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Messages - Darion Greenstone

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1
Roeselare Province / Re: A Flower in the Garden
« on: December 14, 2018, 03:14:09 PM »
It had started earlier in the week: a twinge of something, sadness or longing, the yearning of a heart far away.

Before he and Ophelia and Aniko had left for Glacia, Aeon had placed tracking spells on all the Queens he could find. It had seemed logical, at the time; now Queens were hunted, and it was his duty to protect them, if he could. The psychic feedback hadn’t been much of a concern measured against the potential benefits.

A flash of anger. A pang of grief. These were normal. Anticipated. Brief aberrations in temperament could be discarded to take the average of the whole. But this feeling—whatever it was—wasn’t brief, and didn’t feel typical. Complex, but steady. Too intense to dismiss.

Perturbed, Aeon gave chase. Better safe than sorry, right? Although, upon his arrival to the idyllic Queen-kept garden, he had to admit that everything already seemed…pretty safe.

Safe enough that his presence alone would be construed as a major threat, anyway; he wrapped one layer of psychic shields around himself, then another, and a third for good measure. If nothing was happening, it was easier to pretend he was never here. But the feeling was so strong. In his quest to locate its source, he stumbled upon a new danger: maids in a hurry, all of them careening along the walkways carrying various pieces of baby furniture.

Was a daycare opening? Surely that was at least five babies worth of furniture. But never mind.

He followed the feeling around corners, well-trimmed hedges and pretty sunlit patios. He followed it until, finally, he was standing a few feet behind it, staring at the back of its crestfallen head.

The complexity made perfect sense, suddenly. Such a small Queen! The sun made her red hair burn like wildfire. Actually, her forearms were pink; literally burning, then. Perhaps he’d be able to coax her into the shade.

“You have an awful lot on your mind, Lady,” said Aeon, smiling so that his eyes crinkled. “I heard it from way, way far away. Why don’t you tell me about it? I’m Aeon.”

He took a spot in the shade, just beside her, neither too close nor too far. Didn’t recognize her, but that was alright. She needed someone, and he’d put a tracking spell on her, after all; even if he didn’t remember, the taste of his own power didn’t lie.  

2
Norr Province / Re: Who's There?
« on: December 13, 2018, 02:36:19 PM »
A Queen emerged from behind the door. Her hard, gray stare was level with his, or perhaps even a little above his. Her hair, too, was gray; light and silvery like good swordmetal, at odds with her youthful face.

Even the Jewel she wore was Gray. There was a joke in all of this, somewhere, but one good look at the Queen’s spring-loaded jawline told Aeon that perhaps, maybe, this wasn’t the right time.

Yeah. No. Not only was she taller than he was, she looked like she punched harder, too.

“Isn’t knocking manners?” asked Aeon, dark eyes twinkling. “I used to just walk through them,” he gestured to the door, “but I got in trouble for that.”

He propped his weight up on tiptoe to peer over her shoulder and into the room beyond, which was mostly full of paperwork. Then again, he wasn’t sure what he’d expected. Of course a boring, strait-laced place like this would only have boring, strait-laced rooms.

“This room looked important, so I wanted to know what was in it. Anyway, Lady, thank you.” He expected the tension to dissipate, but it did not; with his curiosity sated and nothing else to say, he began fumbling over the silence.

Returning to his mother beat to a pulp would be difficult to explain.

“Er, I’m Aeon,” said Aeon. “From Odense. What’s your name?”

3
Norr Province / Who's There?
« on: December 12, 2018, 04:51:11 PM »
The city seat of Reric was inconveniently clean, decided Aeon.

Already he’d done two circuits around the same connecting hallways before realizing that the upset vase he’d been using as a landmark was righted mere moments after he’d knocked it over. And, to make matters worse, people noticed him; he’d start walking in one direction, only for someone to stop him every few feet to ask him what he was doing there. (Walking, obviously!)

But by far the biggest annoyance was the endless series of securely closed doors. Everywhere he went, closed doors. It grated him terribly, these rows of shut-off places he couldn’t casually peek into, now that he knew one was meant to knock. His life had been much simpler before.

