[M] Turning Wounds into Wisdom

Lucia

POSTED: Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:57 pm

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.
[[Backdated: Feb 7th Evening]]

Heavy breaths gulped into his broad chest. The cold had dried his tongue and his eyes, the twisting winds only growing as he neared the looming mountains over head. The trail left behind him traversed through enough water to kill his scent and drag the trail down stream, weaving in and out of the water enough to break the footprints for anyone searching, though he was wise enough to know that from where he came wasn't a threat. Salsola, at this moment, was more a threat to him than anything else.

Blood dripped in a winding trail down his leg and seeping into the black of his linen pants, their thin fabric stuck to the wound with wet suction. The threads were filleted over the lesion, planted there by Nyx blade, and smartly so. Shaamah hadn't curled, but his leg retired from the fight early. It left him with a limp from tired and wounded muscles, that he only acknowledged as his leg nearly fell out from beneath him when he shifted his weight to it. It wasn't something he wanted to return to the Thistle Kingdom with, not while he wasn't mobile. They were shifty enough for him to want to be only at his best within their walls.

Yet, he did know of one place.

Gripping a tree, the various cuts that riddled his arm bleeding as well, though not so damaging, his eye scanned the maze of sleeping forestry. The trail hadn't changed but he was wary to walk into the area, should other's be present. It wasn't safe. The question therein lied. Safe for whom?

Dark paws took the uneven steps as he stood, a shadow against the waning sun, over the awning in the trees that he'd first stood beneath. His eyes traveled the scene. The cottage, the trail to the fallen tree, the winter gripped plants that were bare. Everything was in the same place that he had left it in. Wind claimed anything loose on his form that it could when he finally stepped from the trees and into the amber light cast by the colorful setting sky, followed by a low, winded bark.

Her scent was strong. She was bound to be here.

Blue scanned the world again, finding only the whisper of a fire's smoke trailing from her chimney. It was excuse enough to make way to the building, his uneven steps slowing his gait as he walked. A hop and a hobble was enough to keep the pressure from taking his knee out from under him, but it wasn't doing his leg any favors to be on it.

The beast reached the door, the wind curling in the small alcove created by it's frame, and the thick and heavy scent of Iron filled the rose tinted nostrils on his muzzle. It brought him to different places with each scent, and his fury for being incapacitated by that she-warrior rather than gifting Nova Scotia another grave was with him, but something else was here too. It pressed against the small of his back, tucked neatly away in the high waist of his damaged, charcoal pants.

It was his excuse for coming here, even if that hadn't been his intention.

551
Last edited by Shaamah on Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Show'em the Ol'Razzle Dazzle
Salsola
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War is in My Heart

POSTED: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:12 am

Flower gleam and glow,
let your power shine
See the Light, it's blinding

The idleness struck at her, clawed fingers slowly picking away at her sanity. How Lucia disliked waiting, so very much. She constantly watched at the horizon's edges. The place where those tall trees faded beyond vision. She worried and she walked, tracking footsteps across this place she called her own.

Such steps were so small, when compared to his, but his were not present for them to be measured against. They remained alone, achingly so. It was absurdity that her feelings should coalesce to a kind of small angered flame. The distance of time stretched and stretched and Lucia grew impatient.

A dawn came that found the Amarok woman brusquely venting her frustrations to a young raven she had rescued from the freezing cold. The fur wrapped bird could do no more than sit and listen to the female gesticulate and express her feelings, and occasionally it would croak quietly, which always brought it another little morsel of meat tenderly prepared or a thirst-quenching drink.

When released, the small raven did not venture far, having learned the female was a source of food.. and comfort. With increasing frequency, the bird could be found roosting in a small nook of her cottage, hiding from the chill of the outside. Watching with black eyes as the female sung, and cooked, and painted and worse away her waking hours in lonely repose.

****

Lucia dozed fitfully, secured in her nest of furs. Disturbed by something she couldn't quite identify. A long, flat plain of high grass spanned across her sight. Not a tree to be found, nor a cloud adorning the blue sky. She paced the area of her existence, she could not see above the tall stalks, nor could she seem to remember how to shift so she could stand tall. The only choices available to her were to stay in stillness, or to ford on through the unknown.

She woke abruptly, the low bark already fading to silence. A voice urged at her, the same sad one, 'up, get up'. Audits turned to the crunching of uneven footsteps in the snow and then, swiftly she was rising, shoving aside the crumbled furs. The rumbled look of the recently sleeping did not dissuade her from pulling open the door,

There he stood, as though not a day had passed them by, as if she had not been waiting for moon turns it felt like.

The shock fled precipitously, followed upon its heels by admonishment and the few words she spoke,

"Where have you bee-" Her voice was cut off personally. Copper and iron invaded her senses, filling them with the memories of a war, and cries of the injured and dying. Oh, oh they tore at her, so much sorrow.

He held himself injured, blue pools darting to the leg carried without its full support. With no hesitation, Lucia threw wider open her door and stepped backwards and asides so he could enter.

"Come in, quickly. Sit, sit." She impressed upon him, closing the door shut behind his person.

His blood, it was his blood she scented. That tender spot in her chest twisted, winding around and around. Someone had hurt him, on purpose. Lucia surprised herself with the fury that roared into being, in the sharp exhaling of breath passing her yellowing teeth. She would... she would bite them. With her own fangs, and make them bleed.

Lucia did not have much in the way of medical supplies. Herbs, and bowls. That was it, no bandages, nothing such as that. Wide eyes looked about, casting for anything that might be useful.

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SUNSHINE GIRL

POSTED: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:13 pm

It was as if she had known he was there, before he dared to knock or bark or make himself known of his presence. An ethereal quality was building around her, through no intention of her own, and as she breathed life into the world and knew of the presence of those in shadows, her self continued to confuse every ounce of sense he could make of her. An enigma of color and joy, of life and breath and as she asked of where he'd been, she was a place of compassion.

He'd never understand it.

