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.
"Yes," said Etta, holding her girl and rocking her, slowly, gently, as if she were much, much smaller, her cheek pressed to Fiesta's damp hair. "Did she like the pink ones or the white?"
Part of her hated to ask. Part of her felt like she ought to have known...but she knew these sorts of things were the things people were meant to learn over a lifetime of loving someone--the small, inconsequential details that made a person so unique. The things that stayed the same, and the things that changed, so that discovering their true self was an eternal exploration...but there had been no time left to learn more about Mina, or any of the fallen. All they could do now was remember, and share those memories, as the only way to discover all that remained of who they had been.
"The pink ones..." Fiesta said, realizing now she'd really never be able to look at pink magnolias without a stab of pain in her heart. There was also the realization that Mina was only the first one of people that she would miss. Prior to today, someone could describe Fiesta as a fearless person, a woman always willing to go out on a limb or try something.
The fear of having to look into a crowd and not see faces she was expecting was stronger than any fear she had felt in the battle. The battle was surreal to her, it was arrows and lighting and fire. There was dust, there was smoke, there was blood. Now there was more of that, plus an emptiness she wouldn't know how to fill. No amount of flowers was going to fill it.
"You're ok right? Sleeping? Eating?" She opened her eyes to look at her aunt, to make sure that Etta was ok, because Fiesta wasn't going to lose anyone else after today if she could help it.
Etta laid a hand on Fiesta's shoulder and gave it a squeeze as she nodded briefly.
"Enough," she assured her. Just enough. Everything was nightmares and ashes, but if Etta knew anything she knew the barest minimum that a body needed to function, and she could scrape together that, at least, for the time being. What would come in the days and weeks and months ahead, she couldn't guess, and couldn't tell how or even if she would find the strength to face it, but she knew they would all have to.
"I wonder if we'll move the caravans further from the borders," she said. "The children, at least, and those who cannot defend themselves, if there is an attempt at another attack..."
Good. Auntie Etta was one of the people that Fiesta was less worried about. If she was a healer, she should know how to take care of herself and Etta did not come across as a hypocrite. Still, it was good to check on the people who spent all their time checking on people.
She nodded at the idea of moving the caravans in. That would be safer. The scariest part and the reason why so many children and nameless died were because they were so close to the battle. There was no escape for them and they were easy pickings for an attack that wanted to give them a morale hit. Did Coheed even think about that or was it because they wanted to demolish them all?
"That's a good idea, if the drivers don't think about it, you should suggest it to them," Fiesta said. She paused for a moment to think about how many were left to protect. Not enough.
"If they do... I need to stay at the front. They'll need me and Sparkle." and honestly she couldn't live with the guilt of not being at the front, screw her injured shoulder. Sparkle wasn't the broken one and Sparkle was the stronger one between them anyways. Sparkle was just... the always hungry one.
“If it’s a good idea, then I’m sure the drivers are already thinking about it,” said Etta. “They don’t need my opinions or interference at a time like this.” It had to be a blessing that they hadn’t lost any leadership of the caravans—the last thing they needed was a power vacuum and all the fuss of electing new drivers in all this chaos. People needed calm in order to exercise their reasoning when it came to such decisions.
“You and Sparkle will not be wading into any conflict until I am satisfied by your healing progress,” she said, her voice sterner than the usually gentle tone she took with family and patients and, well, everybody. But these were unusual circumstances. “You will do most good when you are at full strength and entirely prepared for what you may encounter,” she told her niece.
"Dad will think about that when he gets here. He's good at protecting people," Fiesta said. Not an if, it was a when. She refused to say if. Her father had to be ok because Fiesta was not ok with losing anyone else close to her. She wasn't even ok with finding out about the ones that had been lost that she didn't know about yet.
Everyone else was ready to fight again with their bruises and scratches! "I'll be fine, it hardly hurts," Fiesta protested. Maybe that was due to the painkiller or the special brownies. The special brownies were certainly what was making Fiesta feel calm.
"I have to do it Etta, for Mina and everyone else." Fiesta really was just like her father in that way.
“Do you suppose Mina or anybody would want you to take foolish risks when there are already fewer of us left to do any fighting?” Etta pointed out. She was generally a gentle person, but there was a will of iron underneath it all that was not easily swayed or bullied. “I’m not saying to do nothing...I am saying to be patient, be careful. You are too precious to too many, Fiesta. Including me.”
It wasn’t that Etta worried she had never told her family how she felt, but she worried perhaps they might not quite recall.
“Do you know how much you mean to me, my sweet girl?”
Fiesta rolled her eyes, "it's not a foolish risk, Sparkle will protect me, we always take care of each other." She looked over to Sparkle. Sparkle looked up from where he was sniffing about the food stores for snacks. Sparkle always wanted snacks.
Sometimes it was hard to feel special when you had a hundred half siblings, though she did know that she was special. She was the first child for both her parents, and especially close to her aunt. She placed her good hand over her aunt's and squeezed it. "I do know. I'll be careful, I promise. But I'm probably in as good shape as anyone else right now." and she had a duty to Dresmond that she felt she couldn't ignore.
Etta knew Fiesta could be stubborn, both in her own nature and in the way that young people often were. But she wasn’t the only one who could be stubborn, or the only one who felt a duty.
