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Dalibor is a semi-canon Dragonriders of Pern site. No knowledge of the series or site is required to join; players of all experience levels are welcome here. Founded in 2008 on Proboards and moved to Jcink in 2013, Dalibor has been running for eight years.

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With Mutorin of Dalibor's discovery that a number of plants found in the southern jungles can be used as a remedy to stave off the worst of the still unnamed 'plague' the fatalities seem to have tapered off. Most of Dalibor's ill have recovered, if only in time to mourn their losses. Even still a number of Dalibor's wings and prides have seen fit to transfer away following their recovery, as if the Weyr itself was responsible for such a disastrous event - not realizing the plague was spread to the far reaches of Pern by a handful of persons that broke the quarantine in their delirious state.

All things considered life is moving forward calmly for the denizens of Dalibor Weyr and its beholden Holds. Western Hold welcomes new blood in the form of a young couple, Lord Holder Basasius and Lady Holder Baria. Only time will tell what the new Lord and Lady Holder will bring to their Hold, but all are hoping for none but good fortune.
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 Tongues Will Wag, AU:17 [Callum/Oreanda - Gather Offshoot]
Ivy
 Posted: Sep 5 2017, 01:54 AM
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A long day bled into the night but Callum was in no hurry to see himself to bed, not when the harpers were still playing and people were still celebrating his late wife’s memory. At some point the children had wandered from him and the most trusted of his personal staff had tended to them. Penna found herself the new owner of a stoat while tomorrow would likely see Pascal suffering a tummy ache thanks to the number of bubbly pies he’d gotten his hands on. Caasum had fun as well as far as he could tell - he was much like his father in the fact that he was learning to mask his true emotions. Already the young heir to be had been forced to mature beyond his turns, it wasn’t entirely fair but it was the way things were. All of the children were tucked into bed by their father, he insisted on it and had even told the two youngest a bedtime story before returning to the gather.

Throngs of people had filled the courtyard earlier in the day and while many people still remained the crowd was thinner now. Many of those present were those who had worked during the daylight hours - or slept in the case of a number of handlers he’d seen arrive on the barge. A few had opted to utilize the landing pad commissioned by the Weyr… commissioned by her. Had she noticed he’d been avoiding her for the past season? He liked to think not but in the same thought he found himself sour - if she hadn’t noticed then perhaps it meant… well he didn’t know. There had been something there before when they met the handful of times but even he wasn’t certain what it was. It may have just been his loneliness due to Paasha being in the south. Since her passing he had found himself even lonelier but unable to bring himself to seek the Prideleader out; as if whatever he’d felt for her had been the cause of Paasha’s untimely death. It was foolish to blame himself yet he found himself doing just that during the night when no one else was awake but the wherhandlers of the Hold.

The wherhandlers of the Weyr as well.

It occurred to him a number of times as he gazed out the window of his home that she was out there perhaps on patrol. Maybe even in the water with the dolphins she loved so much, bathed in the light of Belior and Timor. If only he could have seen her then to help unburden himself of the guilt and sorrow he felt he may not have drank so heavily. Brandy was getting him through the toughest days and nights - even though he didn’t like depending on the drink so much. Yet he avoided and denied as a penance for the fluttering he’d felt when he felt her pressed against him during their runner ride around the Weyr.

It was time to put that behind him, to let go of the guilt and try and move past the sorrow. Suli’s betrothal offer would not be the last of its kind and he needed to face whatever this might be before he made any choices. In the end his choice would always be what was best for his children and his Hold - he only hoped that the two were one and the same. Romance was not something he sought or was even ready for at this point but talking to Oreanda, his friend, was long overdue and needed. There were advisors aplenty within the Hold walls but none that were as candid as she, the blind handler who grew up with dolphins and no political ties to sway her opinion.

There was another matter he wished to speak with her about as well, one that helped spurred him to finally seek her out. He had spoken in depth with the few he’d trusted with keeping up communications with the Weyr. Few names jumped out to him when they discussed the Traditionalist threat and the plan the Hold and Weyr had devised together to put an end to it but hers had been one that caused the hair to stand up on the back of his neck. This impromptu meeting was just as much about making sure she was okay, that she had come away unscathed, as it was to confide in her. He had just lost his wife and the thought of losing Oreanda as well was… unbearable.

