The Worst Shape of My Life

Faerie tales from beyond the veil to the streets of RhyDin

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The Worst Shape of My Life

Post by Faerie »

Ishmerai wasn’t back in the suite at the RhyDin Imperial Hotel above ten minutes before he grabbed Kasimira’s chin, eyeing her healed face critically, “You’ve been fighting.”

She brushed his hand way with a careless laugh, “Hardly. Just a minor scrape.” He scowled, grabbing her chin more firmly this time and tilting her head this way and that to get a better look. “Hey, knock it off!” She objected, wrenching her face free. “I’m finally all healed; don’t go bruising me up again.”

“How bad?”

She frowned, but there was really not point in lying to him. He would badger her until he got the truth. “Lots of bruising, a few shallow cuts and scrapes, black eye and minor concussion,” she prattled it off like it was a shopping list.

“What?” He scowled at her. “Is that your idea of being careful? I thought you were going to stay out of trouble?”

She groaned, moving away from him; she hated being lectured. “I can’t help it if trouble finds me.”

“Mira, I know you better than that. You have guilt painted all over your face. You went looking for trouble!”

“I swear I didn’t!” She exclaimed. “I just sort of,” she gestured a little, “stumbled into it.”

“You are in no physical condition to go putting yourself in those situations,” Ishmerai was too angry to say it kindly.

“Well, I know that now, okay?” She found herself raising her voice defensively. “It’s not like this has been easy on me, Merai. Do you think I like being this weak? This pathetic? It’s not something I’m used to!” She brushed the back of her hand roughly over her eyes, frustrated with the situation and even more frustrated with herself for getting so upset about it. Just another sign of weakness.

“Mira...”

“No! You can’t possibly understand, so don’t even pretend to try. I am not what I was before. I am weak and defenseless, and if it wasn’t for Issy showing up at the right time, three little street punks—who would have been nothing in the past—would have splattered my brains across the streets of the West End. It’s embarrassing.”

He waited for her to finish before remarking dryly, “I wasn’t going to offer my sympathy.”

“Oh.” She blinked. “What were you going to say then?”

“That you’re absolutely right. You are pathetic, weak, and defenseless.” He held his hand up to forestall her indignant reaction. “And not because you have been stripped of your magic, Mira. Yes, that made you powerful, but you used to be strong and skilled in your own right without ever needing to use magic. You have allowed yourself to become weak and untrained.”

She pouted at this evaluation. “I handled myself pretty good for such a weakling, I’ll have you know.”

“It should have gone better. You said your friend, Isuelt I believe she is called, had to save you?”

Kasimira rolled her eyes, “Yeah. I make a pretty good damsel in distress though.”

“I bet,” he smirked. He thought it wise to steer the conversation elsewhere for now: “You seem happier today. Did you not miss me?”

She hesitated; “I am. I feel lighter, somehow. I told Issy just about everything, actually. It was nice to have my friend to talk to again.”

“And she welcomed you back without question?” He gave her a knowing smile.

She rolled her eyes. “Yes yes. You were right. Issy was overjoyed as was Harris.”

“Harris?” He raised his brows in question, the name sounding somewhat familiar.

“Mmhmm. He’s a big-name dueler, and he’s from that radio show we listened to before you left.”

“Ah, yes. The one you listened to so avidly.”

She grinned. “I promise that I missed you while you were gone.”

“It does not seem as if you have had the time to miss me at all.”

“Nonsense, Ishmerai,” she scoffed. “Now must I beg, or do you have some sort of plan to help me stop being such a weakling?”

“Why not ask this Harris person for help with that?”

She stepped over, punching him playfully in the arm. “Maybe I will.”
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Post by Faerie »

“Wake up,” Ishmerai shook her non-too-gently. He had little use for his mistress’s newly acquired habit of sleeping into the middle of the day. Even at the height of her courtly lifestyle—parties until the wee hours of the morning almost every night—she would still be up with the sun, doing her rounds at the barracks, exercising to keep herself in shape, and then attending to all of her other business throughout the day. She was always on her feet, always busy, always moving.

