glacial_queen: (Dinnertime)
One of the most difficult skills one needed to cultivate as Queen was the ability to look interested and focused on anything, even while your brain was elsewhere--in Karla's case, hundreds of leagues away, fretting over several small villages that had been covered in an avalanche. While all she wanted to do was remain at the estate, continuing to go over emergency relief plans, she was here instead, smiling and nodding and being overall a gracious and sociable Queen. Raven's luncheon for the caretakers and staff of various Sidran orphanages and children's homes had been a rousing success, raising funds from aristos who wanted to be seen as 'charitable' and raising morale for the people who actually did the hard work in the institutions themselves. Several grinning orphans were there, too, lucky enough to have earned a lunch with their Queen and the Court Healer, the woman who was putting in all the real effort into making things better for children across Glacia.

This was a good event and an important one, one that Karla and Raven had both been looking forward to for weeks, but right now it was all Karla could do not to gnash her teeth in impatience. How much longer did they have to stand here and smile and glad-hand when there were actual lives in danger?

And if this was how Karla was feeling, how much worse was it for Raven, who could teleport up north with a thought and start healing people immediately, if only they didn't have to be here right now?

Meanwhile, up in the mountains... )

[Part 2 of 3. Thanks to both [livejournal.com profile] furnaceface and [livejournal.com profile] trigons_child for their wonderful help with this preplay. NFI, NFB, OOC is enjoyed. Warning for violence and NPC death].
glacial_queen: (Sidra)
"The first part of our plan is coming along nicely," Hekatah said. "Little Terreille is, at last, justly represented in the Dark Council."

Lord Jorval smiled tightly. Since slightly more than half of the Council members now came from Little Terreille, he could agree that the Territory that had always felt wary of the rest of the Shadow Realm was, at last, 'justly' represented. "With all the injuries and illnesses that have caused members to resign in the past two years, the Blood in Little Terreille were the only ones willing to accept such a heavy burden for the good of the Realm." He sighed, but his eyes glittered with malicious approval.

In which bad guys plot. )

Jorval rubbed his lower lip. "So the Queens of Little Terreille would eventually rule all of Kaeleer. I like it. Where do we begin?"

Hekatah tapped the map again and the two men bent their heads to look at the Territory she indicated. Sceval.

[NFI, NFB, just setting up some things. *Innocent whistling* This all taken (with a few minor alterations and the addition of our pal, Unky Hobart) from Anne Bishop's Heir to the Shadows, Chapter 15, part 1. OOC is always love.]
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: (The Hall/Keep)
Karla was somewhat surprised when she and her entourage were allowed to walk to the audience chamber without being stopped. She had half-expected to have to fight the entire way and had cautioned everyone as much, but apparently Hobart wasn't all that keen on having his home damaged by violence and bloodshed. Considering all of the furnishings and decorations that had appeared since she'd left for school, she was trying to guess how much of Glacia's treasury had gone to refurbishing her ancestral home. With all the gold leaf, it was likely a tidy percentage, indeed.

If she discovered that any of the money he'd plundered from her accounts after he'd had her declared dead had gone to the hideous frolicking shepherdess statuary now 'gracing' the low tables of the hallway, she was going to pitch a fit. Irreverent thoughts, yes, but if she focused on all the things that could go wrong once they entered the audience chamber, she was like to go mad.

The changes continued into the audience chamber itself. If one didn't know better, they'd be forgiven for assuming that Glacia's colors were gold and more gold, not silver and blue. And if Karla didn't know better, she'd almost think all the gold was a subtle kind of weapon, blinding Hobart's enemies with the glare off the gold leaf. But Hobart had never been smart, just tacky.

Read more )

[Oh god, who let me start typing? This is ridiculously long. NFB, NFI, OOC is love but I won't blame anyone for going tl;dr and skipping.]
glacial_queen: (Alert)
*INCOMING! YOU'RE ABOUT TO BE UNDER ATTACK! AMBUSH! PREPARE! PREPARE!*

Karla's alarm blared through the head of anyone with even the slightest hint of psychic ability. She'd deliberately shielded the landens from her warcry, but anyone else was fair game. She'd used a communication open to all the Blood--who cared if the other side heard her, so long as her people were warned.

The camp was instantly in turmoil, like a hornets' nest that had been overturned. People were relaying the message to those who hadn't heard it, other people were scrambling and scurrying for weapons, armor, orders. It was chaos, pure and simple. A hundred panicking people; not an army, a mob.

Minutes passed while the leaders of the army took charge, demanded calm, made preparations. Four minutes, five. Nothing.

And then a hail of flaming arrows flew into the camp and the sight shields fell away. No more than fifty, but all of them Blood. All of them trained to fight since childhood. And all of them looking to wipe this ragtag army out.

[NFB and for those in Glacia, please!]
glacial_queen: (Serious queen)
The further south their great procession had traveled, the more things had changed. Some of that was purely geographical, of course. They'd left the mountains and the great pine forests long behind them, trading them in for fields and rivers made mighty by the runoff from the mountains that only stopped when the weather turned water to ice. They had not yet hit Glacia's true agricultural region--that lay in the wealthier and more settled south--but small hills and dales were dotted with sheep and brightly-colored cottages in large and prosperous villages.

The weather had also changed as they'd ridden and marched and trained. They had started off in high summer, but even that had been cool and pleasant beneath the vast trees up north, the brightest days dimmed by the dark and heavy pines. Now they were in the fall, almost time for the harvest, and yet still the days grew hotter and more stifling as they traveled. The frequent rivers were cool and refreshing to ride through, but they lent mugginess to the air and the Black Widows and Healers that traveled with Karla's army were hard-pressed to keep up with the demands for salves to prevent mosquito bites and unguents to soothe the inevitable itches away.

