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Storm and Fire by Gavin Berkeley
[May 07, 2018, 01:15:46 AM]


Seeking a Muse by Blair Grejya
[May 07, 2018, 12:53:33 AM]


Your Hope is Deeper than Pain by Darien Pryce
[May 06, 2018, 04:54:42 PM]


In and Out of Astral Planes by Merron Schezar
[December 26, 2016, 11:16:52 PM]


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[December 20, 2016, 03:44:05 PM]


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[February 24, 2016, 10:06:18 AM]

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Author Topic: Storm and Fire  (Read 4038 times)

Description: tag: Alene

Gavin Berkeley

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Storm and Fire
« on: February 19, 2016, 11:58:00 PM »
Though he was still adjusting to the life and schedule of being Master of the Guard of a Province, Gavin still tried to find time to get out of the castle and continue his search for his sister. Gathering information had become easier with the rank he held; anything he asked was sure to get an almost immediate response, and as a part of the Province Court, it would not have been altogether odd to find him in various parts of the Province.

This time, he'd wandered further afield than he had thus far, making his way on the Winds to a medium-sized town (in Narshe's standards, in any case) in the middle of the Province. Compared to other towns he'd been in, he would have called this one small, but even the Province Seat would have hardly counted as a large town on the mainland of Kaeleer. The town he'd landed himself in would have very nearly fit inside the palace grounds of the Court he'd grown up in.

Gavin held his cloak shut a little more tightly as he began to look around at the buildings lining the streets. At least the sun was out, though it did little to warm the day. It was rare, he'd found, that it was sunny and clear in the winter. No matter how pleasant it looked outside, the air in Narshe was more likely to be sharp and cold.

There were a few brave souls out and about on the streets, though they seemed to be scurrying from one place to the next, their breath visible in small puffs that emitted from their hoods and quickly dissipated.

Calling into his free hand the portrait he had had made of what he thought his sister would look like now, he ducked into the one small general store that the town had after one of the figures.

The store was dimly lit, and there wasn't much in the way of goods out for display or for sale. A few more people stood huddled in a group, and the figure he'd followed in made for them, lowering his hood as he approached.

"Excuse me," Gavin said, his voice just loud enough to get their attention. When they'd looked over and a few raised their eyebrows, he approached and held up the portrait. "Have any of you seen a young woman who... looks sort of like this?"

They shook their heads.

"I see. Thank you." He turned back to the door, and greeted the cold again.

The next few places he looked were much the same; the few huddled pairs and small groups of people scattered about the town, some in small shops, others huddled around small bonfires they'd made in the open. It had been something of a shot in the dark, in any case. As he'd made his way around town, the wind had begun to pick up, and almost unnoticed, clouds began to creep in on the sun.

Finally, he made his way around to the town's inn. Steeling himself for the latest round of disappointment, he pushed open the door, and looked around the room. Where to start? There was a table of old men nearer to the fire that was looking thin, a few younger couples, a handful of chattering ladies, and the occasional individual at their own table. The innkeeper was probably the logical place to start, and then work from there...

Alene MacKenna

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2016, 09:08:14 AM »
It had been a long day. Days? Alene wasn't quite certain anymore: she vaguely recalled sleeping at some point, but then, she had also recalled a nightmare and it had fortified her resolve to delay sleep again for as long as she could. Despite the muzziness on certain components of life, the woman's acuity still couldn't be cast into doubt. There was something alertly attentive about her pale eyes, something assessing as she measured each person in turn.

They were all discarded from her estimation, though. They weren't what she was looking for. Looking for? Was she meant to be looking for something? The Black Widow Healer bit the inside of her cheek - hard. She could taste the copper in her mouth: it gave rise to an unsettling nauseous sensation but that, at least, Alene could choke back.

The witch took a moment to regain her composure. The dimness of the inn's first floor was offset by the more inconsistent firelight, supplemented by a handful of lamps around the perimeter. It was a comfortably dusky gloom within which the woman could let her eyes glaze as she stared at nothing in particular: she was too busy looking inward, reflecting on the? The dream? the Tangled Web? For a moment, Alene trembled, the fragile grasp between what might have been imagined and what was very tangibly real, slipping. The bright copper taste of blood on her tongue brought her back. The vision. It had to have been a vision.

