Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Zvezdana meets with Vivian to explain herself.

There are a number of satellite villages in Rynmere, each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families, and all ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.

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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Zvezdana Venora » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:21 pm

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12th of Saun, Arc 716

Zvezdana saw on the back of the large, black gelding. The Burhan family had let her borrow it for the journey ahead of the forces. She was going back home, most likely to face the wrath of her family for taking such reckless moves against the kingdom without consulting them. It actually made her warm knowing her father would probably sickened by this move. Anything to piss him off made it significantly more rewarding. The horse plodded along, the woman masked beneath her cloak. Two additional men on horseback accompanied her. They held their pace a little slower, permitting the horses to make a triangle. Their armor, plate steel, was hidden beneath plain brown cloaks. There were no marks of Venora, Burhan, or the Qe’Dreki. They were trying to be a cautious as possible.

Zvezdana thought back to a few days before. Veljorn was highly against her leaving ahead of the forces and demanded that he be permitted to send more than two men. Zvezdana had won the fight with logic. The smaller the party, the faster they could travel and the more secretive they could be. Besides, it would be best if Zvezdana were permitted to speak with her family before Veljorn entered the Fort. The last thing she needed was her father to raise arms against them. They had argued well into the evening, but her body managed to calm him enough to get him to see it her way.

What she hadn’t told him was that she was also going to meet Vivian Warrick on the border between Warrick and Venora. She had sent word ahead to the woman in hopes that she could meet with Lazuli and Vivian together. She hoped that Vivian would be able to convince Lazuli to join them. Zvezdana had not reached out to her yet as she had a yearning to tell Lazuli in person of her marriage to Veljorn. Zvezdana bit her lip, the horse clearing its nose as she did so. Would Lazuli come to see that this was better for her? She would be entitled to find her own love, one as pure as the love she had for Veljorn. Lazuli could grow into a fine young woman and find someone more suited for her. Zvezdana hoped that Lazuli would see that she had meant it as a gift. A gift of freedom.

But to do that, she needed to go through Vivian. Vivian was a whirlwind of power all her own. She was probably as fearsome as a typhoon right now too. Going ahead of Veljorn also kept him safe of the Warrick woman’s wrath. The letter had been short, and she had not even waited for a response. She figured Vivian would meet her or she wouldn’t. No reason to wait for another letter to tell her she was not. She had faith that maybe something could be salvaged of their relationship.

Maybe.

The forest that they were traveling through was northwest of the fort. As soon as this meeting was completed, she would head toward Fort Venora to treat with her family. The horses plodded on, the guards’ heads were on a swivel, and Zvezdana kept brooding beneath her cloak. Finally, the forest began to thin to give way to the main road. A post sign ahead marked the border, giving travels notice that they were entering Warrick territory. Pulling straight back on the reigns, Zvezdana held her hand up. The guards paused, one even going as far to reach for the hilt of his blade.

“Your majesty?” He questioned in a whisper.

“None of that now. Remember, until we reach the fort, we are still in danger,” the other guard hissed, looking over his shoulder.

“Come now gentlemen. We are in no more danger than a regular traveler. We have taken every precaution possible. We are within a stone’s throw of the fort. What is about to transpire, I wish to do alone,” Zvezdana stated calmly, pulling the hood of her cloak down.

“What do you mean to do Lady Burhan?”

“I mean to treat with Lady Vivian Warrick. Did I neglect to tell you?” Zvezdana smiled, looking over to the man that had asked. His jaw dropped.

“My lady! We cannot permit this! Veljorn will have your hea-“

“And I will have them if you tell me what to do again! Remember, I am the future queen of Rynmere. You listen to me,” Zvezdana snapped. “Not the other way around. Now wait here.”

She coaxed her horse forward without another word, the men gawking at her. They could do nothing. Her smile widened. She now had such power over such men. All would soon bow before her because of her husband’s power, the throne that held her weight, and the crown that decorated her brow. Most of all, she hoped that she could finally learn to be kind and benevolent; to care for those that deserved to be cared for.

Zvezdana came to a halt beneath the post sign on the Venora side. She lowered herself to the ground. The skirts of her peasant clothes rode up just a bit to reveal her knee high riding boots. The horse grunted as she tied him to the post. At least he was allowed to graze while they talked. Then she turned to wait for Vivian to show up.

