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Roleplay Forums => Modern/Futuristic Roleplay => Topic started by: VenomousEve on April 12, 2016, 09:08:13 pm

Title: Soft Falling [Fin]
Post by: VenomousEve on April 12, 2016, 09:08:13 pm
The moon was ripe and dripping in amber, the night Catalina’s brother was born. Or, so she was told. It was a moon that was swollen with opportunity, but the town still shifted with worry. A witch’s son was rarely a blessing. Catalina’s mother was sure, though, that the boy was lucky. The moon had been too magical.

When Catalina entered the world three years later, it was the darkest night. The moon hid in silk shadows and left the stars center stage. The spanning spill of white that was the Milky Way lay a fog across the sky. It was a good night for a witchling. The town bell was rung three time, long and sonorous tolls, to mark her birth. Good health. For the witchling and for the town.

Catalina grew up red, like her mother. Spiraling curls and eyes bright like ferns after rain. She danced in the dew and pressed her cheeks to the earth. The town was happy with their little sprite. She learned the Old Magic from her mother’s patient hand and left candied fruit in the Fae rings, when they grew too close to the homes. She burned like a blossoming flame, and then the town learned about her brother’s blood.

Jealousy never could take root between the siblings. Perhaps it was the steadfast love of the mother, who treasured equally the new moon and the full. Nonetheless, when Catalina was abruptly eclipsed by her brother’s crimson magic, she didn’t grow bitter. She grew afraid.

“I think it’s like a drug, or something. Remember when that man came down from the city and found us here? Mother said he was a heroin addict. I think it’s like that, maybe.” Cat picked another nettle for her basket and turned to look impetuously at her brother. “You can say no. They don’t need it for every little thing. They’ll bleed you dry and Mother will let them, at this point.” She sighed and wandered further down the footpath. Up ahead, an old truck was slowly disappearing into the growing forest. A raven crowed from the top of the pickup’s cabin, black feathers sharp against the chipping blue paint.

Cat tossed an auburn coil over her shoulder. She was a pleasant sight, though she hadn’t realized it. The town boys were afraid of pursuing the witch’s daughter and Cat had only ever had time to worry about her brother. Besides, there were prettier girls in their small town, with a little less wild and a lot less Old Magic coursing beneath their skin.

“We could go to the city. Maybe, when they learn to live without you again, we can come back. Mother will be able to take care of them, like before, and things can go back to normal.” Catalina suggested for what must have been the hundredth time. Neither of them had been into the city, some miles away on the other side of the mountain. They had read about it, though, on the one old computer in the town library. There was always news worth reading, coming from the city. In their small town, her brother had been the only news anyone cared about for the last seven years.

Cat stopped to pick at another patch of nettles. “You’re not theirs to use up, that’s all.” She said, with the sort of tone that implied he might be hers. When her green eyes sought him out, a moment later, she looked sad. “Somebody has to take care of you, too.”
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 13, 2016, 08:28:27 pm
Inan’s eyes were white, like the body in the sky on his birthday. Similar to that circle, his irises also wore a ring of gold on the outer rims, to disconnect them from the whites that were blodshot at times. As with anything fantastical, it didn't really matter after so long. He'd liked to think Cat had been mesmerized by him as a child, when he'd hovered over her cradle, but now, playing when they could, gathering things for mother and father, his ambrosia blood and her fierce hair didn't delay their closeness by stunning the other.

His large mouth bent, amused at the image she was painting. Heroine. Maybe. Would a whole town come to a peddler's door like that? The tips of his fingers smarted underneath the gloves, from mother's ceremonial needles. Thick things for the delicate task of pricking his skin, but there needed to be theatrics, or you were just a woman selling your son's life for status and an aura of mysticism. He believed though, in what she said, like a dutiful son. "It's a sin not to help when you can." he answered, voice monotone. Father said it that way when mother asked him to.

His eyes were on the raven for an instant, that toss of his head scattering the brown hair he'd tucked behind his ears, the middle amount on the top of his head was tied back, but the old band was failing. He liked picking up bands that had lost most of their elasticity from the street. Mother had scolded him about it on occasion. The raven waved back with both it's wings, though it didn't really look in his direction from atop its kingdom of rust and bleached noble paint. Inan pulled the garden variety glove back up around the bandage on his wrist. The Andersson boy had broken a leg. Mother had been determined to have a go before they sent the boy to the city hospital. The Andersson boy was playing football again, and Inan had a this new bandage.

The bitter smile warmed and softened to half its curve when he looked at the back of her head, and then her shoulders as they helped in the rhythm of her gait. "If we go to the city, will  you try some?" he asked, quickening until he was by her side, hand not holding his now fat backpack tightening to a fist that pushed at her arm, as though the tender abuse might sweeten the offer. He turned his bandaged wrist up, a new cut hiding underneath, across many of the old, pale ones. It wasn't bleeding through, but he had a feeling it might soon.

When they were children, deeper into childhood than they were now, before he tried looking away when she put on her jeans, father had held her down when she'd gotten scratches, and taken blood to heal her. Now, when she was more grown, she'd not let them. She’d simply wait for the scratches to fade by themselves. He was flattered and secretly saddened at the same time. The one person he wanted to mend the most, wouldn’t have anything to do with his elixir. He thought about smearing her lips with it when she was asleep, one bed away in their shared bedroom of their small home, but wasn’t sure she’d forgive him if he took the liberty.

He stopped, tattered sneakers stirring puffs of dust fast taken by a quiet gust, his lips parted in awe. It was a dirty roadside crown, but it was pink. He tossed Cat a quick smile before he crouched down, dropping the backpack to fish out a pair of sheers. The fat head was lush, and he pulled his glove off to straighten the stem by holding the crown like the belly of a wine glass. “This is your favorite.” He mumbled excitedly as he cut the thorny leg. It probably wasn’t. It was simply his favorite that he enjoyed giving her. Growing up, she’d had a red shirt that became pink with time. He clutched his teeth gleefully as he inspected the find. “Here,” he said, standing up quickly, white bandages around his fingers, spread around the petals. “we can wash it. You can wear it in…”

Mother didn’t allow Inan iron supplements, or too fatty foods, or an excess of water. She’d planted and raised the willow he’d become. No tainting the blood, she’d say. His veins were usually hollow, some of his heartbeats were echoes rather than workable rhythm. Growing up, that steady, lacking melody had worked to make a somber song of bones and soft skin of his face. On any given day he knew not to move too quickly, but he’d been adrenalized by the smudged treasure, and for Catalina to have it. Inan was falling back, hair forming dark clouds around his fading, now almost gray cheeks. His eyelids were always purple.

Adam had been walking slowly, intending to meet his children. Simon, a week commuter to the big city, salesman, for what Adam could gather, had cut his face helping at the factory. Simon and his wife, Shirley, had come with pointed shoes to their threshold, with an envelope of bills and a newly baked, purchased, loaf. Adam’s wife had sent him to fetch Inan. Adam had laid eyes on the sister and brother just as the brother faltered. As he scurried, he realized it couldn’t be serious, Inan would be fine, but the panic of a father still fueled his brisk steps. “Is he alright?” he demanded when he arrived, his beautiful son nestled in the grass, hand still cradling a lush flowerhead.

Adam had raised the pair with a heavy hand, but he’d only repeated what he’d been taught. Those days were over, mostly, but his voice still resounded with that nostalgia every time he had to assert himself. Part of that hardness was in his question now, but it was diluted with concern. The broad man squatted over the silver-limbed boy. “I’ll get him back to the house. The Whitaker’s are with your mother. Simon’s had a nasty cut across the cheek. We have to get your brother ready.” The duality of a caring man doting on his son, and someone who was fussing over his claim to fortune and social height couldn’t have been clearer, then.

Inan's purple lids clipped open, his unfocused vision sticking to his sister.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 14, 2016, 07:18:12 am
Catalina had the most fire in her when her brother was weak. He was usually weak. “I don’t care about sins.” She had retorted, casting a sharp glance over her shoulder at him. Those green eyes could be venomous. It was all out of love for him, of course. Were she not such a bright spark, she might have spent herself on the energy she pressed into being affronted on her brother’s behalf. “Mother doesn’t know what’s a sin and what isn’t, anymore. People respect us more, now, and that’s her drug.” Cat snapped, slinging her hands to her thin hips.

They had nearly made it to the truck carcass when he reached her side. She scowled at him, but did not move away. “Don’t say stupid things.” She muttered. “I won’t take a drop of your blood. This stupid town doesn’t need your blood either.” Cat’s expression shifted to something a little more desperate. “It’s not like—it’s not like the Old Magic isn’t still good enough.” She said. “Mother’s Magic has gotten weak because she’s stopped believing in it as much as she believes in your damned blood. But it’s just going to waste you away.” Cat said. “She doesn’t even try the old spells anymore.”

Catalina sighed and tossed her head back. “I bet the Earth wouldn’t even give her back all her Magic after she’s played with your blood so much.” She said quietly, a resigned weakness in the words that said she was done being angry about it, for the moment. It wasn’t a kind thought, either. When she was younger, before Inan’s pretty veins had given up their secret, Mother had warned Catalina to remember always from where they witches drew their Magic.

There were many Magics in the world, and the only one that was truly safe was the Earth’s. The Earth was their mother, and that meant she would not betray them. Blood Magic was a dark thing, no matter where it came from. It had been lost to time for a reason. Her Mother had tainted herself by indulging it. Mother Earth would never betray the witches, but she could abandon them. This kind of disrespect would have had a witch ostracized from their Coven, back when Covens were still around. Abandoned by your sisters, abandoned by your mother.

Catalina had walked on, lost in those thoughts, when Inan had stayed back to snip the buds. His voice plucked her from those winding concerns and dropped her back into the present ones. “My favorite?” she had asked before she’d turned to see the flower. When she looked to him, it was the faint pink vanished from his face, not the pink petals, that caught her eye. “Inan!” she gasped, dropping her basket of nettles to rush toward him. Hand outstretched, but too many paces between.

The grass growing along the forest road was lush, at least, and Inan found a somewhat gentle landing. Catalina dropped to her knees at his side. Idiot brother. Her father’s heavy steps were a welcome sound. Inan was frail, but Cat was too small to carry him home. “I think he’s okay. He overexerted himself again, I’m sure.” She said, though her tone was accusatory. Toward Mother. Toward the town. Her father was the closest thing to an understanding soul. But he loved Mother and a full belly too much to breath a word.

“Get him ready?” Catalina echoed. “Father, you should let me try my Magic first. It’ll be good practice for me. I’ll need to take over for Mother someday, anyway, right?” she suggested, voice peaking with a sad sort of hope. Adam gave his daughter a stern look.

“You know better than to try and use another person’s pain for yourself. Your brother will be best for this.”

Catalina looked like she had been slapped, as her father plucked up Inan and turned back toward the house. She caught Inan’s gaze as the two men retreated from her, and big frustrated tears welled in her eyes. The irony. As if she were the one capitalizing on the pain of other’s. What about Inan’s pain? Their town was old and ragged and broken but they had survived because they’d stayed in touch with the Old Magic. They’d kept their witches. What of it now?

--

“The furthest stop out will be fine.” Money on the counter from a refined hand. The teller nodded, distracted by the porcelain doll face on the other side of the window. He passed a bus ticket back. “Thank you.”

“The bus leaves in twenty minutes.” The teller’s voice cracked and he flushed. A reserved smile that didn’t quite reach the dark, feline eyes. She walked away. Found a hard plastic seat in the far corner of the waiting room. Put on a set of headphones. Marin closed her eyes as some song started half-way through. It was a good time to leave the city. She’d been getting tired. Or bored. There had been an interesting story whispered near the bar, the other night. Something about a boy with magic blood. Somebody’s wife had gotten better because of it. That wasn’t boring.     
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 14, 2016, 07:52:27 pm
He was still drunk on bloodlessness and warmed by her anger when father lifted him. Catalina was a spark, looking for a trail of gunpowder or the moist tracks of gasoline. It wasn’t a bad likeness, he though as he found himself again, through the pulsing dots in his vision, as he danced well with the confusion after that rush to the head. She was bright, and pure. Mother had raised her better than she had become herself. Inan loved their matriarch, but it was out of loyalty, out of a desire to please and help her and their family. He would have loved Cat without knowing her first. She’d rejected his blood again, and that made him smile. Of course she had.

When he saw her eyes, that smile became kinder. His world always slowed when she was sad. It stung, but it made it easier to think. “I know you could do it, Cat.” He said before father had turned him too far. Cat was good at magic. He knew it. Because she respected it. After a few steps Inan escaped his father’s shoulder and tried the dirt path by himself. He twisted around slowly, legs wide apart for caution, and smiled brightly at his sister. The bloodletting didn't shadow the bones of his angel face then, as he held his arms out and walked backwards.

She was mad. She was hurt. His arms were long but the distance was growing. He would help mother, and listen to father, probably until he wasted away, so he'd always have them, but with Catalina-- he had trust. His fingers waved toward his chest, so she'd take her place inside his wide open embrace. Sometimes it worked, when she trusted his strength, or when she like him needed the comfort more than she was cautious. He hoped it was the first, but didn't care which today, right now. He just wanted to see her smile.

He would whisper sweet things, if she came to him, promises of an escape to the city and helping her to open up a place where she could help people. He told the story well, because he couldn't let himself believe it.

-

Simon drummed his shoe against the scuffed wooden floor. Adam was handy, but no one put that much effort into their home around here. The owners of the factory, the Pitts, maybe. He reached for his cheek, but Shirley grabbed his wrist before he could get that satisfactory sting of pressure. She also shushed him, made his foot stop tapping. People said she was unkind, it wasn't the word they used, but he knew she was angry over her life, rather. In moments of happiness, or forgetfulness, she could be sweeter than anyone he'd met. Maybe that was why he worked two jobs.

She was the one who had insisted on the loaf. Bringing just the envelope would have been cold, she'd said, especially with the meager amount they'd weighted it with. He'd shrugged and wondered if they'd pay him for his last hour, or cut him off at the thirty minute mark.

First in the door was Adam, and and then the tall boy. His sister was never far behind. The man produced a chair in front of the Andressons and waved for Inan, or Mend as the town called him, to sit. Simon thought the boy looked dapper in the thin, long-sleeved shirt. How many scars did it hide? Almost everyone in town forgave both Inan and Catalina for being beautiful, with the lives they'd gotten. If this town was unwell, and it fed on them, what were they?

"He's here, darling." Adam said, head in a cupboard. He pulled out a small chest and placed it on the table between the Andressons and the boy with the blood. Inan smiled bright, long legs sprawled until he heard the footfalls of his mother. Then he straightened, and the smile became a line. A boy imitating what he thought a man should look like.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 16, 2016, 06:46:10 am
Cat went to him, partly to assure herself there was still enough of him left to continue passing around the town and partly out of hope he might look where he was walking if she obliged him quickly. He was foolish on her behalf too often. “You can say no.” She muttered, when she wrapped her arms around him in a brief embrace.

Siblings their age generally fought more than these two. It might have been that Catalina spent enough energy being angry for the both of them, directing it away from their wasted childhood. Or, maybe it was that Inan had not often had the strength to tease her. Their parents attributed it to their dutiful upbringing, but guilt tells fabulous lies. There were worse ways to grow up, certainly, but the darkness that had seeped into the humble home had tinged the sister and her brother and made them sweeter.

“I’ll tell them no, if you don’t want to say it.” Cat offered. Urged. Catalina had been yelled at often, when she had started to protest the casual bloodletting of her only brother. She was going against the principles of their Craft, her mother had said. Catalina was jealous, her father had suggested. She had quieted at Inan’s insistence. It wasn’t a request she’d been happy to oblige. Cat stepped away from him.

“Better hurry before Mr. Whitaker ends up with a scar.” Catalina said. Partially to the father. Partially to the brother. Mostly for the bitter of it. She was sullen, but polite, when they entered their small home.

--

Elise was a woman that time had been exceptionally kind to. She looked her age, in so much as she had the stateliness appropriate of a mother to two near-grown children. Aging gracefully was an art more refined than eternal youth. She had given Catalina her red, and wore it herself in autumn hues cast under an early haze of smoke. It was long and coiled atop her head and pinned with a silver birch branch. Some homage to an Earth she once relied on.

Her sharp grey eyes were on her son, the moment she stepped into the room. He was having some spell of anemia again, it seemed, from the exhaustion that lined the veins of his gossamer eyelids. She was briefly frustrated, and then concerned. Elise had her priorities, but she did love her children. It was a shame she couldn’t do anything to help Inan’s condition. Spells and supplements, both, might sully his precious blood. It would be best if there were simply no callers for a while. Inan could rest, then.

Elise glanced at the Whitakers. But, then, when the callers came she certainly could not turn them away. “Oh, that’s quite a cut you’ve got.” She said to Simon. Shirley set the envelope and the loaf on the table.

“We came as quickly as we could. The hospital is going to charge more than a full day of Simon’s pay for stitches on that thing. We were hoping, maybe, you might be able to help…”

Nobody ever asked for Inan’s help. Not directly. They went to Elise and asked her out of some respect for the old ways, maybe. She appreciated it. Healing was still her craft, in the end. She had trained Catalina and brought Inan’s precious blood into the world. Beyond that, she was Inan’s mother. It was up to her to decide on where his life was to be spent. “Of course. We take care of our own.” She said.

Curious phrase, really. 

--

Marin shrugged her knapsack higher onto her shoulder as she boarded the bus and scanned the rows for a suitable seat. The vehicle was mostly empty. She took a seat near the back and shoved her shoulder up against the window. She’d never been to this Valleyrun. It wasn’t a popular tourist spot, from what she gathered. A small factory town just far enough from the city to stay a bit backwards. There were rumors that Valleyrun was a superstitious kind of place.

The bus wheezed out of the station and rumbled toward the city limits as the sun began to drop low on the horizon. Marin hummed to herself. The stars would be out soon. She pulled a large sweatshirt out of her bag and shrugged it on, nestling herself deep into the hood. The bus reached the last stop before Valleyrun just as the sun slipped fully below the horizon and the moon blossomed forth with its celestial entourage. Marin stared quietly out the window as the trees darted past. A lock of her dark hair slipped from the safety of her hood and glimmered milky white under the soft night light.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 16, 2016, 08:28:27 pm
So he sat on the chair, comfortable against the stick wood, a soft expression at mother when she came. Beautiful woman, because if she wasn't, then Catalina wouldn't be. Simon had removed the bandage, there had to have been one. The wound, filled with crust now, ran from the bridge of his nose to the angle of his jaw. Just flesh. It would take less blood. Mother had washed out an eye once, when a new baby had fallen down the old steps of the ancient library in an unguarded moment. The rip on the blue eye and the then bloodshot white hadn't been impressed by the blood at first. Mother had near hospitalized Inan to prove a point.

He leaned off his seat to touch his temple to Elise's hip, where she stood beside him, an affectionate contact that didn't require her attention. The scent of the bread didn't flavor the air as much as it warmed it. He suppose some of those aromas were lost on the way here. The little trumpet on the bag that had rustled before it settled on the table was enough to guarantee it'd be good baked goods. Annie-Sue, and her white-dusted blond hair, had some business form the city, even. He was hungry, admittedly. It was a constant state for boys his age, and Inan also had the trouble of not being fulfilled in the paths of his pulse, of course. The gold in his eyes glittered with some excitement, and some glee as he sent the sentiment toward Cat.

"It's nice to see you again, Mr. Withaker, Simon." he said and sat up straight. "And Shirley." The polite arch on the ready-to-converse lips uncurled when mother moved for the chest. He cleared his throat and crossed his arms over his torso, hands tucked against his sides for an instant, where Cat's arms had been when she'd accepted his hug before. It gave him additional comfort before his fingers clutched the shirt and pulled it over and off.

The scars were good ones, if she'd given them. Silver lines over a body that couldn't afford to blush on most days. The long hair came back to weigh on the shoulders and coil, filling the bowls of his collarbones. The band that had served to keep it from his eyes had gone missing in the discarded shirt, and left a brown wave from his scalp to eclipse one pale orb. It wouldn't be hard to see the used, pretty body and its devoted cadence as medicine, then.

Hopefully, foolishly, Inan held up the hand with wrapped fingertips and bound wrist. Pinpricks wouldn't be enough for Simon's plight, and that forearm high-way had obviously already been tapped. This morning. When he realized his mistake, he looked at the insufficient, offered limb and then up at mother. He switched hands, this one also with gauzed ends, but a naked, major joint. Three lines there, not surgical but not malicious. The other ones had faded. Or grown away. The new, open palm beat once, as though holding an active heart. His now freed, overused collection of digits went to his sensitive neck, the right side, protectively. Mother had said there, above the heart, and inward from the hipbone were the most powerful brooks. He didn't want to be opened on any of those intimate places, today.

The hand not trying to soothe and cover his aorta and adjacent arteries, lifted higher for mother's attention, hoping to be enough.


Simon didn't know why his own hand sought out Shirley's then. Out a reflex, or real affection, she took it. It was such an unworldly thing, to ask someone for their son's blood. He wondered if he'd be a father that could do good for others if it meant any measure of suffering for his child. It seemed odd that Inan should come from anyone's womb, looking at him. Simon wasn't romantic in most ways, sentimental, perhaps, but he'd always thought The Boy with the Blood looked like a flower that bloomed at night. Was this what Elise saw, also, when she cut his stems and took dew off his petals to invigorate the other plants?

Adam reached to the side, to look for Catalina's shoulder. He liked to know where she was in these moments.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 16, 2016, 09:55:57 pm
Catalina was stiff to her father’s touch. She wasn’t so rebellious as to interrupt what was already begun. It might result in some accidental hurt to Inan. Her green eyes were harsh though, staring at the gash on Simon’s face as if she might bore it deeper into the muscle. He shouldn’t look so much like he cared. He had come asking for help, knowing what would be offered. These people were pathetic. This town was pathetic. Cat’s gaze snapped to her mother. Lost woman. How could she even call herself a witch anymore.

Elise nodded to herself taking Simon Whitaker’s face in her hands and tilting gently, so that she could get a better look at the slash. It was not an awful hurt, but deep enough that she would take a bit extra of Inan’s blood. It was better not to have to try more than once. The magic was more respectable when it worked the first time. She turned to her sweet son. “Shall we begin, Dear One?” Elise asked as she pulled out the ceremonial needles and stone bowl from the bag on the table. It wasn’t really a question.

“Mr. Whitaker, if you would,” she said, reaching for the man’s free hand as he clutched his wife’s fingers with the other. There was a small needle, which she used to prick the finger of her patients, and the much larger one. The large one was for Inan, to make the blood flow faster. That was mostly for show. Taking the small needle, she scratched Simon’s fingertip and let a drop of his red life fall into the dark-stained stone bowl.

Elise took a rubber tourniquet, not ceremonial, and tied it around Inan’s offered arm. “This will do,” she said, as if she knew his concerns. His deeper rivers were safe, for the moment. The larger needle in hand she smiled gently at her son. “Such a good boy,” she said. Elise, at least, was swift and precise with practice. She tapped the prominent purple thread of his forearm and withdrew the needle in a single motion, holding the boy’s arm over the bowl so that she did not lose a single drop of his magic.

Cat shook her shoulder free from her father’s hand and went to her brother’s side, reaching to stroke his fall of brunette coils. She was watching his face, searching for any signs of fade. It was something Mother had stopped looking for a long time ago. When Inan could not stay through a session, his sleep made it all the more dramatic. Elise would stop then, of course, so as not to put her son in any great harm. But the effect had earned them generous donations above the norm. Cat was not pleased with those theatrics any more than the rest.

When Elise had taken what she needed, enough to make Inan’s fingers cold but no more, she undid the tourniquet and took a glass rod to the bowl. “Catalina, please see to your brother.” Elise said. Cat nodded mutely and went to the cabinet for some antibacterial cream and gauze. Inan was probably the only boy in town to use a first aid kit so much. Everyone else just pricked Inan’s fingers.

She dressed the puncture gingerly. At least it was only this, and Mother had not needed the knife. “I can fix that tonight,” she murmured, softly for only Inan to hear. Elise had told Catalina not to work spells on Inan. It might affect his blood. Cat had not taken that directive to heart and worked away the smaller wounds in their bedroom in the dead of night. Inan had such a freckling of healing cuts that Mother never would be able to tell.

--

Marin tucked her hair securely into her hood before she disembarked the bus, offering a close-lipped smile and a thank you to the bus driver as she stepped off. As the bus driver pulled away, he wondered if he must be overly tired. He could have sworn the girl had had dark eyes, but they’d been near luminously silver just then. Tricks of the light, surely, but still a bit unsettling.

She glanced around. Valleyrun was even smaller than she’d figured, with a single main road that cleaved the town and disappeared into the distant forest. To the west, a large mountain promised early evenings. A single bus stop, so far as she could see, and a sooty looking factory looming in the backdrop. Marin had been prepared to call the town quaint, but found that too kind now that she stood on the cracked asphalt. Tired, then.

A block away, a flickering sign above the rooftops announced a motel with vacancy. Marin adjusted the strap of her knapsack and headed off. At the front desk, a tired looking woman blinked twice when Marin entered. The light must be doing funny things, making such a dark-eyed girl look like she was glowing. As Marin approached, though, the woman assured herself she was wrong. This stranger was striking, certainly, but not glowing.

“May I help you, Miss?” the woman, whose nametag read Lynnette, asked. Marin nodded.

“Yes please, I’d like to get a room. Just for… three nights, if you have one available.” Marin said. She was quite sure they would. Lynette nodded and clicked at her old computer.

“Ms… Lynnette. Lynn?” Marin began, leaning on the counter as she waited. “If you wouldn’t mind telling me,” Marin coughed into her sleeve. “Is it true that there’s a family here that knows Magic?” she half whispered the last word. In the city, that’s how everyone did it. She gave the woman a hopeful sort of expression. “I’m sick, you see. I heard there might be someone in Valleyrun that could help.”
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 17, 2016, 02:21:33 am
Inan nodded when mother asked. Cat had wondered aloud on occasion when mother was not present, what the question was for if his answer didn't matter. He understood the logic, but with the emotions in the room when Elise did ask, he couldn't do anything but offer that complacent gesture. Simon was bled first. Ornamented eyes stuck on those drops when they were drawn. There was nothing in the hue, the scent, or in the way it colored the air before it landed against the stone that suggested Simon's trail was any different from Inan's. The boy had counted lakes of hot human rain, and never known a difference other than in effect. It would have been valuable.

With the snug rubber around his arm, he looked up at the mother, thanking her with a flick of his deep eyelids for her comfort before he let himself be tapped. He'd bled himself on occasion. Once he'd caught his eyes in the blade. The golden rings would swirl discretely, and the sheen would lessen if a lot of his magic was used. What they'd lost in luster this time was replaced with loving glitter when Catalina came to him, and dusted his newly freed hair with her fingerprints. He leaned into that greeting, and smiled at her as he flexed iced fingers.

He drew his thumb over the other fingertips, rubbing bandaid on bandaids, when she took care of the puncture. "Thank you, nurse." A thousand times, and he still thought it was the most appropriate joke for this moment. Once, the landlord of the apartment house in town had laughed through his beard.

Inan lived for their late nights, their interrupted sleep. Gawking over her magic, when she'd secretly apply it to small scratches, was just part of it. The night was private, in their room. Her hair was darker and her demeanor was for him. Sometimes they'd bet dried berries on made-up card games. The silver font on his skin spelled out his worth for mother and father, perhaps, but the purple around his white eyes was a sign of affection he'd shared with Cat.

He would have stood when Elise was done with him, but knew better than to repeat what had happened before, when father had to pick him up. As Simon waited for the woman to continue the procedure that would ultimately sew the wound on his face shut, Inan stretched his already long neck to beckon his sister closer, so he could whisper. "Did you keep the flower?"

Adam liked watching Elise work. There was enjoyment in her little routines. She liked the result, of course, and the feeling of being useful, or her craft being validated. They'd found common ground with the healing herbs. His knowledge was of their medicinal properties and hers of their mystic roles. He didn't practice much of his profession anymore. Other than teaching Catalina what she wanted to know, Adam kept his hard earned skills for cooking and brewing tea. His tasks in this house had become that of an assistant to Elise. That job was more than enough for the family man.

In these rituals he found himself superfluous. He could only watch. On occasion he would hand Elise her needles and blades, but often found that she was more efficient, and elegant if he kept out of her way. Directly afterward was Cat's domain, when she'd fuss over her brother, and usually get between mother and son physically. For the most part, Adam had made his peace with this, as well. It was a tension he could live without, but he also trusted the conflict to be too heavy for itself, and therefor never boil over. He loved both women, after all.

Simon's excitement grew. He'd usually try the few home remedies Shirley knew before he came to this house, but there was no denying that it was a treat, not only to have your ailments tended to quickly, but see real magic take the stage. He was sure most of the money people paid was for that, partaking in the town's secret, and keeping the wonder alive. He didn't believe, like some of the elders, that Elise's son was going to bring the town immortality, but he knew that it had made the neighbors a little more accepting of each other, because they shared this secret. His own father had spoken of a time when witchery had brought more uproar than peace. He waited, holding his breath, for Elise to apply the blood.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 19, 2016, 05:07:05 am
Cat rolled her eyes at Inan, but it wasn’t cruel. He loved that joke. He loved a lot of things she found silly. Inan was a sweeter soul than she, though. He asked about the flower. Another silly thing. Anything that wasted his precious strength was silly. She slipped the flower, somewhat crushed, from her sweater pocket. “Of course. You caused such a scene over it, didn’t you?” she muttered. Still, the corners of her lips turned up a little. It wasn’t as if she could really be mad at him over it.

Elise tried not to mind the whispered words between her children. She often felt the things they secreted between them were against her, but Adam often assured her that her worries were misplaced. It was just so difficult that Catalina had grown so defiant. Adam told her Cat would understand when she got older. Elise wasn’t completely sure that it was true, but it made her feel better to believe her husband.

Elise dipped her bare thumbs into the coagulating blood in the bowl. It needed to be just thick enough that it seeped deep into the wound and didn’t run out. She smeared it across Simon’s cheek and hummed an old tune of power, eerie and clear. Elise didn’t speak the words of spells anymore. It was too easy to corrupt a spell when blood was involved. She preferred to think that it was really just that Inan’s blood was potent enough that the words weren’t needed. That must be at least half the truth, if the magic continued to work.

Catalina helped Inan from his chair. “They don’t need us out here, anymore. You should rest.” She said to him, throwing a pointed glance in the Whitakers’ direction. Taking the cue, Shirley mumbled an embarrassed thank you.

“You do us an immeasurable service, Me—Inan.” Shirley said. It was rude to call a boy by his use to his face.

“Yes, he does.” Catalina said with a daggered smile. She was glad when Shirley shifted uncomfortably and couldn’t keep her gaze. It made Mother’s chastising stare entirely worth it. She tugged on Inan’s arm and led him down the hall toward their room.

“Honestly, scars are supposed to make men look more worldly and handsome, aren’t they?” Catalina whispered to her brother. The smile she gave him was a sweeter sort of flavor. “Mr. Whitaker should have learned a little from you.” Inan was lined in silver and, while Catalina hated that the cuts had been made, she’d always thought his suffering had only made him more lovely. The brother bloomed with suffering just as the sister glittered with her fierceness.

--

Lynn cleared her throat and took a moment to pause from her typing. She looked over the young woman in front of her with a new sort of interest. Inan was a closely held treasure in their town. They didn’t like to share him with just anyone. “Magic still runs deep around Valleyrun, yes.” Lynnette answered carefully. City folk liked to gawk and poke fun at the backwards ways of their little town, sometimes. Magic was weak and generally relegated to superstition in most parts of the country. The Old Ways were only alive in the quiet place. In the city, it was likely that Magic really was just a feature of bedtime stories. Lynnette was okay with the disdain her answer might get. It was better than giving up Inan.

Marin cocked her head. “It runs deep wherever people will let it, of course.” She coughed into her sleeve again. That was fine, if the woman wasn’t in the mood to talk. In reality, Marin had all the time in the world. It might be more fun, finding the boy on her own anyway. Lynn stood from her desk and grabbed a room key off the wall behind her.

“You’ll be in 201.” She said. The girl’s answer had surprised her a little, but she’d done her best not to let it show. Still, she wasn’t going to start wagging her tongue. Marin thanked the woman for the key and headed out of the lobby. As soon as the girl had left, Lynn grabbed her phone.

“June, the strangest girl just came in from the city.”

In Valleyrun, the news tended to travel fast and it didn’t have far to go.

Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 19, 2016, 07:39:37 pm
Inan brushed the flower, compromised from having been locked in with its own lushness, with his naked knuckles. Mother had no need for the folded skin where his digits bent, and so they were usually unmarred. “You’re welcome.” He said quietly to Cat, flawlessly unaware that he had projected this love of hers for the color. As he bent over it, the humbled, glorious clutch of petals, his head touched the front of hers. A favorite thing. He looked for her eyes from this dizzying closeness.

Simon drank back a gasp when the hot smear and cold edges of the blood was painted on him. He looked at Elise, the ancient reaction from men that lead them to obsess and often burn women like her flaring before he managed to quell it. His eyes on Shirley, after that, a fading apology there. Signals awoke underneath his skin, fanning out from where Elise’s fingers traveled. At first it was just a primal pack, living, unleashed, then he felt it sniff out the long wound, gathering around the sides of the gash. The power ate inward, turning the crusted, broad line into skin again, flawed as it had been before. He kept Shirley’s hand harder as he listened to her hypnotic humming.

Inan followed his sister. On a good day, or in the morning, this amount wouldn’t have swayed him, but he’d already lost some earlier to the family business, so he made sure to step carefully. Cat was usually sympathetic enough to mind her pace. The smile he gave to Shirley had rounded edges and full lips. If he begrudged people his blood, he could not have lasted long in this house. Surely, that kind of regular bitterness would have poisoned the blood more than anything he’d been deprived of. He offered a wave, too. “Thank you for the bread, Shirley.” He said, hoping the volume at this distance wouldn’t disturb mother’s work.

He leaned in to hear his sister as they walked by a couple of photos of their family. His index finger underlined his favorite, a sliver of a time before his gift had tainted his skin, and Cat’s smiles. His sister’s approval tasted well. He wasn’t vain, but he’d take Cat’s praise in any form. “Maybe he keeps the little ones.” He thought to her. With the Whitakers, their blood was not their lively hood, so they were bound to not have the same relationship to scars. Inan had often been fascinated seeing the bodies of others, when they needed healing in concealed places, and had to remind himself not to stare when he got the opportunity to read their adventures and mishaps.

Well inside their room, his shoulders dropped, shaking the tension from the main room. He pushed Cat firmly, hoping to topple her into his bed, which was closes to the door. He sat on the floor, pulling out a t-shirt from underneath the bed, his longer one lost out there, with the ritual. “On the subject,” he said as he relaxed, spreading his legs and slowly laying himself flat on the floor, half his length received on the math between their beds. “I was talking to Nona the other day, when you were in the pharmacy, and she said she’d have a new wound for me soon.” He shook his head at the ceiling. That girl had at least two run-ins with sharp objects that should not have taken place. To Inan, it was equally important to heal those injuries as it was that he considered not to. As thought mother would turn her away. In the very beginning, those patrons of mother’s services had been a compliment. Now he didn’t like it. “Do you suppose she is brave?” he asked. He sighed. The first time Nona had come intentionally, it had been her forearm. A long cut, but shallow. The second time, she’d become wiser, and drawn deeper lines along her ribs, so she’d had to shed her top.

Inan liked to play dumb, and could be faulted to hide behind Catalina, but he knew when people worshiped the stories they told among themselves about the family in this house. People who came with hurts they wanted to be rid of had a need in their eyes, and sometimes a fear that today was the day the magic had run out. The ones who wanted a spectacle were excited, and held up their blooded trails like proof of admission. Nona, and the handful of people around her, had a mad kind of expectation when they looked at him.

-

Ahler was not quite as fanatic as Nona. He was grateful his physical shortcomings weren’t targeted anymore, and that he had a group that would accept him. Of course, he was also fascinated by the Blood House, and its centerpiece, Mend. It was a hard interest to be addicted to.  Nothing to collect on the internet, nothing to search for when everything was word of mouth. His father had clipped him over the head when he wanted to do an assignment on the history of witches of Alleyrun. They liked their secret here, hoped it would grant them immortality one day.

So he was limited to gossiping in houses when parents weren’t there. He’d been there when Martin cut Nona, and they’d seen her off to the Blood House. Little things like that kept him alive, and hungry for more. It was an unwell little collection of souls, their pod. He fed off it even when they weren’t speaking, simply by sitting with them. It was only times like now, when he was without them, that he felt like the odd man out again. Not that Lynette was hostile. She was a pleasant supervisor, allowing him his books when business was low. Except for during the Red Sky festival, business was always low.

The green eyes in the startled boy had fixated on the pearly woman when she’d entered. He’d listened behind the bind of his book, and smiled to himself when Lynn wouldn’t tattle. Not that she didn’t later, on the phone. He stood and let the book thump to the floor, stepping out of the little room in the back, where he’d seen the conversation from. Two fingers to his mouth as he collected his jacket passing the desk. He didn’t smoke on weekdays, but she didn’t know that. Lynette would be busy a while, anyway. She could make a lot out of nothing.

Ahler would be startled further by the woman when she turned for his not too subtle pursuit. The plot of his book, The Sanguisuge Clearing, left on the key-room floor, flared up to play on her hauntingly perfect features. He took a step back. “I-I heard you’re looking for magic.” He straightened his back and caught up with his own breathing, squeezing his jacket in one hand. “How do you feel about blood magic? I-I… there’s a family.”
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 20, 2016, 11:26:40 pm
Catalina let herself fall onto the bed, a heavy sigh rushing from her lungs. It was tiring, being tense and annoyed all the time. She pressed her finger between her eyebrows, absently checking for wrinkles there. Her father had mentioned it once, in the infancy of her conflict with Mother. “You’ll set wrinkles there, like an old lady, if you keep frowning all the time.” He’d said in jest. A half-hearted attempt to calm the little fire.

“Well, Nona can just go bleed to death, then.” Cat hummed. She didn’t like Nona or Nona’s friends. Her brother was barely human, reflected in their eyes. Some bizarre well of power and nothing else. Cat could have cared less if Inan had any Magic at all. He would still be worth all the adoration in the world. Inan was the purest souls Cat had ever encountered and she was sure she wasn’t particularly biased. He made her look like the deepest depth of sin, in contrast. What with her vindictive flare and bitter intentions. For the most part, she thought it was best that she bear the dirtiness for both of them. Inan wore blamelessness well.

Cat rolled over onto her stomach, peering over the edge of the bed at where her brother was sprawled. “My birthday is soon. I’ll be turning 16. Sweet 16. For my birthday, will you tell Nona and Mother no?” she asked, an impish sort of grin on her face. She knew he hated denying her things. But Inan had never had the heart to say no to Mother, either.”

--

Elise watched with satisfaction as the wound healed in the wake of the blood, soaking it up and springing forth new flesh like flowers after a storm. She saw the brief cast of primal distress in Simon’s eyes and it made her feel strong. Elise had always been proud of her gift. Her mother had raised her that way, moving from the city to Valleyrun for more acceptance and raising Elise to understand she was a treasure. Elise had internalized that well. She had brought Inan into the world, too, which had made her sure her mother had been right. If only Catalina could understand that their true power was always in being needed.

“That’s it, then, Mr. Whitaker.” Elise said, humming stopped. “Good as new. Thank you for the gifts, of course. It was unexpected.” She said. The gifts were expected. Inan was always available to heal, if he had been fed well. Health of the son was first priority. Of course. The money would all go to help him. Elise glanced at her husband. For as much as she liked her place in town, the woman was never fond of her patients staying too long. In part, it was to preserve the mystique of their family. Elise relied on Adam to gently steer their visitors back home.

Shirley didn’t need prompting, though, tugging on Simon’s hand to stand. “It was the least we could do. I hope the bread is good. Thank you so much.” She reached over and stroked the smooth new skin on her husband’s cheek for emphasis.

--

Marin stopped to look at the boy, eyes aglow back out in the moonlight. “Blood Magic? It’s all just Magic, I think. There’s a family, you say?” she asked. She lifted her arm to cough into her sleeve for emphasis. “If it wouldn’t be too much to ask, can you tell me about this family? Can they… cure me?”
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 21, 2016, 06:16:46 pm
He coughed dramatically when Cat wished anemic death on Nona. The imagery was familiar, leaving him slightly sympathetic. Her next mar would be on her torso, of course, so she could look him in the eye again while she disrobed. In the picture Cat’s ill wish conjured, Nona had cut too deep, hands swimming to lap and pour back overflowing, pumping luster. With a grin he shook his head, as though it was his sister that had directed the graphic story he was playing.

He knew her birthday very well. He was deciding on presents, expensive or sentimental. Inan sat up, echoing the sigh she’d lost, hitting the bed. “Cati.” A slight pitch in his voice, petitioning for her mercy. “That’s not my role.” But Catalina’s birthday was holy to him. She didn’t ask him for much, just the same request, over and over. When he could give something she wanted, he’d break himself producing it. Inan rubbed his neck as he thought about it. Maybe he could see Nona outside of their house, and convince her not to come. A refusal to her’s and mothers face might be too much. “I’ll try.” He said and lifted his chin. The smile was more excitement for Cat’s big day than a celebration of his own resolve. “For your birthday.”

He rubbed his toes together and watched the socks rumple. “What more?” He asked. “We can get a cake from the bakery.” He thought of the bread out with mother and father. He took sugar when he could get it. He was addicted to the rush. And mother and father usually didn’t deny him the few material things he raised his hand for. Inan could have been a spoiled, clean whelp, if that had been his flavor. “And we can invite the town.” Laughter in the spaces. “I’m sure there are some boys who would like to dance with you.”

Inan made sure to poke every now and then. They were together enough that he should know everything, but he definitely didn’t feel like Cat was without mystery. One boy had been saucer-eyes for her, and Inan had tried his best to encourage it, but Philip, kind, was in an accident on his way to school, involving the handle of his own rusty bike and a pocket of ice. After Philip had come to the house for the blood, he’d not come again. Inan had always wondered if he’d given off something unpleasant that time, enough to scare the boy off. He reached to brush hair off her forehead so he could push a digit between her brows as well. “I hear the hippity-hop is all the rage among the youngers’ this season.” The light was already being replenished in the gold rings of his eyes. “Maybe we can scour up a suitor for you yet.” There was a stiffness to those syllables that he didn’t care to examine.

-

Adam saw Simon bow his head and stand with Shirley. The Whitakers, though not strangers, weren’t here often, and those who weren’t didn’t really know how to handle the fact of the magic. Better than those who took it too much for granted, or the sensationalists. He held Simon’s shoulder on the way out. Before closing the door behind the couple, he suggested the two of them should not go back to the factory today. It was very unlikely they’d listen.

The water was already boiling. He’d known by the nature of the wound that this wouldn’t take long. Pride over Inan’s blood and experience with Elise’s ritual. He went past her as he collected the items on the table, and put the loaf, still wrapped, on the cutting board. He lifted the kettle and filled the basin. “Shirley’s not been here much has she?” he could not remember the woman coming for herself. Adam wiped the needles with cloth and dropped them in the water. He had alcohol for them, later. “Catalina’s become good with cataloging herbs. She a quick learner, like her mother.” Always his attempts at peace.

-

He understood her intentions. She’d not tried to keep them secret, here or to Lynn. Alleyrun kept Inan to itself, the very town and forest closing around the house, but a fountain of health was its own beacon. Ahler suspected the simple existence of something worthy of whispers was enough for it to find its way out into conversations. The loyalty to their treasure held his vocal chords, but this woman and her inexplicable glow gave strength to his lips. “They live in the Blood House, out to the side, toward the forest.” Sounded far, but nothing was in Alleyrun. “Mend lives there.” He looked down, proceeding with the bad news. His uncle had succumbed from his own body turning on itself, despite the presence of Inan and Elise. “She—doesn’t like specific illnesses though. Won’t give to those with the common cold, and if it’s auto immune or a growth…” Still, there was the story of someone going in with leukemia, and leaving with color on their cheek. He wondered if it was a question of pride or compensation.

He turned his head up again, swinging his jacket over his shoulder. It was good to talk to someone who knew less than him. Ahler had not been permitted to feel useful many times in his life. The initiative suggested he might take her, though his feet were stiff. “If you don’t mind me asking, Miss. What is it that you have?” he wanted to shake her hand, but wouldn’t until he knew it was safe.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 22, 2016, 07:42:25 pm
Cat went a bit wide-eyed at Inan’s promise to try. He’d always asked her to take back the request, in the past. And then on about a party, devising plans that she supposed suited his own sensibilities more than they were thought out considering hers. Inan was like that, though, his greatest efforts on her behalf when she wanted very little but his health. She appreciated the affection, but it tended to cause her more worry in the end.

“I don’t want a party.” She said, a bit sullen. “If there’s a party and dancing there’s going to be at least one person hurt. Especially if you’re there.” Cat told him. She was right, he would know. “And, what I want least on my birthday is to have to see any of your blood.” She stuck her tongue out at him, as if that might lighten the mood she’d cast. Inan would be disappointed she didn’t want a party, and more so over her reason. To keep him from troubling over it for long, she offered a distraction.

“Do you want to see something neat?” she asked him, scrambling across his sheets to throw herself across the gap and onto her own bed. There, she fished over the edge, reaching for a small box underneath. “I figured it out last night, after you fell asleep, and I meant to show you today in the forest.” She explained, putting the box in her lap as she sat cross-legged on her blanket. Inside the box were a few of Catalina’s favorite forest trinkets and some scraps of paper with spells she had been practicing.

Mother had only ever taught Catalina healing Magic, though the Magic the earth gave the witches ran a good deal deeper. It wasn’t because Elise had wanted to hide anything from her daughter. It was only that Elise’s own mother had only passed on the useful Magics, carrying with her the sensibilities of a city witch. It was best to use only those spells which endeared you to those around you. Other Magic wasn’t believable and it made you look crazy. Or it got you shot in some dark alley.

“Watch.” Cat pulled a pair of glossy dragonfly wings out of the box and a dried flower bud. She paused. The witchling tossed the dried flower back into the little trunk and fished out Inan’s flower from her pocket, instead. She held the items out on her palms and gave her brother an impish sort of smile. “I figure this one out, myself.” And then she whispered a few of the Old Words, which carried with them lovely chills to race up and down their spines. Cat began to hum, a tune different from her mother’s, and the flower began to glow. On a soft puff of breeze, the bud and the wings were lofted from her palms and swirled toward each other, closer and closer as the bud grew brighter and brighter. Then, they were joined, a small hovering orb of light flitting between the siblings. “A Faerie Light.” She said, in explanation, and swirled a finger toward the little lamp. It swayed and danced in rhythm with her orchestration.

She was distracted by Inan’s teasing, though, and when her hand dropped back to her lap, the light faded and the items dropped, too. Catalina frowned. “It’s not your job to find me suitors, you know.” She said, and it was a little harsher than she’d intended. “I’m going to leave this place and go to the city someday, anyway. I’ll find somebody there. Somebody who hasn’t ever borrowed your blood and never will.” She flopped back onto her bed, staring up at the ceiling.

--

Marin wiped the corner of her lip with a delicate finger. She hadn’t really thought all that far into her ruse. Marin had just wanted to know if the rumors were true. Quite honestly, she couldn’t have said if she even intended to act on the information she’d acquired from the stumbling boy. He made her feel old, which was interesting. She’d only had this body for a few years.
The pale eyes winked, catching the lamplight. “What’s your name?” she asked him, instead of answering his question. “You seem like you know a lot about this place. The Blood House. Do you like Magic?” she asked. A vague sort of smile. He might have seen something predatory there, between her deeply red lips, and rare. It might have been a trick of the light. Everything about her seemed more like a trick of the light, in truth.

Marin hadn’t met any others like her in the city. What she knew of herself were through old books in the back of an odd old bookstore she’d found. She had a catalogue of her names, held in the deepest corners of her ribcage for the lives she’d lived. And from the books, she’d read about loving humans and hating them. Marin hadn’t found a reason to feel strongly about much of anything in this lifetime, yet. She eyed the boy and wondered if Valleyrun might change that.

--

Elise hummed a half-hearted agreement with her husband. She knew Catalina was talented. It wasn't surprising of her own daughter. That was half the problem, though, she was sure. "She thinks she knows better, Adam." Elise said, raising an eyebrow in his direction. She appreciated her husband's attempts at peacemaking, but she felt he couldn't really understand it. He wasn't a witch. "She thinks she's better than my magic and Inan's."

Elise knew that wasn't entirely true. Catalina wasn't a prideful girl. It was a matter of morality. And in some recess of the woman's heart, she might have thought her daughter really was better for her purity.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 23, 2016, 12:40:29 am
He frowned, an honest response to her refusal to have a gathering of people in her honor. He soon realized the taste of the expression was for himself. She who was so free should love to dance. He clutched his most recently visited vein as a reflex, when she mentioned his blood. He knew he was bleeding inside her careful wrapping. Not a big flow, it would drown itself and dry. He was about to engage with her, try to convince her, when her tongue came out and he became quiet, unsure whether to deny her attempt to lighten the air.

Before he could decide either way, she had him nodding, waiting for the secret, if a secret it was, that she offered. The show was reflected in his eyes, and on the glow on his parted lips. He loved her magic. It gave him hope, and it made him proud. The aesthetics of it, too, appealed to him. "This is unbelievable." he mumbled, bound to the radiance. He reached out, unable not to.

He gasped in distress when his pique got to her, and the light fled. His cupped hands caught the debris of her tantrum, and he looked at the scorched petals, and the further translucent wings. They were warm the way her back was warm, when he woke her up in the night.

Carefully, he put the ingredients of her magic back into the box she'd used, and then took the box to sit by the leg of her bed as he knelt by its side, arms laid out for his head, close to hers. "If that's your only requirement, you should just stay here in Valleyrun, and marry yourself." he said and puffed air to move her hair over her face. "I'd attend the wedding of course, just for the spectacle."

-

Ahler realized he was walking ahead, and something in him didn't agree with that. He let her catch up, the few steps between them, and then swallowed once at her smooth complexion. Surely she should have one or two ill fitting details to her, somewhere. He failed to confirm this, as he did with noticing she hadn't answered him. "Brent Ahler. Ahler for short." her smile injected his legs with an eagerness for another direction, but he was drawn in to smile back.

He wanted to appease her, so he continued to give her the information she requested. "I like magic, of course. Me and friends." He thought of Nona and Martin, and the others. What would they say if he presented them to this woman. Would they be as mesmerized? "Everyone knows about the Blood House. It's the home of a witch, and Adam's the herbalist. Old trade, old traditions." A shrug. "Old town." The were turning out of the main row of houses, on the one path that would take them to where Mend lived.

He felt nervous when she looked at him, her eyes different colors than he remembered. And every time he should have taken to panic, alone on this short walk with her, where the trees would be his only witnesses, he was drawn deeper into infatuation. Being who he was, Ahler liked to think he had a good handle on his heart, favoring distance over disappointment. She, who was making his sweat cold and throat dry, seemed to pass without obstruction, through his attempts at being guarded.

"You could always speak with Elise. She's the witch. She'll want money, even if she doesn't ask for it." he explained to fill the silence. He was equally afraid of what this creature might do to him, and that she might leave, so his words were offerings to keep her entertained while they traveled. "But like I said, don't get your hopes up." He wondered if he should teach her Nona's method. It would seem crass, to say the least, especially at this point in their familiarity. The house was visible, small but well kept for a home on the outskirts of the outskirts. "There. Would you like me to follow you in?" Hopeful. At least, this would be good gossip for later.

-

Elise summed up pretty well the gripe between the two women. It was that then, that made them so similar, and why they couldn't be expected to get along all too well. Perhaps if there hadn't been an Inan, there could have been something amicable. He was sure the two would behead him if he ever voice that thought. The father thought on this often. Inan was sweet, but more than that he was valuable.

"She'll get over her rebellion." He hoped. He loved his little fire. The best would be if either of them would give. Of all the things that happened in this house, perhaps that would be the biggest miracle. He was wiping the needles with a clean towel and placing them back in the small chest. "Her sweet sixteen is soon." He tried for a new angle, but the same topic.

-

Inan was upright, holding out his wrist, looking down at his sister on the bed. "Do you think you'll be able to close it?" he asked, a moist line darkening the bandage. He laughed at himself for not having been careful, before.

-

Ahler nodded at the window to the sibling's room, now that they were close enough. The boy with the blood. Ahler hated Inan for his prettiness. A starved beauty, with kindness on his lips. Everyone wanted him in one way or another. The lesser blessed boy shook his head and put his hands in his pockets. "That's Mend. He's the source of the blood."
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 24, 2016, 11:15:41 pm
Catalina rolled onto her side. “Maybe I will.” She retorted. It sounded more pleasant than settling for any of the boys in town. “What do you care about that, anyway.” She said. “Shouldn’t you be more worried about yourself? Or do you figure Mother wouldn’t let some other girl take you away.” Cat snickered. Perhaps she was too cruel to her mother, when she was out of ear shot. Cat didn’t take the time to consider it for long. She wasn’t in the mood to feel guilty.

“Whatever. Birthdays are sort of silly, anyhow.” She said. Sixteen should have meant a little more than that to the witchling. It was the year of womanhood and independence for witch of the Old Ways. But, these weren’t the same times and Mother had taken whatever modernity suited her. Catalina didn’t expect a proper ceremony. If she had to guess it, her mother was likely to forget about her birthday at all. This year, it was set to fall on a New Moon, same as the day she came into the world. Now days Mother was superstitious of New Moons, when it came to Inan. She liked to tuck him away in the house and put wards on the doors, as if the Fae might still come to snatch her near-grown son.

Catalina wriggled herself so that she could hang her head over the edge of the bed and look at her brother and his star-spun eyes. “Do you ever wish things were different? Sometimes I see the other families and it seems a lot simpler.” She said. “Then I feel guilty, because I love my Magic. I love yours too. It’s special. I just hate that everybody else thinks they have a right to it.

--

Marin was a little surprised that the boy was so eager to take her to the place that was so precious to their town. She had figured it would be a little harder to get close, quite honestly. Now that they seemed to be on their way, she wasn’t totally sure what she wanted to do about it. Simply see the house, maybe.

“Brent Ahler.” She echoed. Marin ate the name, letting it slide between her teeth as she breathed out the sound. Marin liked names. They were rooted. Marin could remember her names and occasionally said them out loud so that she could eat them also. She liked to make sure she was still tied to them, so that she was rooted too. Before Marin, she had been Yue. Before Yue, she had been Selene. Before Selene, she had been Chandra. Before Chandra, she had been Luna. The only name she’d never eaten was her first name. It was the only one she couldn’t remember.

“I like old places. Sometimes they’re the most comfortable.” She said. Marin stared at Ahler’s back as she followed him, her footsteps silent. Too silent, if he paid attention. “Old places have layers of history. History doesn’t disappear even when the places do, but that’s when it gets lost. It’s better when there are old places to keep all the history anchored.” There was weariness in the way she said it, and little melancholy beneath that.

When they came upon the old house, Marin stopped to look it over. It was shabby, though it couldn’t have been built more than fifteen years ago. The construction looked cheap. Brent Ahler gave her another name. “Adam and Elise.” She said back. “No, I don’t think I’d like to go in just yet. I’m very tired and I’ve just arrived in your lovely town. Beyond that, I’ll be needing to visit an ATM to get some money. As you said, they will accept payment. I appreciate you showing me the home, though. I would have had trouble finding it if I was relying on Ms. Lynn to show me.” Marin laughed softly. It was a little funny. Ahler had given up the town secret so very easily. She wondered if he found that funny too.

It was best to come back to the house alone. If the woman that lived there was a witch, it was unlikely she wouldn’t recognize Marin for what she was. It would be a hassle if Elise the witch wouldn’t invite her in. “You said there was an herbalist who lives here, as well? Adam?” she wondered if Adam would know. He might invite her in. It was a bit rude to circumvent the lady of the house like that, but she was really only there to look. A human with blood after her own heart.

There was Ahler, though. He was another possible option. “You said you like Magic, Ahler.” She said. “If you follow me past the trees out there, I can show you something you might like. It’s a sort of Magic.” Marin offered. She didn’t wait for him to answer, sidling past him and out from beneath the window and heading for the woods edge. He would follow, probably.

If he did, she’d stop just past the first line of trees and shrug down the hood of her sweatshirt. Her dark hair would blaze white as fresh snow, her fair skin would halo with a ghost light twin to the moon’s. Her red mouth would be the pretty petals over the trap of edges behind them. She would give him a mysterious smile with the same sadness tucked in it as her conversation. “Would you believe me if I told you that my grandfather was an angel?” she would ask. And then, “Will you keep my secret for me? That’s why I’m here to see your Blood House. I don’t think the hospitals will know how to repair an angel.” It would be a lie, as most of the rest had been, with just enough truth that it was easy to carry on. She would cough weakly into her sleeve again. She could expect Ahler to fail at keeping her secret. He had said he had friends that liked Magic too. Maybe if the word carried quietly, the boy Ahler called Mend might find her, himself. Then she wouldn’t have to worry about being invited in at all.

--

Elise folded her arms across her chest. Sixteen. She wondered if Catalina would ask for her Witch’s Rite. It was unlikely, she thought. Cat gave her looks, sometimes, that made Elise think the girl hardly considered her mother a witch anymore. At the very least, Elise was fairly sure her daughter wouldn’t ask for the Rite from Elise’s blood-stained hands. Thinking about it like that made Elise a little angry. She shouldn’t have to feel dirty for doing the right thing.

“Maybe we should throw her a party. She could take some time to meet a nice boy. It might be good for her.” Elise said. Something to take Catalina’s attention of her brother for a bit. Really, it couldn’t be healthy to be so protective of a sibling. There had to be a point that they grew out of each other. “Inan won’t be able to go, of course. It’ll be the Dark Moon and he shouldn’t go out. She’ll be upset about that.”

--

Catalina rolled back onto her back when Inan stood. “Of course I can close that. I’ve fixed much worse for…” she trailed off briefly. “For you. Before.” She said, an unexpected pink tinging her cheeks.

There was a man that passed through Valleyrun from time to time. Lynnette had said that he used to be a religious vampire hunter in the city, when he was a youth. She said he still hunts, these days, but only for marks that had done really bad things. Cat had found the story intriguing and the man more so. He’d been ruggedly handsome and she’d blushed furiously the day he came to her in the forest and asked for help. He’d gotten hurt on a hunt up in the mountain but didn’t want to go to Mother, because Mother would offer Inan’s blood. The man said he didn’t like the idea of taking blood like that. Catalina had never healed a wound so big as the gash across his torso, but she’d poured her soul into doing a good job of it just because the man had not wanted to take Inan’s blood.

Cat hadn’t seen the man more than twice since, floating through town a few years back, and he’d largely left her mind. He was the one secret she’d ever kept from Inan, though. She’d had a feeling he wouldn’t have liked it, though she wasn’t sure why.

“I’ll do it after everyone is asleep, in a little bit.” She said, though she didn’t quite look Inan in the eye. 

Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 25, 2016, 07:44:49 pm
Inan smiled, absent into that thought, when cat stirred that cauldron, him and mother. It was to see a future for himself where mother didn’t funnel his blood into helping people. It was not unrealistic to think that he’d stay in this house, in this room, until he couldn’t bleed anymore. But he’d always been a romantic on pause. How could he not, with all the love he had inside? He wasn’t deprived, or craving, but he wanted it for his later self. So, perhaps, circumstances, however they may unfold, might hold someone for him. That person was a caricature, a cut-out shadow now, but he supposed he had half-hearted plans to fill in that silhouette. He came back to now, where Catalina was.

“Maybe mother won’t know.” He said quite sincerely. When it dawned on him that it might be a mischievous plot, he added a smirk. Could you keep such a secret in Alleyrun? If he didn’t leave when his sister did, he’d try, at least. “And birthdays aren’t silly.” He couldn’t believe that. Not when it came to Cat’s. It was the closest thing to a holiday he believed in. If not a dance, then he would have to give her all the attention for the others. There was an account he didn’t touch, not all too full, but more than he needed. During lush times, father would put in something extra. Perhaps he could steal Cat away to the city, on her big day. Mother’s opinion on the matter was already giving him a stomachache, but it seemed like something Cat would enjoy.

He smiled with half his mouth at her question, and nodded. He should have hesitated, but this particular experiment was often before him, when he didn’t have other things to think. “Do you remember when you married us after I’d thrown grass,” green fire “on the three-legged king?” a stool they’d drawn on. “You’d just defeated all the goblin rocks, breaking, I think, a dozen sticks.” They’d played a lot of pretend, but that wedding had stuck because both mother and father had come out when he’d kissed Cat after she’d been the bride and the priest, on account that she’d actually learnt the ritual from mother’s scroll. Mother had father perform the separating ritual the next day. The elixir had been so bitter Inan had been sick. “I wished that time that we weren’t Elise’s and Adam’s children, because other parents might not have taken back your pretty ceremony.” He counted the well-grown worlds in her eyes. “Not simpler, but I’d like to have been free, back then.” He laughed, sudden, surprised himself. “I cussed, do you remember? I though father would faint.”

-

The way she spoke of old places made Ahler think of how the elders would scold the children when they weren’t being respectful of the old ways. Then she mentioned the need of an ATM. It could have been this that made her so different, other than that impossible quality to her skin, that she seemed to hold herself like someone who’d seen more things than her apparent age should have allowed – her contrasts, as though time had become askew in her. He gasped when she laughed, to imitate the sound, so she would think he knew what her amusement was over.

“Adam, yes.” Polite man, very low on their interest, since there really was nothing fantastical about him. Ahler thought he should offer something other than ‘he has white and gray on the sides of his head’. “Think he holds a degree, but not a doctor.” Not medical practitioner, he meant without knowing it.

He followed, of course. The promise of magic could mean a lot of things to the boy. The Sanguisuge Clearing fluttered with its blurb across the back of his mind. His jaw grew with its tension and his eyes filled when he saw her. He was afraid, without flight in his legs. She was completely other. Fingers in his pockets twitched with a need to examine her cheek. He shook his head, so this wonder would go away, and then he nodded, lying despite his intentions. Those fingers slid nervously over the screen of his phone. His reflex was to take a memento of this creature. “Of course.” To all that she said. If he’d been obsessed with The Blood House, he was slave to her now.

Her heritage, what she chose to tell, made him feel calmer. Humans aren’t always taught to fear angels. The religion in town wasn’t limited to The Book, he’d not mapped out his feelings on angel kind. “What can I do?” he had a fear she would cease to be, somehow. He couldn’t stand that. A step closer, before he could shackle that impulse. A bit of mania in his slightly parted lips. He felt special, chosen, thought that it was owed him, that she not abandon him, that she should use him. “What can I do for you? I have a friend. Mend likes her.” Nona might have embellished on the looks that Inan gave her when she lost her clothes. “If you need his blood. We can get him alone.” With the promise Inan had given Cat in their room, it was a porcelain offer, at best. Their little pod of Blood House worshippers had been speaking of such a plan, lately. It seemed less selfish if they should execute it for this creature.

And already, the human was selling a brother out for the angel offspring.

-

Adam was glad to hear Elise meet him on this. He was quite the cook, if people Catalina’s age still ate. He had a feeling all they did was talk sharp or not at all. Often he felt like their joke, when he met them, even though that jargon was dulled in this town, thanks to the hierarchy in age. The father lifted a brow as he started assemble things to put them away again. He leaned closer to her as he passed her, his shoulder bushing hers. He’d learned this from having seen Inan do it to Cat on occasion. “She’ll want Inan to be there.” He stated.

It wasn’t a protest to what Elise had said. Mother and daughter would try to move each other on occasion. It was simply a fact, as though Elise didn’t know. Catalina wanted to be close to Inan. If the girl had any say in her birthday celebration, she’d ask for that. The idea of Cat meeting someone did lighten Adam’s heart. A good boy. “Of course, if her brother isn’t there, maybe you’re right, and she’ll open her eyes to someone else, finally.” Cat was strong, usually the head variety of strong, but he’d not met anyone yet that could win over the floods that came with puberty. “Perhaps we can rent out the café bakery. I think the kids are tired of the gym hall, anyway.” And he didn’t know that he’d seen Cat with enough friends that they’d need the space. He laughed out of nowhere. This was pleasant. “And early in the morning, we can wake them both up with breakfast.” So Inan didn’t feel excluded, since he wouldn’t be able to go. It’d be a unspoken peace offering to Catalina, as well.

-

Inan, with his hand out, put his other hand on his hip as he saw her disappear to somewhere else. It was curious to him, especially the way she’d worded it. But he couldn’t discern from a look on her what she was thinking. Secrets weren’t usually between them. He sat down on her bed and brushed three fingers over the line. It was only the color that had come through, not enough to smear yet. He was sure that it would. “Thank you.” He mumbled as he warmed the color with friction.

The brother noticed her arm, and drew his knuckle over the bend of her elbow. His was bruised, dotted most days. Hers was serene. “We’re different, aren’t we?” The knuckle dug a bit deeper before it retreated. He thought of his future here, and the future he imagined she had, out in the world. “Your value is that you’re full of life, and I’m only good if I’m full of scars.” He licked the ceiling of his mouth, behind closed lips as he multiplied their possibilities, if they weren’t who they were. The lowering night had its effect on his sentimentalities.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 26, 2016, 10:22:43 pm
Cat nodded. “You’ll learn to keep secrets from her, eventually.” She said. It was true. Inan was nearly a man, but Cat always figured he had no real hope of growing up until he learned to be more than Mother’s rules. She didn’t bother arguing with him over the triviality of birthdays. It was largely pointless to do so. Catalina was quite sure she’d never convince her doting brother to change his mind.

With all the talk of un-had lovers, she found herself blushing a little at his answer. She’d nearly forgotten that ceremony, as it had been in the days before Inan’s blood had brought Magic and those times seemed desperately far away. “Mother was so furious I’d been going through scrolls without her.” Catalina giggled. “I could understand the Magic but not the marriage. We didn’t have a clue it was wrong!” she reminisced. He was right, too. He had cussed and Father had gone white as a ghost. Surely he was worried Mother would scold him later for letting that kind of word slip for Inan to remember. She laughed louder. “That might be the only time I’ve ever heard you cuss at all.” She said.

--

Interesting histories shifted in Marin’s stare when Ahler began to make his offers. His assistance had been what she’d been after. A card to keep in her sleeve, if the witch and her herbalist were unwilling to play along. She hadn’t expected quite this much eagerness, though. Perhaps it had been a poor judgement, though. The boy had given up the Blood House without much hesitation, either. Humans were curious. It was a thought she’d had many times, if she could recall it.

“They named their child Mend?” Marin asked, the shining white creature tilting her head at the oddity of it. “That seems a little rude. Shall I call you Snitch?” The pewter eyes narrowed just so. “Or will you keep my secret?” she continued. His talk of friends said this little dance in the woods would not stay quiet. That was fine. She had expected that much. She just wanted to make sure he told it right. She was close to him in an instant, near enough that he would catch the scent of something sweet and extinct. A night blooming flower from the hanging gardens, had he lived at a time to recognize it.

At that proximity, she was a construction more than a girl. Had he not walked there with her, she might have been an eerie porcelain thing and no more. There was no blemish in her snow but the red, red lips and the thick dark lashes. The flaw was its absence. In the city, there was talk of the Uncanny Valley. The sort of technology to touch that place hadn’t ever made it out into Valleyrun, save some pictures on the web. She would have been a tingling sort of disturbing that Ahler wouldn’t have been able to name, but would have wanted to touch. She blinked at him, and then plucked his phone from his hands. “It’s rude to break a promise, you know. Sin is real. You should believe in Demons, too.” She told him.

“I’ll find you, Mr. Ahler, if I need you. I’d like to know if your Blood House would be kind to me of their own accord.” She said, with the sort of tone that suggested it might be a divine test for the witch’s pride. “I’ve lived with my illness for a long time. I can be patient and your town seems nice.” Marin said, and whatever danger had been in her otherworldly edges seemed to dissipate. She took a step back, playing with Ahler’s phone in one hand.

“Will you walk with me back to the motel? I don’t suppose I should worry, but I’m a new girl in this place. It would make me feel safer.” She asked him, pulling up her hood with a tired sigh. He might have imagined the angel, if she weren’t still holding onto his phone.

--

Elise let her husband talk, some part of her enjoying the thought of a nice party. She loved her daughter, despite their differences. “That could be nice.” She agreed. Elise suspected the girl would still fuss, breakfast with her brother aside. At least Inan was perpetually sweet. He’d apologize to Cat, himself, for being kept from attending. Such a good boy.

“Maybe we’ll talk to them tomorrow. If Cat is inclined for something we’ll have a week to put it together.” She said with a tired smile. “It’s late and that Magic was draining. Shall we lay down?” she suggested, moving toward their bedroom as she spoke. It wasn’t ever the Magic that was exhausting, really. It was the weight of her own heart and the way it was reflected in Cat’s temper and Inan’s obedience.

--

Catalina frowned at her brother. “You’re good because you’re you. Same as me. I’m good because I’m me.” She folded her arms over her chest. “Of course we’re different, but it’s not because of that.”
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 27, 2016, 07:36:46 pm
Ahler shook his head violently, to dispel the mistake he'd produced. "Inan. Sorry. The town calls him Mend because of what he does." he said with some haste. A slip with an angel could be concidered a lie, couldn't it? What kind of sin was lying to an angel, what punishment would it buy you? While the disloyalty he'd performed, whether it be to his place of birth or his friends, did not weigh on him, her stare did. His hands came up, to keep back any judgement she would attach to him. "Ahler's fine. I'm just trying to be helpful." He hadn't snitched in the past. He'd had no reason to. "I'll not tell anyone about you." Again, a lie.

He was afraid of her complexion, so close. It was painful to hold in this breath. The discomfort at her beauty started just below his diaphragm and stuck there when he tried to shift his body to let it rise and be exhaled. The implactions of demons was almost too much for him, especially when the claiming of his voice in the world, the scratched up, flat device, felt so deliberate, so final. He shook his head to be more convincing, the showing palms twitching, petitioning for her to see. Surely she should be able to detect sincerity in them.

He lasted through her warnings, somehow, and was eager to be useful again, now that she’d revealed herself to be more than the pretty he’d tried to talk to outside his workplace. He took a few steps and waited for her to follow. Ahler wasn’t leading anymore, since she knew the way, but still took the role of a guide. Hard to believe she needed him for protection, but his ego was quick to convince him. He was going to be good, quiet company from here on out. That, also, he failed with when her word rolled off his drying lips. “Demons?” he wondered. She could deny him the information, of course, but he had to at least try to quench himself, now that she had revealed herself a possible source of the supposedly otherworldly. “Are there really demons?” if she existed, then her opposing kin should. Already he was wondering what Martin, Nona and the others would say. Every now and then he’d throw a glance at the phone she’d claimed. “How will I know them?”

“And you illness.” He realized it might be rude before he could halt his tongue. Now that he was committed to the question, it had to be spoken. “Is it bad? What could possibly make an angel sick?” and then “Did a demon do it?” Ahler was not a charming person, even if he’d desperately liked to be. There was something to be said for transparency, though. The boy felt some winter take him, speaking of what he assumed were the worst secret beings while walking the dark patch of forest.

-

Adam had very few illusions that the girl would not be obstinate in some way. She was not hard to please, she simply wanted one thing. The one thing he could not provide, and something Elise would not. The mother’s attitude toward the idea made him happy enough that he would allow himself to hope. He’d not felt tired, but her mention of sleep fell heavy on his lids. “Some hours of rest sounds nice.” He agreed and quickly finished up in the kitchen.

He suspected the other two would be up late, which was a habit he indulged them in. He was usually the one going up at night, hearing their voices. When they were being too loud, he’d deliberately walk by their room without saying anything. Usually that worked in calming them down. He’d not told Elise, since she’d probably force the boy to rest if she knew.

-

Inan felt guilty for what he’d done to the mood, but laid there, lamenting in the silence. His heart wasn’t built for this kind of contemplation. He sat up quickly and stuck his hand underneath her pillow, lifting her head to find a band. As he tied his hair back, he sighed, light. When he’d not been able to lure her into conversation yet, he grinned, lifting an arm off her chest to expose her ribs. “I’m sorry.” He said in his saddest voice, pulling at a drama that wasn’t there. He played those ribs lightly, but would grip her arm harder and when she struggled. “This is for your own good, child.” He continued, amusement apparent.

