[P] in my dreams
#1
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The Amaranthe girl still struggled with the knowledge that her life had been forever changed by Ciprian Tenebriso – that she had fought and kicked and bit only to be deposited into the clutches of a Salsolan Queen. Elphaba Revlis was kind in her own way, but Odalis felt that at times the woman was reserved in the way that a snake lay coiled against warm stone. She was a woman who could lash out at any time, her sultry expression sharpening down to a pointy blade.

There had been a time that Odalis would have bucked against the rules lain upon her, wild like one of her grandmothers’ unbroken horses. Something deep down remembered Salvador and Ichabod – men who blossomed like spring before being eaten away by the pit of grief that eventually came to claim all good things. It was easier here to forget that she had a life that had bloomed Amaranthine and wonderful before all of this – though Akantha crept into her dreams each night gleaming and golden like the sun.

It was so much easier to forget. There was safety in the present, in the routine that Elphaba built around her like a fence from the outside world.

Outsiders That was what they called anyone who was not a part of this so-called Kingdom.

Each morning she rose and prepared a large kettle of tea, setting the heavy cast iron against the new coals that slathered the room in buttery light. Sometimes Elphaba was already awake, tinkering with glass that clinked together or conferring with a bushy-tailed fox that came and went like a shadow. The door would close behind them to seal her in, and Odalis would dedicate herself to righting the womans sheets and preparing dried herbs and flowers that hung before the narrow windows.

Odalis tipped a heavy mug toward her lips and drank the milky liquid deeply so that it ran over the curve of her mouth and dribbled down her chin. It made her memories smudge together like a thumb dragged through charcoal and it dulled whatever panic threatened to course through her. As she cleaned Elphaba’s throne room like a ghost, slowly tiptoeing from corner to corner, her feet shuffling quietly along the stones.

Her hands trailed the rough arms of Elphaba’s throne as she surveyed her work through an eye that had finally begun to heal.

With a grunt Odalis Amaranthe reached for a wool cloak, tugging it over her thin shoulders before fastening it at her throat. Her fingers trailed the empty place where her pendant had once lain, the bones peeking through her skin like a tiny trail of forgotten mountains. The pendant had been important to her once, but now with the drink swirling through her she could not even remember what it had looked like.

Green. All she could think of was green.

The door thumped behind her on the way out of the Tower, and she wandered down the path that took her toward an empty stable. Frost had gathered in the place’s corners like cob webs, long icicles shining bright and dangerous from the eaves of the roof. Odalis made a sound deep in her throat as she inhaled the old scent of reindeer in over her tongue. It was an empty place – one that hadn’t housed an animal larger than a mouse in quite some time.




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#2
During the bleakest season of the year all things innocent and pretty seemed to just wither and die. There were no flowers dancing in the breeze, no colourful birds singing away the silence of the woods. In that prevailing stillness Kaeli found herself basking in the glee born from long awaited good news. She was a step closer to the top of the power ladder, it had only been a small step, a routinely thing given her surge of activity, but it was a sweet victory nonetheless.

She had remained in the same station for far too long and like stagnant water she had begun to cloud and pollute. She could blame it on her plight as a political pariah, but truth be told, she had never focused on Salsola’s power game as fiercely as she had after the rivalry between herself and Helena had consumed her mind completely. It had been the red witch who re-awakened the fire within her, albeit it had been through their shared hatred for each other.

Despite the sense of fulfilment that tingled her cheeks and brought a pleasant warmth to her chest Kaeli’s smile didn’t lose its dangerous edge. There was much left to be done. The small taste of success had only intensified the roaring hunger that permeated throughout every cell in her body. She still wanted more.

Her steps took her to the heart of the Kingdom almost on their own accord. She felt restless with the birth of new ideas for projects meant to make her relevant in the eyes of her superiors. In spite of her harsh opinions about the witch Queen she knew she would have to pay homage to her authority in order see her own ideas become a reality. Because of this she found herself walking down the path to the throne room where she would, for the first time since Salvia had been dethroned, seek the Boss’s counsel. Her eyes flickered intently from shadow to shadow, seeking any sign that would betray Elphaba’s ominous presence. Finally she reached for the door and racked her knuckles against the wooden surface twice.
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#3
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The scents that echoed through the stable and spoke of its not so recent history left Odalis spinning and confused. The tea that she drank each morning left her mouth tasting bitter and forever warm, and with each breath she could feel the musk of the place running over her tongue. There were stacks of forgotten hay cast against a lonely wall, though she noticed a tangled trail that lead to the rafters far above. There were strands of hay gathered there like golden hair – and Odalis was certain that come spring small meadow-birds would gather there to raise their young.

Spring.

It seemed a memory that she could not grasp at – smooth velvety petals that were just out of reach and unable to bloom against the frost of her heart. Everything here was frigid and cold – from the stone to the ash that collected in the corners of Elphabas castle no matter how often she scrubbed it clean. She longed for the green that came with the melting snows; for the dewy mornings that left the earth smelling fresh and wonderfully new.