Catching sight of her at last in the crowd - how could he miss her when she rode her bronze like a stout runner - he made his way past a few groups. People recognized him of course and false sympathies were offered, false only because they had not even known his wife to understand that the world was dimmer for her loss. A solemn look and appreciative smile seemed to play across his features on their own, trained muscle reactions to the words being offered to him along the way. Finally he was free but he had lost sight of her somehow. Looking this way and that he had a sudden thought and turned towards the path leading away from the music and people, away from the heavy scent of delicious food, away from the glowbaskets and pretty colored banners. Following the path leading from the courtyard out of the thick Hold walls and towards the dolphinhall he finally saw the handler and her wher walking up ahead.

Taking a deep breath he found himself hesitant to call out, hesitant to follow. People had seen him leaving after her. Tongues would wag and rumors would spread. It only mattered for a moment and then he broke into a brisk jog after her. ”Prideleader…” When he reached her he slowed his pace to match hers, stopping if she did so he could trace his eyes over her features. ”Oreanda.”

@Ruin


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Ruin
 Posted: Oct 20 2017, 12:00 PM
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He follows

Oreanda's hands curled reflexively out of sight between her thighs where they sat loosely against Osk's powerful muscles. She should have known he would. She had known he would. And she wanted it so much that her heart seemed to sing though she didn't know why. They'd spent candlemarks since dusk milling around the Gather, hoping to stumble into him, and yet she had been terrified that they would. What could she say about where she had been? About what she had done, and to discover that his wife had passed. That he had been alone?

Would he understand why she'd been avoiding him? Did he even care? Why did she care about all of these questions? The dolphins would laugh at her, but even they could not know the full extent of these tumultuous feelings inside of her. Dolphins thought nothing of meddling in the lives of humans, and the last thing she, or Callum, needed was a pod of them singing sweet serenades to the Journeymen at Crescent.

Yet so much more had happened. She didn't see the face of the man she had killed in her dreams, but she felt him. She smelled him. Had he been an innocent? Or was it only self-defense that made him fight back as anyone would? Might he have let them go if she'd only threatened, or would that have given him the opening he needed? The inside of her twisted up with a nauseous worry, and still the Lord Holder approached. Did he even know she was a killer? She felt Osk's comfort fill her mind, and supported herself with it, but did not use it to forgive what she had done.

He was nearly there now.

She tried to keep her hands still, but one of them flew to her throat, to the thick fabric there. To make sure it was...up high enough to swallow her neck and nestle against her jaw. It had only been a handful of sevendays, would he mistake the dark shadows for the night and nothing more? The Healers said one of her eyes was still red with blood, and that the headaches would fade as the fractures on that side healed, but those were invisible things. He would think nothing of her closed eyes, or the lengthening of her once-short hair as it had grown during her stay within the infirmary.

But her voice?

She could hear him coming at speed, and that alarmed her all the more. Perhaps she had soured their friendship so much that he was coming to bid her leave and not return. He pulled alongside and she said nothing for a long moment, hand resting on the thick fabric that covered even her bruised arm. It was cold, was it not? A sweater wasn't such a bizarre thing for her to wear, she wore far worse...typically. Osk came to a sudden halt of his own choice, startling enough that both of her hands were forced to drop down to his neck to keep her seat.

Oreanda, her name leaving his lips seized her heart and sent it running, her fingers flexed again and she swallowed, a motion that would have been in plain view if her throat had not been so well hidden. In that moment she was absolutely terrified of what was ahead of her. Selfishly lost wondering if he was angry, when he had lost the light in his world. The mother of his children. "My Lord," she replied quietly. Even at just over a whisper her voice rasped as it spilled through the crushed remains of her throat. Any louder, any more forceful with the air, and the words would begin to clip and stumble. "I could never begin to imagine your loss," and she swallowed again. Uncertain.

"If you need anything, My Lord, I am--as always--at your service."


