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Thread: No Rest for the Weary - 11/22 Dawntown Castle

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    House Calloway Jedrek Calloway's Avatar  
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    No Rest for the Weary - 11/22 Dawntown Castle

    He dreamt of her again. Why was it that she haunted his dreams now that she was dead, more so than she ever did while she still drew breath. Perhaps it was the castle, the unfamiliar room that still smelled of sage and sickness despite his attempts to mask it with fresh flowers and lemon oil. Did her spirit haunt these halls, doomed to forever torment him for his failure as a husband? She never loved him, and he could do nothing but reciprocate that distance. And now, whenever he closed his eyes he saw her face, saw the small smile she bore on their wedding day fade. Her eyes grew cold and sunken, fading deeper into despair until her facade turned thin, her skin drawn taunt over her hard bones. Her skin would continue to shrink, melting down her face until it disappeared all together and left him with her bloodied skull, mouth agape as though screaming… but at what?

    Jedrek woke with a start, his sheets damp from sweat and his chest heaving as though he’d just been running. The room was quiet and a solemn candle’s wick still flickered, casting a calming shadow on the wall. If he continued to watch its dance it might send him back to sleep, but what good would that do if she would be there again, waiting?

    Tossing his bearskin and sheets to the side, Jed swung his feet over the side of the bed and took a moment to recover, cradling his head in his thick hands. After a few deep breaths, he brushed his hair back and watched the shadows dance in the corners of the unfamiliar suite before he stood.

    It was obvious that he would find no peace in sleep tonight. The only place left for him was a place he could relax… the woods.

    Dawn had slowly begun to rise over Dawntown by the time Jed returned to the castle. He wore only his breeches, stained by the wet mud that his bare feet had flung up, drenched in sweat from his run - it had been one of the longest he’d had in some time. And while he should be tired, Jed couldn’t help but feel the need to move more… He was restless, aggravated… the moment he stopped at the castle dock and looked out over the flowing river’s water, his thoughts started again, rushing with everything that was required of him now that he was Lord of Chatlawn Hills.

    His gaze pierced the water’s surface and without a moment’s hesitation more, he stripped from his breeches and dived in, disappearing beneath the surface and downstream before any of the servants could have spotted him.

    The river was where he truly felt at home.

    Jed didn’t come up for air until the castle’s tower was out of sight. Even then, his reprieve was only for a moment before he continued on, swimming as far downstream as he could until he came across a newly built beaver dam, which had created a sort of pond. It wasn’t large enough to be considered a lake, not yet. But it was wild, and beautiful… and free. A grove of trees sat close to the water’s edge, and Jed pushed back his wet hair to inspect the grapes that were growing from intertwined vines overhead. They were nearly ripe and ready for picking - what type of wine would they produce, he wondered.

    Sinking into the water again, he kicked a fish away from nibbling at his toe and leaned back against a large rock, his breath slowing slightly as he closed his eyes and tried to embrace the relaxation that was settling in.

    @Coralie Macari

  2. #2
    Junior Member Coralie Macari's Avatar  
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    Every night her dreams ended the same, reminding her that her child was dead. Her brain, however it worked, came up with a different cause as often as she'd closed her eyes. Tonight was no different. When she closed her eyes, she was greeted by her daughter babbling away in her arms. Nestled comfortably in her rocking chair, she counted the child's toes and fingers, noting the shape of her nose and her long eye lashes as she giggled happily. Quite quickly her dream turned sour and her husband, the late Lord Macari, had marched in the room and began to shout. Coralie, looked up and tried to shush the man, telling him that he would disturb their child's happiness and hers by proxy but the man would not stop shouting.

    He pulled her from her chair, shook her by the shoulders, all the while she kept hold of her child. It was not long before she looked down to see the flesh of her daughter had gone black. No longer the happy, talkative, child but now a corpse, swaddled, in her arms.

    It always ends the same. Cora finds herself sitting up, in a cold sweat, and out of breath. Her daughter is dead.

    She spent a few hours sitting in the window seat of her room. She looked out over Chatlawn Hills, the fishermen starting out their work so early in the morning, men and women traveling down to sell their wares. She was not the only women she knew who'd lost a child, but her heart would not let her rest. Cora reviewed her mental state while watching the city move on with their day. It took her a while but she finally settled on the reason.

