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Thread: In the Silence of My Mind [ 10/01, Kivennah, Open ]

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    House Caldoran Kivennah Caldoran's Avatar  

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    In the Silence of My Mind [ 10/01, Kivennah, Open ]

    In the hours of night, the halls of the Caldoran manor were eerily silent, resonating with the aching loneliness of emptiness. Unable to sleep yet again, Kivennah drifted through those halls like a ghost intent on haunting the place. Since the venture down into the cellars, she had not been able to put the scene from her mind or its implications, leaving her to begin questioning her own sanity. Too much time alone could lead to a downward spiral of self-doubt, yet Kivi seemed unable to break herself free of it until she was nearly ready to flee screaming from herself.

    Coming to a halt at a pair of doors that led into a wing sealed off during the plague that was not yet re-opened, she gave in to impulse and flung the doors wide before moving further in. Disuse left a layer of dust that her feet and skirts swept up, the doors to the respective rooms closed. Following instinct, Kivennah stepped into one of the rooms and swept her gaze around the interior. Thin moonlight spilled into the room, giving it a lonely air aided in no small part by the furniture in its linen shrouds. Life had once thrived in this room, but now it felt as empty and hollow as her heart.

    So many ghosts... how could she ever begin to exorcise them all?

    The room held an unquestionably musty fragrance, reminding her how long it had been since windows and doors stood open to the air. Moving once more, Kivennah rushed to open the windows, open the doors that led onto the stone balcony that overlooked the gardens. If she was going to hold a communion with ghosts, then she would do so with the scent of late summer roses in the air. They had been Skye's favorite, she remembered, especially the white ones. Keiren had preferred the red, and the twins the pink roses.

    Her heart ached for these missing loved ones, but no tears came. Kivennah had no tears left to shed, only that soul-deep loneliness and the flagging strength of someone struggling to not only keep a brave face but soldier on essentially alone. A thought lifted on the night air for Percival, returned to his duties for the King. Once she had been so sure of what lay between them. Now doubt held sway, but life went on.

    No one dies of a broken heart, Kivennah. You are stronger than this. You still have family. Do not be so afraid to call on them.

    The voice sounded so like her mother's, warm and stern at the same time that she nearly broke down. More voices from the past to haunt her and bring her to the brink of something dangerous. She could hardly stand it any more. The silence was driving her steadily mad. Something had to be done, bringing her mind to her cousins. Surely the King could spare Lexington and Larson for a time on matters of family concern. Kivennah needed them more than she ever thought possible. She would send a request to Hebron, asking them to come to Heather's Moor.

    Before the silence consumed her completely.
    Last edited by Kivennah Caldoran; 06-13-2014 at 08:07 AM.

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    House Caldoran Karenna Caldoran's Avatar  

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    The soft blue eyes held no emotion as the woman made her way through the halls. There had been none to greet her. She had come unannounced. The Moor was quiet. Quieter than she had ever remembered. She likely would have enjoyed such a respite when she resided here. Now, it was unsettling. The servants, more excited to see her than she was them, were dithering on about her sister, making apologies for her absence and assuring her that they would fetch her as soon as they located her.

    "That will not be necessary," she told Kelwes' valet. The man seemed to pause, and then hurry to catch back up. "You may attend to your other duties, Josef. I shall have no trouble locating Lady Kivennah." The priestess knew where to find her sister. Karenna and Kivi had a bond nearly as strong as the twins had been, and she followed the other girl's aura through the old keep.

    The rushing river could be heard easily through the stone of Taldorach, a testament to how quiet the place truly had become. But Karenna found the sounds soothing, and though she did not smile, she was truly glad to be home. The Golden Temple of the Sun was a beautiful place, and she liked Hebron well enough, but nothing was like home.

    Coming upon the old room that had served the family well as a meeting place for stories, games, and songs, Karenna saw her sister staring out the doors to the balcony. She was not surprised to find Kivennah here. Or to find herself unnoticed. Karenna had always had the softest footsteps in the family. As she moved to stand in the doorway, the younger sister folded her hands in front of her skirts and inhaled the scent of roses as they quickly chased the stale air from the room.