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Ivy
 Posted: Nov 2 2017, 08:22 PM
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Alphahandler





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Her hair was longer now, had it really been that long since he’d seen her last? Yes, it felt like it had been a lifetime since he’d been in her company. Reaching out he gently touched the slightly curled locks as if he needed physical contact to verify she was real. When she spoke he narrowed his eyes to study her with a more critical eye not because her apology was not sincere - he doubted she could ever be insincere - but because there was something off about her voice. It was airy with a slight rasp as if she was having trouble speaking and it troubled him to consider why that might be, ”Were you injured? Are you okay?” Fingers trailed down from her hair to touch her cheek ever so briefly before falling away.

”There’s no sense in denying you went with them, if you were of the mind to. I already know you were one of those who volunteered for the mission. I cannot fathom why you would, it was dangerous and you could have been killed.” Pausing he mulled over his next set of words, considering them carefully before he spoke, ”I just lost someone dear to me, I do not think I could handle to lose another.”

It was acceptable for her to be dear to him, were not friends typically dear to one another? That is what the wherhandler was to him - a dear friend. How or why their friendship had evolved still mystified the man but it was there nonetheless. Oreanda with her quirkiness and not politically correct ways had endeared herself to him quickly. Perhaps it was because she was a great puzzle he felt he needed to piece together, none of her fully added up and the fact that she did not have use of her vision left him far more curious about her than others who lived perfectly normal lives. She was no trinket nor a new invention meant to improve the lives of many; but she improved his life in her own way. A patient ear, an honest opinion, she was something that many others were not. Outside of the woman before him only one other had stirred such curiosity within him… and now she was gone.

”I will call upon the best healers if you find yourself in need, all you need to do is ask.”

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 Posted: Nov 2 2017, 09:34 PM
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She wanted to laugh.

She wasn't sure why. Half-raised by dolphins did not make her less than wholly human. Some things didn't have to be learned, only felt, and Anda was feeling things in spades. She felt his hand coming, saw it through Osk's eyes, and leaned over so that she was all the closer to those questing fingers. She was so tall upon her Bonded, but maybe she was only leaning down to better hear him. She knew the closeness they shared was...abnormal. And she knew it more now than ever, with the loss of his wife so close to him. Part of her couldn't help but wonder if...she were spoiling something. Yet dolphins mourned their dead. Some would go away and die alone, others would need to be supported by the whole, kept afloat and living.

Was this any different?

Yet Oreanda was in little position to offer such a buoy for his very soul, because hers felt torn into so many pieces. Yet there his hand was upon her cheek, and she could not help the tears that escaped from beneath her closed eyes, she could not help wanting nothing more than to press against him so that he could carry her through the tides. It was such an awful helpless feeling, and it washed over her in waves so strong she felt she might be swept away even from Osk. Set adrift on an endless sea in nothing but darkness, knowing nothing but loneliness. She understood so very little, though the mask she wore was brave and proud. She needed no help, not from any person, but could not fix this problem.

Yes she was hurt.

Yet his words were accusatory...and something more...they took her by surprise. She had not considered, through everything, that he might mourn her in any special way. But she also felt anger, and perhaps a stab of fear, that what she had done had been...unnecessary. "I have a duty to my Weyr, My Lord, as you do to your people. I am not...a Lady, I cannot do my work through missives or missionary. I had the back of my partner and she had mine, and yes," her voice had raised but then lowered again as if the fight had gone out of her, and a slender hand went to her own throat to curl there reflexively.

"It was dangerous, and I was nearly killed, but," she faltered, and then pressed on. She had spoken to no one about it, yet felt the need to tell him. "I killed him instead. I slipped my blade into his heart and stole away who he was, and who he could have been, as if he were nothing more than a fish. I took it all away from him, My Lord. I do not need healers, they cannot mend this. They cannot forgive me. I'll never even know if he had family. What if he had a wife, like you did. Children like you do. I took it all away."