    That baby was the first person she ever truly could have loved. She noted the irony since she never wanted children, least of all one of Lord Macari's children.

    When the sun finally began to feel warm on her skin, she decided a walk would suit her best. She washed her face, put on a plain brown dress with a white bodice, and wrapped herself in a shawl. She wandered down the stairs and out the door with no particular destination in mind. The morning breeze pushed her short hair into her face and she curled a few strands behind her ear in an attempt to keep it under control.

    Chatlawn is simply beautiful, there's no other way to put it. The grass is so green and the water is so completely blue. It was easy to get lost when wandering through a forest or down a secluded path. She was alright with that, Coralie could find no better way to spend a day than getting lost in the woods while trying to figure out what she'd be doing with her life. It wasn't as though she had any choices, she was here because she couldn't go back to her brother, but part of her wished she could have gone with Henry.

    She walked along the river while listening to the birds sing their morning songs, passing a cat who was bathing in the sun, and attempting to think of absolutely nothing while she did. Her mind insisted on rehashing her final moments with her husband, which while it was satisfying, it was over and she wished to never think of it again.

    When she snapped out of her daze, she'd found that she'd rounded the corner of the river and her eyes fell upon a naked man laying on a rock. She let out an audible squeak, she hadn't expected to see anyone else this morning, and turned her back quickly. Her brain had identified the man and her hands folded in front of her while she froze like a statue. "My apologies, Lord Calloway. I did not mean to interrupt your morning." Her tone was a little less apologetic than any real lady of court would have let on.


    @Jedrek Calloway

  3. #3
    House Calloway Jedrek Calloway's Avatar  
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    The sleep that Jedrek had not known beneath the lush blankets of his new Lordly bed threatened to overtake him as his back rested against the cool slick rock. Surprisingly he found it more comfortable than all the feather mattresses in the realm. Though the intention hadn't been to stay long, the new Lord of Chatlawn dozed peacefully, rocked awake intermittently by thoughts of the day's coming events and the flow of the water lapping at his thighs.

    The new and returning staff had been placed in their stations and the castle was well on its way to becoming his. In fact, it was his intention to open the hall for grievances that very afternoon. Jedrek was sure the same issues would come through his door that the previous lord had so often dealt with - dead or stolen livestock, land disputes, handsfasting requests; the list continued on. With the plague's eradication, Jedrek could only imagine what else he would be called upon to settle when the doors opened.

    Stifling a yawn, the Chatlawn Lord wiggled his toes to ward off another nibbling fish before he reached his arms overhead in a stretch, only to pillow them behind his head peacefully. The sun was high enough above the trees now that tiny rays sparkled through the swaying leaves. He squinted at the light before resigning to closing his eyes again. But the sweet bliss did not last long, for the sounds of movement through the woods caught his ear. While the sounds could easily have come from an animal, Jedrek wasn't so sure.

    Slipping from the rock, he'd just managed to submerge to his waist when a sound - a feminine squeak - caught his attention and a figure came from the foliage that graced the worn trail.

    "My apologies, Lord Calloway. I did not mean to interrupt your morning."

    Jedrek reached his hands into the water, wetting them before he ran them through his hair, trying to feign indifference at the interruption. Truth be told, he was relatively embarrassed and slightly inconvenienced by the woman, especially at the indifference he heard in her voice. But when he turned to address her, for she knew very well who he was, Jedrek recognized the head of hair as Lady Macari- was that correct? His inherited ward, as it were. He settled on Macari.

    "Lady Macari, The Calloway greeted in return, though his voice was devoid of humor or pleasantries. He waded further into the middle of the water until he was sure she would get no show from him, even though he was not sure how much she had already seen.

    "Out and about early this morning, I see." She had not yet inconvenienced him, and the castle was large enough that he hadn't seen her since the first dinner when they had been introduced, two days before.

    Not sure what else to say, the dripping Lord Calloway put his fisted hands on his waist and his gaze shifted, for her back was still to him, likely out of embarrassment or rather the facade of privacy. He glanced down at his state of being before determining that she would not see anything entirely out of sorts, save for a bare chest and a few battle scars. "There is no need to turn your gaze, Lady Macari," he offered with a slight chuckle and a shake of his head as he kicked at an underwater stone with his foot.

