The Hall/The Keep/The Estate
Queen Karla of Glacia glacial_queen
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SaDiablo Hall, Friday Night, Fandom Time
The day had been wonderful. Karla had declared herself in need of some 'girl time' and Raven in need of some relaxation, and Jaenelle likely in need of some fun, and so she'd swept off to Dhemlan, with a protesting Raven and a resigned Warren in her wake. Warren had been left to get get beaten on by Lucivar and Jaenelle picked up instead--along with Emma, who had been called in as reinforcements. It was going to be a day of preening, pampering, and fun, whether Raven and Jaenelle liked it or not!

Besides, with their shared birthday less than eight weeks away, she needed Emma's input on her gift idea for Warren. It was a tad risqué, which meant it was a) right in Emma's bailiwick, and b) something best done in a Territory she did not rule.

In all, it was the kind of perfect and relaxing day that came about all too rarely. That night, they returned to the Hall after taking in the theater and Karla fell asleep nestled in Warren's arms with a smile on her face.

Of course, it couldn't last.

The roaring started in the wee hours of the night, nowhere near long enough after Karla had fallen asleep. Startled, she fell out of bed, getting tangled in the sheets in her haste to try to stand up again. "Pants!" she yelled to Warren, who had leapt to his feet much more gracefully than she and was running towards the door. He'd grabbed his sticks and that was it, more than willing to find out what was wrong wearing nothing but his skin. From the look he leveled her way, he thought her insistence on trousers was an irritation at best. In a gesture of compromise, he snagged his pants with a claw, not bothering to put them on, leaving Karla to scramble to her feet and chase after him. After she'd shrugged into her bathrobe, anyway.

The hallway was crowded with bodies in various stages of dress. Uncle Saetan arrived last, rubbing at his arm and tried to push past Karla. He got a sharp elbow in his belly for his pains. "What in the name of Hell is going on here?" he yelled.

No one bothered to answer him because, at that moment, Lucivar stepped out of Jaenelle's bedroom and roared, "CAT!"

Apparently Lucivar shared Warren's lack of inhibitions about standing stark naked in front of a group of young men and women. Of course, a man in his prime with that kind of build had no reason to feel inhibited.

And no one in their right mind would tease a man who vibrated with such intense fury. And that included Karla.

"Where are Ladvarian and Kaelas?" Lucivar demanded.

Yes, Lucivar, you are a fine specimen of a male, but right now, Emma did not care. She'd been asleep.

"More to the point," the pissy telepath asked, "Where's our darling Jaenelle, because this has her fingers all over it." She looked pointedly at the Ring of Honor that circled Lucivar's organ. "You can feel her through that, can't you? And she's the only one not here."

Lucivar quivered with the effort to stay in control. "I can feel her, but I can't find her." His fist hammered down on a small table and split it in half. "Damn her, I am could to whack her ass for this!"

"Oh, feelings, that's useful," Emma snapped. "Well, is the feeling 'nightmare,' so we can all go back to bed, or is the feeling 'crisis?'"

"In which case I shall return to my room anyway, because I will require pants and sensible shoes." Since, well, she was currently clad a shirt she had swiped from Jack a few weeks ago, and a pair of slippers.

Raven had her shields down as she tried to sense if she could find Jaenelle's presence with her gifts where Lucivar had failed, as slight of chance that was. She could feel no trace of Jaenelle.

At Lucivar's outburst, she flinched and took a step back, drawing her shields around herself as tightly as the robe she'd thrown on. "I cannot sense her anywhere in the Hall either," she said. "Unless she has cloaked herself?"

"You can feel her?"

Warren was giving Karla a sidelong look, complete with a raised eyebrow. His Ring (which was still out in plain view, right along with the rest of him) didn't work that way.

"She's obviously not here, so..." He looked back at Lucivar, hands tightening around his sticks. "Okay, we don't know where she is, but what do you feel with that Ring of yours? What the Hell is the emergency?"

Why were all the males in the Hall standing naked in the hall?

Because they were males, and apparently the Blood (and those living with them) thought things like pajamas were only for completely powerless landens or something.

And Emma was without her phone and its camera. Pity.

"The emergency is, apparently, ass-wacking, which means I'm going back to my nice warm bed," she quipped at Warren, before casting an impish glance at everyone else in the hall. "Anyone who wants to investigate this terrible mystery can feel free to join me."

ucivar bared his teeth at Emma. Her wit was not appreciated right now. "I'm the Warlord Prince who serves her, the warrior sworn to protect her. But I can't protect her if I don't know where she is. Her moon's blood started last night. Do I need to remind you how vulnerable a witch is during those days? Now she's upset--I can feel that much--and her only protection is two half-trained males because she didn't tell me where she was going."