“Hmmrrm,” she waved him off, apparently trying to make up for all the sleep she had lost over the last hundred years or so.

“Kasimira, wake up!” He shook her again before taking a seat at her bedside, newspaper folded on his lap. He waited.

She groaned and made quite the show of stretching, rubbing her eyes, brushing back her hair; she drew out the whole process before finally looking at him. “Good morning, Ishmerai.”

He dispensed with the pleasantries. “Your name is in the paper.”

“Oh?” She perked up a little at that, sitting up in bed more. “Which one?”

“Well, there is some little note about the Jewell Ravenlock Center for Community Partnership opening again soon.” He ignored her scowl; for some reason, the very mention of the Center put her in a foul mood. “But here,” he handed her the paper, turned open to the sports section. There was her name, listed as registered for one of this season’s Hydra teams.

“Oh yeah, I signed up the other day to be in Hydra; I always enjoyed team dueling.” She covered a yawn before looking a little closer at the paper. “Wow! I’m on a bangin’ team! Sylus must be crazy to have taken me on.”

Ishmerai snatched the paper back from her, folding it over. “That’s exactly what I was thinking. I recognize many of these names, Mira. Three of your teammates are currently Barons, one has an Opal and a Tower. What were you thinking?”

She shrugged, covering another yawn. “I was thinking... hey, this might be fun? ‘sides, I’ve known Sylus forever. He doesn’t know it’s me yet, but it’s nice to be on a team with a familiar captain. I know Matt somewhat too; his wife Koy owns that great shop I was telling you about.” She frowned, “Wait, is this why you woke me up? To show me the paper?” Kasimira finally looked at the clock. “Mother of Nature, Merai! It’s not even dawn yet. Couldn’t this have waited?”

“No.” He stood, tapping her on the head with the folded newspaper. “Get up. Your new training regiment starts right now.”

“What do you mean?” She asked his retreating back as he moved for the bedroom door.

“We are going running.” He shut the door behind him; it sounded like the death knell to her lazy life. She groaned, letting her head fall back to her pillow with a thunk. There was no use arguing with him. If she didn’t appear shortly, he’d be back and this time with a bucket of water. Half-heartedly disgruntled, she got up and started searching through her closet for something appropriate to wear in order to hit the streets of RhyDin running.
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Post by JewellRavenlock »

“Move faster!” Ishmerai sat comfortably on the dunes as he shouted at his lady, currently playing the role of his student, as she did sprints back and forth on the sand.

It had been months since the knight started training Jewell. When the Hydra tournament began at the start of the summer, he had done his best to whip the once-fierce Faerie into shape. It hadn’t been easy. As Jewell’s life continued to spin out of control, she persistently resorted to some of her oldest, self-destructive habits. Her body wasted away to nothing even as she pushed herself to go faster, be stronger, hit harder all while under the affliction of self-abuse. Sleep deprived, food deprived, and covered in black and blues she inflicted upon herself (a habit she took strides to conceal even from her knight to no avail), she blocked her own attempts to improve.

With the end of Hydra and the occurrence of some extraordinarily strange events in RhyDin that shook his lady even further, Ishmerai had relented in his attempts to return her to her previous skill level, and she had given up the endeavor. He had been sincere when he had told Jewell that she was not weak, that she could overcome the limitations set upon her in Faerie. She wouldn’t be blowing up buildings anytime soon or turning the river into a hunk of ice with a flick of her wrist, but he knew she could be strong. She just needed to want it.

Apparently now she did. Jewell had told him the other night, “I finally realize part of what is missing in my life. I miss the thrill of a good fight. I miss the exhilaration of being strong, being fast, being out on the streets at night completely unafraid of the monsters that lurk in the shadows.”

Ishmerai was afraid there was more to it than that. He knew there was a part of her that perversely enjoyed pushing her body to the limits in training, that enjoyed the pain inflicted upon her physical form during a fight. “What else? I know there is more to it than that,” he countered.

She had looked thoughtful for a few minutes, staring off at nothing, seeing something he could not, before turning those deep grey eyes on him again. “I think I need to help Issy out.”