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 Posted: Nov 3 2017, 12:20 AM
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There were tears and for a moment he was wholly confused by the reaction he presumed was spurred on by his words. Reaching up once more he touched her cheek as gently as he could manage in order to brush some of her tears away with his thumb. Suddenly she appeared so small and frail, though he knew she was anything but frail. Vulnerability washed over her features as if she was struck by a wave and his fingers curled against the side of her head to offer some semblance of stability in the storm she found herself caught up in. No, he did not understand it nor could he guess to what depths it went but her struggle was apparent in those tears even as she tried to force a brave face for him.

Words came finally and he could not help but turn his head as he heard the distinct pitch in her voice. He watched as one hand curled at her throat and his followed, softly covering hers to move it away. With her hand out of the way he gently tugged at the thick fabric covering her throat letting it fall away to reveal her tender neck skin. Bruises were visible and his brows instantly gathered in a frown. More words fell from her lips and he very carefully lifted her from atop her bronze in order to gather her into his arms. His touch was so very tender and soft yet there was a firmness to it as well as he offered her the support she so desperately needed in that moment. This wasn’t what he had expected when he sought her out, he wasn’t entirely sure what exactly he had expected to tell the truth. Resting his chin against the top of her head he held her against him as he took her burden onto himself, ”Oreanda I am so sorry you have carried this with you for any amount of time. You must know you did what you had to - there are no innocents when it comes to these things. You protected yourself. You protected your partner. Your Weyr. You protected Pern.” Quietly he reassured her as one hand gently gravitated up and down her back.

Suddenly the heaviness he felt throughout the day and those prior was lifted if only because he had more immediate worries. Paasha would never return to him and in the time since he’d learned she was gone he’d come to terms with that. It was a pain that would likely never fully leave his heart but in this moment he could not focus on that pain. Instead he was focused solely on Oreanda’s pain and what he might do to lessen it, if only for a few minutes time. ”You do not need forgiveness for doing what needed to be done; would you rather have had him end your life and leave me mourning not one loss but two?”

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 Posted: Nov 3 2017, 01:40 AM
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She needed something she didn't have a name for, but the Lord Holder seemed to understand far better. Even the things she did without understanding, he took note of and assimilated into the bigger picture. He was so good at figuring out how things worked, if she had planned on fooling him, she should have known she'd fail. Not that she minded. How could she? He was kind, and selfless. He was everything her dolphins had ever been, and nothing like most of the people she had met prior to arriving at Dalibor. Even then, she could count more dragons on her fingers than humans who were close acquaintances. Especially since Endellion had left.

He saw her weirdness and enjoyed the particularities, everyone else had other things to worry about. They didn't have quite so much time for the odd dolphin girl who split her days between the Bell and her nights with the whers. More often than not over the past seasons she'd also found some time to spend with a certain Lord Holder, trying to give him a more intimate look at the Weyr he'd traveled half the world to Tithe to. And he came to her, his hands so gentle that though she could not see, she trusted.

Osk watched her go, watched the Lord Holder carefully for one long moment, then turned and prowled up the pathway back to the hedges and stone walls that cut them off from the rest of the Gather. There he would remain chasing away prying eyes even if it meant pushing them physically back towards the bustle of the crowds. If that was unnecessary, he simply lay in the shadows keeping a watch over his Anda from a distance lest the Lord Holder make a misstep in his care for the woman.

For her part, Oreanda was happy to exist against him. She was such a small thing, and only seemed smaller now, as if the mission had shrunk her down to less than she was before. It felt like a hundred thousand emotions were coursing through her, and she couldn't hardly sort through them. She could feel his heartbeat. They'd never been this close before, save perhaps on that runnerbeast what seemed like ages ago, but never this still. She curled her fingers into the folds of his tunic, careful lest she damage something far more valuable than anything she owned, and tried to imagine this moment forever.

She couldn't remember the last time she'd been held, not like this. Her parents perhaps when she was a child? She'd tried so hard to rebuke them for any coddling, and dolphins, they could comfort but they could not hug. He was warm, warm all over, and the feeling of pressure and being surrounded eased the anxiety running races through her mind. Somehow he had known that she needed this. She wouldn't let herself think that it was something he wanted, only something that he felt compelled to do. As she had felt compelled to help with the Traditionalists. She was not one of his Holdfolk, but they were all surviving here in the West, right?