His limbs were long, a natural athlete in some sports if his blood had gotten the chance to nurture his muscles. In many ways Catalina was the spry one of them, the guardian of the blood wraith, but he was at least heavier than she. If he was not satisfied with this extraction of laughter, and she showed too many signs of being able to flee, he’d roll onto the bed, and throw his leg over hers to keep her down. “Recite the recipe for nettle soup!” he demanded with manic laughter in his voice, afraid of her revenge. She was fire, after all. “All of it!” It was one of the few things he knew from father’s work. It was good for infections and on hot days. It was also long.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 28, 2016, 08:33:46 pm
So many questions. Marin wasn’t generally fond of questions. Probing too deep could be problematic for her. Not because she feared revealing her nature, no, it was rather that she did not know what nature there was to reveal. There were many secrets for her many names. Marin only knew Marin’s secrets. This line of query, though, was benign. She found his fervor nearly charming. In humans, she had found, passion was the only innocent emotion. The rest were contrived and thick with motive.

“You didn’t ask me ‘are there really angels,’ why is that?” Marin asked him, following behind by a few paces. “Are angels easier to believe than demons?” Ahler should have been the one concerned about protection, really. Marin hadn’t made a point of being vicious in this life. She’d not had a reason to do so. She’d not had a reason to care overly for the human race either, though. She licked her lip thoughtfully. There were less useful creatures to eat than the boy, but his nature appealed to her pallet. Perhaps, when she’d had her fun in Valleyrun.
 
“How will you know them?” Marin echoed and laughed a little. “You won’t.” she said. “But, you won’t know the angels, either.” Angels and Demons seemed rare, these days. She’s not met any that she could remember. Perhaps they had also grown bored. Marin had read that Chandra had loved a demon. They had slaughtered humans like sheep, under the full moon. Marin didn’t know if the demon had ever shown up again. After Chandra, the stories of otherworldly things had become more fiction than history.

“There are a lot of things to go bump in the night. Faeries and Wolves and Vampires.” Marin said, the silvery eyes dancing. “But why would you know any of them, unless they wanted you to?” she mused. She supposed if he went digging, there was still enough knowledge out there to help him reveal the secrets of the Night. It would have been hard, though. The internet was such a playground for urban legends that it really had become the best shroud They could ask for. The truth was such a quiet thing.

Had a demon made her sick? “I suppose you could say that.” Marin said after a measured pause. If her nature qualified as sick, it could even be true. By that logic, though, she was ill as punishment for her parents and their parents before them. Little rips in universal order, little slips into the taboo.

When they reached the motel, again, Marin gave the boy a generous smile. “Thank you for the company. I do appreciate how forthcoming you are. I respect the desire to protect your town’s secrets, truly, but I am very grateful you told me about your Blood House.”  She said, jingling the keys to her room in her hand. When she had stepped inside, she turned back to toss Ahler his phone. “I’ll be seeing you, Ahler. Snitch.”

--

Catalina clamped he hands over her mouth to hold in a squeal of laughter. There were brief moments when she was just a little sister again. There was no Magic and no darkness in their home. Inan was healthy and strong. She squirmed mightily, gasping as he pinned her with his leg. “Inan!” she let out a little shriek, despite her best attempts to keep quiet.

“Inan,” a more urgent hiss. “Don’t make me laugh so loud, Mother and Father should be asleep soon and I don’t want to wake them.” She wheezed in between giggles, pointing at his wrist. The sooner their parents were asleep, the sooner she could close the wound. Even as she appealed to him with logic, she launched a counter attack, slipping her fingers up under his shirt to prod at his bare skin for full effect.

“You can’t tell a Witch what to say!” she retorted. Words were power. Still, she squirmed harder for fear of being made to comply. She’d be suffocating from her own laughter before she made it half way through that damned recipe.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on April 29, 2016, 06:36:49 am
And there he stood, with his phone. How useless it was now. It did signify the punctuation of this meeting. She had him leave her. He could have stayed here all night, waiting for her to leave her room in the  morning, so he would have proof, for himself, that she had existed. The moon face in the beginning of night. A moon he'd led to the Blood House. What a beautiful first chapter they'd written.

He didn't stay. He went past Lynn, and sat in his room, stepping over the book on his way. He sat there, filling the little space with the thoughts she'd left him. Why hadn't he questioned the existence of angels? Was she so convincing in her role? Yes, he'd have to say, and he'd shown it too, in his eyes when he'd looked at her. Because he believed her and the eyes that were black dark when they weren't white light. Whit his jacket off, his shirt thin, winter had gone, mostly, he could feel his heartbeat.

He gripped that pumping muscle harder when he thought of Faeries and Wolves and Vampires. He was at once stricken with a lust to see them, and a fear of them, and a world where they existed. So the night was like the ocean, and he had only seen and measured it by its surface. The way she'd laughed, expressing how acutely impossible it would be for him - at whatever lacking capacity she deemed he had - to ever see them if they wanted to be hidden.

It made him sad, it made him feel small, but her existence, and her confiding in him, made him feel hopeful. Maybe he could matter. He looked at the phone on the little table. He couldn't very well wait to matter. He'd sleep here, take one of the rooms. Lynn wouldn't know unless he lit the light by the window. They never cleaned rooms that weren't supposed to be occupied. Ahler reached for his phone.

It was Martin that answered. Tonight, Nona wasn't with him. It was hard to keep the other boy on the line, but eventually, with persistence and a offer to prove either insanity, gullibility, or splendor, Ahler was able to convince him to come. They could hang out in the room and wait. The others could come if they wanted. Nona would start about the Blood House, and they'd all bury themselves in theories for the night. And then, if they caught her before she slipped them, he could show them his angel.

She'd called him Snitch. He squeezed his heart harder and widened his eyes larger. He wouldn't be. Not in the end. He'd be something more.

-

Innan bent around her hand when it visited his skin, already laughing out of glee. He tried to swallow that mirth now, even as he was folded over her dancing fingers. "You're way more ticklish than I am. I'll win this, Witch!" he challenged. In his mind, it was true, even if they mostly had the same nerves to be teased. His cheeks filled with his attempts at not making a sound, and eventually he had to exhale into the pillow. While there, encased in the scent of her hair that she left on the cloth, he squeezed his eyes shut stubbornly to try and fight the bubbles in his stomach that wanted out, forced out almost, by her expert tickling.

So focused was he on not laughing, the hand on her arm squeezed a little harder, while the one playing her ribs stilled. His leg hooked tighter around both of hers. The strain, if any of them cared to notice, would grow the dark lines on the bonds around his wrists. His writhing was tell-tale of course, if the lack of motion in his tickling hand was not. Eventually, dizzied in her natural perfume, he would have to toss his face back to breathe.

If she'd not stopped by then, he'd have to use his strength and grab both her wrists, so he could escape the cackles that grated his throat. At that point it wouldn't be out of a spirit of competition, it would be out of necessity. This was why he loved the nights with her. The secrecy, the privacy. None of his blood between them. "Sccchhh. You're waking our parents." As though he'd not been the one to initiate.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on April 30, 2016, 10:43:09 pm
Marin sat on the motel room bed. It was and old and tired thing, with worn springs that should have creaked under her weight. She was more light than woman, though. More wave than particle, perhaps. There was no sound, no stir, same as her steps. For a long moment, she didn’t move. She’d come to Valleyrun and set a few cogs in motion, but she had no greater design. She wanted to meet the Witch’s boy. She wanted to know his blood. Perhaps, to know her own a bit better. A slow breath, wispy between the blood petals.

She shrugged out of her sweatshirt, laying back on the bed. The pale evening light slipped through the gaps in the old blinds, playing patterns across her skin. Luminous threads. Sharp teeth. She was hungry. There had been a boy back in the city who’d been a lot like Ahler. Quietly longing for something greater than the neat rules of daily life and enchanted by suggestions of the Other. He’d been hungry too, to break the rules and play the impossible. His veins had been soft and his heart had been so very willing.

Marin was a doll of Forever and the boy was the sort to waste. She’d left when the bags under his eyes had settled in deep and he’d started missing work. He hadn’t been worth bleeding dry. It wouldn’t have been satisfying. In addiction, he’d despaired over the punishment of continued life without her. It was on the tenth day of his ceaseless phone calls that she’d disposed of her phone and bought her bus ticket to Valleyrun. She wanted something different.

--

Cat was vicious, ignoring his gasps and fighting her own to persist. “I’ll never give in!” she laughed, though she did finally relent. Panting as she sat, she glanced at his wrist. “Here, let’s take a look.” She murmured, noting the dark beneath the bandage.

She slipped off the bed and padded to the door of their room, shutting it carefully. “They’re in their room, now, at least.” She said to him. Catalina returned to Inan’s side and took his arm into her hands, gently unwrapping the gauze. She’d used herbs and medicinal blends in the past. Since her meeting with the hunter in the woods, Cat had become more independent. She pressed her thumbs against the sides of the newest cut, frowning as more dark bubbled up.

“You’re not clotting well.” She said. Mother’s fault, she was sure. Mother gave Inan odd things to drink, now and again, to supplement his diet and keep him more ‘able to help’. Cat bit irritably at her lip. “She pretends she doesn’t see what happens but you know she knows. It’s okay to be a little selfish. Everyone else is.” She said, green eyes fierce when they landed on his starlight.

A deep breath, and then she wrote Magic in the air above his arm, thin lines of light sparking off her fingertips as she sang the Old Words soft and low. Catalina was softest when she was singing her Magic and touching the Earth Mother. She closed her eyes, humming still as she let her fingers trace the cut. Heat seared and sparked under that touch. The wound closed in its wake.

She smiled at him when she was through, running her hand over the healed skin with an affectionate touch before rewrapping it. Little successes Mother would never know about. Years ago, Elise would have been exceptionally proud of her daughter’s talent.

“One less, at least.” She said. Cat leaned in to give her brother a light kiss on the cheek. “I wish I could do more.” She said, and there was more of an apology in her words than a girl her age should have had to offer.     
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 01, 2016, 01:20:31 am
The house was theirs now, with mother and father tucked away. Inan smiled at the blood she brought out after baring the wound. It was a common thing for him. He looked from the little wealth to his sister. Then he listened carefully as she sung to seal it. He'd wanted to tell mother about Catalina's skill, but it seemed as though Cat didn't want that to happen. It was the magic worth having, wasn't it, worth fawning over, the one she'd earned by studying, instead of his strange, unnatural occurrence.

He knew the blood didn't harden the way it used to. Mother liked to wrap his punctures and cuts faster now. He thought it was efficiency on most days, when really it must be guilt. Love blinded him, but it could not turn off his common sense. In that act it was explained, that Elise thought some things more important than others. Her son may bleed, and bleed well, as long as the blood was still good for its purpose, which apparently, in her eyes, was not be to fill up his veins. If he was sentimental about it, his heart would get heavy. It made the care Cat gave him worth more.

"But I am selfish." he said when she closed the bandage again. He tested his wrist as though this hurt had concerned his join. Perfect pressure. What else could he call himself, for wanting this forever? Their room, their house, their flow of people needing help. The things he dreamed of he was afraid of, too. If nothing changed, he wouldn't be sorry. He let her kiss the dimple from his smiles. No one could have done more. "It's what we do. In this house, we heal wounds."

He started laying up cards, piling them to suggest her favorite game, rather than his.

Inan clung to the night. He had his pretty purple eyelids, and his slow blinks from the night. But he was usually lacking in body, and would slur his words and forget the rules of their games as the stars shimmered high. He didn't always know when he ended the chatter with a decrease of volume, only that eventually, father would wake him up, and that is was morning. On occasion, he would have lasted as long as Cat, and wake in her bed, an arm on her. Most days, father woke him in his own bed, tucked tightly, and with his hair brushed back from his face.

"You shouldn't sleep like this, anymore." Adam said, leaving the room after having shaken Inan softly. Tonight, he'd slept in her hair. The brother smiled widely, and returned the kiss she'd given him a few hours ago, to see if she'd wake from the peck.

"It's the morning, Cat. I'll make breakfast. You can pick out fresh spices for the eggs." Father would have disapproved of the extended affection. Father would have disapproved of the hand on her stomach underneath the blanket, as well.
-

Ahler would wake too, in the room he'd commandeered, in the armchair. Martin and Nona on the bed. They usually stayed the longest. There had been no proof. But they believed him, by the end of it, between Nona's stories of how the Blood House must be like to live in, and Martin's longing for a time when they used to burn those associated with magic. He'd researched his bloodline. Rich. Founders of what was now Valleyrun. Superstitious and afraid. Ahler thought it was a strange thing to be proud of.

"Will we go today then, and find your little moonlight crush?" Nona said as she sat up in the clothes she'd come in. Her slightness showed when she stretched and her shirt hiked up. Out of vanity, Ahler guessed, she would excuse herself every time they sat down to eat together. She must know every boy in their group fancied her. That's why they listened to her until they were believers, too. Ahler shrugged, like he could think of better things to do with the day than follow and angel, even though he could not. The smile he wore might have given him away, because she shook her head with playful judgement.

"If she's not flown." he said. Martin woke with laughter. They were romantics, both of them, but liked to be cynical when others were dreaming. It galvanized Ahler to get up and sigh loudly, to create some kind of momentum in their atmosphere. It eventually prompted the other two to follow when he left. Her room was just on the other end of the corridor.

"If we hurry, we can still be in the Blood House this afternoon. I'm going to try glass, today, I think." Nona said, last in row. Ahler thought it was exciting, sometimes, that she was such a morbid spirit. At this time of day it wasn't as charming as it seemed desperate.

"She might not even be up." he said, unusually hard. "Or she could have already left."
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 01, 2016, 07:02:14 pm
Cat enjoyed the nights she shared with her brother. They were simple and quiet. She could be innocent, again, without thoughts of her Mother’s oppressive practice or the deep rift that had cleaved the house in two. Even still, she suspected Inan was even more attached than she, clinging to the dark hours like they were his most precious thing. She wondered about it, on occasion, because his heart still seemed content with his daylight duties. She’d never been bold enough to ask him why. The illusion might shatter, then. Instead, she considered it her one indulgence at the expense of his health. The shadows beneath their eyes were a pact.

When it was morning, she woke coiled against her brother’s soft warmth. “Good morning, Prince Charming,” she teased, while sleep was still thick in her throat. “You’re supposed to wake the princess with a kiss, Silly, not the Witch.” She rolled away from him so that she could stretch her thin limbs, scratching at the wild twists of her pillow-tangled hair with a yawn.

“Okay, that sounds good. I need to get the rest of the nettles, today. We were interrupted yesterday.” She said, sliding out of bed. “Do you want to come?” Cat’s favorite time of year was winter. The long nights and grey days, as well as the break from home studies. She and Inan had always done their lessons with Father at home. Mother had been worried the children might be treated poorly for being Witch’s spawn, despite their value to the community. Now, the practice was more likely to keep a watchful eye on Inan and his precious veins. Not that it mattered anymore. Inan should have been thinking of heading to the city to start university studies and Cat was but two years shy of that possibility as well. Neither sibling had spoken of it, though. Valleyrun’s grip was tight.

What mattered now was that Father let them off on their own during the day, because it was a good time to catch the early year harvest of herbs in the forest and the proximity to the holidays was close enough to make their break seem valid. “I didn’t think we were so low on our stock, honestly.” Cat said as she was shrugging into a fresh change of clothes. She’d not developed many modesties in front of Inan, close as they were in spirit and living quarters. “I’m just glad there are enough this early in the season. It’s because there was a lot of rain, I think.”

As they made their way toward the kitchen, she leaned near to offer a secretive thought. “Maybe, if you and I make it deep enough into the woods, you’ll miss stupid Nona and she’ll have to figure things out with her own blood.” The deep green eyes sparkled with delight at the thought. Catalina wasn’t a cruel girl, but she was unforgiving.

--

Marin was standing outside, leaned on the old metal rail and staring down into the parking lot. She’d been out early, watching the shift change as Lynnette traded off duties with some old gentleman. There had been little activity since, the only cars to come and go had been using the lot’s turning utility rather than with intentions of motel patronage.She was waiting. Either for Ahler or someone who might give her something to eat.

She’d pulled a soft pink sundress from her bag today, intent on creating a wholesome and trustworthy sort of appearance. If it appealed to her femininity as well, she had accomplished double. It was hard to distrust a pretty woman, in the same way it was hard to distrust an angel. She tied up her long dark hair, as well, suggesting some deeply deceptive vulnerability in the bare curve of her slender throat. In the morning light, she was not so ethereal as she had been in the woods. It was just as well. She wanted to meet the Witch’s husband, today, so that she might acquire and invitation inside. If he had married a Witch, he ought to know the inviting darkness that tinged all Magic. That kind of temptation made the hair rise on the back of men’s necks. Marin did not want to feel dangerous.

She heard a door open down the open hall and glanced to see Ahler exit with some friends. Dear little Snitch. There was a boy and a girl. Marin thought the girl looked like she might cry the day she realized her prettiness was fleeting. It might be interesting to see. The other boy seemed interesting too, in so much as he might be good to eat. She wondered if that would break Ahler’s heart and the girl’s as well. Not that the substance of their emotions mattered terribly. Simply that they showed them to her. Anything was more exciting than the void of unanchored existence. Marin rarely knew what she was supposed to feel. It was good that humans were so definitive about their own sensitivities.

Marin pretended not to see them, returning her attention to the parking lot. It would be a game, today, since Ahler had found her first. She could, perhaps, learn a little more of Adam of the Blood House’s schedule if she entertained it. It was the boy’s move, though. Whether he might try to follow her or greet her outright would set the rules of their engagement. A small smile. Valleyrun was already a bit more fun than the city. She was glad she’d come.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 02, 2016, 06:52:47 am
He knew which prince she was referring to. He tried to wink in a way that might honor that image. Mother had raised them on the truth of those tales. Father had been more informative. It hadn't left the boy jaded, growing up, but it brought some nuances to the way they'd played. Today, in the morning light, they'd borrowed from the kinder, sweetly coated versions.

Inan had leaned back into her bed, finding the ceiling a sudden anchor for his half-hearted focus, when she put her clothes on. It was a recent development, and one he fought to hide. It was not a conversation he wanted to have. If Catalina had noticed, she'd not said anything yet. He quickly followed her lead, and chose something quickly when she was leaving the room. The good thing with not having many changes of clothes, was that they had all worn to perfection.

He hadn't answered her invitation to come along. There was nothing that he wanted to do more. And in Valleyrun, there was nothing more for him to do. With his hair obediently being tied back as they walked, he expressed a reflection of the sentiment she was suggesting toward Nona. On him, it looked like compliance. Nona wasn't doing a good thing, cutting herself up, but it would be unusual for the boy with the blood to willfully deny someone. The plan had a perfect moral balance, though. If he was too deep, and could not be found, then it wasn't his fault, was it?

"I've always liked when we reach the cave." he said, a hidden act of evil toward Nona. A long walk. It had red berries around its mouth all year around. The strangeness of this occurrence had been with them growing up, and now that they were old enough to find that out of place, they hadn't spoken about it to anyone else. A small entrance that not even dad had shown knowledge of.

The kitchen was its usual labyrinth of light. He was quick to turn on the stove. The boy knew how to cook. When there was time, he liked to follow recipes to complicated desserts. Some of the green life in their forest were exotic according to the pages he frequented. He liked to fuss over the aesthetics, and take his time. Today there was no need. He usually made an omelette, because it was the best vehicle for Cat's spices. The sizzle upon the first egg in the oil was sensational, an abrupt end to the stillness. Dad was in the fridge.

"We're going to pick the rest of the nettles." Inan offered as he added more shells to the trash. It was to make conversation, but mostly to make sure it was still alright that they went out. Adam hummed with agreement, lifting his head, mouth full of something. Inan held his hand out and waved Cat in. "Hurry, or we'll have it plain with salt." he warned. When he cooked, they always ate out of the pan, always shared. As a child, he'd liked picking from everyone's plate.

"Don't forget your phones. I'm going to the groceriestore today." Adam said, brushing the two old models on the counter as he left the kitchen area to have his collected breakfast in the couch, in front of the fireplace. Since they'd bought those devices, the sister and brother had only brought them a handful of times. The father wasn't much hopeful anymore, but he thought it was his job to keep his children as available as possible, though he didn't mind going to get them. Adam had developed a sense for where they'd be, anyway, which was why Elise sent him, and didn't usually go herself.

-

Ahler spotted her first. His wide eyes turned back at the other two. Nona was immediately annoyed and intrigued. Martin wore a lax expression, already trying to look his off-beat charming. Ahler suddenly felt unsure with the other male there, and walked faster. Marin looked like a day, hiding her significant beauty with a flattering cadence. Tools of her trade, no doubt. "Oh, hello neighbor." he said as he stopped by her, hand on the rail. He kept some distance, without being sure why that was important. Probably to keep Martin as far away as possible. "Nona, Martin." he continued, and gestured toward the woman. "This is Marin, we spoke yesterday."

Martin was quick to let go of Nona's small shoulder to step beyond Ahler and extend his hand. "Nice to meet you. Brent say's you're from the city." the ashen blond said. He looked her over with a practiced friendly interest. He'd not seen something as pretty as he before, but he knew not to let that on. Martin fancied himself a predator in his own right. "We were going to skip school today, maybe show you around?"

The girl behind the athletic boy grabbed her elbows, posture stiff and smile sharp. She didn't keep a taut leash on Martin, not so possessive of the bodies she held for comfort, but the beauty of this new person did encroach on something Nona thought she had all to herself. There is a lot of power in being the loveliest in any group, and she'd thought Alleyrun her own domain. "Sorry. Boys likes new, shiny things." she said with a shrug, hoping, perhaps, to underline the cleanliness of Marin's attire, while her own direction was deliberately haphazard. She refused to see that the difference between them were not in category, but in level.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 03, 2016, 05:23:02 pm
Catalina was pleasant with her father, put in a good mood by Inan’s suggestion of the cave. Not that she was ever terribly irritable with Father; she seemed to have decided his heart was well-meaning, at least. Cat had stopped affording her mother the same courtesy some time ago. Wayward or not, it was a bit difficult to say whether that judgement of Mother was fair. Father certainly seemed to think not.

“Coming,” she said, popping over to Inan’s shoulder with a small tasting bowl of spices. Cat had gone with something a little bit spicy and very aromatic. It was a refreshing play of scent and texture for the morning. “I put in a bit of mint with the red pepper, can you smell it?” she asked as she dumped the spices over the thickening eggs. “Maybe I should get some cheese for them, also? We have a bit of goat’s cheese left in the fridge, I think.” She suggested, going to fetch it before waiting for an answer.

Catalina nodded at her father. It was fair enough to be asked to carry the phones. On the one hand, she wasn’t sure she liked the idea of being that accessible. It made it easier for Mother to summon them home for more bloodletting. On the other, if Inan was careless again and fainted, it would be good to be able to reach Mother and Father for help. She couldn’t remember if either she or her brother had bothered charging the devices, though. They so rarely took them anywhere.

Cat brought two forks and the goat’s cheese back to the stove. Eager, as always, to be moving. She crumbled some of the cheese over the top of the omelette and held a fork in Inan’s direction. “If we eat quickly, we’ll have more time to find nettles before we stop for lunch. I’ll pack us sandwiches before we go.” She meant they’d have more time to get deeper into the woods, and when she said sandwiches she meant bread with some peanut butter. They did not generally keep foods that would spoil quickly, because they could not afford to waste. The little luxuries they did have, like the goat’s cheese, were gifts from neighbors that made them in exchange for spices and herbs that Cat and her Father had ground and dried. Bartering was still quite common in Valleyrun, despite economic complexities of the twenty-first century, but the town had stayed very close to its roots. Whether by necessity or preference was depended on the pride of the one telling the story.

For as stringy as the girl was, she had a strong appetite. Inan was a “growing boy” and had plenty excuses for his body’s need for strong nourishment. That he had grown up slim was not terribly surprising, regardless of how much he consumed. Cat, on the other hand, seemed simply to have the sort of metabolism most girls envied and ate voraciously simply because she could and it never made much difference. She dug into the omelette before Inan had even transferred the food off the burner, though she had been polite enough to wait for him to cut the heat.

Cat was pleased that she had finished eating and thrown together some peanut butter sandwiches in just under fifteen minutes. She was already waiting at the back door before Inan could get the pan in the sink. Her satisfaction diminished somewhat when Mother came into the room.

Elise wasn’t the kind to squabble unnecessarily with her daughter, really only demanding that she behave politely when they had visitors and to hold her tongue when she became disrespectful. Typical expectations of a mother, really. If anything, the woman might have been a bit saddened by the immediate stiffness in Cat’s posture when she entered. She loved the girl dearly, despite their differences. It was the only reason why she continued to believe Adam when he said Cat would understand their ways, eventually. Elise smiled pleasantly at her family. “Going out already? I suppose it must be for more nettles,” she said. Cat’s shoulders relaxed just a bit. “Have fun. Please be careful and don’t stray too deep. Your father said Inan collapsed yesterday.”

Elise’s concern was sincere, though she might also have considered how easily the children could get back in the case of a visiting neighbor. The suspicious curl of Cat’s lips, though fleeting, felt overly accusatory, regardless.

“We’ll be careful. I’ll make sure he doesn’t do anything too terribly dumb,” Cat said, choosing to be civil as well. She flashed her mother a smile, which was half-hearted but gladly accepted by the Witch. “Okay, Inan, let’s go.” She said. She had already forgotten to go get their phones.

--

Marin arched an eyebrow ever so slightly, a bit surprised by Ahler’s boldness. It was possible he hadn’t considered what it must look like, emerging from such a nearby room with his entourage. She felt quite comfortable with her ‘snitch’ accusations, to that end. If her eyes said so, when they met his, her smile was satisfactorily unperturbed.

“Nona, Martin, Mr. Ahler, good morning.” Marin said, turning to face them as she ate the new names. She let her gaze linger on the blond boy, returning his handshake. She wondered how old she looked to them. Her body must have suggested something between sixteen and twenty-two, depending on how she’d made herself up for the day. The dark eyes, though, had generally begun to suggest something much older. It was only fair that past lives would begin to weigh heavy and lonesome at some point. “Well, I’m not a fan of school, myself, so I would say that sounds pretty nice.” She said. Marin had gone through schooling of various kinds many times over. She could remember all her lessons, even if she couldn’t remember who had taught them. She was careful to hold on to Martin’s hand just a little longer than a handshake might require, suggesting opportunity.

The girl was delightful. Nona. Fragile girl. Marin’s smile grew wider. Wide enough, in fact, that there might have been a suggestion of something sharp for the group to see. She even laughed a little bit. “It’s nothing to apologize for.” She said, enough amusement there that Nona might have found it annoying. “I like you two.” Marin said to the boys, offering encouragement. She didn’t have plans to take Nona’s boys away, but she didn’t mind the girl thinking so. A little blush as she tucked a stray fall of dark hair behind her ear. Effortlessly provocative in the small things. She was sure not to make direct eye contact with either boy, because ideas of competition, she had found, made males significantly more pliable.

“Where shall we go, then?” she asked, taking a moment to cough weakly against her wrist to remind Ahler that he should want to help her. Even in the day, her lips were so very red. 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 03, 2016, 09:55:19 pm
Inan was weary of the chili. He liked things that were aromatic, and liked to indulge himself with great inhales when he found something new. Mother had never prohibited that gluttony, surely the blood could not be tainted through the nose. Do it with chili once, though, and you'll learn a lesson. He waited for the steam to carry the blend to his nose, instead. Bold, as Cat liked it. The perfume was soon diluted by the familiar addition of the cheese. He felt as proud as he did hungry, now.

He laughed as Cat started circling the spoon from the pan to her mouth as he carried it to the side of the burning plate. Hypocrite, he emulated her behavior soon. It was too tempting when some of the red flakes stills tuck to the strings of cheese she moved in between her lips. It burnt, the first few bites, but the mint did well to refresh. Every few scoops, he'd disturb her in her shoveling task, and scrape the morsels off her fork before she could lift them all the way. She had always been impressive by the kitchen table, or here, by the stove.

He smiled widely at mother as he stepped into his shoes. He was glad she'd come out, so that he didn't have to look for her to say goodbye. Both he and Adam looked from one woman to the other as they interacted. Inan was sure he saw a smile mirroring his own on father before going to Cat. He had a backpack as well, this one mostly empty, so they could carry nettles home. He did like the freedom of studying under dad, even though it was giving him some diffuculties now, looking over where to apply. He hadn't concidered that the lack of papers from the prestigeious schools in the city might be the excuse to stay forever that he wanted.

"Don't worry mom." he assured Elise as he flexed his arm for her, pushing Cat out the door.

Adam tried asking if they wanted anything from the store again, but his children were gone.

It was starting out as a good day. Innan kicked some dirt to the side as they cut into the woods, pace a little less leisurely than usuall, with their goal in mind. They needed to be at least where they were yesterday when dad had come for them before they could start collecting nettles. "Hey, do you remember what mom used to tell us about these woods to keep us near the house? About the vampires?" he asked as he looked around. He chuckled when he saw a few shadows that would have startled a younger him.

Before his blood was worth its mass in magic, she'd told him it was worth its flow in flavor. He had always been intrigued by those stories, and had made father tell him which were old myth and which were crafted to control him. He loved the creatures of legends, because they were more than he'd ever met, yet he belived in, was raised on, the mysticism that must fuel them. On any day, he lived that magic. Though beeing slightly jaded by his side of the spectrum, he longed to see what other things might look like, when they weren't human.

He felt bad for his desires to hear gossip of vampires in the city, but not so bad that it kept him from secretly wishing those incidents would take place closer to Valleyrun. "I think I'm going to be a vampire hunter." he said, laughing by the end of the statement. He ran a finger over where she'd healed him last night. "Could you imagine? Who would do that? Surely that's no life for anyone." he said as he ducked under a branch. "I'd like to meet one though." he admitted and looked over at her. "Wouldn't you?"

-

The boys toppled into her trap willingly. Nona, though not as smitten, was also brought along, a bit. Martin was not used to such viles, no mortal man could have figured out Marin's cunning, but the light haired boy had not had much trouble in the past with his dalions, because of his social standing, Valleyrun wealth, and good looks, so he was additionally sensetive to this manipulation. Having gotten to keep her hand for a moment longer, suddenly seemed more worth than having slept next to Nona all night.

Ahler felt immideately regretful to have brought the taller speciment male. His ego was about to turn from glowering to desperate when Marin offered the competition, rather than dubbing Martin the winner, already. It was more of a chance the inferior boy had ever gotten, and so his chest sprung slightly. "Nothing to do so early." Nothing to do ever, really. "We could show you the one street."

"First we should get coffee at the store." Martin injected. Nona narrowed her eyes but then got beside the woman she had now decided was her own age. Bravely, she hooked an arm into Marin's to lead her along the rail so they could leave this place, and also get some distance from the boys, though they would follow soon. She did want coffee. Martin didn't always offer to buy.

"It's not so bad here." She was a proud Allyrunner. A queen loves her land. "No posters, but no ruckus, either. You can be with your own thoughts and still be among people." She'd practiced this a few times. Her cousin lived in the city. She'd walk them toward the store. "Where are you from, in the city?" she asked, looking back, suddenly excited to have the two others follow, some of Marin's power spilling over on her, with the proximity.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 06, 2016, 01:46:41 am
There was a noticeable spring in the Cat’s step as she hastened toward the woods. The siblings moved with purpose, the cave securely at the heart of their adventure today. “I remember,” Cat said, thinking again about the hunter in the woods and the way the stubble on his sharp jaw had looked when he’d clenched his teeth against the pain of his wound. “What about it?” she asked, curious as to what had conjured the blood drinkers in her brother’s memories today.

Catalina had never thought too much of the vampire stories. She’d accepted them as mostly true and taken Inan’s confirmation of certain parts, learned from Father, as enough proof. She regarded them the way she did Faeries and other moonlight walking things. They were Other, which meant she should respect whatever balance they brought to the Earth, but that was all. Sometimes it was better not to delve too deep, looking for answers about the Night things. Respect also meant restraint.

Her left eyebrow arched high, though Inan himself seemed unable to take his own words seriously. “Well, it’s certainly not the life for you.” She agreed with a laugh. Who would choose the life of a hunter? Mysterious men with long histories in the city, that was who. She snorted a little when he continued. “Really, you’d like to meet one? I don’t know. I don’t know if you could trust one. I mean, I’m not saying that I know that you can’t, either.” She mused, kicking a stone out of the path.

“Maybe you’d like that better than Nona?” she teased. “Some pretty monster that wanted your blood to eat, instead of to cause a scene?” Cat stretched her arms overhead. “I suppose that would be a little more humble, at least.” The Witchling fell quiet.

The winter birds had a more piercing song than the summer birds. Their calls were a little lonelier and tasted more strongly of the ancient echoes in the woods around Valleyrun. Catalina like them, but they made her restless. The summer birds were more optimistic, so she liked them best. After a short while of walking to their tune, she struck up one of her own.

We lived in our little drama
We kissed in a field of white
And stars fell on Alabama last night

She could have gotten a job in the city, singing in some smoky lounge with her velvet voice. She only ever sang for Inan, though. Any other time, she held her tongue for the Old Words alone.

I can’t forget the glamour
Your eyes held a tender light
And stars fell on Alabama last night

Cat skipped a few paces ahead of her brother, turning to face him as she sang with a cheeky sort of smile.

--

Marin nodded at Martin’s suggestion. “Coffee sounds very nice. Then the one street.” She laughed a little. They were fun. Coffee was one of the few concoctions she was fond of. She didn’t care for foods, but drinks of various sorts had caught her fancy. Coffee, tea, and other warm drinks. Warm was always better.

She was startled, when Nona took her arm. She wasn’t used to people touching her so boldly. If her surprise was sincere, she did a good job of covering it, matching the somewhat taller girl’s stride easily. Again, no sound in her steps. For that matter, there wasn’t a breath in the folds of her dress to be found, either. That breathlessness was a bit contagious, hanging in the old sweet scent that floated still around her. Sometimes, when things grow very old, their sweetness becomes hazy and languorous. Too much becomes choking. Just a little, just this hint, was more like the soft suggestion of a perfume tied to heartbreaking memories.

“That does have its appeal,” She agreed, though her tone said she was only half invested in the conversation. The big dark eyes were drinking the length of the street in as they went, counting doors and old things on the side of the road. “I stayed in the North End for a while.” Marin said. That was where the book store had been, with the stories about Chandra and Selene. “Before that I traveled around a lot. I like seeing new places.” She said. New places, new lives, over and over, all around the world.

“What about you? Were you born here?” Marin asked. It wasn’t meant to be cruel, the mysterious and worldly doll with the pretty girl next door. There was something easy to envy in being exotic, though. It was cheating, a little bit. She cast a glance over her shoulder to look at the boys behind, hanging her lashes just so that she might have seemed shy of making eye contact with one of them. “And the boys. Were they born here also?” 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 06, 2016, 03:14:22 pm
Catalina wasn’t wrong. Though his profession, or better named, his function could be mistaken for somewhat dark and mystic, he wasn’t a very fitting partner for a hunter of fanged ones. Though a hunter might have use for Inan’s services, there would be hesitation in killing anything with a human face for the boy, devoted to mending. In the field, if the streets were fields to a hunter, Inan thought his sympathy would weigh him down. “I could buy them a beer.” Inan said with a loudly pitched, defensive voice, laughter clucking at the end of the last syllable.

His sister posed an interesting point of view. He unhooked one thumb from the strap of his pack to touch his neck, mother’s favorite highway, one she’d protect unless it was sorely needed. It would be a way he and his blood would be equal to others, quelling thirst. Another sheep. He smiled to himself as he let the hand slide back to strain the strap. Why was that such an appealing though? And the longer that scenario lingered, the more he wanted to be special in that regard. Was it vanity that made it so desirable that he taste good? “Though, if my blood is medicine, then maybe it tastes especially bad and bitter to a connoisseur.” He said with disappointed revelation.

There was a child in the village, that had smiled when mother had given her a few drops of his blood on her tongue when she’d had blisters. She still waved at him when she saw him in town. The ordeal hadn’t been unpleasant to her palled, not so much that it ruined the satisfaction of being healed, at least. Children are sensitive to association. He’d tasted his own blood, of course, nosebleeds and bites of his tongue and lip. To him it just tasted like blood should. He lifted his head from those theories and looked at his sister, but the question ‘ will you taste it, just to see if it’s bitter?’ even though she was not a vampire, was not spoken when she started singing.
His eyes brightened as they followed her, her steps moving her in front of him. Their adventure was well on its way, then, when Cat filled the forest with her voice. The smile wasn’t a wide delighted grin on him, but without teeth, slightly open. Not reverence at her perhaps, but soaking in the moment, definitely. He thought she was beautiful, her hair burning her aura bright in the green of the winter forest. Inan knew some of the emotions he should reserve for women that weren’t his sister flared her way anyway, because of their closeness. He’d labeled them as reflected glow rather than sincerity of the heart, and was able to deal with them, that way. Did she see it in the gold rings around the eggshell irises? He wasn’t a fine enough deceiver to hide it, if he tried.

Eventually, they were deep enough that they should start picking nettles. His steps slowed first. They couldn’t very well walk all the way to the cave without trying to fill their packs. He took out a net bag and black gloves. Mother insisted on the protection, and he supposed fewer cuts were a good thing. “I’d like to see you on a stage.” He said, a bit quiet so as to not disturb her song. Earth rained from the roots of a plant he’d picked. It was not what they were looking for and it made him frown as he uselessly put it back in the upturned dirt and stomped around it to pat his conscience. “I’d throw roses at the end of every song.” He meant to use a sweet tune, but now he was huffing, trying to put the plant back before bending down to pick up what he’d intended to from the start.

-

Nona didn’t like that Marin was well-traveled. The way she carried herself, Nona could see why it was not hard for Ahler, who was already a citizen of the clouds, to think that she was an angel. It was not this that upset the girl the most. It was of course the loveliness that grated more on her. Angel or not, Marin was an enemy. “Born and raised.” Nona admitted. There was some pride there, or rather, some petitioning for Marin to think that it was something to be proud of. “Just a girl who grew up on the fields and grew with the seasons. I like the closeness. I hate the close-mindedness.” A crooked smile tried to apologize for bigotry that wasn’t really an issue unless it came to the old magic. Truly, Nona had an image of what kind of girl she should be when next to someone like Marin.

Both boys looked at each other when Nona painted the picture of a Belle that had grown up close to dirt paths and the high grass. Nona had always been progressive, aggressive with modern things, and would either buy her clothes with imitation smudges, or be squeaky clean. There should be some proof of that in the fact that she still smelled like her label of perfume, despite her night away from home. Martin shrugged and Ahler wasn’t about to point it out. The girl was about to answer for the two not-men, but Martin was too fast, reacting instinctively to the lure of Marin’s recoiling demeanor.

“Traveled some with mom and dad as a kid. Nowdays I don’t go so often. They’re no fun company, and my sister feels the same way.” He said. Ahler thought the answer was strangely devoid of bragging for having been something out of Martin’s mouth to a pretty thing.

“My family’s lived her for generations.” Ahler added. There was some hesitation in sharing this, since he’d been told it was not something to be proud of. “How about…” he realized he couldn’t ask of her lineage, too much. She couldn’t very well tell the others the truth about her origin, as she’d presented it to him. “…your life in general?” he said, a bit of panic on what to fill the air with as they turned into the little store. Nona looked back, and Martin, as well. Ahler’s pulse quickened. “Eum. With work, and your love life. Got a boyfriend?” Martin became increasingly elated at Ahler’s verbal failure. The poor boy turned right, suddenly very intrigued by the chips when Martin and Nona continued to lead their guest toward the corner with the loud scent of roasts and blends.

“Should go with the herbs and garlic. It’s better for you.” Adam said to Brent. Ahler turned and gave the grown man a look Adam didn’t understand.

“Thank you, sir.” Ahler said. Adam smiled and reached over him to get a planer flavor. “So. How’s your family?” Ahler continued. Adam dropped the item in the basket he was carrying and tried not to look too surprised. It was definitely against Ahler’s character to small talk to anyone outside of his circle of friends.

Ahler was trying to think of a conversational route that would take the father of The Blood House to the window where they sold coffee.

-

He was a moonlight thing, pirouetting on the full scale of emotions. His playground was the heart. He was not often required to pay for lodging or food. He was not known for being cheap in the aftermath of coercion, either. Someone had asked someone else what you call a thing that can make you feel anything. Someone else had said ‘dangerous, a rift in our world’. Of course, they had been adversaries, in part, to the alabaster ray. He’d asked the bus driver if he felt generous, and then sat down. He’d asked for forgiveness from the two who frowned at the unfair, waved wage, and received it.

-

Olister had found the family of five, naked, with passionate stories in their open, foggy eyes. Surely the father had not meant to die inside his son, like that. Red hair in the puddle of blood, a calling card. If you lifted the strand, it would was out, eventually, to pure white. A moonlight thing. Olister brushed the chest of his shirt, to remember a girl who’d truly had red tresses. The pale mark remembered, also. There were many ways out of these blocks, but he looked at the time of death, apparent from the video on the daughter’s phone. Just before the bus that went to Midsummer, by way of Valleyrun.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 06, 2016, 10:45:43 pm
She stopped singing when they found a fresh patch of nettles, following Inan into the scrub around the dirt road to start picking. Cat didn’t wear gloves, despite the stinging quality of the plant. It was easy to tell when the smart started to bother her, because she’d start humming one of the Old Songs to soothe her skin and the plants. The Earth was kind to the witchling, because she was kind to Her. Often enough, Cat didn’t notice a sting from the nettles at all. “That would be weird. Mother always says Witches should go unnoticed, outside of Valleyrun.” She mused. It was a funny thing to say, given her disagreements with Elise at every other turn. Some warnings had stuck, it seemed.

“I would be embarrassed, anyway. It’s ok, in front of you but…” she glanced at him. She couldn’t have said why the look she was met with made her blush. Catalina turned her attention back to a sprout of nettles with haste, tugging hard at the base of the plant. “Roses are expensive, you know.” She mumbled.

Cat cast her gaze further down the path. “We should be quick about going deeper. Who knows when Nona will show up and have us called back.” Cat suggested, stuffing more nettles into her basket and shrugging her backpack up on her shoulder. She chanced another glance at Inan.

“It’s a little bit weird, not being a kid with you.” She said, a bit suddenly. In the dappled forest light, she noticed for the first time that Inan really did look like an adult. At least, he would have if it weren’t for that ever-youthful brightness in his eyes. She couldn’t quite blame Nona for being so enthused about visiting Inan. Cat figured she wouldn’t have faulted the girl at all, if it had just been visiting. It was that Nona always came looking for Magic out of her brother’s veins that upset her.

“I remember trying to make it all the way to the cave with you pretty often, when we were little. It always seemed so far away. It’s really different now. It doesn’t feel nearly as far and—“ she hesitated. “Well I guess before we only ever tried to make it there for the adventure of it. It’s really different now.” She repeated. A sigh. She wondered if she looked like an adult to Inan, too. Maybe she had a few years left for that. Not that Cat was a good judge. The girl had always known her brother and the Earth a good deal better than she knew herself.

--

Marin nodded at the things Nona said, because it seemed like she was supposed to find the story pretty. She wondered what Nona tasted like. Emotions were their own chemical cocktail and they flavored blood in various pleasing ways. Nona seemed like she had a lot of emotions, bubbling below the practiced presence. Marin didn’t mind that sort of mask, but only because it seemed fair.

She slowed so that she could converse more readily with the two boys, a surprisingly abrupt strength in the petite limbs as she pulled Nona to her pace. It had been Nona that had insisted on walking arm in arm like this, in the first place. Surely she could suffer Marin’s preference to engage the other two, as well. It was only polite. “Traveling is nice enough. I prefer it on my own, though I like making new friends in the places I go.” Marin said. Marin traveled everywhere alone.

Snitch seemed to be struggling, and it made her brows arch high with something between curiosity and amusement. It wasn’t an unkind gesture, though, and might have even seemed as if she found his clumsiness endearing. She did not, truthfully, but it didn’t anger her either. Generally, it took a lot to move her. Weary soul. “History is good,” she offered in consolation for his blundering. It was a sentiment she’d shared whit the boy the previous night. “I don’t work.” She said, coughing with her face turned away, as if it were an explanation. Marin had not needed to work in a few years. She’d endeared herself to an aging widow that had left Marin a pretty fund in her will. The widow had lonely blood, which Marin had liked. It had tasted familiar.

She was silent on the matter of boyfriends. Instead, she expressed her delight over the coffee. “Fresh coffee is one of my favorite smells.” She said, and it was genuine. An unfamiliar voice caught her attention. A middle-aged man speaking to Snitch.  She untangled herself from Nona and leaned in a bit closer to Martin.

“Is that another friend of Ahler’s?” she asked. 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 07, 2016, 01:24:19 am
He'd picked quietly, effectively when she reminded him of mother's words. It was strange to him, how he could carry any task mother gave him, and work through any inconvenience, but he could barely stand the limitations the woman set for Cat. His sister held the title with pride, he thought Elise should at least see that, and give only the good things of that life to her daughter. That little outrage, a wrinkle between his eyes, didn't seep out very far from him. Not even the nettles minded, very much.

"Nettles, then!" if roses were so expensive. But the plant itself had been too light, too loose from the lump of dirt he thought it was stuck to when he tossed it, so only a particulate cloud reached her, its mass eaten by the distance before a few grains could perhaps pelt her leg. He looked surpised, stepping quickly to pick the useless projectile up and join it with the others he'd gathered.

He stood up straight, fussing with his bag to close it with gloves on. That stopped when she talked about their childhood, gone, and the change in their relationship to each other. And the world. It was devastating that something so dear to him had ended without a farewell, even if it was replaced by something just as important. There was some suffering in him, now. He trusted the swing of his bag back on his shoulders to dispell some of that somber. It was at least enough that he could pretend it worked.

Inan stuffed the gloves into his jacket pockets as he caught up with her. He took her hand for his own comfort, but didn't look at her when they continued toward the cave. They knew this place, the way all children know their playground, but it did feel weird, seeing it as grown. "We'll always be sister and brother." It wasn't an answer she'd asked for, but it was what he wanted her to hear.

Even in winter, the forest was tight in here. You could walk and walk, but the closeness of the trunks and leaves would still be intimate. "I think, if the world changes, that won't." It was as true as anything could be. But there was also a lie, in there, if she thought he meant that he'd always feel for her what he felt when they ran here, and had to jump over roots they now stepped over. In the house, he had to hide from her, sometimes, so he could imagine her, compromised. Surely that was a vile thing for a brother to do. His hand was warmer, for hers.

"And if it does, I won't mind, if I get to keep you." some resolve radiating from the pupils to his golden rings as he looked at her, finally. "Not sure what kind of person I will be, but I'll always come to you." He wanted to say 'stay', but what if Cat decided to leave? He wouldn't stop her, on that day, not the way he felt now, but that didn't meant he couldn't follow. If it broke mother's heart, then that would have to be a broken heart he'd have to carry.

-

Nona had to comply in the pace Marin chose. She'd not realized this a was a tug of war, and applying too much force now would be inelegant. Marin seemed wordly, the way she spoke. Except for the city, Nona had not traveled much. All three of them had noted how their newest aquaintence had side-stepped Ahler's akward question. That was a mystery Nona did not have. Her connections were rather public to anyone who had an ear for gossip.

Her eyes gleamed at the chance to change the subject. "That's Adam Copper. He's the father of Mend. He's the herbalist of Alleyrun and his wife's the witch of The Blood House." she said. By the look on Martin, where he stood by the counter, she'd beat him to it. It was satisfying.

After an exchange of common phrases, much stuttering on his own part, Ahler thought of a plan. Really it was just a lie. He quickly explained some symptons and applied them to Martin, asking Adam for help. "Those sounds like he has the cold, Brent. I'd recomend echinacea, or some rest." the man looked over at the supposed sick boy, paying for coffee. "He seems fine to me though."

"Oh, but he's like that. He doesn't want anyone to know. Could you come over and tell him to take the medicine?" Ahler pressed. This was slipping out of his grasp. Adam was about to leave, shaking his head, until he saw the girl Nona had attached herself to.

"Who's that? New girl?" Without knowing why, the father suddenly felt concerned about the two kids that he'd watched grow up. Ahler was pleasantly surprised to see the man move toward the coffee court on his own accord. None of them knew that it was his sympathic role in Valleyrun that beackoned his instincts to protect. The witless boy trailed a few steps behind, and smiled widely, as though the trio didn't already know what was happening.

"This is..."

"Adam. I'm kind of a nurse around here, trying to take care of this town." he interrupted, placing himself close to the new, beautiful girl. Charming, but her air seemed too still for a person her apparent age. Once, he'd found Cat and Inan building with broken mirrors in the mud because they liked the pretty prisms. This reminded him of that. He offered a hand. "And you're new, I take it."
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 08, 2016, 06:07:12 pm
Cat did smile a little, when she pictured him throwing stinging nettles at her on stage. How peculiar everyone would think that was. She jumped when he sent the nettle sailing her way, and smirked when it fell pitifully short of her. “Well, there you go being a child, though.” She teased. Not that she minded. It was a great kindness that they could share these silly sorts of things together. Back at home, the air was always tired and the strain of the family business had become sour with their various tensions. It sat heavy on the young shoulders.

When he took her hand, she was quick to lace her fingers with his and squeeze tight. It had always been just the two of them. It might always be. There was a little lonely in that, but Catalina thought it was the sort of thing that made their closeness sweeter. Us against the world and all of that. In some sense, it was just her adolescent dreaminess dramatizing their need for solidarity. They had loving parents and some amount of food on the table every night, despite anything else. They weren’t nearly as alone as her young heart occasionally suggested. “You’re right.” She agreed, pushing her shoulder gently against his as they walked.

They had not done as well as Cat had anticipated, collected nettles. Their alternate goal had somehow inched ahead in priority and they had walked fast toward the cave and left several patches of nettles untouched. It was fine, though. They could get them on the way back, when progressing slowly toward home might also be in their benefit. As if the Earth wished to give the siblings an even better excuse for their rather paltry haul, a sudden rush of sound rolled toward their ears.

Cat paused and looked skyward. “Uh oh.” She said, and then looked at Inan with a wild sort of grin. “Rain.” She confirmed the obvious, just as the first big droplets descended through the trees. Valleyrun was prone to heavy late winter rains. In fact, an abundance of precipitation had been the main cause of the early nettle growth. The winter falls were always abrupt, both to start and end, but their durations were unpredictable. It was heavy, sheet-like rain that descended, only barely broken up by the forest trees. Catalina tugged on Inan’s hand, and sprinted forward. “Run! Before it’s nothing but mud. The cave is close, anyway!” she gasped.

It would have been futile to think they’d make it into the cave’s mouth before they were utterly soaked to the bone with the chilly winter rain and Cat was glad her bag, at least, was waterproof. It had been a lucky find at the secondhand store some years ago and Cat had spent almost all the allowance she’d saved that year to buy it. “Are you doing okay?” she called to him, voice raised to compete with the thunderous downpour as the outline of the steep hill rise that marked the entrance to the cave came foggily into view.

When they tumbled inside, shivering and wet, Cat was laughing as she panted. The sound was full and unrestrained, echoing into the deeper reaches of the cavern. The volume of the rain outside, though, nearly drowned it out. It was dark in the cave, and Cat held fast to her brother’s hand, reaching with the other to hold on to his arm. They needed to go a bit deeper in, to get beyond the rain that was being blown in at the entrance. When they were out of the spray, she tugged on his sopping sleeve to indicate they should sit.

Rummaging in her bag, she found the old camping lantern she’d brought for exploring, and clicked it on to set between them. Highlighted in the soft yellow light, her hair looked like dark fire painted against her flushed cheeks. The green eyes were sparkling. “That hasn’t happened in a while.” She breathed. Mother liked to pay close mind to the weather reports in the paper. When there was more than a thirty percent chance of rain or snow, she usually didn’t let Inan go into the woods with Cat. Cat herself wasn’t allowed out if the reports were more than fifty percent. When she caught her breath, she dug in her bag a little more. “Here, change into this.” She said, producing an old sweater of his that she’d commandeered some years ago. “The sleeves might be a little short but it’s better than that.” She said, pointing to his drenched shirt. She’d always kept it in her bag, just in case something like this happened. Like Mother, she was terrified of Inan catching ill, though her reason might have been somewhat different.

For herself, she wriggled out of her top to ring it out as best she could. It was cold, but wet and cold was worse. “I’m sure the rain will stop soon enough, and then we can head straight home.” She said.

--

Marin extended her hand to Adam Copper, accepting the greeting. “Yes, I just arrived last night.” She said. “It’s nice to meet you.” Her dark eyes studied Adam’s face carefully. He seemed guarded, somewhat. Perhaps his wife had taught him well enough that he could detect Old things at least a little. That was interesting. She gave him her sweetest face, as if she could be more desirable on demand. “My name is Marin.” She offered.

There was a fine line to walk, when looking only to sate her curiosity. She wasn’t of the mind to create drama with Adam’s family. It would draw too much attention. Any high emotion she might have craved seemed simple enough to satisfy with Snitch and his friends. What she desired was vulnerability, so she could earn an invitation inside Adam’s house. Then, it wouldn’t matter if the Witch knew what she was. She was certain that Adam’s wife would be respectful, at least, out of mutual ties to the Old Ways and the Old bloodlines. Marin herself didn’t present any immediate threat to them if they were on guard.

“A nurse, you say? You might just be the person I was looking for.” She had similar mannerisms for Martin and Ahler, and that comfort with dealing with the older man was curious. As if she didn’t see herself any differently. Fluid existence or equal interest. She didn’t let go of Adam’s hand, though she loosened her grip so he’d be made to let go first. How cautious was he? How difficult would it be to make him curious?

He seemed like a good, honest man. That was better, really. Loyalty toward his family might make him more inclined to lie to himself about the way she would make him feel. Those sort of sensations were bred into her sordid lineage. It wasn’t the kind of thing she’d asked for or tried to accomplish. It just made things simpler. “I came to Valleyrun to see if there were people that could help me, actually.” She explained with a sad smile. “I have an odd condition and it’s not something the city hospitals have expertise for, if you understand what I mean.”

Surely he’d be able to guess in the right direction. That primitive suspicion that had brought him to over here would have suggested she was some kind of different. Marin didn’t mind confirming it. If she was very lucky, Snitch might give away her secret some time when Adam could hear. Surely the appeal of angels didn’t die with age. But then, this man had also married a Witch.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 08, 2016, 09:46:53 pm
Despite his gentle overall nature, it was not easy to startle Inan. The world clearing its airways didn't worry him. Once, mother had said that if a scare doesn't match or surpass the anxiety already inside, you will not jump when people try to frighten you. She'd looked worried at the end of that meaning, and had not brought it up again with her son. His mouth lifted when Cat's did and he nodded with her. Some of the heat had been sucked out of the forest. The charm of today had been it's chill, but now it had become exaggerated. Inan wouldn't mind at first, with the adrenaline of running.

He squeezed her hand hard, long legs following suite. Little sounds, almost words, at the end of some of his more violent inhales. The laughter he couldn't afford, not when they'd started running so suddenly and his meager amount of blood had to catch up so it could run as well, echoed against the cartilage rings of his throat. "So okay!" he replied, that laughter finally claiming two breaths.

And then there it was, higher up, the stone lips and teeth and the smear of reds around them. Father had never been around, at last not with them, to say what kind of berries they were. Rich things, swaying, bouncing. The pair ran past them. No time to cup the ruby riches, talk about tasting one, and then never having the courage to, so far form home and dad's medicine.

The cave focused the wind. Cat was right to move deeper. Inan went with as he wiped his face and ran his fingers through his hair to keep it back. Again, he'd lost the tie to it. The lantern would light his wide mouth along with this and that angle of his face, as he took in the cave walls, tossing the water at the ends of his hair with every flick. "Are you sure you don't want it? I'm okay." he said, but was already doing what he was told. He'd had these arguments with her before.

His jacket and shirt laid on separate rocks when he got the sweater on just in time to turn his attention deeper when Cat pulled off her top. It was enough that she was breathing rapid from the run, making the hollows of her collarbones alluringly dark, then prettily smooth. Yes, the twist of hair that ran across her lower, rain beaded lip was already warming him more than the knit. He didn't need to know what underwear she'd chosen, too.

"Blip, blip." he said, pushing the buttons on a screen neither of them had brought. He held the invisible device to his ear, still not looking at her until she'd gotten her shirt on. "Yes, hello, dad?" According to Inan himself, he had always been a good actor. "Sorry, the reception is bad in the cave and..." already his voice was failing to the glee. "we also forgot our phones." For reasons he wouldn't be able to explain if you asked him, the act extended to tossing to phone on the cave floor before he started laughing.

When that explosive amusement was gone - it was an empty, self-serving joke, after all - he was grateful for the hissing rain and the silence that did not come to underline his inferior humor. He drank some water still stuck around his mouth as he moved closer to her. "What if it doesn't stop?" he asked her back, finally. He opened his own bag to see if he'd taken something they could use. Half a pack of paper towels, not enough for either of their faces, and a small metal box of mints. The sound it made suggested very few left. He flicked it open with his thumb and held it out to her as his eyes wandered again. They had never seen the end of this cave. "What if this is the world now?" he said with more hope than he'd been prepared for. "It would be our forest, our rain." Primordial. He'd flick the lid closed, to catch her fingers as they reached for the little round treats, as he always did. It was an old box.

He'd hurry to put an arm around her, since he was dry and she wasn't. If nothing else happened, it would be a splendid day. That, and the suspicion they'd have this less and less, was the melancholy of it.

-

She was a lovely creature, Adam noted. If he'd not been a bit weary of her, he would have been sweaped away, the same as these three. Still, her pretty performance was able to dull the edge of his worries, even though it should have cause him to be more alert. Or perhaps preternatural was too far a leap, even for the good Witch's mate. She pulled him in when she spoke of an affliction that sterile medicine couldn't tackle. His house was thick with this tradition. Healers as far back as you could trace, no less so on Elise's side, though her passed down practice had been lethal to the wielder, given the attitudes of the people, when his was a bit precarious, at worst.

Elise did very few things herself, now. It was because people did not see her for her craft, other than how it tied in to Inan's blood. But last winter, the Seren boy had lost sleep due to nightmares. The family had come to the house of the Copper's for help. A few weeks of Elise's attention, and the boy was well again. There had been a glower around Adam's wife some time after that. He suspected she would like to feel that way again, and always hoped, against his own conscience, that the knocks on their door would be for his wife rather than his son.

Thinking of this, it somehow fit that this girl seemed odd. What if there was something inside her? He noticed that their hands were still joined when Ahler looked from her shoulder to his. Adam slowly let go, and felt himself dragging in the task. He swallowed the urge to apologize. "Then you are welcome, both as a visitor, and as someone my wife, Elise, could help." he smiled gently and watched Marting put a paper cup in the hand Adam had held. "We're always home, but try not to come after ten in the evening." It was a joke, but noone laughed. Perhaps visiting after those hours wasn't so outlandish to these kids. He felt old enough to excuse himself with a few niceties, after that.

"So." Martin started after the adult had gone, and bit into the ring of his cup. "Condition?" He thought of what Ahler had said about this girl. "It's none of my business, but it does make me curious."

Ahler took a place beside her, shaking his head. "Maybe we shouldn't pry." He noticed that Nona was also holding a coffee, and that there was none for him.

"It's not prying. We're just trying to be friends." Nona said, her shoulder brushing Marin's from the opposite side of Ahler. "You okay, dear?" she added. "if it's urgent, we could take you right away." It was obvious the pretty, small-town daisy was trying to ruffle the new girl.

-

Olister was still in his car, parked by the bakery where he'd gotten his breakfast. Really, he should have gone straight to Midsummer, but he had a feeling this mark wasn't going to follow known patterns. He didn't have friends in Valleyrun. The jurisdiction of the station that sometimes looked through their fingers in the city did not reach this far. Or so they'd said. Must be a nightmare around here, if things ever went wrong. He thought of Catalina Copper, and chewed on the the last crust. The brown in his eyes had a golden quality in the morning, while the unwashed brown of his hair was usually closer to black. It looked presentable, brushed back, getting long. Hard to look like someone you might talk to about horrible things you'd seen when he was always up at night, looking at too much or too little blood. The clean, black shirt was his extra mile. It also helped that his cheeks were thin under the stubble and his nose was straight.

-

The waitress at the café and bakery had let a moonlight beam come in before opening hours, even before she'd served the first costumer who'd not left the parking space. The ivory thing had placed himself in the back, away from the windows, and complimented her on the apron. She had been stressed and angry before he came. Now she felt like giving him the savings she kept in a photo album in her attic. He only wanted to know if there was superstition in this town.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 10, 2016, 02:17:32 am
Cat shivered while she giggled. “Mom and Dad are going to absolutely kill us. Well. Me. They’re going to kill me.” She laughed. It wasn’t a spiteful thing, when she said it. It was simply the truth. Inan might have been older, but Cat’s health wasn’t so precious. She untwisted her shirt and held it out before her. It was still dripping. At least he hadn’t fussed over the sweater too much. Maybe she’d be excused for having that foresight, at least. It would be hard to scold either of them over the phones. Both parents were well aware that the children had never acquired the habit of carrying them well enough.

She stretched the shirt over a rock and then tugged off her tennis shoes and shimmied out of her jeans to spread them out, as well. “I can help dry us out, I think.” She said, sitting down on the dusty cave floor. Cat smiled when Inan came close, grateful for the little warmth. Not that she’d have told him so. He would be more insistent about her taking the sweater, then. At that close proximity, her expression changed suddenly. It had never occurred to her, before, to be embarrassed in front of him. Something about the dripping dark hair, falling around the slim cheeks, and the way the golden rings on his eyes seemed to glow in the lantern light, made her reconsider. “I’m sorry. Is it going to bother you if I don’t put them back on, while they dry?” she mumbled, referring to her sopping clothes.

Catalina looked away awkwardly and toyed with a dripping coil of her long red hair. She was glad when he pulled out the mints and relaxed a little when he pulled his usual teasing. “I think I can make a fire.” She offered. She scrambled to her knees and scooted forward a bit to move the lantern out of the way. Highlighted in the low glow, auburn tresses plastered to her milky skin as she kneeled in her underclothes, she looked like a more ancient sort of Witch. A pagan daughter of the Earth as she began to murmur the Old Words.

Cat wasn’t a practitioner of strong Magic, let alone destructive spells. It took a concerted effort and some of the more saturated Words she knew to begin shaping the essence of fire in her mind’s eye. For all her will, the result was a very small, low hovering flame. She leaned back, panting the last phrases of the spell, and crawled quickly back to lean against Inan’s side. “Do you have anything in your bag to throw into the fire? We can grow it a little, then.” She said, smiling. Cat was always happy when her Magic worked, as if she’d been given some great gift. To the Witchling, that was likely the case. Earth’s power was always a gift. That sort of thinking had kept her Magic pure.

--

“That would be lovely, Mr. Copper. I’d really appreciate it if you and your wife would see me.” Marin said. She didn’t quite smile, though her cheeks lifted to narrow her dark eyes pleasantly. “I’ll be sure not to come by too late.” She agreed. Marin didn’t need to be asked not to come by at night. She might be frightening to the Witch in the evening hours.

She watched Adam as he left, gaze pinned to his back until he’d walked out the doors. The intensity there softened when she looked down at the coffee cup Martin had put into her hand. These kids were all about taking the lead. She wondered if they were always so forward, of it if was simply because they were curious about her.

Marin glanced between the three as they discussed politeness. “It’s alright to ask. I suppose I brought it up.” She said. “I thought Ahler might have told you a bit of it, honestly.” She suggested, wearing an expression that was close to shyness. “And I appreciate the concern, but I’d really rather not talk about it too much.” She added. Snitch could feel a little special, if he wanted.

Her gaze snapped to Nona, and the deep black of her eyes was some unsettling sort of bottomless. “Really, it’s not urgent at all. I don’t suppose it would make sense for me to be following you all around town if it were, would it?” she asked. There was a definitive end implied for whatever pressure Nona had wished to imply. In the small silence that settled then, the rain began to fall loud and heavy like bullets against the shop’s tin roof.

“Oh, how nice. I love the rain.” Marin said. It was easier to eat in the rain. Less to leave behind. There had been a life when that sort of thing mattered. For now, she simply liked the coolness it brought with the air. “Where shall we go next?” she asked, looking pointedly at Martin. Would it be terribly hard to get him alone? She really was getting hungry. She was in the mood to be gentle, too. Surely it wouldn’t be too much to trouble him with.     
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 10, 2016, 09:44:40 pm
She was right. Mother wouldn’t scold him, and father did what mother wanted. Still, there had to be some kind of reaction to misplacing, or never touching their only form of communication out here. An ugly truth, that he quietly rejected when Catalina was done stating it. He was dreaming up a series of events that might force mother’s forgiveness, most of the courses including his own martyrdom, until he was holding his almost naked sister close in their far-off hiding place. “Of course it won’t bother me.” He said, a reflex, and demonstrated the imagined cavalier by wrapping another arm around her waist, pulling her closer. He crossed her body as many times with his arms as he could. Inan tried thinking more of her well-being than his forbidden inclinations.

He could only keep her for a while, until she went about trying to make them warm. It was a fantastical idea, he though. While the sweater was doing its job, he’d rather be warmer, which mean Cat was probably freezing. So he saw the scene play out, her pretty body shadowed and blazed by the fire she conjured. For a moment, she wasn’t laid-bare intimacy he shouldn’t consider, she was simply what their bloodline had made her. He sat there, as unmoving as the stone walls, and heard her speak to old reservoirs of magic. He felt wonderfully insignificant when she consulted and won audience with her birthright, and raised the tiny star in their private universe.

He was eager to help when she suggested it, and tore his bag into his lap. There were only nettles, of course. He didn’t hesitate long. “Here.” He said, and realized it was more to the fire than to Cat as he fed it. Nature must have been content with this offering, because the plants didn’t sting him. He sacrificed a handful and the flames ate efficiently.

He popped a mint into his grin and sat closer to the heat before he looked at her again, gratefulness in the gold. His expression changed when he remember she was all but naked. Inan lifted his shirt. Short, perhaps, but the neck was wide. Clothes had always draped over the boy, and so they did over Catalina as well, when she got them. By some measure, he could believe it would host them both. “Come in here, damn it.” The frustration was at himself. So what if he felt embarrassed, or didn’t know what to do with his tell-tale pulse. If she caught a cold because of his cowardice, there would be no forgiveness. In a way it was fitting, that he held the shirt up, exposing his heart. He'd keep secrets from her, perhaps also engage in a distance between them, but not if doing so could hurt her.

-

Ahler did feel special, chosen. A deliberate look away from Martin told of poorly hidden pride. How much did he know, himself? Surely, Elise was going to have a raised eyebrow or two with this case. Could human blood cure angel blight?

Nona was quieted by the eyes and their solid quality. A rebel at heart, more for greed than righteousness, she wanted to continue her attempt at poking, but a primal part of the human that she was warned her not to. Girls like Nona learned to listen. She shrugged, the way people do when they want attention off them, and looked down on her shoes.

"Everybody loves the rain in theory." Martin said, drinking to his cleverness. Ahler frowned, agreeing. The coffee almost burnt Martin's throat when he noticed the attention from Marin. With practiced composure, he swallowed and came to the new girl. Ahler had to take a step back, and Nona had to wrinkled her forehead. "There's a fire ring with an overhang pretty close. You might get a bit sprayed, but it should be dry under." he suggested. "Can see the forest from there, basically in the forest, too."

Nona, still a little respectful after the quiet show of power she'd been the victim of, trailed after, even allowing Ahler to walk by her while Martin entertained Marin a few paces ahead. The four of them, sticking close to the houses for protection provided by the extended roofs, could have looked like friends then, dear ones, making fond memories in the rain.

"For your coughing." Martin said, high on confidence. It was an expensive brand. The filters were white, sticking out of the packet. He was usually a little stingy with them, but Marin, with all her inexplicable draw, was making him feel generous.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 14, 2016, 03:30:43 am
Catalina followed his lead, tossing whatever nettles had made it into her bag onto the hungry little flame. It glowed brighter and dance and Cat was sure she could begin to feel its warmth seeping into the chilly air. “There.” She said, satisfied. She took her sopping clothes and spread them beneath the hovering flame, hoping to encourage them to dry faster.

She was a little taken aback when Inan demanded that she share the sweater. It was short on his arms but baggy on his torso, the neck stretched wide from thorough use. Cat supposed she might fit. It made her laugh, but she obliged. She crawled onto his lap to wrap her arms tight around his bare chest. “Okay, try and pull it over my head.” She said. With some wriggling, it worked. Just barely. She pressed herself closer to him, resting her forehead against his cheek. There wasn’t room for much else. “This is ridiculous.” She informed him, though her shivering had already begun to subside.

When the children were very young, in the dead of winter, they used to huddle in a cocoon of blankets to much the same effect. Mother and Father had always kept the heat rather low, to save on bills, and provided them with layer upon layer of blankets to make up for the chilly nights. Neither of the siblings had minded much, playing silly word games in their shared chrysalis until one or both of them had fallen asleep. They had tried something of the same trick a couple of winters ago and found they had outgrown the cocooning potential of their old blankets. It had been disappointing, but amusing to try anyway.

“What would you do if one of your vampires found us here?” she asked. “We couldn’t run away like this. Would you let us be eaten?” A scandalous question, if she thought about it. Valleyrun had heard of the rare attack in the fringes of the city. The victims were almost always in some fashion compromised, as if they had been caught up in some mad and unthinking passion up until their last breaths. Perhaps she had realized the possible implications of her query, or maybe it was just that she hadn’t anticipated an answer. Either way, she began humming the tune she’d given to the forest earlier before Inan had said anything back.

In the echoing round of the cave, set against the soft thunder of the rainstorm, her voice sounded a little other-worldly. The same sort of fantastical as she’d been conjuring their little happy fire. Elise might have been the same sort of wild Witch as her daughter, had she the same luxuries growing up. Valleyrun, though caught between Old prejudices and modern reverence, had given Cat a safer world to blossom in than she realized. Whether Inan knew the way they’d been able to grow up was special or not, it couldn’t detract from the concerted Magic in them both. It ran in his veins and presently it danced on his sister’s skin. She held him tighter. Maybe the humming was a distraction, in the end. Something to excuse the confused fluttering of her heart against his. As she’d said, they were quite grown, now.

--

Marin nodded in agreement. It was easy to get separated in this sort of storm, and she wasn’t inclined to visit the Blood House in such weather. Gaining invitation in no longer seemed like a challenge. Finding simplicity in an exit, however, might be harder won. Particularly if the Witch was the protective type. Better to keep your enemies close. Marin didn’t know if that would be a fair assessment of her place in the town or not, but she wouldn’t be able to blame the Witch for deciding so. Particularly not when Marin was hungry. Baser instincts made fiendish behavior significantly more appealing.

She swallowed the rest of her coffee, drinking it a bit quicker than the temperature would have apparently allowed, and wiped the corners of her full little lips with a small square napkin. “Shall we go?” she asked, taking a page out of Nona’s book and slipping her arm through Martin’s. She smiled briefly up at the blonde. Her sweetness, that peculiar and soft fragrance, would be a bit heady at that proximity.

Marin waited until they’d ventured along a few of the buildings and, in the process, put a reasonable amount of space between themselves and the other two. Under the roar of the rain, she leaned a little nearer to the boy to offer conspiracy. “Martin, what has Ahler told you about me? Will you tell me honestly?” If he was revealing, she would continue. “He’s not lying, you know. Although I asked him to keep it a secret. Not that he understand it all. And my illness.”

Marin would pause, letting her gaze drop and walking silence until they were nearer to the fire ring. “This evening, will you find a way to meet me at my room? I’d like to talk to you alone. I don’t want to hurt Ahler’s feelings, of course. But I really think you might be able to help me a little bit.” She would give him a hopeful smile. “Maybe, after the three of you part ways tonight, you can come back to see me. I’d like the chance to speak freely with you before I visit Mr. Copper’s house tomorrow morning. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble.” She’d need to have a chat with Lynnette, later, to reserve her room for a few more nights. Blood House aside, Valleyrun was intriguing enough to deserve a longer visit. This trio had won her over, at least for the time being.