The knight had no intention of relenting too soon, at least not without poking holes in her story first. “You have done that. The money you raised to help rebuild the temple was invaluable.”

Jewell shook her head, “Not just like that. When I left, I abandoned her to fight alone in many ways. I know she has tons of allies, including her sisters, but I was at her side for years to help her fight against this threat that still challenges her today. And then I just up and disappeared. I abandoned her when perhaps she needed me the most; she needed my help and friendship. I cannot make my abandonment up to her with promises of support and money. I have to be out there, Merai, on the streets with her. I have to have her back again. She has to know that I have her back again.”

Her goals did not reassure him. Guarding Lady Jewell Ta-Neer was difficult even in times of peace. Having her go to war against the Bhaalites again sounded disastrous. And there was still something else there, he thought, something she wasn’t sharing as her eyes turned distant again for a moment. “Out with it,” he stated a bit roughly. “I will not aid you if you are not upfront and honest with me.”

She smiled a bit like the canary caught with the bird in its mouth. “It’s nothing, really. I really do miss being powerful again. I think that, even if I don’t get my abilities back, maybe I can recapture that feeling once more.” Jewell hesitated a moment, shaking her head, “I think I need it.”

She was good. Her smile was convincing, as was the way she softened her voice at that last admission, but Ishmerai was still sure there was something his lady was not telling him, some ulterior motive she refused to share. Still, he agreed to train her. Keeping her locked away in a tower was unfortunately not an option.

“I said faster!” He shouted, ignoring her grunt of protest before she did indeed move faster, her bare feet digging into the sand as she pivoted to retrace her steps back the other way. Back and forth back and forth she sprinted under his watchful eyes. When he was satisfied with the speed she was able to maintain, he called out to have her switch gears: “Good. Now practice the forms I showed you.”

Jewell took a deep breath, trying to steady her racing heart for just a moment, before becoming a flurry of motion again. Rooting herself in the sand, she struck out at the air with hands, feet, elbows and knees, practicing the quick, chi-blocking blows Ishmerai had been teaching her. If she could no longer destroy her enemy with the energy that once ran freely through her body, she needed to be able to debilitate them quickly. Armed training would come later; Ishmerai was first showing her how to turn her body into a capable weapon once more.
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Post by JewellRavenlock »

“Tonight, we do things my way.” Jewell grinned at him as she stepped out her room. Ishmerai raised his eyebrows at her attire: black that covered her from neck to ankle to wrist, made from some material that he was unfamiliar with.

“What is that?”

She laughed, pinching at the sleeve that seemed glued to her body. “They call it a cat-suit. It’s about as strong or stronger than the light leather armor you wear, but it’s even more flexible so I can move.” Jewell demonstrated, twisting this way and that, and even falling back into a handspring that landed her neatly in the middle of her room where she picked up her boots.

“Impressive.”

“Isn’t it?” She sat down to slip on her boots, light leather things of fae-make. “I got the Leprechaun brothers down the street to make these for me since I obviously lost all my gear that I had last time around, and I didn’t really think to bring my armor and stuff from home.”

“They look very nice.”

“Mmhmm.” She wiggled her toes a bit once she got the right one on before starting on the left. “Next time we go to Faerie, though, maybe we should pick up some more stuff. I wouldn’t mind having my full battle armor.” Ishmerai frowned, unsure why she would really require that here. He probably didn’t want to know. “Okay!” She popped up with both boots on, “Let’s do this.”

“This” was Jewell’s form of training, a whirlwind run of the WestEnd from several stories up. Ishmerai blanched at the height as they stood on a thin ledge overlooking the street. “Come now, good knight, surely a little height doesn’t scare you?”

He scoffed, “Hardly. I would just prefer the height to be trees not poorly constructed buildings. And I dislike the flux of magic about this place.” Jewell nodded a little at that. The fluctuations in the WestEnd are what made being on patrol there a challenge, but she had always liked a challenge, hadn’t she? “And, as always, the stink of iron is everywhere,” Ishmerai gave momentary vent to the frustrations he incurred by living in RhyDin with her, “it burns my skin and gives me a headache.”

