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.
Etta let out a faint laugh, but there wasn’t anything funny behind it. It was that taking care of people that made her stay. It was what she did, who she was, what she was good for. She didn’t know quite what she would do to survive if she left, even went rogue. Her cooking left a lot to be desired, hence her reliance on bargains struck with Ina, or else plain potatoes baked in the ashes of a campfire. She wasn’t much good at hunting, and Sage needed meat...and the cat wasn’t exactly in practice at the natural habits of a wild cougar. No, she knew it made no sense for her to leave her caravan, the symbiotic bond between herself and her community. Still, painful fear and horrible longing seized hold of her heart at the idea of having a child of her own. To try to force herself not to get too attached to a child she had carried, given birth to, held in her arms and raised to walk and talk and grow...and then to send them into that cave, where fear of death and fear of rejection by the caravans battled for the bodies of children, for the reward of a few more dyrs and their magic.
“I don’t think I could bear it...keeping a distance, and then that ceremony...I wouldn’t force them to go. I’d rather they stay alive and Nameless, but I know mine wouldn’t be the only influence, and if they wanted to go into the cave, I couldn’t stop them, or save them. And I’ve seen what it does to your dad, to watch and wait, every conclave.”
Etta looped her arm through Fiesta’s and took hold of her hand.
“So I won’t leave you, my girl...but you see why I can’t be with...with a man. The smallest risk is still too great.”
"You don't want your own child to be friends with?" Fiesta asked. She honestly didn't think about children of her own much. The sound of crying babies didn't exactly appeal to her, though she knew it would be rather easy for her to acquire a baby if she desired one. If it happened, it happened.
Maybe it was her youth, but Fiesta didn't see the whole picture. "I always knew I was going to be fine," she said. The girl had walked into that cave with the same confidence that she casually had walked into battle with. Fiesta always knew she was going to be fine, no matter what. She didn't have a huge reason to believe so, but she always believed in herself. "I think when we go in, we know in our hearts if we'll come out, I did. What about you?"
She shrugged, "what about being with a woman then? You deserve to be happy and get everything your heart desires," she said warmly.
She shook her head a little. Fiesta had been so young when it had been Etta’s turn to go into the cave, and Etta had avoided the subject for so long. But now Fiesta was older, and despite her more maternal habits, they were close enough in age that Etta felt at times that her niece was something closer to a sister. Maybe she would understand, after all.
“I was so afraid,” she confided in a shaking whisper, trying not to shiver just remembering the whole ordeal. “I thought I was going to vomit, and if I didn’t go, nobody would ever love me again, but if I did go, I might never wake up. And then, inside, I...” She sniffed and rubbed her nose with her sleeve, which she’d always scolded Fiesta for doing, before. “...I really thought I would die there, and I felt so alone...I couldn’t put a child of mine through that. I won’t,” she insisted firmly. “I don’t know what took mercy on me, if it was Sage or the medallion or what, but I was ready to give up.”
She brushed at a bit of grass on her leg, distractedly, as she cleared her throat, her voice coming back to her, slightly stronger.
“And I’ve never met a woman I...felt anything for, like that. I mean, maybe, someday, who knows, but...I can’t think of any one in the caravans I’d...want.”
It was her naivety that made Fiesta rarely question how things appeared to others when the feelings had been so strong and obvious for herself. She frowned as she listened to Etta's story, not because she was unhappy but because that really was a scary story. "I'd love you no matter what." Fiesta said. She at least hoped it was true. She couldn't remember the last time one of her siblings didn't go into the cave though. There was a brief thought wondering if they had been like her or if they had been like Etta.
What Fiesta did remember was a brother only a year younger than her not coming back from the cave. She had been so excited to see what dyr he was going to get. They spent hours watching the sky, pointing out constellations and trying to guess. They had a whole set of bets about what type of animal it was going to be. And then... he never came back. At the time, Fiesta didn't really understand it, but she did remember that she cried for him.
"You can still fall in love and not have a baby ya know, there's other places to put it." Fiesta pointed out on a very different note. A much more entertaining note if you asked her.
“Fiesta!” Etta very nearly choked on her own breath as she tried not to think in any detail about what this sweet little girl—whose hands Etta had helped to hold as she learned to walk—knew about...variety. “I’m entirely aware of...alternatives,” she said, trying to sound casual and not too like a prude. “But if it were always that easy, I wouldn’t have some panicked woman turning up at my wagon every other week to ask if I could help her sort out a complication.”
Etta sighed and dug both her hands into her hair, the wayward curls crinkling between her fingers.
“Anyway, I don’t know if...I mean, even without having an attractive man directly around there’s always one or two days each month where my resolve wavers and I almost go crazy thinking about tiny fingers and toes and gurgly little laughs and the way new born babies smell...do you ever get that? Like a week or so before you bleed? And a slight suspicion that the world is ending?”
"Well maybe they need some education on alternatives too?" Fiesta offered. While Fiesta was not about to go the same route as her father when it came to what the inside of her wagon contained, she was not a stranger to how that could all happen. Good luck mom, dad, and auntie, the rest of the kids weren't that far behind her either.
Fiesta could not relate to that either. Maybe when she got older she'd know that feeling but for now, babies were cute sure, but nothing really made her want to have them. "If you want one, then go make one then. Even if they don't find their dyrs or go nameless, they would've had the best mother ever. Plus, I'm sure you'd make cute babies, we're all adorable." She gave Etta a glowing smile, because really she couldn't think of a sibling who wasn't pretty, Arlo had some good genes, even when his children favored their mothers.
Etta supposed Fiesta’s points were not entirely without merit...everyone was different, after all, and she could raise her own child however she wished, and the whole lot of fear and shame that went into participating in the Naming Ceremony could be damned. Certainly her child would never wonder if her love was conditional.
“I’ll think about it,” she promised Fiesta, as if she hadn’t spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about it already. Wondering. Doubting.
Doing nothing felt like the only absolute control she could maintain. The moment she let go, the moment she let herself be swayed, the moment she let the lives of other people be interwoven with her own, that control would be lost; and beyond it, Etta felt the blind black weight of unknown chaos just enough to fear it more than anything else.