Of course he didn't, but at least it was getting him focused on something instead of breaking things.

"Don't snarl at me because she did what witches always seem to do, which is act first and think later," Emma replied tartly, not backing down at the display of temper. "Put a leash on it, and take it up with Kaelas when they get back - who will love hearing how he's half-trained, I'm sure - unless you can provide me with something concrete to look for or do something else useful to do."

"I may be amazingly talented, even when jostled out of my sleep, but I cannot scan an entire realm for one witch. Especially not one who possibly doesn't want to be found. Give me something to work with, Prince."

Emma was far from a witch although definitely a bitch, and knew that if Lucivar was angry enough no Protocol in the world would apply to her, but she knew better than to show fear in front of a raging Warlord Prince.

Saetan stepped in before things could get out of hand, silencing Lucivar with a look. "Perhaps I can be of assistance, Lady Emma?" he offered. "I can scan for the Black. Only Jaenelle and myself wear the Black in Kaeleer."

While it was true that witches couldn't channel Jeweled strength during their moontime without pain, that wouldn't stop Jaenelle.

This? This was why Emma adored the High Lord. Also because he kept a well-stocked liquor cabinet, but that was beside the point at the moment.

"That might work," she said, turning the idea over in her mind thoughtfully. "If I link with you, I'll be able to sense her as you can. We'd be able to search farther, faster, and with greater detail."

Saetan stepped away from them and pressed his back against the wall for support. He took a few deep breaths to calm his own temper, closed his eyes, and descended to the Black. There, he opened his inner barriers to the bright pinkish-white light that was Emma, and concentrated on searching.

Using himself as a center point, he cautiously pushed his Black-Jeweled strength outward in ever-widening circles, looking for some sense of her that would at least give them an idea of where she was. The circles widened farther and farther, beyond the village of Maghre, beyond the isle of Scelt, until...


He felt rage and horror braiding with anger growing into rage. Black rage. Spiraling rage. Cold rage.

He started to pull back to escape the growing psychic storm that was about to explode over Sceval. He strengthened his inner barriers, knowing that it wouldn't help much. Her rage would flood in under his barriers, where he had no protection from it. He just hoped he had enough time to warn the others.


Oh, this was the total and completely opposite of Good News.

Emma retracted her telepathic probe as fast as she could, since trying to shield would do about as much good as a paper drink umbrella in a tsunami. Memories of a similar psychic storm just prior to her body-swapping into the vampire-world threatened to pull her under for a moment, but Emma bit the inside of her mouth - hard - for focus, shaping her psychic armor as a life preserver to ride the worst of it out. Any spare power was diverted to Prince Saetan, since this had been her (stupid!) idea in the first place.

"Sceval!" she managed, in the split-second between Jaenelle's screams. "SHIELD!!!!"

As she unleashed the strength of her Black Jewels, Jaenelle's anguished scream filled his head and paralyzed him. A rush of dark power smashed against him, tossing him around like a tidal wave tosses driftwood, at the same time a psychic shield snapped up around Sceval.

Then, nothing.


One moment, there was just silence, watching Saetan and Emma in their motionlessness and wondering if they'd found what it was they were looking for. The next, nosebleeds, and Warren was dropping his sticks (and his pants, sorry Karla) and moving forward to catch Saetan, a wing sweeping out toward Emma to offer her support as well.

Apparently not all was well on the psychic plane?

"Anybody have any idea what's going on in there?"

Because he was both lost and concerned, now.

Raven immediately reached for Saetan to try to sense what was wrong and, more importantly, to try to heal it. She dropped her shields and reached out with her gifts. What she found was nothing she could cure, a strange sense that the High Lord wasn't quite there. There was fear as well, and a great deal of anger.

She blinked and shook her head, confused. "I am not certain what is wrong," she said. "It as if some part of him is missing. And I sense fear and rage."

"Something ridiculously not good," Karla said, immediately hurrying over to hold Emma. The last thing any of them needed was Emma coming to and freaking out because she didn't instantly recognize the shape of the face or the feel of the mind of the person holding her.

"Emma's more like..." Karla frowned and probed her mind. "...Like I can't get in because there's too much."

Too much was a good way to describe it.

The storm was magnificent. A small part of Emma's mind appreciated the artistry as she floated directly outside the shield, sympathetic psi-lightning flickering around her fingertips. She waited, curious, to see if there was any indicator of the woman who had caused it. When no change seemed to be forthcoming, she tried tapping it -gently- with one finger.

"Knock knock, mutant Avon calling!"