She wasn’t sure if Salsola knew any of these things, and for now it was nothing but grey.

The knock woke her from her reverie sharply, and with a twist she wove dreamily back toward the front of the far-reaching tower. She was surprised to find a tall woman standing upon the front steps, her dark face pulled severely into an expression that was completely devoid of emotion. Her eyes reminded Odalis of her brother Lucian – and she even had the same acidity swirling about.

Silver had begun to dart her muzzle, though the Amaranthe was impressed by her sheer size – in comparison she towered over the Onuban dog.

Odalis clicked her teeth and clutched her cloak close about her shoulders, the hood tugged up around the base of her neck. She wasn't sure what bade her voice to emerge cool as stone, but even as she spoke she winced slightly, averting her gaze to the long-clawed feet that clutched the uppermost step.

”She’s not here.” Her good eye blinked while her blind eye gazed on blankly – the scar on her face acting as a brand beneath the cloud covered sky, ”What do you want.”




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#4
When a response from inside didn’t occur immediately she wondered if the Queen had left her dwellings for another venture into the Blackwoods. Kaeli now knew better than to seek her out there. The place held a greater significance for the sorceress and as much as the old warrior disregarded the coven’s belief she couldn’t help but be wary of the way that cursed land empowered Elphaba. A sense of strength, even if false, could make the red-eyed pythoness more dangerous than she already was.

The sound of someone’s approach stole her attention away from the door. Her eyes darted toward the red-head, a scrawny thing, scarred but still pretty in a very traditional way. Kaeli regarded the stranger curiously as she approached, noting the distant look in her one eye and her timid bearing. A servant? She wasn’t aware of the fact that yet another stray soul had been taken under Salsola’s wing. It shouldn’t surprise her after all the creatures Helena had brought in to replace the slaves that had recently been freed from their status of property.

Kaeli had never had qualms with slavery as in her eyes those who had surrendered their will to another deserved to be stripped of their identity. They were weaklings to her, beasts of burden that had been unable to fight for their freedom and thus were undeserving of it. Her opinion on servants wasn’t much different as she believed that the only thing that had changed between them and 'slaves' was the title. Their purpose was still to serve their superiors and stay out of the way when they weren’t needed.

The red-head spoke and verdant eyes narrowed and darkened. So much disrespect had been endured from those above her station. She wouldn’t tolerate it when it came from below.

”I have business to discuss with her, but if she isn’t here –“ She deliberately stepped forward to close the distance between them. She towered over the other and so her hand reached for the servant’s chin to tilt her head up forcing blue eyes to meet her toxic hue. ”I would advise you learn to control that tongue of yours before it taints your owner’s reputation. Or else someone may think it would be best to remove it.” Her voice came out impassive and so cold it burned. Despite the threat she didn’t dare harm the wretched thing. Kaeli wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

She sensed it then, a bitter scent made evident by their proximity. She wasn’t very knowledgeable about medicinal herbs and remedies but for some reason that smell made her skin crawl. Dark lips receded over off-white teeth. ”What have they been giving you?” Her eyes focused on the servant’s unblinking one. A nasty wound, partially healed but evidently still very painful. That was the problem with pretty things, they were beautiful to look at but just too easy to destroy.
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#5
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It was strange to feel a sense of being territorial over the throne room. It was not hers and never had been, and though Odalis loathed her placement in The Kingdom there was nothing that she could do about it save for accomplish whatever menial task was placed before her. Being Elphaba’s pet afforded her no favors and she mulled over the payment of her debt each day as she cradled herself to sleep. This was not the first wolf to come seeking the eye of the Queen and was sure to not be the last – but Odalis remained unflinching even as the woman rounded on her sternly.

The fur along Kaelis shoulders had bristled, her tail stiff as she asserted herself over the indentured slave. Odalis tipped her head with challenge, a habit borne of fighting with Lucian, and stood perfectly still as the blonde-warrior clasped her chin between long clawed fingers.

Elphaba preferred to complete whatever duties on her own – and Odalis relished in the opportunity to be on her own. She wandered the forest or tidied the throne room, setting things where she thought they should go and arranging the hearth to ensure that the place was always balmy and warm. Odalis resisted hissing through her teeth as warmth flared from where her fingers pinched her jaw, the acidic color of the womans eyes distracting as she stared deep into her soul.

”What are they giving me?” Odalis repeated, tossing her chin so that she could move her head around freely, and raised her own hand to adjust the collar which had become crooked around her neck. ”Tea mostly.” She coughed, glaring, "When I am especially good they give me salve.”

She worked her jaw, ”For my tongue.” She ran a finger over the edge of her scar, ignoring the way the texture of it against her finger made her skin crawl. It was infuriating to know that Ciprian had left his mark permanently upon her – and despite his death each time she looked in the mirror she was reminded of him in every way. She sighed suddenly and it was as if the charge went out of her, "The scar still aches sometimes."



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#6
It appeared the girl still had some fire inside of her. The aged warrior couldn’t decide whether she found the slave’s defiance pitiful or admirable. She was a bird without its wings, a flower plucked from the earth to have her petals torn one by one, and yet she hadn’t broken. Not entirely at least.

