The missing queen

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Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
The missing queen
« on: October 26, 2018, 06:17:14 AM »

Kissing her forehead with relief or regret, Nyree wasn’t sure which, Akamu had left her on her father’s doorstep. It was over. Finally her training was done, if not quite finished. She’d not learned what they had set out to teach her, but Nyree had still come away with knowledge. And power. Smooth round beads of Tiger Eye looped around her neck and tangled in her hair.

After the greetings were done, mother pretending not to cry, father stern as always but petting her hair, she and Mooki fled the house. Nyree laughed to find her little brother taller than her, all long limbs and hollow stomach. He begged for honey as they walked, arm in arm, through the trees. Around them, Nyree’s power spread, checking tree roots, the weight of rocks, and the heaviness of hives.

They came across him in the road as they crossed from one side to the other. Heads bowed together and laughing, fingers sticky from honey comb. Nyree’s feet felt tender from tree climbing, bits of bark and leaves clinging to her skirts. They’d been too long in shoes, which she abandoned the moment she walked into her father’s house, dropped into the basket her mother kept for things to be shared out with the village.

She stopped, toes climbing over toes, arm pulling Mooki to a halt when he kept walking. Head lifting he greeted Enele and then pulled at Nyree, not done rambling, but Nyree had let go and his arm was empty, sister gone to fill Enele’s. Eyes rolling Mooki slumped to the ground to pout, and finish the honey comb he’d stuck in his pocket.

”Enele.” Nyree breathed against his neck. Still wider than she was, as if he’d known just how big to be if he was going to be twice as broad. That same potency filling her nose. She squeezed him tight, arms locked around his neck. Nyree could recognize it now, that warm heaviness he stirred in her stomach. But the giddiness was the same as it had always been. As old as her friendship with Enele.

”I’m home!” She told him in case he hadn’t noticed, grin flashing before she pressed a kiss to his cheek in her excitement. Leaving a smear of honey on the back of his neck as she did so. ”I think you grew again!” She laughed, looking him over. ”Are you and Mooki ever going to stop?” She expected it of her brother, but she’d thought Enele old enough to be done. Nyree was, wide of hip but still lacking breasts, which Laila had explained, attracted men. Too old to grow them now, the girls had lamented. One in despair and the other in sympathy.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    221 Posts    0 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2018, 08:40:53 PM »

Everyone was excited. Quietly gossiping about the return of their long gone queenling. There was plenty to gossip about, after all. Enele had made sure of it. Frequently updating the village on word of Nyree- not the pleasant letters her mother shared with friends. No. His words had a point. A sharp, barbed one that he held steadily aimed at Tane. What sort of father sent his sobbing daughter away? How could he watch the farmers struggle when they had a queen, a queen they had all helped raise? It was only to see his own status elevated. To give the Koti claim to what shouldn’t have been theirs. Now they might never get Nyree back, and if they did, the Koti would whisk her away to some bigger village that could pay them for the privilege. Her family wouldn’t lose out, but the rest of them would!

For every man that stood by Tane’s right to decide for his daughter another agreed with Enele. It was no secret she was doing poorly with her training. Anyone that visited the city could ask around and hear the stories for themselves. Enele spoke his grievances until he believed them. Shoving his real feelings lower. Deeper. Until he was convinced they were gone. But he didn’t stop condemning Tane of greedy ambition. Grudge growing rather than easing as the weeks turned to years and Nyree chose to stay.

Then she was back. Standing in the lane between his house and the forest. And all the things he thought he’d put away poured over. He had expected to happy. To be excited to see her, like everyone else. Giddy like Tama, both rushing through breakfast to see if a trip into town might catch them a glimpse. But now she was looking at him with those same bright brown eyes.

And he just wanted to be sick. Stomach lurching hard up into his throat, knocking his lungs out of the way. ”Lady.” He said softly, eyes shifting off towards Mauki who had sat on the shoulder of the dirt road. It frightened him, the strange sensation of catching her scent after so long. Warm body leaning into his suddenly too hot skin. Enele wanted to grab her back. So he did for a second, hands hard on her forearms to keep her from roaming while he stuck his nose hard on the crown of her head.

He wanted to shake her, to scream at her for leaving. For staying. For coming back. For making him feel as crazy as they said he was. Things had changed. Enele wasn’t the same man. And Nyree pretended at womanhood. The smell of vulnerability gone from her psyche. Stiffening Enele crossed his arms over his chest, breaking her grip. ”Stop.” He couldn’t pretend. He was too angry.

Snorting in annoyance he took a step back that sent him treading on Tama’s small foot. Glad for an excuse he swept the small boy into his arms. ”Come on, I’ll bring you to Io.” He turned away without answering her small talk. Head bowing over the boy who was more upset that they were leaving than he was at being stepped on. Voice a pitchy whine he tried to convince his uncle to stop. Words that fell on deaf ears. Enele’s head was buzzing in warning and wanting and meanness.

