Doran Cooney's Plot Devices

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Doran Cooney
Approved Character
Posts: 461
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:10 am
Race: Human
Profession: Performer
Renown: 40
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Wealth Tier: Tier 1

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Doran Cooney's Plot Devices

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Her skin was rich and smooth, like candied honey. Each fall of her little chest stopped his heart, and each rise started it again; she was so improbably small and delicate, it seemed impossible she would make it through the night, let alone trials and arcs to come. His hands were small, but hers were smaller; her little fingers wrapped around his own in a gentle but firm grip of warmth. Soft brown curls hung about her rounded head like cloudy wisps, and her eyes were the same green as the forest's most verdant groves. When she slept, her mouth fell just slightly ajar, her lips forming a gossamer ellipse and letting air pass through unhindered. There was nothing in the world like her, of this he was convinced. She was perfect.
"Door." The word was most certainly meant to be his name, and Doran smiled at Lily's efforts, her little face scrunched in concentration as she repeated it. "Door. Door, Door."

"Doran." He spoke slowly, accentuating the second half of his name.

"...Door." A gurgle followed as the toddler grinned, mirroring Doran's own expression of humor.

"What's that then, Lily?" With a firm point, one that the little girl's eyes followed slowly, he directed her attention to the door leading to the bedroom.

"Blaggabrer." She followed up with a happy bubble of laughter, clapping her hands together as she often did with little rhyme or reason why. "Buhbuh, dyah."

"And I?"

"Door."

Doran lightly tapped his finger against her tiny nose, eliciting a fit of laughter from the little one. "It's a start, I suppose."
Once she had learned to walk, Lily was a force that could only be guided, for the very concept of cessation had left her the moment her feet had found they could carry her in any direction they so pleased. Doran, in his relative dotage, had both taken it and had it placed upon himslef by her parents the role of caretaker. While she was only a mere arc of age - he her senior by six -, Lily seemed never to tire and held a voracity for the world around her like he had never seen. They ventured out into the garden during the day, but it was the outer limit of Lily's world "until she was older" as his mother put it. Still, there was no end to Lily's curiosity: a dust mote could hold her a captive audience for breaks, a dandelion's petals entrance and amaze, dirt in her hands - and sometimes her mouth - was always a delight. Everything that she experienced, however new or exciting, was always brought before her trusted Doran, wide green eyes searching for a smile or a frown to inform her whether she'd been correct in her assessment of her surroundings.

Very rarely did he ever frown, but when he did, she never repeated the action. The first had been the moment she lifted a boot to her lips, her clear intent to shove whatever would fit into the waiting recesses of her toothy grin. Without having any sort of reprimand in mind, Doran frowned, and the boot was dropped immediately, little feet padding lightly on the wooden floor to find something more suitable for an arcling child to chew upon. It was strange, he thought, that anyone might look to him for guidance, and treated his power over her as a guardian might, using his influence to teach rather than control. She learned quickly, and soon, she looked to him less often for guidance and instead pulled him along, urging him to partake in every new discovery alongside her, as friend rather than watcher.

He was reluctant at first. She was so very different than he, and both his mother and uncle treated them as such. Where his mistakes were met with ire and a sharp rap of knuckles across his cheek, Lily could do no wrong. She was above him, in that way and many more, but she never seemed to notice. He was her Doran, and she would go nowhere without him. Even as she grew and her words gave way to statements and questions that were further fueled by his uncle's daily lessons, Lily never once thought to treat Doran as her parents did. She considered him her most dear friend, and always reprimanded him should he say otherwise.
"Now you try, Doran!" She stood on the other side of the creek's bank, brushing her hands off on what they had deemed her "play dress", as it carried upon it the stains, tears, and stitches of the arc's adventures in its once cream colored hue. It was now a sullied ocher streaked with mossy greens and the occasional rusty smear of blood. Two fresh smudges where the mud had been left behind now sat comfortable over her thighs as she grinned back at her cousin, beckoning him with a hurried gesture and a giggle at his unfettered reluctance.