She pat his arm consolingly, “I know dear. Hopefully this will take your mind off it.” Before guilt got the better of her, Jewell backed away from the ledge. With a wild grin lighting up her face, the Empress retraced her steps at a run and vaulted herself across the alleyway and onto the opposite building. She landed silently in a crouch, spinning about to gaze across at her guardian knight with both eyebrows raised in a challenge. He just shook his head, stepping back only half the distance she had given herself before he mimicked her jump, landing with knees barely bent beside her.

It was his turn to raise his eyebrows at her, clearly unimpressed. Straightening up, Jewell rolled her eyes. “Fine then, come on.” With a jerk of her head, she gestured him onwards, leading him at a breakneck pace across alleyways and streets; down the sides of buildings by jumping from scant ledges to rusted fire-escapes; and then up the sides of others, footholds found in the crumbling facades. On and on they moved, relishing the cold wind in their faces and the thrill of a two-storey free-fall. They only stopped when they reached the riverfront. Despite the distance they had covered, neither was really breathing heavily as they sat on a brick parapet, legs dangling over the sides as the cityscape before them lit up the night.

“It is beautiful in its own way.”

“Mmmhm,” she agreed, gazing at the city that had been her refuge on more than one occasion.

“But there is a lot of darkness lurking in this part of the city.” Ishmerai glanced over his shoulder at the crumbling expanse of the WestEnd. “I do not know if you are prepared to face it.”

“I’m stronger than I was when we arrived.” Which wasn’t hard to achieve since she had been allowing herself to waste away to nothing at the time.

“This is true, but...” he allowed the statement to drift off, standing in the air between them unfinished.

“But I will never be as strong as I was before. Never as dangerous unless I get my magic back.” She turned her head to look at him, seeing the confirmation of her statement in the set of his jaw. She sighed.
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Jewell stood alone in the darkness. It was heavy around her: thick, cloying, oppressive. She tried to push through the sludge of midnight black, but even the slightest step forward took every ounce of strength she had, and there was really nowhere to go. The void was everywhere, and she was helpless against it as it pressed in upon her. She was weak. She was nothing.

As the darkness thickened, she found herself giving up; the fight had completely gone out of her. What was the point in fighting? She could never be strong enough to fight such darkness, not anymore. Not since they took her magic away. The darkness reaffirmed her fears in its whispering, hissing voice. She had become nothing. A damsel in distress who needed to be watched over and cared for, who couldn’t do anything for herself. She couldn’t even free herself from her own demons. It was better just to stop fighting it. To rest. So she did, falling to her knees in exhaustion.

Then suddenly, just as she felt herself crumbling further under the weight of nothingness, a faint light appeared in the distance. Firelight. She recoiled for a moment at the sight; she absolutely hated fire. But this wasn’t like the fire she hated and feared. It wasn’t the fire that burned and destroyed. Rather, in the suffocating darkness it looked warm and inviting, comforting and life-sustaining.

Energy and the desire to fight renewed, Jewell pushed up to her feet again. “You can do this,” she urged herself as she began to claw her way through the dark, often falling back as shadowy arms reached for her, pulling on her. They whispered in her ears: “You are powerless. You are weak. It would be best to give up now.”

“No!” She screamed as she burst free from its clinging grasp. She had seen the light and nothing would stop her from reaching it now. The last push brought her to her goal, and she stood panting before the pedestal on which sat the tiny stone emitting that warm, saving firelight. Even though she had won herself free, the darkness was rallying at her back and there was no way she could beat it off again.

“Hurry, take me up!” A warm, reassuring voice urged her.

With only a moment’s hesitation, Jewell took the stone in her hand. Instantly, the world around her turned into a raging inferno. Only there was no need to fear this time because instead of watching helplessly as the flames ate up everything she ever loved, she was in control. The flames raged around her, hungrily eating up the darkness as she remained untouched. No, not simply untouched. Stronger. Powerful. More powerful than she had ever been! There was no longer fear, just elation as she guided the fire in viciously destroying the lingering shadows and remnants of darkness.

