[m] and I always will

POSTED: Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:45 am

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.

000 right after this thread. some MOOD MUSIC

The night was long, and the way back uncertain.

Darkness weighed upon the branches of the trees, reaching down to scratch at her as she passed. The forest clung to her sides, catching and holding, resisting her movement toward the sea. Everything was screaming at her to wait. She could not wait. All she wanted was the open sky. She wanted the stars, the moon, the whole ocean again. Her mind flickered back through memories of a ship and a boy and a scar on her palm. You have me, he said, As long as you have this, you have me.

Griff, she called weakly. Ray!

Her fingers wouldn't listen to her mind anymore. They hung limply at her side, dripping dark and red. Her other hand had frozen around the handle of the axe, but too weak to carry it aloft, she had let it drag along. When it caught on a vine, she stumbled and used the strength of a tree to hold herself steady. Slowly, she sank into its roots.

There was an unfamiliar sting in her eyes. She closed them, and there she saw the morning light pouring through the colored glass, the dust motes adrift and spiraling among old stone pillars, a long aisle lined with pews that smelt of fresh wood.

If she could go back to anywhere, it would have been there, beneath the table with a small leather book stained with ink.

As if everything that exists, she murmured, everything carries me to you.

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POSTED: Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:29 am

Mateo woke when a sliver of silver crept through the flap of his canvas tent and rolled across the peaceful planes of his face. In sleep he was childlike , his face buried into the pile of furs that he nestled into each night. He awoke slowly, rolling about as he roused himself - the pale violet of his eyes blinking sleepily. Naji was curled near the entrance, her tail tucked tightly around her nose - a habit that she had carried over from her time in Bedaya.

Something stirred deeply within the boy, and so he forced himself out of the tents warmth and into the frigid night air. It broke over him like an ocean swell and without thinking he trembled all over before pulling his tunic over his head and tossing his leather satchel over his shoulder. The darkness cast everything in shadows that made him curious and unafraid and he glanced at Naji only once before disappearing into the trees.

He felt invigorated - and above the tree tops he could see the erased portions of sky that he could only assume were mountains that blotted out stars. The sky there was endlessly black and Mateo wondered what it would be like to watch the mountain become lit up with the dawn. He ran an ambling hand through his sleep-curled hair and sighed softly - there would be time later for such things.

The wind shifted and brought with it the thick scent of blood.

Instinct deep within him bristled, had him stepping apprehensively away - but his heart had him padding forward, his muzzle parted to pant nervous breaths over his tongue.

He wasn't sure what he expected.

He recognized the unruly curls that spilled towards him immediately.

Mateo came upon her tangled amongst the forests roots and felt himself break - the stalwart man he wanted to be crumbling before her eyes. Instead he was concerned, his brows so low that his eyes almost disappeared, the set of his mouth a firm line that expressed little else but anger. It was the first time Mateo had felt a longing for revenge, and his hands clenched and unclenched before he threw himself to the ground alongside her.

"T-Tiamat?" His voice was trembling, and he remembered Anri - is she ok? of course not, fool - and he growled softly, resisting the urge to touch her all over.

Instead he cradled her face in his soft hands, wiping blood stains away with his palms.

Without thinking he tore off his tunic, shredding the thing with his teeth. He spoke spanish, his native tongue falling from his lips like careful raindrops. <"What should I do?"> It felt pathetic to ask, but he saw the wet gleam on her fur and snarled softly - a sound that was strange coming from the usually quiet boys lips. There was nothing but darkness on all sides of them, and instead of the usual beauty that Mateo noticed in all things... all he saw was sharp edges and snapped branches, a blood trail and a long groove in the earth which showed where Tiamat had dragged herself and the heavy axe that lay alongside her - Alone.

He struggled to find words, to find the assertive centre that he knew his father would have fallen back on.

Instead he held the scraps of cloth in his hands, at a loss for how to help. Moonlight spilled over his bare shoulders and highlighted the wound on her side - and he winced. <"Tia...">

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POSTED: Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:06 am


Tiamat never told anyone, but she often saw a sailor in her dreams.

She knew he had drowned, because he once showed her the place where his body had been wedged between the rocks. He came to her in his old wooden boat and peered at her with his eyeless sockets. He never spoke. The last time he'd come to her, he had shown her the way to the Devil An-Nar. This time, he offered her a seat on his boat.

It frightened her, the boat and the lonely little island that sat at the horizon of her dreams.


Tiamat turned at the sound of her name, and the sailor faded into the dark.