    When a moment or two had passed, Karenna spoke, her tone was soft and even, as it always had been. "You are sad," she said, her statement one of understanding and finality. She waited another second for Kivi to turn, and then she bowed her head in greeting. When their eyes met again, Renna finally cracked the smallest of smiles. "Rejoice, sister. You have been neither forgotten, nor abandoned."


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    Last edited by Rick; 06-25-2014 at 07:31 PM.

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    House Caldoran Kivennah Caldoran's Avatar  

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    She felt rather than heard Karenna, turning slowly with eyes that refused to burn with tears but doubted the evidence presented to them. Was Renna truly there, or was she another ghost that choked these halls? Kivi doubted she could endure another loss right now, and losing Renna would be a killing blow to her indeed. Trusting that her sister was no mere shade, she reached out without a word and embraced Renna tightly, almost sobbing with relief when she felt the strong beat of her sister's heart and the warmth of her body against her own chilled frame.

    "Sad?" Her voice was almost a rasp. "Renna, I fear I am losing my mind. This place... I swear it's haunted. So many voices I hear now, and strange things are happening. I feared for a moment that you were another ghost come to me." Drawing back, Kivennah knew how she sounded but she had never been able to hide anything from Renna, nor did she want to. "Please tell me you can stay for a while. KJ..." Their brother largely lived his own life, and was off visiting with friends, leaving her alone far too much, yet she hadn't the heart to beg him to come home. "He can't bear to stay here, and I don't blame him. I am not sure I can either."

    Renna would never forget or abandon her, thank all the gods of Tuneric. Keeping her arm wrapped around her sister, she sighed and made an effort to calm herself back into sensibility. "I don't know what brought you, but I'm glad beyond words that you're here." Facing the balcony again, Kivi laughed bleakly, aware that she probably looked like a ghost herself. Vivienne would be horrified to see her in this state. "Forgive me. Too much time alone has brought me to this. Tell me what brings you."


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    House Caldoran Karenna Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Renna hesitated at the embrace. She had never been very affectionate, but sensing her sister's need, she slowly wrapped her arms around her in a comforting gesture. "We are all ghosts now, Kivennah," she assured the other girl. "We linger here, as you suspect, shades of our own past." Nothing about Taldorach was the same as when their family was alive. Even the living wandered the halls like a grey purgatory. It was part of the reason Karenna had left in search of light and color.

    As Kivi pulled away, her sister nodded at her. "I am here to stay until you are ready to leave," she said smoothly. "Hebron needs you, Kivennah. Tuneric needs you. More than you know." And while Renna had not come on any kind of official request, she could read sun and stars, and she knew that much of their future was contingent on the decisions of her sister.

    The subject of the spectres was easily dismissed, but Karenna knew her sister was right. She had sense the cold and unease when she entered the old building. Something, not foul, but cold, lingered on the air in the keep. She would investigate it after Kivi had settled in for the evening. There was no sense in confirming her fears, especially if they were not going to linger in Heather's Moor for very long. "Too long we have been apart. Let us have some tea and regale each other with tales of our recent times apart."

    Taking her sister by the hand, Karenna gently led her from the room and back towards the kitchens.

    @Kivennah Caldoran

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    House Caldoran Kivennah Caldoran's Avatar  

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    "We are all ghosts now, Kivennah. We linger here, as you suspect, shades of our own past."

    The truth of those words was inescapable. So much loss, so much pain, so much death had left Taldorach bereft of life, light, color. She felt like a ghost herself, drifting through the halls of a castle that felt almost foreign to Kivennah. She sighed, leaning into the hug, welcome as it was unexpected. Renna often knew her better than she knew herself. Alas, there was nothing to say to Renna's words. Nothing she hadn't already thought herself, or told herself repeatedly.

    "I am here to stay until you are ready to leave. Hebron needs you, Kivennah. Tuneric needs you. More than you know."

    Kivi paused, staring at her sister in stunned silence. Renna had a gift of Sight, something she herself had struggled to understand but seldom had cause to doubt. Her brow furrowed, her gaze sharpening on her sister's face and eyes to plunder them for what Renna might know. The words were cryptic, yet weighted with the truth only her sister knew how to deliver. Whether Renna knew what she meant, Kivi did not know. Instinct had her reaching to touch her sister's face, seeking that understanding. "What do you know, Karenna? What have you not told me?"

