I see your star, you left it burning for me

POSTED: Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:46 pm


sorry Neith welcome to the dark side

The coastal breeze held within it a weakening bite of winter. It dragged chilly fingers through the young woman's long, silky hair, and set the red skirts she wore to billowing. Every now and again a particularly strong gust would buffet her, and Elphaba would stop and turn her pale face out to the grey choppy waters and let the dark tangles be pulled back from her cheeks.

The sky was overcast and moody, though held pensive without a drop of rain or snow. It was chilly for early Spring, and so she pulled the soft white ermine cape tighter about her shoulders, hiding her chin in the wool collar lining.

The young heir was northbound, her soft footsteps following the worn thoroughfare that led past Grimrun and circled the dense, ominous growth of the Blackwoods, creeping like a blight inland from the bluffs. Of course, Elphaba had no intentions to stick to the trail that would eventually lead beyond the cemetery and to the droll empty shell of Amherst; Someone was waiting for her in the deep groves.

She picked up her step, and began to hum a pleasant tune.

Just as the path turned inward from the sea and began to wind through the pines, Osrath's daughter spotted a figure ahead of her. Narrowing her deep cardinal eyes in concentration, Elphaba could just make out the young man by his smart apparel and the dapper cut of his forest-green coat. He too was walking the path, though much slower and less purposeful than she, as though the looming depths of the Blackwoods held nothing but dread.

"Neith?" She called out, uncertain but intrigued, and pressed on toward the other; She'd never met Lillith and Isabella's son in person, but had seen him once or twice, of course - And word had gotten around when he'd returned from Portland to the Kingdom proper, with neither of his mothers in tow.



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POSTED: Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:37 pm

His headaches had doubled in intensity since Lillith's death.

More precisely, her death had been the kickstart for weeks of stress. When he wasn't tending to little Krios or helping Ondine keep their Ruins home clean, he was entertaining his finicky mother or quietly, numbly, grieving.

Somewhere within the cracks of it all was the demon in the Blackwoods, a speaking illusion Neith couldn't shake.

His mother was dead; his nephew recently born. These were things concrete in concept and evidenced by flesh and blood. What he had seen in the Blackwoods—and what Osrath had assured him was not unusual to be seen—was something Neith could not explain as real by flesh or fiction by the happenings of his busy mind. Despite headache, despite familial obligations and despite the nausea-inducing dread in his gut he escaped the Ruins and set for the Blackwoods, rethinking the decision with every step along the way.

His name met his ears, and Neith turned wincing in the wind and daylight. Elphaba. He knew her by name and by beauty but little more. As he strained to project normalcy despite his pounding temples, Neith wondered if all the members of Osrath's family frequented the Blackwoods at the same time he did.

"Elphaba, hello." The wind had done a number on her hair and skirts. Humored, Neith smiled and pulled on the collars of his coat as if to offer it to her. "Aren't you cold? Where are you off to?"

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POSTED: Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:01 am


---

He turned at the sound of his name, and Elphaba was delighted by the pale emerald of his eyes, the finery of his cuff and cut. He looked very smart and dashing, just as she imagined her brother might dress if he walked the physical world. Though the daylight made her cardinal gaze ache, she smiled prettily, a row of sharp pearly teeth.

"It is a little chilly," The young woman agreed blithely, her dark fingers pulling some long wayward strands of hair back behind tall, pointed ears. "But not so bad as midwinter - and a pleasant day for a stroll, hmm?" She'd seen her mother speak to many men, and tried to emulate the way her eyelashes fluttered; Osrath was by no means a simpering or affectatious woman, but genuinely entrancing and naturally gifted in the art of subduing others. It was a daily grievance to Elphaba that she had not so generously inherited these traits, as she had the sharp shadowy lines of her damnable father.

"Well, I was going to pay my respects in the woods," Her smile turned sly, a little coquettish, "Quicksilver initiated me into the coven, so I'm a witch now, see? And this is what we do, I suppose." As another gust of wind spilled through her skirts, Elphaba shivered, and drew a little closer to Neith's side. "Would you care to join me?"