"I don't know if..." Whether or not he wanted to leap over the turbid waters below as Lily had done with all the grace of a doe or not, she left no room for choice. Doran's words faded as he drew a deep breath and took two running steps before launching himself as far as he could go. Where Lily had landed with relative grace, lighting upon first her feet then hands to stabilize her, Doran missed the crumbling ledge of dirt by a hand's breadth, tumbling down into the tepid current with a shout and splash. Lily's laughter burst fourth, filling the forest with her mirth as Doran moaned from his seat upon the creek's bed, soaked from head to foot and leaning to the side where the waters ran strong enough to move him.

Between little gasps for air, Lily knelt down, offering Doran a helping hand. "Are you-"

In Doran's attempt to free himself from his soggy dilemma, he slipped on the slimy rocks, flailing his arms to keep his balance and, for a moment, succeeding. In the next trill, the rock shifted, and Doran found his hand fall just shy of Lily's, sliding down the muddy bank and back into the water. Laughter rocked the girl once more, and she proved unable to assist him in his fumbling climb up the slippery slope to plop himself down beside her. Though he was panting, hair matted and dripping down his neck and face, he couldn't help but join his cousin, too infectious was her merriment.

When she was finally able, wiping a stray tear from her eye, Lily tried once more, helping him to his feet and proceeding to inspect him, walking around in a deliberate circle to make sure nothing was too bruised or bleeding. "Are you alright?"

He wiped his hands on his sodden shirt, staring down at them first before moving on to his arms and elbows. "I believe so. Nothing looks broken."

"Good." Lily held out her hands expectantly as Doran disrobed, keeping his sopping small-clothes but handing over his shirt and pants for her to hang on a low hanging branch a couple paces away. Turning to face him with a stern but playful frown, she crossed her arms and shook her head. "You're six arcs my elder, Doran. You're supposed to be the one daring me."

"Not when you're so much taller than I am." The difference was at least four or five inches. Lily always insisted he would be taller eventually, it was the fate of the eldest, but until then, she was by far the physically superior of the two. "And what need have you of me to play danger's advocate?" He grinned, wringing out some of the water from his shoulder-length locks and shaking his head to help dry what he could not coax out. "None, that's what."

"Then you have need of me, Doran." She returned his smile, bright and warm like the sunlight that dappled the forest's floor, shimmering through the breaks in the verdant cover of the leafs above them.

"Always."
"What was it said you saw again? A bear on a ball?" A soft giggle escaped her as she turned her head, verdant gaze twinkling as she caught his own dark umber. "How could a bear balance himself on a ball any how, Doran?" She grinned, staring up at the clouds that had sparked their creative minds into a discussion on the finer points of animals and their near impossible physical feats. "Oh!" An olive finger pointed towards a fluffy mass of white drifting lazily in the midtrial sky. "I see it!"

Doran's own laughter mixed with hers as she fell back on the sweet smelling grass bank they had laid claim to several breaks before. His jaw was still bruised enough that it was better for him to enjoy their companionship in silence, but it was a minor irritability that he had no intention of letting get the best of him. "You're next."

"I know, you silly thing, you don't have to tell me every time!" She reached over to ruffle his hair, fingers gentle even in so brash a gesture. With a soft sigh of thought, she turned her attention to the clouds, and the pair lay silent for a time. A gentle breeze lazily meandered its way through the clearing, bringing it with scents of lavender and honey. "There!" She kept herself from pointing this time, turning an impish grin to her cousin, brows raised in challenge. "An old woman hitting a tree with a fish."

His lips turned a frown, though his eyes still glimmered with mirth. "There's no such cloud, Lily. That's a cheat."

The girl shook her head, dark curls catching in the grass that she had splayed them over. "Old woman. Fish. Tree." Adamant as she was in her discovery, Lily waited patiently while Doran perused the firmament in search of such a scene.

As he was about to admit defeat, he saw it: a portly figure with an elongated, eel-like mass in hand aimed at what was surly the trunk of a large tree. With a giggle, Doran pointed towards it, "No."

"Yes!" Lily's laughter began to bubble fourth from within her. "It looks just like Lorell Blackwater, does it not? Down to the stubby legs and all!" They shared a fit of humor before Lily pushed herself up into a seated position, shaking her head with a sad smile. "That's... Rude, though. Isn't it? We shouldn't laugh. She can't help what age has done to her, I think."

Doran rose to join her, tilting his head in thought. "Maybe..." He shrugged, offering a conciliatory smile. "But where's the joy of feeling poorly for another when you can just invite them to partake in merriment over things we cannot change?"