    "Too long we have been apart. Let us have some tea and regale each other with tales of our recent times apart."

    Distracted by that, she nodded and allowed her sister to lead her from the icy atmosphere of the room towards the greater, embracing warmth of the kitchen. Oftentimes, Kivi felt it was the only room in the house where life still reigned over death; the prospect of tea was a comforting one. Perhaps now, with Renna home, she might feel less alone, more corporeal... less ghostly.


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    House Caldoran Karenna Caldoran's Avatar  

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    The pale skinned woman was happy to be home, and glad to be there for Kivennah. She could sense the worry and loneliness on her, and even though nobody would ever accuse Karenna of bringing life to any situation, even having another voice in the halls might do Kivi some good. The priestess was aware, albeit acutely, that she was often vague and misunderstood. It was a byproduct of her shyness as a child, but she felt that it well suited her in adulthood. "To say I know, would imply that I have proof, which I do not. I have only premonitions and suppositions," she said before a small hint of a smile formed at her lips. "But would it be so terrible if I wanted my sister nearby?"

    The kitchens, despite the small population of Taldorach lately, were still bustling. It was clear that word of her presence had reached all the corners of the keep in the small time she had been here. The cooks had already begun baking her favorite pasties, and curious eyes were popping out from behind doors to see if she had truly returned. The woman who had brought out the tea setting for them gave a curtsy and a smile, and Karenna thanked her. Stirring her tea cup, despite not adding sugar, cream, lemon, or honey, she reveled in the inhalation of the steam that came off the cup.

    "How are things otherwise," she asked Kivi. "Tell me more about this haunted feeling you have. Perhaps I can help."

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    Last edited by Karenna Caldoran; 07-27-2014 at 08:48 AM.

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    House Caldoran Kivennah Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Renna was warm, alive and real. Her mere presence helped to banish the doubts in Kivennah's mind regarding her sanity, and helped to keep the ghostly voices at bay. It was a temporary respite, but one Kivi welcomed while it lasted. When her sister returned to Hebron, she would learn to deal with it then. The discussion of transporting herself to Hebron was another matter, however, one she was not ready to deal with yet. Renna's premonitions seldom went unfulfilled, yet she wondered if heading to Hebron would truly be that easy or if circumstances would rise up against her to prevent it. Mustering a small smile for her sister, she shook her head. "Of course not. We have only each other now, Renna, and the twins along with KJ. It's only natural that we try to keep together."

    Her sister had always been a favorite of the cooks, and as they walked into the large room - too many staff, really, for just one person - she could see the various preparations of items that were among Karenna's favorites. The situation was so blessedly normal that she almost felt tears threatening to form in her eyes. Sitting down at the table, Kivi nodded her thanks at the woman who delivered their tea, adding cream and honey like usual. She stirred the steaming brew, considering how to answer, then opted for the simple truth. "Too... quiet. Too much, really. I try to keep busy, but what do I know about running this place, Renna?" She kept her voice low, but the meeting of eyes was intense. The truth was, Kivennah was struggling and needed help. More help than she knew how to ask for.

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    House Caldoran Karenna Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Karenna let her fingers linger over the piping steam from her cup until her fingers were slick with the condensation that the vapor on her skin. There was a soft smile on her face as Kivi recounted their remainder, and she shook her head sympathetically. "Family has never been about the ties of blood, dear sister. That kind of thinking is what brought Keiren to his grave. So much effort spent on centering his life on us girls. On finding a wife, to help him continue the efforts of our parents." She lifted her cup and sipped at it, apparently unperturbed by the temperature of the liquid contained therein. "Your family is as large as you make it. Your heart is the door, and it is larger than most. Ser Percival, Princess Vivienne, Zel Riethert, they are just the beginnings of what your family could be, if you were to pursue it."

    The servant was back with danishes and croissants, and Karenna could feel her muscles tense at the urge to reach out for them. She steadied herself for the moment however, and nodded at her sisters concern. "Very little," she said with a sly grin. Though whether it was an honest statement, or more teasing, it was hard to tell. Karenna wasn't prone to jest.

