[M] Griffin's Beak

POSTED: Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:21 am

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.

The me that you know
Is now made up of wires

The first time Andrew has smelled Henchman Till upon his family's servant, his suspicions were immediately aroused. Andrew was not a paranoid man, no -- yet he approached this affront with an air of caution. For Andrew knew Henchman Till. He knew he would attack the weakest link, Alejandra, to chip away at the Greygrief name in retaliation. It was too early to invite disaster into their fledgling household, not before they had made their proper mark on Salsolan history. This would need to be handled quickly.

He'd watched her patterns change, subtle and discreet. She sneaked away and sowed garments for the unnamed. Andrew had hoped her interaction with the Henchman had been simply in pass, yet his observations told him otherwise. He had eyes on the entirety of the Greygrief household. Lord Greygrief saw all.

After all, Salsola was a den of vipers. Everyone was a snake, himself included. Knowledge was power. Information was warfare. Andrew would not allow his servant to let the Greygrief family secrets slip to bad faith actors.

He discussed the risk she posed, this breach of trust, with Narcissa at length. She practically foamed at the mouth with anger, perhaps more so than Andrew himself. Yet, Andrew assured his wife that he would deal with their wayward servant when she returned. He was the hammer and she the errant nail.

It was dark. The only light in the cabin came from the crackling hearth.

Sitting by the fire in a chair with his back to the door, Andrew was alone in their cabin. While waiting for the servant to return, he leaned over the flames and turned a hooked, silver blade over the fire with a gloved hand. A knife, good for taking tongues. The silence was sweet.

If he could not have respect, he would choose fear.

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We are what we are. Get in the goddamn car.
Salsola
The Proctor
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Ryan
Luperci Creatore Mate to Narcissa I HAVE A BIG HEAD AND LITTLE ARMS

POSTED: Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:35 pm

the lights in the sky
are waving goodbye

She hadn't meant to stay out so late and she knew the consequences. Andrew was fairly lenient as far as slave masters went, she supposed, but he was not going to like this slight at all. His rules were simple and she had been good at keeping up with them; but when it came to Till, Alejandra found herself slipping in lieu of her own happiness.

But her life in Salsola was not her own. She belonged to the Greygriefs. Any time spent away was time not attending to their needs.

She tried to hide her scent as she ran back to the cabin, rubbing what foliage and dirt she could on her fur while limbs and leaves stuck to her hair and her dress. She knew it was a stupid idea, she just knew it was all so stupid — of course he was going to find out. Nothing could stay hidden in Salsola for long.

Even if it had felt so nice to feel appreciated, even if for so short of a time...

She stopped a good ways from the house, forcibly trying to even her breath and shed the debris from her clothing. Her attempts weren't good enough; she could still smell the Henchman's scent on her, lingering though it was. Andrew was no fool and would know.

For a brief moment she considered just not going back. She didn't want to face him. But the burn at her neck demanded she reaped what she sowed.

Slowly the servant approached the door, gingerly turning the knob as she slipped inside, but the moment she lay eyes on the coyote her blood ran cold. She didn't move, she didn't speak. Her mottled frame stood paralyzed in the doorway, one dark hand still shaking on the knob.

There weren't many good ways this would end; she even had a small hope he would just chide her with a slap on the wrist and they would continue as though it never happened. But the moment she spotted the knife in the fire she knew this was so, so far from reality.

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Salsola
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flowers of naivety

POSTED: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:09 pm

The me that you know
Is now made up of wires

Andrew would wait well into the night, until the fire burned down to the cinders should he have to. Until the blade he turned over the open flame glowed red hot like the forge from which it was born. He would tolerate no indiscretion -- not from a servant, no less. What would they think of him, or more terrifyingly still, his family, should he not curtail the tongue of the within his control. Weakness had no place within the fledgling house Greygrief, and Andrew would stamp it out with an iron boot should the need arise.