"Humor in the face of fear, then?" Her sadness had faded, and she nodded in agreement. "But we shan't ever laugh at her to her face. That would be rude, Doran."

"Unless she laughs at herself first." He offered the amendment with a grin.

"Unless she laughs at herself first."
The light had begun to fade by the time the pair made their way back to the humble cottage, familiar flowers and bushes with berries greeting them as they always did with a warm whisper of the wind rustling their leafs and petals. A light glowed beneath the door's frame, suggesting that their dinner was warm and waiting. They dropped each other's hands then, and as always, Lily pushed her way into the house first with Doran trailing quietly behind her. She was greeted with smiles and welcomes, led to her place at the table and food was set before her. Like a shadow, Doran followed, gathering his own bowl of stew and settling in beside her. They asked her what she had spent her day doing, and she told them of all the fanciful creatures she and he had spied in the sky. Their mother found her stories quaint, but her husband could not hold back his tongue.

"But what is the point, Lily? Where is the productivity? Did you not promise me you would try to be a bit more constructive with your time? Didn't you tell me you would help her with this, Doran?" He was not quite to the point of anger, but there was a sound ring of irritation in his tone that did not go unnoticed by the children.

Lily was quick to respond, saving Doran words that had yet to form in his head let alone pass over his tongue. "Oh, but we did make things!" She quickly searched through her pockets before producing crude bracelets of woven grasses and flowers. "They're like the ropes you were explaining to us the other day, smaller strings braided together to from a stronger cord." He was not entirely impressed, but it served enough to allay his concerns.

"Hm. The workmanship is shoddy."

"They are children, dear." Doran's mother made a tutting sort of noise, her smile catching quickly on her husband's own features.

"That they are."

It was Doran's duty to clean up after the family, one that he did not mind as there was a badger who had taken up residence in a burrow someplace he assumed to be not too far off who would stop by each night to finish up whatever food they did not. He had given the creature no name, but he liked to think that the animal did indeed have one in whatever badger-language it spoke. As it finished off a final chunk of potato, there was a crash from within the house that startled the badger back into the night. Without hesitation, Doran's name resounded out of the open window, and he hurried back inside to see his uncle standing over a shattered plate.

"How many times do I have to tell you not to balance the dishes on the edge of table?!" Had Doran been in a mind to answer, he imagined that his uncle had told him at least several hundred times before, but he could not remember the last time he'd actually been the one to leave a dish in that way. "Come here." It was not a request, and Doran moved immediately, unflinching as the hand struck him across the face. "Clean this up. You'll be getting up early tomorrow to help me with the weeding."

Doran nodded, the dull sting of where he'd been hit felt distant, like it had happened a long time ago rather than a few trills. Kneeling down, he gathered up the various shards and placed them in a bin for broken and useless things they kept just outside of the door to the right. As he wiped his hands on his pants when the job was done, it was only then that he realized the plate had cut his hands in several places. Dipping them into a bucket of water that was used to tend the plants at the front of the house, Doran cleaned the cuts, humming to himself a rhythmless tune.

"Doran? Are you all right?" Lily's whispered words pulled him from his watery reverie, and he brushed a couple of tears from his eyes before turning a smile towards his beloved cousin.

"When am I not, Lily?"

She frowned but did not press the issue. Instead, she disappeared for a moment and returned with a cloth for him to dry his hands upon and strips of fabric to bandage his hands and fingers. "You really should pay more attention to what you're doing. You really can't feel them?" By them, she meant the cuts which had been deep enough to continue bleeding even after their cleaning.

Doran didn't find it at all concerning, and set about wrapping his hands with a contented shrug. "I suppose I can, it's just... I don't know. It doesn't bother me."

Lily shook her head, an exasperated sigh kept quiet so as not to draw attention to them as Doran's uncle was loathe to have the two of them interact in so friendly a manner. "Well it bothers me. At least try not to cut yourself on every sharp thing that comes your way, Doran."