That is, if she was going to.
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Vivian Shiryu » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:19 pm

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Vivian gritted her teeth as she rode Speckle through the forest to where she was meant to meet with Zvezdana. She hadn't even attempted to invite Lazuli, her cousin was still in the grip of that reclusiveness that had taken her over since her ordeal, and Vivian doubted that a meeting with Zvezdana would have drawn her from her seclusion.

As she drew close, she heard another horse and paused to listen. There was no sound from the other horse's rider and she loosened her rapier in its sheath before she rode on. The precaution turned out to be unnecessary, however, as Zvezdana was indeed alone. Nodding to the Venora noblewoman as she dismounted, Vivian paused a moment to tie Speckle to a sign post on the Warrick side of the border before she spoke.

"Lady Venora. You're looking well." she said, her tone somewhat cold, but not hostile. Vivian may not like that Zvezdana had sided with Veljorn, but she could understand the reasons people had for doing so. If she hadn't wanted to run the man through, she might even have considered it herself. "Lazuli wouldn't come, she's gone into seclusion since her ordeal." she said, by way of explanation that she was alone. "I heard you'd married, Veljorn, by the way. I'm not sure Lazuli has yet. I'm not sure she'd even care, but be wary of that man. All he cares about is himself."
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Zvezdana Venora » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:57 pm

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The sound of hooves alerted her that someone was coming. She was somewhat disappointed to see Vivian alone, but also glad to see that one of the Warrick ladies had decided to treat with her. At least, for the time being, not all bonds were broken between them. Vivian dismounted and tied her horse in the same fashion as she had done, except on her side of the country. Borders, although invisible, were apparently as strong as stone walls right now. They were a safety net for all at this time. At least, for now.

“Sergeant Warrick,” Zvezdana greeted with a polite bow of her head. At this time, formalities were a necessity. They had been able to share jabs once upon a time, but now was not the time to be familiar with one another. Any wise crack could snip the last thread of their bond, and that was the last thing that Zvezdana wanted at this time. “Although it breaks my heart Lazuli would not come, I am glad that you were willing to meet with me.”

Her brow raised up in confusion when Vivian mentioned that Lazuli may not know that Veljorn had married her instead. What ordeal with Vivian referencing? If she did not know, what exactly had gone on to make the free-spirited Warrick farmer become a recluse? Before she could think to ask, Vivian carried on about her husband.

“I know there must be bad blood between House Warrick and House Burhan. I certainly hope that I can make amends on behalf of Burhan and Venora. What I did was backhanded. Ever since I met him at the joust, I could not keep him out of my thoughts. For the first time in my life, I acted recklessly based on my heart’s desires.” Zvezdana’s next comments had a lack of formality behind them. Her tone changed to a light, friendly tone. “I love him Vivian. I can’t help that. I certainly hope Lazuli will be able to forgive me for loving someone.”
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Vivian Shiryu » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:45 pm

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Vivian let out a short, cynical laugh as Zvezdana mentioned there might be bad blood between Warrick and Burhan, but she kept her remarks to herself until Zvezdana finished. When the Venora noble wound down, Vivian sighed and shook her head. "You don't know. I forgot that you don't know." she said, before looking over her shoulder, back towards Fort Warrick. "You're her friend...perhaps it's best I tell you." she said, after a moment before she turned back to Zvezdana.

"That low-born wretch on the throne found out that Veljorn had been engaged to Lazuli after the rebellion started. He had Lazuli taken, brought to the castle." Vivian closed her eyes and drew a deep, shuddering breath. When she opened them again, she had tears standing in her eyes and her voice was rough with rage when she spoke again. "Cassander had Lazuli tortured, Zvezdana. Because he thought she knew what your husbands plans were." she ground out, barely able to speak. "She hasn't spoken to anyone but our grandmother since Cassander let her go. I don't know what I can do to help her anymore, or if she even cares what happens to anyone now." she said, her voice rough and ragged. Vivian was visibly on the verge of a breakdown, held together at the point only by her duty to her house and her family.
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Zvezdana Venora » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:29 pm

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Initially, Zvezdana was somewhat concerned. What did she not know? Who was she friends with and what had gone on? Had something happened to Lazuli or Vivian? Those are the only two that she could imagine as friends. Maybe Elyna, since she had been the witness at her wedding and was essentially family, could be considered a friend. Zvezdana waited patiently for Vivian to spill. What happened next, Zvezdana was not prepared for.

