Clocked

Description:

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Clocked
« on: April 29, 2019, 11:16:06 AM »
A length of hemp fabric wrapped around his nose, mouth, and ears. Not the warmest option, but the only he had been able to afford. It was better than leaving them exposed to the bite of the wind. This far north winter set in early, and held on long. Ice would set in your bones and gnaw off your fingers and toes if you weren’t careful. He tried hard to be careful. Things just costed money.

Under his worn boots snow crunched down into gravel. He couldn’t hear it, but he felt the small vibrations with each step. Same he felt the shift in the air as he slipped into the city gates. People shifting uncomfortably. Probes that whispered near then away. Mothers that lifted their children into their arms so that they did not stare or stumble near. Reactions he aimed for, as his psyche blared warning in a circle around him, like a bandstand screaming an off pitch tune. ’Danger, danger, danger.’

It kept them from bumping or springing at him with their wares. Usually. Head low he trudged through a sea of bodies in the marketplace. They parted for him without question. Or, if there were questions, he didn’t hear them. Only a deep murmur that was drowned out by the incessant buzzing of ruined hearing.

Which was likely why there was no warning. Just a hand on his shoulder. Angry mass of a man throwing his hands up in exasperation after he whirled the other around. The danger tried to guess the words pouring off his flapping lips. But he was bad at it and the man was speaking fast. Screaming? Fuck what had he done? He’d only just gotten into town! ’Stupid-something-something-something… face?’ What? Eyebrows twisting in confusion he shook his head. The warlord wreaked of aggression. He gave Danger a shove that knocked him backward on the ground.

”shii-” Barely whispered. A slip- a reactionary curse that should have stayed in his head but was driven out by landing on his ass. He bit his tongue. Swallowing the word before it fully formed. Ebon-gray summoned into his palm so he could throw a shield around the sound. Weeks of lean meals had left it weak. Left him weak.  Almost too late, but he stamped the push from it. Just the sound remained. A circle of onlookers slapping hands over their ears. He wanted to apologize. Hands flailing as he sent his Offering back to the depths of his cabinet.

They didn’t understand. And he didn’t understand what the man said either as he came around to swing his foot at the source of the ear splitting noise. Danger’s eyes squeezed shut against the impact. And then his vision went black. Body slack in the slush of mud and snow. Crowd dispelling as the guard swarmed in, just in time to watch the warlord pull the fabric down around Danger’s face and decide he wasn’t the fool that that knocked up his wife after all.

@dergon

Iskra Graves

    Sapphire to Gray
  • Healer Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Odense Apprentice
    Glacia Kaeleer
    87 Posts    351 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2019, 11:57:53 AM »

Iskra flapped her escort’s hand away. She didn’t want to move away from the disturbance, as he wanted her to, but toward it. Curious in the same way so many others were as they drifted toward the noise. Someone was doing a whole lot of shouting, and for once it wasn’t Iskra. At least not yet. ”Aren’t queens supposed to head off trouble?” She reasoned. ”Letgo.” She mumbled, yanking her elbow away and slithering through the crowd.

Someone was airing his dirty laundry, at what appeared to be a walking pile of it. Bouncing up on her toes, Iskra peeked over the shoulder of the woman in front of her, who took a step back and bumped into the Odense apprentice. ”I’ll take your place, if you don’t want it.” Iskra said over the woman’s apology, slipping around her and finding herself front row to the exchange. Which was one sided on the whole, really. ”Blah, blah, blah you’re wife’s a whore we get it.” She muttered darkly beneath her breath. Iskra was just starting forward when her escort caught up.

A hand catching her elbow as the warlord lunged. Iskra shouted. Who just went about shoving people in the middle of the street? Iskra was fairly certain she’d left Fyrkat behind years ago. ”None of that!” She bellowed, wading forward with the rest. Only to be knocked backward by the sound. She, like the rest of the crowd, cringed backward, gloves covering her ears as they rang. The pain lancing through her ear muffs and straight to her brain.

Iskra didn’t stay back, however. Enraged at the swinging boot, she left her escort doubled over and rammed her compact body into the warlord. She caught him as he was reaching down, sending him and the hemp face cover he was after onto the ground. ”Should I kick you while you’re done there too?” She demanded, fists at her hips as she loomed, sort of, over him. He didn’t answer fast enough, so Iskra kicked him anyway, jabbing her toe into the bottom of his boot. ”You’re an ass!” She shouted just as her escort caught up, dancing next to her as he decided which male to wedge himself in front of. The warlord, or the actual danger.

Iskra began muttering, turning around to glare at the unconscious prince. ”Idiots. All of them.” She knelt next to him in the snow, making her escort groan. Too late! Too late! Her probes swept over the prone body. Finding old hurts and plenty of hunger. Nothing she could sense to keep him knocked out, so she slapped him. Which made her escort squeal. ”Shut up! And find him something to eat. Mother Night, I bet I could carry him.” Biting her gloves off, Iskra stroked his cheek and checked his pulse. And covered his mouth with her free hand just in case. ”Wake up sunshine.” She sang, trying to catch him on a Sapphire thread.

She had heard all about him, of course. Danger. He’d flattened half a dozen villages and three orphanages. Plus a couple of temples and who knew how much destruction he did in the wild. Which is what it looked he had just walked in from. And was possibly made of. Iskra was ecstatic to finally meet him. And surprised to find him much younger than she’d imagined. *No more noise, now. Okay?*

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2019, 12:35:01 PM »
Eyes rolling behind their lids Danger groaned as he was tapped back out of oblivion. The sound trapped by the application of pressure over his lips. He tried to turn his face away from the touch. Stinging cheek glad for the wet cold of the ground to sap out the heat. His head buzzed twice as loud as usual. And he almost choked as his throat worked at swallowing his tongue.

Vision finally focusing he jerked away from the unexpected nearness. Conscious jumping back to alertness as confusion and instinct warred for control. He threw a look around as if he expected to be stomped on again. Shields rising in a circle around them he panted into the leather muzzle clapped over his mouth while he struggled to catch up.