Soft blue eyes were pooled in a startled daze, but as her senses came to her, her heavenly tune spit out a reprimand. Shaamah's instincts knew what to do with such a reaction. He was not child, no open arm to criticism or so soft-spined as to curl beneath her chiding. Still, what was Shaamah's instinct within this small space of cottage and yard? Heavy panting lungs didn't waver and the frozen color of his eye looked into her own, not a protest given. Instinct from war, he had learned, had no place here, despite how much his blood desired to give it strength. Yet, before she could expect her answer for finish her inquiry, he could see her shift. Only seconds it had taken for her to taste the blood on the tip of her nose, and everything she'd been prepared to say to him had been stolen from her breath.

Lucia stepped back and it came with good timing. The laceration across his thigh pulsed with fresh blood as his weight had sat further down on it, and beneath him his leg caved. A strong arm braced his weight against the door frame, and the walls shivered with the echo that it brought through them. His expression continued it's stoic gaze, his eye bore his exhaustion, but his mind wouldn't dare let him rest.

Into the door he walked, uneven gait, as the bolt latched behind him. From the noise of the winter world of branches breaking, birds cawing and snow littering the world in a rushing hum as it fell from unstable ledges, to the hush of the cottage, it's warmth and welcoming arms, he stepped. The colored walls were still lost on him, though his eye did sweep the home. Weapons. Still, he sought them out. Instinct still had it's pull with him, though weakened here in his confusion and the illness that curled in his stomach when he neared her.

He found his place. It was the very same corner, as far from everything as he could possibly be. Leaning against the wall, he brought himself to the ground slowly so as not to tear the wound more. A cold eye watched as Lucia's sights darted through her own home for something that might stave off the bleeding.

The soldier didn't so much as flinch with the notion of what was to happen. It was a familiar chore he'd learned to suffer the scent of,” Metal,” His voice broke her searching with a more demanding note that he might usually offer, and his eye remained solidly on her features. Charcoal digits plucked the tekko from his side. The weapons fell to the ground with a heavy thud, jingling only as they landed on one another,” Put metal in the fire,” Taking the tekko with the blade from the ground, a flick of his wrist had it skidding across the ground until it reached beside the fire. A test of his resilience was coming, and as he had enough time to wager the outcome, he'd allow her to do what must be done.

“Leave it to grow hot,” His voice, winded, breathed through the baritone with a gravely resistance as he leaned forward, the hand that had once tossed a weapon reaching behind his back. Fingertips touched the leather that bound the item that was hidden away, his features giving way that his mind was working silently beneath that stoic glower that rested on his wound. A moment of hesitation passed before he plucked the leather package out of his waistband and set it aside, making no more motion to it save to bury it beneath the leather armor that he took from his legs next. Piece by piece, the tawny leather was removed. It's weight was made known at it met the ground with heavy noises that moved through the flooring, until the only thing left on his legs were his pants. He'd have to remove all the armor to ensure that it wasn't damaged and that it didn't interfere with what he had to do.

Gauntlets came next and the ground heavily as well, before Shaamah was finding that he was coming a point where couldn't take any more off of himself. The bruises and the cuts that riddled him had their purchase on his body and though he showed no signs of pain, the stiffness and swelling were ever present. His lungs were being squeezed by his own diaphragm, and he needed to loosen up in order to breath. A dark hand dropped to his side as the other rested on his torso, his head leaned back on the wall as he panted, taking in all the air he could.

He could be as gray in the face as stone, but he would never give submission to the idea that he was aging faster than he was able to keep up. As his pallid muzzle pointed toward the ceiling, his eye still rested upon Lucia. He was half undone, and couldn't make it any further. He was bound to go dark in the eye if he continued his pace, but his drive was relentless. He wouldn't give himself the break he needed.

A heave of breath inward and he sat up again. Twisting, he curled over himself and reached to the edge of the armor that rested beneath the crook of his arm. Claws raked at the leather, seeking purchase on the rivets that he had to pull the hide through in order to release it, but bones and muscle fought him the entire time. Again, he fell back, panting, with no avail in releasing himself. Glacier eye rested once more on Lucia, taking the opportunity to kick the bindings from his feet, and gather his breath for the next attempt as the muscles of his injured leg twitched and spasmed in his neglect.


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Salsola
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War is in My Heart

POSTED: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:06 am

Flower gleam and glow,
let your power shine
See the Light, it's blinding

It had been much time since Lucia had been inclined to panic, motherhood and the tests of time had turned the frailty of her nerves into a coarse, tightly woven mesh. Here though, now, with him bleeding upon her floor, Lucia experienced the once-familiar twisting deep inside her chest. She pushed it away fervently, it would not aid her here.

She understood everything; the frantic beating of her heart, the sickening swoop that settled with ill-grace in the pit of her stomach. Logic told her that she was too old for this. Contrary to her very nature, Lucia no longer believed in fairy-tales.

Iron filled her little home with tremors, and with it did his copper pulse ever more and more.

The voice was tearing at her, urging action with desperate pleas. 'Please.. please... help him..' She could not, would not, ignore it.

Altair's pale coat smeared with dried blood, Tsytsaki's broken, un-moving body. They danced behind her eyes in a myriad morbid mingling.

The straining lines on his face proclaimed a weary exhaustion, and Lucia realized he had walked a long way to reach her. This revelation she also pushed away, there was no time to think upon these things. He would not take her attempts to help his gait, so she simply closed the door and locked the outside world behind it's wooden boards.

Lucia had precious little to fix injuries of this kind, frantically she worked for a precious solution. She could rip apart the contents of her bed, and fix it to him with a tie of some kind. Again she was empty of ideas till the errant lock of hair fell before her eyes again. She brushed it backwards with a rough gesture that never completed. Her hair! She could cut it and use it as a binding.

The rolling boulder of his voice caught her from her internal quandary, prompting her to truly look at him rather than continue frantic darts of her eyes. She bowed to his wish, and again shoved away the nagging significance of this gesture. Later, later she would consider upon everything that happened today, but for now she must stay focused.

