The peace that formerly reigned in Terra Nova has eroded, now little more than a memory. War ravages the continent. Disputes divide kingdoms; ideals divide families. The quest for power consumes absolutely and indiscriminately. None are immune to its allure.
Who will rise and who will fall? Only time—and ambition—will tell.
New gifted family of Lorendale added to the Families of Importance, the Decarlos!
At the beginning of February 2022 the site will experience a 5 year time jump! The IC year will jump from 822 to 827! This gives us about 8 months to prepare our characters for that jump. We plan to host very intentional planning sessions to help everyone get their plots and characters ready for this! As of this moment, one thing you should all start considering is making sure the threads your characters are in are furthering your character's stories.
There was a change across Yoren’s face as she called him a monster, one subtle but visible. It wasn’t anger or surprise, so much as a resignation. “I’m not,” he said, but his voice wasn’t defensive. He instead sounded tired, and he turned to exit the cage, swinging the door shut and locking it. The guards, on cue, exited, and they were left alone.
Yoren had seen the change in her face when he’d asked about her loved ones. It was useful to know there will still those on the other side that would be missing her. He filed it away for future use; for now, his mind was turning with her statement. It was a stupid one, he thought. It was foolish to think of your enemies as monsters; if you robbed them of their humanity, you could never hope to know them. And if you did not know them, you could not defeat them. It was why he was here, wasn’t it? To know her. To know her people so that he could take them.
“Would it be easier if I was?” he said, clasping his hands behind his back. He wasn’t facing the cage when he spoke, but he turned after the question was out of his mouth, tilting his head to one side. “Would it be more difficult for you to know that I have wives and children to care for? Friends and brothers whom I love? To know that you are here because of loyalty? Because of honor?”
He took a step closer to the cage. “Or would you prefer to think I do this for fun?”
She had the urge to run after him when he went to exit. She wanted out of the cage. She felt trapped in her own mind alone, and the cage only made her feel more disconnected from herself. But only one step happened before he was out of the cage and the guards were leaving. Back to being left alone with Yoren.
She let herself glance back at Raiden, who had at least given up his tough act and was curled around himself. Laying in the corner, but with amber eyes watching. Glancing between the two others in the tent. There was a constant dull ache in her chest, in her mind. It was where Raiden usually was. Where he rested in her. And it felt cold without him. So this was what it was like to lose your dyr. She was only half a day or so into this. No wonder the others who lost their dyrs turned into walking zombies after time.
Yoren was speaking again, and her head whipped back towards him. She knew that he had to have had a life outside of these thick walls of fabric. She couldn't picture him as a lover, as a good father. A friend. He was clearly wise but to her, he was what she said earlier. A monster. "You invaded my lands. You brought war to us. Your men slaughtered my family and friends. I was protecting mine. You came after us. When we have done nothing to you." She said, her voice growing louder as she took steps forward until her hands wrapped around two of the bars and she leaned close to look him dead in the eye from the opening.
"And now you hold us as a hostage. As your prisoners. And expect me to give you every answer for the questions you ask?" She stared at him. Her voice clearly pointing out that she thought he sounded insane as she went about releasing the bars and taking a step back.
Yoren could see it from her perspective, of course. He did not expect her to like the man who came in to conquer her people. But it was simply disappointing to Yoren when people let emotions cloud their judgement. He saw everyone as human, even those he killed. Did Dresmondi really think Coheed had nothing to gain by conquering them? Why couldn’t she see that this war was nothing but a means to an end for him?
“And you think I’ve done that for no reason?” He asked, gaze still looking at her curiously. The anger had melted from him, replaced with a sort of pity mixed with bewilderment. “That is what monsters do, isn’t it?”
He let out a sigh, bringing his hands from behind his back to rest on his hips as he continued to look thoughtfully at her as she spat the question at him. After a moment, he responded, “I expected you to be smarter than this.”
”Then why? I hope you say something better than loyalty and honor. Because I’m not buying it Yoren.” She bit out at him. Her scabbed arms wrapped around her midsection as she stared at him. As if she was trying to hold herself together, trying to fill the void that was in her chest.
She hated the way he looked at her. Like she was a wounded animal caught in a snare. And he didn’t have the heart to put her out of her misery. That or he knew that he couldn’t kill her yet, in fear that the meat would rot before he got it home to devour it.
She knew the stance that came out. The hands on the hips, the sigh, normally when she had the look it was accompanied by a shake of her head. It was disappointment. And for some reason, it made her violent. The sentence out of him had her part her lips as a quick breath left her, like he stole it from her. Just like he stole Raiden from her. Stole her caravan. Stole her entire world. “And you are just as I thought you’d be. Pathetic and a coward. Hiding behind collars and trapping people in cages.” Tears stung her eyes as she backed into the cage. Her eyes staying on him. Because the moment her sentence fell from her lips, she knew that one of two things might happen.
