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 THE THINGS WE LOST, [P] Nathaniel
Karin Alinari
 Posted: Mar 1 2018, 07:57 PM
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Lightning
Age: 48
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Posts: 519
OOC: Olly


Dragonden. Karin hated Dragonden.

No matter how many years seemed to pass, bile always rose in the blond woman’s throat as soon as the small scattering of buildings came into view on the road from Attirac. Now, it was nothing more than an enormous scar on the whole of Caldo, only a small cluster of temporary shacks erected near the one and only tavern that stood for a hundred miles in any direction. In Dragonden, Karin Alinari saw failure. Not just any failure, but her own personal shortcomings and all of the preventable nightmares that kept her awake on long, lonely nights even today.

Dragonden had killed her husband, and then it had killed Caldo’s upper hand in the neutral territories when war was still raging. When the bustling trading town crumbled to the pressure and abandoned its loyalty to the kingdom’s capital, droves of rogues and enemies alike had swept in like vultures, tearing the outpost to shreds and picking apart the pieces until only the bones of buildings and people alike remained. There was nothing to see here anymore… nothing except the graves of Caldonian warriors that had died in vain to maintain control of the town, and that great, permanent maw that stretched endlessly into the core of their earth. The crypt of Conall Alinari.

When Karin passed it, she could not stop her eyes from traveling down that blackness – a blackness that so reflected her heart. For many years, she could not come here without feeling a sickening clench of her abdomen or tears threatening to blur her vision. Now, she felt emptiness. It was a deeper, stiller sense of sadness that knew it would never budge from its permanent residence inside her. A void that would never be filled again. A life torn away from her too early, and the pieces that she might have been able to pick up had fallen into that crypt after Conall all those years ago.

This time, she did not stop to mourn. Karin carried on, walking stiffly into the tavern that still existed in Dragnden. She had sent word for a long-time friend to meet her there, one of the only friends she had remaining in life. Once inside, she walked to a table near the entrance and sat, awaiting him patiently, but determined not to get comfortable. Conversations with Nathaniel were rarely meant for public settings anymore, and so she sat poised to leave for quieter grounds almost immediately following his arrival.

• MY PEACE HAS ALWAYS DEPENDED ON ALL THE ASHES IN MY WAKE •
A Gift from Nith
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Nathaniel Thakbar
 Posted: Mar 1 2018, 08:46 PM
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Posts: 22
OOC: Nith


• TONIGHT, BOYS, WE'RE EATING LIKE KINGS •

They were stretched thin these days, like butter scraped over too much bread. He could feel how it grated against him, poked and stabbed under his skin and left so much irritation at how things were now, and how they used to be. Caldo had dominated, and he should have been happy for that. He was, but that joy had faded a decade or so ago and now, settling in for the long haul of their unforeseeable future, he felt how it pulled on him and saw how it pulled on the others.

He spent more and more time away, these days. During the war he had gotten so accustomed to being in Caldo after leading his small outpost in the marshes, that now it bothered him to be away again. The younger man who patrolled and caused mischief and mayhem had died in the most recent war, and left behind a stone cold, calloused man in his place. He was more serious these days and spent most of his time chasing away bandits and rogues from Attiracs borders. He supposed it was a result of their lack of troops; how many had they lost? How many men was he filling in for now, just to scrape by the skin of their teeth?

Karin had sent for him, and he was grateful that she had, even if it meant he only got to get away from patrols for a few hours. From the distant deserts he trotted in on paw to Dragonden, answering her call and shifting as he approached the tavern. Dragonden was a wreck, and he was content to leave it so. Let the liars and betrayers have their carcass; these days he only had time for Attirac.

He strode through the tavern doors with a roll in his shoulder, looking to the back corners for the relatively small, blonde figure. A tight smile pressed his lips when he noticed her beside him, flexing his hands as he gave a suggestive nod back out the door the way they had come. They were not the kind to sit at the bar and toss back a few drinks like old friends, and their conversations were not for the whole of Caldo to overhear. "What right do you have to drag me in from the dunes, I wonder?"

• 'CAUSE WE'VE ALL TASTED DEATH TOO MUCH IT SEEMS•

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Karin Alinari
 Posted: Mar 3 2018, 11:19 AM
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Posts: 519
OOC: Olly


Karin sat in her chair with unusual patience, her body tipped forward to lean her elbows against the wood and her head in the palms of her hands. Several times, the bartender eyed her up, a silent urging to purchase a drink while she waited, but she ignored his stares entirely, and he did not have the gall to pull her gaze from its intense lock onto the entryway. Her gaze remained steady and her breathing kept quiet, like a huntress waiting for a deer to wander into her view, but there was a tiredness there too, a small fissure in the architecture of the fearless and fierce Karin Alinari.

