glacial_queen: (Vulnerable)
High on Karla's list of things she never knew she never wanted to do was this: knocking at her mother's door, a cup of poison in her hand, waiting execute an innocent woman so her uncle could go free. There were so many things wrong and unfair about what she was doing, it was hard to keep track. She wished she could have taken Dinah up on her offer to spirit Ludmilla away; wished she could have handed this responsibility to anyone else, wished that it was Hobart who was waiting for his cup of death on the other side of the door.

Wished that reality was other than what it truly was.

But it wasn't and wishing had never made it so.

Ludmilla opened the door, peeking out at Karla. For the first time, Karla saw her as she really was, not the made up doll she presented herself as. Blond hair loose, though still a little curly from the tight ringlets. Nightgown long and unadorned, feet bare, makeup gone. Even without it, she barely looked older than Karla; her round face and innocent expression easily taking a decade off her real age.

She is lovely, Karla thought to herself. And now I'm going to have to kill her.

All she said aloud was, "May I come in?"

[Warning for NPC death in the comments!]
glacial_queen: (Running after)
A single snowflake is a simple, tiny thing. Small and delicate, it is easily ignored, overlooked, destroyed.

Like whispers. They started off quiet, just a word here and a nod there. Secrets passed between trusted friends of good deeds done and supplies left behind. Where to leave a message to call upon some helpers who did not seem to understand that it was the lot in life that the weak must suffer for the strong to thrive. Of Blood who treated landens as equals, not inferiors, and people stranger still. Word spread through Glacia like a cold wind and only those most exposed to the elements took heed.

A single snowflake can be disregarded without notice, but as part of a multitude, it becomes something much greater. As part of a snowstorm, it takes on a life of its own and becomes infinitely more dangerous. Only the most wealthy and insulated can afford to ignore a blizzard; everyone else is forced to take notice.

Through the winter, the snow continued to fall. More fell in the towns and cities to the south, like fluttering pieces of paper that blanketed the streets in words and images, in shadows of truths so chilling that people swept them from the ground before children could look at the grisly pictures printed upon them. Still, out of sight didn't mean that the snowflakes had been forgotten. People would talk about the chill in murmurs, in pubs over drinks barely touched. In beauty salons with distracted looks in their eyes as winter fashion and the usual gossip was forgotten. The snowflakes had piled up, and people who wouldn't have noticed before were watching what they had once thought was steady footing begin to slip.

A blizzard is dangerous, but an avalanche more deadly still. A torrent of snow the size of mountains capable of leveling any building, no matter how wealthy or stately. Even the highest of the high could not avoid an avalanche that was coming for them; neither money nor prestige nor power can force an avalanche to change its course.

All that devastation starts with just a single flake of snow. What would happen, you suppose, when it was
people at the heart of the avalanche?

Whole Territories could fall.


Avalanches in the making )

[NFI, NFB, OOC appreciated. Co-written with the amazing [livejournal.com profile] not_a_parakeet and [livejournal.com profile] heromaniac whose help and beautiful words cannot be overestimated. Trigger warning: mention of suicide.]
glacial_queen: (Betrayed)
Karla hadn't expected to return to Yllestad after finding the field full of witchblood. But then the storm had blown up, and Yllestad was the only closest city where the entire army could bunk down for the night. There was no question of her people trying to set up tents tonight. The storm had beaten them here and moved northward, but they were still dealing with the gale-force winds and the odd spats of hail.They would take shelter wherever they could until the storm blew out and then settle up then. The prospect of good food and warm quarters had the army far more cheerful than one would expect, marching as they were through a literal dark and stormy night. The south gate had stood open for them, as if Yllestad had expected their return and they were only too glad to take the city up on its welcome. They entered from the south, glad to get out of the stinging wind, good-naturedly arguing which places has the most comfortable beds and most fortifying wines.

Warning for descriptions of dead NPCs )

Fuck. Someone needed to do something. Say something. Find out what happened. There was a moment when Karla looked around, searching for someone to take command, to be the voice of authority that her people needed.

Right. Her people. That voice of authority needed to be her.