The cast of his weapon was given to the heated coals. Such was her attention upon him that Lucia failed to feel the sting of injury herself. The sharpness dug into her fingers and drew her own blood. She remained ignorant, touching her hand to its sister palm and then to her arms, twisting them with worry.

Bit by bit, his armor came away from his skin and fur. Helplessly she watched this macabre show, bursting with anger and concern as more and more abuse became visible to her. Trepidation consumed her and Lucia reached forth with a grasping hand as his head slid back and Shaamah panted for breath. This was when she saw the blood staining herself, and the injury to her palm. In briefness she stared at her bleeding hand. It was inconsequential, she waved off the pain that blossomed into life with her notice.

She was moving, unwilling to sit by and watch him suffer without assisting a moment longer. The cast of her palms spread wide to capture long tendrils of hair that framed her face and swiftly tied them back, leaving behind a streak of red on one cheek. In her own, sententious way, Lucia was also a warrior.

The wild princess stooped by him,

"I will help." She spoke, Lucia had never removed a single piece of armor in her life.

"Tell me what to do." She was stubborn; with the weight of mountains, with the endless crashing of the ocean. She was as stubborn as the grey of his pelt became stone, as the blue of his eyes reflected glaciers.

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Luperci The sun never truly sets
SUNSHINE GIRL

POSTED: Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:41 am

Obediently, she did not contest him. Rather, as he began the chore of undoing himself of his leather shackles, she did as was told. Metal to the fire. It's iron hand heated by coals as the instance of crimson was burned from it's sharpest edge. In his dressing down, he could not scent the new taste of iron that found the dry, warm air between them. Only as his head fell back initially, did his eye find the cardinal stain that she spread like bands across her arms.

He had once been worried of her ability with a weapon, where as now, he knew her to be so novice that it all seemed novel. It was a vital and unintended admission, a crucial stepping stone that she crossed, without knowing what was to come of it.

In his exhaustion, he could not react when she reached out to him. Still, his own blood was all that filtered into deep, heaving nares. Where is bull-headed nature wanted to struggle with this for eternity, the better judgment within him knew that time was a crutch and he had much more to do before he could allow the dark edges of seeping blood take his consciousness. Yet, he could not dismiss the fact that the very stain on her hand, of her own blood, was brushed off as nothing. She felt no instance of her pain, and if she did, she made no show of it. Blue gaze narrowed as he analyzed this, and every motion she made, and in it, their similarities were multiplying.

Still, she seemed so pure of all that tainted him.

After his second attempt to remove his chest piece, his body was working more on an automatic function, a subconscious survival instinct that drove him in times where he could not drive himself any further. Panting, his eye followed her movements. As she neared, the shiver of his lip as it sought to lift in protest fell to his weariness, and she claimed what she would do, without leaving room for a word to be said against it.

For a long, quiet moment, save for the rapid heaving of his lungs and the shaking of his body as he breathed, his eye bore into hers. The wheels were turning within him, and a battle was fought with who he was against what he needed. In the end, as he had allowed Asura near his most severe injury, his judgment trumped his suspicions. As one hand lay overturned in his lap and the other sat cold against the ground beneath him, black lips parted.

“Straps sit in bindings at the seam, here,” A small motion turned the arm nearest her outward. His voice, labored and rumbling, did not share a small nuance. It could have been a shift in him. It could have been the breaths he gulped up,” Three... and,” Eyelids moved sluggishly for a moment, as his eye turned back in his skull, his breathing steadying. His body began to slump downward before suddenly it was rigid again.

Rapidly, he jarred alert and swallowed enough air to spit his instruction out more clearly,” There are three that need to be release,” Red tendrils drug their rivers through the black of his sclera, his gums and the thin skin of his ears falling to pallor as air became more and more difficult to take in. The swelling beneath the leather cuirass was suffocating him, even more so as it warmed without the winter's wind to keep it at bay, and rather than fight her, he would find his own weakness as a better enemy to be challenged.

Strip by strip, the belts came undone at her hand, but how steadfast she worked wasn't the focus that he craved. The world blurred and twisted, almost as if beneath waves, as his eye fought for sight as his breaths became shallow. In his view, he could find her delicate features. Her emotion. The warrior paint that crossed her cheek in asymmetry. It was as if watching the world in motion, while the ringing in his ears pulled him away from this corporeal thing that was her home. In his last, struggled breaths, however, his body tightened. The darkness crept in, and his features wrinkled as veins lifted in his face through the thin fur that grew there.

As the last strap came loose, a heave of air rushed through him and the front plate of the leather curiass flopped to the side. It brushed his limp arm away with it's weight and the force of his ribs expanding without the hide that once bound them. Heavy breaths brought speckles of light to his eyes, and he blinked to rid them fruitlessly. It took a moment, but slowly he came to, and found himself in a steady gaze entrapped in soulful blue.

Grimacing, he turned away and sat up, his panting still heavy but not so urgent, now. A slow, cautious shake of his head spread the wakefulness through his features and the branches of the brocaded veins in his face softened. Shadows could no longer take purchase on the suffocated veins, but suffering in the edges of his features were still wrought by his travel, injuries, and a newer sense of weariness that paved it's way over him.

“See the metal is searing hot,” He needed her away from him. Words were formal, again, losing that freer note it had held for only that battled moment. Hopefully, she might have meat around. A foreshadowing of what was to happen. If not? Spit would do, or blood. Even tears would work to test the metal's boiling heat,” Bring it here, when it is.”

Shaamah was still struggling with more than simply breathing, but a hurdle had been passed on more than one front that he was willing to admit to. The blue of his frigid sight was no longer static on her, but now it diagnosed the wound on his leg. He was formulating a plan to remove the fabric of pants, a plague he'd not dealt with in his more feral years with wounds like these. His mind, however, did not churn to that single thought. She had neared him and he had permitted it. She had placed her hands upon his body and he had allowed it. Sure, it took him nearly dying of suffocation by complication of swollen injures for it to happen, but it was a monumental step that the soldier scrutinized himself over. Her own blood now wafted into his senses. It's stain on the straps of the armor that she'd opened up.

