[P] Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar
#1
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends 'till we die

Perhaps this had been a mistake.

Surrounded by enemies and reminders of grave mistakes, Boone found his composure shaken. He second guessed himself in ways he'd never thought possible. With his own newborn young back home, Boone found his place among the delegation in question. His maligned priorities were slowly coming to light. Though painful to admit, he could begin see his error now. Though, perhaps it was too late to fix what had been broken.

Or perhaps not -- it was too early to say in truth.

They'd done their posturing. The meeting of leaders had drawn to a close and an extravagant feast followed. Boone, however, did not find himself in the mood for revelry. As other members of the foreign delegations flitted about, dancing and networking amongst each other, Boone slipped away from the ballroom.

He needed air. Cool, brisk air to still his thoughts.

He settled upon the steps of the courthouse and stared up at the clear sky above. The moon is bright tonight, he thought to himself before striking a cigarette.

OOC text here!

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#2
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Word Count → ??? :: sorry for the wait!





She did not eat - not a single morsel, not a crumb. For three days she fasted.


Salsola did not forget. Even as Teagan had stood by the Pictou and read her father's odd invocation, Elphaba had remembered. Sometimes the water becomes too foul for it to ever run clean and clear again; Distorted by old blood, common truths became hard to see, strange and false.


If they did not remember then they were lost. Of this, Elphaba had no doubt. In the age of Salvia's reign they had established the position of a historian to document all the stories that interwove to make her kingdom whole, stories that ran as veins through the body of the greater beast. Sometimes, the young queen would read through those old tomes and become absorbed by the memories waiting therein. There was so much to learn about the challenges they had faced, and that they might one day face again.


Elphaba was thinking about this - about how many times history repeated itself - as she watched the Winthrop man slide away from the swelling festivities.


She had to lift up onto her toes to whisper into O'Riley's ear. For a moment his face betrayed his displeasure, but then the moment passed, and for the first time since their arrival in Casa di Cavalieri, the Boss of Salsola was without escort.


By rights she ought to have been wary. These were dangerous times, masquerading as peaceful ones. But some books needed opening, and some empty pages needed to be filled.


She found him by the banister with a lit cigarette poised dramatically between his fingers. The air smelled of ash. By the light of the moon, Boone's hair took on a silvery hue. It made it harder to be certain - but when he turned to look at her, his eyes were the right shade of green.


A secret poised between her lips, Elphaba smiled. "Too loud in there for you?" She ran her fingers over the old wood and stone. In the dark she was a creature cut from shadow; The pale shock of her face like a courtesan's bare mask.

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#3
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends 'till we die

Faced with his own personal demons, Boone was relegated into uncomfortable silence. It was an odd position he found himself in, one of which he'd never experienced before. There was a powerlessness to it, and while everything inside the young comandante told himself that he was cornered rat, it took all that he had not to lash out in anger or agitation. He had to remind himself; he was a guest. An ambassador.

The child. He could hardly bear to face his shame. Rio could never know the nature of this grave mistake.

He breathed in smoke and shut his eyes. The sounds of the party inside filled Boone's ears; the music, the laughter. So raucous and lively, it was all so overbearing. He couldn't bring himself to enjoy it.

The voice behind him prompted him to turn and he tossed the cigarette away in disdain. His eyes narrowed on her ghostly features. Salsolan. Queen of spiders and witches. While the fires of Inferni had long been snuffed out, Boone did not forget. Boone did not forgive.

Blame was a powerful drug indeed, and upon her shoulders, he cast its heavy weight.

"What's it to you?" He growled, flippantly tearing his gaze away from the almighty Salsolan Queen.


OOC text here!

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#4
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Word Count → ??? :: ---





The little orange ember from his thrown cigar winked once, twice, before fading in the dirt.


Behind her, voices from the fort drifted and mingled, thinning out into the night air. Someone had taken up a reedy instrument, its melody a lilting tenor over the percussive beat of drums. The sounds of laughter, chatter, stolen words and refrains; The sounds of merriment. Of life.


Out here, in the quiet blue light of a wan moon, everything seemed muffled, muted, detached. It was like being underwater.


His anger was warm, like coals in a hearthfire threatening to burst aflame. Elphaba thought she might heat up her cold fingers against it.


"I also like the quiet," She continued as though he had not spoken rudely at all, as though his grimace and his scowl were little more than the thin pleasantries of the other attendees, "Makes it easier to clear my head. To think. But," She gestured loosely to the shadowy figures of two knights, guarding the ongoing revelry with silent stoicism, "There are so many eyes here, watching. It is hard to feel... At ease."


Her smile made a clean lie of the words. She watched him, unblinking, red eyes turned deep and black by the de-saturated light.


"Winthrop," She tasted the word aloud, ran her tongue quickly over her lips to savor the flavor of it, "I knew a man with that name, once."