"Spread out," she barked, voice brittle. "Try to find any survivors. There have to be some, somewhere." She wasn't sure who she was trying to convince more: herself or her army. "Be thorough. Don't touch anything until we can get a better idea of what happened here! Be careful! Go in groups, cover more ground!"

She pointed towards the center of town. "GO!"

And so they searched... )

***


Karla stopped dead--who even thought of that phrase? why do people use it? why is my brain even thinking about this stuff right now? shouldn't it be working on something more important?--when she saw what the soldier was standing over. Another body, yes, but this one was wearing a jacket.

Of course he's wearing a jacket. It's winter in Glacia, bint, everyone's wearing jackets, you could freeze to death out here!

Her brain jabbered on, trying to get her to think about ANYTHING other than the horrors in front of--behind, beside, near, far, everywhere, Mother Night everywhere--her. Karla did her best to focus, kneeling down to brush the snow and mud away. Yep, as she'd thought. The jacket was one of the big, comfortable down ones that Jono's team had been outfitted with, including the patch that half of the army had stayed up late sewing onto their shoulders.

This was one of Jono's scouts.

"Warren," she said tightly. "Warren, I need you up in the air. I need you up there now and I need you to tell me what you see."


The news just keeps getting worse. )

***


Momoko sat straight up and looked around a moment. She'd learned over the past few months in Glacia that when she heard this faint sound of Karla's voice and felt the small tug at the back of her head, it meant Karla was broadcasting something. And broadcasting instead of calling was Not Good.

But since she wasn't telepathic, she wasn't getting the message.

"Dinah?! Samantha?! De..." She had to swallow hard when she almost called to Denys. "I hear Karla..."

"What's going on?"


The call no one wants to get. )

[WARNING FOR THE AFTERMATH OF TRAUMA AND VIOLENCE, INCLUDING DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DEAD. Follows this, because,yeah, let's get this party started war ended! Preplayed with the wonderful crew of folks you see here. NFI, NFB, OOC is love.]
glacial_queen: (Shocked (Unpleasant))
Karla looked at the heaps of the dead surrounding her camp and blinked back tears. The only "upside" to this--and yes, Karla was thinking of that in quotations--was that most of the dead were not her own.

Except for how they were, of course. Everyone was hers. Both sides. The people the dead left behind--they were hers, too. And the loss and grief they would feel when they discovered their children, siblings, and loved ones were gone were her hers to carry.

Hobart had sent an army of his own against her )

"War is Hell," Morton said softly, looking out at the scene.

"No," Karla whispered. "Uncle Saetan would never allow something like this to happen there."

"Then what would you call it?"

"Just war," she said. "There's no other word horrifying enough to come close."

[For team Glacia. NFB. Trigger Warning for death and horrors of war]
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: (Running after)
Karla ran out of the hole in the ground and stopped, almost dead in her tracks. "Azarath..." she breathed. And then her eyes were dragged to the scene unfolding in front of here.

Mother Night, it was a scene from out of a nightmare. Raven, on the ground, limp in a way only the unconscious could be. Or the dead. Beyond her, running towards the entrance to the tunnels, a snatch of light and dark: Rook and Dinah, trying to keep out of sight.

And above them all, hovering like the carrion bird that was her name. Raven. )
glacial_queen: (The Hall/Keep)
The atmosphere in the Keep was tense. Jaenelle had retreated to her suites completely and Daemon was stalking through the hallways like an angry black crow. More reports were coming in from Glacia, more attacks on villages, some by the pair masquerading as Lucivar and Daemon, still others by 'freedom fighters' backed by Hobart.

Karla and Rook had been rescued from the estate in Sidra almost four weeks ago. A few days later, Jaenelle had summoned the entirety of her First Circle to the Keep to prepare for war. Two weeks ago, Karla had disobeyed her Healer and her common sense and had left the sickroom, refusing to remain abed any longer. A few days ago, Karla had disobeyed her Queen and left the Keep.

In the intervening days, there'd been neither sign nor word from her.

Just like there'd been no word from Luthvian. Or from Marion and Daemonar.

Between the list of the missing and the dead, the Keep was like a powder keg just waiting for a spark.

