[P] [m] everything i fear, always meets me here
#1

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: .

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Sometimes in the subtle purgatory that came between waking Odalis found herself dreaming of her home – a place filled with roses and the tinkling laughter of her mother. She dreamt of the Court des Miracles and her small room spun in pastel; of a return to her home that would leave her feeling full.

Instead she awoke each morning to a crackle of sunlight that crept along the broken stone like a tiger. Here everything was cold, and she could feel it seeping into her bones even as she lay against the furs that padded her new cell.

It was what she had begun to call it.

The Cell.

She had escaped from capture only to run head long into the arms of a darkling witch.

”You will live little robin,” She heard the voice sometimes as her wounds were tended to or while water was tipped against her parched mouth. Their hands were warm and carefully placed, and sometimes she was certain that they stroked the blind place where her eye lay cloudy and still.

Little robin.

Odalis traced her fingers along the uneven stones as wakefulness found her, and finally roused herself to glance haphazardly about the room. It was small and had an area for storage off to one side, and when Odalis flared her nostrils the air was filled with the rich herbal scent of a poultice.

The Amaranthe reached for her wounded eye, ignoring the dark bruises about her wrists and the way that her body ached each time she attempted to stand. She brushed herself off and clutched at the cloak she tugged around her shoulders to ward off the chill - and noted with an absently wandering hand that her pendant had been removed.

She finally teetered toward the open door way.

"H-Hello?" Odalis winced, leaning upon the frame for support, "Where am I?"




Hi new master. :>


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#2
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By night she kept the old tower warm, feeding kindling to the hearth as one might a friend; Stoking, coaxing little flames to flare and dim between the glowing coals. The girl was prone to night-fits. In the first few nights she had thrashed so badly that Corrine had been needed to help Elphaba hold her down. After that, when the young queen tired of her own sore arms, she found other ways to keep her little robin lucid.


It was a page out of an old book, and one she'd seen used well of late - Helena's coyote was of particular inspiration, though opium was too strong and difficult to get with the trade pass snowed over. Instead she used her Craft. The isle was plentiful when one knew where to harvest, and the little innocent brown mushrooms could steep for hours to reach their full potential.


After the first few ministrations, the barely conscious girl even seemed to begin enjoying the taste, tipping her own throat back and drinking with great thirst.


Now when she slept it was as deeply as the dead.


Still Elphaba sat most nights and watched her. Sometimes she ran the girl's pendant through her fingers like a vice, feeling the chain whisper against her palm, knowing without looking when the insignia would land face-up and the coils of the crowned serpent shone.


Often she resisted the urge to reach out and brush the girl's bright red hair. Even through the worst of her trauma it had retained its auburn color, and was as out of place in the muted hues of the north as a drop of fresh blood.


----------


The young queen did not sleep for long, preferring instead to take multiple smaller rests as it suited her. For this reason she often woke before the girl, whose own slumber was more or less controlled by levels of imbibement. As with each dawn before this one, Elphaba waited in the great room of the tower and watched the crumpled cot in the servant quarters through the open doorway for signs of movement.


When the girl finally stirred, her fingers reaching clumsily across the cold stone floor, Elphaba rose.


By the time her voice, rusty with misuse and thick with confusion, softly broke the morning silence the witch had a warm mug of tea already in hand. She placed the pot aside to cool, and turned to regard her newest acquisition with bright vermilion eyes, slanted and wide like a satisfied cat.


"Good morning," Her tone was mild, gentle, not-quite-coaxing; With her free hand she took the swaying redhead gently by the arm and steered her into the nearest chair. Without hesitation, Elphaba pressed the steaming mug into Odalis' questioning fingers - Her own seemed to hesitate, hovering a beat in the air above the girl's wrists.


They were still raw where she had been bound. A frown passed like shadow over the Boss' expression, but was gone just as soon as it had come.


"Drink," One hand gestured imperiously as though the girl was an idiot who needed the most basic of instructions. Perhaps it was notable that Elphaba held no mug of her own, even though she frequently and methodically enjoyed tea each day - something the new servant would come to know in time, as per her duties.


She sat, elegant and poised, in the chair across from Odalis. Her long legs crossed at the ankle - with an air of natural regality, she pulled the warm edges of a fine woolen kimono more comfortably about her waist. "Drink," She said again, this time with the greater authority of demand; Though softened it by adding: "It will help with the pain."