It would be delicious to create memories with them. There was such a lonely void in her for that kind of sentimentality, as hungry to be filled as her stomach. As they came into view of the fire ring, she glance back at Ahler and Nona and offer a reassuring smile, because Martin might be her craving but she had no less interest in the other two. She had eaten all their names and had every intention of savoring them. With her free hand, she’d accept the little vice from Martin’s packet and place it daintily between her lips. “How thoughtful of you. May I have a light?”

For all her upstanding pretty in her pink sundress, the addition hardly looked out of place. Like something liquid, she rose to consume her surroundings, playing her moods like music with the props of her existence. It wasn’t anything special about her birthright. It was simply the lingering ghosts of too many lives, building a shifting loveliness. Another fall of dark hair had come loose from her clip, striking a blade across an equally pitch eye. She waved at the other two, to encourage them to catch up. As if it had been unintentional that they’d gotten away by a bit. 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 14, 2016, 06:16:33 pm
When he caught her head with the circumference of the neckline, he had to consume one of his own gasps. He'd not known what he expected, but he'd not imagined that she'd be against him like this, lingering condensation and actual drops on her skin attaching her to him like some membrane, fast turning lukewarm and more. He looked down at her face sticking up from the sweater, their sweater now, still adorned and framed by rivulets of her sometimes black, sometime deep red hair. He wondered if her beauty was wasted on him as he wrapped his arms around her. In exchange for enduring this draining temptation, he could oversee her temperature. It was good to know she was warming.

"Yes it is." Ridiculous. But it was better to be so, than to catch cold. Witches should be exempt from that, anyway. Nature should not punish its servants. But it did. It sent remedies that only witches knew, and then it produced tinder and fuel for the fires that ate those witches up for their knowledge and abilities. Elise was not cheap with those stories. It wasn't to frighten, not the way she told them, but for her children to appreciate the current state of things. Valleyrun, in addition to being hindered by law from celebrating subjective justice with flames and a pair of tied wrists, even loved their old, magic bloodline. The tales had inevitably made it into Inan's dreams, and then he was grateful for if the plot was that he was burning, and his family was watching. The opposite, and he couldn't sleep for the rest of the night.

His hands petted her spine and shoulders through the fabric, like he was some content ogre rubbing his belly, filled with girl from a particular lucky hunt. He thought about her question, and in the ensuing scenario of a thirsty demon coming to visit in their hiding place, he didn't become defensive. The fascination knotted his skin with shivers. He wondered if she could feel it, and what she would read of it; the cold, the warm. "I'd protect you." A throw-away promise to his otherwise - strangely - peaceful, dreamed up scene. He thought other things, of course, when his nakedness, underneath, was warming hers, against. If he could hide inside the row of carnal missteps signature to the demon that haunted the city, wouldn't he venture on some hurrah? The fingers petted her deeper, into the muscles of her shoulder blades. Not a mischievous pressure, but a curiosity. "I'd be glad." It was a strange thing to say. The implications were too severe. "To be here with you."

The song she kept mostly in her chest wandered onto him. Her accompanying breath made more moist on his chest. At night, when he couldn't sleep, she'd hold his head and make melodies in her throat to soothe him. This was not that. This lulled the air in the cave to build the lie that there was nothing in the world but them. And that there was nothing crooked or askew with what the song made him feel. With his breathing, her cheek would peel from his collar only to attach itself again. Like some dance they counted on for a status que that stood on an increasingly inflated, volatile base.

His fingers in her hair, fingerprints dusting her scalp. Her vibrations onto his heart. "You've always sang to me, Catalina." His cheek to her hair, as well, because she was so close. A light nudge from his chin onto her temple, so her head would tip back and he could brush his cheek on her cheekbone, instead. With this nothing between them, and the cold having retreated deep, chased by the fire she'd sung to life and their attaching, she looked the way he tried not to see her. "Always sing." Her lips, that weren't making lyrics but composed music still, seemed to blur as she hummed. It added to the lazy, pleasant, and solemn spell she was already casting.

-

Martin, in the rain, well drunk on his accomplishment and her company, wore an insinuated smile on the expression that otherwise tried to spell out concern, when she called him lean in closer. "Something about an angel. It's hard to listen to Ahler sometimes." he said, and thought it sounded less sympathetic than he wanted to appear. "He rants, and it was late." Better. When she agreed his heart clamored to the romanticism just the way Ahler's had. Martin believed in the magics here, perhaps more than some, because they had to be real in order for him to use them.

Secrecy and elation thrived in the silence she spread until the fire ring. Her charms would make the head underneath the light hair dizzy. He'd not sampled the lure of anything so long lived, before. Martin hadn't even learned to navigate a particularly sharp seduction from a human, yet. With her requests, he thought he was the hunter. And when she took the thin roll, he'd thought he'd snared her completely. "Of course we can meet up." he said, calming the grin down to half a smile.

Nona fancied herself wild, and expected as much from Martin, but she'd call upon the rules of a closed relationship when the mood struck her. He decided she could be stricken with whatever she wanted, he'd not worry about the crazy belle of Valleyrun if he had the chance to share an evening with Marin. It was strange that he thought more of what he might learn about her than what he might taste of her, now. A lighter, cheap, needed two flicks before the sparks colored the gas. He took it to her cigarette. "And of course you can trust me." He lied. He smoked his own and blew the tar ghost onto the flameless fire on the tip.

Ahler hurried while Nona pretended not to. He thought it looked decadent to enjoy something that was based on fire when there was rain all around. The four of them would have to endure some of the rain while getting to the overhang that protected the coal and garbage inside the fire ring. Ahler was the first to sit on the bench, realizing his eager to do so was an unattractive loss of composure, especially the way he folded up his collar and raised his shoulders. Nona sat beside him with some judgement. "Should you really be smoking in your condition, dear?" she said, her flighty memory having misplaced the ocular scolding she'd received for her poking earlier.

Ahler, who knew more than Nona, looked at her, disapproving. "She knows what she can and can't do." he said with a frown. Nona wasn't pleased with Ahler's loyalty to the new person, and huffed. Her patience with the pretty newcommer was thinning. With some misguided affection in his eyes, he turned to look up at Marin, who still stood by Martin, for some acknowledgement.

-

Olister thought the town was quiet for a place that might be visited by a pretty disaster. He'd not come here because he knew there was danger, but because he'd sensed it. Perhaps it wasn't so dire, and it had only been a suspicion rather than a deeper hunch. It could be more important he go all the way to Midsummer, already. Unwilling to give up yet, he got out of the car to visit the store, instead.

-

A shadow that didn't look like a shadow at all placed itself out in the rain when the unknowing guardian diverted his attention to shelves of food instead of the one street. It took quick steps over puddles to find the back of the houses, and then, eventually, the green world that lined this small claim of asphalt.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 16, 2016, 05:31:35 am
Cat had asked him about vampires in some sort of jest and she took his answer as the same. It was better to leave the darker possibilities just so, in the dark. She was happy for his warmth and firmly settled her heart into a steady rhythm. As Inan had said, they would be the same to one another for always, even if the rest of the world spun wildly on.

She thought about the Hunter in the forest, to excuse the heat languishing in her veins. Catalina almost made to tell Inan about it. It was an event now thoroughly in the past, but the stillness in the cave seemed to beg diversions. He was speaking again, though, and her humming went soft. “I’ll sing as long as you’re there to hear it.” She said. After a pause: “And for spells, of course.” She added. Cat wasn’t as adept at sentimentality as her brother, but she was also a healthier child. She’d likely spent considerably less time pondering her mortality and developing the sense of heart that tended to come with it. Or, maybe, Inan was simply sweeter all around.

Cat sighed against the hollow of his collarbones. “Not that I’m complaining, but I think this storm is going to last longer than I anticipated. Mom and Dad won’t come out here after us, either. They’ll just stay home and get angrier until we get back.” She murmured.

In this sort of weather, with no real knowledge of where the children might have wandered, the parents would rely on their children’s experience. That kind of thinking was never something parents were fond of, and less so in parents like Elise, who spared no expense over worrying for her son. It was not the first time the children had been caught in a storm alone, though they’d been a good deal younger. By Cat’s reckoning, Father would venture out after them if the weather hadn’t let up closer to sundown. Until then, it made more sense for him to wait for the siblings to return on their own. Every moment longer the parents were left to worry, though, Cat could imagine an hour’s more scolding.

“Honestly, we ought to do something that deserves getting in trouble for, then. We’re going to have to suffer the punishment anyhow.” Cat snickered. Not that there was all too much wickedness to get into, she thought, with two backpacks and a dank old cave. “Oh!” she gasped suddenly, her wandering thoughts landing on the lunch she’d made that morning. “We have sandwiches. If you want.” She reminded him. Getting them would require a disassembly of their two-headed sweater monster, though, and the chilly air was not inviting. Cat sort of hoped he’d decline.

--

Marin took a long drag from the cigarette, watching Nona through the thin curl of smoke from Martin’s lips. She added her own vapor to the shifting haze with a slow exhale, lips parting on the edge of some thought or another. She seemed to reconsider. Marin was young, just like these whelps, but her soul was a longer thing. There was something about the girl’s cheekiness that disagreed with the age that rattled around in the marrow of her bones. The dark eyes found good humor instead.

“Oh, well, so far as I know these things won’t kill me any faster.” She mused. “But, I mean, if you know better about my condition…” she shrugged and took one more puff on the cigarette before she offered it to Ahler and gave Martin an apologetic smile. “She’s probably right. I’d be sorry to waste it, though.”

Marin didn’t know if Ahler smoked and didn’t really care if he did. She put the cigarette in his fingers anyhow, brushing them with her own. “Call it a kiss.” She teased. “For coming to my defense.” Snitch was a good boy, the way an untrained puppy was good because it didn’t know anything better. That was too cold, though. He was good, as well, because he tried. His awkwardness was more endearing than Martin’s bravado, and Marin felt the tiniest bit guilty that the tall blonde had piqued her appetite more. That wasn’t Ahler’s fault at all. She’d make a disciple out of Snitch, though, if she had taken up the business of being an angel in this town. That seemed like a fair compromise.

There was something in the air just below the rain and the cigarette smoke that should have caught Marin’s attention, just then. It didn’t. She was an old aura. Older than nearly any others of her kind, if they could really be called that. It would be hard to ignore her presence, for humans-turned-starlight. A matriarch with no lineage, but the same draw. It was the kind of gravitation that had given her audience with moon-walking beasts on every revival. Lucky, really, to get the first clues of her former self.

For her, though, all the others were something dilute. Nothing compared to her few remaining siblings. Marin hadn’t met her kin under this name, but her soul knew she’d recognize the taste in the air, if not the faces. As for their children, she felt them if she was of the mind to and no more.

“Does it rain like this often, here?” she asked. “The city doesn’t get too much. On the wrong side of the mountain, I suppose.” Idle chat to soothe the three egos. The trio was fun, but they weren’t her priority. She’d rather not cause more talk than divine rumors.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 16, 2016, 08:11:55 pm
Inan was grateful when the heart's blood he'd spoken missed his sister's sentimentality. What was he doing, here in their privacy, beckoning for her attention in such a way? It could have been that he was counting on it, Cat's practicality. Of course she would always sing. It was an honest answer, and that, since it was the only thing he'd asked for, really, was all that he could want. His lips gathered, and then one corner shot out to the side and up. "And for spells, of course." he repeated, his thumb brushing a vertebra under her hairline.

Dad would do his dance around mom. With the rain, they'd be inside, too. There was no tending to herbs with this weather. Did mother pace? Did mother cuss? Inan knew what she did when he was home, and she was displeased. Their adventures had ways of putting him in this or that distress without him being absent. Mother would fuss, scold Cat. She couldn't do that with both of them missing. Inan didn't feel bad for dad as much anymore. The boy had learned, on some level, that the man was mostly content in his role.

He wished Catalina was right, childishly. A flood of the world, and that somehow their cave wouldn't drown. They could eat grass from the opening, and wait for fish to come. A rain to quell the world. It wouldn't be so sad, losing everything, the sentimental fool mused on, if it all happened suddenly, and they'd have to find themselves in such abandoned circumstances. If he lost everyone, then Cat would be everything. He wasn't afraid for her health anymore. There really was no worry if the skyfall went on. "Nothing to do about that." he said, partially for himself. Cat hadn't spoken out of worry.

The boy thought of trouble they could do here. Then he had to not think about it, quickly. He wasn't a sinister person, his mind not that free, but there are things nestled in the stem of an adult, winding in the spine, that knows what it wants and ought not take. He'd not had the pleasure of experience, yet, and so he believed what little sins he could think up were enough to make him evil. There was an extra beat, in between the ones of his current rhythm, and the corresponding peak in warmth on the chest she was supported on. His thumb sought some comfort between the rings of bone of her back.

"I'll get them." he offered. The sandwiches. It hadn't been so long since they'd had breakfast, but he was grateful for a distraction that wasn't his own mischievous mind. Urgency in the voice. With his legs under her, and her body against his, it would be impossible to stand without her cooperation. He was in too much of a hurry to forget his forbidden imaginings to understand that. Cat wouldn't have the time to adjust, or even slide out of their common shell. As Inan tried to get up against her in his haste, he'd topple forward. A gasp, the worried brother, and enough presence of mind, finally, to hold her to him as he slowed her landing on the fire-warmed stone floor. It'd be a pleasurable nightmare, to have his own weight on her.

All his hair, damp but not freezing anymore, would tumble along, a little later, to reach for her the way he couldn't, ends playing with her cheekbones to curtain and make their closeness, even out here where no one was, a little more private. He wondered if his heart against her was playing so loud he might bruise her skin. Trouble, she’d said. "I'm sorry." To the green eyes, significantly more emerald than the forest outside. Apology for his body, and his imagination. And that would be it. Another misstep, waiting for his self-control or the inevitable dilution of his hormones. Get up, Inan Copper, up off your sister. Her breath and her rainslick lips multiplied what he felt, instead.

“I’m sorry.” Another time, for a larger crime. He had soft lips, and wide, he knew. She’d called him a vampire, once or twice, because of it. She tasted like the scent on her pillow, and nothing like his regular, hidden shame. He put more weight on her, inside the sweater they shared, and suddenly she wasn’t a cold sister he loved, and wanted to warm. She was a well of satiation for the craving he’d harbored ever since he realized she was a woman, too. His elbows on the stone below, to control the depth. His torso to hers, with some increasing frustration, despite the reward of the kiss, as the pressure of his lips fortified their hold on hers.

And he was sorry, to her for doing this, and to himself for not having done it sooner. For being honest and being weak. For not knowing if he'd worked toward her lips since this morning, suggesting this place, and unknowingly having prayed for the rain, because it was too perfect, in wich case this was a long deceit and long deceits are worse. And for not knowing if he had the strength and love to let her go if she fought him.

-

Martin registered the sour in Nona’s voice. He’d been on the receiving end enough times. He did little more than enjoy the scent of the billowing vapor caress Marin breathed. She wasn’t coughing, now. He drew the ember hotter as he watched the exchange. It was a strange, lush occurrence, to stand here, inside but away from the rain, spending his lungs and witnessing such a thing as Marin. Despite his collected, almost absent exterior, Martin was quite smitten with the new girl. “Your cigarette.” He said when she explained with her eyes and her reaching fingers that she was going to pass it to Ahler. At this point, though he’d not admit to it, Martin would allow great atrocities to himself and the others if Marin wanted it.

Ahler looked at the burning roll and then took it to his lips. He’d not smoked for a while. Out of courtesy at larger gatherings, mostly. There was no red in his eyes and no contraction in his throat. He exhaled and looked over at Nona. Something about her stillness seemed ballistic. “Thanks.” He said to their guest and ashed to the side. He felt content. Usually he’d feel like he was allowed in the group, by these two especially, on some kind of mercy. With Marin here, he could say he’d pulled his social weight. It wasn’t often, second hand or not, that he got to have one of Martin’s cigarettes. That was testament enough. The boy blushed furiously, coughing finally, when he could see her meaning of exchanging this poison as a kiss. Nona laughed and Martin stiffened.

“Yeah, this time of year. Now and then.” Nona replied and looked out into the curtain of thick fall. She smiled a little to herself. She could say honestly that she did enjoy this part of Valleyrun. Really, the rain enhanced any atmosphere. A wandering hand came underneath her jacket as she remembered what she’d had Martin do so she could visit Mend. Today was a good day to visit Mend. Nona turned back to Marin with a curious line to her lips. Did she want Mend to meet Marin, after all? Marin had this strange charm, that the local girl thought she had herself. Mend was inclined to Catalina Copper, if anyone, and there was a calm in the other hearts of the town because of it. Marin, with her darkness, might change that.

“I stay in and read when it’s like this, usually.” Ahler offered into the conversation. It sounded better than typing away on his own vain fictions. He was sure the two would jump on the chance to mock him for that. It wasn’t a lie, though, the part about reading. When he wasn’t fantasizing through his fingertips, he did like to do it through the pages of a book.

“What about you?” Nona asked with a sigh, letting go or filing her animosity for now. She stole the cigarette from Ahler quickly. Ahler pretended not to mind. “What do you do for fun in the city on a rainy day?” He sucked on the filter, effectively kissing everyone here, but the out-of-her-favor Marin.

-

An ivory thing with large, brown eyes and the scent of rain and trees and asphalt came in to the library. A small affair, smell of leather bounds, but larger than Valleyrun could be expected to have. The entrance facing the woods, of course. Dark brows, despite its white hair. She who worked the counter was charmed, and let him sit in the old section, with the lore. A collection she was proud of. Some of it was donations from families that had lived here since the founding. She expected it was a way to store the work, as well. He brushed by the religion that spoke of twins and a barren mother, he’d had his fill of that, and started going through the handwritten antiques that could hold real, subjective truths. From this angle, framed by shelves high and low, the keeper could see his dark lips move with the pale jaw as he ingested the stories. She was at once scared and pulled in, and put the water on boil. Where was the tea Elise had made for her?
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 18, 2016, 06:14:37 pm
“Inan!” she yelped, when he moved too suddenly, overly eager for the sandwiches. “You’ll make us—“ she toppled before she could finish her sentence, laughing a little bit because the distance was not far enough to be painful. The giggle died, halfway out of her throat, when his weight pressed in on her and his heat. The green eyes grew a little wider.

He apologized. “It’s okay.” She said. Little smile. Steady breath. His dark hair framing their little sanctuary. Her heart raced a little, trying to catch up to the foreign expression on Inan’s face. She didn’t understand, because the only explanation that came to mind was wrong. She licked her lips and averted her gaze. Cat could feel herself blushing, which was frustrating. She had slept against the chest now pressed against her. She had kissed those handsome cheekbones and played with that fall of brunette hair. She had undressed in front of him. What was there here to be ashamed of?

He apologized again. “I said—“ another sentence cut short by her rash brother. If her mouth had not been captured, she would have gasped. Catalina wondered if Inan was aware that this sort of thing was not really appropriate for a man of his age and his sister. A small part of her hoped he wasn’t, but she wasn’t so naïve as not to realize that he must know. And, if he did, she didn’t know how to respond. For a long moment, she was rigidly still. Mother would cry and yell if she saw such a sight. Father would be upset too.

Cat was uncomfortably aware of his body and hers. There was an unexpected urgency in her brother that made him seem like someone completely new. At least, someone she’d not noticed often. Only on the sidelong glances when he laughed or the charming way the sunlight traced his bones. Had she wanted this too? She didn’t know, but hesitantly she kissed him back. Just a little, and it was a sensation she’d not experienced before. Cat hadn’t known she could be desirable like this. Cat hadn’t known anyone had been watching. She felt new fires and chills and a peculiar aching want that made her hungry for more of him. It was scary.

She turned her face away from Inan, though she didn’t struggle to be out from beneath him. Parted lips. Shallow breath. Her heart still raced. “What are you doing?” she asked, voice small. “You’ll get in trouble.”

--

Marin was glad the others indulged the change in topic. Wash away a little of the sour with the rain. “I like going for walks. You meet interesting people in the rain, sometimes.” She said. It wasn’t a lie.

Marin had kept the company of a few willing participants as her primary sustenance. It was better practice in a world where serial feeding would be equated to serial killing broadcast on every news channel. Sometime, though, on stormy days, she indulged in a real hunt. Long cons were so tedious. Finding a friend in the rain, the sort of person nobody would miss, and ushering them into the abyss was the basest kind of release.

“I like new company when the world is being cleaned. It seems appropriate, I guess.” She said. Marin nodded at Ahler. “Sometimes I stay in and read, too. Research, mostly. I like learning about old legends and history.” Old friends. Old enemies. Old deeds.

It must have been around noon, though the grey sky gave no hints. “This was a nice walk, this morning. I think I’d like to go back to my room and rest a little bit.” She said abruptly. “Thank you for showing me around a little bit. Maybe when the rain lets up, you can show me the rest of Valleyrun.” She suggested. Eyes on Snitch, because he deserved purpose. A small, secretive glance in Martin’s direction as she turned away from the three. “I think I’ll head back on my own, though. Nona, I’m sure you’re used to managing these two quite well on your own.” Friendly smile. Humor as some sort of peace offering, if it was necessary.

She was really quite hungry. Best to be on her way. The storm was offering too many sweet suggestions and Marin hadn’t intended to damage Valleyrun’s serenity, overly. “Thanks again. See you.” She said to them, before setting off on her own. She didn’t really wait for much acknowledgement. As she left, she ran her tongue along her teeth. A little sharp, slicing a small wound. There was a little blossom of crimson in her mouth, the taste of her own iron, and it was gone with the wound.

Marin made it back to the corner store, her pace increasing the further she got from the trio, and she dodged inside. There was enough distance there so as not to have appeared hasty. Another cup of coffee, maybe, before she made it back to her inn room and sulked until the evening. Her stomach clenched some complaint. She hoped Martin was a prompt boy. Styrofoam cup. Steam off the bitter. That Nona girl would be happy with Marin’s quick departure, she figured. It was likely she’d not think too hard on an excuse for the sudden exit. Maybe Nona would even call her rude. That made Marin smile a little bit.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 19, 2016, 07:27:12 pm
He'd thought he was lost when he tasted her. He'd neglected the part that wanted this, neglected it deep into a forgotten space between his stomach and his heart. He thought it was free with this unholy indulgence. And then she kissed him back, with all the sweetness, and an abandon, minuscule but clear. That had truly set free the far hidden greed for her. White light where his thoughts should be, and red, everywhere else. He'd answered with more fire, until she broke away. The gold in his eyes was brighter, otherworldly, finally, looking down at the side of her face, his breaths finding home and leaving soon, with a lilting and then urgent rhythm.

He tried to listen to her words, but they drowned in her cadence. A dark reminder sung a pointed protest, and that stain on his heart was enough to make those golden circles tremble for a moment. Then the rest of the heart bellowed out what it had wanted for so long. "I've been in trouble." A long time. Since forever, since you became beautiful. Curled fingers on the eternal stone beneath her. The red berries grew rounder, lush outside. A residue spell that basked in what Inan felt. His body pushed down on hers, securing itself between her legs, his torso pressing on her chest. If he didn't love her, he would have devoured her.

"You can share it." he said, dipping his nose against the side of her features, the side she'd turned. The cold that dulled her scent had gone away, and he could sample her notes with every inhale. His mouth open, touching her cheek. A sigh of giving up, to this. "Won't you be in trouble too?" Urgency also spoken by his body, pressing down, forbidding her to say no the way a villain would. But he'd listen, or so he thought, if she did. His lips wandered outward, where her parted petals were, as his hand wandered in, to gently tug her hair, so that she'd turn. There was a carnal instinct that he'd not discovered about himself before.

-

The boys didn't notice the way Marin spoke. They were happy to hear her voice. Ahler felt acknowledged for being addressed and Martin was still humming on the promise of a meeting later. Nona tried her best not to let her irritation show. The girl had well noted the strange meter and of the too-well-worded supposed city girl. Nona too would have found herself bound by that spell, she was always looking for a new idol, but the listless state Marin sunk Martin and Ahler into was both sobering and humbling.

"I like reading about old things as well." Ahler injected, seeking her eyes. He did do research into old things, they all did, with the town being a hotspot for tradition and ancient sins, their little club of dreams and macabre. He also enjoyed the occasional romantic, one-person-view monster of the week novel.

"You sure you're alright to go back by yourself?" Martin asked through smoke. His legs made no motion to leave with her. It was a courtesy that fit the image he wanted to put out. "Maybe we'll see you later." There was some sugar in that, for her. At this point, Martin thought he was a king.

"I'll take care of them." Nona chimed, standing up. She waved when there was some distance between them. She wasn’t sure about the peace offering, but was willing to pretend.

As they departed eventually, the trio were set in three separate silences. A tense, anticipating lack of words from the still smoking Martin, ember reflected in his right eye with every lift of the burning stick. Ahler was content with the day, and walked with satisfaction. He'd see her again, soon, and with elevated status in his own group of friends, too. Nona wanted badly to bad-talk the pretty new thing, but considered herself from the outside, and knew it would be transparent. Perhaps the brittle nature of her wordlessness was even more so, without her knowledge. They group fractured outward in the rain, with a light grunt, a flick of ash, and a dismissive wave.

-

Olister was choosing between the tuna and the pepperoni. Both were wrapped in clear plastic. This store was better stocked then he remembered. Of course, last time he'd not planned to stay for even this long. He put the pepperoni down. If it was somewhat fresh, on the road you always pick the fish when you can. The hunter didn't rejoice over his knowledge long. He was about to pull out dirty bills when he saw a certain glow above the steam of a cup by the coffee window. He didn't freeze, and trusted the doubt in his body to make his stop smooth. He picked up the pepperoni bread again, pretending to weigh its merits once more.

He'd long since learned to pick them out. This one wasn't subtle, either. But she wasn't the moonlight monster he'd been chasing. Though, her glow was too maintained to be any of the few well-doing, self-denying succulents. He huffed to himself. So there was a possibility of a convergence of two or more in little Valleyrun? Hopefully it was just that, and not a gathering of larger numbers. His youth hubris had gone, and left too many scars and patterns on his bones for him to think he'd do this by himself. He chose the fish for a second time and went to pay for it. Then he approached her.

"Hey. You live here?" he asked as he sat down. Lying to aged predators was hard, so he knew to keep to a truth he could stand on. She was attractive enough. His life on the heels of maneaters was appropriately lonely. It was in his nature to be attracted to her, so he indulged in that, and hoped it would cover up his real intentions. "I like a small town, it has pretty people." In his youth he'd also liked to talk to beautiful things. The scar beneath his shirt throbbed, for some reason.

-

A moonlight thing whipped its head up. Noble, aesthetic starvation to make up beauty on his suddenly engaged face. Brown, summer eyes lined in heavy, blossoming lashes. Dark lips dropped before returning to their parted formation. The librarian was smitten again. He was enrapturing when he was confounded.

He'd tasted something in the air, connoisseur of emotions, as he was. A telling grin over his face, wrinkling the lovely skin to show his large teeth, all the way back to the wise, enamel buds. It was an impossible expression, stretching his plumb lips thin and folding the skin like dry, thick-handed origami. The librarian sat up, jolted out of her daydreams as the waterboiler clicked that it was ready. He turned that nightmare maw toward her, to lance her with the eyes she'd wanted. His pretty mask returned. He could sample the taboo he'd felt echoes of later. For now it was time to take care of this literature maiden.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 21, 2016, 08:03:20 pm
Catalina closed her eyes to focus on steadying her breath and her heart. She had her disagreements with Mother and Father but she wasn’t the kind of girl to want to spite them. They loved her and she loved them, after all. She didn’t really want to hear what Inan was saying. They were dangerous suggestions.

“Inan, you’re not supposed to.” She mumbled. Not supposed to say things like that. Not supposed to touch her like that. Not supposed to look at her with that sort of expression. Not supposed to make her feel those things. His fingers on the strands of her hair and she turned her face back to him and his lips. “Don’t.” Cat said, but kissed him back. She didn’t know to what she hoped he’d respond. Stupid brother.

Outside, the storm had begun to pass. The rain had dulled to a murmur at the cave’s entrance, though the air within was heavy and silent around the siblings. Catalina’s fire danced. If the girl had honestly intended to protest, her conviction was thinning as rapidly as the downpour outside.

It was a bit unfair, what Inan Copper was doing to his sister. Young woman without a first love, cast suddenly toward the darker passions of adulthood. He had stolen a new Magic for his own. The spell, cast by first spark, that endeared itself to every soul in the world. Even if Catalina had found it in her to say she’d not wanted this, she was no match for the hazy glow that blossomed in being desired. Every young heart wanted nothing more than to be wanted. Cat had simply just now noticed.

“We should go back, the rain is stopping.” She breathed, somewhere between seeking out his tongue and wrapping her arms around him. “Before Dad comes looking.”

--

Marin seemed a little puzzled by the man that sat down at her little corner table. Was everyone in Valleyrun so forward? Perhaps they were all just insatiable gossips. But, surely, the trio hadn’t spread the word quite so fast. Maybe it had been Lynnette, from the front desk, passing on her own rumors. “Are you?” she asked, one eyebrow arching high. He had packaged fish in his hands and a rather abrupt way of approaching a woman. Marin didn’t really know what to make of that.

Yue would have known immediately. Yue had spent a good deal of her life around hunters and found her end for it. She would have recognized the look of him and the way he moved. The lack of modern niceties. Marin had something of Yue in her, so she had the sense to find this visitor peculiar. But Marin hadn’t met a hunter. She understood the feel of this encounter, but not its meaning. But then, Yue might have even recognized Olister by name.

“Most people are pretty, in some way or another.” She replied, taking a sip from her coffee. Marin was careful to take an appropriate amount, because it seemed like he’d already noticed more about her than she was used to. It was a small bit unsettling and a bit more intriguing.

“Can I help you, Mister….?” She gestured for him to fill in the blank, both eyebrows high now. Marin wasn’t the type to be jumpy. She’d read enough to know that most humans (that even believed) had at least become civilized enough to live and let live unless provoked. Likewise that most of the Night children had learned it was best to take only what they needed and live with some sort of restraint. Those on either side of the fence that stepped out of line were destroyed, and no one interfered.

Yue would have lived a lot longer, if she’d not taken such an interest in picking sides. Marin suspected, for the moment, that she’d be around much longer for lack of interest in participating. An isolated existence was a luxury and a curse for the youngest Matriarch.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 22, 2016, 04:08:10 pm
Inan didn't know why her protests rung a part of him that multiplied as something pleasurable. Little drops, her voice, to make ripples on his lust. He was the kind of person doing good, that thought he was at least decent. How could he be, when her little refusals made him hungrier? Inan shivered and held on to her harder when he could taste her deeper. Her closer embrace undid more latches on his want. The ambivalence - taboo and morality - was devastating to the otherwise monochrome morals he'd taught himself. And hauntingly delicious. He'd not trained to withstand something that was drawing him in by tearing him apart.

The hand not turning her wet hair into a further mess pulled up their sweater to be around his ribs. "Go back." he said into their kiss as that hand slid down her side, two fingers into the waist of her underwear, that he'd refused to see. A naïve boy, kind to a fault, but he knew enough to know what he wanted, now. It was foreign and strange to pursue something that went against all the other things in him. And at every turn, a rushing, dear reward. He was learning a dangerous lesson.

"Dad wont find out about this." With trembling voice and a steady motion, peeling her ornamental garment down.

She was an entirely new universe now. Tastes he'd not gotten to have, that had just been an arm's length away all his life. The wonder of it washed away doubt, because he wasn't made to hold himself back against something so entreating. The boy he'd been would have asked for forgiveness again, discovering her so hard, but the new being, loving her in a way he shouldn't, couldn't find the time or presence of mind to do anything but explore her.

His breath was on her temple, spilling out into the hair he held, and on her temple, into her ear. Her bra rubbed his chest as he moved her over the stone. Once more and again, until she was only a sensation against him. Until he was blind and panting on her face with swallowing, spreading urgency. His arm was around her head to hold on, and brace himself against the lucid conclusion. He breathed on her jaw as he recovered. But his heart never would.

He should have apologized. "Cat." a plea, instead, but he didn't know for what, in the ebb.

-

He would have to assume she was on-board that he was any other man, raising his hand for her attention. He studied her without staring. It had already been made clear that he was invested, but it was important he seemed distracted by her rather than focused. The plastic around the sandwich crackled as he pressed down lightly on the label. "I'm just seeing the country and trying to get some work done along the way." True enough. "Maybe make a few friends to pass the time."

Olister knew enough about human nature to be considered charming. He didn't have a badge that would register on a check in any database, or a name that would make people want to do him favors, so endearing people to him was a necessity. He needed her to believe he was not the threat that he was, that he was in fact a good choice for prey - as in human, so in predatory nature. "I was in the city before, but decided to move on." Bragging about his aloft heart, cementing the image of someone wanting to impress someone else, whether he was successful or not. "Not like I got to know anyone in that beehive, anyway." And an essentially lonely travel. No one would miss him. There, that much was done.

His elbow on the table between them, hand brushing the stubble as he rested his chin in the dimple of his palm. "So I guess you could help me with that, if you're available, to pass time, I mean." And what if she said no? Surely she wouldn't want him following her after that, even though playing the odd human stalker had worked in his favor before. "I'm sure we're going to run into each other plenty in this little place, anyway." Now he'd become a nuisance that she could rid herself of, too.

-

Tsoalle of the moonlight wanted to treat her to a show. He wrapped his arms around himself, feeling and taking in her fear. The creature stood as he amplified that dread and gave it back to her, both of them trembling as he neared where she sat, shackled. "What is going to happen to me? Is this real?" he said, speaking her thoughts back to her. He cupped his own cheekbone and gasped. "He's so beautiful, why does he smile like a wolf? Is he going to eat me?"

The brass sign in front of her green cup said Alice. Surely someone with that name had to work in a library in Valleyrun. She had anxiety over her life, over never being pretty enough, over looking back and finding herself dull. He let it feast on her inside, those insecurities. When he was close enough to extend his arm and grasp her, he washed her in a wave of guilt, too, old things about a grandmother. Alice was held to her chair by the weight of her inner life. Her lips trembled, slurring something about how this could not be.

Then he ran all the fingers of one hand over her cheek,  taking away what he'd planted. Her sigh was long. He gave her the pleasure he'd felt when this one woman, dead three decades now, had sung against his nape. Alice became her shivers. Tsoalle leaned in closer, over the brass sign. "Yes, he is, Alice."
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 25, 2016, 01:13:21 am
Catalina considered struggling, though she’d lost that sort of battle in more benign situations. It made her tremble, because his body over hers had cast a peculiar shadow on her memories. Had it always been a little of this, then? Had she been inviting it as much as he might have wanted it? If it were so, she wished she knew the way to find forgiveness. She’d need it, later. Not from Inan, because he was taking his penance now. From herself, because either now or before she had been untrue to her own heart.

“Inan,” she said his name, once out of some last appeal to her brother’s sensibilities. “Inan,” she said it again because, as a man, he frightened her. “Inan…?” a third time, because she’d never shaped those sounds to call for a lover and now they sounded new. Cat held on to him tightly, unsure of what else she ought to do. Trust him, maybe, because he’d never been selfish before and she couldn’t imagine it now. It would have been a miserable lie to say she disliked the music he was playing on her nerves.

She’d never felt naked in front of him. That kind of realization would have obligated a degree of shame for her body in front of his eyes. It was different now, even without his stare, and she was terrifyingly exposed with the absence of that small bit of cloth. Some overwhelming shift in the last few moments that she struggled valiantly to keep up with. If this was shame, in being an object desired and offered for assessment by his hands, it was nothing like she’d been led to believe. To be ashamed beneath his body was scalding and delicious. The only thing that felt the way it ought was the guilt.

Cat had never thought she’d kept a secret from her brother, except the hunter from the woods. Presently, she found herself sorely mistaken. He met her in ways she’d not even met herself, ruthlessly uncovering new secrets she’d kept from them both. She started crying, somewhere in the midst of it, but looked for his lips to catch her own sobs. There was fresh hurt in everything new, her back against the hard cave floor and his weight and friction swallowing the rest of her.

She heard him say her name, thought it didn’t register deeply, her heart spilling with too much of him in ways she’d never imagined. Still leaking from the corners of her big green eyes. Cat was panting, mumbling something that was half his name and half apologies. Maybe it was her fault that they’d found this sort of love. Her expression was miserable, but she still clung to him, thighs pressed to hold his hips close to hers as if she thought she might shatter if he moved. If he’d asked her what she wanted, then, she couldn’t have answered him.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” She was muttering to herself, the little Magicked fire flaring with the instability that had exploded in the core of the Witchling’s being. If she’d seen the oldest books, she might have found a little peace in the pagan things there. She was not so broken for meeting his desire. Something of a whispered curse for the children of Magic women. If it wasn’t love, it was only natural. But Cat hadn’t seen those books and there was love and, for all of that, she was sure she’d tarnished her pure sweet brother irreparably. If not in his essence than in her own eyes. Hadn’t he said they’d never change but just that morning?

Catalina moved in a rush, sudden and frantic, untangling herself from Inan and the sweater and scrambling out from beneath him. She snatched her panties and fumbled into them hastily, making poor attempts to cover herself with her hands. His eyes felt different now, because she knew they saw her. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him either. “We have to get back home,” voice breaking a little in her fluster. She licked her lips and stared stubbornly upward. If she stayed away and didn’t look, maybe she’d not feel anything wrong. Maybe he wouldn’t either.

She was grateful when she found her clothes mostly dry, warmed well by the crackling little sprite fire. Cat shrugged into them with her back to her brother and grabbed her bag with the sandwiches he’d never reached. “Hurry up,” she told him, and it was a weak imitation of her usual bossiness.

--

Marin studied his face as she shook his outstretched hand. He’d not given her a name to eat, which bothered her a little. “What kind of work?” she asked blandly, though the prickled on the back of her neck suggested she had some kind of idea. Maybe he wasn’t the sort that targeted her kind, but something of that knew nonetheless. It put her on edge, just a little, but she was too old to find it frightening. She hadn’t done anything wrong. Besides, if he wasn’t from Valleyrun, she wasn’t in the business of hiding, either.

“Oh, I don’t know.” She said. “I’ve made a few new friends myself, you see, and they seem pretty eager to monopolize what time they’re given.” Marin smiled like it was some kind of joke he should understand. “People tend to be that way, though.” They couldn’t help it around such shiny Moon things. “I’m staying in the inn, though. You can drop by my room if you get too bored. I don’t dislike company.”  Marin finished her coffee before he’d finished his sandwich. The smell of it was odd to her. Bloodless.

“My name is Marin, by the way.” She said as she stood. He’d sat down uninvited, so she didn’t see any reason not to leave uninvited. “Good luck with your work.” A broad smile with razor teeth. She’d have more fangs that he was used to, which a discerning man would know the meaning of. Those sorts of teeth tended to live in guarded crypts, though. There wasn’t enough dust in her lungs to match up quite right.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 25, 2016, 07:25:35 pm
His name, repeated, became a tail to every thought that came. That beat brought him back after the fire flushed and settled, over there. He listened to the last iteration the most. It was reasurring, a little gift. After that, addictive in another way, she asked for forgiveness, another lovely song, mirroring what he felt. He'd dared to hope for synchronization, at least.

He didn't get to derive much solace in that hope. Inan, despite the love-flooded mind, registered her struggle quickly. He shifted with her, their bodies were still in tune, despite their separated hearts. A bit like a self-violation, trying his best to lean this way, and lift that part of the knit to let her out. When she emerged, his fingers softly ran over her back, first the one hand, failing, sliding off the low of her spine, then the other to the same result, as thought to find a crevice to hold on to. There was bit of chock in his lax lips and deeper set eyes when he watched her stand and leave. What a forbidden thing, to sit there while she walked on naked legs, away from him. It was a hard morsel to enjoy, with what she was radiating. He found himself worried about the state of her clothes, if they were dry enough, warm enough, but she pulled them on without concern. Did he look as abandoned as he felt, then, on his knees, ruined neckline hanging low to expose the sternum and its heavy cargo beneath.

Inan didn’t want to breathe, couldn’t possibly wish to add substance to the solid air. If he did, she would surely run, the way a wild thing runs when it discovers you, so it can keep itself for itself. Electric panic in his stomach. She’d always been his Catalina. Had he been so mistaken, loving her like he had, just now? When she bid him come, he scurried to get his clothes on as well, hanging his backpack and squeezing their sweater. It felt indignant, collecting his strewn shells after such delectable symbiosis, but if he didn’t come quick, maybe she’d change her mind. She didn’t meet his eyes. He didn’t realize he was seeking hers out like they were surface light, and he was drowning.

He followed her out. They didn’t put out the flame she’d made. It was left to remember them, and keep their residual heat alive.

“It’s stopped raining.” He offered as they walked. Sometimes he trailed behind her, when he lost himself too deep in the ghost of what they’d shared. She’d been so beautiful. He could convince himself she’d liked it, could remember her clutching embrace. And then there was now, cold sweat on forest arms, after the shower that had given them another world. He squeezed their sweater harder. When he dragged his feet too much, and got a view of her backpack, he’d be reminded of how lovely, and how heart-wrenchingly defensive she’d looked when she’d gotten dressed. He’d speed up then, to the silence beside her. Their stride was unforgiving, void of her song and his stopping to look at the world. It took them home quicker than they’d come out. An apology was starving his stomach and bloating his lungs, and wringing his throat and clawing his tongue. And rotting his teeth.

“I see you guys got out of the rain. Good.” Adam said, arranging a few herbs in his press by the kitchen sink. He didn’t need to look at them for long to assess the state of their clothes. He didn’t know they’d become dry on the way. The way his children split, Inan quickly to the couch where they took patients, dropping his bag beside it, awoke worry in the grown man, so much that he cut his finger on a thorn. The blood was redder than he remembered, spreading into the gleeful plant. He threw a worried look at Elise. He’d heard them argue before, but they would usually reconcile before leaving their room. This seemed severe. “This is new.” He mumbled so the boy wouldn’t hear. Adam couldn’t bring himself to lecture them on having forgotten their phones, now.

-

“I work in deconstruction.” He said. It wasn’t a lie. He wasn’t much of a builder, was he? If he did his job correctly, things died. He couldn’t read anything from her hand, other than that it was perfect. He wouldn’t hold it for longer than she’d allow. He’d been thwarted by niceties before. Old ones liked to use the social dance to their advantage. There could be violence at the end of a handshake, and it was a bad thing if you were caught off guard, gripped already by you adversary.

To hide his expression when she spoke of having made friends here, he had to touch two fingers to his brow, disguising the mask as tending to an itch. Unpleasant information. Olister wasn’t too sentimental about people, but he did find value in their continued well-being. Surely the outcome would be nefarious if these friendships played out the way she wanted. “It’s because you look so friendly.” He explained and forced himself to appreciate her glowing skin again, so he could put that in the smirk. She invited him to her current stay. Good. Meant he’d played his role well. He nodded and gave her a smile to keep when she went away. His toes curled in his shoes when she smiled back. Olister didn’t turn away, despite the blatant truth in her teeth.

“I’m Oliver.” A close call. Sometimes it was good to strike fear, but he didn’t expect someone like her to know of him. Surely the nature of the invitation would change if she knew what he did. The hunter did remain seated, finishing his sandwich, but was sure to limit the incognito to when the doors closed behind Marin. He looked at his phone, pretended to see something on it, and got up. Valleryrun was small enough that he could hide his surveillance as coincidence.

-

Tsoalle straddled her lap. The chair complained. The books had their backs turned, scandalized when she screamed into his hand as he lifted his chin to smell the rain and the tryst in the far forest through her ajar window. Oh, what a pretty meeting two people had. He looked into her eyes and delivered some of the confused, burning salvation Inan had succumbed to. “Are you my brother?” he asked her, whispering onto the knuckles of her gag. She nodded slowly as he pulled at her collar. “Am I your sudden mistress? In a stone mouth, will you be overcome and risk your dangerous melt into my innocent depth?” She nodded.

He held on to her face harder, lodging her call deeper down. He ate at the air, a tear down his snow cheek for what Inan felt as Catalina scrambled to get away from him. “Ah, I’m going to put this behind me, but take you with me. And you’re so deeply marred.” He narrated in the throes of a scene he had no part in. She stopped moving under him. When he realized he shook his head at himself, letting her go so she could fall back on the chair, held up, starring at the lamp above them. Absently he licked her palm of her last breath and slobber as he made toward the exit. She wouldn’t be discovered soon, he’d bet. Nobody reads print anymore.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 28, 2016, 01:43:42 am
Cat stayed several paces ahead of him, most of the way. Even at this distance, Inan was tying her stomach in knots. She’d done something awful. When they reached the back door to the house, it banged open with a little too much force. She didn’t mind it much, passing through and nodding to her parents before making a rush toward the bedroom.

Catalina was at once relieved and unhappy when Inan elected not to follow. She scolded her heart for that kind of behavior and reminded it she should be appreciative. She dug through her drawers for fresh clothes and a clean towel. A shower to wash away his touch and scald his taste off her lips. “I’m taking the shower.” She called as she stepped into the hall, habit because they’d shared a wash room for so long. Cat shut the door behind her. Locked it, too.

Elise was silent through the flurried arrival of her children, though her expression was etched with undeniable relief. Whatever argument the two were having was sure to resolve quickly. They had both returned safely and dry. That was what mattered. The Witch wondered, just a little, if her son had been privy to some of her daughter’s Magic. It seemed the two should have been at least a bit damp. She’d speak to Catalina about it later. Best not to scold the girl too much. For their differences, Cat and Elise both did their best to keep Inan safe and treasured. Elise might even praise her daughter for whatever quick thinking had kept the children warm.

“New, yes, but it would take the fires of hell itself to keep those two apart for long.” Elise murmured back, rubbing her husband’s back reassuringly. “If they aren’t back to normal after supper, we can have a chat with them both. At least they made it home before dark.” Elise frowned a little. “I thought we told them to take their mobile phones, though…”

Catalina stripped herself bare and slipped beneath the steaming stream of water. She wasn’t cold, but she had turned the temperature up as high as the old water heater could handle. Cat applied soap and began to scrub at her legs with some intent fury. Inan needed to get out of this house. Out of this town. Mother would bleed him dry for the next door neighbors and a little bit of praise. Cat had been his safe space, she’d thought. Not now. She was a different kind of terrible. At least mother didn’t sully Inan with her ego. Cat couldn’t say that for herself, now.

She focused on the water running over her shoulders and told herself to forget about their forest cave and anything that happened in it. It was a fruitless demand on her mind, she knew, but it made her feel better to try. “Stupid Inan.” She muttered to herself. “Stupid me.”

Cat was fairly silent throughout dinner, engaging in halfhearted conversation where Mother and Father prompted. Elise made sure not say anything about the forgotten phones and even mentioned that she appreciated the children’s care in keeping dry and coming quickly back home. When Adam made to mention their daughter’s upcoming birthday, Elise placed her hand on his leg beneath the table. Not now, perhaps, given the peculiar mood.

It was Inan’s turn to help with the dishes and Catalina was more than eager to scurry back to the bedroom by herself. She said something about being tired from the long walk in the woods and kissed her Father on the cheek with a quick “goodnight.”

She burrowed under her covers, lights out, and listened to the water running through the pipes in the walls. It was unlikely she’d be able to fall asleep before Inan came in, but she could pretend, maybe.

--

Marin waved over her shoulder as she left. A name, after all. That was nice. She rolled it over her tongue and slid it along her teeth. Interesting, but she was content to deal with this new development another time. She was expecting Martin tonight and intended on a trip to the Blood House, come morning.

Marin stopped by the inn office and extended her stay by a week. Lynnette nodded, as if she’d known Marin would want to stay. “Valleyrun is charming, isn’t it?” the woman suggested. Marin nodded in agreement.

“Quite.”

She spent the remainder of her afternoon reading a novel based on some old myth or another. In it, a Vampire queen denied her lover the gift of eternal youth and was swallowed up by the moon. Marin nodded at the pages thoughtfully. It did not seem like an unreasonable portrayal, though the Vampire seemed to cry a lot. Marin could not recall being particularly tearful under any of her names. She set the book aside. Martin ought to be by soon. That was good. She was quite famished.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 28, 2016, 01:04:38 pm
Inan couldn't quite put thoughts between himself and the cave. He'd sat on the couch, minding to smile whenever his parents would walk by, or look his way, but for most part he lived there, inside the stone sphere. An enjoyable memory, she had been so sweet under him, and he'd been so brave - and a tainted memory, they'd been so quiet afterward. The guilt that followed the pleasure were almost symmetrical in shape and size. Adam had tried to see the subtleties in the face of his son, the side turned, hair handging on his ear.

Catalina had cried, hadn't she? Inan burried his hands behind his temples, and his face behind his forearms, sinking deeper into the wear of the cushion. He'd thought it been lovely in the act, that it had meant that she was overwhelmed like he was. It seemed like a practical missinterpetation now. Was he so golrious with the task of love, on his first time, that he could make someone cry of joy? Fingertips dug deeper into his scalp at the suggestion that he'd forced her. He heard the second time she said his name out of three, when she sounded afraid, the small call asking him to notice, to take care to stop. He'd not taken that care. In fact, he was revisiting her reactions because they felt dauting now, spiced by his imagining of her unwillingness. The guilt made him sick, his eyes squeezed tighter.

And then he had to have a cold shower after her, in her steam, smelling like her soap, their soap, and think of the rain. And then he had to have hot dinner without the strength to pretend with idle topics and big gestures he wasn't a monster when sitting next to her. Did he strain enough to smile at least, everytime mother passed him the bowl of whatever father had made? Since Adam didn't stick him with the big knife, sharpened thin, and mother didn't shake her head the way she would, there must have been enough lies in him to at least have the parents thinking their son wasn't a villain.

The dishwater was warmer than what he'd recieved from the showerhead. The comfort wasn't enough to make Inan speak, so Adam did instead, when no one else could hear. "You know what people without tongues do when they have disagreements?" he asked. Inan smiled bitterly and looked at his father.

"They talk it out." he said, and father noded. Manytimes the man had said this. Inan had said it back to him once, when Adam and Elise had arguments about their meager makings, before they discovered Inan's blood.

"The most important thing about your blood isn't that it can heal other people, Inan. It's that it's thicker than water." He patted his son on the shoulder firmly and left him in the kitchen.

While it did give Inan some strength, his hands were still deathly cold when he'd placed the last plate to dry. He walked the length of the livingroom thrice before moving toward their bedroom door. He could tell by the color of the frame that there'd be darkness inside. Perhpas it would be the good thing to do to let her sleep, even though it was early for them. His nightly games of getting up and out without turning on the lights coupled with growing up in this space made it easy to menuver to her side without the lamp. He put his knees on the floor and stayed with his head dropped for longer than he planned, listening to her breathing, trying to make out whether she was dreaming or simply lying still.

He tried to hear the realxed breaths of slumber, but didn't. Inan put his cheek on her sheets, and took a handfull of blanket by her back, turned to him. He thought he could sleep like that, on his own arm. But they were both as awake as their moment in the cave had been real. His hand held harder on her blanket. "Sing to me." he asked. He was afraid, the weight of her songs had always been artful, giving strength to the lyrcis. What would he hear from it now, when she'd have to lower her voice, like she did when the our was late? Surely he was better connected to that somber tonight. But it was better than talking.

In truth, the way he felt, he should already be asleep, but he thought he'd be in this state forever, drunk on fatigue, without her voice. Inan had dreamed up a scenario where she'd sing to him all night, and by morning, somehow, they'd reconsile, or he'd begged for forgiveness enough times that she'd at least know his guilt. But he'd fall asleep with his head on her bed soon, after any kind of acknowledgement, or rejection.

-

Nona had wanted to be with him, probably building her case against the newcommer. Martin had honestly not had the time. Her angry, short reply was still last on their history on the small screen. Ahler had acctually gone to school with an excuse. The rest of the day Martin spent in his room, typing in angel-related terms into a search engine. He followed informational paths that he thought might bring him closer to Marin. Some of the legends were entertaining, and some were written by lonely, imaginative hearts.

He walked through town with his hands in his pockets. Those who knew him well enough to know his usuall stride, would find a spring this evening that they'd not seen before. Spoiled and handsome, because rich people marry into beauty, he'd not had to rush for many things in his life. Now he was excited, smelling clean but wearing clothes that had been torn and worn when he bought them, expensively. Lynn was surpised to see him pass by. He nodded and stepped quicker, to avoid conversation.

He knocked twice before trying the handle. A habit, but also one he'd found gave him an advantage. Nona had come to like that about him, and never locked her door. "How are you feeling now?" he'd ask, fast glance at the book. To the prince of Valleyrun, this was just another evening when life would go his way, another elvation to his confidence and the knowledge he was meant for greater things simply because he wnated them. He didn't know there were fangs on this angel, or that there was a hunter that had watched him since he'd come close to this establishment.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on May 29, 2016, 11:36:23 pm
She tensed when she heard the door open and squeezed her eyes a little tighter shut. As if that might make her more asleep. He was quiet, which gave her hope that he would play along with her pretenses and let the evening end in silence. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to speak to him. It was only because she didn’t know what to say. Cat had been lying there, replaying memories much more distant than the cave, and questioning. Every smile and brush of his cheek. Each time she’d carelessly shed her clothes or carried on conversation with him through a half-open door while she showered. It all seemed as if she had been inviting this. Urging them toward some inevitable end. That was a terrible game for the witchling to play. Truth would say neither she nor Inan had done anything to carry them toward the cave and its sins. It had simply been a tide of place and time and curious circumstances. The children had lived most their lives bending to such whims.

She felt her blankets pull when he gathered some of the fabric in his fists. Cat supposed there was no avoiding him, then. She was not foolish enough to think he’d be unable to tell she was awake. That was half the problem, really. They knew each other inside and out and had loved every flaw. There had never been a secret between them that hadn’t eventually been let out. This was no different, then. He spoke and she let her eyes open. Facing away from him, she stared for a long moment at the door without a reply.

“What do you want to hear?” she asked, at last. Her voice was made harsher from the whisper, but she didn’t sound angry. Catalina rolled herself over to look Inan in the eye. “What do you want…?” she repeated, the open end of her query expanding in the quiet of the room. Did you know you wanted this? Do you want it still? Do you know what you’re asking for? This wrongness, is it my fault? The green whorls shouted a tumble of other questions as she stared at him.

She didn’t sing to him. The sound of the sheets shifting beneath her seemed deafening. Cat reached out, running her fingertip across his lower lip. A long, weary sigh. This had never been in the plan. They were supposed to go to the city and start new lives there. Finding their own ways, side by side and growing up. No more of Mother’s knife. Cat’s Magic would have been Inan’s only, as it had always been. She couldn’t have described precisely what made it feel like her heart was breaking, but she was certain that it was.

Cat rolled onto her back, arms spread to either side. Crucifix. She stared up at the ceiling, where a mottle of glow-in-the-dark stars peered back at her. They had put them up there for her ninth birthday. Inan had stood on her bed and stuck them on the ceiling for her. She had never been sure if there had been any order to the way he’d placed them. A breath.

Oh morning come bursting, the clouds amen
Lift off this blindfold, let me see again
Bring back the water, let your ships roll in
In my heart she left a hole


Cat hadn’t sung that song to him in a while. It had been a favorite of hers to hum while she mended his little cuts, or to sing when neither of them could fall asleep.

The tightrope that I’m walking just sways and ties
The devil as he’s talking with those angel eyes
And I just want to be there when the lightning strikes
And the saints go marching in

And sing slow it down
Through chaos as it swirls
It’s us against the world


--

Marin had gotten up to answer the door when Martin let himself in. She hadn’t remembered to lock the door. In the city, most hotels had electronic locks and keycards. The inn, she recalled, had issued her a more traditional key. Not that it mattered.

She locked the door behind him. “I took a bit of a rest, so I’m feeling alright. A bit hungry.” She said. Marin allowed the measures of personal space to shrink in the microcosm of her temporary bedroom. Without the other two there to manage, she didn’t mind presenting Martin with her full attention. Had he known better, that should have been a bit frightening. The room had adopted a bit of her faint and floral scent, leaving something heady in the air. There was the one bed in the room and a small table with two chairs. She sat against the headboard and patted the place beside her on the bed in invitation.

“I’m feeling even better, seeing as you came to see me. I was worried you might not. I appreciate it, honestly.” She said. Marin folded her hands on her lap. She didn’t intend to harm Martin. Marin had asked him here particularly because she had felt it wouldn’t be necessary. It was better when they were willing, or wanting. The chemicals were the right sort of mix for her pallet. It was still a trap. Marin had her niceties and her regrets, but in the end she would never have a higher morality than any other drug dealer. She might fall somewhere near the bottom of that bunch, as it were. The options at the end of his road, should he choose to walk it, were fairly rigid. Feverishly giving her all the life he could hold in some carnal and ancient sort of overdose. Acute and irresolvable despair when she evaporated. He might, at least, survive the latter sadness.

“Anyway, tell me what you know, Martin. I’d like to hear it so I can fill in the rest for you. If I’m going to ask you to help me, you might as well know what you’re helping.” A delicate smile, without teeth.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on May 30, 2016, 08:08:15 pm
They wore their sheets soft quick after a wash, the fabric never really standing a chance to stay new, the way the two jumped from bed to bed, and sat and played. And still, when she turned, he heard it like rustling through loud paper. His eyes had long since adjusted and he stared at her, glad to have her green back, though they tasted a bit foreign. Was it neglect or denial that he’d not known she was this kind of beautiful? His lips sent jolts outward into his skull with her touch, almost enough to release him from the heavy spell of fatigue.

There were too many things to ask for in any answer he could give. He wanted to go back, so he didn't have to worry about himself with her, pick those nettles, come home, loose at cards while hearing her explain why mother was wronging him. He wanted to climb up with her, and sleep on her pillow. He wanted to make her cry again, sharing a sweater, or wearing nothing at all, for her to make that expression that made his tongue dry and his lust angry.

He drew at the same drink of air when she took her breath, and fought through the coming fog for something to say when he place his hand on her stomach, his knees still on the floor. Wouldn’t it be good, to say something that would mend them? Her song spread though his hand, and the lyrics tugged at his concentration, whittling his consciousness down. He sought her extended hand out, where it lay on a prong of her unseen cross. His cheek on her palm, his breath on her pulse. Sleep spread faster than his imagination and he lost the day as his lips parted next to his crucified Catalina, singing him into worried dreams. This, then, was what Inan wanted.

-

Martin didn’t feel the appropriate chills when she locked the room to the world. Bravado is an anesthetic. This room was welcoming, more so than he knew these quarters to be. Perhaps it was her essence in the air. He followed her suggestion and sat by her. Martin of course fancied himself the predator, here. The bed was soft, too soft to sleep in often, but it was perfect for this kind of familiarity. He smiled to the side at her, equal amounts of courtesy and excitement. How intimate, already. “I wouldn’t have missed it.” He assured her. Out of place that she should be glad for his presence and not the reverse scenario, but Martin didn’t see the asymmetry. Surely she knew a pair of good cheekbones when she saw them. Blue, noble eyes.

Those eyes on her hands, in her lap, when he tried to remember something for her. “I don’t know much. I’m not as fluent in that kind of history as Nona or Ahler. I know a bit about the magic of Mend and his bloodline, about witches.” He shrugged. It is not my strength, I have other strengths, in the blue. “But I believe you’re an angel.” He’d been told, but why add that, when this phrasing was much more flattering. He did want her secrets. There was a reason why he was with Nona and not the other girls. There was a romantic in him, and it wanted fantastical things. Tired of the proven and traditional magic from the blood house, he was looking forward to what a more picturesque mystery could offer. “I know you’re not like the rest of them.” Because surely he was special, too.

Martin reached over to take one of the hands she’d laid down, and looked into her eyes to assure her of his intentions. “You can tell me anything, Marin. Thank you for trusting me. I’ll help you in any way I can.” And he meant it, then, with that steady voice. Despite the cut of his jaw and set of his brow, his heart was young. He wanted to have her, but he also wanted to be her knight, and for this to be the beginning of his own story. And with this invitation, perhaps Martin also felt entitled to it.

-

Tsoalle sat underneath the window of The Blood House, sampling Inan’s dreams. What turmoil, in there. Sometimes the mind wanted to soothe the body, but the under-garden here wasn’t directing any calming scenes for its owner. With the anxiety that Catalina’s voice did not chase away, the astral Inan became restless, and then provoked. It could also be known in how his hand clutched the fabric of her shirt and his teeth clenched in his sleep. Tsoalle saved the taste of the two before moving deeper into the forest. He was confident in the apathy of men, but even man would know a predator at the door, sometimes.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 01, 2016, 05:02:42 am
Marin laughed. It wasn’t a mean sound, but it might have been laced with some pity. It was alright. She would correct him. It would be impolite to leaving him believing she was some sort of heaven. “Well, you’re only a little bit correct.” She admitted. “And I didn’t tell Ahler I was an angel, either. I just asked if he believed in them—and you should.” Marin said. She could take him into the moonlight. Dazzle him with all her silver and snow. It was a charm that worked on hearts like his, and Nona’s, and Snitch’s. Perhaps, for his role in tonight, he deserved something a bit less shallow. Less romantic, certainly, but more honest.

“I told him he should believe in demons, too, you know.” Marin turned her face toward him as he took her hand. Sweet boy, under the sapling swagger. “There are a lot of stories about night things. Many of them don’t start in the right place. Many of them rest on the backs of rumor, too.” She laced her fingers into his.

“The truth is, when humanity sparked into existence, a rift was carved in the world of the divine. Now, whether the divine are really worth being held as gods, I’m not sure. They are different, though. And there were angels and there were demons.” She smiled, this time with teeth. Sharp teeth he couldn’t mistake at such close proximity. “The rules regarding those two groups are likely whatever you might imagine, given the religious tendencies of humans. The guess work was right, at least that far.”

Marin tugged him closer toward her, so she might fix him with her pitch eyes and swallow him in their dark. The rest of the room was unimportant. “But love and lust aren’t well known to follow the rules, and a demon conceived an angel’s child. That child grew up without a home, wandering earth, until he fell in love with a human woman.” Her gaze shifted, raking his jaw and settling on the flutter at the base of his throat. “You can imagine that two sins like that could only beget another. And so, the first Vampires were born.”

Her voice was soft, velvet and autumn strung out on spider silk. “I don’t remember how many there were. Only that they are my siblings. Some have crumbled and some live on, decrepit fathers and mothers of desperate humans that were too hungry for life.” She wondered if what she said was frightening. Marin had never been on the receiving end of her own stories, unless they were words on a page. Ink is never as terrible as blood.

She searched for his ocean stare again. “So, you see, my condition is a lonely life of eating alone in company. Always hungry.” Marin experimented then, a light graze of her teeth to his lip. It wouldn’t hurt. It might ache. “Do you still want to help me?” she asked, pushing the words gently against his mouth. If he were wise, he’d turn her down and live with the hollow. It would be less gnawing than whatever aftermath he might be handed if he did not.

If his altruism maintained, she’d nuzzle the soft skin below his jawline. Slick tongue along the vein that sang hottest in his throat. Her little doll self pulled astride his lap so she might cup the back of his head with her dainty hands. She was iron beneath; a pretty cage for him to wear in the company of her teeth. Marin would thank him, sliding his name into the thick air to eat it again. Press her hips into him, warm, to distract from the sharp. He would feel his life slide between her lips and down his own neck, only to be caught by her hungry. She wasn’t wasteful. Nor was she gluttonous. Not for him. He might regret her self-control and the measured way she would take what he offered. Enticed but contained, any passion held within the cup of merciful restraint. It was only natural to want to undo every fiber there was to give.

--

Catalina didn’t move him when he touched her, letting the words fall out of her music until it was a murmur above the steady breath of his sleep. Cat was still wide awake. When she had fallen quiet, she listened to the rhythm of his lungs to count a beat more regular than her own mind. It was comforting, lying in this kind of still, even if Inan was himself the source of her troubled thoughts.

Eventually, Cat fell asleep too. She wouldn’t remember her dreams, and it was for the best. In the late hours of the evening, Elise cracked open the door to check in on her children. “They’re alright, Adam. We haven’t got anything to worry about.” She said over her shoulder, to the husband that was lingering there. She couldn’t know she was wrong, but that was fine. Elise rarely settled into the pure softness of her maternal cares, these days. This comfort was small and good for her conflicted soul. 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 01, 2016, 09:27:43 pm
The laughter was his first clue to what she was. Not a large creature, dragon or ogre, but something outside of what he knew, dangerous, strong. Despite the realization, his body had become convinced it should not move, this close to hers. The mention of demons retracted his lids further, opening his eyes wider. Exciting to the young, naïve mind, because surely something opposite of angels couldn’t be as bad as all the lore said. Surely he knew better, from his research in paperbacks and scrolling text on a screen. This story, painted with words he understood, was almost as haunting. He wanted to see the gods and know the angels and demons. He wanted to be bled into that direct bloodline.

It wasn’t in him to move in any contrary way when she pulled him. He’d attach himself to her in any way he could. Her teeth, flashed in their ivory honesty, was proof, and not a warning to him.

His eyes searched her when she pinpointed her place in the divine to earthly lineage. Her beauty was a kind of testament. He saw the absence of flaws at this null distance, and believed a human could not have that, if he did not. Martin didn’t breathe for most of this. Grief came like violent spring melt at the mention of her loneliness, his oceans swimming with salt. The compressed eons of plot had washed him of ego for an instant, and he touched the back of his hand to her jaw and ear when he was given opportunity to breathe her. Her spun history, laid out, forced him to submit, or he wouldn’t have been human, with a human heart. “I want.” He stated, lips electrified by the threat her points presented, signals numbing his lower jaw pleasantly.

Martin took comfort back against the board of the bed when she cuddled the groove between his jaw and neck. She was a weapon, courting his pillars of traveling life. Something familiar came to his virile body, but the amount dwarfed other tantalizations he’d known. He didn’t even have the sense to be embarrassed, jeans tauter around his rude secret when she sat herself gently on him. And then pushed down with her warmed hips. A gasp finally when she took his head. Perhaps there’d been a ‘yes’ in that breath. A hand, with confidence like hubris, on her hip, the other up her back. Frustration, like she was something precious and damned. She could have said his name a thousand times and he would have sworn his slavery as many times to her, then. He breathed without engaging his lungs, mouth round and slick when she drew.

The rush was such a promise, a stove-top vow with a quick retreat to hover after the skin was reddened, not charred. But he wanted to be made into cinder. The friction of himself against his inner, extracted by her, was every delicacy. Fingers on her back looked for her neck, so he could dig into her with demand, and some insisting anger. For a moment he had to believe she was small, on top of him, and that he was a well-shaped, healthy male strong enough to force her to drink more, faster, so his blood would scratch his suffering arteries on its way out. “Damn it, Angel.” He said, throat clogged with rapture. He could barely see through the veil of her pleasure-magic, and lifted his hips into hers. Grip in her hair, greedily. “Just—more, Demon.” He tried, though his hold was losing strength.

-

Adam had been surprised that Elise took the lead on this. Trailing behind her in the limited light provided from their own bedroom into the unlit corridor, he felt strangely content. Elise had been a loving mother, in that her both children got to have her hugs and kisses, once. That had changed when Inan did. She loved them no less now, but showed it in a different way, to say the least. He wondered if Catalina somehow remembered the overflowing affections she’d had in the crib, equal to that which her brother received, and that this might be the ground of some of her contrary nature. Seeing Elise with her head inside their door now presented him with lovely nostalgia.

“You were right, then.” He whispered and touched her shoulder. When they walked back, he would send her a smile he’d not in a while. It was good to be in tune with Elise when it came to parenting. Adam filed this away to repeat to Cat later, when the girl was overly angry over something her mother had done.

-

The stream of light borrowed from the parent's room by the corridor, and then again by the bedroom of their children, unsettled something in Inan, and he shifted, never breaching the thin membrane of slumber. It was good Elise and Adam left before they could see his hand rumpling Catalina's pajama top until it could come underneath, for the heat and comfort there.

-

Olister watched through the little parting that her blinds provided. It was good to brush up on history. He couldn’t really blame the boy for being smitten. It was enticing, just viewing the two. The hunter had taken the role of a voyeur since Martin entered. An expert at setting the scene, this one. That was why Olister hadn’t shot her through the glass already. The ones who tried for the softer approach when they’d already been given privacy were more inclined to the practicality of not leaving bodies behind. While he hated that there were creatures who lived of his kind, he hated to be wrong when killing them more. He always made sure his slaying was just.

It seemed he would not have to engage, the way Martin was clutching her to him. It wasn’t always so easy though, these games they engaged in. The hunter would not leave his spot for the night before Martin, unless he had to. A man outside a woman’s window might not be a blood-spilling kind of suspicious, but it’s not a pleasant suggestion, at least. Seeing her at work like this would help as inspiration toward the act of being smitten himself, later, if he did stay in Valleyrun. Poor boy though. He looked like he didn’t have to go far for intimacy, but this brand of it was rare. Fighting for the comfort and sanity of the addicted, though, was very low down on Olister’s list. And there was the illusive white beast to consider, as well.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 09, 2016, 11:29:09 pm
She was maddening in her meticulousness, taking what she wanted and no more. That strength that came with being a monster beneath the ivory was steel. She was rigid to his greed and gave him nothing for his efforts. If there was agony of the heart, it was this. He could share a little of her lonely, as his blood moved aimlessly when it wasn’t on her tongue. Marin understood the panic that would bubble when he grew weak. Not panic over dying, but panic the he could not demand she remove his bloating red from his throbbing veins.

She was sympathetic, to a point. If she tried very hard, she could convince herself she had given Martin a choice. He had a will, even if it was easily broken. Marin had no obligation to feel responsible for the weakness in humanity. She was protecting his life by denying him more. But there are more sorrowful things than death. Marin was not in the habit of lying to herself. For the satisfaction of her hunger she gave him an eternal gnawing in his core. That was rude of her.

Marin understood the anguish she had seeded in him and apologized with the softness of her body. But, she still laughed against his skin when he stumbled through her lineage. She was no angel, but no demon either. Marin was simply hungry and lost. Martin felt cooler, a little closer to her, and she unhooked her teeth. She tore flesh, ate it too, and sealed the wound and its hurt with her lips. There was magic in her breath and healthy skin with no scar.

Marin untangled herself from Martin’s arms, her red mouth soaking his crimson in as if it weren’t there at all. A trail of him slipped down her chin, though she’d been careful not to waste, and it was vulgar on her white skin. The dark eyes slid briefly toward the window, distracted for a moment. She smiled at the curtains, just in case. Bloody teeth.

“Thank you, Martin. You were sweet.” She said, and it was true. His life was hot and young, turbulently shocked with the chemicals of youth. “It’s for the best that you don’t be too greedy.” She told him, stroking his hair as she rolled her hips to meet him. “I’m sorry.” Marin said, an apology in her fingertips, too, as she slipped her hands between her thighs to answer at least one want. Strange that a little death would seem incomplete for the Valleyrun prince. Hadn’t he come to her room expecting no more?

She slipped off of him to move down on the bed and ply him with her tongue, slick with red and saliva. A further offering for his efforts. “I’ll let you do whatever you like, for having frustrated you so.” Marin said, sitting up. She slipped her dress up over her head and let it fall aside. A doll, milky and smooth, with blushes of pink like coy suggestions of something human on a being that was decidedly not. Sometimes, the first time, there was no enough strength in her catches to take their reward. Over time, the body learned to fight through the bloodlessness, but tonight Martin was new to himself and to her. Marin waited, perched on her knees, sanguine slash drying brown on her chin.

--

Elise sighed, a little relieved, and nodded at her husband. “It’s good that they have each other.” She said to Adam. She knew Inan’s lot caused some suffering, but Elise was sure the good fortune he’d brought their family outweighed it all. Catalina would learn that with time, too.

She took Adam’s hand and led him to their bedroom to sleep.

