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Valucre

King

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About King

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    The Virtuoso
  • Birthday 01/11/1990

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  1. Unbroken Seals

    The bridge between here and there was a different manner of place from the prime material, crafted from the hide of the Deep, one of many coils that comprised the whole of Sitra Ahkra. As Red confessed her sins and recounted her harrowing misadventure in this-- shadow realm? --to her beloved, dismembered and brought to ruin, the world around them writhed, shifting and bubbling with every syllable. Just as she could still feel in her arms the severed limbs of the kitsune, mostly gone to rot, so too would all those in attendance. It was on their skin, in their hair, the stench thick in their noses and the taste heavy on their tongues. Like the nightmare realm itself, these connections were founded on the bedrock of the mind. Here, nothing was more potent, nor palpable, than the truth. And try as she might to mask her feelings, dressing them up behind her empty expression and dead, mechanical eyes, the truth always found a way to make itself known. “Unfortunate,” the elder finally replied, Red’s story completed. “Very, very unfortunate. Though the Lady Akako had offered to divulge the full extent of her death upon our meeting, I hadn’t the time. By your account, however, it would appear this Koji and Kimi are even more monstrous than I gave them credit for.” While by no means light-handed in the dispensing of justice or wrath, Rafael had never developed a taste for unnecessary bloodshed and cruelty. Those that knew of his tempest, they had earned his ire. “I will ensure their punishment is one neither will forget.” Death, he’d decided, was far too simple. Waving his hand, Rafael dispelled the psion’s hold on their vicinity, freeing all those around from the morbidity of it. The darkness changed again, this time, filled instead with the images of thousands – millions – of the imperial host arming themselves for battle. They filed into their airships by the legions, some already suspended above what could only be one of the Empire’s newly acquired northern military bases. “As you can see,” he pressed on, uncharacteristically distant, “I am not one for half-measures. I will make an example of Koji, his whore, Kimi, and the Midlands for this.” Never again would one be so bold as to spill imperial blood. Rafael half-turned, lifting his chin as his gaze settled on something far off in the distance. Waving it closer, Predator’s Keep emerged from the darkness. “After I have crushed Koji and his ilk beneath my heel, I suspect what remains of the unconquered Genesaris will fall into line rather nicely. That is where you come in, Red,” he revealed, glancing over at her. “That has always been your role in all of this. Your territory in Terrenus is valuable, you understand, and when I begin my war – the Great War – against those dirt-worshipping mongrels, I would hope to have you as an ally. Of course, you are free to choose otherwise. To be uninvolved, or even my enemy, if that is your desire.” Waving his hand again, the Keep and all its dominion smoldered into nothingness. “However, what you need to understand, here and now, is that what I speak of is an inevitability. I will not be swayed from this decision, I will not reconsider. And thus, you will need to make a decision, sooner or later.” Then he smiled, soft, genuine, and inviting. “Naturally, you know that I will respect whichever path you choose.” Of all the souls in attendance, Rou's was the only one privy to how the Emperor handled those that dared to slight him. But the scarlet queen, she would learn all too soon when his forces beset Koji on all sides. “As far as this investigation regarding your involvement in Lady Akako’s murder, consider yourself absolved. By her own confession, you are innocent.” To press the issue any further would reflect negatively on the Empire, and with their forces already mobilizing against the Midlands, the last thing any of them needed were the cries of a witch hunt echoing in the taverns and alleyways. “Regarding the charges levied against you for your negligence, well…” For a moment, his eyes cut to Rou, his disobedient An’She. Treason, negligence, theft-- oh, what an impressive list of unsavory staples for one so high and prominent. “… It can never be said that I am an unforgiving man.” Focused eyes settled on the scarlet queen, that inviting smile still playing at his thin lips. “You have been quiet, Red. I like quiet. Beyond this little debacle concerning your regent and her past enemies, Caelum has been a boon for this empire. No one can deny that.” Strangely enough, the psion’s presence had stirred something of an awakening in the East. More and more, he’d seen those bearing the fruit of psychokinetic abilities making themselves known. “Should anything of this nature arise in the future, I trust you will follow proper protocol to avoid tangling yourself up in a mess of your own.”
  2. Home Coming