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#3
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Questions flitted around her head like a halo of twittering songbirds – each one hovering for a moment before twisting and turning to be replaced by a word that beat in time with her heart beat.

Why?

Standing was difficult, even with the support of the door way. It felt strong beneath her hand, the grain worn smooth where other fingers or shoulders had rubbed past the archway. She glanced back at the bed of furs that lay tossed against the cold stone wall – and she could make out the shadow of where she had lain. The spot was deep and dark, the tiny peaks and valleys of blanket swirling like a gaping canyon.

It reminded her of a cell cast in concrete and iron.

She shuddered, tugging her blanket closer as she teetered further into the Throne Room.

The woman perched while standing, her eyes glimmering like rubies as the servant crept into the light. Sunlight caught at her hair like wildfire, glimmering in shades of gold and auburn that shone brightly against the din. She hissed softly and clutched at her ribs – leaning against the back of a chair. Politeness bade her speak, though she raised a hand to tremulously stroke the beginnings of a new scar that blossomed across her cheek like a vine.

”Good… Morning.”

Her voice was softer than she remembered it being, and when Elphaba Revlis came toward her it was with the sultry gait of a predator. Her hips rolled beneath the hem The cup in her hands was clasped between thin fingers, and Odalis couldn’t help but flare her nostrils at the herbal scent that wafted toward her. The tea was herbal and had her vision spinning in shades of green.

The fingers on her arm were warm as they guided her to her seat. ”I-“ Speaking was difficult, and she felt her hands steady as the cup was guided to her lips. She drank deeply at The Boss' instruction, clicking her teeth against the lip of the glass before dropping it to the table with a hollow sound. Elphaba leaned casually in her seat, her ankles crossed primly - the hemline of her kimono exposing a line of dark fur along her thigh.

She stared for longer then was necessary, her expression blank as she considered the pain that gnawed numbly upon her bones.

For a moment her mind cleared - everything in the room was perfectly crystal and she was able to make out the way the wood rippled beneath her fingers.

In the next moment everything tilted, and she inhaled deeply as she shrank further into her chair in an effort to find balance.

"Where am I?" She cleared her throat and winced, "I... remember you?"


Hi new master. :>


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#4
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She watched the girl with great, unwavering intensity. Beneath the avarice of her inspection many fresh details came to light; Wilting beneath the unrelenting force of her stare, the girl seemed to shudder in place. Half of her was present, physical and real as the waking morning outside. Half of her was missing, lost in drips and dregs to the trauma that had marred one side of her perfect face.


Long night hours had allowed Elphaba plenty of time to review past memories. She had gone over every inch of every second of time spent in the girl's company, that one fateful day - How warm her palm, pressed full with brown buttons bursting with potential. Her own indolence had led to the mistake that had kept them apart for some time. If only she'd seen the pendant with more clarity back then, maybe... Maybe...


No matter. Fate was only one face of the Law - once delivered it could not be changed, as permanent as the branching scar that made a ruin of the girl's milky eye.


Elphaba's fingers drummed on the wooden arm of her chair methodically, pensively.


"You remember?" She prompted, leaning forward, pressing her presence against the redhead like the heat of a hearthfire. The young queen's black lips twisted. For a moment she seemed to consider something, but then decided against it, resettling in the chair. "You're safe now. No one here will hurt you."


The firm confidence in her tone hinted at the deeper authority beneath, like a glimmer of silver scales in the deep.


After the girl had sipped again, she relented. "This is my tower. It is your new home," The sharpness of her expression drew inward to an exquisite point of pride, the thin line of her mouth curling in a satisfied smile. "I saved your life, little robin. It was difficult, and expensive, but I refused to let you die." Smug, her hands folded elegantly in her lap as she waited for the rush of gratitude that was sure to come.

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#5
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She rubbed her temples, ”I-I think so.” For a moment she couldn’t tell if she spoke in English or Spanish, ”I gave you-“ Her hand crept about her naked throat, and for a moment a shadow flickered over her face – though it was washed away with a wave of all-numbing tea. It worked to dull her edges, to soften the fight or flight reactions that stewed like a bed of hot coals beneath her ribs.

The Healer in her knew that one of her ribs was broken, for each time she breathed she could feel it groaning – like a crooked rafter that creaked and squealed during a storm.