Rising up to his elbows he looked over the woman. Girl? Pretty. Healer. Queen. He could literally feel the color draining from his face. Empty stomach folding into a ball. Her mouth moved. The shapes they made when they moved were captivating enough to make him stare half a second before sense caught up. He threw a look around for her guards. Or escort. Who or what ever would sweep in and shove him away.

It was his own feet that pushed distance between them, though. Hand thrown up to block her from getting close again. His face tipped away so he had plenty of excuse for not understanding if she ordered him back. She didn’t hurry off as he expected, however. Instead something cut through the angry droning in his skull. A gleaming twist of stability among the shifting shadows that drifted around his barriers. Latching at it he shifted along the connection as if he were not quite sure where to hang on. *Wasn’t on purpose!* Danger swore.

*I’m going. Don’t call the guard.* They would bring him to the old queen. And she’d scrub behind his ears before she let him go again. There would be food though… No. He licked his lips, chapped by the wind and burning where they had split. His body ached. Ribs to face. Head to tailbone. There would be food. But there would also be people. Like this queen-healer with eyes the color of the sky over the plains. Clutching the side that ached worst he rocked up onto this knees, then tried to find his feet, which slipped on the mix of muddy snow no matter how hard he tried to make them hold steady.

Iskra Graves

    Sapphire to Gray
  • Healer Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Odense Apprentice
    Glacia Kaeleer
    87 Posts    351 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2019, 06:26:50 PM »

Iskra imagined she could feel his breathing beneath her palm. A warm sort of dampness that warred with the cold sort that rose up from the ground. Skirts growing saturated the longer she knelt. It took him time to rouse. And longer to grew aware. Gaze hazy as he looked around around, slow to focus. Iskra leaned closer, trying to see if his pupils dilated correctly in the light. He rose up at the same time, and suddenly they were very close, Iskra startling backward.

”Good morning!” He didn’t like it. Heels kicking up the crust that had formed along the street. What little color he had in his face, most if it snow burn, if Iskra knew anything, fled. Sitting back on her heels, she pretended to not be insulted by his rather violent bid for distance. Hand raising between them as if she was the one who had knocked him down and kicked him. Frowning, she gripped her thighs and counted to ten. Just long enough for him to find her thread and latch on like a drowning man.

*Obviously.* Iskra harumphed across the link. She patted the hand that landed on her shoulder. ”I’m fine!” She promised, waving the worried fingers away. *You’re not.* She disagreed. She wasn’t sure if there would be guards or not, but she certainly wasn’t going to be calling them. And he really wasn’t going anywhere. *No guards, I promise, but you’re staying here with me, prince. My orders as a healer.* “Did I tell you to get food?” She bit at her escort, who had not dared leave her side.

The woman who had stepped on her rushed up, a clever weave of bread in her hands. Iskra knew the sort. With cheese and things baked inside. It was a favorite of hers. ”Oh good.” She reached for it, and ended up catching an idiot instead. The bread was crushed against his shoulder. Nearly severed in her hand as she grabbed for him. The woman squealed and fled, and her escort nearly fainted. ”Shut up!” She shouted at him, even though he’d barely said her name. *You’re a terrible listener.*

Sticking him back on the ground, Iskra let the bread come apart in her hands. A piece she popped into her own mouth before pushing half the loaf at him. *Eat this. I’ll see about the rest.* And make sure there were no guards. At least not any that wouldn’t listen to her. Accepting her escort’s hand, Iskra stood, the other half of the bread sliding into her pocket as she sent a thread racing home to Eydis. She’d know what to do. And how to get him to listen.

*I’ve come across the danger prince. Do you think he’d follow food on a string?* Iskra looked at him, and very much doubted it.

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2019, 07:23:23 PM »
If it was obvious, then maybe he would be in less trouble. Or not. The queen-healer narrowed her eyes at him. Before he could think of more excuses or defenses she rounded out by ordering him to stay. Not to wait for the guard to take him, but because she said so. Danger blew a snort at the queen-healer. Sound captured in a bubble of aural shields and vanished to his cabinet with an unnecessary but habitual gesture of the hand. *No, Lady. Too dangerous.* He told her firmly. Eyes turning up to the man that hovered at her shoulder. This one must have been the escort. Eyebrows narrowing he pointed from the queen to the street laid out beside them. ‘Get her out of here,’ his expression demanded.

The queen said something to him too. A question, he thought, by the way her head gave a shake. He could see her sass without needing to hear. The corner of his mouth raised, but he didn’t wait around for her to turn that sass on him. Struggling halfway up he found the world swayed under his feet. And almost bit the ground again. Barely catching himself, and only because the queen-healer stepped forward to reinforce his balance. A woman abandoned her bread with the queen, and their near collision sent the smell of it shooting straight through him. Nose to stomach. Out through his navel with a rip. Mouth dry with imagining the flavor based on scent alone.

He could smell the queen too. Breath especially as it rushed over his shoulder. Hard words that vibrated the air and clipped through the buzzing in his ears. They were not for him, though, he didn’t think. Aimed away, at the decidedly pale escort. *Yes. My ears don’t actually work anymore.* He admitted, not sure if he had missed some scolding or instruction that had missed the their thread.

She gave him a little shove. Knees uncooperative to keeping him on his legs. So vanished a groan this time kneaded his temples. He needed to leave. Before something bad happened. Why was this queen-healer so stubborn? *... but that’s not mine.* He said, lips parting anyway. There were peppers and cheese at the heart of the loaf. Maybe small cuts of sausage. They had that in there sometimes. Sucking his bottom lip he tracked the swallowing of her throat muscles while his own worked over saliva. *I can pay for it. Or most of it. I can come back with the rest.* Pennies called in he showed them to the queen-healer. Waiting to be told if that was enough.

