the missing strand

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Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
the missing strand
« on: November 03, 2018, 10:13:14 PM »

A lightning storm chased them down the mountainside. Thrilled by the static in the air Ilithian raced Lorivar to the inn. They had not flown any significant distance together in a very long time. She was glad he had decided to come along. Eremiar was a good escort, but this wasn’t really a place he would be welcome. And the onset of violent weather might make it an overnight visit.

Landing a few minutes before the downpour started Ilithian led the way inside. Shaking a bit of mist from her wings she unwrapped the woolen shawl she wore for warmth. Flinging it at the coat rack she pranced towards Talimar. Boots tapping cheerfully on the hardwood as she made for Talimar. Ignoring any hubbub her unexpected appearance caused among the patrons. Not everyone was a loyalist, but no one here seemed unhappy to see her. With Lori at her back and Talimar ahead she wasn’t afraid anyway.

At the bar she stood on tiptoe, hands splayed on the counter so she could lean as far across possible with her wings spread for balance. ”Good afternoon, Tali.” She smiled wide, lashes batting. ”How are you? Business is looking good. Place is as cozy as ever.” She was there for business. Eager to get the niceties out of the way. But she also liked Talimar very much. He was so good natured.

”How’s your sister?” She ventured. This was where she had expected to find Briar. When Peitar had come to meet Lilli they had talked about the inn. In passing she had gathered that her wayward warlord prince had not been here. Really Peitar just wanted to brag about his sexual prowess, or conquest, she didn’t know which word he prefered. But her talk with Talimar some months back had given her the impression there was something between the two black widows. Now she was confused. Mostly about where her friend was.

A fleeting probe confirmed that he was not there now either. Nor had he been recently. Scent too potent and close to a queen’s heart to be completely cleaned away. She stepped back, nearly treading on Lorivar’s toes. Wings slipping under his arm to catch herself. ”Lorivar you know Talimar, yes? Tali, my first escort Lori?” She wasn’t sure how Protocol would rank them, caste and court position muddying the rules she had never quite paid attention too in school.

Tilting her head she studied the barkeep for a moment. Judging his mood. ”I’m looking for Briar. Would you happen to know where he’s gone?” It had been far too long without any word.

@dergon

Talimar

    Summer-sky to Opal
  • Prince
  • Played By: dergon

    Askavi Terreille
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Re: the missing strand
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2018, 09:18:50 AM »

He couldn’t remember when she had last been to the inn. At least once before, back when they had first settled in the old building. He’d been replacing the burnt out rafter beams then, Talimar remembered now. How bright she’d seemed among the soot and decaying leaves that had drifted in through the hole in the roof. Even now she made it seem small and a little shabby.

He’d have to ask Meridian to give things a good scrubbing.

”Hello, lady.” Talimar put away his rag and glass and leaned on the bar as well, politely ignoring the way it made her escort grow tense. The corners of his eyes creased in a smile. ”Yes, and this month only a few are disappointed they missed the circus.” Everyone was watching. Even those who pretended they were not. Eyes looking from corners or glancing over mugs. One fellow had missed his mouth with his soup.

”Sounds like you brought a storm with you,” he teased, rain beating against sturdy wood shingles. Standing a little straighter, Talimar glanced toward the stairs, somewhere up them was Rian. ”She’s....” Different. ”Well. Hasn’t caused anymore trouble for you, has she?” Tali didn’t know how. Ri hadn’t left the inn. Keeping close to home. Talimar couldn’t tell what had changed about her, or when the change had happened. After Briar had visited or Peitar had come?

Either way he disliked it. That his sister would be so malleable beneath men. He wished the laughing fellow would come back. She’d seemed happy then.

”I don’t, actually.” They exchanged looks. Caste and Jewels weighted and measured. More than that, probes weaving over each other. They were in agreement, however, and Talimar too good natured to start a rivalry. Lorivar too confident to worry about one. Smiling they both turned their attention back to the queen. One sliding his toes away and shifting his weight into her fingers, the other watching how it was done.

”He hasn’t been here in a while.” Wings shifting as he shrugged. Tali poured them both a drink. Good, hearty ale to fight any chills off. ”I don’t know where he went when he left, we didn’t speak. Rian might. He came to see her of course.” Talimar didn’t think it had gone well, but he didn’t pry and Rian didn’t confide. He snaked a thread upstairs to summon his sister, but Rian was already on them, staring at the strange trio by the bar.