His chin came to rest on top of her head and she nuzzled there into his neck, briefly allowing herself to forget that he was a Lord Holder and she nothing more than a Prideleader. He was just Callum, and she just Oreanda, and he had the most comfortable hug in the entire world. So what if she had nothing else to measure it against? Softly his words filtered into her head and she listened to them, as she would listen to Osk. They were wise, logical words. His hand on her back was hypnotizing, she felt it as she felt the sound of his voice vibrating through the top of her skull, and for a long time she just allowed herself to exist there without answering.

Then he continued, and what he had said before, and what he had said now, finally broke through the haze of confusion and fear that had wrapped her up as surely as he had rinsed it all away himself. "Mourn me, My Lord?" It was a small sort of question, nestled against his chest where she hoped he could not see her, perhaps scared that she might've misheard and was now speaking out of turn. "I know I have been an asset, and you have shown me many things, but there would be no reason to mourn me. I come from a small family near Cove, I have only a brother...though maybe more siblings now, and we are--were--simple Fisherfolk."

She paused, nibbling at her own lips as she tried to sort through everything she was feeling. Trying to make sure she wouldn't offend the man who had shown her so much kindness, even now. "You have always treated me with much fairness, My Lord, and I believe in your words. Though I may not need forgiveness, you have shown it to me, and I will strive to come to terms with what happened out there." Her fingers again toyed gently with the edges of his tunic, perhaps straying across warmer flesh rather than fabric a time or two. Mourn her. She'd heard it twice now and couldn't wrap her head around the implication. Was she like a daughter to him? Or a friend? It was such a complicated thing to understand emotions she had never dealt with.

She'd overheard stories from women and dragon alike, of feelings mistaken when there were none, and this man...he was a Lord Holder. She could offend him with one word, accuse him with another without intending it. Dishonor him, his Hold, and herself. It was Dalibor's knots she wore on her shoulder, as sure as his were Crescents. Oh all these political intricacies! She wanted nothing more than to believe in what was possibly a childish fantasy, and wouldn't it be fitting. To imagine he for any reason would have found something in her.

When he'd only just lost his wife.

She blushed a furious shade of scarlet, awash with shame. "My Lord," she began softly. "I do not understand many things. You must know that. I am not like most people, and certainly not like the gentle women you know. I do not mean to offend you, or..." she stumbled, reached for Osk and felt his warm reassurances, so she continued on as best she could. "I do not try to presume...anything...I..." oh she couldn't even manage to speak, here where his heartbeat was all she could hear. "Why would you mourn me?" At the very least, it was a question.


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 Posted: Nov 3 2017, 01:37 PM
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Conflicting emotions raged through the man as he stood there surrounded by darkness. It was uncouth for him to be here with another woman on the eve of celebrating his late wife’s life. While he knew how it would appear to others, no doubt he’d been noted leaving the feast and following the wherhandler, he also knew what he felt was right. This was right for all it was wrong. Comforting the smaller woman who fit so well between his arms came naturally; had they met in a different time before he’d had Paasha to soften his edges it might not have. Things happened for a reason much as he’d spent his time lamenting that there was no rhyme or reason for the loss of his wife and daughter he knew without that he would not be here in this moment. His arms would not be around Oreanda offering her a safe harbor for her to unburden herself as he soothed her gently. No doubt this was not the real reason behind the tragedy that had stricken his family but he could take some comfort in the fact it had placed him here at this precise moment and given him a purpose.