It was winter, and he had an easier time finding little jobs then. He was strong enough to chop firewood most of the time. And always loud enough to crack the ice that clogged the harbor. The old queen called him down from the lighthouse to do it sometimes. *Wait…* His nose turned up from a bite of bread. Eyes rolling again, in pleasure rather than senselessness this time. The food had distracted him momentarily. But now he words were more fully comprehended. *about the rest of what?*

*Oh Iskra...* Beyond his notice, on a distaff to distaff thread, the queens plotted while he wolfed down the portion of food offered.  *be careful child.* The old woman fretted. For them both.. The link was quiet a moment while she considered their options, then in near amusement she asked, *How hungry is he? Is he wearing his Jewels? I can send Henni...*

Iskra Graves

    Sapphire to Gray
  • Healer Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Odense Apprentice
    Glacia Kaeleer
    87 Posts    351 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2019, 08:23:57 PM »

*They don’t?* Curiosity bubbled up in her stomach, a fist in his shoulder as she kept him from falling over on her. Iskra reevaluated her early boastful thought. He wasn’t heavy, but there was an awful lot of him to manage. She wanted a look at his ears. Was that why he was so loud? Setting her shoulder into his chest, Iskra gave him a shove in the other direction.

He cooperated very nicely and sat back down.

*No. It’s mine.*  Iskra told him, cheese popping between her teeth as she chewed her bite of bread. He looked so very sad, propped up in the snow, too afraid to actually eat. Watching her instead, like he needed to see how it was done. One dark eyebrow lifted at his handful of pennies, a scoff knocking crumb from her lip. *I don’t want your pennies, prince. Put them away and eat the damn bread.*

She left him to the bread. Fingers waving her escort in close. Most everyone else had backed away, giving them plenty of room for privacy. No one was interested in hearing anymore of Danger. Or annoying Iskra any further. She let him whisper anyway. Fretting and fussing at her. She wasn’t really listening. Too busy weaving a thread with Lady Eydis and pretending she hadn’t heard Danger.

*Oh what?* She complained, pretending ignorance at all the ways she’d put herself in danger. What else could she have done? Left him to be abused? Or to risk him blowing a hole in the city? *I am.* She lied, casting a glance down at Danger. At least he was eating. Even if he was fretting now too. Iskra smiled at him. *The food.* She lied to him, since she was at it.

*Not that I can see. He’s very sorry and worried about guards.* Iskra considered it. Henrich wasn’t a guard. And he was definitely big enough enough to carry Danger. *Send him. I’ll keep Danger distracted with the bread.* In bits and pieces so he didn’t regain his strength too quickly. Severing the thread, Iskra gave her escort a pat and turned back to the ground bound prince.

*Its good, isn’t it?* She pulled the other half from her pocket and tore another piece off for herself. Chewing, Iskra ran probes over him again, trying to see if she could tell without seeing if he was wearing his Jewels. Looked at his hurts too. Found parts that throbbed, calling out to the healer in her. *No guards. But we’ll have an escort. You come home with me, and you can eat, and I’ll fix those bruises for you.* She tempted, holding out more bread.

*But no more shouting.* Iskra chuckled. It was nice saying it to someone else. She crouched down in front of him, bread dangling between her knees as she tried to gauge his reaction. And head off any rebellion. *The man thought you knocked up his wife, by the by. The one who pushed you.* She thought it was a good distraction. Biting off a piece as bread, she grinned at him. *So did you?*

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 04:09:27 AM »
*Not anymore* He confirmed, tapping an earlobe with his forefinger for good measure. *I lost my hearing years ago. From the noise.* Or so a few healers had said. None had offered a remedy. So he assumed there was not one. He would likely just ruin them all over again anyway.

The queen-healer made a face at his marks. Fingers closing around them Danger chewed the inside of his cheek. Wishing he could hear the noise that widened her nostrils as she glanced down at the best he could offer. Was it disgust or amusement? Either way something akin to shame slithered through his stomach. A hollowness that the food would not mend. Hesitation hummed down the thread as Danger considered the instruction. It was not really her bread. But she was eating it now so it sort of was. Plus he had smashed it rather badly. They probably wouldn’t eat it if he did not.

*Fibber.* He accused as he chewed the soft crust. She had given him the bread to eat in the same breath as saying ‘the rest’. So it didn’t follow that the rest would also be food. The lie made him nervous. That far away look in her eye made him more so. She was talking along another thread he decided. To guards? The sjef? Was he going to be arrested again? Mother Night he hoped not, he couldn’t trust himself to sleep in the city.

Over the quickly vanishing section of loaf he considered the queenling. Daring a brief probe to confirm what his eyes saw and mind assumed. She was a girl still, though he thought not much younger than he was. Her accent was southern, but he had not spoken to enough people to know from where. There was a fierceness in her expression that reminded him of the fyrkats he saw in the wilds. She made him feel strange and embarrassed and worried.

Lips working towards the last bite he wiped crumbs from the palm of his hand onto his trouser leg. *This is a bad idea. I really need to go.*[/sapphire] he told her, rather than remark on the bread. It was amazing. The best thing he had eaten in weeks. Admitting it would not compliment her or make him feel like less of a loser. So he didn’t.

His complaints went ignored. Queen-healer too busy feeling him up with probes to listen, probably. Marching on verbally, as if he had already agreed to leave with her. At the mention of eating his stomach gave a hearty twitch that made him worry it had agreed on his behalf. *A really, really bad idea.* He repeated. There would be food though, dammit. Squinching his eyes closed he sighed in defeat, *Why do you need another escort? What’s wrong with that one?* It was defective, probably. Flapping around like a fool.

Tentatively accepting another piece of the bread he leaned in to rest his arms on his knees. It made his tailbone hurt nearly as bad as his ribs did. Looking at her over the straight bone of his forearm Danger shook his head. *Shouting? That was just the sound of the wind getting knocked out of me.* Maybe that would cement it into her stubborn little brain. He doubted it though. He could smell the old queen all over this one. They were in cahoots, no doubt.