“I’ll stay with you,” she said suddenly. “Wherever you go, so will I.” Not to protect Fiesta...not only for that...but she must be able to help, too. She could learn how to fight, and fighters would need healing, anyway.
Fiesta looked doubtfully at Etta. She had no doubts about Etta wanting to do it or if she would. "Auntie, no offense but you are less dangerous than Sparkle when we're both completely schwasted." like when they were drunk or baked to the point that Sparkle forgot how to use electricity.
She looked at her aunt, dead in the eye. Fiesta was rarely super serious, but this was one of those rare moments. "Auntie, you fix people. We all need you to be safe. I need you to be ok." And she also knew that her aunt was a force to be reckoned with in an argument. Another fight, even one of wills was the last thing that Fiesta needed.
"Just don't be at the very front ok? I'd like cover if you have to patch me up again."
“And who is going to need fixing, if not everyone on the front lines?” countered Etta. She was in no rush to be foolish and get herself killed, but at the same time...this wasn’t like anything the caravans had encountered, before. Who knew what people were capable of, when they were backed into a corner and felt they had nothing more to lose? Coheed had certainly stolen enough, and it wasn’t like she had a lover or any children who particularly needed her around. Arlo had his brood, and they had their father and mothers and half-siblings, mostly.
“I’m not under any illusions that Sage’s skill with a seedling is going to topple Coheed, but...”
Her words trailed off and for a long moment, she looked thoughtful.
“...then again, it would be easy enough to blight their crops.”
She wondered, though, if she could do it, knowing that children would be the first to perish from starvation. Even children who would be raised to be brutes...
Half of her wanted the raiders to know how it felt, to see the people they loved die before their eyes...the other half of her shuddered at the idea of lost lives being a mere catalyst, a lesson for grown men to learn, even as they went on living. It was vengeance, but was it just, if it was not the warriors who died?
Sometimes Fiesta used logic, but usually it was just pure unadulterated passion for whatever she was thinking. "I made it from the front to here didn't I?" granted she hadn't been too severely wounded and was fully capable of walking herself over here. There was a good enough chance that someone else injured wouldn't be able to, but someone could haul them back here right?
"You're the one that can save people, the least I can do is stab the guys who try to stab you." Really when it came to war, that's what Fiesta and Sparkle were good for, destruction. She never really questioned it or much else about what she should be doing.
"Bold words, you can't just go march into Coheed and blight their crops Auntie," Fiesta said, then she paused for a moment. "They'd deserve it if you could though." Her logic on that was simpler. If there was no Coheed or they were busy struggling to take care of their own people with a failed harvest, they'd be too weak to come hurt someone else.
Etta knew the truth of everything Fiesta was saying, but she wanted so desperately to do something magnificent and powerful that would somehow begin to try and mend what had been broken...but maybe that was all futile pride. Wishing for something wouldn’t make it so...she knew that well enough. Anyway, it wasn’t as if she had a marvellous and detailed plan to reach her goals, even if she could make up her mind where she stood morally on the point of starving children to death for the sins of their fathers.
“I’ve never hated anyone, before,” she confessed in a low murmur. “Not really. Not like this. Not people whose faces I’ve seen. And I hate the ones I didn’t see, too. Every one of them, even if I’ve never met them.” And she didn’t know what to do about it, or with it. All of that hatred, fresh and potent, just whirling around inside her at a dizzying speed, twisting her insides into cold, greasy knots. She didn’t want to feel it, but she didn’t want to forget what Coheed had done, either. “There’s nothing that will save anyone from feeling these things,” she said with a sigh. The brownies helped, but that was temporary, she knew; and Fiesta should have most of them. Etta needed to stay sharp, in case her help was needed. It would be nice to sink into a mental bubble bath and get baked out of her mind for the better part of a week, but that just wasn’t going to be possible if there were others who needed protecting and physic.
"I hate them," Fiesta's words were simple and dark. People didn't the wild and friendly storyteller had a dark side, but it was there. It was in the stillness of the night and the quiet places where Fiesta saw people hurting, where Fiesta found herself hurting. One of her brothers had died in that first attack. "I don't need to see them to hate them. I've seen enough of what they can do."
"I don't care what I have to do to make sure they don't hurt anyone again," Fiesta's words might've been harsh, but in that moment the wild blonde really did mean them. But first, she needed her arm back. She couldn't shoot anyone with this injury. She could still feed people she supposed. She could tell stories for sure, but there was no need for storytime in a warzone was there?
The best option for the rest of the day while they waited for the other caravans to arrive was clearly to eat some of the best brownies. Fiesta as tempted to simply sit and eat these for a week, but she too knew that she had to be at least vaguely aware of life. "If you found someone from Coheed, would you fix them?" she asked suddenly.
Etta drew a sharp breath at the question, her lips pressing together into a hard line. She wanted to say yes, immediately, but as soon as the word began to form itself on her tongue, she hesitated. She was too much in the habit of preserving life and making people as whole as possible to definitively condemn an abstract body...even if it was bred of Coheed.
"I suppose that depends," she admitted softly. "If it was a child...still young enough to be freed from whatever horror raises men to be murderers, perhaps. But then we must ask if the taint is in their blood...if we can ever truly break free from the bonds of tradition we are born into..."
Etta turned her head to look away, into the distance, to something very far off, well beyond her sight, but never far from her awareness--something that might have been the Cave of Names.