|A deck of cards is built like the purest of hierarchies...|
In a place secluded from the world by ancient, forgotten magic is a society like none other. The rank and file of day to day life is filled with the wonder of an age long past, but peppered by the influence of the modern world; where intrigue is taught from a young age and lies are served with tea.
It is a society built on old traditions and esoteric rules. Here Kings and Queens still reign over their Suits and everyone has an agenda. Where Spades look over their shoulders, Hearts play coy, Diamonds glimmer like ice, and Clubs worry that the death of one king is but the beginning. This is The Deck.
...with every card a master to those below it.
Premise // Rules // Additional Info
Taken Characters // Application // Wanted
Mod Journal // IC Journal // OOC Journal
Hadyn was back, after nearly two weeks away. He honestly didn't know if going had helped him determine anything at all aside from the fact that when he was gone he missed being here. Or maybe it was that he missed certain people. Either way, what started out as a head cold in Paris that waned and seemed to go away had since evolved into something much worse. He'd managed to get something out of the pharmacy to help, but after three days of misery he'd finally decided that going home to his own bed was preferable to laying alone on a lavish, but empty bed in the middle of a room far too large for one person alone.
He'd avoided the medication for his drive home, only to regret it by the time he pulled his bike to a stop outside a coffee shop near the center of town. He wanted to lay down, he thought, in the snow if only to cool his aching, burning forehead. Not that it would help, he knew, but the urge was so very real.
Scrubbing a head through his hair, Hadyn looked at his watch and forced himself to walk inside of the coffee shop and at least buy a begal and juice. He needed to keep himself at least moderately fed, before the others set about mothering him.
[OOC: Mirrored on DW. Feel free to reply there, here, or on LJ SWS. Also feel free to pick if she actually asked your character about ghosts or not /o/]
She's been doing well; there's no question about it. There's been more flickers (and more genuine) smiles seen in her almost three months back than many had seen in her years as Queen. Each day on crutches has had her step getting stronger. There's no question she's better than the woman who left broken all those months ago.
But everyone, even and especially recovering former Faces, has their weaker days.
Which is why Rachel will be found in a hallway
overlooking the gardens, having carefully maneuvered herself into a seat in one of the nooks offering a view of the snow without.
If joined, it's entirely possible that, when pushed, she'll inquire, "Do you believe in ghosts?"
21 was a big age on the Outside, Melinda had heard. Not so much here. And the daily routine still had to go on as usual; even more than usual, maybe, thanks to the heavy snow that was still ever present. That being said, the day hadn't been bad - in fact, far from it. Working for the Suit was an honor that she enjoyed on all days.
Or so she was supposed to think. But Melinda can't help stealing away in the evening to slip outside for a bit. The chill is biting, especially since she hasn't stopped to grab jacket, boots, or any other winter wear. She's making footprints in the snow anyhow, with a playful smile on her face. Surely she has a few minutes before someone finds her and shoos her inside.
A couple months work with a pair of surprisingly capable helpers - and a third who was good at taking care of the more delicate odds and ends - and the pub was pretty much done. Not open yet, of course, but if you managed to get past the tall Scot working on the outside window, you'd see a fairly impressive sight.
Still, Ben was likely to keep people from doing that kind of thing. The pub wasn't opening until the first of February, for all that he'd moved in upstairs and stocked the bar and the kitchen. He was taking care of the last details right now; a notice had been pinned to the door announcing that he was looking for a cook and a waitress or two, and he was standing outside, meticulously adding the gilted letters of "Mackinnon's" to the front window.
It was that sort of thing that made a pub truly a pub.
In exchange for lunch and all the coffee he can drink, Johnny's taken up seat in the corner of the coffeeshop located in the Heart district of Town. Too much snow and cold outside for him to even think about playing on a street corner or somewhere on the Green, but this will do.
Currently, he's playing Happy Together
and winking at the barista whenever he catches her making eyes at him.
Someone should really come interrupt the ongoing flirtation.
To say that Diane is displeased about what she witnessed at Jordan's challenge earlier would be...well...an understatement.