So when the hallway he’d been walking along ended abruptly at yet another closed door, Aeon took matters into his own hands—by knocking, of course. He couldn’t take it anymore. Surely there were reasonable limits regarding exactly how mysterious and sneak-proof one place could be!

One knock seemed like too few, though, and too much space between subsequent knocks would be easy to ignore. By way of compromise, he opted for one long, uninterrupted sequence of knock, knock, knock, knock.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

4
Norr Province / Re: One More River to Cross
« on: December 10, 2018, 12:48:01 AM »
Those eyes. That look. A wave of hot shame rose in Aeon’s face and chest, making his skin burn. The patient, measured tone of her voice…she spoke as if she knew him. He felt as if he should know her.

But his mind remained empty as ever; whatever memories his heart sought, they were beyond his reach. If they existed at all. His anxiety was the only thing that escaped through the thin crack in his mind’s barriers. Usually he was better at reining it in; now, it slipped and curled away from his grasp like smoke, impossible to keep.

At the very least, she wasn’t upset about the tomato plant he’d squished. He hadn’t even had the good sense to open his mouth to apologize before she’d headed him off with a kindly smile. Aeon looked around, taking in the garden properly for the first time. It was small, but well-tended. Glancing sidelong, he shot at apologetic look at the Queen and her remaining tomato plants.

Even if there were plenty more, it was his fault that there was one less.

“Thank you, Lady, for your understanding.” The drum of his pulse at the hollow of his throat made it difficult to speak. So he scooped up the fallen tomato, instead, pressing his palms against the sun-warm yellow flesh. Not ripe yet, but unscathed. He hoisted his weight up and out of the garden pot and took a few stiff-kneed, awkward steps toward the Ebon-gray Queen.

“I think this one is alright.” With both hands and a small, sheepish smile he presented the surviving fruit of her labor. “I didn’t mean to bother you. Actually, I…”

The sentence trailed off into uneasy silence. Actually, he…what? He’d come here, to this Queen, for a specific reason. Only a moment ago he’d known what it was.

Nervous again. Wide, dark eyes flitting behind the flash of his glasses, seeking answers from somewhere, anywhere. He ran one dirty hand through his bangs, deep brown and stark white, leaving a streak of soil on his forehead.

“I came here to tell you something important,” he said, weakly. “Because someone said…in Meols…”

And here, he’d been doing so well.  

5
Norr Province / One More River to Cross
« on: December 04, 2018, 11:40:32 PM »
Aeon squinted against the wind. From such a height, it was cold and thin, even in summer. Below him, the Glacian city of Odense was deceptively small against the interminable horizon, a maze of busy streets and little square roofs bordered by yellow-green wildflower meadows and shadowed year-round by the mountains.

It was midday, and the sun was out, but his jaw was clenched tight, teeth uneasy in his mouth and threatening to chatter. He was nervous, but he didn’t know why; if he had a good reason to be anxious, he’d long forgotten it.

From his vantage point atop the nearest black-stone cliff, he’d watched the guards at the perimeter of Odense’s palace change shifts no less than three times.

Focused, these. They didn’t move much, but even from a bird’s eye view, Aeon could tell that they were big. (The longer he stayed in Glacia, the more he saw men who might be easily confused for bears at first glance—and sometimes the second glance, too.)

Was he from here, truly, like Arkyn had said? He was not a bear-man, and although the majesty of nature here inspired awe in him, he could not claim to be familiar with it. But then, that was true of so many places.

Still, homecoming or no, and regardless of whether the welcome was warm or cold, he had important information that the Queen needed to hear. Like him, she wore the Ebon-gray; he could feel its pulse through the land almost as keenly as he felt his own. Realized, with a jolt, that it was the undercurrent of her power making him nervous.

Never mind. Aeon straightened his glasses and bit the feeling back, holding it tight behind the determined line of his wind-chapped lips.

The guards were changing shifts again, right on time. There: behind the gate, covered and hidden behind walls, a safe place in the yard for him to land on. Of course, safe was a relative term; he was fine, but the potted plant he’d landed on by mistake hadn’t been as lucky. He gave the displaced tomato by his foot a sad nudge, guilt-stricken.  