"I'll try."
"There he goes!" The leafs crunched beneath their feet as the inseparable pair took off running after their furry quarry. Their target was a black and white badger who sped along on his stumpy feet, a streak of grunting fur that was relentlessly pursued by two giggling children. They dashed through the golden hues of oranges and yellows that littered the ground and fluttered carelessly from the branches above, the air crisp but not yet truly cold. Round a large stump and down a hill into a little valley they followed, their breath coming in joyful gasps as they ducked and dodged around the many obstacles the forest splayed out before them.

When they reached a small clearing at the other side of the valley's incline, they watched the badger slip into a crevice between two large, gnarled roots of an ancient oak. The tree itself was at least several feet taller than the trees around it, and it had created a natural break in the forest's growth, little bunches of still green plants suggested an mess of wildflowers when their cycle arrived but short of several berry bushes here and there, it was vacant of any other trees for a solid amount of space. Lily skipped over the tree's roots, hopping from one to the other and humming to herself as she surveyed the scene.

Doran followed suit, not quite so graceful, scrabbling over the wood with feet and hands alike until he was more sure of his footing. Above them, a family of squirrels chattered to each other, their scritching claws sending little cascades of broken bark and dust down from some unseen home amid the leafs and branches. "Is this tree his home, you think?" He gazed down between the mess of roots, uncertain whether the shadows beneath were merely tricks of the light or a tunnel below.

"Most definitely." She rest her back against the tree's trunk, nodding confidently in her reply as she gazed out at the scene around them, a small sigh of content escaping through her nose as she grinned first at the clearing then at Doran.

"How do you know?"

"Can't you feel it?" She let her eyes close and drew in a deep, meaningful breath. Letting the air out from between her lips in a controlled exhale, Lily grabbed Doran's hand, helping him to stand beside her. "Sanctuary."

Leaning into the tree's stout embrace, Doran followed Lily's lead. As he swathed his vision in darkness, he could still feel the warmth of the sunslight, hear the gentle murmur of water nearby, and taste the sweet hint of berries on the breeze. "Sanctuary."
Silence was broken only by the dry rustle of their books' pages turning, the peaceful summer air warm and heady with the scent of wildflowers, mud, and moss. Time had no hold over them whilst enveloped in the gnarled embrace of the Sanctuary's roots, and though the sun might rise and fall, when the light proved too weak to read by, it was time for more active pursuits. The sun had since disappeared from sight between the breaks and openings of the leafy canopy above them, and it was with the firm sound of a binding snapping shut that Lily signaled it was time to take up their glass jars and begin their hunt.



"Words"
word count: 3333
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Doran Cooney
Approved Character
Posts: 461
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:10 am
Race: Human
Profession: Performer
Renown: 40
Character Sheet
Plot Notes
Wealth Tier: Tier 1

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Milestones

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Doran Cooney's Plot Devices

Ori Helgason

Bag Biting
Would You Rather
Unfortunately, Fortunately
Categories
Taboo
20 Questions
Make It Or Break It - 5 pos 1 neg

Oakleigh Trip

Leaves 55, 2 to Wells (stays a day, so 58) then 3 to Oakerdoker and.... Leaves sometime! (61 - whenever)

Ashan 3 - in Venora

Ashan 6 - Arrives in Andaris (sinnammyn stuff)
Ashan 17 - in Andaris (meeting the delegates)

71 - Leaves Andaris
73 - Arrives in Wells
75 - Travelling through Wells
Ashan 78 - Oakleigh
Ashan 80 - Oakleigh

Ziemko Write Up

Image
Name: Ziemowit "Ziemko" Wrona

Age: 24

Race: Human

Date of Birth: The 20th trial of Cylus in the arc 694.

Marks: None

Factions Joined: None

Language: Common (F)

At a glance: 6' 4"; athletic build; tawny, side-cropped hair; pale green and brown eyes; commanding presence; low baritone; careful enunciation; clipped sentences; cold gaze

SkillAcquiredProficiency SkillAcquiredProficiency
Acrobatics50/100Competent Detection50/100 Competent
Endurance50/100Competent Blades (Daggers)50/100Competent
Strength50/100Competent Thrown (Daggers)50/100Competent
Stealth25/100Competent Running25/100Competent
Appearance: Everything about Ziemko's features seem carved from stone, solid and precise, save for his ears which stick out from the sides of his head, a mistake sculptors would never make for fear of them breaking off beneath the weight of the weather's whims. The rest of his face, from his sharp, arced brows to his sheer, high cheekbone, precise angles of his jaw, and flat chin are usually as unmoving as the statues he is so often compared to. His lips, while full, adorn a narrow mouth, set neatly beneath his small, slightly down turned nose that sits just south of the center of his face. His eyes, though faded green, are often shadowed by his prominent brow, giving him a near constant brooding countenance. His hair is kept short on the sides, though it grows longer on the top, and is typically well maintained: combed and oiled.