Selfish thoughts flooded through his mind as she nestled against him, fitting so perfectly against his taller frame. Once upon a time he had hated his height, noting there were many men who stood taller than he - now he found it to be perfect for it allowed him to hold her close without towering over her. He could feel her fingers toying with the edge of his vest against his chest and it in turn offered some manner of comfort to him. He’d been unable to hold and protect Paasha but here he could make up for that in some small way by doing so for the fragile bronzehandler. Tilting his head down he pressed his nose atop her head and drank in her scent only to note it lacked the heavy saturation of sea that he’d come to associate with her. She hadn’t been in the waters for some time - how long? How long had it been that she’d been cooped up recovering from whatever she’d endured on her mission? Had she been alone, outside of Osk, with no one coming to spend time with her? No one there to describe things to her so she might visualize them as being something other than what her wher’s vision offered. Had the healer had the forethought to let her touch his or her face so she would know who it was caring for her or had she been left in the dark in that regard? Suddenly the weight of it all fell upon him and while he was not soft his chest heaved slightly as he drew in a deep breath.

He’d failed her.

He had failed all of them by being unavailable, by being wrapped up in his work and his duty. There had been too much trust put into others, too much trust put into dumb luck that those he cares for would be safe. Paasha and Caala he had failed in his absence, no doubt they had not been alone but they had not had him present either. He had failed them. Oreanda he had failed in his absence as well, in his guilt for fear his… whatever this was that she stirred inside of him… had been the reason his wife and daughter were stolen from him. It was a heavy burden upon his heart to think he had failed so many and would only continue to fail them. Even his surviving children he had failed, much as he tried not to, by letting liquor claim his evening hours rather than being there every night for them when they woke with bad dreams. Was this the man he was destined to be - a broken failure of a man who could not be counted upon by those he cared for the most?

A quiet question fell from her lips and he gently lowered his head so his cheek pressed to her temple while she spoke. While she belittled her meaning to him by implying she meant nothing when every fiber of his being cried out in protest at such a notion. Oreanda simply reduced to being nothing? Could she not see the hold she had on him? Did she not realize that for any other he would not have sequestered himself away from his Hold in order to offer the comfort of his touch? It was maddening in a way but he knew why she felt the way she did. She was right, she was no Lady and he was a Lord Holder. Their meetings and closeness were not within the realm of proper or anything normal; yet there was nothing normal about her in the first place. There was no proper word for how he felt for the woman and his reaction to her words only left him questioning his own motives as well.

What was it the man expected? What did he want?

How could he offer a satisfying answer to her inquiry when he himself was so uncertain. Once more guilt rose in the back of his throat as he considered the feelings stirring inside of him. It wasn’t right for him to have found something, someone that made him feel like this when his wife had only just passed a season ago. Rumors would abound by morning even if her wher was keeping them safe from prying eyes now; rumors of the Lord Holder wrapped up in the dark with the strange handler from the Weyr who had come to him while his wife was still alive in the south. They would say that she’d seduced him and that she had been the reason he had stayed in the west rather than going to his wife in the south when she needed him most. They would be wrong but right all at the same time - she had seduced him, though not on purpose. Her innocence and fresh take on life that she could not even see had opened his eyes and drawn him in. Unlike others she did not live to please him out of any sense of duty to his title or station in life, she wished to make him happy because that is who she was. He found himself wanting to make her happy as well but what could he really offer?

This, this was all he could offer. Fleeting moments of closeness in the dark, private moments where he held her and protected her from the outside world while he could. It was all he could really offer though he yearned for more. He yearned to be able to protect her in the way he had been unable to protect Paasha - in Oreanda he saw a form of redemption as well as so much more. There was silence between them when her last question was spoken, broken only by the distant tune of harpers drifting over the Hold’s stone walls to fall upon them. A slow song of romance if he recalled it correctly. He wanted to give her an answer to assuage her fears and doubts but words failed him.


The hand he’d settled upon her hip drifted up her arm and drifted between them to find her chin, softly lifting it so her face was within reach. Softly and with some amount of hesitation he lowered his head until his lips caught hers. Brief contact was all he offered for fear if he let his lips linger against hers longer he would dig himself deeper into whatever it was that was happening between them. Something he knew could not be despite the fact it was. ”Promise me I will never lose you.” Breath played against her lips as he had not withdrawn completely from the kiss, content to share this intimate space that was completely theirs for as long as she’d have him.

