[P] this dust is all thats left of us
#1
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The tiny mushroom caps soothed her when the nightmares became too much. Sometimes she awoke screaming in the middle of the night while the shadows were at their longest, and thought that she was caught in Ciprians clutches. She would tangle herself in the furs so tightly that she would awake panting with the memory of his fingers tangled in her hair or tracing lines across her skin. His memory made her want to retch or scratch out what remained of her wounded eye.

She had never prayed, but now each night she whispered softly to herself a Moreno prayer in the hopes of feeling something.

Everything in this place made her feel cold to the bone.

Salsola. She had rolled the name on her tongue and teased it the way she would have a loose tooth. It was a name that held power over the Amaranthe name - she remembered her Mother speaking about The North with an edge to her voice, that had left Odalis with questions that had forever been unanswered. Even her Mothers journals had been vague - though the fear ran through each word like a keening bell.

She wandered The Ruins on unsteady feet that caused her to sway back and forth between the stoney barriers that lined the road. Occasionally she would stop to rest, dropping her head to pant roughly before carrying on, her patched cloak tugged tightly around her shoulders. Her clothing had been torn off while Elphaba and Corinne had treated her, soothing away what ailments they could - but there were still marks thatt showed where Ciprian had lain claim to her.

A pool of melted snow rippled as a breeze blew past, and the sight of her newly marred face had her wincing and turning away.




Quick Note: I don't know that Odalis understands her place as an Indentured Servant! So this is an experiment on how she reacts amongst other Salsolans!


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#2
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The cat came skittering through the forest like he had been spooked. He ran past the wooden structure, half-circled, and hurried back with his stubby tail high. As felines went, Keenan lacked certain grace. Too much of him was changed from domestication and partnership with other predators.

O'Riley, to whom he now returned, had been far closer to a thing that in many parts of the world would still seek to destroy him. They were competition, the wolf and the wildcat, and though they shared a den and coexisted, both remained unpredictable. Keenan's claws had struck O'Riley for as often as he lashed out. Neither of them talked about what happened after it was over, nor did they illuminate the scars and bruises left by such things.

He was a violent person, O'Riley. The feeling was constant with him. Discipline kept him in line, however, and was principle among the many reasons he had become like he was now.

In brisk, uncertain terms, the cat explained what he had seen. When O'Riley went to look for himself, Keenan slunk indoors to escape the cold.

It was faster for O'Riley to travel on all fours, but he enjoyed towering over others and walked on two legs into the Ruins. Rugged and built for winter he wore very little on his person. Most of the weight was carried on his belt, burdened by the sword and the heavy bag which provided ample balance above his hips. He itched to smoke, but wanted to see if what he had heard was true.

When he saw her out there, in a place where she had no right to be, it occurred to him that they needed to make the young woman leave – now, before anyone realize who she was, before they realized what had happened—

—slowly, with each passing breath, O'Riley let these thoughts go.

That looks like it hurts, the wolfdog said without introduction, staring at the young woman's ruined face and moving to cut her route forward off.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v1.png] | Player Wiki
#3
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Memory was a strange and fickle thing. Odalis stood there for what felt like an eternity, her good eyes slowly blinking as she looked out over the dry grass that ran into a far-off treeline. She leaned heavily on the stones and felt for a moment that there was a sense of familiarity on the wind – a scent that thrust her both backwards and forwards in time. The tea that The Boss had her drink left her in a confusing fog, but it quelled the emotions that threatened to spill over each time her mind drifted back to the cell that had kept her in the concrete jungle.

”That looks like it hurts.”

The voice rippled, and she raised her head slowly so that it did not spin quite so quickly. The eyes were what she noticed first – just as she had before, many moons ago – but she did not draw the connections so quickly. Her good eyes dragged its way from his gaze and the pretty violet that ran over her, and she bobbed her head – propping her weight on an extended arm that still lay against the stone.

She straightened and ran her fingers self-consciously along the edge the branching scar that ran across her cheek. It reminded her of Ciprian, of the boy with the bat who had claimed her brothers life and stolen an innocent child from her home. Her thoughts became muddled - and for a moment she pictured the tall man alongside a lake, his cheeks of tarnished gold ruffled against the cold.

”I-“ Recognition lit her face, a dim bulb of certainty that had her stepping toward him. ”Yes. It does.”

She ducked her head, the rivulets of her red hair running over her thin shoulders. ”Have we met?”