Nets, searching, seeking, criss-crossing this way and that but every time that it seemed something - something, something important - was nearly caught, the tethers snagged, the twine tore. The lee-lines were anchored into something, something that should have been strong enough to keep them together, the Gray, but every time, it came up missing.

She could have delved deeper. She should have - what it was that was ensnaring the net, that was tearing the fabric apart, what the search was for, but she hadn't. Couldn't. Wouldn't?

With a blink, the glassiness of her expression dissipated. Alene came back to herself, the muted tones of conversation washing over her. "- Caoran's Master of the Guard," a woman's voice murmured. There had been a gasp of-? Shock? Exclamation? Alene couldn't quite ascertain which. "The Province Court - " another male continued and her attention was lost again: what was someone from Fiorsli doing here?

The witch's senses were extended cautiously. At the level of the Green - but more? The images from her vision flickered through her memory, and Alene carefully reached out along the level of the Gray: it should have been an instantly tangible thing, but it seemed that the Prince had preferred not to make a statement.

Someone jostled into the table that had provided such an excellent source of eavesdropping. "Looking for someone, y'know. A woman," a new male voice added: he made himself sound to be an authority on the subject. The witch at the table sighed and Alene paused to consider if she found his statement trustworthy enough: was he simply trying to seem informed? Her pale gaze assessed the Prince for a moment before she let her eyes return to the flickering nature of the firelight.

*You will not find her here*

Gavin Berkeley

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2016, 04:06:17 PM »
The innkeeper had shaken his head, a hard look in his eye. He'd asked why Gavin was looking for her, and the hard look had softened when he'd told the man she was missing. The rest of the details, Gavin didn't need to disclose, and to his relief the innkeeper didn't try to pry. There were others around that had listened to the exchange, and Gavin had turned to a few of them and shown them the picture, but with the same result he had gotten to date. A thoughtful look and a shake of the head, sometimes with an apology attached.

What he didn't expect was the sudden whisper at the level of the Gray.

His head whipped up, looking around for the source as a small probe sweeping the area of the building, finding the source of the Gray much closer than he'd thought. He hadn't noticed the dark hum when he'd entered, or if he had his mind was elsewhere and had dismissed it as a strange echo of his own Jewels. Indeed, the other Gray was also a Birthright Green.

He picked out the woman across the room; both the Gray and the Green could only have come from one other person, as there was nothing below a Rose Birthright in the room. The psychic probe had immediately narrowed down his search to the table where a lone figure sat looking to the fire.

Confusion and surprise masked again, Gavin politely extricated himself from his current conversation, which was less than helpful anyway. He wound his way through the myriad of table and chairs that were mostly unoccupied on his way to the woman's table.

As he approached, one piece of the confusion he'd felt eased a touch with the realization of "Black Widow" settling into the back of his mind. He hadn't known many Black Widows, but he had always respected them and their Craft, and had never found a personal reason (besides that of some common sense) to fear them without cause. He stopped in front of the table, finding another impression of "Healer" along with Black Widow.

Carefully, he laid out the poster in front of the woman, and watched her carefully. There was a particularly harsh rattling of the windows as another blast of wind hit the side of the building.

"What do you mean, I won't find her here?" he asked quietly, trying to keep his voice low enough that not many others would hear. Not that every ear in the place wouldn't be looking for gossip fodder. "What do you know?"

Alene MacKenna

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2016, 04:21:24 PM »
Quiet murmuring from the table alongside her was enough to keep Alene awash in information: they made no effort to conceal their topic of conversation (the Province Court's Master of the Guard, specifically, and what it was that he thought to find in this town). A lover, one suggested. A wife? proposed another. They all agreed, whomever it was that he was looking for had to have been important.

It was a quiet hum in the background as Alene watched the tongues of flame flicker and throw light in sporadic bursts. Her attention was more ensnared by the psychic probe - it was a delicate touch, but not subtle enough to hide from another Gray. Instead of erecting a hard wall for the probe to ricochet off of, the Black Widow Healer allowed the light touch. He had questions, after all. He had things he was looking for.

So did she.

Except no Province Court's Master of the Guard could find what she was looking for - Gray Jewel or no. Sensing his approach, Alene fought desperately to rein her mind into some semblance of order, of something that might parallel reality. Dreams were visions. Tangled Webs. The future and the past were eerie, dissonant layers over the present but they were real. She was not mad. No. No. None of that now, Alene thought, swallowing compulsively. An echo of copper residue was all that lingered from the bite to her cheek but it was enough.

