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 blood in Fiesta's hair and she didn't know whose it was. Sparkle had the same complain in his tail feathers. They had fought, they had contributed to a storm. They had protected people. And now Fiesta was bruised and bloody, with two arrows sticking out from the back of her left shoulder. She carried Sparkle with her free arm as she hauled herself to her aunt's wagon.
Still, she was proud of herself to some degree. Fiesta didn't know how many Coheedsmen she had taken down with her own arrows or how many Sparkle zapped, they hadn't been counting, they had just been fighting. She did know that she had protected some of her family, some of her friends, and yet there were still those she hadn't been able to protect, but she couldn't think of that yet. All that was really on her mind was the now dull throbbing pain of arrowhead she couldn't reach and the dull sadness in her heart that she knew would sink further once she cleared her mind to look at the aftermath.
Fiesta found her aunt quickly enough, "Hey Auntie..." she said sheepishly with a weak wave. One hand brushed some of her dirty hair out of her face. "Ok so don't freak out but..." then Fiesta turned to show what the left side of her body looked like.
It was alarming enough that her niece had appeared outside her wagon covered in blood, but the sheepish smile made Etta suppose Fiesta had been caught in the fighting enough to get a bit messy.
Until she showed her the arrows.
The blurted Fiesta! that had been forming on her lips turned into “Fuck!” as her eyes widened with horror.
“Sit,” she added immediately, pointing to one of the few stools set up at one end of her wagon. “Tell me what happened,” she said, immediately reaching into her kit for the leather covered bundle of tools she would need. It certainly wasn’t going to be pleasant. “Do you want something for the pain—those arrows need to come out, and they need to come out now, or we’ll lose you to a fever.”
Etta didn’t want to imagine how many more deaths waited for those who survived the battle but succumbed to festering infections despite her efforts.
Fiesta didn't know what anyone could expect, she had just been through a warzone! But yeah, everything hurt. "I don't think all the blood is mine..." Fiesta tried as she plopped herself down. Oh sitting felt so good.
"Well I was shooting arrows and Sparkle was doing his thing and well I bent down to pick up more arrows and well I guess they gave me some free arrows?" Fiesta said, just loopy enough to make a little light of the situation. "Anyways, I couldn't really shoot more than like three more after that because well it hurt, but I tried... I really tried..." she trailed off, remembering how many more arrows she had tried to nock before the pain had been too much. At least she had the sense to not try to pull them out.
"Yeah, something for the pain would be nice, that's a good idea..." Fiesta said, just watching her aunt work. She was a bit dazed now that the adrenaline was fading from her system. "Do you have any of those brownies I like?" That sounded like a great idea for a painkiller.
Etta sighed as Fiesta began to explain in entirely too laissez faire a manner how she had come to be in such a state, but she was alive and talking, and that must be good enough for now. Fiesta was so much like Arlo, that way—she could have a dagger sticking out of one eye and would still be trying to wink.
Pressing a hurried and grateful kiss to the bloody tangle on top of her niece’s head where she sat, Etta rummaged among her things and took out a small bottle, uncorking it and holding it to Fiesta’s lips.
“Sip this, first,” she said. “And yes, as a matter of fact, I have got one or two of those brownies—Ina made some the day before...”
Before everything changed.
She ducked into the wagon long enough to find the brownies—a little dried out by now, but beggars could not be choosers—and took the plate to Fiesta, and did not scruple to have a bite of one, herself. She was going to need steady hands for this.
With all her tools and supplies laid out beside her, Etta gingerly gripped one of the arrow shafts, trying not to jostle it any more than she absolutely must.
“Take a deep breath for me, Fiesta, and hold it for a moment,” she said. “One...two...”
And, wanting to dodge the precipitate flinch, she yanked out the first arrow on the count of two, rather than three.
The important part was that she was alive right? There were others that were a lot less fortunate and Fiesta hadn't seen enough to now who exactly was and wasn't more or less fortunate, but she had seen a lot of blood. She was probably wearing some of it. Still with that thought hanging in the back of her mind she gratefully took a healthy gulp from the bottle. Fiesta made a face as she tasted the bitter liquid and then put the bottle down next to her. The brownies were at least something that she could look forward to. Sparkle on the other hand was already napping.