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#4
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It was an awful thing, whatever had happened to her. Her face would never be the same – even now, an ugly cloudy eye and raw-red-skin wound stared back at him, unseeing and horrendous.

To his own knowledge and experience in a world of violence, O'Riley could acknowledge that an injury of such magnitude could be life-changing. When his Oma had finally stumbled, it had been because a rival lord had wounded her in battle. Salvia might have been able to hide this for a very long time, but the eyes of her hungry apprentices looked for dominance. He had it here, now, and was intoxicated by the idea.

That such thoughts also made him hyper-vigilant, suspicious, dangerous, this was the pendulum swing that came from the top. He had not always been wise enough to recognize threats against him, or against her, and his own folly had left scars on his throat and body which would never fade.

She looked strange to him.

She looked like a warning.

A smile eased onto his maw, emotionless and full of teeth. When she could not look at his face, this false-expression fell.

Do you know where you are? Do you know who you are? O'Riley pressed, mirroring her step forward. He wondered if she would remember him if he had been on all fours.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v1.png] | Player Wiki
#5
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The drink made it difficult to know anything at all for certain. The tea hung in her veins like a fog, and even as she gazed upon The Erilaz’s visage she found that she still wasn’t certain that she had seen the man before. He was impressive – lean and tall with a strong muzzle that broke upon to reveal perfectly white teeth that winked at her as he spoke.

She would have laughed to know that to him she was a warning – a sign that times were changing in the sordid kingdom of Salsola.

To her he was a question, a man whos place she did not understand. He gazed at her with sadness in his eyes that had her transitioning her weight from foot to foot. Despite the emotion that hung around him. She worried her lips, clasping her hands before her as she considered her response.

”I think so.” Her tail twitched, ”I know who I am. For now anyway.” The word sounded strange on her tongue, and her voice sounded too light… too buoyed by the weightlessness of the mysterious tea. ”I am Odalis Amaranthe.” Her name was a hiss, but she said it was a cant of her head that had her peering up at the dark man curiously. Here her name meant nothing and held no weight. "What should I call you?"

The grounds about them still spun, but she found that the tighter she held herself that the more centred she felt to the frozen earth beneath her. Everything dipped, and she hummed deep in her throat – a song that transported her away from the prying eyes and sharp edged teeth as O’Riley stepped closer toward her.

She stumbled suddenly as if some invisible force had shoved her from behind, her balance lost.





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#6
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[WC: 348]

O'Riley saw her as she had been, and saw her now and could replace the old vision with this new reality with little quarrel. Misfortune had befallen Odalis Amaranthe, and that was no fault of his.

The woman's eyes were glazed and unfocused, though the one saw nothing at all. No wonder she seemed so strange – Elphaba had drugged her with something. He wanted to know what and could hazard an educated enough guess. Even if he wasn't as good with plants as his cousins, O'Riley knew enough to understand narcotics. A few flowers or roots crushed and boiled into potion could influence a person's thoughts. She was probably in pain too, he thought. When he had been injured they had given him medicine touched with things that made his head feel strange and far-away. Neith had given him things which brought on strange, otherworldly dreams, though he had not seemed surprised by this. Wounds and medicine had a way of twisting the mind, and corrupting thoughts with strange visions.

Despite her medication, it seemed Odalis could recall herself. Her mind was still there, even if O'Riley had been forgettable somehow. If she remembered herself, did she remember him? She must.

He needed to be sure.

She stumbled forward abruptly, startling him. He caught her without thinking. Odalis felt small and light in his arms. Beneath her fur her arms felt bony. This was peculiar – she had been with the Court, with a pack, why was she so thin? What had happened?

Easy, the big wolfdog gently put her back on her feet. Once he was certain she would not fall, he loosened his grip on her. One hand lingered, as if he did not trust her to stand. “As long as you're here, you should call me Erilaz, he explained, looking in the direction from where Odalis had come conspiratorially. You don't seem well, Odalis. Where are you staying? If you're hurting, you'd be better off resting.

It was her own fault she had wound up here. Leaving Salsola was much harder than finding it.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v1.png] | Player Wiki
#7
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It was strange to think that the man before her could at any time be considered forgettable. He was a force of nature – she could feel his energy crackling on the air, sharp edges like a sword. It was difficult to arrange her thoughts each time he looked at her – the pale violet of his eyes standing out from above his gold cheeks even as she stumbled. The world spun violently, and she wasn’t sure if she cried out or imagined the sound that leaked from between her teeth.

