The Hall/The Keep/The Estate
Queen Karla of Glacia glacial_queen
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The Keep, Sometime Before Classes, Like It's Possible to be Certain of the Exact Time,
For months now because I fail at posting, Jaenelle had been wrangling with the Dark Council about respecting the Territories of non-human Blood. She'd searched through editions of Blood Protocol, unearthed dusty tomes of Blood history, even begged Draca and Lorn for guidance. But no matter what she found, what evidence she presented, the Dark Council remained firm in its stance that without a recognized human representative, the 'unclaimed lands' were free for the Blood to take.

And so the kindred died. Not many of them. There was never a slaughter like in Sceval. But enough. Many, many humans died. Mauled, half-eaten bodies would be transported to various cities in Little Terreille and left there as a message. But it didn't matter how many bodies were sent back, there were always more people willing to take their place. The coven did what they could, making their Offerings and refusing to give aid to anyone trespassing on the so-called unclaimed lands, but it wasn't enough. It would never be enough so long as Jorval and the Terreillian bitches who pulled his strings, saw the possibility for opportunity and gain.

Four days ago, Jaenelle had tried again. And this time, when they'd been turned down, Saetan had ventured that it was possible that there wasn't a legitimate way to stop the Dark Council. Both Karla and Lucivar had turned on him, overwrought and furious, demanding explanations, pointing out that he'd fought them before, snidely insinuating that maybe he thought the kindred weren't worth fighting over now. But it was Jaenelle who stopped them.

"Yes, there is," she said softly, leaning on Saetan as they walked. "There is a way."

"Witch-child?" Saetan asked, concerned.

Jaenelle shuddered. "I never wanted this. But it's the only want to help them."

"What's the only way, darling?" Karla asked, worried at how pale Jaenelle seemed. How fragile.

Trembling, Jaenelle stepped away from them. The haunted look in her eyes, etched there by long hours of research and tallying kindred deaths, would stay with them forever. "I'm going to make the Offering to the Darkness and set up my court."

Three days ago, Jaenelle had retreated to the Keep to do just that. Karla had contacted Saetan at sunrise the next day to hear the result, but she'd been tersely informed that they were still waiting for her to emerge from the Sanctuary. That, at least, was normal enough. It could take some time to get used to the feel of your new Jewels. Granted, Jaenelle already wore the Black, had been gifted with thirteen uncut Black Jewels at her Birthright Ceremony, but perhaps she'd been gotten even more. Either way, it was an exhausting process, starting at sunset and going until sunrise. No one would begrudge her a few more hours to adjust.

But when Saetan had contacted her that evening to let her know that Jaenelle still hadn't emerged, Karla had started getting nervous. By midnight of the second day with still no word, she was pacing the estate and snarling at everyone who came near. And when dawn of the third morning had passed, Karla had announced that she was going to the Keep and the first person to protest was going to be on cradle duty for the next month. Which was why shortly thereafter, Karla and an entourage had departed the estate for the Keep.

Draca had seemed completely unsurprised to see Karla, merely conducted everyone to the same sitting room that she had confined Saetan and Lucivar. Tersa was also there, making shapes out of puzzle pieces. "Any word?" she demanded of Saetan, who was pacing the room with the air of a man who'd been doing the same activity for far longer than his patience would have liked.

"Only that there's a shield over every corridor leading to the Dark Altar that even the Black can't penetrate," Saetan growled.

Lucivar abandoned his chair and stretched his back and shoulders. "Why is it that your pacing isn't supposed to annoy me, but when I start pacing I get chucked in the garden?"

"Because I'm older and I outrank you," Saetan snapped, pivoting and pacing back to the other side of the room.

Karla snarled at both of them. These little flashes of male temper--of Warlord Prince temper--were making her uneasy. "Stop your sniping! This isn't helping anyone!" Leaving everyone else to get comfortable, she settled at the table with Tersa. Thankfully, there was one person in the room who was sensible.

"Something's wrong," Saetan shot back. "It doesn't take this long. From sunset to sunrise. That's how long an Offering takes."

Tersa tilted her head, considering. "That was true for the Prince of the Darkness. But for the Queen?" she shrugged.

Cold slithered up Karla's spine and she brushed her fingers along Jono's scales to make sure he was still curving around her throat. What would Jaenelle be like as Queen of the Darkness? Would she recognize anything of the girl who'd befriended her so long ago? "Tersa. Do you know something? See something?"

Tersa's eyes glazed. "A voice in the Darkness. A howling, full of joy and pain, rage and celebration." Her eyes cleared and she looked at everyone in the room. "Leash your fear," she instructed. "It will do her more hard now than anything else. Leash it, or lose her."

Saetan's hand closed over Tersa's. "I'm not afraid of her, I'm afraid for her."

Tersa shook her head. "She will be too tired to sense the difference. Choose High Lord, and live with what you choose." She looked at the closed door. "She is coming."

