Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For
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Author:  Darkheart [ December 29th, 2012, 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For

bump, on the off chance that there might be interest in a revival :-D

Author:  Will [ December 30th, 2012, 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For

[ Yesss! I am interested! In fact, I tried working on a new post not too long ago, but I got stuck.. :P
Great to see you here again, Darky! :hug: ]

Author:  Darkheart [ January 4th, 2013, 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For

I''ll see if I can sort something post-wise to set us going again. Right back at you, Will! :hug:

Author:  Darkheart [ January 17th, 2013, 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For

Soft, melancholic music played as the casket was carried forward, on the shoulders of eight loyal men, dividing the assembled crowd neatly in two. Their advance was slow and steady, the steps they took calculated so as to be subtly in time with the music. There were no seats beneath the vaulted ceiling, of course not; those there to ‘honour’ the dead man would stand, and be as they always had in his presence: uncomfortable.

Many heads in the room were bowed, though a few watched the gentle progression of the casket with guarded eyes. None shed a tear. There were no sounds of a widow's sobbing, because Casimir had outlived his wife by nearly a decade - driven her to an early grave, if the rumours held any ground. His children stood at the very foremost of the crowd, more for the sake of appearance than anything else, because a child who receives no affection gives none in return.

The casket arrived at the long trestle table set out to receive it. It had been adorned with an enormous tablecloth of the purest white, embroidered all over with delicate patterns - interwoven spirals, banners boasting text in a long-forgotten language, family heraldry. The edges were cut in wave-like patterns and trimmed in gold and silver stitch; precious gemstones clustered together in the likeness of flowers, twinkling like stars in the substandard, atmospheric lighting. The only sound except the footsteps of the eight pole bearers was the subdued piano, played by a young man wearing a uniform matching that of everyone else's: black. Black and tension.

None had loved him. None were sad he'd passed. So many people had arrived because they knew it would have been expected of them; even when dead, Casimir Nylander exerted an unexpectedly irresistible authority. Many, whose presence was unnecessary and whose absence would have gone unnoticed, attended out of some misguided sense of duty or fear, or simply just to prove that the living legend, that great but terrible man, was finally gone from the world.

Before the music had begun there had been whispers, snatches of conversation bandied about with less care than was prudent, about the nature of his death. Certainly not natural causes, all agreed, but who would have had the nerve, the drive, the resources to murder the most well cared for and well protected man alive? None could say. A family feud? An angry subordinate? No, they countered, someone would have heard something of it beforehand: in such a small place, cut off as they were, the only thing interesting to speak of was the rich.

A ghost, then. Who would it come for next?

- - -

When the music stopped, a short, thin man with a full head of mouse-brown hair stood and, as the pole-bearers took their place at the far-right of the congregation, took his place at the left-hand side of the table laid out at the front of the room. With the fingertips of his left hand he reached out to smooth the immaculate, slightly wrinkled, tablecloth at the corner of the table, before tracing the intricate patterns with delicacy, seeming to be for more than a few moments completely lost in the eddy currents of his own thoughts. Apprehension swelled in the crowd. The mounting silence made the room full of people an uncomfortable, and made its inhabitants reluctant to so much as shift how they stood should they disturb the quiet.

Mere seconds before the assembly began to shuffle restlessly, before colleagues, partners, friends began leaning towards one another to exchange confusion, the man's lips parted and he started to speak, with an easy, self-assured confidence that seemed somewhat at odds with his slight frame.

‟We're gathered here today,” he said, quietly enough that those at the back of the room has to strain to hear him properly, ‟to acknowledge the passing of a titan.

Casimir Nylander was a hard man, a man of iron resolve. He allowed himself neither sorrow nor joy.”

The man paused there, to let the words sink in. His gaze never so much as flickered towards the crowd; he never gave any sign that he knew they were there at all. Instead his eyes wandered to the lid of the casket, its pale wood lent a hazy glow by the multitudes of candles spread about the room. Two small, bright eyes scrutinized the lid of the casket, finished finely, expertly, and inlaid with pieces of wood dyed differently to add grandeur to Casimir's final resting place. The man seemed languid, vaguely thoughtful, and certainly in no rush to draw his speech to a close.

‟That made him a difficult man to obey. A difficult man to admire... to love.”

The words sounded pointed but still the man made no attempt to search for faces in the sea of people.

‟By everyone he shall be remembered, though he touched everyone's life differently.

‟I am sure that history shall tell extraordinary tales of him. Let us remember him... exactly as he was.”

The man curled his fingers away from the tabletop and stepped back, shrinking into the crowd, leaving all in silence once again, before the man presiding over the funeral, at the back of the room by the double doors that stretched from the tasteful if extravagant marble flooring to the shadowy vaulted ceiling, called out, halting any would-be chatter before it began.

‟If anyone has aught further he or she wishes to add,” he announced, raspy but well-spoken, ‟let him be heard.”

- - -

Clever, oh so clever. Maggie had smuggled herself in amongst the other guests, indistinguishable from the flock in her borrowed finery. Her long hair fell unrestrained over her shoulder and tickled the skin of her crossed arms; she shifted her weight from one foot to the other, uncomfortable in the ridiculous stilettos, contemplating what she'd just heard.