She thought briefly to offer him condolences, but found there weren't any words for it just yet - In spite of this, the thought alone gentled the mischievous glint to the young woman's eyes. "I hope your family is doing well," She murmured, looking away from him to where the pines rose indomitably.



we need a forest fire
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Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit the queen is dead, long live the queen
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POSTED: Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:11 pm

”Pleasant enough. Windy,” he said. Bright, too, but his headache was not yet severe and he thought it best not to jinx himself by saying so. Batting eyes did not suit her; Elphaba had a sharpness to shades and features, a sort of dark and edged beauty difficult to pull apart and identify. Perhaps it was the startling blood-red of her eyes that made fluttering lashes seem inherently wrong but the Heiwa smiled, charmed, just the same.

It was not the first time he had caught wind of this coven or associated witches, but he hadn’t anticipated his Lykoi half-sister’s name dropped as part of it. He shouldn’t have been surprised given she was the Crone’s daughter, but also given Ondine’s role as Seer, Delfina’s garbling excuses for “visions,” and the mystic paths of his biological parents each, Neith found himself utterly overwhelmed. Ondine insisted something might be made of his headaches or the whispers in his ears, but Neith preferred to think himself an accidental black sheep: talentless and untouched by shadows and premonitions.

”In the woods?” he repeated, taken aback. Distracted by reservations of wispy young “witches” facing very real demons among the trees, with an absence of thought Neith pulled the coat from his arms and draped his around her shoulders when she drew closer shivering. ”I was on my way to the woods to... investigate something, yes. I’m no witch, but I’d gladly walk with you. It, uh, it could be dangerous. What, dare I ask, would your coven have there in need of respects?”

You’re not the first to come running from these woods, echoed Osrath in his ears from weeks prior. What did you see?

What had he seen? How much was held secret about those trees, and how much was collective insanity?

She mentioned his family; at once, Neith gestured for her to continue walking and paced beside her with blue-green eyes determined ahead and oblivious to any mischief within her own. He said with a detachment eerily hollow, ”We get by, I suppose. Ondine’s little one makes it easier to pretend nothing has happened and focus on the present, but... He will never meet Lillith, and that is a shame.”

He glanced to the Revlis. ”Had you spoken much with her? You two, I think, are much alike.”

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POSTED: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:11 am


---

It didn't occur to her for even a second that Neith might balk at the name of the occult. His very family, one of the noble houses of Salsola, was deeply steeped in lore and witchcraft; Both his mothers had been of the coven, and his sister Seer, his sire Crone. Because she was not looking for it, Elphaba did not catch any glimmer of surprise or reluctance that might have betrayed him.

She accepted his coat at once, not hesitating even a heartbeat to give thought to impropriety. Their culture was dominated by women; Her grandmother, the tigress, had reigned here for a lifetime. That he offered was only polite, only correct, and wouldn't hint at anything other than an appropriate upbringing and acceptable manners. She did, however, make a pretty display of pulling the collar up about her long neck and nestling deep in the rich folds of the fabric. It smelled strongly and pleasantly of Neith, and Elphaba made no effort to conceal her pleasure as she inhaled deeply.

"Dangerous?" The word tripped from her tongue like a bubble of laughter; She turned her bright, bloodred eyes upon him, opened wide and round like an owl's. Occasionally she forgot that the anomaly lived within her own skin, not in the fear that belonged to other people. Elphaba and her sister had played in the Blackwoods as young girls, frolicking beneath the old gnarled bows, the deep thicketed groves.

But then, they had always had a guide; Someone who knew the Blackwoods best of all, someone with vested interest in keeping his sisters unharmed.

The path crunched softly underfoot as they walked. Slowly, it gave way from pebbles to earth, and from earth to mulch; The pines reached out on either side, beckoning them in like arms held out in welcome.

"I don't know that I ever met her," Elphaba said truthfully, searching her mind for memories of the Red Witch, "My father has always had such a dislike for - Well, you know," Isabella, she thought, but did not say. The strife between their bloodlines was long-lived and well known to both. "But whenever he spoke of Lillith, I could tell that he respected her, for what it's worth." In her estimation, not much.

