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CasualCrisis last won the day on January 14

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About CasualCrisis

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    The Black Queen

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  1. You better run, better run faster than my bullet

  2. Flying wasn’t quite so terrifying as a human as it was when she was a vampyre -- she didn’t feel everything, or hear it, and so her imagination did not run away with her. But it was far from a pleasant experience. While her senses were dulled, she was still the same person fundamentally and so the same fundamental fears remained and she was ill at ease with her feet so far from the ground and in the pit of such a massive beast made of churning metal and whirling gears. But when he informed her that they would be returning to Orisia, she knew that she would have little say in the matter. And now here they were, less than an hour away from the border that separated La’Ruta from the rest of Valucre -- and the place where the Everlinde would have to stop. Vaguely, she wondered what they would do from there, but she imagined that Roen had planned ahead and that there was a ship waiting to spirit them away onto the golden shores of the Summer Isle, and beyond, horses to carry them off at break-neck-gallop toward what he considered his destiny, the Orisian Throne. And she had little to say in the matter. There wasn’t much time to get ready, but she knew that she must. She wasn’t dressed for travel. She was made up for the evening -- for a night of role-playing romance and decorum. Tonight, she played the Black Queen and so was dressed in a gown of black fitted satin that hugged her like a second skin until it spread wide over the full and luxurious, white taffeta skirts that were layered underneath. It was a sleeveless gown, with a hefty weight that left her feeling like at any moment the bodice might slip and any semblance of dignity she had might be lost. So she was careful with her movements, and her breathing, and her posture. “I’m tired.” Golden eyes shifted from beyond the observation windows to the outline of a man who stood at some distance before her. He was just a shape against the storming sky -- it was gray and silver outside, with flashes of lightning brightening the exterior every few moments. She watched him cautiously before returning to her study of the storm. He seemed rather taken by his own reflection, and she could guess as to why -- Roen had changed. And as they both returned to the place where their story had begun, it was not difficult to take a moment to think back on how they were back when it had all started. But when she tried to do this for herself, she found it impossible to recognize herself. The woman she was now -- she wasn’t even the same species anymore. She couldn’t even hold her own gaze in her reflection, so she didn’t try. But one thing was for certain. She was certainly healthier under Roen’s care. At the very least, he was making sure that she was eating and not just guzzling down gallons of liquor. They had just finished dinner, or rather he had just finished watching her eat dinner under the dire and implicit threat cast by his narrowed gaze if she didn’t eat. “Very, very tired…” She heard the sound of his boots, the soles of them twisting against the floor beneath them as he pivoted and turned in her direction. Again her gaze shifted and the sun-set gold of her eyes was cast on the devil who was caught smiling in her direction. It caught her off guard because he hardly did more than glare or grimace when he looked at her, and that was so much more manageable than his smile which was both terrifying and disarming all at once. Her response was to pinch her brows and press her lips into a frown. He came to her and she took half a step back in retreat, purely out of instinct. Then came his scent, that sweet and heady spice that reminded her of a warm sip of chai. It pulled her back and held her steady just as he stopped to stand before her. Repulsive -- inviting, intoxicating -- galling. It was exactly right, and it confounded Gabriela in her human mind. It always did when he moved upon her so quickly. It was perhaps the most obvious proof of her newfound humanity. Always, she was left a little dizzy when he approached so directly and with such a heavy-handed attentiveness. She had to reach out and touch him, hold on to his forearms with feather-light touches to ensure she didn’t slip sideways. Surely, by now, he had grown accustomed to how his presence affected her. If he gave her time, she could usually overcome the sensation. “You must be tired, too.” Just as she turned her head up to meet his crimson gaze, Roen was dropping down in a fluid motion to his knees. Her head bobbed to follow, and dropped until her chin nearly touched her chest, peering down at him as he settled there, before her, with his head settled on the top of her thighs. His wide hands stretched across her legs and enclosed around them, holding her in place, and pulling her closer still as he buried his face into the soft, black fabric of her gown. She felt him breathe in deeply, felt the way his shoulders lifted and his chest expanded as he took her into his body. A splash of color drew across her face as she blushed from the intimacy of the embrace, as if there were anything left for her to hide from him. Her wrist was captured next, caught in a shackle made of his own strong fingers and pulled from her side up to the top of his head. For a moment, for just a brief moment, she was dumb to the actions and was like a rag doll -- he pulled her hand across the top of his head, across his hair. A crackle of electricity beyond the thick glass to the left of them woke her from her reverie and she suddenly curled her fingers and began to comb them through his hair all on her own, scratching at his scalp with pressure and care from the top of his crown down to the base of his skull. “I know you are tired too,” he said again, and she felt that blush deepen -- he knew she was tired because he was the one who exhausted her, because he was the one who drained her of everything, and then saw fit to ask for more and take more. He breathed out and she felt the heat of his words pass through the layers of her dress, hitting the still-tender flesh between her thighs. “But this will soon be over..” “Yes,” she replied, nodding her head as her face burned. She picked up her free hand and cupped his cheek, and with her thumb she stroked his beard while continuing to scratch at his scalp with the other hand. To any observer the sight would have been overwhelmingly romantic. But while Roen plotted the death of Orisia’s usurper, who could have guessed that the one true Queen -- the Little Mother, the Lady Mother, La’Ruta’s Child, stood there, quite literally stroking the embers of evil, while moving closer and closer to her one true destiny. “Yes -- soon, we’ll be able to rest.”
  3. My love, my darling, my beautiful baby...