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 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 10:07 PM
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Silence seemed to stretch out between them. She felt the increase in the beat of his heart and decided in that moment that she'd miscalculated. She'd thought something was a way it was not. Or maybe she'd offended them, or maybe someone saw them. One hundred thousand reasons sprang in to her mind and cascaded down her spine until she trembled under the weight of them, but Osk was there to brush them away. Eyes would see, words would spread, but for now she was safe, and this man was currently no threat to her. The wisdom of a beast who could sense things far more delicate than the beat of a heart. Yet that was no answer, and she did not know what to do.

So she remained there as he moved slowly. She felt his hand leave her hip and trembled, but he did not abandon her to wonder. Instead his hand wandered and found her chin. She hardly resisted the gentle lift of her chin, a brief moment--if even--where she realized what he was asking of her. She felt his closeness, could feel the heat of his breath, and the slowness of his movements near drove her mad when she realized where this would take them. Her world shifted, and wonder filled her heart; this was not the adoration she expected. Perhaps even not what she felt she deserved, but it was answered.

Oh how she answered it.

His lips grazed hers, unexpected even with anticipation, and she gasped a soft breath of air before leaning forward onto her toes so that she might feel him all the better there. They were such soft things, his lips. She'd felt them only once before with the calluses of her fingertips, but now the smoothness of her own blended with his and...where did one begin or the other end? He moved away, oh so slightly. Enough that she fell back down upon the heels of her feet, breathless as if she'd run a league, and dazzled. He was asking her for promises when he'd just stolen away the air in her lungs? She could have laughed, but smiled instead, every movement of her mouth brushing her lips against his again as if in minute approximation of their kiss.

She would have promised him anything in that moment.

Oh how she wanted to kiss him again! She felt torn asunder in the most delicious way, was that possible? Was that what all these feelings were inside of her? Could you be so conflicted but still so happy all at once? Who was she to kiss a Lord Holder? Everyone heard stories about the ones who would have mistresses, the poor drudges and Holdfolk who couldn't complain because he was...who he was, but that was not this Lord Holder, and Oreanda was not afraid of him. She was afraid of...never kissing him again. Was that their first and their last? That little tentative thing? She had the passion, and unabashed behaviour of a dolphin, and he was so close. She could smell him, and now she wanted to taste him, and she was giddy with the realization that she wanted it.

If this was their first and last, surely they could do better than that? The slender woman sighed softly, her hands reaching up until they crossed over his throat, ran along either side of his jaw, and then curled around the nape of his neck where her fingers could sink into his hair. She too hesitated, for one heartbeat, at war with whether she should ask, or simply take, but she was already nothing that she should have been, so why not be so a little bit longer? He'd not strayed far at all, but it was too far for right now, so she pulled him down as she leaned up and pressed her lips into his. She had never kissed before, it would be such a silly thing to admit, but if she seemed content to simply stay in such a state it was that inexperience alone; she yearned for things she could't name; even if they were impossible.


@Ivy


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Ivy
 Posted: Dec 3 2017, 02:33 PM
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Alphahandler





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Quietly he awaited her answer, silence lingering between them as he waited for her words to utter the promise he so desperately needed to hear. It was not like the man to be desperate, to want for things he could not have and yet in that moment he was exactly that. Loss and desire had reduced him to what some may call a lesser man as the wherhandler held him at her mercy. It was a moment, yet it felt an eternity, before her lips provided him an answer - though it was not with words but actions that she gave him what he needed. Fingers traced over his throat to press against the nape of his neck with tips teasing into his hair as she pulled him to her. Once more she saw to the difference in their height by lifting from her heels to meet him, lips pressed feverishly to his. If he took note of her inexperience he gave no outward acknowledgement, instead his arms shifted and pulled her closer to him.

The hand on her chin disappeared for only a breath as he hooked his arm behind her shoulder, cupping her head rather than her chin now. His other arm wrapped around her lower back as he helped lift her up while lips parted to deepen the kiss. She was new and yet unexplored by the man and while he did not have the penchant for conquest as many other Lord Holders did he felt that precise desire surge through his form as he held her in his embrace. Within her he saw so much promise, the uncertainty of his future suddenly an afterthought as he lost himself to her lips and scent. Behind glass lenses his eyes closed, tongue venturing forth to slowly and lightly press against her lips as he waited for her permission rather than just taking what he wanted.