Her eyes dilated and her heart thumped aggressively in her chest. Instinctively, she gripped her chest as if she was having a heart attack. The words fell on her like heavy rocks catapulted at a wall. Vivian was speaking with sadness, but Zvezdana was only filled with hate. Hate that resonated within her person and emanated to the one person to blame: the boy king Cassander. She would have his head for this! How dare he attempt, and potentially succeed, at breaking the spirit of the most wholesome, innocent, and kind person that Zvezdana knew. Her fingers curled into tight little fists and she was practically shaking with anger as Vivian finished. Tortured…

Lazuli had to endure so much while Zvezdana had been basking in the limelight of love. Then another thought overtook her anger. Shock clouded her judgment briefly as she thought acidic thoughts towards the one person she trusted most. Had Veljorn known about this? Why hadn’t he told her? Those were questions that she would have to bring up later.

Zvezdana shook her head, discovering that her lower eyelids were lined with tears of anger and sadness. She wiped them away to clear her vision to find that Vivian looked even more distraught than she had been before. Ignoring borders and boundaries, Zvezdana propelled herself forward with arms extended. She reached forward to embrace Vivian, wrapping her about the shoulder and burying her face into her friend’s shoulder. The cloak had been split apart, revealing her commoner traveler cloths. Zvezdana at her most vulnerable. If Vivian truly wanted to end it here, all it would take was a blade to the gut. It would be over – the transgressions of the Venoran against the Warrick and a hard blow to Veljorn. Everything Vivian would ever want.

“I will have his head. I’ll do it for Lazuli. Cassander will pay.”
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Vivian Shiryu » Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:20 pm

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Vivian stiffened slightly when Zvezdana embraced her, the contact having been unexpected. Zvezdana had always been as calm and in control as Vivian preferred to keep herself, and Vivian hadn't expected the Venoran noblewoman to take and action that would leave her vulnerable when she had so much to lose. But she had, and Vivian was grateful. She returned the embrace as Zvezdana made her promise, letting tears she had held back since she had heard what happened to her cousin finally fall.

When she finally broke away from Zvezdana, she smiled at the other noble-woman. "Thank you, Zvezdana." she said, smiling warmly at her before her face turned serious. "But before you can drag Cassander to a rusty guillotine, we need to put you on the throne. That's going to be the hard part there. Veljorn, whatever his good qualities and disregarding my own opinion of him, hasn't made himself many friends lately." she said before she started pacing, agitation and the need to do something making her restless.

"It might still be possible, though. Veljorn's a soldier, same as I am. I'd be a disaster if someone put me on a throne, and I doubt if he'd be all that different." she said, before she stopped pacing and looked straight at Zvezdana. "You, however, are very much a daughter of the courts. If we're going to put a crown on your head, we may very well have to convince the nobles to back you as much, or more, as Veljorn."
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Zvezdana Venora » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:24 pm

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Friendship.

When Vivian melted into her embrace and returned one of her own, Zvezdana began to learn what the word meant. Never before had someone hugged her in a friendly way. Mother hugged her because she was a Venoran child. Veljorn hugged her in other ways. Beyond that, she barely knew the warm embrace people often shared in. Maybe, if she had been hugged more as a young adult, she wouldn’t be the cold-hearted bitch people viewed her as.

The separation between them was necessary, but it made her a little lonely. She tucked her arms underneath her cloak to keep warm. Vivian did make a solid point. Although she believed that her husband would be a better king than Cassander, they still had to sit upon the throne before they could go making decisions. Zvezdana would have to agree with Vivian. Friendships had been crushed in their marriage. Zvezdana had to go about fixing that. Especially with House Warrick. They could help her in the long run. However, the old woman would probably be manipulating Lazuli to the side of the king.

That in itself would be a hard obstacle to overcome.

“It is going to be hard to earn the favor of the other houses. I am sure they think this was a power move by Venora,” Zvezdana agreed. Although that was mostly not the case, she did like to think her family would agree with her decision in the end, especially if she was the new Queen of Rynmere. “If we can get Lazuli to keep House Warrick out of the battle, or come to Veljorn’s aide, that would be best. I have been working to keep the morale of our troops high by riding alongside Veljorn. I even walked among the Burhan society to assure them their Lord was fighting for a just cause.”