Confident, she reached out to link her arm through his. "There are many reasons the coven pay their respects in the Blackwoods. I've been taught that the veil here is thinner than other places; That we can more easily commune with our ancestors. I'm rather new to it, Neith, but I could perform a little rite for your mother, if you'd like?"



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Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit the queen is dead, long live the queen
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POSTED: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:11 pm

Elphaba laughed when suggested danger, and therein lay the greatest difference between she and the Heiwa: greater even than their supposed blood-feud or the power in their lines. She sported eyes both red as rubies and red as blood, and from her every word and movement came reflections of both. Power and beauty. Havoc and intrigue. Elphaba was born into a Salsolan role suited only for herself, and she was naturally endowed all she needed to perform and succeed. Neith could see worlds of venture and magic on her path ahead—and danger, too, that she might only laugh at.

His eyes meanwhile were rings of green and blue, like banks of a stream. If his role was to flow unyielding and untouched by obstacles as the water might do, then Neith had not served his purpose as he should have. If he was anything like a stream, it was that he did not plan for his destination. He followed his path blindly, worried himself sick over every obstacle, and pretended nothing to be wrong.

They entered the threshold of woods. A knot formed in his stomach, but Neith maintained an even face. He didn’t explain why the woods were dangerous. If anything of concern truly lurked beyond his mind and between the trees, it would show itself.

”I appreciate that.” Neith didn’t know what more to say. If those among the Thistle Kingdom throne regarded his late mother with respect even after her passing, then she had lived a model life in Salsola and died a proud woman. Yet, her death was not any less a waste. Yet, even with that in mind as Elphaba offered to perform rites, the young man paled and shook his head.

”That—that would be very kind of you. Truly.” The wind shook the trees around them, and in their rattles Neith heard the woods laugh at him. At his vulnerability, at his reservation for the occult. At his recurring visions of a demon built of moss and bone. Her arm linked in his, Neith patted at her palm atop his arm and tried to smile. ”No, no, I, I wouldn’t have you waste your time like that. Please, you came to the woods for a purpose. I am only your escort. Do what you came to do, I would gladly stand out of your way.”

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POSTED: Fri May 12, 2017 10:35 pm


---

If she sensed his hesitation at breaching the borders of the great woods, the young woman gave no indication. She stepped with light and certain ease; The shadows of the pines closed in over their heads, and shuttered the path beyond them, enveloping them in the familiar scents and sounds of the Blackwoods.

Beneath the canopy, the world here seemed somehow stranger. Deeper into the woods a bluegrey fog would roll out of the shadows and pounce at one's heels like a playful companion. All manner of fungi sprouted like little unearthly shrubs from the rich mulch and loam; Green vines wound in abandon, furred with moss and tangled like rope.

Her offer did not have result she had anticipated. Instead of comforting the handsome young man, it seemed to serve only to make him jittery; The paltry pat Neith offered her hand was of little consolation to the great wealth of intrigue that his unease offered her. Having perked up at this, Elphaba regarded him intently a moment, and the little coy smile she wore was perhaps too predatory to be considered sweet.

"Very well," She relented with false demureness, watching him through the shadows of her thick lashes. The teasing wind that trailed them subdued, and Elphaba reached up to tuck a strand of the Heiwa man's rich brown hair back into place, casually unconcerned with the familiarity of the gesture. "You said you were coming to investigate something?" Feeling as though she were about to uncover some very juicy secret, the little witch feigned only a polite interest. "I know a lot about these woods. Maybe I can help you with that?"



we need a forest fire
Salsola
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Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit the queen is dead, long live the queen
hierophant
burn the witch
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POSTED: Mon May 22, 2017 10:09 pm

To tell Elphaba what he had seen in the Blackwoods was a clear and calculated risk, one he was evidently uncertain about by the way he stared long at her following the offer to help. Not even Ondine knew what it was he had seen, or that he had seen anything at all; she knew only of the wisps of light and faces that dashed between his ankles in shape of small creature or stood large and powerful and flickering on his peripherals. It was not that he did not trust his sister. If he told no one of the creature in the Blackwoods, there would be no one to agree he was truly going mad.

