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VenomousEve

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #60 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #61 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.

VenomousEve

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #62 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.
 

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #63 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #64 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.”
 

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #65 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."

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #66 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.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #67 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."

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #68 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.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #69 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #70 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #71 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #72 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #73 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #74 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. 

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #75 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #76 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.”   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #77 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #78 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.”        

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #79 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #80 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.
         

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #81 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #82 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #83 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."

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #84 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #85 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.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #86 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.   
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 06:12:57 am by VenomousEve »

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #87 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.

VenomousEve

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #88 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.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #89 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.