As the inferno died down around her, its job done for now, the rock in her hand spoke to her one more time. It sighed out like a person who is glutted and satiated by its work: “Oh if only we could play together. How beautiful and strong I could make you.”


It was the same dream, with a slight variation each time, that she had had several nights over the last few months, Jewell realized upon awaking. It was urging her: get stronger, move faster, hit harder. Then maybe we can play. Then maybe we can help you find the missing pieces of yourself and make you even stronger than before. And then we can make them pay for what they have done.
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Post by JewellRavenlock »

Harris was face down on the couch. Beautifully Blonde Jewell entered the Outback, brow furrowed as she jabbed at the cell phone Tara bought for her, her dress some red number she picked up during Fashion Week matched by her berry-red lips. Harris just drooled into the couch cushion. “Oh come on, Ted!” Jewell gave the phone a little shake, which didn’t have the desired effect, before she tucked it away in her bosom and wandered over to sit on Harris.

Rena followed Jewell into the Outback, hands stuffed in the pockets of her jacket. She cut a path to the couch to poke at Harris.

Harris groaned, “Who's heavy?”

Jewell bounced a little and answered in a sing-song voice, “Not-me.”

Harris half flailed at the Jewell on him. “Who's poking me?” he groaned.

“Totally not me.” She gave one more bounce before she found room to sit on the couch instead of on him. Rena poked Harris again...cause she could. She nodded to Gren before she pinched Harris.

“I'm being assaulted. Sexily.” Harris protested.

“Don't complain because you know you enjoy it.” Jewell counted before reaching over to try and remove one of his shoes just because she could.

“Do you not get enough sleep at home?” Rena asked him.

“With a 5 month old? And Seirichi? I'm lucky if I get any sleep.” He was suddenly minus one shoe.

“Not sure if I wanted to know all of that.” Rena stated before pinching him again. Then she moved towards the bar to get her usual mug of coffee.

“Sleep is over-rated,” Jewell offered as she dropped the shoe on the ground. Said shoe burst into blue flames. She blinked, “That was unexpected.”

“It's Monday. Expect the unexpected.” Harris countered.

Jewell got caught up in the conversation and duels going on around her, and entertained herself with attempting to play with her cell phone. To her dismay, the device quickly shut off because it hadn’t been charged in some time. Melanie came to her aid fortunately with a charger. As soon as Jewell was able to turn it back on, although it was not fully charged, she took a picture of the little pile of ash that had been Harris' shoe earlier. “My neighbor showed me how to do this. I feel so fancy.”

“You're a fancy broad, Jewell.” Harris gave an up and down nod.

Jewell nodded her whole-hearted agreement to Harris. “I am.”

With the little conversation detour to take a picture of Harris’ shoe over, Jewell conversed with Melanie about combustibles and the way tech-things liked to blow up in Little Elfhame. Something about the conversation stirred a thought in her mind, however. A wisp of a dream, fire encircling her as she wielded it effortlessly, surfaced. She blinked, interrupting Harris while he called duels to point at him: “Hey. You have an opal again. Is that why your shoe blew up?” It had only taken her about a half-hour to put two and two together.

“My shoe blew up?” His eyes wide for Jewell.

“Well..” She looked down at the pile of ash. “I mean.. it caught on fire. It didn't actually..” Jewell made a "poof" gesture with her hand, “but close enough.”

“Fire is dangerous. Don't play with fire, Jewell.” Harris nodded seriously.

The water aligned Faerie wrinkled her nose. “You don't need to tell me twice. Remember? I got not-burned to death a few years back.” But she wasn’t thinking about her fear of fire anymore. Instead, those grey eyes got a little intense as she inched closer to him. “Can I see it?”

“HOT POTATO! HOT POTATO!” Harris called out before FireStar ended up in Jewell's lap.

Unfamiliar with the game, she just blinked as the opal ended up in her lap. Abandoning her cell phone to the couch, she picked it up and cradled it in her hands. As Harris went back to calling, she studied the red rock curiously.

