Shattered Dawn (Sisko / Lizzie B)
Bevelle: Day of Atonement
The city was a bustle of energy. The people scurrying across cobble stone streets between shops, carrying large bundles of goods or materials in order to ready themselves for the festivities to occur. Bakers began with the rising sun to prepare their wares for this most special of days. Cooks in all the inns around the city were , by mid day, putting the finishing touches on a feast the likes of which history itself had never seen. A feast that all was invited to, to take place in the main square of the city , where hundreds of tables were set up, all lined with an array of colored cloths from the castle’s brilliant white linens, to the stained red of the Scarlet Lady’s table cloths. Tables piled with food to the point that it was questionable if the wood itself would support the weight, as all sorts of breads and meats were heaped upon overflowing platters. Roasted boar, deer, chicken and goose, mingled smells with fresh baked crusty breads, mingling with the scents of sweet rolls and heated , mulled wine. Piles of potatoes, steamed in their skins, heaped beside an array of green, yellow, and red vegetables. Tables of fruits both exotic and common, all waiting the announcement of the next priestess, the beginning of her pilgrimage, and the years of peace to follow.
Today was the day of her naming. The day when Prince Allisian of Bevelle, chosen escort of this newest priestess by the last seer, would don crusade colors, and leave the city with his Priestess in tow, to begin the life changing journey that would save them all…
Today children ran through the streets playing, their laughter heard amongst the chatter of excited commoners , some of who take to dancing in their merriment on the tavern steps and porches. The people from the neighboring farms and towns began arriving as much as a week ago, to secure rooms at the inns for those who could afford it, or find room enough in the city walls to pitch their tents. The western practice field having been turned into a city of visitors in a matter of hours, the eastern mall nearly as filled already. The inns stayed booked, the coin flowed , and the city begun a celebration that hasn’t died down since its beginning seven days ago.
Allisian watched all this from the high tower of the castle, standing upon its battlements, letting the cold air rush past him as the winds of this momentous day blow east towards the Sholikan valley. Two days ago the wizards of Bevelle’s academy arrived, their presence needed in the upcoming selection process. Just an hour ago, their arch mage, a man simply named Toren, bestowed upon Allisian the honor of a blessing, that his sword would protect the priestess, and in another hour, the totality of Bevelle would gather before the main square to witness the proclamation… the selection of the priestess by the holy waters of Maldoran.
As it had been done for countless times since time’s dawning… as it will always be.
A clutter behind him broke his attention from watching the people of the city scurry about, and he turned to see Gemma, his servant of some years, fussing over a highly polished breast plate she must have fetched from the armorer for the upcoming festivities. Allisian said nothing, only walked over to take the thing from her, holding the thin metal of the ceremonial plate easily with one hand, while he offered a gentle smile to her in appreciation.
“The whole of Bevelle is busy with the celebration, lost in dreams and idle thoughts of hope, and you are still hard at work. I do not deserve such devotion,” he spoke, as began undoing the leather buckles that would hold the piece of armor to his body. He began lacing his arms through the buckles, which would circle his shoulders and cross around his back, to buckle two sets in the center.
“Would you mind strapping me in, Gemma,” He questioned, turning his back to her, so that she could tighten the buckles, securing the armored chest plate into place. Allisian’s eyes once again looking out towards the far city, feeling the excitement of its people charge the air like an electrical current. It would be a lie if he said he didn’t feel the excitement himself…
Artistic brilliance provided by: Lillian.
The Bleeding Rose
They would kill to touch his breast plate now, wouldn't they? They would all die for the chance to lay a finger on it. Well, most of them would have before...he was a prince after all. A beloved Prince, practically worshiped by the people, as royalty seemed to be. How blessed she was, to be holding the piece of armor he would wear for the ceremony. Was she also blessed to have picked up his dirty laundry for the majority of their lives? "Wish him luck for me!" A young girl with pretty brown hair called out, beaming with excitement. "Long live the Prince!" another called, eyes brimming with tears of joy. A few other's hollered as she passed them, everyone filled with excitement. Usually, the task of carting around Allisian's clothes was a private one. Normally, no one especially cared that she was his personal servant. The palace was a place where most were immune to the charms of royalty, having to serve them day in and day out. They were just employers who happened to require a curtsy. But suddenly, that had all changed. Allisian's celebrity status had blown through the roof, and Gemma was going to lose him.