”Is he dead?” She asked, eyes stark, making Talimar flinch.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
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Re: the missing strand
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2018, 10:30:19 PM »

”Just my luck, isn’t it? A chance to stretch my wings out from under all the politics and diplomacy and here comes the weather to pin me down instead.” Ilithian agreed to his teasing, eyebrows bobbing to the lilt of her giggles. The sound fading into the rhythmic patter of raindrops on wood as she watched his expression change. All the worried brother and gentle prince focusing up at the second floor.

One hand flicking up in a dismissive gesture she shook her head. Quick to put that theory to bed. ”Oh no! I was just.. asking.” If anyone knew where Briar was it would be Rian. He was prickly and secretive with Ilithian. Wary of her caste. But she had gathered from snippets of conversation that Rian was an important person in his life. ”And she never really caused any trouble for me anyway. Never had any fist fights in the courtyard or threw anyone out of a window.”

It seemed Talimar had his doubts, though. Slow to answer the question yet quick to wonder if his sister was up to no good. Funny how people could be so close yet so suspicious of one another. They were very close Ilithian know. The only child in her couldn’t help the slip of envy that mingled with her admiration of the siblings. Each embodied the spirit of Askavi, the spirit she wanted to channel into the territory at least. Surviving horrors. Suffering through loss. Then rebuilding into peaceful people now that the worst was over.

If only all her people were such easy cases.

Falling into a quick introduction she was looked from one to the other in genuine surprise. Ridiculous that the two hadn’t met before now! She felt like she knew them both so well. Lorivar more, obviously, but Talimar wasn’t hard to get close to. It was good they were meeting. Hovering on the outside of their twining probes she tried not to fidget. They were both good men. She just had to trust them to behave. To be respectful of one another. And of her.

Teasing her own probe into the mix she flashed them a broad smile. Picking up the conversation again to try distracting them all. While Tali answered Ilithian frowned at the drink he poured. Mind on Briar and not the frothy ale that bubbled under her nose. She took a sip, giving an appreciate smack of the lips. ”Oh.” Biting her lower lip Ilithian bought a moment to think by taking a long drought from the cup. Finishing almost half in such a short span that she had to hide a burp with a short coughing fit.

Before she had to figure out how much to tell Talimar in the rather public setting, Rian stepped in. Everyone’s eyes slid towards the other woman. ”Why would he be dead?” Ilithian stood straight, her wings pulling in tight. Jaw going tense. ”I wouldn’t be here looking for him if I thought he was dead.”

And Mother Night help her she would be angry if he was. She had agreed to let him go stay with friends. In a place he said he would be welcome. No one had given him permission to die! ”Finish this for me Lori, dear, Rian and I are going to sit and talk.” Somewhere more private her tone implied. Shoulders shifting impatiently while she waited to be led off to wherever that privacy could be found.

Talimar

    Summer-sky to Opal
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  • Played By: dergon

    Askavi Terreille
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Re: the missing strand
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2018, 09:20:36 AM »

Everyone stared. They weren’t going to stop if she kept filling the smoke stained room with her laughter that way. They looked away slowly as it died, rain replacing the rhythm of her mirth. Her escort looked amused, and Tali felt like a drunk man despite having had nothing to drink. Eyebrows creeping upward, he cast a glance between Ilithian and her escort.

”I didn’t throw anyone from a window.” He was guilty of brawling in her courtyard however. With Briar, no less. Beside her, the warlord snorted, hearing the unspoken admittance in Talimar’s defense. Looks and probes shared as Ilithian watched. Introductions made and a psychic level that helped each male know where the other stood. Their place and rank beside Ilithian and within Askavi.

”You’re interrupting,” Lor teased, shunting away her probe. Glad she was distracted by her drink, even if she didn’t want to be. Both of them watched her with satisfaction as she drank. Talimar grinning openly, and Lorivar’s smile smaller and more private. His hand patting the space between her shoulder blades as she coughed, wings rising to shield her from those that looked yet again, this time in concern rather than awe.

All of them unsettled as Rian appeared. Lorivar moving closer to Ilithian, responding instinctually to the shift of her emotions. Talimar focusing on his sister with a frown. Rian stared back at them, fingers twisting in her skirts. Lorivar took her mug, and Rian led the way to a quiet place to sit. Talimar could do nothing but watch with concern.