--

When Cat woke in the morning, Inan’s hand on her skin sent a shiver down her spine before she’d fully emerged from her sleepy haze. A new response. Her body remembered what her mind had hoped to forget. “Inan…” she mumbled, shifting, though she didn’t move him. It was early. Her parents were surely still asleep. One hand searched across the bed until she found the dark tangle of his hair. She sighed, dozing again. If she didn’t think too much, it was nice to feel him so close.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 10, 2016, 05:10:52 pm
The blood was drawn from all of the body. Every fiber-end and every muscle wanted to relent life. When it moved to join her, through him, it was magic. And that was the struggle of the boy who would call himself hero. Only in motion to depart was it everything he wanted. He’d remember her scent, the sweetness crowding his head and staining his mouth when he wanted to have more and be less. He thought she didn’t know how overwhelming she was, and how much more he needed. A gurgle in his throat when she ate his flesh and sealed it with a puff from her lungs. In one breath, when she moved down, still against him, he was frustrated, boiling tears and wrinkled cover, and in the next he was gasping human, when she piqued that part of his being.

The old lusts mingled with this new addiction when a line of life had stretched down her lower lip, dividing her lower face. He gritted his teeth, head against the headboard, still at the angle it had to be when she buried herself in his neck. A pretty thing scorned. In his blue eyes he showed the desire to grab her and force her back where she’d been, so the hollow after the pleasure could refill. He breathed, wet, hard when she explained to him what he should not do. If his mind didn’t know she’d changed him, brought a piece of decay to his pristine freedom, his soul knew. Maybe he would have voiced that anger and put forward that demand, prince that he was, but she touched him, the him between them, and he was awake there, already. A distraction, as it always was. At least that had been freed.

He wanted the reward, currency confusingly similar to the act he was being paid for. Those swells, and the offering so clear, with his smear on her, and her hair imperfect from the disrobing. It would seem odd, with his body rigid and ready, that he felt weak. “Then come here.” Bravado. He’d be damned, he was damned now, if he let this fall through his hands as well. An echoing beat of his heart to usher the lessened amount of life, as he reached out, shoulder blades coming off the board to catch the back of her neck and return her to him. He tasted himself in the kiss, and moved his tongue down to clean her, his iron scent spreading between his temples as he tried to direct her body with that one hold to be on top of him, that he could be inside of her. He would have wanted to hurt her, mar the bed with her, and sear his prowess all over her memory, but he needed her help, as he was now, to complete the act.

-

Olister had frozen when the beautiful demon turned to look at him. They were lovely like this. It was dangerous for him. The ones that played like this weren’t his targets, but they sure as dirt weren’t kittens, either. His lusts had been wrong before. Something with the eyes hadn’t given him the assurance he needed that he’d been discovered. And he fast forgot when the boy brought her head back, which meant she’d have to lean forward. Olister stared, off course, digging his nails into his palms for some kind of anchor against the temptation inside the room. If she planned on killing this boy, she was being overly polite about it.

Would it be so wrong to use the weapons he kept in his car, to convince her he should have it too? A monster not practicing monstrous things, is still a monster, right? He shook his head at himself, but couldn't quite let the dark wish go, seeing her on the boy.

-

Inan’s finger moved on her skin, and pushed a little firmer before relaxing. The eyes were only half their size, waking up. Her arm led to her body and he smiled to himself. The facts of yesterday bled fast into his serenity, but he didn’t feel them as hard in the early morning, not with her touch on him. He’d thought he’d lost her for defiling her. This was either forgiveness or something sweeter, like candy cane is sweet when its bubbling syrup. All their lives he’d protest a little to her anger, sometimes wickedness and mischief, before going along. Now, maybe, he could try her game. The long brother moved over her sheets, an easy feat with his knees on the floor already. Kiss on your cheek, little sister.

He lifted his leg to be by hers, and after that the rest of his body was self-invited. His hand had stayed where it had been, and he closed his eyes again. “It’s too early.” For quarrel, for plans, for nettles, for anything. He kissed her temple, also as he shared her pillow, locking that leg over her knee.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 11, 2016, 05:06:50 am
She let him move her. It was not distasteful to indulge Martin in this. He kissed her and she gave back in turn, painting his own blood across his tongue. She wondered if he could taste what she could taste. A soft hum in the back of her throat as he let his lips wander, following the painted trail of his own red on her chin. Marin answered his efforts, slinging herself back astride him as if he’d been the one to pull her. He was not a special lover, but he could stave both her hunger and her lonely for the night. It wasn’t a poor solution. Martin had helped her, just as she’d asked.

Marin gave herself to his heat, the taut roll of her body urging him to what release she could provide. She passed another glance toward the window. She was sure they were being watched. Not that it mattered. There were only two or three souls in this town that would have had reason to look. Marin was sure she wasn’t doing anything wrong. She’d been good to Martin tonight. Given him a taste of otherworldly ecstasy and spared his life. The details of the exchange were trivial beyond the two of them. It wasn’t their peeping friend’s business. If it was Snitch, he deserved whatever hurts to his heart he might encounter from snooping.

If she was in the mood to mock their unannounced visitor, it was a kind play toward Martin’s ego, too. She let her head fall back, raven tresses tumbling over her shoulders, to gift her milky body to the low glow of the room’s incandescent light. Pretty sounds past those lips, encouragement for the boy to prove his manhood. Her serpentine roll, some hypnotizing dance, played out on the sheets. The friction of her soft thighs against his hipbones were a grazing prick that conjured the slick puncture of her teeth again and again. Marin sighed headily. He had wanted to spend himself for her, hadn’t he?

She fell forward to nuzzle his throat, where she’d taken her meal, and grazed her fangs along the tender flesh. She didn’t dare break that thin membrane. Marin had an exacting self-control, but part of it was managed by resisting simpler temptations. Instead, she tortured him, letting his skin twitch against her teeth and tongue and quieting it with her lips. The desperation of neurons was a primal thing to control and Marin couldn’t have said she was immune to the intoxication of that power. She shuddered atop him, pressing herself close, and giggled in the crest of the wave. “Shall I use all of you? Do you want to use all of me?”

If Martin had been exhausted by his diminished reserves of Life, he knew the truest sort of sleep by the time she was done exerting the talents of her feminine form. Marin had laughed a lot and complimented his resolve some time before she’d finally collapsed beside him and nestled her head in against his chest. When he woke the next morning, she’d be sitting at the little table in naught but her skin, making love to one of his cigarettes with that red, red mouth.

--

Cat made a sound that was likely protest, but was too sleepy to complain when Inan slipped under the sheets with her. Somehow, this space made their closeness feel a little safer. A little less like the abandon of yesterday’s cave. Or, maybe, that she was less startled there was something gentler in it for her. His fingertips felt nice. Familiar, and yet it raised shivers on her skin.

Still, it crossed her mind that her parents were still asleep. Before, she’d have made such an observation for the sake of ensuring they weren’t caught, because Inan was often scolded for behaving so childishly with her. Now, she worried for her own guilt. If she was more stable, this morning, it was a precarious balance at best. Disapproval in her parents’ faces would surely tip her back into disarray. Perhaps it had never been childishness that Inan was scolded for.

Catalina dozed, rolling so that she could press her back to his chest, her leg still hooked beneath his.

An hour later, she jolted awake and scrambled haphazardly to disentangle herself from her sleeping brother. “Inan you need to go to your own bed.” Uncharacteristic urgency in a statement she’d given him many times before. A little sharp. Things could not be precisely the same again, no matter what either of them wanted. “Quick, before Father comes in to wake us. Do it for me, please.” She couldn’t trust herself to look at Father in the eye without guilt. But Inan had had to go and make a man of himself to her. How was a girl to defend being found with a man in her bed, to her own father?   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 11, 2016, 05:32:36 pm
Martin groaned when she placed herself deftly upon him. A small town Casanova, he'd been on the receiving end of this expression, this formation before, but he'd never been so invested. The boy was stitched to this moment. It was confusing to the new heart that she would grant him all he'd ever want from someone else. He'd like to think he participated in the roiling physicality, being torn between one pleasure and another was excruciating, despite the tinder to his ego.

A little hope shone through the heat when her mouth returned to his neck. His fingers dug into her hip, guiding her on his inflammation as his other touch remained on her neck, trying to keep her there, hoping to apply enough pressure himself when her teeth were poised but not opening the skin. He wouldn't have the exhilaration he wanted. He could not have earned it on his best day, and now, without the red fuel she'd claimed, he was even less likely to perform in a memorable manner. He fought for it, though, and didn't have enough breath over to answer her when she offered an equal trade of their everythings.

When she drew another thing from him, a spell of fertility that could have made them connected through another life if they'd both been of the same deign, he had no choice but fall into a deep slumber. The limits of his body and the teased and tortured mind made themselves known, whether he'd listen or not, but he'd save the little praise she gave him, and locked his arm around her after the act. He'd not warranted such pleasure, and he couldn't stand the effects of it. A well-shaped toy, having to replenish for now, in her sheets. For all that could be said about him, he was good for at least the basic comforts.

Martin woke pleasantly, but with a dry mouth. The smoke had already scented the day in the room, and he sat up to see her. It ignited all of what she'd been yesterday. He shuffled to that side of the bed, so he could sit up. He was also nude. Confident - where was the shame in his youthful, healthy proportions? - he stood and came over to her, perhaps carrying some audacity in his grin. He would try to clip the little vice between his fingers and steal it from her, that he could have a breath of it before he returned it. He believed her praise from the night before, after all.

"Would you like to spend the day?" together. he asked, without a thought to what she'd said about illness and the Blood House. He was already drawing scenarios to himself, where he could entice her to have another drink.

-

Inan's dreams were soft when he could hold her, but not appropriate. She was a more compliant person, and forgiving. His arms hadn't hugged her possessively in the real world, but when he woke up to her start, he might have wished he'd kept her closer. "Why," he'd try at first. People always try to know the why when they want to change the outcome. He didn't press the query when she said it was for her sake. A staler face on the usually soft, sleep-drunk waker. It wouldn't have been much to notice on anyone else, but to Cat, whom he loved and saved a particularly easy and affectionate eye for, it would look as both anger and sadness.

"You're right." he said and rolled out, standing on the floor. He was still wearing yesterday's clothes, the memory of rain was on them, though the fact of that weather was not. His hair was affected by the night, of course, but it's length made it a bit too heavy to be completely ruined. Another blessing for the Copper son who didn't even use his handsome. "I'll go get some cereal." he said and looked around, but there was nothing to prepare. Not many steps were needed to the door, either. He wanted to say something as he turned the handle, but didn't know what and then he'd closed the room behind him.

True to his word, he sat down with milk and a carton, alone by the table. Since he'd not cared for which he'd picked, what he imagined hay tasted like and porous gravel felt like greeted his palled on the first mouthful. Adam, who was arranging vials by the sink, only realized his son's dip in spirit when he looked over there. The brand of the chosen breakfast was a clue, as well.

"Women troubles, cowboy?" he asked, sitting down with his own bowl. Other parents sometimes spoke of a rift filled with emotional negligence as their children grew, and Adam was very fearful of that. Any one of their foul moods could be the start of such distance. He wanted to make sure he did everything he could to pull them back. The stutter Adam received from the boy, who actually never finished speaking the first word in an explanation, confounded the man as he poured the milk over the cereal he'd usually get to himself.

"Well." Adam started, crushing the grainy bite. Because of the noise he had to chew and swallow before continuing. "It is my impression that everything goes away with modesty and honesty."

Inan shook his head with some bitterness that Adam didn't recognize.

-

Olister leaned his head back in his seat. On the passenger side, there was a ball of rumpled up shame, along with other papers. The way Marin had moved on the boy, and her inviting glances had gotten to him. He laughed at himself and realized that despite the boy surely being alive when he left, he hated this succulent. He'd not made a strategy for the pale murderer he was really after, either, spending the duration of the night trying to sleep, reclined, but really wanting something else. And then finally giving in when the sun started its return. Perhaps he was waiting to see her again. Some kind of closure would be needed before he moved on.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 11, 2016, 08:46:35 pm
Marin let him have the cigarette, dark eyes impassive. How bold. It didn’t bother her, really, until he suggested she give him more of her time. She’d had plans. Plans she had mentioned to him, even, before they’d been swallowed by the night’s voracious appetite.  Marin couldn’t exactly blame him for forgetting. She was averse to the hints of possessiveness, though. Most who tasted relief as her kind gave became that way. Whether hunters quite realized it or not, it was often that vice that spelled human demise over any monstrous appetite.

“No.” she said. Then, considering that it might have wounded his feelings, “I came to Valleyrun to find your Blood House and I think I should pay a visit today.” She explained. Not because she disliked him, suggested her tone. She stretched and stood, moving away from him to find her bag. She’d not brought very much with her. The jeans from the day she arrived and a clean shirt from the satchel. Marin sat on the edge of the bed and began to slip on her worn boots, soft with wear and of military styling. She shoved her discarded sundress back into the bag.

Her gaze was somewhat expectant, gently insisting that he dress and go. “Thank you for last night, though. It was helpful. And fun.” She leaned back on her elbows. “Maybe you could come by again, in a day or two. I think Nona might be missing you,” she offered. If she was still in town, then. He’d been good for her body. She’d not mind it again. It occurred to her that it might be best not to pull anyone else into this, anyway. Valleyrun was a small place. Only so many desperate people could go without causing alarm of some kind. Perhaps that would be disappointing to Ahler, if he ever found out. A cruel part of her hoped he did. More to share in the old ache she carried.

Before he had quite left, she made her way to the door. “I’m going to go. You can stay as long as you like.” Finish your cigarette. Maybe she’d have stayed if he hadn’t taken it? It was unlikely.

Marin thought to stop by the store again, to get another cup of coffee. She’d enjoyed it. It was still early, and she wasn’t sure what time the Witch’s family got up for the day. She passed Olister’s vehicle and paused. He looked a bit more tired than yesterday and she wondered if he’d not rented a room in the inn. From the clutter in the cabin with him, she suspected not. A curious smile.

“Good morning,” she said through the open window. “Did you have a nice evening?” Marin asked. He was on her list of possible visitors, last night, but the smell of sex and iron had been too much to have isolated the particular aroma of anyone else’s veins. She asked anyway, because it was benign at worse and accusing at best. She ran a hand through her straight dark hair. “You look a bit tired. Like I said, you can come by and visit me. If you’re sleeping here, a nap at the inn might be more restful.” She offered. Better if Martin saw another man, anyway. It would make him taste sweeter and remind him that he was significantly more hers, now, than she was his. The arrangement seemed perfectly pragmatic.

Marin was back on her way, before Olister answered. Though he would see her again as she crossed his path from the corner store, piping cup of caffeine in her hand.

--

Cat lay in bed for a long moment after Inan left. She was glad he’d gone without much protest, but the wounded look on his face made her head hurt. Catalina was the baby of the family, but she’d always spoiled Inan out of sincere affection. She’d never liked to see him make those kinds of expressions and least of all at her. Perhaps she shouldn’t have urged him to go.

A frustrated sigh, because she felt rude to think that sort of thing now. Slowly, she rolled out of bed and shambled out to the kitchen to meet father and brother. It was late in the week, so Mother was likely making house calls to the elderly that liked her to bring spices and spells that eased them with placebo. She arched a brow at Inan’s cereal and wondered if it had been selected out of absence of mind or self-punishment. Cat went to the cabinet to get their usual, sweeter, selection for herself.

“Mornning, Dad,” she said, dropping herself into a chair. It wasn’t her usual, selected instead a chair away from her brother. Nothing to worry about, but uncharacteristic nonetheless. “Going into the city, today?” she asked. It was the time of week for the house to be empty. Mother made her rounds and Father usually went to pick up supplies they couldn’t get in the small Valleyrun shops or the forest surrounding. Cat realized she was hopeful for it. Somehow, it seemed like their secret would spill at any moment. Perhaps from her own mouth. She’d be able to relax a bit if her parents were gone. She might have hoped otherwise if she’d known about the ancient doll that was presently on her way to their house.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 11, 2016, 11:46:55 pm
His brow hardened slightly at her short answer, tendrils of tar vapor clouding one eye. There was no such vengeance in Martin, though. She did explain why. A pout on the lips that took another taste of the cigarette. She'd called it a kiss. Perhaps he smoked because he couldn't think of anything to say. His free hand brushed his wounds that weren't there, and at once a complaint from nerves rushed to meet the touch. Martin was left to stare as she went about the little room, clothing herself.

At the very least he should have offered small talk, he wanted to, so she would know there was no wound she'd inflicted on his pride or heart. But that would be false, and so he had nothing small to talk about. It was a feat on its own to stand there, bare, and rely on the cigarette. He didn't know the little comfort might not have been needed if he'd not taken it. Even through this facade, he had to utter something agreeing to her light-hearted invitation to come back. Like he cared about Nona now, when he'd tasted what he'd been missing. What every human was missing.

He put the vice out in the bottom of an upturned glass on the table, a bit of panic behind his ribs when he realized she was leaving. Scramble for your own clothes. He'd not managed to sip himself up yet, until she was out the door. Martin hung his head for the duration of getting clothed. The invitation had not extended to following her now. There was a blinding, fat tear on his right eye when he finally got his jacket on. On the bed he could see himself have the moment of his life, yesterday night. When she returned, there would be a distinctive dent in that pillow, from his little rage before leaving.

Olister had seen her walking, of course, his eyes fixed as soon as he remembered her gait. There weren't many other things to look at so early, either. It was strange that his heart would switch to a new velocity in matters of a demon, that weren't because it was preparing his body to fight. If she was a liar, and she knew he'd seen her, her act was meticulous. What could he do but smile back, and open the window further. Part of him was afraid that she'd catch the scent of his much needed self-care, but then again, what if she did? Surely not even their senses could detect the images he'd used by simply knowing the aroma of his traces in paper.

Her question though, challenged his confidence. He didn't let it show, and gave a smile he could mean. She wasn't less pretty today then she'd been when they'd spoken in the café, or rather, the coffee-ary. It would be out of place to be anything but an aspiring flirt, still. Perhaps it was more true today. He didn't have to think of what to say, because she was gone soon, and then back again, reminding him of the memories he'd collected, spying, yesterday, as though he wasn't already thinking them.

"Not as nice as yours." he assured her, once she was out of sight.

-

Adam watched the two when she entered the room. It was not as bad as it had been yesterday, but they'd not completely reconciled yet. He made himself recall the image of Inan by her bed. That gave the father enough serenity to believe there was no real danger to their bond. He nodded at her, and smirked to himself when Inan looked at the box she'd chosen. The man almost laughed when Inan took the next spoon to his mouth. It was a particularly sour expression. They could all hear the crunch.

"Morning Catalina." he replied and ate from his own bowl. He liked the brand, so there was no disagreement in his reaction to it. He rolled the bark and grains around in the milk as he thought on his plans for the day. She was right. "Yes." He kept up with one of the stores that sold rare potions. They'd also give him a good price for some of what he gathered and processed from their forest. It could be nice to speak to like-minded. "If you need something you will have to put it on the list." He pointed to the fridge and the yet to be folded paper held there by a naked magnet.

Inan looked at his sister when father wasn't. He wanted to dig his big toe into her sock, between her largest toe and the second one, as he usually would. That seemed too intimate now. There might not come a time when it would be appropriate again. It weighed him further and he wished he'd cherished it. His feet crossed as he folded his legs, to keep that impulse in line. He continued to crush the sadistic food to be stored in his right cheek. If he kept himself with food he wouldn't have to talk.

The father made sure he finished his own breakfast fast. It didn't seem as though the two would talk, and he didn't have any interest in being their only outlet to stave off the silence. Inan would get sweet when he pretended, but it was embarrassingly false, whether the boy was angry, hurt or shy. Adam also didn't like disingenuous things. He placed the bowl by the sink, and would have washed it too, but figured that chore might force the two to communicate. "I have to get a few things fresh from the forest before I go though." that much was true. "You two don't leave the house until I'm back." Smart father. And fast. He was out before they were allowed to protest.

Inan's eye grew a little when the door closed. He quickly shoveled milk into his mouth so he could swallow the porridge forming in his cheek. Those eyes turned to her in the silence after the adult had gone. He wasn't one for silences either, and he was especially unequipped for them when they emanated from Catalina. That was why he lifted the bowl to his mouth, and drank the rest of his breakfast quickly. He was first to the sink, and felt a small relief over not having to meet her eyes. In the end, he couldn't not speak.

"In the cave..." but he didn't know what to say, either.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 12, 2016, 07:47:08 pm
Cat nodded at her father. She didn’t have anything she needed from the city. There was some candy they couldn’t buy in Valleyrun that she liked to put on the list, even if it generally didn’t make it into the basket. She didn’t bother with it today. When Father left, Cat reconsidered her desire to see him go. The silence was too stifling between the two of them. It wasn’t a state of being they were used to. She wondered if he wanted to fill the noise as badly as she did, but she didn’t know what to say.

Inan went to the sink and she was glad for the sound of the water from the faucet. The clink of bowls was helpful, but it didn’t quite eat the edge off the silence. She regretted not being the first to speak, because Inan said what she had hoped he wouldn’t.

“It’s fine to forget about it.” She said. It wasn’t fine, because she couldn’t forget, but it seemed like the right thing to say. “I’m sorry.” Because it was her fault, still. Catalina finished her cereal, but didn’t move to take the bowl to the sink. She didn’t want to be that near to him. She scratched at the bottom of her bowl with the edge of her spoon. More silence.

“You should really get a girlfriend.” Maybe that was crass of her.

--

Marin approached the Blood House as Adam Copper was pulling out of the drive in an old truck. She wondered if the Witch was home. She didn’t exactly hide, but she did hang back until the truck had rumbled a good distance down the dusty road before she approached the door.

She paused there. Marin wasn’t sure what to make of her plans, now. Hello Witch. Hello children. I’m eternal and I’ll eat you alive. Marin almost laughed aloud at the thought. Was it wrong to simply show up and say she was curious? She had heard of someone that sounded a bit like a kindred spirit and, after all these lives and centuries it might be nice to meet a soul like that. Maybe she’d said something like that to someone else before. She didn’t know.

Marin rapped her knuckles against the door.

--

“I’ll get it.” Cat said quickly. It gave her something to do. She didn’t like Inan to answer the door, anyway. Sometimes Nona came by. She perched on her tiptoes to peer out of the peephole and didn’t recognize the girl on the other side. Catalina frowned. “It’s someone that’s not from around here.” She called out to Inan, but unlocked the door anyway.

Marin could feel a thick haze of Magic on the other side of the door and pressed her lips into a thin line. She hadn’t wanted to talk to the Witch. Particularly not without Adam Copper there. But Mr. Copped had told her she could come by, and that might be reasonable leverage. She was surprised by the girl she saw when the door opened. Young.

“Hello, can I help you?” Catalina asked, head inclined. Their visitor was shockingly pristine. Lovely in a way that didn’t grow here in Valleyrun. There was an odd taste in the air, too. Something familiar that pricked the back of Cat’s neck. Without meaning to, she took a step back into the house.

“Maybe. I heard this house helps the sick.” Marin said. “I’ve come out here from the city to meet this family.” She said. Her dark eyes were fixed on Catalina’s greens as if she were trying to pry something from them. A Witchling, not the Witch of the house, Marin was certain. This girl must have barely been of age to receive her Rite. Marin had read about such things in a book. It had been in the same section of the library that had tales about the origin of the Night Ones.

Catalina’s brow furrowed slightly. The girl couldn’t have been much older than herself, maybe a bit closer to Inan in age, but she carried a weight that dwarfed what those years implied. “We do help the sick, yes. My father is an herbalist. My mother and I help as well.” Cat said. She wasn’t about to be forthcoming with a girl from the city she’d never seen before. Marin was nodding.

“Yes. Your mother is a Witch, is she not? You have the Magic as well. I can feel it.” Marin said. Cat’s eyes grew a bit wider. “I hear you have a brother, too. That he has special talents of his own.” Marin said. Cat’s lips pulled into a frown. She wondered who had given away so much information to this stranger. There were boys in town, surely, that she could have made a suggestion to and be given the truth and more. Catalina decided to be brave, because she had no secret now and, at least, the woman hadn’t asked for Inan’s blood outright.

“My name is Catalina Copper.” She said, extending a hand. “You’re correct. My mother is a Witch. I’m in training.” Cat said. She didn’t answer on Inan’s behalf. Marin shook the outstretched hand.

“Catalina Copper.” She ate the name cautiously. “I met your father in the general store. Mr. Adam Copper, I believe.” She offered. “My name is Marin.” She added. Marin scuffed the toe of her boot against the wood porch. “Would you mind if I stepped inside?” Marin asked.

In a town the size of Valleyrun, the children were taught to be polite before they were taught to be cautious. Cat had been taught to guard the Magic of their family, too, but this Marin seemed already to know. And she’d met Father, too. “Oh. Yes, please come inside. We were just having breakfast. I can… get you a glass of water, if you like.” Cat stepped aside to let Marin in.

Marin was careful when she crossed the threshold. An invitation in was safe, but Catalina had seemed a little reluctant. “Thank you.” She said.

“Inan, we have a guest.” Cat called over her shoulder. A warning, in some sense. Against what, it was hard to say.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 13, 2016, 10:15:28 pm
Inan hadn't tried to forget. How impossible, Cat. If he remembered her freckled frowns when they came home to sample dad's bitter teas, how could he forget her hot mouth and the cold water drops? Forgetting was unfair to the loveliness they'd shared. He prepared something on his tongue then that would have been a bit poisonous, for once, before she suggested he find someone significant. A bit of gray in the flaring red. He'd heard it before, from boys that didn't find conversation with Mend too offputting, from smiling girls at the busstop and sitting girls waiting to have their scratches smoothed out. Cat wasn't trying to convert him to some hormonal hunt, or reaching for a connection that might lead to affection. It could not have been anything but rejection.

Inan became a bit convinced he'd violated her, then, as he continued washing the same curve of the bowl until it was the same luke warm as the water. The shower he'd taken yesterday reminded him to switch the handle to the blue mark, instead. It was devastating to the heart that pumped healing magic to feel like a villain, and he tried to lay that fear aside, selfishly. Inan bit the inside of his cheek, a bad habit, and it yielded blood. The taste stung. It was good to have to steel himself against something.

He'd never wrestled with Cat's stubborn nature like this. She'd not set herself against something he wanted so firmly before. They'd always been on the same side of things, or either of them wouldn't care enough to oppose the other. It was hurtful, now, to try and justify it as pleasure, when she clearly remembered it as something uncomfortable. It had been against her lovely little protests, but he’d not known it was against her will. His thumb was straining its top joint, all but breaking against a stain on the bowl that wasn’t there anymore when he turned over the burning memory to try and find conviction that he was not some violator. It would be just like Catalina to apologize when he’d wronged her, wouldn’t it?

Inan didn't react the way he should when the door said they had a visitor. He had other things to think. Guilt is a sedative. He awoke from the little spell of indiference when Cat said his name. He had to finish quickly, and wipe his hands on his jeans, wrinkling the denim in an attempt at getting the heat back in his fingers. A guest. How unusual. Cat knew everyone in Valleyrun. Who was it that needed to be anounced without such familiarity? And why wasn't she cold toward them? He let the mystery chase away the friction of the the things he'd not gotten to say.

The boy stopped and looked the woman over. She was contradiction in their home, in their town. The things she couldn't help, her skin, her hair, her eyes, were spotless, but her clothes were modest, inconspicious. Inan sometimes watched people from the outside because of his slight isolation. He thought it was odd that this pale thing wasn't freightening. There she stood, with no history on her complexion, when Catalina's hue was written with memories all over. He didn't know what to make of it.

"Good morning." The gold around his pales bled in the smallest way. The craft in him that could thread flesh back against itself, and rejoin bone, was an involved, warm conjuring. The eternity that stood in lovely form in their house, invited, was fueled by something else. It couldn’t be that such asymmetry could coexist without strife. He felt his magic moving, and it was a bit exciting, since he’d not known it to react so much before. If the mission was a big challenge, a gaping wound, he’d feel a tinge, a draw toward that injury. This was like that, but wilder, and in the other direction. Sometimes, in summer, he and Cat would fall back, arms out, into high grass without knowing if there was earth or rocks to greet them on the ground. This was a sensation like that. And so he was drawn.

Inan crossed their home to come closer to the young and ancient creature. The sharp of his tongue pulled at the wound in his cheek. There was magic in his breath when he spoke. “I’m Inan, Catalina’s brother.” Cat must have introduced herself already. He offered the warmer hand, blissfully free of bandages today, but still with little white lines, of course. She was here for help, why else would someone visit the Blood House? Perhaps she knew his parents. Had mother gone on her errands, yet? “Dad’s not home. I don’t think mother is either.” The cold tinge that should invade sons and daughters after having revealed the absence of their protectors to a stranger did not come. A failure from that instinct. He wanted to say something else and would eventually suggest the seats that had been the Whitaker’s yesterday.

Cat would know it wasn’t his usual persona, speaking to Marin. On other days, with other people, he’d offer a polite smile, sometimes apologizing without words that they had to be there, and that he couldn’t do more, and that it had to be blood. Inan was curious, and a bit aware of himself with Marin. When they did get seated, he took the place where Simon had been, if the guest would sit where Shirley sat. “What brings you here?” It wasn’t a good thing people needed his help, not for them, but it almost always gave Inan a gateway in to conversation, and with this woman he found himself grateful for that. “You’re not born and raised.” He had to cashually brush a finger over his lips to make sure the scent he could taste of the strangely generous bite inside his mouth wasn’t revealing itself.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 15, 2016, 06:14:43 am
Catalina watched Inan greet their guest. He seemed more keen than usual, but maybe it was simply that Marin had no visible ailment. Their guests usually had blood or phlegm ready for offer. Marin was undeniably compelling, though, the Witchling was aware. She had never thought she might find a woman attractive quite so. Then again, she’d not thought she’d have felt her brother’s bare skin as she had. A week of turning the girl’s world on end, it seemed.

“Oh. Well, it’s a shame your parents aren’t home. It would have been nice to meet the whole family.” Marin said, shaking Inan’s hand with a cool grip. Firm, though her small hand was swallowed by his. “I suppose I did have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Copper already, though. I met him yesterday, at the general store.” She said, repeating to Inan what she had already told Cat. Cat realized, on hearing it a second time, that Father hadn’t mentioned meeting a newcomer to Valleyrun. That usually would have made it into dinner conversations. It had been her and Inan’s fault though, likely. Dinner had been cold and uncomfortable, yesterday, for the whole family.

Catalina was further surprised when Inan sat beside the girl, as they made their way to the kitchen table. It wasn’t his usual spot. It was closer to a stranger than Inan would have generally cared to sit. Cat supposed she ought to be relieved that she wouldn’t have to sit near him. Instead, listening to him impose his curiosity eagerly while she went to the refrigerator for their filtered water, she felt a small burn in her chest. No matter. She was probably just feeling protective of her brother. That was normal.

“Yes, what does bring you here?” Cat echoed, her tone a bit less warm but not unkind. She didn’t really feel as if she ought to worry yet. Not about Inan. What did perplex her was the way the air seemed to tremor and sway with stronger currents of Magic than Cat was used to feeling. It was a quiet Magic. Old. Older than Mother’s spells and less sharp. This was Magic like the heavy still weight of deep water. It felt potent, but not violent, and so the Witchling placed a glass of water in front of guest and brother and went back to fetch her own without saying anything spiteful.

Marin rolled the question over in her head. She was sitting in the house, which meant she’d gone at least two steps further into the plan she’d not really devised. If she had not become better at planning in her many lives, it was likely a deeply rooted aspect of her nature. Marin had learned, at least, to be content with not knowing the path forward. She couldn’t remember the path behind her, either, so it seemed only reasonable that she not worry about what lay ahead.

Marin decided to be honest, if not entirely forthcoming. It had worked to her advantage in Valleyrun, thus far. “I came to meet you, Inan Copper.” Marin said. “I heard rumors in the city that there was a family here with Magic blood that could heal. When I arrived, I heard it was you that the rumors were about. Mend, I think they called you.” She said. Marin was sure the things she had been told were not simply rumors.

Had her eyes not been quite so dark, he might have been able to see the way her pupils dilated when she had smelled his blood, and she had most certainly smelled it. More potent to her than Catalina’s young and blossoming Magic, because it sang to the things that were predatory inside her. Inan Copper most certainly had special blood. Whether it could heal, as she had heard, she supposed she still did not know for sure.

“So, ‘they’ were nobody worth talking to, then.” Catalina said with a slight scowl. “Not that you’ve heard wrong. Mother wouldn’t want us to lie about that. But nobody worth knowing calls him Mend.” She said. At least half the town, if not all, had called him Mend at some point. Cat would have stood by her statement.

Marin coughed, choking just a little on the sip of water she’d taken. Delightful girl, this one. It was nice to see such a sincere human being once in a while. Frankly, both children seemed a bit purer than her time in the City had suggested of humankind. Not that Valleyrun had really done much better, so far. “You know, I told them I thought that seemed a little like a rude name.” she said. Marin was very confident in her decision to remain honest, then. In fact, it seemed like it might be time to be more so.

“Anyway, are you saying you’re not here because you need to be fixed up?” Cat asked. “I’m training with my Mother and Father so I do know some spells and herbs,” Cat offered. She wanted to dislike Marin, because Inan seemed less put off by her than any other girl that had come through the house. However, Marin had still not suggested she wanted Inan’s blood. It made her significantly more inclined to be helpful.

“No… well, I don’t need to be fixed up by any of your Magic. Or his.” Marin said. The look on Catalina’s face said she was too used to people wanting things. It made Marin feel for her, a bit. She understood that sort of taxing sensation. Every fanged beauty that let their meals go alive knew what it was to be pestered by the needy. Marin hummed. The Blood House had been worth the trip. She hadn’t honestly found anyone worth liking, this life. The Copper siblings begged to differ. A breath of fresh air, as it were.

“I just wanted to meet you,” she said to Inan. “The things I heard were a bit unbelievable, you understand.” Marin’s expression fell a little bit. Less genuine. Not that either sibling would notice. “I’ll admit that I lied to your father. Sort of. I implied I was sick in a way that your family might help. I really just wanted to get a chance to talk.” She said.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 15, 2016, 07:07:07 pm
Inan didn't know why he felt flattered by her reason for coming here. In essence, him living in this house was the reason for its patrons, despite mother and father doing most of the work. Her honesty made him feel comfortable, and he liked her more for it. His thumb trailed the chill she'd given to his hand as he listened to her explain. Cat came forward with her usual distaste for those who would nickname him when Marin mentioned them. For that moment, she was just the Cat he'd known before yesterday. On most days Inan didn't feel much toward the name Valleyrun used for him.

Marin repeated why she was here, directly at him. He felt embarrassed, but not in a way that made him want to hide. No one had studied him before, save for a few less than serious camera-toters from the school – a project, they’d said. He hadn't thought as much as he should have on his blessed veins either. Surely knowing he was the son of a witch and a herbalist was enough. Mother had always been more inclined to reap it, than read about it. "I'm sure he'll understand." Inan offered. Why should dad worry that Marin had lied, if she didn't mean any harm. Nona lied, and she was always welcome in this house.

Marin was not pulled out of her own pace by Cat, in fact, Marin had laughed into her water. He enjoyed seeing that, but it wasn’t amusing, it didn’t make him want to laugh, too. Without knowing about the flush of her pupils, he still felt her attention grow. His blood moved like a stirring, sleeping dragon, rubbing its scales against the inside of his skin. He threw a quick glance at Cat, like ‘isn’t she different? Isn’t she quite something?’. He used both his hands to hang his hair behind his ears and smiled with his lips lightly closed, something he’d practiced in the bathroom, learned from a book, when the character was trying to be attractive. There was none of Martin’s experienced calculated persona in Inan, the Copper boy was simply trying to put his best effort forward.

I just wanted to meet you.

“Well, here I am.” And it’s not much. “It’s not some lie, statistically, this thing we do here.” Inan turned his eyes down on his upturned wrist. One of the more expensive highways. The other hand brushed his neck and hung on his nape as he sighed lightly. “I wish I could show you something, but it’s a trick that needs circumstances.” He looked her over again, and was grateful he had an excuse to. “And you’re not hurt, Marin.” He didn’t know where the self-confidence was coming from. Neither he nor Catalina knew him to be some musing conversationalist if the other part was a veritable stranger.

“We—I don’t know much about it, if you’re curious.” He looked over at Cat again. What was appropriate to say? Most of the villagers knew as much as he. Elise’s blood, possibly Adam’s too. Witch’s bloodline. Mother had some texts about it, but didn’t seem too interested in them anymore. Bringing out historical parchments already, though, seemed a bit much. He wasn’t fearful of Marin, but perhaps it was too early to trust her with something so private and valuable. His sleeves had come down to cover his arms after having been rolled for the dishes. He started sliding them back up, revealing his slender forearms. Because of his build, and the clothes he liked wearing, the cloth cylinder was able to climb rather high on his arm. His wealth of scars. If he were sentimental about the people that visited, he would have been proud. But Inan’s relationship to the marks was mostly trying to find patterns in them, like he did in the clouds, when he was bored. “Here. It’s not proof, but maybe it proves that we believe.”

He had no way of knowing how suggestive it was to display his rushing blood, the blue rootwork planted shallow in the pale skin. Hands hanging down, the naked wrists curved lewdly to spill those deep threads over the balls of his palms. Stoic waterfalls of life. It would have been the same if Catalina asked him to share another sweater with her. He even lifted them further, for Marin to examine. He was offering the scars, of course, but he could not do that without bringing his loose nest of arteries closer, as well. “Underwhelming, I know.” A crooked, halved smile. “How about you, Marin? Who are you that you’d be interested in this kind of thing, a city girl, you said.” Inan’s craft was old, too, and it recognized Marin to be a kindred in that aspect. This made him feel familiar with her enough to speak with her like this.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 16, 2016, 07:24:23 pm
Catalina felt like she was watching a peculiar play. Inan, suddenly the conversationalist, and this small foreign object with the mighty presence. She took a drink of water and sat back in her chair. “I think there’s a little more to it than that, isn’t there?” the Witchling interjected, staring at Marin with those deeply emerald eyes. “More than just wanting to meet him.” That ancient Magic wasn’t incidental, surely.

Marin grinned at the girl. She was wrong, mostly. Marin really had just wanted to meet him. Maybe her motivation was more complex than that implied. Not by much, though, if she had spell it out. “I really did just want to meet him. Magic blood is a rarity, you know. Most of it doesn’t run in humans.” In a house of witches, surely saying something like that wasn’t controversial.

She shook her head at Inan. He was wrong too. “But I am hurt, Inan. It’s a birthright, you see.” She said. Inan offered her his scars, to sate her curiosity, which mostly piqued it. If she had been a more trivial being she might have attempted a stunt like Nona’s to see his blood work. To open the silver scars. It would have been a futile endeavor, of course. Marin’s body did not like to expose its insides. Her blood shied from the surface and her skin was quick to repair her defenses. It was always a very gruesome affair that gave her anything like death.

Catalina was still watching the two, more attention on Marin now to judge the other girl’s response. She could not have expected the bluntness with which Marin chose to proceed. “It’s not underwhelming, if you know what you’re looking for. Something about the silver, I think.” Marin said. “And, since you asked and have been so forthcoming with me, I suppose I am obliged to the same.”

She was looking at Cat, then, because if either Copper was to take poorly to her announcement it should be the Witchling and her shivering Magic. “I am a vampire, of sorts.” She said. Cat tensed immediately. Marin continued one, pushing up her lip with one slim finger to reveal the triple set of fangs there. Maybe they’d already noticed she was a little too sharp. With her other hand, she was waving off Catalina’s understandable unease. “But don’t get too upset about it, Witchling, you invited me in and I don’t think you missed the taste of Old Magic.” Marin’s stare was as sharp as her teeth then. Dark.

“You’re not a normal vampire, then.” Catalina said back. “Your Magic feels different.” As if she knew what a vampire’s Magic would feel like. More sinister, she thought. Marin shrugged a little.

“I suppose you aren’t wrong. I was never human. I was born what I am.” She said. There didn’t seem to be any good reason to bring up angels and demons with this pair. It wouldn’t chance what Marin was. “And, in some way, I suppose I feel a bit akin to your brother.” She told Catalina.

“I don’t give. I take. My blood is Magic for me.” She said, and brought her forearm to her mouth. Marin sank her teeth into her own flesh, hard, to leave a ring of sharp red and blood on her lip. “Like so.” She said, and held out her arm for the other two to see as the edges of the wound crawled and stretched and covered the punctures so that they vanished. “Vampires heal quickly, in general, but you can hurt them badly enough, and fast enough, that they die.” She said. Marin folded her hands on the table. “I do not. As it goes, I don’t even get much of a chance to endure pain.” A curious expression. As if she felt she were missing out on something.

Catalina was on her feet. “You’re an Original, then. One of the Old Ones.” She said. There were equal parts eager and trepidation in her eyes. Marin considered the names for a second, and then nodded. “Are you the Lonely one, then?” She asked. Marin’s brow furrowed.

“I don’t know.” She said. That wasn’t a name she’d read. Catalina was nodding to herself.

“The one Matriarch without a lineage.” She said. Cat hadn’t read any books on the subject. She’d not have found that name on a page, anyway. Her hunter from the woods had told her stories, though, before he’d disappeared. Marin’s mouth made a little circle, understanding Cat’s meaning.

“Maybe. I don’t actually know that, either. I don’t think I do.” She said. Marin had never considered turning a human. They were needy enough as food. Besides, if she lost this name some years down the road, she’d forget her fledglings, too. That sounded cruel to her. Marin had decided this line of thinking was comfortable, and presumed she’d carried it through her past names. There was no guarantee, of course. There were records of a her that hated humans and a her that slaughtered her own kind. Marin could not honestly say she knew herself.

“Are you here to take us away then?” Catalina was asking. Marin made an undignified sound.

“If I have no lineage, what makes you think I care to start? And if I wanted to eat, I wouldn’t pick anyone so scrawny.” She said, and she might have been a little offended. Catalina sat back down. She believed the vampire, because she supposed they would already have been dead if Marin had wanted it so. Cat wondered how much Mother would scold her if she found out Cat had invited a vampire into their home. Would Mother be able to tell, later, when Marin was gone? Was the Old Magic the type to linger?

Marin was looking at Inan. He would be interesting to try; despite what she’d said. Blood like his might sing to her. It had not been her intention. She preferred to keep it that way. If only because she wasn’t so rude as to addle the minds of the children of a Witch and she certainly wasn’t of the mind to kill one.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 19, 2016, 11:24:40 pm
Inan slowly retraced his curved-up arms to listen to the two talk. Fascinating to see his sister interact with Marin. It wasn’t often that Cat found something so curious. It was good to be without the deathly tension from before. His head tilted slightly at the mention of Marin's birthright. It sounded romantic, but he knew he had no way of understanding. With the confession from Marin, of what she was, the wrists now in his lap beat with the same kind of upset that the heart feels after a barely avoided danger. He felt cold, and wrapped one hand over those veins. He thought of what he’d said in the cave. Protect Catalina from the vampire. It did not seem as though he’d have do that, but his fists did clench to lift sinew on his forearms when Marin waved at Cat. In the end, it had not been aggression.

Inan took some comfort in Cat’s calm. She was deeper submerged in this world than he. What had he done that could measure up? He’d skimmed scrolls for fantastical things, for fuel for his daydreams. Cat, though he suspected her to have some of the same tastes as he, had studied, at least. And she was more sensetive than his was. He felt a bit left out, in fact, when she seemed to suspect what Marin was, and he couldn’t. He couldn’t think anything else, though, when Marin presented them with the trick of biting into her own skin. He didn’t understand why his tongue was flooded when he saw the blood rise to drown and connect the holes she'd made on herself. He quivered where he sat when her body ate the wounds until she was whole again. It made his own magic seem lackluster.

He was startled when Cat stood up. It looked like an accusation, but Marin did not take it as such. How modest, to treat the suggestion so casually. The boy smiled and wondered if all magical creatures were like this? Eventually, you’d hold your power a bit loose. Could all might become mundane? Inan felt fear for Catalina when she asked if it was Marin’s intention to make he and herself into subjects. The vampire rejected the notion tartly. He expected to feel relief, but there was a well of disappointment, instead.

Then he saw Marin’s dark eyes on him. He was about to wear that smile again, with a shrug, apologizing for his existence, and that he couldn’t be more, an expression he’d extend to the people who needed his abillity. He remembered soon Marin was no such visitor. The dragon in his blood swirled a few times in its threaded home inside him. He felt a bit validated, wanted. Nona and her flock of kindred didn’t look at him like this, not with real fascination. This wasn’t greed. He turned his head to see his standing sister. For a moment against stone and by fire, he had thought Catalina found such pure value in him. But that tryst had been all things but pure, hadn’t it, the way she was dodging the memory. Some bitter on his palled, then.

“Now that you’ve met me, what do you think?” he asked. He didn’t allow himself to feel proud over his blessing often. He had to be modest, or the visitors would feel bad. Or dad would shake his head in disappointment, or mother would worry for his blood, tainted with that sin. And Catalina wouldn’t recognize him. It didn’t mean the boy didn’t want to see what the ruby rushes could buy him. Catalina already thought he was something else, changed. Maybe he was. “I might be scrawny, but surely you can’t have rich duck every day for eternity. Don’t you miss the strained, meager meats, too?” he asked, adrenaline rising. They had their share of wild game in Valleyrun, so he understood the hunger for something aromatic over tame, buttery tastes. A glittering sadness in the teeth in his smile when he gave half of one toward Catalina.

Mother would want to keep him pure, of course, and he wanted that as well. But not now. Not with the vampire sitting like a gift in their living room and Cat at a very telling distance from him. Had he always been this lonely? Would he be more so without his blood? “There’s none like mine.” He said, and it felt good to know there was nothing that could be more accurate. He didn’t have to walk to her. It was a simple matter of sliding out of the chair, to place his knees in front of her feet. “And I’ve recently come across some badness, you see, Marin.” He couldn’t know where his tone was coming from. Was there always this strange confidence in relenting old restrains and taught caution? This was base, he knew. It was empowering, also. “If you’d like some of it, I’m sure the release would feel good to me too.” And he lifted a wrist again, toward the lips that had drawn blood from her own arm. He tossed his sister another look, a little more scorn in the golden rings.

But he couldn’t very well wait for rejection, so he’d have to make it more plain. In a way, the boy on his knees was selling himself, after all. “If you don’t like it here.” He took the hand back and pulled at his already wide collar. The collar bone made a pool of shadow as he turned his head so the throat would stretch. Mother had said the blood was good, there. A cluck of his lips when he remembered something else the woman had said. “And, of course, here.” He patted the pocket of his jeans, but meant the fold inward from his hip bone. Not even mother had needed to draw from there, and she’d told him to protect it. Would she disown him now, if his blood became tainted by a vampire? That thought had an attractive harshness to it.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 23, 2016, 04:50:31 am
Marin watched as the boy with the Magic blood found some deeper well of confidence and pulled it, fresh, to the surface. It was a delightful newness, because the look on Catalina’s face said she’d not met it before, either. Marin was leaning back in her chair, arms crossed. It was appealing, she was forced to admit, but boys that tried hard were appealing. Martin had found a little of that, too.

“Inan, what are you saying?” Catalina’s voice was hard and tinned, like a slap in silence. Had the vampire charmed him of all his senses? Cat almost put a hand on his shoulder, as if to physically restrain him, but thought otherwise. Was this the Inan from yesterday, in the cave? Maybe it had been a man’s lust, not a brother’s love.

Marin all but ignored the girl. “I think you’re as lost as I am, but I’m not sure if it’s your blood or just you.” She said, one dark brow arching on the white forehead. And then, “I’m sorry to say, but I don’t miss anything.” And it was as chilly as Cat had been, but of a different timbre. Meager meats.

Cat looked as if she had been stricken when she caught the half crescent of his teeth and saw the bitter there. Her fault, maybe, this wild loneliness. Inspired by that untethered soul in the seat across, but seeded by her own fault. She hadn’t been good enough to him, then. “Inan, you’re being ridiculous.” The words peaked and tumbled because she knew best how to patronize him when her heart clenched.

The boy went on and Marin was obligated to let him have his piece. It would be a mean thing to cut him off as he turned down this unfamiliar road. Was it malice or bitter or sadness or a bit of it all? They could all knot into frustration and frustration spent on friction tasted best on her tongue. He was bent on presenting all he had to offer, she realized, and had to wonder what had carried him to this point. The dark eyes shifted to the sister, who met the vampire’s gaze with a bewilderment that Marin found telling.

He went to his knees and neither woman moved. Listened to the suggestions dripping from that mouth which, surely, he must himself find vile. Marin’s lips curled upward. She bent forward in her chair so that she could level her eyes with his. “A rude display in front of your little sister, don’t you think?” she asked and reached to run her palm along the vein that traced from his hip. Head tilted. “I don’t want to drink your blood. I just wanted to know it.” She said, and then patted him on the head and sat back. "Don't get me wrong. You're tempting and lovely."

Marin stood and turned to Catalina. “Your Witch mother should be home soon, shouldn’t she? I can’t imagine she leaves a prize like your brother alone for too long. I think I should be on my way.” She looked back at Inan, still on his knees. “And you.” A long pause and her dark well eyes bored deep into the top of his head. “When it’s not for show, maybe. When you’re truly desperate. I’m staying at your town’s inn. It shouldn’t be hard to find me.” She said to him. Marin wasn’t in any mood to take his offer. Had she not eaten Martin’s desires last night, she might have been less inclined to play so distant.

Marin left the house without saying goodbye and wondered if Inan would seek her out. If he did, she might not be so benevolent, saving from addictions he wouldn’t understand. If he were hopeful enough to look for her and leave that sister behind, maybe he would be worth leaving Martin shaking and alone. That sorrow might be worth a lot of things. She wondered if his lonely would taste like her own. She shoved her hands in her pockets and headed back toward the hotel with an eye out for Olister’s truck. She felt disinclined to have him interfere with the Copper boy, should he come to her. His blood, after all, was one of a kind. As he’d said. Just like her.

After the door shut, a loud sound, Catalina stayed quiet. She intended to leave the room without a word at all, but found her temper bubbling. “That was the most well-mannered vampire we could possibly have run into. People in this damn town would drain your blood faster with that kind of ridiculous display.” She practically spat. If he remembered her better than the fog of the last day might imply, he’d see that there was a rage of confusion and hurt on her face.

“Do I even know you anymore? You said, just yesterday, nothing would ever change. You lied. Idiot.” She snarled. “That girl could have killed you right here in front of me and you would’ve fucking asked for it.” Cat almost never cussed like that. Not even in private, when the two of them were looser with their language. She went to him and stared at him with clenched fists and green fire eyes. “What’s gotten into you?” she demanded, shaking her head. She stamped her foot and lifted her hand to smack him across the cheek, but stopped short. Had he ever seen her so angry? One of their cereal bowls shattered in the sink, breaking under the latent pressure of the Witchling’s crackling Magic surging against Marin’s echo. No, he certainly had not. Her raised hand found the side of his face with a gentler touch, though forceful like he’d not felt it from her before. Fingers curled into the curls that teased over his ears. She kissed him hard. And then she smacked him. Half-hearted, but more than she’d ever have dreamt of before.

Catalina stormed from the house through the door Marin had sauntered and hooked a sharp left. She was, surely, headed off into the woods to throw some tantrum or another.
 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 24, 2016, 07:25:15 pm
Inan had a big gulp of the better parts of adulthood yesterday. That sweetness did nothing to soothe him as the cost came to him, today. Through his display, payed for by himself, with his dignity and with a loan of his hope, he had to strongly suspect and vaguely know the pretty otherwordly would not have him or the garbage he was infused with. He kept the dark reward of spending something of himself like this. He would examine and test it later. As he could not convince their vampire guest to accept some crimson keepsakes onto her paled, Catalina pelted him with her reality of things, that he was being unfittingly dim. It was both devastating and grating.


He listened to Marin's kindness as it spelled out a en exclusion from her fangs. The courtesy only rung as those throwaway nothings mother would say. You don't need their friendship, other children are unkind anyway, Cat will always love you, you're special and they can't see that. His hand was still on on his collar and he still felt that embarrassing stir when she'd patted him where he'd offered she bite. He assumed he was wringing that fabric as he looked up at Cat when she spoke to him after the merciless vampire on a diet had gone. Marin would not have left the Blood House empty handed though. The heavy silence and the confused and growing darkness on the outer rims of his eyes would be telling. Human nature turning on itself, inside the human shell. She would have seen it before, a bit in Martin, but the roots of this trouble was deeper and more desperate. An ancient kind of spoil to the would-be pure boy.

"They would, wouldn't they?" empty him, he asked her, and wanted it to sound like she was giving him some revelation, like the day was hot and she'd gossiped to him where he could find cold sweet water. She would see the falsehood in that act, but also a dedication to it. Some boys try to like music that isn't theirs for a long time, because they want to be viewed by others and themselves as someone who might have the stomach for such music. Perhaps it was in part to see more of these emotions in her, so he could see her fire rise.


He was hurt, and understood that he'd hurt her, when she continued with the truths from her side. If she put herself in danger, his heart would also be abused. It seemed a little late to admit that, though it wasn't. His apology was chained down by a new, dirty pride. There was anticipation in him when he looked up, still on his knees, and she lifted her judging hand. He wanted that crack and ringing, dancing through all the folds in the shell of his ear. He didn't look toward the kitchen, when the testament to her power sounded with the shards. It seemed only natural that the anger she had on her freckles would come. If not on his cheek, than through the uninvited noise of small destructions. Instead a kiss that made him feel weak, and fall into her again, the way he'd fallen in their cave. In the cave, though, he was completely unaware of what could come after, and went with it like the emotional simpleton he was. Now the arm that prepared itself to hook around her and bring her in and beg for all the mistakes again couldn't even ride his naive passion to touch her. He forced it down as he kissed her back stiffly, fingers clawing his jeans.

The want raised by her touch and set aflame by her lips was further fanned when she finally rapped that unconvincing harshness across his face. There was no ringing, and he breathed as though she would give him more, another kiss, or worse. He was learning heartbreak from the whims of objects of affection too fast. There were no locker-lined corridors and clever writings back and forth to ease him into what it is like to try and fit your heart against another. He was getting a distaste for hope, which was the currency in this unfolding. He would not bet so carelessly from now on. It would not be a promise he could keep. Instead of offering more of himself, he just sat there, saying all he could with the face that tried to say nothing. Frowns, teeth, almost birthed tears. And then Catalina left through the same door he'd lost Marin to.


What else had he wanted? Wasn't it all for a reaction like this? He wanted to push her, or die by Marin, or have thing change so completely they couldn't be remade. Because if he suffered for the statement, then it was his to make. Inan did not feel victorious, with another memory of Catalina on his mouth. He graced his neck and shook his head. And cried a little into his own shoulder. And wiped the moist away with such fury his cheekbones almost ripped. The Blood Prince leaned his face into the place where Marin had sat, and wondered if there was any spell in Cat's literature that could turn him into nothing faster than a volatile chemical mixture could.


Tsoalle laid on a rock, spread out, eyes white as his hair as he tried to recover from the emotions he'd been treated to. He swallowed the saliva pooling at the start of his throat when he heard her pass, and smelled her. He sat up, shaking off the lull of his feast as he watched her move over the path. It might have been obvious that he was there, but Catalina Copper had other things to think about than monsters. He knew. A few gestures of his hand, and he incinerated her anger further, but didn't incinerate the aroma of her sadness. It was a trick, playing with a witch, but she was young. Though she had great potential, she'd not read about him the way he knew about her.


"Excuse me, Catalina." he said as he rolled down the boulder and followed. He could easily suppress doubt and fear if that grew in her. All he had to do was nurture her anger. "It's not fair that he treated you that way. What a brat brother." He shook his head. A pale pretty in the woods, he could be mistaken far a manifestation of the other side of her divided mind. If that thought was offered, he would raise that, too. "He's not sweet anymore. He's grown up." Laugher, as though Tsoalle had been betrayed by this, also. "And yesterday." He'd eaten the residue memories on the red berries during the night. He knew the details. "This won't hold. It could not have been you who spoiled him." She wanted to hear that, after all. "So it was his fault. And now that he's tasted you, and a prettier thing comes through the door, waving her fangs, he follows her instead." he sighed. "What a perfect bastard. Rotten." Something sin-red in his eyes. "What should we do about a bastard, Catalina?"

Olister was closer than could be expected. He might be knowingly smitten with the vampire who had spared the boy yesterday, but he would not have dedicated his life to the hunting of her kind if he was going to be convinced of their goodness simply because an act of indifference on a full stomach veered in the favor of the victim. He was out of the car, though, and waiting for her just as she turned into town. He'd been able to see the Copper girl leave the house. Upset, but not so much as to suggest a vampire had slaughter any or all her family members. "Making friends everywhere, I see. Did it go well in there?" he asked as he took up her pace. "I was just walking about, and though the day was becoming dull. Thought of visiting you and here you are."


Inan thought of going after his sister. The pride that had prevented him from taking the fault that was his, as his, was also protesting his seeking her out. But if not absolution through confrontation, he still needed an outlet for the anxiety that was amassing. If there were other ways into Valleyrun from his house where he didn't have to meet the beautiful vampire, he knew them. He'd not brought a jacket, but the wrath in the vanity kept him well warm. He knew Nona's address, and she'd promoted herself as one to miss school enough times he'd have a good enough chance to meet her if he went now. She was not as fairytale as Marin, or as dear to him as Cat, but unlike those two, Nona had never rejected him, and he didn't expect she would start today, either.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 28, 2016, 05:14:28 am
Catalina stopped her inelegant stomping at the sound of her name and recoiled when she saw what had called her. A creature dipped in more moonlight than Marin had appeared and with an edge of Magic that sang putrid to her earthy aura. This was the sort of Vampire she understood. The witchling would have taken a moment to congratulate herself for being correct; Marin had not made the air shiver with predatory threads the way this one did. However, Cat wasn’t prideful enough to spend time gloating in the face of an immediately present danger.

The man, or beast, started commiserating before she had time to ask him how he’d known her name. It must be the gift of his lineage, she thought, to know these things. Frightening. But what he said seemed a bit true, if she did bother to consider it. “Of course he’s a brat but…” she wanted to say, anyway, ‘how did you know’ and stopped herself because the answer might involve teeth. Her mother had told stories about Vampires in the woods, when they were very small. She had realized it had been meant to keep Inan and her from wandering, but she conjured every tale up now. There had never been any indication of how one should handle an encounter, she realized. Cautionary tales are lacking in practicality.

Catalina’s verdant stare widened when he mentioned, too, yesterday. They had been alone in the woods, she’d been so very sure. This kind of Magic she’d have noticed. Was he a mind reader, then? “Inan is my brother.” She blurted, as if that were something worthy of combatting the things he knew. “Why should I care if he follows anyone else. I’m only upset because it was a—“ she bit her cheek. Vampire. Like this thing. He couldn’t be anything else. “He was being crass.” She snapped. There was nothing else to address, because yesterday was a mistake she was confident could be smudged away if only it wasn’t spoken about.

It’s an odd thing to be aware of a force you can’t counter. Something like being trapped in one’s own head. A very real and potent sort of helplessness. Cat felt it wash over her, whatever persuasive Magic he could twist off the end of his tongue. Like some strange anesthetic for her better judgement, she swore she was watching herself nod along with his indignation. Inan was a bastard, wasn’t he? Stupid brother. Everything had been so perfect and he’d spoiled it. He could have spoiled it by loving Nona, instead, or any other girl. Catalina was willing to pretend she didn’t know it to be true.

She wanted to tell the creature to leave her alone and go bother someone else. She could’ve given him names of people she’d not mind being bled dry. Cocky girl strapping swagger over the primal nerve he’d hit. Cat was afraid, but she was angry too. “I don’t know. If I knew what to do about that idiot I wouldn’t be out here in the woods talking to you.” As if this meeting had been intentional. Catalina’s mind said she was accepting things she oughtn’t. It was correcting itself by saying everything was fine. This man clearly understood the problem. Inan was a bastard that had messed everything up. “I didn’t even know I could love him like—like I wouldn’t have ever thought if he hadn’t—he’s my brother.” Faltering tumble of words. Deliciously frustrated. She stamped her foot. “What do you know, anyway.”

--

Marin glanced up from her feet and grinned at Olister. “Well enough.” She said. “The boy there is special, I can attest to that. Some familiar Magic.” Marin shrugged. She didn’t care much what he thought of that. “He and his sister are about tearing apart at the seams, though. It was a bit awkward, maybe, walking into the middle of it.” A breathy laugh, as if it explained why she left. It offered something for why Olister had seen Catalina run off, though. “I told him he could come visit me too.” She said, studying his profile.

He was some sort of interested, she was sure. Humans were transparent, that way, and men more so than women. She wondered if it was his age that made his interest taste a bit different than Martin’s or Ahler’s. Marin suspected it was more than that, but hadn’t found a real reason to pry. Olister, on the other hand, did not seem to care whether he had reason to pry or not.

Marin made a gamble, because she had nothing better to do with her afternoon. “Had you thought to visit me last night also?” she asked, intoning that she knew he was guilty. It was a guess that she would have been willing to stretch for Ahler or Nona, too. He didn’t have to know that, though. “I hope you’re not the jealous type. I don’t really know what I want.” Head tipped slightly to the side in a gesture more innocent than the things she said. Like she couldn’t pick what color blouse she wanted. Or flavor of ice cream. It was thin, though. She didn't want to know what she wanted. Maybe he could see it, in the way her pitch eyes remained so very vacant for her teasing.

She shrugged. “Not that it’s my business to know your business, but I wonder if it’s safe for Miss Copper to go off on her own.” A new gamble, because old memories said she should know this kind of man for what he was. If only she could pin down exactly what kind of man that was. Someone capable, at least. She’d felt he was more aware. “The woods feel a little funny, I think.” She said as they passed by the library. Marin stopped abruptly. Tsoalle was a vague tinge on her senses, like the witchling had been, but the smell of blood was something she did not miss. In that regard, she and the other Night thing weren’t built so different.

Old, drying blood. “Something funny in there, too.” She said, jutting her chin toward the library door. “I think I’d stay out of the woods altogether. Quite sure of it.” A little testiness in her voice. It wasn’t her prerogative to tell little Vampires not to eat, but she wasn’t inclined to send anyone off for fodder, either. Marin exercised restraint because it was reasonable. Personal opinion said others should, too. Particularly the lesser sort. And all other Moonlight Creatures were lesser so far as Moonlight herself was concerned. There had been a century when she’d not been of the same mind and chewed the bones of many unfortunate souls, but it was the twenty-first century. Get with the times.

“Hum. I hope Miss Copper thinks better of her tantrum, too.” Marin was practically talking to herself, at that point, distracted by the dead thing she knew was beyond the door and the girl that had gone off to the woods. Would it be her fault, if Catalina Copper ended up food? Now that she was paying attention to it, she was positive there were teeth lurking the way the girl had gone. She replayed her visit to the Blood House. Inan Copper had been the source of Catalina Copper’s unrest, she was sure. The tension in the room had been set in deep by the time Marin had walked in. It would be his fault, not hers, if the girl got herself into trouble. Marin nodded to herself. Good, then. She wasn’t in the business of feeling guilty.   

“Oh. I’m sorry. You’d been thinking to look for me, you said. Well. I'm here, as you said. How can I help you?” back to Olister because she’d cleared her conscience. “Unless you were the type to be inclined to fetch Miss Copper. Don’t mind me if you’d rather go play hero.” She smiled broadly. There was no mistake in the three sets of fangs there. “Because you hunt things like me, am I right?” That was it. Yue had known a lot of Hunters. That’s why it had been so hard to place. Things were always fuzzier on the edges of faces she should have known. This man had that vibe though. She might have looked prouder of herself than she should have for figuring it all out. “I haven’t actually met a Hunter before.”
 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on June 30, 2016, 12:08:50 am
Tsoalle watched her stiffen. The defensive surge wanted to last throughout their interaction, but he soothed it. He could lay dragons to sleep, lead them away from their gold cities. A little girl guarding her tantrum was just paper at the edge of his fire. He called her on the lie that would have been obvious even to anyone who didn't have his tongue, that could draw flavors from a mind. "Crass?" If she didn't say it, he had no trouble doing so. "He was being a harlot. The new kind of harlot that doesn't know what he's offering, and would loose." he laughed because it was so true. "Once, all the animals in the kingdom had tails, until those with golden ones offered them to gods for small favor." Tsoalle wasn't so old, but he'd read the old stories.

She looked at her problem, the brother, and overlooked the fact that he was a monster, fang-colored, offering council in the woods. He liked when they complied to a discussion. He came closer, rags around his pretty, and looked her up and down. She really was fire, and he wouldn't make it hiss against his cold, wouldn't wake her from the little stasis he'd put on her self-preservation. "I don't know much." he followed. "But I do know you love him, like you say, with your heart right now, and with your rain-stained self yesterday." he recycled her memory of it, and gave it to her as a pang - Inan's heat, and his passion that didn't say it was sorry like his lips did.

He tested her caution, aiming to walk in a circle around her. Humans didn't like that, unless they knew you. Trusted. It would be easier to deliver manipulation if she could be taught he wasn't dangerous, that what he said was more important than the legends of bloodthirst and ghouls. He could dance, on icy lakes and jagged mountains, but now he simply trusted to the rhythm of their atmosphere to take him around her. He let out tendrils of melting, persuasive spells. If you bring cold weather to the fire, it won't burn so readily. There is less need for rocks around the fire-stadt during winter. Tsoalle liked Catalina already. He wondered what her liver tasted like. "What to do with all these different loves? A sister supports her brother, grows up with him, and a lover needs the other lover. And you're his protector, too."

Not so hard to build her attachment to the boy further. It was mostly there already, though the recent flavor had been drowned under some pretenses, and a lot of reflexes. Usually he would have to bend hearts for this kind of taboo, but here it was fresh, only dusted by denial. He bolted her frustration to the rising love that he uncovered, and set her wrath at the tail of that. She was prone to anger, after all, infected and inflamed. Sometimes parents did all his work, themselves. He could use her anger. "Stupid Inan. Stupid Harlot Inan that couldn't keep his fingers to himself." he said, to make her thoughts, or encourage them. "Has he no care toward me? Has he no care toward himself?" His teeth shone as he stirred her. "Does he want to die from me so much?" surely this was gasoline. "Stupid!"

-

Olister noted that Marin had invited the boy to her room as well. Unneeded, unjustified envy. He waved it away easily. A hunter had to battle himself almost as much as he did predators like her. She caught it and tugged at it though, the shallow weakness. He was guilty. He had to shrug and act as embarrassed as he was. "You were busy." he thought of her astride the local boy, and then had to trust to some old mental seals not to think about it. She didn't need that advantage too, in this conversation. He thought it was strange that he couldn't get beyond this.

She helped him, pointing toward the girl that put herself in the woods. He'd not worried, but if a vampire spoke of it as perilous, it couldn't be harmless. Yes. Red in the woods. Catalina, Cat, that had saved him and left a mark. His brows lowered and gathered. Not a threat, but a serious edge. And then those eyes blossomed, one shade paler, like his lips, and his heel drug on the street. There was only one more funny thing that could possibly be in Valleyrun. She seemed rather candid for someone who seemed to know what he was after. And then a reveal, quite plain, with her three sharpnesses on each side. He bit his own teeth. No time to wring intentions out of her with pillow talk. He was already turning. "Merry met. I think I'll  go meet the thing in the woods, too." he said.

As he twisted, and caught her in the corner of his eye. He finally remembered her. Yue, they'd called her. He didn't care about her name, hadn't. He'd only been a young man with anger and a whole lot of blades. She'd been beautiful, a night when he'd found and ended a handful of young ones, like her but not at all. She'd been a trophy he couldn't win, and she'd smiled with crimson polish on her teeth. he'd wanted to turn back, but he'd truly be a monster like them if he didn't come to Catalina, simply to nurture an memory that had paved way to a familiarity with a race of beings he really should not think so fondly of. "Don't leave Valleyrun." was all he could give before he shot off toward the Blood House and the path that lead away from it.

He did not know the forest very well, but it wasn't hard to detect the ivory pillar, wrapped in human clothing, speaking to the red youth. She'd grown a bit since last, but he'd not forget the things that defined her so soon. The body of work left behind by the white haired vampire flashed behind Olister's eyes, and his step quickened. He'd practiced patience with Marin, revealed as Yue, she'd been innocent to some degree, but how could he now, when the family-tormentor was at biting distance from Catalina Copper. The reports rarely spoke of lonely individuals, and the hunter was sure that was because the white one didn't care enough to make a scene out of small meals.

The man felt angry when he stepped into their billowing privacy, and understood the power of this nightly demon. He pulled at Catalina's arm, and all but tossed her behind him, boring his eyes in the porcelain enemy as he tried to remember if he'd armed himself, waiting for Marin. He still felt wrathful and hurt, and ready to punish someone for it. Olister tried his best to direct these things toward the fanged task, but had to fight to see it as anything but an adviser. Still, a thin, long blade left the sleeve of his jacket, and rested like some cold horizon, absolute, between the two.

"Nice to meet you again, Catalina." he said without giving her his attention. They were all still soaking in the fury Tsoalle had planted. It hurt his head, and it made him want to sick on his feet as it tried to fit into his emotional suit, when it had been made for the girl. He only held the blade harder, thinking of the families this nightmare had inverted with carnality, and slain with his ceaseless thirst. "You run, now, girl. Unless you have magic that might help, here."
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on June 30, 2016, 07:57:46 pm
Cat gaped at him a bit, pretty color flooding to the tips of her ears. She seemed even brighter with her shock of hair against it. To have it verbalized was sharp and worse from between teeth that weren’t hers, or Inan’s. For a moment, she was mortified that he must have come across them. Then she remembered he was a shade-bound Magic thing and he might only have relived her shame through her own head.

He made to circle her and she rotated on her heels to keep him in her view. It was in part because he was a predator and she, no matter how addled by his soothing spells, had not forgotten the facts. She simply didn’t feel them. The rest of it was because she was drawn, like all humans are, to the prettiness of him and her eyes didn’t want to lose him. It was a nauseating dichotomy playing dizzy in her head.

Catalina was nodding despite herself. Inan was awful. They’d been so close and he’d ruined everything. She didn’t need to know any of the things she knew now. How he felt. Felt for her. Felt on her. And he had the audacity to feel wounded and to act out. How incredibly ridiculous. “He’s my brother. I want him to be safe and happy, that’s all.” She insisted. “But he’s so unfair. We can’t always have what we want.” Cat said. We, because it was his fault but both of their sin.

She was willing to be petty, even. “My birthday is going to be terrible. He’s ruined it.”

There was the sound of feet rushing on the dirt then, saving her from acting out further. Cat moved her stare from Tsoalle just in time to catch sight of a familiar face as she was pulled roughly back from the Vampire. Her Hunter from the Woods. He looked just as she recalled, but a couple years meant less to a grown man than young woman.

--

Marin had been amused, when he admitted he’d come by. She liked when her hunches were right. She congratulated herself for being exceptionally perceptive when she continued to strike the appropriate chords. Hunter. There was no fear in her. A sad reality, that she had not yet met anything worth remembering. But then, Marin was young.

He was a good man, maybe. Good enough to forego his own interests for the sake of the Copper girl. Or it could simply have been that he was dutiful. That was fine, too. Marin sighed. She wanted to see Martin, to remind her why it was best to keep simple men for adoration.

She laughed at Olister when he told her not to leave and failed to catch the spark of recognition in his eyes. Marin would have done precisely that, if she had. “As you wish,” she said, a little lazy. He was already rushing off. She wondered what it was like to feel connected, the way most humans did. Would she have cared more about Catalina, if she were the same?

Marin decided to follow him when he was nearly out of view, breaking the tree line. She started after him and away from the dead smell at the library, waving at the windows to the temple of books as she went. She took her time, and found Olister between Catalina and the other by the time she reached them on her soundless steps.

Gluttonous one, this White. He was plenty full on the librarian and other things. She licked her lips, tasting the air, and recalled the old occult books and the stories about her past and her siblings. Pasqual’s line, maybe. This one was pretty and wild and she decided Pasqual must be like that too. It was good to put a face to a name, even if it was the wrong face to a meaningless name.

“Oh. Is this why you were in Valleyrun, then? Him?” she asked Olister and his blade, pointing at Tsoalle. Catalina seemed not to notice her morning visitor had reappeared. She was busy looking at Tsoalle past Olister’s shoulder.