    Finally, she picked a buttered morsel from the serving dish and placed it on the plate in front of her. "Taldorach has stood for centuries, Kivennah. Through hurricanes and forest fires and even floods which washed away all the villages around it. It is a rock in the center of the woods, and it has known countless custodians who were less dedicated and prepared than you. If you spent the next two decades tucked into your bed, Taldorach would remain." There was a small sigh, which was contrary to Karenna's usually even demeanor. "I have watched, from near and far, as you toil here. And the servants are proud to call you their lady. There is no shame in the job you have done. Our brother hardly left the coffers bare, sister. You should hire more help, and take a trip for leisure. Being back at court would serve you well, I think."

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    House Caldoran Kivennah Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Occasionally, Renna made Kivi feel like she was the youngest, rather than the elder sister. Looking down into her cup, she was silent as she listened to the truth that spilled so serenely from her sister's lips. That, Kivennah knew, was the priestess in Karenna, that calm, assured and confident tone that left her feeling alternately reassured and scolded. A faint smile touched her lips, knowing that Renna was right. Mostly. The mention of Perceval had her head snapping up, the smile dying on her lips. "Our fair princess and Zel, of that I am certain, but Perceval?" She shrugged uncomfortably, her gaze averting. From the knight, she had not heard word one in months. "I am sure he has far better means and methods of occupying his time."

    Kivi did not fail to notice her sister's persistence in pushing her towards Hebron and Court, the eyes narrowing slightly in curious suspicion. Renna had an agenda here, despite her protests to the contrary, but like usual, refused to reveal it as she hid behind Swaren and her own fallibility. Fingernails tapped thoughtfully on the cup, the sweets ignored though her spare frame could likely stand to regain a few pounds to restore the soft, feminine curves that kept it from being too slender. "No, the coffers are not bare, but we too suffered from the plague, Renna. There are not as many hands to turn to the work as you might think, and KJ still has a great deal to learn about standing as the Lord of Taldorach." She lifted a hand to stop any further protest from her sister, knowing Renna well enough to see the protests and objections rising to the full lips.

    "I will consider a journey to court. Maybe it is time to test our brother to see what he has learned now that all is relatively quiet, but if I do," she bent a firm look on her sister, "It will be to see Vivienne, Vera and Zel. Perceval... has made himself clear that he is no longer a part of my life, and the time has come for me to move on. Besides, I want to see what the twins are up to." Leaning back in her chair, she toyed with the cup for a moment, then glanced up at her sister, bracing her for the response.



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    House Caldoran Karenna Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Karenna's eyebrows may have lifted in a challenge, but she quickly lowered them and raised her cup back to her lips. Her opinion on the knight and his sister was hers alone, and while she had the power to light many paths, the one that Percival and Kivennah walked was theirs alone. If the old worn stones led them back to each other, and Renna suspected that they might, then that was for them to discover on their own. She knew well that Kivi had suffered from their separation, but what it had done to the Sword of Summer was equally as tormenting, and when and if they met again, something told the priestess that there would be an epiphany.

    "There are tutors and castellans, sister. There are men and women who are compensated to advise Kelwes in the matters of politics and economics." It was true that the young duke had never had a mother's skirts to hide behind, but that did not make providing them a job for Kivi. "Perhaps he will find his own way when you have given him the chance to fail." Their brother was not like to risk hurting his sister's feelings by trying to give voice to his need to spread his wings. And if Kivennah was not careful, she might stunt KJ's growth with good intentions.

    When the mention of her traveling to Hebron came up, Karenna smiled openly, only to have it erased by another mention of Percival. Perhaps she was not right in letting the matter rest. After all, her sister had broached it twice. Setting the cup down, Renna made a show of observing her finger nails. "Perhaps you discredit the young knight in order to shield yourself from the pain brought on by distance. Perhaps you are both waiting for the other to say how they feel, and taking offence at the silence." She shrugged, but then quickly changed the subject, lest an argument erupt. There were bruised feelings all around, and it was not for Renna to speak for Percival.

