Looking for a mind at work

Description:

Astrid Larson

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Priestess Black Widow
  • Played By: Xione

    Territory Court Priestess
    Raej Terreille
    4 Posts    205 marks
Looking for a mind at work
« on: September 04, 2020, 02:53:07 PM »
" Mother NIght keep us, hold us to your path. Let our people keep to your ways and never forget the price that all things come with a price' The sharp bite of the knife against her palm brought euphoria instead of pain as the warm heat of blood trailed over her flesh before falling into the goblet below. The crimson drops swirling into the deep crimson of the wine blending into the sacrificial offering for the mother of all.

A bit of craft saw the edges of the wound closed up. A spell perfected over decades of use and applied now without a thought. Her body bowed, feeling the waistline of her dress biting into her flesh as she flexed. The slight discomfort and constriction of her lungs ignored as she goblet further into the alcove of the alter. Astrid spent seconds longer in that near prostrate stance as the whispers and shadows murmured lovingly into her ears.

With a final silent prayer, Astrid blew out the candle. Her eyes adjusting as she watched the smoke drift off into the sudden darkness of the alter. The guttered candle dripping wax with a barely audible patter. Her lashes closed as she breathed in the scent that came with prayer. The strange combination of arcid smoke, coppery tang of blood, the yeast and fruit notes of the underlying wine, and the sweetness that came from beeswax candles.

For a moment she was at peace. In those breaths of silence, she could feel the Darkness wrapped around her with a mother's loving embrace. Reluctantly she exhaled, releasing that sense of peace as she pulled out of her reverie to join the waking world. Her gaze refocusing in the gloom interior of the temple. Attentive to the emptiness of the temple, aware of the risks posed in allowing her horn to remain unshielded from sight.

One hand wadded in the fullness of her skirts, tugging it forward and tight to clear the pointed heels of her shoes to touch the ground once more. Hips rolled as she rose in a fluid practiced motion. First, the toes of her shoes pressed into the stone floors supporting the bulk of her weight as knees straightened before her heels were able to come down. No lurching or throwing of her weight like a draft horse.

The soft slither of satin woven cotton filled the silence of the air as the deep navy of her dress once more flowed about her. The silvered threads shot through the fabric caught what little light there was in the emptied room; sparking for a moment that caught her attention and drew her to how even the Mother had points of light within her endless bounds. The idle track of her mind chasing the implications of those shimmering pinpricks of light found in the night sky and the reflection of all the Jewelled and Landen souls called to rest and summoned into life from the depth of Mother Night's breast.

Another shake of her head drew her back out from the mental wanderings she was prone to. There were matters at court today and she preferred to start her rounds of observing petitioners before they came before their ruler. A ball of witch light formed in her palm; dancing whimsically as she paused to catch her reflection. A quick double-check that her sight shield was once more in place to hide the evidence of her mixed heritage. The horn out of sight once more; only to be revealed to the Mother when in solitude.

Satisfied she headed towards the doorway to the little temple. The clicking of her heels the only sound breaking the silence and peace found within. For just a moment she paused, breathing in one last reluctant sigh before pushing the door open and stepping into the bright morning light. A serene expression quickly came over her features and her steps fell into a carefully modulated gait. Not too quickly as to attract notice, but not so slow that it implied idleness.

The brisk click of her shoes against the cobbled streets was as refreshing as the scent of freshly baked pastries, newly brewed coffee, and even the musky earthy scent that came from horse droppings as early morning vendors dropped off their wares along the shops scattered through the main part of town. Astrid loved this time in the morning. It was too early for the streets to be bustling, but it held a quiet sort of efficiency as tasks were completed in readiness for those still at rest.

It was a time she could observe the town court rested during each season and feel out the shadows and air within. There was no deception in these early morning hours. Polite nods and smiles were given to the early morning half waves offered by the merchants she often frequented along these paths before stopping at her favorite cafe.

The bitter nutty scent of brewed coffee almost had her nose twitching, if she had been in Nissi form no doubt it would have, and she paused debating if she had time for the indulgence. She could take it to go and that would be fine. Decided she entered the cafe only to be swarmed with the scent of soft yeasty bread that she almost longed to bite into, combined with the sweetness of the frosted glaze. Added in were the subtle scents of cardamon, citrus, nutmeg, and cinnamon; scents that reminded of all the sacred blood holidays and the family feasts held after.

" Good morning Mari, Two large black coffees and two Solskinnskringle if you please. Packaged to go"  Astrid offered a warm smile. This shop was her favorite and the keeper was a lovely woman who tended to plump at the hips. Warm and as welcoming as the scents in her shop found her always a pleasant addition to her morning rounds.

