[M] The hungry iron
#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.

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[html]


The me that you know
Is now made up of wires

The time came for the liar's harvest to be reaped. It was, in truth, a bitter season.

The Lord Greygrief had never asked for a servant. He'd never wanted one. She had never been a part of the plan. Though, the crown had a tendency to complicate the things that Andrew sought to keep simple, and Alejandra was not a simple case. Born of Boreas blood, she had deception running in her veins. Poisoned blood, Andrew reasoned. For what other reason would she be so prone to disobedience?

He gave her time -- a mercy, he believed -- to reflect upon her deceit. He gave her opportunity to be honest and receive proportional punishment. Yet, still she hid the truth away.

The soaps. The soaps.

The hearth cracked and popped with flame. In its deepest embrace sat an iron bearing the hand of Eris. It was the same iron the seared the hand into his forearm, yet now he was the master and not the slave. The struggle of power never changed, only the names of those who sat at the top.

In time, it would glow red with hunger, and he intended to feed her. Andrew waited patiently as he stoked the flames.

OOC text here!

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#2
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set a day or so after this thread, early october
[+323]


She had never intended to be difficult. She had never intended to disobey. But it was so hard not to pine after something more.


There was nothing for her in her masters' home. She would find no respect there, no one to treat her as an equal. But really, she wouldn't find much of that outside of the house, either; only a chance few had ever looked at her with even the smallest shred of kindness, much less respect.


In Till, she had found more, even if it proved too much for her to handle, even if it very well could have led her into a false sense of security and belonging. And yet she still clung to this tiny idea of freedom, this escapism his indulgences offered her; his gift she had so foolishly hidden away.


Andrew was no fool.


The days following were the same as they always were. Alejandra went about her business in blissful ignorance, thinking foolishly it had blown over. That it was behind them. But Andrew was no fool.


Emerging from her modest quarters revealed the Lord Greygrief at the fire place, just like the first time. His calm disposition was chilling and foreboding, just like the first time. He was bent over the flames, tending to them, waiting for her.


Alejandra wanted to retch. The instinct to run clutched her heart, but there was nowhere to escape to, not without him killing her for it. Her tongue seemed to seize up when she saw some object in the fire, some rod she couldn't identity — not a glistening knife, but it didn't need to be. She was frozen and terrified all the same.


If she spoke she knew she'd vomit, so instead she stood there motionlessly, dead quiet, teal eyes doe-like and fearful — maybe if she didn't move, it wouldn't happen. Maybe she could will time to stand still forever.



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#3
[html]


The me that you know
Is now made up of wires

With proper arrangements in place, the Lord Greygrief merely waited for the pieces to fall together. He leaned forward in his chair with impatience, turning the wood with the iron as he watched the sparks pop and flutter gracefully up the chimney flue. It was oddly beautiful, but he took no pleasure in this. Cruelty was not Andrew's nature, however, he understood certain evils were necessary in preserving order.

He could not afford to let his house fall into disarray. He couldn't control Narcissa, but Alejandra -- he sought to keep her underneath his thumb through fear. Yet, it hadn't been enough.

Afraid, she defied him. Never again, thought Andrew, would she dare to act with autonomy. To think, he had once danced with the idea of granting her freedom after her debt was paid. It was a laughable concept now. She would never wriggle free from his grip now. She was his property, and she would have to understand the implication that carried.

The door creaked open and Andrew turned his head. His expression was joyless, stern and cold. "Alejandra," he spoke, sensing her fear. "Come, sit by the fire. We have much to discuss."

She would learn her lesson and bear the mark of her mistake forever.


OOC text here!

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#4
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[+355]


She saw nothing in his green eyes, muted and grim as they were. The fiery flames reflected off of them just as they did before, the warm tendrils of heat circling round her and beckoning her. It was a heat she learned to fear; this was the worst sort of déjà vu, one that filled her with a sense of dread that gripped her heart and shrouded her vision like a dark, gathering cloud.


Come, he said. But she could not move. Self-preservation demanded she run away, kicking and screaming as those hands grabbed her, as the fire licked at her throat and consumed her tongue. That was what this was, she knew. He would deliver on his promise. Andrew was nothing if not a man of his word.


