[m] hands of gold

POSTED: Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:14 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.

you're the queen of nothing at all

"You will stay. Until this is over. I promise you...a great gift, if you stay. I don't..."

Tristin watched with patient eyes as his voice trailed away. Neil Iarann was a strong man, a good man, born of the Mountain bound to the Aegas, a warrior born. He was made to wield a weapon and cleave his foes, and he did so as no other did. But he was the last of four brothers, and three had fallen. His eyes were the shade of old bronze, but they seemed drained of color and life. He looked wild and frozen all at once. Since the death of his last brother, he had wandered. She had come to tend the last of his brothers as he lay dying, and Neil had clung to her. It was not the first time someone had seized upon her services in their grief. It would not be the last, she only offered him a sweet smile and reached out to cup his stone-grey cheek and rose on her tip toes to bump her dark nose against his. "I would be happy to stay by your side, my fierce laoch." His gaze was unsteady as he looked upon her, buried in grief, but she only smiled at him.


By day the warrior would ride on his red and white horse, and at night he came back to her. She would greet him with food, and as he sat and ate, she tended to him. Her hands would unbind the long braid he wore, his mane of silvery-white hair, and she would comb the knots out with her deft fingers. Often she would bring a large bowl of water and clean the blood from his hands and his fur. He would eat and stare, his haunted eyes often unfocused. He was hurt in the ways that no needle and thread could bind, his faith shattered and his heart in pieces. But those things could heal in time. She had seen it before. Softly the priestess would hum as she parted his mane of hair and worked the knots from his shoulders with her deft hands. He would sigh the same way each time, his body going from iron rod stiff to something loose and malleable in her hands.

Many a night he would fall asleep, his long body lightly curled up, and she would wrap her thin arms around his broad chest and sleep with her chin on his shoulder. It would have shamed him in better days to sleep bound in her arms, like a child seeking protection, but the horrors of war made that seem a foolish thing. The warrior would wake screaming some nights and she just held him tighter. Ghosts plagued him, and he swore if he could just run faster and harder he could save his brothers in the night when dreams and reality were one. But his mind would catch up to his heart and he would weep in the stillness, his weary face buried against her breast.

Other nights he sought a different comfort.

Tristin would help him doff his armor. he would eat of her food, and she would brush his long hair. "I don't want to dream." That was all it took in truth. He would murmur those words and soon she found his large, deadly hands about her waist. His kisses were crushing, his caress almost bruising, but she took it all eagerly. There was pleasure in pushing the warrior down and taking of him, of the way his voice would rasp and he would cry out her name and words of affection. Oh, in the night she loved him and he loved her. She had loved many just the same. It was good to love in that way, good to chase the ghosts from his eyes if only for a night. Afterward she would rest with him, her head on his steely chest, and she would tell him stories of the Gods. On those nights, he rarely screamed.


Four long days passed, and Tristin waited for his return.

A rider came from the fog, and she did not recognize him at first. The wretched beast that clung to Cuan's back could not be Neil, whose breadth of shoulders was so wide, who stood so tall and proud. The beast that fell from the horse when Cuan came to a stop could not be her brave warrior. He reaked of death, and she could see a slow mix of pus and crusted black blood leaking from beneath his leather armor. The crude spear that had pierced him had broken off, the spear buried in his side, the wound mortified. She knelt beside him as he wheezed on the ground, his voice barely above a whisper. "The King..." Iomiar, she thought, and the sight of his pale face flickered through her mind, but now was not the time to think of the King. "Caledonia falls. Take Cuan, my gift, I promised. I...I ask one more thing..." She stroked his pale cheek and grabbed the bone dagger at his belt. There were many gifts that she could give. Mercy was the greatest of those, she knew. She leaned down and planted a soft kiss on him, and did not wince at the smell of him. The strong man had begun to rot before her very eyes, but she would not flinch from him. He offered a soft laugh, and she gave him a bright smile as her clever left hand drove the blade into his breast. The warrior shuddered, the warrior died, and she closed his bright eyes. There would be no more ghosts for Neil of Aegas.

Carefully she stood, and looked down upon him. In life he had seemed the biggest, strongest man she had ever known, and death did little to diminish him. He had come to warn her, and she would take the horse, and she would ride. But there were words to be spoken, and questions to be asked before she fled, and the healer ducked into the rough tent they had shared to gather her thoughts and things before she abandoned the home she so loved.

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