Fiesta was munching on a brownie when she was vaguely aware that her aunt was talking to her again. "I just want to wash my hair..." she whined in response to anything that Etta could be saying. Fiesta nearly choked on her bite of brownie when the first arrow was yanked from her shoulder. She flinched so hard that Sparkle woke up and was hopping over to check on her.
"YEOWCH!" she hollered, tears springing to her eyes. "HOLY- WHAT HELL AUNTIE?!?!" she whined. Just like her father, Fiesta could be a big crybaby when it came to expected pain.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” said Etta, wincing before she let out a sigh of relief when the arrowheads pulled free of the flesh without seeming to tear too much. They hadn’t buried themselves too deep, which would have been beyond her skill. “The worst is over now, they’re both out, and I’m going to clean it and pack it.”
She pulled Fiesta’s shirt and sleeve up and over her shoulder to bare the skin—modesty could not take priority under the circumstances, and Arlo wasn’t one to breed shyness in many of his children. Anyway, Etta had seen it all, before, and Fiesta had been the first baby she could remember helping to look after since birth.
Pouring water and a trickle of rough distilled spirits over the wounds to clean them, Etta worked quickly to get padding in place, soaked with more alcohol and a dried and ground wild berry she knew would ward off infection. She bound it in place with longer strips of cloth, tying the ends after wrapping them around Fiesta’s torso, and fashioning a sling to hold and pull her arm close against her chest, keeping the shoulder immobile.
“You can’t get it wet right away,” she warned her. “But I can get a bowl of warm water and wash your hair, if you want?”
What did she expect? There were arrowheads embedded in her flesh, of course it was going to hurt. Whatever that yucky liquid was though, that was numbing it away, or maybe it was the brownie. Either way, Fiesta was feeling pretty good for the state she was in.
The thought of this wound being all cleaned and packed sounded gruesome and highly unpleasant so Fiesta just stuffed another bite of brownie into her mouth. And then more searing pain as those spirits were poured on her shoulder, though Fiesta tried to not flinch too much. She knew very well that moving less would make this whole thing over faster. Sparkle was trying to push calming thoughts into her mind.
"I just want the smell of blood to go away..." was all Fiesta could say, more of a moan of misery than anything else.
“You’re being wonderfully brave,” Etta assured her as she went to get a basin from the wagon and fill it with water. She fetched a smaller dish of soft soap she’d compounded herself with fresh rose petals.
After a word with Sage, the cat went to circle Fiesta, picking at the earth with her claws until a large bunch of blooming lavender sprang up from it, the heavy scent of it perfuming the air.
Etta set the basin and the soap on a small table behind Fiesta’s seat and piled some towels beside it.
It was strange for the air to be filled with lavender among all the bloodshed, but Fiesta was grateful for it. Even if she could have a few moments of reprieve to melt away and pretend that this was a week ago, she'd take those few stolen moments. She knew Poe was alive, she had seen him, but as for her other roommates Yoda and Padme, Fiesta was worried about them.
She leaned back, closed her eyes, and let her aunt wash her hair, blood was not a good look her. "I'm glad you're ok Auntie." She opened one eye, "You are ok right?" Obviously Etta was standing and functioning so that was a pretty good bet as Fiesta decided.
Etta managed half a smile for Fiesta's inquiring look and gave a brief nod.
"I'll be just fine," she said, cupping her hands to scoop warm water over Fiesta's hair, letting it trickle across her scalp and wiping away the blood that had dried on her skin. It was more matted into her locks of hair, so Etta took a bit of soap and carefully began to work the lather through the strands, coaxing out the blood. Hopefully the water wasn't hot enough to make getting the blood out difficult, but she didn't want to put poor Fiesta through a cold bath right after she'd been through the agony of having her wounds looked after.
"You know, I remember helping to give you a bath when you were just a baby," she said, helping herself to another bite of the brownies before Fiesta and Sparkle could finish them off. "You were the first baby I'd really helped to look after."
Arlo's first, and she'd survived the cave as if it were nothing. Etta adored all her nieces and nephews, but she knew if they'd lost Fiesta to this calamity, it would cut as deep as those first precious memories went.