6
Sør Province / Re: Under Grey Skies
« on: July 07, 2018, 07:05:19 AM »
Aeon never had to wonder where Aniko was. It worried him as much as it comforted him; he always felt guilty, seeing Ani there by the window, bundled up tight, always just where he’d asked them to stay. For their own safety. But he was out and about frequently, in fields and mansions and towns, scouting the area and meeting its people.

Perhaps it wasn’t fair. Perhaps they resented him for it. These days, it was hard to tell what either of them were thinking without extending a probe, which felt too invasive. So, he kept wondering.

He appeared through the side wall; his room was between Ophelia’s and Ani’s, just a few steps in either direction. Sometimes he found them together, but not this morning.

Aeon tilted his head.

“It’s nicer today,” he said, glancing past the tiny Priestess and out at the scenery. “I was wondering if it would ever warm up.”

He wanted to ask her what she was thinking about. In a vague, lingering way, he wanted to apologize. But he did not know what he was meant to apologize for, or what else he might have done.

“Er, I brought breakfast. And tea, if you’d like some.” He presented her meekly with a tray. “Do you mind if I join you?”

7
Sør Province / Re: Late mornings
« on: June 27, 2018, 12:44:30 AM »
She smiled. Aeon was temporarily stunned, speechless and lightheaded while his heart double-beat against his ribcage.

“Ah, well,” he said, shyly. “I’m trying to do better, you know.”

He watched her keenly as she inspected the day’s chocolates, smiling all the while. It pleased him to know that they were close enough, now, that he knew what she liked. It made him want to learn more, so that he could do more, all to keep her smiling.

“Report! Yes, it’s quite important.” He lowered himself into the chair, crossing his long legs at the ankles and smoothing his palms over his thighs, chasing the wrinkles out of his trousers. “I only spied a very little bit. I met the sjef, and he’s agreed to let us stay in the court nearby, under protection of the city.”

What was his name again? Aeon’s eyes went glassy, seeking his fragmented thoughts. Arthur? Arty? Arbor?

“Arkyn.” A firm nod, tone decisive. “His name was Arkyn. He wears the Summer-sky. I told him I would consult with you and give him your answer.”

He leaned forward in his chair. Eyes twinkling, cheeks pink. Eager for praise.

“It’s a very nice house. Quite secure. I checked all of it. I thought you would be more comfortable in a place like that, without maids in and out. A bit of peace and quiet.”

8
Sør Province / Re: unexpected company
« on: June 27, 2018, 12:30:24 AM »
Patience. Just the concept made Aeon restless, the idea of pinning up his boundless energy. It pained him to do nothing. So agonizing to wait. In the end, wasn’t patience just a kinder word for torture?

“Yes.” Soft, almost grudging, because he knew the other man spoke the truth. “The hunt is not over, but it’s turning out to be much longer than I’d like.”

He studied Arkyn, this Warlord Prince, sjef of Meols. It sounded like he spoke from experience, which piqued Aeon’s curiosity, but he did not pry. It wasn’t the right time; they were just allies, not friends, and he suspected that any personal questions he asked would bounce off of those menacing eyebrows unanswered.

“I should like to take you up on your offer. There are three of us in total.”

Yes. He’d report to Ophelia, and tell her that he’d found them someplace safe. He’d put his trust in this man to guard his blind spots, and pray to the Darkness that it was the right decision.

“I’ll send you a thread before I call on you again. Prince’s honor, no more trespassing.” Aeon flashed Arkyn a grin and crossed his arm over his heart. “And seek me out if you need anything, Prince. After all, I owe you a favor.”

9
Sør Province / Re: A rose by any other name.
« on: June 27, 2018, 12:09:32 AM »
Aeon craned his neck to peer down the hallway, eyes chasing the path that the other man had taken. Nothing, except the subtle lingering scent.

“Not that close,” he said, with finality. “Plenty of time.”

He shook her hand, gave it a bit of a squeeze, and beamed ear to ear. Truly, Glacia was a unique place with unique people. It put him at ease, filled him with a warm contentment like his heart was, finally, at home.

“You can do it.” Aeon had no doubt; that fire behind her eyes was ferocious, contagious. “Now, hold on tight. And hold your breath—I’ve heard it helps.”