Much like his face, his body is carefully constructed. While his muscles are well formed and proportional from his shoulders down to the firm curve of his calves, Ziemko tends to dress conservatively, appearing smaller than he truly is: high collared, long sleeved shirts; trousers and breeches that fit more to the curve of general shape of his body, not each rise and dip of his thighs and buttocks; knee-high leather boots; and almost always a pair of gloves. He presents as a very neat, almost immaculate individual, and while he is not unable to handle dirt and grime on his person, he is usually quick to remove it if possible.

His forearms and have several thin scars, scattered but clearly the result of his time spent with his daggers. Around his wrists and ankles, there is clear, ugly scarring, much like what one would expect of a slave. From the top of the outermost end of his left collar bone in a rough diagonal to the top of his hip on the opposite side, his skin is scarred - though this, unlike his wrists, has healed well and is mostly a lighter discoloration.

Most noticeable - and simultaneously unnoticeable -, there is a confusing presence about him; naturally, he blends in. Perhaps due to his reticent nature, it's easy to forget he's there in spite of his height. Rarely is he ever in one's way and often not even in one's line of sight. Yet, should his gaze ever meet another's eyes, it's as if the world shifts for a moment and reveals an intense, dangerous, and cold aura that requires no attunement nor particular preceptive skill to discern. Upon breaking his gaze, he quickly fades, though often the memory of what has been seen will linger.

Personality: Distant and reserved, Ziemko rarely smiles and almost never laughs. While his gaze is exceptionally piercing, belying something deep and dark held just below the still surface of his soul's waters, very little else suggests that he is anything other than a handsome, though stoic, young man of wealth and education. When he speaks, he keeps his sentences short, almost as if he has only so many words to his name and doesn't wish to spend them if possible. His voice is rich and strong, though it registers as either a low baritone or clearer, higher bass; there is something powerful in his tone, even when subservient, betraying both his strength of will and body in one. Most of all, his eyes regularly stare; the intensity of his gaze has been called both unnerving and aggressive, but it is something he has found himself unable to well control - even when asked to address such things directly, the best he can do is to avert his gaze.

The bonds of blood and soul are the single most important thing to him. All actions taken and motives pursued can be traced back to his dedication to his family, bordering on the point of near obsession; it is a compulsion, instilled in him since he was young, and has bloomed into the overwhelming need to protect those who share his blood, no matter the circumstances. Beyond this, he believes himself to possesses very little else in terms of who he is as an individual. Anyone outside of his family is little better than an animal: potentially dangerous but nothing more. Though most of his time is spent in careful observation of those around him, meticulously running scenario after scenario of potential danger over in his mind, he has a handful of things he will partake of when he has time to himself.

Firstly, he is extremely predisposed towards poetry. Though he possesses not a single artistic bone in his body, he thoroughly enjoys the spoken words of poets and bards and, each night before turns in, he reads one or two passages from a worn, leather-bound book of poems he's collected throughout the arcs of his travels upon his families merchant ships. Many of them are memorized, and he sometimes will quote specific lines by rote rather than using his own words in the rare conversations he holds.

Secondly, he is fascinated with sex. Not in an erotic or romantic sense, but the actual physical act of it. While he has had a handful of encounters of his own, he much prefers to quietly watch and observe, similar to a well mannered student in a classroom. He's been known to visit brothels when required to take time for himself, during which he will rarely ever engage, instead choosing to sit and pensively observe those he hires, his thoughts hidden beneath the fierce blaze of his gaze.

Thirdly, he loathes slovenliness. While more a personal standard than one extended towards the vast majority of the rest of the world, for him and those he considers his family, he cannot stand to see dirt or grime besmirch their clothes or persons. Though he is not necessarily unreasonable, allowing mud upon boots during deluges or blood stained across armors and blades during battle, when there is no reason for it, it must be cleaned. He has a very meticulous bathing routine, and hygiene is one of the few subjects he will actively engage in, though he tends to be especially blunt when speaking of such things.