For the rest of her life, Karla was convinced the Darkness had something to do with the timing. Perhaps it understood that they were only human and they had feared for Jaenelle too much in the past to let it go so easily. Because at that moment, Jono opened his tiny mouth for a little snakey yawn--

--and promptly turned back into his human form, all naked limbs and psionic fire tangled up with Karla on the floor. There was a moment of silence as everyone took in the scene in front of them. And at that moment, the door opened and Jaenelle stood on the threshold. "What did I miss?" she asked, fighting back a yawn.

[Open to anyone in Glacia who wanted to tag along. NFB. Text adapted from Heir to the Shadows.]


2014-06-17 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Miss? From where Jaenelle was standing, it would probably be difficult to miss anything. Jono was splayed out across Karla in a bit of a tangle, sparking flames twisting around between them, and he had no idea how the hell to get up again, never mind how he wound up in this mess to begin with.

Give him a moment, and he'd remember that he had hands.

And then he'd remove them from where they had wound up, on Karla's chest.

//... Miss?//

It would occur to him that he was decidedly naked in a moment, too. Honest.


2014-06-17 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Jono," Karla said in what was a reasonable tone of voice. "Get your HANDS OFF MY TITS."

It did not stay reasonable for very long, no.

Edited at 2014-06-17 11:09 pm (UTC)


2014-06-17 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Come on, Casanova," Warren muttered, taking a sort of sadistic joy in grabbing Jono by the shoulder and hauling him off of Karla with one arm. "If you're gunning for the Consort position, you're going to have to get in line."

Yes, Warren was absolutely going to be a jerk about this. Because... Jono.


2014-06-17 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jono actually managed to keep from toppling backwards onto his behind all over again, once Warren had deposited him on his feet. He was lacking in coordination, given that he'd been quite some time without feet, but there was only so much bruising that his dignity could take.

... That, and there was a table behind him, and he'd stumbled into that.

//What? I don't--// Seriously, his brain would catch up in just a moment. //Why am I naked!?//

First time animal transformation, right here. He'd seen plenty of people turn back before, of course, but he was something of a newbie. Interestingly, he wasn't reaching down in order to preserve his modesty with his hands. He was wrapping his arms across his chest, trying to smother some of the billowing flame.


2014-06-17 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Well, it's sure as Hell not to win any bets this time," Julian said, trying to snort back a laugh. "I see you needed to get your Ring resized."

Yeah, guess who else had gotten bit a few times these past few weeks. Julian was Vice-President of Warren's No Sympathy For Jono Club.


2014-06-17 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

"There, there," Tersa said, comfortingly. She patted Jono on his flank. "I think your flames are very pretty."


2014-06-17 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Umm, Tersa?" Lucivar said, looking very uncomfortable. Not with Jono's nudity, of course, but with Tersa's casual acceptance of it. "I think he means Jono's co--err, his private parts."


He blamed Karla. Whole-heartedly.

"Maybe you should, err, turn away? At least until Jono has some pants on."

Edited at 2014-06-17 11:28 pm (UTC)


2014-06-17 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Pffft, I know that," Tersa said, sending a quelling glare in Lucivar's direction. "I just don't see what the fuss is all about. Julian's seen a cock before. Everyone in this room has seen at least one." She poured herself some tea, entirely unimpressed with the goings on.

Lucivar made a strangled noise and she hushed him.

"What, I can't say cock? I wager I've seen more in my time than anyone in this room. I've seen yours--" She pointed at Lucivar. "And his--" Saetan looked like he was praying to be anywhere else in the Realms. "And now his. They're really nothing fancy. Certainly not worth all this excitement."


2014-06-17 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I think," Jaenelle said gently, "that maybe Lucivar thought it would be nice if you turned away for Jonothon's modesty."


2014-06-17 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Don't see why," Tersa said with a shrug. "Males are always strutting around, cocks out, when they know they have nothing to be ashamed of. How often are you naked in your chambers, Saetan?"


2014-06-17 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yep. Saetan was definitely looking like he'd be happiest anywhere but here. "I--That's not--ahem." He cleared his throat and attempted to regain his composure. A naked male didn't bother him, not even one as much of a lightshow as Jono, but Tersa, well...

Tersa could make any male uncomfortable sometimes.

"But this isn't Jono's chambers and I'm sure everyone would be happier if he were wearing pants," he declared. "Including Jono."


2014-06-17 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Amen," Karla muttered.


2014-06-17 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Speak for yourselves," Tersa said cheerfully, before turning back to her puzzle. "I don't miss the rutting, but looking at a male's figure is always nice."

She picked up a piece and examined it. "Besides, he doesn't seem particularly fussed."


2014-06-17 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

//Not particularly,// Jono mumbled, finding himself fairly grateful that he was incapable of blushing, while at the same time really rather wishing that he could just finish that spontaneous combustion process that he had going, there. //Though I suppose those would be good, too.//

A beat.

//If there are any. Please.//

He was looking at you, Karla. Very pointedly. Because if he looked around the room, that meant acknowledging that there were other people present who were currently looking his way.


2014-06-17 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Karla was a little slow on the uptake today, sorry. "What?" she asked, looking at Jono (in his eyes definitely looking in his eyes) blankly.

Look, Tersa had mentioned rutting and Uncle Saetan was right there and Karla was attempting to find her happy place where, for once, everyone was wearing clothing and standing a good five yards away from everyone else.

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