He caught her when she fell, and for a moment she thought herself a tiny dove caught between the breadth of his wide hands.

Her mouth tasted like tea – bitter and too warm against the cold. Odalis could see her breath crystalizing before her, the mist rising between them as if to blockade herself from his view. In comparison to Salsola the Court des Miracle seemed a reverent dream – a place where Queens rose and fell like sandcastles swept away by the rhythm of the tide. She felt her head bob, the pristine crown of her red hair swirling about her face like a blood dropped into water.

”Erilaz.” She finally managed the word and stood straight, balancing herself against a smooth forearm. ”As long… as I’m here?” Odalis shook her head, ”Does that mean I will get to go home?”

Home. It was a strange word, and she realized once she said it that she wasn’t sure where home really was. Her face suddenly ached and she felt a tremble rippled through her shoulders.

”I stay with The Boss.”

Her milky eye flicked towards his face, ”I swear I have seen you before…” She braced herself – carefully setting her feet amongst the loose stones of the road, ”But how could I forget your face?”





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#8
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[WC: 253]

Oh, he said. I imagine whatever happened to you might have something to do with it. That wound looks angry.

It had been treated, this much he could tell, and it was not as fresh as it looked. There was little swelling now. Anytime a body suffered injury the site was bound to swell. O'Riley didn't understand why, nor did he think to question it.

Things just happened.

She must have saved you, he presumed. Why else would Elphaba keep an Outsider in her home? Why else would she hide someone away, when others could heal a wounded stranger? Did the Queen known who it was she had rescued?

They walked slowly through the Ruins, taking the most direct path towards Elphaba's home. He could smell others in the area. He had never really liked the idea of being so close to his neighbors, and the few times he had slept in the Throne Room had seen him waking often to listen at strange sounds. His home was more than comfortable, and far enough away that he could breathe.

Nearly to their destination, O'Riley looked down at Odalis' once-pretty face. He thought she was starting to come to her senses in the cold. The way she kept shuddering made him feel tense and alert. Whatever Elphaba had given her could have been keeping her head fuzzy. There was more to this. His curiosity and need to know was relentless.

Do you remember where you were before this? O'Riley asked, peering at her intently.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v1.png] | Player Wiki
#9
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It was something that would haunt her for the rest of her life. Her wound was angry. It had been created from violence, from the slashing claws of Ciprian Tenebriso. He had marked her for all of eternity, and Odalis wondered if even in death he understood the influence that he had left upon her. Sometimes she awoke in the night was the scent of his caught up between her teeth, her breath gasping in the small stone room that lay at the back of Elphaba Revlis’ cold-stone tower.

Erilaz (for she realized she did not know his name) invoked warped images of a perfectly silver lake and a cloudless sky – but beyond that he was nothing more than a violet-eyed King.

”She… Yes.” She made a sound in her throat before continuing, her eyes glittering with fractured memories. ”She found me in the snow – I was running from… something.” She couldn’t tell him, not now – but Ciprians cruel face rose like a dark tide across her body – and she shuddered from the chill of it.

The tea muddled her, and she clasped her hands together and ignored the imprints that his hands had left upon her skin. ”I come from a Court in the South, and before that a place across the sea.” Her brows came together at mention of Onuba – and for the first time since her return to Nova Scotia she longed for its architecture, for the bustle of the marketplace and the shrill cry of her mother’s summons.

Even Lucian. Even Isandro.

”I don’t… I don’t know what to do here Erilaz.”




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#10
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[WC: 311]

The more she spoke, the less friendly his expression became.

They were nearly to the stone walls of the Queen's home when he stopped supporting her so gently. His touch became possessive, and by all accounts he practically strong-armed her through the door.

Elphaba wasn't home, but the room smelt like her. Beyond that O'Riley could taste the smoke from the fireplace and candles burnt in the late hours. There were stronger twinges of the strange herbs she burnt, and maybe even secret perfumes and oils others had given her. He was not able to fully separate these. Too much of it was muddled with her.

He released Odalis abruptly, and shut the door behind them.

Dust motes swirled in the air where the light pierced through open windows, and the chill of winter lingered in the stone walls. The fire had gone out. He suspected Elphaba had gone to the Blackwoods. She never left that place alone for long.

