Realm of Kaeleer => Dea al Mon => Estel Province => Topic started by: Finnian Tavish on June 18, 2019, 06:00:05 PM

Title: crossing boundaries
Post by: Finnian Tavish on June 18, 2019, 06:00:05 PM

"I want you to go." Finnian bowed his head, contemplating how leather could feel like parchment. But those were her hands. Sun warmed and wrinkled. Age spots that darkened and age spots that paled. He could see her veins through her skin. Feel them when they touched. Her hands were always cold now. Cool against the skin of his cheeks, which she pet as he bowed his head into her hands.

"Then I'll go." Just as he did everything else that was asked of him. At least here the people who asked cared. She loved him. His captains had not. He was never asked to murder the innocent. To kidnap. Never teased or chided when he didn't pierce unwilling bodies with his spear. Here he was a family. And she was asking him to leave. This time Finn did not laugh.

"They need you." She explained. He nodded, eyes closed. Palms smoothing his face, she touched his hair and kissed his forehead. It was like losing his mother all over again. They had been together a long time. "My granddaughter does not." There was bad blood between them, Finn knew. The new pack leader was strong and she was fierce. Granddaughter of this old woman who had taught Finn how to be a man.

She pressed a note on him, paper crinkling in his hand. It made Finnian think of her skin. One last kiss in parting, lips gentle on her cheek, afraid she would tear. He knew there would be an uproar once he was found missing. But he was free to choose a new pack if this one was not to his liking. And it wouldn't be without her in charge. "I thought cunning was for foxes?" He teased her, making her pinch him.

He left with the pain stinging his ribs. It was echoed in his heart. But he was needed elsewhere. Too many of their people slaughtered, she had told him, eyes shrewd. Finnian would do as she bid. Think of it as a debt. Men paid their debts. Note vanished without being read, it wasn't for him anyway, he went home to see their things packed, his and his daughters.

Then they took the Winds so there would be no trail to track. Finnian supplied the power, but Annaleigh wove the shields. Hers were better anyway. "Take me to your leader." He grinned, Ebon-grey hanging free around his neck. "I've business with her, and her alone. The peaceful sort, I promise." Not that it mattered if they believed him. It was unlikely they could stop him. Hand on his daughter's shoulder, he hoped her presence would lead them to be more welcoming, and circumspect.

Title: Re: crossing boundaries
Post by: Moira Dáire on June 18, 2019, 07:48:43 PM
Praise be to The Darkness, the womb of Mother Night. All creation bound to the threads of her grand plan. Anointed oils dripped from her fingertips as she dragged them across the infant’s forehead. ”May you ever be a blessing to your parents, to your pack, and to Mother Night.” She whispered over his tiny head. Blankets of deepest black swaddling him tight. Even while she exercised her Holy caste, the healer in her worked too. Quiet probes ensuring the baby had not been made overly vulnerable in the short trip from home to Temple.

They gathered in the woods. Village so close to the city they mingled at the edges. Blood came from all over to see the ancient temple. Handed down from one Daire woman to another for generations that most of Dea Al Mon could not fathom. Today the people inside were all pack. Watching as a newborn was named one of their own. Even though it would be a decade before they knew if he was wolf. Kin was good enough.

With the blessing ceremony over everyone began to filter out. Heading for the home of the happy parents to celebrate with gifts welcoming the newborn. A party was what they needed. A reason for joy. They were so few these days that they could all fit in the temple at once. As it neared empty she took in the breadth and scope. It was not a very big building. She remembered keenly Daw’s welcoming into the pack. How people had filtered in with no standing room left. Doors flung wide so those outside could hear her great-aunt speak the sermon.

Sighing she cleaned the altar. Back turned to the gallery where the congregation sat on neat rows of stone benches. Her feet were bare. Connecting her to the life in the room. Chilly now that she was not full of energy with preaching. The simple robe over her dress not long enough to protect her toes. ”What is it?” She prompted, as a nervous young pup came up the aisle. Fidgeting instead of speaking.

Peeking at him through her hair he motioned towards the door. ”Who is it? Go. Let them in. It’s a temple.” She said gently standing up tall with an empty wine bottle in her hand. Shared among the women at the end of ever gathering, it was a gift from Court. A few drops of Queen’s blood to encourage fertility. She said it was for her personal struggles, but she had never taken a mate. Sharing it among those that wanted children instead. Most of them did, after all. It had been two years since there had been a mate meet. Their numbers too small these days to ensure the safety of such a gathering. Not after the last. So only bonded pairs were having children. This baby blessed today only the third born to the pack in nearly a decade.