    1. Off Topic

      Off Topic

      Was kind of hoping you were singing Unchained Melody 😜 Hope all is well Gabriela. Time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much, are you still mine? Etc etc

      I'll probably be around some time this year but I've been busy with transitioning into a new career and doing freelance stuff, will want to eventually make some more maps though even if not all in the same world.

  4. To be honest, as much as I loved the premise, and as much as I would love to finish... I am afraid the valentine thread will not be able to take priority the minimal time frame we've been given to try and wrap things up. I am sorry. Had I known the "end" was coming I may have pushed myself harder to try and wrap things up, but the again life has just been absolutely crazy and I just haven't been very reliable lately. All of that being said -- thank you so much for such a fun play. It was wonderful and charming and everything that I love about role play, and it will be such a lovely memory of Val to take with me.
  5. Raspberry DuGrace Some time had passed and the sun had moved across the sky, growing dim. Having been beloved, once upon a time, little Raspberry had been bestowed with certain gifts -- one of which was a tolerance to the diluted illumination of daylight at these twilight hours. And so she came, a quiet and small patron -- a seemingly innocent bystander, come to witness the elaborate dance of politics and intrigue that took place in a lurid place like this. For surely there was nothing that was completely out of the question in a city like this, at least not in measures of violence or depravity. So then, maybe it would be an odd sight to behold -- such a beautiful child walking alone, barefoot and precious, and with the appearance of no fear upon her little angelic face. She did not skip or sway. Rather, she walked calmly through the threshold and took measure of the open space, glancing passively at those in heated conversations. Blood-red eyes, not that pretty crystalline color so often found in those who boasted a crimson hue, peered from a doll-like face, framed by a few dark, wayward curls that had escaped a loose braid that fell down the center of her back. The color of her eyes was haunting -- disturbing. As if they had been punctured, as if they were wounded and bleeding. But blinking calmly, and sweeping her gaze in another direction did away with the illusion. Her eyes were well, they were simply oddly colored. After deciding on a spot -- a small empty table, she moved again, and brought her pretty white dress to life. It was all lace and silk, with a ribbon belt bound around her shapeless waist, and trim round her wrists. The only thing she carried with her was a large wicker basket, with a pretty white napkin covering it -- perfectly idyllic as it bounced off her hip. Raspberry set her basket down, and then flopped onto an oversized pillow on her knees. There was something utterly obscured about this child -- this girl who could not be more than eight years old, sitting there alone. An observer might have thought that she was waiting on someone, perhaps expecting to meet her mother or father. But there was something about the way the child did not lift her gaze again, something about the way her body leaned onto one of her slender elbows, and the way her cheek rested against an open palm. Certainly, there was something about the way the servers looked at her -- as if they knew her. A healthy sort of distance was maintained. Vampyres were dangerous enough. Baby vampyres were an abomination. But a child vampyre without a parent? It was utter madness. “Quite, puppy,” she whispered, annoyed -- although no sound had come from her basket. It didn’t matter if the puppy hadn’t made a sound. It would eventually. And there were too many things on her mind to worry about remembering to tell him to be quiet later. So she told him now, and that allowed her her mind to go back to its wandering -- back to its grieving. Raspberry -- the cloned child of the Back Queen of Orisia, and Dollya’s cloned sister, was alone again. Another family lost. Another parent that had died. She felt the urge to weep, but bloody tears would only make people stare, and that would only make her angry. It was better if she didn’t get angry. “I told you to be quiet, puppy!” she repeated, as a way to distract herself -- to soothe herself. But still, no sound had come from the basket. And how could there be when the puppy she was talking to lay within the basket torn into at least a dozen pieces?
