glacial_queen: (Serious queen)
The thirteen Province Queens assembled outside of Yllestad, shrinking against one another regardless of affiliation. Though Yllestad had been cleaned to the best of Karla's army's ability, there was no way to get rid of the psychic scents that were trapped in the wood and stones of the walls and roads and buildings. As far as Karla's Black Widows were able to tell, nothing of the witchblood cloud lingered. All that remained were the psychic scents of those who had died in it; their pain and horror and fear. She had forbade her people from using the special herbs that could cleanse the scents away. She wanted the Province Queens--and anyone else who came with them--to feel the full brunt of their horror.

It was still nothing compared to what the army had felt and to what Jono's people had gone through, but looking at their pale faces and withdrawn expressions, Karla figured it was enough.

Pulling no punches )

"Go home and think about this," Karla commanded them. "Think about a man who would pervert the Old Ways, who would sow fear and dissension among us, turning sister against sister--" she heard a quickly indrawn breath and recognized Fetya "--and caste against caste. Think about the man who would ignore the law, send assassins against me in Sidra, and would turn the people he was supposed to protect into a grotesque fear maneuver. Go home and think about who you will serve and what it says about you."

She locked eyes with the southern Queen she knew was most loyal to Ludmilla. "Tell Hobart we are coming. Tell him everything I've told you today. Shout it from the walls and rooftops. Because I am done waiting. I'm coming to Sidra and I will take back what is mine. I will do it before all of Glacia is turned over to abandoned villages and burning pyres for the dead."

[NFB, NFI, OOC is always delightful.]
glacial_queen: (Amdarh)
They rode into Sidra proper around noon, Karla's silver and blue banner flying. The night before, they had debated heading in early, just before the sun rose, but Karla had refused. She was not going to skulk into her city like a thief. No, she was going to march in there, head high and shoulders back, and demand what was hers by right.

The last thing she could afford right now is the appearance of weakness. Let them judge her on her brazenness if they must, but they would never see her cower.

Of course, the time they had spent waiting and preparing had given the city a chance to prepare for their arrival, too. And they were hell-bent on showing Karla that she was not wanted.

Their parade was met with jeers and taunts, Blood lining up on either side of the street to heckle and toss garbage their way. Shields protected their entourage, but it was a sober reminder that they were in the heart of Hobart's own territory. Some people called her an impostor and tried to spit. Others hissed at the Hourglass she wore openly. Others just called her a liar, a bitch, a whore. Karla did not respond and only spoke to keep her Court in line. As much as their words and anger hurt, they were not her focus today. She had a meeting at the estate to get to.

Worse than the catcalls and the filth were the posters. Some enterprising people with a the ability to hold a pen and access to a printer had printed up hundreds, perhaps thousands of rude, salacious broadsides. Karla was, as to be expected, featured prominently in most of them, though if the Fandomites cared to look around, they'd see themselves represented, too--just not kindly or accurately.

By the third time they had passed a picture of Karla riding a chicken (no, not in a way that required a saddle or bridle), Julian had had enough. "Remove those," he snapped. "They are an affront to our Queen."

"Really?" Karla said, letting her voice be heard. "Well, I'll grant you the composition is trite and the merit slim, but I don't know if I'd consider myself affronted. More disappointed that with was the best they could offer. I had my hopes set on something a little grander to show their contempt."

[NFB, for those who are here with her.]
glacial_queen: (Introspection)
Karla stood in front of her entire army, expression formal and solemn. Those who had been left behind to train had been recalled, as had those who had gone ahead to scout. It had taken several days, but Karla had not been willing to begin until every person who followed her was in attendance. Behind her were five shrouded boxes; small ones, not full-sized coffins. One each for the five dead, Blood, landen, enemy, and ally alike. Here, in death, they made no distinction. They were all the same now. All dead and gone.

No matter who they were or what they had done, they were probably leaving behind someone who would miss them, someone who loved them.

