently. He nodded. “Yes I am.” He should think it was a good arrangement for anyone. Elleseon was more politically inclined than Howlingbirds, but his own court respected the value of familiar connections. He was being foolish, somewhere in his mind he knew that, but the plan seemed sound, and the result was very tempting. “Would you let me?”

Her bravery was inspiring, the way she almost boasted, but it also struck a sullen note, when he saw that hope in someone else. They were playing with the supporting latches of a dam, weren’t they? Still, he kissed her carefully. “You go ask then, whenever you think it’s the right time, and I’ll try to sweeten the deal as much as I can.” He took her hand and held it to his cheek. Red eye set in black orbs looked her over. “I’m sorry I didn’t see you before. How could I have missed you?” he stood and sighed. “But I promised her I’d only look, and now I’ve done so much more than that. I have to go so that we can see each other again soon. Let me know when you’re feeling better.” He would fuss over her a little more before he left.

-

Callod was frowning, overseeing the move of his things into the Howlingbird wing. The helpers were efficient, stones to make them stronger, and some moved by magic alone, but he’d rather not be made to live here at all, even if the halls were grander. He’d had luxuries living by himself, and a couple of kinsmen. It seemed the others weren’t placed so deep into the corridor as he.

“So dapper in the sunlight.” Millium said as he patted the white leather of Callod’s shoulder. Callod turned, a wreath of black vines breathing into thorny existence around his neck, moving amethysts. It made Millium laugh. “Oh? You’re going to pretend to murder me too, your owner?” he asked and some of the thorns started to bear little drops of blue poison before the wreath subsided slowly, scratching the white armor since it was a reluctant retreat.

“You make me sick.” Callod said. Millium nodded as though things were as they should, with that.

“Don’t you make everyone sick? It’s your trick, isn’t it? In a bar-fight you hover over the drinks while others throw tables. So noble, The Salec.” Millium pressed and Callod lifted his arm. It only got half way up before it was encased in deep red and the same color knuckles crashed against his jaw. “What, newest slave?” Millium continued and Callod was choking on his anger as blood became his beard. Millium let go and looked the pretty thing over. “If you’re good I won’t have you kneel in public. But if you’re bad, well, your bravado will only serve as ridicule with the things I’ll have you do.”

Collod looked away, and thought a thousand murderous things.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2017, 12:32:20 pm »
Elleseon had abandoned her robe and changed into a slip by the time he was done. She looked over her shoulder before turning completely, surprised at how quickly he’d managed it. She pulled a dress on, long and narrow with sleeves to her knuckles and skirt dragging on the floor after her steps. She was pulling back her long pale hair into a high knot when she returned to him, looking down at the previously broken thief. A smile pulled her lips. “Well done.” She complimented. And not a single whimper or whine or question about why she’d hurt the man to start with. Oh, she knew how healers were supposed to work but Adalaide had been an entirely different ordeal.

“Haden,” she called and a man opened her bedroom door, stepping in and bowing. “Find Alezand suitable rooms, close by, and see that he gets whatever he needs.” She moved to her vanity, picking up a collar of chainmail, pearls, and milky white stones to fascine around her long neck, the length of it overflowing to drip down the front of her dress. “And take our other guest to get cleaned up. See that he rests and eats and I will return him to his Court myself later on.”

She turned to Alezand, pinning an amethyst brooch to the waist of her dress, against her ribcage. It added a splash of color to the grays and whites that dressed her today. “I imagine changing courts may be difficult.” She considered aloud. She would never have to know herself, of course. “If you have questions or need anything, do let us know. You have classes with our Adalaide, don’t you? Would you mind keeping her company? We worry about her.” She sighed. It wasn’t entirely a lie. She worried about Adalaide. About what would come of her. About what she was going to do to her. And Fendin worried that she’d get herself killed or start feuds. It wasn’t that he was opposed to feuds, he just didn’t like it being started by someone that wasn’t even Morning by birth. “There are intrinsic dangers to being a Stigmatist in the open and she’s… sensitive.” Elleseon slipped into her shoes, lost beneath her skirt.

-

It was easy to say yes to Carxer. It was easy to embrace the dream in her quiet room away from all the dangers that lurked outside. It was easy not to think of the logistics while he was looking at her. And even after he left, she was cacooned in happiness while she showered and dressed. She was sure everything would work out until she left her room that morning and entered the communal parlor between their bedrooms where Fendin sat, waiting for Elleseon no doubt.

He looked her over once, taking in her soft dress and newly washed hair before looking to the book in his hand again. “Your awake. No one thought you would rise today. You could even make classes.”