Only when paper rustled and the Prince lay his poster down on the table did Alene's attention settle completely on him. Her pale stare was unblinking for the longest moment, a disconcerting assessment to the male's question.

"You won't find her here."

It was a softly spoken reiteration of what her thread to him had stated once. There was no bite of temper, just an absent sense of stating a fact.

"I know," Alene repeated, "that you will not find her here." She blinked again and the witch's eyes came into sharper focus, a clearer line of sight. Looking up at the male, her expression was impassive: to suggest that she needed to explain how she knew seemed absurd, to her. Explaining was a messy, tedious affair, anyway.

Although people always seemed to want it, all the same. "Nets and snags and holes."

Gavin Berkeley

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2016, 06:44:24 PM »
Gavin's brow furrowed at the response. He had gotten next to no new information out of his questions. Then again, dealing with Black Widows, it was almost expected that there would be some level of obfuscation to contend with; Black Widows were not exactly known for being entirely forth-coming with their answers and explanations.

Gavin gestured to the portrait on the table again.

"Have you seen this girl?" he asked more plainly. "Please. If you've seen her, in visions or otherwise, if you know where she might be, tell me."

He didn't know if he was likely to get much further with his entreaties, but was the first answer other than "no" that he had gotten, and he was willing to pursue it just a little bit further. Of course, it was still early in his search, and he would have been surprised to find a concrete lead so soon. At the best, he was grasping at straws, in any case.

Patience, he told himself. Patience, and a good amount of luck. The rumor he had followed back to Scelt had originated in one of the towns not far from the Province Seat, and it had been one of the first places he had gone to check. Of course, the witnesses, if they could be called it, were uncertain at best and downright ridiculous at worst.

There was almost nothing to go on but that a young woman roughly matching Corri's description and Jewels had been seen in the area. It shouldn't have been notable, except for that she had a peculiar tattoo that had made her - a stranger in a small town - stick out more than she would have otherwise. She'd said that she was Sceltan, but her accent and her mannerisms had screamed of the mainland, the locals had told Gavin.

It was a wonder that the news had reached back to him at all, but by some happy chance, one of the merchants who traded in Scelt and the Territory he'd spent much more of his life in had heard the rumor and remembered Gavin himself. The story of the Gray-Jeweled Prince's missing sister, friend to the Queen's daughter, was one of the sad tales that was brought up on occasion when conversations turned to "what ifs." He'd nearly gotten used to it by the time he'd left.

Alene MacKenna

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2016, 11:22:29 PM »
Alene’s eyes followed the Prince’s gesticulations. He was pointing at the poster but Alene didn’t need to look at it to know her answer. Still, there was a certain degree of respect that necessitated a response: the witch looked at the portrait. As she had expected, the face that stared out from it was an unfamiliar one.

She shook her head.

It was a small gesture. She hadn’t wanted to give any more fodder to the table nearby, but from the sudden hushed whispers off to the side, it was a lost cause. For a moment, Alene almost seemed like she was going to take it. With the fire before her and the dim, inconsistent light, there was nothing that felt like it required a pressing need for silence.. for privacy.

But then the images from the Tangled Web flickered through her mind again. It was enough.

An aural shield, backed by the Gray, went up in a matter of seconds. Alene’s lucid gaze rested back on the Prince, as she fought to keep a hold of the threads of thought that all ran in tangled skeins in her mind. It was.. agonizingly hard, but something tolled sharply in her mind. This was important. It was important, and she had to stay present. In the present.

“Not her,” Alene replied at last. “Not a where. Not a who.” She settled back into the chair, bringing the drapes of cloth from her cloak more closely about her. “Nets. Lee-lines. Snags and holes.”

And everything laced with the power of the Gray. It wasn’t hers, she realized. Initially she thought that it might have been her. What net was she setting - or set to be entrapped in. But now, it made sense. In the blink of an eye, perspective had recalibrated everything and the masculine touch in the vision had been integrated more seamlessly. This. This made sense. This was whole.

Gavin Berkeley

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 02:45:53 PM »
Gavin's shoulder slumped slightly as the Gray-Jeweled woman shook her head ever so slightly. It would have been too much to ask to have something that specific. He drew in a steadying breath, and set his mind to the next question again.