”Fine, fine. Go.” He stopped when Tama started to cry. Salty tears and frustration not his own catching his attention. Barriers low as usual, the boy had learned it was a good way to reel his uncle back in when he was off on a mental tangent. They had only gone a few steps. Somehow it felt like miles. Enele put him down. Waiting with his back turned to them while his nephew made a shy introduction, peeking at Mauki’s honeycomb with just as much interest as he had for the queenling.

Enele breathed in, slow and calculated. Trying to lessen the knot of heart and stomach he suffered. He knew he was being stupid. Or that being mad was stupid. It shouldn't have hurt, or mattered, what Nyree chose to do. It did though. She had chosen to stay, chosen the people that wanted to change her when he had always tried to be a good friend. Had loved her just the way she was. Stupid, stupid girl! He had to put it away again. Smother it down and turn around to keep his eyes on Tama. Otherwise... well he didn't know and he was sure the village wouldn't enjoy finding out.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2018, 09:51:48 PM »

It was very much not what Nyree had expected. Two words he spoke to her, ten fingers leaving mirrored bruises on her uppers. No hug. No hello. No Bee. Nyree folded her stick fingers behind her back and stared. Eyes wide, dark like the secret places in the forest, and troubled beneath the crease of her brows. Confusion knotted her fingers and her stomach.

”Sorry.” Hurt erasing the giddiness as he stepped back, treading on the boy behind him. Nyree leaned to look, but Enele swept him up too quick, and without even saying goodbye, he turned his back on her. Nyree just watched, rooted to the ground like an old tree. But there was rot in her anchors, eating its way up into her heart which tripped and stumbled and stopped in her chest.

She wished she could be that small again. When you were little it was okay to cry when hurt. But Nyree wasn’t small anymore, and only the boy could do the crying for them both. She still couldn’t move. Frozen in the road while they walked away, Mooki just beginning to stir behind her, glad the visit hadn’t gone on long. Selfish enough to want his sister to himself for a time, to hear all about the city and the people and everything else she had been telling him.

But Tama interrupted. Finally free and making nice with Nyree. Mooki rolled his eyes in frustration. And Nyree was forced to move. To bend down and offer her hand. To make nice when all she wanted to do was sink into the ground and disappear. It wasn’t fair. She hadn’t done anything wrong! Sniffing, she smiled over herself. Calling in another piece of honey comb when Mooki looked in danger of having to share.

”Here. This one is just for you.” Mooki was looking at her strangely. Nyree looked back, blinking fast before she realized why he was staring. Lashes growing warm and damp. And over what? For why? She smiled for him too and rubbed one dry with her sleeve. Maybe their friendship had run its course. ”Who is Io?” She whispered. ”Some woman he moved into his house.” Mooki answered with a shrug.

”Oh.” Nyree stroked Tama’s head. Pretending not to notice when Enele turned around again, settling into the dirt with the boys and making herself laugh when Tama’s honeycomb proved the messiest of all. That was alright. Everything was fine. She was fine. Craft funneling swift and deep into the ground to keep her from floating away.

Io probably had tits.

”Want to hear a story?” Mooki groaned. Nyree emptied herself out into the earth. She was fine. ”I know a really good one about a shoe maker.” She tempted, only to make her brother’s eyes roll so hard his whole body collapsed across her lap.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    221 Posts    0 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2018, 12:50:21 PM »

If he looked at Tama and only Tama he could manage. Every breath a labor of unprecedented effort Enele tried to stand without swaying. To steel his emotions without wavering. Arms empty of his nephew he wrapped them around his aching stomach instead. Shoulders hunched over as if he were facing a cold wind instead of his own unruly temper.

It just wasn’t fair. He wanted to matter more. Knowing his anger wasn’t entirely deserved only made him feel worse. And since he didn’t know how to fix it he tried to move forward instead. Ignore the feelings long enough and you could forget they were there. Enele knew. His whole life had been that way. Pretending he didn’t feel what he did, or hiding it with a foul mouth and rage. Everyone expected, accepted, that he would be mad all the time. That was how they thought of warlord princes. Other emotions just made them suspicious, or uncomfortable. So he didn’t have them.

Especially not now that he was sorting half of the village’s administrative affairs. That too was because he was a warlord prince. And if it was his village, then Nyree would have to fight him for rule of it.

Tama gave his thanks then sucked cheerfully on the treat he was given. A new sort of sweet he hadn’t tried yet. Face lighting up as he crossed his legs next to Mauki to compare the sizes of their combs. Enele stared at the dark crop of hair. Sheared to match his own because that was what Tama had insisted on. From the corner of his eye he could see Nyree hovering. A short exchange between the siblings, almost too low to hear. He could guess, having heard Io’s name, what the question was.