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#5
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends 'till we die

In the rough cadence of his voice, Boone had thought that he had communicated effectively enough that he had no desire to fraternize with the Salsolan witch queen. Though he had come to the summit under the pretense that the Salsolan delegation would be there in kind, Boone held no intention of consorting with their foul ilk. Certain transgressions could never be forgiven. His first memories were that of fire and smoke. Of ruin. Boone found it likely that the witch queen herself gave the order to burn his family's home, and upon her shoulders the blame fell.

Yet, she shrugged his sour attitude aside as if he had spoken no more than paltry pleasantries. Frustration mounted, and though he had sworn to himself that he would not reopen old wounds, Boone's lips slowly pulled back, revealing a row of angry teeth that gleamed in the waning light.

He could not bring himself to look her in the eye, the woman who tore his family apart at the seams.

A snarl rippled in his throat and he nearly cut her off, yet he summoned the last dregs of self control that he could muster. Hands balled into tight fists, he thought to rise -- to snub her and return to the party. However, curiosity won the day, and the utterance of a name glued Boone to the spot.

Winthrop. He knew not to trust the tongue of a Salsolan, but there were answers he sought. Answers the Salsolan Queen could possess. "I'm sure you did," Boone muttered, indulging in delusions of familial pride. How else could a Salsolan know the name Winthrop but by his father? The war had been long, and he heard stories. "My father burned your supply lines -- fought your people. I'm sure you hear a lot about him," he sneered, turning his nose away in disgust.


OOC text here!

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#6
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Word Count → ??? :: ---





He looked young, very young to be a leader for his people. Elphaba had once suffered the scorn of Salsola for their assumptions of youth. She had been little more than a girl, on the cusp of womanhood, with a scrawny dark body and wild bloody eyes the day she had become Mafiosi. But the soul of a priestess is much older than it seems.


By her estimations, he would have been a bairn - no more or less - the night that old Inferni burned. The memory of it was as fresh in her mind's eye as yestereve; The way the flames had danced along her fingertips, licking across the floors, the walls, every inch of wood devoured. If she focused, even now, she could hear the screaming.


The fire was their legacies. All it knew how to do was consume.


The knights had no idea what they were doing, inviting Salsola and Del Cenere to sup at the same table, to eat of the same bread. It was merely begging for the spark to take. It was an invitation for chaos.


"Did he?" She laughed, "Did he just?"


Boone would not look at her, not directly. His green eyes, vivid in their fury, roamed all the negative space around her. It had been the same with his father, that first night, when he had been chained in the Quartermaster's back room. The night that Redtooth had died.


Elphaba held one finger to her smiling lips. There was an ugliness curled inside of her belly like an oily black serpent.


"Do you know what happened to him? A war hero such as that is never forgotten," Salsola remembers. Salsola remembers. Salsola remembers. "Do you want to know, Boone Winthrop? I could tell you, if you like."

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#7
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends 'till we die

Lies. Salsolan lies. How could a child of Inferni dare indulge them as truth? He knew the stories -- the deceit that ran like thick black crude through Salsolan veins. This had to be a ruse. Some ploy to provoke the wily Comandante into disturbing the peace in a foreign pack. It was the gang's good relationship with the Cavaliers that stayed Boone's hand

She tested him, truly. Hands shaking, he rummaged through the pocket of his coat and produced another cigarette. Trembling with anger, he set it alight upon a the torch plinth and raised it to his lips.

He breathed deep.

The urge to curse her name lingered on his breath. This foul Salsolan Queen, who spun lies like spider's silk.

Considering her for a moment in silence, Boone's morbid curiosity rooted him to the spot. "This is where you tell me he's dead -- that you killed him," he said, breathing out smoke. "Right?" His eyes were dead. A spark of hope, as brief as it had been, had been extinguished in his rage.

Redtooth was dead. This he'd known in his heart for a long time.

OOC text here!

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#8
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Word Count → ??? :: ---





She did not look away, not once, not even as he betrayed himself with shaking fingers and curling lips.


There was so much of him to see - so much to learn!


In the darkness her pupils were engorged, ravenous for light. Empty black pits ringed with blood, they did not even reflect the torchlight. The smoke that curled from between Boone's teeth as he spoke drifted, parting around her face like fog. There was a tenuous moment where it seemed like the Winthrop man might break; To strike her or to flee, she could not yet tell.


But he impressed her with his resolve.


She wondered how much pressure it would take, to break him.


"For a clever man, you think so small," Elphaba chided, canting her head slightly to one side, "So unimaginative. Killing him would have been the simplest option, yes."


Something in her face twisted like a pantomime of sympathy; She sighed.


"But the world is not a simple place. You know that, I think. People are not reliable. They do not always die when we expect them to."