He had been had freed from armor, the very thing that was sought to protect him. The irony wasn't lost on him.

As she fiddled with the weapon and the flames, he managed to lift himself up and fight with the pants that entwined his legs. Now that he could breathe properly, he could do, at least that, with the last remaining ounces of energy he sought to sap before he was to be wounded by his own blade.

Kicking the last of the fabric off with his good leg, he leaned back and huffed a throaty and gutteral growl throughout himself. He needed the adrenaline that pumped him through battles and the clarity of mind to hold still. The woman he thought to stab him the day before, was about to prove Shaamah's instinct right, but the consequence would lean in a favor he knew he couldn't grasp,” Bring it here,” The demand rang out. Whether it was hot enough or not, it couldn't wait. The beast was too big to lose any more blood, and he wasn't so much a fool as to think he was immune to a death so cold and inglorious as that.


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Salsola
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War is in My Heart

POSTED: Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:48 pm

Flower gleam and glow,
let your power shine
See the Light, it's blinding

Those revelations continued to blossom, a cascading field of wildflowers poking precious heads above the solidly grown grass. The tumbling waters that raced to leap from a cliff's edge and fling itself at the mercy of the rocks below. Lucia had known fear before, had known it very deeply into her most secret places of heart and soul. The tremor of his lip, a waning warning, did not give pause for that sticky feeling to rise. Not even in the throes of his prior far away torment had she been afraid of him, afraid forhim yes, but, not of him.

Not that she was lacking in awe - in great appreciation, for those skills he held at the fighting arts, a male like him would have turned the tide in the fight for New Dawn's life. Lucia did not believe that Shaamah would hurt her, something profound demanded so with iron-clad clarity.

Lucia did not count his harsh grip upon her wrists, so callously caused by lurking demons that watched for any opportunity, as a hurt against herself. A consciously made decision had no place next to a battle of memory and the past. Lucia was indeed a warrior of a different kind, her held weapons struck as compassion and kindness rather than iron and wood. A voice to soothe the most savage of beasts, reaching inwards to draw the man from the monster's exterior.

She, alone, had dared to even look and see what else may lay there.

The little voice, pushing at the back of her mind, urged her forwards though she had no need of it. Lucia was already moved, already reaching to kneel next to him on the ground of her cottage. She kept his stare, steadfast returning her own that brokered no opposition. The world fell away, leaving only the great arch of his muzzle and the solid gleam of his eye.

She waited, and she waited, if only for her own ignorance. If Lucia had known how to remove his armor then she would have already reached forwards to complete this task. Instead she was forced to wait for his direction.

Long moments stretched, with only his labored breathing to fill them. From peripheral visage she caught the fine and the weighty tremors of a body pushed to its extremes. Finally the deep, rock-tumbling tones gave to her the knowledge. He turned his arm to her, only just. Lucia stiffened, alarm flowing through her as he began to wane, she perfected herself to stillness for stained seconds, not wishing to cause him alarm by being in motion when he came back.

With instructions given in full, Lucia's fingers crept quietly forwards until they found the flesh and armor. Her breaths wanted to rush themselves, and she forced them to be stately and slow, the quiver in her whiskers the singular thing giving away her trepidation. Time raced, giving him closeness to the abyss with each second passing.

The cast of her face was determinedly set, the pooling blue eyes focused sharply upon this problem, her jaw parted slightly to give an ease to her own breath. She could feel him slipping away, in the tightening of his body and the stilting of heavily taken inhales. Panic rose again, though heavily contained, it burst to life in the straining of the lines of her face. The Amarok woman worked with a thing she had no experience, to the tune of a fervent emergency tone ringing in her ears.

A first, and a second, and a third, each was released in its turn and the suffocation of him was halted. Shaamah drew in a tremendous heaving breath, and Lucia did the same, compassion compelling solidarity. The front portion of his leather armor was left to lay where it had slumped, a smear of her own blood staining its bister facade. Anxiously she watched his breathing, eyes flicking between his chest and his face, the welling concern apparently obvious in pooled blues. Her fingers trembled faintly as they twisted together.

It was not a demanded request, but she was adept at reading the unasked questions that the body spoke. Wordlessly, she acquiesced, she leaned back and then rose to her feet, giving him the space so desired. As she was within this motion, his words came, Lucia nodded. Her mind raced, now free to focus on the 'why' of him putting the metal within the fire. It leaped through the rungs of logic, Lucia might be a simple woman but she was by no means stupid. She had seen meat sizzling against the blackness of iron before. It would stop the bleeding, inwardly she cringed.

Somewhere within her a horror-stricken part recoiled at such a violent act of self-inflicted pain. It was smothered by the ascertainment that without it he would bleed to death on her cottage floor. Already the staining was seeping into rough wood planks, through the material of his clothing. Again the little voice cried out, plying her assistance, 'Please.. please...' Showing again the vision of the little boy with diamonds sparkling in his eyes. This time Lucia was not moved to tears, but it did set the catch of her jaw, brokering a truce between these parts of her that warred against such things.

He breathed and labored against his clothing behind her. Lucia trod swiftly across the floor that groaned and creaked with each light step. The little skin of water from besides her bed was scooped up, along with a thick pelt to grab the tekko with, and carried back to the heating metal. She ripped the pelt into strips, and doubled one over and over until it made a thick wad.

Those tiny drip drips of the water onto the searing iron burst like stars, bubbling and fizzling away to steam instantly. Rising into the air and disappearing. Petite ears sunk into the crown of her hair, it would be a great deal of pain. She was not a stranger to the concept of 'lesser of two evils'. Casa had executed her litter-brother for his crimes, which still pained her gentle heart, but to allow him life would cause suffering and strife to a great many others.