Mateo... she whispered. She felt her head being lifted, though she could barely feel his hands on her cheeks. A shiver ran through her skin. Mateo, she said again, swallowing back tears. An odd sensation stammered in her chest. Maybe it was the feeling of relief that warmed her so. You're here.

A question broke through the mire of her thoughts. He sounded so sad that it pained her, and she clutched limply at his hand. The desire to comfort him was enough to bring her strength, and she lifted her left arm for him to take. Tightly, she told him. She wanted to tell him more, how to wrap the cloth and to find Naji. These words trembled at her lips but were ultimately left unsaid; her eyes fluttered open and closed, and her head lolled against her shoulder.

Don't let me go, she murmured, echoing the words she'd told him in Onuba so long ago. And then she drifted, like she was back there again, careening through candlelight and music.

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POSTED: Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:20 pm

The boy – well soon he would no longer be a boy, he was a boy on the cusp of manhood – but he still felt too large, so gangly thin… so useless. It was something that he struggled with daily though Naji commented sometimes on the new breadth of his shoulders or the weight that had begun to gather in his arms. He did not see it – all he could see was Griffin with his easy swagger, Tsolin with eyes that were bright as the moon.

He was nothing in comparison.

Mateo struggled for the first time in his life to find words – everything was moving so fast, her eyes fluttering, her wound seaping – and the blood –

He cried out pitifully, wringing the bandages through his hands until she gestured, and he understood. Silently he wrapped her wounds, his hands moving frantically fast as he wound it around and around. He held her arm firmly, ignoring the way his muscles trembled and her eyes went in and out of focus.

<”Stay with me,”> He was murmuring softly, using other pieces of fabric to wipe her brow and clean her armor, <”Of course I am here.”>

This was nothing like the court he had come from. Salvador had never prepared him for blood and war and love.

He bit his lip, tucking the last remnant of the bandage away.

<”Tiamat,”> He rumbled softly, pressing hair from her face - and gathered her up in his arms, abandoning the axe where it lay. He would come back for it later. Her head was pillowed against his bare chest, her hands unfurled like spring blooms pillowed against her chest. The moonlight caught at the splattering of blood that still cascaded across her tunic, and he pressed his chin to her forehead - whining as he picked his way through the forest back to camp.

<"We're almost there. I promise.">

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POSTED: Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:50 pm


She didn't know when it was that she had become a woman. Was it the first time an axe had been placed in her hands and she had lodged it in a man's skull, or much earlier, when her faith in family was broken by a weeping mother? All she knew was that innocence was omitted in her descriptions, and the people who'd known her as a girl made no mention of it ever being there. Even to the Onubans, whose culture carefully distinguished between maidens and women, Tiamat had been an anomaly of worldliness and virginity. She had been taken by a hard reality and folded as white hot metal, changed form without truly changing, dying without true death.

Before she left, the Devil An-Nar had scrawled in sand and blood another prophecy.

The meanings blew around her, and then a boy's voice echoed in the void. Stay with me.

Her eyes opened, and she saw the summery hues of his fur, the golds and tans of sun-soaked sand and the promise of warmth for as long as she'd have it. Your end will come at the beginning, the Devil whispered, When the sun returns to the sea, you will go to the Isle alone.

Her lips parted with the stammer of her heart, and though she willed it the words would not come.

Tiamat, he called, and she reached for him.

Her mother was always compared to the stuff of dreams, to pearls and sea foam, the mirror of the moon on the calm blue sea. It had often seemed like everything gentle in the word had shaped Semini, and everything hard and impenetrable had made her.

Mateo lifted her like she was a dew drop left curled on a leaf from a long, warm night. She could have cried for how simply he had dispelled the years long belief in her own gravity, and how tenderly he kept the sharp and steely pieces of her tucked against his chest. It reminded her that before her axe was forged in blistering flame, it had been liquid too.

Her dark eyelashes fluttered. Sleep called at the edges of her vision, and the sailor in her dreams waited patiently in his boat. When a pressure leaned against her forehead, she could resist. Her head fell against his chest, and for a long time she held on to the drum of his heart.

She was barely awake when she was lowered onto the soft furs of home and the campfire was called back into light. There were distant voices and rapid footsteps, their gentle pit-patter in the sand a soothing sound. She thought she might sleep at last, but then Naji descended upon her with the smells of the desert and the throaty growls of the First Ones. The water that was poured on her arm stung so badly that she jolted upright, convinced it was boiling, before promptly being shoved back down.