When Nathaniel finally came through the door, the blond woman unfurled from her position like a gargoyle come to life. His tight-lipped smile was returned at first, but it mutated into a derisive snort at his greeting words. Karin lowered her arms and pushed herself out of her chair, the motion noticeably stiffer and more cautionary than her usual languid, graceful self. “No right at all, and yet here you are.” She drew up beside him, cast her golden eyes from his feet to his face, and a brow arched when they settled on his eyes. “C’mon, let’s go for a walk.”

She brushed herself past her friend and out into the shambles of Dragonden again. When Karin began to walk, it was clear she had no destination in mind other than away from the town, her feet carrying her in a slow but steady beeline back out toward the distant line of trees that marked the Charcoal Forest. It also quickly became evident that she did not actually have a reason for yanking Nathaniel from his duties. Though she would never admit it out loud, she had simply needed the company, and walking beside him felt comforting and nostalgic in an odd sort of way. “It’s been a while. I wanted to check in on how you were doing.”

The words themselves were professionally tailored, but in them lay a second meaning. Of course she wondered how his efforts toward bettering Caldo were transpiring, but she also wondered about him, the person Nathaniel Thakbar, and what demons kept him awake at night the same as her.

• MY PEACE HAS ALWAYS DEPENDED ON ALL THE ASHES IN MY WAKE •
A Gift from Nith
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Nathaniel Thakbar
 Posted: Mar 29 2018, 06:23 PM
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Nathaniels brow arched as she slowly came to life, a dramatization of his lateness perhaps, or a tiredness that had settled in her bones and face all the same. What she said caused a wolfish grin to spread like fire, and he watched her with a careful and hungry eye. ”I always have,” he replied simply as she brushed past him, and followed her much more fluidly out into the blazing sun and desert.

She wandered through the desert aimlessly, seemingly heading for the Charcoal Forest but Nathaniel knew better. She had no reason to call him, and he no real reason to abandon his post to come see her, but they had for each other. At her word, he had always been there, no matter how severe or desperate the situation, and even when she would violently toss him aside in the past, or future, he had always come back around for her and her boys. He followed her at the same pace, traipsing behind her lazily, watching the sway in her hips and the subtle roll of her muscled shoulders. For all their years of friendship — really more than that — he’d come to admire and respect her in many more ways than one, and she didn’t need to say anything for him to know that she reciprocated. Most of their conversations consisted of unspoken words passed between eyes and bodies and subtle gestures. Enough to know they cared, but never the fools tripping over themselves.

He replied to her with a deep sigh first through his nose, his head cocking slightly as he shrugged and felt the beads of sweat finally loosen from his shoulders, ”As well as we can, all things considered.” While he would not admit they were in shambles, starved wolves barely clinging to the last of their lair and staving off enemies, he knew it to be true. ”Less and less rogues keep coming to the borders. I did chase off a daft girl not too long ago,” he only made note of it because of how unusual the interaction had been. ”I keep hoping I’ll find her dried up corpse in the dunes one of these days. Otherwise it’s just helpless whelps bickering over themselves trying to get past the wall any way they can. We’re stopping them and strengthening the walls..” His gaze had not left her, his eyes narrowing as he decided that was a sufficient enough answer about work — he’d grown to love Caldos sandy exterior and rolling dunes, but still felt the pit of anxiety settle in his stomach whenever Attirac was out of sight. A moments reprieve would be welcomed. He drew up behind her, quickening his pace to close the gap between them and lower his voice, ”And I’m doing fine,” he murmured near her ear, leaving out the nightmares of wars past and wars that had not come to be out of the mix, as well as the fears he felt nip at his heels and the decided paranoia that encroached now on their territories. She did not need to worry about him — not that he suspected she often did. He could handle himself, she knew that, there was not much left for Nathaniel to see, fight, or kill.

”The sand isn’t nearly as lovely company, however,” again that charming and daring grin flashed across his face as he chuckled and drew away from her. ”How have you been doing? How are the boys?” ”Any information from Cefin? How many fights has Conan picked, lately?” is what he wanted to ask, but refrained to focus on the person in front of him, to absorb the time he had with her in these brief and spread-out moments as of late.
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Karin Alinari
 Posted: Mar 29 2018, 09:44 PM
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OOC: Olly


Nathaniel was as easy as he was complex, and for that Karin had grown to appreciate him more than she could ever say. Many of those she had trusted over the course of her life had inevitably betrayed her or their kingdom, had died or disappeared. She had lost so many and had chased so many more away. They had all failed her in a myriad of ways, through weakness or desertion, but Nathaniel had always remained. There were certainly times when Karin had unceremoniously placed great, thankless burdens upon his shoulders or came down upon him with irrational, poorly directed fury, but he always either took it in stride or simply accepted her as she was and carried on with life. He was no mere hound constantly dogging her heels, however. For all his steadfast loyalty to herself, her family, and their unified cause, he was a man whose depths undoubtedly traversed miles of unexplored psychological territory.