Shaamah's voice burst through, and the rolling growl thundered as a landslide through the small space of her home. Resolute, Lucia picked up the searing metal with the thick strip of pelt as a guard for her own fingers. A burning stench assaulted her nose, that of crisping hair. The thick wadded pelt Lucia held out to him, prompting him to take it within his fist,

"Put it between your teeth, you can bite down, it will spare your teeth." Even in the midst of this soon-to-be agony Lucia was sparing him even the smallest of pains that she could. A cracked tooth would bleed agony for moons and moons until it was removed.

Lucia was unsure of how far his trust of her would stretch, she would not push the fragile tendrils that twined into life. The muscles in her jaw bunched and strained, those veins in her neck throbbing much as his own had done,

"If you cannot, then I will for you..." She let the offer fall into the air between them, occupy its space like the smoke that curled from her fire.

The wideness of Lucia's eyes, how their whites starkly contrasted against their blues, the expanse of her pupils that swelled; The ears that remained dipped into the waterfall of hair; it all spoke of how this railed against her very nature, to nurture and care. To soothe away the hurts, and soften the harshness of the worlds blows.

Woven between this remained a strength of heart and soul, an acceptance of the need, an understanding of the outcome if this particular blade was not wielded. Determination danced with resolute sacrifice.

Lucia hands did not tremble now.

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SUNSHINE GIRL

POSTED: Tue May 14, 2019 3:30 am

It was a smell that one wouldn't forget. It was the deadness of it, the lack of life, that did not bring the fragrance to true fruition. Obediently, despite this, Lucia carried the blistering weapon in her careful hands, and not even Shaamah's rolling rumble could bring her to hesitate. Still, her thoughts were in places that the beast didn't value. Compassion for his future self teemed within her, and she offered the pelt in hand to his mouth. It was something she couldn't understand. Not without seeing. His eye did nothing but watch as she clenched her jaw. A long look dove into her, and he saw her tension with a lacing of something different. Was it apprehension? Frigid eye narrowed.

He tasted no fear in her air. There was nothing for his former self to feed off of.

As her final words found the space between them, they floated up and echoed into nothingness. The ringing in his ears stole her final notes as he gripped her hand as a snake would bite it's prey, lurching forward to put his own strength into the task. His digits coiled around her own, curling the fur in her grasp around the handle of the tekko. In one motion, he forced her hand in his own down upon the wound. Like cooking meat, the heavy iron cologne curled up beneath the cottage roof, and the searing hiss of hot metal against the wound boiled the blood that streamed from it. Not once did his eye shift from her own. The beast's body did not flinch or recoil as adrenaline drown eyes found her with pupils as fine as needles, all the while his breath still sought steadiness from his broken leather prison.

Such close proximity.

A weapon against his skin.

She lived a moment that few were able to walk from as his mind slipped away into it's recesses. He relived and relived the wounds of the past, and not in their pain, but in their creation. The blindness of his golden eye. A fire that ate at his back. An arrow to his shoulder. The fangs of his greatest adversary. The marring maw of Isaiah against him. He'd lived through it all, but the mightiest of his scars had never touched his skin.

The pressure of the pain he couldn't feel, the curdling odor of the hot blade that cured the flesh beneath it, and the scent of her own breath swirled in his stomach in some sick concoction of what he still could not understand. Had she waited for permission to be granted, the metal would have cooled and done more harm than good. He didn't leave it up to choice what would happen. There was doubt that her gentle hands could apply such a malevolent force, while all she had in mind seemed to be his comfort.

Comfort. What a strange thing that was to consider now, of all moments.

With the blink of an eye, he was back.

It was done. Lifting her hand, the charred flesh stuck in clumps against the blade as it pulled the healthy parts of the laceration away. It was an ugly, angry score, but the cardinal stream had been bound back by the burn. Finally, he released her and maneuvered his digits to pull the weapon out of her charge. Still, he couldn't keep her armed. Not with this weapon that marred men and made more graves than widows. Tekko and the burnt pelt both found the ground where the wooden boards had broken with time. Dirt embraced the heat and pulled it away from the metal. Shaamah leaned back with a thud that moved through the walls around them both. A long breath escaped him. He'd fight this exhaustion until he couldn't any longer.

A breezed rushed outside as darkening clouds brought with them the threat of snow to the world. The chimes outside rattled and jingled, and the small sounds formed a tune with no repeating rhythm but a serenity that only notes on wind could bring. Baroque intonation was muffled by the door, but even in the pitched note in Shaamah's ear, he could hear it. He remembered it. The song she sang softly, himself unseen, as those chimes made riddles of music behind her soothing tunes.

"In dreams you may lose your heart-pains... whatever you look for, you see...."

The tulip that danced in the soft of her hands seemed to bloom a little brighter, tilt a little more toward the sun. Even when she had spoken his name, as alien at it was in her tune as if she were speaking to someone else, it seemed brighter. How many lives had she saved for reasons that far outweighed his own?

From bars, from rivers, from bandits and rouges, from slavers, fire, bears and wildcats. All for empty purpose. Even as the sky fell from the stars, his intentions were lined. Trade. Politics. The bridge of his nose wrinkled. Life brought into this world from crooked intention with poisoned blood on both given halves. His existence had wrought more curse than calm, and even in the unmarked graves of the marsh his history made him no more a king than a killer; and a king he had easily been. He was not made for such things as hope, serenity, and dreams. He was not a flower to grow in the light of things. It was to go against everything he'd grown into. History was not kind to him, and he could not forget what he was molded to be. Yet, in all this, she did not respond in kind. She'd not made him out to be a monster.

She looked upon him as nothing more than a man. As if his scars were gone and his body did not tower over her, she looked simply at him, and even so she saw the war within him that was always waged wildly in even the simplest moments. The corporeal realization was not healthy for his nature or his trade but it begged at his edges for something else. In the moment where she'd brought a knife to him in simple gesture and he'd thrown it aside, he found something he yearned to understand. Not knowing, yet wanting to know. A new compromise. Someone like him, and completely different, with traits that mirrored his own with remarkably unexpected lifestyle. She had flourished, but he'd never admit to have shriveled.

He grew to what he was meant to be.

Was he so sure of that?