This was nice, it was why Fiesta had roommates, they always took care of each other. They'd wash each other's backs, invent games to play on the comfy stuffed chairs in their wagons. And that was all going to be gone soon wasn't it? "Do you think things will go back to the way they were? Ever?" Fiesta asked, even though she was pretty sure she knew the answer.
Then she had a sudden thought, probably induced by the brownies, "I'm still going to be blonde right? not a redhead?" she had to ask. Her hair the last she saw it looked reddish from the blood. Red was not a good look on her.
"Do you think my dad is ok?" she asked next, so many questions and even though Etta probably didn't know exact answers to these questions, it made Fiesta feel better to ask.
She wanted to give a comforting answer...but Fiesta was no fool, nor a child any longer, and they both knew that this was entirely different from everything they'd ever known.
"No, I don't think they will," she said softly, still stroking her hands through Fiesta's hair, the smell of roses and lavender at last beginning to overpower the blood. "Not quite. But nothing stays the same, forever."
At the next question, she reached around and lightly pinched the tip of Fiesta's nose.
"Your hair will look better than ever, when I've finished," she promised. As to Arlo...she felt her stomach clench. She wasn't sure where he was, or what had happened to him, or any of the other caravans. Were there more from Coheed, going after each of the caravans? Or did they begin where they thought the Dresmondi were weakest, to deal the heaviest surprise blow?
"I think..." she spoke slowly, trying to find the right words. "...your father is doing everything he can to make sure everyone is safe." She started to rinse Fiesta's hair, the blood turning the water and soap-suds faintly pink. "He loves you very much."
Fiesta didn't want to think about what she'd do if anything happened to the other caravans. Both of her parents were in Dijila and she hadn't seen either of them since conclave, not to mention several of her siblings. Then again she had several siblings in every conclave. Everyone always said they knew that she was one of Arlo's kids when they saw the thick blonde hair that she let flow free most days. They said that she looked like him, even acted like him a lot though Fiesta loved her moments of peace.
There was a slight smile on Fiesta's lips, as much as one could smile after a battle, as she thought about her father. He was always taking care of people. "He's doing a good job at it, I know he is. I heard Danior sent Hazel and Olive to go get him so I know he's coming." Even if other people had their doubts about what Arlo and Adhla would do, Fiesta knew that he'd come to the border to help them. He'd come in with two other caravans and they could rid Coheed from their borders no problem. She could only hope that they came before anyone else was lost.
She paused, her next words caught in her throat. "I... I saw Mina fall..." Fiesta said quietly, her sister, barely sixteen. "There was an arrow and it went straight through her throat and..." tears sprung to Fiesta's eyes. "I tried to save her but... I couldn't do anything and all I could do was shoot more arrows and... I just couldn't do anything..."
Etta listened as she rinsed the last of Fiesta’s hair and moved the basin to the ground, wrapping a towel around her dripping hair and squeezing the water from it gently. Her own eyes were wet at the fresh pain of hearing of Mina’s death—she had barely tasted anything of life, at all.
She leaned forward to loop her arms around Fiesta, careful to avoid her bandage and holding her gently. What else could she do? What could they say?
“I’m going to make her a garden. A garden for all of them.” She wasn’t sure how or why she said it, or how it would help, at all. “A different sort of plant, one for every person. Every child and every Nameless, too. And it will last beyond any of us. No one will forget them, or what happened.”
Fiesta had resisted crying all day long, all battle long. Even when watched the light leave Mina's eyes, even when she saw the massacre of hundreds of children and nameless plunged into darkness and their screams echoed across the battlefield. Fiesta wasn't a crier, even though her heart felt like time had stopped but everything was exploding around her all over again. There was hardly a tear when the arrows plunged into her shoulder and tore across her skin.
But now she was crying, a pathetic sight in Etta's arms. She just let the tears finally fall and inhaled with a snotty sniffle. "That... sounds really nice," she managed to croak out. "We'll help you," she added. How she could help she didn't know. Sparkle was great at destroying stuff, lightning was something that broke things, which was useful in war. Except it hadn't been enough and now it was Dresmond that was in so much hurt.