The severity of her sneer didn’t dwindle not even as she withdrew her clawed fingers and settled her arms over her chest. She figured the Queen had a special interest in the girl or else she would have been tossed away with the other communal servants. This gave her privileges and safety that Kaeli resented as she was prohibited from harming that which belonged to someone so far above her station. Words would have to suffice to produce the hurt she desired to witness in the servant’s pretty eyes.

”You owe her your life, don’t you?” Her voice was thick with mockery, accentuated by a quirked brow. The poison in her eyes shifted and intensified, like a flame dancing behind a verdant screen. ”And still you dare show insolence to her followers, your superiors.” She shook her head with disapproval, her toxic eyes never leaving the other’s softer hue.

Cruelty had been a part of her for the longest time. Her philosophy led her to think of herself as an agent of nature and nature was a merciless thing in on itself. The weak were prey of the strong, and only the strongest survived. Morality was but a poison that drove individuals against the true ways of the world. It hindered the process of natural selection and crippled the newer generations with avoidable ailments. Altruism only served to soften the receiver, birthing conformism and dependence. So she gave none of it, no mercy, no selfless shows of kindness, and no false words of comfort.

”Don’t fool yourself slave. A bed, food, medical aid, such things are meant to maintain your value but you 'are' very much property.” She began to turn away then, all too aware of the growing risk of being caught harassing Elphaba’s pet. ”Hope that the Queen never gets tired of you, you will belong to whoever lays hands on you first.” The last words came out in a hiss, a hushed threat.
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#7
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The reminder that she was property lit a flame within her belly that she was not entirely prepared for. A part of her was frightened of the woman who towered over her, the acidic color of her eyes slanted as she glared upon the Indentured Slave. It was a title that did not befit the Onuban, but she could feel it in the weight of the many gazes that trailed over her as she worked in the Queens yard or wandered through The Hall. They would curiously peer at her bright shock of hair, and then look away as the sprawling scar forced their attention away. Slaves were not seen, not heard – but Odalis bucked against expectation.

Odalis grunted. ”Yes.” If it hadn’t been for Elphaba she would still be lying in the snow, crumpled and frozen like the autumn leaves left behind from the dying season.

”I don’t even know who you are.” There was a challenge to her voice, though it was quiet as a dove – tremulous against her tongue. The Queen discussed little with the woman who kept house, though Odalis was keen to watch the many faces who trailed passed the womans tower. There was a scarred man with wolfish features, and The Erilaz – both dangerously handsome and with sharp eyes. Women rarely came to visit, though when they did Odalis was sent away for food and drink.

She clicked her teeth with finality, sniffing as she crossed her arms to step away from the shadow of The Warden. ”I suppose I will not allow her to become tired of me then.”



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#8
Odalis possessed an advantage over poor abused Micheal, she had an owner. In the world of servants there was an invisible ranking that determined the quality of life they could aspire to. It wasn’t shaped by their obedience or materialistic worth but by the influence and power held by their masters. Communal servants were at the mercy of anyone that was able to boast of their freedom, regardless of their position in the hierarchy. Someone like the pretty Amaranthe could be deemed untouchable so long as Elphaba’s name adorned her collar. The threat of facing the Queens wrath for breaking her property was too much even for someone like Kaeli. She wouldn’t harm the girl, no matter how much she really wanted to.

”Then you must be blind. My name doesn’t matter, look at me and guess. Am I another servant? Do I belong at the bottom of the food chain or higher with the Queen’s consorts?” Her words even if spoken with spite carried a valuable lesson for the girl. Like any new associate she had to learn to be a good observant, to judge the status of every acquaintance with a keen eye and a sharp mind. Offending a member of the inner circle carried heavier consequences than faulting a serf.

After hearing the ex-Onuban’s last words she let her laughter roll out thick and dark like tar spilling from her mouth. ”It will be a lovely sight, watching you tear yourself apart to entertain Elphaba Revilis.” With this she finally walked away, resolute to seek out the witch Empress another time.
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#9
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Odalis knew nothing of the supposed invisible ranking system that differentiated the slaves from one another. To her, a slave was still a slave. She was at the bottom of Salsolas ridiculous ladder, chained – no, collared – to a Queen who ruled with a cruel smile of glittering teeth. Everyone in Salsola seemed to understand their place in it, regardless of their birth right and it took everything in Odalis to bow beneath the pressures of her so-called station.

She had to resist baring her teeth as the woman glared at her – those acidic green eyes tempered with heat.

Odalis stabbed a finger towards her blind eye, ”Do you not see this?” A hiss escaped her lips and she tossed her head wildly, ”I lost a piece of myself. This place claims people like wildfire. You all think that you are independent and noble.” Her blind eyes fluttered, milky white and defiant. ”But we all report to the same Queen, no matter our station.”

”You. Are. No one.” She wet her lips, ”Another jewel in the Queens antlered crown.” She grinned as the woman spun around and began to stalk off. "Just like me."



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