A heavy charcoal hand slipped beneath the layers of clothing and armor that Shaamah had tossed aside. He grimaced as the twisting tightened on his lungs, stealing his breath until he'd sat straight again with his prize in hand. From under the pile, a leather fold tied gently with a cord found the light of the room. Huffing, he replaced her palm where the scorching metal had been for this suede fold.

His hand fell from it, onto his stomach as the muscles of his leg twitched with what he couldn't feel. The uppermost layers of flesh had been melted to that beneath, and the muscle quivered as nerves fired empty signals in an attempt to alert his mind blinded by the secret weapon that had nearly been his death more than enough times to count on one hand. Breathing slowly settled as his eye moved from the soft cerulean of her own, to the small offering that sat now within her hand. It was an urging without words for her to open it.


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Salsola
The Tradesman
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Luperci
War is in My Heart

POSTED: Tue May 14, 2019 5:13 am

Flower gleam and glow,
let your power shine
See the Light, it's blinding

Indeed, it was not something she'd ever forget, even if she lived into her teen years. Her nares crinkled at the scents assaulting them, she had never been made for this but Lucia now molded herself into an unfamiliar shape by the pure force of her own determination. The girl she had once been was gone, gone and dead and in the place of the starry-eyes of innocent youth was this fiercely bold and inherently honest woman.

She cast herself into a role that fractured and strained at everything she was. Devoid of any fear excepting the one that he might perish, (and even this too began to evaporate in the reckoning that occurred), she faced this splintering of her own self resolutely, accepting completely that she would never be the same for these actions and moments.

Lucia weighed the price to be paid, and considered it more than enough of a fair trade. She deemed his value higher than any who had judged him in his past. As Someone worth saving.

The sickening heat seeped its fingers into the pelt she used as a protection, and already began to sear her own palm. Lucia did not flinch, or mutter a sound to her own pain, not when his own was so much greater.

True again, she did neither flinch nor start when he rejected her offer of a cushion for his jaw and teeth and the grace of her offer, striking forwards with lightning-quick speed to grab and force, together, the weight of hot metal upon his flesh. The burning stench of his flesh, the crisping of hair and fur - the fine lines of Lucia's face gave way to the pained tearing of having been the cause for suffering, but her eyes did not waver, their fearless resolution did not wane for even a single instant. She looked back into his singular orb, with an unflinching fervor that even kings and rulers might not claim to posses.

At the core of her, there came a ringing. A smith working away at that gleaming bright beam of her strength, and with each beat of his hammer a note was produced, the steeled iron there singing resolutely under this deluge.

No matter of the tenacity in his swings. It would not break.

In the violent act, she gave him life, and a future that might keep him breathing. The straining lines transformed, twisting from their anguish to flow into a concern so deep it was suffocating, squeezing at her throat.

The tight grip of him about her fist, within them the tense cords of muscle she could feel against the back of her hand. If their situation had differed, she would have found the trilling thrums of her heartbeat echoing for reasons all their own. Adrenalin fueled, and yet it was the affection that sustained the hearty leaping pulse in her neck.

Away, and away he went. To the place she had seen before where the demons ran ragged throughout his-self, and she wondered if he knew how his eye darkened with agony. This too, pulled away at her, taking single threads of herself along with it. Would it be be enough, ever enough to repair the damage done. Could she, just one lone female, sew up these jagged wounds that so stretched across who he was. Lucia did not need the ghost pleading hoarsely in her ears to know her answer.

She would unravel herself into all of these threads and together with the needle that was her endless compassion, stitch by stitch, she would rebuild him. He was a broken masterpiece that she could not allow to remain, torn and tattered as he was

The tight chords in Lucia's jaw eased, as he returned to her, without the sudden struggle of the last time. She had not flown with him to her own secret, dark place in this instance. His sudden grasp of her hand had not tripped those tremulous senses, as if, after just the once she could determine the mark of his actions and their weight.

Lucia let free the breath she had been holding, the deepening spots in her eye's corners vanishing back to insubstantial invisibility.

Now she could look down, and see the grievous burn she had caused him, and the remains of the terrible injury that had caused the loss of so much blood. Shaamah was swift to remove the weapon again from her grasp, gently plucking it away. She resisted the wry smile that threatened. Was it not yet obvious that she could no more hurt him than she could wrench the sun from the azure skies and present it as a gift.

The lack of his touch brought to her a tinge of sadness. Knees against the wooden floor, Lucia allowed her weight to fall back and no longer hover so anxiously across his frame, she rested against her own heels. His exhaustion was palatable, draining what little color he had left in his persona. She, too, felt the weight of emotional fatigue that settled about her shoulders as would a shroud.

Briefly Lucia's lashes reached to touch her cheeks, until, abruptly the breath of wind set her chimes to tinkling in the background of their heavy breathing, they broke open, The adrenaline was draining away, leaving behind a peculiar queasiness that Lucia did not care for at all, along with the twisting of her stomach deep within. Would he leave her now? Return to that place which he stayed and leave her alone to solitude. Lucia looked down and away, again briefly.

The ribbon-reel of their associations flashed her by in seconds, replaying every word spoken, every expression exchanged, the twitches and movements of muscle. As Shaamah considered himself a King, a Killer and a Mercenary within his own mind, hers was weaving to every gesture, and the language beneath the words. Actions always spoke louder, always.

How could she judge a little boy with so much brightness in his smile, how could she fear a man who had only seen to defend her with his very actions. Did he think she missed the occasional snatches of his scent she caught patrolling the edges of her own territory? Did he think she missed anything at all?

Lucia's small, weary smile greeted him back as the blue pools rose to seek his glacial eye. Shaamah had grown into the world's image of himself, Lucia saw beyond that superficial cast. She saw it all, the pain and broken memories, and the never-ending push and pull of his own nature against the very things he commanded himself to do.

In another world, another life, Lucia saw a crowned King, with a proudly carried crown upon his brow. She saw dignity and strength, and the scars of battles fought for love and happiness, defending hope. She saw all the what-ifs and the might-have-been alternatives that had failed to come true. Lucia saw everything, and was determined that something curiously kind would come his way.