  6. When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
  7. “Do what, exactly?” His initial disgust was so potent that it made her recoil -- it forced her to look away. Her certainty wavered to nearly nothing, save for the memories that remained like concrete fixtures in her mind. His near palpable reaction was so overwhelming as it came face to face against what she knew to be true in her mind, it was like an unstoppable force coming into contact with an unmovable object. The consequences to her psyche would be insurmountable. “Why did I fish you out of toxic mud, or do you mean why I’ve mended you once again.. Or… do you mean to say why did I rape you? You believe me to be in need of abusing you just to satisfy baser urges?” There was the clash. The explosion. It all happened behind her lidded eyes and her peaceful expression. By that point she had turned away. The mixture of repulsion and shame was simply too much. The flesh encased by her skin felt like it was trying to crawl out of mouth and so she had to cover her lips to keep herself from vomiting all of the blackness in the pit of very being out into the muck of the wet earth beneath her feet. And she felt that she was worse than the toxic mixture of clay upon which they stood -- far worse than the putrid waters and the stench of decay. She was the embodiment of all that was woe and sorrow, and she had brought it upon yet another unsuspecting soul. It was unforgivable. “You’ve been hurt.” “I’ve hurt you,” she snapped -- full of the aggression that he lacked, even when he fully deserved to be angry based on her accusations -- accusations she was not prepared to take back. She still didn’t know what happened, she still wasn’t sure he wasn’t the one who had hurt her. Regardless of what she felt in her bones to be true. “‘Bella -- We’ll figure out who did this to you. But you cannot jump to blaming the first person you see.” She turned back, lifting a gaze that mirrored the same melancholy as his own -- save that she appeared tired, oh so very tired. “Not the first person I see,” she corrected, “ -- you’re the last person I remember seeing. I called out your name, because your name was the last name that was on my lips before the world went black.” Her words would linger in the air, but she could not know if they would resound with him. It was the first time she really had an opportunity to digest them. Having just woken up from whatever nightmare she had been forced to endure, and having no recollection of it now left her feeling beyond vulnerable. There was the obvious trauma, but the unknown was so much worse. What had been done to her during this period of lost time and by whom -- and for what reason? And while Saul suffered the indignity of false accusations and the very real hurt of wounded ego and pride, Gabriela grappled with the psychological trauma of what may or may not have been done to her mind, her body, and possibly her very soul. “I am glad to see you on your feet.. Bruises and trauma do not suit you.” She had been on the cusp of tears but his words brought her back from the brink of panic. The mounting terror of the unknown was shoved back down, and swallowed into the pit of her stomach. He smiled at her, but she felt that her face could no longer work to produce that gesture -- she could not smile. It did not phase him and she was glad for small kindnesses such as these. And although she assured him that she could walk, he still seemed to think that riding would be faster. She couldn’t disagree, but she was afraid it would hurt. Still, she didn’t protest when he helped her up into the saddle save to ask, quietly and without any eye contact if she could please sit side saddle for obvious reasons. He had mended her, and mended her well, but the ache and hurt were still there perhaps just not as sharp. With the flask in her hands, he set about the task of picking up, dusting off, and folding the cloak she had been wearing. A thing she hadn’t even taken notice of, and still didn’t. She focused on drinking water. Her mouth was bone-dry. The water inside the flask was cool and somewhat sweet, and soothed her almost immediately. It calmed some of the anxieties she felt and helped her not to linger upon thoughts of what