Don't kill the messenger... )

[NFI. NFB, all in prep for this weekend! Warning under the cut for ultraviolence against an NPC. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] showmetheproof for her NPCing skills and [livejournal.com profile] whateverknight's amazing preplay coder!!]
glacial_queen: (Concerned)
After the debacle during breakfast, Karla had shoo'd her other children to go find their parents or someone to play with or an activity that didn't involve breaking things or getting hurt and then dragged Raven and Rook down the second floor to her room to sort things out. Raven's room had been closer, but Karla's was empty and she didn't want Rook panicking anymore than she already was, being this close to her mother.

"Okay," she said quietly, shutting the door and setting out a small bottle of rum to keep the squirrels occupied. "What's going on here? Rook? Darling, you need to explain to us why you're so frightened of your mo--of Raven."

[For those mentioned and while it's okay to say they talked, comments are NFB, please. Rook's story will involve violence and dark themes, so a trigger-warning in effect for comments.]
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: (Authority)
[Continued from here]

After Lucivar finished recounting the numbers arrayed against them, he pushed himself to his feet, calling in his war blade and his bladed Eyrien sticks. "I'll be outside," he growled. "Too much fear in here."

It grated against his nerves, scraped against his precarious self-control. The fact that he had wings like their attackers only made things worse--much of the landen fear in the building was directed at him.

"I've been letting a few in at a time," he continued, "opening holes in the shield to let them through. Killing ten or twenty in the face of thousands doesn't do much, but--" He shrugged. What else was there to do? )

[Same alphabet soup goes here. Warning for violence. Again, still mostly 'inspired by' events in Chapter 13 of Heir to the Shadows. Part two of two; for master post list, please go here.]
glacial_queen: (Amdarh)
*There.* Prince Smoke eased out of the underbrush to greet Morton as soon as he stepped out of the Coach *That is the set of huts that the Lady and the others went to.* He whined a little in his throat. *There is a a bad-meat feeling there. But it comes and goes, like scent on a changing wind.*

After hearing from Beale that Prince Smoke had accompanied Lucivar and Jaenelle to Askavi, Morton had contacted the kindred wolf as soon as he'd landed the Coach in Askavi and his attempt to contact either Lucivar or Jaenelle had been fruitless. His relief at finding out that his wayward cousin had been following Jaenelle turned to concern when Smoke told him that the three humans had gone into a village and hadn't returned. It was the same village that Lady Tara's spell had pointed to; that much was certain. But knowing where Karla was didn't explain why they were there. Or why they couldn't come out.

That concern turned to decided unease as he stepped forward to examine the cozy-looking little village, a mile or so in the distance. A landen village, he thought, since he wasn't getting a hint of any Blood psychic scents in there. Which was damned odd, considering Smoke had tracked Karla and the others to this village and was certain they hadn't left. And now that Smoke mentioned it, Morton did notice a faint hint of corruption, like something flickering out of the corner of his eye. No sooner had he noticed it, it was gone again.

"Smoke, head back to Dhemlan and alert the High Lord," Morton said, still studying the sleepy village of Agio. Had he just felt the Ebon-Gray...? No, nothing. "Tell him to contact Khary and Aaron, too, and pass on everything you just told me. I don't like whatever's down there, and Karla, Jaenelle, and Lucivar are right in the middle of it."

With a quick Rrruff! and a small lick at Morton's hand, Smoke trotted back towards the Coach and vanished onto the White Wind. Even hopping onto the Purple Dusk back to Dhemlan and then having Aaron and the others ride the Green Wind from Glacia to Askavi, they were still looking at more than a handful of hours before help would arrive.

No use waiting, then. "Let's go," he said, turning to face the others. "Let's see what kind of trouble my cousin's landed herself in now."

From his tone, Morton was assuming it was trouble of the most dangerous kind. )

[Warnings in place for explicit violence and potentially disturbing imagery. NFI, NFB, OOC=love. Text adapted from Chapter Thirteen of Heir to the Shadows. Ish. Part one of several; the full list of previous entries can be found here.]
glacial_queen: (Sapphire-Jeweled Queen)
Lucivar lay on his back in the young grass, his hands behind his head, his wings spread out to dry after the quick dip in the spring-fed pool. Jaenelle and Karla were still splashing about in the cold water, washing the sweat and dirt out of their long hair. He closed his eyes and groaned contentedly as the sun slowly warmed and loosened tight muscles.