The left-over tea pooled in the base of her cup, the leaves swirling round and round – and she could not force her gaze away. She felt herself falling in, leaning closer and closer until she could feel herself fingering her way through the fog that settled over her mind. She was trapped here – in a new cell with a new master.

Words gurgled in her bruised throat as she listened to the woman speak – but like molasses time flowed around her, sticky sweet and uncomprehending. She swore that in the beams of sunlight that spilled through the cracked windowpanes that she saw fragments of her mother - cast in gold, dancing slowly. She was laughing, and it made Odalis furious.

She lashed out. Odalis suddenly tipped her cup so that the tea leaves spilled across the table – and a sound exploded from her like a wounded cat. Steam wafted from between her hands, and she could feel her claws embed themselves deeply in the pitted wood.

”I want to go home! Ciprian rose from the dredges of her memory like tar. She wanted to run, but all she succeeded in doing was tumble lamely from her chair to land in a sobbing heap amongst her furs.

A sound built in her like a keening wail, bright and brilliant like a flashing of lightening – but she was reminded of her nightmares, of the way he cracked her ribs with his silver-ringed fingers, snapping each vertebra as if undoing a seam.

She was coming undone.


Hi new master. :>


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#6
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Inexperience allowed for little mistakes, unpredictable situations with no easy resolution. As much as she was owed this kingdom, its title and its peoples, as hard as she had worked to turn it against her hand like the hide of a wild animal, still she was young and inadequate in many ways.


Having broken many things, and having been broken herself, one might think Elphaba capable of recognizing the flaw in the girl before it revealed its true ugliness.


Still she was surprised.


The tea from the upended mug sloshed across the table, not quite hot enough to scald but burning unpleasantly regardless where it splashed against Elphaba's knees and thigh. In a second the world seemed to fracture into two halves. In one, the ruined redhead sank down onto the cold stone floor, her face an open wound of anguish and despair. She wailed, a keening mourning sound. In the other, the young queen rose abruptly, her black hair crackling out fractiously with the sharp movement, swelling around her face like a snarl of tree roots and branches. Her eyes were bloody slashes of anger, cut in sharp lines against the pale shock of her cheeks. "Why, you ungrateful-"


She lifted her hand as though to slap the girl.


It hung, palm open, for several countless beats while Odalis wept nonsensically.


Then something seemed to pass over Elphaba like a shadow, gliding across her expression, and all at once she smoothed back from the edge of ferociousness. Her hair lost its bite and settled, spilling like ink where it dripped over the kimono and down her spine. Her expression caged itself into a disconcerting sort of pity, strangely ill-fitting against her features, like a mask two sizes too small.


Eerily calm now, the young queen reached out to collect the mug and set it back upright on the table, where it belonged. Everything in order. Everything in its place.


She crouched down near to the sobbing girl, but did not reach out to touch her. Not yet. Her edges were still too broken, sharp and ragged enough to cut against the daylight that speared in through a high window and made a flame out of her auburn hair.


"Listen to me: You are home," She could see the brew's potency swirling through her robin's good eye, the blue gone hazy like a summer day swimming with big glossy tears. "No more of this foolishness. It is as I said - you will be safe so long as you stay here, with me. Whoever did this cannot reach you anymore," She had hoped the dosage would be suitable, but frail as the girl was, it was clear it had been too strong for her sensibilities. Next time she would give less. Next time she would be more careful.


Frowning, Elphaba sat herself on the ground near to the redhead, and drew her knees up guardedly under her chin.


"Cry, if you must," It felt appropriate to give her permission for this weakness, in any case. She rubbed in annoyance at her leg where the tea had singed it, and tried to hold on to the fleeting feeling of magnanimity. "But it won't change what is done. I saved your life. You owe me, and until the debt is paid, you are mine."

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#7
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Nothing made sense. Odalis could feel her thoughts slipping through her fingers like a sieve. As she sobbed, shoulders trembling, she saw flashes of Solomon – sweet, dead Solomon – the blood pooling around his dark head in the autumn leaves. She bit her lip and tasted blood mixed with tears – the salty sharpness acrid on her tongue.