Either he was going to leave her alone in her new dark world, or he was going to hurt her. And all she could be thankful for at this point was that she didn’t need to fear Raiden feeling her pain if he did.
Yoren crossed his arms and tilted his head. “Do you really think Dresmond has nothing for Coheed? I do it for the same reason you fought back. Patriotism. Do you buy that?” He was curious. Perhaps he was giving away too much. Perhaps he should’ve left her alone by now, letting her sit in the darkness and the hunger that her foolishness had earned her. But there was something inside Yoren that nagged at him. It was irritating just how wrong she was.
She was also wrong if she thought her words could anger him. He was past that, now; the words of a captured girl meant nothing to him. He wasn’t “hiding behind” anything. Only a fool would go into battle without a shield. Would she call him a coward for that as well? If she did, she was even stupider than he thought.
But she wasn’t stupid, this girl. Perhaps that was why Yoren was still here. She was clearly bright. Fiery. In another world, Yoren would’ve liked her. But it was her intelligence that bothered Yoren so. If only he could make her see sense.
“Your friends back home,” he said finally. “If they were here in your place, what would you want them to do? Would you want them to refuse food? To wait until I beat them bloody before they gave me the information I asked for?” He raised his chin to look down at her.
"I know that Dresmond has a lot to offer. My question still stands on what you want from us? Why Dresmond? What of Nevermere or Arynn Frey?" She asked. She didn't know a ton about the other kingdoms, but she had recently been to the two mentioned. And was fascinated by them just in the way that impressed her. She might have thought the same about Coheed, had they not been attacking her home as much as they had been recently.
The moment he mentioned her friends, she almost hissed at him. He didn't get to talk about them. Those were her people. And she'd be planning to help them however she could if she was elsewhere. She hoped that wasn't the plan. She was one pairing, they had large caravans to think of. And who knew if the word they had sent out with the twins had even gotten anywhere. If it did, did they even send anyone to the border? Did they retreat further to save themselves? The one thing about Dresmond that was upheld was their freedom. They had no rulers.
"Is that what you plan to do to me? Beat me into submission?" Her brown eyes showing a mix of angry and defiance and terror. Was he going to beat her till her face was so swollen no one would recognize her? Till her small body gave out? "Is that what you think I would do to you if the roles were reverse, and you were nothing but a man in a cage?" Everyone looked down at her. She was used to it. Her hand raised to pull at the collar on her skin, as it was really starting to cut into her skin. She swallowed hard before she tried to run her fingers under the edge of it, to try and ease some of the pain that was there.
Yoren’s eyebrows raised. Was she starting to see? “Who says Nevermere and Arynn Frey aren’t next?” He asked, lifting his shoulders in the slightest shrug.
Yoren scoffed. Of course it was what she’d do, if the roles were reversed. Did she honestly expect him to believe that if he’d been captured by Dresmond that he’d be treated well? He would be lucky to be alive at all, given his position. But if he was alive, they’d grill him for information, just as he was doing to her now. They’d like call him worse things that Kezia was calling him now. He’d expect nothing less.
“It’s what I’ll do if I have to,” he said, uncrossing his arms and letting out a soft sigh. “But I’m telling you that it doesn’t have to be that way, Kezia.” His gaze met hers again. “Have I harmed you yet?”
She thought of the people she met over the summer. And all she knew was that Nevermere was more populated than Dresmond. So she was sure that if Dresmond had been able to drop as many as they had, Nevermere would wipe them off the map of Terra Nova. Arynn Frey should wipe them off if Coheed even breathed in their direction. In her opinion, the only reason Dresmond had yet to destroy them was simple because Yoren and his men had outnumbered them 1 to 10. And had magic items like the one tightened around her throat.
But she figured voicing her thought would not help her. He was clearly proud of what he had accomplished so far. Capturing her. Driving the Dresmondi under the earth.
She took another step back as he told her that he would beat her. Her fingers bit into her arms as she stared at him. Her eyes flashing over him as if gauging how hard he would hit her, how many of his hits she could take before he knocked her unconscious. When he asked if he hurt her, and she could only be honest. "You have." She whispered. But surely he would not understand. Or he'd think that she was over-exaggerating. "You still haven't asked any questions. You told me to not attack you, I listened. I haven't attacked you once." Physically, she hadn't.
If she thought she’d been harmed now, Yoren pitied her. There could be so much worse. Perhaps there would be.
He gave her a wry smile. “You have attacked me. You tried to punch me,” he corrected her.