But she could never hope to outrun him; she was small, pillowy and nonathletic. Andrew, gangly and spindly though he was, had long legs that could catch up to her as soon as she stepped foot out of the door. Assuming she even made it that far.


The silence between them was deafening. Aly could hear every intricate beat of her heart, every ounce of blood coursing through her veins. Her breath seemed to stick to the air in front of her, unmoving, suffocating her.


"... L-Lord Greyg-grief, I — " She choked, legs threatening to give out beneath her. "I-I-I'm sorry, I'm really s-sorry, I... p-please, please don't... please d-don't do this." Her pitiful stuttering could do little to move him, much as she wanted to think it would.


Her tongue felt so heavy in her mouth, so apt for the taking. But he couldn't, surely he couldn't do it, much as he threatened it; surely there was a shred of something good in his blackened soul.


She couldn't sit by him, as much as she knew she needed to. Resisting would make it worse. But she couldn't just willingly walk into it. Instead she stood there, body wrought with tremors, hot wet tears welling at the corner of her eyes.



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#5
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The me that you know
Is now made up of wires

The servant's pleading tongue fell upon deaf ears. Perhaps she sought to appeal to what gentle nature remained in the hardened Lord Greygrief, however -- she would find that well to be bone dry. Time and time again, Andrew had shown her some semblance of mercy, only to see it repaid with dishonesty. He could play this game no longer. He needed to not only show his strength, but follow through.

He should have taken her tongue that night by the fire. The mere threat of his blade clearly hadn't been enough.

"Servant," Andrew addressed her then, tongue sharp as polished steel. His empathy for the servant's plight had all but evaporated in this mess. He, unlike his wayward stray, had once had the foresight to serve his master to the highest degree. There was honor in that, even in slavery. How could he ever compare himself to such a treacherous cur?

"You will do as I command," he snapped. His gaze bore down upon her trembling form. He could smell the fear pulsing from her body. "Sit."

He gave her pause, enough to follow his order.

"If you think I take pleasure in this Alejandra, you are mistaken," Andrew went on. The ice in his tone seemed to thaw as he leaned forward in his chair. He slipped a leather glove over his hand to shield him from the iron's heat. "One day, you will understand."


OOC text here!

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#6
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[+274]
bring on the thorny crown


Andrew's voice shook her to her core, demanding that she obey. Sit, he said again, and there would be no questioning it this time. There was no room to deny it any longer; time had run out.


Once, Alejandra had wondered how far she had strayed from the path. Surely if she was such a bad person, that was why He had designated her to such a wretched place, one full of liars and thieves, of murderers and blasphemers alike. All her life she had tried so fervently to follow His commands, to pray every morning and night, to be good.


God repaid her with enslavement and a master's firm, unshakable hand. Andrew Greygrief was her reward for acting so piously. In the face of such sick irony, it was so very hard to keep believing He would see her through the lowest of valleys, especially as his red-hot iron stared her down the face as she sat quivering in the chair beside the fire.


His words were so vile, like poison. She hope she would never understand why he was so cruel, so relentless in his search for power and fame. Andrew was plagued as all in Salsola were. If Aly had even the slightest insight on his degraded, warped world view, she would have wanted to gouge her eyes out. Assuming he didn't do that for her.


She had no idea what her disobedience had warranted. Losing her tongue might have been the least of her worries. Her mind wandered into every conceivable dark corner as she sat, sobbing, trying not to shake so violently and pitifully failing.



and CRUCIFY ME
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#7
[html]


The me that you know
Is now made up of wires

In time, the Lord Greygrief's servant did as instructed. Though to his usual frustration, she only acted on Andrew's command upon the second iteration. These tiny acts of defiance, though born of the same fear he sought to foster, were precisely what Andrew hoped to snuff out with a hot iron. Narcissa insisted that he had been too soft -- he would show her soft. He would show them all the great lengths he would go to preserve order inside his fledgling house.

