glacial_queen: (The Hall/The Keep/The Estate)
Jaenelle was not back in the Keep by the time Karla's portal returned, but Saetan was. "You got a letter, too?" she asked, giving her adopted uncle an exasperated smile.

"Indeed," he crooned, his eyes a frozen yellow, rather than their usual rich gold. "And I went to the Keep in Terreille before coming here. She wasn't there. When my Lady arrives, she will be in no doubt about how I feel about her entering enemy territory without even a single escort with her."

Normally Karla might have challenged him... )

"Come find me when you're ready," Karla said, turning to head towards a Healing room and giving Jaenelle her space. "Take all the time you need." Just from the wounds Karla could see, she'd need all the time she could get for this Healing.

[NFI, NFB, OOC is AOK! Adapted from Chapter Three of "Prince of Ebon Rih" by Anne Bishop. Karla's barely even in this story, but why would I let something as little as THAT stop me!]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/The Keep/The Estate)
Karla had received a note. It had appeared on her desk with neither her Steward nor her maids certain how it had gotten there. The half-sheet of parchment had been folded into thirds and sealed with a few drops of black wax. She'd been a hesitant to open it, a hesitation that had only grown when she'd picked it up. There was a foreboding and a bone-deep rage trapped in the fibers. That it was Jaenelle's did not make Karla feel much better.

Karla,
Meet me at the Keep at dawn. Your expertise will be required.
Jaenelle


Taking a deep breath, Karla vanished the note and sent commands for a Coach to be readied for her immediate departure. Jaenelle was expecting her at dawn, but Karla wasn't one to wait. Not when she could feel the coldness of Jaenelle's fury as an ache in her fingers. She could think of the kind of expertise Jaenelle might require from a Queen who was also a triply-aspected witch--and also the kind that she might require from Karla and her years in Fandom. What she didn't know what why.

But she brooded over that, for the entirety of the Coach ride to Askavi. Oh yes. )

Not trusting herself to speak, Karla nodded, and exited the common room. She was unsurprised to see a portal already irising open. Stepping into it left her feeling like she'd stepped into a cage. In a way, she had. But she had made the choice to obey her Queen. That was the only thing that made stepping through to Fandom tolerable. That and the knowledge that dawn would arrive much more quickly on the island, long before her patience splintered into dust.

[Text adapted, spindled, and mutilated from "Prince of Ebon Rih", Chapter Two by Anne Bishop. Open for phone calls and texts]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/The Keep/The Estate)
After several days of intense study and research, Jaenelle had called for Karla to tell her that the ritual to fully sever Raven's connection to her brothers was ready to go. It would be difficult, it would be dangerous, and it would be painful, but Karla already knew that wouldn't matter to Raven. For the peace of mind that knowing she was free of her brothers' influence would grant her, Karla was certain that Raven would walk through fire.

Too bad that damage would be more easily healed than this.

[For the empath, please!]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/The Keep/The Estate)
It was fitting that they were here on tonight of all nights. Unlike the rest of the Realms who were drinking the blooded rum and dancing in honor of Witch (or, at least giving lip service to the idea), tonight those closest to Witch were gathered in the Keep to honor her a little more concretely.

Tonight, the first night of Winsol, they had gathered to the Dark Throne to see Jaenelle form her Court and become Queen of Ebon Askavi.

Telling herself she wasn't nervous--and why should she be nervous, this was her friend, this was Jaenelle, surely wearing the Ebony was no different than wearing thirteen uncut Black Jewels. Either way it was more power than Karla could really even contemplate, so what was the big deal really even if, sure, there had never been anything like this in the entire history of the Blood.

Right, so, anyway, telling herself she wasn't nervous despite the pounding heart, the sweaty palms, and internal monologue that raced along a million miles a minute, Karla entered the large stone chamber that Draca had indicated was the place where the invited guests were to wait until they were summoned to the Dark Throne. Except for the blackwood pillars that contained the candle-lights and a few long tables against the walls that held assorted beverages, the room was bare of furniture.

In which canon progresses! )
A gong sounded throughout the Keep. Once. Twice. Thrice. Then, after a pause, a fourth time.

Four times for the four sides of the Blood triangle, the fourth side being what was held within the other three. Like the three males--Steward, Master of the Guard, and Consort/Escort--who formed a strong, intimate triangle around a Queen.

At the back of the room, huge double doors opened outward, revealing a dark emptiness.

Paying no attention to the hesitant stirring around him, Saetan set his glass aside, smoothed his hair one final time, and straightened his new clothes. Since Protocol dictated that processions went from light Jewels to dark, first all the males and then the females, he probably figured he would be at the end of the male line.