He offered no answer of his own. Tama did, a little bit. Child’s mind telling the pair that she made webs for Uncle. Then he was engrossed in the sticky mess of honey again. Sucking until pieces of the wax came away. He chewed them, dripping gold from his wrists to his trousers.

They looked like three children. Sitting cross legged on the side of the road and filling the space with laughter. She looked like a child still. That soured his stomach more, but let it drop back down into his gut where it belonged. Giving room for his lungs fill with air again. Nodding vigorously through the mouthful of honeycomb Tama leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. Eyes turning up to Enele, prodding him with a spear to spear thread because he’d just learned how. The Tiger Eye hung around his neck still new and exciting. Begging for them to stay for the queenling's story. Which put Enele in the awkward position of having to stay too.

”Mhm.” He answered back, disappointing his nephew with real words instead of answering along the thread. Moving off the road he found a sturdy tree trunk to lean against. Whittling knife called in to occupy his fidgeting hands while the small group chatted. It was easier. Looking at her like a child that didn’t know how to say no. Easier to let the blame for her absence hinge on her father instead of rubbing off on her decision to stay. That way she could be the victim with Enele rather than the one that had left.

Fingers guiding the tip of the blade he worked scales into a stubby legged, chubby dragon. Nearly done now, the butternut wood gave easily with every scratch. They would wear off. All the subtle details. Softwoods did that when you touched them a lot. He preferred plum or cherry wood, hazel and aspen. Sturdy without being impossible to chip away at. When he realized the story had ended he glanced up to find Tama laying in the grass. Honey still on his lips, fallen fast asleep. He sighed, determined to finish the figure before he had to carry his sticky nephew home. Maybe he would let him take his whole nap there in the sunshine. Then they could swim in the lake to clean off.

He wasn’t alone yet, though. Face overly warm he studied the wood more intensely. Avoiding the warm brown eyes that watched. "All that training and no one told you staring is rude?" He asked her with far less venom than he had hoped. It wasn't fair. He wasn't done being angry.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2018, 02:27:58 PM »

Enele did not join them. Nyree hid her disappointment beneath relief. He was easier to ignore with distance between them. She bent her attention on Tama instead. And Mooki, who she tickled until he was no longer prone in her lap. Laughing, they all wedged in close. Thick as honey thieves while Nyree told them a story she’d learned in the city about a cobbler who had secret helpers. Helpers that turned out to be clever lutrani.

Tama was asleep by the time she’d finished, and Mooki half there. Still complaining under his breath about all the better things they could have been doing. Most of which involved his hooligan friends. Nyree knew what he wanted, and ignored him much better than he had ignored her story. Humming to herself, she wrapped up the rest of Tama’s honey comb in wax paper. She always carried plenty in her cabinet for just such a purpose. Habit that had not been put aside even when she hadn’t been able to climb trees and collect honey.

Fingers licked clean, she watched Enele. Secretly, Nyree thought. Kicking Mooki to silence when his grousing nearly woke Tama. It seemed not so secretly, however. Her hair and lashes not shield enough. Nyree snorted, and Mooki lobbed a clump of dirt at him. ”Sour asshole.” Nyree laughed, hands slapped over her mouth to keep the sound from startling their napper.

”Just a bit. What are you making, Enele?” She had dozens. But not a single one since the fox. Nyree wondered what he did with them now. Sell them? Give them to Io, or maybe Tama? Only one of those options sat gently in her stomach. Nyree smoothed her fingers through Mooki’s hair until he swatted her hands away, flatten his disheveled curls back down against his scalp. Sighing she put her unwanted hands in her lap.

”I think he’s just mad all his hair is falling out.” Cheek turned on him in a snub. He deserved a bit of prodding for being so rude! He still hadn’t said hello. Nyree rolled a bit of dirt between her fingers, heart slipping down into her stomach. Made he hadn’t wanted her to come back. He’d yelled so much about her training, it all sort of bled together, but he threatened her. Called the village his people and threatened not to welcome her back.

Had left Nyree decidedly out when it came to laying claims. Her teeth flashed in a bitter smile. So much for taking her home and protecting her. ”Mother’s probably got dinner done.” She told her brother, which dispelled all his languor and saw Mooki straight to his feet. Nyree accepted his help up, gaze wistful as she glanced down at the sleeping Tama.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    221 Posts    0 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2018, 11:22:34 PM »

”You go tasting a lot of assholes, Mauki?” Enele shot back, unmoved by the pups abuse. Ball of dirt shot down with a whip of Craft that sent a dusting of soil back. There was too much a gap in age for them to really be friends. And too much antagonizing between their father and the warlord prince. But they never did more than sass one another.

It wasn’t true, Enele thought. He wasn’t sour. More like bitter. The only real difference being that Enele chose the word for himself. Flicking a glance her way Enele tried not to twitch at his name on her lips. Without answering he tossed the little dragon over. Wishing it were something that better reflected his mood. A hissing badger or a roaring lion. Not an amusingly overweight lizard. Enele carved what the wood told him to carve, though, he only chose the wood.

