blood moon risin' in a sky of black dust

POSTED: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:48 pm

Set after this thread.

In the cold air his breath left great clouds of steam behind. He was tall on two legs and broad-shouldered, muscling his way through the forest in a way which betrayed his desire to abandon the form.

O'Riley was beginning to loathe this slower body, despite its size and the dexterity his hands gave him. Sometimes he considered abandoning it entirely, but found himself questioning the idea and wondering why it came. He was still fast like this, but oh how slow he felt now, running after Elphaba when he could only guess at where she would be. Secrecy would not allow him to call for her. No part of him thought it wise to bring attention to their meeting – because the whispers would begin soon enough, and questions would come, and all those other people would be waiting with their watchful eyes and scheming minds.

It was the fox that found him first, alerted to his arrival by the sound of his towering frame crashing through the pine. The flame-colored thing rose up from the snow, regarded him only long enough for the wolf to growl, and then turned and ran. O'Riley followed.

His urgency must have alarmed her.

Worse, some supernatural force might have warned her – she was a witch after all, the queen of the coven, and now—

She was waiting for him.

Slowing in a motion which seemed strangely clumsy, O'Riley bent at the waist and panted even as he felt the scrutiny of her gaze burning into him.

Loki's dead, O'Riley told her. Embla found him this morning – I have her, I have them both, he rushed on, holding his hand up to keep her from speaking. His arm swayed a little. No one else knows, not yet. He hesitated briefly. I don't know what happened yet. I'll find out who did it, the wolfdog added quickly, and the ferocious edge returned to his voice. The facade of calm he had kept around the others was falling away. It pulled his lips back and curled his whiskers, drew sharp lines along his dark face, and brought to his pale eyes a wildness that was so often shrouded by control.

He straightened up and rubbed his face, growling still. When his hands fell away, the look of madness lingered.

It's bad, he warned Elphaba. Whoever killed him, they burnt him.

if the thunder don't get you
then the lightning will
Salsola
The High Inquisitor
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Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
ECLIPSE

POSTED: Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:04 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

All night she had guarded the sky. The coven had been there, in the woods, and together with raised hands they'd kept it from falling. Once, not so long ago, a red star had crashed to earth. The ripples from this impact spread through the land and its people, cemented in fragmented rock and grey water and the stories they told. The damage solidified like scars. Enduring, their culture grew around it in response. It had meant something then, when the moon turned crimson and the first notes of song were drawn from their throats.

All night she had danced, and sung, and held up the moon. Silver light and red blood had dribbled down her arms like tears. Muscles burning and veins afire, she had brought her people into a new, savage age. When dawn came and it faded at last into the soft bruise of a new day, Elphaba had been exhausted but triumphant.

The heavenly bodies seemed to have acknowledged the divinity of her rule. The earth had not shattered, the stars had not fallen, and the red moon had bled itself dry.

She slept a full day and well into the following night, and woke only when the spotted cat interrupted her long slumber.

She had been dreaming of fire. This was the way of things.

By the time O'Riley came the urgency of the unknown had gripped her so tightly she nearly crackled with it. Such an unusual summons after a portentous celestial event could mean anything. Knowledge was the greatest currency here, deadlier than tooth and claw. Invigorated with the strength of her rite and the security of her position, Elphaba was unassuming; It was not like the Erilaz to make a fuss, but even so, no harm had come to her during their time apart.

The fox arrived first, and then her cousin not long after. The look on his face and the breathlessness in his posture made her body move impulsively; She stood at once, gripping a small bottle of dark liquid in one hand.

The night was fragile as porcelain around them, ready for the breaking.

He told her without preamble about the Crone and it was worse than the dreams, worse than finding out about the Seer. The fury of his bleak words and snarled lips flowed into her like a great tide. Momentarily paralyzed by it, she stared at him for a long moment, her pupils wide to catch the light.

There was a strange sound that came from her hand, and then the bottle shattered in her grip. The liquid contents burst from between her fingers with the grating crunch of glass. Surprised, the queen looked at the fist she had made, and felt on the edges of her awareness where her palm had been cut. Slowly, as though it took great concentration, she opened her hand.

Little fragments of crystal fell wetly to the ground.

"They burnt him?" A muscle in her pale face jumped erratically. Her voice was soft, almost mild. "He was supposed to be at the rite," She reminded herself aloud, as though the thought had occurred to her earlier and then been discarded. Her hand began to pulse. The ache of it tethered her firmly to the present moment.

Elphaba thought abstractly about the bad moon, and about her dream. Her face stung as though it had been slapped, and she twitched again, nose wrinkling. There was a terrible heat building in her belly. "Where?"


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

POSTED: Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:21 pm

He started at the sound of the fragile container breaking.

In some ways, how he acted around her had not changed since their youth. Elphaba had lorded over him then, as she did now. She had pinched and poked and prodded, tested the limits of how far she was allowed to go and found that he would not strike her even if he snarled and snapped.

Oma had taught him, as she taught Elphaba. Now, lacking her guidance, they were forced to face this terrible time alone.

Together, rather. They had each other, even if they truly had no one else.

East, he said lowly, mirroring her tone without thinking. It was east of here, out near the plains.