"High Lord?"


Emma waited a bit longer before giving the shield a solid kick. "Jaenelle?"


Emma looked around the psychic plane, disgruntlement on her features as she attempted to discern any sign of the man she'd been searching with before she attempted to get back to the physical world.

"I hate magic."


No reply.


Still nothing.

With a sigh, she glanced over at Lucivar who was having the same amount of luck raising the High Lord. Dammit. Emma was going to probably murder her for this.


A mental slap to the back of Emma's brain should do the trick. *Emma!*

Most likely, yes, except it had given her an orientation back towards 'up' and the physical plane.

"Whiskey." She decided, not opening her eyes yet. "Neat. After that, I want pants, because the draft is getting ridiculous."

Emma had amazing legs, but they were rather exposed at the moment and she was getting chilly.

Lucivar nodded to Warren. "I've got the High Lord," he said. "Go get her what she needs. The sooner we wake them up, the sooner we can find Cat."

But the whiskey wasn't a half bad idea. Still propping his father up, Lucivar slashed his wrist, holding it to Saetan's lips.

He floated just beyond that shield, scared but oddly comforted--like being safely indoors while a violent storm raged outside. He and Emma must have gotten caught between the conflicting uses of Black power when Jaenelle had put up the shield to contain the storm. Clever little witch. He wouldn't mind just floating here for awhile, but he had the nagging feeling there was something he should do.

Was it to check on Emma? No. Even if he couldn't see her, he knew she was just as safe as she was. Jaenelle would never harm her. Best to just float here, then, where it was safe...

Someone grabbed him and dragged him out of the Abyss. He sputtered and snarled. Did him as much good as a puppy snarling when it was picked up by the scruff. The next thing he knew, something was pressed against his lips and blood was filling his mouth.

"Swallow it, or I'll knock your damn teeth down your throat."

Saetan cracked open an eye. Ahh, yes. Lucivar. Both of him.

His eyes finally focused. He pushed Lucivar's wrist away from his mouth. "Enough." He tried to get to his feet, which wasn't easy with Lucivar holding him. "Is everyone all right?"

"We're fine," Karla said, from where she was still cradling Emma. "You're the ones who fainted."

"We didn't faint," Emma sulked, but she (notably) did not object to Warren draping a blanket around her before handing her the requested restorative. "We were otherwise occupied."

"It doesn't matter either way," Saetan snapped, seeing Karla open her mouth to argue. "If the storm's over we need to get to Sceval."

Raven had averted her eyes when Lucivar began to feed Saetan his blood, and now she lifted her gaze again. "Is that where Jaenelle is?" she said. "Is she all right? What has happened?"

She was guessing the answers to those questions were "no" and "something bad," based on Saetan and Emma's conditions.

"She's there," Saetan said, deliberately avoiding Raven's second question. He remembered Jaenelle's anguished scream and shuddered before looking up at Lucivar. "You and I must go there at once."

Karla left Emma with Warren to stomp over to Uncle Saetan and poke a sharp-nailed finger into his bare chest. "We have to get there as soon as possible," she snapped. "Just as soon as the males in this hall put on some damn pants!"

Okay, so they all needed to get dressed, but at least the females weren't naked!

Saetan looked poised to argue, then shook his head, defeated. "We," he agreed tiredly. "But if whatever we find is too dangerous, Raven and Warren are dragging you and Emma home to Glacia."

It wasn't a suggestion.

To underscore how much of not-a-suggestion it was, he didn't give Karla time to respond, just headed for his room, leaning on Lucivar a bit while his knees finished remembering how to function.

"Are you strong enough for this?" Lucivar asked as his father slowly opened the door to his room. He didn't enter, simply stood in the doorway and called in some clothing to don.

Saetan pulled on a pants and a shirt, shoving his feet into shoes. "I'm ready. Let's go."

"That's not what I asked, High Lord. Are you strong enough for this?"

He brushed past Lucivar without answering. How could a man answer that question when he didn't know what was waiting for him?

"You are ruining the only fun part of his evening," Emma informed Karla as Saetan left. "Pants? The view is the best part of this trip so far."

She waited until Saetan and Lucivar were mostly out of earshot before she leaned back against the wall, exhaling softly. "Jaenelle lost her temper," she said finally, closing her eyes. "Hope for a few blown-up boulders, but pack for an Agio."

[Taken from Chapter 15, Part 3 of Anne Bishop's Heir to the Shadows, but cut, folded, and spindled for my amusement. Many thanks to the lovely icecoldfrost, trigons_child, and not_a_parakeet for their help preplaying. NFI, NFB, OOC is made of people cookies]