”I’ve all my hair you blind chit.” It was just fading to gray. Speckles of it dusted through the black. Probably from all the years he’d spent prying her clutching legs from around his waist. There were other things, of course, a lifetime of stress to turn him old before his time. But he would rather not think about any of that.

To be honest he was lucky to have any hair at all. He could have pulled it out in clumps a thousand times. The years had not been kind to Enele and he had not been kind to himself either. On the ground lay the only reason he hadn’t left for good. Or so he told himself. Dozens of cliffs climbed, icy slopes explored, Winds dived from, deep waters and dark caves delved into. It was the only time his heart didn’t feel like an ugly lump. When he got it beating hard and fast. Distracted himself with adrenaline. Dangerous jobs and even riskier hobbies. He’d had tattoos etched into his skin and scars dug down to the bone.

”I’ve got him,” Enele promised as Nyree looked down at his nephew pensively. He came over. Crouching down to lift the boy up. Head lolling sleepily before it caught in the hollow of Enele’s shoulder. Before he could settle again his mother stuck her head out of the front door. She came over with a hug for Nyree and pat on the head for Mauki. They met by the opposite side of the road, exchanging Tama with a level of practice that didn’t interrupt his nap.

It would definitely be the lake for Enele. Nose wrinkling he tried to wipe a line of sticky drool off the front of his shirt. ”I’m going to the lake. You can send him later if he wakes up before I’m back.” He told Kiri. Sticky hands ducking into his pockets he turned half towards Nyree and Mauki. Not sure what to say now. Nothing nice came to mind so he bit his lip and shook his head instead. No. It was too soon to talk. The hurt wasn’t buried deep enough, it would just spill over.

”Stop by Mrs. Kalani’s shop on the way home, Mauki. There’s a package there for your mom.” He had seen it that morning when he’d gone in to trade rabbit furs for eggs. Long and wrapped in brown paper. Fabric, he thought without actually knowing. Tip offered he started walking again. Towards the same thin path he had taken for years to get to the lake shore. Should he have said goodbye? It nagged in his chest and buzzed in his head. Making his feet heavy and his face red. Yes. No. He didn't want to talk to her. To know if she had changed. To judge how much he had changed.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2018, 08:35:34 AM »

Mooki raised a shield, dirt sticking to it and blowing away. Not a single grain to dust himself or his sister. He forgot about Tama, though, bits of soul clinging to the boy’s shoes. Nyree kicked him for his troubles, disintegrating his shield. But they both wore the same expression. Puckered in disgust at the mental image Enele laid out for them.

Nyree nearly missed the dragon. The tips of her fingers sweeping it from the air and tumbling it into her palm. Cupping the round figure, she focused on that instead of Enele’s grousing. At least he was talking to her. Even if he was insulting her while he did it. They would just have to find a new rhythm now that he had a woman. Nyree understood. It changed things. Couples were possessive. Exclusive.

She’d been gone a long time. Plenty of things had changed while she had been anyway. Nyree had been a fool to think her friendship with Enele would have stayed the same when nothing else had. Should have known better. The only word she’d had of him hadn’t been from him. Mother Night she was stupid. And still not immune to the pang of rejection. Hurrying her brother up when she finally put it all together.

At least Kiri was still nice. Handing out warm greetings before taking her son back from Enele. Nyree promised to come back the next day and feed the healer’s garden. Ignoring the way Enele ignored her. Words for everyone but Nyree. Not even an insult before he turned his back on them and walked away. She could feel eyes on her. Practically taste Mooki’s confusion. Shaking her head at his unvoiced questions, Nyree gave Kiri some wrapped honey and then dragged her brother, squeezing his hand tight until he whined.

Nyree let go. Walking fast and holding herself tight to spare her brother. Friendless. She was just as friendless here as she had been in the city. Unable to please everyone. Unable to please anyone. Nyree saw it when they went into the village to collect their mother’s package. The disappointment beneath the pleasure when people greeted her.

Nyree smiled for them anyway. Put herself away until she was nothing but a hollow caste. She’d never be able to rule them, and had never wanted to, but she could feed their land. Be useful. And when her father snarled and took her lantern at night she could summon witchlight under her blankets. She could spin quiet shields too, so no one would be disturbed by her tears.

Find a new balance. A new happiness. It was easier when you gave up all expectations. Cut your own wants out and filled your body up with everyone elses.

Was he sorry now, that he’d pulled her from the water? Nyree was.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    221 Posts    0 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2018, 10:52:54 AM »

Boots in the gentle surf of the lake’s waves Enele pouted. At himself, and at the unfairness of his life. There had been no one growing up. Mother and sister loving him with a measure of distance. Of caution, maybe even fear. Father not loving him at all. A lonesome existence that had grown lonelier after his mother died and his sister left home for training.

