the way I wear my noose, like a necklace

POSTED: Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:53 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

Come dawn the stew was cold, but with no slave to heat it or fetch something fresher Elphaba resigned herself to the unsavory meal. An oily skin had formed over its surface, broken only where a bone or two breached the broth. Making a sour face, the witch downed as much of her breakfast as she could bear.

It fell into the hollow gulf of her stomach and sat there greasily. This, in accompaniment to the long night of prayer and the shallow hours of fitful dreams, withered her mood like a fresh sapling blanching in the frost.

Dredging the remnants of the meal, she picked out some of the cold chunks of meat and fed them to the little red fox kit, who watched each of her motions with careful and avid attention before settling back down to sleep longer in his cloth nest. The promise of another long dutiful day settled a dull weight over her shoulders. She'd known, after usurping the Petiti, that his work would fall to her - what her young mind had been unable to comprehend was just how much work it was to assist grandmother in running such a large community.

Of late, Elphaba had settled somewhat into a routine. With dawn she rose and made the brisk trek to Marrgerd, where the grey mare would be housed until she had the shack aside the central tower renovated into a more appropriate stable than the shabby lean-to it was at present. She'd taken to horseriding with much more gusto than anyone anticipated - Something about going so fast, those out-stretched gallops across the barrens, helped to clear her mind in preparation for the day.

The sun was just breaching the horizon, its wane light pale and feeble in its attempts to warm the chilled air, when the Hierophant arrived at the stables. Most of the kingdom's denizens would still be asleep at this early hour, but some - the blonde cow-herd with the swinging braids, for example - often started their own chores at the crack of dawn.

Leaning on the wooden fence that bordered one of the overgrown pastures, Elphaba raised her fingers to her black lips and made a queer, low whistle. Across the field, she watched the grey mare's ears prick up.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
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Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
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POSTED: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:56 pm

And at the crack of dawn Katinka was there, her hands smelling of fatty milk and her coat of warm hay. A strand of straw stuck out from the curl of hair around her soft ears, and Khael plucked it free, smiling, before stuffing her hands back into her dull trouser pockets and she tilted her head at Tink's mundane morning news. The wolfdog looked energized and felt warm from work despite the cold, in contrast to Khael -- whose pre-dawn patrol left her feeling exhausted and her paws frigid despite their wraps.

Walk home with me? the dark jackal said, cutting off Tink's words gently as the wolfdog fell into an uncertain pause, and the girl grinned at her. She glanced over at the bucket she'd brought out from the stalls, full of yellow-white milk, then waved her tail.

Give me a minute and I will, she replied. Khael nodded and left her to it.

It didn't take Tink long to finish whatever her task was. She came out from the barn with bucket in hand and fell into step easily beside Khael, asking her about her patrol. They chatted easily, the lulls of silence between topics comfortable, until they walked the trail at the pasture's edge and a low whistle cut into their talk.

It was too late to turn around. Katinka tensed up beside Khael, and the gentle-dispositioned cowherd's demeanor transformed. Her eyes thinned, her chin lifted (though not to the point of insubordination), and her voice was curt.

Hierophant.

Khael smoothly raised brows and glanced at the red-eyed woman.

but between my soft hands they die.
Salsola
The Warden
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Raze
Luperci Mate to Katinka
in her eyes were embers

POSTED: Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:31 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

She could hear them coming - their voices soft and pleasant, a gentle murmur like the low wind easing through Tantramar - but wasn't concerned; This place was Katinka's realm, after all, in the same way a kitchen yielded to the hand of the chef. Most mornings their paths did not collide. Marrgerd was big and full of all sorts of animals that needed tending, and Elphaba only came for the grey mare alone.

The horse was picking its way over to her but paused to watch the pair stroll down the bordering path. Its soft ears turned toward Katinka's voice, a pleasant disruption to the morning's familiar routine. Elphaba followed the mare's easy attention with her own, garnet eyes swimming slick and quick over Salsola's strangest couple.

Short of her obvious beauty, Katinka was of little interest to the Hierophant, whose envy was not as easily driven these days as it had been in her adolescence. Still, it was easy for her to admire the blonde girl in a cordial sort of way, and to imagine how soft and supple those braids would feel running over her palms, through her fingers like rope - how they might be pulled, gently or forcefully, to great effect.

Elphaba was not her grandfather, however. Attraction did not equate to value; And this was where Khael came in.

The jackal was of much greater interest to the witch, whose voracious attentions had been grabbed that night when they had set Inferni alight. Sin and fortune alike had a way of drawing odd bedfellows; The burning of the mansion had been both of these things.

If she focused especially hard, Elphaba could feel it still - that heretical crackling, hissing, spitting of flame, groaning of wood, the warmth bright and brazen on her face... She blinked, and the sounds of the sweet unripened morning returned.

"Tradesmen - good day," Something about the picture seemed off - Khael remained as unreadable as ever, but Katinka did not simper so much as usual, nor was her smile as lovely as recollection wanted. Elphaba licked her lips. "How has the morning treated you?"