The shield that came to life around the two dark-Jeweled individuals set them apart from the rest of the room enough to have a more private conversation. A glance away from the Black Widow told him that the others in the room, including the ones who had been listening to them, hadn't noticed anything. Once the two of started speaking, and the others found they couldn't hear, however, they would realize.

The woman's words were still very confusing, and Gavin shook his head. He pulled out another chair from the table and carefully sat down. It seemed as though this conversation might take a while...

"I'm sorry," he started. "I don't think I follow. Not a where? Not a who?"

Not that it was entirely unexpected to have a Black Widow's words be as obtuse as they were. He'd just hoped that in asking a clarifying question that perhaps the answers would also become a little more clear.

He glanced around again, the other table had realized that there was a barrier between them and their gossip, now, and were looking disappointed. Gavin frowned at them, and they pretended that they'd never been trying to listen in the first place.

Looking back at the Black Widow, he explained a little more. "This woman is my sister. Any information at this point would be a boon."

Alene MacKenna

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 03:06:26 PM »
For a moment, Alene fought the urge to - to what? To leave? To excuse herself from this highly uncomfortable encounter that she had invited in the first place? The instinct was ruthlessly repressed in a quick, nasty mental battle that left her feeling somewhat shaky. Already engaging in an interpretation of Craft that left her unsteady, to have to combat herself so heatedly to even remain - here, remain sitting, remain staring up at the Prince with a passive expression that still did nothing to hide the clarity of sight, although her focus drifted between the present and something internal as easily as she breathed.

"Tangled Webs," the dual caste witch began quietly, "don't often show... specifics. It isn't that it shows a picture of reality." In many ways, Alene thought that might be worse. Already, fighting the sense of deja vu was overwhelming. If visions paralleled reality, she would never know waking from dreaming.

For a moment, the Gray Jeweled female struggled. "You won't find her here."

Her teeth worried the inside of her cheek, evoking a sting. Ah. Yes. She had bitten it earlier, although the sting was enough to help her focus her thoughts. Reality. Tangled Webs. A.. sister?

Alene's expression morphed into something quietly somber. Looking longer at the portrait now, she took in the features. It was a fair likeness of a woman, she thought, and she could see the similarities to the man in front of her. She brought her hands into her lap as she inhaled slowly through her nose.

"I'm sorry." A pause, and an exhale. "You won't find her here. I can't tell you more than that. Your nets - nets anchored by you, set by you, however you choose to envision it - they'll come up empty here. Torn wide on snags, torn open and whatever you might have caught, found.. it's gone. I don't know if it was ever here. But I know you won't find her here."

Gavin Berkeley

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 03:35:06 PM »
The intricacies of a Black Widow's Craft was known to few but the covens themselves, especially those secrets of the Tangled Webs. While Gavin had known that it wasn't so much like looking into the future and seeing what was going to happen, that it required some interpretation, the fact that it was rarely specific at all was new information.

Again the repeated phrase that he wouldn't find Corri there. He'd gotten that much already. Unfortunately, that seemed to be the only thing he'd gotten. It was all Gavin could do to not keep insisting on getting more information.

Some sort of change came over the Black Widow, something very small, and she looked more closely at the portrait in front of her. The artist Gavin had found to do the portrait had done a very good job, managing to capture the similarities between the siblings and still make her look slightly other. Corri had always had a little bit more of a mainland look to her, through her father. The small portrait Gavin had of her had helped immensely, he thought. The Prince leaned forward imperceptibly as she did, hoping to catch a flicker of recognition or even momentary bemusement.

Gavin sighed at the Black Widow's pronouncement. The idea of nets and holes at least made sense, finally. The metaphor was a simple one. The phrase "I don't know if it was ever here" stuck in his mind, however. Even the idea that his nets were torn on snags didn't seem to bother him quite so much as the one that his entire search was founded on nothing.

"By here, do you mean this town in particular? The district? The Province?" With the Gray, there was no telling how wide a range a Black Widow's vision could be.

Alene MacKenna

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2016, 03:55:13 PM »
It took all of Alene's not insignificant self control to curb the spike of frustration that shot through her as the male's line of questioning remained singularly focused. A snarl, a hiss, a flash of temper, all of those options were choked back behind an expression that remained quietly sympathetic. Loss. A man could lose his entire life chasing something he had left behind, or that had left him behind, or that had been taken or given or freely - no. No.

