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Ash and Roar [Fin] Read 7809 times

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2016, 09:10:14 pm »
He became more of the wolf that he was when she held the phone closer. A spark in the black, almost enough to set fire to his hands and free her from that device, only because she was protecting it. But that would have been too small, too shortsighted. If prey clung to the tightrope, or marched, determined, into the saw-tooth trap, why should anyone stop them? He almost sang when he handled her, basking in her pliability. There'd been none of this with Ansa, no speaking when told to, no conflict between her desire and his own, where his triumphed. Unthinkable. Yet so natural with Ophelia.

The conversation, as it was revealed, was rather important. He felt as though the same gravity of subject would at least have earned his own mother and father - Ophelia’s too, he supposed – a hefty tantrum and then seething for a couple of days, from him. Ophelia forgave and offered gratitude back. If he had fangs, real ones, they would have grown when she tightened her legs to keep him out. He’d not test her strength, that wasn’t today’s sport, but he threw her a glance to say ‘oh, you’ve challenged me about this, now’. And how devastating that would be.

She went on to be the Ophelia he was craving, new to everything, without protectors on her responses. Sweet little victim, ready to act with the whims of his fingers. Her grasp on his sleeve, and the look she gave him, asking without a thought to forbid – it made him quite voracious for her. It was not even a flaw in him, anymore, was it? If she was this way, so delectably this way, and he had the nature of a person – dutiful or not – it was inevitable that he’d want to consume her. But it was her words that altered him, and the flavor of what he was starved for. She’d said a lie. A litte one, but a scab on her angel feathers, nonetheless. He clutched the contract harder. She continued the small deceit when she had to explain her ensuing nameless calls.

“Clever.” He rewarded, when she passed the responsibility over to the sister on the other side. Fingers that brought her pain came to pinch her gasping lips. Some kind of fixation he’d developed, from having petted her willing tongue. He could not completely empathize with the conversation if it was about someone missing someone else. He’d never been gone for long, and Ansa wasn’t so sweet to be that sentimental, at least not primarily. If there were such people that would miss and admit to missing, he knew he would have asked, too.

No protest when he blanketed her with himself. She changed her lay to fit better into him, even. Perhaps it was the sweet kiss. He was about to try her, plant his teeth through the skin so her blood would bloom onto his tongue, when she saved herself to an even worse fate, by asking the sister to join her in prayer. What an opportunity to test her. The teeth unclasped from her skin. Leave that shoulder be. “Yes. Pray.” And she could worry, if she wanted. She would not know him to readily agree to things that were conventionally pleasant for her.

He took himself back, out of her valleys and tops that connected well into him, and lifted her hips until he could set her knees down into the bed. With her backside raised and her head still in the pillows, to entertain Netty, she would of course look defenseless, mortified. If she struggled, he would offer a swift, aristocratic rap with the back of his hand on what he’d just raised. He would also remind her to keep praying, and in the same breath to also part her knees on the sheets to have better balance.

Kvell had a honed keeness in his fingers. His father, who had darker dreams for the boy than the tea room, had taken him, too young, to brothels and friend's houses until he was no longer foreign to the taste, texture and cadence of another body, burning in its own chemicals. First it was for exploration, then for sport, and at last for validation. The son of the familly that owned the mine did not want for carnal practice. Ophelia's secret, kept from herself, even, would stand little chance when his left hand tried her. The right hand, precious and strong, continued to deliver a painfull massage over her wings.

"Pray for your innosence. Pray for you purity." he said as he soaked himself in her, and reached down her spine to grab her too long hair, pulling, to weave the signals of her pleasure with the thrumming of her agony. When she got her hair back, he took her neck instead, pushing her face deeper into the pillow, to affect the rythm, if she still had one, of her prayer, and elevate her waist. He wanted to taint her words that she sent off. And he wanted to introduce her to this torn experience. "Louder." One hand would seducer her harder, and one hand would punish her worse.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #31 on: July 20, 2016, 05:33:50 pm »
She breathed shallow, as if she were pained, but it was the roiling thrill that made her lungs ache. He was not so heavy to make her gasp so. Ophelia tasted fright before the first shaking exaltations of her God. There was some pleasure to this ruse and it made her feel dirty. She would pray more fervently for the purity of her soul. He had encouraged her, which lit her nerve endings with the desire to flee, but even his devilishness couldn't flaw her faith so deeply. Still, she knew to be worried which meant she was learning. Still, she would pray because she wished to be true. To Netty and to her soul. 
 
And she had to counter this dark well of new sensation he teased from her. As cruelly as he indulged her pain, he sought the pleasures she'd turned her back to for the safety of her purity. Relentless, this brother.
 
Pulled into the pose of his liking, Ophelia carried the candor of her prayers with only a small gasp. Small enough that Netty let it pass, whether the Sister noticed or not. Thus was the most sacrilegious prayer ever to pass those sweet pink lips. Head bowed, hips high. If she wished to balance her innocence in the space between her soft secret and her holy tongue, the former betrayed her.
 
Ophelia could not restrain the sob that broke her lips when he found her and all her hidden heat. Netty, on the other end of the line, stopped praying. She must have been concerned. "N-no, Sister, I am simply overcome w-with--" a gasp when he twisted and pulled at her long rose strands. It hurt. Everything hurt. And yet some awful part of her was singing with the novelty of it. He'd told her to savor the new for newness sake and take it, pain as pleasure. The way she'd sang in the labyrinth, knees buried in thorns and his lips on hers. "I have missed prayer in communion with the Sisters, Netty. That is all," halting excuses that must be becoming harder to believe.
 
If she'd not understood how to revel in the way he'd carved their contract, she was beginning to grasp it now. Ophelia feared for her heart. She didn't want to understand.
 
He played her unholy and she bit hard into her lip. Hard enough to make herself bleed. Perhaps Kvell would be proud. Ophelia struggled to pray dutifully, voice peaking when he commanded her louder. At some point, she dropped the phone. It couldn't be helped, placed in such a lewd position and her head buried so deeply into the pillows. Muffled at a distance, she heard Netty carry on their prayers. Sweet woman. Her cheeks burned. Tears for the pillow. She was terrified the Sister had heard her lies and the breaking pleasure beneath. She wondered if it were enough to send her to Hell. She prayed louder so her words would reach Netty and God. 
 
Ophelia’s little tears and shaking breath must have blemished the sanctity of her prayers. Whether the petitions for grace and forgiveness were then to her God or to Kvell was hard to say, caught tremulously between her faithful calling and a different music. Mewling sighs and cries and moans and whimpers. At some point God lost her voice to Kvell's religion. The prayers degraded and she gasped and begged him to stop. And not to stop. The small voice from the phone, discarded on the bed, stopped. “Ophelia?” She reached awkwardly with one hand, scrambling to pick it back up.

“I’m sorry, Sister, there’s a lot going on right now.” Guilt in her mouth. Guilt for the Sister’s ears. Netty was quiet.

“If it’s a bad time—“ Ophelia clutched the phone tight.

“No, no, it’s ok. I’m sorry. I’m here. It’s ok.” She stuttered. More silence on the line.

“My dear, I think it’s best you just call me back when you have the time. Keep your eyes on God, Ophelia. Lead others to God so that you may not, yourself, be lead astray.” Netty hung up the phone. Ophelia began to sob. And yet his fingers plucked chords that resonated through her core. She couldn’t hate this, as much as her heart ached and her shame burned.
 
He had demanded her voice. Louder he'd said, but he hadn't told her what to cry. She had no prayers to give now, dragged in gasping wails from her bleeding lips. "Sir, please," she said, but couldn't form a request. The pressure on her neck, where the welts from his belt cried protest against his palm. Her legs trembled. When it hurt the most, she felt everything he'd built overflow. It was good Netty had ended their call. Poor, hopeless angel. She’d not been trained to hide or restrain. A luxury for the pure of heart. If he’d thought she might have the fortitude to last this game, he had surely been wrong. If he’d aimed to teach her the core of sin, he’d succeeded. 
 
Trembling, she felt herself push against him. Horrid girl, asking for more. Ophelia would learn to hate herself. She was appalled by the way she'd blossomed so. A feeling she'd never experienced before but understood at a primitive level. Degrading and wonderful. Ophelia felt as if Ansa's ghost must be laughing at her. More tears, frustrated. "Please, please." She'd called like this before. Pretty music.   


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #32 on: July 20, 2016, 10:01:28 pm »
She lost her breath to the fingers that were reading her. Little innocent, little liar with gasps. It wasn't in her to run, and there was a certain candid in how she was not bound or linked, but still unmoving for him. He listened to her as he made her feel. Her pleas along with the sister were well made, at the base of it all, but her ability to perform them was becoming too genuine for the cadence found in churches. He lashed her with the free hand, across what was raised, and her shoulderblades, when she spoke lies into her conversation with her deity, so her heart would remember the swell he commanded inside her.

Her blood on the pillow. Spoken blood, red cloud when she breathed hard. He hummed with pleasure at the image. Bleed for him, and for another of her firsts. As she added tears to the thread-count, he saw the phone, finally out of her hands, saying prayers to the ceiling. For a few verses he closed his eyes and committed the notes of her distress to memory, convinced they were for him. What a delectable tone, and how much better when it broke. The hand wouldn't give her rest, and fanned the heat inside her, urged it on. He listened better when she wanted his mercy, but he didn't grant it, either. The Father, the brother. Perhaps that was the role of a taker of prayers. And who would want Ophelia to stop?

"She's found you out, sinner." he whispered when the nun stopped and demanded, and the girl had to continue to pretend into the phone. "Liar." he said, a little louder. It tasted like threads of cotton candy, over his tongue. He salted it for himself with more abuse onto her. "Little deceiver." Whether Netty heard or not, he couldn't know, but the phone was dead after that, upturned on the sheets, like some other poor body he'd had. The girl, left behind to her newest, blushing adventure and its dismay, cried, and it made her brother hungrier.

Then she begged the Sir to please. And he would. His head lowered, from taking in her bleeding lips and the pink strands attaching to them, to watch his hand, doing her body well, while making her soul confused. He was that demon then, looming behind her, Shadow Eye, waiting for the reward of her inevitable fall. As he stared at the playing fingers, when they weren't deep or circling, he felt the rock of her hips. It made him dizzy with accomplishment, and bothered with his own thirst.

He hurried now, with her urgency. Her price for abandon. His angel with demon's palled that he was going to drown in nectar. The other hand traveled her back again, palm pushing at every red feather of the wings another's name had earned her, until he could hook two fingers through her cut petal and on to her tongue. Her incomplete wishes would be disturbed now, unsaid but not unbreathed. He attended to her sensitive point, with the other hand. Ruthless pace.

"You're looking for something." he explained, voice above what volume she could muster. "And you're afraid to find it." Hand would deliver. "Go ahead, Ophelia. Let it take you." His permission to have the epitome her trembling was designed to reach. He even freed her mouth for it, but not without pressing where she'd bit herself on the way out. And to travel her over, he folded his body over hers, like some loving scythe, digging his teeth into her shoulder finally, and biting at the rush through the flesh, that she'd always bind her breaching pleasure with the hurt he gave. And he'd drink her until she was exhausted from the flash and ebb of rapture. The hand and teeth left her at the same time, in the same meandering manner.

Kvell looked down at the untidiness he'd made of the bed and her. His little bundle of a sister, in the aftermath of pleasure's reckoning. Surely her own body must have been angry at her too, for having denied it, forgotten it. He drew three digits over his mouth, to lead her blood back from his cheek, and eat it with the salt of her secret. Both elixirs were still on his maw when he swallowed. On his knees, behind her, towering - carnivore over carcass. Beautiful, rose-stranded, spent carcass.

"Did you prayers come true, sister dear?" he asked, hand he wasn't eating from stroking her spine possessively. "You can pray to me all you want, I'll listen." he said into the cage of his fingers, finally starting to be cleaned of her flavor by the scraping of his tongue. "Won't you come and confess sometime, too." Was this too cruel? Not the sudden introduction to her burning humanity, but this, the way he eclipsed what she'd grown up under. He stroked her temple, until the hairs on the blood of her mouth gathered behind her ear, so he could see her fully, blushing in what had happened, or pale for the same reason. Such releases could be horror, too. Whichever, she would be deadly lovely.

It was a luxurious thing, for him to be fully dressed, and her to be entirely not. He'd had this contrast before, and found it to his taste. Kvell stood from the bed and went to her head, where he kissed her forehead tenderly. "Sometimes, at Oleander, you cut yourself on roses until there are marks on your bones. Sometimes there's honey blueberry tarts." His tongue came out to press flat against her cheek and wash the cheekbone in one, fat stroke. Next he spoke through his grin, against her pretty features, cooling the lacquer he'd just painted onto her burning. "And sometimes we're wretched until you adore it."

Another kiss, for pity, and then he stood. Aristocrat, correcting his clothes as he looked over his newest ornament. His touch ran along her body as he left. The door wouldn't even close all the way. When she went out into the corridors, after whatever rest she needed, if she went to look for him among the animals that were lined up but wouldn't answer her, there would be a familiar bird to speak to, and Sparrow Moa would ask her, with some disbelief in her beak, if it was true, about what had happened. If Ophelia wanted, she would be taken to Kvell, who would be in the middle of the floor in the antique library, legs across a footstool and reclined into a grand armchair, as though they'd not shared something engulfing. Or Ophelia could ask to run, and Sparrow would take her to the garden, and tell her how to get passed, in the back, to the gates.

But the gates would be locked and Sparrow would be gone.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2016, 06:28:45 am »
She was an odd sort of numb when he pet her back. Ophelia wondered if it meant she had performed as he wanted. She still didn't know what pleased him. She had thought he was happy with her, after the garden maze, and yet the spine he was petting was still raw from how he'd punished her.

He mocked her faith and she had nothing to say. Her own behavior had been a mockery of her religion. There was no piety in her. Ophelia was betrayed by her body. She hadn't known that was possible. She was crying, but softly, and the little pearly sorrow was bewilderment as much as it was disgust with herself. It was not, however, regret. That should have frightened her.

When he tucked the hair from where it had obscured her face, she did not look at him. She would not have seen him well if she had tried, anyway. Her cheeks were flushed in the tell he was coming to know. A charming dance on her fair skin, writing her secrets in rose petals that spidered coyly when she wished it least. Her pout was not so pleased, but equally as sweet.

Ophelia was still when he kissed her. It was, in part, because she knew better than to deny him anything. It was also because she was unsure she could. Warm, lulling exhaustion. The tempting aftermath of pleasure. The little death and its afterlife. He was telling her something, like a lesson, and she blinked foggily. It was all pleasure to him. Frightening. A little seething guilt told her she was as much a sinner.

Frozen, a garden rabbit caught in the beam of his flashlight. She was a motionless doll on the bed as he left her. When the door was closed and she had lost count of her breath and her heartbeat she rolled slowly onto her back. It hurt. She didn't wince, though. Somehow, it was a little pleasant. She didn't think too much of it. She didn't want to. When the muscles have been pushed, they protest and then relent to growing stronger. That ache could be come addictive.

Ophelia stared at the canopy of the bed for a while, dark eyes clear. She felt as if she'd come up from being submerged in a warm bath. She wanted to repent for the terrible pleasure but found herself unable to form the whisper of a prayer. She had given what goodness she had to Netty and fallen short. Sister Netty would surely never breath a word of their conversation to the others, but it hardly mattered. Ophelia felt her stomach twist with the shame of it. She reached a palm heavenward, staring between her spread fingertips. A long sigh.

She slept for several hours. A mid morning nap that carried her past lunch and into the afternoon. It was dreamless, so far as she could figure, when she woke. Oleander Manor was silent, as always. Ophelia wondered if Ansa's room had been placed in seclusion for that deeper quiet. Ophelia found it unsettling, herself. The Home was never quiet.

Ophelia picked a dress from Ansa's wardrobe. Most of the clothes had been lacy sweet in shades of the sky from dawn till dusk. In the back of the closet, she found a frock in black. Round with lace and ruffle, she tied herself up like a Gothic doll. Velvet collar, high on her throat, a pewter broach fashioned after a bird skull, silk black ribbon strung through delicate eyelets to bind her up like a ballerina shoe. She was glad to slip out of the room barefoot.

In the hall, the servants were ominous, but familiar. She didn't know what to find frightening or comforting in this place, anymore. Moa found her, and she was grateful until the girl asked about what Ophelia herself wished weren't true. She didn't answer, but the demure turn of cheek and the way her eyelashes fluttered over her shamefully pink complexion would be answer enough.

She asked where Kvell was but didn't ask to be taken. Instead, she asked to be taken outside. Not to run away, but because she wanted to be alone when she went running to. "Moa, I haven't seen Mr. Brandston today. I haven't gotten him in trouble, have I?" she paused, because lying was new to her. Not that she hadn't been quickly gaining practice. "I want to apologize to him." She said. Really, she needed a little kindness of a more traditional kind and Nathan was where her instinct turned.

Ophelia felt her heart clench a little when she said it. Somehow it seemed like she'd be doing Kvell wrong and that  was terrifying. She realized, too, she didn't want to hurt him. He was her brother, after all, no matter how twisted and surreal it seemed. "Actually, forget I asked. I think I'd just like to sit outside." A faint smile. Her long hair was still tousled from the morning and she ran her fingers through it awkwardly. What a pretty thing to look lovely in disarray.

When she was lead to the garden, she found a white gazebo and swing with a picturesque view of the maze that had been her purgatory just yesterday. She settled there to watch the birds. Ansa's ghost in black velvet; a strange sight from the Manor windows for anyone to see.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2016, 03:12:41 pm »
Sparrow didn't wear the hard of the other animals on her shoulders. Her pattern of movement was friendlier, both to Ophelia and herself. The lingering tips of her toes when she stepped brought to mind a bit of whimsy, entertaining herself as she made her way. All visible under practiced strict. Moa didn't seem pleased with the pink of Ophelia's face. Really, what had the bird expected? She stood close to the only twin, by her side, and listened to her question. The two might seem familiar, then.

"Would you prefer he stayed outside the door diligently, listening to the activities this morning?" A bit tart, from the little bird. Ophelia could find that kind of reply aggressive, but without any real punishment to follow, perhaps it was banter. "Because I'm not sure you should express such sentiment to either of them. Makes you seem immodest." With her lighter tone, whips at the ends of words, she must be joking, now. A little hand with black paint, perfectly applied, showed the way when she wished for the garden.

"He was with us in the dancing hall, helping to prepare your breakfast. Sir Kvell wanted you to have a day free of troubles, I think, so our dear rooster didn't feel the need to come along to get you when the phone rang. Imagine his worry when you never showed, and Kvell walked about so satisfied you'd think he ate you." Sparrow gossiped. She laughed a little as the corridors passed. A row of windows had a door between them, and it opened through some flowers pushing at the wall, outside. She held it open for Ophelia to pass, but pushed her a bit when she had the chance. An impatient or jestful person. "You're not Ansa." Sparrow said to herself, eyeing the blacker doll before closing.

The other bird, that she had asked for, touched the rope of her swing when he'd announced his arrival with clear taps of his boot, beckoning the acoustic of the gazebo floor. There was a jacket over his left arm, for her by the size of the sleeves, and he hung it over the bench to her side before he commenced pushing her back and forth slowly. "The Sir didn't hurt me." he said, following a path in the labyrinth with his eyes, where the statue of Ansa was still wearing a bonnet. Today the mask covered more of his cheeks, ending at the corners of his mouth. Nathan would definitely have appeared to Ophelia as someone who would lie a lot to do a little good.