The grey mare reached the fenceline and stood patiently. Small wisps of steam rose from her broad back, dissipating with the early frost.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
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Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
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POSTED: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:11 pm

Well enough, Katinka replied, the soft singsong quality of her voice absent. She no longer looked directly at the dark Revlis, her cerulean eyes falling instead to the film gathering on the milk. Selma's calf gets bigger every day. It brings me joy to see sweet animals like that flourish here. They're very precious beasts, you know, not only for what they yield -- milk, meat. She looked up at last, and did not mask what was stirring in her eyes. It takes a gentle hand.

Understanding the woman's grief, Khael uttered a low sigh. She understood the subtleties of what Tink meant to suggest, and Elphaba would likely understand, too, but Khael did not appreciate the games. There was a place for it, but not when Tink so obviously fought to hold back what she truly wanted to say. Her teeth pressed into her lip, her knuckles squeezed around the milk pail handle, and that horrifying and shameful memory of the Last Supper pricked at her eyes.

Khael silently reached and set a dark hand on Tink's shoulder. The girl stiffened then relaxed all in one breath.

but between my soft hands they die.
Salsola
The Warden
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Mate to Katinka
in her eyes were embers

POSTED: Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:47 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

She turned bodily to face the women, feeling her bones pulled magnetically forward by something accusatory in Katinka's tone; Something that instinctively raised her tail and ears, that widened slanted cardinal eyes beneath the choppy cut of her bangs.

It was unmistakable, but then again, the shepherdess hadn't made overmuch of an effort to be subtle.

This was a surprise. The meek were always meek, it seemed - in this place, they got pushed and pulled about, tugged from one alliance to another until it tore them apart. Some were lucky enough to find stronger patronage, to be sheltered beneath the ire of a more merciless soul who could offer them protection in return for other favors. Elphaba did not look at Khael, but she felt the jackal's eyes on her and wondered.

Perhaps the adrenaline from her pretty little speech had run dry, for the cowgirl looked a tad wretched as she clutched at the pail of swilled fresh milk. The Hierophant drummed her nails on the wooden fenceline, and tilted her head curiously.

"Katinka Holt," She began amicably, recalling now the girl's startled and tearful cry at the previous Last Supper, "Are you upset with me?"

It sounded like a gentle and concerned question, and she phrased it just-so - but her pupils were very small, shrunk like tiny black beads bobbing in their bloodred pools.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
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Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
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POSTED: Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:14 pm

Katinka had obviously not expected direct confrontation, but to her credit, other than an alarmed glance in the Hierophant's direction, she did not show this. She pulled in another breath then turned to face the woman, her blue eyes finding a place some inches beneath the cardinal red hues. She had learned well lessons of conduct in Portland, and here.

I am upset at what you did, Tink said. You killed an innocent creature to make a point. I know that it was just a baby animal -- but the way that someone treats those completely at their mercy says a lot about that person. Her voice was soft, but she'd gained better control of her breathing, her emotions, and so it carried. It was just as loud as it needed to be to be heard, Khael thought.

She also thought there was a certain irony in Tink's condemnation, considering who stood at her side now. Privately, she enjoyed this.

It makes me worry for what sort of leader you aspire to be, Katinka said, that your first public action would be one of cruelty.

She did not wither as she concluded her speech. Khael, too, might have expected that out of her. Instead, she seemed to keep her resolve, and now met the leader's eyes. There was nothing openly antagonistic or challenging in that glance, but something questioning -- brave. Braver than a woman who killed a baby calf.

Khael thought bravery terribly overrated. The weak were preyed upon because they posed less risk to the strong. A wolf who attacked a moose was foolish, after all; a jackal who ate up a nest of baby birds was clever and wasted far less energy.

But she smiled, and looked at Elphaba, too, as if to say, Careful.

but between my soft hands they die.
Salsola
The Warden
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Mate to Katinka
in her eyes were embers

POSTED: Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:18 am

Word Count → ??? :: sorry this is so long and bad haha

She had discovered early on that the truth - blunt as a hammer, sharp as a blade - was as much a weapon as any lie; They expected her to mince around it like her father had, to play the Game by the rules that she had inherited. But Elphaba very much disliked being told to do anything a particular way, and showed this via her ruthless unpredictability. She would not be as dull or routine as the Commander had been; She would leave her enemies guessing, right up to the last second.

For her part, Katinka recovered very well from the question. The Hierophant began to wonder if she had misjudged the simple cowherd - It was an inflexible way of thinking, to assume that one's first assumption was always the correct one, and Elphaba had seen for herself that people were fallible and often changed.

"I see," The witch said, and she did in a way. Katinka was soft, but not without reason. From the shadow at her side, Khael's eyes glittered like little candles in a dark window. The warning was unmistakable.

Tap-tap-tap-tap, Elphaba's claws drummed along the fence.

"Thank you for speaking your mind," She said to the shepherd, and meant it truly. "People think that they can't tell me these things, you know - Or they say to me, yes Elphaba, you're right Elphaba, and how am I ever to learn if that is all I hear?" She ran her tongue over her black lips to wet them, and when she smiled the young woman looked alarmingly like her mother.