may have been. When it was all said and done and Saul was finished packing up, and when he had settled into the saddle behind her -- a little uncomfortable due to the position she had chosen, they set off at a gentle trot. Sitting side saddle meant she couldn’t hold on to the horn for stability, so she settled for holding on to his arm, which was thick and sturdy enough. And, forward as it was, she leaned into his chest, to keep from swaying around too much. “Isabella,” he called her name out just as her eyes were beginning to droop closed. She nearly didn’t answer, until she remembered that it was the name she had given him. Her head lifted in acknowledgement, just enough to peer up through those long, dark lashes of hers. “I don’t wish to pry, but that cloak.. Do you know whose it was? When I touched it, I saw a dragon wrapped around a pawn.. Some kind of standard or symbol. Does it sound familiar?” All the calm that she had begun to feel drained from her body. She felt cold. Once more her head lowered until her chin was touching the top of her chest and her body leaned into his. She knew that sigil -- she knew it intimately. “No,” she lied. Her eyes closed tight, as tight as she could close them -- so tight that she might force sleep.
  8. Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow No tomorrow, no tomorrow
  9. And I will stay up through the night Let's be clear won't close my eyes And I know that I can survive I'll walk through fire to save my life And I want it, I want my life so bad I'm doing everything I can Then another one bites the dust It's hard to lose a chosen one You did not break me I'm still fighting for peace I've got thick skin and an elastic heart But your blade it might be too sharp I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard I may snap and I move fast But you won't see me fall apart Cos I've got an elastic heart
  10. I'm over it Why can't we be together Embrace it Sleeping so long Taking off the mask At last, I see
  11. Dollya stood in the open space behind her mother’s throne. Her posture was tense, and she gripped her hands together behind her at the small of her back, just above her swell of her bottom. It was a hard and relentless grip, which pushed her palms together tightly and caused the ligaments that ran from her fingertips, up her wrists, and all the way up her forearms to her elbows to pull taunt and sever. The stretch felt good, right up until it didn’t and then the pain came rolling down her muscles like liquid fire. She released and dropped her hands to her side, letting them hang there as if they were made of stone. The messenger had brought word of Constance’s request for an audience, and while Dollya did not have much in the form of patience or willingness, she was curious to see if the woman would recognize her. Of course, she knew better than to doubt the work of Raphael -- he had been impeccable with the transformation. Her limbs had been stretched, her womanly features augmented so that she appeared greater than her age. And of course he had taken the most care with the coloration of her eyes, ensuring that all tint of blue was gone and all that was left was an exact match to her mother’s gold. No longer was she just a knock-off clone of the Black Queen of Orisia, now she was the walking and talking replica. But who was to say if the experiment was successful? She had only managed to fool people who had never met the original Gabriela -- or people who had never known who she really was. This would be the first and truest test of Raphael’s cruel plot. So all there was to do now was wait and wonder in silence, standing behind that open space in the shadow of her mother’s throne. She listened for the tell-tale sign of footsteps and hardened herself for what may come. And she wondered what she might do if true recognition did come -- if denial would be enough, or if she might have to take more serious measures to ensure that Constance remained compliant. The unknown possibilities did not frighten her so much as they excited her. There was a gamble to be had here and it filled her with more pleasure than anything had since the dismissal from his company. Dollya chewed on her bottom lip gently as she pondered the many possible paths this meeting might take.
  12. I get so lost inside your eyes
  13. Just learned how to tie a pussy bow. My doesn't my brain work? This was entirely too hard.