We have faced the first attack on our army, )

Once her speech was done, Karla stepped away from the hastily-constructed dais and gave permission for anyone to come up and make their final goodbyes. Their two dead would be returning to their homes, along with several hundred goldmarks for the family. The other three would be sent off with another group, to see if their families and identities could be found. Black Widows ambled through the crowd to see if anyone needed help with their grief, and, further away, a warm and hearty meal was waiting. Karla thought that her army would want food and company tonight.

[For folks what are in Kaeleer. NFB. SP for date night and general blah.]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/Keep)
The last time Karla had been here, she'd been incredibly nervous about how that evening would turn out and affect her future. Standing in the Keep tonight with a crowd of people around her--some of them almost complete strangers--made her almost laugh at how naive her fear had been the last time.

Her Offering was nothing. This was the completely terrifying night.

A small gong echoed through the room. Once. Twice. Thrice. Then, after a pause, a fourth time. Four times for the four sides of a Blood triangle, the fourth side being what was held within the other three. Like the three males--Steward, Master of the Guard, and Consort--who formed a strong, intimate triangle around a Queen.

Lord Mallory shuffled around, making certain that everyone was lined up according to Protocol, light Jewels to dark, first all the males and then the females. A pair of double doors opened in the rear of the room and Karla glided forward to take her place on a small dias, then turned to watch her friends--her Court--file in behind her.

She took a deep breath and completely ignored all of her future Steward's hard work and Protocol and called out, "Prince Regan, will you serve in the First Circle?"

And so it began.

[NFB for distance, some text taken from Heir to the Shadows, Chapt. 16]
glacial_queen: (Amdarh)
It was almost time for then to catch their portal home, but Morton had cautiously decided that there was enough time to visit one more landen village before they left. Even Julian didn't have much a problem with this, mollified by the five Blood males (and seven females) that Karla had handwavily, because cons are exhausting offered a place in her First Circle, once she'd made her Offering.

Once there, they'd scattered to their respective duties with an ease that came with having done the same thing many times within the past two weeks. Karla took over whatever building was the largest, more interested in being a Healer than a Queen, taking care of whatever ailments came her way, either with Craft, mundane medicines, or just some brisk advice. Warren sat nearby, making sure she had plenty to eat and drink, while talking to the people about their problems and their woes, making sure they felt heard, understood, and cared for. People who might otherwise have been afraid to come to Karla were set at ease by his openness and, more importantly, his lack of Jewel.

Jono and Julian were teamed up elsewhere, talking frankly about the war that Karla would be bringing to Glacia, about her plans to depose the current Queen and her Ruling Council, and making it clear that any landen who wished to fight--or even learn to better defend his village--was welcome to join with them. Jono made it very clear that the landens that joined with them would be more than simply fodder for the Blood. Their willingness to fight for a Queen that would see them as people too had even Julian offering a grudging respect.

Morton was out in the fields, delivering the Queen's Gift to nourish the crops. A cupful of Karla's blood in a bucket of water was enough to give the tiny plants new life and fullness, ensuring that the village could meet their new tithes while still having enough leftover for themselves. And Kaelas remained outside of the village, keeping watch with his superior kindred senses, which he never failed to point out to their group of tiny noses and ineffectual teeth.

[NFB, and all PCs modded with permission. Violence and dark themes in the comments, because what would a trip to Glacia be without those?]
glacial_queen: (Proud)
Karla could hardly contain her excitement. She'd gotten a psychic thread from Helene earlier in the afternoon, requesting her presence at the meeting hall that evening. All day, apprentice and journeymaid Black Widows had been cleaning and airing out the building, the last of the patients having returned home to recuperate the evening before. That could have just been Helene's common sense sense at work. No one who could read psychic scents would want to gather in a makeshift hospital; too much pain and fear and discomfort lingered in the walls.

Common sense or no, Karla was fairly certain that wasn't why the young Black Widows had spent all day diligently scrubbing down every inch of the building.