“Hello there,” FireStar greeted the Faerie. His voice was unmistakably the one from her dreams.

“So it was you that has been speaking to me,” Jewell quickly caught on to communicating with the rock without once moving her lips.

“I have.”

“Why?” It had been the question burning on her mind for weeks now. Why had the opal reached out to her of all people? How did it know that she would be so easily drawn in by the offer of strength and power? What did it want from her in return?

There was a pause as FireStar apparently needed to either think of an answer or make sure to word the pre-planned one carefully. “We are always looking out for new potential, for holders worthy of our attention.”


“And you think I am worthy?” She asked, dubious about that one. Really, her performances in the Outback had been rather lackluster overall.

“I think you and I could have a lot of fun together,” he countered smoothly.

It was true. They probably could have a lot of fun together, but fun wasn’t exactly what Jewell had in mind. “What about the power you promised me, hmm? Where does that come in with your plans for fun?”

The opal did not answer her. Apparently having had his say, he fell silent. With their conversation seemingly over, Jewell lifted the opal up close to her face, sniffed, tilted her one ear towards it to make sure it didn’t have anything else to say, and then she offered it back to Harris with a thoughtful look on her face.

“Put it in my pocket.” Harris told Jewell.

“Oh so that's what was in your pocket before. I thought you were just excited to see me.” Smirking, she leaned over to slide it in his pocket.

“Now I'm just *really* excited to see you.” He cackled at Jewell.

“Oh good. Makes me feel special!” She winked at him before she settled back on the couch. As Harris continued to call duels, Jewell reviewed her conversation with the opal and all that was left unsaid.

[]Log adapted from March 3, 2014 in the RDI Outback[]
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Post by JewellRavenlock »

Sunday, July 20th 2014

The afternoon sun of mid-summer was just starting to scorch the grass, turning the edges brown, but under the shade of the giant tree the ground was cool on her bare feet. Jewell lingered outside the Outback, neck arched as she admired the gardening behemoth that had sprung up over the weekend, the reason for her visit to this part of town so early. The tree was beautiful. It reminded her of something out of Faerie. With a hint of a smile on her lips, she considered clamoring through its branches until she reached the top, imaging the way the wind would feel on her face from such heights.

A voice from a dream interrupted her fancies. “Hello again.”

She turned her head although she instinctively knew she would find no form to match the voice. It was recognizable without one, bringing with it the warmth of fire around her without any of the fear. She liked that warmth. She had felt so cold for so long in Faerie. It had seeped into her very core. But the heat of that voice promised that it didn’t always have to be that way. “FireStar,” she greeted the opal by name. Turning to press her spine back against the tree, she settled down to sit amidst its roots and enjoy the shade it provided.

“Will you be signing up for the tournament?” Not one to waste time with words, the opal got right to the point.

“I thought about it..” she admitted a little reluctantly to the red rock. It had been some time since she had spoken with him, months in fact. Although the dream of controlling the raging inferno that threatened to swallow up her life still came to her at times, she had assumed that the opal had forgotten about her in view of her less than stellar attempts to gain rank in the Outback. It wasn’t that she hadn’t put any effort forth; Jewell was trying. However, other problems and pursuits had demanded her attention as well. “I just don’t think I’m ready.”

“What’s taking you so long? I thought you would be better than this by now.”

“I am better!” The Empress objected, bristling at the insinuation that she was weak and incapable. It didn't even occur to her that perhaps the opal had become impatient after being stuck without a hold for some time now. “I’ve just been busy.”

The opal actually snorted in her mind. “Excuses. If you can’t figure out some way to win this than I guess I’ve just been wasting my time.”


The fiery, quick-tempered opal had met his match in the easily angered Faerie perhaps: “Fine. Go find someone else. Not like I need you or anything. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s you that needs me unless you want to be stuck in Matt’s office forever.”

He called her bluff. “You don’t need me, huh? I thought you wanted to be stronger again? More powerful? How were you going to go about doing that on your own?”


“Shut up.”