  14. “There’ll be temptation here…” he said, while his dexterous fingers continued working at the tender and sore muscles along the small of her back. The only reason she was aching at all was because of the rigorous trails he put her through so it was hard to relax into the very hand that caused such tension to build and gather in her body in the first place. But there was no choice, and perceived insults could so quickly ignite his ire. She settled and eased against him, arching her back just enough to show that she felt his caress even through the layers of her bodice and of her short cloak. “Like devils -- the fae will seek to draw you into their world. Their scent, their taste, the very sight of them…” He spoke to her as if she were a little child -- telling her stories of the Wee Folk that might entice her into wonder and enchantment but also plant a healthy fear in her heart. It was insulting. “They’re not evil or malign, just mischievous. I would say they’re like children, but that wouldn’t be fair. Their wisdom comes from a perspective neither you nor I can fathom.” Unaware of her annoyance, he gave her a squeeze. This time around she resisted the affection and kept herself as taut as possible. “They value humor more than practicality...we’re not here to really involve ourselves with them. Just stay close and if one of them tries to lure you into a bush, don’t follow him.” The weight of his regard fell on her and she considered returning his gaze, but she kept her steely gaze out the window. His warm and happy girl was gone, and what was left was a rather vexed woman. “Have you forgotten what I am?” she asked, cutting a sharp glare at him at long last, “...what I used to be? There is no need for you to explain, to me, what the fae are like. And your portrayal of them, Roen, is grossly inaccurate. The reason our child died before ever drawing a breath was because I was poisoned with a fairy’s blood.” The carriage door opened suddenly, releasing the tension that had surely been building. “Were here.” Together they stepped off the carriage. She took his hand and allowed his aid, and when she was by his side, she linked her arm with his. It was a darling little structure, meant for a people of a shorter status. Even she had to bend her knees and duck her head slightly to get through the threshold, but once they were in, she was able to stand far more comfortably than the devil. She took to examining what was nearest to her, which just so happened to be a shelf which displayed an array of crystals. From smoky quartz to copper-orange speckled amazonite, she leaned close to better gauge the offerings. She didn’t have a penny to her name, or rather -- she had no wealth upon her person, or any that was easily accessible. There was still the vast wealth of a nation to her name, but her name was no longer hers. And without the means by which to procure any of the trinkets she examined, she found herself -- for the first time -- wondering if she could ask Roen to buy her something. “I like this,” she whispered just as he leaned in to urge her to follow him deeper into the store -- she pointed out a tiny piece of amethyst, a cluster of pointed crystals jutting out of a milky-white center. “Come,” he ordered. “I want it,” she replied, but he was already walking away and pulling her with him by the shack-like hold he had around her arm. She struggled for a moment to keep up, but managed to fall in step with him just as they arrived at the table. Ever the gentleman, at least in public, Roen pulled out a chair for her. She sat down, though she kept her eyes gently set upon their gracious host. She had never seen, beyond a werewolf, a creature with such extraordinary anthropomorphic traits. Of course she did not stare or pass judgment. Her gaze was respectful and lingered for the appropriate amount of time necessary to establish a connection before shifting back up to Roen, who was settling in besides her. “Well met...I am Roen, of the Iron City of Dis, and this is Irene Gabriela DuGrace, Atitlan nobility and Queen of Orisia. We’ve come to ask for our fortunes to be read.” Crimson eyes met with her golden ones, and perhaps he would read the disdain there upon. Gabriela had taken to referring to herself as Isabella, borrowing the name of her mother. But perhaps more humiliating was the pointed mention of her royal status. What did it mean to anyone here that she was royalty? Especially not when there was someone else pretending to be her. Gabriela bristled a little, before turning back to the creature into whose dwelling they had entered. “It is a pleasure…” “In return...I offer this, a humble gift for our beautiful host.” Again she was looking at him, trying hard not to glare and thereby give away the shakiness of their relationship. When she saw the massive sapphire in the devil’s hand, held out as if it were nothing more than a mere trifle, she nearly groaned aloud. It was so tacky. “I am so sorry, what my companion means to say is -- please accept this gift, a show of appreciation for your gracious invitation into your home. Whatever the price of your services, whatever price you deem worthy, I am sure this handsome devil will be willing to pay.”
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