Karla and Lucivar exchanged a look and then Lucivar poked his father in the side. )

Saetan had stayed below a little longer than the rest, lingering to talk to Lorn until Lucivar had stormed downstairs and demanded that Saetan come up and keep Karla from picking on him--though he couched it in threats, of course.

With a smile, Saetan followed his youngest son up the stairs to the upper chamber, where he accepted a glass of yarbarah and looked at the animated, laughing faces that now ruled Kaeleer. He wondered what Lorn thought about the many-strand web Jaenelle had woven over Kaeleer, the web that had called so many races out of the mist they'd hidden in for thousands of years.

And, like Karla, he wondered what the Dark Council was going to think. Also like Karla, the idea of their reaction made a wicked smile bloom.

[One more tiny bit of canon catchup and we'll be done with this book! Much of the post taken directly from Heir to the Shadows, by Anne Bishop, Chapter 16, Part 3. Many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] trigons_child and [livejournal.com profile] not_a_parakeet for letting me shove their characters in and give them fun lines from canon. NFI. NFB for off-island shenanigans, OOC is love!]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/The Keep/The Estate)
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. )

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.]
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: (The Hall/Keep)
Karla tried not to look nervous as the great doors to the Dark Altar opened in front of her. Inside, Opal witchlights danced in sconces, forming a path for her to follow, rather than illuminating what was within. This was very different than her Birthright Ceremony, where she'd had the company of her parents and several other children, where a Priestess had waited to accompany her into the Sanctuary and discuss what Jewel she wanted. That had taken place in the middle of the afternoon, with sunlight streaming through and picnics set up on the grass and her mother announcing to all and sundry Karla's paternity.

This was darkness and Darkness and she was alone. Here, she was going to prove her worth, her inner strength, and she didn't know what to expect. Children were coached through their Birthright Ceremony; no one spoke of the details of their Offering. It was too intensely personal.

"You must enter soon," Geoffrey told her, gently. He understood all too well the uncertainty in Karla's eyes. "From sundown to sunup, and it is nearly that time now."

Putting on a brave face and a careless smile, she looked back at the people who had assembled to witness this, perhaps the defining moment of her life.

"Kiss kiss," she said with a wink and a salute. "See you at dawn!"

And then the giant doors closed behind her.

[NFB, Post 1 of 2]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/Keep)
The first week Karla, Warren, and Raven had been back, they had been granted a leave on lessons. After all, Warren and Raven had just graduated from high school and that was an accomplishment of some note. Even Lucivar had announced his morning exercises for the week were voluntary only, making the three of them (okay, Raven and Warren) immediately popular among the coven and boyos.

Granted, calling the lessons "voluntary" was kind of a joke, because Lucivar was a prick, but it was the thought that counted.

The following week, however, it was business as usual, or, rather lessons as usual. Though Karla was the youngest at eighteen, Saetan had a firm rule that while Jaenelle's friends stayed at the Hall, they took lessons. The coven and boyos privately agreed that it was a last-ditch attempt to keep them out of mischief while they stayed, but since they'd all run off the most obnoxious of tutors years ago, the lessons that remained were no hardship.

And some, like Protocol, were necessary. Especially when dealing with the kind of Protocol only found in Courts. Some Protocol lessons were taken together, polishing the give and take between the sexes in a Court. Others, like this one, were separate, with the boyos sitting down and learning about what it was like to act as Consorts to Queens. Granted, Saetan hadn't been a Consort in over fifty thousand years, but that didn't matter. Saetan was the foremost expert on Protocol, then and now.
glacial_queen: (The Hall/Keep)
After getting the news from Dinah yesterday, Karla was more determined than ever to head back home and see what she could dig up about the legend of Zuul. Only a legend, as far as she knew, passed down to young Queens as a warning, but there were too many pieces that fit together. The mass disappearances. The erasure of everything having to do with the vanished people. It would be stupid to just dismiss this all out of hand if there was even the slightest hope of finding something useful.

And Karla couldn't deny the rather morbid drive to discover just how much of Kaeleer had gone missing. It was hard to think of everything to ask after in a letter.

Fortunately, even with Portalocity as messed up as it was, Karla had a means of transport available. Raven had agreed to bring her here in exchange for Karla accompanying her to Jono's world. Of course, judging by the way Raven looked right now, maybe this trip wasn't the best idea ever, either.

"You okay?" Karla asked, ignoring the Keep for the moment--and the rising tide of nausea she'd had ever since they'd entered the Netherverse. "Being here bringing up bad memories, or--?"

Yeah. Karla remembered what had happened the last time bits of reality had gone missing.