It wasn’t going to be enough. That left House Endor, House, Andaris, House Krome, and House Gawyne. Only the Immortals knew where House Venora truly stood, but Zvezdana was still ignorantly hopeful that her family would back her. “Wait one moment. Let me write something for you to give to Lazuli. She has to know that I had no malicious intent when I married Veljorn and that I intend to avenge her.”

Zvezdana took a moment to turn back to her horse, digging through the saddle bags until she found a quill, ink, and some parchment. Conveniently, she had packed these things with intent to send a letter back to her husband when she arrived at Fore Venora. A desk would have made the letter more eloquent, but she would have to make due with her surroundings. A quick check revealed an old, flat board with the name 'Venora' on it. It must have been the former sign before it was replaced with a fresh one. Zvezdana picked it up, and with her supplies, went to sit before the sign. She didn't care that her skirts would get dirty. Right now, she had to make a move. Once she was done scribbling, she rolled up the parchment, tied it with a bit of twine, and sealed it with a kiss. The light red from her lips was the closest thing she could offer to a wax seal.

Zvezdana jumped up, the piece of wood falling to the way side. "Give her this. She must know everything. Do your very best Vivian to help me, and I will do all I can to correct the wrong between our families."


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Lazuli,

It is with great sorrow that I write you this letter. I met with Vivian in hopes that you might be with her so that I could explain myself as to why I took Veljorn away from you. That is something that I regret, especially if it harmed you in any way. Yet, I would do it again because it was out of love that I did it. Love for him, and love for you. In our conversations, you deserve more than to be married off by your family. You deserve to pick whom your heart falls for, for you are a woman that deserves only the truest and purest happiness.

Vivian told me of what Cassander has done to you, and it fills me with a great rage. A rage that I will use to fight alongside my king to avenge your pain. I will not only take the throne to ensure that Rynmere's future is even greater than it could ever be with a boy king, but I will avenge you. I would not have wished that upon you and he is at fault for tainting your innocence. I will not stand for it as Queen and he will pay for what he has done.

I wish you were by my side Lazuli, as my friend and sister. If this could have been done any other way, I would beg your blessing and forgiveness. We fight for the greater good of Rynmere, our families, and our friends. I will always fight for you, now, and forever.

Forever your friend,
Zvezdana
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Vivian Shiryu » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:42 am

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Vivian nodded as Zvezdana talked about the difficulties they faced. However, when the other woman said she wanted to write Lazuli a letter, Vivian smiled and waited. When Zvezdana finished, she took the letter and tucked it into her coat where it would be safe. "Don't worry, I'll make certain she receives it. She isn't coming out very often, but I have a way to ensure she gets the letter." she said, her tone confident.

As she spoke though, she knew she would likely have to add her own letter to the Zvezdana's, if only to help explain her own actions. She hoped the two of them could, together, succeed in keeping Lazuli from falling further into depression and the dark thoughts that accompanied it. "Zvezdana, if I can manage it all, Warrick will aid you. If not, at the least I will aid you, in whatever fashion I can." she said, drawing her rapier at last and kneeling befor eZvezdana. "By the might of our sacred ancestors, I will, however long it may take, see you on the throne, my Queen." she said, her tone formal as spoke, her red cloak flaring out behind her as a gust of wind caught it. She took it to be a sign of the Sacred Sevens favor, something she was quite happy to receive.


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Lazuli,

I would suggest you read Zvezdana's letter first, or else this one will make little sense. I know you may be mad at me for telling her what Cassander did to you, but I felt it was for the best. Zvezdana, whatever her other faults, does truly care for you. I know our grandmother has likely told you otherwise, but I am certain that she is acting more out of concern for her bruised ego than for your bruised heart. Regardless of her motivations however, I assure you, she is mistaken. Zvezdana does love you, and I don't think she has, until now, fully understood what that meant. Venora must be a wilted rose for her to have had such a difficult time of it, I'll admit. But I pin that more on her parents, who must have raised her without the love we received for her to have such little experience with it.

In truth, dear cousin, I fear for you now more than ever. But it is not your life I fear for as much as that essence that makes you who you are. You once told me that you wanted to be brave like you believe me to be, but in truth I'm something of a coward. All these years and I still can't look a sizeable body of water in the face without having panic attacks.


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I know your situation is different, and I don't know what to say to help you but this: Cassander sought to break you. Don't let him win.