She crossed to the little table and picked up a muffin.

“What a difference a visitor makes,” Fendin pressed.

She looked out the window at the morning. What would come of courting? The Morning would never let her go and Carxer couldn’t possibly mean to join them. There was no middle ground between a kingdom and a war Court. “Where is Elleseon?”

Fendin didn’t look up, flipping a page instead. “Testing your replacement.”

Oh yes, Carxer said he’d brought a healer.

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2017, 02:47:58 pm »
Alezand had risen when she gave him attention. At first he’d not known what the praise was for, but he quickly smiled when he realized she was pleased with his work. He was a little relieved that she was dressed for most part when he looked at her. Millium and Carxer weren’t shy, but it was still difficult to know what they wanted, at times. Alezand wouldn’t want to be thought of as assumptive on his first day. It should be alright to look at her as the chose her stones, though. He nodded a greeting to Haden and was excited for his own chambers. He’d seen the way Adalaide was treated, but she was also thought of as family. This court could have been cheap about their gifted healers. It seemed they were not.

Alezand looked at Elleseon with a bit of wonder when she expressed sympathy for his new situation, and asked almost sweetly of him that he guard Adalaide. Again, it sounded as though he had a choice in the matter. “You are too kind.” He started with an unbelieving shake of his head. “And I’ll look after her to the best of my abilities.” Stigmatists were rare, no specific Court was prone to them, and since their stones were usually sought after, they were precious. Alezand understood the value of one such individual. He’d not let her be in danger now that they were of the same Court. “And if you need anything else from me, please tell me. I am loyal to Morning Court now.”

Haden showed him to the new rooms and he was surprised at the accommodation. It shouldn’t be too surprising, since she’d stated that he’d live close to her. “Haden.” He said when he looked around, trying to find his place here in this sudden, new home. “I would like to know Adalaide’s schedule. If I could get it I’m sure I could change some more classes to hers.” He said, already eager to please.

-

Carxer was attending his first class, and it was on recent events. His mood was light, but it had dampened somewhat when he saw the headlines. Millium’s father was depicted on the screen along with his war tactics that had won them the Salec court. Neither his cousin nor the assassin by birth was here for this. No wonder. The teacher went on about how unusual it was for a war court to take an assassin’s court by force, but as usual it was cold and informational instead of overly bias. In the Academia there were feuding families at any given time, and sometimes their wars were public. This had been a quick affair. At least most in the Salec court had been spared, by the looks of it. It did mean that Millium’s father would lay claim to Salec internally, as was customary. His relationship to the assassin would not see better days soon.

-

“You rotten pig’s skin!” Collad roared as Millium pushed him into his new chambers. “I hope you dislike sleep, Millium, because…” at once a had glove struck him, open. Callod staggered back, quieted by his excess of rage.

“Oh, you’re too sentimental about what is essentially just space. I come here to know you.”

“I don’t want to know you.” Callod muttered as he wiped blood off his chin.

“Don’t look so insulted. I’ll send Lukan here and he’ll fix your little cuts. Now. I hear your kind make statements. Please tell me more about that. I should want to make a display now that you’re in my court.”

“Our arts are for tipping the scales of the world, not…” Callod tried, but the hand returned, this time into his gut, faster than the vines could protect him. Some Amethysts fell to the floor as Callod sat there, coughing.

“Now, what is an obscene and eye-catching way of killing someone?”

Ara

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #69 on: March 22, 2017, 04:15:43 pm »
“He what?” Elleseon wasn’t prone to having to ask for a repeat but she stood there in the room, only a handful of steps from the door to the hall, with Adalaide staring at her with those big gold eyes.

Her adopted cousin wrung her wrists nervously, neck jumping when she swallowed. Fendin had been in the process of standing and almost sat back down, eyes narrowing as his mind reeled too.

“He wants to court me.” Adalaide said again, this time managing to push her chin up and sound like it wasn’t a question. “I want him to court me.”

Fendin started to laugh, a cruel sound. “That’s a joke, idiot,” he huffed out cruelly. “He didn’t mean it.”

Adalaide swallowed again but didn’t turn to look back at him, her gaze fixed on Elleseon and Elleseon stared back. “He meant it.” She pressed. “He meant it.” Elleseon watched the tears gather in those eyes, gleaming over gold like they gathered flakes of it.

They missed their first class of the day.

“And he said he was just going to have a peek at you…” Elleseon uttered lowly to herself.

Fendin tossed his book down and marched up to their side. “He’s making a fool out of you.” He hissed at his cousin. “He means to seduce you and embarrass you and maybe steal a couple more stones while he’s at it.”