"I am sorry he is the way he is with you." Complete honesty. What could be more true. Bought at a low price, though, and barely worth offering so long after the fact. Perhaps the butler did not like that he'd been so careless this morning. Perhaps he hated himself a great deal for it. If it was in his voice, it was made clearer by his efforts to quell it. "His childhood, you see, and the family way, it was brought to a point in the Sir and..." a ramble, uprooted and thrown. Nathan would also definitely have appeared as one to save others from his needless venting. The swing and the ropes made their sounds as he took composure. "I don't know what to say. But it would be a greater tragedy if no one apologize to you."

He was prolific at this. The ropes weren't new. She wouldn't feel his touch much when he pushed. It was a gentleman's task to play on swings. With a wind that was barely there, it should be pleasant for her. Magically he knew where his fingers could be without upsetting what Kvell had left. In this quiet, what did he think of? If he somehow gave clue, it was this morning, and why he felt so regretful. Would he simply have liked to see it? "I will try to be you ally, Ophelia Oleander." he promised. Tenderly he slowed her momentum until it was spent, and spun her instead, with a push. When the swing came to a stop, ready to untangle itself in reverse, she saw him sitting on the bench, one leg over the other. As dignified, but not so formal.

"Less than a month left." A smile beneath the leather. He didn't stop her when the ropes corrected. She would come to a stop eventually, and look at him again. "How do you do, Ophelia?" he asked, offering to listen to anything, head inclining the other way. A pity for her that he hadn't come across her in life, without the Sir. He had every potential to be the kindness Kvell had no desire to give. And there was the contrast then. A sliver of light for her, in the night ocean of her brother.

That night stood with with wine by one of the windows. This room she'd not seen. Kvell had a book pressed to his side with the glass arm as he watched Nathan with the tousled rose strands. He thought it looked fulfilling, speaking calmly and socializing outside in the evening. The wine to his mouth. It was to be that kind of night. He flicked the rim of the glass, where a fat, dark pearl had escaped his lips. There was a ring to fill the room, awakening Ansa's sounds for his memory, as the tone hit all the contraptions.

He still remembered the texture of her shoulder in the teeth that pressed when he swallowed the grape blood. Biting at nothing, he tried the muscles that held his jaw in place. He could have looked lonely the way forgotten idols are lonely and overgrown - with weeds, with lack of belief - if he wasn't such a latent threat, always, visibly. The dollmaker that was his artist had seen fit to make him remarkable, formidable, with serrated hooks in his spirit, without considering that it would make his creation lonely. Or apart. He did not seem like a sad thing. But alone, he couldn't be a completely satisfied thing, either.

Kvell placed the foot of the glass on his shoulder, and parted the book with one hand. If mother was here she would have had him wear the literature on his head, as well. He'd hated that practice until his posture was fine enough that he didn't notice. This story was inspiring. A boy who hunted a girl like a dragon hunted blue blood. There was a prince in the way, of course, and now, with the conclusion looming, it seemed the writer wanted to convince the prince would not win. He thought about his own blood, that it wasn't royal, but that it would be, if his life was written. Without a doubt, he would be the dragon too.

"Would a dragon let the rooster prince frolic with the peasant princess, though." he asked the ink before reaching for his glass again.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #35 on: July 28, 2016, 06:26:31 am »
Ophelia had not responded much to Moa’s teasing, if it was teasing. She had, instead, remained sullen most of the trip to the garden. When the bird had suggested she’d have wanted Nathan to listen, Ophelia had nearly tripped over herself. They weren’t the sort of jokes made at the Home. Everyone was presumed quite innocent. Not so, here, she saw.

Certainly, she was not Ansa.

On the little swing, her toes brushed the wood floor of the gazebo. A comfortable roughness that felt like childhood. She pushed off for a languid pace. When Nathan came, she wondered if Moa had gone for him, or if he were simply the kind of servant that knew precisely where he was needed most. Neither truth would have surprised her.

It was not terribly cool out, but she took the jacket he put by her. The heaviness of fabric could be comforting, even when the warmth was unnecessary. The butler picked up the rhythmic sway of her swing. She didn’t complain. Ophelia pouted a little, when he lied. She’d seen the bruise forming, yesterday. “Not more, perhaps.” She replied. “I should hope not more. At least, not on my account.” If the rooster was one to lie for another’s peace, Ophelia was one to dull her own pains with concern for another. A bit sweet, that she’d fret more for his cheek than her wing-lashed back.

She flinched, though, when he apologized. Did he know about the morning, the way the rest of the staff seemed to? Was he sorry for that also? Kvell had found so many ways to hurt her in such little time. An older heart would have broken, brittle. The Oleander prince was fortunate his plaything was so soft and green.

“I don’t know if it would be a tragedy. I think apologies are supposed to come for things you don’t deserve.” She was quiet for a while, thoughts punctuated by the creek of the rope. “I don’t know what I deserve.” Ophelia cast a glance over her shoulder. “You didn’t deserve any trouble for my mistake. That much, I know. So, I’m sorry, again.” She sighed.

He had excused Kvell by virtue of his childhood. The one she’d not been part of. A denied birthright she might have reason to be grateful for, it seemed. But then, she was ill prepared for the appetite of her brother, now. “I think I’m wrong for this.” She said. “He and Ansa shared a heart, maybe. I don’t know it. Their heart.” Ophelia confided it as if she were truly regretful for it. Perhaps she was, if only because it might have preserved her soul a bit.

She found his hands skillful, pushing where it didn’t hurt as if he’d memorized the patterns of red on her back, and it was comforting. She leaned into his palms and the swing flew a bit higher. Small smile. Her ally, he said. “I grew up thinking to join the convent, you know. To be like the Sisters that raised me.” She told him. “God has always been my ally.” One hand on the rope, curling tighter when he spun her.

“Even if I go back, after this. I don’t know if I could ever go to the convent. I’d be ashamed.” She said. If he hadn’t known how true the rumors of the day were, he must have gotten some confirmation then. Perhaps, by Kvell’s reckoning, the grievance wasn’t so great. Ophelia, for her part, mourned the entirety of her purity. “I have a last name, now, and memories that will go with it. They won’t be suited for the Sisters.”

She blinked at him when the twirling swing hovered before the unwind. The smile she gave him was an odd sort of sad. Like she was saying goodbye to something. “I have sinned deeply. I don’t know to which god I was praying.” Ophelia, new Lady of Oleander. “And I didn’t hate it.” Her face read plain. Conflicted thing, frozen between fight and flight. Or pleasure and fear. “Then, maybe you are my only ally now.”

He tried to encourage her with the dwindling time and she gave him a better smile for the effort. She didn’t tell him that she was afraid of the end. It hadn’t even been a week and she felt lost. Surely she’d be utterly corrupt by the conclusion of their contract. Kvell seemed to be intent on it. Ophelia shook her head when he asked.

“I don’t know, Mr. Brandston. I don’t know myself right now, let alone how I’m doing.” Weak laughter, still pretty. “I feel like I should hate him, but I don’t. I can’t. In fact I—“ she shook her head again. “Does that make me a good sister or a bad person?” The swing had unwound itself and bobbled a bit. She stared at him with the same wide eyes that begged Kvell to take advantage. She was so very open to suggestion. The rooster might sympathize with any lack of restraint the Master had shown. She was too simple to possess.   

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2016, 06:14:07 pm »
His earnest efforts to spare her from the pain of his own bruise, both with the larger mask and the insistence Kvell had done nothing, failed. “He didn’t.” he added, then, for truth’s sake. Because Kvell had never been vindictive with Nathan in their adult life. Growing up, perhaps, the way boys seek out vengeance to stay ontop. Nathan had also fought Kvell for no reason, struggling with his lot in life before he saw it as something he would like to do. Tradition, dignity, loyalty, all that. Redundant to the onlooker, but the sir had not deemed the friendship with the other boy as anything but equal. It was not friendship that dressed the butler up in leather masks, though, but it was loyalty that kept it on. So Ophelia was right to hope. There had been no return for continued battering after the first strike.

Nathan did not flinch after she did. He prided himself on composure. But he wanted to. That reaction came from his spine but he roped it in. His hands became stiffer as he delivered her pace, though. Did she not see the way she broke dark hearts with her tenderness? Someone needed to shelter her from the darkness her light attracted. He’d not felt this protective of Ansa. Ansa had been a friend, but Nathan believed he owed something to Ophelia, when she was this level of innocent. She apologized again, and he wanted to give it back, but what kind of exchange would that be? Endless wreath of apologies where there was nothing for her, in the end. She looked back at him and all he could offer was a bit of somber in the framed eyes for her predicament, and a sentiment that there was no reason for her to be sorry for anything.

One heart, the two siblings who had known each other. “It would not have looked it from the outside.” Kvell’s hungers, Ansa’s blood. She had more fire than the brother ever had, but she was contagious. The brother was her symptom. She would have shredded herself in the labyrinth, and Kvell did not let her. Perhaps it was Kvell that had been taken by surprise with Ophelias arrival, if he’d expected some lava, beautiful madness, and gotten this well arranged bouquet of this quaint lovely, and that laid plain vulnerability. If Kvell could also be contagious, in himself, then perhaps Nathan was susceptible, because he fully understood why Ophelia was honey.

He was happy when she inclined herself into the rhythm, and made sure she was safe when he raised her arc through the Oleander air. He wanted to give a good moment. His hope dissolved bitterly when she spoke of returning to the home, and how unwelcome she would be, inside herself. Sparrow had explained what happened. Crass little twitter. It was hard to believe, and he shouldn’t, because gossip was like a substance to many in this place, but part of him saw what he’d been told. She’d prayed into her pleasure, at Kvell’s mercy and the mercy of her own throes. With Ansa, this had not been anything, but since it happened to Ophelia, he felt guilty for believing Kvell could have let her be for just one morning. ”There is forgiveness outside of Oleander, Ophelia.” He reminded. Surely, they’d want her back. Surely, he would not forgive Kvell if she couldn’t go, herself.

Then, a confession in revelations, as the ropes were turned and then not. It made the imagery severe in his head, as her hair, wild from abuse, skirted outside the spinning dress she wore. This angel had been born with chains to the Oleander monster. She had all the mercy for her brother and none for herself. He wanted to know what had transpired. Sparrow could only have heard, not seen. Of course the tell-tale had been whatever was the most scandalous. If he asked her, she might commit a greater pain to herself than she was really willing, to explain. How would he ask it? Excuse me, Innocent, how exactly do you feel Kvell taught you to abandon virtue? Ophelia, how did you lose grace, in detail? “You didn’t hate it.” He couldn’t help but echo. This kind of thing became her troubles. If Kvell had heard this, he would do more. It made Nathan want to do his own abuse, as well. But he was her ally. He had that role.

He indulged the other, darker, when she looked at him like that. She wouldn’t know better. Maybe she was not fixed to Kvell the way Ansa was. It could only ever had been that life or Ansa’s death. With Ophelia, if she was taken from here, she could be something else. Kvell hadn’t stirred her too deeply, couldn’t have, yet. What if Nathan stole her away? He could teach her to look for her own heart, a heart that her bother couldn’t whip and strangle into wanting what she didn’t. He could save her and those big eyes. In fact you what, Ophelia? He wanted to demand when she took out the end. The butler might not want to hear it.

“You are the best kind of person.” He assured her. Right now it was true. But she was not intended to remain with so many possibilities.

Nathan sighed, and didn’t know he was being corrupted, as well. How was a flower in dark water a poison? Nathan loved Kvell also, so what did he call this lingering thread in that bond, when he looked at Ophelia? Larceny, in his heart. “Try harder to hate him.” A gray cloud in his chest. It was such satisfaction saying this. Release in sin. He’d never betrayed anyone so. It was for her sake. “You contract doesn’t mention that you should be a good sister, or give him any of your heart.” But there was the part about it being eaten. “if you try with your pious…” but it wasn’t anymore, was it? It had been cast in doubt. Kvell should not paint himself as that kind of lord. Nathan should not want that position either, the way he did. “rather, fortified soul, you could hate him for what he does. And then you will be strong enough to leave with enough wealth to dress The Home in gold. Let Oleander be your test, and then you’ll be triumphant.”

He came to her, the doll in the jacket he’d brought, and took one of her hands from the swing’s ropes, so her fingers were between his. She held where Ansa had, and there were scuffs there. He laid his hand as a blanket on hers, also. “Next time you call for me I’ll come.” He promised. Loyalty shouldn’t run soul-deep. Ansa had always been deeply in to Kvell, her destiny was in her brother’s hands because they loved so furiously. But he could steer Ophelia away from that. It was a crime already that she did not entirely loathe what had been done to her. When he sent the invitation that had this orphan here, his guilt had sprouted. Now it was solid and healthy, looking at the swaying doll, holding her.

A door from the dance hall opened. When it swung the glass shattered. Kvell, with a bottle in one hand, came out, and foolhardily jumped onto the grass from the stone. He landed well, but the roll he was forced to take to rid of momentum left his hair in distress, too, and it fell in one eye. A finger came out from around the neck of the wine to point at Nathan. The black eyes that saw them were not fogged, but a juvenile blush had come to the platform cheekbones. “Oh, I’ve read this book.” He said when he was close enough for audience. In truth, he was the kind of affected that left him thinking he was not. Not a stupor, but not himself. Kvell came closer, his steady a testament to his breeding and upbringing. He could have shot the wine into his veins and he would still walk straight. Well on the floor with them, he placed the bottle on his shoulder, as he had the glass, and stood steady, still. A trick, a performance. “But I don’t think Ophelia likes those books anymore, between Dukes and peasant woman. Willful lass and brooding duke, reconciling over passion in the end.” Grocery novels, as though they weren’t anyone’s vice. After all, Kvell could act like he was fair, but he was possessive. There were only so many gulps of aged red he could take while seeing the conversation that now had culminated in such resolved handholding. But the strange thing was that Nathan looked at the sir without letting go. At least this much should be allowed.

“Sir. You’ve been reading and indulging again.” Nathan tried, alert. A small step to put himself further between the siblings, both of his hands occupied with one of hers.

“Her stories are of a more hedonistic nature now.” Kvell continued without listening. He bent his legs until his eyes were level with hers, bottle still vertical on him. “Didn’t I make it so, beautiful sister?” he asked and reached toward her cheek, so the blade of one finger could draw on the mouth that had prayed into the tear-salted pillow. “Oh. These lips are pretty too. But they are not as honest.” He said, steady, before sliding the hand over her neck and onto the shoulder he’d bit when she’d trembled. Nathan saw it fit to put the sole of his shoe to Kvell’s side. A shove. It was enough to topple the wine and it’s patron.

Kvell’s cheek wrinkled, where he’d been put sitting, and a nightmare folded the skin on his nose, as he looked up with inhuman bloodthirst at the butler. The wine that wasn’t a layer on the wood spiraled inside him, and quenched the primal thing that wanted to rave. “Sorry, duke. Communion makes me speak my mind.” Out of the shards and their red lake, the lord stood and bent again, eyes on the man holding her hand as he took her beautiful hair in one palm, turned her toward him and kissed her as violently as he had in the maze. The eyes behind the rooster mask grew wide with rebellion, but all he could do was hold her hand harder. Kvell broke from the kiss, having painted her face in it, and inhaled as though she’d given him something in that deep taste. Her swing tried to move her, but she was already held still by Nathan. “She likes holding your hands and she likes eating my kiss.” He said, the wrath putting fire to the alcohol in him and baking his mind in the fumes. Perhaps stupor, at last. “I love you even though you betray me.” He whispered into her ear, and it was earnest, because he felt both love and betrayal, then, speaking through fangs. He wondered if that would hurt her most, out of his little scene.

Hands in the his jacket pockets. A dapper, broad-backed image of the after-party drunkard, off to another soirée.

“He’s a spoiled bastard.” When in fact Kvell Oleander was pure bred, gold in his bones. Surely the sentiment was other. “I am so sorry.” Nathan said and let her have the hand back, finally. It was more evident, then, that the two men were friends and not always simply master and servant. Nathan threw a quick eye at the puddle and then sighed, letting go of some of the intent that built up during the sir’s visit. “Do you wish to stay?” he asked, poise returned. If she did not, he would walk her back to her room. “He’s not lived our lives.” A father about his rampaging offspring, or an owner about his dog. Was the implication that the raised butler had lived a life outside the manor? “But he should have more sense than this.”

VenomousEve

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2016, 05:26:19 am »
Ophelia was easily enchanted. She had to have been, to hold some dearness for her brother and his twisted affection. It wasn’t hard to see, rather, it was hard to miss the way her lips parted in consideration of the could-have-been prince that was, in this life, the Oleander butler. He’d see that daydream play plain and brief across her features. They’d bump into one another when she was on her way to the bank. She would stumble and, looking up at him and squinting in the sunlight, he’d hold her hand like this to help her up. It would be a different kind of fate with a happier ending. Or a cleaner one. Something she could tell the Sisters when she returned home, glowing.

There was reserve behind the fantasy. Tethers locked by the Lord of the manor and carefully scripted across her still-tender ribs. Her blushing, writhing, gasping whimpers from the morning. Ophelia smiled at him and there was a little wistfulness there. It was apparent, though, that she knew to whom she belonged and hadn’t the heart to question it. Perhaps it was in the name of survival; she had the better stretch of the month left to endure. But, maybe, she was Ansa’s twin at her soul.

That mouth that suggested alternate roads her heart could’ve taken rounded, surprised. She’d expected encouragement, but the sort that begged her sympathy for Sir Kvell. Not this. “If Oleander is a test, I’ve already failed it, I think.” She said quietly. “I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did, I guess. But I think I know when I’m being overwhelmed.” She shook her head. That was it, then. She could wallow in her sin and cry over her fall from grace but she was in Kvell’s tide and there was no shore. The rooster might disagree, but it was all gulls over her drowning and the promise a rocky beach with no shelter.

“As for my heart,” she paused and brought her free hand over the beating muscle. “I don’t know if it matters what I give, only what’s taken. It’s confusing, what’s me and mine.” She admitted. “I don’t love him, but I do feel. And it isn’t hate. It simply isn’t. Can’t be. I don’t know why.” Nathan promised he would come when she called and she gave him a pretty smile for the offer. It was a sweet comfort she’d not indulge. He must have known when he said it. She didn’t want to see Kvell punish Nathan, because Nathan hadn’t done anything wrong. Better the lonely prince keep his hands on Ophelia, who knew her sin for finding pleasure in it. 

Whatever peace had settled over the princess and the rooster shattered with the glass in the door. Tedious repose cracked and split, she moved to pull her hand free from his but found him steadfast. Her pulse quickened with Kvell’s stride. Pitiful the way she was absorbed at an instant, caught up in the frightening elegance with which he prowled toward them. A capable man. She was afraid of what he would do when he reached them and afraid of what he wouldn’t.

It was a violent tone, only, that struck her, and there was Nathan to place himself between them. She was frozen in that exchange. Wine on Kvell’s lips and venom on his tongue. Ophelia wanted to speak up but found Nathan giving the Master words, instead. Boldness, not unlike what she’d seen before, but less humility. If her God were still willing to take her prayers, she offered a silent one on behalf of both men for civility and the patience of their mutual respect. There had been that much between them, she was sure.

Kvell took her stare, eclipsing her world with his handsomely hungry face. Her lips to his fingertips as if he’d asked for them again. Some enchantment born out of fear of retribution and desire for his touch. Had she wanted this kind of electric just yesterday? She supposed it had sparked in the garden briars, nurtured with every innocence he took from her. Ophelia had been such a little bud when she’d arrived, with potential to blood into something crafted under his hand. Less wild than Ansa. More eager to be tamed. If the rooster saw it, he’d understand why she was so sure she’d be swallowed up. It was pathetic that so much of their contract remained to train her in this new gospel.