    Rafael’s frown deepened at the child’s self-depreciation, a stark contrast to the fatherly pride and joy welling up inside his chest. Could she hear it, the rapid thundering of his heart as he watched her manicured etiquette come undone? Could she see, through her own tears, how her father’s eyes misted with emotion and threatened to overflow? To bring her this raw, unfiltered joy, it meant more to him than all the power and wealth in the world. But he would not cry before her, for that was not the Bartolome way. Easing the document into Raspberry’s hands, letting her feel the weight behind the document binding her to his house, to him, the elder reached forth and took her cherubic cheeks in the deep valleys of his palms. “Lucis is the former prince,” he corrected her softly, thumbing away crystalline rivers. “Any claim he may have once held to this throne has since diminished. And despite what your mother-- the queen might say, he will never again step foot in Orisia, my love.” Gabriela believed that she was the true monarch of the Summer Isles, but then, she liked to believe a great many things. Orisia was a land of summer and shadow, DuGrace and Bartolome. Never had there been one without the other; never would there be. “As for Dollya,” he pressed on, still paddling and stroking the tears from the child’s face, “I don’t suspect you will ever see her again, either. Whatever claim she may have held to the Orisian throne, behind Lucis, is of no consequence.” There was far too much risk involved with reintroducing the elder princess into society again, compliant though she had become in the many weeks since her disappearance. And while there was very little left of the young girl they had once called Dollya, there were pieces, like little fragments of her past life and imagined agency still embedded in her will. Plucking them out was a slow, careful process. “I am sure she is a queen by now, somewhere far, far from here.” When she was perfect again, without sadness, without tears, the elder tilted her head back so that he might inspect his work properly, by moonlight. Tenebre had never been a perfectionist, and it showed in the tell-tale signs of her improper birth, but in this moment, Rafael could not have desired her to be anything more or less than she was. He loved the child for everything she entailed, shortcomings included. “You are not leftovers, Lucia,” he whispered down to her. “You are, and always will be, my daughter. Princess Lucia Ellena Bartolome,” he purred. “Yes, I like that very much.” Rafael allowed his sweet light to savor the proof of her legitimization, of her ascension, a moment longer before he freed the parchment from her grasp. Rolling up the scroll and tucking it back into his breast pocket, his strong arms snaked around Lucia’s small body once again, plucking her bottom from the stone railing and holding her close to his chest. “I have already instructed the staff of the change, prior to your arrival,” he explained as he spirited her away, traversing the long balcony. “Should any of them make the error of calling you Raspberry, you would do well to remind them of your name, my love.” Or I will, he left unspoken. Dipping his chin, the elder buried a long, tender kiss in the bed of her silken hair. “Are you hungry? I had a feast prepared for you, in case you were. Humans – black, white, yellow, bronzed, and mixture of those, therein.” Orisia was ripe with diversity, teeming with men and women from all different walks of life. “However, I’ve managed to invest in other stock, as well. Several kinds of elves – high, forest, and drow – are in our service, and I’ve even managed to procure a giantess, and also an orc.” While the blood of the latter two would likely prove far too potent for the child, Rafael was not above letting her test the waters.
  3. Ezekiel nodded in agreement. “Above us, as well, if the option is available.” The rider hadn’t forgotten the spider-beast they’d battled in the cliffs, how it scurried up the walls. It hadn’t made much sound with the action in the heat of battle, he remembered. Cloaked in the thick of night, with patience to spare, the monstrosity – and anything like it – would prove a silent killer. “A cave,” he said. “Or even a shallow archway.” Perhaps they would find neither, but anything would be better than their current situation. Being out in the open like this, it would have been better had they the people. They could have taken shifts, huddled around the lantern’s awesome light and warmth. But now, they were just vulnerable. A trio of prey slogging through ash and darkness. His eyes strained against the impending true night. “Either of you see anything?”
  4. Home Coming