“What are you doing? Are you after him? He’s not doing anything. We were just talking. I can handle myself, you know.” Cat said. “We were just talking. He gets things, you know? My brother’s the worst.”

Marin sighed, weary, and sidled up behind Catalina to place her slim fingers over the girl’s shoulders. “Now, you’re a bright girl, and it’s best not to get involved in the affairs of men.” She suggested, pulling Cat into her chest gently. Cat squirmed a little, angry and intent on continuing her complaints. She didn’t mind overly if Tsoalle wanted to eat the Witchling. It might make Inan run to her faster. On the other hand, she’d somewhat involved herself and she wasn’t sure she wanted to leave Valleyrun yet. She’d just met the Coppers, after all. It would be dangerous to stay if Catalina died.

Marin sidestepped, taking Cat with her, so they were still well behind Olister but she had a clear view of the other Vampire. Her gaze was curious. She’d not met another. She'd kept quiet in the city. To a point, she felt as close to this Moon monster as she did to Inan. Shades of her full self. Whether it was pride or isolation that made her so, she had not been introspective enough to know.

Tsoalle would know her, but he must have known she was there from the moment he'd stepped into town. The original children of sin had an oppressive gravity to them that all the non-human humans knew. She wouldn't be irresistible, like his Father, but she was of the same blood. It hadn't made it far past the city, that Marin was back. Yue's murder had been so dramatic, it had almost seemed final. Forever ghost. Tsoalle might even know more stories than Marin. Of all the Night beauties Yue had ground to dust in the name of human friends. At least, he might know some of their names. Marin could remember the taste.

But, the Vampires knew. Every new name might be an ally or enemy. Blank slate Matriarch, staring at him from beyond Olister's blade.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 02, 2016, 02:22:26 pm
Tsoalle liked to scandalize Cat, the way she became with red when her young blood went to her skin to see him better. He held his arms out, a delta of offered comfort. The opening in his posture that would fit her suggested she needed it, and that, in turn, meant she might be sad. He wanted to make a weight for the hot storm he was calling on inside her, flesh it out. Betrayed, along the angry. There were sensationalists like Tsoalle among his kind, but it might be hard to find one other than him that was so adept. He was to vampires what wranglers or framers were to humans. Above the blood-fruits, sure, but utterly useless without them. He couldn't move dead things with a thought, or change the weather. He was intrinsically bound to the race they ate, and preferred to love them and slaughter them instead of being indifferent, completely. A farmer wears their bovine on their feet and a hunter hangs their stripped skulls on their walls.

He gasped when she pointed out the greater crime Brother was fast becoming guilty of. Her birthday in shambles. He shook his head to deny it, while his mind tied it harder around her. "And it's such an important birthday, too." Yes, perfect, the fire burned on its own. His fingers danced at the ends of the arms that wanted her. She was pregnant with the spices he'd sprinkled already. Maybe he would have to taste her first, before he could see what he could do with her family, to end the bloodline he'd read about in the unfortunately neglected library. Just a little lick.

Terribly wounded was he, when one of the handful of hunters he'd felt in the city sprinted to upset the forest floor and the symmetry of this meet. The embrace that had been seeking her had to fall, lax, and one finger touched one thumb out of insult. Something of this vintage could pair well with Catalina, but hunters were tougher meat to prepare. Tsoalle liked to turn their purpose on themselves, but today the course was forced, and he wasn't entirely sure he should accept it. Their connection, that they didn't hide, smelled wonderful, though. He would just have to pluck that thorn from the hunter's hand. Alright, Tsoalle thought, this could be a full eating instead of a little scratch for the oldest itch.

There was a newly uprooted memory of some demon in Olister's past. Tsoalle touched that, and let the potency affect the cutting arm. The traveled hunter only held the mercury fang harder. Tsoalle was about to dance forward, play at getting to Cat, and then twist around, other shoulder, to take the hand that held the knife, break it in its skin suit, or rip it off, fingers and all. Tsoalle didn't mind being cut, all the perversions, but lately they'd been able to know him by what he bled, so he tried to drown his own life in floods of his adversary's. Surely he should want to choose the fate for this hunter, instead of being locked into having to spill him all over Cat and the ground. Yes, it would be a mercy toward art and Olister to keep away from the shining edge.

Then an older thing came. Tsoalle let out a sound, inelegant to contradict the shifting recoil of his hand, where the finger that by tradition should hold a ring had lost its tip to an admittedly wasteless motion from Olister and the long thorn. Bleed this human man, then, until his soup had turned Tsoalle's own into oblivion on earth's face. Tsoalle stood back and looked at the vampire that was cradling Catalina. He held up the hand that was abused, and put a finger from the hand't that wasn't on top of the halved nail to keep it from further saturating his other digits in precious color. This new element was aged, tectonic, almost. Tsoalle should bow, so he did. Noble in shreds. He whipped his pale hair up and back when he erected, finger still nursing the other. What metal had that been?

Catalina sang for him, or at least for herself. He nodded to agree. The other vampire explained her view of things and Tsoalle had to point at her with the wrist of his holding hand. "You got involved." Marin, according to Cat's memory. "Catalina has a hard time at home, with her whore brother. You're part of the problem, Marinné, Malin, Marin." he said, trying a language he liked for the other vampire's name, and then tilted his head in an apology to the sister for the honest insult he'd spoken. They'd already called Inan a harlot. "I just want to listen, and share some advice."

Olister barged forward, but Tsoalle knew this maneuver. A quick step back, away from silver orbit, and a descending elbow onto the back of Olister's weaponized, slicing extremity, then the other elbow onto his handsome, fuzzy jaw. The hunter staggered back, and Tsoalle hadn't even had to let go of the finger her was nursing. Hunters were inventive with their melee, for all Tsoalle knew he was just being duped into thinking Olister was an oaf, so the vampire villan did not hope the next attempt would be as easily avoided and punished. He was already looking through the landscape of Olister's earlier years to see what training he'd had, and noticed the silhouette of Marin there at a moral and sexual crossroads. The kind of memory that shapes a man. Tsoalle laughed and exploited it, expanded it. Olister looked at Marin again, as though she was irresistible, and Tsoalle tilted Cat's anger so she'd see it. Exposing her brother's weakness and coming in such tumultuous times, Tsoalle was sure he could make Marin out to be a symbol of Cat's and Inan's rift. It wouldn't be hard to see Marin's beauty as an impossible adversary.

The vampire himself took steps back. Olister had to follow. "You bastard. Why won't it stop bleeding?" Tsoalle demanded as he made deeper into the woods. It was how he felt, in part, but he over-acted it to give Olister hope, and bring him further from the ancient wild-card. "Cat, don't let anyone try to quench you. You're angry. I'm angry. Do something ballistic!" Words of a desperate lover, almost.

Olister followed until the fogs around his mind lifted slightly, and he saw the trick. His stop wasn't sudden, because he still had enough pride to think he could best this white pillar that was already cut. He had to look back, though, at the two he'd left, to consider what to do next.

Tsoalle laughed as he shot back when the hunter's attention was turned. He slid underneath the arm that was out, with the knife at its end. The vampire male bent as his shoes cut up the dirt, so his long frame could fold to pass beneath the arm while his face was skyward. His fangs, elongated for the maneuver, cut Olister's upper arm, on the underside, severing a popular route for blood there. It had a particular significance, that pipe, and gave the upper half of Tsoalle's features a spray of crimson before he'd passed beneath the now useless limb.

Olister knew the gravity of the surgical twin cut, and clasped at the wounds even as he was sensing the cold coming. The blade fell to the ground, splashing outward the puddle that was already forming, filling from the shower from the limp fingers above.

"Serves you right." Tsoalle said with some insult and waved the finger he was still holding, after having dismantled Olister essentially without the use of his hands. "Now." eyes back at the pair. "What shall we talk about while tall, dark and wounded bleeds out? Catalina, that's quite an old friend you have there. Inan's isn't the only heart she's taken in her time, I promise."
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 03, 2016, 05:12:00 pm
Marin nodded absently. “Yes, I suppose I did.” She pursed her lips. “But only as much as this one involved herself,” she suggested, squeezing Cat’s shoulder. “It seems like you and Mr. Hunter have had a longer feud. Or, it’s been long coming.” Marin said. She laughed when he told her she was part of the problem. Marin was nothing but problems, really. “Again, you’re right.” She shrugged. That didn’t mean she cared.

Cat struggled further. “You even admit it. Inan’s an idiot for groveling in front of you. He’s pathetic and you’re awful.” She snapped. Marin hummed. There was a hint of silver on her as the sun dipped low and the moon began its rise. She hadn’t formed herself as much of anything yet, she thought. Awful seemed a little dramatic, but it was as much Tsoalle and Cat’s pride talking as it was the girl’s real heart.

“Awful is better than nothing.” Marin said, and held the girl tighter as Olister lunged forward. Her ambivalence was infuriating, Cat decided. She wasn’t strong enough to free herself and her Magics weren’t the kind of thing to help her in this sort of scenario. Frustrated with all the interference she felt some odd and uncontained wildness when she caught the Hunter’s glance in Marin’s direction. This bizarre Moon Monster and her disgusting hold on the men around her was ridiculous. She’d just been having a conversation and Olister and Marin were both unwelcome. She wanted to talk to the other vampire about how disgusting Marin was. If Inan was a harlot, Marin must be the queen of whores.

Marin considered the peculiar snare she’d wandered in to. She could let Catalina go and it was likely that both Olister and the girl would end up dead. She could help the Hunter and snip a little thread of infinity. She could simply hold her ground and let Olister and the vampire carry on, claiming Cat under her own interests. It would upset the Copper girl, surely, but Tsoalle would be somewhat bound to comply. Marin decided to take her own advice and took a few steps back with Cat pulled in tow.

“I don’t care what you think about me, Catalina Copper. I don’t care if you hate your brother either. If you want to be food, that’s your own business too. However, I will remind you, little Witch, that that fanged pretty has Magic at play. You should recognize that much.” Marin said. A shot of clarity in the fog of Cat’s irritation. That was right, Catalina had lost sight of the spells somewhere in between complaining about her birthday and this disgusting Marin.

As if to punctuate that reminder, Tsoalle called her to action. Perhaps it was that he was somewhat distracted with the attacking Hunter but the ripples he sent through her thoughts and emotions curled in on themselves and vibrated with her own Magic. She was being toyed with, just like Inan had toyed with her. They were all terrible, except for Olister. Olister who was, only seconds later, exposing his blood to the evening air. She remembered the way he’d come to her in the woods, the first time. The injury had looked worse, then, but had been struck in a location that was not so dire.

“Let me go!” she shrieked as his blade fell. “I hate you both!” she threw herself forward, and Marin let her go. She could feel the Witchling’s energy cracking through the air and wasn’t in the mood to deal with whatever instability it might cause.

“As you like,” she said as she let the girl go. Marin was watching Tsoalle. “She’s upset with you too, now.” She said, as if it weren’t apparent. Cat rushed past Tsoalle, hissing some tumbling and rushed spell as she went. She was a vibrantly pagan thing as she reached for Olister, a sun-bright glow to her palms as her Magic rushed to the surface. Her green stare was furious when it sliced past the mind-meddling vampire.

“Olister!” she gasped as she tripped toward him, stumbling into him and fumbling for his injury. The gold heat snapped from her fingers. She could dull his pain and give him back the strength to carry on, but she couldn’t heal that wound without some herbal assistance. The slash was enough to make Inan’s little hurts seem pitiful. “Pick up your blade and let’s run.” She urged.

Tsoalle was weaving Marin’s injustices. “I don’t care. She’s the same as you, isn’t she? You’re both liars and you’re both terrible. Leave me alone. Both of you and Inan too.” She snapped.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 04, 2016, 07:55:27 pm
The ancient kindred had not been very moved by Tsoalle’s accusations. It had been a hook, thrown in the shallows, anyway. He was not an invincible manipulator without engaging his craft. He wasn’t sure he should with Marin. It amused him to see that personality turned toward Cat, who was furious. Awful did pay more than nothing. Catalina would learn that, herself. To someone as feisty as the Copper daughter, surely that could be a creed. He was not as charmed by the interaction playing out as he waltzed, deadly, with Olister, when Marin revealed his power, and the reason for the girl’s sudden, hearty wrath. A frown, but he was mostly otherwise occupied.

It was a loss to be without Catalina’s trust, but he liked her passion, and the inherent energy that slumber between the man who took the girl’s help. She threw herself forward and Tsoalle did nothing to stop her. He’d rather let the desperation and mixed things she felt wash over him, instead. Youth was good for quantity, at least. He ripped his collar, and wound it tightly around the finger. A bother that Cat knew Olister had a treasure in that blade, telling him to pick it up as they made away with their lives, but a lot less testosterone-infused blood. Tsoalle wouldn’t pursuit. The witchling was dangerous and healthy, and the knife could have carried any kind of obscure, old weaknesses on its edge.

Olister was glad the red hair had come to him, and sighed with some relief as that gilded warmth snuck into his nerves where she touched, convincing the body this hurt could be overcome. She was a bit more severe now, in the face. Last time he’d seen her, a child, but now the roundness had shape to it, spilling with youth rather than leaving adolescence. This would be the second time she’d saved him in these woods, if he survived. His legs bent, drowning hand clasping that blade again, while the healthy one still tried to help hers get a hold of the babbling gashes. He should have known better. The sudden crush had been so unjustified, despite the rising revelation that Marin had been one of the cornerstones of the hunter he’d become.

“She is, isn’t she?” Tsoalle said as he watched them leave, Olister hanging on to Cat. Upset. At the very least, the girl was that. He wanted to see if he could truly twist her love for the boy to hatred, but could only give her a bit of bitterness at him, now that she was weary. He wiped his hand, the good one, on his clothes and looked Marin over. “He likes you in that cave-man sort of way. It’s quite deeply rooted.” This happened to everyone. A sensual totem. “Don’t look for yellow, hard paper clouds in his car unless you want that compliment.” He warned. “You’re a spoilsport, but I’m guessing you’re also old enough that I’m not a threat to you.”

Olister didn’t have to worry about Marin, and so only fleeing became important. He didn’t know how far they’d gone but he had to let go of her, and rest his back against a tree. Or that was his plan. He wouldn’t stand long against the trunk, eventually sitting by its roots and clasping the arm that had been shredded at a crucial area. He shrugged out of the jacket, knife stuck into the ground by his leg, and almost tossed the outwear out of frustration. “Thank you. Again.” He said as he wiped his forehead with his functioning arm. “I’m a good hunter, honest.” A smile of embarrassment and then a harder expression. “You should not find yourself in this situation so often, Catalina.” He said. Not angry, what right had he, just a warning.

He relaxed slightly, had to, hand holding the insisting breaches around his tricep. Back of his head to the tree. “You’re okay, I hope.” Better than he. There wasn’t much pain, anymore, and he knew it was her doing. He wasn’t sure how many she’d healed in her life, but he’d only been healed once, and remembered the details well. “The pale monster, Tsoalle, he plays with minds. Turns families on themselves.” When he could hear himself, and there was no dust in his throat, he stared pushing at the ground again, trying to get up against the tree. “From what I understand it should take a few days for the effects to wear off.” He pushed his lower lip in. Sorry for not being here sooner. “I’m sure your brother is a good person.” He added. He knew Valleyrun and Catalina enough to know who Inan was. “Whatever offense you were talking about couldn’t have been so bad it was worth speaking to a vampire about it.”

-

Was he, though, Olister? The wraith that was the lifesblood of their small town found himself in Nona’s apartment. He didn’t know why Martin crossed his arms and seemed pensive and exhausted in the corner. Nona’s wide eyes were at him, where he sat in the armchair she’d pointed at. The real Inan, he who wouldn’t have gone here, afraid of the rumors of her ravenous mother, though it made him feel bad to be so fearful, did not have so much affection for this girl or her associates. This Copper boy, who was still scorned, needed her shallow attachment. She was already exuding an enthusiasm Cat wouldn’t dream to conjure for him, right now.

“I don’t really see what’s special with you, Inan.” A lackluster Martin said in the corner. Why was he so angry and hurt? Inan had never claimed to be any kind of special. Nona glared in his direction.

“You’re an idiot. Go to your vampire. You don’t have to be here.” She said. Inan’s eyes were wide now, the rings glistening in the otherwise foggy room. Marin. She’d had Martin but not himself.

“Nona?” he said, and used a voice he’d reserved for Cat, when he wanted her to get the herbs in the thorn bushes, instead of him. Nona had no resilience for that charm, since she didn’t know that kind of kindness, even for her favor.

“Yes, mr Copper.” She offered, coming closer.

“I… I’m kind of sad.” He tried, retracting that voice quickly. It wasn’t for Nona. But she’d already heard it, and leaned over him, hands on the arms of his seat. Her smile was motherly, if mother was in the business of eating her children.

“Don’t be. You’re the most glorious thing in the world, and you sprung out of the concrete of this dusty, fucked up hole.” She’s said it a few times about him, when they were up late, being poetic and confrontational. She defined herself as the person she was during those hours. Inan sighed. The praise was dirty, but he had to have it.

“Because of my blood?” he wondered, eyes averted, thinking, but mostly avoiding hers. She nodded and poked his neck carefully. She wouldn’t tell a nightcrawler not to crawl.

“Yes. You’re special.”

It hurt him, but he also appreciated the simplicity of her love. It wasn’t so unlike mother’s. Martin coughed, choking on his frustration at something Inan didn’t understand.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 04, 2016, 09:09:48 pm
Marin shrugged at Tsoalle as she watched Cat and Olister make their escape. She wasn’t sure if it counted as an escape if they weren’t being pursued. “I would presume not.” Marin told him. Her silver blossomed white and the dark eyes and dark hair glittered with a moonlight brightness that made the other vampire a wraith by her side. “I don’t know why that Hunter should care too much. I’ve just met him and I didn’t take any liberties.” Marin said.

She glanced at Tsoalle. “You know me, I take it.” She said. “Or you know of me. Who is your Ancestor?” she asked, curious if she’d guessed correctly. “Is it Pasqual?” She sidled up closer to him, a little owlish in the way she stared and sized him up. As a rule, she felt apart from these constructed vampires. Borrowed blood in their veins and diluted Magic. Well-placed superiority, on the one hand, but out of contemplation more than experience. She knew she’d disliked these turned humans under other names, but she’d held their company under others.

The Moon Matriarch, names flowing like the tides and glowing eternal was ballistic in both worlds. She had swallowed the ripples of everything she’d done and come out clean and unfazed for it. Tsoalle should be able to read it on that perfect face. Empty of attachments but brimming with centuries of experience. A terrible child in many respects. She had the makings of a keen sociopath; it was fortunate her heart regenerated with the rest of her.

“I’m sure you’ll find something else to entertain you. If you have a taste for it, there is a boy in town called Martin that fancies himself a young stag and already has an ache to be rid of his blood.” She offered. Better somebody else occupy the sullen boy when she had others on her mind. “His friends might start a cult for you, if you suggest it.” Head tipped. “Is it better to bleed them dry? I haven’t seen it as beneficial these days.” Conversational and a bit like a tourist inquiring on the local customs.

“Either way, I think I’d prefer you left the Coppers alone. I came here for them, after all.” She mused. “Have a nice evening.” Marin leaned in to kiss him chastely on either cheek and turned to leave. “I’m sorry for changing your plans.”

--

Cat helped him sit slowly, crouching beside him when they were well out of sight of the two vampires. They were deep in the woods, equal distance from the town and Inan’s cave. “It’s okay. Thank you for coming after me, too.” Cat muttered. “I didn’t think I’d be so easy to trick. I’m sure if you hadn’t been keeping an eye on me you would’ve gotten that monster.” She encouraged. If Inan’s small fascination with vampires had irked her in the past, it fueled her with a cesspool of disgust for them now. “Mind-tricks are awful. I’m okay though.”

She furrowed her brow and reached to brush hair from Olister’s face with a gentle fussiness that would have become her greatly if she pursued a healing profession. She didn’t seem like such a child, this time. There was less fear and more confidence. A sigh. “I thought he was a good person. I thought I was, too,” she said. “Well. I thought I was better than I am. And you don’t know Inan like I do.” Cat murmured. She didn’t want anyone to know Inan the way she did.

“I’d like to feel a little less foggy, but I was angry before that thing found me anyway. It doesn’t matter if it wears off or not.” Hard green eyes. Cat was quick to help him to his feet. “On the other hand, I’m surprised you remember me.” She laughed a little bit and didn’t hide that she was flattered. “I thought you were really admirable, when I met you the first time.”

She tucked a coil of red behind her ear. “If we go a little deeper into the forest, there’s a cave I know. It’s safe and I can go find herbs to help patch you up.” She didn’t suggest a hospital or her own home, because she remembered his request last time. It did occur to her, though, that she might inspire some jealousy in Inan if she brought Olister home, though. The only secret she’d ever kept.

Cat lead him toward the cave without waiting for him to answer. She would redirect them if he protested the plan. For some time, she was quiet. As the mouth of the cave came into view, she felt her chest squeeze. It had only been a day since, but it felt like it had been a full lifetime. “If I patch you up, though, will you take me with you when you leave?” she asked him abruptly. “You could teach me what you do and I could help mend your injuries.” Catalina breathed sharply. “I—I think I really need to get out of this town. I need to get away from all these vampires.” Literally. Metaphorically.

--

Marin slipped into town with an eye out for any pedestrians on the main road. She had no hood on her jacket and was disinclined to play her angel charade to the whole street. She passed the Copper house. There was no truck in the drive. Perhaps Mister and Madame had come home to find their offspring gone and were out searching now.

She wondered if Catalina would return home. There had been an odd set to her shoulders when she’d run off with the Hunter. But, then, maybe it had just been that the girl had been helping support the injured man. Four houses down, she passed beneath the windows of Nona’s house and kept to the shadow of the building. It would have been curious to her, if she’d known Inan were beyond those walls seeking validation from a shallow mouth. Poetic, even, if she’d known Martin was here too. Martin, who she’d offered as some kind of consolation prize. It wasn’t so cruel, though, if it could give the boy relief that she was disinclined to fuel.

It took her a while to reach her room at the inn, keeping out of the moonlight and off the main street. When she let herself in, she left the door unlocked. Marin would be surprised if she received visitors this evening. Ahler or Martin, maybe. Those who interested her the least. Still, she half hoped Inan Copper might come by. It would be an interesting story for him, to hear about his sister’s perils in the woods. Would he blame himself, she wondered, or would he offer himself up to her again. More desperate. A sigh as she tossed herself onto the old bed. That was a darkness she couldn’t escape. Her tastes were rooted in her psyche. Lonely and desperate had the most enticing flavor. Passion born from reviling one’s self.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 05, 2016, 09:29:10 pm
Why do men care about anything, indeed. Tsoalle sampled the memory again, and might know it better than Olister himself. In the far past, a woman had come to him, hoping to enlist his power to clean up her memories. It is a sought after thing, to renew one’s childhood. She had an illness that affect her perception and access. He bypassed those things and echoed them, free of dust, to her before he ate her. Their deal had been he take some. Everything of someone is some of the all, he’d justify it. Back then evil things were supposed to excuse their cruelty, if there’d been a verbalized deal. He thrived in the apathy of today, even if fewer knew of him. She’d started a fad.

“I can show you the time you met if you’d like. It was admiration at first, at your mercy. And then, you know, from Madonna to the other thing, because the life of a hunter is just but lonely.” His hand waved etceteras into the air between them. “Excuse men. We’re like that. I was turned because of something like this, if you’d believe it from my otherwise wholesome aura.” He was an uncaring bastard, mostly, and spoke like one. Pasqual, indeed, had found him entwined in his parents and two older siblings. Impressive, if indulgent. Tsoalle had taken to the unlife. It had been his element from the start. The view of human life fit him perfectly.

“You’re right.” He said. “He talked about you sometimes.” To hear a legend speak of a legend. “He still has the scar, still shows himself to tribes in hopes of making a new tide in religion.” The sentimental master used to beat Tsoalle horribly. It had done wonders for his psychosis. “He was a grand father figure, belt, nighttime visits in my bedchambers, stubble on my boy skin, all that.” As though he’d not been the age he was now when they met. “Perhaps you could be mommy? Though your nails are too short and I don’t feel the anxiety of needing to please you.” He would go on, but she said something else. He gasped at her courtesy. It could even have been genuine.

“Well, I do have his love for cults.” He said and thought about it, bandaged finger to his cheek. The family trade. He was brought back by her question. If it was rhetorical Tsoalle didn’t hear it. “I think their use goes beyond their blood. I don’t empty them as a rule, but I indulge in almost anything. Perhaps I’ll pay them a visit. If it’s me, I might even exclude you from pursuit.” Hunters did become bothers, if they accumulated. It was more of an observation than pointing out a favor, though. “Maybe you can speak well of me when you meet father, next time.”  But he wasn’t willing to trade with what she pushed next.

“Of course I won’t!” he said with laughter. It could have been read as both joking obedience, or lighthearted rebellion. He liked that his insides revered her, it made him want to exploit their connection. He had his preferences, after all. Those fluttered when she kissed him, and he thought he might even stay away from the boy, then. Another mother. “Come visit me sometime. They’ve called me The Family Therapist in gossip. I’ll tell father you said hello.”

And then she was gone, delicious as only a matriarch could be. Tsoalle looked her way, and Catalina’s way, and chose a direction in the middle.

-

Olister didn’t mind her attention. A thing he’d learned not to get attached to. On some occasions, catalysts to cataclysms, he would be invited to hunt with others. They were not the fussing sort. She continued to speak of her brother as though to maintain and nurse the rift. He wouldn’t interfere. Maybe the boy was a bad person. He could easily imagine an evangelist, with his arms out, waiting for the people to love him and throw gold. How often had one sibling been good and the other was rotten? “I don’t know him, no.” he agreed.

When the conversation turned to their first meeting, he smiled. Always bleeding, Olistet. “I don’t make a habit out of enlisting healers. I try not to be in the market for one. You were memorable. And you did a good job.” He brushed his chest to assure her.

And she remembered he didn’t like hospitals. Better the authorities be on his side. The guild he was under had clinics in the city, and doctors that would take them without registry, but networks like that were local. No such establishment in Valleyrun. Competition between hunters were fierce, as though the pressure of killing virtually immortal foes wasn’t enough. “The cave sounds good, since our tree,” the one he’d rested against, last. “is not at a practical distance, is it?” Olister took help when he should. Proud, perhaps, but as a human in war with occult archetypes he knew to either lean on others occasionally, or be a young corpse.

He was not so agreeable with her request as he passed the berries, into the cave, and widened his eyes at the fire lighting one of the walls. Catalina’s magic, he assumed, since she didn’t seem all that surprised. She did  give it a strange look, but didn’t address it. “I don’t want to take you into this life.” It was true. He didn’t do this so that others would. But she’d said it a bit as a negotiation. She wasn’t the kind of girl to leave him now, and deserved something in return. He thought she meant other things, in other ways, than the two otherworldly they’d met, when she spoke of vampires. When she didn’t take the hint of what he said first, he put his head back against the cave, one leg out, arm crossing his chest to hold on to the wounds. The loss was getting to him, and he was already a bit in to lethargy. A breath through his nose. She should make her own decisions.

“If you promise to stay safe when I say so, I can take you to the city. But I’ll return you here whenever you want, or you can go yourself. I’m offering a vacation, not an escape.” He said and swallowed, closing his eyes. This girl was agreeable enough. He could choose worse for company. With her youth and anger, she could become a great hunter, especially with the edge of her magic. The few hunters that had that kind of advantage were prolific, but also bastards. Perhaps Cat wouldn’t be. “Lesson one. Don’t go looking for herbs without titanium and glass.” The slender knife, drawn from his belt. He pinched the blade between bloody fingers, and pointed the handle at her.

-

Inan felt his heart awake. Nona was attractive. She tried to be some kind of rebel, with her clothes, but really she was a kind looking girl. He was willing to say that she was not kind, even if she might have been, once. Perhaps it was her mother in her, if he could be so unfair. The contrast and the story written on her made her very beautiful. Sometimes, mangled birds laid in the nettles. He thought it was beautiful that they couldn’t get stung by the greens anymore. She had this kind of contradiction on her. He thought about kissing her out of courtesy, in front of Martin who should be her beau, but didn’t feel the gravity Catalina had in the cave. Nona’s lower lip inflated, somehow, a trick he’d know if he’d kissed other girls, surely.

When she grabbed his collar he pushed her off. It had frightened him, like she was going to take a part of him. He saw that she deliberately tripped over her legs. Legs that stayed apart, knees up, where she sat. Her underwear was torn, blue flowers on white. Was that deliberate too? What idol was she imitating, wearing that? Something dark underneath the tear in the flowers when she looked up, never bothering to fix her skirt. Her eyes didn’t mind his. Somehow her depravity gave her power over him. “Ow, Inan.” She said in a slow, amused voice. He shook his head, knowing she was roping him in somehow. “Owie.” He was more afraid of her than he’d been of Marin.

He was running down the street soon, tears in his eyes. Maybe father could forgive him, for having bet his blood and won. He knew the man didn’t put as much stock in the blood itself as he did mother’s view on it. Father could have some warmth, yes. The Blood House hadn’t raised the brother to be without his sister. He was a disaster without her. And prime prey.

Prey stopped outside of the motel, remembering an invitation.

He knocked on her door. She’d still be with him, even if his blood didn’t appeal. He needed that opposite of Nona, now. He didn’t really want to see father. Parents are too often their children’s last choice. “Hello.” He said, ready to take those steps in if she told him to open the door, or force it, as much as Inan could force things. “I thought you’d want company since you’re here on your own.” Reflection, projection. He was still wound up in himself.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 07, 2016, 11:22:31 pm
It was curious to know there was a brother out there that spoke of her. Someone who knew her by many names and as a single soul. She wondered if she’d been enamored by meeting her siblings when she was a different person. She thought she could be, as this one. Pasqual, a middle child. Preceded by an Angeli and a Saed and a Kuro. Followed by a Sorrell and a Liam and Marin herself. Kuro and Sorrell were dead. Their Children were ravenous. Marin had read that they were the emptiest sort, set adrift without their parent fangs. Marin had no parent and no fledgling. She was adrift in herself.

Lying on the hotel bed, she extended a hand up above her and stared through the space of her fingers. There had been versions of herself that had been eager to find her relatives. Marin was no such iteration. Humans were dumb and unobservant, mostly. She’d slipped in and out of their lives without tether, but moon monsters were another thing altogether. All veins lead back to kin.

Marin had become fairly accustomed to the spells of dysphoria that came with her existence, but she was no less glad when she heard the knock on the door. An answered wish, maybe. “It’s unlocked.” She said to the door, and found Inan Copper close on its heels. Tearful boy. Marin sat up and propped herself on her elbows. “I’m used to being on me own.” She told him, but tipped her chin in gesture for him to come closer.

“It’s okay, though, if you want company. You’re not used to being on your own.” A suggestion of finality in that. He’d not seen his sister run off with her Hunter friend. Marin had. She stared at him. Dark eyes again, with the window curtains drawn. “What kind of desperate are you now?” she asked. Desperately lonely, or guilty, or sad. Was there angry or bitter? Cat’s purview, perhaps.

She slithered off the bed and went to him. Standing near him he’d find her slighter and smaller than Cat. No flame, just smooth silky dark. She was the bottomless ocean antithesis to his sister. A hand on his cheek, where it was still damp from his little sorrow. Marin wondered if he was aware how transparent he and Catalina were. Anyone who had been willing could have seen their ill-fated hearts laid bare. She’d met them for all of an hour, if that, and she knew what would press the bruises on his soul. “Is it your own desperate, or is it your sister’s?” she asked, smoothing her thumb over his cheekbone.

“Are you feeling honest yet?” she asked. “I’d like to know that Inan Copper more than whatever brazen thing you were playing earlier.” Slipped her hand behind his head and pulled him toward her with her fingers in his brunette curls. “You stole my silver.” She mused, breath on his lips and her endless black on his eyes. She wondered if she should tell him about the white beast in the woods and the man that had whisked away his darling red. Marin decided against it. She would tell him later, when he could not find his little fire. For now, bloody mother, she wanted to bathe in the cavern of his aching chest.

His blood sang to her, ripe with roiling and unfulfilled things set against some beautiful and twisted self. His tear-shining eyes sang more, though. Marin wanted him more than she’d wanted any other thing in this town or this life. He was so much better than he’d been earlier. She wanted all the raw trembling when Catalina and his bravado were gone. “I came to this town just for you, you know. It’s been interesting all around, but I only came to meet you. I heard a rumor and I came looking.” Little kisses for his lips and his cheeks and his forehead when she’d pulled him toward her enough.

“Does that make you feel special, the way you want? I didn’t come to take anything or eat you. I just wanted to meet you.” Would Martin shake, some primal intuition speaking of another man dancing in Marin’s heady sweet scent? He’d been given a pale imitation of affection in exchange for food. That was not so for Mend.

She twined the fingers of her other hand into his hair and brought his forehead against her own. “Sheltered boy. Why don’t you tell me what hurts your blood won’t mend. I can show you how to love your sister from afar, in exchange.” Marin hummed. She let him go and went to the door and set the lock. Turning to stare at his back, she smiled a little. A boy with blood that healed everyone else and a heart with too many ties. What a perfect complement to her self-serving lonely.

“I don’t want your blood, because I hear you give it to everyone. I’d much prefer your tears.” 

--

“That’s good enough for me.” Cat said. “You can call it whatever you like.” Vacation. Escape. She didn’t know herself how long she wanted to get away. She’d be a fool if she couldn’t admit that part of her was worried she’d wake up in the morning and want nothing more than to go home.

Cat chanted another small spell to slow his bleeding before she took the blade he’d offered. Under other circumstances, she would have laughed at that kind of caution. She knew these woods to well to find them frightening. But, Tsoalle and his mind games were fresh in her head and she didn’t know which way the vampire might choose to turn her thoughts next. It seemed best to accept the sharp and step out with her decisions set.

She was quick, when she was out. Catalina didn’t want to risk meeting Tsoalle again and she didn’t want to waste the last glimmers of light. Mother and Father would be looking for her by now, she thought. Maybe Inan would be too. She needed Olister to be patched up for his sake and hers.

He’d know she had been rushing when she came back, breathing hard with bundles of foliage in her arms. “Here, let me see.” She said, dumping the plant life beside him when she knelt down. His blade hung awkwardly in one of her belt loops, but at least it seemed she’d not needed it. Cat was careful when she helped him out of his shirt to get a full look at his arm. She tossed the dirtied garment over him, as if it were a matter of modesty, and tended to the angry wound.

She’d felt the same sort of embarrassment last time they’d been in this sort of situation, but she blushed because she understood it now. Inan’s fault for waking her to that. It might have been Tsoalle’s tricks, but she felt a flare of irritation toward her brother even as she applied the thick green moss. Nothing would let her escape that idiot, surely. But then, that was the fault of her heart. A deep breath and she stilled herself. No malice when calling on the Earth for aid. She placed her palms over the moss and sang the Old Words.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 08, 2016, 10:54:26 pm
She didn’t allow him to pretend. Just as well. She seemed like a lidless entity, deity, that failed to see the skin-bone shell, and read out of the soul-book freely, to the humans they belonged to. It was a bit like standing in the high sun, peeled raw. His need for acceptance, or fleeting disinterest, fought the nerves that jerked for him to step out. Yesterday, early, he would have. Because then he’d just return to Cat, where he always was. “I would like some company, please.” He said, courtesy still in his verbal marrow as he closed the door. The room felt older than he’d known this motel to be. It felt hollow with Marin here. The church kind of hollow.

“I’m not desperate.” And it might sound believable because he knew so well she’d detect the lie he wasn’t tense when he spoke it. When she came closer, off her perch on the sheets, he visibly flinched. Soon he steadied, because yes, he was desperate. The slight, mysterious thing reached for him when she’d come to stand close. He sighed into her wrist when her palm dabbed into the clear truths, dying on his face. He’d not known how much he wanted this. “It is my fault, I think. I hurt her, and it hurt me.” He didn’t like the accusation he’d directed at himself. Tension, underneath her touch. “She’s an angry person.” It was as much of an insult her could raise.

He was feeling honest things, leaning with her pull, her fingerprints making lighting where they touched the roots of his hair. But honest things don’t always express themselves with transparency. “I’m not usually so bold as I was in the house. I don’t need attention when I have Catalina.” A break of a heart, there. Because he knew he didn’t, now. A terminal thought, though their connection wasn’t. He was pleading for something. She granted before he’d formulated his craving. His throat unlocked around a short breath when he closed his eyes, a rich gem, poisoned with salt and everything he’d been made to feel since his wonderful mistake, fell from  the pretty eye’s end. He took her kisses and thought it was satisfying to have small, spreading glitter storms on those shallow nerves. His lower lip shivered as he drank up the attention, craving at her, any, approval.

The relief itself was so complete for a moment, that another flood lifted the protective lids, tainted faintly with the darkness of his former state of emotion, to give birth to more pearly notes, one off either corner, on either side. “Yes.” He said, almost failing the word. Special. He did not think tail-thoughts of what happened to the dependent when evanescence passes on. The contact of their heads was safety against something eternal. A cliff, the earth. Perhaps a vampire was that. He gasped when she left to lock the door.

So he turned and stood there, steady like a still tree knowing of the malweather that would come to break, uproot and kill it. He looked at the floor by her feet, and touched under his weeping eyes. Mostly emptiness, dancing with a search and sadness that was studied rather than tasted, there. With his palms curved around the corners of his mouth he posed aghast, but spoke and expressed soaked apathy. He needed it to think, so he could answer, and learn from what he said. “I hung all my hopes on the line between me and Catalina.” A cluck at the last of her syllables. He bypassed that affection so there would be continuity in the story, instead of mad sobbing and violent hiccups. “I thought all my loves for her were good. I let them roam but I loved her wrong.” Above the tip of his fingers, polished with salted confession, the eyes pulsed, the golden rings around the white irises were dandelion crowns, beating. “And then I hung us in that bond, didn’t I, vampire Marin?” His voice was an echo against the valves of his palms.

He swallowed and it tasted salt on his tongue, but bitter in his head. He shrugged. When he let the shoulders down they quivered. He’d let go of something he wanted to keep, so it was false resolution. Inan came toward her, hands close to his chest, fingers curled but lax. “I should have known not to love her like an animal. No.” some disdain. “Even animals know not to, don’t they?” He swallowed and it urged more upset for his cheeks to drink. And then he bit his lip. Some life in the gray. Blushing, confrontational life. “And I don’t want to know it. I want it to be her fault. I believe it a little. Like when we were children and I was upset when I hurt her and she cried, sometimes.” He held the wet hands out, a throwaway remembrance of what Marin said she wanted. Simple boy. Or uncaring. Or addled, now.

“Can you teach me anything for this? How wise you would have to be to let the heart be dutiful, and have its desire, too.” Said the lips, lacquered with something between his desperation and anger. “Perhaps you can put a spell on her.” He said, his soul protesting immediately. "Or" He had to grasp at something that wasn't so selfish and delicious, and inevitably empty. "on me. I need to change."

-

He had heard of moss as an aid. There were some poisons it could draw out, apparently, but he never studied the arcane knowledge available to him in the hidden libraries. Once or twice he'd been surprised by the potency of such remedies, but usually he would just depend on the shallow sciences, the ones that would not do if they did not see. It had kept him alive long, after all. He worried about whatever microlife might find its way into his blood with the introduction of moss to the wound, but trusted Catalina more than to protest now.

A small smile, when the girl blushed and fussed. With no task for the arm she wasn't closing, Olister kept the shirt against himself. If she was going to do magic to possibly save his life, again, he could very well cover up, if only to help her concentrate. The warmth spread faster than it had in his chest. He'd missed it like an old friend. This kind of power wouldn't trust to addiction, like the vampire counted on their liquids to entice humans. He kept his eyes on her face while she sang. Beautiful woman, at such a zenith in her life. He thought he might enjoy watching her grow and shape her.

His fingers caught some of the residual, humming gold that was meant to weld him shut. When he could move them, and Catalina's song dwindled, he tried making a fist. The tips, where the power had pooled, drained slowly to supply the rest of the digits with power to do so. The sleeve with the same marks as his arm tried to repent for not having protected him by holding the herbs in place with a knot. He pulled on the remains of the shirt for her. In the evening, with the blue shadowing his scruff, he might look formidable again, with some strength returned, and his exterior charmingly ruffled. The confident grin wouldn't subtract from the persona of a vagabond chaser of evil, either.

"Thank you." he said and touched her arm firmly before retrieving the knife from her jeans with his fully functional hand. He'd be a poor hunter if he couldn't make a stand because his dominant arm was out of play. "I'm not going back to the city, not directly. If you want you can wait here. I have to go to Midsummer. I'm sure that's where Tsoalle is headed." he shrugged and regretted it immediately. They'd have blood and clinics for him there. And other hunters that might be territorial enough to finish the job before he arrived. "But my car's open, if you want to come." He squeezed her hand with the fingers she'd brought back to life, even though he wanted to kiss her cheek. "I can't wait for you." An apology. But she seemed to have made up her mind, anyway. Better she learn he would be kind when he could, and practical when he had to.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 09, 2016, 04:01:58 am
Cat was nodding before he could get his whole offer out. Of course she’d come. Better if she got the chance to help him deal with Tsoalle. Mind-dancing demon. She’d like to own her own wounds, at least. She didn’t need anyone to magnify the rift she’d carved between herself and her brother. “I want to go. I won’t hold you up.” She said. It was better if Catalina followed him now. If she took the time to go home she might change her mind. She squeezed his hand back.

She pulled her hair back in a tie from her wrist. One of Inan’s. When his hair fell silky and escaped the band often, hers held fast. Curls like her mother, same as her fire. Cat considered Inan over Elise, though, as she twisted her hair into a loose mound on top of her head. She had the benefit of rebellious teenage discord to soften leaving her parents behind.

It was an awkward and bramble-thick trek back toward Olister’s car. They did not take the same path out of the woods that they had taken in, on the off chance of meeting Tsoalle again. Or someone who might call Cat home. Whether Olister thought to spirit her away or not, she felt it as such and it laid warm embers over the ache of casting her darling Inan off. He wouldn’t know how she wished the Hunter and brother might trade places. With different blood, she might have swooned over Inan like Nona did.

When they finally reached his vehicle, she scrambled into the passenger seat before she could change her mind or anyone saw her on the street. Cat brushed a few wadded up paper towels to the floor to make room for herself. Better she didn’t know what they’d been spent on. “Thank you for taking me with you.” She told him, when he had taken the wheel and locked the doors. The relief in her voice was poignant. He must understand she was running from something, even if he didn’t propose to provide her a path. He might even guess what had wedged itself between the Copper siblings, if his imagination had been loosed by Tsoalle’s trail of ill-fated passions.

“I’ve never been to Midsummer.”

--

Marin made soft, reassuring sounds when Inan gave up his story and laid bare his sin. It was thick in his blood and made his scent flux with the whorl of emotions he rolled off his tongue. He said he loved Catalina like an animal and she wanted to ask what that meant. Was it to love inhumanly? If that were so, Marin didn’t know any other love. He might like the taste of hers, then, if it matched that pallet.

“It’s her fault because she loves you back but won’t have it, I suppose.” Marin suggested. “But, that’s a sensible thing among humans.” Gently, she pet his hair. Cat used to do it, when his cuts ached or Nona had unsettled him with her fervor. She took one of his outstretched hands and led him to the bed she’d tumbled Martin through. It was tender, this time. Marin could indulge sympathy for this kindred spirit.

She pulled him onto the worn mattress so that he was half splayed atop her, pressing his cheek to her breast and kissing the back of his hand before placing it on her cool stomach. If she had been of the right candor, it might have been motherly. Instead, it was a deep familiar that would taste strongly of Catalina. But Marin was not forbidden. “Spells are for Witches.” The moon maiden told him.

“I come from angels and demons cast in the sweetest sorts of sin. Your sister comes from the Earth, because she shares the soil from which your mother grew.” Marin said. “So, I won’t be casting any spells.” She laughed a little. But Marin could be an outlet eternal, unbreakable because her mind would reform new like her bones. “But, I can give you a simple solution.” She said.

She wriggled down so that she might kiss him again, this time on the top of his head and then his tender eyelids. Arms snaked around him she wove only a lover’s spell, no true Magic. Sweet mouth, candy tongue. If he found her teeth sharp, they were contrast only. No danger tonight. She liked the way his tears tasted enough that she didn’t bother thinking hard about his blood.

If Marin were honest with herself, she was being greedy. In all her lifetimes, she’d not met another with silver like hers. She knew that, even if she’d forgotten all too much else. “I can take you out of this town, whenever you want to go. I can be by your side, so you won’t be alone. You can love your sister from afar, so that she can be free to bury your dirty secret and,” she ran her fingers along his spine and pressed herself close to him so he might learn the way she fit there. Perfectly, as she fit against anyone. Not that he could know. “When your loneliness and your need for her makes you want to sob in the middle of the night you can bury your dirty secret with me.” She spoke against the curve of his jaw, eyelashes playing against the soft skin of his cheek.

“I came here for you and I think I’ve decided I’d like to keep you for a while. It makes me feel a little less lonely, I think. We can trade. Your lonely for mine. I won’t even mind if you say her name instead of mine.” Marin liked the taste of names. She just wasn’t attached to hers. “Maybe you’ll change a little, too, when you learn the taste of my name too.” She’d wandered into herself, a bit, and slid her fangs along the tender skin of his throat. She broke not a single cell and pulled her lips away quickly, apologizing with her tongue there instead.

Maybe he’d find a little mirror in her, somewhere. They all had monsters of some shade to hold back. She didn’t expect him to understand the curiosity of meeting someone genuinely special, that loomed out of the haze of centuries as unique. Marin was sure that she might forget his name, someday, but she’d not forget what he was. Human man so very close to whatever god she was fallen from. She was eager to learn him and realized, quietly, that she was eager for him to learn her too. For the first time under this name, she worried how someone might respond. Marin had never cared before. She searched for his gaze and her darks were a little hopeful and a little apprehensive. Another shivering echo of the look Catalina had given him, lying on the cave floor. Only Marin had already offered to keep him, when his sister had not. 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 09, 2016, 08:02:10 pm
Catalina's eager was refreshing. He knew youths to break themselves against this life. Those who didn't die would come out of it with a little less light, like they expected romanticism of this trade, and only got the brick from alleyways or hungry nights where absence of people as well as vampires would make for disbelief in both. He would worry for the little woman, new hormones and a new body to fight her battles, but she only wanted escape. She didn't want a holy war that would be mostly hollow, or elevation in ranks that meant nothing to the rest of the world. An escape it was. To some, it was the escape from a great lake to the great sea. But Valleyrun was the lake, and hunting was the moon. If she was fortunate, she'd just been an astronaut swimming her whole life.

He tried not to be embarrassed when she cleared a place for herself to sit in the car. A smile, like he was grateful for her gratitude, but more amused about it. Olister tried to be moral when he could, but had a habit of thinking he was in the green for his chosen path, and also didn't get in the way when most people made mistakes he'd learned from. He'd step between them an elongated fangs, though, if he could. The engine started and so did their journey. He had two apprentices so far, both of them brief, full of ambition. He'd make sure to be better with Cat. She had more potential.

"It's like our city, Midsummer." he said, turning out of her home town and onto the road. "Bigger, wider spread, with too many adjacent places, though." he contradicted. "But I guess that might work if you want to learn a trick or two." His arm worked surprisingly well for driving. Perhaps there was a numbing agent in the moss. Clever naturalists. He nodded to the board between them, where the phone laid to charge - he made sure to invest, since it had a few functions that were helpful to him, and also it would be a good friend on solitary transits. "Mostly rock, goes with the car, but you can put on whatever you like." He wasn't the kind of listener to protest. Hard to conjure that kind of passion for airwaves anymore, when you went after death in all its forms. With that being true, he'd been known to be something of a snob when it came to french fries in roadside eateries.

As the road went by, he wondered if he should ask about her and Inan. Tsoalle wasn't really the kind of demon to leave such connections be, and she did focus this break toward the boy, rather than her family or town. He stood fast with affording her this opportunity, but wondered what kind of council he should give now, that they were already on their way.

"So. What am I going to expect from you, Cat?" he asked. "Obviously you're pretty useful as a healer, but who am I bringing along, here?" No accusation, just conversation. "Want to tell me what Tsoalle used against you? It might help when we catch up to him."

-

Inan was quite won over by the gentle she let him have. He walked without hesitation in her trail toward the bed. It had been a hard day. Perhaps the sheets would do him some good. She made sure he felt as little as possible of them, at first, and he found that he preferred the softness she offered for his head. His hand wasn't experienced enough to know to be careful, or coy, so he hid it immediately under her shirt, discovering her low temperature and its kind effects. He felt like before, in rain and hill, but eager instead of guilty.

The hand stayed underneath the fabric when she moved, and folded her top upward until she'd kissed all the way down to his lips. Inan though her taste was exotic, nothing like the heat he'd found in Cat. He breathed with some distressed want, searching deeper in that kiss for something it promised. She wanted to give him everything that had been ripped out. He'd only have to pay with the faults that had brought him here. She felt beautiful against him, a refuge that said he could wage his own war there, if it healed him. He wanted to have her, the way he'd taken Cat. A day had passed, but his lust was not made to spill and then be locked away again, once it knew that taste. He was meant to engage fully, without reprieve, or so his wants was.

"I want to be with you." he confessed. Boy heart, not a chance against the banquet that the slight immortal underneath him represented. He could have been a happily uncaring husband to another, and he'd still wanted her when she appeared. Without trying for attention, Marin was still a Siren and the cliff. With her lovely now, and a sweet contract without thorny clause, he might as well have been a nettle in magic fire. Another confession, in his groan, when her teeth ran along the pillar beside his throat. He remembered her rejection before, and felt hopeful and afraid. Her tongue infuriated his desire, and swelled it.

Her eyes were everything Catalina's hadn't been. There was a place for him against her. None of mother's expectations, or Nona's obsession with something that wasn't him, that made him feel like plastic. It felt lovely, to be convinced that he had value, and that his value was in something he'd gladly give. He tested her with a quick handle on her shirt, off her head, and kissed her quickly when the garment was gone. "I'll learn everything about you." he pledged as he sampled more of the freedoms she offered, lifting her legs tighter around his waist, so she'd cling to him better when he gave her more of his weight. Inan had no experience, but his lack of lessons also included the ones that nurtured inhibition. He felt her with his hands, let the fingers rake her skin deeply. Chilled muscles, cool bones. He gasped as he burned against her.

With his nose in her hair, her felt her chase away some of the most basic things he knew. He went exploring with this lack of fetters. She was smaller, somehow, than Cat, and that was its own novelty. His body knew what on her it wanted, and where. He was not of fang kind, so it was innocent when he bit into her neck, scraped his dull teeth there, and mumbled into the skin when, by his fumbling, he wanted more of her skin, and less of his clothes.

"Why would you be so interested in me, Marin?" he asked, trying to form something to anchor him as his hair was in one eye, and the part of him that he'd showered clean from Cat only last evening dressed itself in Marin. "Surely a parlor trick like mine fades in your millennia?" And then sighs, and pause in his breaths, and little sounds against her neck. His hands on her wrists, as though she might fight him - that he could hope to fight her back - or keep her if she wanted to leave. He'd only known this while Cat had been restrained, after all. He'd come to expect that fear, and draw sweetness from the thought of containing. But this was also different. The fact was that she was not kept by anything other than her wish to be here. He tried to touch her with is chest, and his shoulders. It was a needy kind of search for contact.

"I'll be with you if you don't leave me." he whispered without much left in his voice but the urgency for air. "You can bleed me dry, if that's all I'm worth, and I won't stop you." Yes, that was what she was. The same that he was as a person, who needed sustenance. She'd not asked for it, but she was someone who fed off blood. But the sting of her rejection from before bit into the pleasure. "Just a taste. For me." he tried, suddenly starved for her teeth. He'd never been bled like that before. "O-or I won't come." it was a dastardly lie, that she wouldn't believe. but she could believe the strength of his insistence, at least.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 11, 2016, 07:04:41 am
Cat held her breath when they turned onto the road and began the trip out of town. A short procession down Valleyrun’s main road. She slumped low in the seat as if she feared being seen, but there was no one there to see them go. Had they driven in the opposite direction, toward the city, they might have come across Adam’s truck. The father was searching for his children with dim headlights while the mother made phone calls and kept the kitchen light on. Perhaps Elise would have spoken to Nona’s mother by now.

The girl was quick to address the radio, when he offered it. Something besides their voices to fill up the empty that was growing with each roll of the car wheels. Her eyes on the dashboard, because not seeing was as important as not being seen. There was no hesitation in her that would say she was reconsidering, but a sullenness that said she was unhappy to go. She found a station playing hits from the 80’s, 90’s, and today and let it play when the Eagles sang Hotel California. “This came out in seventy-seven, though.” She told him. She and Inan had gone through a classic rock phase. It had been partially inspired by an old collection of Adam’s CDs.

Despite the anachronism, the song wound on and they were beyond the town line before it ended. As if that gave her permission to breathe again, she sighed and sat back up in her seat. “Well, I’m not a real Witch.” She said, when he asked what he might expect. “I should be next week, actually, because it’s my birthday. But I don’t think Mom ever planned the Rite anyhow.” She shrugged and pushed a finger through a hole worn in the knee of her jeans. “But I’ve been studying and I’m respectful. So my Magic is still good.” She glanced at him. “I can definitely mend.”

She had to think hard to come up with the rest. Catalina had spent her time learning to take care of the ill in the hope that she could be like her Mother, first, and later so that she might do it in Inan’s place. “And I learn quickly. If you teach me, I could learn to help you Hunt too. I won’t get in the way, at least. I promise that.” But he was asking other questions about her as a person and her soiled heart. It made her squirm in her seat.

Cat decided to be blunt, because she hadn’t too much to lose with Olister. If he found her repulsive, he could leave her in Midsummer. She was confident he’d care less than most, though, if only because his line of work had surely put him in view of worse sinners than she. Besides, it was all mostly Inan’s fault. She was doing the right thing to be getting away.

“Tsoalle knows I’m in love with my brother.” She said, and tried to make it sound bland. As if speaking it outright didn’t cut her fresh. “I didn’t know it, I don’t think, until yesterday.” She was picking intently at the hole in her jeans. Making it larger. “But, Inan and I got caught alone away from home a bit and it just—he just—I don’t know.” Cat folded her arms across her chest and angled herself toward the window. “It’s wrong and I know it and it wouldn’t have ever come up if Inan weren’t an idiot. So I decided to leave.” She said definitively. “That’s it.”

--

Marin let him take his hands where they wished. She enjoyed his eagerness the way she’d enjoyed Martin’s frenzy. The way she’d never really tire of young lovers. Her body had never left the throes of youth, even if her soul had walked many miles further. She was a bit more invested, though. Martin’s veins and cigarettes could not possibly compare to the satisfaction of finding Inan in want of her acceptance.

“Is it just a parlor trick?” she asked him, and she might have seemed disappointed. “If it is, I’ve kept mine fresh for centuries. Yours isn’t so different. I suppose it lets your grow old. It lets you die.” Marin shrugged a little as he nuzzled her neck. “You’re not the same, but…” she trailed off without the end to that story. She didn’t have it. He seemed worried she might change her mind and she wondered if that had been the thread that unraveled him from his sister. Hands on her wrists and it was almost laughable. A small effort and she freed them, but she did not make any move to draw away. Instead, she was encouraging, tugging up the hem of his shirt so that his warmth might be that much closer to her. He was different that way, too. All humans were.

He spoke to her like he was in place to bargain with her. To tell her what might make him come or go. She wondered if he had read her solitude for desperation or if it was only that his own needs were that clouding. A little laugh and she kissed him again, forceful tongue and teeth that raked across his lips. “Is that so, Inan Copper? Human that bleeds for everyone but himself. You suggest that it is I that would leave you?” she arched against him. “Even if I hated you, you interest me enough. I could be patient through so many of your lifetimes. And you only have one." Had he forgotten she was timeless?

She removed his shirt entirely, so that she could trace the silver scars where they laced. She had seen them on his arms and found they danced wherever there was blood to flow, only the heavier vessels spared. Some mother he had. Marin didn’t know whether to be impressed or disgusted. She’d never been a mother, so she supposed she ought not judge. She’d eaten sons though, and knew that game well enough. Sparing the victim so was a selfish thing, only. It was never for anyone but herself, and surely it had been as much for Elise.

He was bent on bleeding again, though, and she wondered if it were possible to be addicted before he’d even been bitten. It was twice now that he became so shameless and said things he blatantly did not mean. Marin paused. “Do you know what happens to men and women like you? It’s never much fun.” She slipped a nail along the thickest artery in his neck. “Craving to be food as much as I crave to eat you. It’s a bizarre sort of suicidal. You think you want it now, but you haven’t the slightest clue how disgusting your own blood will feel once you know what it’s like to lose it.” She kissed the throbbing pulse below his jaw. “You’ve only bled for other humans, before.”

Marin wriggled out from under him enough to pull off her own clothes. She did it deftly, laying herself bare as if it were the state she should always have been in. If only it had been she he’d thrown himself on top of in the cave. He’d have seen her in all her brilliant starlight with none of the guilt his little fire had. “You’re being hypocritical, telling me not to leave you and then saying you won’t come.” She scolded, reaching up to cup his face between her slim hands. “I told you I’m not in the business of offering you spells. My blood is more Magic than yours will ever be. So are my teeth.”

She pulled herself against him again, her skin like a cool breeze on his summer. Marin didn’t want to make an addict of him. They always became so addled and sad. It irritated her. Maybe it was selfish to deny him that fate if it appealed to him so much. But he had said he’d learn everything about her and that meant more than her fangs. He’d have to accept her celibacy from his veins. Marin was roving his body with her hands again, tracing the scars and moving then to kiss his chest. “Show me how much you love your sister, though. Maybe, if you’re honest enough I’ll grant you your wish, one of these days.”   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 11, 2016, 07:47:39 pm
He would have seen her fidgeting as a sign he should not have taken her, but Dean had also been like this at first. Olister let it ride out, and she calmed once they left her town behind. Hard to escape a life, didn’t mean you shouldn’t. He would have hurt their trust if he suddenly changed his mind, also. There was also the fact that he liked her. She had helped him twice, and wasn’t as defensive and ultimately anti-social as most of the aspiring hunters her age were. This wasn’t her dream in any way. He suspected that was part why she didn’t apply any sheen to it, which probably helped make her tolerable.

“I wouldn’t know.” He said about the track. The frowny smile suggested he did.

He wondered how one would go about becoming a witch, and if the abilities that came with the title were completely dormant until then. It seemed, by her telling, that it was the same as with any other earned skill. Made sense. He knew how to use knives and guns long before any guild would accept him. “If you’re not a witch yet, then I’m not sure what one is good for.” He said and rolled his shoulder. The arm wasn’t great, he knew where the pain was by the numbness that spread to negate it, but for something that had been bleeding to kill him not too long ago, it was fantastic.

He wanted to tell her she didn’t have to sell herself as a hunter to him. You could become a decent one with hard work, and from what he’d seen, survivability was about the same, no matter skill level. Something about accountability being symmetric to ability. It seemed more important that she be comfortable talking. “You’ll be on back-up first.” He cemented. “Mostly just watch.” He pointed to the compartment in front of her. “Twist the bulb, it’s hot so use the cloth inside.” A shelf of weapons would spill to the floor, heavy thud unless her legs were in the way, holding more iterations of the knife she’d already met, and handguns. “Choose a light one.” Emelia had gone for the largest caliber. During target practice the kick-back had actually given her a black eye. “And a blade.” Same requirement. “You ever take up hunting? This will be a little—nothing like that.”

Worry for the integrity of her jeans was fast replaced with wondering whether all of her troubles might have been dreamed up by Tsoalle, as the road allowed a higher velocity. Famously, the kind of monster that the pale shadow was, nothing could be invented if it wasn’t there to begin with. Island theory. He was sure there was some truth to the aptness of Tsoalle as an individual, as prolific and sloppy as he was while still roaming, but Olister decided to trust her on this. She’d not readily admit to him, let alone herself, a different kind of love was there between herself and her brother, if it wasn’t. It was a better reason to stay away than most he’d heard. It also didn’t ring of selfishness. “Sounds like something that will be there for you when you’ve cleared your head for a while.” He said, still trying to safeguard an eventual return. She had something in Valleyrun. He wouldn’t be repaying her for her magic by adding to the gyre she was seeing. “And this profession does that pretty well, at times.” He said with grin. He ran his knuckles over her shoulder once before taking the wheel again.

There wouldn’t be a turn off for a while. He supposed this was the point of no return for Catalina. She didn’t move in any way that said he should use the brake pedal. “Don’t suppose there is some kind of Witch network that is particularly rooted in Midsummer?” he asked as the playlist took the que from her choice, and played something melodic and somber, with a lot of lyrics. It threaded perfectly with the rhythm of the passing landscape. “I mean, just so I’ll know if I need to avoid some of the places I usually go.” Hunters weren’t always cooperative between guilds, but if one was missing they had been known to work together.

He would let her sleep, if she wanted. Midsummer wasn’t impossibly far, but they wouldn’t reach it until morning. It looked almost pretty when they neared. “Hey, Cat.” The arm she saved nudged her and pointed out at the outline of the skyline. “Better have a look, faraway. Try to remember this when you’re knee deep in vampire gunk.” A poetic side of the hunter. They would be too close for the scrapers to boast soon, and he pulled up to a diner at the city border. The wind was brisk, river wind, and would smell different than her town. Polluted, dirty, wonderful.

“Idyllic, isn’t it?” he asked as he opened the door on her side and held out the cash he had on him between two fingers. “I got my card, and my guild gives me an allowance if I recruit and train.” He waved the wad again. “I just have to make a phone call and they’ll reimburse me. It’s not a loan, even.” Valleyrun was known to be frugal, and taking money from anyone was hard, but it was rightfully hers now, and the descent pay made chases like these a little more tolerable. “Helluva first job you picked, Cat. Let’s go see if the herb omelet here still measures up.” He was more interested in the newspapers they kept by all the tables. The delivery started here, so it’d be fresh, and there were a few markings that would let hunters know what pertained to them. Midsummer wasn’t overrun, not last time he was here, but it was spiraling.

-

But it was. Wasn’t it? The way mother drew smoke and father laid up the props. He weren’t honest with it, but truly, it was just a trick. He didn’t know how, perhaps it was a trick of genetics, but it couldn’t be as holy as mother made others and herself believe it was. “It’s as useful one.” He added, to pad his worth a bit, afraid the truth might reveal him  to be the dull human that he was. She spoke of the flaws in his magic as something she would want in her own. Inan was frustrated, distraught, and then accepting when he couldn’t hold her. A curious thing, all her power in her small body.

His was overwhelmed by her forceful kiss, the confident tongue. It was already all the sensuality he couldn’t even think up on his own. And a bit of scathing, spoken abuse, after, to let him know his bargaining meant nothing. Little easy Inan. Her other interest in him warmed, but it was confusing, too. What other value, possibly? Some of that doubt was displaced when she took his shirt. His scars had never been so sensitive. He thought they might bleed again in their fervor, when her touch ghosted them by. With Cat, he’d only taken, because urgency had been the nature of his hunger then. He’d not received this kind of care, back. It was quite easy to melt the boy.

Yanked out of that running dream, he looked at her, rimmed eyes anchored in her as thought he’d just woken to their embrace when she warned him of what his voraphilia might amount to. A bit of ignorance there, between the pale muscles around his pupils, until their fringes became golden. Do you not want me then? Again. It was unfair to raise a child and let him know every day, from mother and townsfolk, that his treasure was in his veins, only in his veins, and then send a deathly god his way, who’d say he had other things worth attention. Perhaps bleeding onto others had broken the boy-pretty, after all. The only person who could tell him different had gone when there’d been this kind of love. Inan couldn’t possibly digest that it could be this misery, stretched between the two things that he was, Catalina and his blood, that might be the beauty of his broken heart.

When Marin became further bare, the heat that all people inherit from their kind flashed, and burnt the back of his ribcage. Perhaps, when she held his face, it was the greatest thing he would ever give him. He swallowed with a wealth between his lashes, his hands on hers to keep that comfort, trying to be brave so that wealth didn’t spill. The fear that came with what she said next drew the surface of his eyes taut, and the reflective salted fell all the same.

“I’m sorry.” He said as he kissed Catalina softly. Here, in the motel, she was so responsive. He smiled into the cheek he’d cried on. He wasn’t some breaking mind. He was just all too eager to comply to this pretend. Maybe Marin was being overly evil for offering. His jeans, worn like all loved things, one pair out of two he owned, on this paid-for floor. A laughter, light but dry, because that is what happens with happiness when the throat stings. “I know I’ve said it, but you left.” He kissed her again, and used her for his weight. Hand through her hair. “But you’re here.” He said, and the untruth of it clawed, unwilling to drown in the gilded lie. Simple, overly literal Inan.

He measured the distance between the line of her jaw and the tip of her cheekbone with his open lips, inhaling her, hand on the other cheek, for closeness, not for possessiveness. This Cat didn’t say his name three times. This Cat only complied so far. Hand under her head, lift her until her chin was upward, and he could kiss at her beating pulse. He wanted to bring her up, and he wanted to weigh her down. His body sang acute, rigid, but he knew the value of love over such starvation now. Outside of his hand, inside of her arm, nose to her collarbone, where her scent would pool. And he held her closer, hips, legs, stomach and all. Affection’s confidence, that he’d not had this far, because he was the king of the part of his heart that loved Catalina. No doubt there, only around it. His knees in the bed, under her, that she could lay in his lap, wrapped around him, hands on her waist lifting her, but his lips kept her mouth to keep her head on the sheets. He was bent over her, making them a crescent when he urged her body to line the front of his torso. Make love, make-believe love.

The kiss would be more oppressive, how else would he express the loss between man and the animal self, that he had spoken of.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 13, 2016, 01:18:48 am
Marin felt the threat of sentimentality when he played so sweetly into her embrace. He was lacking confidence in anything but his blood, which she understood she had undermined the moment she’d first denied him. If he’d thought to build something solid beneath himself with loving his sister, that too had been cracked and shaken.

Marin remembered feeling lost, the way his soul seemed lost, when she was Chandra. Young and fresh to a new life, she’d not acquired immunity to the dull smack that rattled her mind every time she went to conjure a familiar face. She had understood she’d lived and remember it all. Remembered dying. But each previous life became a wash of murky faces with consequences but no names. It had taken her two lifetimes, at least, to gain stability in the parts of her which were immortal and unbreakable. Inan was not immortal, but there were parts of him that were unbreakable. His core, as it were. Perhaps Catalina lived there. Parts greater than his fantastical blood, which would lose its glimmer the moment his eyes lost theirs.

His coin-gaze overflowed when she held his face in her hands. Poor boy, learning the transience of value in the worst way. He had yet to find a replacement in his own heart. She sighed obligingly when he tried his own stride, murmuring things meant for his sister in her ear. Marin didn’t mind it. She might even have loved it, victim to the passion of heartbreak. If she had been critically restrained with Martin, she was all the other things for Inan. But, this wasn’t a game for food. She would have been lying if she said it did not make her fangs ache to sheath themselves in his veins, savoring the sultry. But that was no different than being starving, which was not so bad as dying, and she had experienced both many times.

“I can be here as long as you like,” she assured him. He might have heard Cat in the silk coil of her voice, or he might have felt her drowned. It didn’t matter so very much. She said what was apparent he wanted to hear.

It was not uncommon for lovers to seek contact voraciously, as if each millimeter of skin was crucial to carry on, but there was rarely so much laid-bare need. Need of the spirit was so much sharper than the needs of the body. She could indulge that much for herself, as well. Lonely Marin, who wagered her pride on refined solitude, could let this song play. There had been entities in the past that had touched this same chord for her, ending tragically one way or another, but none with whom she had felt a sameness with. Maybe it was too much wanting that lead her to romanticize the connections in their blood, but his heart was young and his body was eager and she didn’t care to sort the rest out at that moment.

There was some surety in him, when he indulged the scene he wanted played. He might not believe it, but he was willing to feel it. Marin was willing to feel it too. She wrapped herself around him, singular heat in that cold body, fingers in his hair and her breath against his skin. She let her head fall back to the curious assault of his lips and pressed against him with her hips. If he’d loved his sister so deeply as this, she wondered what sort of torment the girl must have endured. The most wonderful sin, for which she would burn with shame but never repent.

She learned the taste of his tongue and gave him sweet wordless poetry, that involuntary vibration of vocal chords that told him how much more he might give until one of them consumed the other. His Cat had been so quickly overwhelmed. This one dared him to seek his limit and then twice over again. “Inan, how much do you love her? How much do you love me?” she panted softly as she played the friction of their bodies and her shoulder blades on the sheets. Such dark eyes. If he stared at them too much, he might see the green he wanted. She was not Tsoalle’s breed. There was no warping of his wants by anyone but himself. She was the most willing vessel, though.

A shivering high and she bit down a bit harder on his lip than she’d meant. He’d taste his own blood, and then she’d line that small wound with her tongue. Quick apology and the piercings would be closed faster than any Magic of Cat’s. She would have said sorry out loud; moaned instead when she caught the flavor of his red. Marin dug her fingers against his back. Surely he’d never known spilling his blood for pleasure. That tiny teasing suggestion of what might be if she bled him dry. Not enough to have him shaking, like Martin, but enough to understand the sudden frustration in his vampire-sister. Marin was all the eager abandon he could have hoped Catalina would be.

--

Catalina woke up with a start. In her lap was the slim dagger and the small revolver she’d selected from Olister’s overly-abundant stash. She didn’t remember falling asleep and was apologetic. “Oh god, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pass out on you like that. It was a long day.” She fumbled. She was glad to find no awkwardness in the way he spoke now, just as there hadn’t been when she’d finished telling him her sins. He had been so unfazed, even, that she’d briefly wondered if she’d made a big deal out of nothing. If she should ask him to turn back around and take her back so she could apologize to Inan. Then she’d remembered Olister had probably just heard, and seen, a lot worse.

Her face lit up when she saw what he was pointing to, awed by the skyline of a town she’d never seen. It wasn’t as big as Laurel City, by a long shot, but it was huge in relation so sleepy Valleyrun. Cat had never been on this side of the mountain. “It’s amazing.” She told him confidently. Enough of it that he would have to appreciate it as fact, if he’d previously disagreed. Midsummer was rosy for her, though. The promise of a new start that she could bury her ties to Inan and home under. It could have been a terrible place and she probably would still have loved it.

When they pulled up to the diner she was quick to remind him. “Mother was the only Witch outside of the City for at least a few hundred miles. Witches don’t talk to each other much anyway. Father shouldn’t have any connections out here, just maybe a couple in Laurel. So don’t worry about changing your plans at all.” She grinned. “If we do run into anybody, I’ll just tell them you were helping me get away from Tsoalle. You’ll be like a really scruffy fairytale prince.” She suggested.

Cat was wide-eyed and hardly knew how to take the money he offered. It was more than most donations they got from Inan’s patients. Better than a loaf of bread. “It can really be mine?” she asked. “I’m so glad you showed up. You have no idea how much I needed to get out of there. You’re not a prince you’re a fairy god—father?” she gave up on her metaphor and laughed. It was like an immense weight had been lifted from her. Truly, it was a bit sad. If she and her brother had left with Olister the first time they’d met, maybe she’d have been spared a lot of suffering. Maybe the siblings would still be together, too. Not that she’d asked him to take her the first time. “Breakfast sounds perfect.”        
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 13, 2016, 06:56:16 pm
A surge of reality, electrified with sadness, when the not-Catalina pledged she would always be with him, if he wanted. He applied the delusion harder, and clung to Marin, nodding against her. It said ‘you better’. Because what would it do to the boy, who had been fractured, that she had now healed to a half, if Marin left. The song that afflicted his lips and his jaw, when she sang into the kiss without lyrics, dizzied his head, disturbing the knowing as well as the willingly fantasizing part of him. He grew starved for the act, and it put warmth in him. A bit of confidence in this dark, hot insanity. He looked deeper in her for something he could treat the fire with. Lust and its play isn’t a cure for love and its pains, but it can distract, if you’re willing.