Ophelia gasped. “What are you doing?” she chirped as Kvell toppled. She reached to grab at Nathan’s sleeve with her free hand, tugging as if to alert him to what had just transpired. Didn’t he know? Ophelia’s punishment was to be made to sin and for her sins she was made to sin again. The alternative had starred red wings across her soft back. There was a price, always, and she was terrified it might be higher now.

But Kvell was back on his feet and forming her world, again, this time with his hand in her hair. His lips were familiar, this time. The bitter of his wine on her tongue as she leaned into him, capitulating to the way it made her sing and tremble at once. It was awful and wonderful, a torment just as it had been before, and she felt dirty when she realized she was somehow relieved that he would still touch her. She felt Nathan’s grip tighten on her hand and wondered who it was she felt she was betraying, beside herself.

Ophelia was gasping when he pulled away from her and would have toppled forward had the butler not had both the girl and the swing held fast. He told her who she’d betrayed, if she hadn’t decided for herself, and she recoiled as if she’d been slapped. A little sob when he stalked off. When Nathan released her hand she snatched it to her chest and held it there with the other, like she’d been burned. “Please don’t apologize to me. I’m a wicked, terrible woman.” She insisted, ever quick to tears. “It doesn’t matter if he’s spoiled or not, I was wrong to meet you. I said I wouldn’t.”

She tottered off the swing, rubbing at her eyes with her fists in frustration. “I should be the one apologizing. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” She hiccupped and looked at him with her flushed cheeks and glistening eyes. “You make me feel safe, Mr. Brandston, I’m sorry.” She sobbed. It was worse, she thought, that he was so composed. “I want to go to my room.”

Ophelia felt it was she that was the spoiled one, with the gentle way he led her back to her room. She’d been terrible to hope for him and worse to tell him her worries. Ophelia wasn’t meant to have this sweet prince. If she were, there would not have been a Moa provided. She was not astute in social minutia but that much had been apparent. She had been wrong to entertain it, too. Kvell hadn’t been wrong. She was the worst. There were attempts at comfort offered and she would have been compelled to ask about his life outside of Kvell had Kvell not been the whirling black hole at the center of her guilty spiral, at that moment. Instead, she just shook her head. Nathan should be blaming her. She’d been wrong. Wouldn’t he have asked her to be kinder but two days ago?

At the door to Ansa’s room, she was possessed by some great urgency. “Would you tell Kvell I’m sorry?” she begged him, both hands reaching to ball the fabric on the front of his shirt. “Will you tell him I want to see him, if he’s willing to come?” she asked. As if she were in any place to invite her brother to dance. Nathan would know it could only be a pitiful show if he complied. Perhaps Ophelia knew it too. She might even have understood what she was inviting. Still, her request was in such earnest. “I—I don’t want him to hate me.” She blurted. “I’m scared that I keep messing up.”

Regardless of whether or not the butler complied with her request, she would allow herself to be ushered into her room, where she’d collapse on her bed no sooner than she’d been left alone. It was not so very late in the evening, and she’d taken quite the nap, but she was quick to exhaust herself as she fidgeted on the bed. Kvell held her in her bareness when he’d stripped away her perceptions of her innocence. It was frightening to her that she might have hurt him. What was she to do if he cast her aside now? Not matter what Nathan said, going back to the Home seemed unreasonable. Her heart wouldn’t bear it.

At some point, she fell asleep still dressed in her day clothes and rumpled in a sad little heap on her bed. In her stupor, she might not have cared who it was that might come to her room. Only that there would be someone to apologize to with offerings of whatever submission she had to give. Ophelia was certain she had wronged both men and deserved, herself, to be punished for it. In the addle of her dreams, she told herself it was best to stop having ideas. She rolled in her sleep, dark skirts riding high on her legs. There weren’t bruises there, but a wealth of little cuts from the garden’s thorny kisses. She did better wearing those insults than she realized.   

Verse

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2016, 06:22:37 pm »
Nathan had seen her overwhelmed. He wished she wasn’t. He wished it bitterly and deeply. Did she know the face she wore when she spoke of Kvell? Abandon, fear, reverence. Like some dark deity that she was locked into. When that titan came, whirling with vintage refreshment, Nathan felt further bitter, because he didn’t want Ophelia to be so far gone into Kvell. As a child, growing up alongside the sir, he’d not envied the toys or the attention. Or now, with the endless riches pulled out of earth itself. But something like Ophelia. It made him sad about himself, to feel like this, but that only stressed the truth of it. Had sympathy tinted to this?

He was darkened into heavy somber, when she first took his sleeve to protect Kvell. It was worse when she was kissed by the Oleander son, because she took to it fully. His own tongue was secured with training, when Kvell was done with this possessive play. In his wake, Nathan could only give her what she asked for, this creature he’d been given as ward, and nothing else. He didn’t like how much it lifted him to be her safety. So he walked his sure steps through the mansion by her side, quietly dying when he replayed her lips and their compliance to Kvell’s. The little doll on her swing, played with.

The butler gasped when he expected a collected goodnight, perhaps stifled by his duty and her gravity, and instead there was her body to his, his shirt in her fingers. She’d held her own heart sitting on the swing, saying she didn’t feel love for their common ruler, but now she was holding his, asking him to deliver a message, if not one of love then at least its skinbourne reflection, knowing Kvell and his tastes, to the same demon. Could she feel then that it grew a few cracks, underneath her fingers, his heart? He was surprised enough to be quiet, but not so dumbfounded he didn’t react. He shook his head. “W-why?” he managed. Wasn’t it a blessing if Kvell hated her? If she couldn’t return such animosity, surely she could nurture it in her tormentor? But the butler couldn’t deny her. It would have been a particular betrayal to Kvell, too. “I won’t lock you door then.” And then he touched her shoulder when he really wanted to cup her cheek. He didn’t know he was touching, through the fabric of her black dress, the circle of marks Kvell’s teeth had left when he’d drawn pleasure out of her. Nathan went to fuss after he closed the door, but eventually knew he’d have to communicate what she’d asked him to.

It was a rooster that came to open the door again, finally. It was wearing a carved bottle on its shoulder. The elixir’s name meant water. Finest industrial kiss, muted and filtered many times. The mask had been acquired through violence, and its cheek was split. It was a becoming wound on the leather even though it spelled out Nathan’s discomfort all too clearly. The butler was forced to sleep on the floor of the library, with a crunch and a thud, after finding Kvell, delivering the invitation, and asking the spoiled, inebriated darkness not to go. When Brandston refused to part with the rooster’s face, Kvell was swift in his chemical lull.

He sat there by her now, steady, despite the clear wyvern racing with the red snake in his blood. He would not be a king of Oleander if he couldn’t still dance and skip while intoxicated. Wit, always. The bottle on her nightstand. Her scratched legs called for punishment with the dress worn high. Two knuckles over her offered thigh, gliding over to the inside of the other. Not to wake, yet. Kvell touched his cheek through the cut in the mask and breathed softly. She was exactly like Ansa, but nothing like her, also. For a moment he thought he should just be a shadow, and let her have her sleep. Nathan had made a case for kindness and mercy before he’d received a swift, powerful knock.

There was too much rage and too little clasps to keep it back, inside him. “Cock-a-doodle-doo, my lady.” he said to wake her gently. He’d missed her eyes. What did she think about the almost cloven mask? “The master sir won’t be coming. It’ll be only you and I.” he said, the act a way of not giving her forgiveness, if she asked for it. If his purpose was to deceive, it was a lazy attempt, though. He’d not changed his jacket or his voice for this performance. Just the face of her guilt, if she harbored any. “Spoiled rat, as you know. I on the other hand know when to act.” And the wrath shot from his shoulder blades to his fingers. He turned her around to start undoing the lacing. She could kick and struggle if she wanted, or offer compliance in hopes of favor from him, it wouldn’t matter. He was erratic with his pace, tugging for his own comfort now and then. “I am so grateful for your faithless heart, Lady Ophelia.” He said with some sting as he parted the black to see her spine, her wings, and the rose cuts falling off those flightless feathers like sparks. “To think you would pray for someone in the morning, while being led and thrown out with pleasure.” A fond memory. “Only to sit and confess to another god. A bird, pagan, stuck-up god in the afternoon.” Bitter laugh, turning snarl when he turned her on her back again, allowing and encouraging but never listening to her protests or her fight as he had her without the dress, completely.

It was a cruel thing to have taken her invitation like this. No doubt he was in a cruel mood. He took his arms out of the jacket and tossed it aside as though the well-cut thing had wronged him, too. His anger made his jaw into twin knives with a common point underneath the leather likeness. “Isn’t there a little niche in the inferno for girls with hearts like yours? Three gods in one day. And in the end, no faith. What a busy little heart, indeed.” The tie, and then the shirt too. He had a few scars himself, but they faded in some light. His body was carved so it could make a good perch for his pretty. Unsettling to see the bare torso and the mask over it. “No matter.” He toppled over her, cage of his knees and one hand, to keep himself above her. “You’re my subject now, aren’t you, Ophelia? You like the kind and the flavorless.” Black eyes in the black mask. So many insults for his friend. Surely they’d said worse to each other’s faces. If she crawled he’d pull her back, and if she protested too much, he would even rap his palm across her beauty. “Maybe we’ll have faithless, capricious-hearted children, tonight?”

If she thought she knew what her speaking with Kvell in her room might entail, she could not have known it would play out with Nathan’s disguise. A particular stroke of sadism, both to himself, and to Ophelia. He liked to put that ink on his spirit, because maybe he thought that it would hurt her too, and then her punishment would be two-fold. Kvell reached for the bottle and kissed her with the same breath. At first his lips had all the frustrated lava sentiment this asinine act promised. His fingers around the belly of the bottle dug in hard against the glass. His head onto her head until the pillow couldn’t support further journey into the mattress and all she was allowed to smell was leather. But the kiss betrayed him. A sigh through his nose as another grip on her mouth with his became gentle. He retreated a few inches to let her breathe on him before he kissed her again, searching, but not ravaging. Then a last, feather light thing. After all, there couldn’t have been this much vile if there wasn’t equal affection.

“Oh, you are a different kind of deceiver, Ophelia.” He muttered, dizzy beyond the alcohol when his want swirled in his mind, also. He thought he was under her spell, somehow, because all beings have weapons. Rude as only she could have known her brother to be, he took the fine vodka and sat up, between her legs now. “We must sacrifice you.” And the liquid came out, slow, down onto her chest first, rising and coiling between her mounds and then share with the rest of her torso. A water star. He would be smitten with the way it pooled in some of her places, and ran off others. It was to lessen her, but it made her glisten. “Fit for the rooster god you want so much.” Bottle to her sheets, by her pillows. Her weapon, perhaps. He did not think of that.

He drew fingers over the vodka she wore, sliding his knees outward to part her legs. Angel sister baptized in vice-water. Was there signs on her skin from the cold liquid? He’d count them as his fingers read them, knots and points. He wanted to give her love, the way he’d wanted Ansa to want it, but he was still scorn by the way he’d kissed her. And by the doll she’d been with Nathan in her swing. “I told Kvell you’re sorry. I told him not to hate you.” His chest to her suit of vodka. Another kiss, this one perfectly carnivorous. He nuzzled Ansa’s hair and whispered into Ophelia’s ear. “He doesn’t forgive. He hates you, still. But don’t worry, I’ll be with you, instead. Wouldn’t you want that? I’ll take you from this mansion.”

Kvell wanted to have her, the way he’d made himself want it this morning, when he’d played with her. But he intended to be cruel about it, and make her addicted to that kind of cruelty. He wanted her to die by his lust tonight, that she could take his scolding into the afterlife where Ansa was, and he wanted desperately to keep her, that he could do it again tomorrow.

VenomousEve

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2016, 04:33:13 am »
She was confused when she was tugged from her dreamland. Hazy, recalling that she’d asked for her brother, she blinked slowly at the rooster mask. Ophelia didn’t understand, at first. “Won’t be coming? But…” Sweet thing, unaccustomed to games and Kvell played them so cruel. She must have guessed at the notion he had carried into her room.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.” She tumbled, seemingly unwilling to play her part in his preferred charade. He went on, stabbing his own rhythm. Ophelia was a special sort of numb, half awake and distressed by the spiteful rooster that had crawled onto her bed. She was pliable, two breaths from limp when he turned her to pull at her laces. They bit tighter before they came loose, forcing little gasps where the ribbons crossed the red welt roads on her back. “No, you aren’t sp—you aren’t a rat.” She protested meekly. Ophelia flinched when he dug his words hard into her skull, rattling around the swollen pearl of shame she’d been culturing.

Faithless heart. He wasn’t wrong.

She was infuriatingly wide-eyed when he rolled her back to face him, struggling to formulate some kind of response. “I was confused.” She said at last, trembling syllables. It was a new mood he’d found his orphaned sister in. When he pulled her dress away she didn’t protest. Shivering, worry smeared like too much paint across her face, but Ophelia quietly owned her nakedness. Offered it; a sacrifice in galaxy-spangled expanses, a universe he hadn’t quite discovered yet. Did Kvell realize it, met with the honest apology in her deep earth eyes? A woman’s body wasn’t known until it was adored. He’d only just uncovered her pages.

“I’m trying, Brother.” Ophelia breathed, sounds shaping in small vibrations. A whisper. “I’m trying to learn to love you.” Even when you make me turn my back on God. “I was frightened. I’m sorry I only looked for some comfort.” She was awake. It was a fault of fate that Nathan was the sort of noble she could’ve loved easier. But then, it might not have mattered. Her pulse was quick against the venom he offered.

“I don’t want Mr. Brandston.” She mumbled. It might have been a lie, but it was one she believed then. The result was more believable than she could have intentionally contrived. “Please don’t… not with that face.” She entreated. “I don’t want to—“ she swallowed hard and scooted higher against the pillow, toes curling. Didn’t want to want this. Didn’t want to betray herself again and with the jaws of this trap laid so brutally bare for her. She wanted to ask him if it wouldn’t hurt him also, to draw out her breath with this pretend.

His lips denied her request and her own buried her deeper. Hard, the way she’d learned Kvell’s mouth was want to be. They sunk into the softness of Ansa’s bed and, in a breath, she learned there was still gentleness in her villain. Her everlasting sin to hope, the way she had hoped after he’d baptized her on the night of their contract. If Ophelia were to learn to hate Kvell, it would be for this. If her heart couldn’t know him as a monster, there was no real chance she’d muster the courage to run. He chained her tighter with the smallest hints of sweetness. It was the same reason she was so simple for Nathan to please.

She was watching him when he sat up, confused as she deserved to be. “I swear to you, I don’t mean to deceive anyone.” She insisted, catching her breath. “Sir, please believe me. I don’t want you to hate me.” She was earnest in her hypocrisy. Little sinner. He poured his crystalline poison over her and it made her fists clench. Cold, and burning when it slithered over the scabbed rose cuts still angry shades on her skin.

Ophelia from the bosom of the good Sisters, transformed into a pagan princess by alcoholic anointing. A good sacrifice. She didn’t want to know if Nathan would have been pleased.

She gasped when he brought himself down on top of her and felt her heart drop into her stomach when he denied her forgiveness. Was this the same as being sent to hell if her contracted god would not accept her and her spirit was too blemished for her childhood faith? Netty had told her the path of goodness was straight and narrow. She had never been informed that it was the bladed edge of an infinite precipice. Nor that there were demons who could reject her twice.

Ophelia didn’t kiss him back, this time, swimming in a fear she’d not fully expected. The one that had urged her to beg Nathan to bring Kvell to her in the first place. “Please, please don’t say that.” She begged him. “How can I make you forgive me?”

He’d meet the Ophelia desperate to please that night, though she’d begun to cry. She was frightened he’d make her call his butler’s name again and even further terrified Nathan might make good on his promise and come. It wouldn’t be so very hard to find her duckling-like attachment to the rooster. It wasn’t something she wanted Kvell to expose fully. To himself or to her. There was a delicious dread in her voice when she bowed her head to his game. “I don’t want to leave. How can I make you… how can I make Sir Kvell forgive me?”   

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2016, 09:10:07 pm »
She was mostly submerged, still, at first. A becoming fog attached to her responses, which allowed her to trust him, even when the lie was thinner than his senses in their chemical bath. Already she was offering rewards in her reactions for his handling, but he wouldn't be sated by so little. It was not enough to be still and be her compliant self when he robbed her of the dress when she so clearly had given favor to Nathan. His pace suffered, though, when she looked at him and wore the kind of light that said he could have what she must think he wanted, when he turned her back, disrobed. Some restraint, and some reckless, kept him from turning into that animal. He was another kind of beast, tonight. Bird's head and dragon lungs.

How sugary it was, when she assured him her intents were for him, to reshape her affections that they might hold his, and she'd only needed Nathan to lean on in that endeavor. His lower teeth, only, in that would-be sympathy. A beak with incisors, what comfort. And when she tried to go away, into the bedboard, offering something, with her wording, at least, if he took the leather off. At first, for a few instances, it was the plan, to mark her first with this chimera he'd come as, but that plan had mutated now. Evolution in the darkness. Like evil. "I won't be wearing the mask for this, don't worry." he promised.

For his gluttony, he let her explain herself, and let himself drink her in. The lovely heart, the pure of promise, ready to pay with some of the clean she had in her ledger, that he might strike her offenses in his, the way he'd imagined them. "What use is your swearing if you don't know when you deceive, Ophelia?" his voice was almost a tired scolding, but the end of the question whistled in his throat, a monstrous frustration as though he wanted to but couldn't believe her. And his pace said it wouldn't have mattered.

She awakened him, the way men awaken for their tantalizations, when she wore the burning water so well. It was an innocent color of drink, and it was like her, wasn't it? Like fresh melt, off the fingers, thinner even, but hurtful to the tongue if you were thirsty. He wasn't shy with her legs between his. She deserved to know there was that want, at least. Would she even know what it meant, that kind of firm? And that solid truth gave a heartbeat to her, when she finally would play, let him be Nathan in this farce. There were steps in the distance, the gallant beauty had woke up from the sleep Kvell had planet with fast knuckles. Surely Ophelia didn't hear it, or couldn't know who was stepping so lively.

He left her on the bed, dismounted the mattress with a wide swing of a long leg, ending after a circle spun to render him standing. Elegant, and generous with it, as he was intoxicated. He opened the cabinet in the corner and took out straps with ring fastenings, things she already knew. "Off the bed, Ophelia. I'll remove my mask for you." he said without thinking to let her have Kvell just yet. He was sure she'd be eager for what seemed like him playing to her, finally. It wasn't a difficult task. Not rose dancing or canvas-work under needles.

Kvell, bare chest and angry silence, stood by the frame of the door with the straps in one hand, looking her over. The free hand pointed at her, a warning, by the flex in the limb, that she should not disobey what came next. The steps were louder, harder, outside. Closer. "Call my name and I'll let you see Kvell tonight." he said. He liked hearing her grind that noble call, before, earning her wings. Because she didn't want to but Brandston was so hard not to trust. Kvell waited for it.

Nathan would come bursting in, of course, for the middle of the room, and be stunned by the naked, still living sister. He wore the story of his abuse on his cheek when he stared at her, full of love and then worry. Nathan scrambled to shrug out of his coat to cover her, even, forgetting peril. And Peril would come up behind him, easily pushing him onto the bed with his arms caught in his sleeve. Kvell straddled Nathan the way he would Ophelia, but made haste with the bonds, because heroes can be deathly strong when they find their wit, after having found their reason. With practiced skill the rings hugged and Nathan's wrists were where Ansa's had been, and then Ophelia's. Their sir started pulling at the fine tailoring Nathan was kept with, until his chest was also uncovered. He even took Nathan's belt and the first button of his trousers. Kvell laughed behind the bird and again spun off the bed.