"Right up Lady Astrid, should I include a hot chocolate too for your friend?" The rich drink was a lovely addition to sweetening coffee over the more traditional sugar or cream. Astrid's answering nod was enough to have another cup prepared. Once paid the Priestess vanished her purchase.

"Have a good day and may the Mother bless you Mari" Her little goodbye offered Astrid was once more on her brisk path to the lodges Kamala had acquired. Time to wake up her sleepy friend.

Kamala Aadaya

    Summer-sky to Opal
  • Black Widow Priestess
  • Played By: Kittymb

    Territory Court Seer
    Raej Terreille
    4 Posts    178 marks
Re: Looking for a mind at work
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2020, 04:17:38 PM »
"Little spider…..wake up...

Kamala could almost hear the words long before they would come. It would be as it had always been between them. It wasn't as if Kamala never noticed Astrid's early morning departures. As twin souls who had shared accommodations since they were in their earliest schooling days, they were uniquely in-tuned to each other's routines as if they had shared the same womb. A circumstance obviously of impossibility given different lineages but for some reason it was an insync-ness that could not be denied of those who knew them the most.

So as Astrid has rose to dress, the sleepy spider nestled further into her covers after late hours of spinning. The saying 'something wicked this way comes' lingering upon her like some spooky story they were told as children. The Winds are uneasy and the people following quiet suit. It didn't matter how much time had passed, the little things petrifying those of weak heart and mind after Witch's reign. Kamala, always too fascinated with the mysterious, the macabre and the unexplained, felt nothing beyond her normal calm.  So buried down like a baby owl in it's mother's fluff, Kamala lulled herself back into an in between slumber which offered enough rest to dull a tongue sharpened by exhaustive visions.

The click of the door opening the precursor to the soft weight that hit the bottom of her bed. Wafting fragrance of offering to the peppery sand spider a first indication that tribute was brought in exchange for what might be an unceremonious awakening. Thoughts fled when curtains pulled and covers were snapped down yet she knew Astrid hadn't moved. "Little spider….wake up... Astrid's delicate voice rang through her as she petted Kamala's hazelnut messy locks. No use would it be to try to pull those covers up and retreat back to some delicious dream. The sun was up so Astrid was up and a peace offering was brought.  Kamala clicked her tongue not yet peeping an eye open. "Must it be morning already and must you be like a rooster?" A little laugh escaping her throat.

Smirking, Kamala sat up and found covers willing to rise back to her waist as she stretched her arms and rolled her neck. "I see you have brought me tasties as our room smells as delightful as if I had arose in the center of Mari's bakery." Fingers outstretched in beckoning to her darling friend to scoot closer. An affectionate brush of lips to Astrid's cheeks as she cooed with adoration, "You always care for me so, Astrid. I do love you as a sister and appreciate such kind offerings as if you love me almost as much as you love The Darkness."

Astrid probably would give her a secondary foothold in her heart though that second being steep after her most beloved. Fingers combed through the untamed locks, tossed from before bed seeing and dreams that moved the flesh, until they were able to be braided before proper dressing. Kamala though could not resist the tempting call of the warmed chocolate drink and Solskinnskringle that Astrid had so kindly purchased on her behalf. Just a sip and a bite and then she could dress before devouring the offering that would keep her on the sunnier side of dispositions.

"Your morning finds you well then?" The inquiry as she slid feet upon the floor, revealing in the plushness of the carpet she had picked for her room. The carpet of beige with bold jewel tones running through it as if it was its own web of knowledge in each spiral of the mandala. Kamala flipped through hangers only turning a few times to consider Astrid's apparel as if ensuring they never clashed, always dovetailed like a fine drawer on a wardrobe.

An emerald colored selection with scant embroidery of navy that adorned the sleeves and hem of an A line dress would be the winner today. Hopefully no one chose something that clashed like some hideous orange. There was something about a smooth flow within a room that helped her focus better on her duties than the annoyance of some off hue that made the room a kaleidoscope of mismatched colors. Her ear as always turned towards Astrid with full attention even if her eyes were not making contact.

Not even the rustle of silken fabric could distract her attention or mind from her nearest and dearest and perhaps to some it was odd the relationship that Kamala would sooner save Astrid than her own mother or brother but there was something to say about loyalty of the heart and soul when you found someone. Waist bound to create an enticing curve as bust gently pushed up in a way that blurred the line between bedroom and court. A small heel that just barely announced one’s presence as they floated down the hallway and from room to room covered sand kissed flesh. Once her outfit was exactly as it should be without a thread out of place, Kamala turned to setting her hair into a low pulled back style at the nape of her neck.