Finally, he is absolutely terrified of being restrained - to some extent, this applies to small spaces as well, though his panic is far less extreme. Be they simple bonds of ropes or heavy iron shackles and chains, any restriction of his movement instills within him a blind, near hysteria. He loses any and all composure, and will employ anything from tearful begging to frantic screaming to despondency in an attempt to free himself; though there is little thought to his reactionary tactics. Due to this overwhelming fear, he is not fond of physical contact of any kind, though he makes allowances from time to time where appropriate, such as handshakes or brushing past someone on the street.

There is something clearly missing in his soul. While not something so drastic as the involvement of an Immortal's meddling, it can be seen in the way he conducts himself, the quiet but icily fervent nature of his stare, the half apologetic, half dangerous lilt to his words. He is a weapon, one finely tuned, with humanity seemingly well in check - yet, still human, still seeking what all humans seek. While he is reliable in both personality and routine, there is always something just a little bit off about him; the vaguest hint of instability lingering on the edge of his shadow.

History: Emil Wrona, a trader based within the city of Andaris, wealthy merchant, and a well known womanizer, fathered two children outside of his marriages, one was whisked away into the rolling fields of Venora, the other was offered up to him, the mother hoping to ensnare Emil with the mewling babe. To her misfortune, the child was taken and she was silenced, while the other was allowed her escape - unworried that she would behave in so "crass" a fashion, as Emil had called it. Every moment of the young Ziemowit's life, he was reminded that he was a bastard, that it was only by the grace and magnanimity of his father that he was given food, shelter, clothing, even attention at all. His dependence on his father, his desire to please him and prove his place within the family, and his lack of compassion for anyone else made him a perfect candidate for the family's personal shadow. Trained to wield blades both near and far from a tender age, he was raised primarily though punishment and fear of the consequences of actions lacking perfection. Many trials he spent locked away in the dark of the family's cellar, screaming himself hoarse until sleep would finally overtake him. So passed the formative years of his childhood, and his dependence on his father, who was the most consistent with his well timed, duplicitously kind words and tender moments shared, became an obsession, one that his father made certain extended to all those who shared his blood.

During his adolescence, he grew much stronger, taller, more dangerous. Well conditioned to never raise a finger against his family, he was still easily restrained, though his stints locked away had become rare - he was smart enough not to repeat any behavior that would end up with him chained, naked and terrified, to the darkness. His skill with his blades passed through the fumbling stages, leaving behind the scars of his efforts but also presenting the promise of his capabilities. During his fifteenth arc, Ziemko killed his first man.

Finally assigned to his father's side, he proved his worth by unflinchingly shielding his father from a man's sword after a deal gone south, and cutting the assailant's throat in turn. His loyalty definitively proved in the only way one disregarding one's own life might display, after he recovered from his wonds, his training began once more, though this time it was more than simple combat. Subterfuge, sneaking and slithering through the shadows, learning to make himself smaller and unassuming, a phantom in a room until he was called upon to play the role of vengeful wraith... he excelled at such things, pleased to serve his father and his family in any way possible.

While his brothers cared little for him specifically, they enjoyed his protection and the feelings of safety and comfort that came with knowing that, no matter what trouble they stumbled into, Ziemko would be there to clean things up, often quite literally. The eldest of the trio, Leopold - Emil's favored by far-, had begun to deal with less than pristine suppliers and far more questionable distributors. During Ashan of 718, Leopold bit off more than he was able to chew. He'd arranged a deal with a group of smugglers who dealt in drugs, slaves, and, supposedly, magical items. While he'd promised to find suppliers for their goods, it turned out the bounty of turning them in was far more lucrative. Having conducted his business on the side, away from his father's eyes, Leopold directed the Knights to the smuggler's locations. They were arrested and, subsequently, executed for a far larger number of crimes than had been listed or expected.

Shortly after, the family received an unmarked letter. There was only a single sentence written upon it: "Family for family, blood for blood."