What she said next nearly leveled a city block. Knuckling his lips Danger shooks his head at her sharply. Cheeks puffed to contain a chuckle. *Don’t make me laugh. No. I mean it. You’ll be rebuilding the Market all winter.* He finished the bread again, licking a stuck on piece of cheese from his thumb. *Bet he’s home praying right now that if it is my baby it’s not much of a crier.*

He was sure it was just male ego, really. Not a thing he suffered from in his own opinion. But something he faced on a rather regular scale while navigating the world. It didn’t usually involve pretty girls coming to his rescue, though. *Why do you want me to go with you so badly? Is it the old woman that’s asking? You can tell her I’m not staying. I’m never going to stay.* No matter how many times she offered. The danger would never outweigh the reward.

Iskra Graves

    Sapphire to Gray
  • Healer Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Odense Apprentice
    Glacia Kaeleer
    87 Posts    351 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2019, 06:01:10 AM »

*Go where? Back out there to die?* Iskra demanded, jerking her head toward the city gates. He needed a healing. And half a dozen meals.  *And I’m not a fibber.* She fibbed, watching him lick crumbs from his broken lips. She would start there, Iskra decided. With the healing. It would make eating easier for him if his lips didn’t crack open with every bite. Plus it looked damned uncomfortable.

*You’re awfully morose.* Iskra informed him. Her own lips twitched at the sound his stomach made. Still plenty empty. He must have felt it too. Because he gave in like a house of cards folding under a sigh. *Nothing. But I figured a bigger escort would head off any guards.* They didn’t always listen to her. Especially if anything she said sounded remotely un-Eydis-like. It was infuriating. What she did not tell him was that she suspected Henrich was big enough to knock him over the head and carry him home if Danger put up a fight.

*Must have been the other guy doing all the squawking then* She had a dozen questions about how it worked. And about his ears. The noise, he said, had deafened them. But how did he make it? And why? Iskra pressed her lips together and pressed her curiosity down. There would be plenty of time for questions once he’d been mended and fed. Or fed and mended, she couldn’t decide the best order.

*At least we won’t be bored.* Iskra teased, head tilting as she watched him hold his laughter in. So it wasn’t just words or shouts then. Tearing off another piece of bread, she handed it to him and giggled. Which disturbed her escort in a way nothing else had so far. *You’re awful.* Brushing off her hands, Iskra stood, face turning toward the sound of hooves on packed snow. She could feel Henrich’s approach, a worried probe buzzing through the square.

She held her hand out to Danger. *I hope you don’t call her that to her face, prince.* Henrich arrived then, driving a sled pulled by four caribou, Iskra’s favorite among them. A wicked old cow who was the same shade of brown from start to finish. Ugly, people said, but Iskra thought she was clever, even if she did bite. *Because you’re hurt. And you were assaulted under my watch. That makes you my responsibility.* Iskra thought that sounded properly important. Mostly it was because he kept saying no and she wanted to prove him wrong.

*Look, we don’t even have to walk.* Henrich was grinning and them both. A false front. He couldn’t say he was honestly glad to see Danger again, even if Honey would be. And he was less pleased to see Iskra cavorting with him like he was nothing more than a lost puppy. *Please?* Iskra could feel everyone watching them. It was like a weight on her shoulders. It was the same sort of sensation she’d been fighting with for a long time. Like important things hinged on her decisions.

Or in this case, her ability to get this prince to follow her home. 

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2019, 02:44:42 PM »
*Back out there so other people are less likely to die.* Danger argued. A shade of emotion brought the color back to his cheeks. Not temper. Even if he could have managed to be angry, he wasn’t sure it would have held up against this queenling. She was the shout them down and lie sort, after all. Dying out there, he thought darkly, would have been a mercy anyway.

Lips making a thin line he rolled his eyes at her while shifting to take some of the weight from his bruised tailbone. Morose. Big words for such a girl her size. *You’re awfully stubborn,* Or stupid. He hoped not the latter. They- queens- were always tempted by his easy caste and dangerous Jewels. So he didn’t blame this little one for having a try. *And really bad at lying.* He added with another roll of the eyes. *Head off the guards, on our way to the house where all the guards come from? I’m deaf not dumb.*

And exceedly unlucky. *It’s almost always the other guy.* He agreed casually. A lilt of his eyebrow suggesting that there was never anyone around to complain when it was not the other guy. Watching the press and pucker of her mouth. Because it was distracting. Who moved their mouth that much? Mother Night. This was a shit terrible awful idea. He was going to do it anyway. *Yes, Lady.* Very awful. She just wasn’t seeing it yet. The people that scattered in his wake were not enough of a hint, apparently. She just tilted her head like a curious bird to study him with as much interest as he stared back with. He could practically hear the gears turning in her head. That, he thought, was the healer in the queen-healer. They always had a thousand questions. It was probably the queen in her that kept them from zipping out.

The sweep of a anxious probe quieted the prince. His eyes turning in the direction the worry came from. Crowd finally dispersing to let through a sled. The old queen’s bearded dragon man was driving. They had seen one another before, but Danger did not know his name. Any of their names, really. Barely remembered that he had, had one once upon a time. *If I do, maybe she’ll send me away again.* He said hopefully. Turning a bundle of eyebrow at her, *Is she your mother, or is this stalwart determination to sit a bomb in your house just a trait of queens, child or senior?*

If pouted hard enough they would have to give up eventually. Right? *Its only bruises. And anyone that would consider a grown man the responsibility of an untried-* The word hung in the space between them a second before he had the courage to say it, *virgin just because she was around is a fool. Things happen. They don’t even need a reason. They just do.* He was not her responsibility. Not her pet.

He was danger.

*This is a bad idea.* He told her one more time. Rubbing the back of his head he gave it a shake. This was madness. *Can’t you just tell her to let it be? I’m fine.* Another man might understand. The shame of having a queenling rush in to rescue you. The risk in plucking strangers off the street! Surely he had no more interest in Danger visiting than Danger did. He was going to complain more, but the distaff to spear thread she still held between them vibrated with emotion. Her plaintive word making his eyes close.