Yesterday, they'd awakened just before dawn to find Jaenelle busily rummaging through the food pack. He'd put together a hasty meal while Karla had broken down the camp before the physical tension produced by the drugs forced Jaenelle to move.

It hadn't been the unrelenting drive of the previous days, and, as the day'd worn on, physical tension gave way to emotional storms. Anger would flood her suddenly, then turn to tears. He'd given her space as she raged and swore. Karla had held her while she cried. When the storm passed, she'd been fine for a little while, perhaps as long as twenty minutes. They'd walked at an easy pace, stopping to pick wild berries or rest near a stream. Karla'd kept them entertained with stories of her crazy school and the friends who were like no Blood males or females they'd ever met. Then the cycle would start over, each time with a little less intensity.

It had still been grueling, mind. The first outburst of emotion had hit around noon, the second, a little before three. In between them, there was still the constant movement, the difficult trek made even moreso by the unforgiving pace Jaenelle had set. The intervals had shortened as Jaenelle's body tired, but even their last stretch before making camp for the night had been an hour-long hike, most of it uphill.

Which made today's late start, with the chance to sleep in past sunrise and even bathe a bit, something akin to paradisaical. Smoke was off doing a bit of hunting; the wolf had scented a herd of elk and had gone off to explore. When he came back, Lucivar was thinking of sending him back to the Keep to tell Saetan that they were all right, that Karla was with them, and that they'd be coming home from Askavi in a few more days.

Not that he was going to say anything, but he was proud of Karla. The pace was wearing on her, but she refused to complain and did her best to keep up. She wouldn't know it, but Jaenelle was slowing down a bit for her, making sure Karla didn't get outdistanced. Lucivar was grateful for anything that made Jaenelle take it a little easier. Though the next time the little witch cheated him out of the last mug of coffee, he was going to dunk her into the nearest lake. )

[NFI, NFB, OOC is delicious. Warning for violence. Text adapted from Chapter Thirteen of Anne Bishop's Heir to the Shadows. All of her narrative is awesome and I never said anything to the contrary. Really. Part 5 of plot (Parts one, two, three, and four). Up early because I have a problem I AM REALLY BUSY TOMORROW, OKAY?]
glacial_queen: (Ready for Srs Bizness)
Karla was heading to the courtyard of the Keep, where a portal had been ordered for her return to Fandom. It still felt wrong, oh so wrong, to be heading back to safety and comfort while Jaenelle and Lucivar were out in the wilds of Askavi, circling each other in a dark and dangerous dance. She was supposed to just go home and focus on class while she was wondering if Lucivar still walked the living Realms? If Jaenelle was still suffering from the effects of the safframate? Or--worse yet--wandering the Twisted Kingdom? Even if they needed her and had to summon her back home, it would be days and days until she could return--Kaeleer's time flowed at double the rate of Fandom. Should they discover they needed her skills tomorrow, the earliest Karla could expect to return was next week.

This was bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. Maybe if she talked to Saetan once more, this time he would see reason. Or at least get so tired of arguing about it, he'd just let her stay.

She veered off, down the hallway that led to Saetan's suite, marshaling all of her arguments. Presented logically and impartially, she would get through to him. That had been the problem before. She'd let herself get worked up, too emotional. Saetan had seen her as a child, not a witch fully in control of her Craft. Change that and maybe--

"I am so pleased to see the Dark Council has sent a representative to talk about the grievous injuries inflicted in Little Terrielle during Lady Angelline's visit." Saetan's voice floated out of his door, sharp and smooth, like a knife wrapped in silk. Karla stopped--Hell's fire, he wasn't alone. She wouldn't be able to plead her case with him if he was already speaking to someone; especially not a Dark Council representative. But she didn't have time to delay. Her portal was scheduled to arrive in minutes!