But what had changed most dramatically during the course of their procession were the people. Oh yes, they all still had the Glacian stamp on them: pale skin, pale blond hair, pale blue eyes, but the further south they rode, expressions of the people had grown harder, more distrusting, or even just duller, as if their spirits had been all but snuffed. In the north, people had flocked to her banner (and she had one now, a literal banner, carried out in the front of her army, whose idea was that?) by the hundreds; Jono, Julian, and Momoko had been forced to turn people away just to keep the size of her army manageable. That flood had slowed to a trickle and had practically dried up by the time they'd crossed into the Province directly north of Glacia. Lord Mallory, her Steward, had suggested that everyone who had wanted to join had already done so. But Karla knew the truth: it wasn't just potential recruits that had dwindled here, but also her support. These were the in-betweeners, not close enough to be cowed by Hobart, nor far enough to be independent of him, either. At best, they were indifferent to political maneuvering, wanting only to be left alone. At worst, they were willing to play both sides, looking for whichever one offered the best advantage at the time.

Karla looked at the woman in front of her and wished she knew where on that scale the other woman fell. )

In answer, Karla pointed at the table. The light from the setting sun was pouring in through a window to their side. In the air, Marva appeared to have five fingers on her right hand, just like any other woman.

On the table, her shadow had only four. Her right ring finger had been cut off.

"You pledged yourself to Hobart," Karla snarled. "You're the rat your sister should fear." Behind her, Morton drew his sword.

[NFB. Omg, this is incredibly long, much love to anyone who reads it all the way through!]
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: (Craft Animated)
"All right," he said, vastly uninterested in their teenage romantic drama. "Get in there. We got a kid to save."

"Take my hand," Kitty said. "I can get us--"

Still blushing, Karla gave her a grin. "Thanks, but," she said, and passed through the outer wall of the facility, "I got it."

"Is there anything you can't do?" Kitty asked, looking a little skeptical.

Karla just offered her a grin. "You should see my friend Jaenelle," she replied. "The other answer is 'be diplomatic.' Speaking of--" she cocked her head to the side and listened to the noise of Magneto's flunky slamming through walls. He sounded like he was getting closer. Weren't you supposed to deal with him? )

[NFI, NFB, OOC IS LOVE. Follows this and happening concurrently with this. Events and dialogue largely stolen from X-3, which I've now had to watch multiple times in a day. THAT IS LOVE, YO. And many apologies to [livejournal.com profile] throughaphase for any character assassination. I swear, BLAME THE MOVIE.]
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: (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)
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: (Winter Hat)
Most people would argue that the beginning of December was a stupid time for a picnic. Of course, most people hadn’t grown up in Glacia. So when Warren had shown up at her dorm room, picnic basket in hand and crooked grin on his face to invite her out, Karla hadn’t given thought to the calendar before she’d agreed. A bit of bundling, a few warming spells and they were off on an adventure!

Pity they were going to get more of an adventure than they were hoping for. )

[Establishy! NFI, but totally FB. Preplayed with the amazing [livejournal.com profile] not_a_parakeet who rocks my world.]
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: (Injured/Ill)
[Continued directly from here]

Before Mari's hand even had a chance to fall back down to her side, Karla appeared in the back door of the room. Stairs could be seen heading up behind her.

"I felt the shield go," she said, her voice hoarse and raw-sounding. "I thought--"

It took her a moment to notice the others, swaying on her feet with exhaustion as she was. Which, of course, gave them plenty of time to notice her. Bones pressed against pallid, sweat-soaked, blood-streaked skin. More blood matted her hair which stood up in little spikes where she'd absently run her hands through it, and yet still more surrounded her mouth, where dry lips had cracked and bled. The skin under her eyes was dull and tight, covered in shadows so dark they looked like bruises. She was wearing a male's shirt, haphazardly buttoned, the sleeves rolled up to show arms thin to the point of emaciation.

To anyone who had been in the other-Fandom, it was a scarily familiar sight.

She stared at her friends for a long moment, while her mind tried to process the fact that they were there, truly there. Her head tilted, as if in question and her right arm came up to point. And then, with nothing like the grace or elegance one read about in novels, her eyes rolled up and she headed for the floor. Drama Queen )

[NFI, NFB, I bet you know where I'm going with this...This section warning free. Text adapted from Chapt. Thirteen of Heir to the Shadows. Uhh, very loosely adapted. List of previous entries can be found here. Yeah, I got nothing more to add.]
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: (It is on)
Office of the Hegemon, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil

It was a strange sensation, to want to both hug and choke a legume at the same time. Choke him for being difficult, hug him for getting two other difficult people off of his neck - which was something Peter had decided on yesterday, after an argument with his sister in which he had walked out victorious.

After all, she'd agreed to head back into space.

Of course, that left Peter with the unpleasant part, which was informing the two troublemakers they were getting hauled out to begin with. It's that they were from another universe, or he might have chosen to be more careful, but right now it seemed like an excellent way to keep tabs on Bean (his frustrating former lieutenant Battle School brat) and figure out how his stupid baby brother fit into this without having to spend too much time looking away from Achilles.

Suriyawong, his other former Battle School brat, stood mercifully still and quiet by his side. Peter was not in a mood for criticism, which he doubted would help him in the trying times ahead.

He poked at something on his desk. "Tell them to come in."

He liked making them wait.
In which everyone is bitchy at each other. )

[NFI, NFB, OOC is love! Preplayed with the witty [livejournal.com profile] endsthegame and amusing [livejournal.com profile] momlilassassin]

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