His expression was a banquet, a feast, a delight like no other. It filled her empty stomach with nourishment.


"I have answers," She held out one hand, gesturing for his lit cigarette, "But my people give nothing away for free."

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#9
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends 'till we die

Curiosity was a dangerous thing. Boone had every right to turn away, to rejoin the party. After all, he'd heard enough from the spider queen to know that Redtooth would never return home. The promise he couldn't keep, a perpetual reminder of a family torn apart by the stagnation of defeat. He was right to blame Salsola for this ill -- for they'd stolen everything from him. He'd been a child then. A child swaddled in his mother's arms with a home full of love. Inferni's son.

But these things were from before. Boone's first memories were of fire and fear, the death of all things good. Everything before seemed hidden behind a veil. A vague feeling.

How dare she -- how dare she even look at him with that ill fitted mask of sympathy. He didn't need her answers.

But..

.

But...

He was his father's son. Weak.

"Fuck you," he muttered under his breath, admitting thorough defeat. With some hesitation, he passed the cigarette to the spider queen's outstretched fingers. His hand shook, trembling as if the muscle and sinew themselves could protest this symbolic transaction.

"What did you do to my dad?" He was child again. A scared boy in a burning room.


OOC text here!

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#10
[html]

Word Count → ??? :: ---





He held her stare, outraged. White-hot fury made something handsome of him; Elphaba considered the pulsing muscle in his jaw and the trembling tension of his shoulders with a detached sort of interest. That he was a coyote only mattered because he was a son of old Inferni. The war had birthed new prejudices out of the old.


She had never seen Andrew in a state of wroth, and so had nothing to compare him to - but when Boone collapsed, resigned, to barter with her intent, he had never looked so much like his father.


It was a lovely despair.


Fuck you, he said, and her eyes turned upon him lazily. She purposefully let their fingertips brush as she took the cigarette from him.


It smoldered gently between her black claws, the little orange glow winking like an eye.


What did you do to my dad?


I did you a favor, she wanted to tell him, suddenly embittered. Fathers had a way of failing those who needed them most. It should have humbled her to think that she shared this specific pain with him, of all people. But it did not.


Elphaba brought the smoke to her lips. It smelled of Boone, of the practiced way in which he had wrapped it, of the residue of his spit. She took a long pull, unfamiliar with the strength but curious to the taste; And when her lungs were full of grey, she told him the truth.


"Redtooth is dead."


The words were buoyed to him on a drifting haze. Dissatisfied - Elphaba's vice had never been so simple as a cigar - she took a moment to savor the fresh taste of the cool night air.


"But Andrew Winthrop lives," The irony of it did not miss her. She no longer showed him fake smiles or rotten sympathy. Her cardinal eyes were hard and honest, carving into the flesh of him. "He goes by the moniker Greygrief, now; He serves the crown, and for this devotion was spared."


If there was confusion in his expression, she did not search for it. "Understand, my people are not without mercy. We do not thirst needlessly for conflict. But when a foe rises against us," The look she gave him was full of meaning, "They die, or are reborn."


She threw the cigarette to the ground, and crushed out the spark of it beneath her heel.

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#11
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends 'till we die

The weight of it crushed him. The very thought that his father would stand behind the Salsolan banner turned Boone's stomach sour. He'd heard all the stories, of raids and fire. Redtooth had been a patriot then, bleeding red as a true blooded Infernian. He'd seen first hand the horrors that Salsola had wrought. Did he not remember? How could he not remember everything they had taken?

"Greygrief." The name tasted wrong on Boone's tongue, unbefitting of the kind father he'd once known. A silence hung between them then, and the young Comandante mulled over her words with freshly clenched fists. She knew his name, his real name. It gave her credibility, but he would hear no more of this -- this nonsense.

He couldn't believe her, no matter how plausible the story. He couldn't allow himself to believe her, lest he accept that his father had chosen an enemy over his family. It was a pill he refused to swallow.

He started to laugh with exasperation. "Salsolan lies," he said, shaking his head. What else could this be but an attempt to play mind games with the leaders of the Del Cenere gang. "You think I'd ever believe something -- something so ludicrous?"

Rising to return to the party, Boone felt his gal return. "You killed him," he accused. "Own it." He doubted she had a shred of decency. No honor ran in Salsolan veins. "Don't lie to me, and don't give me hope."

Spitting at the Queen's feet, he turned back inside and disappeared into the crowd.

Redtooth was dead and Salsola had killed him. In time, he vowed revenge.


OOC text here!

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.ryanPrize b.npc { opacity:0.75; }
// for word of the day or some shit
.ryanPrize u { text-decoration: none; border-bottom:1px dotted #000000; font-style:italic; font-variantConfusedmall-caps; }
</style>
[/html]


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