If you remain hidden, you will be safe. I can't deny this, for it is true. But the longer you hide, the harder it will be for you to face the world. And the longer you hide, the more Cassander laughs. You have lost more than I believe I could bear, Lazuli. Don't lose yourself to his evil. You are a Skyrider, the same as I am. Mortals were not meant to soar the skies, but we defied this and claimed the skies themselves for Rymere. Keep that thought close, that it was us who tamed the skies. Draw courage from your pain and ride with me, so that those who would have you cower in fear of their cowardly actions may, in turn, cower before your courage and the light you bear.

Whatever your choice, Lazuli, I wish you well in the future. I, however, will not rest until Cassander has paid for what he has done to you. I will not come to him through craven methods, as is his cowardly way. I intend to throw down that traitorous wretch through courage and prowess. As he lacks both, he will not be able to stand against it. I will break him. You, dear cousin, would terrify him, for in you he would see all his evil come back to rend his very soul.

Love,
Vivian.


I put Vivians letter in here for ease of reading, though she wrote it later. Also, the template is of limited size. <_> So I had to break Vivians letter up into two pages, then shrink one.
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Zvezdana Venora » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:00 pm

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Vivian’s tone made Zvezdana feel that she could put her life in the woman’s hands and feel safe. There was something about how the Warrick Sergeant was bending over backwards for her cousin and the Venoran that made her heart bleed. Vivian was the epitomy of family ties. She knew compassion, and she knew when to draw a blade to seek blood. She was talented on the battlefield and probably a wise mind to have at her side. The thought crossed her mind to consult with Veljorn when they sat upon the throne that Sergeant Warrick should be brought close to them as part of their council. She would make a fine leader in the army, and secure their ties with the Skyriders. Most of all, Zvezdana would have a friend close to her at all times.

When Vivian fell to one knee, Zvezdana knew for certain that the bond that was built between them was unbreakable. Vivian was a proud soldier, and to bend a knee to the rebellion’s queen was quite a feat. Not many would have appreciated it, and Zvezdana was briefly thankful that they were alone. Mostly. She doubted her guards would be able to comprehend what was going on. This pledge practically swore them to one another, even if Zvezdana was a silent party. She would do everything in her power to see Vivian’s pledge fulfilled. “I will not allow your pledge to be in vain. I shall sit on the throne and we shall bring Lazuli back to her former self. Now go home Sergeant. Deliver my message to the Baroness,” Zvezdana trailed, thinking about Lazuli. “…to my friend. I shall await to hear from her or I shall wait to see you at my side once more. Do not do anything that might put you in harms way. That is a command.”

Zvezdana leaned down to set a gentle kiss on Vivian’s forehead. She dare not linger long there and quickly stood up to collect her things. With quill and ink pot in hand, she went back to the black stallion. Hands quickly tucked everything away and she found herself mounted in a quick fashion.

“Until we meet again Sergeant Warrick.”

The horse was turned towards the Venoran lands. After several paces from the border, the two guards she had left in the forest started to come from the tree line, joining their queen as they made their way to Sabaissant.
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Behind Their Backs [Vivian]

Postby Kingdom » Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:21 pm

Zvezdana

Knowledge:
Vivian: Close to Lazuli
Vivian: Easily manipulated
Vivivan: Cares for Lazuli
Vivian: Would like to see you become Queen
Vivian: Can be trusted
Location: Warrick east
Location: Venora west
Intimidation: Reminding the peasants of your status
Lazuli: Tortured
Cassander: Had a noble tortured
Politics: Personal letters

Loot: n/a
Injuries: n/a
Fame: +2

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 4/5

Vivian

Knowledge:
Deception: White lies
Zveadana: Married Veljorn Burhan
Zvezdana: Loves Veljorn
Zvezdana: Has promised to avenge Lazuli
Lazuli: Tortured
Cassander: Low-born
Cassander: Had a noble tortured

Loot: 2 x letters for Lazuli
Injuries: n/a
Fame: -2 (behind your friend’s back)

Story: 4/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 3/5

Comment: Love me some Zviv threads and especially enjoyed the letters (that made Lazuli so, so angry). Posts could do with a once over for mistakes. Vivian yours were very short and in most cases didn’t meet the 250 min word requirement. However, I still really enjoyed the story you told and the title was so appropriate. Great thread you two.
A N D I T' S A L L J U S T S M A L L S T U F F, B A B Y.
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