Leashing her mind took a measure of strength that Alene hadn't known she possessed. To do it without pricking her nails into her palm, to bite her lip or her cheek, to ground herself in reality in a physical fashion that distinguished it from a realm entirely separate: that, that surprised her most of all. Releasing the edge of the table, the Black Widow Healer settled back into her chair as she studied the Gray Jeweled Prince.

Relentless. Stern. Determined. And yet...

"Narshe Province's Master of the Guard would know wiser than I, but to lose someone so dear in days when that dear to us can be held against us by another side. You think it shrewd to search so openly?"

Gavin Berkeley

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 04:19:23 PM »
For a moment, Gavin was stunned. The Black Widow's words took a moment to really sink in, and when they had, he couldn't quite believe what it was she had told him. There was no hint of a veiled threat, merely words that in the voice of another could sound like one; Black Widows may have threatened when they needed to, but in this case, it would have been a ridiculous one.

While there was certainly truth to the Black Widow's words, Gavin was just as happy to not heed them. True, the Territory was slowly falling into what looked to be another civil war, the likes of which had not been seen in generations. True, the politics and intrigues of the Blood Courts would use whatever they could find without a moment of remorse if it meant they could get what they wanted. True, his sister was dear to him. True, he was searching openly for her.

But he hadn't asked to get wrapped up in Court politics, on the Province level or the Territory level. He had taken up the offer once it had been given, but his search for his sister had been what had brought him to the Territory in the first place. Without that, he would never have met Aderyn, and would never have gotten mixed up in all of this.

"I'll search how I please, thank you," Gavin said quietly. "If I don't do it now, I might not get another chance. And I'm not playing games in politics. I'm done with that."

He might have said something else, but the door to the inn flew open, and was quickly shut again as another newcomer entered. The snow, which had been barely falling earlier, was whipping around in a frenzy now.

"Getting difficult to see, out there," Gavin heard the newcomer say. "Looks like it might be a blizzard until later in the evening."

Gavin frowned, and inwardly sighed. Just what he needed.

Alene MacKenna

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2016, 10:43:07 PM »
Reality was a cold, harsh mistress and it was one that Alene typically cherished more willingly than she was doing in that moment. It flooded into her mind with the expression that the Master of the Guard had on his features as she spoke. Incredulity flickered over her face. How could he have been surprised by it? How could he be so - ! For a moment, it was the Gray Jeweled witch’s turn to have a bemused expression on her face.

For a moment, her clear eyes settled on the male a fraction longer. She would have cast her gaze to the fire instead of having to regard the male as her own thoughts raced and spun around each other, spinning out of control, but then - then the door slammed open, the wind seizing it and wresting it from the grasp of the male who had blundered into the inn, his words cheerfully informative in a way that the woman might have sworn over if -

Oh.

“Mother Night,” Alene hissed, a spark of irritation rising in her breast. Nothing about this cursed place was going to be convenient. Nothing about this forsaken Territory would be obliging. That much was clear. Convoluted visions, confusing politics, and thick-headed males.

Resigning herself to the reality that, barring madness or desperation, she was going nowhere in the nearest of futures, she crossed her arms over her chest as her attention drifted back to the Prince. They were both trapped by the weather. They were both ensnared - no torn nets, no snags, no holes, no escape, only whitewhitewhite, only snow and weather and chance and hours and - no.

This time, it really did take effort to bite back a curse learnt in the corner of a smithy. Inhaling slowly, Alene’s right hand settled around her left wrist. With the fingers tucked against her abdomen and the cloak covering it, the nails bit white crescents into the skin. A sting. A pinch. A pain, a reality.

“You think you can say you aren’t a game on a larger chessboard?” Her voice was quieter again, returning to the passive placidity that she had first spoken with. “It was set long before your life was put into motion. And whether you play willingly or not, you remain a piece on the board others would delight in removing, ensnaring, hobbling. What good do you a Queen, a Province, or a Sister, then?”

Gavin Berkeley

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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2016, 02:02:57 PM »
There was some small comfort in the fact that the Black Widow also seemed annoyed with the weather, at least in the sense that it wasn't just Gavin who was feeling that way. He had no desire to be stuck in the small town for longer than he needed to be. But even getting to one of the Gray Winds would require him to walk to nearly the town's edge. Putting that problem aside for the moment was the only thing that he could do. There was little anyone could do to control the weather.