“Yeah. That’s what I thought,” FireStar responded smugly. “As for me needing you? There’s plenty of other, stronger, more competent fighters I can work with.”

Her mind went blessedly silent after that. Jewell let her head fall back against the tree, scowling darkly. She wondered briefly if the opal, especially with its proximity within the nearby building, could hear her thoughts, but assumed that this was unlikely. She wasn’t even its holder, had only touched the rock briefly that one time and her mind was not exactly unshielded. No, he shouldn’t be able to read her thoughts, but somehow he had seen through her. He knew how much she wanted power and strength again.

It wasn’t that Jewell was some power-hungry megalomaniac. Far from it. Smaller and more fragile than most of her family in Faerie, she had never really minded her lack of physical strength. She could still take a punch, and she was quick on her feet and agile. So what if someone could easily overpower her physically? She had something better than physical strength all along: Jewell had her magic. Glamour to disguise herself. Water to bend, manipulate, and guide. Energy to call to her aid. Who needed muscles and brute strength in the face of such real power?

But once it was gone, what was left? A slight female with a penchant for getting into fights she no longer could win. Weak. In need of protection. Pathetic.

Jewell hated it. She hated it so much. And she hated to have it thrown in her face even more.

She would show FireStar. She would show anyone that looked down on her as weak. It may take time, but one way or another she would be powerful again.
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[Sunday, August 3rd 2014]

“You made it,” the impatient voice of FireStar greeted her before she even stepped foot within the Outback for the tag-team tournament.

Taken by surprise, having thought the opal had surely meant to forget her after their last conversation, Jewell tried to disguise how pleased she felt that the red rock, which she almost matched in her red dress and heels tonight, had not completely given up on her. Still, she tried to remain aloof and as cool as possible with that warm voice tickling her brain. “I thought you didn’t care whether I showed up or not since there are plenty of other, stronger, more competent fighters than me anyway,” she threw the words back at him in a challenge.

“There are,” he countered quickly.

Jewell wondered briefly if opals could smirk because she swore she could hear a cocky, twisted smile in his tone. “Then why are you bothering with me? Go bug someone else.” The Empress found it easy enough to play her part--greeting people, getting herself a drink, and settling down at a table amongst friends to watch the tournament--all while engaging in the tête-à-tête with the opal. “I’m not even fighting in the tournament anyway.”

“Scared?” He taunted.

“Hardly,” she was tempted to roll her eyes except the opal wouldn’t see it and Rena, who she was sharing a table with at the moment, would probably think she was crazy. Correction, Rena most likely already knew that she was crazy, but there was really no need to give her additional ammunition. “I’m just not ready and you know it.” There was little shame in admitting that. Jewell had toyed with the idea of forming a non-emerald team just so she could get the opal, but then what? Would she have been able to hold on to it once she got it? Worse: How angry would she have been if she couldn’t hold on to it and had to give it up?

“Then why are you even here?” He sounded aggravated with her, “Don’t you have to go do your hair or something?”


“I’m scoping out the competition, stupid.” It seemed natural to be insolent with the magical rock, calling it stupid in the same tone she used when Harris reminded her that she was supposed to punch people during a fight. The way she felt talking to FireStar was so different from what she had expected a conversation with any of the opals to be like. The way Koy had described MoonBeryl, he seemed more like a kind, mentor figure. FireStar seemed more like an annoying friend or sibling who knew how to push all of her buttons. “I may not be ready right now, but you know I will be. I want to see who I’ll have to steal you from later.” She left the giant “duh” off the end of the sentence.

“Riiiight. If you remember how to throw a decent punch, let me know. Until then, I’ll be hanging out with a real winner.”

There was a low growl in her mind but it was met by only silence from the opal. He kept doing that to her! Fine. She didn’t want to talk to him anyway. It seemed like he only talked to her to piss her off, insult her for not being stronger or more capable. He was mocking her, which was frustrating because he was that one that initiated contact with her. It wasn’t the other way around! Why bother if all he was going to do was goad her? She hadn’t really even given the opals a serious thought until FireStar reached out to her. No, that wasn’t true. She had been thinking about them, and FireStar in particular. That didn’t seem to make sense to anyone. Really, if she missed her magic, why not IceDancer? That just seemed like it would be a cheap imitation of what she once had, though. FireStar on the other hand.. he was something different. In the red opal, Jewell saw a way to both regain a smidgin of the power she once had and an opportunity to not only face one of her greatest fears but conquer it. That was truly empowering.