    There was always a pang of nostalgia when the elder held the little princess in his arms, from a time long before she had been born of Gabriela’s soul and shadow. He held her close, nuzzled tight against his chest as two strong arms snaked under and around her like pythons. Burying his nose deep into the bed of her chocolate hair, he breathed deep of her scent, smiling as he reacquainted himself with one of the greatest loves he had ever known. “Papa!” the child exclaimed. “Oh, papa. I missed you so much!” It was bittersweet, the unconditional love her held for the child. Through no fault of her own, Raspberry would forever be a reminder of everything he had lost-- the Atitlan princess, the crown of his people, the home of his ancestors, and all those he had cherished as friends and family. It was in the youthful swell of her cheeks, the slope of her slender nose, the pout and smile of her childish lips, and her eyes, not gold with DuGrace blood, but redder than glinting rubies, as was proper of all well-fed vampyric children. Never would he look upon his adopted daughter and not see his cousin, not see the daughter Gabriela should have given him centuries ago. But so too did the child represent all he had gained in the absence of tradition, the many things he had used to fill the void left in his aching chest. He spoiled himself since arriving to Valucre, hoarding an embarrassment of riches. Wealth, power, pleasure, and the eternity that came with the unwavering fealty of worship, these were all his to command as he saw fit. And yet none of that mattered when this child was in his arms, her hair in his face, her arms squeezing him with the strength of a hundred little girls. She made the future, grim with loneliness and war and politics, a little bit brighter whenever she was near. “My sweetest love,” he chirped back to her. “Mm, you’ve no idea how terribly I’ve missed you.” The elder squeezed her tighter, then slackened his arms. He held a short length’s away, still cradled high above the ground, and studied her for a moment. “Every bit the beautiful child I remember,” he teased with a full, handsome smile. He kissed her eyelids and forehead as was customary, and then, unexpectedly, the button of her nose. “My darling princess.” It would have been proper to set her down after their emotional reunion, for she was both Princess to Orisia and Umbra, and suspected by many to be the heir apparent of Rafael’s rambling empire. Though destined to remain a child for the rest of her existence, her mind labored beneath no such shackles. Caught in a game of thrones, often empty, she needed to be prepared to assume the mantle of either was the opportunity to present itself. But propriety held little merit between the love of a father and daughter. And so, he carried her still, held close to his breast as he spirited her away deeper into the sitting room. “I know you were cross with me,” Rafael said, the grimness of the fact counterbalancing the joy in his voice into a smooth evenness. “I apologize for not sending for you sooner, my love. Though it pained me to leave you there, Orisia was not safe. It seems that not all your mother’s people are as forgiving and understanding as she liked to believe.” Censorship was rarely found in the elder’s parenting, and he’d not spared her the grisly details in the letters he wrote. “All in the world know what you mean to me. I simply could not risk you being harmed, child. But all is well, now. Order has been restored.” And then, as was his way, Rafael dismissed the topic entirely. They passed through a door at the far corner of the room, out onto a balcony hall that ran the length of the citadel’s side. The air was cool against the skin, the moonlight soft and inviting. Far below them, Veelos was awake with the work and effort and joy of their people, eager to invest in their nights after a day spent sleeping. The night was dark and blotchy, a sea of different inks-- blues, blacks, purples, and even splashes of gray closest to the moon, so large this night it seemed to scrape the peaks of the distant range. Having taken his fill of her embrace, he faced the stone railing. Rafael situated his princess upon the top of it, feet first, letting the child instead tower over her father. Raspberry was a fearless child, a thrill seeker if ever he’d known one. Rather than shy her away from this instinct, he cultivated it, nursed it, and satisfied the budding need so that she might never seek it beyond his supervision. “Things are changing,” he said flatly, looking up as she balanced and walked along the railing. “Due to some, mm, we’ll say unfortunate circumstances, I find myself as lord regent of the Summer Isles. I don’t know for how long, but I intend to make the most of what time I’m given. And that all starts with you, my child.” The elder smiled, looking beyond her. “You are the princess of this beautiful island. It’s time the people were reminded of that. But first, there’s something I want to show you.” Reaching into his jacket, the elder produced a small scroll. The parchment was crisp, the edges without tatter and seamless. Snapping his hand, it unrolled, the content visible to the child’s glowing red eyes. “Lucia Ellena Bartolome,” he purred the name – her name, given upon her legalized adoption. “Do you like it?”
  5. Thank you for the like!