What was it he wanted exactly? While his body was not silent to his desires his mind was in overdrive trying to piece together an amicable resolution to his actions. As if his mind and body were no longer on the same page, his mind raged against him in an effort to remind the man of his position; of her position and of everything this truly was and was not. This was no replacement for his late wife, she could warm his arms and perhaps his bed if that was her wish as well but she could not run a Hold by his side. Callum knew he should stop, he should pull away and be ashamed of his actions; for so many turns he led without ever looking at another woman when he had his wife and yet here he stood seasons after her passing in the embrace of a woman he’d befriended while she still breathed. Undoubtedly others would take note of the timeline of their meeting, there would be so many callous things said about the Lord Holder when his presence with the Prideleader was noted…

This had to stop.

He pulled back from the kiss regardless of how deep she had let it become or how welcoming the taste of her mouth was. Breathing heavily his heart pounded harder within his chest as he slowly opened his eyes to drink in the vision that was Oreanda. Knowing he owed her an apology his lips opened, still so close to hers he could feel her breath, but rather than words of regret when he spoke it was an invitation as his body and heart won out over his mind, ”Join me in my chambers, or by the waters if you prefer it.” Lifting his head he kissed along her forehead, smoothing back her short locks with one hand. Already in over his head he would leave apologies for the morrow; tonight he needed her in more ways than he even realized.

@Ruin


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 Posted: 12 minutes ago
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Prideleader





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She was lost in it all. The smell of him, the warmth of him near her, and the spiral of confusion emotions tearing at her. It was all so new, and yet all so comfortable. All so...necessary. Or so she thought. So she wanted to believe. His hands left trails of prickled flesh wherever they strayed, his arms around her shoulders and waist were the support she needed to keep her from drifting away in the embrace of the emotions she couldn't even name. And, while he considered all the things she could not be for him, she only considered what he was for her, in that moment.

Then he spoke, and the world came back into sharp focus. His lips traced a path across her forehead but she trembled quietly, a breathless sigh escaping her now that she had a moment to breathe. She was so new to this. He was her first everything, and he couldn't really know that, could he? Might not have even fully understood it when she'd admitted her inexperience at any point during their friendship. She wanted it so badly, wanted to be near him, but she realized that she wanted him and the comfort he brought her.

She wasn't so sure that he felt that way. Anda couldn't replace his wife, would never have tried, but she also didn't want to be the substitute for the deceased woman. Her fingertips played against his throat like the flutter of a bird's wings as a growing anxiousness expressed itself where her face could not. She couldn't have put a name to the things she'd been feeling for the Lord Holder through all these seasons, not until he kissed her, and just as she'd had a moment of clarity she'd been pushed right back into darkness.

"My Lord," she said softly, painfully aware that this would probably be the end of their friendship, before her wavering voice found the strength to continue. "I've never felt about anyone how I've come to feel about you," her hands moved along his arms until she seemed to prop herself up using his larger frame. "In many ways I...don't even understand these feelings, but I know that you just lost someone so very dear to you and...and I don't want to sacrifice our friendship for a moment of..." her words faded into a sigh. None of this was her strong suit. She heard dragons and swam with dolphins, she'd spent more time with Callum than she had with any other human, save for her Wherlingmaster--possibly--what did she know about love when she didn't even know the word for it.

On a whim she leaned in to press her ear to his chest so she could hear the beat of his heart before he would pull away and leave her to the night. "I could never be even a quarter of the woman she was for you. Even if you felt the things that I do..." she trailed off again, allowing the thudding in his chest to drown out her thoughts before she said what he already knew. He'd be looking for another wife. He would be forced to do so. Such was his burden as a ruler. "I would do anything for you, my Lord," she said at last, "I only ask that you allow me to keep as much of you as I can, for as long as I can." It had not yet occurred to her that their friendship would be whispered about such as it had been, and that when he did marry she would never again be allowed to enjoy these moments.


@Ivy


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