Still, she crept closer to the doorway, no compunctions against eavesdropping. Perhaps she would hear something useful to her cause. )

[NFI, NFB, OOC=love. Text adapted from Chapter Thirteen of Heir to the Shadows. Warning for discussion of sexual assault and violence. Sometimes c/p'ing sections of Anne Bishop's dialogue and text makes me want to cry. Part 3 of plot. Parts one and two found here.]
glacial_queen: (Serious queen)
Saetan looked like a man who had barely survived a battlefield.

Judging from the emotional currents flavoring the air around them, Karla was guessing that wasn't all that far from the truth. She closed the door to Jaenelle's sitting room with a near-inaudible thump and waited to be acknowledged.

"My instructions were explicit, Karla." The voice had no strength. The face looked gray and strained. "Leave now."

Karla pointed casually to the Birthright Red Jewels that Saetan wore. "You're going to have the damndest time tossing me out wearing those."

Saetan didn't call in the Black.

It was as Karla'd assumed, then. Whatever Saetan had done to get Jaenelle to the Keep in her present physical and emotional condition had drained the Black. What had happened to put Jaenelle into that condition still had yet to be explained to Karla, however. All Beale had said was that Saetan had been summoned to Little Terreille when something had happened with the Lady and had sent a message that he was bringing her to the Keep and that absolutely no one was to follow him. Karla had listened politely to Beale, nodded her thanks, and had caught the closest Wind to Ebon Askavi before Beale could offer to take her coat. )

[NFI, NFB, OOC=love. Text adapted from Chapter Thirteen of Heir to the Shadows. Warning for discussion of sexual assault and violence. Part 2 of plot.]
glacial_queen: (Sleeping-Tangled Dreaming)
After a busy day of brunch and catching up and residual excitement over being named sophomore princess, Karla had no problem falling asleep. Almost as soon as her head hit the pillow, she was claimed by dreams. )

Karla woke from her dream with a strangled cry, dragging herself up and out from layers of blankets. The room felt hot as an oven and her hair was plastered to her skin with sweat. None of that mattered. She had to go, to get home. Jaenelle was in trouble. She didn't know what was happening, but it didn't matter. Karla would take care of her afterward. Sweet Darkness, please let there be an afterward.

The cold, the fear, the buzzing had all vanished along with her dream. But within her, she could still feel the bone-deep rage. Mother Night, the rage!

Nooooooooooooo!

[Warning for allusions to a prior assault. Dream!Warren modded with express permission from [livejournal.com profile] not_a_parakeet. Snippets of text taken from Anne Bishop's Heir to the Shadows, Chapter Thirteen. For the roommate only, please. So kicks off the plot!]
glacial_queen: (Default)
At first there was mist. A dark and heavy mist occasionally illuminated by crackles of Sapphire lightning. Through the mist, they could sometimes make out the shape of trees, twisted and heavy. The ground was soft and squelched beneath their feet.

Abruptly the mist parted and there was light. Balls of dimly-colored light—witchlights, Karla had called them—burned in crystal goblets that hung unsupported in the air. If one looked closely, they could see small hairline cracks beginning to form at the base of each chalice. Small, hardly noticeable, but with the potential to grow and shatter the crystal if left alone. Behind them was the dark, misty wood they had come through, but ahead, the forest split, showing two paths leading on to the distance. Both paths were lit by the floating chalices, though they veered into different directions no more than a few feet down either side. There was no way to tell where either path led.

And no sign of Karla.

[Establishy, NFB, NFI save for plot-slaves Team Rescue! WARNING: DARK THEMES. POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING. TRUFAX]
glacial_queen: (Betrayed)
Karla hadn't known what to expect when she arrived. Saetan had warned her that Jaenelle looked bad, had lost weight, wasn't coming down, but she'd known Jaenelle as a child, could remember times when Jaenelle had turned up looking skeletal, with shadows like bruises under her eyes. She'd thought she was prepared.

She wasn't. )

[Establishy, nfi, nfb, etc. THIS GETS A LITTLE DARK AND COULD BE POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING. TRUFAX. THOUGH THE REAL FUN HORROR HAS TO WAIT TILL KARLA GETS BACK. Text taken and adapted from Chapt. 10 of Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop]

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