At first, there was little concern over the threat. After all, they were a wealthy family, and it wasn't the first time they'd received menacing notes in the post. Things changed after the first murder. Emil's third wife, Rochelle, was found hanging from the manor's chandelier. There had been no signs of break-in, and though they hired more security, more eyes and ears and swords and spears, the second death came nonetheless. Ziemko and the others who had been tasked with protecting the family worked tirelessly, day and night, but, after they managed to remove a poisonous gas that had been deposited in the second wife's bedroom, the guards themselves began to disappear - turning up throughout the manner, the city, the surrounding areas, all corpses and all carrying the same, unmarked note: "This did not concern you."

It didn't take long for the hired help, both servants and mercenaries, to abandon the Wronas to their fate. Whomever the smugglers had been a part of, they were powerful and angry, and it seemed there was no respite for the dwindling numbers of the merchant family. The Knights were too busy with the general populace to be bothered with so particular a series of murders. One by one, they fell, until only Leopold, Emil, and Ziemko remained. In his cowardice, Leopold had kept the reasons for such brutality hidden from his father - but with his life next in line, he finally revealed what it was he had done. Emil cursed him, but it changed nothing. The next trial, his last heir was dead - his head found drifting, eyes blank, in crimson filled tub.

Before they had been deserted by any who might aid them, Emil had taken steps to find the mother of his second bastard. With only Ziemko left to him, Emil passed on his family name to his last remaining child, having denied him such for so long. It was an empty gesture, their gold long since spent, house in disrepair, and legacy in tatters; still, it was everything Ziemko had ever wanted - before his family was stolen from him. Thus, he received the name with a bittersweet bile in his throat, finally a true Wrona after all the others had been slain. Emil didn't stop with the name alone. He gave Ziemko both the locket that held a woman's face and the location of her home, forcing Ziemko to swear to him that he would find the other bastard and protect him - just as he had sworn to do with the others.

Though he refused at first, Emil had one last secret to impart. He was ill, dying, even, and he would be damned before he let the last of his bloodline be swept away by the foul waters of idiocy. Though he held no special love for Ziemko, and certainly none for the unnamed baster, Emil - like all fathers - did not want his name to end with him. His father, stern as ever, refused to let him see him die. There was nothing to be gained from it, he'd said, and if Ziemko refused to leave, he swore he'd kill him himself. So, reluctantly, Ziemko set out to the woman who had borne his brother - the man who would soon be the last of his family.
27/78/154
2 acro
5 unarmed
1 thread ( 5 unarmed, 1 acro )
----33 acro, 22 end, 22 str, 22 unarmed

Ymiden 712 - Lily dies (Doran is 18; Lily is 12)
Memories to add -
+Meeting Marcel and his twin
+Lily explaining "what is good"
+Last moments with Lily
Ziemko's Poems:
Gently fall these tears of snow,
Upon the cold hard earth.
Blanketing the world in white,
Concealing flaw below.
Every footstep left behind
Reminds one of the past,
And pure ivory expanse?
Future yet to be tread.

-an excerpt from Tay'sira Fallow's collection of works, Time
I looked up towards the vast and empty sky,
And I saw nothing there but callousness.
I searched the depths of the ocean's abyss,
And I found only the bones of the drowned.
I called out to the mad winds of the storm,
And I heard merely a voiceless refrain.
I scaled the majestic, massive mountains,
But the all valleys below remained grey.
I fell into the arms of a lover,
And there in such warm embrace shall I stay.

I stalked through the calm verdant forests,
But the animals heard my steps and fled.
I descended into the dark caverns,
But the murk held within nothing but chill.
I spoke the wise, sagely, learned men,
But there was no grand knowledge new to gain.
I drew crimson ribbons from the wicked things,
But such ministrations were vacuous.
I fell into the arms of my lover,
And there in such warm embrace shall stay.

But time presses ever onward,
But time withers all that which lives,
But time traps the present in past,
But time shrouds what will be with now,
And I fell into the arms of my lover,
But my lover was with me no longer.

-an excerpt from Tay'sira Fallow's collection of works, Time
A body is naught but a garment for the soul.
It wears and tears and ages.
Life is the measure of a body's persistence,
And death the moment it fades.
And we, and you, and I, who claim the souls to be,
Are hats and shoes and jewellery.
For when life meets death, and the soul is released?
We desist, we end, we cease.

-Self by Gram Byrite

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