He had known of Elphaba since his earliest days of recollection, yet hesitated to confide in her as he had her mother. Still, she was one of the coven and unquestionably comfortable among the damp and dark trees. If anyone was to verify what he had seen, it would be her. She touched at his hair, and in that moment he was convinced.

Neith swallowed a lump in his throat before speaking, and did so with slow, carefully chosen words. “If you'll keep this between us... all right. For a time, I thought a demon here spoke to me. It took our shape, but it wore the Blackwoods like skin, and... it thought we would be friends.”

He glanced the trees while wary of eyes on his back, and asked almost pleading, “This is the madness of the woods, is it not? You’ve heard of this before?”

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POSTED: Sun May 28, 2017 10:37 pm

Word Count → ??? :: ---

If she allowed her fingers to linger, perhaps a little too long, in the fine curl of his hair then what was it to anyone? There was a power slowly blooming within her stomach, bidding her to each little motion; It was as thoughtless and prevalent in her every action as it was her blood, her bone.

Every time they gave her an inch, she took a mile.

She could see the very instant that he decided to confide in her. It glimmered like treasure in the depths of the young man's eyes, which were a lovey jade color, too poignant and soft for this place. It lured her like blood in the water; Intoxicating. Fighting to keep the excitement from her face, Elphaba maintained a pleasantly curious expression, though beneath it swam dark and ominous shadows.

When he was finished speaking, the young witch looked at him in astonishment; Her own careful mask broke, revealing a small flood of emotion like surprise, confusion, bemusement and perhaps a darker hint of jealousy. Maugrim had shown himself to Neith, but why? What had her dead brother seen in Lillith's son that was deserving of such an interaction?

At length, Elphaba pursed her lips and purred thoughtfully, the sound thrumming from her throat.

"My, my," She placed her free hand over Neith's sincerely to convey her consolation, "What a rare experience you've had. You must be very shaken by it... The madness of these woods can be very confronting," It gave her a deep satisfaction to feel the pulse of her brother's attention, coming awake around them in the pines, insulted by her tone.

Biting her lower lip, Elphaba continued: "You should be careful who you admit such things to, my dear friend. One might take it as a sign of, well... Unravelling, you understand," She shook her head into the warm lining of his coat, "But not me, of course. The Blackwoods have spoken to me many times. What - What did the demon say to you?"


we need a forest fire
Salsola
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User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit the queen is dead, long live the queen
hierophant
burn the witch
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POSTED: Wed May 31, 2017 10:32 pm

Earlier hints and details had gone dismissed or unnoticed, but the ever-so-slight tug of his hair at its root from around her fingertip nearly shook the young Heiwa free of his mid-Woods panic. He swallowed whatever visible reaction he could have had, and with dedication to pride and image dwelled on it internally instead. She was a catching young woman, and utterly engaging in her gothic charm, but Elphaba was no more than a name to him at present, and he no more than a name to her. He tried not to interpret such signals as untimely and overt flirtation, but beneath the anxiety from the woods the young Heiwa at his most carnal interpreted it all just the same.

What was it his heart pounded for—the touch of her fingertips, or the cold breath he swore he felt on the back of his neck? “Confronting... yes,” he mumbled, distracted, until her words sank in.

Neith had hoped for pity and sympathy, or at the very least a dismissal. An “Of course, that was just the Blackwoods,” or “You must have been hearing things,” or even, “Perhaps it was just a headache,” though Elphaba knew nothing of his migraines in earnest. He would have preferred to know he truly was unraveling than to have someone agree with him. He would have preferred to see nothing in the Blackwoods despite weeks, months, years spent visiting and wondering and never see a thing, than to have that golem of flesh and flora smile at him again.

“You believe me?” he asked, tone more condemning than skeptical.

Hardly sharing in his concern, Elphaba curled into his coat and cooed. He resisted reciprocation, but was comforted by the touch go on. In short form, he told her what he had seen of Maugrim, and between the words Neith wondered in his mind if this was but a game for Elphaba. If any of this was real. If anything they said, or anything she did, meant anything at all.

“Its name was Maugrim,” Neith finished. He needed not struggle to recall the name; he could still read the lips. He looked at her, unblinking, to read carefully her response. “What can you tell me?”

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