    "Tell me more of these specters you sense," she said, her eyes drawing to the corners of the room slowly, as though she already had an idea on the matter.

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    House Caldoran Kivennah Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Her sister had a way of speaking volumes without saying a word, merely using facial expressions. Occasionally, that skill grated on Kivennah's nerves, especially when Karenna unleashed on her as a way of either disparaging her opinions or chiding her for some perceived foolishness. Why her sister felt the need to involve herself in the matter of Ser Perceval Torgood eluded Kivi, but Renna apparently felt that her elder sister was wrong. That belief clearly extended beyond the knight to her arguments regarding a dispatch to Hebron, evidenced in the calm, reasoned elimination of her objections. The mention of giving their brother a chance to fail brought about a narrowing of her gaze and a lift of her own brows, yet Kivennah refrained from a retort.

    Rather than dignify the continued discussion of Ser Perceval and Karenna's perspective on it, she remained stoic and let the words brush past her. Karenna did not understand, and she was uncertain that she could make her sister grasp her feelings on the matter. Instead, she grimaced with the mention of the ghosts she was convinced haunted Taldorach. "There are small signs, things out of place or odd in their placement. In one of the cellars, there is a room with a game board set up and it looks as if the game is in motion. The board has no dust on it, yet the floor surrounding the table it sits on is thick with the dust. There are no footprints to suggest anyone has been there in months, Karenna."

    Sipping the tea to soothe a throat gone dry, Kivi lowered her cup and reached for a pastry, not out of any appetite but to give her fingers something to crumble with occupation. "There are whispers as well, the feeling that someone is watching me. I could have sworn the other night I heard singing. One of the songs the twins used to sing, as a matter of fact." She fell silent for a moment, then spoke quietly, "If I did not know better, Renna, I'd say the twins were these ghosts."


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    House Caldoran Karenna Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Listening carefully to her sister's explanations, Renna measured the odds that what she said was true. Not that she thought that Kivi would lie about anything, but moreover could be mistaken. After a few sips of tea, and a moment of careful thought, the priestess concluded that her sister likely wasn't. "The twins were mischievous in life," she said, lowering her voice as though Kellan and Kellavyn might be listening. "It would not surprised me to find that they have fought to keep that kind of trouble active since their passing."

    Even the books of Swaren didn't put much faith in specters, but there were other sources in the temple library that suggested that those who had lived fully, which would certainly describe the twins, often had a difficult time passing on to their greater rewards. In the afterlife, they served Mink-Asa, wittingly or not. But even so, Karenna could not imagine the girls doing anything worse than the pranks they had done in their walking days. "I shall take the evening and explore, so you can rest," she offered, figuring Kivi might sleep better without having to worry about the activities of their fallen family.

    "Despite some dust," she said carefully, "The house looks in good order. You should be proud of the job you have done, sister." Swaren knew that Karenna would never have accomplished as much. "Skye would have been proud of you," she added, for whatever that was worth.


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    House Caldoran Kivennah Caldoran's Avatar  

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    Kivennah actively hoped she was wrong, that this was yet another trick of the mind from too much time alone yet there was evidence to suggest that she was not mad as the proverbial hatter. Studying her sister's face, she was somewhat relieved to know that Renna wasn't sending for the physician or worse, indulging her until she could be confined as a danger to herself and others. Madness was not a trend in the Caldoran line, but there were always exceptions to those rules, she knew. Grateful that for now, Renna was willing to take her words at face value and make her own investigations, she smiled weakly. "Thank you, sister. I will sleep all the more soundly for knowing that you are on the watch." KJ's presence was not quite the same as her sister's for banishing the ghosts, both real and within her mind.

    The compliments made her smile sadly, knowing how Skye had been about maintaining the castle. "It is our home, Renna," Kivi said simply. "And keeping busy has been... helpful." Perhaps she'd overdone the busy work, yet it had helped to keep the grief from swamping her and the walls from closing in on her. Kivennah drew in a deep breath, aware that her sister was likely right. A change of scene would do her some good. "In the morning," she added quietly, "I'll send for the steward and talk with him and KJ. Do you think leaving for the capital in two or three days is too soon?"

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