With no more context, and a quirky tilt of his head, he pressed his fingertips more securely into her forearm and slipped with her into the Darkness, through the other realm where only Blood could tread. A swell of dark energy surrounded them, swallowed them. They landed in a clearing a stone’s throw from the forest, a grassy knoll from which the house they’d just left was visible. There, on the hill, its towers standing guard like sentinels.

“Ah, that’s a nice view,”
said Aeon. He still had a firm grip on Astrid, and used it to gently pull her up to stand beside him. “Are you alright? It’s always an experience, I guess, the first time.”

And the hundredth time, for that matter; the hairs at the back of his neck were still prickling with excitement. He glanced down at her through windswept hair and grinned.

“There’s a good stick just there,”
he said, gesturing. “Seems like as good a practice sword as any.”

10
Sør Province / Re: Late mornings
« on: June 25, 2018, 12:21:49 AM »
The way his name fell from her lips set his pulse to racing, and he wondered if he’d ever get used to it, this strange ever-present tingling. He opened his mouth to speak and closed it again, deciding first to wiggle his way free from the door.

“Ah, er,” said Aeon, after a brief moment of rustling and clattering. “Yes, well, that was me.”

A long, sheepish pause.

“You don’t like it when I come through the wall, so I thought it would be better that way.” He felt the heat rise in his face, and turned his head for fear that she would notice. “Sorry. I worried you.”

Still, the sight of her did his heart good. Cute, bundled in blankets with her hair sticking every which way. And she seemed better nowadays, even when she complained about the snow; the farther they traveled, the more life she seemed to have.

He stood up straight, then, eyes twinkling, in that characteristic pose he took when he’d remembered something important.

“I came to report,” he told her, sounding quite proud of himself. “And I’ve brought you these.” A stack of ribbon-wrapped boxes appeared across his open palms, sweetly fragrant. He set them gently at the foot of the bed.

“You ate the ones I brought yesterday, right?” he said, with a grin. “Let me know how these are. I picked different ones.”

11
Sør Province / Re: unexpected company
« on: June 25, 2018, 12:07:30 AM »
Aeon relaxed his lean form against the desk, cat-like, long legs stretching. Not a bad man, this Arkyn. Anywhere in the Realm, he had utmost respect for a man who served.

“Yes. The Territory court in Little Terreille thought that, too, before their Queen’s blood stained the floor.” His dark eyes grew darker, storm-like, remembering. “It made them bold. I had to smoke them out of inns and shacks and taverns. And even then I didn’t get them all.”

It occurred to him that perhaps he shouldn’t be telling this story to a perfect stranger after trespassing in their home. Perhaps the incident in Little Terreille had sparked a fire under the beast in him that had not yet been quelled.

Day and night, the failure nagged him. He needed someone to understand.

The broad line of his shoulders sagged. Defeat. Exhaustion. He heaved out a sigh, and then followed it with a lilting laugh.

“Arkyn, sjef of Meols.” Aeon smiled, then offered a weary bow. “I serve. My Queen was a target of the rebels, and I only ask for a safe place to shelter, with promise that I’ll remember the favor. I spend too much time worrying about tomorrows to worry about summer.”

12
Sør Province / Re: A rose by any other name.
« on: June 24, 2018, 11:43:30 PM »
Aeon smiled warmly, so that his eyes crinkled into half-moons behind his glasses. He pressed a fingertip gently to her nose—quickly, so she didn’t have the time to protest—and with a brief flare from his Ebon-gray, he wove a simple healing spell.

“Brains are important, but you’ll be needing that nose, too.” He tucked his hands back into his trouser pockets. Come to think of it…where was her escort, anyway? Aeon had a right mind to ask, but then, knowing what little he knew about this Queen, he could hazard a guess.

“Yes. And it would be difficult to explain to the man who was looking for you just now,” he replied, voice light and sing-song, “so we’re partners in crime.”

Fire in her eyes as she mentioned sword-fighting; yes, he’d pegged her for a wild one. He’d never been good at saying no—not with a Queen’s eyes trained on him like that.

He grinned, wide and sheepish.

“It can’t be that hard.” That probably wasn’t true, but Aeon couldn’t bear the thought of losing face so soon. So he straightened his back, raking fingers through his white-streaked bangs before offering her his arm in Protocol-defined escorting position.