"Two of us now. One without mask and one completely honest." he said, hanging the belt around his neck, sitting in the armchair as he extended an inviting palm toward the served up, handsome butler. "Aren't you a lucky girl, Ophelia Oleander?"

Nathan, who had protested loudly, but kept from cussing, when he'd been subdued by the surprise and expertise Kvell had come with, looked from the tormentor to Ophelia. He tried to hate Kvell for the marks she wore, the healing contract and the glitter cuts from the garden. He tried not to think she was beautiful in them, too. "Kvell! Stop this! You're not yourself." but he was. Kvell was amplified by this kind of expensive fuel, not altered. He looked to Ophelia while he was still wild with the struggle against the bonds. "Lady! You must take them off me. He's not planning anything clean!" he beckoned.

Kvell slammed the bottom of his fist against the tip of the wooden arm his rested on. The wood there broke, and there was fiber snow on the floor. It was his quiet way of telling her not to listen to the butler. "I'm sorry for being two men, Ophelia." he said as he squeezed the jagged spear he'd made of the chair's limb. "But you have to listen. This is what I want." he pointed again to Nathan. "Surely your innocence can be mine, too." And that was the plan then. Nathan understood and called his master's full name. The master didn't even look. Only at Ophelia. "Look at me." said Kvell and meant Nathan. Nathan did host the same sign that he was indeed impressed by her nakedness. A round in the trousers he'd been allowed to keep, barely. "Would you help me?"

Nathan would call for the others, call for Moa, and other names Ophelia hadn't learned yet. None would come. Kvell remained sitting, like a patient demon waiting for the kind to weer. "If you want to please me." I, Kvell. "Then you'll sacrifice something that is dear to you of equal worth to the wound on my heart." He waved toward Nathan again, who was kicking, but would not if she came to him. He wouldn't want to hurt her, after all. And part of Nathan wanted nothing more than the softer image of Ansa, this new angel in Oleander. He'd make the case for her kept virtue, though.

"Kvell! My friend. My little brother! For us, you mustn't make her do this. Kvell! For friendship!" Brandston pleaded. His meaning was true, but he couldn't help but want this tragedy, too. Desperate words, either way.

And the only judge here would be deaf to them.

"That is how you make me forgive you." the rooster mask said, cold as law. "And if you don't, that is fine as well, because then there can be no amity, let alone love, and you can go, because your stay here would have no value. No half-eaten heart. Just a car in the night, and the end of your acquaintance with this house." And you will have lost me forever.

It wasn't that he wouldn't be hurt. It would tear him into little, howling stories. But he wanted that. She couldn't have his clean forgiveness. He wanted to hurt her irreparably, and he only knew to do that by measuring it with his own pain as an ingredient. And it fit exactly into the part of his soul that desired to punish others for glee, which was why this scene was so perfectly laid-out for heartbreak.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 09:21:52 pm by Verse »

VenomousEve

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2016, 07:25:34 pm »
Ophelia found she hadn’t a good answer for him. It was an impossible question. To protest was to prove a point and to acquiesce was to betray her integrity. She lay shivering, instead, cold as the clear liquid dried to vapor. The scent was sharp and burned her nose. She felt him against her and understood what she didn’t know at least well enough to feel dirtied and ashamed. Ophelia had offered herself for this in her desperation for forgiveness, after all. A pagan sacrifice.

She was surprised when he moved off the bed and then a flutter of hope rose when he called her to him. He told her he’d remove the mask, though, and that was enough. Any other man might feel some shame for deceiving her. Ansa would never have listened. She scrambled off the thick mattress and went toward him, only to stop in her tracks when he turned and, for the second time, told her to call the rooster’s name. If she obeyed, she wondered if he would take off the mask and forgive her. Somehow, she felt her hope had been misplaced.

Ophelia had asked for her brother to make right of her insult. Considering it now, she might have understood there would be some penance to pay. If she had been a more suspicious heart she might even have guessed at something like this play. But, she was not and she hadn’t considered what demon in his veins might be encouraging his malice. A sober Ophelia was no match for Kvell, intoxicated or otherwise. Because she had asked for this, she hugged her arms across her bare chest and hung her head. “Mr. Brandston.” She called, little effort given to volume.

She hoped he would not come. “Nathan,” a little louder, because Kvell’s expression had demanded compliance, not half-hearted attempts. There were footsteps she could hear, now, and her heart sank. 

Accepting her own, blemished soul seemed like a kindness now. It could be argued that Kvell was responsible for her downfall when she took the force of his sins. This was another kind of corruption. Cavities in her sweet, she clasped her hands across her mouth. She was shaking her head violently when Nathan came to drape his jacket across her shoulders. Ophelia wanted to tell him to go away, but the Sir had not instructed it.

Kvell had the man snared in his act of kindness, the jacket betraying him before he could remove it. Ophelia began to cry, the tears which had been threatening before spilling over in bright traces on her cheeks. She had always been quick to cry, but Oleander Manor had taken advantage of it. She looked away from the bed as if she had been slapped. “Please, don’t.” she covered her face with her hands when Kvell began to undress him.

Ophelia flinched and shrank back from Nathan’s protests and when he called for her she began to sob harder. Her shoulders quivered but she remained rooted in place, covering her face from looking at either man, though it was she that was bare. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!” she was tripping over her apologies without knowing to whom she spoke them. To Kvell, for upsetting him, and to Nathan for subjecting him to this sort of punishment. She fell to her knees at Kvell’s snide suggestion she was lucky.

Her cheeks were red and her eyes glassy from her crying. She looked past the bed to Kvell, shaking her head in disbelief. “Why…” she whimpered. “Why are you doing this to—to us…” she hiccupped. There was no a soul in the room who would be left undamaged by Kvell’s retribution. She crawled toward him until she was at his feet. “Please, my brother, please forgive me. Please stop this.” Ophelia was pretty when she begged. But Kvell carried on, denying the audience she sought and any concession for the de-plumed rooster on the bed.

His judgment cracked like a whip and Ophelia recoiled. Sent away in the depths of this broken with no family to show for it. There was nowhere to go, because she’d not take her sins back to the Sisters. He would see her utterly alone for her failure. She’d only wanted a friend.

But Kvell had given her Moa and Ophelia had still gone back. Even with the raw red wings still lashed to her back, she’d looked for the butler. Cruel girl, then. Minutes passed to the sound of Ophelia weeping at the brother’s feet. She was shaking, fingers tangled in her own hair as if to anchor herself.

She rose to her feet slowly. “I’m so sorry.” She breathed, barest whisper, and crawled back onto the bed. Nathan was still when she went to him and it hurt her more to find he still concerned himself with her wellbeing. The saddest kind of smile. “I’m so, so sorry Mr. Brandston.” She looked back at Kvell, as if to see that he was sure this was the price. “This is… what you want?” she asked him. Small voice.

“I’m sorry, Nathan. There isn’t anyone else to forgive me.” She touched the waist of his pants. “Will you forgive me too?” she asked, exposing her redemption. Ophelia looked away, shy maiden. If the butler hadn’t known her forthright nature, she might have seemed coy. “I don’t know… I’ve never…” she stuttered. She looked back at Kvell, the tears which had dried renewing in big frustrated gems in her lashes. Faltering resolve. “Sir Kvell is the only one who…” she hugged herself hard.

Awful, maybe, that she had only known his pleasure. Hadn’t it been just that afternoon that she’d looked for Nathan to comfort her when she’d thought her innocence lost? Yet here she sat, kneeling on the bed with one hand on his bare chest, bargaining her guarded sweetness for the favor of the man who had first violated her.
 

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2016, 08:27:22 pm »
He tasted her first formal call. A small flavor. Of course she would address the original rooster like so. And then an earnest name, because he was not Mr. Brandston to her. He was Nathan, friend and, very recently, confidant. It should be said for her, though, that voice had lovely conflict as it carried. She looked the part of a captive, being forced to do the bidding of her keeper, holding herself like that. Kvell didn't know how to play with restraint, because he'd never been given a toy as perfect as this.

Her modesty wouldn't see when Nathan, caught like she had been on the day of the contract, was rid of clothes. Kvell had of course thought of his friend in this manner. An authority on some fields, the Brandston butler had been a prize the adolescent Kvell wanted. There were other things to take his attention, then, and Nathan had been too busy, or kept himself too busy, for that particular dalliance. None of that affection now, though, when the deft tailoring flitted to gather by Kvell's forgotten jacket on her floor to the song of her addictive dismay.

That misery brought her to her knees. Kvell wanted her, bent over or pinned, or tied up. She'd cry sweetly then, too. But that was a reward, wasn't it? To both. He didn't want a reward. He wanted heavy soot on his heart. He thought to answer when she asked. There was a reason this was happening by his hand. But if it wasn't abundantly visible now, he'd rather not show it. No mockery would satisfy as much as her physical realization, anyway. He had to bite his tongue to stay true to that resolve when she called him brother. It almost made him embrace her. It was her fault, for not having been this beautiful for him, earlier.

He was to be quiet when she laid in shards by his feet from his proposal, if one it could be. The tinge that darkened him was what he'd sought. His delivered angel lead to do his malicious will. There was an ache in him when she stood and went to the body in the bed. He knew better than to trust her resolve to carry her through the logistics of something she'd never been allowed to consider. The show of her embarrassment when she undid the last of Nathan's cover was quite provoking.

Kvell also noted that Nathan didn't thrash when she was close. Mesmerized by her imperfect skin, with its tales and the healing text, but also concern of hurting her, if he should kick. If Kvell had read their connection plain, his friend wanted this, even if current circumstances wouldn't be ideal for that small dream. It was all tonight would be. If only the butler of Oleander could see himself though, the way he swung free when she pulled down, and his eyes that were just as greedy as Kvell felt, himself, over Ophelia. This was a betrayal to their friendship, yes, but Nathan couldn't say truthfully that he wouldn't enjoy it.

“It should not be so difficult, should it?” but Kvell’s voice was upset at her lack in a competence she simply could not have acquired, the life she’d led. Bullying her was his greatest pleasure. Kvell had been first with her for many things, but it was paramount to the betrayal he was forcing that he relent this one claim, no matter how beautifully she cried. He came to her, where she sat by her hero. Kvell wrapped his touch around her jaw. It was a possessive posture, with him towering over them both. Nathan was quiet. Perhaps the truth of his health and its new freedom made it complicated to argue. It was good to command both of their feelings like this. He had her head to his chest, directing her face toward the captured man as fingers of a free hand followed the valley between her jugular and her blood pillar, onto her collarbones, over an enticing orb and down her stomach. “Apart.” He ordered. Nathan stared, of course. Who would not?

She would know Kvell’s touch again, her only possible preference. He’d learned her a bit, counting the edges in her prayers to Netty. He went over those details in her repeatedly. Eventually, she had no choice but to be at the state that this game required. Little unknowing doll, played with. He leaned down to press his lips to her cheek, but instead of fulfilling the peck, he whispered. “You’re only honest when I tickle you. But you don’t laugh.” And here, Nathan’s attention darted from Kvell to her and back a few times. The bound man breathed. There was no argument in him. Hungry beast, tame, waiting to be fed. Only the smallest modesty for her sake made a bit of shame in some of the exhales through his nostrils. She had taken to this stage so naturally.

“Just pretend he’s my touch.” Kvell advised, taking his hand back from her. He lifted her by her arms, and hopefully, through her naivety, she would know that each leg should be on its own side before he started lowering her. Nathan swallowed. If this was forced on his part, he could have twisted away, but he was already engaged. Good to know, if he argued later. “You like the friction don’t you? He does, as well.” Kvell said when there was contact. He would let go and Nathan gasped.

“It’ll be alright, Ophelia.” Nathan encouraged. No plot that she’d help him free, anymore. The arms did not struggle when Kvell clad him in her.

The sir stepped back, becoming the quiet of the mask he wore, to see if she’d know. It would be her pace, at first, because Nathan was a bred gentleman. But not even the gentlest breed would not move, also, if she knew the sport, soon. Mark of a good servant was adherence to deprivation, and Nathan was at the head of the house for a reason. This indulgence, unholy, was almost too much, when he’d not come here for this kind of carousel. He would be lost soon. When the leather tightened around his wrist, it wasn’t to flee, but to touch her. He’d forgotten Kvell completely.

“Kiss me, Ophelia.” He petitioned as he had worship in his eyes, watching her spend her first time on his body. He really did sound like a lover, then.

They couldn’t see, but at the side of the bed, from where he was enjoying them, Kvell raised an eyebrow. He’d not allowed her to give her lips freely. For all she knew, her kisses belonged to the sir, not the servant. More intimacy for the act, sure, but was Nathan loosing himself deeper than he ought? A romantic, the clean kind. It would be interesting to see what she’d choose. If she looked to the mask for permission, there would be no indication. Eventually though, Kvell would take Nathan’s belt from around his own neck, and pelt her as she kept her own rhythm, and the rhythm Nathan helped with. She must be made to understand that punishment could be pleasant if it was physical. The Oleander school.

When he’d had his game this way, teaching her the lesson of fidelity by giving her the hollow of its absence, he moved to the foot of the bed, and told her to turn. A considerably easy task, with the provided axis, and she’d been eager to please, before. Perhaps he didn’t want Nathan to see her when things were climbing, if she could find it through the pain of a new thing, or perhaps Kvell wanted her attention when she did. Without planning to, he’d reach for her throat then, as he also straddled Nathan’s legs. Because she would be too beautiful, and he would hate her too much. He’d hold it firmly, her composition was no match for his strength, after all, and make it harder but not impossible for her to maintain her pace. At this point Nathan would be diligent from underneath her, as well. What did she see in the eyes then, when she couldn’t see most other features, leather dressed? Would she know that the love she’d awakened in her brother conspired to kill her? How satisfying, to make her an angel before she’d known the end of this. Dead before rapture. At that moment, and anyway if it didn’t arrive, he’d let her breathe, pull the mask off, to keep that promise, and his wild hair and black eyes would be free whether her pleasure came or not. Like a brute, just before Nathan reached, Kvell would push her off and to the side, that there’d be traces elsewhere than inside her. Surely it would have been good to have a human reminder her heart was cloven in sin, but Kvell was not ready for that, tonight.

“And there you have it.” He said, bitter as he’d expected to be, disappointed he’d not had the passion to kill her. He tossed the leather masquerade on her, barbaric, and picked up his shirt, laid his jacket over his arm. He came back to her side, the one not touching Nathan. “Isn’t Oleander a fun house?” he asked as he looked her over with some of the hurt, and all of the vile. If he was honest, he wanted to spend her on himself, next, right then. “Don’t you feel forgiven?” He reached to correct her hair, which underlined the entanglement, and then took the only dutiful, loyal thing he knew. The bottle was warmer, of course, but it would still have a bit of right left in its mostly spilled belly. “Goodnight, prince and princess.” He bid, and turned quite suddenly. He would allow for more pleading, it always satisfied him, if there was such strength in her throat, but it wouldn’t stop him. He’d be out the door soon, without locking it.

Nathan tried to seek her out, at the ebb of the pleasure she’d given him, with what give the bonds gave. “Don’t be sad, Ophelia. It was good, wasn’t it?” he asked, still blind in his humming delight. He might even believe this was their triumph, the surge having made him forgetful of Kvell’s dark plot. He’d not had Kvell’s grip on his throat and that blackened judgment shine on him. “Can I stay and sleep?”

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #43 on: August 16, 2016, 10:01:34 pm »
She wore the expression of a beaten pet when he expressed his disappointment. It was unfair to expect her to know how to proceed. Ophelia could make crude guesses, but with all of Kvell’s dramatic show she was worried she’d not perform aptly. There was also that reluctance to commit to his request; the last time she’d been coaxed toward Nathan he had striped her back in angry raw. It was safe and terrible when he came to her, at last.

Ophelia was pliable in his hands. She had been, naturally, before but was immersed in it now. A loyal dog is quick to learn its master’s heart, even if it hasn’t mastered his tricks. Big brown eyes blinking at the exposed butler, the rooster without his mask. It was cruel that she didn’t realize it was provocation to meet his eyes that way when Kvell’s fingers wandered. Her breath hitched. She spread her knees as instructed.

Tears still glistened in her lashes, though her sobs had calmed to little sniffles. A complicated expression when he found her heat, lips parting and a tiny gasp. The drying liquor danced stars on her skin. There were paintings in the library of a strawberry-haired Venus, worshiped as she arched in the throes of some personal ecstasy. Ansa had bought it off some auction site, years ago. It wasn’t a classic, but she’d framed it as such and placed in in Kvell’s preferred reading room. Once, she had laughed and asked him if she ought to grow her hair long like the goddess. Ophelia, in tangles, manifested the eroticism of that dream. Innocence arched, shivering, and a sweet play of her breath and whimpers.

She was flushed, perhaps out of embarrassment with her stare still locked with Mr. Brandston. A more honest proposal would have spoken of the way her hips pressed forward to meet Kvell’s fingertips, aching for his friction. “Brother, please,” she mewled, the way she had before. But Kvell was intent on his game, denying her and pulling her toward the punishment he’d promised. Ophelia began to cry again, though she straddled the butler as was expected of her. “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” she grew frantic, breath shallow, and entreated both men for their mercy for her sins and her god as well.

She cried out, foreign and full, the sudden and terrible understanding that she had been naïve to believe she’d known violation that morning. But Kvell had promised pain with her pleasure and pleasure with her pain and Ophelia knew it true astride the kind butler. Kvell had not been so gentle, setting her atop her new throne, and her body rebelled in a shade of crimson to her desire. When he had released her arms, she covered her face in her hands and wept again. The brother had learned his sister quickly, though, and her body was quick to seek what he’d denied her. A shiver and shudder grown to an erratic and halting pace, but Nathan seemed eager to learn her too. He met the dance she was teaching herself and Ophelia would have been ashamed when she uncovered her face and leaned forward to plant her palms on his chest for the resistance.

But she hadn’t much the sense to know shame with every other lesson to be taught in this offering.

Fevered when she learned to climb toward redemption herself, she matched her rooster’s enthusiasm even as the tear-stained cheeks stayed slick. Her breath was hot, and she nearly gave into his request. Lips over his, tied down man, and then she stopped. “No, I shouldn’t,” she gasped, though she did not move from that proximity. She could have loved him, too, the way she met his gaze. If he’d made the slightest effort, he could steal the kiss she was denying him. Her expression shifted, though, tears renewing fast, when the first blow from the belt met her spine. She jerked hard against the sting and found pleasure at the end of it; comfort from the butler in her time of need, perhaps.

Nathan was granter her lips, after all, when Ophelia silenced her cries with his tongue. It was dreadful and perfect and she nearly missed Kvell’s demand, caught in the throes of her first real lover.

She yanked herself upright, though, terrified she’d earned some new wrath for giving out those kinds of kisses; but then, what hadn’t Kvell demanded she give Nathan tonight? It wasn’t overly difficult to oblige the Master, turning herself with the sort of clumsiness that made her sweeter, and looked at Kvell with all the guilt he could possibly have hoped for. Kvell’s hand on her throat, she wanted to cry for Nathan to stop, but the butler was obedient to the prince and his own needs, then.

Ophelia felt the blood pool in her lips, blinking hard when her vision began to swim. Adrenaline spiking through her limbs, she felt herself arch toward her zenith even as she was sure she’d suffocate. And then, as she tumbled over the precipice of pleasure into the warm, desperate ache of her shuddering blossom her brother gave her breath again. She was given the Master without the mask for the brief moment before her pulled her from Nathan and tossed her to the side.

She did not see whether the butler maintained himself or lost to demands her eager hips had placed on him. Ophelia listened to Kvell before he left them, but had nothing to offer. Before the door closed, she found the strength to call a final apology after him, though it sounded empty, even to her.