And it mattered not how stubbornly he thought he might deny it, for she was stronger. She, the daughter of the north and south, the heat and the cold. Who's very name was the light and brightness of the world.

Her gaze shifted, to capture the movements of his hand beneath leather and fur. He gifted to her a tied stretch of leather. In spite of his prompt, for the longest moments, Lucia did not even acknowledge that he had given her anything at all, she simply stared at him, the black of her lips split as though speech were to be given voice and then thought better of. Sapphires gave to him all of their attention, searching the stone-grey of his face and the ice of his single eye. Though she had never known it, Lucia mourned for the lost orb, missing the brightness of whichever hue it might have been - she did not know this answer.

Only then did she unwrap the present that he had passed into her care. A quick, striking swift dart of her gaze from the knife to his face and then back down again. The split of her lips widened though it still produced no sound. Her hand moved, to gently touch at its antlered handle. Her breath was suddenly a great inhale, and she was looking at him again with such an expression of amazement, her whiskers quivering.

Breathless, Lucia cradled the gift in her palm, letting its leather cover fall lax against her knees. It was good that she already kneeled upon the floor, it saved her the indignity of her legs collapsing from under her. Slowly, without her peering at it, only to him did she look, the knife was brought to her chest and tenderly held against her fur, as one might nestle a newborn child.

"Thank you." Her words came out finally, hoarsely, with utmost sincerity and gratitude. It did not matter to herself if he had created it from his own hands or traded with someone to buy this thing for her. It was hers, and she would cherish it for the rest of her life.

Again, again, again. The actions spoke louder.

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Jace
Luperci The sun never truly sets
SUNSHINE GIRL

POSTED: Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:37 am

As an offering lingered with the undulant light that shifted with every breath that the cottage made, their eyes met. Blue found blue, and frigid piercing edges under heavy lids found rims of warm curiosity. She didn't know what to do with it, but every whisper of the wind outside begged her to pluck the cord and peel away the tanned hide to reveal what lay patiently inside. A part in her lips split the pallid features of her jaw, but she didn't utter a sound. It was a bleak moment when her voice tempted to speak, where the chance of a note in song could have been, there was only the noise of the fire, the wind, and the chimes that reminded him that there was a world outside of this cabin, this oasis.

Locked eyes shattered as Shaamah's voiceless instruction came to her. Finally, on whatever realization she had come to, she sought to draw the cord and open the package he'd placed in her possession. A gasp struck in her throat as her expression shifted from watching and waiting into something greater. The woman couldn't contain her features, her heart played a dance with her bewilderment that she could not hide. His only intention was to replace what he had broken, yet to her, this seemed so much more.

The warrior wouldn't put together that this instance meant more than simply a replacement or a gift, and if he ever did, then his instinct would raze this sanctuary to the ground.

You do not replace the things you've broken from creatures that are not real.

A twist of the mind doesn't thank you for what you've done.

Nevertheless, the words fluttered from her lips. Even in their roughest state, her notes were clean against the scene in which they sat. Innocent words met him, gratuity, for what he'd done. The blade placed so close, so dangerously close to her heart and throat, reminded him.

You don't belong here.

Salsola expects your return.

Every night he'd left here had ended on a different note, yet every instance seemed the same. Willful, he could talk himself out of anything that didn't make sense in his world. In his world, the stars fell from the skies, but this? This wasn't real. Stealing a deep breath, he lurched forward. His weight rocked, and his strong leg curled beneath him. One hand gripped the armor as best as his digits could wrap around it, while his bad leg tucked beneath him at the knee. A hasty retreat was necessary here. They were too close. He was cornered. Lifting himself up off of the floor would leave him with an opening. Dazed eyes snapped to the cold Tekko on the ground. His other hand reached for it.

The stench of burned flesh hadn't left the room, and he still had enough consciousness to know why, but he knew that if he didn't leave that the blade in her hand would be the death of someone. The only difference seemed to be is the understanding that, now, the only one to give the fatal cut would be the cardinal-eyed queen he'd pledged fealty to. He rose, his shoulder hunched, his leg bowed beneath him. Catching himself on the wall, he righted his posture. One last check that everything was in hand swept past the blue eyes that had pleaded so desperately last he'd left this place. The vision of Elphaba was withering away but the mind's intention remained, instinct gave him all that he needed to move. From concern for having a unicorn murdered, to the blood-loss drunken realization that this place was a trap, he was moving backward in though but pure in purpose. Out. He needed out.

A step forward on his faltering leg managed just long enough for him to catch his weight on the other. Exhaustion reached black tendrils from the corners of his eyes as he already panted heavily. The wound stretched angrily. Another check of the contents in hand found him with one Tekko, firmly in his hand, while the other lay helpless against the dirt and wooden boards behind him. It was too late. He'd have another made. Leave it.

One more limped step pushed him forward, with a sure determined eye set for the door on the opposite side of the cottage, but the will of his body fading. The tekko fell to the ground. It's weight left a mark in the antique wooden floors beneath him as it rattled to a resting place and Shaamah's weakened limb crumbling. He'd barely caught himself on the ground, the knee of his only working leg barely off of the ground, but the shift in weight found the armor toppling out of his reach.

Frozen in time, what little blood he did have left, rushed to his head. Veins lifted from beneath the thin layer of fur that wrapped his features and a furious expression fought with the impending darkness that sought him over. Furrowed brows unfolded as neutral features began to paint his face. He relented. Ears, nose and gums turned a pallid grey as shock shook him at his core. Focus was slipping from him.

Hands found him as everything begun to stretch away. The touch grounded him. Where an obscurity took over his vision and a cacophony of ringing deafened him, his foot paws took steps. Guided motions independent of his own will moved him. Fur came beneath him. Gravity took him. Sat him down. Words. A woman? Were they hers? It sounded so familiar.

A soft hushing found him and for a moment, he relaxed. His shoulders moved back. His arms sprawled at his sides as the rest of him melted into a comfort he didn't want to fight. No, that wasn't her.