Matching earrings, bracelet and hair adornments placed to add that last bit of subtle sparkle and not to call too much attention to the fact that it could be with near perfection she had set herself to serve today. Only once Kamala meticulously ensured with a last long gaze that she was perfectly set did she wander back to the sweet bait Astrid had brought to lay nasty spider to sleep in favor of the more adoring arachnid that Kamala could be.

“Thank you again, Astrid for the morning treat. It is my most favorite to awaken to. Please continue to tell me of your morning” she said as she floated their items to the small table upon her balcony where they could take just a few moments to enjoy their breakfast before joining the bustling court that was no doubt going to need every ounce of their attention. The light breeze making the morning perfect for al fresco dining and good conversation.   



Astrid Larson

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Priestess Black Widow
  • Played By: Xione

    Territory Court Priestess
    Raej Terreille
    4 Posts    205 marks
Re: Looking for a mind at work
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2020, 05:20:54 PM »
Astrid pursed her lips in barely concealed amusement. The closest she would come to giving any sort of censure to her dear friend. Closer than blood sisters they shared castes and while the darkness did not whisper to Kamala as it did Astrid they both served the Mother's wishes and goals. A little clicking noise was made with her tongue as she called in the treats to dole out coffee, chocolate, and the delicious pastries.

"I think I make even the rooster look a slug-a-bed, elske." Her lips curved into a smile as her posture relaxed. No longer rigid she softened. A subtle curving of her body given to mirror the movements of Kamala. From hunting cat to sated tabby.

With her friend's signal, she moved to sit beside Kamala. The treats were handed over dutifully even as she grinned at the gluttonous look on her Seer's face. Of course, Kamala would know that Astrid would come bearing gifts for the rudeness of rising before even the sun. Morning prayers were important to the Priestess and doing them in the quiet of morning's twilight soothed her soul.

"I am not a fool Kamala, as silken as your voice is your bite is just as sharp." Still, she warmed at the easy affection her roommate offered. Having a sibling wasn't so terrible as long as it was her little Spider versus her actual blood siblings. They had always found her wandering mind unsettling and unwelcome; not that she often sought their company.

"You are my second favorite to the Mother." She responded before taking a sip of her coffee now drinkable temperature. Lashes dipped low as she savored over the bitter liquid; enjoying the nutty flavor that came with the beverage.

"On the aside, I made certain to give extra ablutions for you." The comment was soon followed with the soft noise of a crispy pastry being bit into then the low murmuring moan as her tongue was coated with the faintly almond-flavored bread, sweet vanilla icing, and the rich comforting custard. Rare was it that Mari's pastries failed to delight. Today though she had done exceptionally well. The vanilla was a little richer; perhaps new trade routes with Shalador had been re-established. Honey pears would be nice to have for breakfast tarts again.

"This morning was enlightening. Something is troubling the Mother. There is a strange weight to the darkness. Smothering at times as if her displeasure will soon announce itself." Her brow furrowed in concern as she worked through the sensations she found in prayer.

The puzzling continued into the comfortable silence that merged into the homey noises of Kamala dressing. The soft noises and whispers of fabric sliding over her friend's body. Little clicks of cabinets opening, the hissing slide of drawers, even the whisper of carpet over her friend's feet filled her ears. Even the soft rustling of hair as it was tamed and the sweet subtle scents of the oils used to tame Kamala's thick mane.

Noises that were comfortable, normal, routine. They were a relief into the pressure of discordance. The painful wound that pressed on her webs as it grew. Uncomfortable now, not ready to be lanced, and yet the threat was there. She knew something was wrong but there was nothing to put her finger upon. Discordant, the pall hung heavy over the morning routine. It invaded and pushed on her sanctuary of home and hearth.

Before the Darkness had always directed her, pointed her towards the reason for the discomfort, given an idea of what needed to occur that the price for relief is paid. Now there was nothing. Even her whispers remained silent on the matter, failing to hint at this sense of foreboding she felt in the air.

"Of course. No thanks are needed. I would be rude to show up with treats for me and none for you. Plus you are cranky when hungry and I do not look forward to getting nipped little spider" Watching her coffee and half-eaten pastry float outdoors Astrid took the hint. No crumbs in either bed. It invited little creatures in and annoyed the hearth witches who kept their rooms for them.


"It was quiet. Petre, the miller, has a new carthorse. A sharp-looking chestnut; hopefully he will be troubled with fewer fits of lameness" Idle gossip as she worked her way around the unrest that she felt. Those on light threads seemed unbothered.