  6. Wanderlust

    “More than just their beauty,” the ranger said darkly. Ashelewyn did take note, however, that his companion had been able to deduce his heritage with what little she’d been given thus far. Little more than a name (elvish though its origins were, it was no longer a rarity for other races to adopt the names and cultures of their neighboring people) and silhouetted physique. She’s better than I thought, he mused, hiding a smirk behind the made shadow of his hood. He followed her with his eyes as she floated over a boulder a moment later, studying her grace and form. Even in a motion thoughtless as it was effortless, she was quick and precise as a dagger. The flutter of her wings was second nature, as basic as breathing, it seemed. That would be useful in the battle to come. “We do,” he answered plainly, rounding the large rock formation. “There’s a gorge not too far from here. The chimera’s taken up residence in a cave at the bottom of it.” The ranger frowned. “The problem is that the slopes are still slick, and there aren’t many shelves for one like me.” That she flew now only underscored his statement. “The floor of the gorge is mostly gravel, and the river is low – barely a few inches deep. It isn’t dreadfully narrow, but we will have to be mindful.” The ranger’s pace remained slow, steady. Every so often, the mote of light would bound back toward them from the darkness ahead, all song and luminance. It danced around Ashelewyn’s hooded face once or twice, then rolled out to inspect Kinaaz with the same curiosity the dark fae was prone to demonstrate. The light, softer now that she’d seen the fairy’s truest self, hovered nearby – then vanished into the darkness ahead of them in a flashing streak of light. “We aren’t far now,” he explained. “A hundred yards, she said.”
  7. Home Coming

    To say that Rafael only missed his darling princess was to undermine the foundation of love and adoration, itself. If the child growing inside Gabriela’s womb was the light of his life, as it was known to be, his adoptive daughter was most certainly the moon and all its stars. The elder had no need of dubious shadows and conniving schemes when dealing with the child (though far more than a child, she was), for she had allowed him the greatest and most simple joy of all – loving and caring for her as a father might. It was no secret that the elder longed for children of his own. So fiercely was his desire that he settled to play surrogate – not once, but twice – for both the bastards born of his cousin’s womb and those drawn from her very flesh. Raspberry had come to speak less and less of Tenebre, and even of Gabriela, content to bask in her father’s seemingly endless affection. It had been hard for him to leave her side, harder than she would ever know (or believe, likely), abandoning her in the Red City as he sought to tame the savageness that had beset Orisia like a plague of steel and blood and revolution. Things were different now. Veelos had been purged of its false alliances, the poisoned blood of Patian advocates and sympathizers drained from its veins so that the heart could beat fully, healthily, no longer burdened by such grievous weight. There were some that had called their occupation of the Gated City monstrous for such draconian methods, but progress came neither from stagnation nor kindness. They walked a path now that not everyone could follow, and Rafael, regent by the Black Queen’s will, was content to let the unworthy fall away by the handfuls. “My lord,” a voice called from behind a closed door. Rafael stood peering out the largest window of his estate, a grand pane of glass that rose countless dozens of feet above him, like a translucent giant. It was paneled into equally as many golden rows. Below, Veelos sprawled out in an intricate maze of roads, bridges, and waterways. “Mm?” “The princess’ carriage draws near,” the voice explained. “She will arrive in minutes.” “Her room is prepared?” “Yes, my lord.” “Ensure that she has a generous selection of meals to choose from, should she be hungry,” Rafael ordered strictly. “We’ve some of those dark-skinned natives from the southern barriers, don’t we?” “A handful, my lord.” “They’re rather exotic,” the elder noted with an intimate fondness. “They have a, mm, spark to their flavor. A sharpness. Put one or two of them in with her spread. Oh, yes, and some of those light-eyes from the north.” “By your will, my Lord.” And then the specter was gone. Rafael stood alone in the courtyard, waiting patiently for his darling princess to arrive. How different I must look, he thought, reflecting on the misted image that greeted him just moments before departing. The full, downy beard the child had become so accustomed to tugging and combing was still notably absent, without so much as even a gaze of stubble to hint at its return. His red eyes, so dark they were often mistaken for black, were also gone, replaced instead by two glowing sapphire jewels that sparkled like the ocean horizon at sunrise. Who was this man in black, with sapphire eyes and perfect youth, undoubtedly younger than the man those of Cantorra called elder and the man Raspberry called Father? Even though he stood at Rafael’s height, wore his flesh and his clothes – a neat ensemble of ashen greys and deeply-pitched blacks, with stylish leather shoes – with nary an issue, it was not with the same rigid, unrelenting posture he’d been known to display throughout all hours of the day. Where had he gone, that fierce-eyed, heavy-handed, uncompromisingly passionate man that would lift Raspberry high above his head and spin her in the moonlight in the palace gardens? The elder’s daydreaming came to an abrupt end as the carriage slowed, the sound of polished wooden wheels against cobblestone something of an uplifting melody to his ears. He watched as the coachman slid from his seat, the movement notably graceful, and made his way around to the door. He opened it, stepping aside with its outward swing as to not obscure the princess, still hidden deep within it. Rafael made no effort to invest himself in an approach, and instead stood his ground in a soft disc of pale moonlight. Proud though he had become, it was not beyond him to seek the forgiveness of those closest to his heart. He had wronged his daughter, of this, there was no doubt. It was not his place to demand her make herself visible to him, least of all rush into his arms as she might have some weeks ago upon his return to the city keep. No, the elder realized it was his place to wait, at the highest peak of his measure or down on one knee, if she were to have it so. Mending the broken heart of a child, he mused idly, was the trickiest of things.
  8. AFV until Feb. 6th