It's not that she hasn't seen people die before. She's seen that up close and personal. It's just the meh way everyone shrugged it off. Like...there was no point to it that she could see. And yet there were a hundred people in that room
or however many and no one said a word about it. Just cleaned up the mess like it was never there.
So she can be found (having braved the snow to head out of the Castle into Town) scowling into her drink at the Four Suits.
The expression is an unfamiliar one to see on her face, it's true.
There might be three feet of snow on the ground, but that doesn't mean dogs don't need to be walked still and taking care of Cordelia is not something Elani wants to pawn off on a lower Number, even though she could if she wanted to.
Besides, this is how she makes an excuse to get out of the office like certain people have been telling her to do. So she can be found making a few turns around the courtyard of Club Castle with Cordelia running circles around her spraying up snow, utterly pleased with the world gone white in a way only dogs can.
At least she's bundled up so the cold isn't so bad, and it's sunny this afternoon so the snow sparkles nicely.
If someone wanted to bring up a Club issue, though, she can be the Jack and handle it. Or they can just bring her hot chocolate and/or a hug, that is entirely acceptable too.[ooc: also crossposted here]
It wasn’t a pretty fight. Of course, there were no pretty fights, not really. When Jordan had challenged in fencing when he’d been fifteen, that had been a pretty challenge, more like dancing than a battle. But this was different.
Maddox Hobbs was not his equal, he thought, and they both knew it. But the Seven wasn’t as useless with blades as he and Ethan had made him out to be when they’d been talking about it. He was fast, and he didn’t hesitate with his knife. He hadn’t earned his reputation wrongly, really; he had the marks of a good killer. And Jordan supposed that killing the king’s cousin would either be a terrible mistake or a notch in Maddox’s belt. Maddox was likely to think of it as the latter. That was the sort of man he was.
Jordan fell back slightly - as if he was regrouping - and waited to see Maddox’s reaction. There was a curve to the other man’s lips then, a slight smirk, and if it was practice, Jordan would roll his eyes at it. Cocky, he thought. There were too many of them who had that as their downfall. It wasn’t fatal during training.
But they weren’t training.
He waited for Maddox to move, and he didn’t have to wait long for the other man’s lunge forward. The rest of what happened was too quick to see, unless they were accustomed to watching this kind of thing. Which likely was most of the audience, Jordan thought as grabbed Maddox’s wrist with his left hand, twisting it and the Seven’s dagger away from him hard enough that they could both hear the grind and pop of the bones. Maddox’s eyes filled with sharp pair and hard anger, but Jordan was still moving, and a moment later the Seven’s expression went shocked and then blank.
The former Seven, at least. He wasn’t anything anymore, Jordan thought as he pulled his dagger from between the other man’s ribs, the steel smearing bright red. Then he let go of his wrist and let Maddox Hobbs fall to the floor of the exercise room, his blood staining the floor beneath them. Jordan Novak turned away, his expression cool and still as he moved to clean his blade. Michael wouldn’t be pleased with what he’d done. For himself, he wasn’t sure what he’d expected to feel. Maddox Hobbs was the first man he’d killed. Maybe there was something fitting about the fact that it was to come back to the Spades.
He should do something about the wounds Maddox had managed to get in, he expected.
- Tags:#log, *challenge, +spades ♠, @spade castle ♠, amy ♠, annie ♠, clive ♠, davin ♠, diane ♠, ethan ♠, jordan ♥, julien ♠
From now until the end of the month....
It is winter, and with winter comes snow. While not the unexplained snow fall earlier in the season, it is a bit...heavier than usual. But no matter, everyone can still get by. Nothing worse than has already happened this year, right? It falls, it sticks...time to really enjoy the depths of winter. Or cringe. Which ever your prefer.
It's been a while since they last met properly. Not one of those fleeting glances in passing that strangers smiled and coyly averted their gaze away from when their eyes happened to meet at the same time, but an actual time, place, sit down and talk to me type of meetings.
Under normal circumstances he might have deliberated on the offer a little longer, but. On top of the time that had passed them by, there was the fact that she'd almost gotten herself killed. A part of him that still cared about her might be... relieved, if he saw her back on her feet again.