"Sigrid looked troubled while opening her shop. At odds with yards of wool brought in. I think she feels it too" Astrid commented idly before reaching for her cup. She took another sip of her coffee before a bite of her pastry. The drink and food disappearing at regular intervals before she broke with manners to lick the bits of icing off the tips of her fingers.

"The webs were hinting at it and even prayers had it there. I am not certain what is troubling though. Still, we should keep an eye out and keep an eye on Nikodemus to be safe." Astrid wasn't ready to bring it up to their ruler until she had something definitive in mind. Instead, she would just be a little more protective.

Kamala Aadaya

    Summer-sky to Opal
  • Black Widow Priestess
  • Played By: Kittymb

    Territory Court Seer
    Raej Terreille
    4 Posts    178 marks
Re: Looking for a mind at work
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2020, 06:18:32 PM »
"I only bite you once and it's because you pinched my shoulder when I refused to wake up. The reflexes are what they are. Besides it was just a little nip between sisters" Kamala offered with a grin. That grin only blossoming into a beaming smile when she was officially announced as second love in life in the most high station one could hope. No one surpassed Mother for either of them, a mantle any future love interest would have to understand. Mother, one another and perhaps a male worth breeding with and in that order always. For some it would be hard to swallow but Kamala assumed a male strong enough to stay in her graces and her bed would easily understand his tertiary position in her heart.

Astrid always said extras for her, for which Kamala was eternally grateful. Their divergence at their dual caste meant they ensure that when the did a ritual, a spinning or any type of craft there was an ounce always for one another. Mouth watered a bit at that delightful crunch as if the lips and tongue could remember the sweet delight of morning repast. No less diligent in her movements, she ensured there was no lackadaisical pace to her getting ready. Stomach yearned for that fulfillment after what had been spent weaving webs to see what might be cause the unrest within her heart and those around her. More mysteries and no solid answers which frustrated her to no end. Whatever was coming would reveal itself in time.

"You feel it too then. I'll admit to not knowing as much as I would like. All is still hazy and while it perplexes the mind, the heart says she will tell us in her due time what is planned. It's best we hold it close to the breast and only speak of it in guaranteed privacy. You never know the gossips that will take tender morsel and build into a grand cake of deception and fear mongering." Kamala knew it needn't be spoken between them but the words left as if telling the furniture and walls to hush their bloody mouths.

She watched her dear friend's face as she told of small things. Things that others might consider inconsequential, small talk between chittering chickens but to understand Astrid was to walk the verbal path she wove and know that no comment was just a comment. It all lead to the end sum she was getting to. "May the Darkness will it" was all Kamala offered when it came to Petre and his horse and Sigrid and the concerns Astrid say. Irregularities aside, Astrid cared for everyone as the Territory Priestess and the unrest caused the woman to feel unsettled and Kamala could appreciate it all.

Words about their ruler were met with a strong nod. "Agreed. No doubt it will take little time for questions to be asked and we need to walk the thin line of knowing before the hard questions are asked and not to appear as though we've kept something from him. I think we yet have times if my webs speak true yet I think it is wise to always be ready to assert that we are looking into this preemptively and did not want to disturb him until we had something concrete to bring forth."

Never to look like the fool, the charlatan but to go forth with concerns yet have but grains of sand to present would seem unworthy of position so graciously bestowed. Each of them had falter once and only once in that way and so as if each footstep was upon glass floor, the took caution when to elevate concerns without having solid sight and resolution. "Perhaps later if time allows, we can go down and see what shipments have come in. Sometimes a bit of clarity can be seen in a shirtless merchant, no?"

Astrid Larson

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Priestess Black Widow
  • Played By: Xione

    Territory Court Priestess
    Raej Terreille
    4 Posts    205 marks
Re: Looking for a mind at work
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2020, 07:20:52 PM »
"Best not to bother him with grains of sand" Astrid agreed easily enough. Keeping an eye on their mercurial ruler would be easy enough if the right hints were dropped in the First Escort or Master of Guard's ears. Better to have something definite than reporting unease and ambiguous visions of some event looming in the future waiting to pounce.

Absently she ran a fingernail over her dress. Feeling out the stresses in the soft fabric. Soon she would have to switch these lighter frocks into heavy wool. Seasons changed and yet the Mother remained there steady and constant. Until now, where she did not offer the same full depth of peace during prayer. Where her whispers told only of something ill-fated coming this way.

"Merchants or Dock Porters?" The teasing was back in her voice even as she decided that going to the docks could be a good idea. It was a place to see how trade relations were between the different lands. The health of the sailors could tell her how they were recovering from Witch's war as well as the instability that had resulted from Witch's violent end.