She cried for so long that she was reduced to little more than a snivelling mess against the floorboards. The blanket wrapped about her shoulders had drooped to reveal a bruised collar bone and a too-slim chest; one that bucked and heaved with each shuddering breath that she took. The Amaranthe did not notice the hand that rose like a thunder cloud – heavy and crackling with power – before it went limp and disappeared into the sleeve of Elphaba’s Kimono.

Odalis hollowly heard the cup being reset on the table – and recognized the fact that Salsolas Queen now sat curled nearby.

She sat like a lion in the grass, the shadows of her throne room snarling around the waves of her long dark hair.

Home.

The word lay between them like an unending bridge – and Odalis struggled to rationalize the fact that this was her home. She would come to understand that Salsola was a kingdom for some and a prison for others. She wiped at her snotty face and crawled towards Elphaba, only to pillow her head against her chest.

She sought comfort the way a child would, balling her hands against the fabric of the womans tunic. She sniffled as she considered the words - that she was owned, that she owed a debt - and that Elphaba Revlis lay claim to her present and foreseeable future. She longed for Akantha - for the perfect gold that soothed and bit in equal measure.

She wasn't sure why she said it, but when she did her voice cracked like marble.

"My brother... died."



Hi new master. :>


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#8
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A birth of privilege had kept many of the uglier things about this world hidden from Elphaba. The surface of her existence had been bright and polished, a smooth pristine marble that begged others to look upon it with envy. But life was never so neat or contained as it ought to be; Half of her world had been lived in wartime, and the upward climb to the throne was rife with violence and loss.


They called her people the Family. This hierarchy was truly the only family she had left.


Sniveling, the girl wiped at her damp face and glossy eye. The movement revealed much about her wounds - the bruises spreading black and blue across porcelain skin beneath the fur hem. Whatever ill fortune had led her to that place in the woods had done a spiteful job of things.


Corrine had showed her how far down the bruising went, underneath the torn dress, when they had first stripped the girl to bathe and tend her unconscious body. It had taken Elphaba's breath away with awe and fury.


She had looked surprisingly peaceful then, even with the ravaged flower of her body in a ruin around her, half her face stiff with dried blood. She had looked like a sleeping doll. Her hands, the same size as Elphaba's and equally as elegant, had been cold as ice.


Reflecting on this, the young queen was distracted when the girl sidled up to her. By the time Odalis had buried her face in the soft wool at Elphaba's chest, she had little time to react - Instinctively she stiffened, arms held out awkwardly as though uncertain of whether to shove the poor wretch away, hands curved into malevolent claw-tipped hooks ready to rip and tear.


For a moment she sat this way, stiff and unyielding, red eyes brimming with violence. Then, slowly - inch by inch - she brought her arms around the broken girl, hesitantly at first, but with greater confidence as Odalis whimpered and sniffed.


Her palm found the crown of the girl's head where it rested against the sweet but small curve of her breast. Slowly, her dark fingers wound through the red locks, patting them possessively as she had longed to do from the very first moment. Her lips curved upward.


When the girl spoke, a thoughtful hum reverberated through the young queen's throat, passing through them both. "So did mine," She said simply, and after a moment resumed stroking Odalis' auburn hair.


After what felt like an impossibly long time the girl stopped shivering and heaving with the aftermath of sobs. The leg of the chair had made a merciless imprint against her spine; Elphaba cleared her throat. "You must behave for me from now on, alright? If you are good, I will help you in turn. No sorrow lasts forever - one day you will be free from it. We both will." She cupped the girl's face and turned it up toward her, forcing down a wince at the sight of the raw scabbed wound over her cheek. "Now - let's get some ointment on that, shall we?"

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#9
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The admission calmed her somehow.

My brother died.

It was a fact that she had left buried in the snow. It was difficult to remember a time before she had become this – a time before Ciprian, a time spent in perfect splendid summer. She always thought of Onuba that way, as a time where her life had been entirely good and splashed with gold. Akantha had ensured that her children had want for nothing, and that Onuba rose around them like a towering fortress of culture and civility.

Even there Odalis had felt that she didn’t fit in.

She was not one for the Courts, not in the way that her mother had been – and she had no desire to work with horses or dedicate her tongue to the pretty mouths of patrons as Lucian did. She had felt like a ghost in the Amaranthe Estate, a quiet scholar buried by parchment and academia. In Nova Scotia she had tossed this aside in an effort to accomplish safety – and her Moreno training had been all but forgotten during a time of so-called peace.