How pleasant and reassuring to feel her when she didn’t recoil. Although the cave had been sweet, with how she’d protest in whispers, he felt validated now, that she let him love. Addled, he broke the kiss, and it shattered well, with a sound dulled by his groan, but for a little, vulgar thread of saliva, binding the tip of his upper lip to the corner of hers. Of course those eyes would be green to him. How much love? “Everything.” He said, and didn’t realize it was not the answer to her question directly, but rather an expression of how it made him feel. He kissed her again to prove it, a strong connection, so he could wash away the memory of the distant sister, and try to trade it for this attached one.

A miserable drag for air, with mad, infatuated laughter too, when she bit into him. One eye remained closed, washed in the sensory drowning. With her tongue’s magic fussing to undo, he stared at her with bloated approval. “I never knew. But you can. Go ahead. I want to eat you too.” He challenged. It made sense to him. Cat wasn’t slow to feel. She flared fast. If she was like this, then he would be the grateful subject. “I want to hurt you too.” He said through the threading spell racing out from where the scratches had been. He closed his teeth but not his mouth as he took her harder, hands on her hips angling her opportune, so he could be deeper, retreat cleaner, and plunge truer. Her head in the pillows, her head against the bed board. He loved Catalina with his heart, but wanted for himself, with his stomach. It was everything the act should have been between the witchling children.

He slipped deeper into the abandon that she offered. If only he had fallen in love with Marin instead. It would have been less wretched for him to hunger for her fangs then the broken he felt outside of this bed. Martin, in his indignant want, was happier than the lovesick Copper boy without his Catalina. It was the abyss of this, its promise at his heels, that turned him harder against Marin. This kind of love was his medicine. “You feel like I’m melting.” He said, hunting for release, scorched beautifully on the way. He tried to  kiss her, but couldn’t because he needed air, and lifted a treasure of her red hair instead, placed it on his face, head dropped back as he arched and pulled to provide them with friction, drinking in the perfume that was always on Catalina’s pillow.

It wouldn’t keep, this dream, where sister’s body accepted him so. To feed it he hurried, and with faster toil follows precarious heights. In the light of it, drumbeat on the bedboard for some selfish, new passion he’d never indulged in, perhaps there was no Cat and no Marin. A pleasure that didn’t ask. He held on to that board and dropped his head forward instead, her hair that was actually dark pouring off his wide mouth that tried to give him comfort through the release. A complete rapture, and then the trails of its cost. Inan panted, looking down at something that was beautiful in a different way than Catalina. He collapsed against her, face against her neck, as breaths caught between himself and her nape, where condensation formed soon. Hot on cold, after all.

Had he betrayed Catalina somehow? He had surely betrayed himself. And it was the only medicine available. Hand clutched her waist. “Thank you.” He said, seeking deeper against her. He didn’t remove the veil of Catalina completely, perhaps another body, though cool, was the tourniquet that would let him live on. “Did I taste okay?” he asked, with no finery in this stupor to hold back the question or wonder if it should be asked, at all. Maybe this Marin could draw honesty, like she drew blood. “I-it’s Valleyrun’s best.” Jest. But he was also hoping some talk of exclusivity could make up for any kind of short-coming in his flavor.

-

Olister smiled in her startled waking. Catalina was a pretty thing, sun stricken green eyes and hair journey-glorious. For a second he worried she might hurt herself on the weapons, but found that she didn’t. She wasn’t as full of volatile energy as he’d seen in some barely contained people her age. “Night’s for sleeping.” He reminded her as her apology concluded. “It’s good to sleep when you can.” That was good advice for any life she’d choose for herself, really. Her expression was innocent when her face glowed along with the morning as she saw Midsummer. He recognized what it meant to her. All new places are magic. She’d lived in Valleyrun, for crying aloud. And, as he’d told her, better to remember the good angles if you were going to work in the shadows.

He laughed at the suggestion he would be a prince in anyone’s eyes. “Scruffy, certainly.” He gave and scratched behind his ear. “And I’m helping you get closer to Tsoalle, unfortunately.”

Her candid elation was quite something else. He should have found trainees like her in the past. If she didn’t take the money, he would simply place them in her lap, with the other things already there that she needed to make a life as a hunter. “You’re happy.” He noted. “Good.” And then he closed the door behind her, when she stood up and out of the seat. “My carriage was about turn back into a rat.” Was that the right story? “Leave the weapons in the car though. We’ll have to get you a big jacket.” Olister walked them to the diner, with the letters Brick on the windows.

Coffee was the main scent, trying to hide foods and their decline whenever the fridge in the kitchen wafted that scent outward. Sizzle from meat. It wasn’t even the breakfast rush, yet. Olister treated them to a booth. If the waitress cared, she didn’t show it when she placed menus on the table. He was quick to lift the newspaper and place it in a fat streak of light. Soon the ink would join the coffee and the almost spoiled. Their coffee, he said she had to get in to that habit, had barely stilled after the waitress had set it down until someone tapped on Cat’s shoulder from behind.

“You guys here on vacation?” the boy asked, and when she turned, the adjacent booth would be hosting someone roughly her own age, hair long and brown but tied back, eyes blue. By some stretch, he could be an Inan who did not have all the physical blessings, but more of the attitude. “Haven’t seen you around.”

Olister leaned back and continued to look for signs from their community. He tried to hide the smile that wanted to spread. This was a lesson she would have to learn on her own.

“I’m Braxton.” The boy said and held up his phone quickly, winking in unison with the sound-bite shutter from the little speaker. He held the screen up to her, if she was one of those who adamantly wanted the good angle of their face. Not that the picture was bad. “And you’re good looking, I see.” His smile, all teeth, revealed that he knew the try for contact was weak, and that he knew it could be charming too, if he wasn’t too serious about it.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 19, 2016, 04:17:33 am
Marin made some sound of disapproval, though she stayed comfortably in his embrace. “Don’t ask stupid questions.” She murmured. No malice, a little humor, but a commandment as well. “It’s rude to tempt monsters.” Marin nuzzled his hair. She was satisfied, for the moment and disinclined to test herself further. Whether the shock had left tremors, it had been sharp nonetheless. She’d not expected to make a mistake. Marin didn’t often make mistakes.

“Valleyrun’s best. I’d prefer to take you with me somewhere new. You can be the best of some new name, then.” She suggested. “Or, are you very tied to this sleepy town and all the other charlatans that wish to eat your blood?” Blood Magic was not strange to her. Desiring it was. She’d not asked to come burning into the world with her cold fire and raw throat. Humans, without such devilish starvations, had no real need to resort to this kind of hunt. She wanted to ask him if he enjoyed being the town’s cow. In some fashion it was an accurate assessment. Witch with the prize milk cow and his red fountain of life. She suspected the delicate boy would resent that sort of analogy. Perhaps, when he was stronger. “You don’t need to answer now. I have time. For the moment, sleep.” She said. “You’ve had a long day.”

Marin slept in the tangle of him, intimate in the whisper of skin on skin. A quiet haven below the old blankets. He could dream it was Cat’s limbs entwined with his, if he slept deeply and breathed shallow. Conjured Cat’s spice instead of Marin’s honey sweet. Marin, for her part, did not remember her dreams. If she did, she might find faces and hear names. Other timelines meant for other hers.

When the sun warmed the windowpane and set the dust motes dancing, Marin woke to Inan’s sleeping face. She kissed his eyelids, feather soft, and his lips, deeper. He had wanted to be kept, blood and all. Better, even if it were only because she’d not taken from his veins. The Sirens never sing for the men they love. It lacks authenticity, otherwise. Marin did not want her sleeping silver to wake to her vice yet. She wondered if it would hurt him when she bled other men and pretty girls.

She waited for him to wake, teasing his throat with her lips and his thighs with her fingertips.

“If Catalina were gone, would you still stay in this place?” she asked him quietly, when he’d opened his eyes, and the words dropped like glass shattering on the floor. Marin didn’t have to tell him whether or not to fear the hypothetical. He should understand it. His sister, beyond the phantom sister he had to bed, was gone. A rude awakening, surely, but she wanted an honest answer. “I saw her go. Running from you and this town and her heart. She is safe, though, I think. She had—company.” Marin frowned a little. “An old friend, it seemed.”

She pet his hair. Don’t fret too much. Marin was there for any pretend he might want, for his aching heart. She didn’t know if that sort of thing was enough. It had been a long time since she’d known love like he had for his Witchling. But facts were facts. Cat was gone and Marin did not know in what direction. Inan would never have caught her. “I can’t stay in Valleyrun forever, either. I want to explore somewhere new.” She said. Gentle urging. “You’ll not have to think of her, except for when you want. You’ll have the wide world for your distraction.”

--

Catalina had buried her own pains, catching the optimism of the morning and wearing it for an eager mask. If he looked close, the Hunter might see Inan haunting the corners of her smile, but it was a smile no less. She snickered. “Stick to hunting, I think. Storytelling may not be your forte.” She said, but left the weapons as he said and followed him into the diner.

She was half buried in the diner menu when the tap on her shoulder made her flinch. Sick fear in a flash, that Inan had tracked her down. Or maybe a tragic hope. Instead, she saw some ghost of him in a new boy. It was near comical the way her manner turned, startle flashing to something guarded and annoyed. Olister wouldn’t have known how typical it was. Inan would have.

Cat had never played nice for other boys. She’d never played very nice for anyone but her brother, in truth. But boys especially. They’d not been her interest and their attention had been upsetting. It was a discontentment she understood now, even if she wished she didn’t. Blue eyes that looked at her the way Inan did, but less sweet. She’d only ever liked it when Inan was close.

“Well, I don’t suppose you know every face in town.” Cat said, brow arching when he gave his name. Was she supposed to reciprocate? The compliment, half-teasing in its execution, crushed any inclination she had to play cordially. Volatile girl. “And you’re nosey.” She grumbled. Snatched his phone from him. Deleted the photo.

“Or, at the very least, you haven’t got pleasant manners. You should ask before you take a girl’s picture.” She said. It was meant to be scolding. It sounded cute. She’d not learned that there was something to spunk in a woman that played sweet on certain men. Cat tossed him back his phone. She’d only been so quick about it because she’d done the same to Inan, more than once. He’d made a game of taking photos of her sleeping, after Father had bought the phones.

She turned back to eye Olister. “You said the herb omelet was good?” A little scowl at the amusement on his face.
         
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 19, 2016, 07:07:21 pm
A quick jerk of his eyebrows, a simple, heartfelt fright, when she commanded him not to be so daft. But the boy was daft. And then he nodded slowly, cheeks filled with blood she hadn’t taken, rushed there by their act. Inan understood rudeness. Understood he had to avoid it, at least. He promised himself he wouldn’t be so insistent, if she didn’t wish it. She’d had so much patience with him, so far. A pet can lose its novelty quickly if it stays too close, and wants too much. And a pet he had to be, if he was not cattle like the rest of his race, to her. It was courtesy too. This was her room, and her time. If he wanted any of it he should at least be as pleasant as he could. That had meant sharing his blood when it came to others. With Marin, who had gone beyond the loveliness of humans, it was not the right thing to offer. Yes. He had to remember.

It was in him though, to forget this.

He was also frightened when she offered to take him away. It was the retreat of his chin and wider eyes of someone before they might leap from a great height, for leisure. He swallowed, the memory of her bite tingling on his lip and electrifying the roots of his front teeth. “I’m not tied.” That felt like delivering a clap across Catalina’s cheek. He was tied. But he need to not be. He wanted to run. He wanted to be with Marin because she said she’d be his sister for him. It would be good to have a Catalina that wouldn’t be so cold. Maybe he could pretend he hadn’t violated or coaxed her, if he pretended long enough. He fell asleep for her command. The heart tried to rest, but kept making love to the girl he thought he’d leave behind, only in the dreamscape she had crocodile teeth, and ate him, over and over.

He thought it had been real, when the heat of the morning added dimension his dreams did not bother to provide, and she was still against him, his carnivorous sibling. Instead it was the dream before sleep, yesterday. He blinked slowly, and opened his mouth in suddenly conscious gratitude, with the night was still heavy, keeping fog in his gaze. The light in the motel, though, as it took it from outside, was liquefying the gold in his eyes. “Of course.” He said with false steady. He wanted to be sure for her, wanted her to know he could be. “This place holds too many…” Another romantic chain, rattling, holding him down. But he wasn’t about to perform and be satisfied with the play he put up for a creature he wanted to impress. Before he could say whatever a hero says to reveal his heart as vast but handsomely sullen, Marin said the truth of matters. No more fire in Valleyrun. What could he do but nod even as his hurt shrunk his lying mouth and hardened his tongue. Committed to this front, now.

“Company?” he asked, endeavoring to be discrete as he was abandoned by Catalina once more. Was he replaced so soon? He wanted to get dressed and run after her, without knowing where to, but then he might lose his vampire, as well. He cried out some other questions as he took up hiding against her bare shoulder. He trembled when she drew up the image of this heartbreak, but without her, since she was not of this town, either. “I’ll come. I’ll come a thousand times with you.” A little laughter, with little drops on her skin. There was no choice now. He didn’t want to rot, without any kind of love, living in the coagulating Blood House where father loved mother, and mother loved only Inan’s blood.

He stayed against her only for as long as he physically had to. Until the sadness, in its grandeur, had gone back to be smaller, mass denser. Moving outward, lifting the sheets and feeling her fingers slide out of his hair, he decided to be stronger. He’d not been good enough with Cat. He would be formidable with Marin. In the daylight, the denied, long body and it’s scar embroidery, as it found old denim and loose fitting cotton, was the image of bravery, and poorly hidden lack thereof. It was fitting Inan made himself known to be transparent, because he was made almost more so by the sun. A ghost with toffee hair in well-adored rags.

“There’s nothing here, then.” He said, and it gave his chest some freedom to breathe. Yes. If there was sadness in Cat’s flight from him, there was also a guarantee she was not here anymore. His family, what was left, could care for itself. He should have flown himself, anyway. He had this choice, no other. And that was the luxury of abandon that others his age did not have. He didn’t know there was a pearly flow down his eyes, because he felt almost alright, smiling at Marin. This was what an accepting, broken heart looked like, standing on deer legs. “I’ll follow you anywhere. I don’t have anything but this new acquaintance with you. I want to nurture it and see the world the way others haven’t. Let’s go wherever you want.”

He wondered about his soul, giving his youth to a vampire. There were affections for his fellow human souls, still, he was sweet by design, but he knew that he wouldn’t trade that loveless loyalty for her friendship. He saw himself hunting down smaller humans, and running back to her. If it was a worry, it was overcome quickly by everything that Marin could be. Eventually, maybe soon, if he imagined hard, would she wear Cat’s scent to him, as well? “I have an account. They might trace it.” I am not without value, on the run. He didn’t know Catalina had tried to seems a better companion this way, too. “and I’ve been known to run pretty fast.” And there was his blood, but Marin didn’t want to hear about that. There was more salt in the tears now, darkening the neck of his shirt. They hurt his eyes more. “Let’s go Marin.” Please.

-

Braxton’s jaw lowered when she went about throwing her feisty around. His back straightened, and he turned more toward her, where she sat on the other side. Inan would not have provided her with this kind of change in posture, because he’d simmered in her lovely, and not been surprised by it as this boy. She wouldn’t know what it meant. “I know I wouldn’t have forgotten a face likes yours.” He tried, but if she was going to scrutinize the things he said, which she already had, he had to conceded that the compliment was only that, and wouldn’t hold up better than the opening lines. His fingers hung in the wake of his phone. Baxton was mute from the lovely annoyance she gave.

He wasn’t so pretty or clever that he’d not known rejection, his personality understood that it was a game of numbers and sometimes persistence, but it had never been as lovely as this. “Sorry then.” He said, pinning the phone to his chest when it landed there by her toss. “Your manners aren’t that polished, either.” He pointed out without the scolding in his voice. He had no choice but to let her turn back to the man who was obviously her company.

Olister raised his brow with his chin, from the paper. “Yeah. Better load up, the day we’ll have.” He was quiet for a while, waiting for any follow up on the boy behind her. Then he waved for the waitress when there was none.

As the woman came and took their order, his with a side of waffles and sausage, Catalina would feel another tap on her shoulder. Braxton’s smile would be lighter, but wider this time, aiming to disarm. He held his phone up again. “Excuse me Miss.” He almost laughed but didn’t. “A girl just taught me a thing about manners. May I take your picture?” He realized that it was not very likely to work, but he knew he didn’t want to stop, either. Braxton was a native to this café, which was why Olister hadn’t reacted with any kind of hostility yet. So the boy was not afraid of a girl unless her kisses were sharp and her life depended on his. The slight forward tilt that he added said ‘can’t blame me for trying’.

Olister huffed with amusement and laid the paper down, folding it once and supporting his chin on his hand as he watched the two, waiting for his food and Cat’s response.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 21, 2016, 07:47:04 pm
Marin looked past his pain and took his consent as fair catalyst for motion. She didn’t mind him, weeping, and whether he healed or hurt with their departure was somewhat moot. Her preference, if she was introspective, was to build him into something of hers over time. Marin didn’t care to wash away Catalina; his hurt for her was half of his pretty. She simply wanted to carve her own place in the chambers of his hollow heart. If she became his best distraction, it would be satisfaction enough.

“You should stay here, Inan Copper, or you’ll be found and taken back home, I suspect.” She told him when she slipped into the sundress she’d worn on her first day in town. Today, she wore it flower child lovely, without undergarments to hide her form and her hair assembled deftly into a loose plait. Pretty wild. “I’ll find us a car and we’ll go today, then. Keep the door locked. I’m sorry to make you wait, but I’ll never be able to take you with me if you’re stolen away. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Caged bird. She’d free him for the sacrifice though.

A kiss for his running mouth. “I’d prefer we take a path that doesn’t force you to run. I’m not fond of running away from things.” She said. Nuzzled his throat, ran her tongue over his pulse. She pressed her body close. “You’ll wait for me, just a little while?”

Marin stepped out into the morning sunlight with Martin and Ahler in mind. She’d find them, as she had guessed, loitering near the corner store. Little smile, knowing for them both. “Good morning. How are you doing? Where’s Nona?” she asked, glancing around as if the girl were missed. It was better she wasn’t present. She trotted over to them. Gave Ahler a kiss on the cheek, chaste. A little nip below Martin’s jawline, teasing.

“I hate to keep asking for your help, but I’m glad I found you both. Am I allowed to ask a favor, or have I worn my welcome thin?” she asked. Small pout. Marin pressed her palms to her lower back, arching in a fine stretch. Nude outline beneath the pink. “I’m trying to get a hold of a car I can use.” She told them. “I was thinking of buying one, but I’d need a ride to the next town over. You don’t have any dealerships here, do you?” She already knew the answer. There should be a little lot of used vehicles in Jordantown, twenty miles south, but that was the nearest. Most of Valleyrun’s cars had come from there.

She offered them a secret sort of smile. The kind that said they could be honest with themselves. “Is there anything I can do in return?” she’d ask, if and when they obliged her. Marin didn’t tell them why she wanted the car. If they asked, she’d say it was to make trips back to the city easier. It wouldn’t be a lie, in full. She worried for Martin, should he learn she was leaving indefinitely. That she had her prize and he had been a snack for the road. She petted his shoulder gently. Lightly impressed upon the back of Ahler’s hand that she was grateful.

Both boys knew halves of her secret, at least. If they wanted a fantastic show, she could surely provide in the woods by moonlight. Or to be eaten alive. Or simply for some money. She was willing on that front, too. Encouraging lips. “Don’t hold back. You’ve both been so very helpful to me, already. I’ll do my best to return any favor.”

--

Cat ignored the boy, taking a long sip from her coffee mug and setting it down on the table hard. She nodded at Olister with a little more enthusiasm than necessary. Pointed refusal to acknowledge Braxton behind them. If it had been Inan with her, instead of the Hunter, she’d have pretended he was her sweetheart. It would have satisfied multiple purposes. A twinge of guilt at the thought. That sort of game might be too cruel, now. For both of them. Stupid brother.

A study of Olister’s face. He would not know the game and there was no promise he’d play if he caught it. Besides, he was old enough that Braxton might not believe without fair evidence. She frowned. The waitress sidled over and she placed her order. The omelet, on recommendation from Olister, and a side of hashed browns. Some extra milk for her coffee, too.

Before the safety net of a full mouth could catch her, the boy was at it again. She turned back to face him. Still irritated. “Thank you for asking. But no. I’d rather you didn’t take a picture.” She said. Her face wasn’t for him. Neither was the pout that caught her lips, then. A little less caustic and a little more ‘done with this’ she turned back to Olister and gave him a meaningful look. Can’t you make him stop?

“Princes and fairy godmothers are supposed to save the princess.” She muttered to him. A scrappy princess she made. Better a knight to her gentle prince of a brother. But never mind that.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 22, 2016, 04:00:46 pm
Inan listened to her diligently, the pulsing flow of tears lessening as her meaning settled. He was also distracted by the lovely of the dress once it was on. There were many beauties he’d not seen, growing up fixed on the one mother had given him. In his innocence he wondered if he was the only one who noticed the contrast between Marin’s naturalist purity and the greed of the desire he attached to her. Was his heart artful? Stupid brother. “I can wait.” Young, untested soldier proclaiming he could fight and hoping they would trust him to. He did not like being alone, not now, but it wouldn’t be so empty in the room and in his chest  if he knew it was for a cause. Cat had just gone, and simply not being with her had been his function to her. Marin would stay away so they could be together. “Don’t worry.”

He wasn’t crying anymore, when she went, but his fingers tried to accidentally catch in folds in her dress when she moved for the door. Her dress had not such kindness in it. With his bedhair behind his ears and billowing subtly around his neck, with the fading gold at the end of blood threaded whites, would she reconsider? And then the boy who had gone to the vampire because he felt lonely, was alone. He sat on the floor, back to the bed as he would in his childhood room with his sister. He tried to think of last night and Marin’s good-bye tongue instead of the empty in here that was occupied with beams of morning and frolicking dust. He wanted to hear Cat’s singing.

By now Ahler knew of Martin’s adherence to Marin, their entwinement, though the lesser was sure Martin had exaggerated the details. The boy was bitter, that much was unavoidable. She had broken something that bound them, even though he’d been wrong to be so possessive. But Ahler was a bit relieved for the peck, and to know he was still something to her, no matter how miniscule. It was hard to not breathe a sigh though, longing or frustration, when she greeted Martin in a much better way. Ahler was more entranced by her figure when she gave it to the scene, than Martin. Martin had eyes on her mouth as it spoke. Both boys were close to her, as though the day was cold, and she was their warmth. Really, the opposite was true.

Her courtesy fell on deaf ears. Of course they would go along with her whims. Ahler found humor in the image of a lot here, in their town, but didn’t breathe the little laughter, for fear of that she might decide that no, maybe she didn’t need a vehicle after all.

“You know what I want.” Martin said. There was some dignity in his voice that was a struggle for the amount of addicted he’d become. It was his destiny to have a habit. Rich name, rich vices. He didn’t know the history of his genetics, but he was the result of them, still. He had a car, too, and would gladly drive her. He did ask, and both of them liked her answer. Marin’s transience was part of her turbulence. Something lovely in the wind. To have this little promise that she’d stay, if she could visit other places sometimes, soothed the youngling hearts.

Ahler took her hand when it courted his. He squeezed her softly and thought about his request, not because he doubted what he wanted, but because he wanted to word it right. “I would like to be like you.” An ant asking a lion for its fur. He was not limited to Martin’s shortsighted need. He was still an impossible dreamer. His books, his collected art. Humans couldn’t dream of what other things there were, but humans could dream beyond them, a race of hubris without anything godly in them. No more mediocre. A king of time, he wanted to be. And just for a car, poor boy. Because of the scope, man and vampire, man was always made into an imbecile.

Martin huffed, closer to her than the childish, shouldn’t-be-here oaf, looking down at her hand that Ahler was allowed to hold. But if the better blessed boy should ransack himself, he would see that he did not have that kind of ambition. That was a true blemish on Martin’s character that he refused to recognize. When she introduced the plague that his blood was, he was no longer anything but a swelling vessel between releases. What good was eternity to him, if he didn’t have Marin to help? Better barter for the rushes he wanted. He gave Ahler the kind of eyes that said he was disgusting. Ahler stood fast, but he would, wouldn’t he, if the price was the hero he wanted to be, applied on his person.

The walk to Martin’s grand estate in little Valleyrun wasn’t far. They would all fit comfortably in the car he was allowed to commandeer at his leisure. Ahler was in the back, of course, and nobody would drive but Martin himself. Surely Ahler was only allowed after he had hurried home himself, and come back with some savings, since there were no such things as paper money where Martin lived. The dealership was famous for its glitch connection.

This vehicle had seen the city often, and belonged on the road, unbothered by its riders and the silence that eventually would come to them. Ahler nurtured a romance with the back of Marin’s head and the shoulder visible to him, and a becoming stale mood blanketed Martin’s jaw where stubble would have been. They were half the way to the little lot when he turned in to the forest and stopped where the trees obscured the view, but not all of the sound of traffic. “I can’t wait.” He said, pride keeping trembles back as he opened his door with some fortitude. Decisive and spoiled. Ahler went out also, on her side and opened quickly for her. Already Martin had undone the collar of his denim and came to her. Presumptuous, leaning in to wrap his arms around her waist and bring her closer. Ahler came between them before that intimacy.

-

Catalina would learn that the inflation of Olister’s cheek was his attempt at subtlety. His way of enjoying but not participating in the events before him. He liked teasing her, of course, but it was more important to him that she had some lightness in her heart. Whatever Braxton made her feel, it wasn’t as grave as her still bleeding roots, cut only hours ago. This was a kind of help he enjoyed extending, as it required very little of him. He drank his coffee and and almost spit it when Cat responded a second time. He was about to say, though, maybe to help her or at least warn the boy, when Brexton leaned away, himself, turning his head from her latest rejection, but only after she’d said her little bit to Olister, too.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” He sounded like he actually was. A good actor, Braxton. “I must have mistaken your age.” He started playing with his phone as though it was a necessary nuisance. “But obviously you’re here for the ice cream and fairytales. I’m sorry I interrupted story time.” Olister had to bring a hand to his mouth then, and put in some effort not to laugh. “You have to admit, though.” The brat continued, voice bordering on a yawn, committed. “You look older than twelve.” He stretched and rubbed the heel of his boots on the floor. “Thank you for deleting the picture. That could have been a felony on my part.” Olister looked away, straining with closed eyes. “Spoiler.” The voice continued as Braxton switched sides of the table in his booth, continuing his meal. “In the end, you’ll learn something from the main character’s mistake. But the songs are nice, depending on which rendition you’re going with.” Through a mouth of fries. "Princess."
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 25, 2016, 08:16:02 pm
Martin did not surprise her. If she had thought about it for more than a moment, Ahler did not surprise her either. He did annoy her. Conceited monster. Beautiful. The dark eyes were blades when she slid their edge toward him, to cut. Free hand gently petted Martin’s cheek. His wish could be granted, simple as it had been. “Be like me?” she asked, and the silk-soft voice was half way to spiteful. She tugged her hand away from him. “How would you propose you could ever be like me?” she said and showed him all her fangs.

“I’ve eaten kings whole for asking questions like that, little Icarus.” She said. And she had. On other days, reconsidering the same stories, she wondered if she had cared about any of them. If it had been tragic or if she’d simply been hungry. “No one—almost no one deserves that kind of gift. Or curse.” She told him, rapped his across the knuckles hard with her words. Maybe her sad silver boy could deserve it, from a different Mother. She wanted him to share her lonely, not exceed it.

As they walked to Martin’s Valleyrun fine home, she stayed two steps apart from both boys. “Find another Shadow, if you want new teeth, Brent Ahler.” She told him bluntly. “I’ll have no part and there isn’t a soul on this planet that could make you like me.”  And it was a fact, not a boast. Older than any story in his history book. She might have walked Eden, in some body or another. She had been more than a century old when she’d lost her First name. Could he fathom the long damming march of time that extended back before his first ancestors had met, coiling, endless black serpents in her stare? Other Vampires might share her lineage, in one bastardized way or another, but only she and her siblings would ever be so Pure.

A slow smile, and she let her indignation pass like sand on the wind with the request he’d made. The smile said she would be kind, and pretend he hadn’t asked her something stupid. Gracious queen, giving him a second chance. “A different favor? Something reasonable?” she hummed. All he’d done was snitch his town’s precious secret, after all. Handed their pretty cure over to her hungry mouth. And now, he should realize, an unneeded tagalong. Surely Martin’s irritable glances had made that point clear enough. This was courtesy. Ahler had overstretched.

If he was persistent, she would tell him about Tsoalle and suggest he look for the white pretty in the woods. He wasn’t obligated to go where Martin’s car went. If he was good, she’d forgive his human mistake and give him back his pretty angel fantasy, the one she’d given him to worship in the forest.

She took the passenger seat, settled in pleasantly and tossed Ahler a friendly glance. A bit expectant. Eager to please. If she’d hurt his feelings, it would be hard to stay wounded. Sweetling. As if it was him that would be hurtful if he couldn’t come up with something else.

The ride was quiet for some time, and Marin was content to watch the scenery roll by. It was peaceful enough that it had lulled her into some languor and she was startled by the sudden veer that took them off the road and between the trees. She sat up straight and sent Martin a curious look. She understood the expression on his face. It wasn’t unfamiliar. Still, she was mildly surprised that he should be wanting so terribly so soon. A spoiled child, maybe. She sucked on her lower lip thoughtfully as he stopped the car and climbed out. It was inconvenient, but no bother to her. But then, there was Ahler.

The boy opened the door for her and she climbed out gingerly, squeezing his shoulder as she stepped out. A little warning to take care. But Ahler seemed to like the thread of overstretching, and she nearly sighed. “Mr. Ahler,” she said softly. “It’s quite alright.” Though she didn’t bother to wait for him to leave. He could wriggle out of their tangle if he wished, but she had one hand on Martin’s arm, where he’d tried to reach for her, and her tongue on his wrist. Pretty pulse. She’d picked this boy out for food, after all. She didn’t have to be goaded much into eating a willing participant. “I almost feel like it’s unfair, Martin. I told you I could do you a favor but you’ve only asked to give me more,” little laugh. Lips down his forearm, tracing the largest vein there. She pressed herself close. To Ahler, if he was still between them, or to Martin if the boy had moved. It made very little difference to her. Neither man was Inan.

--

Cat was remarkably unmoved by Braxton’s reaction. He wasn’t anyone she had made up her mind to care about. Mother had occasionally suggested that Inan learn that sort of thinking from his sister. It might toughen him from the things children are fond of saying and the odd looks when he was older. Cat wasn’t sure whether or not he’d ever actually built up much of a thick skin. She’d always rushed to make sure he knew everyone else was stupid before she found out whether or not he’d been bothered in the first place. Inan had never seemed to mind that.

“Don’t worry. I thought you were old enough not to throw a tantrum. People make mistakes.” She said, though she didn’t bother to look back. To Olister then, after another sip of coffee. “Do you suppose I owe my face to any boy who wants it?” she asked. The green eyes said she was half serious. Perhaps she’d been too rude. Catalina only ever considered these things after she’d opened her mouth. Still, he’d been pushy and she wasn’t in the mood. He looked a little too much like Inan, anyhow. She’d rather not know him.

“I’d let you have a picture, if you wanted it. But, you know, you’ve helped me out a lot.” She told the Hunter. Endearing girl, in a blunt sort of way. The waitress came with their food. A little conspiring sort of grin. “Actually, is the ice cream here good? I don’t get it much at home.” She asked Olister. A treat for birthdays, usually, and hers was but a day away.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 26, 2016, 07:14:23 pm
Ahler, for having wanted a life alongside heaven itself, to see geological seasons, did not have enough backbone to stand for her warning. It was a hard thing to loose, the hero that he had imagined. It was already made clear when she asked. He wanted to plead that he wanted to be one like her, not at her position, but that would be a contstruct made in the light of her disapproval. He had dreamed, and he had told her about it. It was a waste of opportunity as clear as anyone had ever seen it. Asked an angel for too much, and lost grace, when it was offered. He could not buy his way into godliness with a second-hand chariot, he learned.

But he, with his meek and his recoil, didn't lament that hero, not at first. The crawler Ahler was grateful when she reminded him what had happened to leaders of men when they tried to get the same thing out of her. He would not be eaten then. At once he felt safer. It wasn't favor, perhaps it was a great shark rejecting to be polished by sea critter, but at least he wouldn't be torn and swallowed. Instead of eternity, your life. Immediately meager dollars off working the motel, and life in their small town, things he’d abhorred as a pastime before, now felt like gifts. He wanted to worship the Blood House until he became a town elder.

He was not so brave anymore, when she offered again. Ahler was not the boy who touched the stove twice. He shook his head and looked away from those teeth. And yet, he couldn't bare to see Marting get exactely what he wanted. Wasn't it always like that? Ahler wanted to marry the girls, a romantic because he knew nothing else, but Martin knew not to petition for their entire lives, but just to match his famous indifference - an addiction to the girls in town - to the loveliness of their flesh. Ahler's downfall, not knowing what kind of abuse to pay with. Surely the concept was hard to understand for someone who hadn't had the practice.

And with that, he had to try and stop Martin, and was now caught between the angel and the tormentor.

And he would have stayed, if Martin didn't use his other hand to push him off. Ahler stumbled forward and Martin came closer to the angel, already connected to her by his arm. Her lips rocked the sensetivity in him. He was already relaxing, despite the pain that came with her teasing. This was already what he had asked for, she was drinking because the ritual had begun, even though she had not used her teeth yet. He reached out with the palm that had stumbled Ahler into the ground, away, and stroked her cheek with gratitude. Ahler had been so amusing, with the glorious request, it had almost made the craving Martin laugh through the agony of blood bloat.

“You can always have more. You can take it all.” Martin’s blessing was that, then, wanting little. In the motel, he had also had ambition, but courted instead of wished aloud. And then he had become stuck there, in the prologue of the story he’d intended to write, circling the reward. Truly, Marin’s fangs were poisoned, bringing heaven to the bite, or inferno to the blood. He leaned in close, eager to see the process at null. Her body, with only the dress on, felt delightful, but that sort of satiation was far from him, now. Lushes don’t kiss and caress the bottle if they have a choice of drinking. Addicts don’t gently grace the needle. Still, the man he used to be appreciated her while the ghost he’d become was calm, waiting to be extracted. “If you take it all, we can just blame it on Brent. Leave me here in the forest and take my car. There’s enough in the compartment to get you anything you want at that lot.” He wanted it to be a sweet whisper, because those are more likely to yield favorable outcome, but it was just a spoken suggestion, without the rasp of lust on its strings.

Ahler, on his knees by them, wondered then if he should have asked for this instead. He absently brought fingers to his own wrist, where her lips were on Martin. Admittedly, this was beautiful. The boy was of course looking through a daze of hormonal nerves, the kind of hunger typical for his gender, and couldn’t possibly see the profound other desire that had infected Martin. Perhaps that was the secret of the persistence of creatures like her, that inflamed any human want. The gravity in sapien biology. Moonlight things are immortal because human desires are.

Even love she was involved with, Inan could attest, if there had been anyone to pose in the room. He had echoes on his lips, of course, her enamel and carving peaks, but he missed Marin because she could be something he was without, not because of her glorious self. He looked at the long leg he’d stretched outward on the floor. Something formed in the vacuum of love. He’d never felt so without it, and there was another boy inside this lack. A smile lived a quick life on half that large mouth. He didn’t know where the glee came from, or why it was so unkind in flavor but so crushingly endearing. He thought about telling mother she’d whored him out, and father how weak he was, losing his son without moving him out. He wanted to drown Nona in his blood when she asked for it next time. Inan dug into his own chest, making a fistful of sweater as the trembled, closing his eyes to think all the protective chants he had invented to safeguard his soul. The beast Guilt came and ate the other boy, but it felt as incomplete as when he tried not to think of Catalina when she undressed.

“It’s your birthday tomorrow.” He said to the leg, and it curled its toes to agree. He folded the back of his neck over the edge of the bed until his hair spread in the sheets. The ceiling was clean, at least. He didn’t have the energy to cry.

-

“You owe very little to the world.” Olister agreed as Braxton continued to eat behind her. Try as the boy hunter might, he did look put off by what Cat was saying. Perhaps this was a lesson to both of them, then. A quick shuffle of metal on cheap ceramic and Braxton stood. He didn’t look at the girl when he left the diner, even though he wanted to, when she offered Olister the picture instead. This was his own way of enjoy this particular kind of hunt. “I don’t need your picture though. The less I see of it the better. Not in this paper, not on screens.” Olister said and smiled at the food and then at the woman who came with it. He nodded at the server when Cat asked about the ice cream, also. He didn’t have a lot of deserts, so he wouldn’t know. The waitress nodded and left them. “That way no one else sees your picture either. And that’s the point of Midsummer for you, isn’t it?”

He had the food. It was better than he remembered. The blood he’d lost had to be replaced, somehow. Whatever magic she’d used, it saw fit that he ate. The more he did, the hungrier he felt. He’d not realized it had been so long. He only considered Catalina again when he decided to have more coffee, halfway through the hefty serving. When he washed the salty coat with welcome bitter, he thought about her. With sunlight making her hair furious she just looked like any other girl, too pretty for her age. It was sad, her story, but it was also exciting. He’d heard myriad tales of people faring worse. He was a good enough mentor, after all, if he could be so conceited in his own head.

“There is a House we can go to.” He said and handled the paper with one hand, since the other one kept the cup by his cheek. Old habit, old term. He didn’t even realize it might not make sense to his new not-hunter. “Big, official.” He took the fork again. The cup would have spilled on the rough discard if it wasn’t so spent. “We need to register, and there are books there.” And databases. “They don’t really care about upping your skill, that’s your job, but they want you to know the rules.” Too many became stuck cutting down new monsters that barely had the time to do any monstrous acts. The more you did, the deeper  you had to wade. He wanted other things for Cat. Or at least more choices. “They will have heard of Tsoalle if he’s been sighted, or even active.” He looked at her with some hope. “I don’t suppose you’re willing to sit it out, brushing up on  your Guild’s hierarchy when I go out and look for our target?” he filled his mouth and chewed effectively.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 29, 2016, 05:54:52 am
Marin ignored the boy’s suggestions. He was like Ahler, reaching beyond what she felt he was worth giving. A little kindness and cruelty at once. But Martin was also bound to these delusions now, she knew. That wasn’t his fault. Ahler’s imagination could not be credited to anyone but himself. “Don’t be so careless,” she chastised, tracing his jawline with the tip of her nose. But Martin couldn’t know that Ahler might be the only one to sympathize with him tomorrow, when Nona’s flat teeth and hungry ego were the only thing left to feast on him.

She wasn’t inclined to be out too long. Marin hadn’t forgotten the sad Copper brother she’d left in her rented room. Martin was fun in a trivial way and, had there not been waiting Inan, she might have spent her time putting on a show for Ahler. It was good to be admired, even if the sentiment was shallow after all this time.

Marin licked her lips, nuzzled the blonde boy’s throat, and tasted a small span of flesh. His pulse beat against her tongue. She tugged at him a bit so that she could watch her Snitch when she took her fill. Would he tell Nona later, about how lewd Martin’s throat had been? She was slow when she let her bladed whites penetrate the soft triangle between the thick band of muscle over his shoulder and the sweep of his collarbone. A throbbing branch off his jugular ran there and a sweet span of flesh over it.

She pulled back, unwrapping a bit of him with her fangs hooked and her lips taught. It would have hurt quite a lot if it weren’t that body’s single desire. A moth to her cold flame. When she ripped away the mouthful of flesh and muscle, she was undressing a lover. Stark against the grotesque of her jaw working to chew what she’d taken of Martin. And still the dark eyes watched Ahler. It was almost surgical, when she bent her pretty face back over her crafted wound and punctured the throbbing channel there. It bubbled up eagerly, spurting his red so that it dribbled from her lips and stained his skin and the open collar of his shirt.

At the beginning of Their story, her father had taught restraint like it equated to etiquette. It was something her surviving siblings remembered well. Some had adhered to it religiously: it separated them from the lowest of demons. The mindless rabble that skulked in the shadows of human misery. It let them ascend, to be refined. Others had cast off the notion. The father that had loved a human woman and brought forth ageless monsters on the Earth knew nothing of restraint. Only self-serving niceties. Marin remembered the etiquette. She didn't remember the sentiment. Sometimes, it simply felt right to take more. Blood was a thin sustenance for eternity.

She bit down harder. Silly Snitch. Why would he have ever thought he deserved to be like her? She, who could have destroyed his friend until he were a pile of bones. She, who could make Martin beg for that kind of destruction. She wrapped her arms around the handsome boy and dug her fingers against his back. Life was better when it overflowed. She wanted him to spill for her. His addiction was useless otherwise.

She drank until Martin was pale in the face and shaking. No more than she’d taken the first night, but he’d only had a day to recover. Broad sweeps of her tongue and he would feel his raw muscle burn as it mended, a thin layer of new skin crawling beneath her bloody kisses. A deeply selfish mirror of Inan’s gift, only potent when their blood mixed with her wet mouth. Her own sanguine potions worked magic for herself, alone. He’d be sore, not fully repaired, but closed.

Marin wiped her mouth against the back of her hand. Dainty, like she’d just taken a sip from a crystal glass. Stepped back from the boy that wanted to be food. “You should probably drive.” She said to Ahler, looking at Martin. Did he still want to be like her, she wondered.

She got back into the passenger seat, opening the door to the back on her way. A small courtesy for the addled prince of Valleyrun.

--

Catalina nodded in practical agreement with Olister. He was right, but Braxton had been annoying. She’d almost hoped the Hunter would have taken her offer just to antagonize the boy. But he left and then they were the only patrons in the diner. “Did you know him?” she asked after their food had come and she’d shoveled a few bites. He’d seemed to find the whole thing so amusing. “Or is it you just like seeing people teased?” an arched brow. She wasn’t so very oblivious to have missed the possibility, but she’d never met anyone in Olister’s craft but he himself. In some ways, he was as much a myth as the Vampires themselves, in her world. A small irony from the little Witch.

“House.” She echoed, trying to keep up. “Register? What rules?” she gave up quickly and decided to question, instead. Some overhead structure for this Hunter world, then. He’d have to fill her in better on the rest. Cat was staring at him with rapt attention. She’d jumped at her chance to run from Valleyrun without any real passion for being like him, but she was hard working and honest at her core. He’d done her a great favor and she’d offered some sort of partnership in exchange. She’d do her best. She knew that he might not find the idea of a juvenile tagalong inspiring. Cat would prove her worth and then some. It was time to grow up, after all. Inan had decided that.

“I’ll stay if that’s what I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to be in the way.” She said, though she frowned. “But maybe you should let me have another go at your arm. It might still be weak, relatively speaking, right now.” Another large bite of her omelet. The waitress brought out a small plastic bowl of ice cream. Simple vanilla. “Just in case you get stuck doing more than just tracking him down…” she put her fork down and narrowed her sharp green eyes at him. “Because that’s all you’d be doing without me, right? Tracking him down?”

Cat folded her arms across her chest. “No, actually I’ll study hard when we’re done with this one. I want to be part of the whole thing.” She’d clearly changed her mind in a very definitive manner. “You’d trick me if you could, wouldn’t you?” she accused.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 29, 2016, 06:22:30 pm
It was a favorite thing of Martin’s to put Ahler down. An added treat to have something immortal on his side while doing so. But the little lesson Ahler was being taught with a harsh tone didn’t matter to the small town prince now. Martin was turned away, holding on to the pale spirit that would supply rapture. He absently thought that he had been foolish, thinking his elevated status made him less of an underdog, and that a character like Brent might one day be of true greatness on merit of his low standing. In reality, the rich, spoiled and carved boy thought, the royals triumph, not the ill-bred. This all became untangled and pulled quite thin, until it dissolved when she tried his skin, a little. Indignant moan, surprised and miserable, making his teeth vibrate as he pushed air through them. He stiffened when she tugged at him, but followed when he understood to.

Ahler on the ground chewed something invisible, perhaps a piece of humble, with his mouth wide, when she slowly sheathed into the human offered. He touched his own neck, where imaginings invented their own, electric craters. This then, would have to be the peak of his life’s adventure. The act could have been his if he hadn’t overreached with his request. He wasn’t a sacrifice, he wasn’t even a priest. He would not be allowed to be a prophet. So he was on his knees, a witness. And the little human was happy to have this much, grateful she’d not snuffed him for his insolence. It wasn’t oppose to the order of things, then, that he had only the dream and this vision. Perhaps the fact that she was not so gloriously generous contributed to the glory of her image. At least that sentiment resounded in Ahler.

Martin coughed at the sudden real pain trying to find its way through the laid out pleasure of babbling release. When she took a bit of his body, his arm flexed and then dropped, though most of him stayed in the tension. Ahler thought Martin was beautiful then, in the folds of conflict of being preyed upon. As the moonphase wound slowly filled like the hollow it was, and he waited to die, or ascend or both, she finished with the bit of him she had in her mouth, and locked around his generously losing place. Ahler swallowed saliva, watching, as Marin drank. Martin could hold on very hard with his arms, but he made a bunch of her dress, in the hand of the arm that wasn’t lax.

The little moan was for mercy, when she wound herself tighter around him, and his body willingly refilled the puddle she’d dug out with life’s liquid. The pleasure of her drinking was gentle singing only at first, and then angry insects, crawling to spread whatever her secret was that made him desire so. The delight expanded from his veins and swam with his flesh until it was rocking his bones, straining every joint. Could you be violated by pleasure? No human could have consented this, because they couldn’t have known what they allowed. His alerts fought his wants. But he didn’t have the strength to listen to either. He was just a hive of it all, living in the frequency between the death of the sinner, described as below, and the reward of the good, taken high. It was an unfair effect, that vampires had, and it was prominent in the born Marin.

He relied on her for upright poise when he flooded into her. How he hated that blood, and how he fell in love with the idea of it passing into her, as though the connection between him and the red was intact, harmonized finally, when it took a new home. The satiation of her thirst was purpose, to him. He almost fell when she went back a step, and slapped his hand over the breach that was no longer there. He looked at her with eyes that drowned in the hum of satisfaction. At this point he didn’t have the sense to ask for more, and followed her like a shadow when she went back to the car. He sat quietly in the back, too tired for a belt, with his limbs still bustling, almost breaking, in the aftermath, awakening from the dream she’d put him in. He found that he was hungry for her body too, since she’d chased this pleasure with another, last time, but he was too taken with her taking to move toward any such thing.

Ahler was quick to listen. Truly, her wrath had scorched him. This being the first time in a while that he was actually useful was lost on him. But as the mood settled, his own high reconciling with a somewhat even pulse, he looked at the barely conscious, drunk Martin in the back, and then at Marin, framed by the passing woodlands. He smiled at her the way servants would to kings because it wasn’t possible for him to lower his head, with the task of driving. “would I have gotten that.” Which Martin’s has now. “if I hadn’t been so insolent?” he asked and immediately regretted the question.

The lot had the meager offerings to be expected, but they weren’t hunting for anything sleek, anyhow. With a jacket over his torso, Martin slept in the vehicle they arrived in. Ahler was by her side and didn’t expect the haggling process to be to the salesman’s favor. Ahler would drive on the way home, as well, with Martin coming back to consciousness enough to ask her if he would spend the night in his house.

-

Inan opened the door when she knocked. The excited eyes and their gold and pale waned when she wasn't Marin. Nona had dressed up for the occasion, though. This always meant a generous slit down the front. Inan wasn't impressed but her company left an impression. Soccer team members, if he'd paid attention, or gone when she asked him. He had to go now, all the way to the bed where Marin had been Catalina for him, pulled and lifted by half the team. Inan wasn't a fighter, but he was stretched out by his youth, and his range bought him a few more moments of freedom. It ended in the sheets, no matter.

"Your mother's been looking but I haven't been telling." Nona said as she pulled out a knife. Kitchen variety, small. He didn't know why he felt flattered when the red label flashed on the handle sticking out from her fist that held it. He pulled at their grip and they held his limbs down deeper. "Figured you'd been eaten by that angel, like the librarian." Had Marin killed someone? He fought harder to the same result. "I was out of my mind with grief, ask these boys. But then I figured I should look for you where I lost Martin."

Nona continued telling the story of how she came to this door. Inan had to listen as the others tore at his shirt, eventually baring the ivory field of silver lines. She sighed and pinched the recently acquired blade, bouncing the handle off his chest. The sound was hollow. Her other hand on his stomach. "But you didn't leave, did you? She stowed you away like smoked meat." Laughter, all around. One of the others grabbed his chin and shook his head and told him he was handsome. Nona cut the arm on the interested male and he retreated so hard Inan got his arm back. After another round of flailing, Inan hopeful and the others fast and methodical, he was immobilized as before.

"Told them they could have some. Believers, all, in Valleyrun." she reminded as though he could misplace that fact in his memory. "They want to do well on the field." She explained and balanced the tip over his heart, squeezing the wood with anticipation. "I'll just keep you when we've drank you dry. You never did see my room." He shook his head and tried to offer down payments instead of this unearthing of the treasure she wanted. She lifted the hand not securing the knife and spread its fingers, ready to hammer down and make him into their fountain. "I get first, because you were mine to begin." His lips parted and her hand came down.

He breathed shallow, looking at the cutlery stuck in a bone. Nona laughed and it was shrill. He thought this was mercy, from her or from something else. He saw that mercy run its course and found himself dying when she struck the handle again. "Since you're missing, no one's going to think of us." she said and pulled out the sales bin Excalibur. A bow of blood chased the leaving blade. The blood still had the echo of the beat that sent it. Nona kissed him the way she always wanted to kiss him, and teeth eroded from sports drinks or covered in wire dug into his arms and neck without causing real damage. Athletes know nothing of anatomy, really. If Marin came, what did it matter, now? He was only alive enough to feel himself die.

He wanted to at least be able to sing for Catalina tomorrow, even if he wasn't with her. Could Nona see that, or drink that, from his heart?

-

“Yes and yes.” He replied as he rolled his fork in the food, as though it was spaghetti, and he was seven. She would see this often, too, if they ate together like this frequently. Braxton was a bit of a celebrity, even. “He grew up as a hunter. Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? He thinks so. It’s almost sad that he isn’t a genius at what we do, but he learned the trade the way a kid learns mother’s language.” He scooped up the ruined area he’d been playing with and looked at her. “He likes to make up for his lack of higher skill with this Casanova routine. Hunters will be hunters. I sort of figured you’d be a hard bird, and I really wanted to see that.”

Her questions were appropriate. “Well, this is a business in a way, at least when we’re organized, and we have to be, so you have to register to be a part of the network, or you’re blind. You can also step on toes quickly if you’re just running around offing new monsters. Maybe you can think of this as the faculty of what we do.” He nodded and made a sound that suggested he was very happy with that explanation.

Foolishly he listened to her thin agreement to indeed remain in the house. He rolled his arm at her mention of it and frowned to admit that she was probably right about its use. He looked at the bowl when it was put down and then at the waitress, eyes asking if that was all. He supposed this wasn’t the kind of place to sing you a birthday song if asked, but just plain seemed a bit cruel. He wanted Cat to have more. “Tracking turns to cracking really quick, Cat.” He said as he brought his attention back to her. That was true all too often. Some of the vampires were really aware, and to see them was to engage. She wised up to his attempt and he had to laugh a little. He took a few more bites to keep her in suspense.

“I’ll probably trick you a lot to keep you safe. It’d be pretty easy to see you getting hurt going after something like Tsoalle without any proper training. You're new, you should see that.” He had more omelette in his mouth. He moved it to his right cheek. "So you're staying out of the way." Admittedly, it was useful having someone else at a distance when there was this kind of magic involved. Friendly fire was hardest on the one doing the shooting, often, and the guild would usually not apply any kind of punishment for it, simply because of the trauma already suffered. Olister wasn't sure any precautions would help with someone so adept at the craft as Tsoalle, though.

"Finish up. I'll show the house to you. You can go to the firing range and everything." he said to force the conclusion of whether she was going or not, and it was not. "And you're buying, since you're recently flush." he continued chewing, looking down at his plate and rolling his shoulder again.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on July 29, 2016, 11:22:08 pm
Marin had shrugged when Ahler had asked. Maybe. A greater possibility than what you did ask for. She wondered what Nona would do with two boys crying for their blood out. Maybe she’d enjoy playing caretaker. She settled deeper into the seat as they drove on. Martin was quiet in the back, like a child who’d finally gotten his way. That was what he was, in the end. They were all children. Marin yawned. Languor after her fill. “I would tell you not to envy him, but…” another shrug. Little smile. It was rather genuine. “You’ll be alright, Brent Ahler. Maybe better for not having asked, in the end. Settling debts with Heaven and Hell is hard to do. It’s generally not worth it.” It was a luxury to be able to say things like that. They would have sounded ridiculous off mortal lips. In her velvet voice, it seemed sage.

She wasn’t unaware of the way she benefitted from her peculiar existence. Marin knew herself to be a better cut. A starburst, with points strung between the great and shifting planes of this world. Vanity she didn’t shy away from. It is understood that life is lonely at the top. That’s why those who ride the zenith are so indulgent. Humans carried a more grounded worth. She wouldn’t tell him that was enviable, in itself, because she had no desire to be human. But she did hope, a bit, that Ahler might learn contentment when he aged. Simple life was a lot to be content about.

Marin folded her hands in her lap. “It is best when you don’t need anyone; it’s always better to want than to need.” She glanced back at Martin, who’d fallen asleep. “Now he’ll always need. The same way I’m always hungry.” She hummed. “It’s good you didn’t ask. I might have said yes.”

The little lot was unimpressive but sufficient. A sedan in a drab, glitter-flecked sand with dark tinted windows appealed to her well enough. She promised the salesman a single payment of cash, if he was willing to cut her a good deal. He offered the sale at less than he’d bought the vehicle for, just to get a smile. Marin obliged and purchased her car, giving Ahler a secretive sort of glance that would make him feel as if he were her co-conspirator. As if she had made some attempt at negotiation beyond simply being. It would be nice for the boy, though, to feel included.

“I’ll follow you back,” she told him before getting into the little sedan. It was a bit past noon. They made it back to Valleyrun in quick time without having to stop for Martin’s impatience. She didn’t get out of the car when they pulled into the drive of his home. She declined Martin’s offer. “I think you should rest.” Teasing laugh, but gentle. She wasn’t Nona. To Ahler, she gave another kiss on the cheek. “You’re a good guy. Thanks for coming along today. I couldn’t have done it without you.” She said, like it had all been so casual and sweet and there had been no bargaining for blood or eternity.

She pulled out of the drive and drove back to the inn. The two boys might never see those taillights again. Not that they knew to be sad about it. It was only five minutes to the inn, by car.

When she stepped out, she tensed. It wasn’t hard to detect the scent of too much adrenaline in the air and the sound of a small army of heartbeats. And then there was Inan’s scent. She’d not known it so directly; save the small bead she’d coaxed from his lip in error. But it was him beyond any doubt. He had been a distinctive aura from the moment she’d met him in his home, reverberating with echoes she conjured as familiar to her own. She’d have known his blood spilt to the atmosphere before she’d ever laid eyes on him.

There were those traits in Vampires which set humans on edge and broke a bit of the spell. When they were simply greater in substance, by power and awfulness, and it couldn’t be cloaked by the sweet soft of seduction. That Marin had moved from her car and was suddenly, and effortlessly, at the door to her room was such a moment. Unattainable speed by human physiology and a stoicism that said it should be taken for granted. The mounting fullness of the ancient monster should have been palpable. There was no key in the lock to test its state, only the sudden and violent protest of hinges as she thrust the door open. It wouldn’t have mattered, if it were locked. The doorknob inside lodged itself deeply into the wall.

There in broad daylight, she was white. Eyes like the blade Nona had brought, mirrors to reflect the ugly things inside, and hair threaded from moonbeams. Silk against the hard set of her jaw. Her lips were red. A gash around a mouth of knives. She stepped inside and kicked the door shut behind her. As if she’d let these ridiculous children leave. If Marin did not yet adore Inan, she had already decided he was hers to keep. He’d agreed to that arrangement, asked for it even. Marin wasn’t inclined toward breaking those pacts nor letting sticky fingers all over her things. It is unwise to play with a dragon’s treasure. It is sheer stupidity to play with demon’s possession.

Would Inan see a monster, then? An angel. His sister. His mother. A lover. She was all those voices and shards of glass, silk in a storm. “My dear Nona, your pride will be the death of you.” She said and was at the girl and her knife before the last word had cleared the air. The soccer team remembered they weren’t murderers, then, faced with a beast who unashamedly was. Inan might believe she’d been the end of the town librarian as he was being swallowed up by the truths of his mortality. Blood to help others but no Catalina to help him. Not that the Witchling, or even their mother, could have mended him fast enough.

Hand on the girl’s throat, frightening restraint when that dainty hand could have crushed her bones. Marin lifted, easily, and squeezed. Reached with the other hand to take the knife from Nona’s hand. Held it by the blade. A greater grievance for the knife as she let her own little rivers meet the traces of Inan’s drying red. If any of the cohort she’d brought attempted to defend their raggedy town sweetheart, Marin would twirl the blade in their direction. A silly threat against the steel that wrapped beneath the skin of her pretty fingers, surely. “Better run, little sheep.” She told them.

Some would take her advice, scattering in a panic. Bloody hands, bloody faces. “Better run, better run.” Marin sang a little louder. Began to laugh. Danced Nona by her neck. The girl was taller than the monster. Her toes bumped inelegantly against the carpet. “They’re so loyal,” she remarked when the last of the boys had taken her up on her offer. Would they alert their parents or hide? Marin supposed it didn’t matter.

She was smiling if Nona was struggling. Squeezing tighter until she heard gasps thin enough to please her. Yue had put her hand into the gut of Vampires that had stepped out of line. Selene had entertained a gentler soul. Chandra had painted her face with life of the humans who’d hunted her. Marin was adrift toward violence. It was useless, generally. A waste of time. But, under any name, she was a creature of blood in the end. “Stupid, petty, useless girl.” She pulled Nona in close and dug her nails against the vertebrae of the girl’s neck. “Is this fun?” she asked. “I’d eat the last breath out of your skinny little neck and save your heart for later, if you weren’t so vile.”

“You don’t deserve to be eaten by me. Ask your Martin. He’ll tell you the truth.” She felt heady. There was a rush in playing god and there was too much of Inan on the air. She wanted to torture Nona for taking things that weren’t hers. For not understanding her place. For misunderstanding the order of her life. But then there was her silver who cried for his sister and knew himself no further than he knew his blood. The lonely soul she’d promised to kiss. Humans die quickly.

Marin tossed the girl into the coat closet, listened to the fine crack of her back against the wall, and slammed the door shut. Locked it tight. “Stay put, pathetic creature. You’re in time out.” And then she was at Inan’s side, and then over him.

Small, terrible angel, astride his waist. Kisses for his wounds, but they didn’t heal. She’d not made them herself. She looked troubled. Brushed hair away from his face. “Inan Copper, it would have been better if I had your blood right now.” She told him. “You’re dying.” Her face above his to eclipse whatever narrowing view of the room he had in his view. “I can’t fix you. You’re going to die.” She said.

Marin petted his cheek. “I promised I’d stay with you.” Kiss for his brow. “But are you ready to go so soon?” she asked. There was an odd resignation in the ancient thing’s voice. Familiar velvet. Cold hands. How many centuries had she gone without ever breaking her solitude. She laid herself over him, his blood on her dress. A whisper for his ear. “If you ask me, I’ll bring you back so you can stay with me.” She said. “You’ll be able to love your sister forever. It’ll be terrible. If you live long enough, I might even forget you.”

Kissed his cheek, brought her own wrist to her mouth to break the skin. It closed before she could move it to his lips. A sigh. “Tell me now, just say the word.” If he nodded in his fading stupor, she’d bite deep into her own flesh again, drinking deep of her own red to feed it to him from her lips. Slow mouthfuls, tearing her wrist open anew for each kiss. A hot burn, like liquor for his throat, with each swallow until his heart stopped beating. Then more from her lips until she was dripping from the sides of his mouth.

And then he would die. The moon in the darkness, huge and ominous and glowing with a light he’d crave with a passion that would put Martin’s greediness to shame. He could reach for it. Call Catalina’s name or Marin’s. Call for the moon. More pain than he’d ever felt like a flash through every nerve in his body. And when he’d found his peace, his tragedy, or his desire, he’d find the hotel room again. No wounds. A mouthful of the Matriarch. Rebirth.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on July 30, 2016, 05:52:17 pm
Ahler took what wisdom she had for him. He treasured that Martin was too weak to participate. But he still wanted it, a good letting, despite what she mused. Martin's slow wasn't indignant, it wasn't harmful to his image. A virgin, ravaged, but someone who had seen delight, nonetheless. Every now and then the lethargic backseat passenger would touch his neck, where it had been eaten. Ahler looked from him to Marin, and thought desperately to ask her for the same. But his courage was spent with his hubris.

Instead he got to see her interact with the salesman when Martin couldn't. He did feel every bit as involved as her smile suggested. A starved dog. Leading the way home, as though her memory wouldn't have taken her, he glanced in the mirror plentifully, and it wasn't at the finally recovering Martin. It was good to be back in her favor, Ahler didn't know her brand of pandering, and he had new confidence when she kissed. There was a reason why he was useful and not attractive. He'd not had the kind of experiences that could sell his clean features as any kind of lure, unfortunately. At least Martin wouldn't get more of her, either, with the kind rejection. They spoke about her when Ahler helped Martin up the stairs of his house, like comrades in a defining ordeal. How many more like them had she created in her times?

Inan was visited by cold, looking at the ceiling with the eye that wasn't pinched closed to brace from the pain of teeth littering his torso and arms. Nona's tongue was hot, cleaning the overflow she'd initiated. Without Marin's chemicals, it was only that. Despite living his life close to this kind of affair, Inan only ever imaged Cat's lips. Nona's were foreign, her tongue unwelcome. He couldn't fathom the decadence of dying with someone elses taste buds through his ribs and close to the heart that was failing him by sending out life with slowing squeezes.

The boys who's positions hadn't bought then an early taste of the banquet stood there, around the bed, and thought Inan was beautiful. They, like Ahler, didn't know to fall in love using their souls, so it all became an ordeal of libido. Inan, who couldn't lift his arms and only slightly sway his feet underneath Nona's straddle, was drawing the scene of a fallen victim for them perfectly. Inan's untethered mouth said air, but couldn't say words as pink foam became the corners. The display altered the boys.

Their chock was complete when the door opened to let the matriarch monster in, and close behind her. Their first reaction was to freeze, and then a few of them woke to the instinct of fighting, but eventually, when the threat of the small woman settled into their minds, they all wanted to scatter. Inan gulped for air and arched against Nona's greedy suction when the male sets of teeth came away from his broken skin. He looked at Marin and wanted to call for her. Another tug at the lining of the fatal gyre Nona fed from turned that into a groan. He remained on the bed when Nona was pulled from him.

Nona saw her gang dwindle, one of them with the knife in his arm, but still smiled at the demon squeezing her neck. Nona was mad, and didn't care enough to be enchanted with Marin the way Ahler and Martin were. She could have forgiven the dangerous night for those. But Marin had almost taken Inan from her. Hatred, deeply, could cancel fear. Her eyes were smitten with the large helping she'd sucked from his heart. The grip did very little to provide discomfort. She clawed at Marin's arm until her back broke against the wall inside the closet. On that little floor, rumpled, Inan's blood tried to mend her spine. Her being was confused between vengeance and the cotton of Inan's high. She'd never felt such paradise.

He had seen how laughable Nona was in Marin's grip. A girl and insolent dolls. The boys fled, because she might as well be dead in there, but had the sense not to scream or call for help. They'd known they had to keep today a secret when they followed Nona, and some of them had already gotten the swell from the Copper son's magic. Their legs carried them faster. Inan's throat stirred its blood, trying to laugh, when Marin sang to their retreat.

He cried when Marin's magic lived in his wounds by her kisses, but couldn't pull him back together. He was ready to leave. Nona had done too much with the knife.

And then Marin's face was too beautiful, and the mention of sister on her lips was lovelier still. He couldn't leave without Catalina. He didn't want to, at least. So he nodded at the evening that was skirting Marin's features. She gave him a potent kiss to grant, and then a scorching one. As he continued to drink from her, he found the strength to hold on, her neck, her hair. But the passion with which he took death faded with its arrival, of course.

As the crimson night roared with every swallow, his heart was overcome. And a sullen silence came, though he fought it wildly. For a moment that was really all time, he was nothing. But he couldn't let go of the idea of Catalina, so he became her memory until the edges of her attached to the he that he'd been. And with this rebuild came the agony, because the shards wouldn't fit and had to cut their place. He opened blooded lips to try and voice it, but it had stolen breath. A quiet mockery of hell, underneath Marin, arching and twisting, when her transformation curled around the Copper boy's healing elixir. The crafts were conflicting because the magic wasn't the same.

The gold in his eyes had overtaken the pale halls before the pupils. Beautifully blind he sucked and barked silently at mercy, calling for Marin's kindness and her grace to end him truly, or to make it go away. But there was no voice underneath the newly poured stars in his sockets. The mouth, so wide the joints were almost out of place, told the truth of what he'd become, with one fang longer than the other. Endearing or ugly. He'd not inherited her effective three point formation.

But as all that he knew started to burned away, there was less left to supply hardship, and he calmed underneath her. When there were still bengals of punishment inside him, he looked around, fortified for this level of hurt now. And then he looked up at the mother that perhaps had been kinder to him than Elise ever had been. Marin had stopped the taking of his blood, after all. He swallowed down her gift and blinked, golden expanses coloring all of his viewing orbs until the treasure color shrank to keep within the borders of the irises. "This," he tried and looked around the room. She was almost unbearable with the details he was allowed to take her in now. "This is the world? This is my world?"

His breathing, the reflex of it, became faster until it realized its own insignificance. His surprise was prettier with those golden lakes as he lifted Marin against him, pushing her against the wall eventually. He counted her lashes in an instance and held her up against the room with the press of his body as he lifted her wrist to his uneven white weapons, kissing once. "C-can I?" he asked, so many other questions in him. He let go, eager and belligerent as the young, and stroked her hair away from her neck as well. "And here?" he swallowed and thought of the map Elise had drawn of potent tunnels. "P-please." he said, tongue on fire. "I'm parched. I'm famished." He would need a great amount, after all, because of the nature of the creature Inan Copper was. And before she answered, even, he would be nuzzling her neck curiously and trying to tear the skin with his new points.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on August 04, 2016, 09:38:40 pm
She watched his genesis and held it fast at the pit of her ever-living heart. In her world beneath the stars, bringing the favored into the fold was commonplace. Her siblings had lineages which branched like fractal frost on glass, shadows begetting shadows with thinner blood. At some point, it must lose its magic. But Marin, who had wondered if she’d ever wanted a soul enough to snare it forever, was sure now it was something she’d never forget. Centuries from now, Inan might not be a name for her tongue or a face she’d recall but this moment would carry on. It had been foolish of her to think this might wash away on the tide of time. She remembered, after all, the first time she’d fallen in love as clearly as she recalled the first life she’d snuffed. They just didn’t have names. This, new Mother, was all of that and tenfold more.

Marin petted his hair and let him burn beneath her. He was in pain and it was beautiful. A pretty that rivaled the ache he carried for the sister that wouldn’t have him. This might be more lovely still. She’d only ever see it once. In the widely drawn tree that was the spawn of her ill-fated parents, her bud blossomed. Stretched forth. Uncurled a single silver vine. He gave her gold, then, blinking, and found the harvest moon to reflect her mercury. She smiled. Fury-born, her first and only resurrection. It was the deepest pit of selfishness, but Marin felt a little of her lonely die with Inan’s humanity and she was glad.

“Hello, Inan.” She told him, curious when she watched him swallow her red. Marin had never shared, after all. She was still unveiled in all her moon-spun brilliance, a white he’d not seen on her before he’d tottered over the edge of death. “This has always been the world. Mine, at least. Yours now, too. Yes.” She confirmed. He was hungry, the way she had always been hungry, but more ravenous for its novelty. Marin let him pull her on his tide.

He was lucky, perhaps, that she never grew old. This first thirst for his Mother’s veins was his to keep. They all did, for the heart of their Line. Dusty, coffin-bound, ever-aging things. Bones and blood and a death wish, guarded by the Children with self-discipline. It was discipline Inan would never need. His starlit demon would never crumble. She laughed at his eager. “You may try.” She hummed. It was good his new physiology would demand this of him before he had time to contemplate his new moral reality.

His blood, she was sure, had turned on him. No longer his to give, because it had mixed with hers and learned to heal the body it served. He was sweet and generous. She wondered if he understood he was eternity for himself alone, now. And the violence it would require to spill the red he had and the red he wanted. “Don’t be gentle, Inan.” She told him, and took his hair in her hand and pressed his lips in the hollow above her collarbone, where she’d peeled open Martin. She felt one of his newly budded fangs scratch against her skin. Little surface vessels broke at the assault and then hurried to repair. “You’ll never get anything from me, if you’re gentle. I’m sorry.” She told him. “But eat until you’re satisfied.” She said. Marin could be endless for him.

She stroked his throat with her other hand. Violence in his future, too. She had no reason to restrain from her own fledgling. Addiction was part of this dance they’d spun into. There was nothing to protect. Was it cruel that she’d offered him this fate when he had the least to bargain with? Desperation was a convincing salesman, after all.

--

Cat wrinkled her nose at the man. “Rude.” She informed him. Leaving her to Braxton for his own amusement was mean, she thought, but took his assessment of her character as a compliment. It may not have been, but she had never seen her stubbornness as anything other than charming. That might have been Inan’s fault, for encouraging it.

She listened to him justify his thoughts on leaving her behind, tucked it away as a valid lesson, and still determined she was set on going with him. “I know I’m new, but you’re not and I won’t get in the way.” Catalina stared at him. “I haven’t gotten in the way yet. I think I’ve been fairly helpful, in fact.” She grinned a little. “I mean, I assume you don’t get into so much trouble all the time. You’re still alive, after all. But…” she waved her hand. If the shoe fits.

It was teasing only, of course. In truth, she’d left Olister in a haze of mystique born out of their earlier encounters. Young Witch caring for the veteran Hunter who, she was sure, had done any number of heroic things before succumbing to a backhanded and cowardly attack. And this more recent spar, too, had gainer her sympathy. Tsoalle played with minds. That made him cowardly by nature, she thought. Rough-around-the-edges Olister was an honorable knight still.

Catalina made a face at him, when she realized her intentions were contrary to his. He had not been convinced of her tagging along, it seemed, at that was annoying. Still, she finished her meal quickly and plunked the money for the meal on the table. “Better not make a mistake again, then,” she grumbled as she sulked back toward the car. She wondered if there was any room left to negotiate going with him. “If you get killed and leave me at this House with that stupid Braxton boy,” she started and fixed him with livid green eyes. “I’ll never forgive you. In a million years I won’t.”   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on August 05, 2016, 03:09:15 pm
When she greeted him, his wide mouth closed over the asymmetric deaths he’d grown. Shy, perhaps, under his guardian gaze, because he was a new creature and didn’t know what kind yet. He’d not received enough attention in this incarnation to have learned what was warranted, what was flattery, and what was undeserved. She gave this universe to him. A word-wound agreement that he was to live here. He shivered. The angel allowed him in her garden. He’d didn’t know there were two boys tucked away in Valleyrun and other broken things that wanted this more than existence. Inan only enjoyed it for itself. That was overwhelming enough. He held back a little laughter against her skin. How could he control it? There is glee in answered hubris.

When she told him to abandon his gentle he pushed his head back into her hand, holding his hair. But it was a false show of misplaced affection. That shake of his head, to reject the image of hurting her, as though he truly could, cut the longest fang across a weave of blue underneath her moon smooth. The gasp that came for the beauty of her magma and the hungry hum it raised in his rendered lazy heart closed fast around the short river. A little sigh when the line was shallow. He looked at her, veins gold, also, in the whites of his eyes. Mother, why has the cut gone? But she had the answer ready in her expression. He swallowed diligently, fortifying himself to be a brave new eater.