Even with the warnings she had received, due to lack of experience, Jewell was seriously underestimating the opals. FireStar may not have been the most manipulative and cunning of his siblings, but his interactions with the Faerie were carefully planned. His words were just the kind of push she needed. All the encouragement and positive motivation in the world didn’t work with a person like Jewell. Give her a gold star and tell her she did a good job? She’ll be content with the praise and not try any harder. Push her, insult her, knock her when she’s down? She’ll jump up as quick as she can to prove you wrong. She’ll come out swinging. Keep her goal just out of reach, taunt her with it, and she will keep fighting until she gets it.

Despite her avowal that she attended the tournament to see who won FireStar, she couldn’t wait around for the end. The longer she sat there, cheering her friends on and enjoying her favorite hobbies of drinking and flirting, the more agitated and impatient she felt. Why wasn’t she ready for this now? When would she be? Why was her body failing her? Why did the stupid opal ever start talking to her in the first place?
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JewellRavenlock
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Post by JewellRavenlock »

Early Monday morning, Ishmerai left one of the local papers on the kitchen island for Jewell. It featured Charlie Nine’s face plastered across the front, a little worse for the wear after the tournament. He didn’t know when she would actually arrive: occasional late nights wandering the city with Kalamere had at some point turned into arriving home early in the morning or sometimes even later if she managed to wrangle breakfast out of the tall half-elf when he wasn’t busy. This morning, he wasn’t even done with his own breakfast when the front door opened to her sing-song, “Ish-merai!”

“Kitchen,” the knight called before pouring an additional cup of coffee.

“Ooh coffee,” she grinned as she entered the room, snatching up the mug he had just set down for her. Jewell settled onto one of the high stools, bare feet dangling above the floor; her red high heels were currently creating a tripping hazard in the foyer.

“You missed our run.”

She shrugged. “I did just walk all the way over here, but we can go in a little bit. It’s not too hot out yet.”

“A leisurely walk from Dragon’s Gate does not count as exercise, and I am not sure that your current attire is appropriate for a run.” Ishmerai remarked smartly in regards to her dress which, because of the touch of glamour he could just discern, did not look like it had spent the night crumpled up on the floor.

“If I can duel in a dress, I can run in a dress, but I’ll change anyway.” She leaned forward against the kitchen counter, looking at the newspaper a moment before pushing it towards him. “I already heard.” Although Kalamere had not been around that morning to discuss the tournament results with her, The Line was usually up-to-date on the outcome of different sporting events, so it hadn’t been hard to find out what had happened last night after she left.

“And?” He didn’t trust himself to say anymore. They had already had several heated discussions about the opals. Ishmerai was of the opinion that she should stay far away from the magical rocks. He thought her efforts were better focused on regaining her own abilities, not taking on some strange sentient object. The intensity he saw in her eyes when she talked about the opals did not bode well with the knight either.

“I think I’ll enjoy getting FireStar even more if I can take it from him.” She reached over, stealing a raspberry from Ishmerai’s plate and popping it in her mouth.

His attempts to dissuade her were not exactly subtle, “You have a very long way to go, and it may take you quite a while still. Who is to say this man will still be the rock’s holder by then?”

Her shoulders raised in a shrug, “Anyone will do, honestly. But I’d really like to take it away from this guy.” The point of her finger stabbed Charlie Nine in the eye. There was just something about him that she did not like even when she ignored his insults and took into account his recent smiles. Jewell did not trust Charlie Nine. She had plans to eventually go after FireStar regardless who held the opal, but fighting Charlie Nine for it would be an added bonus. “Besides. It’s not like I’m short on time. I’ve got all the time in the world.”
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