Instead of hunching over his drink at his usual perch at the bar, he was at a small table away from the afternoon crowd. There was one ring of water on the table next to an almost-finished glass of whiskey that was mostly melted ice.
[Referring to and meant for Rachel but OTA]
Since the show where he'd broken down and talked about his mother, Shuffle had been fairly quiet overall. And you really can't blame him--it was all too easy for people to discover who had brought their mother into the hospital and moved into Heart Castle. So, there had been no great controversy from the DJ. Oh, he'd reported on the new additions to the Deck, but without his usual fire.
But Monday the 14th brought him a thoughtful mood, and after a song
by the Alan Parsons Project, he cracked the mike to launch into one of his more traditional shows.
"Suits. Let's talk Suits, and why people belong to them. I'll be up-front, I'm just a member of the Suit I am because my parents were. And that's a fairly typical thing--there's an air of scandal
when someone leaves their Suit for any reason." Vim and vinegar's back in his voice. "Doesn't matter if they're just going with their parents and they're ten years old, you're new in a Suit, you're getting odd looks for a good long while. And when you challenge into a new Suit, you challenge into a rank that's below the one you held back there
. Back in your old Suit."
There's a pause and a chuckle. "I get it. Newcomers might be spies. People shifting easily would lead to chaos in all the Suits. Family traditions are strong, enduring things and anyone who goes against them is baaad
. And yet...and yet."
He picks up a piece of paper, the sound clear across the airwaves. "You look at the people who move, and they make sense. They're people who were honestly not happy, not comfortable, not welcome in the Suit they moved from. Kicked out, in one case. So, why do we make life so hard for them, for making the hard choice to go where they belong
? Are we so afraid of our other Suits sneaking spies into our courts, still? These days, the uneasy peace you learn about in Deck History class seems much easier than in decades past. So."
He lets a silence build for a moment, as though gathering all his thoughts together.
"So. Talk to me. Would you ever leave your Suit? Why or why not? Do you think those who do are welcomed with too much suspicion? Or perhaps too little? The lines are open, and I'm curious how you all feel on this one."
The last few weeks while the Borders have been down, there's been a slowly mounting feeling of oppression settling in over the Deck. Everyone tense, everyone on edge, everyone telling themselves and each other it'll be fine. She's noticed, of course. Even the kids have been reacting, acting out or up for it. The wild get wilder, and the quiet get quieter. But it's all building to a head, she thinks, coming to some big point. An explosion, a deflation, something. A change.
When the Borders open again, there's change, alright. There's talk of people not always ending up where they set out for, of course, but that's not the really interesting part. Neither are the rocks and trees and bushes popping up where they weren't before. That's just landscape, background. No, what's really interesting is the buildings that seem to be appearing, creating a space for themselves without anyone seeing them. Old, abandoned buildings, with no signs of life.
Which is why Tobi's got a bulging messenger bag slung over her shoulder and a flashlight in her free hand, and she's on a beeline course from Spade Castle headed straight for the house she's got all picked out for exploring. It presses all the right buttons, after all: vaguely Victorian style, peeling paint, cobwebby windows, creaky porch, the vague suggestion of something moving inside that's just beyond visible.Only one explanation. Clearly it's haunted.
So with the borders opened up, it's time for a bit of a business trip. He isn't expecting to be gone long, but there are things he's promised to get for people, things he's promised people Outside he was coming to buy soon. All sorts of promises all over the map. So that needs to get done and there's certainly very little he can do about whatever the hell is affecting the Deck, so he might as well stick to business as usual.
So he's apparently explaining that
, more or less.
She didn't sleep well last night, which is becoming something of a beginning-of-the-year habit for her. This year, though, the insomnia has little to do with being afraid that she's going to fail a challenge - the
challenge, really, that made her a Spade - and more to do with...well. With the Deck. With what it's doing right now that feels, to her, like the beginnings of the magic crumbling.
It's not something she can really bring up to anyone, though, not even Victor; it's not like anyone can assure her she's wrong. So she's kept quiet about it, and kept herself busy with work, friends, wedding-planning, and deciding to take on a challenge to Six in the next couple of months. It works pretty well during the day.Not so much at night.