    I've returned.
  9. You're an excellent writer.

    1. Wade

      Wade

      Muchas gracias, señor King. It makes me very, very happy that you think so

  10. AFV until Feb. 6th

    I'll be out of town and unable to post. See you guys when I get back.
  11. “Your kin are hardly fit to be called High Lords, Zenahriel,” the man in black replied, more than displeased with the so-called guardians of the realm. “They hide behind the claims of impartiality, and yet look at their actions. Aletheiar has taken a mortal bride and Genesaris suffers his neglect for it. When was the last time he left the comfort of Brightstorm, hm? And Ryzerus, that animal would sooner rape and murder his way across the continent before lifting a finger to defend it.” There was a time, not so long ago, when the raven’s king would have kept a cooler tongue in such moments, and spoken more tamely when referring to the High Lord’s brothers. But he had grown comfortable in Zenahriel’s presence, commanding his mate’s absolute loyalty, and feared not the ego or pride of those that stood alongside him, no longer above. Sapphire eyes beheld the pacing raven once more, a soft, tender smile touching the corners of his lips. “Do you remember what I told you that night in the library, hm?” It had been on a particularly cold night, days after the devil’s visit, when he had wounded the High Lord as he often did. “You are not a high lord of Genesaris,” he softly repeated the praise he’d once given his mate. “You are the High Lord, and would you let me, I would see your brothers bow before you in recognition of your status.” Zenahriel’s lack of ambition had always proven a point of contention between the two mates, though it had somewhat lulled in recent months. The raven’s king had ambition enough for the both of them. “But nevermind that,” the man in black continued with a dismissive wave. “There are more pressing matters to tend to.” Dipping his chin, he drew the high lord’s attention back to the derelict city. “In order for us to properly ‘cleanse’ the area, you first need to understand my intentions. This will be more than some garrison or trade port, beloved. It will be the first of many stands we take against the unruly happenings of our home,” he said, gesturing to the barren ruin surrounding them, and then, the Cold Mountains (with their violent Magestorms). “Just as the nations of this realm will bow to us, one by one, so too must the magic. We cannot have one without the other.” The man in black raised his eyes to the ashen sky, pensive. “And while it is well within our power to purge whatever evil has taken root here, I feel we could be less wasteful. It’s been quite some time since our pet last tasted freedom,” he mused. “Even longer since he was fed. I’m sure he would be grateful for the meal, and from the looks of it-” again he settled his analytical gaze on Mensis, putrid with rot and decay “-there will be more than enough for him.” The darkness seemed to shiver at the words.
  12. OOC: Grey Gateway

    I'll have something up soon! Just a head's up, I'll be out of town this week starting Tuesday. I'll be gone until the 5th of February. PS: Thank you! I stole it from Karina.
  13. blood and honor.