"It's the porters, isn't it? I know that Christoffer, the grain merchant, is not causing any clarity outside making us aware of the consequences of our pasty habit" She teased playfully about the portly white jeweled merchant's continued flirting with Kamala every chance he got. Which wasn't too often as they both had learned to make themselves scarce when he was due to pay his quarterly taxes.

A quick look to the sky and length of shadows gave an indication that their idle time was nearing an end. Soon it would be time to greet the court and pretend that every nerve in her body was screaming that something wasn't wrong. Grains of sand, chasing shadows through webs, it all lingered there in her mind's eye. The answer dancing just out of reach.

"We can go later after morning court is called for a recess. We may even be able to drag Ragnor to come with us. I have it on good authority his daughter is craving Hayllian Tumeric with this pregnancy and it is hard to get good spices out in the backwater village they live near." Astrid made it a point to keep abreast of court gossip and needs. She was their priestess and a physical body deprived or worried could not be expected to fulfill their spiritual hunger and duties.

They were her flock to guide and care for. If it meant badgering the older Prince out into the fray of merchant haggling then all the better. Nik and the First escort were harder to peg in their needs and wants. The Mother embraced them, gave her care and approval of his taking a traditionally female position. Raej was starting to come to life under his leadership and the new blood offered opportunity to improve their standing in the trades.

Her only concern was how the influx of foreigners would be taken by some of the more insular communities. The stinging reminder of their losses coming in the form of farms and homes filled with new blood where families had once held the same lands for generations. New traditions could upset the balance of the old and Astrid felt the burden of keeping order and the spiritual culture of Raej wholly her own.

No, going to the dock was a good idea but also perhaps ranging further from territory court to some of the villages welcoming immigrants too might be in order. Not now, when the harvests were coming in, but later as traditional religious ceremonies started. A chance to see how their new arrivals were climatizing to Raej and all their citizens.

Kamala Aadaya

    Summer-sky to Opal
  • Black Widow Priestess
  • Played By: Kittymb

    Territory Court Seer
    Raej Terreille
    4 Posts    178 marks
Re: Looking for a mind at work
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2020, 06:31:13 PM »
The way Kamala's lips tilted up in the sly signature smile that Astrid knew brought flirtatious trouble was foreboding for exactly what she hoped to see. Sure it was important as members of the Territory Court to be most informed but it didn't been droll duties couldn't have a delightful spice to them in the form of sweaty bodies sharply honed by hard labor. A male in a fine cut outfit could entice thoughts of less delicate positions but nothing quite revved the mind that a male who knew the strength of his fingers and power of his hips when put to good use. A raised brow of mischief and Kamala answered Astrid's query, "Why not both, sister? Have we not been ever so good these days and the Mother would want us to be happy with all that has been created with her blessing? I think it would be her very will though you would know the best, darling."

There was something about the prayers said to the Darkness when those words were elevated by more carnal things. This was why Astrid was the Priestess and she was the Seer. Kamala would see fortunate things in their future and Astrid would ensure proper thanks was offered the next day to allow repeated events. It was the porters though and they did have a pasty habit which Christoffer was well known to tease about. Furthermore he had taken shining to her brand of sanded beauty and made no subtle attempt to ensure Kamala knew he was willing and interested. "How many more days until quarterly taxes are due, dear Astrid?" Kamala asked as if she could catch Astrid's very thought on the matter. Yes a good show would be lovely and it had it's merits to see what people looked like and how their health was from other territories but not that that cost. One could only feign so much.

It seemed like Astrid always knew the most and she suspected that often the fact people gave long side glances at that Priestess, they took her for not being as keen of hearing. Often willing to confess more than she could simply charm out of people. "Well Hayllian tumeric is the best as you well know." She could say so much more about it but Astrid knew her mother had been a trader in that industry and one with strong reputation. It was after all the tumeric and the charm that had kept her father entranced until his passing. "I shall hope he comes and perhaps I shall negotiate better price on his daughter's behalf." It was the least she could do if they went. The idea of wandering down there though was enticing enough that Kamala would happily have court move along swiftly in favor of the fresh air and intrigue that could come about.

"Your mind wanders. I wish to know that which has your eyes drifting off in cautious thought. We are however going to be late if our feet do not carry us with swift purpose. Do hold upon that thought and we shall discuss on our winding route to the docks." Kamala popped the last bit of delightful pastry into her mouth and consumed the warmed chocolate beverage which would give peppery spider that strength to keep any snappishness inside.
 

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