At first he needed to know, needed to see her magic. Upper row of teeth came down, curiosity keeping those gold-woven eyes wide as the streams inside her crashed against the dipped dragon’s fang and then the shorter ivory cutter, too. He dragged his head toward her shoulder, outward, undoing skin, and quickly turned back to see the gash close, leaving only a small amount to have rolled and stayed in the valley behind her collarbone. A quick look to mother and then his lips into that long bowl, dipping petals and drinking with one kiss. The threads of light on the surface of his eyes breathed when he didn’t need to. It gave him magic, this kiss, and brought contentment to his soul that was already staring into eternity. He was at once the first creature staring at its first obelisk.

He had to wonder what this meant, and realized when the first lash had caught his spirit and torn it open, that there’d been an instance where he’d lived with Catalina’s absence, when that pain had been overwhelmed, also. “No.” he said, drunk on Marin, disappointed at himself for craving this refuge. Protect me from this new addiction because it is too lovely. But if she read it in his eyes as they were drowning in that glower, she wouldn’t have time to help  before he took another kiss to her, to her throat, to the side. She’d said not to be gentle, and his lust was not. His body to hers, as though there was enough power in the new him to hold her if she didn’t want to stay. Eagerly his clasps of eternal ivory closed to carve out a jagged smile on her neck.

He parted it with his lips, trying to keep the portal to liquid heaven open after swallowing mother’s flesh. His tongue in that brook, so he could lap and suck and forget about Catalina. Marin was small, so he lifted her higher on the wall, dug a wider pool on her nape and the rising column for himself. Her rapture circled his native blood, witch’s son and witch’s brother, and wrapped him. He’d sooner want to become it than wear it. How could he recover from this love, he wondered as his legs gave but his arms on her would not. On his knees with her, biting her again and again, to taste her texture on his grinding teeth, and suck her into his lungs and stomach.

Inan fell back, but he clutched the back of her head to keep her to him. Blood tears from treasure eyes until his own life was so threatened with this new craft it locked his jaw. At first he tried to have more, courting the wound with insistent strokes of his slick muscle and the waiting palled, but then life’s magic protested further, and sent a reminded of the death he should have had through his heart. Punishment pumped through his limbs. Inan hammered his head back, into the motel floor, and arched with the surge. Arm still around her. Save me. “Is this—“ Comon? Real? Penalty? It didn’t matter because a groan took his throat.

"Marin!” but sounded like ‘mother’. Her mercy was causing upset with the mercy for others that already lived in him. A glow from inside, weak but true, guarding the veins that were already hosting Marin’s honey. He’d become a stalemate. Suddenly he breathed rapidly because he needed it. Smears of her wonderful  blood on the face that her forever had only started to conserve. In a pulse the bites on his arms and neck from the uninvited boys and the hole from Nona’s knife came back, all Elise’s cuts open, flesh trying to remember humanity. In another beat they were gone, as though they’d been projected and the source had gone out. “Why does it hurt again?” he asked, uneven fangs exposed as he tried for oxygen. If the Marin layer of her was new to have a sprout like Inan, it was also new to losing one. The goodness he was meant for fought with the amalgamation of holy and damned things that had been introduced.

-

There was a smile for Cat when she underlined his lack of courtesy. He shrugged. He was planning to be rude a lot to this girl. Anyone who knew him could expect that much. They weren’t victims or potential sources. He had to save his niceties. The light audacity in him went away when she reminded him that he was still breathing because of her. It wasn’t meant to buy her a place by his side for this hunt, not a real calling of his debt to her, but rather proof of what she considered valuable skills. A conceding huff, at that. “Not saying you couldn’t be very useful. I’d just prefer you be a little more knowledgeable.”

She knew which strings to tug. “Hey now.” He said as he followed. A distant wave to the waitress. “You were conversing with a vampire, remember?” he said. He understood the charm of Catalina. Perhaps it was some of his own, though he’d not been mistaken for cute in a long time. He opened the door for her. “And I wouldn’t leave you with that boy.” He said with a smile that turned into a cringe by the time they reached the car. “Human hormones that age are worse than fangs.” He supposed he felt protective about her. It was the perfect storm of gratitude, having borrowed someone else’s child, and liking her.

He got into the car and wrung it into a healthy sound. She was beautiful in this light. Her story could be beautiful, too, if he didn’t get her killed soon. “Alright.” He said, soaking in the disapproval she was putting out over the thought of being left. Not every day he had someone who would rather be with him than anywhere else. He smiled at her as they entered into a rather populated area, driving toward the heart of the city. “You’re in the car, though, and you bring books but you somehow keep an eye out too.” He said. He reached over to her and pulled down the compartment again, and didn’t like that his forearm sought out her knees during that motion. “That box.” It was clear plastic. “Titanium and glass. Not the same concentration as in the blades. If you’re coming then you get the good stuff.” He was so busy smiling at her he didn’t see the porcelain mayhem dressed in the dirty coat of a recently gone unfortunate in the mouth of an alley. “They’re expensive. Just saying.” They passed the target they’d been traveling for, and came into tighter traffic. Though Catalina was beautiful, truly, Olister felt it a bit much, for a few seconds. It made him a bit nervous, but not suspicious.

“So, and I’m being serious,” He said when they stopped. The house had a good address, just away from the really busy areas. Tourists were easy targets, and hunting was an old tradition, there was money. He stepped out of the car. She would know he wore a gun and a blade, this time. “you’re not going to get your way every time. But I  guess I shouldn’t be so strict with you on your first day.” And he believed it, too, when he said it, and took her up the short flight of stone stairs.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on August 09, 2016, 09:52:59 pm
There was no name for the memory of slaughter he conjured with his teeth, but she knew it as true as her heartbeat. Perhaps she had been close to her siblings in an earlier era. When he carved out her flesh he drew a ragged breath with it, blades from her lungs. Marin’s head fell back against the wall, stray beads of crimson sweetness dying the white strands that fell across her neck and teased Inan’s cheeks.

It hurt. A gasp when he pulled away her flesh, undressing the desire beneath, and she bathed in the sounds of his jaw working her between his teeth. She was laughing. There was so much newness in this, to share herself and defy the Magic that sewed her shut. Marin was proud of her ravenous Fledgling. At first, she did not understand the initial strokes of agony from pleasure. She tumbled with him, eager to oblige him, and then pulled back suddenly when he called for her. Baby bird, falling. Her momentary euphoria shattered like so many years spent on the other side of the window.

She was astride him as he writhed on the hotel floor, springing old wounds fresh like too many gaping mouths. There was no life Marin had lived that could have taught her this outcry. She understood how it should happen and that this was not it, but there was no legend for her bleeding boy. It did not happen this way, for others. In her dedication to solitude, had she spoilt her ability to share eternities? She was confused, but the rhythmic destruction wasn’t unfamiliar to her own bones. Marin had existed too many times to wallow in this stroke of failure for long.

In her first skin, she had been worshipped. The ageless, moonlit goddess. She had fallen to the same hands that praised her as gods are want to do. A bloody ceremony by the light of the full moon. Blades with strange Magics that opened her to the night sky and left her bare. Gasping gashes until there were too many to count and she was too many fragments to count. Then was born the Bennu from her alter. That myth had resounded, bearing a single name, and Marin wound on in too many lives. “Phoenix,” she told him, as if were an answer to his pain. The silver eyes were bright. The red lips were bloody.

He was not she and was not the same, but she had given him a little of her tarnished divinity. This roiling conflict that was his blood’s reshaping morality and mortality was Feng to her Huang made bitter. “The moon may help you win this.” She said, and pulled herself off of him. It was optimism because there was no other option. The blood that had spit itself from his angry body painted constellations on her dress. Marin picked him up, cradled like an overgrown child. “Take more.” She insisted and took a fistful of his hair to push his mouth against her throat. “If you can.” Urgency, because she had made a promise in blood to this once-human. Something in her questioned whether she ought to regret it, but the part of her that had been happy when Inan blinked gold rebelled. Her sad son. “Your sister would save you.” Marin said, and she was certain that the green-eyed witchling would have if she loved her brother a fraction of how he loved her.

She was out the door and at the car in a breath, setting him in the back seat as efficiently as possible. It was fortunate that Valleyrun was a sleepy town and the soccer team had had better sense than to call out the pitchforks. The tires squealed as she raced out of the parking lot. With the accelerator straining, pedal to the floor, they blew past the edge of town. Out of the low light pollution and into the unfettered evening. There might have been a chance at a more nostalgic departure with this place. The sky was still light but the moon was rising full.

Marin had begged the moon, before. On her own behalf, dragging herself through the snow in a forest across the globe. The rattle of Inan’s lungs in the seat behind her sang déjà vu to the poetry she’d exhaled those centuries ago. Selene, then.

They squealed to a stop as the moon continued to chase the sun away. If there was any blessing in the war raging in Inan’s veins it was that Marin’s blood was not apt to succumb and the clock on his salvation still ticked on. She was rough when she pulled him from the car. Jarring, surely, when he was already tearing himself apart. She scrambled to the middle of the empty road, holding her Fledgling like a sacrifice and insisting his lips to her throat again. To give blood was the only kind of care her kind knew. “The moonlight makes us stronger. Maybe…” he’d hear the little bite of fear if he was strong enough to hold it. Unfit Mother, agelessly young, with her too-gentle Child.

Her fingers were slick with the blood from his pulsing unravel. It was dizzying, even for her, the scent making her senses swim. She made sounds that were meant to be comforting but spoke more to her inexperience. Lonely satellite on her first reach for a tether, met with the cruelest kind of red ribbon. Bright angel with the devil’s soul. “You aren’t getting better.” She said, and it was accusatory. “Can’t you fully embrace this?” she shook him as she held him. “You can’t even die, like that.” Scorn, perhaps.

The sunset silence was deafening. She set him gently on the pavement, watched him in the throes of the personal hell they had crafted for him. Marin was frustrated at the moon’s helplessness and her own. She had accepted her solitude before. This little spark of humanity should not have burned so bright. Marin petted his hair. “I’m sorry.” She apologized in little murmurs and kissed his forehead where cold sweat beaded like too many tears. And then, “Be stronger,” because his torment angered her too.

When the sky had wrapped itself in the deeper shades of evening and the moon’s softness was an evident failure for his continued writhing, a thin sanguine slick pooling beneath him, she put her hand around his throat. “Shall I kill you then, Inan, my Phoenix, Feng? It might be your only hope.” There are beasts who eat their young, when they are too weak. Whether that death is merciful or vain is subject to romanticism. For better or worse, Marin’s weaponized mouth and the steel grip of her small hand was a ferocious sort of beautiful.     

--

Catalina was surprised when he relented. She’d more or less given up the idea he’d take her go. Her sullen had simply been to underline her displeasure. It was a treat she was familiar with from Inan’s affection only. Mother and Father did not generally give in to her pouting. “Oh.” She said, as if she was unsure of what to do when she’d gotten her way.

She followed his instructions and pulled the box into her lap. A smile for the Hunter. “Thank you,” Cat said and was grinning the rest of the ride. There was more carefree in her than there should have been, if she’d known the sort of fangs her brother had grown. Diverging stars, white hot and red smolder. There was irony in the way his silvered ammunition reminded her of Inan’s pretty eyes.

Cat found a little less anger in the pit in her heart that his tongue had carved out. There was, instead, a more contented ache. Somehow, she thought she could believe she was doing this for both of them. Inan was Mother’s favorite, anyhow. He’d live nicely as an only child and she would rid the world of the Vampires that lived outside of Valleyrun, since she hadn’t the power to destroy the ones within. She thought of Nona’s face when she loaded her revolver and missed the snowy wraith that passed by their window.

“I know, you make the rules. That’s okay. Thank you for this time, Olister. I don’t expect you to spoil me too much.” She was agreeable when they got out of the car. Cat followed him up the stairs. “I mean, it’s okay if you do.” She added, half-joking. It had been strange to say his name. She realized she hadn’t, before, and wondered if this made them partners. She wanted to ask but thought it might be trying her luck. She’d been fortunate he’d given her wings out of her town to begin with. Before the reached what looked something like a reception desk, Cat reached out to touch his arm. “You’ll let me take another look at that before we go, too, right?” she asked and Tsoalle’s brief pass through their orbit might have insisted her fingers linger just a little longer.
 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on August 10, 2016, 06:28:19 pm
Her blood, that he had swallowed so easily, had a pretty soak first. And then the edges of that reaching saturation hurt. A spreading burn without temperature. An expanding map of naked pain. The flesh he’d taken, carnal as it is said to be, had more potency still. He didn't know the bolts of pleasure that became the swords and hooks of his inside war really carried power. Their magics spoke the same language, the way rust is meant for metal, but necessarily unkind, also. Two combatants of vastly different weight.

He stayed underneath her when her legs were over and around. Inan looked up at Marin, his lashes infected with gold, also, the veins from his whites traveled out onto his skin, a mask of gold threads onto his cheekbones and brow. Pretty rootwork, but she could be sure they spelled his demise rather than received divinity. The toil on the expression said as much, the lack of light on the slick lips. He reached to touch the trails on her mouth when she named that bird. Inan gave a nod, and tried for a smile that couldn’t have been. I’ll be that for you. But his heart’s strength was not so, and the hand that sought her out curled with red on the tips. He’d forgotten that one-name lore by the next set of drumbeats delivering suffering onto parts of him that had greedily taken her.

She spoke of the moon, and he tried to hear it. At once he was against her, traveling. A soft huff on her neck, already shut to him, when she said to take more. Shiver through his longest tooth when it returned inside her. The cut was deep, he was learning the way she’d open, and his mouth applied suction as he held on. Diligent boy, taking the humming demise down obediently. By the time she put him into the car, it was simply affection there, his tongue and his suckling, onto her healed self. Inan could still love her, if he wouldn’t live. He relied on her, saw her shining through the murmurs haunting his ragged nerves. It felt good to count on someone undying.

Bravely he tried not to succumb with every returning wave of ravage that wanted him as she drove. Were they driving to the moon? Was there enough power on it to chase this away? Delirious, still romantic heart. The car’s halt flung him into the back of her seat, then she plucked him out into the night that wanted to be as pale as her. What lack of others. How much of a goddess she was, here, trying to recreate the miracle of human form, when his was failing. Must have been like this, he understood, eons ago, because if the maker didn’t struggle, why would the worship from man be so important? He bit when he was offered. But the moonlight found her blood in him, and made it stronger, which only spent more of his innate defense. He was expiring in the cure.

The mask of starlight vines covered his lips too, as though Inan Copper had tried to eat a beaming star and not taken a napkin to himself, after. He shook his head, new strength to try and deny her disappointment in his inability to thrive with her blood. “No. No! I’m better. I feel stronger.” And he bit his lip until it was mauled in an endeavor to appear stoic. Her blood folded the flesh back and sew it fast. He held on to her harder, though he didn’t know where that initiative gathered strength from. “J-just take me back. We’ll eat Nona together. I’ll have the biggest piece.” Was that how he should talk now? He was certain that if it was, it should not come with chopped up syllables and crushed pitches. Marin would also know that murder for hunger wasn’t his personality.

When she told him to be stronger, he was already afraid, laid away from her, but he smiled a rebel bow onto his addled lips, winking with a beautifully sick eye. It might have been more convincing if that flicker hadn’t dislodged an orb of truth wetting the golden seems on its way to his jaw. Foolishly he arched his throat into her hold, assuming tenderness. His eyes grew when she offered to take him, really snuff him. “What? Why?” he asked, retreating back against the road. He shook for answer and held her wrist. He would let her tear his cartilage if it got him free. Perhaps she’d see this determination and reward him his freedom, for pity, even, unless he be speechless because he’d be breathless. “I’m alright!” he insisted with panic in his air.

He got up, thanks to some miracle that found him too late, stumbled over the line in the road, somehow, and then came back, hunching, to a legged position. “I just need solace. I just need to collect myself.” As though this nowhere wasn’t already too quiet. Both forces in him fed off this new adrenaline, and let him spend himself getting off the road. The act melted away as he walked where there wasn’t a path, Marin’s blood putting fire to his vision while his own tried to dull it back to humanity. It was a dizzying kind of help, but at least he wasn’t entirely blind. He was running soon, the way only the Copper children with the house close to the trees could run.

He was crying as he made his way, cut here, healed there, on the torso she’d rendered naked. He knew these woods better than she, he thought to himself for courage. But he’d not been here often, certainly not in the dark, and never without Catalina. He whispered for his sister as he divided walls of branches so he could press. Through coagulating Marin he said his first love’s name. Then he turned out to a passage that wasn’t so tight. He buried his head into his forearm, that arm onto rough bark as he breathed. It wasn’t that he was afraid to die. He cried with fingers on that mouth when his legs remembered there was no strength for this bravado, and folded him.

He understood then that he didn’t fear the perils of death, its unknowns, especially if he’d learn them as a part of Marin. He’d become attached to her when she accepted him, and delighted in the love they’d made on rented sheets, and worshiped her when she rescued him from Nona’s obsession. He ran now because if that moonlight form took his life, it meant she had rejected him too. If he could postpone the waltz of her teeth on his bones, and prolong her hunt, because he wasn’t such a fool that he truly believed he could best her, then there was more time in this pocket where she’d not put death on him, yet, and he wasn’t some lonely soul, who had lost two great lovers so soon. Inan sobbed and clawed the tree to have its help to stand. “What a miserable thing.” He said to himself as he staggered on, for love and from its absence, the sorrow eating his flight-chemicals too fast.

The clear-as-day train running over his preaching system of nodes had him on a knee three times before he toppled and let it circle his bones and make fires all over his heart. Inan cried. “You were supposed to love me when Catalina wouldn’t.” he said to a leaf that had glued itself to the corner of his panting maw. A hiccup, but not enough breath to lend strength for another upright stumble. He ground his teeth and tried to crawl, so the world couldn’t bring Marin to him. Deep in struggle and the breaking heart, the lifeblood of Valleyrun felt commotion inside, like boil in the pelagic sea. It was Marin’s flesh, his teeth still remembered, and her elixir, his throat contracted. He sat on his heels and looked up at the gape in the wind-run ceiling. Moonlight on him, in a perfect pillar. The light was speaking to its mistress inside him, giving his miserable state more grief. Inan lowered his head and drank in the air. Her hard blood around his lips flaked and came into him as dust. “Don’t come.” He prayed. Let me die without knowing I was only sport and game.

-

The man at the desk lifted a brow when he saw Olister with the girl. Olister smiled back at Cat and nodded. “I was going to ask, actually. They have rooms here.” His arm, where the teeth had cut him, felt a bit cold right where the fangs had passed, but hot around. It wasn’t the smarting of an infection, he knew, but this kind of magic worried him. Better she have one too many eyes on it than not enough. He turned to the receptionist and received a key, a tablet, and a handful of printouts along with a comment that Olister ‘was a long way from home’. If cat was listening she would hear the friendly tone.

Truth was, the more understanding she was with his inability to always treat her like a guest, the more he wanted to spoil her. He couldn’t know this familiarity with her, this slight gravitation, wasn’t the work of the stress they’d lived through, or even her magic on his pains, but rather originated from another mind, seated in a cab by the side of the building. Tsoalle, who had frozen the driver with the memory of a great loss, was very much there with them when Olister walked his newest apprentice to the provided rooms. How long gone that threat when Olister opened the door.

“It actually hurts more than before.” He said. That wasn’t true, but Olister wasn’t allowed to know that. For all their physical measures, the house had no way of warding off magic. The few hunters with such abilities that flaunted their skills were usually employed in more important places. Tsoalle made sure Catalina worried overly for the man that had taken her out of the putrid town, where there was only bad relationships for her. It was a bit of a strain, though, for their preternatural stalker, to filter out all the tendrils that sought Catalina out from seemingly nowhere, her power, perhaps, aiming to alert her to what had happened to Inan, in the night. Olister sat on the bed and took the jacket off, finally, sighing in relief as he started to free himself of the shirt, as well. “So, given enough time, do you think you can make it as strong as it was?” Really, his usual disposition was that it was alright to suffer a few injuries if you got away with your life. But suddenly it was crucial he have her attention, and if possible, her proximity and sympathy.

Tsoalle leaned back in the crack of the leather. A silver thimble with teeth held on to the finger that refused to heal in his usual rate. He laughed as he kicked the driver in the back. It wasn’t enough to wake him from apathy. The connection between the girl and the hunter had almost been Olister’s demise last night. If they were further attached, Tsoalle reckoned their next meeting would hold a satisfactory end. Or two.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on August 16, 2016, 01:31:31 am
Marin would have missed all the pretty in his demise if she’d been a few centuries younger, but the Vampire’s heart was old when her mind was not and she found some space to lay between herself and that poor creature she’d made her own. Lovely golden spider webs, golden strings to snare bloody insect gashes. He asked for Nona and she shook her head. “No, my dear Feng, you aren’t stable for that sort of filth.” She said, but worried mostly for the blood of his the girl had pocketed in her veins.

She pet his hair absently, running her tongue across her sharp teeth, tasting her own blood before the slick pink healed. “No, you’re not alright.” She told him, not as mindful to the rising panic in him as she ought to have been. This being had died many times. Her infant Fledgling feared what she could not find frightening. Marin did not understand it was rejection over death that haunted him.

Marin was surprised when he staggered to his feet, briefly proud, and wondered if the Moon might have helped him more than she thought. His first steps were weak and stumbling, though, and she understood it was that very mortal sense of dread that had roused him. She stood. “You shouldn’t be going anywhere alone.” She argued, though she watched him as he teetered across the road and into the trees. Watched him find some speed. Watched him awkwardly tear off into the trees.

She was moonlight and mist. The white angel in the dark, alabaster demon among the trees. Marin was noiseless as she followed him. She watched him cry and bleed and gasp and run. She let him carry on. Curious, in some sense, if he’d found some other way to fix himself and grow stronger as she had demanded, or if he were simply delaying what needed to be done. It seemed to be the latter, she decided, the way he indulged his agonies as he went. Marin ghosted in and out of his peripheral vision, if he’d had the senses to blink and see her. It wouldn’t have mattered much, though. His Matriarch at such a proximity should be screaming to his senses, even as they fought for their humanity. He must know she was close.

She slipped in closer when he called for his sister. Marin had promised to be that pretend for him, if he wanted it. He spoke to the leaf like it was her face, when he fell, and she appeared over him. “Don’t come?” she asked. “But I am here, Phoenix Inan.” Marin said. “I have not broken my promise.” She descended on him like a pack of wolves in a single mouth. Dainty fingers on his shoulders to pin him to the earth and her mouth over his jugular. “I’m sorry that it must hurt.”

Teeth around the matter of his throat, crushing and tearing. There were the chords that made his voice sing and the tunnel through which he gasped. She was indiscriminant. He would hear his own cartilage crunch and the spray of eager red and the gurgle from his own lips. She ripped him open where he might bleed for her brightest and took flesh and muscled in her wake. Red lips found red cheeks and crimson jewels for her long white hair. And Inan’s flesh healed.

If it should have been hard to consume her own Childe, that bitter was flooded by his sweetness on her tongue and the thick of his muscle in her mouth. She swallowed him down as her tiny fingers clawed at his chest, ripping to pry open the ribs that held the organ she wanted. If he wished to escape her again, it was only that moment that gave him the chance, when she was too eager to split him open to concern herself with pinning him down. If he scrambled away, dragged himself against whatever pain she and his own body were crafting, she would pounce back onto him before he could struggle far.

Pretty, monstrous, eternity. “You said you wanted me to taste you,” she reminded him. “This is what you wanted. This is what you need now.” She pushed his arm up and sank her fangs into the thick vein that ran there, tearing the ligaments that might let him resist and reach to push her away. Another wild spray of ruby wet. Her mercurial eyes blistered with his gold. “Be strong and die for me.” She clawed at his stomach, pushing her fingers into the wounds his own body opened for her and tearing them wider. Each new injury pulsed open with the chorus of old scars and his agonizing heartbeat. She fed from where his red rivers ran widest. Down his belly, along his thigh when she tore open his clothes. The scent was heavy, like honey sweet wine, and she began to laugh, fevered.

“I’m here, think of your sister. She would save you.” She insisted, his blood slithering with her saliva down her chin. “I can save you. If you die and fight back.” He would realize it soon enough, when he was losing enough blood with each pulse that he soaked her thin dress and plastered it to her skin as she moved over him. If his soul did not, his body would. She closed her lips over one of his eyes, tongue pushing against the socket. Her grip was firm if he tried to fight her, but her own throat within reach of his lips. She carved a gash down his cheek with her teeth after she’d plucked the orb from its cradle. If he was hoping to cry out, the ever-opening hole in his throat would soften that sound with his slick sanguine.

He would eat or die when she’d bled him enough that dismemberment seemed the only path forward; Marin would admit at the end of this that she didn’t know if he could truly heal the way she could. “Sad brother, don’t you want her skin between your teeth? Your Catalina?” she urged. With his blood in her hair it might not be so hard to pretend.

--

Cat frowned. “It shouldn’t be hurting more. Can you lay down on the bed for me?” she asked when they’d found the room they’d been instructed toward. It was good to fuss over him. Catalina had always liked caring for Inan, even if she’d hated where he’d earned his injuries. She blushed when he pulled off his shirt, glancing down at her toes as if that might hide the reaction. “Let me see.” She mumbled.

She crawled onto the bed beside him and gingerly picked away the herbs she’d plastered against the wound. It looked as if the injury were weeks old, rather than hours, and she was inclined to be proud of her handiwork. “I don’t know why it would hurt worse…” she hummed, though she held his arm still with one hand and hovered two fingers over the red welt that remained. Olister had never heard her sing anything other than healing words, but it wasn’t a secret she was a songbird. A sweeter sound from the usually rash and biting tongue.

A soft green-gold glow and then a spark of fire that died on her fingertips but suffused the limb with a soothing warmth. “Given enough time, I could probably make it stronger.” She said with a cocky little grin. But she was blushing again and realized quickly she mustn’t look as cool as she hoped. She averted her gaze and reapplied the smear of herbs.

“You know, I remember you from when I was a kid and you found me in the forest. You scared me at first, but then I thought you were really cool.” She cleared her throat and tucked a fall of stubborn scarlet behind her ear. “I mean, I never thought I’d be running off with you from Valleyrun but…” she realized it might have sounded different than she’d intended, but it was too fitting for her to take it back. “I’m glad. I thought I’d be starting out somewhere new with my brother, but this is probably better.” She said, and was surprised when she believed it more than she expected.
   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on August 16, 2016, 07:28:56 pm
In the loneliness he had to imagine, forgetting the white shadow of her that had followed at the farthest reaches of his attention when he ran, he remembered how she’d read through his lies before his escape. A little chuckle, to know those truths to himself, as she had painted them for him. No fooling something like her. Her coagulation, the blood cherry blossom he’d breathed in, became a mosaic lining his lungs, and he thought the atmosphere tasted like her. He wondered who he had loved more, if Marin had known him half as long as Catalina. Would that affaire have been kinder on him?

It was a useless story, she proved, and appeared in the beam of moon that drowned him. For a second or a thousand of them, she did not obstruct the light as much as she was of it, backlit, or glowing. As she spoke, her other colors came. The ends of her hair was already him, after all. The fear was a welcome cold, and it brought about a sweltering summer, the kind that makes ashes out of crops, to his chest. He’d prayed and she was here to tell him she’d heard, and that she would not be granting. A globe at the corner of his right eye, enhancing a gold line already there, when she said she’d come to keep her promise. Somehow he was grateful for that, and clung to the sentiment. It was enough to have him follow her to the ground.

All that he could scream was blood when she built herself a crater where the softer skeleton of a cylinder protected his trachea. Like thunder in the distance, but without the disturbance of the atmosphere to compromise the sound, inside his head. Surely this was the song of death. He took her arm and her hair, for support and with hopes of escape, still. Hope as useless as the call that began at the bottom of the crevice she’d made, above the meeting of his collarbones rather than his strung wide lips. Almost at the pace of the rising howl, the cartilage circled back into existence to host the reforming pipe that she’d claimed. She ate faster, of course. The pain rammed him every time her teeth clasped around the hollow. Because he couldn’t succumb, his consciousness not extending such mercy, the suffering became familiar, and he could read it for its quality, no longer blinded by the shock of it. It was when she bit deep, inside the pool, and not the sides, that felt the most, because it was then that his alerts told him that he was about to die in their loudest voice.

When that area of him, her feasting hall, started to emit the craze of native medicines to send him off to death pleasantly, her fingers made a new place of mayhem. Such effective little characters, her digits. His body arched, heels cycling to peddle away from the tormentor above, but her hold had already hooked into the ribs she’d stripped, petting the beating heart. A thin way for his air had been resurrected from the carnage of his throat, and Inan was allowed to gargle as his never before graced muscle sought out her touch. Harlot heart, indeed. As though her magic was gaining ground in him, finally, the skin of his neck shut around the profound damage she’d performed underneath his chin. His breath said ‘I did not’ with some hesitation, when she said he’d requested these things, as though that modesty was more important than calling for her cease.

He barely felt her open his arm, or when she drank that strategic source. When he commanded his arm back, she’d already ruined it. His torso, his belly, gave way like thaw in morning, offering little resistance to protect the treasure underneath. Inan was crushed again under the new helping of stimulation, encasing his overfed mind and swimming spine. No extremity would take his orders. Her teeth were open wires, sparkling with the command to stimulate his connections, every time she severed them. When she undid his clothes and undressed the pillar of blood that ran by his modesty and then inside his thigh, he asked for mercy again. That carnal teasing added on top of this onslaught would surely have him in oblivion or madness. He raised his hips for her teeth, her drinking a familiar pleasure.

Inan listened when she spoke of Catalina, instructing him how he might survive. He nodded to the monster that, he knew now, would be the last face in his life. Dumb, still, he wrapped his hand willingly around the back of her blood dipped head when she licked his tears from his iris. He had been made insane from the crackling of her continuous murder. Why would there be tenderness now, simple Copper son? His mouth gasped and hung blood foam in the air when her tongue scooped and her teeth took. Foolishly he pulled at her head, and only aided her in taking the gold encrusted sphere from its place in the bone niche. The nerve whipped back. The pain, or sensation, now, climbed the vault of his cranium and rocked his head.

Such sacrilege she spoke, with his memories on her breath, his life swirling on her palled. He would never eat Catalina, his baby sister. And at once, as the thought was spread into the lucid, overcome mind, he could not let it go. Cat’s voice for mercy, her freckles in his mouth. He forgot the pretend, their deal of Marin donning the make believe, and he truly knew it was Catalina come to him. It is only possible to eat so much of a creature before reality twists around him. Inan, exactly half blind, pulled her hair toward him and lanced the skin with her pulse with his uneven bite. He could taste the origin of her voice and he cried as the sugar power was released in every strike of his teeth. His skull rattled, skeletal seams all but failing to host of her magic.

Inan sat up to press his face against her. He ate from her windpipe and around toward her spine, jaw pulling back, holding hard, when she was too tough to chew through. When he moaned a particulate cloud of red drops puffed inside their scene, within the moonlight pillar. He was weak, a nothing under her, but with every taste he felt something akin to forgiveness onto his sinful being. And Inan Copper died, inside the cave of her throat. And then he woke to another life. Hands pulled at her dress, not to have it open, as was the real result, but to bring her closer, rather. When her blessings traveled onto him with her flesh, his tongue between the vertebrae of her spine, licking after electricity inside that sensory elevator, he felt new life, on him, where she had consumed it. After gnawing and sucking at the bone chain for another frenzied moment, he pulled back, lidless eye coming along well as it and its intact twin stared at her as though she’d betrayed him for not having said she was so scrumptious. As he sought this flattering bridge of sight between them, his fingers came up to caress her rapidly closing neck, pushing inside and pulling to keep her open. It also brought her closer for a kiss. His one good tooth stirred inside the initial puncture when he courted her mouth and then took his fingers out of her, to replace them with his tongue. But there was too much drink in there. He wanted to eat.

“You killed me.” He said, fibers healed but not the skin over his vocal apparatus. That death was still tingling and making its claim in him. In fact, she was saving him. Heaven come to give him eternity without consent in the moment. Mortality, the way he’d been taught it, was behind him. It was freeing, the way sins from another life are distant. Who was Inan now?

She was still seated on him, all he wanted, so, like she owed him, he lifted her until he could throw her legs around his neck, for her to sit on his shoulders in part, and his mouth could be at her stomach, where her dress had been shredded. His hand on the low of her back as he kissed her navel, to ask for permission, before he clipped her with predator weapons. A careful appreciation of her flavor, and the eternity he gained from it, bulging one cheek. Inan licked his lips and looked up at his new mother, Cat’s features flickering on Marin’s beauty. And then he nuzzled her belly again, eating like a good child, making his way through the skin, tongue between her winding places and her folds, tugging and sucking, slurping and swallowing. He moaned into her organs and ate deeper.

-

When he laid down as instructed, he was almost convinced by Cat’s certainty that he didn’t hurt. In the critical now, it didn’t hurt, actually, but he remembered a vivid pain just a moment ago. Tsoalle’s magic, but that would be a far guess, in this closed off environment, so the suspicion didn’t enter his table of possibilities. He was amused at her embarrassment. His composition, in front of her, was built from real work. Nights of fighting, stalking. Hard life to yield a hard health. Innate strength where Inan had angel limbs. It should have ended there, a flighty grin to have put some color on the girl, but the implication lingered, and meant something to him. Tsoalle asked him what it would be like, if she was hurt too, and she’d have to shed her top, as well. A cheap train of thought, but Olister had laid the tracks so perfectly.

He took her in as she worked the fantastical magic. Her burning fingers. How tangible it was, the good mysticism. Too often there were just fangs and monsters that had lived longer than they deserved. It was satisfying to see otherworldly gifts could be used for other things than bloodspilling. And her voice was very sure. He’d not heard that kind of song before, mostly he heard polished wailing between weaves of static on his radio. Catalina sung honestly. The moment was more intimate than he’d expected, with her magic coiling inside and warming the hurt, and her tune filling the room itself. He fooled himself by leaning over the line she’d made of the injury to see, when in truth, he was drawn closer to her.

He tried the arm as she was brushing back the ointment, enjoying more of her blush. He’d not thought the child in the woods would have grown into this woman. The memory was significant to him, too, and the memento of it was right there, on the chest he’d exposed. Tsoalle was almost innocent when he tied that gratitude and nostalgia into a deeper attachment to her body, rather than her actions. A few signals inside Olister’s mind said he should stop this, but the emotionalist maestro quickly swatted those specks of reason. “It is definitely better for me.” He said, sitting up, which brought them closer, still.

“I’d be dead without you.” He declared, and held his posture up, to improve his silhouette. He’d not been prone to such vanity, before, but it was unthinkable to lay, listless and lazy, when she was in the room. It shouldn’t matter of course, but he could think of nothing more important than being presentable in his bareness, then. “I don’t think you should think of your brother for a while.” He said and reached to tug at the strand she’d hung back. It fell, of course and he mirrored the motion she’d performed to make it sit, again. “You can take care of me. Or better yet, I’ll take care of you.” Olister wasn’t overly romantic, but he did open up well when he did. “I mean,” he wanted to pull her in then, and there were not many warnings in him that said he shouldn’t. If not to try and win her over with a kiss, then to place her in his lap. He didn’t for some reason. “if you still think I’m cool.” A little laugh. “it must be tiring, all the directions your heart’s been torn.” It was Olister’s voice, but Tsoalle’s words. The hunter didn’t know exactely what that meant, after all. “Would you like to rest with me, girl?”
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on August 20, 2016, 07:35:17 pm
Cat had the sort of look on her face that said she wasn’t used to this sort of attention. At least, not from anyone but Inan. It wasn’t so much that other boys hadn’t put their sights on her. It was mostly that she’d never paid them mind, or found them caught further up in their own ego than anything to do with her. Like the Braxton kid. Olister, in his curiously rough but genuine way, was something else. Of course, there was Tsoalle to blame too, but he’d only pulled on the fantasy she’d harbored since she was young. Rogue with a heart of gold, the fine knight that had taken her out of her miserable town. Or, perhaps Catalina simply needed someone to cover the void that was Inan.

She rubbed her cheek with one hand, as if she could push back the way she was blushing. “Uhm. I mean. That would be nice, if you don’t mind it,” she mumbled. Cat unfolded her knees from beneath her and gingerly stretched out on the bed beside him. Careful, like she wasn’t sure if he’d meant it this way. It would be embarrassing if she’d misunderstood, but Tsoalle’s encouragement told her that it would be worth it to make him notice her. She wasn’t the child from the woods anymore, after all.

Catalina settled onto the pillow beside him, rolling onto her side to face him. “It is tiring.” She admitted then. “I know it’s wrong of me to struggle like this at all. It should be obvious, how I’m supposed to feel, but it’s not.” She said. Cat tugged at her hair. “Does that make me childish?” she asked. She didn’t want him to think so. “Because I’m—I’m not a child anymore, you know?” the green eyes were purposeful. “I’ve grown up. That’s why I wanted to leave with you.” If he laid down beside her, she would hesitate and then wriggle closer to place her head on his shoulder and her hand on his chest. She’d often sough the same comfort at home and told herself the suggestion was innocent. Cat did not deceive herself so much, now.

--

Marin was blood and moonlight, gasping when he tore into her at last. His teeth were not so surgical and sharp and her body healed with a vigor his had yet to aspire to. It was the sort of pain she hadn’t known since Yue died. She was laughing at the shock of it, even as tears sprang to her eyes in reflex to the jagged. Marin wondered if he feasted on her or Catalina, blindness in the eye she’d taken and hallucinations in the other. She wondered to whom he would be most brutal.

He did not sample from this vein and the others, the way she had sought to open his rivers and bleed him dry. Her phoenix child, instead, meant to consume her. He burrowed into her throat with his unpracticed mouth, pulling when she was tough and pushing greedily further when she was welcoming. At her neck like this, she would not have been able to scream as he repaid the injuries she’d played on his own trachea. Hers closed around his teeth so he tore himself free with every bite. She would not have screamed anyway.

Marin had learned the pleasure of agony long ago with a brother she could not recall. He had loved her through the destruction, taking her flesh but not her blood. A gentle concession to that which she held selfishly. Inan had been given her flowing immortality and must not yet have realized that it made him a singularly granted being in all history. Her only Childe. She made him clean as he took her in and expelled his own human sympathies from the wounds that still gasped with each heartbeat. He died for her again, and then Marin sprang into motherhood and its bliss with the pressure of his tongue when he found her spine and his second rebirth.

When the wounds closed, this time, they did not reopen. Only those gashes which she’d torn new remained and were closing rapidly, too. He sat back and her throat was nearly clean, a dribble of drying blood mingled with what she’d sprayed from him. She took a thick breath, relief when she saw that her vaguely frenzied plan had worked. Death, not the Moon, had held them to its bosom tonight. It hardly mattered. They were both her mother in turn. He pushed his fingers into that small window of her neck that had not finished resurrecting. Inan’s mouth in the digit’s place drew a moan past her lips. Good, lonely boy. She nodded at his remark. “It is in our nature.” Our because he was like her, now, and she was in him. “Feng, your blood is gone. It is mine, now.” She said. “Ours.”

Marin had not moved from her place atop him, though he was sitting now. “It shouldn’t hurt so much, anymore.” She suggested, watching his skin thread slowly to form a lid over his new eye. He must have felt well enough, and ravenous still. It would take time to learn the pit in his stomach would never be satisfied. He would always be hungry. He learned his new strength quickly, though. Marin was slight, but he moved her like she was hardly more than a breeze. She wrapped her legs around his neck and stared down at him. “Restraint is a worthwhile human trait.” She told him. “But it isn’t one you must learn with me.”

As if he would have waited for the entirety of that lesson. She gasped when he pulled a taste of her free. “Go on, eat.” She murmured. He hadn’t quite waited for her permission either. It made her tremble, the way he gnawed through her flesh. She wasn’t immune to pain. Panting, she wrapped her arms around the back of his head, cradling him further into him, and arched toward him to offer the slick muscles to his tongue. They reformed almost as quickly as he consumed them, an endless banquet, his Mother bird. “Inan Copper,” she hissed his name through clenched teeth.

Marin let herself fold backward, fulcrum at his palm on her lowed back. Her hands on his thighs, she pulled away from him and threw her legs over her own head until she had returned upright, kneeling in front of him. “Restraint, for now, is unnecessary. But you must learn to share.” She scolded, lightly. She leaned forward into his chest, low enough that her bottom fangs might hook in and search for his diaphragm. Tongue on the base of his sternum, she suckled the film of blood there.

She sat back, licking her lips, and then climbed back onto his lap to press against him between her thighs. Marin hooked her teeth into the taut band of his trapezius and pushed the muscle into her mouth, chewing the sweet fibers as she pressed her face eagerly into the wound. Sighing, she arched her head back to expose her heart to him. “I am your Mother now.” She reminded, grasping at one pert round. Death had held them to her bosom, and she offered that Mother’s embrace to his hungry mouth now.   

 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on August 21, 2016, 03:34:16 pm
Olister wasn't this kind of hunter. And still, when he saw her lack of defenses toward his small output of charm, its direction at her, a fixation purred in him. A focus. Tsoalle took the vision of her reds, worn on the pretty of the young woman, and made it all the brighter to his eyes. How easy it was to follow her when she settled in against him, where he sat. He needed this too, if he dared belive this sudden warmth, clammoring to be shared with another body. A sweet acceptence, out of her lips.

In his mind it became a kindness toward her, as well. "I don't mind at all." he assured her, because that was what she wanted. Easy to justifye his motivations, when his preferences were so strong. This was hardly any game at all to the lazy vampire outside. She was the picture of youth, laying there, close. A natural thing, in the modern city. Olister reached to touch her hair, the bright treasure about her, before his body followed hers. The comfort of the cheap matress was deafening to his senses. The luxury wasn't allowed to spoil him to sleep. Instead it gave him strength. Or something, that he didn't recognize as foreign, in him did.

A small laugh, that she could hear through his chest as he put an arm around her. "You're not childish." because children weren't useful. She'd more than shown her worth. His hand, without permission from either of them, laid over the valley of her waist, and it fit there. Olister blinked with hesitation at the impulse to squeeze, but an insistent urge inside still had his fingers push a bit deeper into her body. The resistance in her texture felt so rewarding.

"And you've grown." It should not be such a relevant seasoning to this moment that he'd seen her before she'd matured into this beautiful, aluring thing, but the contrast between the two, and the gravity it added to their ties, made him want a sordid thing from the good Copper girl. The argument in his head was meant to disuade him, remind him of anything else, but somehow it only worked to cast this all in such a light that made it seem like the best of ideas. "Look at you, Cat." he said and let the hand climb the hill toward her hip, collecing a few folds of her shirts in its coy hold. "You're not a child at all."

All too easily, because she was so small, he pushed that hand against her, to roll her and lock her against his body. A new intimacy. He breathed slow for her ear, chest rising, as more of her top had to give for the work of his thumb and palm, until the deceptively lethargic hand could hold her bared skin. It went back down into the valley, which took it under her clothing. His chin brushed her scalp through her hair and she smelled like a new life on the road, and day old schampoo. His eyes closed to lament on that perfume. "And you feel grown." he said without the same that should have come with.

-

When he took her flesh, she moved and sounded in a way that made him want to have more, as though the flavor and glistening power wasn't enough to bind him. He'd only been pulled like this by his sister, and neither of them had known to enjoy such gravity, until it overswam in their distant cave, filled with fire magic. His mind examined this now, the way she held her abdomen up, and kept his head close. That in itself was a reward, though it couldn't rival the delight of more treasure to eat, filling the bites he'd already taken. She trembled and he licked her wound until it closed to suckle his tongue.

Inside the new life that was taking him, as he experienced a change of self, transitioning into another creature completely, he heard her say his name. It was much more encouraging than his sister's voice had been. Inan Copper looked up as her Feng, lulled and stressed by his metamorphosis, secure between her legs. Did she see the unhinged pleasure and the caution? It was this sedated state, shoulders and chest swimming with satisfaction when his center still hungered, that let him watch as she rolled back over his palm and onto her knees. A clean motion. And considerate. His jaws were still jutting as he ground physical mementos of her belly until he could swallow them down.

He loved her dizzilly when she spoke. He wasn't sure he heard the lesson, but went along with her body when she moved, nodding to please her. His skin knotted in anticipation when her mouth opened near the bottom of his chest, and his hand came out to collect the back of her head. His throat clenched when she opened him through that tension, and his red babbled to a gentle fall, body eager to give if she wanted. He held her to him with gratitude when she came to sit on his legs. He was an addict, made, but not so desperate now, still suffering the rapture inside from the amount of her she'd allowed in him. The sensation of genesis was amplified on the road between shoulderblade and spine when she cut and scooped from that stretch.

She chased away that stupor when she said she was his mother now. He awoke fully to that sentiment, and looked from the lovely orb to the angel face. "Mother." one that wouldn't sell him, one that had only protected him. That he had misstaken for evil, when she was forgiving. He lowered his head onto the gift and the human that he hadn't had the time to grow into said this was a deeper delight than bestowed nourishment. He pierced the bud with his longest white, and drank from it quickly until it closed. Confounded, and showing it on his features, he looked up with his eyes but not the angle of his face, before he took hold with all of his teeth to open the rounded softness.

Her blood was its own corse. Inan sought it with his head, pushing at her until she'd be on her back, and he could kiss with bladed effort onto that cup of immortal womanhood. He nuzzled deep, his jaws stretching and closing to have renewed flow for his eager. It was this that he would be, then. What a well of purpose. All he could possibly need and desire, in a creature that wouldn't leave. "Mother." he gasped before he bit again. He lifted her hips deeper into him, her legs already around his waist. He wanted at her heart, and pressed his mouth deep enough, but wouldn't dig with his teeth. For the poetry of it. Inan could not know what the material of her heart was worth.

A rumble in his throat that multiplied into her ribcage. He was looking for more of her as he drank in bursting spills from her mother's well. He crawled the ground with her, moving them with his enthusiasm. Audacious, finally, from underneath, he licked and then clasped given teeth tight, moaning at the mouthful, chewing and swallowing quickly to lap the healing gash until it was only trails around his lips. His body, that knew how to renew human kind and was learning what it could do with such an old concuction, was quite elated with all these unknown heavens. With ecstacy he climbed her chest with kisses, until he could have her mouth. He was overcome with affection, an effect of being saved and remade by her, but also his own, longing disposition. "You're everything now, Marin." he said closing lips on her cheekbone. No tooth, long or stout. It was simply love as he threaded his fingers into hers and squeezed.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on August 25, 2016, 01:12:13 am
Marin wasn’t much for symbolism, but her phoenix in the forest begged for it with that romantic heart and new blossoming hunger. She fed him as any new mother fed their child, with the best nourishment she could provide. Beautiful, crimson, immortal life. A babe and a grown man at once, Marin was his life cycle wound toward infinity and promising more. To the lonely boy, from the lonelier satellite, a promise manifest.

She let him have his desire and wear it brilliantly, leaves catching like summer ornaments in her long white hair. Marin took the indulgence and held it on her tongue, playing him encouraging moans and wrapping her arms around him tightly. For all that, she was stunned when he stole her sounds straight from her lips and she found the softness of his mouth. Perhaps he’d been too sweet to lose everything to the depths of forever, the affection in his touch resonating with every old lover she’d neglected to keep and twining a jarring contrast to the ravenous teeth she’d expected.

Young Vampires were almost always more animal than human, when they first bloomed. It took the careful training of their covens to reestablish order in the chaos. Inan had died twice, though, and for that effort run two lifetimes into his third. An older soul than she had found in the hotel room. “I know.” She said, for his sentiments. “I will care for you.” Gentle in that practicality. Marin wrapped her legs around his hips, humming. “However you like.” Mother, sister, lover. Marin could be everything, as he said.

The sun was low by the time they had reassembled what bloody scraps of clothes they had left and returned to the car. She was shifting in shades of silver, containing her aura as the evening approached. “We should go.” She told him, climbing into the driver’s seat. Inside the vehicle, the pearlescent angel looked more human, but he would never mistake her for that kind of simple. “Do you have regrets, Inan Copper?” she asked. “If so, bury them now and put Valleyrun from your mind. You are new.” Marin said and turned the key.

As they pulled back onto the road, she turned on the radio and let it play low. A steady calm drawing between them. He’d be hungry again, soon. Which was to say, the always-hunger would be harder to fight until he’d learned it as his constant companion. “Tell me, when you need me to stop.” She said, because he would. Marin had not realized she’d longed for this.
--

Catalina felt a momentary panic, when Olister pulled her close. She thought of Inan and how she’d violently rejected what they’d shared. Still, she was sure she was betraying him. As much now as when she’d left Valleyrun. Would it have soothed her conscience if she’d known the path her brother had reached for? Tsoalle’s Magic was quick to turn her thoughts toward the way his hands felt and how it made her heart race. She understood the sensation now, and what she wanted. It was always Inan’s fault in the end.

His breath against the lobe of her ear when he pulled her into him, and his fingertips on her skin. She’d had some confidence, walking into this. It faded now and she grasped at the things he said in hopes of making them real. She wanted to be grown, for him. He’d take her seriously as a partner. He’d take her seriously like this.

“I—I’m glad that you think so,” and she was a little breathless with what she’d started. She shifted slightly, so that his hand might slip higher, grazing the wire of her underclothes. Cat was immediately worried she’d gotten ahead of herself, biting down on her lip, and went still in his arms. Tsoalle had such pretty artwork in her. She laid her colors bare and needed the prompting of confidence over any suggestion of emotion. Cat had never been shy with her feelings, when she acknowledged them. It was too simple to tell her she needed this, to prove her heart was free. She wasn’t a challenge here, for the Vampire outside or the man in the bed. Earnest and eager Catalina who had fallen into her brother as easily. Surely she’d not hate herself afterwards for this.

“I’d prefer it, if you thought of me as a woman.” She mumbled. Little Witch and her innocent spells. Pressed herself against him to find his hips and tucked one leg between his. “This is… nice.” Cat breathed, entwined. He could retreat still, of course, hold her tight and pretend he was her father. The Hunter, she hoped, knew how to reject her kindly if it was his motive.
 
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on August 25, 2016, 08:39:46 pm
He relished in the stability that came at last. Extinction at bay. A howling inside, still, that he couldn’t place, for him to have more of her. Like the distance between every little thread he was made of echoed, calling on him to be filled or addressed. But Inan loved more than he hungered at that moment, and used infernal strength only to clutch her hand tighter. He moaned softly on her, when she agreed to be all that he wanted. The boy from the blood house needed this kind of love, and he was anchored deeper into Marin for giving it to him so seamlessly. It was true that he was seared to her then, golden eyes, one new, onto moon woman.

Newborn spine to worn down seat, a doll dusted with alabaster sand and stained in dark wine replaced Martin’s earthly handsome. In the car Inan breathed again. Did the creature he’d become need breath? He was made out of that which used to be evanescent now, because what else could this magic be, all magic dreamt, and if the mirage needed to recognize itself to stay intact, then maybe cardiovascular cycles could be a part of that image. If the romantic in him had been awake and not occupied floating in new, red medicine, it could have also appreciated the flaw of an oxyphile son born of a deathless mother with only ornamental lungs. He smiled at her contrast to this aged, lamp lit environment, their iron casket, as his blood and hers fragmented and faded into his skin, complexion claiming that blush and pulling it deeper, like seafarers fan out vastly to disappear with their part of the treasure. Even his hair, because the smears were hers, ate until it was its original dark again. Though still tattered, he would be clean of crimson, soon.

“Then we go.” He said, tracing the firework on his face as those spills hurried outward and then diluted to leave white only. A little tinge, because through a pair of deaths he still remembered Catalina with all her colors and her songs. Marin’s eternal life disappeared from his fingernails, sucked up underneath the nail and the skin. He watched the process and nodded slowly. “So I bury her.” He agreed and looked at his mother with a tear. Farewell to Valleyrun, where a brunette boy whore used to live with his beautiful little sister, so another Inan Copper could bask in the days and bathe in the nights that burned and shaded the rest of the world.

He was held by the beauty of the dashboard for a while, its details seen from impossible angles, dried plastic and parched rubber with their minuscule cracks and stoic stories. Each diode was a separate cosmos. Could you sell vampire eyes? When he touched them, golden ocular tools, curiously, their surfaces told him he was scraping fingerprints across their sensitive outer, but there was not so much discomfort that he needed to stop. This place, earth itself, belonged to Marin, and this was their chariot. He felt entitled and grateful. With this delight he looked at her, her ruined clothes, and felt a bit proud. “You don’t ever have to stop.” He said with a grin, leaning over to bite without mar at her exposed shoulder, sucking on it. Still, his affections were larger than his hunger. He pretended he’d made a terrible wound on her, and imagined playing with her sinew with his tongue while lapping at the overflow. In his game, she could not heal, for some reason or the other.

“I’m so obsessed with you, Mother.” He said with some distress, kissing onto her neck, facades of his teeth denting her flesh like the front row of a fist, never making blood. He gasped as golden eyes rolled back, drawing in her scent. “How can I please you? How can I destroy and wear you?” he asked, addled by the expanses of eternity trying to present themselves to his mind. It was not a creature that had been manufactured before, petitioning for her attention. Her blood was rare in the world, and he’d not been the usual sapien clay. A town had come for his liquid, after all. So the world couldn’t know what he was now, only that he was rendered deeply in addiction to Marin. His system tried the dark miracle of its new fuel as he gripped her knee and slid that hand inward while burying his nose into the line of hair behind her ear. “I think love is killing me, again.” Sentimental and self amused as he wet her roots with his tongue.

-

He didn’t have to tell his hand to slide on in when she moved to invite it. And the physical clever that lived inside Catalina met no defenses in Olister when her hips traveled back to meet his. Tsoalle breathed for their gathered heat and chuckled. The trap had sprung and they were caught, much by themselves. A quick jolt of want to Olister’s mind and he cupped the material that protected her softness. He thought it was uncouth of him to do this to someone who needed his protection, and Tsoalle in his mind agreed. But that was also what made it all the better. Trust the family breaker to nurture that point of view. Olister didn’t much stand a chance and Catalina would feel it, as his hips sought hers out, unashamed of the proof.

“I think you’re very womanly, Cat.” He said and laid the first kiss on her neck. Tsoalle was thankful for the sparkles of that adhesive peck and let the little embers snap until they were many, overtaking her face and spine. Olister remembered what she’d told him in the car, and felt a bit hostile toward the brother that had been allowed to have Catalina before him. Tsoalle knew jealousy well, and included it where he could. It made the man squeeze the girl a little firmer to seek out that sweet, rounded flesh. Olister had not had anything so pure as the fiery Cat, and had no thought of being fatherly to her, today.

“Do you like nice?” he asked her as he let go of the cloth sphere. Tsoalle made her thing it was a rejection. Had she said something silly? Was this an adult game, where this was as far as they’d go? Or was she inadequate, underdeveloped? Ah, and wouldn’t that be rude, to cast a girl aside for that reason? There was her courage, because Catalina was more angry than she was brave. Anyone who lived in her knew that. So she should show him, shouldn’t she? It was the vampire that would pose the question, if she didn’t ask it herself. He aimed for it to turn her around, and then, in rolling, she would feel Olister’s hand pull along, and discover that Olister had only let go with the intention of making her face him.

He kissed her, scruff and all. She smelt innocent and tasted like the air she’d not breathed. Tsoalle, in the privacy of the vehicle and the blinded driver, indulged himself, by himself, to their fate. With Olister over her, she would have memories of the cave that had hosted her first time. But if she chose to turn the handsome, grown-up hunter into Inan, then at least she was not the same as she was then. Tsoalle said she was older now, and without fear of ruining something pure, because anything that she could do couldn’t taint the strong person putting his weight on her. And if she was to be Cat, runaway and hunter, with her seasoned guide, she should prove herself to him. He’d take her seriously as woman if she was at home with the schematics of casual love. Tsoalle didn’t let her know that she was already delicious to Olister, who’d not realized he was starved until he tasted her.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on September 06, 2016, 01:59:17 am
She was less inspired than her new moonlit shade, but smiled at his enthusiasm. It would have been strange if he were anything but obsessed. Like a hive with its precious queen, each coven was slave to its Origin. Inan, her hive of one, was a lone disciple charged to worship his lonely goddess. An odd and artistic arrangement. “You will learn to control yourself,” she assured him, whether he wished for it or not. “You will find those human memories which restrain you and they will be your protection. Infinity is like a drug.” She thought about Pasqual’s Childe in the forest and the way he’d played out his games with Inan’s sister.
 
“I don’t mind it, you clinging to me. I might even enjoy it. But I would be remiss if I did not remind you, your monster was born when you looked at Catalina and wanted more than a sister. I have simply given you teeth.” Marin turned down a road that took them out of the trees and into sprawling farmland. To the North, the great and somber silhouette of the mountains cut the starlight. She was welcoming to his advances, though she did not slow the car down. “It’s good to leave that sort of love behind, but you shouldn’t forget it. You don’t really forget the dead, do you? Even when you bury them. It might keep you from eating me whole, one of these days. Maybe it will keep me from gnawing your bones, too.” Temperance. She had lived abandon and she had lived restraint. Wild, spinning, drunken dervish had been mad and wonderful and short lived. The quiet calm let her lose count of the years. That was better, important, even, if she was no longer alone.
 
“If you forget her and love me a little too much, enough that you eat until I am nothing but inside you, I’ll forget you.” She reached for his hand on her leg with one of her own and drew his fingers toward the junction of her soft thighs. “I can only keep my promises as well as you let me.” She said. That’s why she’d asked him, too, in that dingy hotel room. He’d had the answer that would break their little agreement. She’d given him the option to die like a common man by Nona’s little knife. “But, that’s not all too much restraint, sweet one. You may hunger and fill yourself as many times as your heart desires, beyond that.” And as many times, his not-sister lover would feast on his organs too. Beautiful, bloody thing. She ran her tongue across a rosy petal. He had the sort of red worth getting drunk on. She couldn’t deny that.
 
“We’re going to head for a city I haven’t been to since 1806.” She told him then, when she felt her cautionary words had become too solemn. “I presume a lot has changed.” Small shrug. “In the meantime, do you have questions, Inan Copper?” She glanced away from the road long enough to steal a feather light kiss. “About me, or you, or this thing you’ve stumbled into? About what was or is?” And then she laughed. “Are you pleased to have shared your blood and mine?” She wondered if he had even realized he was capable of regretting it.

Marin did not ask him if he was hurt because the town sweetheart had tried to kill him. She did not care if the near death experience had been frightening. She had killed him herself, twice, and watched him rise. They would deal with whatever cracks in his euphoria developed as they came. This high was as much a defense mechanism as it was anything else. Dizziness from too much air, burning in those lungs which had been drowning. Instead she hoped he might take wing on this whirlwind and learn not to scar too much from his humanity. It was all a tedious balance she hadn’t had to consider before. “I have questions. For us, not you. Things change when you form a family. Your blood changes. Your Magic changes. Your forever changes.” She could feel it snapping in the air between them. Mother and Childe. Fledglings brought power. Morphed Magic. “There is a lot to learn.”

Scarabesque was a city that had been built to glitter. They were still miles away with a thousand conversations to pass before they’d reach the bright city. Still, they would see it on the horizon by this time tomorrow night. Winking lights, dazzling and lovely. Something warm for the two cold bodies. Something a little rooted. Marin wanted that. Right now, vibrating on the precipice of some great newness with this strange young man she’d stolen off on a whim, she saw her mind cresting the clouds. She wanted to be grounded, so she could hold them to their lives as they began to burst.

He was young to this, and that meant he needed time to enjoy the way the world tasted with his reborn tongue. It was a tide she could easily sail away on. Compelling. But she was wise enough to search for anchor. Something. Metal and smoke and neon. They could kill each other making love on every hotel floor, but the cigarette burns in the carpets would remind her it wasn’t paradise no matter how he glowed. That was important. So she could remind him, and tuck his teeth behind his lips, and take him along broad avenues his sister would have adored.

Marin let those soft maternal things float around her curiously full heart as he nuzzled her. Long drive. He must want to stop soon, and they hadn’t really gone all that far. That was fine. She wasn’t worried about being found. As long as they kept on, they’d reach Scarabesque eventually. She set the car on cruise control and leaned into his touch.

--

Cat was glad when his voice sounded a little too loud for the quiet of the room and their proximity. It gave her hope that he couldn’t hear the way her heart was pounding, beating hard in her own ears. She recognized that tone, just a little. It was purposeful in a way Inan hadn’t been, though. A man’s wants. Something he knew. It made her shiver, just a little, and she nestled herself a little harder against him. She felt him, too, and that he wanted what she had hoped. It gave her a strange and unbalancing thrill. There was nothing in her that knew how to please him skillfully, and she had listened to her brother’s body enough to know her eager could more than make up for it.

There wasn’t a chance in all Heaven and Hell that Tsoalle missed the way her skin set fire when he kissed her in that tender span below her jaw. She swallowed hard and bit back a small gasp. Catalina might have cried if she’d known her hunter’s jealousy was inspired, another unintended insult from her brother pried open by the Vampiric puppeteer outside. They were supposed to be after the white pretty, not after each other. Cat would remember it later, bashful but unashamed.  It was cruel to them both that he touched her like a woman, too. A dangerous trick, if he might be unwilling to cultivate her later. An unattended flower plucked early loses any hope of blooming.

He let her go and she felt the sting of rejection instantly. Vile. To start such a thing when he knew the tender state of her heart made him an awful man. Or it made her such an inadequate prize that he would risk the insult. Ever the fire brand, she was immediately desperate to make him regret his decision and burn with her. Turning to face him, her expression played a pretty series. A mission to prove her feminine worth turned into a stumble, because he’d expected her childishness no matter what he had said.

Catalina made a surprised sound, plans foiled, and found the taste of his tongue. He was nothing like her brother and it was painful and wonderful at once. She was fast to reciprocate; hungry the way youth is romanticized to be. She wanted him to be different and was overwhelmingly relieved that his weight and scent was everything other from sweet Inan. She reached her hands to twist her fingers in his hair, arching to press what her slim body had to offer. Pretty because she was feral, in that way. Stringy limbs and hot lips. It might be endearing, how obviously she tried to match him. When she pulled back to take a shallow breath, staring at him with her deep green eyes, it was evident she wanted to seem unsurprised with this successful seduction. But, perhaps she’d forgotten how unwelcoming she’d been toward the boy in the diner. He would feel special almost precisely because she seemed to not want him to. Silly concepts of how mature women loved mixing with all the enthusiasm of young desire and whatever other suggestions Tsoalle was conjuring in her warm cheeks. She let go of him to tug her shirt off, looked momentarily unsure of her decision, and then sought his neck with her mouth when the thought of his eyes on her made her blush too deeply.

Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on September 06, 2016, 07:43:23 pm
Her promise that he would have the strength to rein this roiling love, affection above the depth that would center him, felt almost like an insult. Surely it was condescending. His two youths, the brother and the son, thought, as youths do, that what he felt in the moment was all there was to feel. A protest on the tongue that cleaned her. A speck in space ready to lecture a star. But she was right, the world became as she said, flicking an expanse and sending powerful base into his new field of latent emotions. Inan was subjected to the awakening of Catalina, her memory rising finally to reach him, through the deaths he had traveled on Marin’s blood. She was painted in all the primordial, shallow sentiments his boyhood remembered, when new Mother spoke of her, and also held in front of him in strings that didn’t end. She was a part of him the way time is in everything earthly. There were no memories without her, in childhood.

So Inan listened to Marin when she told him who he should be now, and what Catalina could be for him. He was reminded of the sin he’d applied to her, nostalgic for that lifetime, and her necessary death. It was the kindest murder, from brother to sister. She would go on in the world, strong, without him, and he would use what they’d had to become more of what Marin had started to make. “So I give her body to whatever mortal path she walks away from me, and keep her ghost that it might thwart and define me.” He repeated. Acolyte to deity. He hung two fingers on his lower set of teeth, quenching something. But I do want to gnaw your bones. It is all I’ll ever want. It is how I’ll love you. But Marin wasn’t some shortsighted, petitioning to be fatalistic, bookworm-nightcrawler dressed, filled with country dirt eroticism Nona. Mother Marin wouldn’t appreciate such declarations, spoken, he thought. To end her, even with her permission, would be an affront to the world, as she had been its partner longer than he could think.

The hand she allowed closer cupped her firmly, to comfort himself, when she laid out the scene that would spell his expulsion from her memory. His mouth watered but so did his eyes. Inan gasped as new, aware, long fingers looked inside her. He moved the hand and wrist to little avail, the way he’d seen, but decided for real fiction, gentle, when he learned the theatrics of available media was most probably just that. He looked at the side of her face, blazing beauty, pinching his own lip with some horror, but also some awareness of what he was permitted to do to her body. She promised him his worry that gluttony would be a thief should be small, and that he could indulge. So he fret less, and explored her diligently, looking for signs on her lips and face that he caressed her right.

She asked what he might wonder about, and looked at him, with the night world still colliding past behind her. He’d been studying her, so he became suddenly aware of his own presence in her frame. Without knowing it, a natural inclination toward pleasing her circled his fingers and increased pressure with the hand. “A city?” as though she’d said ‘candy’ and he was much younger. Like that youngling, he leaned in and closed his eyes for the peck. Marin would be a kind mother. His face followed hers when she had to see the road again. He did not understand the privilege of her as a well of knowledge. He would drink, nonetheless.

“So pleased!” he stressed. A mortal, pulled into eternity’s fray. He was not so daft to think this was owed him. He kissed her neck, and felt hunger collect his ribs. Continued without teeth, for now, since it seemed appropriate with kind attention there, when he was also doing a novice’s work with his fingers. If he was endearing enough to make up for skill he did not have yet, he didn’t know. “Questions.” He said into the kisses. “What was there in the beginning, do you know? Is there something that judges me, and am I doing well with that?” His small fang bled her and he licked it up before she healed. The blood taste brought another mystery. “My blood. Why did it do what it did? What was I before I became this? What is this?” Swept along with the mysteries and swelling new existence, he bit into her, not thinking, claiming for himself a mouthful and chewing in delight. “Do you love me?” speaking with her in his mouth, as though it was simply road fare he’d taken.

Those full cheeks added to the raise of his brows when she also had questions. He listened, as Inan always does when Marin speaks, and licked his lips clean when another piece of lovely went down his throat. He took another taste, skin, pulling it free with his retreating head. His hand was becoming bolder, creative. Reactive, responsive to her. “I will learn with you, Marin.” He said, nuzzling the trail of red left when her robust spell sealed her. It was frustrating that she wouldn’t hold a mark, but it was also decadent. “I will be the best you’ve ever had.” It was a goal as much as it was an oath. If he tried for her, and could not perish in doing so, then surely he would become something worthy of standing by her side. Family, she’d said. He would be honored. Inan blinked when something occurred to him. “Am I the only one? Do I have siblings?” Catalina, as beautiful as one of her songs, wrought over his inner vision. Would it be unfaithful to love another sister or brother?

Inan would be done with his search for approval inside her, those nimble fingers leaving her be, either upon some lovely receipt he’d done well – an innate talent, then, to read her rolls and shifts - or by her annoyed or disapproving signal. He would be either ecstatically accomplished or sullen. It wouldn’t be enough to keep him away. Despite his bravado before, never stop, the hunger came upon other weaknesses inside him. Sister, dear. And wouldn’t it be a waste to leave her be, when she could be its ally? So with the surges of want and starvation, came Cat’s laughter, and the image he’d drawn himself of her fleeing the town where she thought he lived. Done with you, porcelain boy. He wanted the rush of Marin’s magic to cleanse him again, fill him up until he choked. He wanted to put red hair on her. He wanted to make love and rip wounds into his sister.

The sign was beautiful with missing lines and awful colors. A simple flower of curved pipes, run through by whatever trick makes lamps glow in yellow, green and red. If he tried, he could count the currents. If his awe had not been enough to her, he pointed, as though she could possibly  miss the only establishment visible on their night stretch of concrete. “There. I need…” he looked at her and smiled. No hesitation. She’d promised a tourniquet. “I want to stop. Let’s rest for a bit.” As though he was some kind of coy seducer. “We’re tired and—let me take care of you.” Stupid, sweet Inan.

There is a certain kind of flaw in humanity, that lets a young man without a shirt, though beautiful like any clean thing is beautiful, walk in to a motel reception and ask for a key, if there is a beautiful someone waiting for him outside, also, with questionable stains on her questionable clothing. The girl producing the wooden ornament with the card attached to it even pointed out the small section of attire. Not the first time people were in this distress, here. Martin’s money for her troubles. Inan didn’t know that. Would Inan be wrathful if he did? Envious and awful. But another sin came over him as he took the plastic and the wood with the number eight. She was glorious in the dead light, without powders or smears. Her lips were naturally red, far above her nametag and her shirt said the name of this run-down oasis with pride. Just the kind of girl that was destined to die. Expire by his uneven fangs. Inan hurried away, instead, hanging clothes quickly over his arm and shifting faster to Marin outside. His sin was not any of the wanting ones. It had been sloth. Indifference. Even though his teeth were dry and his tongue was cold. The girl had not been vivid sister or moon shade mother.

He looked over his shoulder, back at the treasure of veins and rhythmic life beyond the glass of the door, squeezing the cloth he’d gathered, and then turned again to his new worship. “M-must I eat her, Marin?” fear, as though her word would compel him to do things he might otherwise fight. He wanted to be smaller than her, then, so he could hide. He shook his head. “I don’t want to.” The parking lot with its lines taking on the hunched streetlights and casting out less, seemed a world of its own. Here was a private kingdom, tucked in by night itself, and he was frightened by the idea that he might have to live a separate life here, as a new thing learning from an old thing to eat a warm thing. “I’d rather have you, always.” He said, tugging at her arm, nodding for the room.

-

The plan Olister and Tsoalle shared bloomed perfectly. She was angered enough to show it in the turn. What a glorious red, expressed. He was pulled into this deep enough that he kissed her hard. He didn’t worry for her when he rested on her body, but gave her space when she discarded her shirt. Tsoalle was simply looking now, through them both. No need to further push. This had become a show independent of the demon’s influence. The man, if the girl did not, harbored enough want to carry this through. Olister reached behind her, and took off the wires that framed her rounds. Beautiful daughter of the woods, with her pagan magic. Freckles and pure skin. What a waste on the boy. He kissed her harder, to punish something. It was not right for the man to want her like this.

Olister started at her jeans, expertly tasting her mouth, meanwhile. If there was a thought to be particularly gentle, too much of it was burnt away by the flares Catalina would light in many men, from hereon. She was more delectable, bare at last. The hunter who had no thought of dark, eternal wraiths now, hurried to share in the freedom he’d given her, his denim copying the arc he’d sent hers in, off the bed. Quite a different gestalt that descended on Catalina, than that of her fresh brother. Their scar, the bandage on his arm, the other marks that had not been healed carefully when they did. He’d lived, protected, not shared his life to mend others. If she thought Inan’s blood and its abilities had been a bane on the brother, the scars on Olister told of willing acts that left him marred, his strength.

And there was more strength for her, in his arms, even the one that supposedly was weaker. The careful hesitation that then spilled into a confused abandon Inan had given her in the cave was instead a sure number of actions, here, pressing her into the sheets. Perhaps his hips felt oppressive to hers. It was something to be enjoyed as well, because it was a consequence of her loveliness to him. But Tsoalle would not intervene if she chose to be angry at it. In this state Olister might not listen, she’d discover, drawn in by her eyes that tried to project a story, but telling the truth of her inexperience. He kissed her cheek after he had smothered her mouth, and her neck also, as she had, but he wasn’t escaping, he was chasing a path he’d learned, to make her shiver and quake. An automatic kind of massage, because, though Olister cared for her, he’d been in this moment enough to know his desires had worth to them both. And a prominent fragment of him wanted to outshine her brother. This was pure, after all, wasn’t it, when her earlier experience had been under vampiric influence. He was a bit naïve, here.

And so, with a sure touch, and blessedly free of controlling craft, the Copper girl would be made woman a second time, by her woodland rouge.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on September 11, 2016, 12:24:46 am
Marin let him try and learn, pleased by his enthusiasm as much as whatever sensitivities he stumbled upon. She moved for him, gentle guidance toward what might satisfy her. He had his next eternity to make the craft his own. Lips parted, unashamed. It was an excellent trick that she drove so precisely despite his ministrations. A good mother, teaching him like this with a tender touch. He did not contain his eagerness overly well and she moaned softly as he dragged the shred of flesh from her and made to bury himself in her.