Nathan’s voice pulled her back into some semblance of coherence. “I don’t know.” She told him, and she was honest. He had felt her tremble for him, he wouldn’t doubt her body had found its pleasure. The soul, as always, was a different matter. She pushed herself onto her knees and did not meet his eyes when she went to undo his bonds. Freed, she lay back down on her side. “It’s not my right to tell you to stay or go, is it?” she asked him quietly. “Sir Kvell did not say, so I cannot either.” She mumbled. But she didn’t tell him to go and knew her heart would hurt no matter which course he chose.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2016, 06:34:34 pm »
Part of the man Kvell had come to know was executed there, in the bonds Nathan had never tried before this night. The butler was undone watching Kvell playing her, stressing how endlessly new she was to this world, and the Oleander world. Nathan had been beside himself, and the mask on Kvell served to make his a distant character, an evil prop, because the butler himself had very little relation to the likeness of the bird, having only seen it from the inside.

If Ophelia's heart was compromised, Nathan’s was dirtied worse, because when he saw her, by Kvell's fingers, and her turmoil, it was everything he'd ever needed. An outspoken oponent toward all these things that Kvell liked to indulge in, at cost of the new sister, his fancy came with shame, but as with the girl, shame was touched with fire in this kind of happening. Both men were quite charmed with the way she begged her brother. Perhaps only Kvell knew exactely what that plea was for, though, as Nathan was occupied with having her, and feeling her, as the sir granted her.

He became guilty of indulgence, but he was sure Ophelia wasn't violated in the strictes sense of the concept, anymore. How lovely it was, to see her explore, even if her heart was misunderstanding her body. A more present Brandston would have apprechiated her hands over his heart, but this animal, though loyal, could only see the sensuallity of the way it changed her position. He did what he could for their rhythm, and created better angles for her, but mostly, without other notions to hinder her, her innocent life, Ophelia was good in discovering pleasure herself. How beautiful was she, the girl the sisters had simply sacrificed to Kvell, when she followed heat, but cried still?

He thought to leave her be, her distressed breath on his mouth were enough of a treat, when she staggered on her little march to oblige his request for her lips. Neither had such destiny, it seemed, when he lifted into her descent, brought on by his own belt. It was a better taste than this toss, almost. And it brought him against her faster, firmer. He gasped, lonely when she drew back, and was then left without her pretty face and its reactions, when Kvell directed her the other way. It became himself inside her, then, instead of a an effort they took together. Something changed in her when the master, truly the master of the room, held her breath for her. Nathan wasn’t late to explore this change in her hold.

Kvell had seen her betrayal, her delighting the tied down participant by caring for his tongue, and it was made a deeper wrong, afterward, when she was gasping for life and pleasure as though they were both equally crucial, because she was more beautiful then, and Kvell was possessive, especially of beautiful things. When the mask came off, did he still wear that ill will toward her? The apology she sent with him was forgotten when the door was closed.

Nathan, once freed, ran one hand through the entire length of her hair. It was tousled of course, but he was gentle. Always so. This had not been a perfect joining. She was not glued to him with her eyes, or diverting them in the happiest shy. But he could not find it in his flushed heart to believe it had been a punishment. “Then I’ll stay.” He promised and took her to him. Nathan, who had not lived through the strain of being Ophelia in this house, was still exhausted by her, and fell asleep.

-

On the fifth day there was sunlight outside. Nathan, who had slept silent and still with her, was now alive. Sparrow had come at a kind hour in the morning, and been followed by a few animal faces. She held a basket and a blanket over that arm. The tail of others carried a garden dress and a hat, designs not unlike what she’d been made to dress Ansa with, in the labyrinth, and a suit with a vest matching the patterns of her clothes for Nathan. He hurried out, of course, to perhaps wash and get himself together after trying on the perfectly fitted trousers, leaving Sparrow with Ophelia. A quiet, little bird’s mask for what had to be a life time, and then she sighed with disapproval, black nail fingers putting the basket down and holding out a white envelope with red ribbon on top of a fat towel. “Soap, brush. All the things you’ll need. It’s said to be a good day, and it’s going to get better, even. The weather.” She said and looked the girl over, judging, but not her beauty. “If it pleases you or your newest beau, the garden is yours. I’ll have your sheets washed.” No order, which meant no Kvell. Moa put the towel and the envelope by Ophelia’s feet, whether she was still in bed, or standing. “Enjoy.” She encouraged and the company swiftly took their leave. “but you always do.” The bird chirped, before closing the door. If Ophelia went looking outside, a tub was there again, by the window, and the corridor would be empty for her use.

If at any point Ophelia wanted to know about her brother, Moa had been informed he was either dead or in the library. She would deliver these news with specific tartness.

Nathan was his dapper smart when he came to fetch her, and was quick to claim the basket, heavy with the sweet things inside. After a quick lift of the lid, he wore a promising smile. “No sign of Kvell.” He said, as though it was glorious news. Were they the mice, was he the cat? He breathed through his nose, to beg the atmosphere between them be a bit more serious. It was mostly to reel in his own chipper, that he dug his heels in and straightened his neck before her. “I am sorry for what has transpired, and how I was unable to stop it, or even myself.” In the light, in the corridor without other animals, he was as serene as he meant to be. “But please don’t remember it with distaste. To me, it was the greatest gift. But I make no assumptions. I only wish to redeem this place to you.” A clean presentation, because Nathan was honest. In his way, he was asking to court her without forcing her to answer.

He offered his arm, but would be just as content with escorting her, if she wanted that, out to the garden. It was a grand place. There were birds, a moderate amount. Everything calculated, everything controlled. Nathan was a happy person, full of energy, it seemed, and told her the story of a great fire one generation ago, and how it had changed the garden completely. He promised to show her the sketches of mrs. Oleander, Kvell’s grandmother, so Ophelia would get to see and imagine the smaller design, how it married better to the surrounding forest. “But the path there is not so friendly.” He said and looked at her feet, peeking out underneath the dress when she took particularly lengthy strides. “Oh, what am I thinking?” he said, laughing in embarrassment and bent down, beside the basket he’d relieved himself of after stopping, and started untying his own shoes. He left the pointed leathers there, with socks in their mouths, to continue their stroll with naked soles, also.

This was the tour of the outdoors that she was meant to have, the day Kvell had made her undress, and walk about in the thorns. No threat with Nathan, of course, but she’d not suspected Kvell back then either, before she’d met with the statue of her sister, impaled. Nathan was sure to never venture close to the entrance of the labyrinth, that she would never be worried this day would turn into something sordid in his care. He wanted her to feel safe. How would the little girl with the facetted heart take to being safe finally? He hoped it would strengthen her in herself, and not lead her toward any kind of strange longing to the opposite, that had been her norm. She would notice the conversation, when he could help it, did not veer anywhere near the mention of Kvell, himself.

As expected, the butler did well in setting up the blanket for them by a crescent of vegetation, not entirely unlike the wave of candles that had almost engulfed Kvell the first time she’d seen him. He plated food for her, a sandwich, some meat and a few small pastries, as had become her usual fare. And a shining fork, struck by the sun as though the star was also aware of its novelty. It would be her first morsel that wouldn’t be eaten from Kvell’s fingers. How would she make do, feeding herself? Nathan started with the pink lemonade, and was at home in this leisure. He wasn’t always a servant when he was, and before becoming one, he’d known this as a place of adventure and, yes, friendship.

“Please.” He said and stood, placing his glass by hers. His hands were out if she wanted his help to sit. He tried not to think that she was not wearing undergarments underneath the provided dress. He remembered Ansa in it, and their countenance were leagues different. He much preferred Ophelia. But Ansa had never venture so far outside of her brother’s proximity, or grace, to ever have touched the butler the way he’d engaged with Ophelia, yesterday. The first sister to have lived here had not brought Kvell to doubt her affections, either. She, instead, could be faulted with loving Kvell too much. She had enraged him with a pure fire, that could easily be quenched with little or much punishment. And so, the weapon Kvell had been welded by that furnace of that relationship. Reluctantly, Nathan would also tell her that short version, if she indicated she wished to know.

“For you, and your smile.” He said and held his glass up, if she’d sit with him, hoping the mention of it would bring a little curl to her lips. He was almost overly friendly and glad, perhaps to offer counterweight if she was feeling somber by any, some or all of Kvell’s transgression since she’d come here. It hurt him a bit, this overwhelming crush that had been catalyzed into something dearer, yesterday. Of course, Nathan’s solution to it was not to make her go nude in the garden or mark her in any way, but rather try to make her comfortable with his nearness. “Is there anything here you would like to see? Anything you would like to know? This house has secrets, and I’ve been introduced to many of them.” He gave, forking fruit and eating it quickly. Hadn’t Kvell offered something with a kind tongue too, when she pulled Nathan, whether willing or not, into this, and subjected herself to Kvell’s vengeance? Nathan wouldn’t know, of course. He simply sat there, drinking pink lemonade and remembering her hair in the glass, how she’d wielded it, on top of him. He did not blush, controlled man, but it made him warmer.

A small breeze kept the day from becoming unbearable. If the mansion had been imposing for the presence of its heart, its son, earlier days, it was a ghost villa now, saying nothing in a hollow voice because it seemed lacking, robbed without his persona filling it. Nathan tried to make it into an idyllic calm, the peace and quiet that made a country place worth its price. But perhaps the manor was a stage, instead, with curtains up and no evil to churn the drama and peril. So no music from the orchestra, and no blood in the heart from watching.

VenomousEve

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #45 on: August 21, 2016, 08:26:12 pm »
It was late morning when Kvell had finally left his sister in tatters on her bed with the rooster prince. In the windowless room, she only knew she was exhausted. If her body was aching, her heart had no pity, swollen with the most potent bruises. Nathan’s fingers in her hair held her breathless like the gasping lonely of a missed love. The girl developing an addiction to touching a hot stove, ever reaching and recoiling. She was stiff when he wrapped her in his arms and counted the beats of her heart until she fell asleep.

If the butler had orchestrated the workings of the Manor, it rolled on without him in quiet form. Kvell did not wake them, and the curious pair dreamed until the next day was spend and then the night after. Ophelia woke twice in that period, gingerly unwrapping herself from Nathan’s arms the second time and huddling against the edge of the bed before she fell back asleep.

When Moa woke them, Ophelia was afraid of the sparrow’s judgement and relieved when Nathan took his leave. It wasn’t that she’d become altogether less fond of him, so much as she was shocked he was not as upset by what had happened as she. It made her nauseous, reminding her of the way she’d shuddered and held fast to him, when she looked at him and understood he did not regret it. It made her wonder if that meant she did. She found no satisfactory answer for herself and wished Kvell would come back to tell her what to think. Ophelia touched her ribs, where the bruises were fading and the contract was crisp, and wondered where that clarity had gone. She did not feel forgiven.

Ophelia sat up to take the things Moa had set by her toes. “Thank you.” She said numbly, and did not look the woman in the eyes. Somehow, hearing the disapproval in her tone smarted less than she’d expected. Moa could have said anything she wanted and it would not have mattered the way the disappointed curl of her brother’s lips had torn her seams. When she was left alone, she slipped from the bed, still undressed. Ophelia should have questioned why Kvell’s approval had become so imperative, but she hadn’t questioned why she had stopped her praying either. A heavy sigh and she went to find the tub that had been left for her, wrapped in the towel and the dress she’d been given draped on her arm.

She took her time bathing, scrubbing listlessly and inhaling the sharp clean of the soap. Did she always enjoy? Ophelia wasn’t sure. She didn’t quite know what enjoyment meant anymore. She thought she enjoyed the Oleander sweets and Nathan’s company, but the only thing she felt unsettled for now was the dark prince brother that had become a phantom she couldn’t reach. And he frightened her.

Ophelia found Moa on her way back to the room and chanced asking for Kvell. She was given a reply that was as good as being sent away and she returned to Ansa’s bedroom with her gaze downcast. She sat on her bed to wait, though she’d been told the garden was open to explore. Ophelia had become used to waiting. Any move she’d made for herself, thus far, had gone exceptionally poorly. She smoothed the skirt of the dress across her thighs. It did not surprise her when it was Nathan that came to fetch her. His smile was kind, but the expression she wore in return was vacant. It was unfair to him, maybe, as he’d endured the same as she. But, she thought, it was unfair to her that he wore it so easily. Enjoy. But you always do. Did she, really?

When he reminded her that her brother was nowhere to be found, she flinched. “Is that so…” she murmured. Perhaps he read the settled unhappiness in her, because he seemed to pull back on his enthusiasm. Ophelia couldn’t remain too upset with him, when he was so sincere. “It wasn’t distasteful because it was you.” She said gently. It was wrong because it wasn’t Kvell. But she didn’t say it, for worry of disappointing Nathan too. She needed him, at least, if Kvell wouldn’t have her. “It’s me that needs to redeem myself to this place.” She disagreed, muted, but stood and took his arm when he offered it. She hadn’t raised her face since she’d woken up, intently following her bare toes with her stare.

She listened to him talk about the Manor that felt empty without its Lord breathing his whims and tempers through the halls. It didn’t restore any liveliness to her, as he might have hoped, though she nodded politely at appropriate points. When he took off his shoes, she did smile. Nathan was a good man. Perhaps it had been Kvell’s intention to sully the sweetness she’d felt toward the butler. “I am sorry it happened the way it did.” She blurted, stopping in her tracks and staring up at him. “It was my first time, too. I never thought—“ she bit down on her lip and averted her gaze again. “I am sorry, I would never have wanted you involved in punishments meant for me.” She was quiet for a long moment. “And it was a punishment. It doesn’t matter if I like it or not.”

Ophelia didn’t say anything else, letting Nathan fill the silences until they reached their picnicking place. She was grateful to him for that much, and she hoped he could tell. She watched him prepare their food. When he handed her the dish and the utensil with it, she wore an expression as if she’d never seen such a device. The human mind is strong because it can adapt quickly and fill in the blanks necessary to soldier on. In Ophelia’s case, her mind might well have been forming a more potent enemy to her wellbeing than she could have realized. She settled onto the blanket, accepting his assistance, and began to eat. She wondered if Kvell would disapprove more of her solitude with the butler or the fork.

“You look so natural here.” She said after some time. “Was it peaceful here, before I came?” She asked. The answer must have been more complicated than the question implied. The leather-bound angel Ansa should have told her as much, when she arrived. But Nathan and Kvell had both made it apparent they had been friends, regardless of whatever it was they were now. That sort of thing, a friendship, seemed too pure not to have existed in a more harmonious sphere.

“Did you know my sister as well as you know Sir Kvell?”

She did give him a little smile for the effort of his toast, and took a sip from her own. “I’d like to know more about Kvell and Ansa,” she said when he offered the Manor’s secrets. He must have realized her concerns would fall in that direction, though he might not have anticipated the bluntness in her tone. The deceased twin tying to her to this place that had been a frightening dream for days. The brother that had installed himself as a new and vengeful god. “Kvell is the reason I’m here. I should learn not to upset him.” If anyone was to show her the intricacies of the home itself, too, it should be the Master. If Nathan wished to offer her something now, it was the path to Kvell’s grace. She didn’t want anything else.

Ophelia reached suddenly to place her hand over his. “Nathan. I wish I had met you in another life.” She said. Earnest brown eyes. Ansa’s, if Ansa had remembered innocence. In all of this, unsullied. “Sincerely, I do. I care about you, I think.” She told him, chewing on her lower lip. “But,” and it wasn’t anything he didn’t know, so she didn’t finish the sentence. She withdrew her hand and tucked her knees up to her chest, perching her chin on them. “Thank you, Nathan.” She said after a long silence. “No matter what happens, truly thank you.” Another smile for him, this one sad the way it had been the last time they’d been in the garden, but more poignantly for him.

“Will you hate me, if he comes for me? If I need him to?” she asked him. “If I look for him, even if I could fall in love with you?” She had promised Kvell she’d try to love him. She had made no such promise to the butler. Somehow, it seemed like Kvell was a mercy when this was the alternative. Kind man, kind heart, who might have cared for her the way she would have found inspiring. But he knew she must feel obligated to his Master. This gentleness, then, was a self-indulgent cruelty on both their parts.   

Verse

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2016, 07:33:44 pm »
Nathan had seen much of the world. His education, paid for in full by Oleander tradition, had seen to it, and a rich life, if he wanted. His heart was not as new as hers. So he recognized the dissatisfaction in the girl when he came. Before, when he wore his mask, and served as a tail for the true prince of all this mortar and century design, he'd been fresh, a comfort in this storm. Not so now, to her. So his heart had settled into denial, the way something might recoil from thorns. There was no other way than to be kind to her, whether to win her over, or make her time here more tolerable. The image of her drawing back when he had no news of Kvell stayed like a poisoned vein on his love.

She was pretty by his side, and he enjoyed having her to himself in the gardens, but she did not seem as present as he wanted. His training and care said he should ask her what was on her mind, but he'd be hurt if he did, so instead he went on about this place. He knew enough that they'd never have to have a conversation, if they chose not to. When she broached yesterday he breathed to speak a few times, because it had meant the world to him, her beauty ontop. But Ophelia didn't say anything that he could nurture into the fondness he'd felt. "I'm sorry." for how you feel. There was a small comfort in the way she reacted to the food, and that she ate.

He almost spoke through the crumbs of the bread he'd taken when she finally asked him something. The answer did not taste as light and carefully baked, though. "It wasn't peaceful, no." some water, to free his tongue. What could he say that she would understand? She'd grown up in a home. "Ansa loved Kvell violently, and, you know how Kvell is himself, so--" he looked at his knife, tipped in red marmalade. She saw its reflection over one of his already light eyes. "it was volatile and the only way they knew how to live. But it was consensual, their whirlwind." he looked to the side, at the tall, beautiful bush and its natural ornaments. The flowerheads listened, too. "Like reading a particularly frightening book. Unsettling but also the only way it can be. It’s destined design." he sighed, but it wasn't miserable. "Their connection had very little to do with me, so I only did my work, and served as a friend to Kvell when I could. Ansa wouldn’t like it when I tended to her hurts, and any neglect on Kvell’s part was intentional, so eventually I simply left books and print-outs of physical care by his room."

The marmalade stretched over a cracker. Sinfully, it was already salted. Nathan wasn’t proud of this vice. She struck a sensitive chord in the man when she pressed the question, and how important it was to her that she had the knowledge to please Kvell. Nathan took some air deep into himself for strength, and then ate all of the cracker quickly. More water. He didn’t have the heart for outward sullen. “He doesn’t look at you the way he did her.” He said. Maybe it was meant to encourage her, but he realized it might not. Her reason for being here, after all. The aftertaste of the bite became bitter, also. “So you’re not the same to him. But he likes you, if you can’t tell.” It was hard, of course, to try and reconcile them like this, when obviously he’d rather keep her. “She has a wardrobe of items that nobody was allowed to mend.” He mumbled and looked at her with warning in the blue eyes. Yes, Nathan Brandston looked natural in the sunny garden. “It’s not locked. You’ve walked by it on occasion. Maybe if you see it you’ll know more about him and Lady Ansa. Sparrow might show you.” Torn fabrics in whites and grays, bloody holes and immodest, forced redesigns. Some of the skirts were tied into knots for her practicality. There were dark words, here and there, for when Ansa was bored with simply bleeding.

She pulled him from this when she gave him her hand. Nathan turned from his efforts to carefully word the suffering Ansa chose, to instead look at Ophelia with his usual softness. A lovely confession of fondness, torn in a beautiful way, she gave. He knew that Kvell had taken an opportunity like this and made it into dark passion, his or hers. Nathan didn’t have that knowledge or incentive, even if he appreciated her teeth on her lip, and her conflict. He listened carefully so he could remind himself of this, later, if her courtesy ever made him think he’d won her over. “And thank you.” He pressed her hand between his when her smile drew the real emotion of her words all too vivid. It made her wonderful to look at, but kept her farther from him than before.