Then a twist of fate had linked him to Nyree. It had mattered less that the accident was his fault since he had gone into save her. Most people forgave him that one misplaced step. Even if they held him at twice the arms length his family did. And in that naive way particular to little girls, and maybe even little queens, Nyree had cared. For no reason or obligation other than she just had.

He thought it was unfair for her to try and act as if everything was the same. Not after so long apart. She hadn’t written him any letters, even before he had gone to try coaxing her back. Suffering the stupid meeting with the Koti after. He had hurt her feelings then, to try convincing her. Now he had hurt her again, and he hadn’t even said the things he really thought or felt. Had hurt her just by trying to lessen the blow.

Breaking a stiff reed into small pieces he chunked them at the choppy surface of the water. Burying his feeling instead of letting them wash over him like the rising tide. When he’d finished destroying the reed he peeled his clothes off and washed in the lake. Caught out by a passing group of teens. The girls blushing and the boys chuckling at Enele’s unabashed dressing.

It had been over an hour. Tama had not come. So he vanished his wet boots and took the woods home. Stopping in the field behind his house to climb the ancient oak that peeked up above the other trees. He had a little bag of wooden animals. A menagerie worth of elephants, fyrkats, tigers, bears, and other beasts. All stowed away in a silk satchel with nowhere to go. No one worth giving them too. And he was too… Enele. Too Enele to go and give them to Nyree now. So he tied the bag to a branch near the top, where the limbs became too weak to support his weight. As high as he could go. It was shiny and blue, made of velvet with thick drawstrings perfect for securing it to the branch he’d chosen. There had been a squat bottle of scotch in it before the figurines.

Eventually she would find it there. He knew because there was a fat beehive in the tree too. One of the little bastards stung him while he was climbing down. He spent the next day in bed, recovering from the swollen eyes and itching hives. Two healers bothering him the entire night to make sure their brews were actually taken.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2018, 01:37:10 PM »

Nyree pressed her feet tight against the tree branch. Her psychic scent masked beneath her Tiger Eye, but she couldn’t hide the scent of her blood. Bare feet raw from racing over rough ground and scrambling up trees. Still soft from years spent tucked away in socks and shoes. Safe and clean, and weak now. All her callouses softened to uselessness.

They hurt. And it hurt to keep them flush with the bark, but somehow that pain was less than the wet throbbing of when she didn’t. And Nyree though it helped staunch the oozing, and keep the scent from spreading. She wasn’t winded, but her breathing was quick and shallow. Caught between her thighs as she pressed her forehead into her knees.

Somewhere out there Mooki and his friends were looking for her. He’d wanted to test her skills. See what living in civilization had done to his sister’s ability to escape in the wilderness. Nyree almost felt bad for losing them. Could sense them over a mile off searching in the wrong direction. Sense too the heavier footfalls of Enele, stalking near her tree. Scowling, Nyree hugged her legs tight, hair blending into the tree.

”This ones mine.” Nyree grumped at him. It had bees in it. And a satchel. Sensed above her but not yet touched. Village divided between them. Nyree never lingered where Enele did. She worked counter to him, moving in opposite directions without crossing. It was easier that way. She didn’t have to face him or the fact that they weren’t friends anymore. Cut adrift in her own village.

Wiping pain-tears on her skirts, Nyree threw a twig at him. Brittle and easily broken away, it needed pruned anyway. ”Mine.” She wanted him to go away! Or stay. Really she wanted him to stay. No one would come near with him close. But it made her feet hurt more. ”You have your own land with trees on it.” And a woman. She was planting a garden, Nyree knew, she’d felt it.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    221 Posts    0 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2018, 12:22:35 AM »

Raw and wet. Like the musk of freshly turned soil. But the smell wasn’t coming from the tidy rows the women planted in the yard outside his door. There was a metallic flavor to it that made his heart feel clammy. Palms sweating as he tied the laces on his boots and left the house.

A very tricky scent. One he couldn’t quite pinpoint as physical or psychic. It left him walking circles around his yard. A little wider with every pass while he tried to work out the source. Stopping, finally, at the base of the old tree out back. In the grass there were signs that someone had been scampering around. Broken sticks and few spots where the long grass was laid down.

Without looking up he realized what the smell was coming from Nyree. He just knew. Like an instinct. Fingers on the rough bark at the tree’s bottom he traced a damp spot that was soaking into the grain. So small he wouldn’t have noticed it with just his eyes. Blood, he determined when his skin pressed to the tiny point. Queen blood. Enele could tell because it sang to the temper of the Prince inside. Made a dark and ugly beast in his chest beat at the bars of its containment. He took a minute, pacing while he tried to talk himself out of going up. Then bracing for the potential reaction his body and mind would have when faced with whatever wounds Nyree was hiding.