Rian

    Rose to Opal
  • Black Widow
  • Played By: dergon

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Re: the missing strand
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2018, 09:38:11 AM »

She was in trouble. Rian could feel it like a pulse through the room. Drawn downstairs by the scent of Ilithian’s caste. Hoping against hope that Briar would be with the queen. It was another Red Jeweled male who accompanied the queen however. A warlord Rian wasn’t familiar with. It frightened her. Where was Briar? If Ilithian didn’t have him and didn’t know where he was, then it had to mean he was lost, didn’t it?

The room went still and Ilithian cold when Rian asked.

”I’m sorry.” There was uncomfortable shuffling all through the inn. Chin tucked down, Rian twisted her skirts in her fingers and found a lonely table for her and Ilithian to sit in. Close to the door, so it was chillier than the rest of the room, but that just a little more private since no one wanted to sit in the draft. Not that it mattered, Rian could feel a Red shield sweeping over them as they sat.

Rian fidgeted, uncomfortable at finding herself the focus of so much attention, especially from a queen. This queen in particular, since Briar belonged to her. Peering at her from beneath her lashes, Rian wondered if she was the one Briar had fallen in love with. Frightened because she was a queen and so few had done right by him. But plenty had caused him harm.

”He went to a hunting camp.” She admitted finally. ”He came just before the circus left and I haven’t seen him since.” Rian still felt lingering shame and guilt. She had done wrong by her brother, certainly. And wrong by Briar too, exposing him to the less savory parts of her private life when he’d faced enough debauchery in his life.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: the missing strand
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2018, 07:08:27 PM »

Ah they were so cute! Her boyos and all the shy watchers in the room. Ilithian couldn’t help smiling at their dancing probes. Even when Lor battered her curious one out of the mix. It pleased her to see them getting along. Both grinning at her as tried the ale.

Being a queen was very similar to being a magnet. She was used to a lot of eyes. But it also made sharing the people she cared about harder. Territorial wasn’t a word she wanted to use. It fit well though. The sharp heat of her temper stirring at Rian’s question couldn’t be hidden as anything else. A dose of calming craft would ease the tension, and Ilithian’s fingers wiggled with the urge to bath the room in it. But she wasn’t convinced yet that there was nothing to be angry about. Even if Rian ducked her head in pretty submission, softening Ili in a single second.

Patting Lor’s arm for reassurance, his or her own she didn’t know, Ilithian followed. A table was Rian’s idea of privacy. So Ilithian would have to make do. Before she could settle a bubble of shields around them Lor tossed his Red at the task. Blocking them from the chill in the air, as well diverting any eavesdroppers. A current of her calming spells spilling out from the table then. Helping to ease her own nerves, along with everyone else in the room.

She linked her fingers on the table’s surface. Waiting with something that might have looked like patience for Rian to speak. In general Ilithian liked everyone. That was her nature. She liked Rian too, even without knowing her very well. ”Do you know where Briar went when he left here.” Perhaps putting the question bluntly would bring out the answer.

When that worked Ilithian nodded. Unhappy with the answer. ”A hunting camp?” Her distaste for the idea was apparent. They served their purpose, she knew, but it was no place for Briar. ”I don’t understand why he left at all, Lady Rian? He said he was coming to stay here.” Not dart off to do Mother Night only knew what in such a rough and tumble place as a hunting camp!

”Did he tell you for how long, or which camp, or anything at all? I have to have him back.”

Rian

    Rose to Opal
  • Black Widow
  • Played By: dergon

    Askavi Terreille
    77 Posts    0 marks
Re: the missing strand
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 06:41:34 AM »

Rian tried to be still. Knees jumping under the table, fingers tracing old scars in the surface. She did not want to face Ilithian this way. Or much at all, really. The queen seemed nice, and Rian wanted to like her. But mostly she wanted to run away. To go back to her work and forget. ”Yes, lady.” Rian didn’t like the idea either. Briar wasn’t a fighter, not like the men in hunting camps were.