Elphaba stroked her hair, smoothing the frizz of auburn so that it lay smoothly about her ears. She teased knots from the long strands with slender fingers and stroked away the teary streaks that ran down Odalis’ cheeks.

Her shoulders warmed where the womans hands grasped her, and Odalis finally felt her tear-stained face lifted to gaze into the eyes of the Salsolan Queen.

They sparkled like gemstones, and Odalis felt herself finally settle enough to speak.

”I-I'm sorry.” A hiccup found her and she covered her mouth, suddenly bashful. "It is a," hiccup- "terrible burden."

The womans thumb trailed her wound and she winced - allowing herself to be guided back to her chair. Elphaba busied herself with collecting items from about her throne room, and Odalis watched with rapt attention with her one good eye. She sniffled sharply, "What will I do for you?"


Hi new master. :>


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#10
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Grief was a stranger to them all. For each that walked among them it wore a different face, a stranger's clothes, an unfamiliar smell. Grief was the death of a little part of the living, some lost space within their identity that never truly healed over. It left ugly scars, like the one on her face, but on the inside - through their guts, through their soul, through the very matter of them.


But like anything in this world, it too could be corrupted into something more.


Some days her insides felt full of oil and sludge, like she could open her mouth and a torrent of ink and ichor would spill out, all the darkness that had been trapped inside her for so long.


Still there was something compassionate about seeing another's grief and feeling the echo of one's own. In spite of all differences it was a bridge across which even foes could relate. There was nothing so humbling, so homogenizing, as mortal loss.


Elphaba smiled, a thin but nonetheless genuine sort of thing that looked out of place on her severe black lips. She saw the girl back into her chair, and satisfied that she would stay there of her own volition, left her to find the necessary ingredients for the paste. The well-used pumice mortar was a familiar weight in her hand as she ground various heavily-scented things, some of healing and some of numbing; A simple salve that Corrine had taught her.


They could not mend the girl's face - she would wear that hideous scar for the rest of her life. But at the least it was within their power to keep the bad stink from getting in it and souring her blood. She would live.


Though a life without beauty was - Well, Elphaba tried not to dwell on it. She had a certain way of fixating on things she could not have.


"Simple things to begin with," Grind, grind, grind, went the stone implements, "Have you ever kept a household before? Cleaning, perhaps cooking if you have any skill in it."

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#11
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It was a narrow ledge that she crept along, keeping her grief at bay with thin auburn arms that swung to catch at the pieces that threatened to find freedom. It was a terrible thing that gnawed at her even now as she sat perched in the creaking wooden chair, as Elphaba ground a salve for her in the small kitchen that encircled her throne room. The scent of fresh herbs hung on the air to mingle with the hot tea – and Odalis flared her nostrils as she listened to the womans explanation of what it meant to be an indentured servant.

It was evident in the tone of Elphabas voice that the tasks were not mere suggestions. Odalis was owned, a creature of Salsola who had ties to its most prominent member. The Amaranthe girl rubbed at her wrists and nodded as she spoke. In Onuba there had been help for her Grandmothers Estate – but they had not been owned or traded by dirty Arena’s – they had worked of their own freewill and been paid. Lucian had revelled in teasing them, nipping at their heels and ordering them about the household.

Luciano.

In the wake of Solomons loss she had all but forgotten about her pompous older brother. Akantha even. She would need to send word to them one day of what had happened to poor sweet Solomon.

She wiped at her face and watched Elphaba with watery eyes that threatened to tear.

”I have never had my own household… but I know how to clean and cook.” She wasn’t sure why she added, ”I can sing.” It was a small magic that she revealed – and for a moment she was reminded of the song she had sung before Mistral de L’Or, the fallen Queen who had been so enraptured with their performances that she hadn’t realized that they were all planning to revolt.

"I... have more questions."

Odalis toyed absently with the edge of her frayed gown, ”What should I call you? What is Salsola?”


Hi new master. :>


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.amarot p.oocstuff {opacity:.7;border-top:1px solid rgba(0, 0, 0, .5); padding-top:3px; padding-left:3px; font-size:11px; text-align:left;}
.amarot npc { letter-spacing:.5px; opacity: .7;font-weight:bold; }
</style>
[/html]
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