Feeling returned to her fingers, unwelcome as it was. Naji made a soothing sound and pressed a dry cloth against her arm. Gritting her teeth, Tiamat looked around the tent. Lotan? she whispered when she saw a tall shadow on the walls. A breeze fluttered through the fabric, lifting and morphing the image and then it was gone. Where... she spoke, loud enough that the Bedouin heard her this time.

He goes to get you water. To drink, she added when she saw Tiamat's expression turn sour, Be still now. Khalil will be back soon.

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POSTED: Mon May 21, 2018 7:31 pm

He imagined that he could feel the beat of her heart against him as he struggled to run – each step becoming labored as he felt himself sagging beneath her weight. He was defeated, a man who had seen nothing of the world… and now all of a sudden, the world was clutched desperately between his charcoal stained hands.

Tiamats breath was ragged, her blood staining the bare fur on his chest.

Mateo had lived his whole life without an understanding of what fear was. He had heard it referenced by his sisters; Rita was afraid that she would live her entire life alone, while Maribel was terrified that her entire soul would become unfashionable in a moment’s notice. Salvador had feared for his family’s legacy, and Emiliana had feared for her children’s future – as any good mother did.

Mateo had gone through his entire life tiptoeing along lines that marked courage and fear. Onuba had made it so easy for him to pursue his dreams – to dive head long into the majesty of words.

His life had been warm and filled with sunlight and perfect prose.

As he ran through the forest he could feel the icy chill of fear run deep through his ribs, clutching his heart and squeezing it to the point of bursting.

This was nothing like his past life. Nothing at all.

He burst into the camp site with a cry – whining as he pushed the broken body into a sheltered tent. His hands were stained red, his chest set into peaks and valleys of dried blood and tears. "Naji!" He was wiping at his face, dragging his long stained fingers through the curls of his hair.

"Mateo." It was strange to hear her say his name. There was a tremor of concern that lingered just beneath the surface, a sound so warm that the boy could feel the soul of her - the woman of sandy dunes and an ancient people. "Go," She whispered clutching his face in her too warm hands so that he could see her and focus, "She will be alright."

He ran to fetch water obediently, spying over his shoulder as he tripped and ran.

Naji knelt carefully amongst the furs and assessed the wound with a frown.

"Oh wahushi," She murmured as she pressed the womans hair out of her face, "We will find whoever has done this to you." She flicked an ear toward Mateo as he reentered the tent, "Bring it here." The boy lowered the bowl and watched as Naji washed her hands, sluicing the water up to her elbows before patting them dry.

"You should look away now." She rumbled deep in her throat, and began to sew the wound close.

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POSTED: Wed May 23, 2018 1:13 am


As the world became familiar again, the pain pushed her back to the edge. She wanted sleep, but there were shadows growing tall on the walls of the tent, and a fierce wind was blowing around her. Or was it her companions shuffling in and out of the small enclosure?

She knew somewhere that something was wrong, but this was beginning to lose meaning to her. When her eyes fluttered shut, she thought she heard Pazuzu's voice growling in the breeze. There was no breeze, but there was an ocean...

She started at the piercing in her arm, and she would have lunged for Naji if the strength had been in her. Instead, she grabbed the sand at her side and twisted it in her fist, growling incomprehensibly with every turn and twist of the needle. Someone came to sit near, and her wild eyes caught them in the low light cast by the fire. It was Mateo, kneeling dutifully near.

Anger was displaced by a sudden sorrow. She lifted her hand for him, clutching weakly and persistently at whatever she could reach.

Lotan, she breathed, He's in trouble - I know he is.

She tried to sit up, and found herself being persuaded by Naji's firm hand to lay down. Lotan, she told Mateo again, her voice ringing with a plaintive sound. I was supposed to take care of him.

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POSTED: Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:36 pm

Lotan had been a quiet brooding wolf of a man, though he had seemed adventurous, though all Mateo really cared about was that he was not competition in the same way that Griffin was. The darker-dog was all too ready to compete against Mateo and he found it exhausting.

He was not strong like he was, not charismatic.

But… He had something.

When Tiamat squeezed his hand he smiled, pressing her hair from his face as Naji completed her work and sat back on her heels. ”That was close Mateo,” She sighed deeply, rolling her shoulders, ”Who did this.”

Deliriously Tiamat mentioned Lotan and the danger he was in – and Naji sharpened, her desert-sand eyes narrowing as she rubbed the blood from her hands.

Mateo said nothing and patted her hand, ”I am sure Lotan is safe – he is strong and capable.”

He attempted a smile but remember the goring mark in her side and grimaced instead, suddenly feeling ill. ”Mateo.” Naji’s voice was sharp as she finally stood, ”Sleep here. Watch over her while I go inspect where you found her.”

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