Dammit. *Long enough for you to see they’re just bruises. That’s it.* He whined. Shoulders slumping as he struggled to feet again. Ribs prickling angrily as he hobbled to the side of the sled.

Iskra Graves

    Sapphire to Gray
  • Healer Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Odense Apprentice
    Glacia Kaeleer
    87 Posts    351 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2019, 06:51:01 PM »

*No one is dying today, prince.* Iskra’s promise was brash. But she believed in it wholly. Lady Eydis had the power and the caste to keep anything bad from happening in Odense. Besides, he wasn’t so bad. Iskra was beginning to suspect the stories she’d heard were tall tales spun to make long winters a little less dull. So far all he’d managed was to incite a few headaches. And Iskra had managed to ignore her own for the most part.

Or maybe he was that bad. Iskra eyed him. *That’s rude.* She told him, while fussing her escort. It was hard to hold so many conversations. Especially with so many males to placate. She didn’t know how anyone managed a full court of them. Iskra sent a frisson of annoyed amusement down their thread. Bad liar! Really. *They don’t all come from the same house.*

It was settled quickly enough. Her escort placated with the promised coming of Henrich. Even if he did not seemed overly pleased with her continued lingering on the ground. Or her giggling. Grateful to help her up, craft drying her skirts out. Iskra waved Danger up too, flashy a smile at Henrich as he pulled the sled to the top. *Or she’ll spank you.* She warned him. Putting off shaking her escort by his jacket to stare at Danger, Iskra laughed.

*What? No! She’s my queen. And you’re not a bomb. You’re a person.* An interesting person. And rude. Iskra squeezed her escort’s arm until he winced, glaring at Danger. A glimmer of understanding surfaced in her stomach, as to just why someone would want to give him a good kick. *That has nothing to do with anything.* She jerked her escort’s arm, dragging him toward the sled while she growled to herself. The besieged man sent a wild look over his shoulder, certain he was suffering for someone else’s crimes and finding it highly unfair.

Henrich shook his head at the lot of them.

Shoving him at the sled, Iskra rounded on Danger again. ”In public! Absolutely uncalled for. Damned, stupid probes. Twice damned male ego.” *It is not!* Iskra glared at him. He looked pathetic, still sitting in the street, the cold making the broken skin on his lips brittle. He looked small. And not at all dangerous. She was still furious with him, but the tender part of her castes couldn’t leave him sitting in the street, half starved and aching.

*And heal them.* Plus get him a meal or three. And a bath too, Iskra decided as she helped him. He didn’t smell terribly pleasant. Upright, he proved taller than she’d expected. Even having caught him once already. Stooped as he was, he still had several inched on her. A state she was used to. *You act like I’m taking you to the slaughter.* She complained, hand spreading over his chest in case he tipped forward.

The men began shouting. Henrich even left his post to take over. Somehow he managed to wedge himself between her and Danger, her escort handing her up into the sled before she knew what was happening. Iskra blinked, Danger stuffed up into the sled across from her. ”Well.” She smiled at him, and spun warmth around the sled as Henrich sent the caribou off. Her escort spoke to her for most of the ride, trying to keep her attention focused on anything but Danger.

Iskra eyes kept returning to him though. Probes flitting across his body to make sure he didn’t fall off the sled. Gaze sliding slyly toward him, she smiled and pointed something out to her worrywart. *Food or infirmary first?* She asked him as the sled bumped to a stop in the courtyard. Her Sapphire set up a barrier. A ring of warning to keep any curious or overprotective guards from swarming.

Swept down from the sled, she waited beside it while Danger climbed down. Henrich waited too, eyes wary, of both of them. *We could do both at once. I’ll start with your lips so they aren’t bleeding all over your food.* She told him, nearly tripping over the doorman as they went into the house.

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2019, 10:08:17 PM »
*Lying is a bit rude,* He returned with an apologetic tip of the mouth. She looked rather flustered bounding between him and her male, though so he was careful not to needle her too much. In his stomach the bread cut cartwheels. Rising bile up in his throat. The sensation only slacking once she had turned her attention back to him.

Must have been healing craft, he guessed. Was that wrinkle in her nose a laugh? It felt like a giggle down the link, but he couldn’t tell. Her escort didn’t seem to find any of it amusing. Scowling at the ground around Danger, and at the queen-healer. But never directly at the prince himself. In fact, he didn’t think their eyes had met once. Courts were far from his realm of experience. So he couldn't say for sure. He thought this boyo might have been doing a poor job though. *I’ll risk it.* He said of Eydis’ spankings.

He disagreed with her assessment of his nature. A person could be a bomb. It was easier to forgive a tool its use than a person their mistakes, too. By far and large it was the only reason they hadn’t sent him to the gallows by now. He was a monster, but someday they might need a monster to rise in their defense. All facts that he couldn’t seem to get through the pouf of waves crowning her head. The sun reflected off the curves in the same golden hues that the ice caps riding on sea waves took. They bobbed as she stalked off with her escort. Danger damned his ribs to Hell and back. It would have been the perfect opportunity to catch the Wind if he were closer to a landing web, or if he could jog even a bit.

*How does it not? Vulnerability is vulnerability.* He argued mildly. Unaware of his contemporary’s suffering for his gumption. Oblivious even when the poor boyo shot him a rather pathetic look from over the queen’s shoulder. He was quick to look for sympathy of his own when she turned in a swirl of skirts to face Danger again. Eyebrows knitted together and a hand on her hip she rocked on her heels slightly. Lips working at a furious pace. He watched them move. Traced the color in her cheeks and the tongue that darted out to wet her bottom lip. His own was rough, and the bit of saliva only made it sting. Slipping a questioning glance up at the man in the sled he tried to ask with his eyes, ’is she yelling at me?’ Apparently so. *Fine.* It was still a bad idea.