[NFB for distance and for me, myself, I, and one other, please!]
glacial_queen: (Intense)
Holding Rook's hand tightly in hers, Karla promised in an undertone, "We won't let her take you, sweetheart. And you still have time to back out of this if you're not sure you still want to participate. Your safety is the most important thing, here, okay? So if you'd prefer to stay--"

Rook cut off Karla's nervous babble with a shake of her head. "No. This is what I wish to do. Maman and Stepfather have already sacrificed so much for me. I must help get them back." She gave a tentative smile up at all three of them. "And Aunt Dinah will protect me. As will all of you. I am unafraid."

What else was there for Karla to say after that? "All right. Let's do this thing."

Children as bait. What could possibly go wrong? )

In which our heroines are shocked to discover this was a bad plan )

And their villain makes her appearance )

[NFI, NFB, OOC is always love. Warning in place for violence and incredibly stupid ideas. Preplayed with [livejournal.com profile] trigons_child and [livejournal.com profile] blondecanary, coded using [livejournal.com profile] whateverknight's swanky coder. Warning for violence, megalomania, and the occasional comic book villain monologue. Follows this, this, and this!]
glacial_queen: (The Hall/Keep)
Knowing that she was here a decade in her own future--or a future, anyway--was a little disconcerting for Karla. She wasn't sure if that unease was lessened or heightened by the fact that standing here in front of the Keep and it looked exactly the same as it did in her own time. Having Jaenelle as the Queen of Ebon Askavi didn't change the way the Keep looked, at least on the outside.

On the other hand, when she closed her eyes and opened her other senses, she could feel the dark power permeating the very stones of the foundation. She sensed Jaenelle and a vastly dark power. It dwarfed her, made her feel very small. How could the other-Raven possibly still be bothering the other-her when Jaenelle could simply bring all of this power to bear on her?

"Shall we go announce we've arrived?" she asked absently, shaking her head free of the seductive song she could almost hear, threading its way through the Darkness. Jaenelle. "Raven, you might want to keep your hood up for a bit. I doubt you're all that popular right now."

In which there is no bad news. Really. )

[NFI, NFB, OOC is love. Preplayed with [livejournal.com profile] blondecanary and [livejournal.com profile] trigons_child, using [livejournal.com profile] whateverknight's preplay coder! Warning for spoilers for Queen of the Shadows. Follows this.]
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: (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: (Fond Amusement)
Today there were two choices for visits—three, if one counted staying at the Hall, which was always a possibility. The first was a trip to Ebon Askavi, the Black Mountain, the home of Witch. The last, of course, was more historical than fact, though Jaenelle did have a suite there, left over from when she was a little girl. It was the center of everything; even the Winds all met in this single location mirrored in all three Realms. There was a Keep in Tereille, Kaelee, and Hell, accessible by one of the thirteen Gates that connected the Realms to one another.

The main draw of the Keep was, of course, its extensive library. It was the repository of all the Blood; their species’ collected, knowledge, lore, and culture. Races that had lived and died and turned to dust millennia before the High Lord had been born had stored their books and plays and music at the Keep. The Keep was as old as the Blood and possibly older. The only two who might know were Geoffrey, the Keep’s historian and librarian, and Draca, the Keep’s Sceneschel. And they weren’t saying.

If spending the day in the largest library in Karla’s entire world couldn’t entice you, there was always a trip to the honey-pear orchards in Nharkhava. Honey-pear season began in the late spring, (Nharkhava was much further south than Dhemlan) and the harvest for the first crop was already well underway. Anyone interested was welcome to visit the orchard and help pick honey-pears.

The reward for helping out? All the honey-pears one could eat, of course. And no one said that anyone had to spend all day picking the fruit. There were other things to do, as well.

[OCD on its way up.]
glacial_queen: (Solemn)
Karla followed Draca down the halls of the Keep towards the library; Draca had assured Karla that Jaenelle had been ensconced in the library since she'd arrived, waiting for word of the Council's decision. Karla's reaction to Draca was just another sign of how much she'd changed since becoming friends with Jaenelle. She still remembered her only trip to the Keep before this one, back when she was a little girl of only four or five. She'd seen Draca--a human figure with unmistakable reptilian ancestry--and screamed. She'd had nightmares for a week after that trip. Now, however,she'd had so much time conversing with people who were either non-human or not fully-human, Draca's alien features hardly merited a second glance.

From the amused smiled Draca occasionally slanted her way when she thought Karla wasn't looking, it was likely she was also thinking of Karla's last visit. )

[And it's done! Like I'd really let Karla stay in Kaeleer. Second (or like sixth, really) verse same as the first. NFI, NFB, OOC is great. Some text and dialogue taken from Chapter Eight of Anne Bishop's Heir to the Shadows. I'll still be spamming your f-list today, but it'll all be for Fandom stuff.]

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