“Shut up!” Adalaide snapped, one hand jutting out to shove at his chest though it did nothing to push him. He laughed at her bravado but the cruelty in his eyes grew with that laughter.

“Or maybe he does mean it. Maybe he will court you and someday marry you.” He whispered because the meanness in his words wouldn’t need volume to cut. “Anything to get a Stigmatist for his court. Won’t his daddy be proud when he brings you home. Do you think it’ll be a family affair, carving the rocks from your flesh and mounting them in his crown? Do you think he and all those degenerate dogs will take turns on you?”

She cringed under those horrible words, shoulders pushing up and head ducking down as tears rolled down her cheeks. They didn’t carry flakes of gold.

“Stop it, Fen.” Elleseon finally cut in and Adalaide looked up at her with those eyes and it was hard to breathe with all that hope staring back at her. She looked at Elleseon like she would save her, like she would bring an end to the nightmare that had been her life so far and deliver her into the dream everyone held tight in their chest. “Go. Go to class and we’ll meet you.” She ordered him away and away he went.

Adalaide reached out and took her hand and Elleseon looked down at it. Hers was so warm and soft and Elleseon struggled not to cringe and look away from her half-sister. She tried not to think of her that way. She tried not to think of her at all unless it was about stones. “Please.” Adalaide begged in a whisper. “He means it, I really believe he does.”

Elleseon pulled her hand away and turned, circling in the room to think. What was his game? He couldn’t mean it. He couldn’t think they’d let him take their Stigmatist. But this was what she wanted wasn’t it? She wanted them to swoon. She wanted her heart to swell.

“I’ve never asked you for anything!” Adalaide cried, voice big in that open room.

Elleseon spun to look at her in surprise. She’d never been loud before, unless she had a knife in her skin.

“You killed them, Llese! You killed everyone I loved and… and you killed our father.” She almost choked on it. Or maybe Elleseon was the one choking on those words. She wanted to look away but she couldn’t.

“I don’t have a father. I have only Favia,” Elleseon whispered words she was raised on.

Adalaide nodded, more tears falling down her cheeks. “I know. I know you suffer. But you can give me this. You can give me happiness and you can find yours, I swear.”

“Your still weak from last night. You should go back to bed,” Elleseon said, voice empty like she’d been hit one too many times.

“No! No. Please.”

“I can’t give you to him!” Elleseon shouted. “The things Fendin said were horrible but I can’t know they’re not true. He might be different from his line, Ada. Might be. But you’re still a stigmatist above all else.”

“Llese, I need him,” she begged. “I love him.” She took steps closer but Elleseon jerked away before she could touch her again. “I’ll give you every stone I make. I’ll cut them from my own body for you. Just give me this.”

Elleseon rolled her tongue along her teeth and turned. She turned and turned before stopping with her back to her half-sister. She pressed a hand to her side and felt that brooch under her palm, sharp against her skin. Finally, she exhaled and nodded slowly. “He may court you for now,” she whispered. “But we’ve agreed to nothing more. He can speak with me himself when he’s ready to negotiate.” She liked the cold words. They made the ground feel steady again. She heard the sounds of joy and disbelief escaping Adalaide behind her but couldn’t bear to turn and look.

She left before the healer could say anything else. She walked blind, not even sure herself what class she was going to. It wasn’t until a cluster of familiar faces greeted her and she was forced to smile and greet them back that she could finally settle into her usual expression—before she could finally feel like herself again.

Tempus was waiting at her second class with her letter in hand and an apologetic smile on his pretty face. He handed it over casually. A game played and won on his part. He’d no doubt gathered all the information he sought from it. “Bold,” she said, a warning in that word when she eyed him.

He bowed his head and followed her into the class.

“And my box? It was blood sealed. How did you get into it?”

“What box?”

“Right.”

-

Adalaide missed another class but managed to gather herself for a walk through the halls by lunch. Secretly, she was hoping to run into Carxer while pretending to have an aim for the school library.

Verse

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Re: The Colorful Stone Kings
« Reply #70 on: March 23, 2017, 09:05:01 am »
Carxer had not seen Millium all day, which meant at least two classes were sans his cousin. It was good enough Millium decided on a daily basis to stay here at the Academia, he supposed. Mostly Carxer had been busy with planning what to do, not to win the favor of Adalaide, but rather Elleseon, since she needed to be convinced. He of course had riches in stones, which was the only official currency in this world, but somehow that would seem too crude to offer. If he decided on that course, he better be subtle about it, which almost always meant leaving the gifts in Elleseon's possesion and hope for her cooperation. He'd do it in a