”Hello,” She welcomed. Eyes on the girl only a moment before they trailed over the man. Brows lifting at the Jewel he wore openly on his chest. No wonder there had been a little concern. ”how can I help you?” This girl was too old for a Birthright. Too young for an Offering. Far too young for a wedding. But the nervous pup pointed to Moira with a soft, That’s her. To the stranger.
Title: Re: crossing boundaries
Post by: Finnian Tavish on June 18, 2019, 08:12:29 PM

He had not expected a temple. Arm around Annaleigh’s shoulder, Finn watched the people filter out into the murky light of the trees. There was a somber sort of joy in the gathering. It swelled around one couple and then dispersed. People separating to go their own way home, talking softly to each other as they branched off. Finnian squeezed Annaleigh tight.

”They must have known you were coming.” He teased, chin pointing to the old building. ”Built it new just for you.” She was unimpressed, as usual, with his poor witticisms. Giving her a little shake, he lead the way in, just on the heels of the boy who had returned for them. Inside the light was different, but no less murky. It smelled of wax and people. Psyches staining the walls over the years and leaving behind a residue. It didn’t feel particularly of anything. Just a sensation of ages.

A woman was waiting for them. Priestess, he assumed by her robe. She was her, though, the one he’d been sent to meet. The boy confirmed it. Pack leader. ”Lady.” He said in greeting. She offered him no name, but she didn’t turn them away either. He called the letter in and crossed the distance between them, daughter lingering somewhere half way. Stopping a polite distance away - at least three feet, as he’d been taught - he held the letter out for her.

”My pack leader sent me.” He pretended to be serious. ”As a little gift.” He added with a grin. Which was the truth of the matter. He wouldn’t have come if not for her. But she had bid him go so here he was. ”I’m Finnian Tavish.” Palm up he gestured to Annaleigh, who was examining something he had no name for. A mural? Some sort of priestessy thing. ”Pssst.” He hissed to get her attention. ”And this is my daughter, Annaleigh.” She curtsied, shy, curious glance taking in the other priestess before she ducked away back to the thing she’d been looking at.

Finn licked his lips and laughed, body tipping toward the pack leader as if he would share a secret. ”Usually she has the better manners.”

Title: Re: crossing boundaries
Post by: Moira Dáire on June 19, 2019, 02:00:12 PM
”Lord,” Moira said back. What an exceedingly curious turn of events. She made no effort to hide her probing. Priestess’ keen Craft sussing out the whisper of their Jewels in the Abyss. Castes tasted and her own balanced combination offered. Soft castes, most presumed, because a woman that could heal body and spirit ought to have compassion. Which she did, in spades. Spades that were carefully weighed and measured against her role in the pack. A role that required her to be suspicious of the unknown.

Taking the first of three steps down the dais she finished closing the space between them to accept the warlord’s letter. Probing it heavily she cracked the seal with a thumbnail. She recognized the pack’s mark. They had sent men to help bury the bodies after the mate meet was attacked. None of pack Daire left in any condition to see to their dead. Before she could real the entire note he summed it up- earning a rise of Moira’s eyebrow with his inane remark. ”Most men do seem to assume they’re gifts.”

Folding the letter she slipped it into her pocket for another read through later. Where would she house these strangers? Could she believe that the aging pack leader had sent them to spare this man ill use? Just because it was the sort of thing she would do did not make it true. They could be assassins. Infiltrators. Any manner of danger. Just the Jewels he wore were reason enough to deny them.

But they were equally reason to invite them in. She listened politely to his introduction. Nodding to Lord Tavish then to Annaleigh in turn. A hint of a smile softening the corner of her mouth. ”I’m Moira Daire,” An Ebon-gray Warlord and a Green Jeweled Priestess. Auspicious. And they had not long welcomed in the woman and child Daithi claimed as his son. Perhaps the tides of fate were turning. Smiling on the pack once more.

”Good to know.” She said of their manners. Chin lifting slightly she motioned to the temple as a whole. ”Easily forgiven. There are very few temples of our people. This is certainly the oldest that has survived to present times.” There was no reason to hide the pleasure she took from having the place admired. Shifting she watched the young priestess inspect the intricately carved mural hanging beside the low platform. The relief itself was made of wood. Among the first important lessons a temple apprentice received was the skill needed to preserve this, and other artifacts. ”Some say Suibhne’s own daughter was the priestess that carved the scene. It shows his first transformation.”