    @Coralie Macari

  4. #4
    Junior Member Coralie Macari's Avatar  
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    Coralie could hear him moving in the water but it didn't sound as though he was trying to find nearby clothing. She kept her hands folded in front of her as he greeted her and even stated the obvious, that it was an early morning and she was outside. Every muscle in her body tightened and she ignored the urge to roll her eyes.

    "Yes, sleeping has become yet another thing I cannot do." Her voice was matter-of-fact and she looked down to the riverbank beneath her feet. "So I decided it best that I attempt to get some fresh air each morning. In the hopes that with improved health, and state of mind, I may someday sleep."

    "There is no need to turn your gaze, Lady Macari,"

    Besides the fact that I have no desire to lay my eyes on you when you're clothed? She turned slowly to make eye contact with the new Lord of Chatlawn Hills. It was not that long ago that she and Henry put their every effort forward in an attempt to save Lord Elston. Now this shitbag common boy was stepping up to take over and rule their city. Coralie had a foul taste in her mouth just looking at the man. Disgust could not describe how she felt.

    "If it is not out of place, my Lord, where have your clothes gone? Shall I fetch them for you?" She had no idea what else to say. Better to make oneself helpful, at least that's what her mother always said.

    @Jedrek Calloway

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    House Calloway Jedrek Calloway's Avatar  
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    "Well," he said, "It seems as though Dawntown Castle lives up to its name, for neither of us can seem to find sleep within its walls." It was a purely conversational remark, almost in the tone of one resigned to having to partake in civility. He made no comment on her state of health, it was none of his business. In fact he didn't even offer a nod of acknowledgment, it wasn't as though she could see him.

    He did however run his fingers through the water again and push his hair once again out of his face, for a few strands had fallen back in the gentle breeze.

    But it was at his coaxing that she finally did turn, and when she did, Jedrek found himself quite frozen within her gaze. It was not her beauty that froze him but the look in her eyes as they met his from across the way.

    Well, at least I do not have to bother trying to befriend her," Jedrek thought as his eyebrow rose in question. Her gaze was seething and she held none of the apparent disgust back. He had... never been on the receiving end of such disfavor before and was not quite sure how to respond, or what he had done to produce such low regard.

    That she remained where she was, asking him the whereabouts of his clothing while offering to retrieve them in the same sentence, confounded him even more and both eyebrows rose in response before he offered her a lopsided grin that dripped of sarcasm.

    "You have my thanks for the kind offer, Lady Macari, but that will not be necessary. While you may prefer a morning walk to settle your conscience, I would rather wake up to a swim."

    His gaze remained locked with hers a moment longer before he scoffed softly to himself and turned as though he were planning to dive back beneath the river's surface. But instead he turned back to his ward, for she was in fact his ward now, and waded closer to the river's edge.

    When Jedrek was sure his privates would be properly hidden behind the river's edge, he brought himself up to his full height and rested his arms on the river's grassy edge. "I have a very distinct impression that you detest me, Lady Macari. I am curious as to why."

    @Coralie Macari

  6. #6
    Junior Member Coralie Macari's Avatar  
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    In response to Jedrek's observation, Coralie tilted her head in agreement. She smirked at how true it seemed to be, though the smile did not find it's way to her eyes. The man before her made eye contact with her but for a moment he didn't say a word. She couldn't imagine it was the shock of her presence but she couldn't put her finger on what it was. Maybe he knew what laid beneath her ribs and deep within her heart.

    She had hoped that he would accept her offer to find his clothing. She wasn't truly bothered by his nakedness but she no longer had the desire to stay in the company of this man. It would have given her an excuse to leave his presence and busy herself with something 'meaningful'.

    For a moment, Coralie was hopeful, Jedrek turned and looked as though he was going to leave her behind and continue on his morning swim. Her excitement was short lived, however, when the man changed his mind and turned back around to face her. Even worse, he began to move closer toward her and Coralie found herself taking a single step back when Lord Calloway leaned his arms upon the bank of the river.