Karin did not often explore the depths of Nathaniel with such a goal in mind, but pieces of him had made themselves apparent to her over the years. Pieces of his mind, and pieces of his body. She was not ignorant to his shadowing her nor the roaming of his eyes, and for that a small, self-assured smirk found its way onto her stern face. It softened the severity there and in her golden eyes – he had a way of doing that, it seemed. “No news is better than bad news, always.” she assured him, her legs leading them on a meandering route to nowhere, but she paused briefly, midstride, and tipped her head in the direction of his murmuring. Pleasant static jumped to her sun-tanned skin, cavorting across the hairs of her neck down to her arms, and she shivered almost imperceptibly, relishing his closeness and the rarity of it.

Her smirk grew when he chose to add charming words to his lingering, and she turned her angular face away from him again, facing forward and feigning indifference. “I know full well that I’m hardly good company; don’t flatter me.” she answered, her words derisive but the inflection of her voice a relatively contented purr.

When Nathaniel drew away, Karin smoothly edged herself closer, keeping the space between them consistent and minute. “I’ve seen better days, but I’ve seen worse too.” the blond woman shrugged her stiff shoulders and leaned just a fraction, their arms brushing against each other momentarily from the motion. “Conan is still preparing a small force to take Dragonden. Cefin and I… had an altercation with someone several weeks ago.” In reality it had only been her own doing, but her younger son’s presence had made the attack that much more personal. “Some stranger came through and blew up a tavern. I was honestly… pretty fucked up. Steel had to piece me back together.” She shrugged her shoulders again and laughed at that, the sound rough and dark and anguished, not at all attributing to a real sense of good humor. “But here I am, alive as ever. It’s not that easy to take me down.” Her golden eyes flitted over to him, and her canines flashed predatory with her grin. “As you very well know.”

• MY PEACE HAS ALWAYS DEPENDED ON ALL THE ASHES IN MY WAKE •
A Gift from Nith
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Nathaniel Thakbar
 Posted: Apr 1 2018, 06:14 PM
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Karin could feign indifference as much as she desired, but Nathaniel knew her better to believe she had meant it. When she had shoved him aside and taken her wrath out on him, he had known the power of her fury and the bite in her words. This playful and difficult tease between the pair had become their standby. Neither tripping over themselves and their words, no sweet nothings whispered in the night and heart shaped eyes chasing one another. Nothing similar to that like the rest of Eudocia. He could feel her spark to life under his purr and gaze, enjoyed the way she brushed against his arm however brief it may be, and gave her a steadfast growl in reply.

He listened to her patiently, his mind wandering through whatever plans Conan must have made while he had been away. Dragonden was a lost cause, he thought, but would not tell the boy unless he asked. Why expand Caldo when Attirac was still not entirely secure? Why not build their capitol first, and then reach out? Nathaniel knew why, and kept his reflections to himself. Let Conan play Lord of Dragonden, it was no vexation for Nathaniel. It was her altercation that made him stop and brought steel to his face again -- gone was the playful moment of before as he felt severity lace through him. "Altercation?" he wanted to bite back the anger, but could not. Karin could handle herself and did not need him, but she had come to depend on him and he to her in their odd partnership. "What about Cefin? Why didn't anyone say anything?" His tone did not raise, he did not shout or ball his fists, but she would know the look in his eye whenever something terrible had happened. The grin she had given him made him soften on slightly so, "I know you're not that easy to take down, but by the Gods, Karin," he trusted her to live through thick and thin. She could battle her way out of anything she came across -- he did not need to protect her or her boys, but he had tried.

"Who was this stranger? Do you know anything about him?" He drew close to her again, this time his hand attempting to snake around her hip and drag her close to him, make her stop walking and finally speak. He felt his body heat up under his element, his anger making his skin warmer than usual and bringing back that bright crimson to his eyes, "And here I had been, alone in the desert forced to think about you, while you had been blown to pieces." A subtle growl bubbled in his throat by her ear, "Tell me he at least looked worse for it." His teeth found the soft skin just below her lobe, nipping there quickly.
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Karin Alinari
 Posted: Apr 3 2018, 10:44 PM
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Lightning
Age: 48
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Posts: 519
OOC: Olly


In calling Nathaniel to her side, Karin had not intended his company to turn into one of anger and concern. Such emotions often accompanied the both of them in some capacity throughout the unwinding of their conversations – hardly anything in life anymore came with brevity or the promise of little consequence – but she had dared hope for the accompaniment of other feelings, far more carnal, than this worry and scolding. When Nate pulled to a stop, her own footsteps hesitated to follow. She could sense his anger before inevitably turning to face it, and her reluctance to travel down a path of disagreements or arguing made itself apparent in the slow, meandering steps she began to take in a circular route around him instead. While normally one to never shy away from a chance to unleash her vehemence, the blond woman was admittedly tired and drained from the concentrated amount of fury she’d been bottling up inside as of late.