She'd known he would be chosen, she had. He wasn't the heir to the throne, and his skill with a sword would no doubt make him a valuable asset to any priestess that happened to be chosen. And yet, Gemma couldn't quite accept it. Everyone was filled with so much hope, so much joy that they had become blind. This quest was not one sealed with a guarantee of success. It was a battle, and like any battle, lives would be lost. The only question was...whose lives? They'd been baking for days, scrubbing every tile, every crumbling stone until they shone like the sun itself. Normally she tended to Allisian, chatted with him for as long as was appropriate, and returned to the kitchen to help craft pastries for dessert. It was a relatively enjoyable life, and she was under no delusion that this was the best she could have possibly had. It was a blessing, a true blessing, one that was coming to an end. There had been little time to speak with her dear friend, little time to appreciate their last days together. Her time in the kitchen was spent with a panicked chef, and there was nothing enjoyable about the tasks at hand. One day she'd burned a batch of turnover's, and had been sent to scrub the floor in the throne room instead. Her hands were still red and raw where the brush had rubbed blister's on the delicate skin of her hands. Though she was a servant, the hardest work she ever did was making Allisian a fire. It was hardly a callous worthy task.
She knew full well how lucky she had been. Of course, that didn't stop her from breaking into tears when they announced that he would be the escort. Everyone had cheered, hugging and laughing as though they had already been saved. Gemma had fled the room, locking herself in one of the many pantries just as a gut wrenching sob escaped. Crying wasn't something she did often, but then, heartbreak wasn't something she had come across many times before. Sadness? Sure. Anger? Definitely. But the pain in your chest that forced you to stop and wonder how you could possibly go on? That was rare. However, it had taken hold of her, and the agony refused to fade. Now, as she walked through the halls they had once run through together, it was ever the more present. The palace was a beautiful place, seemingly old as time itself, but still grand. Today it was hung with tapestries and bright flowers, whose petals continued to fall away and settle in on the floor. So much for all of the scrubbing.
Despite the force that seemed to be dragging her in the opposite direction, the feeling in her core that was begging her to stall, Gemma made her way to the highest tower where she knew he would be waiting. And he was, standing on the battlements, looking over the bustling city, exuding excitement just like everyone else in the world. Gemma watched him silently for a long moment, the cold wind cutting straight through her plain blue dress, whipping her golden curls around her face. This would be their last moments together, alone. Possibly, for the remainder of their lives. It was so surreal, for he was the purpose in her life. Since she was old enough to carry a tray, she'd been bringing him breakfast. Delivering notes he trusted no one else with, making sure his room would be warm when he returned from dinner so that he could sleep more easily. Their lives were as intertwined as two lives could ever be. Or, maybe, it was simply her life wrapped around his. Maybe he would break free without the slightest pang of regret, and she would lose her purpose and her dearest friend.
Someone had touched the armor, smudgy finger marks on the plate she had polished so dutifully. Gemma used her apron to rub them away, pressing down with an intensity she hoped might relieve the strain of emotion in her body. A familiar voice caused her to look up, and she realized that he had sensed her presence long before she was ready to face him. He teased her, saying that he did not deserve such devotion. All she could manage was a smile she hoped wasn't laced with sadness, and a blunt "No, you really don't." Was she in love with him? She'd wondered it many times before, though the answer was always the same. It didn't matter. He was simply the only man she'd ever really known, and he would never be an option. So, it didn't matter. She adjusted the straps of his armor, as she had many times before, hands brushing against his back. He was exuding heat and excitement, while her hands were cold and trembling with the icy wind. The angry red blisters were a strong contrast to her fair skin, and when she was finished she hid her hands behind her back so that he wouldn't see them. He wouldn't like them. But then, it didn't really matter. These were the hands a servant should have, wounds to create scars she should have acquired long ago. Her charmed existence was coming to an end, and she knew she would do well to accept it without a fight.
However, it wasn't so simple. The bloody hands, the hard work...she could take it. But the fact that these might be their last moments alone? She'd never been one to speak her feelings so easily, but it seemed as though something needed to be said. Maybe an expression of gratitude, for letting her win games of tag when they were children? Or letting her borrow his books during the winter months, when the world was covered in ice? For taking her along when they traveled to other kingdoms, claiming she was indispensable? For thanking her, no matter how many times she lit a fire or cleaned up his dishes or polished his armor? For sending his personal physician when she'd fallen so ill she couldn't get out of bed for a solid week? For being there. For simply...being there, always, her one constant in a world of change. A tear escaped, though he was busy staring out at the horizon and she'd wiped it away quickly. This was her last chance to say it all...but instead, her words were simple. "It's time to go. The ceremony is starting soon."