When a journeymaid proved herself adept at the Craft and practices of the Hourglass, she was acknowledged by her coven and promoted, receiving an hourglass pendant with all of the sand in the lower half as visible proof to all that she was a student no longer, but a full-fledged Black Widow. Karla had been a journeymaid for years, since before leaving Helene's coven to return to the estate and Hobart. In the intervening years, she'd grown up, practiced her Craft, helped friends and acquaintances work through mental and emotional trauma, founded a village to save Black Widows, and rule Haven as Queen for a full season. If there was a more thorough way to prove herself worthy of attaining full Black Widow status, she couldn't think of what it was.

So, after putting in her day in the fields and eating a hearty dinner (not that Warren was around to see, blast him), Karla got ready for her investiture ceremony. She reluctantly decided against wearing Widows Weeds (not everyone had theirs and it would be rude seem too eager), so she settled for a nice dress and brushing her hair and then blithely skipping her way from their cottage to the meeting hall.

She had a cheerful smile for Helene when an apprentice opened the door and led her way in, one that turned into brilliant when she saw who else had shown up. Jaenelle and Gabrielle had also been invited--Helene must have considered this a very special occasion indeed. Her smile faltered a moment later when she saw Luthvian's forbidding countenance near her friends, but regained its merriness when she realized Helene had probably just invited every Black Widow Karla knew. And it never hurt to be polite to the mother of Saetan's youngest son.

This was probably going to be one of the happiest nights of Karla's life.

Spoiler: It wasn't )

[NFB for long-distance. For interaction if you'd have a reason to be around and/or want to deal with a sobbing witch. After this post, Karla and co are back on-island!]
glacial_queen: (Amdarh)
Throwing herself headlong into the duties of Haven had helped Karla come to terms with what had happened in that other Fandom--and, by 'come to terms,' she meant 'repress until almost a month had passed and she could pretend she believed that none of it mattered because it hadn't really been her.' Even the realization that some version of her had deliberately slept with Peter (and enjoyed it! Multiple times! Ew!) was now capable of only causing her to flinch. And occasionally shudder.

See? Progress!

After the inevitable scolding over being gone for two weeks with no word when they'd said they'd be gone only a few days at most (somehow, the argument that they'd gotten stuck in a time-vortex that had made them live out the lives of alternate selves hadn't seemed to garner much sympathy), they'd gotten back to a village hit hard by a nasty case of the measles, brought into the village by a sick family that had fled when their eldest daughter's snake-tooth had finally shown through. Two weeks later, the epidemic had finally passed. They hadn't lost a single life, though everyone had been run ragged, either suffering from the bout or helping nurse those who had been.

Of course, now it was about time to start getting the harvest in, which would mean yet more work with everyone pitching in and helping, but for now, at least, they had a day or so to breathe and relax. Though, it had to be admitted that Karla was dreading looking at her phone. She'd turned it off the day they'd arrived and hadn't checked it since.

Hmm. Maybe she could go do another round of the people who were still recovering instead?

[Open for residents, visitors, phone calls, and random people who just decided to drop by. *Easies* NFB for distance]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/Keep)
After the debacle of Agio (and the even more debacle-y aftermath), Karla had promised to keep Saetan, Lucivar, and Morton apprised of major events at Fandom. She might often interpret that promise as conveniently as possible, but there was no way that even she could spin the end of all creation as something other that a 'major event.' Which was why two months after reality had been repaired, she was standing in Saetan's office, telling them what had happened in stark and painful detail. Of course, since what had happened had affected all of Kaeleer, even if they didn't know it, Karla was not delivering her report to Saetan alone, or even Saetan and Lucivar. No, Jaenelle and several members of the coven and the boyos had all crowded in, too, and were listening to her clustered in the chairs at the back of his office.

It could have been worse. There might not have been a Kaeleer to return back to. Or the split between her and Warren could have been permanent, leaving her to stand in front of the High Lord's great blackwood desk alone while spilling out the story. It was comforting, having him beside her, so she could reach out and hold his hand for comfort at a few parts.