His eyes bore down upon the servant's trembling form. How pathetic that she could not face the penalty of law with dignity and strength. He did not bear the constitution of a Salsolan. Those of weak stock were doomed to rot in service for the rest of their lives.

Such was the kingdom's rigid social order.

A silence settled between them. A long moment, pregnant with anxiety and dread. With a gloved hand, Andrew then took the iron, producing its glowing head from the embers of his hearth. He examined it for a moment, staring at it with hungry eyes. "Do you know this symbol?" Andrew asked her then, turning his gaze back to the trembling servant.

"This mark. It's the same I bear," he went on, rolling his billowing robe back to expose the pick ribbon scar that ran the length of his forearm. "So too will you Alejandra, for your transgressions."


OOC text here!

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#8
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[ — ]
bring on the thorny crown


He would make an example out of her.


Part of Aly wondered how much of this truly stemmed from her interactions with Till; such transgressions had only been a small part of Andrew's growing case against her. Reasons to hate her literally ran through her veins and sustained her; Boreas had a face, now, whereas it was a distant memory before. Nothing could ever change that, and the Proctor would abuse it wherever he could. Just as everyone else would, if they even knew; how curious a man filled with such hatred wouldn't throw her to the real wolves.


He was adverse to admit it, but she knew it to be true, it had to be. A former slave could not possibly thrive in Salsola by merely skidding by. He had to prove himself to the Crown, to that awful, fiery-eyed, pale-faced Witch.


The Hand had been branded into him, once, in a dark room lit by fire, no doubt similar to this very situation. The least Andrew Greygrief could do was pay it forward and perpetuate that horrible cycle.


She writhed in the chair as though demons clawed at her insides, but perhaps that was not that terribly off from the truth; everything in her being screamed for her to run, to flee from his grasp with reckless abandon — as if the scenario hadn't played over and over in her mind already. If there was truly nothing to lose, perhaps she could do it and not look back. But the long shadow of death loomed over her, even though it felt so small a price in this moment. Excruciating pain vis-à-vis an excruciating death. Why not just go all the way if it were all the same in the end?


But that agonizing feeling of fear did not allow her to move further.


It would be as he said, just as it always was. "So too will you, Alejandra."



and CRUCIFY ME
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#9
[html]


The me that you know
Is now made up of wires

Though no sound passed her lips, Alejandra's cowering spoke volumes. Perhaps, not long ago, he would have looked upon her with pity. The Lord Greygrief was not a cruel man by nature. These things did not come to him easy, but he could not bear to show weakness. His servant had made a mockery of him -- of his house. He could show mercy no longer.

A silence followed, punctuated by the creak of Andrew chair as he rose to his feet.

"Stand," Andrew instructed. He was impassionate. To allow himself to feel guilt, to acknowledge that this was wrong,, could compromise everything. He wanted this done. Dead and over with. "Bear your punishment with dignity -- only then can we put this behind us."

There was no turning back. From this point on, everything would change. Andrew could only hope that he was right.

"I'll let you choose," he offered then -- hoping she would feel the weight of consequence. "Where shall the brand strike Alejandra?"



OOC text here!

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#10
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[ — ]
bring on the thorny crown


His voice was a drone in her ear, incomprehensible babble yet crystal clear. Stand, he said. Bear the weight of this transgression. She was too jaded to defy him.


Shaky, watery legs hoisted her up, her full frame shuddering before his gawky one. There was no shred of compassion in his eyes, nor could she hope for anything other than cruelty. To think she had once felt they were almost alike, how he was in her position in a time long ago. It felt like a myth, a lie told to keep her complacent. Infernian and Salsolan blood alike pumped through his veins. He was a perfect storm, a calamitous, awful union of everything she was taught to fear.


Where shall it strike?


Did he really expect her to answer?


She was in a daze, seesawing from bawling and trembling under his detached glare. Somehow she managed to find her voice, somehow she managed to formulate the one stupid response her feeble brain could scrounge together.


"... M-M-My — back."


At least then she could never see it, laughable though the reasoning was. She surprised herself by sputtering out any sort of comprehensible answer at all.



and CRUCIFY ME
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