There was another moment of hesitation from O'Riley. He wanted to spit out all the wretched thoughts circling his head, to blame the ghosts of a Clan they had destroyed to other enemies who might seek to undermine the Kingdom. How easy it would be to blame someone, anyone, but he needed to know

They're at the tower. I left Igor with Embla. To guard her. To keep her and her father's death contained. I'm going to figure this out, he went on, rambling with fever-bright eyes and a fanaticism suited for such violent ends. I'll find whoever did this and kill them.

Did you talk with him? When did you see him last? O'Riley pressed, unable to stop himself. He wanted to know what Elphaba knew. There were few places which provided secrecy, but these dark woods were better suited to it than the crowded Ruins where she lived, even if O'Riley often imagined the sensation of being watched.

if the thunder don't get you
then the lightning will
Salsola
The High Inquisitor
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
ECLIPSE

POSTED: Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:12 pm

Word Count → ??? :: ---

She would not look upon the charred remains of the Crone herself until much later, but even so her imagination raced ahead. She had seen bodies burned before. For funeral rites it was proper to add sweet herbs to the pyre to cover the smell of blistering flesh and smoking fur, but what had happened at Inferni - and what she assumed had happened at Krokar - was not an act of reverence. Unbidden, her nose remembered the stench.

It did not make her feel sick. She was not weak in this way, and knew the price of atrocities better than most.

Though she was not looking at O'Riley she could feel his gaze upon her, brighter than the moon that had betrayed them. They had known each-other a long time, if a young lifetime could be considered long. For every lesson Oma had delivered upon them, they had taught themselves another. What she had learned from O'Riley had shaped the queen she had become.

Some called her terrible, and they were not wrong.

"Lock her in the tower until dawn," The girl was weak, a liability they could not afford. A little rivulet of blood dribbled from her open palm. O'Riley was speaking faster than normal, the fervor of his violent reassurances premeditated. He had had some time to think about how to deliver this news to her, how to temper her reaction. But Elphaba excelled in being unpredictable.

"Kill them?" She echoed, not bothering to answer his sharp inquiries, "No. No." Though capable of great viciousness, the Erilaz was too efficient at his task. Death was held in his jaws, and violence on his tongue. He was a sword in the darkness, ready to make an end of things. It would be too quick, she thought. Fire took its time to kill.

The young woman held her bleeding hand out toward him beseechingly. "You will bring whoever did this to me," Her voice did not waver, but the tendon in her throat stood out in sharp relief, as thought a great strain was held behind the words, "And together, we will show them the price of their sin."

Drip, drip. Her tongue slipped out between her bared teeth, snaking in the air, and her lungs shuddered with a great exhale. "Someone has put a curse on us," The pattern was clear, unmistakable. The Sanctum Tier had been condemned. Righteous fury bubbled like bile in the back of her throat. "An Outsider, or...?"

Her mind returned to all the bodies that had writhed alongside her in the woods that night.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

POSTED: Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:24 pm

In the moonlight, the blood on her hand looked black. O'Riley found himself staring at it and wondering at the color though he had seen the illusion before.

Slowly, cautiously, he reached for it.

Yes, he promised her. If that's what you what. He had made her the same promise not all that long ago, when their talk had turned from theory to practice. It had been so easy to cross that line. The trick was to never look back. O'Riley never even considered it – he didn't really consider what had happened as much as he did what might happen. Everything seemed unpredictable. Chaotic.

I don't know about curses, O'Riley went on, grounding himself even as Elphaba began to grow more and more ferocious in her countenance. But I am sending for my grandmother. If anyone could recognize a hex, it would be another witch. With so many among them, the scrutiny would be terrible.

He suddenly felt very tired.

Warm seeped into the short fur around his fingers and down to the hardened pads beneath.

We should take care of your hand, he urged her quietly.

if the thunder don't get you
then the lightning will
Salsola
The High Inquisitor
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
ECLIPSE

POSTED: Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:23 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

She allowed the contact to be made, though it was what she had wanted all along.

Her hand looked very small inside his own, the palm turned up to cup its wound. Blood dribbled black as ink down the creases and around the pads, running into the pale white of his fingers and marring them.

He had never let her down before, and this was important. Elphaba made quick work of those who disappointed her, or worse yet, betrayed her; And her understanding of betrayal was much broader than most. Taking comfort in this, she swallowed a mouthful of furious bile and felt it burn all the way down. O'Riley would help her get to the bottom of this. There was a resolution out there, waiting just beyond the visible known, waiting for their teeth to rip into its belly and expose the ugly coiled truths therein.

"Good," Helsi women were a particular breed of witch, and very loyal to the crown, "Kynda will know where to begin our search." All of her wanted to believe that the blame existed somewhere beyond their borders, but Salvia had taught her better than that - the enemy without often mirrored the enemy within. This curse felt personal. It felt like Family.

Still, one could never be sure.

So great was her intensity that she'd forgotten about her wound, and had the ill grace to look vaguely irritated at the reminder. "It's fine," Elphaba pulled back her hand more abruptly than was necessary, severing the contact that had held tenuously between them, allowing for the exchange of pure energy. Its loss felt cleaner than a slap. "My girl will take care of it. You can't be gone too long - the Shield must be informed. You have work to do."

It was hard, but somehow she managed to turn away from him. Before morning broke, if he came to the tower reeking of soot and pine to lay like a bear at her feet, she would sleep better. He knew this; She knew this. But neither would speak it - All such things came at a price.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

Salsola