    A gardener, indeed. If the first stranger’s words or tone had insulted the druid, Emeril didn’t show it. While he walked away, the boy continued to pick and peel seeds (which seemed without end) from the grooves and pockets of the wooden bracer fastened to his left forearm. He scattered them about leisurely, a soundless rain dappling the earth all around him. At the same time, the sword-bearing stranger thundered across the plain like a storm of blood and steel. He produced another weapon from the cumbersome sword in his grip, and now with both, sought to rend the first stranger asunder. By this time, thirty seeds had already been “planted”. Now, it was time to cultivate. Unlike the first stranger, stirring the magic of his own body, or even the third, drawing in the energy of the cosmos and converting it into the lifeblood of the planet, Emeril’s power was something different. To feel his spirit resonate in the space between them was to feel the breeze against your skin, the earth beneath your feet, or the wetness of a river on your tongue. You could no more discern his frequencies or signatures from the planet, itself, than you could the layers of your skin from the whole. A child of the planet, born from a seed, the druid and Gaia were one. Emeril spoke – with his body, his soul – and the divine natural answered. The seeds he had planted nuzzled deeper into the ground, sprouting coils of white roots that spread hastily, silently, beneath the surface. And while they did not aggressively seek out the territory claimed by the two fighting strangers, it would only be a matter of moments (as twenty feet was no grand thing, assuming his trek hadn’t been cut short by the second stranger’s abrupt assault) before they – and all else in the field – stood over an intricate web-system of ivory roots. “What is your name?” he asked the third stranger, still close to his left. Druidic Magic: 1-Prep Garden of Eden: The initial phase of the garden, this allows Emeril to control the countless roots sprouting from the seeds. Druidic Magic [1]
  14. Wanderlust

    Crysta shook the fae's finger intently, soft but firm. They'd both—the elf and fairy—heard the term “dark fae” before, but neither placed much stock in it. Too many were too quick to align themselves with the more colloquial uses of terms; the stigmata of dark being “evil,” and light, “holy.” Like Ashelewyn, the fairy had seen her fair share of horrors carried out by the hands of those deemed righteous – and alternatively, acts of courage and selflessness by individuals branded monsters for their heritage. Kinaaz proved herself good company, and that was enough for them. “You're the largest fairy I'm come by,” the elf noted, amusement accenting his tone. Bouncing Crysta up from his palm, the starguide sprung into the air and surged with light. It rippled from every inch of her, encasing her in that familiar white sphere. She zipped ahead, weaving between branch and brush, before vanishing into the dark. “Though, it's certainly not a bad thing. Fairies, or fae, as you say – you're all exceedingly beautiful creatures,” he confessed shamelessly. “Not that it's hard to appreciate the beauty of small stature, but, well... I like that I do not have to squint to see you or how appealing you are, Kinaaz.” Ashelewyn was not the most eloquent of men, it seemed. Blunt, perhaps even a bit rugged around the edges, but such was the way the frontier fashioned those bold enough to make it their home. Surely, the dark fae knew of her appearance – how lovely she was, and how her attire (no matter how practical) did nothing to conceal it, but instead accentuated her exotic allure. But neither was he a mindless savage, and while she commanded a look, perhaps even two, he did not linger; the ranger's attention swiftly turned back to their darkened path, and he continued forward. It was a while before he spoke again. “When we find the chimera, I, grounded as I am, will lead the attack,” he said decidedly. “We'll use the advantage of your flight to attack its blindsides, whenever they make themselves apparent. Its hide is durable, but it looks like that blade on your back is made of good steel—spellforged, I would imagine, with you being fae and all. You should make short work it.” Ducking beneath a mildewed branch, Ashelewyn pushed it up high on the other side, granting the fae safe passage. “I'll do my best to distract it, giving you as many chances to terrorize it as you can. We'll need to be quick.” A long, drawn-out battle with a beast of this caliber was not something either of them wanted.
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