“So this is the life,” he spoke, his gaze towards the crowded streets, the bustling of his people. Even as high up as they were, the air still lingered with the scents of roasting meats and baking sweet breads. The sounds of laugher died long before reaching them, but in the howl of the wind, sometimes Allisian could swear he could hear it, a faint hint, as though carried by the wind as reminder of what it was he was to pilgrimage for. “This is the life that is to be after its gone. One without terror or concern. One without the fear that we will wake up to Dashashin climbing the city walls, leaving nothing but decay and ruin in its wake.”
He exhaled, feeling the weight of the chest plate settling against his shoulders, marking the end of her work,, and he turned to her a moment later, with a simple, heavy smile upon his features. There was a part of him that was happy, a part of him that had longed his entire life for this day, the day when the journey he was born for began; the day when Allisian Dracon set out from his father’s castle, from beneath the royal umbrella and stood before his destiny ready to take it head on. And yet there is a part of him that is filled with such dread that it threaten to darken the light of this day, a realization that hadn’t dawned on him before: that he wouldn’t be taking her with him. It didn’t quite seem natural. She had always been there, since he could remember, in some manner, and though his destiny called… though he made for the far reaches of the world in hopes of bringing a peace long wished for, well deserved, he couldn’t help but feel some hesitation. Realization sets in that he’s going to have to leave her behind.
And the smile on his face dims.
“Yes, we should be about this” He whispers, pressing down the realization, and sparing another moment to observe the happiness of his people, before turning his back to it all, and slowly beginning to descend the spiral stairs that wind down into the tower’s stone walls. He takes he steps slowly, his mind growing preoccupied as suddenly the smell of incense wafts from inside the palace halls, ceremonial for his benefit. The scent was Roganbark, burned by the families of grieving widows, in belief that the scent will cleanse the soul of undesired darkness, in order to make a more complete and natural communion with the dead spirit for whom they grieve. Today its semblance is different. Today it is burned in anticipation of his quest: to make pure the soul so that the seven will find him worthy, and house their strength within. Likely his mother had sent someone to follow him with an incense burner, and unable to find him, simply inundated the entire castle with the scent. It was strangely touching, and as he found the first burner, sitting on the landing between lights of stairs, it felt surreal.
“It would seem my mother wishes me well,” He spoke, stepping past the burner, leaving it in its position, its metal pole laying across several lower steps, causing Allisian to carefully watch his step as he descends down to the highest hallway of the tower. He stopped the other side of the pole, holding his hand out to Gemma, so to aide her across the fallen pole, to safeguard against accident and injury, as he always does. “I wonder, what life will be like without the black shadow to haunt us. This new world, if it is to be, what will it be? I find myself eager to live in it. To know the weight of trivial matters once this most grievous of threats is taken off of us.”
At the base of the stairs, two men, dressed in ceremonial armor, gold to the platinum of Allisian’s, stood before the doorway joining the tower of the main hall. Allisian’s father approached, in his hands the folded form of a emerald cloak, golden embroidery of a blazing sun visible upon the field of green. They exchanged pleasantries, Allisian turning his back, turning to face Gemma, as the hands of the King, his father, don the cloak upon his shoulders, fastening it to the shoulder pieces of his armor. His hazel eyes searching Gemma’s, feeling the awkwardness fade in the presence of his father, as though the return of an old and familiar mask, donned without intent or knowledge. When the weight of the cloak adds to the weight of the chest plate, Allisian again turns, now to his father, and bows his head.
“No time for words,” Davinus spoke, putting a hand to his son’s shoulder, his eyes looking up to Gemma, not surprised in the least to find her in the company of his son. They seem to be almost inseparable since they were young. It would be more of a surprise to find them parted. “The girl,” he started, but Allisian spoke up to interrupt.
“let her stay father, until the selection is complete. She can slip away then, and join the others,” he spoke, allowing himself this one last moment during which to stand on her behalf, to insist that she is important enough to warrant a bending of the rules. “I am sure she is well accustomed to the routine by now.”
Last edited by msisko; 12-06-2012 at 02:21 PM.
Artistic brilliance provided by: Lillian.
I'm withdrawing from this play, officially, as I'm leaving the site. best luck to you all in your roleplay endeavors.
Artistic brilliance provided by: Lillian.