Karla had done all of the speaking up until this point, laying out all of what had happened in sparse detail. They had heard the entirety of the account, all the way up to remembering the universe back into existence without interrupting, but she didn't think that silence was going to last for very long, not as her story wound down to an end. From the shifting behind her and the faces that Saetan and Lucivar had made at various points in her tale, once she stopped talking, she was going to face a torrent of words.

Most of them probably invectives. At least from Lucivar. )

[Preplayed with the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] not_a_parakeet. TBC in comments. Apologies, was supposed to be up yesterday (and completed), but I sort of failed at availability this week.]
glacial_queen: (Gym-work)
The construction of the first of the refugee villages was continuing apace when the portal from Fandom arrived. In the time since school had begun again, the hired workers had managed to clear the land granted to them by Lasfaeran and also dig and fortify the foundations of the buildings. Arcerian cats prowled the site; they were not interested in helping, for the most part, but were getting used to having such a large and noisy number of humans nearby. The humans were also getting used to having such a large and silent number of Arcerians nearby, though they were perhaps adjusting with a little less grace than the kindred.

It was hard not to notice when you were outweighed and outmatched--and, in a number of cases, outranked as well.

Even with the impressive amount of progress that had been made in her absence, Karla could see there was still a lot to do. There was land cleared for crops, but it hadn't been readied for actual planting yet. Some few of the buildings had been framed, but nothing more than that. There were holes dug for posts, but none of the livestock pens had been put up yet. Wells had been dug, as well as sewage lines and irrigation ditches, but they still needed reinforcement and care.

Pushing up her sleeves, Karla grabbed a hammer and got to work. This was going to be a home for her people and, dammit, she wasn't going to stand around supervising all day. For the most part, she had no idea what she was doing, but she could follow instructions.

Eventually, the foreman got over the fact that he was hollering at a Queen and began ordering her about with the same caustic language as everyone else.

[Open to anyone Karla would have called, texted, emailed, or whatever to invite for a few days worth of Habitat for Humanity type work in Kaeleer. If you think you got a call, you did! NFB for off-island.]
glacial_queen: (Serious queen)
The Queen of Arceria was huge. No, really, really huge. Her shoulders were level with Warren's chest, and her head was almost as wide. She easily weighed over a seven hundred pounds, her claws were roughly the size of Karla's fingers and her teeth--well, okay, Karla didn't exactly have a good measurement for her teeth because when the Queen had yawned as they entered, Karla's mind had gone blank, save for a very small voice that said, Please don't let her want to eat me!

It was quickly followed by a darted glance at the half-grown Kaelas and a Will he get that big, too?

That thought, though it had nothing to do with being devoured by a giant, fluffy, four-legged Green-Jeweled witch, was still terrifying in its own way.

After all of the formal observations were out of the way--and the kindred didn't go for formal much, thank the Darkness--Karla walked slowly forward to beg the help of the only Queen in Kaeleer who could probably help her. Begging: something she didn't do very well. Begging while intimidated: something she dealt with even worse. This was going to be awesome. )

"And so, Lady, the final decision rests upon you. Please, will you help me save my people?"

Once again, the Arcerian Queen yawned, showing off an impressive set of fangs. *Arceria hears Glacia's request for aid,* she sent on a public psychic thread. *But Arceria refuses. Thank you for your visit, Lady Karla. Good luck.*

[NFB & for them what are in Arceria with her!]
glacial_queen: (Gardening)
From the way Karla was digging in the gardens, either she was determined to plant ALL THE THINGS or she was working out an impressive amount of frustration.

Karla being Karla, there really shouldn't be any doubt about which one it was.

Not that she was lacking in reasons to be aggravated, mind. She'd been out here fairly frequently since she'd arrived back in Kaeleer--every day spent just planning and preparing instead of going out and doing something saw her out here for at least a few minutes.

Intellectually, she knew that they were better off taking the time now to plan, that rushing in would just risk more lives and make Emma mad. But it was hard to remember that when all her instincts were telling her to go save her people.

Added to that Morton's increasing bull-headedness and their constant arguments and Saetan's little chat with Warren the other night and it would be a miracle if this remained a garden and not just a the site of a future artificial lake.