He had to rely on the image of their hands when she continued. She took that hand back. She couldn’t hear it in herself when she spoke as one already lost. The influx of endorphins from yesterday, when love had been made but orchestrated, became equal amounts of dread now. “Does it matter, Ophelia?” he didn’t spit the question, because he asked for himself, hopeless. Why did everyone make Kvell their belief and deity? To Nathan he was still a brat brother that needed guidance, not a larger than life soul. “I suppose it doesn’t, because I couldn’t hate you, ever.” And he smiled her smile back at her. He wanted to shake her and ask what made people give themselves to Kvell so fully, when their hearts were worth so much more. When he tipped the glass for more water, to justify the coming silence, there was nothing left to drink.

“Would you answer me, too?” He placed the vial with the rim down. It toppled quietly. If she’d learned him enough, she would understand it was not in his nature to play like that. Proper because he was bred to be. “If I wrote on you with a quivering needle, and—with roses… and made you pray to me.” His voice failed, and his hope to deliver bitter with it. His tongue stung. Two fingers to comfort the bridge of his nose when he closed his eyes for a small collection of self. “Ah. It’s not me.” New eyes for her, without glass. Poised head-servant. He remembered her wings, her spine from their tryst, then, when Kvell had her turn away. Her hips delivering pleasure but her attention on the Sir, only. That was a more truthful representation of what had transpired. He’d only thought of how good it felt, until now. What a useless, selfish experience he’d had. He’d fallen in love when she’d fallen to shards, thinking her punishment might not be enough to satiate Kvell’s madness. “Forgive me.”

His small-talk wasn’t so desperately light, thereon, to the girl who had made herself into a bundle on the blanket. An inner optimism, incurable, but no clever references or raised brows for her to laugh when he knew she wouldn’t. Perhaps this was true to what they could be, taking food in the garden, but having very little to speak of. Toward the end, he decided that there should at least be friendship. And friends help one another. It would break him, but he thought that some friends do that, as well. “Would you like to go inside?” he asked, plucking plates and silverware. “I can show you around. Who knows. Maybe we’ll meet a spoiled prince, pouting in some gilded corner.” Practiced, straight back. He did not expect her to decline. In fact, he was a bit dreadful for what enthusiasm she might have for the offer. He wanted Kvell’s charisma then, to tie her so hopelessly to him, instead.

The manor was easily navigated for him. They went by the kitchen, where he handed the basket over to a man with a bloody apron. The environment was light and sterile here, and Nathan lingered here before he waved a hand at the butcher, again. “Robert.” He said to Ophelia, but then addressed the friendly but distracted person as “Bob, I would like a little snack package. Bluest you have.” The term made Bob laugh and he finally gave Ophelia some attention.

“Developing a taste for it? You’re all crazy here.” He said and hurried to his station, making haste with a strip of meat. He gave it to them in white wax paper, and Nathan made sure Ophelia took it, herself. “try it with some acid at least, there are lemons in the garden, since you’re new to it.” Bob suggested and laughed again. Nathan gave Ophelia half a smile as he lead them out.

“If you find yourself without appetite for it today, you can always give it to someone else who’ll enjoy it more. In the past, Ansa lured Kvell with bloody treats if she felt she wronged him, or if he said she had.” The sir had never been so scorn before, though. Nathan had not seen Kvell’s mood as a problem, but now realized it might be impractical if Kvell made life difficult for sweet Ophelia because of it. Her life wasn’t so enviable, already. If she asked, he would lie and say he didn’t mind helping her like this. Friends. They had to start there. If he could he would give her a courtship that was more like ones on the outside, even if the outcome seemed set. His love had to be patient, and when it couldn’t be, it had to break alone, where she couldn’t see.

So he made conversation, and told stories if she was hard to entreat, until they were well on their way toward the library with the little packet. It was quite a test to him, newly fallen for her, that she was so beautiful in the house’s lighting. A veil over his eyes, probably, but the pain to his spirit was real. Nathan was valiant because he could be without reward or acknowledgement. In the corridor that would lead to the grand hall of books, where an image of Venus had prophesied the last night in their memories, there was a little bird, walking like she’d had wine in the bird bath. Nathan knew Sparrow to be an exceptionally sure drinker, and thought her little sway was curious. As they came closer, he detected a rich, crimson brook down the end of her mask. The dark life curled inward from her chin and came down her throat to bring attention to the swells of her torso, her dark uniform easily showing off the effect. But her lips were parted, almost wide, in a content smile. Nathan knew what could bring her to such satisfaction, but didn’t know how to warn Ophelia until the bird came upon them.

Moa reached out, both hands, and forced the pair apart as she passed between them, fingers gliding over their cheeks as she laughed. A little sound. “Come to feed the beast? He’s in a giving mood, today.” she said, twisting around on sure legs despite her sway. She meant the meat, of course. “Two lovers going to the menagerie. Ah. What an idyllic little novella.” She cleaned her upper lip with her tongue. “And the butler without a mask! How nude you look.” She added. “Nothing Lady Ophelia hasn’t seen, though, so all is appropriate, yes?” Nathan hissed low that Ophelia should not listen to the twittering maid. “I like you two together. I like that when you pick a pony, Ophelia, even if it’s the wrong pony, you ride it to finish.” she laughed again, and it was every bit as unfriendly as Bob hadn’t been. Sparrow flew on in her glistening euphoria.

Nathan offered his hand, after that. He’d rather not take her to the library now, considering, but at least Moa had guaranteed who’d be in there.

Kvell sat underneath the chandelier, at the center of the woven scene on the round carpet. The light was worst there, of course, but where would the master be, if not in the middle? His legs were thrown over one arm of the luxuriant furniture, and in the lap of his fine suit laid a red fabric, and on top of it a thick eye-mask, made from glass, metal and leather, intricate and pretty. Leagues better than the animal faces he made everyone else wear. He held a book, and turned from it splay to see the visitors. It was impossible to know if the blink was a greeting or fatigue at the plot he was consuming before he turned back to the letters. Nathan realized it might not be a good choice to come here holding her hand. He let go slowly, but Kvell had already seen, though he’d made no sign of noticing.

“He is being difficult, as always. If you want to, now is as good a time as any to try and speak to him.” His hand on the low of her back urged her forward. This felt like selling his lover. A lover that wanted to go. He waited by the door. He hated this, but he wanted if not her happiness, then her peace.

Did the portrait of the goddess with Ophelia’s hair and a cadence she’d forgotten give her peace, when that painting held guard over the sitting Kvell, who did not give her his attention in favor of the story on yellowed paper?

VenomousEve

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #47 on: September 04, 2016, 06:41:30 am »
Ophelia took Nathan’s retelling like salt water on a wound, eager to be clean, gritting her teeth on the edge. If Ansa had loved Kvell violently, she had done it like breathing. Ophelia hadn’t written her brother onto her bones in the same way. It was frustrating, the easy understanding that she was learning the footsteps of another dancer. Worse to grasp she played a different music. Still, she appreciated Nathan’s compliance and willingness to share that little bit. His tone gave her the stories his tongue wouldn’t quite shape, and that was enough. In the end, none of this history was on Nathan’s conscience. It made her wish she had been signed to love him, instead. The rooster would have been an easy heart to nurture. They might have formed something new and sweet.

She had been given to Kvell, though, who cultured a passion like wine. Bitter and heady, ripe with the glossy gasps of an old love. Ophelia might have understood some amount of jealousy in herself, if it hadn’t worn the veneer of fear she’d come to hold so close. Fear of Kvell and fear of not having him. Nathan would see the way her expression fell when he carved in the air confirmation of her utter contrast with Ansa. Of course he didn’t look at her the way he’d looked at their phantom sister. “Is that so,” she said. Of course.

Nathan was a better soul than Oleander Manor deserved, she was sure. He was gentle for the sake of the Master and the Girl regardless of himself. Ophelia was quick to see that much. If she was naïve to Kvell’s cruelty, she had been raised to see goodness where it bloomed. “I want to believe you’re right. But, truthfully, it is hard to tell. And after—after—“ she stared at him, words bitten back and a hard flush on her cheeks. “He gave me to you, instead, didn’t he?” she asked at last. She shook her head hard then, rosy strands flying. “I mean, not that I would hate it. I couldn’t possibly hate being yours.” She took a hard breath. “It’s just that I—I want to be good for him. I promised.”

It was curious, the way her heart had twisted the promises he’d written on her skin. She had only promised to stay and to try. And yet, Ophelia Oleander could not persist if she had no god.

She was appreciative when he gave her the little clue in the wardrobe. “You’re an angel, Nathan Brandston.” She told him. If angels sacrifice faithful girls to dark princes.

Ophelia wore a curious expression for him, when he asked what she might have done if he had become her god. The soft round of her lower lip, freed from the nip of her teeth, spelled potential that she hadn’t entertained for him. Pleasure, once learned, is hard to forget. Kvell had meant to teach her and, at her most impressionable moment, he’d punished her with the heat of Nathan’s body. It would have been unfair to expect her to be unmoved by the possibility. She found her senses when he found his, and gave him the sad eyes that he’d begin to find were his alone. Fine butler. Gracious servant. “There’s nothing to forgive.” Soft.

She followed him inside and was glad for the kind butcher he took her too. Nathan didn’t have the stomach to be her god, surely. He was too loyal, giving her treats to please the stomach of her god. Ophelia seemed happier, when they left with her offering. Hopeful, maybe. “Thank you,” she said to the butcher, as they departed. “Thank you, too.” She said to Nathan when they were alone.

The energy that had returned to her step, purposeful with her gift to present, lost its confidence when they neared the library and found Moa flitting out. Ophelia stepped closer to Nathan, as if she might need his guard. Did he know that the sparrow had been spiteful, that morning? She didn’t understand the expression on the little bird’s lips, because it wore less shame than Ophelia’s own mouth carried. As if it was necessary to accentuate that difference, Moa brought venom on her tongue with sugar sweetness on its tail.

Ophelia didn’t know what to say to the maid, though she desperately wanted to correct her. She wasn’t sure Moa was entirely wrong, though, and any hope of rebuttal was easily quashed by that insecurity. She squeezed her little parcel tight. When Moa had left, she accepted the butler’s hand. A bit of her understood it was weak to do so, but she lacked the confidence to step into the library alone, as it was.

She felt a chill in her chest when they stepped through the door. Kvell was frightening when he was handsome, and he was generally handsome. Or Ophelia was becoming used to being frightened. She looked at Nathan for some sort of explanation, when Kvell did not acknowledge her. “Oh, okay.” She mumbled, shuffling forward at the butler’s gentle insistence. Like a child being sent for a scolding. Head bowed, bloody offering held at her waist.

“Brother?” she asked, when she had reached him. She settled down onto her knees, so that he might be forced to see her in his periphery. “I wanted to see you.” She said. “I brought… I brought this for you.” Ophelia held out the paper-wrapped meat. She waited. “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting you. I’ll go, if you prefer it.”

Ophelia swallowed hard and prayed he would not take her up on that offer. “I… have you forgiven me?” she said at last. Such a small voice. She licked her lips. Nathan had been kind, helping her this far. And she wasn’t so dense as to think it mustn’t hurt him to aid her, too. She was determined to be worth that effort. Trembling boldness, she reached for his sleeve with one hand while the other continued to hold out her gift. “Can I fix it? You can—“ she was a precious creature when she was tongue tied. “You can ask me for anything.” He had stripped away what innocence she’d had left, as it was. Offered it to his servant when it hadn’t been good enough for his own pleasure. He had all of her at his disposal, then. Unwrapped.

“Please.”

 

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #48 on: September 04, 2016, 08:41:09 pm »
And Nathan felt that way too, that he was leading Ophelia into more hardship, sending her toward the dapper dragon, lounging with a treasure of masquerade on his lap. The butler thought it might be wonderful to stop her and bring her away, whisk, as the novels said. Would she appreciate it? The expression on Kvell's face would be enough payment, if she didn't. The cloak of her cadence spoke when she would not, though. He'd seen it when explaining Ansa, too. The living sister was latched onto the available shadows that bled from her brother. She might not know, she certainly didn't say, but there were other ways to tell truth. Nathan was carefully and gently suffering a sharp weapon onto the heart that coveted and cared for Ophelia as she went.

He'd not spoken up, waiting for her to do so on her own with Sparrow. Should he now, when she was making her way to the chair that was spilling with the lengthy limbs of their barely seated, much too comfortable master? What should he exclaim to help her, or to mend himself from this growing misery? He couldn't help that his was a conventional affection, one that might have been enough in another life. He should not be dueling with Kvell's claim and baroque aura. Stood the butler on the toes of his shoes, put back on from the garden, and inhaled as though he would call her name, and change the tide of this plot. But he was dry of verbal magic. Even though the sister and the brother sparkled of onyx glitter, it was still more magic than his ordinary infatuation held. Heels back on the floor. Weapon returned into his heart. He should leave. Truly that would be better. He gave me to you, instead, didn’t he? she'd said. How disappointed she'd been, without knowing it. And yet, Nathan was giving her away too, like this, and she herself.

Kvell was being brought along an upheaval of the story. The words were pretty, but the twist was nonexistent. There had been no promise of one, though, and he'd not picked the author for surprises. Not all meals could be completely new. This world, old ink, was heft and tradition. He had a craving for such comforts, sometimes. But it could not hold him, when she walked over the way Ansa never would. The way she tried for attention, insisting without being insistent. If she was a demon, she was tailored after his vices.

He might have lost the entertainment of literature upon her presence, but he could still pretend while soaking in her careful display. He kept reading the same fragment without really understanding it, trying to seem occupied. 'and ravage took the flesh'.  She on her knees, by him. So this was what venison smelt like, laying itself infront of the wolf. The likeness became deeper, when she held out the present. What perfect size. His act broke when her little fingers presented the dead gift. "Ravage." he whispered, tongue eager to expel what he was repeating in his mind. Would it sound threatening to anyone else, accompanied by the sharpness of his eyes when they stuck on the meat?

He had to see her, so he did, lured by the bloodied offering and her never faltering record of delicious expressions. Pretty little nymph, tangled in ivy while her trees were burning. Yes, sister, you go, it is what I prefer. But that would have wrecked her. And he spent too much time loving her anticipation and worry. "Oh, Ophelia." he said, lacing his mouth with all that he knew of sympathy. There was even a bit of artificial guilt in the tremble. The book was shut, and rolled to the side so both his hands could catch her cheeks. They were soft as her orphan heart. Did she think that he would give her all the forgiveness then, and once more lavish her in the games they'd shared, those smarting privileges another man's name had taken from her? "I would never forgive you, as you are." It felt sweet to say, because surely there would be some artful constellation on her features to reward his cruelty. He kissed her forehead and lingered to drag at her scent, still holding her head. Even when he drew back to see her again, his hands remained.

She offered. Could she fix it with any effort? And he could think of more things that he wanted than there were words in his book. What a blissful game she was. Winding herself up on her own, and coming to him. His touch left her face in time for her to find his sleeve. If he'd not grown up to be this kind of spirit, he might have melted. He took the present with the hand she wasn't holding, and flicked one end open with his thumb. He bit the exposed morsel and chewed, as though lamenting some great farewell that he'd give her then.

Instead he kissed her, lapping onto her tongue the shredded mouthful he'd not swallowed yet. His breath was hot when he sucked away the blood from the corner of her lips. "You can fix it. You can turn all these shards into mortar that will keep us together forever." he promised. "I loved you, you know, at first, when I thought you were loyal." True, but it was still so. He was simply angry, scorn. Real love is not tested by slight. He would not confess to such a thing now. Curled finger underneath her chin so he could see her fully. There was still blood on his lips. There would be on his teeth too, when he spoke. It would be fitting. "Betray him." said her sibling demon. What could her kind mind possibly concoct? Deceit takes thought and time. Nathan Brandston had given her all the tools she needed already. What would she create? Would she show her soul in carrying this out?

It could be triumphant, if she did and she was successful. It could be endearing, if she tried and she failed. And it could be vexing to the point of darkening him farther, if she refused. Upheaval, was the word. He flicked her uppermost petal with his iron tongue and then nuzzled her cheek with all of his face, as though he was seeking comfort, as well. Vulnerability - do not refuse me. What does it mean when your god looks to you for comfort? Don't you owe this? Didn't you wound me? Aren't we in morning for me, already? The kiss in the angle of her jaw said that she was welcome to disappoint him again if she wanted, if that was who she was, and he'd simply know. Such an impossible child, Kvell Oleander. "I will come to you every night. You could have my love." You could only nurse him like you nurse a parasite.

And still, framed in the threshold and the arced wood for the door, stood the kind heart, waiting for her. At this distance the butler could not hope to hear them. A rare moment, when he was not required to wear a disguise. But his gait would have said it all to her, anyway. Steadfast, proper. Fixed point. If she looked back at him, he would inhale to seem larger for a few seconds, so she knew he recognized her attention, without doing something so juvenile as to wave and smile. He would take her anywhere she wanted, if she came to him. Most of all, he would ask her how she was, and then what had been said.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #49 on: September 09, 2016, 06:04:18 am »
Ophelia leaned into his touch, some shade of relief on the poor girl’s face. Dear heart might have begun to learn his ways but the princess of the austere castle was still hopelessly trusting. Or, perhaps, she had honestly believed that her performance had earned the forgiveness Kvell had promised. It was unfair that he had put her astride a throne he would spite her for. Ophelia had understood that cruel twist before she’d spent herself on the butler’s wants. She had lost her full grasp of it in her urgency to win him back.

His verbal betrayal laid thick on her heart and slick on her tongue. “S-sir?” she breathed. Ever quick to give him the tears he’d grown fond of, she laid glassy spheres between her lashes. She was blinking rapidly, out of the shock or a vague will to hold in her tears. “Then change me,” she blurted when he drew away from her, fingers hooked into his sleeve like he might run from her. He took her gift and she felt he snagged her lifeline with it. Unwrapped with an idle motion and caught between his teeth.

Ophelia would have been a luckier soul had she the sense to look in on herself and digest the things she was feeding to them both. Some sad puppet begging to be made real without an eye for the consequence, as if the ache on her ribs had faded away. It wasn’t so, but that she’d learned so many deeper wounds in the last week she would have cried for joy if he’d only asked she submit for a new contract.

She gasped when he kissed her, choking on the shreds he pressed into her mouth, but unwilling to recoil. Something starved. She did shrink away when he hurled his abuses. Master of the bladed word more so than the lash, and he had proven skilled with that. Ophelia had grown up under the weight of verbal rebuke as the highest punishment. A gentle raising turned against her on her brother’s bloody lips and she couldn’t see it. “Forever?” she asked, and she wasn’t sure if she ought to sing or sob. She was loyal to her promises and loyal to her god, but there had been sanctuary in an end to all of this. Not for want of leaving Oleander; she had convinced herself there was no other home left for her ravaged maidenhood. Rather, she had contrived a dream that this was all a test with some finite end. Perhaps if she learned to love him, he would be a sweeter prince on the thirty-first day.

His forever was a prophecy that played that fantasy keenly false. And yet, malleable saint to his personal religion, any forever was better than the thought of him turning her away. “Okay, tell me, please. Let me fix it.” Ophelia said. As if there could have been a woman less suited for what she was tasked. He must have known it when he commanded and, if he did not, he would have learned quickly with the pale of her face. Her lower lip trembled and the tears she had kept carefully in the fine web of her lashes spilled over in bright streams on the alabaster skin.