Still frowning a bit, Gavin turned his attention back to the bewildering Black Widow. He was going to need as much of his mind concentrating on the conversation if the rest of the answers he got were as unspecific as the ones he'd gotten already. Perhaps having a little more time for the conversation wasn't entirely a bad thing.

A chessboard seemed to be an apt metaphor for the ever-changing politics of Scelt, and of the Blood in general. He shook his head, knowing that he could not count himself lucky enough to be a piece that had been already taken off the board. He had accepted a position in a Province Court; that was more than enough to irrevocably place him into the game. Even just wearing the Gray was enough for him to be counted as a piece, regardless of whether he was affiliated with a Court or not.

But he'd grown up within the Blood's Courts. Not Scelt's, true, but even if the players changed it wasn't all that different. He had seen the game played for most of his life, he had played the game for a time himself.

"If others wish to see me as a chess piece, that's up to them," he said. "But it's not my game. All I know is that I don't want to regret giving up what may be the one chance I have at finding my sister."

Everything else he wanted to say would have been redundant. In truth, he didn't know what good any of it would do, but it didn't matter. Not really, anyway. In searching for his sister, he had found his Queen. In finding his Queen, he had found a Province, something to protect again. Perhaps it was selfish to ask for more than that, which had already made him feel more like a semblance of his old self and who he wanted to be. Yet he could not help but ask. He could not help but search.

Alene MacKenna

  • Black Widow Healer
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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2016, 01:01:29 AM »
“Snags. Holes, tears.” Nets dragging against a current that carried them away, twisted and tangled, that destroyed the threads and the fibers and caught nothing but detritus unintended and the murky depths that would - no. This time it was the Black Widow Healer’s tongue that was sharply bitten.

Focus.

“So you’ll die a piece on someone else’s board rather than on a game of your own. It doesn’t really matter if you agree to the game or not once you’re on the board. Dead is dead.”

Alene curled her fingers around the edge of the table. Wind rattled the shutters over the windows and she sensed that the winter storm blowing into the small town in Narshe would only free them once it had run its course. Had seen to its own ends. She sighed. Enviable - a trajectory, a goal, a purpose, and then to be undissuaded from the purpose at hand.

It wasn’t tangled threads and winding webs that clung or disintegrated or gleamed on the very edge of her subconscious, pulling at her awareness, she knew, it was something she knew but the words, the meaning, the purpose, the interpretation dissolved as her fingertips made to grasp for it every time.

Mother Night.

The witch inhaled slowly through her nose. Firewood. Smoke. The scent of the tavern’s dinner meal from earlier. A biting scent from ales and ciders. The reality she was in. Not nets. Not Tangled Webs. A tavern, with a male, and a blizzard. But it overlayed against a different reality and ended up being so much more.

Alene rubbed her eyes, fighting the clawing tension that threatened to set a throbbing ache in her head. He had purpose. But was he at a cross-purpose with himself?

“Dead is dead, Prince. Your net has holes, now, is unravelling and snagging but if you died it would be gone entirely which seems completely at odds with what you seem to want. You have an odd way of going about your ends.”

Gavin Berkeley

  • Prince; Master of the Guard of Narshe Province
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Re: Storm and Fire
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2016, 05:03:15 PM »
Gavin took a deep breath and let it out in a huff. The Black Widow was making no more sense now than she had been in the beginning of their conversation. Gavin's mind just didn't, couldn't, comprehend the leaps of logic and some of the metaphors she was dealing in. The chess made sense. He was still iffy on the nets and holes and all the rest. There were plenty of ways those metaphors could be taken, and without any more context, he was lost.

The Prince really was unsure of what point the Black Widow was driving at.

"I know that," Gavin grumbled. "Dead is dead, believe me, I know. Others can use me as a chess piece all they want, but I will do what I can and do what I must. It's gotten me far enough."

The Black Widow's attention seemed to waver, though to what, Gavin didn't know. It gave him moments to try and recenter his thoughts, though. Were all Black Widows like this, or was it just this one, he wondered.

And yet, there was that same, elusive point that the Black Widow seemed so insistent upon pressing. Gavin didn't understand, no matter which way he set his mind to attacking the statements. Resigning himself to perpetual confusion for the rest of the conversation, the Prince sighed. Hopefully the blizzard outside would be short.

"I have no plans on dying anytime soon. Not that it's something I can necessarily control," he admitted. "It's not perfect, it's not logical, but I can't sit still. I can't stand feeling like I'm doing nothing."