One she was adding to rather than compromising on. He was starting to think she was overly used to having her way. From what he heard that was common in queens. Glacian queens, especially. The people still depended heavily on them for survival, after all. *No. I’m acting like you’re taking the slaughter home.* He told her- meaning to use the same tone of complaint she had turned on him. But instead his inner voice softened. Chin dropping to the small hand that sat over his heart. Which throbbed along to the rhythm of his aching ribs and head now. Mother Night. Just what he needed. Indigestion.

His fingers brushed her wrist. Then they were on them. The escorts. Jostling them apart as if Danger had tried to make off with her. Face turning away he gave the older man’s arm a squeeze. Waving off help. He was fine. He could walk. Let them toss the queen-healer into the carriage. In the pit of his ego he preened, just the tiniest bit. Some of their reaction was protectiveness, but part of it was possessiveness too. Jealousy. As if he were worth being jealous over. Ha.

Before he could step up on his own they had hauled him into the sled too, one at his back one pulling him by the arm. Carefully placed across from the queen-healer. She grinned, mouth sweeping into a single word he recognized. Danger smirked back, it made his lip open fresh but it was too dry to bleed. He sucked his lip so he could worry the small gash with the tip of his tongue while they rode down the busy city streets. The young escort babbled on. Giving Danger ample opportunity to learn the way she formed letters with her mouth. Answers slowly helping him to build a visual library of her speech. While the other male tried his damnedest to hold her focus, Danger sat quietly. Always quietly. He didn’t have to act out to get her interest. She turned it at him time and time again. Invisible fingers brushing him at every bump in the road.

*Healing. Since your skills at compromise are rather lackluster for a queen-healer.* He taunted gently. That was the agreement. Look- and heal- his bruises. Then he would go. Leave her to the busy men that hovered at their elbows as they walked from sled to house. His eyes turned up, and up, and up. Taking in the large building. Shelter of the city in disaster. All the court lived inside. And the Sjef too. He swallowed, the motion working down his throat. If he slipped the word ‘sjefholme’ out loud he could turn it into a tragic memory. 

Inside it was cozy. Not the glory and splendor he had expected. Warm. Clean. Decorated with interesting things from far away places. Pots from Nharkava. Vases from Dhemlan. Tasteful, he assumed. Not that he really knew. He lived in an abandoned lighthouse, after all. *Both?* Danger answered a few minutes to late. Too busy looking around for the offer to have fully registered. Food. He could smell it. *Alright… if that’s what you want.*

There was a warm beat in the center of the house. You could feel it rippling through the place. Soothing Craft that was not entirely unfamiliar to the prince. He had never been beyond the courtyard. But he had met Odense’s queen. *You weren’t here the last time I was.* He noted. *Or they hide you.* He was sure he would have noticed.

Iskra Graves

    Sapphire to Gray
  • Healer Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Odense Apprentice
    Glacia Kaeleer
    87 Posts    351 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2019, 04:19:31 AM »

She touched it, every now and then. Thumb circling the place Danger had touched first. Gloves and gloves and gloves. It wasn’t as if there had been real contact. But he’d touched her. That was good, Iskra thought. Meant he was softening toward her. And when she would touch it, Iskra would look at him, seeing the shadow of the smirk he’d given her at being tossed in the sled.

He wasn’t half bad when he put some effort into it.

*What’s to compromise?* Iskra asked him, face tipped up as he climbed down. Then away as she gave orders to run ahead of her. She was claiming a space in the infirmary. It was to be warmed, if the room wasn’t already. And she would need water for drinking, a pitcher for pouring. Iskra doubted she would be able to get him into a bathtub. That she would leave to Lady Eydis.

Inside Iskra took the lead, skirts rustling noisily as she walked. Two steps for Henrich’s one until she released she was outpacing her patient and slowed down. Danger was looking. It made Iskra look too. She never really saw the house anymore. Just rushed through it on her way to other places. But she remembered what had it felt like in the beginning. Everyone broke apart to reform around them. Bottlenecked by hallways and decorative tables until Iskra was able to slip in next to him.

This time she touched him. A quick squeeze of the hand to help steady him. Very quick because Henrich was giving her that look that meant trouble. Iskra smiled at him. It didn’t help. *Good. Both it is.* Which was perfect because she’d already ordered food. Iskra wondered if it was Eydis’s craft that made him so biddable. He seemed softer inside. Less inclined to fight her every step of the way like a pony fresh off the fjord. She’d need to remember to use that more often herself.

*Sometimes I’m not here.* Iskra told him without elaborating the how or why of it. She liked how mysterious it sounded. Much better than ’sometimes I runaway.’ At the infirmary, Iskra pointed Danger inside, and the rest out. ”It’s called privacy.” She reminded them. Henrich refused. Iskra argued, backing slowly into Danger and nudging him through the infirmary door, hands tracing it as she walked, until she could grab it and slam it in their faces.

Instead it caught on a balloon of Red craft and swung open again. The debate continued. Every thing she’d asked for laid out nicely on a table next to one of the bed. All of which had dividers for privacy. Iskra kept arguing. *Sit there.* She directed, shedding her outer layers and hanging them on a stand for just such purposes. Turning to him, Iskra smiled, her Sapphire yanking the fabric divider walls around his bed until they were enclosed. Not so much as a crack for a person to peek through. Never mind that their shadows were visible through the pale canvas. It was privacy.

Henrich was swearing.

*Comfortable? Good. Let me see your face.* She’d been alone with men before. Stood a dozen times where she stood now, at his knees so she could tip his face to the light. Her craft ran down her fingers, soothing wind chafed skin. Warming the places bitten by frost. Knitting the skin of his lips together. *There might be a pinch.* She warned, watching her craft and guiding it. Finding the damage only skin deep. At least here. *See, isn’t that better?* It, he, his lips, certainly looked better.

*Jacket and shirt off, then you can have this tray while I look at the rest of you.* Or at least the top half of the rest of him. Iskra tapped the tray in question while she filled a basin with warm water. Methodically she rolled her sleeves up to the elbow, folding the wool over itself again and again, refusing to look until he was ready. There was something about watching a patient undress that took the patient-ness away from them, she had found. Better to wait until they were done.