When he was sure he wouldn’t lose control he scrambled up to the lower branches. It was alright that she wasn’t happy to see him when he climbed up to her level. He wasn’t really happy to see her either. ”It’ll be yours when you pay for it.” Was all he could think to say. Heart still sore and stomach still sick with the complicated emotions she gave rise to. Graceful despite his size Enele inched closer. Over and under branches until he could perch nearby. Looking at the bark under her bare feet rather than her face.

Served her right. Staying in that stupid place, giving in to their stupid rules. This was exactly what she deserved. Twitching away from the buzz of a passing insect he locked his legs for balance. ”That’s right. Land, trees, and a house.” Things he had promised he would get for himself. The size and extent growing when Kiri and Tama moved in permanently. Now the house was growing again. Another bedroom, because Tama had given his up for Io. Enele wanted them to each have their own. Now that he knew she would stay, he would make Tama a new space.

”Give.” He demanded, pointing at her sore feet and patting the knee nearest to her. From his cabinet he called in a clean towel and half a bottle of clear alcohol. Vodka he had never finished, discovering scotch went down smoother. ”It’s going to sting but they’ll feel better after.” He warned, not sure the latter part was true. They needed cleaning though, then proper clots could form to stop the bleeding. That much he had learned living in a house full of healers.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2018, 06:28:03 AM »

Groaning, her shoulders rose up around her ears. She didn’t have many marks for buying things with. Mostly people gave her things for her troubles. Not a real job, the work she did. Maybe she would have to get one, though she didn’t know what she wold do. Or could. Much less what anyone would trust her with.

Nyree turned her face away from him, ears tracking his path up the tree. The scrape of bark against hands, boots, cloth. Her toes curled reflexively as he settled, balancing near by and rubbing in all the things he had. ”I know.” And a woman to fill it all with, Nyree thought bitterly. She’d been right too, Io had tits. Big ones. They’d met in the village. Nyree shy and distant, unable to make friends because she wanted Enele for herself. But Nyree had always wanted him happy so she didn’t make enemies either, and risk his wrath or Io’s leaving.

”No.” Nyree tucked her feet into her skirts, pulling the much abused fabric tight around her ankles to hide them. She didn’t want tending. Or touched. Especially not by Enele. Her mother would complain about the blood stains, but it was better than giving them up to him. ”Are you having a baby?” Nyree asked to distract them both from her feet. She was thinking of the new room he was adding on to his house. She’d heard the hammering herself, and there was some talk of it in the village.

Io had neither looked or smelled pregnant, but it was the only reason Nyree could think of for adding another room. Besides she hadn’t gotten very close or looked very hard. And black widows had ways, she knew, of hiding things. Or maybe they were just planning for one in advance. A lot of people did that, Nyree knew. Made plans for their future. She was beginning to suspect she needed to start doing the same.

Nyree glanced at him from the corner of her eye. And maybe that future would be somewhere else. Distance might make it easier. Or harder. At least here she would know he’d come home, that he was safe and happy. Surely she could make a new friend. There had to be someone else who would look at her and not just see all the ways she wasn’t.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    221 Posts    0 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2018, 05:52:35 PM »

Enele didn’t ask again. He just took. Ankle hooked on a lower branch for balance he leaned the opposite direction. Towards Nyree. With a yank at her dirty hemline he fished for a foot. Stopping with his thumb and forefinger on her big toe. Eyes rolling up to her face so fast and hard they nearly cartwheeled out of his head. ”Wh-who?” He was laughing too hard to finish the question.

A baby! Really. What the hell would he do with a kid? He already lived in constant fear of ruining Tama, or possibly doing worse. Nerves fraying and temper held by a razor thin line of control. ”Who would I have a baby with, Bee? Hm? Even if it did happen I’d never know, they’d be stupid tell me.” Enele was, with very rare exception, a once off. Women never came to him for a second lay. Most barely tolerated the first. He took his brews on time every time. And if the unthinkable happened, they’d just leave the Priestess’s book blank in the end anyway. He would rather not know.

”What made you think that?” He asked, laughter sobered by the unpleasantness of reality. Hopeful the talking was distraction enough he dived back at her skirts to steal a foot away. They were definitely the source of all the bleeding. Scent strong enough to make his head swim, and the touch twice as potent. Making him sway on the branch and striking up a pointless growl in his chest. Ankle captured he held it in his lap. Turning away for a second of unflavored air to help clear his mind.

All the anger over her being gone boiled under the surface. Tightening his grip until she squirmed, dragging him back to the present. To the overpowering drive to protect and help. Hungry prince making his lap harder than it should have been. And his words harder to find. Not even the strong smell of the alcohol was enough to cover the zinc of her blood. At least not enough to clear it from his sinuses, where it seemed to have hooked in deep.