How much time did he have, he wondered.

Dark, intrusive thoughts drifted through his mind. He had stopped smiling.

You do anything she tells you to do, O'Riley answered coldly. Elphaba is the Boss. She's our Queen – so you realize how important that makes your rescue, don't you? He stepped away from the door and towards her. Whatever happened to you must have been horrible. One day I'll need you to tell me about it. It's important.

Slowly, he came to a standstill. In his memory he could see her as she had been, whole and beautiful. Elphaba would never see her like that. Nervous and untarnished atop her horse, the young courtly woman had been a pristine example of what those foreign, Southernly women might be like.

What a waste, for her to lose the best part of herself.

How long has it been, since you left the Court?


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v1.png] | Player Wiki
#11
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The anger in his expression went unnoticed by Odalis Amaranthe – for she allowed herself to become lost in the ebbs and flows of her confusion. It was a strange thing to lose pieces of yourself to trauma, and each time he spoke she found herself lifting her head as if to place him in the long story of her life. The side of her that faced him was bruised and scarred – her thin shoulders warm beneath the heat of the hands which helped support her home.

Home. This was a home for no one.

The Throne Room was cold – filled with baubles and candles that Elphaba had arranged for herself but that lent no true character to the sterile space. Odalis hated everything about it, but especially the hearth which gaped like a toothless maw; its throat waiting to belch cruel black smoke against the sky. From where O’Riley lead her she could make out the entryway to her sleeping place – the uneven stones imprinted against her shoulderblades.

Everything here was heaving with power, and as the man abandoned her she held to the table for support, her mind whirring.

He shut the door with formality, the bulk of him blocking the way that they had entered. His edges were prickled now, and Odalis resisted the urge to take one of his huge hands and hold it between her own. He would act as an anchor – would bring her down to earth from the spinning memories that rippled through her too fast to follow.

When he spoke his words came fast like fluttering birds. They clogged her vision and filled her mouth with feathers.

”I-I-“ How long had she been gone from The Court? ”Why would she save me?”

Her blind eye narrowed, pinching the edges of her scar.

”A month I think.” She shuddered, ”A whole month.”

She sniffed and gazed at the floor as she swayed upon her feet, ”They killed my brother.”




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#12
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[WC: 251]

He watched her begin to crumble.

Dazed and uncertain, Odalis provided him with what he needed to hear. A month was a very long time. If the southern Court had not found her in all that time, would they still be looking? To O'Riley, this seemed unlikely. She might have been important to her family across the sea, but as it turned out, the only person who seemed likely to care was dead.

These things reassured him. It was his job to ensure that the Kingdom and its Queen remained safe. This sad lost woman was not of enough worth for war to rise. Besides, they had saved her.

His roaming hands sought her again, this time with the pretense of helping her. He knew where things were in this place – where lesser things were kept. Around the throne he led her, past the wooden table and through to a small room that seemed meant for storage and not people. Here, old rugs that already carried her scent were piled in the corner, and here it was O'Riley finally eased her down.

You're hurting, he said without sympathy. A month is a long time. I'm sure those people buried your brother, even if they didn't try and help you. He lowered himself to be closer to her level, squatting while his fingers brushed the stone floor between his feet. In the small space, his presence seemed immense. Do you remember who took you? Do you want me to find them?


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v1.png] | Player Wiki
#13
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He led her through the throne room toward the musty area where she slept. It was too much like the cell that she had come from, and for a moment she struggled against him in confusion. Why was he leading her back there? How long would she need to stay? O’Riley deposited her against the abandoned carpets and furs that made up her bed, and with a resigned whine she collapsed amongst them – her back pressed to cool stone wall.

Without meaning to she began to weep, small silver tears that crept along her cheeks and speckled the floor. She sniffed, ignoring the way that the doorway twisted and turned behind him, the throne room cast in vibrant colors of pink and green. It was as if she had looked into the sun for too long – but here in the room at the back of Elphabas keep there was no room for such brightness.

She felt weighed down – and despite the mans closeness she felt deeply afraid.

His fur rose in bright plumes about him, his violet eyes cool and collected as he awaited her response. Odalis felt like it was taken too long for her to collect her wandering thoughts, and she hiccupped softly and wiped her nose with her sleeve. ”Y-You think so?” She wanted to find Solomons grave one day to offer it a small blessing in the Moreno tradition. He deserved to have a piece of home with him in the afterlife.