Turning back to her work she finished clearing the altar. Bowls wiped clean and set beneath the cloth draped over the old stone mantle. Empty bottle sent into her cabinet. A short, sharp blade replaced in its sheath and tucked into her belt. ”Unfortunate you weren’t a bit earlier. You could have been introduced to most of the pack.” She said conversationally. Trying to buy time for her mind to think. They would be harder to house than Rois and Tadg. A man with impossible Jewels, a daughter in the throes of adolescence. ”Has she had a shift yet?” The girl would have to be kept close until she did. Perhaps sharing her own home until they knew these people better was the least intrusive option.
Title: Re: crossing boundaries
Post by: Finnian Tavish on June 23, 2019, 06:41:39 AM

Finn opened his first barrier for her probes. His daughter did the same, felt because he slipped a quite probe of his own in, tempted to weave a shield to protect her inner web. But that both ladies would have noticed. Instead he made sure nothing was taken that was not offered. A simple exchange that told him she was also a healer.

He found the combination a curious one. Joke tucked away for another time as she came down the stairs of the dias to meet him on the floor. "This one has been told he is." Finn grinned, one side of his mouth lifting higher in a haughty smirk. He had been sent as one to her, after all. Folding the letter, the priestess healer put into her pocket. A habit Finn always found most interesting. Why a pocket when you had a cabinet?

This time he did not ask. Next time, maybe, he would. When they knew each other a little better. Looking with her over the the temple, Finnian pretended proper awe. Trying to mimic the gleam he saw in Annaleigh's eyes. "How do you keep it secret? A whole building is hard to hide." People would be curious. People always were. Moira was proud though. Proud of her temple, and pleased with his daughter's interest.

"A nauseating thing to make art of." Finn commented, leaning over Annaleigh's shoulder to have a look. "Faaa." She chided, forcing him to stand back up with a falsely apologetic shrug. "Pardon me." He sang in wounded dignity. Smirking as he gave her room to stretch her interest. The other priestess was caught in the throws of her caste as well. Back up on her dias to clean up the tools of her trade.

Finn made a note of the things she used. He would need to purchase some for his girl. "Yes. We saw them leaving. Did someone have a baby?" He asked, remembering the small, tightly held bundle. He'd clutched Annaleigh much the same when she had been small. When he had been allowed to hold her at all. Her mother, Darkness keep her, had not been of a mind to share.

Secretly he was glad she was dead.

Smacking his lips, Finn glanced at his daughter. Shoulders stiff at the question. It was a personal one, but standard from a pack leader. Their own had asked nearly every time he saw her. Though not in the girl's hearing. Probably because she had known it was a sore spot. Shifting to stand between them, Finn shook his head, eyebrows bobbing warning to Moira.

"We're practicing the craft. She is very attentive to her caste calling." It was the excuse he offered everyone. Too busy being a priestess to be a wolf. It was true, in a sense. But he worried. She mostly grew frustrated with him when he coached her on the change. He didn't blame her any. It was big, important craft.

Title: Re: crossing boundaries
Post by: Moira Dáire on July 10, 2019, 01:27:18 AM
Moira’s cheeks rounded, but her mouth did not quite smile. A wrinkle of confusion giving way to mild amusement as his question rolled out. Voice level she explained the un-secrecy of the temple. ”We let them come. From all over the territory, those that wish to see are welcomed to do so. The pack is simply cautious, as we’ve always been. The humans get their look in then leave. There’s nothing but the temple to recommend this stretch of wood so they get bored quickly. Except for those who can appreciate the building in and of itself,” She told him with a nod towards his daughter.

”Oh, I don’t know. It’s a very pivotal moment in our heritage.” Eyebrows raised she looked away from them as they gazed at the masterpiece. Her own work calling her back to the altar. Where the swaggering male addressed her once more after a soft reproach from Annaleigh. Back to them while she bent to her task Moira took her time answering his question. ”Indeed. A much awaited child.” Turning towards him again her smile was soft. Not wistful, she had no maternal longing of her own. But there was something wholesome and healing in the birth of a new pack member.

Wolf or not. Though ever bit of Moira believed he would be among the moon singers someday. The pack was fortunate to have few unjeweled members. ”There was a naming ceremony, and we begged blessings on him from Mother Night. As is our tradition.” Altar cleared, cleaned, and cleansed she stepped down again. Taking a moment to direct the younger priestess’ attention to a statuette nearly hidden in a shadowy alcove. It gave the father a bit of breathing room to answer the necessary question Moira had to ask.