, she decided. He said nothing incriminating, but neither did he go out of his way to make Nylander sound like a saint. A ploy: he'd given his audience just enough of an impression of respect that they would notice it, but the words he'd used were ambiguous, his own thoughts impossible to extrapolate. Depending upon your point of view, he could have been either commemorating or disparaging the dead man; Maggie wasn't certain which she believed.

At the director's voice, Maggie began to take tiny, tentative steps backwards so that when the doors opened she was in a perfect position to get away - fast. She'd had quite enough of the upper classes and their ill-gotten extravagances.

- - -

To the far right, surrounded by people all taller than she was Adrianna, watching the proceedings with a slightly furrowed brow and her arms wrapped around herself, for warmth as much as comfort. The people around her had been filled with a stiff kind of tension; they'd barely moved for the entire ceremony and even now, though they had to be as restless as she felt, none moved. Hugging herself more tightly she leaned slightly to one side in an effort to catch another glimpse of the speaker, in vain. He'd vanished among the folk at the opposite end of the hall to her, she hadn't the faintest hope of spotting him. Still she searched, though, unsettled by the nature of his self-assurance, his easy grace, his lack of fear.

By rights she should have been situated at Lucius' right hand, to attend him should he require it. On the other hand it had been Allegra, and not the Governor, that had arrived with her in tow - she neither wished to draw more attention to herself nor did she think it necessary, considering Gardenia's unfailing wish to demonstrate her devotion to the man. Should he ask, she'd explain it away, say she was watching for disturbances or some such satisfying falsehood. In truth she barely dared face the Governor, almost certain that he'd see the things she was hiding from him - Dylan, Lilly, more surprisingly, Allegra herself - as if they were writ in ink upon her skin. Just the thought of that cool, wintry stare was enough to make her shiver.

In the murmurs that broke out after the director's call for last-minute speakers, Adrianna lost focus. Her eyes followed the faces of the crowd, the sharp flickering of the candles in a nearby holder - anywhere but the table and casket set on the raised platform. She'd met the man only once, but the memory of him was almost as unsettling as he'd been himself.

- - -

With all but the most lowly of the upper classes attending the funeral of the late Casimir Nylander, the streets were empty. Houses, large enough to accommodate multiple families comfortably, stood with their windows devoid of light, their huge wrought-iron gates shut tight, imposing doors locked. No self-respecting thief let a locked door discourage them, though.

Alexander, for once able to go without hiding himself but unable to kick the habit, stepped down the street, at a pace that could almost be called idle, sticking mostly to shadows that obscured his figure. There was no-one around to see him but to keep to his routine kept him at his ease.

The house at the end of the street was the most impressive: towering, perfectly symmetrical, and built out of an unfamiliar material that seemed to glow, pearlescent, in the half-light. Tall black gates barred the way to the front door, with a guard-post just off to one side. The house looked entirely deserted, as was to be expected, but caution made Alexander hang back.

By slipping between a couple of fences separating some nameless aristocrat's grounds from Allegra Nylander's, Alexander managed to slink around the side of the house and vault over the wall surrounding the property in assured privacy. The only sounds he made were the crunch of gravel and dry leaves underfoot as he landed and the rustling of the clothes he wore as he moved swiftly through the still air. He staggered as he landed on the uneven surface, his feet scrambling for purchase.

Finally stable, crouched down with one hand on the floor and the other on the wall to his left, Alexander looked around. Some shrubbery, tall external walls of the house - no points of entry, easy or otherwise. He'd have to search for another access route.

He scouted around the back of the property in search of an easy target. He found it, in the form of a small balcony leading to double doors and - he couldn't make out the room beyond from the floor below, especially with the thin, film net curtains obscuring the windows. Taking a few steps back, occasionally glancing back to check where he placed his feet, Alexander looked for a likely way up there. No purchase on the wall, no garden furniture to aid his reach... but a climbing plant, a thick, prevalent thing with shiny, dark green leaves. He gave them an experimental tug and felt them give under his weight but only a little, not enough to concern him, so long as he moved slowly.

When first he put his full weight on it, he thought that he had miscalculated and the creeper would give way; it didn't, thankfully, and he made steady progress upwards. The balcony was a welcome relief after the hazardous climb; it felt better to have something solid under his feet.

He made quick work of the locked doors. Had he been in a rush he might've smashed one of the small panes of glass and opened the door from the inside; as it was he had no need, so he drew a couple of small thin tools out of a pocket and picked the lock by hand. When done, he deposited the tools in the pocket from whence they came and made his way swiftly through the door, closing it just to in case he needed a quick escape route.

The rapid motion of the doors caused the rapid flow of air which blew and tangled the flimsy curtains. Alexander got one looped around an arm; in his attempts to free himself he stumbled backwards into something unstable. He didn't react in time to recover: he freed himself but, by the time he'd turned to see what it was he'd collided with, there was an almighty smash - Alexander had no clue what it was he'd knocked from the sideboard but brightly coloured shards covered the floor - and had announced his presence to the entire house.

[Anybody feel free to do anything. :teehee:
P.S. I TRIED TO BE CONCISE it didn't work :(]

Author:  Darkheart [ February 21st, 2013, 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For

[feel free to carry on, anyone :)]

Author:  Will [ February 22nd, 2013, 6:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For

[ Absolutely a fabulous post Darky. I already started on my post and I'll try to finish it as soon as possible. :) ]

Author:  Darkheart [ October 5th, 2020, 12:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Freedom is What You Survive To Fight For

Rereading this was fun. Some good old times :)

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