    "I have a very distinct impression that you detest me, Lady Macari. I am curious as to why."

    Because if I hadn't killed my husband I would be ruling over you, you ignorant little shit. Her mind screamed in frustration but on the surface, her expression didn't change. "I don't trust you." Her response was short and flat. "I came here to be ward of Lord Elston, not you."


    @Jedrek Calloway

  7. #7
    House Calloway Jedrek Calloway's Avatar  
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    Jedrek processes her answer for a moment before he nodded with a shrug of acceptance. "I see." He understood, of course. She felt threatened, he was sure, for it had been his predecessor with whom her deal had been made, not him. Though he had agreed to honor Lord Elston's commitment, it did not guarantee her safety.

    Despite that, Jed was curious as to why she needed Elston's protection. What crime had been committed by her or against her, for those were the only two scenarios he could determine that would bring about such measures.

    He took a moment to stew over his thoughts before his crystal blue eyes focused on her once again. She still clung to her prejudice, he still saw the distrust, as she labeled it, on her features. But Jedrek wasn't so sure it simply ended at distrust. Whatever it was truly plaguing this woman, Jed would eventually find out - or he wouldn't. It wouldn't be difficult to simply ignore the woman for the rest of her stay.

    "Well, if you'll be needing a new Lord to offer the protection you distrust that I can, just say the word, Lady Macari. I would not hesitate in helping to secure other arrangements, to cater towards your trust and comfort."

    If she said yes, he wouldn't quite know where to begin, which other Lord to attempt to toss her to. But Jed was sure she would decline his offer. There was more to her story that he couldn't put his finger on, something he was missing that would explain her hostility. And though he told himself he could easily write it and her off, his intrigue was building.

    @Coralie Macari

  8. #8
    Junior Member Coralie Macari's Avatar  
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    Her laugh in response to his suggestion was more of a snort and she had to look to her left at some birds hopping through a tree. If she hadn't distracted herself she'd probably continue to laugh at his absurd suggestion.

    "My Lord." He responded elegantly, "I'm afraid the greater majority of the noble houses in Chatlawn have suffered great loss. Taking on a ward would not be on anyone's agenda." Including that of her brother in law. Her brother may take her back, begrudgingly of course, and she'd be mucking the stables for her meals and shelter. While hard work didn't shake her in the least, it was working for her brother that made her core feel rotten at the thought.

    She pulled her gaze back to the man before her, still regarding him with a bit of disdain, "I'm afraid I'm as much stuck here as you are." Now that it was known by the King that she was a ward here he could not just cast her out and she refused to live in the homes of lesser lords.

    Taking a deep breath, she decided to change the subject. "So tell me, do you often entertain women while naked in the water?" There was no flirtatious tone that she took, just curiosity. Coralie had to find a way to get to know the new Lord of Chatlawn. She needed to know his weaknesses in the hopes she'd manipulate him for her own gain.

    @Jedrek Calloway

  9. #9
    House Calloway Jedrek Calloway's Avatar  
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    Jedrek’s brow rose at her response, which was pure, unbridled laughter. He found it almost odd and nearly insulting, as though she were laughing at him.

    “My Lord. I'm afraid the greater majority of the noble houses in Chatlawn have suffered great loss. Taking on a ward would not be on anyone's agenda. I'm afraid I'm as much stuck here as you are.”

    Jed’s gaze shifted as he considered her words and though they struck him as true, he couldn’t help but shrug and reply, ”Yet, Lord Elston offered you his roof. Surely there are other honorable men willing to help a damsel, should you choose not to remain beneath mine.” He could hope, but Jedrek wasn’t a fool - it would be more difficult to secure her in another family. Besides, he had no reason to wish her presence gone, even if she did continue to look at him with such disregard.

    He would simply ignore her. It was a large enough manor and it could be easily done.

    "So tell me, do you often entertain women while naked in the water?”

    The question caught him off guard and his brows furrowed for a brief moment. But soon a small smirk took shape on his lips. ”Only those willing to look,” He replied.

    ”And it seems as though I have judged you well. I would inquire as to why you were peeping in the first place, but I shall let your secrets remain just that.”