Why hadn’t The Court come looking for her? Why hadn’t anyone come for Issola?

Odalis felt herself steeling with resolve, however slight. She licked her lips and finally made eye contact with the Erilaz of Salsola. He had lowered himself to a crouch, but his size seemed too much for the tiny room. She could make out the edges of his teeth which had caught against his dark lips, and the pale hand which balanced him against the stone.

”You could do that?” Her breath suddenly came fast and hopeful as she leaned toward him, blind eye flashing.

”How? What would you do to him?”




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#14
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[WC: 242]

He smiled.

Maybe, O'Riley answered vaguely. He spread his hands. I don't know much about the place where you come from, but it seems like the right thing to do, doesn't it? Especially since they couldn't save your poor dead brother, he added. Or you, his lingering gaze further implied.

The more doubt he could put in her, the easier her assimilation into their world would be. Once she abandoned her hope for rescue, once she accepted that this new reality was better for her, any chance of rebellion would be squashed. They had so few slaves now, and all seemed to be born into such a fate. Freemen were the hardest to break, but it had been done. A woman might be easier. This woman might be easier, so far was she from a previous sense of the norm.

She was weak. One had to be weak to be enslaved.

Taking advantage of her would be so easy.

I can do anything I want, he told her. It sounded like a threat. We have ways, here, of finding people. All you need to do is tell me who they are, and I can do whatever you think they deserve. Would you like that? They ruined you, O'Riley added. He lifted his left hand towards her face, wondering how she would react. What do you think you were worth, before that? Tell me what they looked like, and I can find them.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v1.png] | Player Wiki
#15
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Everything in her body screamed that Ciprian Tenebriso was dead. She had seen the man clobbered with a bat, the sound of his skull cracking like a peel of thunder. Odalis knew somewhere deep down that he would never be able to harm her again or lay his silver ringed fingers again her skin – but something in the certainty in O’Rileys voice had her leaning toward him, her attention focused on the color in his words.

He was right. They couldn’t save him. Hadn’t saved him.

Solomon was dead not only because of Ciprian but also because of them.

She felt her breath hiss through her teeth, and she settled her hands sadly in her lap. All around them motes of dust danced all around them. There was something lethal about the set of O’Rileys eyes, as if they were constantly measuring, constantly assessing. From how close he was she could make out the stripes of gold that branch from beneath his eyes, and the dark whiskers that twitched each time he spoke.

He could do anything.

She sniffled again, ”I-I think so.” Ciprians face leered at her from its place in her memory. ”I was worth something.” She wiped at her face and offered a snarl that in the small space was half hearted. ”His name is Ciprian Tenebriso.” She went on to describe him in stops and starts, the inky blackness of him and the way his silvery eyes were narrow and cruel. She made sure to also explain the myriad of rings that decorated all of his fingers and the mangey street-dog who had travelled with him.

What if he hadn’t died? What if the blow Ruckus had dealt him had been for nothing?

She shuddered and pulled a blanket across her lap. "Do you think I will be alright Erilaz?" She was suddenly exhausted, and both of her eyes were glassy with the effects of her medicinal tea. She wasn't sure why she asked, but when he extended his hand to her face she clicked her teeth and pressed her sleepy cheek to his palm.



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#16
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[WC: 255]

Before all this, she was somebody. He knew that. It was something he would lord over them both, Odalis and Elphaba, secretly, for as long as he could. Knowledge and secrets were power here, and for the moment, he had something no one else did.

The name she spoke was a foreign one too. It sounded slick, like a snake. He tried to imagine the face of this person, and what he might have done to her. One day she would tell him. Once he gained her trust it would be so easy to influence her – oh, he was thinking ahead, thinking about what needed to be done and what he was not able to yet do.

He smiled to reassure her. Her eyelids were drooping. Elphaba had drugged her, and for more than just the pain. ,br>

Odalis had been a noblewoman once. O'Riley imagined she would not become a meek thing so easily, even after whatever had happened to her.

You should be, if you listen. Our Kingdom is safe, and we keep our things safe. Elphaba chose you – just listen to her and things will be all right. I keep her safe, and I'll keep you safe as long as she tells me to, so you just do what you're told. He pulled his hand away from her face, pushed off the ground, and stood.

She looked so small and helpless. It was a far cry from the proud woman atop the handsome horse.

I'll find your man. Don't you worry.


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Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
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