“If—if you will forgive me then…” she was gasping, as if she’d already done their sweetly dedicated servant some awful ill. “I will. I will try.” She stuttered. Ophelia wore her heart too plainly on her pretty lips, her ashen cheeks. “I will try.” She repeated, to conjure determination in herself as much as to inform her beastly brother. Ophelia looked away from him, to the steadfast rooster without his plume, and let out a strangled and miserable little sob. “I will try.” And she struggled to her feet and staggered back toward him without another look at Kvell. She might have feared whatever satisfaction he might wear and what that might do to her resolve. The man accused her of fault in her loyalty, and yet she protected whatever hope there was in her to love him with a fierceness that might have even inspired Ansa.

“Nathan,” she whimpered when was close enough to reach for him, clinging to his arm with concerning abandon. But Brandston wasn’t daft and he would surely see the way her wide bister eyes begged him for forgiveness even as she tried on a smile. She was crying, still, for all that effort. If Ophelia had felt Nathan was cruel for loving her, she should have added the deepest sort of hypocrisy to her list of self-imposed sins. She visibly flinched when he asked what the master had said and would not answer until they had left the library.

“He—he said that he would forgive me.” She said. It wasn’t a lie, but she felt foul for saying it. Ophelia’s expression was a thin mask, sniffling as she attempted to swallow back her tears. “He said he just… needed more time alone…” she mumbled. As if Nathan didn’t know his master better. Whether he could anticipate the sort of awfulness she’d committed herself to hardly mattered. It had inspired her to be untruthful to him when she had confided in him but days before. All of it was betrayal, then, whether she was capable of achieving anything more insidious. Ophelia was truly miserable. Faithful girl cast into an endless spiral of begging for forgiveness, but perhaps it was what would please Kvell the most.

“I’m sorry. I don’t deserve your friendship.” She laughed helplessly, a sudden giddy welling up in a growing hysteria. “I don’t know how to do any of this.” Ophelia tangled her fingers in her hair. “I don’t want to hurt anybody.” If she had been a cleverer girl, she might have begged him to run away with her. To deliver her from Oleander. Instead she hung tightly to his arm. “Take me anywhere. I’m an awful person, but I need you right now.”

Ophelia had learned deceit from the man who had commanded her to it and no more. As she laid herself honestly into the butler’s sympathies with her distress she wondered if he would take her if he was not restrained and if he might feel as betrayed as her brother if she cried Kvell’s name against Nathan’s lips. And then she hated herself more than she’d ever hated herself before. “I-I need you right now, b-because I’m lonely and Kvell won’t be near me. But… but I hate you! Because… because Kvell wouldn’t hate me if it weren’t for you!” she burst out.

She was staring at the butler with such concentration, as if she was willing him to believe her with every fiber of her existence. It wouldn’t be so very hard to play into her pathetic and ill-conceived deceit. But, to cast the decision on him made her the worst sort of villain, of course. Just as she had begged him to help her to their demon prince.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #50 on: September 09, 2016, 05:49:33 pm »
Kvell recorded the symphoricarpo treasure she hung on her framing lashes. It was bitterly clear, from the outside, where Nathan stood, that Ophelia would have found mercy in the brother if she had been a less lovely thing. If she could hide in herself, or be honest in a crude way, spilling other things than the graces her soul had been adorned with, he would have tired. His interest would have been short lived, not even a roll of the moon, and she would have been discarded with wealth and freedom. Instead she was this doll, who gave so much for his little effort. Every squeeze garnered pearls. He was particularly proud of this whim, and she gave a particularly haunting reward. Change her, he would. The deer: take my hind legs.

And she was eager, too. Ansa had said those words, but they had been a demand, an order. Ansa would have liked to be a bone tree with organ crown, if he’d only indulged them both. He was not that category of evil. A pointed shadow on the rightmost corner of his mouth. But he was an evil that would play with the love already shining in a pearly clean sister’s soul. “Forever.” He promised, truly a god speaking of gifts the pious couldn’t begin to comprehend. A forever ended yesterday. Few forevers stay intact. What a show of strength, and the need of it, when she promised to give all her efforts toward his forgiveness. Nathan was staring back when she turned. There had never been a less convincing predator than she. Kvell leaned into the hair she’d turned, and gave it the love of his face’s caress. Heat of her scalp that he fanned with two breaths. Was this the scent of her courage? “Try hard. He’ll not resist you. Every trick will work if you commit fully. Maybe you'll like it.” He said before she stood and took the walk back. If she believed, it could be so.

Kvell stroked the mask in his lap, and squeezed the red fabric as she made distance between them to become closer with Nathan. This didn’t grate on the prince very much now, because she was doing his bidding, all for his absolution. The last stain of blood fell victim to his tongue. He held the peeled parcel to his mouth and tore off another helping. Well-fed dragon.

The rooster was not so fortunate, but he was dutiful. He abandoned his waiting pose to extend toward her when she came. When she hung on him, the other arm came around her quickly. Kvell had wounded her again. Nathan knew he’d feel guilty at any set-back, but foreshadowing is not the same as suffering. What she felt was his fault, even though she’d wanted to come. In her eyes, the truth as lush as any spoken story. Another task from the Sir. What now, Kvell? He put the sentiment in his eyes when he looked over her, back at the master. You have hurt something dear to me, brother. Kvell had already returned to his book. Then he shook his head at the request written with golden letter on her brown eyes. “Nothing. It’s nothing.” He assured her, whatever it was that weighted her. Had he known the full truth, he would have given her the same answer. Dependable man. He took her from the flesh-eating spirit, sitting content.

She didn’t tell him something true when they walked. He barely heard the little lies, because he listened to her mood. All he received was distress, so all he could think to do was comfort. If he confessed to himself, he would say it was good to have her close. She was more present now after she’d gotten to meet their tormentor. It was something he’d not seen when he’d tried to entertain, and her mind had been away in the pit Kvell prepared for her. And he felt a bit the hero, bringing them from that pretty, parchment lined cave. He was not so bad as to whip her for sport, or roll her in thorns for her whimpers, but he was mesmerized by this Ophelia, sobbing in Kvell’s wake. If the infatuation slowed, he would have been ashamed. Most male souls lean toward what Kvell was, but not so far as the carnivore prince.

“He said something awful, didn’t he?” Kvell taking time alone for his sensibilities? He was the kind to halve others for imagined slights. Nathan held her hand harder, and wished it didn’t feel so good. He didn’t realize he stopped when she laughed. His cheeks colored for her animation. What contradiction had Kvell fed her, to have this reaction? She was frightening, because of the attachment she made him feel. Suddenly incomplete, if he couldn’t have and love her. And she wasn’t even bursting toward him. She was blooming every way, using too much of herself to survive the season. “you deserve so much more.” He breathed in response, and wasn’t sure she could hear when she tugged at her rosy, unmade tresses. For a moment he wanted to have the dark artistry that Kvell possessed to render something like Ophelia like this. He was just about to figure out what it must mean, that she didn’t want to bring harm to anyone, when she said she needed him. If she’d asked him plainly in that voice, he would have given her his heart to mangle, even.

The sympathy that ached in tandem with her distress mixed into something unfamiliar when it diluted itself in the love and want she was raising in him. Then she flared again, acting out in an obvious way, though the shaking did come from something real. What she said could be true enough, she certainly had enough passion afterward, playing a game she didn’t understand, but then why was it so important that he believe her? Those kind of things are spoken to be either forgiven or punished. Their content of truth, and perceived truth should not be in question. Hate him, did she? Nathan stepped into her, where they’d halted and she’d turned. He held her hard to his chest. She was warm from tears and it made her scent deeper, thicker. At least her mission was clear to him. Wretched Oleander son.

“When I was upset, Amma, a nurse long gone from this manor,” and this world. “would make me tea with honey and milk. I still have her recipe.” He said. He didn’t mean to be condescending, she had tried hard, but he’d rather not be untruthful to the girl who had taken his love without meaning to. He wiped her tears, as much of them would fit on his thumbs, and then brought her along. He didn’t wonder how his calm would make her feel. Would it soothe her, the way he intended, or would it be frustrating, his patience? Her task had not been to take refuge into his manners. He’d proven to be a harder obstacle, now.

On their way, he tapped a simple but rather large wardrobe. Clearly it was the one he’d promised her. Nathan didn’t stop. If kvell remained who he was, and wanted the same things as he always had, there would be enough tears on those clothes without needing to add to them now. After walking another while, they stopped at an equally simple door in the wall. He apologized for the lack of splendor with a crooked set on his mouth. “Used to be a maid’s station here, but we had it remade into a place I could sleep.” His home, then. “I prefer to be in the middle of things.” He informed her when he unlocked the door.

Nathan hadn’t collected artifacts and art over centuries of affluence. It was a home that had the essentials. A piece of modest modern inside this well planned museum. A sitting room sharing place with a kitchen wall. He bid her to the chair that faced a couch as he made his way to the sink. Good lighting in here. A bit sparse for center pieces, but there were pictures, bare, without frames and glass. Nathan liked to hold his memories. On a drawer, there was a photograph of himself, taken by himself, with Kvell lounging in a muddy field. It must have been after an inelegant dismount from the horse that was even further back. Humor in the air, and in the sir’s attempt at seeming unaffected by the mishap.

He took from the plants by the window in front of the faucet. The leaves floated prettily in the white liquid. The cup was worn. He did not entertain often, but his manner of serving was excellent, of course. His form might seem out of place here, even. Bowl of sugars, two colors. In fact, in the light that he freely invited into his chambers, he was a serene image. None of Kvell’s shadows. An unshakable truth. It was a bit of the world will, that the green leaf in her cup was shaped like a heart, and that he’d given it to her. Naïve as the inexperienced are, no one could doubt Nathan Brandston loved Ophelia.

He sat on the couch and looked at her, posture always open. “The milk is sweet, but you’re free to add.” The fingers in a wave toward the sugars. So, there he was, a gentle assortment of screaming weaknesses for her, only her. She would only have to ask herself what deceit she’d drag him through. His body, right there in the white cushions, because he’d willingly oblige, or his heart, that she perhaps knew better. An honest conversation would be enough. The truth, of how easily she could be his, and how much Kvell had swallowed her up instead. Paint the circumstances in crimson colors until he told her to stop. Or something carnal, that would be more surgical, perhaps more merciful, but unknown. Had she learned enough of herself and from Kvell to apply?

“What can I do for you, Ophelia?” he asked, worried, but at ease in his own territory. Desperate too, to lift her mood. He did not feel threatened by her mission, as she’d exposed it without meaning to. He was, foolishly, cavalier for himself, because not even Nathan anticipated what weapons love lends the loved. It might be clear to Ophelia, what Kvell had said. Commit. Maybe you'll like it.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #51 on: September 15, 2016, 06:45:24 pm »
Ophelia gasped when he pulled her into an understanding embrace she hadn’t wanted. She thought to struggle, and tried briefly to wriggle away, but gave in when he was determined. “Wait, but, I said I hate you. I said—“ she hiccupped and tottered along with him. He was ignoring her, she thought. How unfair. “Nathan, I said it’s your fault and I hate you. What are you doing?” frustrated demand. Like she could have been spoiled, if the request weren’t pitiful.

His room was no so far from the library that she had the time to protest much. It seemed that he would not have cared overly even if she had. Ophelia’s cheeks burned hotly. She hadn’t ever been opposed like this, because she’d never really pursued much in her life worth opposing. Her wants had always been modest and her intentions acceptably genuine. Ophelia had not tasted rebellion before and certainly not its counterpoint. “Stop it!” she stamped her bare foot when he opened his door. Mother’s recipes be damned. She didn’t want his warm comforts. If he had determined to be her ally in this place, he was ruining it now.

But she was brought into his lived in spaces and it was modest and clean, appropriate to the nature she’d come to expect from him. Ophelia let herself be swept along in his plans, aghast as she was, and it was evident that Nathan was not so different from Kvell if they reflected honestly. Both men might have loved her with different strokes, bitter or sweet, but she was a doll in the hands of grown men toward either end.

She looked cross, or confused, when he handed her the cup. She peered into the soft fanning steam, breathing deeply, and was momentarily caught in the comfort of this place and this act. Ophelia set the cup down on a small table, hard. “Mr. Brandston you must stop.” She said, tongue thick. “Kvell won’t forgive me if you do this kind of thing.” And she might have believed it was all his fault, then. Never mind the cruelty of lukewarm rejection. There had been many men cast into that trap by girls disingenuous with their own hearts. I just don’t want to hurt you. I really do care. Hope, because she was herself a hopeful creature. But suffering promised at every turn. If you really love her, you will persist. The princess climbing eagerly into the dragon’s mouth. But it’s a spell. You, the hero, will win her if you endure.

If the things she said were bitter, the tea was pleasantly sweet when she took the cup back up off the table. Ophelia was prettily sullen when she went to add more sugar. Enough of that and she might be rotten. She was weak, largely because she had not learned fortitude in these matters. It leant to wretched behavior, twisted right. She might be worse because she couldn’t possibly intend to be so awful. But even the gentlest Oleander daughter had limits to her patience. Easily frustrated because she did, in fact, care. Ill-fated butler.

She set the cup down again. Ophelia had understood Kvell had forced betrayal on himself, before, by her body. And she wasn’t so dumb to think Nathan had hated it. He’d been immensely clear to the contrary. It made her angry, a first flash, that he had not fallen to her early deceit. She was sure it would have hurt them both less if he’d been compliant. “You know that, too, don’t you?” she said, and the dark, copper coin eyes wore an unfairly wounded expression. “Why would you bring me here if you know?” A genuine query.

“You shouldn’t have come, the other night. If you hadn’t come into the room he wouldn’t have made me do such unfair things.” Ophelia stood from the chair she’d been occupying and went to where he had settled on the couch. “Are you trying to torture me too?” a sudden sharp giggle. She’d begun to tremble. It was as if nobody really listened to her in this godforsaken manor. Kvell, who had never promised to, and Nathan, whose sweetness was only further tribulation. It was good she had stepped away from her warm milk. Surely she would have toppled that cup and scalded herself with her rising tide of audacity.

It was a changed woman, as if he hadn’t realized she’d been changed, that placed herself astride him then. Stared him in the eye and began to cry. Mad tears. “Really, Nathan, is this what you want? You know. You know he’ll hate me.” Vulgar girl. “I—I want to hate you for that!” she said, and it was a bit more honest. She was holding onto his shoulders, knees against the back of the couch, her hair falling around them both. “I have promises to keep and he’s my brother.” Ophelia said. Like she believed it.

“You tell me how this is going to go. How much you want this to hurt.” And the anger was burnt out because she was unaccustomed to holding that kind of taste in her mouth. She was a sad, sweet thing then. Vulnerable, hunted girl in his lap like he was the worst kind of man. Terrible because there was no question that she had been made for Kvell to break in ways Ansa never had been. “We can have this ridiculous thing you want and I can tell you I’d love you in another life, because you’re sweet and kind.” She kissed him hard then.

“But I’ll have to hate you for it and you know that. Because of your Master and mine.” She grabbed his hand and pressed it firmly against her ribs then, where Kvell’s contract was. Surely he hadn’t forgotten it, when she’d been placed bare over him to witness.     

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #52 on: September 16, 2016, 04:59:08 pm »
Without real malice it was hard for Nathan to fully enjoy what the girl exuded on their way to his rooms. But not impossible. She was adorable, cut off from the stream of upset she thought she'd dug out. So much color on her when her foot made a clap on the floor. He tried to remain the calm rooster that offered her everything he could give. But his despair was not hers, not yet, so he could not serve it up as she wanted. Even this hurt him. It was a matter of pride to please others, the way he lived his life. Was his understanding expression farther grating on her? Should he be disingenuous?

He wasn't far from regretting his decision to give her a cup of boiling hot bespoke when she seemed so outside of herself. A relief to himself and the intact porcelain when it sat on the table. Relief taken away quickly, like particulates meeting loud winds, when she took Kvell back between them. He wanted to ask her, so she would ask herself, why it was impossible to live without Kvell's forgiveness. A new comfort for him, who bit his tongue, when she took more sweet to the drink he'd offered. Sweet tooth in sweet mouth.

But the accusation he couldn't absorb so easily, not even when she wrapped it in a question. Because he saw she wasn't acting, wasn't building something. She truly wondered what the reason could be for bringing her here, since she though it could not solely be to help her. "I know I saw you hurt. I know you were trying to feel better. I know that tea." he said. The gesture was meant to be a little unfolding of his hands, the way he'd point out paintings and wooden details and good, curious things. It became a flick instead, and it had more power than he intended. Was she upsetting him? Well, it was upsetting for her to doubt him, when he'd already allowed her to practice her claws on him that she might be a emissary for Kvell's broken sense of entitlement.

"Ophelia." he held on to the couch, the cushion offering resistance but his squeeze was too determined. He did not want to hear her speak ill of the night they'd been together. Knowing she'd not felt the same as he was enough, he'd suffered that clarity, but he was not going to stand for the blame, because believing he was at fault was too close to his heart, already. He held the words that would set her right when she stood, and shook his head as though he knew the next thing she said would hurt him. "I would never torture you." Why was his voice so strong on this? It was silenced by her giggle, a delicate sound bringing havoc. She was unraveling in all the ways she should not. He wanted to gather her up from the floor and weave her back together.

Nathan shrunk into the support of the back of the couch when she had her legs by his sides again. She felt like some great calamity, who'd never promised to be as gentle as her packaging seemed. Still, it is hard to treat a dagger poorly, with a flower on its tip. Nathan Brandston could not willingly toss Ophelia Oleander to the floor. His head shook again, like some lost wanderer at the growling clouds. Did he secretly, deeply, wish for her to be at odds with Kvell by showing her kindness? Was his heart so cunning? Hers was an effective deceit, finally, and none of them knew fully, yet. If the ones that are kind find their kindness poisoned, what are they then? Sitting down still, he'd lost his footing.

Kvell had wanted this for Ophelia.

"Must you keep such promises?" he asked the tempest in his lap. Must you talk of him as though he is absolute? She was darkly drawing, but full of spikes. He'd not known she could be this, but she had not changed the way a coin changes with a turn. Somehow this was still the orphan girl, but more. Other. He didn't want her to hurt at all, and he was going to shout it at her. Silly woman, to believe that! But she became her soft again. Perhaps that was worse. It made his stomach churn, his righteousness spin back at his own heart. He cried into her lips when she offered them. Down his chin and onto her dress. Proof that she'd done well. Proof she could take back to their master. The butler wanted it back, and clawed at her clothing for it. But that molestation wasn't nearly enough to dry up the truth. He took refuge deeper into their kiss, and thought it tasted like desire, on her part, because that was what he wanted to find. Perhaps if he could show her the act could be loving he'd win her over. She'd not known his touch, only his lust. The sentiment warmed him toward that dream.

When she held his hand to her, where he knew she carried the inky branding that made her truly someone else's, Nathan shook his head a third time. She said the same things she'd told him from the very start. Something had to shift for his hope, but nothing would. She wouldn't let it. "Just believe in me the way you believe in him!" he begged. He couldn't retreat any more, only cry, so his arm extended to give him the distance he needed, so her feelings wouldn't snuff him. Unintentional men are still strong. Perhaps some frustration in there that felt a lot like wrath. She could land on the floor or over the table. She could even fall onto its edge in an unfortunate way. If there was a mar it could be fuel for her accusations. At the moment he did not have the forethought. He would be devastated if he hurt her, of course, scrambling to collect her, and whispering denial that he was this man.

With all this ruckus, as though her distress and her acting upon it in such a thespian way had given off a perfume that he could follow, their looming shadow knocked on the door. It could have been any knuckles tapping any short song, but it also could not be, the way it sounded uncaring but insistent. "Go away!" Nathan would call from whichever state he'd be, above her, against her. Kvell would not enter because of that, but such patience came from an assumption that he would still be let in by the girl.