“If you’re keen to get out of this hallway, Lady Heartsbane, and unravel the mysteries of combat, put your trust in me.”

13
Sør Province / Re: Late mornings
« on: June 24, 2018, 01:54:50 AM »
Aeon stood awkwardly on the hallway side of a door and found himself feeling strange and vulnerable for the experience.

Traveling with Ophelia had given him a lot of insight into dealing with women in close quarters. Or, rather, it had given him a lot of experience with dealing with Ophelia in particular. She didn't like the snow, for example; he'd found that out not long after they'd crossed the border, where the rolling fields dwindled to sad little shrubs and frozen, white-dusted ground.

She did like chocolate. It had surprised him to learn this, largely because for the first half of their journey he'd become certain that she didn't like anything at all. Now he picked it up whenever he could, just to see her eyes light up at the notion.

As for himself, he wasn't sure exactly where he stood. Somewhere between snow and chocolate, ostensibly, although if he was honest with himself he was probably closer to snow on the spectrum.

Most importantly, though, he had learned that she didn't like it when he appeared out of nowhere, through walls or closed doors or up out of the floor. And doing it subtly seemed only to make it worse; if she kept screaming in his ear like that, he'd surely go deaf.

So he knocked, now. He'd finally remembered. And Mother Night, the waiting was killing him! He juggled his weight from foot to foot, smoothed his wild white-streaked hair, fidgeted with his spectacles.

Had he knocked enough times? Loud enough? Was he meant to knock again, or was that rude, too?

His only answer was the thin psychic thread he received at the height of the Yellow, vibrating with tension. It made him tense, too.

“Lady Ophelia?”

There was a blanketed lump where his Queen ought to be, but the lump didn't seem grievously wounded. He had half a mind to tease her, but then, his heart was still racing, and...

Well, he was stuck mid-torso inside of the door.

14
Sør Province / Re: A rose by any other name.
« on: June 24, 2018, 01:24:46 AM »
“Does Witch use hallways?” asked Aeon, with a tilt of his head. Her barrage of questions coaxed another grin out of him, and this time it didn't fade. “Lost? Yes, maybe. I was aiming for the forest, but I fell short.”

It was the truth: he wasn't shy about dropping in on random dwellings as a general rule, but his preference was to bridge into an open space. There was less to get stuck in, and it tended to cause less of a ruckus.

She didn't seem terribly alarmed, though, this Queen. The flash of fear had gone almost as quickly as it had shown, and Aeon was grateful for her nerve. People who feared him only reminded him that they had good reason to be afraid.

“No healers,” he agreed, wide-eyed, momentarily stunned by the rise in her voice.

Astrid Heartsbane. Indeed, he'd never heard of her. But then, he forgot most of the people he'd ever heard of, with rare exception; in any case, now he'd heard of her.

“Hm.” Aeon leaned closer, eyes still alight with mischief. “Yes, I've been to lots of places I shouldn't have been. Are you going to tell on me, Lady Heartsbane?”

He bounced on the balls of his feet, looking pleased with himself. It was nice to have a proper adventure again.

But...

“Sword fight?” Dark eyes flitting in thought. “Well, I know how to not get hit by a sword, which I gather is the hard part.”

15
Sør Province / Re: unexpected company
« on: June 23, 2018, 10:57:00 PM »
Aeon tilted his head, considering. What a curious place! And this man, the Summer-sky sjef of Meols; if his brows dipped any further, surely he would have to pick them out of his frown.

The idea of bringing Ophelia and Ani to a dim little office made him laugh, a soft huff that registered barely above a whisper.

“No, I think not. I should never hear the end of it, if I did.”

Eyes locked, each measuring the other. Didn't seem like an unreasonable man, this Arkyn; still, the danger they'd fled had a long reach, and Aeon erred on the side of caution. For Ophelia's sake.

“I brought myself.” He adjusted his glasses, so that they sat a little more neatly on his ears. “I don't suppose you've seen any cultists around? Queen-haters, murderers, big meetings in remote taverns?”

He let the question linger for a moment or two. Not a challenge, as long as he was innocent.

“You'll have my honesty, Prince, as long as I have yours. I'm told I'm a good neighbor, and I needed to confirm the same of you.”

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