”I’m sorry.” It was partly her fault, Rian knew. If not wholly her fault. She did not want to admit it to Ilithian, though she would apologize for it. The idea of explaining what had happened burning her up with shame. Her fingers laced together, thumbs pressing into each other, tip to tip, ragged nail to ragged nail. ”He said...” Rian stepped in her own toes. Pressing down to hold herself in that spot. He’d said a lot of things. Mostly she remembered the stiff way he’d stood, not hugging her back.

”I don’t know, lady.” She pleaded. ”He said he had things to figure out and that he was going.” Her nails bit into the back of her hands, grip tightening.   Shaking her hair down her back, Rian looked sideways at the queen. Did they all view him as a possession? Witch had used him like a toy. Now Ilithian needed to have him back. For what? Once again Rian wondered if she was the one he’d been speaking of.

”He did not.” Why would he? Briar had been desperate to get away from her. Rian didn’t blame him any. Sometimes she was desperate to get away from herself too. ”I’m sorry, lady. He was upset when he came and upset when he left. I fed him and tried the best I could but I don’t think he’s coming back here.” The words made her throat raw, but saying then didn’t hurt as much as she’d expected. After all, she’d known for a while the truth of it.

”Talimar might be able to point you in the right direction, but I don’t keep up with the hunting camps anymore.” She took care of the inn, and that was it. Peitar had smoothed the hard need in her body, blunting its sharpness so Rian could fit back into her skin again. All the sexual frustration roused by Maeve gone so she could think. Now she could ignore the cravings in her blood. She did not weave. She did not fuck. She took care of her inn, and it was enough.

”I’m really very sorry, Lady Ilithian. I hope you find him, and I hope he’s well.” And she prayed Ilithian was worthy. Briar deserved that.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
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Re: the missing strand
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2018, 12:30:54 AM »

Eyebrows arching Ilithian tapped one thumbnail against the other. ”What are you sorry for?” Pressing and prying had never bothered her much. Even when it made the other person uncomfortable. It was clear this was a topic that Rian would rather not elaborate on. And maybe if things had been different Ilithian would not have asked. A great heaping part of Ilithian was glad she had a good excuse to satisfy her nosy curiosity. ”I can’t make solutions without seeing the whole problem. I’m very good at keeping secrets, though, and highly unlikely to be judgmental.” Out loud at least.

Rian gushed into a quasi-explanation. Giving very little information, but it was enough to quiet Ilithian for the moment. She brought her lips to her fingertips. Gaze distant. Reaching out beyond the inn, into the recent well of memories she had of watching Briar. An awkward boy grown into a man’s body his psyche wasn’t ready for. Misused and misunderstood. ”Oh, Briar.” She sighed heavily, worrying that he would never find what he was really looking for.

Ilithian had tried to give it to him. A place to exist freely, to call home. The arrival of Ebonar and Glorian had ruined that for him sadly. Breached the possibility altogether. ”I know he was upset when he arrived. It’s why he was coming here.” Pulling back to the present she unfolded her hands to drum against the table. ”If he’s at one of the camps then his father won’t have any trouble finding him.” Eremiar liked to hunt. And there wouldn’t be any risk of Briar refusing. The big lug would knock him out and drag him home- back. Drag him back. ”He’d better be well. Or I’ll kick his ass myself.” 

”What am I going to do with him?” She mused out loud, sweeping a few curls from her face. The humidity made them flat. ”You still haven’t told me what you’re sorry for? I know seeing Ebonar was hard for him, but he wasn’t upset enough to go running off to the mountains. ‘I’ll just go home for a bit, Ri and Tali won’t mind.’ That was exactly what he told me. What changed?” Ilithian thought she knew. At least a little part of it. Briar was always trying to fit in. To be one of the boys, to feel like part of the crowd. To feel at home.

It made her sad that the eyrie wasn’t that place. There was just so much she felt obligated to make up for.

Rian

    Rose to Opal
  • Black Widow
  • Played By: dergon

    Askavi Terreille
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Re: the missing strand
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2018, 04:26:49 PM »

Rian shuddered at the mention of Eremiar. She couldn’t be glad that Briar’s monster of a father would have an easy time of finding him, even if she was happy he was easily found. She had never seen father and son together but the once, when the warlord prince had been trying to snatch the life from her body through Briar’s shields.