The door opened. Andrew did not turn in his chair. He remained seated coolly in front of the fireplace, blade in hand. Unfazed. "Alejandra," Andrew spoke, his voice neutral and calm. It was her, he was sure. He'd made an arrangement with Narcissa to the have the house alone for the night to quash their problem before the poison seeds the Ulrich man planted took root. The fire popped loudly, and as the wood settled, a cascade of sparks rose from the fireplace.

"Come. Sit," Andrew instructed calmly. His emotions would not betray him. His words were veiled in apathy. However, the weight of a command still rested on the young servant's shoulders. She was to do as she was told. "Join me by the fire." There was an empty chair beside him. One specifically for Alejandra.

Andrew pulled the hooked blade from the flames and studied it intently. He could feel the white-hot heat radiating from the metal as he waited for the servant to take her seat.

"Have I not been fair to you, Alejandra?" He asked, turning to her then. "Have I not shown you mercy? Kindness?" He could have killed her upon the border that day without repercussion. No one would have cried for an outsider that day. It was by the queen's mercy she lived then, but it was Andrew's continued mercy that kept her from being fed to the wolves.

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We are what we are. Get in the goddamn car.
Salsola
The Proctor
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Ryan
Luperci Creatore Mate to Narcissa I HAVE A BIG HEAD AND LITTLE ARMS

POSTED: Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:06 pm

the lights in the sky
are waving goodbye

He didn't turn to face her; he didn't need to. His voice was even-toned and didn't betray his true feelings, and somehow this was leagues more menacing than she could have ever imagined. He was a perfect image of calm and it terrified her.

Come and sit, he invited. At first she didn't — no, she couldn't move, paralyzed and still as a stone by the door; but as he spoke again, she knew better than to disobey. There was no escaping it now. Slowly, painfully, she stepped closer to the fireplace, uncomfortably settling into the second chair he had propped next to the flames. She could see his face now, the lack of anger or disappointment in his mute green eyes; there was nothing there, a flawless façade.

She stared in fear at the blade and she could almost feel the fire-hot metal. She wondered morbidly if it could cut through her flesh easier that way. Was that what he planned to do for this transgression? Would he mutilate her as Silas or Michael had been brutalized? Would he carve into her the Hand of Eris just to remind her who her life belonged to?

Lord Greygrief finally looked at her, his questions innocuous. He knew she would answer exactly as he wanted. What else could she even say?

Aly nodded stiffly, a cold chill racing through her veins despite the heat of the fire. Her throat was dry, her simple, one-word answer hoarse: "Yes."

There were pinpricks in her palms from how tightly she clenched her fists. Claws had pierced skin, and there was a wet, thick trail rolling down her hands and dripping to the floor. The smell of her own blood, faint though it was, was enough to make her swoon.

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Salsola
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veldt
Luperci
flowers of naivety

POSTED: Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:16 pm

The me that you know is now made up of wires

Ah, and there it was -- the answer Andrew so desired. However, he showed no change in demeanor. Outwardly unaffected, the Warden let the silence stew between them and allowed the full weight of her answer to truly sink in before speaking again.

"As you know," Andrew went on, voice flat. His gaze remained glued to the fire over which he turned his knife. Alejandra remined in dim, blurry periphery; an afterthought. "I was a servant to the Quartermaster." The terms of Andrew's service hardly went spoken. He dared not dredge the past up, lest the others look down on his once low stature. Yet, it gave Andrew perspective.

"She was always fair to me," he went on. "Never cruel. Stern, yes -- but never cruel." The light of the fire caught the pink ribbon scars of a brand. The Hand of Eris, etched into his flesh 'neath the weight of a white hot iron. The memory of the pain would never truly fade -- an ugly scar, inside and out. Andrew sucked in breath. "While I cannot speak for Narcissa, it has been my prerogative to treat you with that same fairness."

Once again, the fire popped, punctuation a long and lingering silence.

"And still, you disrespect me," he hissed under his breath, venom seeping into his tone for the first time.

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We are what we are. Get in the goddamn car.
Salsola
The Proctor
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Ryan
Luperci Creatore Mate to Narcissa I HAVE A BIG HEAD AND LITTLE ARMS

POSTED: Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:59 pm

the lights in the sky
are waving goodbye

Perhaps it was poetic justice.