“And I’ve asked you plenty, Kezia. You know that. You’ve dodged my questions and messed with my observations,” he crossed his arms again, turning to pace again. It helped him think. Helped him decide what was most important to him. “But if you want to pretend to play along, I’ll give you another chance,” he said finally.
He turned to look at her square on, arms still crossed over his chest. “Who controls the electricity? You or him?”
She let out a small huff. It was almost a laugh when he mentioned her throwing a punch. "It didn't land." She said lowly. Maybe she was going mad, the emptiness from Raiden was already causing her to lose her mind a little.
It was only because he called Raiden 'him' that she decided to not fight him on it further. And the fact that she just gotten him to start talking again. She turned and sat down a few feet from Raiden, her back against the cold metal as she reached a hand out towards the genet. He tensed, but didn't move from her. His eyes firmly glued to her, watching. But her hand remained unmoving on the ground of the cage, stretched out for him with her palm up. "We both do." She said to Yoren, her eyes on Raiden. And she knew that he would probably be annoyed by what she said so she pressed on quickly. "And before you anger, I do mean it. I can control it because of him. We need each other." She turned her eyes to Yoren. Her voice was soft, tired, and had just a touch of sadness to it.
It wasn't a lie, per se. Maybe not the fine details of the fact that she was not the one who could shoot electric from her finger tips. But it was because she and Raiden worked together as a team. Which meant that Raiden needed her, because without her alive, he couldn't live. And without him, she had no control of the elements, and a dark empty hole took home in her heart.
Yoren nodded. Oddly, he believed her. He couldn’t say what it was, maybe the sadness in her voice. He watched her reach out a hand to Raiden tentatively, who behaved as any wild anymore would.
It wasn’t good news, not for Yoren. It would mean they’d need twice as many collars to control the population. But he knew nothing about the Dresmondi creatures, so he drank up the information greedily.
“Have you always had him?” he asked suddenly. There was so much he needed to know. Did they come out of their mothers together? Did they pair up children with animals at birth? Did they catch the animals, or did the animals come willingly? He had so many questions, but he couldn’t ask them at once. He had to dip his toe slowly into these waters. To get what he wanted.
She saw him nod, accepting what she had offered. How would he know if what she said was a lie? She needed to be careful about what she said. She didn't want to give anything up that she shouldn't be. And if she twisted her words, she'd have to make sure that she could prove it if he released the magically hold over her and Raiden at some point. Her hand still towards Raiden as she stared over to him.
She narrowed her eyes slightly, that was going to be a hard one for her to answer. She shook her head, her eyes moving back to Raiden. She felt the ache in her chest grow. It was painful and she just wanted to feel Raiden again. "Please release him. He won't attack. Even if you only release him a little bit." Her voice was on the edge of begging, her fingers flexing lightly and she winced as Raiden jerked away from her. "Raiden came to me when I was a girl."
Now he was getting somewhere. Yoren was careful not to show it in his face, but a rush of pleasure rippled through his body as she kept talking. She was letting her guard down now, he could feel it. And with it, she was giving him what he wanted.
The creatures were the things that made Dresmond so powerful. There were the only reason Yoren’s men hadn’t already conquered. The magic that the other kingdoms held was dangerous to Coheed, clearly.
“Where did you find him?” he asked. His voice was curious, and he needn’t fake it.
She waited for Raiden to return to her. Waited to watch those eyes turn and look at her. But they didn’t. Raiden remained in the corner of the cage. Staring at her with an uncertainty that made her want to curse and scream and cry. She slowly reached for him once more, and a low growl started in his small body. He was so aggressive because he was so small. It made sense. He was just like her in a way. Except Yoren could make her stop her movements on a dime.
Kezia smiled faintly at the memory of finding Raiden. The two of them finding one another. Him giving her her name. She glanced back at Yoren. “Please.” She pressed, not liking that she was close to begging to feel the connection between them. She asked one thing. And yet he was pressing on for her to answer him. She stared up at him. He claimed to be a man who had wives and children and family, not a monster. She balled her fists up over the fabric covering her legs, still sitting down as she focused on him. Her fingers touched the metal of the collar again. “Coheed has never had these before. Where did you get them?” Coheed didn’t have magic. That she knew.
“We had help,” was all he said to her question. Did it matter where they got the collars? They had them now.
Yoren’s eyes jerked to her from where they’d been lingering on the little creature. In haste to learn more, he’d ignored the request to return the animal to its former state, but she pressed, pleading almost. She was getting more desperate, he realized. There was something about the magic blocking that pained her, but it wasn’t something he could see.
He did feel for her, somewhere in the deepest part of his gut. But pressed, he would deny it had anything to with what he did next.
“If I release the magic, it won’t be for long,” he said quietly. “I can’t leave you alone with it. Do you understand?”