[NFB and for the empath, please!]
glacial_queen: (Please Just Listen to Me)
The meeting took place after dark. For all that the Hall was filled with dark power that had seeped into its very stones, it was still easier for the demon-dead to arrive after the sun had set. Several bottles of yarbarah were already warming--this might be a war council, but Mrs. Beale would never allow Mephis, Prothvar, and Andulvar to go without refreshment.

All war councils need tea and cookies )

[Establishy, unless them that are there wish to talk to people! NFB.]
glacial_queen: (Forlorn)
No, you must stay. Stay and wait for the message. You will be needed.

Tersa's parting words as Karla had left the cottage. And Karla had listened, staying at the Hall and waiting for...something. Anything. Some kind of message, though she hadn't known from who or about what.

And then, today, that message had come. )
[NFI, NFB, OOC is love!]
glacial_queen: (Serious queen)
She was calling it guerilla-Queening. Okay, actually she was still calling it gorilla-Queening, but the intention was the same. Karla knew full well that she still couldn't go toe-to-toe with Hobart yet. She couldn't just waltz into Sidra and demand that he retract his lies, reign in his bullies, and confess to her parents' murder. But that didn't mean that she had to stay silent and exiled to Fandom, either. No, she'd found a way to thumb her nose at her uncle AND fulfill one of her duties as a Queen. )

And now, outside Rijen, the first village she'd decided to visit, Karla took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. "I can do this," she breathed.

[NFB, for off-island shenanigans.]
glacial_queen: (Betrayed)
Lucivar felt his shield quiver. It was about to go down again. Cassidy and Morton might be able to put up another one after his came down, but what was the point? They both still wore their Birthright Jewels and those were light Jewels at that. Under the constant onslaught of the Jhinka, they'd have another two, maybe two and a half hours before their Jewels were drained, too.

Even if Aaron and the others showed up now, it was doubtful they'd be able to do much to turn the tide of the battle. Six thousand Jhinka, even lacking Craft as they did, were just too damn many.

No, better to save their strength. Maybe between the combined strength of all of Karla's friends, they'd be able to escape.

He spared a thought for the young male, Ender, who'd had a plan that might hopefully get them out of all this. Idly, he wondered if it would have worked, indeed, if it could work still. If he would have a chance of pulling it off before Lucivar's Craft failed, if he could somehow pull it off at all.

Maybe. Still, it was a slim thread to rest all their hopes on. Lucivar couldn't rely on 'maybes,' not when his Queen's life was at stake.

"Morton," he called. 'Ask Jaenelle and Karla to join me here.' )

[And we are done--though just for the night! NFI, NFB, OOC is golden. Warning in place for death of an NPC and ultraviolence. Text taken, spindled, mutilated, and folded into origami cranes from Anne Bishop's Heir to the Blood, Chapter Thirteen. Preplayed with rockstars, yo. Plot post masterlist found here.

Also, that long ping about Jaenelle being even prettier now? Straight from the text. Oh, Anne Bishop. Why you so crazy?]
glacial_queen: (Nightgown)
For the past five days, Karla had been fussed over, nagged at, and generally henpecked. And she was heartily getting tired of it. Her first day back, she and Jaenelle had just gotten back from a brief flying lesson when Morton had come barreling at her, demanding that she go lay down and rest. Followed by Chaosti who'd been shouting that she needed something to eat. And then he and Sceron had nearly gotten into a fist fight over who was going to go and fetch her something from Mrs. Beale.

That would have been funny, since usually the fights were over who could avoid entering Mrs. Beale's domain and bothering her, but Morton, that thick-pated idiot, had flung her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carried her to her room. All of her hitting and kicking and complaining hadn't deterred him in the least.

Clearly, she needed to start sparring more during Fight Club. That had been both embarrassing and ridiculous. )

[NFI, NFB, OOC is love. Certain parts of the text adapted from Shadows of the Queen (Karla's list of food) and "The Khaldharon Run," (the bodysuit and wings) an unpublished chapter from Heir to the Shadows. Both written by Anne Bishop.]

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