“I didn’t want you to worry.” she answered, her voice simultaneously blunt while being gently delivered. “Cefin is fine, as ever. He has an odd talent for knowing when it’s best to hang back… only the gods know where he got that skill from.” Karin was determined to keep their conversation as light as possible, but a hand reached out and finally pulled her around to face and press in close to him. Her golden eyes smoldered, defiant and electric, daring to stare down the anger Nathaniel held in his eyes.

Any initial intention she had to rebuke him for his softness simmered and died away with the steel still set in his gaze, and instead she rose her hands between them and placed her open palms upon his abdomen. “If I had any information to give you, I would.” Her eyes lowered and leveled on the path her hands slowly made up Nathaniel’s torso until they slid up and around his shoulders as far as she could reach. Her petit frame molded delicately – unnervingly so, for her air of predatory viciousness – against him, and a quiet, echoed growl of approval rumbled from her lips at his nipping against her ear. “But yes, as far as I know he turned to ash with the rest of the tavern.”

For a moment, Karin’s nimble fingers kneaded almost affectionately into the roped muscles she found at the back of her partner’s neck, but with each press of her fingertips, more and more of her nails began to accompany the motion. “Now…” she murmured, her voice a rich, rumbling purr as she lifted her weight onto the balls of her feet, lessening the gap between their faces by another inch or so. “Are you going to spend this short break we have together fussing and fretting, or are you going to shut up and fuck me?” A thin blond brow arched and she looked at him expectantly, her lips already beginning their twisting upward in a devious, hungry grin.

• MY PEACE HAS ALWAYS DEPENDED ON ALL THE ASHES IN MY WAKE •
A Gift from Nith
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Nathaniel Thakbar
 Posted: Jun 4 2018, 07:43 PM
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Fire & Lightning
Age: 49
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Posts: 22
OOC: Nith


• TONIGHT, BOYS, WE'RE EATING LIKE KINGS •

Nathaniel did not doubt her words as her hands slid slowly up his abdomen and around his shoulders, her long elegant fingers slowly slipping around the back of his neck and kneading the muscles there. He felt the bite of her nails as she pressed against him, fitting her body neatly to his like she had been tailored to do so. Her reassurance was all he needed; that there would not be any future problems with such an unusual stranger, nor would he come back and find her, Conan and Cefin irreparably dead.

Karin pressed her nails harder and harder against his neck, sending small shivers at their scratched and bites down his spine. Her voice was thick and lucious as she pressed further into him, his own body a steel beam in comparison to her warm fluidity. Karins golden eyes lit with lust and her purring had been more than enough, but her question set fire underneath his skin again as he wrapped one forearm underneath her, his hand grabbing and squeezing the suppleness of her thigh and bottom as he lifted her to him.

Nathaniel closed the gap between their lips, sealing his to hers as his other arm wrapped up her back, his hand fisting in her hair. He walked the two of them back further into the forest, feeling the welcoming shade drape over their bodies. He pulled at her hair, willing her head back to nip, bite and suck at the skin along her neck and jawline, disregarding the bruises and red patches he would leave behind. He pressed her to a wide tree, pinning her there with his hips and freeing his other hand to travel and roam across her body, growling and nipping as he did so.

• 'CAUSE WE'VE ALL TASTED DEATH TOO MUCH IT SEEMS•

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Karin Alinari
 Posted: Jun 28 2018, 03:33 PM
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Lightning
Age: 48
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Posts: 519
OOC: Olly


The fire in Karin’s heart had not cooled over time – it had merely turned to burning embers, producing less brightness but losing none of its intensity. She was no child anymore, no frolicking huntress with energy and rage to spare. She had grown, at some point, into a mature and deadly force, quieter in her confidence but vicious in her resolve. Nathaniel had been one of the few beside her to witness the infinitesimal changes over time, and for all of her surliness he remained to both stoke the flames and cool the worst of her wrath.

Karin allowed him to control her now in this way, now that words and worry were left behind. With his arms around her guiding her backwards, and his teeth and lips urging her inward and forward, she gracefully stepped back into the shade of the forest until bark scratched up against her shoulder blades. A growl instinctively rumbled through her lips as she kissed him, low and hungry, and her hands skillfully traveled down to his pants to rid them of their fastenings.

• MY PEACE HAS ALWAYS DEPENDED ON ALL THE ASHES IN MY WAKE •
A Gift from Nith
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