It silenced the small talk on the tip of his tongue. And left with no focus for anything beyond the scrapes and scratches on her toes and the soles of her feet. Raw, red, and hot in the way of irritated skin. ”You let them take away what you love and now you have to pay the price. Earn it back bit by bit.” He commented. Meaning her ability to scale trees and run deer paths without shoes. Her freedom really. But he could feel in his chest that it was true of himself just the same. He could have thrown her over is shoulder and hauled her back home. Should have. She wouldn’t have complained, she’d had a head full of terrible ideas for Enele for years.

Too many years. Thirteen to his eighteen. Fifteen to his twenty. Making eyes at him that made others narrow theirs in unspoken accusation. Kiri and Hoapili had not been so quiet though. One speaking what she knew others thought, as a warning to her brother. The other using it as ammunition to control a son that was spiraling beyond his control. Enele didn’t think more years had made it less inappropriate. And if he had taken her then there wouldn’t have been any going back. Everyone thought so little of him already, how could he risk both of their reputations when she should have been capable of saving herself?

Pouring the vodka on her sores didn’t take the resentment away. But it did ease the portion his heart aimed at Nyree. ”The other one,” He told her, leaving the first tended foot in his lap. Forearm pinning it down while he reached for the second. Glad that he’d made the unconscious decision to tuck up instead of down when he’d pulled up his pants that morning.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2018, 09:14:15 PM »

”Dooon’t!” Nyree whined, trying to keep him from reaching her feet. Back grating against tree, hands pushing his away. Of course she couldn’t stop him. Foot wrangled from beneath her skirts, nearly dragging her away from the trunk. Nyree gave up fighting him to cling to the branch. Toe caught between his fingers as he halted, looking at her. Nyree looked back, staring as he began to laugh.

Scowling, she slipped her toe free of his fingers and hid her foot again.

”Why wouldn’t they?” She questioned instead of answering. Leaning in, as if she could physically come to his defense. To force some woman to tell. Looking at him, Nyree leaned back, face turning away. She tucked her other toes in tight and hid behind her knee. Bottom lip chewed until she could answer. Who? Who else? ”Io.” She mumbled, tugging a piece of dry skin from her lip. Grunting as he reached under her skirts again and pulled her foot back out.

”Enele!” The whining disturbing the birds. His growling set them on their wings. Nyree’s eyes rolled, arms folding across her chest. He looked sick at the sight of her foot. ”Its just blood.” And dirt. And a lead. Nyree plucked it from between her toes and let it drift toward the ground. ”You’re building a new room.” She pointed out without looking at him. Her eyes followed the leaf downward.

”I didn’t.” She pulled back. She wasn’t any less than she had been before!  ”They didn’t take anything.” She was still herself. Her whole self. Richer in a way because she wore her Tiger Eye now. It wasn’t fair, and the unfairness of it stung her throat and burned her eyes, but not nearly as much as the vodka burned her feet. Nyree squealed, knee jerking her foot. ”No!” She bit her lip to keep from crying, hands slapping at his arm as she tried to take her foot back.

Rubbing and wicking the alcohol away. ”No.” Nyree hissed. She wouldn’t cry, not in front of him. It burned like hell fire. Worse than the first thrust of a spear. She rubbed and rubbed, hands slick with blood and booze. Stretched down the length of her own leg. She blew on her toes and hid her other foot under the tree branch.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    221 Posts    0 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2018, 12:47:58 PM »

”Because its me.” That was all the explanation Enele thought the subject needed. Letting Nyree make assumptions with what she knew was better than giving her too much information. Losing her virginity didn’t have to mean she’d lost those innocent sensibilities. Surely whoever had done the deed had taken advantage. There wasn’t any need to get into detail, anyway. He was a warlord prince, one with none of the court training and Protocol adherence forced on others of his caste. He was dangerous. If Nyree thought people treated him differently outside of the village, she was sillier than he had ever suspected.

Which might have been true judging by her idea of who he took to bed. ”Io? Not a chance!” That was more than laughable. That was pure ridiculousness. ”Have you met her? I’ve seen wet towels with more personality, and field mice with more courage. She’s a nice girl, don’t get me wrong. But all she does for me is weave webs. I like it that way.” They both did. At least he thought so. Io was meek, shy, downright timid. Not the sort that found Enele’s bluntness endearing. More than that, she had been greatly taken advantage of in her former life. It might have been easy to make her feel safe and get under her skirts. She would probably have let Enele put his teeth to her throat and thrust as hard as he wanted in exchange for security. And that was the real turn off. He’d never know for sure if she was into it, or just tolerant since he had taken her from a terrible situation.

Eyes slipping to her face he shook his head. It wasn’t just blood. ”You really didn’t learn much of anything there.” He accused. As hurt by that fact as he was by her being gone. It would have been bad either way. Leaving and learning to be a manipulative politico, or leaving and returning unchanged- making the suffering of her goneness pointless. ”It’s queen’s blood Bee. And I’m… me.” Warlord prince felt like a dirty word just then. Heavy with unspoken truths about the nature of their castes. Things Enele didn’t want to discuss. Not with anyone, especially Nyree.