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2019, 03:35:29 PM »
*Everything. Life is a compromise.* Danger said stiffly. Climbing down the side of the sled sent sharp twinges across his chest. For the sake of those watching he did his best to grin and bear it. They were nervous enough at his presence. Wincing would put them all on alert. And while they might have tried to end him before he let a wrong word slip, they would likely fail. Everyone up to this point had.

The guards present held their distance. He saw no sympathy or friendship in their glances. Not that he had expected any. In fact, they did exactly what he did expect: watched him with barely concealed, if not bluntly open, distrust. He thought it must have been the old queen’s doing. This one was bossy, but not the sort that commanded the cooperation of inherently protective men.

She was good at cutting a path through people, though. House stirring with her arrival. People darted off. People closed in around them. Bodies shifting while he admired the architecture and decor. He thought he was following her skirts, but somehow the queen-healer ended up beside him instead. Fingers fitting together Danger gave a reflexive squeeze back before their hands parted again. The silent exchange of glances with Henrich went unnoticed. Attention on massaging the muscles of his hand, which tingled lightly afterward.

*Where do you go?* That seemed the logical question. If not really his business. He couldn’t help being curious. Where was not here? Did she visit family or have a man? Danger only wondered because he wasn’t sure virgin queen-healers were supposed to be not here where all the protection was.

 At the infirmary door there was a bit of a scuffle. His bread soaked stomach spun cartwheels. She had pointed him through the door, and he obliged. The faster it was over with the better. But he had to turn and come back. Craning his neck to see the queen-healer’s face while she spoke with the bearded escort. Where her other one had gotten to he couldn’t guess. Resting probably. She seemed the stressful sort. Picking up strays on the side of the road. *What?* Butting his thread at her Danger tried to lock his legs against her pressing. She stepped on his toes and her back leaned into his front. So he was forced to either step back or let her fold into him.

Pinching his nose he swallowed a snort as the door swung under the force of her hand. Only to wing back open. Were they fighting over the door? Danger watched her mouth work. Ceaselessly. Behind her the escort seemed wholly unimpressed. Shoulder and cheek meeting in brief shrug he gave the man an apologetic smirk. At least she was trouble with everyone. He was starting to worry he just had adverse effects on queens.

In a rush of Craft fabric walls swung in around the table she had asked him to sit on. He sucked the sore on his bottom lip. Face tipped towards the floor. The escorts frustration was palpable. *I’m fine.* He managed to get out before she glossed right over the question she had asked. It was not particularly comfortable. In the canvas room while worried probes bathed the house. Even mostly alone he felt very on display. Especially under the queen-healer’s sharp gaze. She tipped his chin and studied his skin while he tried to ignore the long familiar scent of a sterile medical room. It made his bones ache. Easier to look at the queenling while she traced his busted lip.

His face warmed, mostly with Craft. And a stiffness left his eyelids. Danger did his best not to chase the Craft that touched his lips with his tongue. He hadn’t realized how burned by the elements his skin had gotten. After a few moments her Craft, and hands, retreated. If it had pinched he hadn’t noticed. He did notice the relief at the end, though. *You tell me, queen-healer. Is that better?*

*Deal.* The jacket was the newest thing he wore. And not exactly his own. That was neither here nor there, however. It fit well, and had a row of brass buttons down the front. It was thick felted wool on the outside with a fur lining on the inside. He tried to shrug it off, but the pain in his chest hitched. Stealing his breath. Peeling it off a bit more slowly he sent it straight to his cabinet. Underneath he wore a simple, dark brown tunic with the drawstrings at the chest missing. That too was tenderly removed. One sleeve at a time, then up over his head with the arm that didn’t make the muscles on his side hurt so badly.

Time and Jewels made a strange thing of his body. Lean in the way of feral dogs, underfed but still capable. A fresh bruise bloomed along his rib cage. Focused mostly on his left side. *Be careful.* He warned, settling back on the table top at a recline so she could see. And he could fold his fingers around the ledge for something to grip on. Tongue caught hard between his teeth. Somehow she seemed much smaller with his nudity half on display. Muscle or not he stood more than a head taller than the queen-healer. *Nervous?* He asked when she was close. He was. Knee bobbing in evidence. Men said things about the danger of a queen’s touch. The draw it held even on those not bonded. Danger had only ever spoken to a few. Mostly old women trying to find a place and purpose for his strange existence. And he had nearly rolled over every time. This. This was different. This was a terrible, awful, bad idea.

Iskra Graves

    Sapphire to Gray
  • Healer Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Odense Apprentice
    Glacia Kaeleer
    87 Posts    351 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2019, 05:20:41 PM »

*Places.* Iskra said slowly, her tongue worrying the inside of her lip. Stuck down between it and her teeth. *Different places all over.* Usually on foot so she couldn’t get too far. They wouldn’t let her leave the courtyard on a pony by herself anymore. Not since she’d tried to ride to Dhemlan. But that had been a long time ago.

Sometimes she still dreamed about what her life would be like if she’d made it. Times like this, when Henrich seemed determined to fight her, especially. Always punishing her by restricting her freedom. Like she would use it unwisely. Turning Danger from a complacent patient to one trying to slip back out of the infirmary. Iskra put her shoulders to his chest and trampled him backward. *Nothing. He’s being stubborn. Like you.* Reaching behind her, Iskra pinched at his thigh to make him move.

The fight won by trickery. Iskra was content. It wasn’t what she had wanted, precisely, but it was what she required. Privacy for her patient. Who was sitting on the cot staring at his feet. Iskra looked at them too, probes checking for frostbite on his toes in case it was pain that held his attention. She found nothing, and so moved on to what she could see for certain. Wind burnt skin and broke lip. All of it repaired beneath her craft. A steady application so that she didn’t uselessly drain her Jewels.