She listened to his questions, let them roll around in her head and well on the back of throat. Marin made to answer, but then he bit deeply and his fangs and fingers were enough that the car swerved and she squirmed to free herself of him. “Some restraint will be necessary, as I said,” she said with a breathy laugh. Little chastisement from this parent. But pain was their only persistent punishment and immortality made her insistence lax. Marin glanced at him and hoped he was not too unhappy that she had shaken him off and out of her. Practicality, she was aware, was a sour competition for her romantic wash of moonlight. Dampened euphoria.

“Let us start at the beginning then, shall we?” she hummed, clutching the steering wheel just a bit tighter. It would be best if he contained himself until they stopped. “There is something about living things that makes us most cruel when we see ourselves in others, you know? It’s easy to hate something from afar and take no action, but we see our own reflection and we’ve got this thirst to destroy it.”

--

Catalina was as shy about her own body as she was about his, which was to say that she refused to look him in the eye but let her fingers run eager over his back. She could feel his scars and they were different from Inan’s finely bladed slivers of silver. These had some hard won character that made him into more of that fantasy she’d cultivated since her girlhood. Handsome and wild, she was sure his scent was the same as the earth in her beloved woods.

She was relieved to find him confident in the way he held her. With the right sort of compliance, if she could keep her breath steady, she might hide her inexperience in his surety. He was warm. Cat tried to press her hips toward him but found him overwhelming in the sort of way that made her shiver. Cat had known pleasure beneath her brother for the ache of years he’d satisfied between them. A feverish and desperate release. Olister was a different tide, carrying her down into a thick and heady sweetness that pulled involuntary mewls from her gasping lips.

--

“I suppose there might be something to judge us, on the other side. The things humans pray to exist in some form or another. Heaven and Hell and all their hosts. They aren’t so different, though, I guess. At the infancy of our story, there was not enough to keep apart some ill-fated pair, at least. An angel and a demon produced a child, out of love or under duress rather depends on who you ask.” Marin said. “And that child, a son, found no harbor above or below. Monstrous to both because of what he was and what they saw.”

“That child grew into his own desires and, taking refuge on this fantastically spinning ball of dirt, took a human bride. Their spawn were my siblings and myself. The first true monsters of this world.” She had told this story to Martin and contrived it for Ahler. This telling, though, was to her phoenix Childe. A history, rather than a legend.

--

Cat trembled, eager to meet the path his lips pressed to her flesh. She wanted to please him, to know she could be pleasing, and touched him the way she had known to make Inan quiver at night. If she had learned to be honest with herself, she might have realized she’d never been so innocent as she had told her heart. “Olister,” she moaned and peeled away whatever remnants of her childhood she’d been clinging to. Eager heart, eager spine, Cat found the currents of their embrace clearly. The Witchling’s Magic danced and played curious chemistries where his body met hers. Her inexperience left her uninhibited and she might have made the observing Vampire proud with the way she lit the hunter’s synapses with her own hazy fire.

--

“That is the only beginning I know. And humanity has been here since my own genesis. If there is a ‘before’ all of that, I don’t know. I don’t much care, either, with all of the future left to live. There’s only so much you can bother to keep, you’ll find.” She laughed a little. “I’m not Divine, either, so I can’t tell you how you’ll be judged if it does come to that.” A bit sullen. “Frankly, it may never come to that.”

Marin reached over to tug at a coil of his hair. “Your blood was special. You know that. It was the perfect contrary to my own. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that there was some kind of war in you. It’s rare though, you know. A Witch’s son. A Witch’s brother. That kind of blood is always special.”

--

She gasped, that loss of self to his provisions catching her in ragged breath, and she held fast to him as she gave up the full evidence of her pleasure. It was different when she was unashamed. Young thing, learning adult games, she did not tire when she had nothing to hide. Eager to give him the same satisfaction, she kissed him and arched in some effort to place herself over him. It might be cute, if he did not allow it, as she would grow frustrated quickly and give in to his continued guidance. If she was successful, she would offer the full ambition of a novice lover, willing to ply the trade she didn’t know with her fingers, her tongue, her softness; anything to make him call her name as hotly as she’d begged his.

--

Marin waved him off. “You are the only one. You were born with a sister of your own and,” she gave him a curious glance. “In that way you might have been the only acceptable choice. Though it was not expressly planned.” She admitted. A sigh. “And to that end, if I love you, Inan Copper, you should not take it to heart.” Marin leaned over to kiss his shoulder lightly as she drove. “Not yet. It would cheapen it all, I think.”

He had been patient long enough, it seemed, and she was willing to indulge him when he asked her to stop. Marin made no outward indication of the apparent thinness in his attempted cleverness. A good mother should feed her Childe.

She stayed outside and let him test his new self before the girl at the counter. Marin wondered if it was odd to see her as something different now. She had never been human, but Inan was hardly hours removed. He looked distressed when he returned to her and it was all she could do to contain her laughter when he unveiled his worry. “Then don’t,” she said, simple with a shrug. “I told you that you might take what you wish from me whenever you’re hungry. I am yours as much as you are mine.” She said. Soft smile. “Though you may find your tastes grow more diverse, someday.” Marin inclined her head. “Perhaps the better question, my Feng, is whether you would be unhappy if I chose to eat her.” It was simply a feature of their bond that she would not suffer the same addictions as he, no matter how delectable she found his blood. She was sure he would not have wished to share Catalina, who now writhed beneath another man, and wondered now what he had conjured for his midnight Mother.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on September 11, 2016, 03:59:30 pm
Inan didn't carry the surprise of being sent back a few inches into his seat very long. He was embarrassed for the smallest while, thinking that he should have been so great as to have Marin abandon all practical thought upon his limber touch. He wouldn't know himself, remembering, if that ludicrous expectation had been abandoned for reason, or for the story that followed his questions. Inan was something kind because he'd been raised to be, and it was curious to him the way Marin laid out the contradiction of man's love for himself, and the animosity he might carry toward his likeness if it stared back from another. He'd not examined the human animal in that way, and it was painful to have it pointed out so plainly and suddenly. He was swept along, listening to this creature he trusted, satiating his thirst for knowledge while he sat on his other hungers. She could have poured ridiculous lies and he would have swallowed them and made them part of himself. Marin had never failed him, and she was beautiful. He could not have done anything but hang on her words and swing from her phrases.

He had posed, of course, but it could have been cruel of Marin to answer him so easily. His golden eyes were aghast when she told him what she knew of judgement, and the receivers of their prayers. The confirmation was harsh, and Inan was a bit frightened, or at the very least overwhelmed. The implications made him worry about his choices. So many sins he could burn for, eternally. And then the romance of the story had him frozen once more, fixed on the driver, narrator, who quickly painted the plot for him. Of course it was out of love, he decided. There was no method to precede that certainty, but there was no doubt that followed, either. That passion above forethought found momentum, and also let him connect with the son she spoke of. Inan was made out of two things, as well, he argued inwardly. Magic and humanity. He was not bothered by the detail of how well those two married, in opposition to heaven and hell. He'd found acceptance bordering on worship, to a degree, while the son had only found rejection.

It was another turn that captivated him completely, when she revealed her place in this lineage. The scope of her age hit him, and for a moment the truth of the story was so distant from the mother he saw beside him. Hadn't she always just been this, his savior and liberator? Now there was also millennia about her that he didn't know. Inan had to shake his head when she accused herself and her siblings of being monsters. She was mother. She was one of his greatest loves. She'd given him life twice.

But she referred the final weighing of his soul to other things, predating herself. It was a bit disappointing, like realizing your parents did not control the weather. The future left to live. Exiting to think he'd see so much, but that swell of emotions was spread out over the thought of eternity itself, and this left him exhausted. How much more of this Marin must feel. How much of it she must have already lived. The pity for himself, and the sadness he gave to her in his thoughts, quickly died when she gave him attention, drawing on his hair. He smiled and the blood she addressed coiled in its vessels.

No other like him, under Marin. The lips tried to make the grin modest, but his teeth showed the ego she'd nurtured. Only child. Against her suggestion, he'd already tucked this away in his heart. Because love is strong, but it is also cheap. His attachment was as unshakable as it was simple. Not multifaceted. Just an endless expanse, like the ocean is one simple thing with many consequences.

With the cargo in his arms, and the key, he was relieved that his new existence would not make him into a murderer by itself. If there was always Marin and her flesh, he could hold on to his soul, the color that it was now. The light outside the window was superficial, maybe all light had always been, but that was an honesty, too. He shook his head with upset, that he might have cravings outside of mother. All this uninformed innocence should be dear to her, saved, because as true as his tastes were now, as surely they would diverge with the maturation of his palled.

"You mustn't." he said and looked at the girl again, who waved at him. Her hand disappeared behind a streak of gold reflected in the glass. She reminded him of Nona, the way her eyes stayed on his face while her head moved, but pure and tired. Mustn't eat her, mustn't harm the precious human. He was not like her, but he did not feel so far, yet. "I--" he said to the girl but then turned to Marin. "-- don't eat them, Marin. What if I'm ravenous one night and have all of you. What if judgement comes." Empty fears, useless, but he'd not lived long enough to understand. What if she's already filled canyons with bodies, Copper boy? At least she would know his sensitivities, at current.

Their room was close. His hunger was pulling at his gums and the inside of his lips before the door was closed. There were areas of him that felt cold, and begged him to double over and lay on the mute carpet, asking her to make it better. He had more sense now, and started picking shreds off her, again. She'd said he could have from her. "Hungry." a thought spoken. He was trying to understand this agony. he knew she could mend it. Her shoulder first, with wide jaws. Spread of blood into his mouth. A tear down his cheek and he didn't know what it was for.

Without meaning to, he was chewing. He had wanted to mark her and watch the theater of her closing. He was planning to be a gourmet, and prove himself as someone with sharp senses. Maybe he could conjure in her some delicious insecurities whether he approved or not. Games that human lovers played. Equals. But he was not on her precipice. He was a grain of salt beneath her, and his lust would be his adversary before his pride could ever hope to help him. So he took her toward the bed, always rented beds for them, and would push her down. If she awoke him out of his own pace by stressing her strength and his need for her approval, he'd fall on his knees instead, her above, as he looked for the flesh of her stomach.

Out of frustration he would watch each crater close, almost in rhythm with how his hunger regenerated despite the delight of her taste. He did not see the symmetry and tried with foolish fingers, not to pry, but to hinder the ruthless healing. All the art he tried to do was unmade, so he ate faster, hooked his fingers deeper. If she would topple, if she hadn't already and he was bent over her on the bed with his knees still on carpet, he would have her thighs on his shoulders, that he could eat their insides, each side, where she was soft. The rapture weaving with the exploding famish took over him soon, and he was madly smitten by her, his mind completely colored. Where were her bones? More tears and more tongue.

-

Olister had not expected the girl to be so accepting. It couldn't be a matter of knowledge. This was compatibility. So he took freely, because there was nothing in her that forbade him. Her skin was young, and impossibly inviting in texture. He didn't know it could be her magic or that some of that power rode his nerves all the way to the scarred arm. And all the pleasure laid before him made it hard to think. He was in the midst of her lovely when he realized the meeting of their bodies felt a bit insistent. When he opened to this possibility, he smiled through a breath. It was not in him to fight her if she wanted to try, so he rolled to see her plan.

Olister wasn't spoiled often, but he'd kept himself with lovers for his sanity. Her tricks, as she learned them on him, were of novice choreography, perhaps, but the help of her extraordinary pagan craft made it shockingly deft to the hunter. Gravity of who she was, and what she allowed him to be to her, spiced this session to become more memorable than the haughtier debaucheries he'd engaged in before. When she strained his senses with her softnesses, and her mouth conducted affection as well as currents of crackling spells he couldn't recognize, he knew truly she wasn't some breakable thing.

Roughly, even, he held her to him, and kissed her with a confession on his tongue. He didn't know what that truth was. And then he taught her about the volatile dedication she had the power to call upon in lovers, if she played them right. He met her, remaining on the sheets while she was on him. Her red hair rising and fanning around her abandon. His beautiful ward. A magical thing he'd helped from the woods she didn't like anymore. Hands on her hips to steer. It was his intention to protect her, and still he acted desperately toward his own pleasure, that moved closer but became more acute.

Tsoalle was impressed by them, and ate plenty from them both when the fumes were nurturing rather than reaching. How simple a task, to sew them closer.

Olister held an arm around her, and kissed her hair. It was true that the initial lure had been effective, because as he lay under her, every breath giving him strength back, he did not think of the vampire they'd come here for.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on September 16, 2016, 04:18:55 am
Catalina had the chance to be formidable. There had been something stifling about Valleyrun, which she had never realized until now. Caught up in Inan, always, she’d never paid much mind to the way she’d been left to stagnate. That festering conflict with mother Elise, too, had soured her training. She’d been dutiful on her own, the small sprout pressing upward in a concrete wasteland. Now, queen of this bed, she was a real Witch. She could learn from the Earth and from this man and it wouldn’t matter whether she’d passed her mother’s tutelage. An older Magic, pure and wild.

The Copper siblings, healing in their blood and in their love, should have been a better treasure than their dirt water town had afforded them. Cat mended his body with her own, spells cast in her breath while her aura ravaged the fine nerves of their skin. She wondered if Inan would have been jealous if he’d seen her effort for this Hunter. She couldn’t have known what her brother had found or how jealous it might have made her.

When she was spent, and she was eventually spent, she was pliable and ready fall into the comfortable embrace of his arms. Long and deeply drawn sighs, some contentment with that release. It had been as much pleasure as it had been purge. Farewell Valleyrun. Farewell Inan. Catalina had no last name but her own womanhood. She would be a Witch of the land, she decided, and heal it by slaying the scourge Olister pursued. If she was given the task of nursing the good Hunter back to health on occasion, too, she would not complain.

Laying there, she felt as if she should have a cigarette at her lips and some story of a past lover to toss casually into their aftermath. Not because she desired that sort of flippancy but because she might have thought it to be expected. Experience man of the world as he was. She reminded herself she had intentions of making herself his equal though. His partner. That leant itself to a thin contentment. Any small security in this big new life was enough. It was a long while before she could bring herself to speak. “Your arm…” she began, and felt silly. “Does it still hurt?” small talk, because she hadn’t realized that she might have been lending him her Magic in their exchange. “We should be looking for Tsoalle, shouldn’t we?” she murmured. Guise of professionalism because she thought it meant maturity.

--

Marin followed Inan to their rented room, a few steps behind because she was thinking of the girl in the foyer. It was not to say her silver Childe was not enough; in the span of years that composed her eternity, she had learned it best not to become bored easily. Or, if boredom were the sickness, to accept the symptoms without cure for the ailment. Inan would be interesting for years. Lifetimes, maybe. His blood had been enough to draw her into his town and to birth him from it. But Marin was not so sentimental about the places her mouth roamed. It was a large world with so many tired people. Withholding miracles was practically cruel.

He would learn it with time, she was sure. The ways it was possible to burn fully for each other and desire painfully for others. He might have already learned that complex if he’d taken the time to reflect on the hole in his conscience his sister lived in. Marin had no need to be possessive, nor desire to be possessed. Not by this Fledgeling that was as much her as she was. He could have been everything she was, the Vampire with too many names, and she’d not have the heart to remember it. He was of her and there was never fear of losing one’s self. Not really.

Hungry baby bird, he wasted no time or pretense with her when they had gone inside. It was refreshing, she realized, to neglect the usual games. Humans, when she was disinclined to eat them whole, necessitated some effort. “Then eat,” she said to him when he was already chewing. Accommodating Mother. She let him settle atop her and felt him push into her flesh with teeth and fingers. A shudder and soft hiss of breath because this pleasure was always painful.

Invaded, like worms into corpse ripe caverns. She had died slowly once and been the lover to a host of beetles. The wife of a hundred centipedes. His tongue slithered and she wondered, gritting her teeth when the ache was sharp in the constant, if she was using him. Marin had never understood the final nature of her reality. To delight in the desperation of herself and others, begged to accept pleasure like it was a gift. This Witch’s son that hung his subsistence on making her tremble as he plunged pearly shafts into the slick winds of her muscle.

--

Juliette looked up from her coffee, a flash of recognition in her mismatched eyes. She’d know that magnetism anywhere; the pull of the First Ones. Four hundred years ago she’d stumbled into Selene. Unfortunate, to be drawn into that storm. Beneath the northern lights in a snow blanketed town. She’d made promises her immortal heart hadn’t known how to keep and Selene wouldn’t remember.

She set the mug down, cold hands on the table. “Check please,” she said when the waiter came by.

“You look just like this girl I used to know.” Regret in his voice as he held the bill. “You know, you just got the coffee. It’s on the house. You have a nice evening.”

“I get that a lot, if you’d believe it.” She said with a smile. One blue eye and one green, reflected hazel in his gaze. She didn’t ask him what the girl’s name was, though she could see the syllables hanging on the edge of his lips. “Thanks for the coffee then. I appreciate it.”

Out into the evening and across the road, her hotel on the other side. She’d never mistake Selene for anyone else. Juliette stood at her own room with the key card at the lock. The door beeped and a small light flashed green but she didn’t move to enter. She was close. Incredibly close. Juliette grit her teeth. It’d be better to pack and go. They’d spoken of it years ago. Juliette would never forget.

She raked a hand through her short brunette bob, tousled the strands and left them awry. “Fuck.” She said under her breath. It was a big world. It hadn’t been hard to stay far away. Juliette sighed, frustrated. She hadn’t heard any news to say Selene—or whoever she was now—was back. She swore again. Marched up the stairs and down the hall, like she’d been told exactly where to go. She was shaking. Selene’s aura was so strong it was stifling. And then, above that sense, the heavy intoxication of blood. Her blood. Blood she’d never shared with Juliette.   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on September 16, 2016, 07:52:15 pm
In truth, Cat should not have been able to make such good play. There was more to the act than experience, and Catalina offered everything else. She was searching, sometimes, and he completed her reaches, so that he could have that pleasure, too. He wasn’t a teacher, didn’t intend to, but rather along for her discovery. How rousing it was, that she was so naturally unashamed, honing her schemes atop and under him. The passion wasn’t for him entirely, but it was lovely to witness, and scalding to experience. She made their game her escape, and he held on and shifted when she need him to, restricting nothing. During one high, he moved against her, a bit of rough, a bit of himself in Cat’s path, because he had to, compelled to be selfish, too. And her response was wonderful.

The magic was delicious as it courted his nerves and awakened sensitivity where her touch traveled. Just his hand on her skin was a reward. Somewhere he knew this wasn’t normal, but lost in the throes and the pretty of her abandon he didn’t linger on that. Instead he took of Catalina when he wanted, because she was so inviting. He breathed out with their collisions and drew her scent when they retreated for leverage. The friction was electrifying. Perhaps the hook of his hand around the back of her neck, a squeeze on her shoulder, were approving messages, that she would know she was doing well in providing rapture. Because he had to encourage, that perhaps she’d perform this in the future.

And it was his fault, in part, that she became so spent. Because when her enthusiasm had paid with her strength, he held the low of her back and urged her on. Olister was rough by nature, after all, she’d not been wrong about that. He goaded her on for as long as the girl could continue. Not a game, not a malice. Her magic made her necessary for him. He was not a novice finding new things with excruciating, delightful strain. He knew what he liked. So when there was no more spring in her arms and legs and hips, he placed her firmly in the sheets. All the things her Inan couldn’t do for himself or her. Scruffy gentlemen and attentive, he’d be at the angles she responded to, but he’d also now use his own strength and breath, which she had spared. If he was panting toward the end, then yes, the girl should be exhausted.

He was more comfortable in the silence than she. The arm awoke when it was mentioned, and he held it up toward the ceiling, fingers flexing with power he’d forgotten. They both watched. “It’s as new.” He said with some surprise. He felt it was better than the one that hadn’t been bled by their pallid demon. He suspected the sensations running on rails throughout his body while they’d been at passion might be the culprit of this. “You do great work, as always.” Did it sound as though he was complimenting her acute touches, as well? The extremity would indeed be good to try out on Tsoalle.

Their vampire realized his mistake in having watched and not engaged when he’d left their minds free to remember him. He stopped what he was doing, finished anyway, and cleaned his own palm with his tongue, a special kind of narcissism, as he waved the other for the driver to be on his way. This should still have made the two less effective killers. Incepting a notion of not hunting, when you were a hunter and his witch, would only lead them to recognize him in their heads. Better let them believe their tryst had been initiated by their bodies and not him. He could spin this in to something more useful, next time.

“We got distracted.” Olister noted as sat up, that healthy hand through his hair a few times before he stroked the mess back. He thought tenderness might not be appropriate between them yet, and his haste to find clothing and putting it on wouldn’t be a dismissal, since they were leaving together. “It’s better to be distracted away from danger than in a fight.” He added with a shrug. “But better not to be side railed at all.” A small smile this time. He’d not have traded this for anything. Truth was though, idle hunters made for rampant vampires.

-

"You heal too quick. Is there a spell to slow it down?" he asked. Hand on her leg, both limbs bare, like his heart and her forgiveness for his naive. Fingers to cage the cupola of her knee, her foot on the floor. He sat beneath her, where she was on a bed they owned until ten tomorrow morning. Inan's muscles were visible on that lengthy limb from having eaten only enough to bleed and pick herbs for The Blood House. Little excesses for the mouth, so he'd taken his indulgences in love and importance, kissing and hugging Catalina too long, and filling the town with his blood. He wondered briefly if Marin had felt him in the others of Valleyrun, because if blood had spirit, then that town was his graveyard.

"Can you see?" he asked, patient. His jaw was shaking from the hunger he felt, teased by the bits he'd already taken. Inan put his kiss to the bend of his arm and sunk his longest fang in. A groan into that delta, vibrating through the forearm and onto her leg. He brought his head up to follow that line of base, opening sinew, flesh and crimson highway. That enamel sword cut the upside of the arm as Mars life radiated out to clothe him. Up the knuckle, over his longest finger to finally dip into her leg. Fast he stood on his knees to slide his head and tooth to her hipbone. Simple artist with unusual canvas.

Inan sat back, cheek smeared as he looked at the damage. Once or twice he examined her face to see if she was watching, also. Her healing was swift, and the road he'd dug in them shut quickly all the way down to her knee, his nail. It became noticeably slower on himself, that momentum of closing skin almost painfully lazy before he was finally, too, intact. Inan laughed at the spectacle. "Not fair." he whispered to the leg and cut at the far end of the bone cup, rushing his tongue in to see if he could fit it underneath that hard sphere. Could he bite it and pull it out? Like a mouth, always like a mouth, her flesh tightly pinched his tongue until it was expelled, and he was left licking at an unscathed groove.

"I will find your best part." he decided and lifted that leg. Standing and then placing his body atop hers, it would fold her, leg over one breast, calf to his chest. He looked in her eyes as he placed his palm on the back of her raised heel to keep the pretty leg where it was, that he could nuzzle her achilles tendon all the way to the cavern dividing the back of her thigh and her shin. He lapped that bowl until it was brimming with his greedy spittle. Then lower, hands climbing downward on her calf, until he kissed the hill of her thigh. He clipped that taut ridge with little effort, the bite deep and with purpose. Crescent hollow would shut soon, and he had the presence of mind to watch it, as he slid her inside his mouth, from cheek to cheek. "Powerful. Savory." he swallowed and blew where the wound had been. "Lingering." he licked his teeth for more. "But I like the torso better. it is sweeter and richer." He smiled. She was spoiling him, and he'd never been before. He retained that boyishness in the charm he was putting forth when he kissed the back of her leg. "Do you have any recommendations?"
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on September 22, 2016, 03:17:00 am
Catalina allowed herself a measure of pride when she saw that his arm was in such fine shape. She did not attribute it to their sheet-spun venture, but assumed a bit of “rest” had done well to let her previously distributed Magics run their course. A further inflated ego, then, because she was confident he had found their exchange pleasurable too. She felt rather adult for it, and thusly independent. “No harm done, then.” She agreed, and did a reasonable job of containing her rosy blush.

She was quick to dress, turning her back to him as she shrugged back into her jeans. Curious how she could still be a bit shy in this aftermath. “Well. Shall we go, Teach?” she said, cheeky, and flashed him a fine smile. Cat would flourish in this world. She had known a dark and dirty of a different sort, rankly festering beneath the supposed warmth of familial care. There was freshness in open danger and a life that welcomed a fight.

“I’d like to make you proud.” She said, as they made their way out. “Maybe someday I’ll see my brother again. I’d like to think he’ll be proud of me too.”

And so Catalina shed the skin of Valleyrun and stepped up as the Hunter Witchling in her sixteenth year.

--

Marin laughed at him. Not maliciously, but sweet because he was sweet. “Would you really want to slow me down, Feng?” she asked him. Because she was the way she bled and the way she didn’t. Her snowdrop plucked from the waste and his silly questions. If Inan romanticized her as his Mother, she could romanticize him too. It was easy, for a beast that had waited so long for this kind of adoration. To adore and to be adored. So she nodded when he asked. “Yes, I can see.”

She gasped and let his name slip off her tongue. So very hungry, her Childe. “You are of me, but you aren’t me. You’ve been changed. So have I.” she reminded him. Let him feast more to swallow that fact along with her sinew. Marin’s teeth were pretty when they clenched hard against the snap of her muscle and tendon. Carnivore.

“You like it better because it bleeds sweeter.” She agreed, pushing to free her leg and rolling herself on top of him because she could. “Recommendations.” She hummed. The way he hurt her was so transient. He’d said it wasn’t fair, watching the way their bodies had sewn themselves shut. But there was something fine to preserving pain when there was no dying at the end of it. Marin wanted to show him. “Vital things. And to learn that it is as lovely to be eaten as it is to eat.” Fangs at his chest, raking his skin like the fingers of a fabled beast.

She ran her hand between his legs, stroking for pleasure as she bit deep into the muscle over his ribs. Tearing and chewing, lapping up the crimson slicked fascia and working insistently to outpace the way he reformed in her wake. She wanted to reach his heart, fluttering fat thing, reaching with one hand to pry away a rib that barred her entrance. “Recommend… that there is art in taking what you want, because you will always be chasing it.” That rib had already begun to regrow as she spoke.

She found the life pulsing muscle and buried her lips around his left ventricle. Like nectar from a fruit. The rib that grew pressed insistently against her cheek, pushing and worming until it broke her skin and grew like roots into her eager mouth. She released the heart, which spilt happily until it, too healed, and bit down on the bone that had invaded her. Took it between her teeth, broken as quickly as it had formed, and pulled it with her as a memento when she sat up to let his chest succeed in modesty. Blood on her lips, blood on her face. A generous kiss for his mouth. See, how lovely you taste?

A knock at the door.

“Selene?” and Marin sat bolt upright. She pulled what was left of his discarded bone from her mouth. That had been a name of hers, once. “Selene, I know you’re in there. Open up.” It was difficult to detangle her senses from the overwhelming scent of Inan’s blood mingled with her own. Marin had not met anyone from before. Not as Marin, at least. It had never gone well in the past, though she could not have said with whom she’d shared such misfortune.

“Inan. Be wary.” Sharply, with a look that said he best hold whatever protest might be working its way past his lips. If he was crying, because she had dug so roughly into him, she would wipe his tears with a soft thumb. If he was eager for more, she would press that thumb to his lips and promise his satisfaction later.

“Selene, I’m going to open this door if you don’t.” Strangely desperate, on the other side of the door. Marin wiped her cheek with the back of her hand, smearing Inan’s blood like war paint. She reached for the door and thrust it open. Juliette stared through, fist up as if to knock again.

She was exactly as Juliette remembered, terrifyingly wonderful, an ancient and perfect entity, a queen among Vampires, and the deepest love of her existence. That awful, bitter, bloodless romance. And here she was, smeared in the heady wine of some insignificant Childe with fragrant blood that reeked of Selene’s possession. “I’m sorry, there’s no Selene here. Who are you?” Frigid, because there was no other way. Juliette, who had looked first livid, stepped back as if she had been slapped.

It wasn’t as if she hadn’t known. Selene had told her again and again. Juliette had been good to stay away for all these years. It really wasn’t as if she didn’t know. But there was the boy. Boy with silver skin and Selene’s blood fresh on his teeth. “It’s me, that’s all.” Because Juliette knew her name meant nothing as Selene meant nothing. Marin smiled, distant and vaguely impatient.

“That’s all? You were making quite a ruckus, Vampire, and I was busy.” She said. No affection there. “So, I’ll ask again. I am Marin. Who are you?”

And Inan would recognize her, because she Catalina. Catalina with teeth like his and a stricken look on her face. He would not see the odd-eyed Juliette, just his titian Cat aghast in the doorway. Upset because she stared down a lover who saw nothing familiar, looking like a sister that had been betrayed.     
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on September 22, 2016, 06:44:03 pm
Inan was surprised by how accurately she assessed his preference of flesh. Yes. His mouth became slick with the thought of it. Because the torso bleeds sweeter than the strong parts of the leg. So he was this kind of dead immortal. The kind with a sweet tooth. Only one. Tongue to the little tusk behind his upper lip. He could accept that. Seek out her sweetest, then, he decided with excitement, lost in that promise when she freed herself and the leg. She took him gently from that little gathering of scenes growing before him when she had that leg over him, sitting. Inan looked around with two tosses of his head and then smirked up at her, excited.

“Vital.” He repeated. His hand caressed the skin lining one side of her spine. She moved down to lengthen that stroke when her teeth visited the stage above the baseline of his heart. He was about to speak a sentiment he thought was clever, all of you is vital to me, but that breath rippled in his trachea when her hand cupped him through fabric still around his hips. Instantly engaged, he inhaled to offer willingness, unknowing he lifted his chest into her bite. A shallow cough to express the pain and the sudden introduction of sensation mingling with what she nurtured with her hand.

He made sounds that wouldn’t be words to stop her. They failed to convince when she’d already brought his mind toward pleasure, a rush of sensory treasure, and delivered in a different flavor. One leg bent in panic, a hand in her hair. Mostly it was to brace himself, lying under her, nerves trying to make sense of the conflict that was already growing exotic. Pliable, susceptible Inan Copper. He said her name with an overflowing tongue when the air hit his squeezing and expanding muscle. Looking down instead of bracing himself against the mute of the ceiling, he realized how beautiful and enticing this happening was, Marin with her lips buried toward his heart, in a shrinking cavern. He shook his head, frightened, but the wide of his eyes told the truth of his electric curiosity. Her voice rumbled against his heart and it was almost too much.

When she broke the bone the echo multiplied into his body, a delicious release. Her grating tongue played with neglected surfaces her teeth had undressed. He was torn between all the dread he expected, and the scorching other universe she injected into his hungry nerves. When she stabbed his heart his body tried to flee into the bed without successfully escaping her. The pain was too plentiful to be familiar as suffering. It was simply overmuch. A strange decadence that spent his mind. When he had sanity enough to look at her, and that white dagger hooked into her face like a deliberate ornament, his feelings about it would make themselves known, primal swell, in her hand that cupped him. She let him bleed, teeth taken back, and he went half way toward death, as it started to become kind to usher him onto styx gently. The gravity of the blood she’d given him floated him back to the shore, and it all became an adventure instead of his conclusion. His lips were wide when she kissed him and he responded to it, fully alive again. There was nothing anyone could offer that would be more precious than this, he realized when he tasted hearts blood.

And then something so human as an announcement at the door invaded their built oasis. Inan saw her fret, and sat up, sliding a finger over the last of the opening before it closed and his heart was proper again. He felt suddenly exposed, and crossed his arms and curled his naked toes on the floor. Wary, like a good son. He’d not realized there were tears on him until she wiped them away. From when she’d amalgamated pain and reward. She had not stayed when he tried to keep her, but her refusal had been sweet, inconclusive. What could this be, at their door? He said the new name. Marin was not Selene, but Marin answered, anyway.

Mother tore the initial spring into a gaping maw. And there, in the mouth of flimsy wood and lower jaw of threshold and inside, was Catalina, resurrected into his life. The next three heartbeats were like his name in their cave. Inan stood quickly to see her fully. She was as hurt as he had been, when she refused to remember them and their over spilling reaction to each other, in their secret, firelit cavern. Beautiful little sister. Marin had offered to be this, but truly, this visitor wore the beloved he’d been raise alongside. “Marin.” He said, moving quick, quicker than any other childe should, so young. Perhaps Juliette would notice, and if she didn’t, she’d see the life burning on his lips, at least. He smiled without knowing what kind of wound that was to their guest. Sympathy in gold as he peered at the newcomer from behind mother’s shoulder, towering over both women, but infinitely their junior.

“Can’t you see?” he whispered to Marin, as he remained transfixed on Cat and her pretty red. His arms around mother, bent down to reach her ear. It was a bit odd to him, that Cat’s expression glowered more with hurt when he did this. Then the limbs unlatched around Marin so he could move around her and bring Juliette in by her arm. “It’s Catalina.” He said, a pulse of gold veins living and retreating on his sclera. “It’s you, isn’t it?” he asked  and took her other arm too. “Why are you sad?” There is a madness in this kind of mistake, and the madness tried to protect itself with only shallow thoughts. The heart can persist on no thought at all, if it needs. “Don’t be sad, Cat.” He said and tugged at her short hair as thought the strands were only the beginning and not the full length of her mane. A clue to his illusion was when he combed through the air and down, where there were no brunette lengths.

Inan rubbed the flat of his tongue against his small fang, cleaning it of persistent life that mother let him have. What would Cat think, now that he’d become this? He was proud. She’d never judged him, only scolded him when he thought he was being kind, and she thought he was being too gentle. “You found me.” But the madness didn’t let him ask how. Without a doubt, it was because they were meant to be. “Marin.” He turned to his Mother New to show off his Sister Dear as though she didn’t already see the only other soul with them. “It’s her. She’s come back.” A kiss on Cat’s eyebrow, above the blue eye of Juliette, to see what kind of mood she was in, and to hope to relieve her of some of that pretty hurt she was carrying. Unless Juliette struggled, he'd hold her temples and put his head to hers. Sometimes, at night, in the Blood House, he would fall asleep doing this. “Can I help you? Can we?” he asked in this privacy, the recently bitten heart moving hot blood. “I’ll give you anything.”
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on October 02, 2016, 03:44:48 am
Juliette was in some other plane, it seemed, with the way she seemed not to see Inan at all. It was a lie of those talented eyes, surely, but she was staunchly tied to it nonetheless. “Marin.” Juliette said, and the name tasted foreign and sour. Marin nodded, blood-stained chin bobbing. It wasn’t fair. “My name is Juliette. You knew it once.” She said, and all the bitterness of her empty years came to the surface in sharp and jagged edges.

Marin pursed her lips. “Did I?” She said, and she was cold. “I don’t think so. Marin never knew a Juliette.” Even tone. It was better that way, whether this other could see it or not. But there was Inan mewling like a kitten and gasping in fascination over a phantom sister that Marin did not see. She understood it though.

“Inan, you and Catalina buried each other, remember?” she hummed. “This is not your sister. This is a pretty trick of the light.” But Juliette could have been Cat in body a hundred times over what Marin could conjure. Marin had offered to be the sister he could have, but he’d only have it with his eyes closed. A curious ability and one she remembered well. A sister’s Childe. Juliette was laughing.

“But you’re special, Selene. This boy is just another Vampire. He can’t see me like you can unless he really wants to.” And he wants to see his sister. “You can see me the way Mother can.” Juliette looked like she might have been hopeful, so Marin scowled.

“My name is Marin, I told you that.” She said, and then gave Inan a softer expression. “I suppose it is a treat then, that you can see her like this.” But Inan was already pulling Juliette into the room. Juliette did not want to be touched by this boy that had won her Selene. She pulled her limbs free from him sharply and swatted him away as best she could without moving out of the room. Juliette sneered at him.

“Pining after someone else, besides your goddess? Shouldn’t you see your Mother?” He didn’t deserve her. Juliette had watched Selene burn and nursed a broken heart for a century. She’d carried on and kept her promise. Juliette had never gone running to Yue, but she’d wept when she heard that Yue had passed. She’d been so loyal to Selene’s wishes. All these years. She’d been loyal in the beginning, too. She hadn’t questioned Selene when that shining woman had told her they’d not cradle each other’s veins. She’d been in heaven so that sacrifice had been fine. This boy could not have done any such thing. He still stank of humanity. An infant, uncultured, and standing there wearing Selene’s red like a badge he had earned.

Marin arched a brow and reached for her gold-flecked Fledgling. “Feng,” she murmured, pulling his shoulder to bring him close to her. She would pet his hair and place herself between them. Juliette’s teeth were sharp. Inan would see that, no matter the illusion. Would he be delighted to find his sister wearing immortal blades like him?

“Juliette, was it? Perhaps you should come further inside. I wouldn’t want to make the other customers here uncomfortable.” There was a harsh pang in the back of her throat. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t conceived of such a meeting. It wasn’t as if she didn’t feel badly for it. But she’d always had this resolve. She knew that she’d carried it through ever name. Always, she rose, and always she was new. Juliette’s lips pressed into a hard line, but she complied and let Marin shut the door behind them.

“I know I shouldn’t have come, but you were so close that I had to.” Juliette said, and under the stiffness there was still desperation. She watched as Marin led Inan back to the bed that wore their colors and pressed him to sit there. Tiny woman, but regal the way only her queen could be. Perfect moon goddess. Selene had worn her hair shorter and kept it tied into plaits, mostly. It was lovely, loose and flowing around her shoulders like this.

Marin waved it off. “If you knew, then you shouldn’t have done it. But, from the way you say it, we must have been close.” She said, and turned back to face Juliette with her arms crossed over her chest. “So, what were you expecting?”

Juliette touched her own lips, brows furrowing as she looked away. “I could smell your blood. You always said you’d never share it. So you wouldn’t leave anybody you cared for behind.” She muttered. “You changed your mind? For that brat?” Juliette laughed. “He smells like you too. But he doesn’t even see you when he looks at me.” Marin sighed.

“I’ve lived a long time. It’s alright if I change my mind sometimes.” She didn’t say it unkindly, though. If anything Inan might have heard something like an apology there. “The circumstances were somewhat dire.” Juliette felt a pang of guilt. Selene had broken rules too. When the circumstances were dire. Selene had gone up in flames for it.

“I shouldn’t have come.” Juliette said again, a bit softer. She turned her odd-eyed stare onto Inan. “You have her in ways no one in history has ever had her. Why would you see anyone else?” she asked. “Who is this Cat and why is she anything to you when you have Her?”

Marin made a disapproving sound. “Inan loves as he wishes and desires as he wishes, the same as I.” She shrugged. She glanced at the young Vampire. “Do you want someone else now? Blood that isn’t mine?” she asked him with a small smile. Standing right in front of him like this, Juliette must have looked like paradise. Catalina made into an immortal illusion. One that was less pretend and less betrayal. “You must have loved Selene, Juliette. If you’re here. Enough to break her rules.” Because Selene had only broken her rules for the same. Juliette let out a heavy sigh.

“You loved me too. Or. She did.” And it could have been a beautiful kind of jealousy for Inan to hear his sister’s mouth say those things. Or it could have been the height of a shared passion. Either could be igniting. Marin sat down on the bed beside Inan.

“Are you why she died? Selene didn’t love anyone else.” She asked. A curiously vulnerable expression. Marin did not dwell in the past because history itself was her phantom. She had always raced to stay away from confronting it. In her many lives, she had been mostly successful. Juliette, who could have forgotten Inan and the smell of blood and everything else about the room at that moment, looked as if she might begin to cry.

“Yes. You did. To save me.” Juliette had known Marin by two names before. As a human child, she had seen the white demon by moonlight, standing on the shore. She had yearned for that image for years after and given herself to the beasts of the night to try and touch it. It wasn’t until she had run into her childhood memory reborn as Selene that she’d been able to catch her. And she’d held on so tight. Too tight, because Selene was gone. Marin had a boy. Marin had broken rules for him.

Lovely trails down Cat’s cheeks and Marin tried to look away. “I’m sorry that you came. But Selene did die. My name is Marin.” She set her palm lightly on Inan’s thigh. “You’ve not met another Vampire, Inan Copper. This woman is a bit like you. Is it frightening, or do you like it?” she said and tried to sound chipper. “I’m not sure which you ought to feel, because this Vampire seems to have been very close to me at a time, as well.” She leaned to kiss him lightly on the cheek. “And you see that I don’t know her? It will be the same with you and I someday, if your appetite gets the best of you.” She grinned at him. “This is why I would like you to learn just the smallest bit of restraint.” Like it was a minor matter.

Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on October 02, 2016, 02:56:46 pm
Marin did not nurture the pretend he'd clamored to when Juliette had come in like dream clay, offering to be what he yearned for in exchange for only his disillusion. Some mirages are not deceit. His eyes stung when New Mother took him back to the absolute circumstance of Catalina's departure from Valleyrun, and him. And his pledge to leave her as a memory. He'd gone from the world twice and thought that would be enough, that such distance would keep his promise for him. How many times can you cut a bond? And then, as Marin said, this pretty trick of the light.

When Juliette got free of him, his arms lingered in the storm of her rejecting hands until she was satisfied with that small discourtesy. Cat had always been physical, it was not against her nature, as he remembered it, to hit him when his jokes were tart, or even when she thought they were clever. This had to remind him of that. How could she be so casually playful - though he'd seen it before - when really this was a reunion? They could be their blood House selves later. Now he'd rather just be dearly reunited. "Such things you say, Cat." he muttered, to see if his obvious hurt would pull her out from this stubborn act.

And how had she become so familiar with his Marin? This talk of Mother. Golden eyes glittered when Marin took him back a few steps into her, and he saw white peaks where they shouldn't be in Catalina's mouth. Like him. This was surely a dream. He'd not seen Marin take Cat. All of this didn't have the impact it should. It didn't shake him. A dream them. And as it is with those, he forgot having discovered that truth, though false, very soon, and took some strength from Mother's affections in front of the vampire that wanted it more than he could know.

So close that I had to. Inan whipped his head back to see her over his shoulder as Marin took him to the bed, perhaps to lure the guest deeper into their rented haven, as Marin had suggested. Had to come because she'd felt him, was what he chose to hear. As their conversation went on, and he was left to sit and wait, he was not so pleased. Cat was not tender, tonight. Perhaps this dark gift, that saved him, had done something else to his dear sister. He did not deserve this, though. All he'd done was survive. And in the cave, well, he shouldn't carry that by himself, she shouldn't want him to.

And then the lecture about New Mother's glory. He had to nod along. Of course he was grateful. That didn't mean he had to swallow all the unkindness of his beloved, always raw sister. If Catalina loved Marin so much now, shouldn't she also be grateful? Inan didn't have much wit, he could hold an argument because people in small towns worship beauty, and wanted to preserve his naivety and innocence, but he also had bile that longed to be expressed. It was growing potent in this confusion. Why didn't Cat want to be Cat, for him? "Shouldn't you be that Cat then, that I see?" He'd not had a love like Marin's, so he was proud of it, would try it out as a weapon. Mother hadn't wanted much to do with sister, at the door.

He would spout some other nonsense that felt good to give away when Marin offered him Catalina's blood. He would not remember having squeezed the blood sheets in his fingers at that new want. He wouldn't remember nodding, either. All his life they'd explained the holiness of blood to him. He'd learned it deeply with Marin. Would it be as intimate if he could drink Catalina? Would it be more binding than the lust he'd lost control over when they'd been in the stone privacy?

The talk of any incarnation of Marin dying took away some of the excitement. He knew this could be, but he didn't like the severity this conversation brought to it. He'd not wanted to know the ends of his new goddess so soon. And now Catalina was crying. Catalina that wanted to be called Juliette. He took some comfort in mother's closeness as he stared at the saddened girl he'd loved all his life. If she was another vampire, somehow, he had to believe it if Marin said it.

"I'll be good." he promised Marin when she held this visitor up as an example of what could happen. The sorrow in her air, and the jealousy and bitterness at the tail of it, he didn't want to feel any of those things. Not for the passion that he felt when he tasted Marin, even. He could learn to take a little less if he could preserve his forever with New Mother. He leaned his head to hers and touched the hand that she caressed him with. A prominent part in him loved the way this Cat looked at him when he touched mother.

"It feels dear. I like it a lot." meeting her. Not frightening. But she wasn't entirely like him, as she's said herself. If you are not Cat, but look so much like her, then you can be something for me. Inan wasn't cunning, but he was a spoiled child in many aspects, event though he'd been used in his first childhood. He was greedy enough to understand the value of what he had. "A bit like me." he repeated as he laid one arm around Mother. "But not entirely." He'd not been this kind of brother to Catalina. But this Juliette didn't want to be his sister. "You didn't make her. You didn't sustain her. You're not with her now." he was appalled by how easy it was to say. But he knew part of what Juliette felt, because he loved Marin, too, and that love was absolute. Perhaps it should be the guest that should be frightened, then. Because she'd told him her weakness and he knew how deep it ran.

"You came here for something, Juliette." he said as he lifted Marin's hand and held it to his cheek, golden orbs watching the new creature without mercy. In something that currently lacked of evil, that gaze looked a lot like cold curiosity. There was some blood on Mother's thumb and he licked it for himself, and swallowed slowly. Juliette. Yes. He could easily call her by the name she preferred when he was being mean. "You didn't break Selene's rules just because of mischief."

But how could he barter with what Juliette truly wanted? He was inferior to Marin in every way. And her blood was sacred. He didn't want to hurt her. He didn't like how she despised him, either. That would have to change if she was to satiate the yearning she summoned in him. So he got farther up the bed, on his knees. "Did you want the blood you felt in the air?" he asked and felt kind for suggesting it. He would have taken it as a kindness in her position, after some time without. So terribly spoiled, he was.

He nuzzled Marin's hair and ear. Not possessive, but he still had something Juliette did not. "Would it be alright if I offer her some of mine? She doesn't like me much, and you don't know her, anymore." he was being a bit of a villain, but he wanted this so much. And this mother hadn't denied him when she could indulge him. On his knees, in the sheets, if Marin would allow him to use the ruby riches she'd given him, he would hold out his hand, palm up, life's bracelet. "Try it. I'll let you, Cat." and the name was part of the price. "But you have to sing a somber song for me." his fingers waved where they hung, to make the sinew dance underneath the skin of his wrist.

He would think that was all he wanted, too. But if the picture of his sister did come, and she tried him the way he offered, he would very likely use his other arm to secure her to him, and take a bit of her for himself, as well. Cat had always had a beautiful neck. Photographing her when she slept, it had been one of his favorite focals. He would love to sample her like so. New Inan didn't even have a thought to what his blood might do to her. He hadn't pondered how unusual he was to either world. Perhaps, even, in tasting her and finding that she was her own delight, far removed from what his witch sister must feel like on his tongue, he'd drink harder. Some pretty toys, after you've opened the box, become outside toys fast.

But if Mother forbade him, safeguarding the blood she'd put into him, he'd still try to keep Juliette in the room with them but sucking from shallow cuts on Marin's shoulder. He wasn't awful in his soul, he mostly knew his relationship to others through different kinds of love, but that could make his cruel acts all the worse. He didn't realize that if Marin had been in Juliette's arms, letting her shoulder be scratched with teeth and cleaned with tongue, he'd also hold a broken heart. "How do I keep her?" he'd pose, either way.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on October 12, 2016, 04:38:31 am
Juliette was angry with this stupid boy that had captured Selene. She didn’t understand it and her frustration was plain when he played at being sullen. It was infuriating, entitled Childe hanging on Selene like he could take her for granted. Juliette wished he could see what she had. Maybe, if he’d watched all of his Mother’s skin drip away from her pretty bones and watched her blood vaporize to the night air he’d be less cocky. He’d appreciate the phantom he’d captured.

“Call me whatever the hell you want, Kid.” Juliette spat. “I don’t know a Cat and I’ve got no plans to play pretend with you.” She snapped. Marin gave the odd-eyed Vampire a tight-lipped smile.

“Juliette, he misses his sister, that’s all. I told him it was fine to miss her. Loneliness is pretty on him, if you look carefully.” She said, and reached to stroke Inan’s cheek. Juliette shook her head.

“Loneliness is torture. He doesn’t know loneliness. You know loneliness. I know loneliness.” She strode forward and dropped to her knees in front of Marin, hands balled into fists like she could make Marin remember if she tried hard enough. “I tried to stay away. I did stay away. For centuries.” She searched Marin’s dark eyes for anything to hold on to. Marin’s gaze was unforgiving. It was worse than being unseen.

Marin let Inan test the Vampire she understood she must have once loved and felt a genuine sympathy for her. She wished she might feel regret over the way the back of her hand grazed Inan’s cheek or how he said things she knew must feel cruel. But Marin had never met Juliette, no matter how sweetly Selene might have held her. Marin only had care for her spoiled Copper boy, whose fated thread had vibrated with hers down lifetimes he’d never met. She knew Juliette had not had such an effect. No one had. What Inan was mattered more than love. She felt his warm tongue on her digit and gave him a curious look. Sweet, trembling thing that had feared death hardly a day ago. How quickly he had blossomed. It made her proud, perhaps, and a bit sad. It might be good for him to miss Cat a bit more. His golden eyes were pretty when he was crying.

Juliette’s lip curled. “Tell me, brother, would you have been able to stay away? Maybe you don't love your Mother at all,” she said with Cat’s voice. How dare this infant mock her. He’d never met Selene. But he was offering her the blood that she’d never been permitted to have and it made her shudder. Not because she desired it, though she did, but because it was as if the boy had slapped her in the face with the worst sort of insult.

“I want hers, not yours.” Juliette hissed. “It has always been about her and nobody else. For as long as I have lived it has only ever been about her.” Juliette said. Cat’s green eyes were the sort of livid that Inan would not be able to recall having ever seen. Was it, then, that Catalina had never loved Inan the way this Vampire loved his Mother? If he found the thought disheartening, it would be unfair. Juliette had lived his life fifteen times over with her unrequited desire. But that itself should have frightened him. Really, what could he offer to this woman that had maintained a singular love in all these years?

Marin inclined her head and pinched Inan’s shoulder lightly. “You want to hold your sister again. It’s good there’s something to want beyond me. In case I don’t love you.” She told him. The Mother that would never leave him had never sworn an obligation to hold him in that corner of her heart. To adore him, which she did, was not the same as love. She was fairly certain that she could, in fact, love Inan Copper dearly with time. But then, there was this woman, Juliette, before her and she had nothing but empty for her. It was the same heart which had been mad enough to die for Juliette, once. Or so it seemed. With that sort of uncertainty in her future with her sweet Feng, she was unwilling to promise him her deepest affection. It would be good if he understood that. It would be good if he could keep Cat in the places she was not ready to fill. How complicated, she thought, to not be alone. It had been a good deal simpler before she'd gone to see the Blood House.

“You can have her if I give her my blood. She would be Cat for you if we made that sort of trade, I think.” Marin hummed. Juliette looked stricken over such a proposition, posed as if she weren’t even in the room. She had longed for the smallest taste of her beloved Selene for years. An offer made like this was crude, at best. From Selene’s lips, no less, but it might as well have been a stranger’s suggestion. It was so offhand it was grotesque.

Marin pressed a palm to Inan’s outstretched wrist. “Far be it from me to tell you who you may or may not give your blood to, but perhaps you ought not make light of her suffering.” She said, as if she weren’t doing the same herself. Juliette stood from her knees.

“Is it so easy for you to give out now?” she asked, voice trembling. Marin blinked at her.

“No. But you say you loved me and that I loved you. And my Childe, for whom I broke my most fundamental rule, wants his sister.” She said. Like it really was simple. Marin ran her fingers along her own throat. “It’s a new thing for me, you know. To be eaten.” She sighed. “Would you be able to control yourself, Juliette? If I let you make me Selene so that you’ll be my Inan’s Catalina?” she asked. Juliette, who had made believe in many beds for many mouths, was certain she’d never been offered a dirtier bargain. But then, she had come here after something, after all. Closure, maybe.

She should have known better.

“Maybe, if you are nice, she’ll want your blood too. The same way you want hers. What a dream that would be for my dear Feng.” She said. She had promised him his sister in that fantasy he had died for. Marin had certainly not anticipated laying it out for him like this, but she saw the possibility of it none the less. Would it make her a bad Mother, giving him the sweet he wanted even if he couldn’t keep it in the end? “It is up to her, of course. Whether she wants this. Vampires are not kept by any but the ones that made them and their own hunger.”

Juliette hung her head. That was mostly true. But Juliette had been always Selene's, regardless of her lineage. Selene had been a more romantic heart than this Marin was. Selene would never have made this sort of proposition. They were the same, beneath the façade of a new life, but Marin had built different walls. They stung. But, she was still beautiful and Juliette still wanted her. She wondered if it was betrayal to look for her Selene in this. She'd already been wrong to come here in the first place. A little further couldn't be any more damming. She reached out for Marin with one hand. “You would do that for this Childe of yours? Give me what you refused, even when you loved me?” Juliette laughed bitterly. Selene had been right to tell her to stay away. This was some bizarre torture. Maybe she deserved it.

“Is she worth turning my back on what I loved? Will I be satisfied, brother? Will you?” And Selene reached out to touch Cat’s hand and pull her gently onto the bed between them.

“Inan, come. Share me with your Catalina and give me a bit of yourself in exchange. You’re a spoiled boy, my Feng.” She said and took the arm which he had outstretched so that she could sink her teeth into the vein he’d offered his pseudo sister. Marin’s tongue pressed insistently into the wound so that his eager rust flowed around her lips and dribbled into Juliette’s lap. “Won’t you open me for your sister?” she asked against his skin and pulled her hair over her shoulder to expose the soft span of her throat. Juliette felt her breath catch. She could still leave. She hadn’t anticipated this when she'd knocked on this door. Wasn’t it enough closure to see that this woman was not the Selene she remembered?

And yet, and yet, the curve of her neck was so familiar. That honey sweet aura so achingly dear. An awful purgatory, surely, and the answer to her oldest wish.

Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on October 12, 2016, 07:43:09 pm
While her refusing the name of his sister was aggravating, he thought he saw some of Cat’s fire in the protest. This vampire burned with a colder flame, though. He leaned in to New Mother’s caress but kept his eyes on the sister who would not be his. He did not know how unusual his blessing was, Selene or other name, only that it was a great one. To him it was simply necessary for Marin to give him Cat if she could. He did not, would not, understand what it meant for Selene’s likeness to ask something as impressively old as Juliette to be what he wanted her to be. “Stay away.” He repeated under his breath, almost a growl, still with the sweetness of mother’s finger on his tongue. “What a cold love. What a though-through love. I’d break a thousand promises for love. I’d compromise my character completely for love.” Cat stayed away. Cat left. He’d have nothing of such unfaithful emotions. He thought the mind should not take the heart’s tasks. He thought passion would have kept his sister with him.

“And how did you fare, always loving, then?” he asked back, confidence inflated with Marin by his side. “Never touching, never tasting.” He’d seen this, in Cat, on the morning she’d been cold. It was not his intention to be cruel, but his soul had things a human lifetime would not have revealed that was now blossoming in immortality’s light. His other hand, that he’d not offered, touched Marin. He saw Cat’s opposing side in Juliette now. This all confused him, since it had already seduced him. He wanted her so much. The desire was partially material. He wanted something that would carry out this wish for him as much as he wanted to be lost in a sister that had returned. His hand came back when Marin touched it. He was not a rebel. In his human life, he’d been obedient, too.

It was hard for him to hear that mother might not love him. That hardship was strung between the pace of their conversation, and the intention Marin had of collecting this sudden Catalina for him. With some anticipation, he nuzzled Marin’s cheek. It was not possessive, but it might look that way to Juliette who stood across from them, especially since he did not relent her with his eyes. He had to be good to her for her to want his blood. At least there was a chance. Catalina, the one he’d grown up with, would never have taken a drop. Truly, the way this Catalina trembled, there was hope.

So he waited patiently for mother to draw Cat close. His golden eyes were bright to see his sister between them, and he didn’t fight when mother took his arm. A sigh when she bit into him. To make it all look more delicious to the hesitating vampire that had the beautiful face, he put his lips close to her ear, and breathed all that he felt every time Marin bled him. “How will you know whether you’ll be satisfied if you don’t try?” he smiled to himself as her lap became increasingly wet with his life. “Or you can leave, and let me have her all to myself.” It wasn’t an eventuality that stung to think of. He’d rather have Cat too, though. So spoiled. His arm pulsed with the pain and the echoing pleasure he'd learned.

He found Marin’s nape as lovely as anyone might, and saw that his sister was transfixed by that source. He jolter her out of it, on his way, brushing his cheek against her. His arm, caught in Marin’s lips, moved its fingers. He kissed where he’d drank from before, on her neck, and rested his large mouth on the wet mark. His behavior wasn’t just to tease and savor, but rather to underline to Catalina how lovely mother was. A far better mother than Elise had ever been to either of them. Hesitation, feigned, when he lifted his attention from that sweet skin to look deep into the imagined green eyes. “Would you be my sister again, then?” in exchange for this ruby treasure I wouldn’t share otherwise. If she did not answer, he would put his hand to her mouth and hold it away, that she may not taste. He would try to keep her away, too, for as long as she rejected him, until she said a dewy yes against his palm.

With the ever-hunger always spiraling behind his diaphragm and the parts of his soul connected to his nervous system, it wouldn’t be hard to entice Inan to bite. Whether Juliette agreed, subtle or with some great gesture of either hate or love toward Marin, or if she did not, with a dark rejection or flippant stance, he would still dig those uneven fangs into mother’s holy skin while his protecting hand would try to fend off Juliette’s hunger. Familiar - if sugar-rimmed life can be felt with the same senses twice - when he tasted Marin’s elixir. New Mother and her preservation made this all flawed. She might heal too fast for Juliette to have a proper taste. With his front teeth he tugged at the wounds he’d made to keep them open, bleeding Marin into the bowl of her own collarbone. Would it hurt Juliette to see how he was allowed to play?

His mouth was still saturated with blood he’d not swallowed. Would it look lewd to Juliette when he turned to her, and two of his fingers lingered around one puncture on Marin’s neck, making that wound smile or gape to prolong its generosity. For a short while, she’d have the choice of three drinks. The waning fountain, the bone framed puddle, and his truly rosy lips. Perhaps Inan had it in his mind to let her have either, but if Juliette leaned in for any other source than himself and his kiss, a reaction as deeply rooted as his love for Catalina would have him capture her mouth anyway, with his lips. Those petals parted, drowning in the treasure Juliette had been waiting for, when a surge of pain running along a heartbeat in his wrist reminded him of mother’s fangs. This was all more than a small town whore had the right to, but it was all that he would accept.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on October 14, 2016, 08:06:40 pm
It wasn’t strange that the heady drunkenness of being with her invaded fast. Juliette might despise what Inan had with Selene, but it didn’t make her any less weak. Even impartial Vampires would struggle under the intoxicating aroma of a Matriarch’s blood. Those two shared each other so easily. Like there had never been any reservation over Selene’s spilling red. It was an awful thing to want this. Juliette swallowed back the mounting hunger.

She felt herself imagining Selene had been nothing but a caricature. Pathetic dramatization of a tortured soul, unable to share in the greatest intimacy with her lover. There had never been a good reason for Selene’s rules. “She loves you more than me. Or she will.” Juliette heard herself mumble. “If she’s willing to be selfish with you.” Her bitterness was roiling in self-depreciating untruths, of course. Marin was not Selene. Selene had told her to stay away for a reason. This reason. Things change. And, though it shot harsh pangs of jealousy through her chest, she could almost understand it. The smell of this boy’s blood, thick with the aura of his Mother, was unique. He had been a special human. Juliette had just been a sad Vampire.

Marin bit harder into Inan’s forearm, seeking the crunch of tendon and bone between her teeth. She could have sucked his marrow dry, sweet Witch’s son. He bled into Juliette’s lap, which was a pretty sight. Marin could even pretend she knew the other woman, once she was couched between them and Inan had begun to draw her own rivers for himself. She gasped, lapping at his encroaching skin, and felt it slick along her collarbones. “A sister of my Feng is a Daughter of mine, too, so long as he desires it.” Marin hummed. That offer again.

Juliette was sure she’d been set on by a pair of wolves. They had made their demand so very clear and it was degrading to play in their pretend. But Selene was spilling pretty rust and her Son was nearly as exotic as she. Terrible family, these two. Juliette was nodding at Inan though. “You’ll share with your sister, right?” she mumbled, blinking hazily. Terrible family, but she’d be theirs now if it was allowed. She felt something in her break when Inan pressed his slim digits into Selene’s eager flesh. Like the Mother would swallow up her Childe again, if he’d give her the chance. Juliette shuddered. More self-control than infant Inan, perhaps, but she was not infinite.

She made to press her tongue to the dripping cup of Selene’s collarbones but was caught by the scheming boy instead. At first, a flash of anger because she’d submitted to their game and been denied still. Then, the burning shock of Selene’s blood on his lips and the hunger of a love restrained for centuries. Juliette was all the eager Cat’s body had been with a soul willing to match it. It wasn’t Cat’s sinewy young body. Juliette was rolling curves and a long legs. But it didn’t matter. Her mouth could be Catalina fanged and her eager everything Cat held back. She’d feel just like her to him anyway.

Marin let Juliette fall into their tangle, stroking Inan’s hair as he experienced his sister renewed. She kissed his shoulders and nipped at the skin. Juliette whimpered Selene’s name, raked her teeth over Inan’s lip, and pressed him down to the bed. What a brat he was, and yet he had what she wanted. If this was how she’d get it, she’d accept it. “Give me more of her.” She panted. Marin tipped Juliette’s chin up with one finger and smiled.

“It’s okay, Catalina, for answering to that name you can take it yourself.” She assured her and kissed her softly. Juliette was beside herself. Tears, abruptly, and a strangled sob.

“I missed you for so long, Selene.” She breathed, and hooked her fangs into Marin’s lip.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on October 15, 2016, 04:57:16 pm
He smiled with his brimming mouth, the tongue vermilion in comparison to the darkness that floated and crowded the inside of the cheeks. Finally, Cat was speaking as though she was willing to come back to him. "I'll share anything with you, Cat." he said, soft words so mother wouldn't come spilling down his chin. He'd always save food for Cat if she was late home, or if he had to stay until she returned on days when he was too faint. Elise's orders. Inan loved feeding his sister.

Tears grew at the tips of his eyes when she kissed him back. His free hand took her to him. Catalina searched for something in the kiss. Out of reflex, and because of the nature of a kiss, he took some of the blood for himself. Squabbling siblings. He'd intended to be more generous, but the reaction was too selfish. How happy he became when she put herself on him, that he had to lay down. This had been reversed, last time, the first time, they'd discovered this kind of thing.

It was a pretty thing, above him, when Catalina kissed Marin. Efficient drinker, but a stray drop came down to crash against his waiting mouth. Spoiled boy, he moved up, against Cat, to suckle her chin for trails of mother. He could hear in Cat's throat how ravenous she was. Marin had told him what would happen if there was too much hunger. Not even his long lost sister must take mother's love away. He didn't have the presence of mind, rather, it would greatly contradict what he wanted from this, to wonder if it might be in Juliette's interest to try and make Marin's mind blank through death again.

Inan rested back and let his hands wander the body that he saw as familiar. He tested Juliette's skin and muscles, and did not register the thickness and soft that Catalina never had. This sister was so allowing, even if there was still a measure of flight in her tension. He liked that it wasn't enough to carry her away. Inan put his face to her jaw and piled affection with his lips. "You'll never leave me again." he sang in a low breath as he helped himself to lift the top Cat had lost in the woods when summer was too oppressive, three years ago. It is hard to question dreams.

He put his nose to her neck and smelled the vibrant pulse going through her blood columns. It was the same patter as when they'd fall asleep out in the grass, and he brushed her wrist to make sure she was still alive when he woke first. His fingers dug into her flesh when his teeth stroked their round sides against her heartbeat. When he flicked his tongue out at her, he couldn't stand it anymore. Inan bit into his Catalina, keeping her to him with hands underneath her shirt. If she could take from mother, then he could have this. He sucked to keep her clean, rising his hips into hers while Juliette was allowed to taste the lover that had forgotten her.
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: VenomousEve on October 19, 2016, 07:46:33 pm
Marin did not have Juliette’s gift of make believe, so her kisses were not Selene’s and did not try to be. Instead, she was simply Marin—the new beast in the beautiful body. She could enjoy this the way she had enjoyed Martin and countless others. Blood was blood if it wasn’t Inan’s and it hardly mattered that this woman was a Vampire, too. They were so different from her. So mortal. They tasted like hubris. If those sentiments wounded Juliette, who wanted to taste an old love as badly as she wanted to taste a forbidden red, Marin had little sympathy. She’d made her rules to be followed, out of care. Really, this was generous. Juliette could bear to suffer for it a little.

Juliette, who was giving herself to Inan’s imagination even as she chased Marin’s veins, was cast into the deepest web of conflict. She’d made her decision and toppled into this tangle but every swallow swelled her guilt. Selene was not in this. Selene would not have been willing. She was taking advantage of those memories as much as she was being taken advantage of. It left her numb to the boy’s advances and her gasps were hollow when he tried his jagged teeth in her. As if it was a form of atonement, she found his shoulder with her mouth and took from that well to chase out the taste of Selene. But Inan was Marin’s son and his blood sang with that intimate bond. Marin made a sound that was not quite approval and not quite jealousy and laid her own blades into her Childe’s throat.

A pant and pause. “How pretty you two are, my Feng. It’s thrilling to be consumed like this, isn’t it?” Sister and Mother to ravage his blood and bones. She reached to join his hand beneath Juliette’s shirt. “But it’s an easy way to die. If there’s really an easy way to die for you and I.” gentle reminders in the chaos and bliss. Juliette whimpered and reached for Selene again. Inan would not wash away her taste. There was too much of his Mother snaking through his veins. Hips for the prince and her tongue for the queen.

And so it went until Juliette’s tears had dried and they had painted rust across their cheeks and fingers. It was a curious thing, to treat this Vampire so gently when Marin and Inan could play murder on each other’s bodies again and again. Juliette bled when they wouldn’t and quickly became a constellation of ruby drops. She was not unaware of that difference. It seemed to delight Marin. A rift between Juliette and this budding bloodline. It frustrated her and she tore at Inan’s chest with her fingers. He did not heal quite as fast. They, at least, were a little alike. But not enough. It was Juliette who brought an end to their tryst. Wounded and bloated on blood that seared through her like alcohol on her throat, she collapsed against the pillows.

“No more. I can’t.” She said, and she was bitter and satisfied and that tasted so very foul. “I shouldn’t have come. You were right; you aren’t Selene.” She said to Marin and the ceiling. Marin began to laugh.

“It ends with regret, then.” She hummed. “But you knew it would. Selene knew it would.” She had wrapped herself around Inan when his Catalina had pulled away. Marin hooked her teeth around the sloping vertebra at the back of his neck and bit until she could press her tongue against the slick bone. “This Cat won’t stay with you, Inan. I’m sorry.” She said without moving her mouth.

Juliette closed her eyes. “Regret, yes, but maybe there’s some closure here anyway.” She said. “Kid. I’m not going to tell you to let go of your sister, but don’t lie to yourself. You’re holding onto a dream.” It was a strange thing to say in Catalina’s voice. She was tired. Selene was gone. A slight frown. Who was Selene anyway, that she should have held this pain for so long? Selene, Selene. That had been her name, right? Marin lifted her head and took a mouthful of muscle with her. It was pretty, the ways Inan’s blood brushed her chin. A curious expression.

“Are you sleeping?” she asked Juliette. The other Vampire did not respond. “Inan. Perhaps we should leave her this room. I’m sure she has a keycard in her pocket. We’ll just go to hers.” Marin wiped her lips with her thumb.

Juliette felt as if she were floating. She’d been alive for a long time, hadn’t she? Had she done anything in all those years, though? It all seemed kind of foggy. If she thought too much about it, it didn’t really seem worth remembering. Why had she come to this room in the first place? The scent of blood was still heavy in the air. It was sweeter than anything she could recall. She must have been curious, that’s all. Who could blame her, with this sort of exotic down the hall.

“Would you be sad, Inan, if your sister forgot all about you?”   
Title: Re: Soft Falling
Post by: Verse on October 19, 2016, 09:56:27 pm
It was harder to believe whatever magic that Juliette wore when he tasted her. He'd not had his sisters blood with his current tongue, but a brother knows. Will over heart, he drank harder, to suffocate doubt. It was flattering when Catalina bit into him, and his hands on her skin went searching deeper into her flesh. They were together in a new way, that Marin had given to them. He was forgetting the sweetness of this, and felt the red on his mood. Cemented, when mother bit into him as well. What an exquisite treat. If he'd had the mind to think, and if he'd thought to wish, he couldn't have wished for anything as decadent as this. He had to nod, cutting up sister farther, when mother asked if he liked loosing himself to them. He breathed through his nose with some frustration, don't remind me mother, when she told him it was too simple an end for them.

He was greedy, and it showed on Cat. Marin couldn't hold the traces of his hunger, but his sister would. It helped him remember she was only to be sipped, and not chewed on. What a game he had, wetting fangs in Marin and using the bloodied, uneven blades to cut Juliette. He couldn't remember the cave or the primal, deep things in that scene that could dispel this one. But he played too hard, it seemed, with his thrusts or with their gluttony or both. She laid herself on the pillows for escape, and the pillows breathed like weighted lungs for Catalina's frame.

Inan - who was overwhelmed for a moment by all the love he'd imagined from the new vampire, and true affection he'd received from Marin - quickly regained his hunger without Juliette against him. But Cat couldn't play anymore. She was fatigued, more than he'd ever seen her, like her mind had walked too long, and the exhaustion had infected her heart. Some old wound, reminding her. "I'm glad you came." he tried when she was regretful, and leaned back into mother. She welcomed him with fantastical pain, shooting electricity through his body when she choked the sensory highway just below the home of his thoughts. Golden eyes fluttered.

Through the delirium of the spine that bubbled into Marin's speaking, vibrating mouth, he cried. Another illusion come to an end. He wondered if these things would be his end, before his hunger could ever consume Marin, as she was now. "She'll stay." this cat had to. She had taken blood. Yes. This was a blood oath. He'd tasted her. New mother had haggled. He was to have her. But Catalina, pretty in the patterns they'd drawn on her, agreed with mother. Then she seemed to let go of something important. Something that kept her limbs taut. She seemed listless, coming back. He was pulled from his fearful wonder when Marin stole meat around his vertebrae.

He put his hands on his face, ruby rings surrounding the folds that made up his knuckles, as her latest bite made a necklace for him. Sleeping, said mother. He wanted that for her, and then she'd wake and be his sister again. Another dream. He should not believe, as Cat had said. Don't hold on. This sleep was the end of something for him. Again. He moved closer, naked, on his knees by the pretty, leaving Juliette. He couldn't wonder if she'd look like something she wanted to see, if she saw herself when she woke. His hands hovered over Catalina's features, wanting to catch her and keep her. But he couldn't bring the reach to connect. His mouth said her name, or sang one of her songs, without making a sound. All their bloods on his face were washed away with his babbling tears. Simple Inan had such propensity to pretend. He'd let himself believe, and he knew by Marin's voice he wouldn't get to keep any of it.

When he looked at the only creature who would have him in this room, he was broken in a quiet way, deep like cracks in a cliff are silent and far. And his eyes were gloriously golden because he'd become more of what he was meant to be. Mute, like the violated, he collected clothes and plundered her pockets for the key. He had to pick the card up twice, empty limbs trying to secure the plastic into a jacket pocket he didn't have. When he turned from her at the bed, he crashed into Marin's arms and soaked whatever clothes she'd wear, if any. He held on so the contractions feeding the crying in his chest wouldn't kill him. "Everything about Cat hurts." he said, somewhere in the dismay.

And again, he poured his love into Marin. It was more like hope, like she'd been all along. Mother hadn't hurt him. Mother was steadfast like so many forever he'd not seen. He was going to eat from her and drink from her and sleep against her. That had been the only deal worth his commitment. A real escape. "I won't be sad." he said against her. Because I have you. I can't believe in anything else. He sought out her hand when his arms had to leave her.

Even though he tried his hardest not to look when they made to leave, he squeezed that hand upon seeing his dearly loved sister, and the little red suns that held her from underneath, her own suns, made from her veins, on the white pillows and sheets. What a beautiful thing she was, his sister. And then he twisted his head around, to escape from the love that welled up, ready to snare him again. "How could she forget?" he asked as he followed her out.