    @Coralie Macari

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    Junior Member Coralie Macari's Avatar  
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    "Lord Elston was a singular man." Coralie looked off toward the graveyard, where she knew the late lord was buried. "He, and his family, have left behind quite the legacy." One to which I'm sure that you shall fall short. She gave him a smile that she was sure looked sweeter than sugar, but she knew her eyes did not reflect the same kindness.

    He answered her with a wit that surprised her. She didn't imagine it took much intelligence to lead men to war, but maybe he wasn't as dumb as she thought he was.

    "Ah yes, all my secrets shall stay mine for I'm sure you're far too busy for such things. The duties of a Lord are surely weighing on your shoulders." That's why you're out here swimming and dawdling about.

    "I shall leave you to your morning, I don't wish to take up anymore of your time." Coralie curtsied and turned on her heels to leave. The Lord, if he knew what was good for him, would dress and get back to work.

    @Jedrek Calloway

  11. #11
    House Calloway Jedrek Calloway's Avatar  
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    ”"Lord Elston was a singular man. He, and his family, have left behind quite the legacy.”

    And there it was again, hidden behind her honey coated smile, the distinct flavor of hatred that Jed was sure of. To what did he owe that pleasure, besides the unforeseeable future that had been handed to him from the realm’s King? It wasn’t as though he asked for this, had planned for this when the events unfurled which brought the demise of the Yarwoods.

    Still, he found himself completely taken by her disregard of his ability and character. It was almost as though her distaste spurred him on. He found himself rather wishing to prove her wrong and make her look far more foolish than she was attempting to make him appear.

    Including, for instance, her response“Ah yes, all my secrets shall stay mine for I'm sure you're far too busy for such things. The duties of a Lord are surely weighing on your shoulders.”

    They were, of course. But he didn’t want her to know that. So he simply smiled, and shrugged his shoulders in as much of a nonchalant response as he could. Even as she tried to excuse herself, Jedrek let her retreat a few steps in the huff she attempted before he called her back.

    ”And your duties, Lady Macari? Remind me, if you would, what Lord Elston agreed to in return for your keep? For I would not wish them to weigh upon yours.” He paused and glanced down at the water rushing past his torso, for a small fish swam by. He wondered if she would be honest, for he had not yet managed to find their written agreement.

    @Coralie Macari

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    Junior Member Coralie Macari's Avatar  
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    She had been walking away from Lord Calloway, her footfalls crunching on the leaves below. There had only been a momentary silence, though she'd wished it would have lasted forever, but she wished to escape before more conversation could be made.

    To be fair, she was making her best attempt to be polite and it was obvious that he was too. That neither liked the other or would ever be accepting as one another's company. It would be difficult for her to exist in this household without bumping into him, and he into her, but she would try her hardest to avoid him. She'd done it before and she would do it again.

    Coralie didn't make it too far, retreating back into the forest, before the Lord of Chatlawn spoke up. Stopping in her tracks, she turned only slightly to speak over her shoulder, still intent on leaving Jedrek's company.

    "Wouldn't you like to know." She wouldn't answer, for if she were to be honest she didn't have an answer to the question. She kept walking, back into the envelope of solitude that the trees provided. Safety from prying eyes, from people who wished to know more about her.

  13. #13
    House Calloway Jedrek Calloway's Avatar  
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    Jedrek watched as Lady Macari made a hasty retreat, fully expecting that she would ignore the question he had posed. He would accept that if she did, but just for the moment. He was in no position to heavy hand her into a truthful or reliable answer and as of yet the agreement she had made with Elston was still missing.

    He was unprepared, however, for the answer she actually gave. "Wouldn't you like to know?" It was a thinly veiled insult. One that blatantly showed her disregard for him, despite the fact that he was the only thing keeping her from... from what? A family home, perhaps? An oppressive marriage? Jedrek, for the life of him, could not even imagine what it was Lady Macari was hiding from, and incidentally, hiding from him.

    With a scoff and a shake of his head, Jed's lips turned up in an exasperated smile. He pushed away from the riverbank and floated, treading the river's water. "Yes, actually... that is why I made the inquiry...after all." The musing was made to the swimming fish, the birds in the branches, and the frogs on the bank. Every creature nearby heard him, except for the Lady Macari.

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