She was property; she was his property, no less. Andrew had mentioned it before, his disdain for the Henchman; she had openly ignored his hatred for Till and rebelled against it, flirted with it. Wasn't it only fair she received punishment? Wasn't it fair given how easy Andrew had made her life?

But as she sat in silent fear, a wilted flower in her stupid blue dress and her wild choppy hair, she knew that it wasn't fair. In no universe was it right for her to be living this way; this was not the world she had been promised by her family, by her God.

And yet here she was, finally bearing the brunt of the Greygrief's ire. He was a man that knew her position so intimately and yet rejected it all the same. Andrew was no longer bound by chains, at least not those that hung around his neck. In passing the ragged collar to his own slave, he had become something more. And there was one thing he refused to take from someone so insignificant and unimportant as she.

Disrespect.

Alejandra had not even intended for it to be taken this way. As his voice grew acidic, it burned into her skin; instantly she felt the tears bead at her eyes, and they fell openly just as soon as they appeared. Her body was wrought with tremors, her words small and meaningless. She ought to have said nothing at all, but again she stuttered out the response he wanted as if it were indoctrinated in her.

"... I-I'm s-sorry." And in that moment she truly did mean it, even if she would come to regret it. The faint gleam of the knife in the amber firelight would dictate she say anything to please him and atone.

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Salsola
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Luperci
flowers of naivety

POSTED: Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:37 pm

The me that you know is now made up of wires

The smell of fear filled the room. A miasma, intermingled with the infuriating scent of the Ulrich man that Andrew could smell readily on his servant's fur. This betrayal would not go unpunished. The Lord Greygrief would seize control over his dominion by any means necessary. There were no barriers in his way.

Alejandra stammered her reply -- a weak and pitiful thing, but Andrew would not hear such a brazen lie beneath his roof. His grip tightened around the knife in anger and he cut her apology off swiftly. "No," Andrew snapped. His gaze was hard, framed in by the hungry fire's light. "You knew the consequences, yet you acted anyway." She could not plead ignorance, for he'd warned her at length about the Ulrich man at the start of her service.

He exhaled, releasing his frustrations on an exasperated breath. The tip of the hooked knife dug into the wooden arm of the Lord Greygrief's chair. "You do understand how important trust is in your position?" Andrew posed. The question was rhetorical, for it was not time for the servant to speak. She was to listen, and listen well. "It is my duty," he went on, "as Lord of this fledgling house, to ensure its safety and stability. How am I to know you haven't tarnished the reputation of the Greygrief family by consorting with this.. this... man?"

He had started to work himself again. A breath followed. "He's using you, you know -- he's using you to get to me." It was clearly transparent, given how Till had treated the Servitori in the past. This was a ruse, and Andrew saw through it. "He will use you and toss you aside after he's raked my family over the coals." In him, she saw a warped vision. A masquerade. Andrew would give her the means to pull back the curtain herself.

"If you want to know how Henchman Till treats the lowborn, the servants, perhaps ask Silas -- or maybe Inquisitor Kamari could paint you a better picture than I." There were other options of course to keep his family intact, bloody, brutal options. He kept his knife handy.

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We are what we are. Get in the goddamn car.
Salsola
The Proctor
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Ryan
Luperci Creatore Mate to Narcissa I HAVE A BIG HEAD AND LITTLE ARMS

POSTED: Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:27 pm

the lights in the sky
are waving goodbye

She flinched harshly at his retort, teal eyes blurred with tears and hands sticky and wet with her own blood. Andrew knew just how defenseless and vulnerable and fearful she was sitting there before him, but he pressed on anyway; her pitiful display would not move him. Her mottled body shook terribly under his intense gaze, and nearby the fire cracked and licked at the humid air. Aly so desperately wanted it to spew out and consume her — anything to escape the larger, deadlier force of Andrew's wrath.