Tap-tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap-tap.

"But - do you not think that you are being a little hypocritical, no? Perhaps you look at these animals through the eyes of a mother," She twitched an ear at the thought, disaffected and uncharmed by it, "But they are not children, not babies. You are a predator, a carnivore, just as I am. If the animal serves no greater purpose - the calf was female, it would never grow big enough to be a good beast of burden - then it is meat; Oh, I don't mean to be harsh, but what do you think it is that our hunters do every day?" Because it suited her to do so, Elphaba looked past the cowherd and to the field beyond, where her livelihood would graze docilely, waiting for feed and milking.

She gestured haphazardly in their direction. "Your cows have a purpose beyond their meat, and so they do not yet get eaten - But something else does instead. This is life. If we were sympathetic to everything that went in our stomachs, we would starve."

It would have been easier to leave it alone there, but something about Khael's warning look made the witch... Well, a little bit hungry, a little bit alive.

Tap-tap-tap-tap.

"Or is it the cause of death that you object to - that I killed that particular calf because it was a symbol of the Pentiti?" The witch made a sympathetic sound in her throat. "I wasn't aware that you were sensitive to that sort of thing. Lucky that she wasn't with us that night in Inferni, isn't that right Khael?"

A secret took two to keep, and the jackal's indomitable reputation had grown greatly from that expedition, and all through the course of the bloody war. It was a wonder that Katinka could remain so oblivious to the true capabilities of her consort.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
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Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
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POSTED: Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:08 pm

sorry hon I already brainwashed my gf

The Hierophant thanked Katinka, who relaxed a little bit at the response. I am sorry I held my tongue before, she replied gracefully, holding out her skirt in a brief curtsey. It was clear that she wanted to believe in Elphaba -- believe the words the cardinal-eyed woman drizzled before her, at least until the silvered tongue wagged onward. Tink frowned.

She started to open her mouth to debate, to point out that a tiny calf's head made a paltry dish indeed, that it was wasteful, wasn't it, to not let the animal grow before they butchered it. All a roundabout way to point out that Elphaba had chosen a symbol -- but Elphaba beat her to the point. The Hierophant confessed to what the animal was and how it was chosen, and at the word sensitive a little spark went off in Katinka's eyes.

Named, Khael turned her gaze fully on the darkling girl. There was nothing in her expression to suggest shock, worry, anger. It was completely without affect.

The little wolfdog opened and shut her mouth twice, then frowned and flicked her eyes at Khael uncertainly. Her face was hard to read, too, but because of an abundance of emotion rather than a lack. She thought of a soot-colored kitten and of the heat in Khael's voice when she'd said it -- it's over, we have won the war tonight -- and slowly calmed.

The dark jackal smiled. She was a faithful woman, in a sense. She had full confidence in herself -- and that included Tink, who was hers.

The silly girl did not quite know this yet, but she would soon.

The seeds of this sprouted with Katinka's sweet Swedish tones. Sometimes we have to do things because it's safer than the alternative, she said. I understand now. Sacrifices had to be made. Terrible things sometimes had to happen even if they made her feel sick to see them. She knew that Salsola would have suffered if they fought fair, and that was how she had come to terms with the burning -- an act of cowardice that saved lives. She licked her lips.

You killed the calf because you could not kill the stag.

but between my soft hands they die.
Salsola
The Warden
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Mate to Katinka
in her eyes were embers

POSTED: Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:58 am

Word Count → ??? :: nicely done bro but do you even lift

The look the jackal wore was familiar; She'd seen it on Indra's face uncountable times, an emptiness that begged for deeper thought, a mild blankness that brimmed with malice beneath the unbroken surface. By comparison, Tink's rainbow of expressions was almost comical.

Elphaba had handed to her a puzzle, a riddle in not so many words - It was curious to see the way the dog worked her mouth silently around it, and when the pressure of suggestion became too much to bear she looked to the dark jackal and seemed at once to sooth. Noticing this, the Hierophant's ears rose, and her eyes fixated a little more sharply.

She was very well accustomed to a look of devotion, after all, and could recognize it in many faces and many forms.

On the wooden rail her hand stilled, the nails dug slightly into the worn and frayed lumber.

She heard the little dog speak and felt something greasy and dark inside of her chest slide upward into her throat. For a moment Elphaba said nothing; Her gaze danced between the two women, considering them both, measuring what it was that had passed between them.

Then, softly: "History will always belong to the victor; A symbol is just a symbol. A man is just a man. What is important is the act of cleansing; Ash is left of Inferni, and bones are left of the stag. We move on with our lives, and the greatest death we can give to them is to forget them." Her eyes lingered on the pretty cowherd, on those dewy blue eyes and their courageous spirit.

Khael had doomed her by choosing her. Violence could never stay hidden forever - They carried it in their teeth and their claws, and in the end it was always the meek and the gentle of heart who suffered.

Overhead, the sun peeked out from behind a cloud, and just as suddenly Elphaba was relaxed and jovial again. "I'm so glad we had this little talk - aren't you? I do hope you feel better for it."


we need a forest fire
Salsola
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Alaine
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