Elbow caught in the palm of one hand Moira rested her chin on the thumb of the other. Mouth partially puckered as she watched him cast her a pleading glance. Clearly it was a sensitive subject. Frowning at his words she scoffed lightly. ”Let her practice. Priestesses grow with training. The shift comes when the shift comes. There’s no need to interrupt her with preparing for the inevitable.” She had been late to shift too. Though never embarrassed to say so. ”The only thing it affects is how far an escort should let her wander.”

That made up Moira’s mind, at the very least. ”For tonight you can stay with me. I have a spare room, you’ll have to share I’m afraid unless one of you prefers the sofa.” Really it was Daw’s room, but he was around so rarely and in the space even less, that it didn’t smile hide or hair of him. Choosing a bench the priestess sat. Eyes tracking the young woman’s progress from one interesting artifact to another. Patting the seat beside her in invitation she asked, ”Why do you think your pack leader has asked you to relocate? This letter is very vague on details. And my people have already been nearly annihilated once this century. It won't be easy for you to integrate or earn anyone’s trust.” Her own included, Moria’s tone made clear. She was curious to see what he thought of the situation though. ”It must have been a difficult decision to uproot your daughter. How is she taking the change?” 
Title: Re: crossing boundaries
Post by: Finnian Tavish on October 05, 2019, 09:27:42 AM

Thumb passing behind his ear, Finn's head tipped away, eyes rolling across the room. Smoke making stains across the ceiling beams. Faint swirls of darkness that were not wood grain. "I suppose that might rouse less curiosity." Did they hide the more private art when the other Blood came? It was a thought he tucked down the length of his tongue as he peered over his daughter's shoulder.

Held there while he was chased away. Scolded as if he were the child. Hackles still smooth and smile more amused that wounded, whatever he pretended at. He knew his place. His role. "Of course lady, most pivotal. But still unpleasant to look upon." He never had been able to stomach watching another make the transition between one shape and the next.

He watched her at her work. Back to him until he brought up the child. For this she turned, a smile crossing her lips that was more genuine and welcoming than any she had turned on him so far. Finnian's own mouth curved in answer. "Children are always a blessing." His eyes slid toward Annaleigh. An edged blade to his heart. There had been those who had sought to use her against him.

They'd not lived long enough to attempt follow through on the threat. His Ebon-grey only rose to answer such challenges rather than becoming subdued by them. "With so many to ask, I'm sure she could do nothing but listen." Palm up in homage, Finn flicked his fingers. He'd been taught to speak prettily when needed. Daughter rolling her eyes at him before turning to the place pointed out to her by Moira.

Finnian moved closer to the pack leader, child safe at his back. Himself staunchly between both. He would always be her shield. From words. From weapons. He would guard her from the whole world, and so save his own heart. "Oh, interrupting is something I am never allowed to do, lady, you may be sure." Smile rueful enough to prove his intent had often been just that. His worry a father's worry.

The shift was a pain he could not shield her from, only prepare her for and suffer alongside her. Hopeless in his helplessness. "I will heed your advice in this thing." She did not fret or fuss, which soothed tension from two sets of shoulders. "Kind of you." Finn followed her to the bench. A knee to its side as she sat, hands sliding into his pockets as they watched his daughter.

He did not sit until she invited him. A swift glance to judge if it was also foolish of her to invite him into her house. She seemed sure, but not of him. Teeth flashing, Finn wrapped his fingers around the front of the bench and leaned toward his knees. "She has a daughter too, who will rule when my lady passes." Spine like steel, Finn ducked his chin, lips drawn tight over his gums. Teeth bared in what was not a smile.

"Better for everyone a hard earned trust than none at all, yes?" Putting his fangs away, Finn looked at Moira, chin bumping against the coil of muscle beneath the fold of his sleeve. There was a sleepy, half amused promise in his eyes. "You have a need of strength, you and your pack. And I have need of a place where I can trust as well." He did not want to be a raider again. Friendless. Family less.

Shoulders rolling, Finn sat back. "As well as can be expected. I am waiting for the reality of it to set in before I judge her happiness on the matter." His eyes watched her, other senses attuned to the pack leader at his side. But Finn always knew which way Annaleigh lay. "She is unwelcoming of change, and doubtful of my sense, but here she is. And she didn't even bite me once along the way."