When it was done, she studied him, fingers brushing his hair when she took her hands away. *Yes. Better.* She decreed. Even better was the quick way he agreed to disrobe. Some men quailed. As if they had anything to surprise her beneath their clothes. She was mostly trained. Behind her contemporaries only because she also had queen craft to study. 

Iskra left him to it. Singing a simple childrens song beneath her breath when it took him longer than usual to get his clothes off. Every flinch of pain felt through the probes she had settled around the room. Iskra frowned but did not look. Waiting until his head was in her peripheral. He’d laid down on the table. Turning, she looked at him. Hands noticed first by the way they gripped the table. Bouncing knee drawing her attention next.

*Of what?* She asked, coming to stand next to him. Her eyes traveled up his body. Lean. Too thin. He was being eaten up by his Jewels and the cold. That she had expected. The rest... ”They’re old.” She told herself. Old scars. But that didn’t stop the emotions that bubbled up in her stomach. ”Anxiety.” If she named them, they couldn’t control her. She was cold and sweating. ”Anger.” She recognized another. ”They’re old.” She repeated.

*No. Are you?* Iskra clung to the thread, dragging her eyes from the scars in his neck to his eyes. If the scars were old... ”Then you were a boy.” She felt... Anxious. Angry. Sick. She whispered the names to herself. Angry. Old. ”Sad.” Iskra smiled, but she couldn’t chase the sorrow from her eyes. *I’m going to touch you again. And then you can eat.* She promised, gently laying her hands across his ribs.

She couldn’t do anything about his scars. And she’d scars before. Lost fingers and toes. Stab wounds. Rope scars on those held ransom on ships. Concave ribs. But nothing like the marks ringing Danger’s neck. It was horrifying. Breathing her feelings out, Iskra wrapped him up in craft. Unwinding tense muscles. Soothing blunt trauma. Stroking his bruise away and warming his body back up.

Her fingers wound over his. Spilling off his body and trying to work his hold free. *I’ll help you up. Sometimes it makes people dizzy.*

Danger

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • prince
  • Played By: Jones

    weapon of mass destruction
    Glacia Kaeleer
    65 Posts    0 marks
Re: Clocked
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2019, 12:50:53 AM »
They let her go all over? Danger’s gaze slipped sideways, eyes only a bit rounder than normal as he tried to gauge the bearded escort’s opinion… only to remember he had not heard. And judging by their heated, if silent to his ears, exchange- he would have been too distracted to remark anyway. Danger couldn’t hear a word of it and he was thoroughly distracted. Forced back by knobby shoulders. Left to wonder what the other male was being stubborn about, as her pinching fingers sent him on his way to the table.

She was crazy. Not an wholly bad sort of crazy. But he was pretty sure she’d get herself killed someday. Who in their right mind went pinching princes they barely knew?! The same sort of queen-healer that tucked into cloth rooms with strangers she barely knew. Obviously. He was really starting to worry about the state of things in Odense. Was she rebellious, ridiculous, or just untrained?

The healing went without a hitch though so she must have been afforded some lessons. The old queen was a busy lady. Maybe they hadn’t gotten around to it… then again, you couldn’t really teach common sense could you? He sighed internally but smirked at her proclamation that his face was better now. Without a mirror is was impossible for him to know for sure but his lips were nice and smooth under his tongue now.

Smoothing out the rest of him would be impossible. Especially when it came to his nerves. While stripping down didn’t affect him, laying back on a medical table did. Bouncing leg ready to bolt him up from the table while his gripping fingers held him to it. The queen-healer didn’t take long to manifest at his elbow. Danger watched her face. *Of me* Mother Night save them all she really was a crazy child. Her focus had shifted though and he wasn’t sure she had heard him at all. Mouth tracing letters he could guess at now. Old. Angry? Old.

Did he look old? Danger glanced down his front. Snapping back to attention as her question rolled in his guts. *yes* He told her in a small voice. Their eyes locked and he thought if she came another step forward he could tip into them. Drown, hopefully. *Not of you. Just…* He gave up trying to explain. Laying flat on the bed and folding his lips in over his teeth. She was talking again. He could see the emotion seeping off her in waves. On a tentative probe he tested to see how much of it she would let him actually feel. Boy, she said. And Sad. Words he caught bits and pieces off. Emotions that were reflected in the flavor of the air around her. It clicked. Coming together like a puzzle. *Aha. I see… Don’t upset yourself, queen-healer. It happened forever ago.* With her probes over most of his body Danger wasn’t sure if she was talking about his scars or his hearing or all of it. The answer didn’t much change, though.

He could only hope they didn’t upset her too much. Their appearance had not really occurred to him before that very moment. Women had seen them. Remarked on their gruesomeness. They had just been women though. This… queen-healer. She was a queen. And a healer. And a girl. He looked away from the pity in her sad smile. Ashamed at how many of the scars were self inflicted. It softened her mood towards him, seemingly. Her warning met with a gentle smile and pat to the hand she rested on his worst bruise. *It’s the room. And memories. I’m not uncomfortable because of you.* He promised before reclaiming his grip on the table.

Being wrapped in her Craft was relaxing. It reminded him of the healing springs in Meols. Before he knew it his eyes had drifted closed. Mind drifting towards restfulness. He would not sleep, he insisted, but the ease of tight muscles was… amazing. Small hands on his side. Petting away hurts until he could breathe deep again. Then sneaking between his fingers again. Longer this time than they had before. Eyes snapping open Danger flushed at her, *Does it? It’s not my first go. I’d have managed.*

But he didn’t pull his hands free either. There was a clawing need in his chest. Like a trapped animal trying to get out. He didn’t want to leave her here. Not sad about things she couldn’t change. Old scars he didn’t think about anymore. Mercy. They weren’t kidding about sneaky little queen hands. *All done?* Because he should go. If she was.

*How’s it going? Anything broken? Because if something were broken, he would surely have to stay the night so you could make sure the healing set..* Edyis suggested cheerfully along a private thread to her apprentice.
 

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