”That’s good, then.” Rian hazarded, not sounded convinced. Briar spoke with a strange mixture pleasure and pain when it came to his father. Rian had only a half glimpsed idea of what had been done to the man during Witch’s reign. But it was hard to have sympathy for someone so wholly and wildly violent. She just hoped sparring with his father had prepared Briar for the hunting camps.

Rian hoped that was the end of it, but Ilithian kept talking. Ideas pooling into words Rian didn’t think were really meant for her. Until they were, the question she’d thought dodged presented again. She shoot her head in mute agony. ”For him being gone.” She’d driven him from the inn. Home he had called it to Ilithian, wrenching Rian’s heart from her chest. She sucked in air and tried not to cry.

”I guess he saw me for what I am.” Rian admitted, fingers bruising each other as they twisted in her lap. Joints pulled until they ached. ”He’s always looked at me wrong, because I helped him before.” She hadn’t really been a willing participant. Terrified into helping until seeing the traps and tangled memories in his mind made her want to help. She hadn’t wanted to he his friend after. He was strange and wild. That came later, and Rian had ruined that.

”I’m sorry I can’t be more help.” Half tempted to offer herself up to the search. But Rian was afraid of Eremiar. And she didn’t think her face was one that would bring Briar back. ”I’m sure he’d appreciate you searching him out.” Ilithian was beautiful and magnetic. Rian doubted there was a wicked or deviant bone in the queen’s body. Briar needed someone like that in his life, to show him a way out of the darkness.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: the missing strand
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2018, 10:08:21 PM »

A slip of guilt colored Ilithian’s cheeks at Rian’s reaction to the familiar name. ”I know it isn’t obvious but Eremiar has a good heart. He’s just very protective of the people he cares about. Too protective, obviously.” She didn’t insult any of them with lies about leashes or remorse. Those things didn’t apply the same way to either of the Red Jewelled warlord princes they were speaking about.
 
Or at least that Ilithian was speaking about. Thoughts spilling over so that her worries did not. A hunting camp! She felt so offended. If he wanted fighting, or training, she could have arranged all of those things. There was no reason to go looking for them Darkness only knew where. And please, Mother Night, let the Darkness know. Let it brace him for whatever he was dealing with.

Because Ilithian wouldn’t hesitate to stomp them all into the dirt if they had dented his already fragile self-esteem.

That was only a maybe though. She needed to focus on facts. Like the ones Rian was trying to glaze over. ”Why should you be sorry that he’s gone?” She had done something! Eyes narrowing Ilithian studied the woman across from her. They weren’t really familiar. Knowing one another through the mouths of others. Maybe Tali’s siblingness and Briar’s infatuation had tinted those descriptions.

Ilithian sat as quietly as she could. Toes tapping an impatient rhythm on the floor. She reached, already, for the Eyrie. For Eremiar. Let him decide when the search would start. Listening despite her apparent distraction the queen plucked at her lower lip with her thumb. ”I don’t know what you think you are. Or how Briar looks at you when you’re together.”

With a sigh she lifted her shoulders, wingtips leaving the floor with the motion. ”What I do know is the look he gets in his eye when he talks about you. And I wouldn’t use the word wrong to describe that. Appreciation, affection. Maybe even love.” She was very nosy. Which made her very good at spotting crushes. ”What does that even mean, that he looks at you wrong? He’s a warlord prince, you know, they’re always scowling and pouting.”

More than other males even. She glanced at Lor over her shoulder, smiling lightly at her private thoughts. ”I’m sorry you can’t be more help too,” She said pointedly. Talimar was right. Whatever had passed between them had not gone well. ”I hope he does. But the fact that he told you where he was going, and said nothing to me, doesn’t really give confidence to that sentiment. Maybe you should stop focusing on so much on what you think he sees in you and start worrying more about what he might think you see in him. Men have delicate egos, Lady Rian. And Briar has a preoccupation with his perceived flaws.”

Standing from the chair she smoothed out the front of her traveling clothes. Breezy trousers and a fitted blouse. ”I hope he will be. It isn’t me he wants looking for him though, is it? He told you and only you where to find him.” There was more she wanted to say. So much more. But the details were thin and her opinions often too big for others to swallow. So she tried her best not to. Another look at the men at bar weaseled a line from her lips though. ”If he does come around, I hope you’ll remember that if you’re worried about how you think he looks at you, maybe he worries about how he thinks you’re look at him too.”
 

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