Talking 3
Queen Karla of Glacia glacial_queen
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The Estate, Sidra, Glacia, Early Morning Kaeleeran Time
After another night of difficulty falling asleep and rest troubled by vague and disquieting dreams (all thanks to one errant Consort who was now several days past due and not answering his damn phone!), Karla had opted for a late breakfast in bed this morning. There was nothing wrong with enjoying some of the perks of being Queen of an entire Territory, dammit, especially when she was just a few hours away from having to get dressed to visit Sidra for Raven's orphanage fundraiser and luncheon. Why get dressed just to have breakfast when she was just going to have to change into something obnoxiously formal and fancy in a little while anyway?

She'd just finished letting her contraceptive brew steep when a psychic thread stabbed into her shields hard enough to make her jerk. Hot tea scalded her hand leaving a bright red mark behind, but that was nothing compared to the news she was receiving.

*Lady!* Mallory 'shouted' into her skull. *There's been an avalanche in the north! At least one village has been lost, their Queen is dead, and possibly more than one. I'm getting multiple reports on psychic threads, requests for assistance, everything. I'm heading back to the estate now,* Mallory continued. He'd been in Sidra, overseeing the last of the preparations for the afternoon. *But here's everything I know so far.* The information he relayed was grim, as was his reminder that this was all early news yet. It would likely only become more bleak as the day went on.

At the word 'avalanche,' Karla had flung herself out of bed, breakfast forgotten. By the time he'd gotten to the estimated casualties--in the hundreds, perhaps thousands--Karla had thrown on her bathrobe, opened the doors to her suite, and started shouting orders to whatever members of estate staff were nearby. She needed members of her First Circle, maps of the region, lists of emergency supplies, names of Healers with experience in these kinds of situations, whatever was necessary to assist her people.

So much for the perks of being a Queen.

Morton hit Karla's chambers at a run, Julian just a half-step behind him. "What've you got?" he barked. The basics had been relayed over psychic threads, but only that. Karla couldn't listen to Mallory, plan a response, and answer questions all at the same time. "How soon can we move out?"

He looked uncharacteristically grave. He'd seen a few avalanches in Glacia while drumming up support for his cousin's return, knew how incredibly deadly they could be.

"It depends," Karla said, waving them both over to a table where she'd laid out several maps, both physical and topographical. "Has Raven come home yet?"

//Not yet, no,// Jono murmured, rounding the corner a few moments behind Morton and Julian. //Still no word from her at all.//

He furrowed his brow at the table as he made his way into the room. He'd worried about the possibility of avalanches while up in the mountains during the war, but his own little band of misfits had fortunately been spared. The range in question, the one where the avalanche had occurred, was peppered with villages and small towns. His own troops had spent nights in more than a few of them.

//How quickly can we get a Coach up there?//

If I drive--" Karla began.

Julian was just going to talk right over than stupid idea, thanks much. "At least four hours on the Sapphire Wind," he said, not even looking at Karla. Because of course their Queen wasn't going directly into a danger zone.


"On the Green, probably closer to six. Maybe a little more. It gets slower on the lighter threads."

Good thing Julian was feeling just as inclined to bulldoze past Karla as Jonothon was, here.

//Bloody hell,// he mumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose. //We'd best get going right away, then. I can contact any of the old troops I can reach along the way, get them to pull together some sort of rescue crew for each village hit. The commute will let us be thorough about that, at least...//

Of course, since most of Jonothon's troops had been landen, they'd take decidedly longer to arrive. But at least it was something. The closest to a plan he could manage without letting Karla throw in her two cents.

"Excuse you--" Karla said, only to have Morton continue the trend of interrupting her.

"With the Consort gone, that leaves me here with Karla," he said with a nod. He didn't bother hiding his frustration. He had skills that would be valuable in the rescue attempt, but the idea of leaving Karla without male protection was laughable. "Since you're the darkest male in the Territory, take the largest Coach. Let's get the most Healers out there at once. What do you say, two-thirds Healers, one-third males?"

//At least for the time being,// Jono agreed. //Everyone there should be able to contribute to the heavy lifting at least somewhat. We'll want to bring more in later for rebuilding efforts, of course, especially since it's still cold up in the mountains. But for now we can have the Blood focus on the rescue, since they'll be able to get there first. I'll have my landens bring in extra provisions and building supplies as soon as they can.//

"Whose landens?" Karla snapped, finally getting a word in edgewise. "I think you're all forgetting a vital fact here: I'm the bloody Queen of this Territory--and a Healer besides! I will not sit here and wait for news while you lot pat me on the head and call me a good girl, not when my people are in danger!"

//I trained them and I marched them into war,// Jono replied evenly, resisting the urge to actually reach over and pat her on the head. //My landens. You have a Territory to run, Karla. It's not going to do that on its own while you vanish away into the mountains for weeks on end, is it? Especially not without Warren here to handle your job in your stead.//

But seriously, though. The urge to pat her on the head and call her a good girl was exceptionally strong.

Good job ignoring it, Jono. You'd be so much less useful to the avalanche victims missing a hand.

"The Territory can do without me for a day or two!" Karla retorted, poking Jono in the shoulder since he didn't have a chest. "It does so often enough when I visit Fandom! And with the Ebon-gray driving the Coach, we can get there in a little under an hour, rather than four!"

"I forbid it," Julian said immediately, Morton nodding vigorously beside him. "And if you really want, we can contact Mallory again and have him make it unanimous. But if you persist in doing this, Karla, you'll be going against the wishes of your entire Inner Triangle."

//What am I, chopped liver?//

"And your General," he amended.

Karla opened her mouth to protest, but once again, Morton beat her to it.

"Your will is our life," he said softly.

At that, Karla deflated. With just those five words, they'd left her no room to maneuver.

Your will is my life. That phrased summed up a male's surrender into formal service. It gave the Queen the right to do anything she pleased with a male, including kill him. But it was also the tacit agreement on the Queen’s part that, by accepting the male, she was also accepting his right to have a say in her decisions and her life. If a Queen gave an order and the majority of males in her First Circle opposed it, she had two options: yield to their decision or dismiss them from her court.

"You're all bastards."

It was a surrender.

//Proudest bastards in Glacia,// Jono agreed, giving Morton a clap on the shoulder and adding in an aside for him and Julian alone to hear. //Drinks are on me when we get back.//

Because with Karla in that mood, Morton was going to deserve at least a few.

//Come on, Julian. Let's gather what we need and be on our way, then.//

[NFI, NFB, OOC is love. Many thanks to furnaceface for preplaying! Part 1/3]