Salsola.

Malevolent eye snapped open and a growl churned in his chest. Darting eye found a bed beneath him, and his place in the corner empty. The door hadn't become any closer, but the female. She was too close. Vanilla fangs bared for a moment, the thunder in his throat rolling wildly, until the realization came. He panted as his teeth were sheathed. He was losing it. Dancing flames flickered behind her, the fire unshaped by his threat. A heavy lid fluttered for a moment before he found the strength to open it, a battle against what his body needed would endure.

“Who- was... ?” Mental processes were wavering. He couldn't remember how he ended up on the furs. It didn't register than there was no way she could possibly carry him in his bipedal state,” You put... I'm?” Winded voice took all the air in that he could, his short, broken words slipping through shallow breaths,” Is it-... snowing?” Tracks. He couldn't leave the tracks. Snow would hide the blood. All of it, from everything. He couldn't remember ensuring that he wouldn't be followed, despite his meticulous effort to do so earlier.

As the flow of his blood settled, his rambling subsided, but he still wasn't himself. He needed real, solid rest,” You said it was safe here,” Finally his eye focused as it found her. They couldn't hurt him here. He remembered, but had never found her meaning. Too many could be 'they'. ” How do you know?”

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Show'em the Ol'Razzle Dazzle
Salsola
The Tradesman
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Luperci
War is in My Heart

POSTED: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:14 am

Flower gleam and glow,
let your power shine
See the Light, it's blinding

Blood-scent lingered in her nose, that and the stench of the burning billowed to fill up the interior of her small home. The stone-worm facets of his face were a wonder for her eyes to traverse, those scars were a part of his landscape.

Something changed in him then, she felt it glimmer in the air, a thread that stretched tautly. Lucia only half expected that he should suddenly lurch forwards. Surprised, she pulled back and away, giving him the space to rise. Oh, from her knees, he was so very tall indeed. The realization that he was trying to leave filled her with first a cold iciness, then a hot concerned indignation.

He was trying to stand! And walk!

Lucia flowed to her feet fluidly, juxtaposing his jerking, broken ascent -- for this time her beloved gift was forgotten about. Now the black of her lips did split and out poured the words, platitudes and imploring phrases. Though the presence of her might have been but bird-chatter for all the attention he paid to her, continuing on his foolhardy quest to reach her door. He'd never reach past the treeline, wherever he aimed to head may as well been a world away -- across an impassable ocean.

Shaamah fumbled gracelessly, lurching from step to step, dropping his hastily gathered possessions as he did so. Lucia let out a small growl, throwing her hands in frustration,

"You're going to fall, you stupid stubborn man!" She obstinately told his retreating back, and, true to her prediction, he did fall. The frustrated ire fled her, the female was there to catch him as well as she could do. Her small fingers slid into his fur, and were scorched by the heat he threw. His muscles were cords of steel wrapped in flesh with no fat to pad it out.

Cajoling, she relocated him to a much more suitable resting place. The pile of furs that served as her sleeping spot. Lucia might have sworn there was another assisting her, from how he moved, how easily it was to rearrange him. She might also have been just too overwrought from the day's events, her fingers trembled again.

Briefly, the insensate sprawl overcame him, and she could look upon him with care, searching for more injury he might have dealt to himself. Lucia was again brought to her knees beside him, resisting the urge to reach out and touch him for the sake of touching. The female desperately craved the touch of others, the isolation of her existence created a deficit of such needed necessities. Each time the lack stretched, so did she wilt, a flower denied of the glorious sunshine and quenching waters.

The pooling of her great waterfall of hair, surrounded herself, weaving long locks that settled some at the crook of his arm, or across his palm.

A rumbling from his chest, a flash of teeth, he came back to the world with unsure hostility. Lucia sat quietly and waited for it to pass. Exhaustion strained at him, pulled tight the lines on his face, created a hole for his body to sink into even as he fought to remain awake.

"I brought you to lay down.. you need to rest." Lucia impressed upon him gently but with firmness. He didn't want to accept it, but that body of his would no longer respond to his demands, drained too much of what it needed.

Lucia's head craned, to catch a glimpse of the outside and true, there were soft flakes drifting down from the dark heavens, caught in the glow of her fire.

"Yes, it is snowing, hard." That appeared to ease him maybe, or perhaps she was imagining the fractional relaxing of his great shoulders.

He asked of her, the question she had received before and this answer was her own creation,

"How does one find a single blade of grass in a meadow? How does one seek out a certain leaf within an entire forest? I am one female, a grain of sand upon the beach. I am lost within the whole." Her voice was softly quiet, hesitantly slowly she reached out to brush errant tresses of his hair back from his face, her fingers threading into the slate-stone strands.

When he brokered no objection than the slight wrinkling of his muzzle, she continued the movement, again and again pushing the digits through, combing soft locks. It was her instinct to give voice a song, a whispering lullaby that stole, hushed, between her lips.

"♫ If this is your silence.... then, must I listen well... ♫"

Ice grew heavy, the blue pools watched its lid flutter shut with affectionate intensity. Breaths came heavier, deeper, the last of the tenseness left him then, leaving him to appear startlingly young, at least to Luca who gazed at him with head tilted, her lilting lament filling the stone cottage.

She moved only when he slept fully, quietly collecting. Warm water and a soft skin became her tools this time, cleaning away the blood and debris from his body. Lucia contained her urge to touch, the quiescent voice that whispered to assuage her deprivation, she would take no advantages of him that he did not give freely. To do so would be wrong.

After a time, everywhere she could wash clean without disturbing him was cleansed. She settled down, not lying besides him but propping herself up against the wall, leaving space between their bodies that should he awaken then he would not have cause to start. Lucia watched him breathe for a very long time, the rise and fall of his chest mesmerizing.

Weariness prompted the hanging of her head, the closing of her own eyes, her muzzle bumped against her chest; And she too slept, and dreamed.

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Luperci The sun never truly sets
SUNSHINE GIRL

Sticks and Stones