It all came down to reputation, as it always did. Salsola was obsessed with it, driven by it; they had replaced any living deities with their own self-importance and status, and it had never been more clear to her than in this moment. It was never about Alejandra's own well-being, whether or not she could really trust the Henchman to respect her boundaries and treat her as an equal rather than a slave — it all came back to prestige. Lord Greygrief would likely not care if Till ever hurt Aly or pushed her to do anything against her morals. So long as it did not put his house or pride in jeopardy, anyway.

He would feed her lies in hopes she would abandon the Ulrich, not for her own sake but for his.

"... H-He's never... mentioned you," she said quietly, a flimsy defense of the man and also an attempt to quell Andrew's fears. She should have stayed quiet.

She bit her lip, sniffling and wrapping her arms around her stomach as nausea set in. She felt like throwing up but such a blight would just make him more upset, more hateful. He knew how weak she was and knew he was breaking her, but cracking too much under his immense pressure would ruin any sort of dignity she had in his eyes. As if he saw her as anything more than property.

Alejandra didn't care how Till treated slaves. She didn't care what Silas or Kamari had to say. She had seen his kindness and almost lusted after it. And as much as that would pain Andrew, she would not discard it so easily.

She said nothing.

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Salsola
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Luperci
flowers of naivety

POSTED: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:53 pm

The me that you know is now made up of wires

Did she dare... did she dare to speak? Andrew stood with a fury unbound. The chair in which he had sat toppled from the force and crashed against the floor. He thought to strike her then with an open palm as to not mar her face. Better an open palm than a closed fist -- He drew back, yet he stopped himself. He thought then of Helena. She had been stern, but never physical. It was by her example that he showed restraint.

Should he inflict bodily harm, he was no better than the Henchman whom Andrew so despised.

However, anger still roared within his chest like a lion. "INSOLENCE," he spat, a rage previously untapped filled him now. Droplets of saliva sprayed from his open maw as he loomed over his servant. "You will speak when called upon."

He had been fair, and this is what it wrought. The shreds of loyalty unraveled so easily. He saw it now, what they were. The servants were schemers -- opportunists. How could he trust them when he had so soon been like them? Scheming and plotting the ruin of his enemies. He saw it in her eyes. She would not bring ruin to the one-day great house Greygrief. He would not allow it.

Paranoia gripped his withered heart.

"My name will not cross his lips," Andrew went on. His voice was cold. Ice. "Nor will it cross yours -- you are forbidden from consorting with those who would do House Greygrief harm." He cut his eyes down at her fearful form and held the hooked knife aloft. "Do you see this knife? Do you know what it is for?" He asked.

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We are what we are. Get in the goddamn car.
Salsola
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Ryan
Luperci Creatore Mate to Narcissa I HAVE A BIG HEAD AND LITTLE ARMS

POSTED: Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:38 pm

the lights in the sky
are waving goodbye

He descended upon her like a shadow, the speed of which garnered a terrified yelp from the slave as she gripped the sides of her chair. Her eyes stung, her knuckles turned white, the open wounds on her palm seared from the pressure. She watched his arm wind back and she braced herself for the worst, but the fist and claws never met her face. Andrew was still, shaking with anger, but he did not physically harm her.

Aly tried to imagine she was somewhere else, somewhere far away. She tried to focus her red eyes on something, anything other than the horrible man in front of her — but it was in vain. She saw the toppled chair behind him, the small knife still tucked away in his hand.

It illuminated with a sinister glow in the dying firelight.

Lord Greygrief screamed in her face, spraying her with spit as he raged; she shrunk away further into the chair, whimpering as he tore into her with his terrible words. In ordinary circumstances she was expected to say sorry — but his demand for silence and her tightening throat simply wouldn't allow it. He didn't slap her or carve with the knife, yet it still felt as though his hands were wrapped around her neck, squeezing harder and harder.

She was forbidden from seeing him. And when he presented the knife to her again, hanging it above her face, she knew he would act well on his threat.

No words came out, only more sniveling and crying — no semblance of coherency. The wolfdog forced her head to bob in a single rigid nod, as if she really knew what all he could do with that knife. She didn't want to know what it was for. But she had a good idea. She had an awfully good idea. Andrew really didn't need to say anything more.

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Salsola
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veldt
Luperci
flowers of naivety

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