Pierre cares for his uncle's family. They're sweet and more than a little affectionate, which can sometimes get uncomfortable, but he tolerates it. Nóra still insists on critiquing his wardrobe, and Erin really wants him to have children someday, but that wasn't even the most shocking bit of news today -- and, in fact, none of that was shocking at all. What did surprise him was being asked to stand as Mikail's best man when he and Alisain renew their vows next month.
He'd agreed, reluctantly, and promised to do his best to bring Briony around more, too. For some reason, Alisain was incredibly fond of her.
Whatever made the woman happy, he supposed. It wasn't that big of a deal, considering that he spent a portion of his spare time with her anyway. There was certainly something to be said for a woman who could take what he had to give and give it back just as good.
But now he was doing what he didn't do nearly enough: playing with Jaxon. The kid was sweet as candy and overly fond of 'Unca P,' so he did what any good cousin would do and indulged him. He'd probably take him home soon, but for right now, running after him was the name of the game.
He'd surrendered all of his duties in the Hearts, and his boxes had been packed - some of them already moved to the apartment his grandfather had ordered vacated in Spade Castle, near the other Novaks. For all that he had another week and some days before he and Maddox Hobbs met at the appointed place, he was pretty much not a Heart anymore. Of course, he'd pretty much never entirely been one.
Still, there was one last duty to fulfill before he left for good.
Victor Fox might not have been interested in talking about why he was surrendering the sword, but the other Suits had been willing to talk. It hadn't even been that hard to just step into Blythe's office and ask her, quietly, if there was something going on with the artifacts. And the Cup had been in his possession, one of the last things left in his rooms.
The basement archives were still dusty, and they'd never put together that museum that Ceiro had wanted, he thought as he went down the steps, lighting a lamp. He wasn't even entirely sure this would work. But he could do this one last thing for the Hearts, he thought.
Before he left them.
So far, it'd been a good day. Classes were over at noon, he had the rest of the day off and absolutely nothing else to do. The borders were open, supplies were coming and going--granted, with a bit of weirdness--and the mail was still working.
The Seven of Spades was currently sitting on his latest delivery
, having just returned from an exhilarating jaunt through Deck lands, screaming along the roads at...well, fun
speeds. Up at dawn, off for a blitzing ride here and there before heading to work, uncaring of the noise level. Everyone should be up and awake at six am anyway, hell.
He was taking the bittiest Ace out for a ride
later that afternoon--protesters would be swiftly ignored--, but for the moment, was content to simply tinker a bit with his precious, making minute adjustments here and there.
Elisha isn't in his office. He's not in his rooms, either, or his studio for that matter. If someone was looking for the King of Clubs, they'd have to go through all the usual suspects and some of the more unusual ones - the training rooms, the kitchens, the offices of the other Club Faces - before they came across him in a secluded corner of Club Castle's vast library. It's not the worst
place to do paperwork. But he's not doing paperwork, of course. More...doodling. Faces instead of shapes, this time. There's one of Eileen
, one of Hadyn
, and maybe a few other random and not so random people. As like as not, they won't ever develop into anything more than this, but it's relaxing.
It gets his mind off everything else for a few moments, at least. At least, until someone finds his hiding place. Or, hey, maybe the library will sprout a picturesque cottage. Anything, apparently, is possible.
The borders are finally open. And no major crises occurred, no huge disasters narrowly averted. Just the weird reactions of the landscape, houses popping up where there weren't any before, trees and rocks and bushes out of nowhere. It's a little worrying, but then, maybe this is how the Deck copes with a sudden population expansion. Maybe once their numbers hit a certain point, it grows. Any legitimate accounts from the earliest days are long gone, after all, or at the very least cryptic. The tremors are a little more worrisome.
He knows he shouldn't leave, not now. But the borders being closed have brought on a lot of thinking. About what he's doing here. About what he was doing out there. About what's important. And what defines him as a person, and as a doctor. The trip is necessary, and as he tells his patients and other relevant parties today, making sure everyone's caught up and everything will be fine while he's gone, it's only for a couple weeks.