”It’s for Tama. Kid’s got more toys than a tree has leaves.” Mostly because his mother and uncle were overcompensating. Both feeling guilty for not being with him more, and for the loss of a father he had adored.

Concerns for the boy had to be saved for later though. There was Nyree now, with her denial or delusion. Too determined to find it offensive to figure out or care which. ”If that’s how you really feel then I guess the things you left behind didn’t matter.” Enele was a fighter. That was just his way. No one would have made him go where he didn’t want to go, or leave people he didn’t want to leave. He had to accept that she had either wanted to be there, or just wasn’t a fighter the way he was.

The latter was hard to do while she was wailing on his arm. Swift little strikes that stung but didn’t stop him. Trying to stop the sting of the alcohol as it cleaned the dirt from her cuts. Hands shaking too much for him to keep her still. ”Stop, Bee, you’ll get it filthy again. Bee!” Blocking her with a shoulder he groaned as she slicked the blood over herself. Making a mess, and everything worse. ”Nyree stop it!”

He hauled her from one branch to the other. Knees lifting to pin her Enele tucked her in his lap. Back to his chest, legs locking around the branch to keep them from tipping over. It was almost too much. The smell of her hair and warm wiggling body. Sputtering to get long strands from his lips he butted his cheek to her cheek. Chin digging at her shoulder. ”Stop. I know it burns. I know. It’s cleaning the dirt out. You just have to let it work and it’ll feel better for it later.”

If she left them like that she’d end up with half her toes infected. ”Why don’t you get that bag down? Hm? I put something good in it.” That would be a better distraction than just talking. He could use one too. Not sure how long it would be before he could let go now that he’d grabbed her.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    207 Posts    1608 marks
Re: The missing queen
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2018, 09:24:28 PM »

”What does she need to be brave for?!” Possessed of a strange urge to defend the other woman. She was nice, from what Nyree had gathered, and Enele admitted much. She was pretty too. Womanly. But Enele didn’t seem interested, and Nyree was relieved, if puzzled. And skeptical. There was a look in his eye, as if she’d planted an idea. Looking at him now that he wasn’t looking at her.

”No, I guess I didn’t.” Not enough, too much. Split down the middle. Hollowed out like a gourd. And no one was happy. Her father was disappointed. Enele was mad. ”I know. I know all about my blood and I know all about you.” It would have been better if she hadn’t been a queen. So many people would have been happier. ”Its still just blood.” It would hurt no one. And hers was more nurturing than most. Things would flourish in her trail.

The males just found it disturbing.

”I didn’t say that!” Nyree melted into the tree. The room was for Tama. Which meant Io had taken the boys. But Enele still didn’t want to be friends. He was still mad at her. Found her lacking. Less than. Tarnished by her training and absence. She’d missed too many things. His fight with his father. The building of his house. He had filled his life while she was gone and left no room for her.

Nothing but anger. It slid over her, like water rising above her head. Doused her in burning alcohol and tried to pin her down when she fought for relief. Punishment for existing. It burned! Foot on fire where before it had just throbbed. Every scratch a lance full of hot coals. Enele called it healing but Nyree thought it was just torture, panting as she tried to ring her foot dry. Which only raised his ire more until it was a real battle. Scuffling across tree limbs until he had her well and thoroughly pinned.

”I don’t care about later. It hurts now.” Worse than they had before he’d come along, her other foot aching in sympathy and its own cuts. ”You’re not doing the other one.” She wouldn’t let him. She did settle, however, cheek leaning into his. Body fitting into all the small spaces between them. Forming to his shape. Nyree drank in the warmth and smell of him. Wished he would like her again. He didn’t have to kiss her or move her into his house. Just be her friend again.

Forgive her for whatever she had done. Left. Come back. Been born.

”You can’t bribe me to behave like a baby, Enele.” Bag eyed warily. She wanted to know what was inside. ”I’m not letting you near my feet. I’ll see a proper healer.” Nyree wiped her hands on her skirts. Held too tight to physically fetch it, the bag hung within reach of her Yellow. Nyree wasn’t sure she wanted to give in to him, or herself. Face turning into his cheek as she tried to look at him. Would he forgive her, if she did? If she just gave in?

She let his anger drip from her and plucked the bag free with craft, bringing it down into their laps. It was heavy and lumpy. ”I’m still not.” Toes curling into her skirts. Heart still quick beating from the pain, Nyree rubbed her cheek against him. Wished he would kiss her. Mouths so very close she didn’t know why they couldn’t or shouldn’t. ”I’m sorry.” For whatever she’d done. For everything. Nyree closed her eyes, willed him to turn his face and proven everything forgiven and Io never even considered.

 

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