What a petty, pretty scene he would lay out for both of them, if she went against Nathan's wishes and came. It was her distant and cruel, selfish brother, after all, who'd made the effort to come. Perhaps because of her. Wasn't that all she wanted, such approval? And in the door frame he would dote on her distress, and take what report she'd like to give, see the proof, be it moist of tears or blood. But his satisfaction would be written on Nathan's face instead, that rooster in shambles. Feathers in disarray because he'd fallen for Ophelia's honest ruse, somehow.

How much Kvell would enjoy kissing her forehead, gentle as she’d not gotten form him, and wrap his arms around her. Hand in that hair, too long. “Schh, little sister.” A dear whisper. He needed to reward obedience, and she’d not had this kind of treat before. A delay in his caress, cheek to hers, because he was channeling sadness at her hurt. “He hurt you?” low but Nathan could hear. “You’re a good girl, though. Don’t worry.” If there was any scratch or cut he could see, he would drag his tongue over it. “But you hurt him, too.” Praise. Her head to him, held close, so she could benefit from his steady as he looked at Nathan, frozen by the sitting area. No, Nathan. You have hurt something precious to me. Kvell would only have begun, too. After all, Nathan had not gotten to watch Ophelia with another, yet, not the way Kvell had. “Is there any other place he touched you?” he’d ask, tugging at a her dress with intent. Ophelia wasn’t in tune with the uses of her beauty, but perhaps she understood there is visible deceit, too. She could tattle on Nathan, and show privacies he’d accidentally graced or not at all, to play along with her brother. Kvell would dance her into a turn, that she would be facing the rooster. If she did not start ridding of her dress in her new found ballistic madness, he would wander down her neck with his lips, and free her from the cloth himself.

Of course, if Nathan’s rejection of his role in her suffering in the pursuit of his own kindness had instead rendered her unable to flit to the door, the butler would be livid. He would hang Ophelia, unmoving on his arms and call for Kvell loudly, scared. And the brother would come in like a storm between mountains, stealing her quickly from the ill-fitted playmate and bring her away to the infirmary. The sir would be angry because of worry, and Nathan would feel cold, following, guilt poisoning his posture. Every time he’d try to see her, touch her over Kvell’s shoulder, the master would make a sound or move faster. The sir would try the salts first to wake her up, on the bed that only Ansa had laid on. And then he would backhand Nathan before checking vitals, fast becoming undone from memories of how the first sister had been lost to harsh games, as well.

Nathan would be inconsolable, finally praying low to the brother. Because he’d have to believe.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #53 on: September 19, 2016, 01:19:10 am »
She was a sort of reckless the Ophelia of a week ago would not have recognized. Trying on sins she had no skill in and making them more dreadful and pretty because of it. Ophelia felt the wet salt drip from his chin and felt shame and triumph. If this were the sort of thing Kvell had thought she might like, he was deeply mistaken. She wanted him to take back those tears, too, and did not protest the way he grabbed at her dress.

“But you are torturing now, like I am torturing you,” she said and was gasping and laughing again. Bewildered, shaken breaths that tasted like a little hysteria. “And I don’t have a choice, but you do. My promises are written.” She told him, and pushed his fingertips harder into the bruised places on her ribs. Ophelia made herself whimper and was sure she deserved that much punishment, at least.

“I do believe in you, Nathan Brandston. That’s why you torture me. Same as the Master.” Like she was a servant in this house. Ophelia was not surprised by his tears, nor her own. She had not expected him to push her away, though. But then, he had been bound to her bed last she was placed astride him. There was nothing holding her now. Ophelia had not compensated for such a shove, though, and went toppling from him with wide eyes and a deeper wound. Was it selfish that she did not try to break her own fall?

She hit the edge of the table and slumped to the floor. China doll. China cups unseated. A clatter and crash and the milky tea stained the table like blood. Porcelain shards falling and another edge to her tear-streaked face, above the brow, milky skin staining with blood. Big fat drops, first, deep crimson for her lashes, and then a heavier stream as head wounds are accustomed. Ophelia blinked at him, groggy, red cracks on the doll’s face. She’d bumped her head hard, too. It happens, when it’s unexpected.

She blinked at her rooster without his plume, lips catching rust, and tried one of those sad smiles on for him. They were his now, it seemed, quite exclusively. “Did it work then? Have I betrayed you?” she asked quietly. “Does that mean he’ll come for me?” It was well that she wasn’t so very hurt as to require a panic, but the injury was such that it felt tragic and grave. Perhaps it was too much of their hearts, then, raw and split, that had fallen. Like a good demon prince, his knock was well timed. A tolling bell for whatever scene had died there.

Ophelia frowned, but was dizzy and unsure to move. The fine cut above her eye continued to bleed, eager wells of rosy slick, and the way it smelled made her feel faint. When he came to her, swept her up, she took her smile away from Nathan and gave it to Kvell. “I tried,” she mumbled, head falling against his chest. He should not have been what brought her comfort, and yet this evening was precisely opposed to what it should have been. Nathan to injure her and Kvell to console her. It was her own fault, of course. She’d been looking for this. But Oleander Manor still made no sense.

As he carried her to the infirmary to address the happy wound on her pale face, she slipped into unconsciousness on the way. Half exhaustion and half the throbbing ache she’d earned from the corner of the table. Perhaps her slumber was worrisome to the men. She would not wake for the smelling salts, but her vitals would read robustly. Nothing to fear. None the less, she would not wake for dinner nor through the whole night.

When it was finally time for her to stir, the next morning, she would not know to expect her own bed or the infirmary. Or Nathan’s quarters or Kvell’s. If she was alone, she would be frightened and wonder if she had been left abandoned by both brother and butler. If she had company, it was not unlikely that she would begin to cry. Relief, or frustration, or a cocktail of misplaced emotions. 

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #54 on: September 19, 2016, 08:07:07 pm »
Nathan was wounded about what she said, with her still on him. Was he the only free agent in this game? She, with her religious attachment to a dark figure. And the unmovable deity himself. Brandston couldn’t bring himself to believe it. There had to be more for him than the endless task of cushioning Kvell’s cruelty. She hurt him the most when she did not believe in her own choice. Or maybe that was the depth of her devotion. Perhaps such devotion should tell the butler something about his possible role in all this. And it should show him his heart, as well, when it darkened with desire, not for her to be cured of such ability to worship, but that her subject change. If he were to argue for the quality of his soul, he might have said that she’d offered no other affection, perhaps she was capable of no other, and that he’d rather have that than none. A pang in the bottom of his stomach reached to tug at his diaphragm with want. Perhaps his hand that had shot out, into the contract she insist he touch, had been to reject the notion that she believed in him. How could it possibly be so when she’d given all her faith’s gold away? Insult, not comfort, if she’d meant it at all. How cathartic it felt to indulge in the impulse. His first taste of violence mingled with delight. This time it was unintentional, reactive.

She was pretty in a way he tried not to see when she toppled. The panic grew with the generosity of the wound. But he also felt attached to the blood, because he’d drawn it on her lovely face. So fixed was he at her and the emotions she showed with her delicate sit on the floor, by the table with its milky blood, that it took a few moments for his worry to win and push him into action. Again the head of staff shook his head. No! You most certainly have not betrayed me. But he didn’t believe it, or he believed that he was the betrayer, here, and the doubt conjured their common demon. Nathan saw the large beauty hurry over, like a shadow grows from the corner when you drop a candle.

The supposed kind man reached for Ophelia and her blood, that he might wipe it for her finally, but Kvell lifted her with the same speed. The butler’s hand was always a few lashes away from the raspberry luxury he’d spilled. Kvell wore such judgment on his noble details that it made Nathan want to shrink or attack. If he stood with hard, justified intent, he followed with a heavy conscience.

Kvell carried her easily, and nodded at her. She wasn’t some Machiavellian creature, she only knew how to do harm to others if she mirrored it in herself. Fortunate for her Nathan harbored exactly the kind of adoration that would make that an effort effective. “And you did well.” The darkness whispered onto the gossiping cut, giving her ruby secrets onto her face. Swiftly all three made it to the sick bed. She was fast away, in her slumber, and Nathan mourned her, sitting by the bed while Kvell saw what he could do, which in the end was only confirm her state. Even the reaches of the master’s malice weren’t enough to leave Nathan how he was. Kvell touched his shoulder, the back of his neck. “To be honest, Nathan, do you really think this is something? I could think you’ve been blind, raising Ansa and me, if you’ve not seen worse.” Little comfort, but Nathan wasn’t used to much.

“And what will you do now, then, when you’ve driven her to me, so she could be hurt, so I could be hurt?” the lighter being asked, looking bitterly at the lord closing cabinets and licking the red tips of his fingers. Kvell also sampled Nathan’s tone in the air, and thought the chill paired nicely with her salt and iron. Not his favorite, though. His expression gave that much, and it angered the butler. “You’re just going to continue playing with her, aren’t you?”

“Funny you should say. I was going to reward her with a game of little red and the wolf, tomorrow.” Kvell replied, deliberately leaving a little note of her on the corner of his lips when he grinned at his friend. Nathan was lured, and stood quickly, barreling over to take hold of the expensive collars and push Kvell into the wall between cabinets. Kvell laughed and Nathan pulled back to slam him against the wall again.

“You’re going to do nothing of the sort, you sorry bastard.” He hissed and threw his arm toward their sleeping girl, over there. “She’ll put herself in the grave for you, if you play these games. What do you want from her, Kvell?”

Kvell looked with black eyes over at his newest doll. She was peaceful. Then he looked at Nathan, and the grin returned. “I just want her to love me.” It earned the back of his head another forceful visit to the wall.

“She loves you. If she doesn’t tell you it’s because she doesn’t understand it herself.” Nathan let go but only to hurl a curved arm and it’s fist into Kvell’s stomach. Kvell coughed and bent before he rested back on the wall, laughing quietly. “No. You’re going to be kind to her tomorrow. I want to see her happy.” Nathan said. “I’ll wear the mask you want, so you’ll wear one for me. You’ll pretend you’re not a coal souled villain.” He planted another punch just when Kvell lifted his own arm from where the first had landed. The lord almost fell to his knees then, and couldn’t laugh as much. Nathan held him up by the shoulder of his jacket so their eyes could meet. Nathan pointed at him. “You do this or we’re not brothers.” And Kvell awoke from his amusement.

“Alright.” He said and shoved the butler back. He wiped the wrong side of his mouth, spittle, not blood. “Maybe I’ll be a soft, beige host tomorrow for you.”

“For her.”

“But then I want something from you, brother.” The endearment was dragged out, petty. Kvell stood up quickly, the strength in his heritage clear when he swiftly handled Nathan, who struggle out of reflex, all the way to her bed. Kvell locked his friend’s arms behind his back and bent him over their beloved. Kvell controlled the head by holding on to Nathan’s hair. “Look at her. I’ll show you something. We’re speaking fairy tales lately, and I’ll try to make a point.” He said and held the light hair looser. “Give her a kiss.” Nathan tried not to want to, but eventually, in this vice, gave her a soft peck on the lips. Kvell then proceeded to toss Brandston to the floor. “She’s a beauty, and she is sleeping, and you kissed her.” He noted and started moving out. “But she didn’t wake up, did she, princely? She awoke to something when I kissed her. Perhaps you could understand something from this.”

Nathan stayed with her for a few hours until Kvell came back.

-

As Kvell shared the room with no one, he rested his head on his palm while he examined her with alert eyes. Truly she was lovely with a bandage around her head. Her rosy hair complimented the pale gauze so well. “Love me, do you?” he asked the sleeping woman, making her responsible for what Nathan had promised. He drew a line over her lower lip. “Then why did you leave me.” Same conversation they’d had the first time they’d met. With all of nothing for answer, he shrugged out of his jacket and ruffled his hair. The good tailoring served as a blanket for her. There were real comforters for that purpose, here, but he figured Nathan would appreciate the theatrics. Like the demon that he was, he placed an arm over her stomach and fell asleep on it, too, sure to do so with a soft expression.

When morning came, and he woke before her, he blew softly on her chin to beckon her toward the world of the waking, again. He would let her stir, that she might think it was she that had woken him. As with all beauties, Kvell was a soft pleasant in the morning, skin not so taut and lemonade light brimming in the valleys of his handsome. While his eyes could not fade, she could see the details of the fibers tightening the pupils when they opened. Intimate, at this distance. A sleepy blade of hair over one clear eye. Circumstances always conspired to make Kvell more beautiful. “Good morning.” He said and moved up, squeezing her hand. “I wanted to see you, first thing.” He said with a smile he borrowed from a lover that had fallen too deeply in love with him, too fast. A touch caught her cheek and held it for a moment. “How is your head? Any hallucinations?” He laughed, pretending amusement at the thought. It was so bad that he could be so gentle. “What would you like to see if you had any? A softer home, a kinder brother?” he dropped his head, wretched, flawless act, perhaps because he had a well of guilt others imagined for him, that he could gather from. “Maybe today we’ll try for those things.” A fittingly naïve ‘right?’ in his expression.

He was undone in his unrehearsed deceit when she started crying. It should be expected though it wasn’t. He had lead her through quite some hardship, yesterday. Kvell let her have her hands for her eyes, if she need to hide or touch the tears. The brother moved even closer, sat by her and held her after he’d shifted her to sit on his lap. With his current mission, and true affection for her, nothing stopped him from rocking her a little, and kissing her on her bandage. Most of all he wanted to play with the still hot, wet dread on her cheeks. It was his understanding such a thing would not be sympathetic. “Oh, little Ophelia. What a crook I’ve been. You have to forgive me.” He said and put his lips where the wound had been. It was such a piece of art though, his tousled sister making watery pearls in his lap. One arm kept her tightly, while the other petted her side, where the contract was. Perhaps tomorrow, or some day soon, he could cause her to cry again.

Nathan, who had decided to wear the smallest mask he’d been given, and on top of his head – creativity, not a lie – came in with tiers of the same silver pastry, and a silver tray of tea. When he saw Kvell pull back from what must have been a feather soft kiss, Ophelia in his lap, he suddenly realized the risk of this venture. Wouldn’t it be the worst outcome, if Kvell were such a masterful actor today? What if Ophelia thought her life her had changed? What if this farce would hurt her even more, when Kvell returned as he was, tomorrow? Suddenly Nathan wanted the larges mask on, so he could at least show his dread to the inside of it, and wallow in anxiety. Instead he had to act the kind butler, holding breakfast by the side of the threshold. So both her men were false, this morning. Nathan had to bite the tip of his tongue so he wouldn’t come and wipe her tears. Admittedly, the siblings were picturesque like this. Ophelia was cute, morbidly so, with her gauze.

Kvell held her harder when he turned to see Nathan. It would be perfectly unsettling to Brandston to hear Kvell speak with excitement, while his eyes only held mockery, since he was turned away from Ophelia. “Look! It’s Nathan. And he brought treats.” He gave his attention back to Ophelia quickly, and crossed both her hands so he could squeeze them in both of his. “He knew how to be with you, all this time, when I didn’t.” he kissed her knuckles as though he could suck absolution for his vile acts from them. Absolution is cooling and a bit salty. She’d been taught to forgive in the home. Perhaps he could tap in to that. “But I’ll be better, starting today.” And ending today. He propped her up against the bedboard, his jacket still over her legs. Would she notice that this bed, too, had rings? This was Ansa’s infirmary, after all. “These are new.” He said and patted his shoes to the floor which immediately brought Nathan over, laying out the shimmering food for them on the small table. The cups were steaming. The silver of the pastries was a bit duller than what sugared silver dust should have been. “Here.” He’d made sure the bakers had put everything they’d learned she liked in them. It was paramount she like these particular sweets. He would insist if he had to. Not even Nathan knew about this ploy. During the serving of one pretty morsel, he’d include his finger again. This time he’d pretend to be hurt if she bit him, and then laugh to assure her he was not.

If she would have it, Kvell had the intention to take her in a car to the woods. He didn’t mind showing her more of the manor, either. Last time, in the library, she’d not gotten to see much. It was an adventure in its own, leading down to catacombs of books. All of this he promised her. He would let her choose. But first he gave her some time to get changed. He preferred to get out of yesterday’s ensemble, too. During breakfast, she would notice that he’d sneak a peck wherever, and whenever he could, if the small talk allowed for it. Even Nathan couldn’t distinguish his behavior from one truly smitten, and a monster wearing he guise of a lover. Wasn’t Kvell’s foremost weapon that he was both?

Nathan was to follow her back, as he had the right attire already, pushing her in a chair if she was too weak, yet, to walk for herself. If her spirits were high, he would be distressed, holding Kvell’s jacket for her, since she’d inherited it, now. The corridors were light when his conscience wasn’t. The lovely he’d tasked himself with protecting would most likely not know what was going on, sans Kvell’s charm. Was he only signing her demise? “Perhaps you should rest today, Ophelia.” He said, smile prepared if she’d look at him. Nathan also had morning beauty. It was hard not to sound as though he was trying to keep brother and sister a part, that he could have her to himself. She could remember how he’d almost foiled her yesterday, with kindness, then. Perhaps that was part of this, today, too. If she suspected he was cunning, he wasn’t sure she’d be entirely wrong. “It’s unusual for Kvell to be this way. Better not trust too much in it. And wouldn’t you feel better if you got some rest? I can get you books and music.” In fact, Nathan would love for a day like this, instead. He could guard her door, and know if Kvell was being nefarious.

Being what he was, he’d have no choice but to follow her toward whatever decision she settled on. And he would make sure he did so, even if his advice caused some sourness now.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #55 on: September 29, 2016, 03:30:22 am »
Ophelia made a production of expressions when she woke to Kvell’s newly gentle expression. First fear because she expected a trick, then relief because she was not alone, then something altogether lovely and tearful when his tone suggested that she had earned her forgiveness at last. Fat, overwhelmed tears. If it had not been for how perfectly disheveled, bandaged and sleep-tousled, she was her crying might have bordered on unseemly. She sniffled and hiccupped and trembled, falling so eagerly into his him when he held her with her fists to her glittering wet lashes.

“A-anything you want,” she sobbed of his plea for forgiveness. Like it hadn’t occurred to her to make him work for it the way she’d been made to work for the same. That kind of thinking would have required her to consider it was a dishonest opine from the Master’s lips though, and Ophelia was at least five times as good at lying to herself as she was at lying to anyone else. “I’m just s-so happy,” more hiccups. Because you have forgiven me. And she looked at him with her wide, docile, doe eyes and he could have been the world.

When Nathan came, the infirmary spell was cracked, if not broken. She glanced at him, and looked briefly ashamed to have him see her such a way. Ophelia might have made it plenty clear that she had chosen her brother over a more suitable lover, but she admitted her fondness for the butler and that had been true. She was not the kind of cruel that Kvell was, to enjoy parading their morning closeness in Mr. Brandston’s face.

It was bewildering to her to hear the way Kvell spoke now, promising her the sweetness Nathan had offered so naturally. She didn’t know what to make of it, because she had not thought it was acceptable to see the Oleander Prince in such a light. Like it might be an insult to the beautiful demon. It was certainly not that the idea displeased her; for whatever new inclinations Kvell had begun to impress upon her she was a naturally gentle spirit. She stared at her rooster without his plume and it was a question. Ought she believe the lovely things from their Kvell’s tongue? He must know, she thought. Would he feel guilty if he played along with Kvell’s pretend?

Ophelia did not wait to see Nathan’s responding expression for long, giving in to a simple happiness when Kvell fussed over her to help her into a comfortable position. She felt a bit like a doll then and was not opposed to it. She had not changed so much in the last week, either, that she was beyond being delighted by an offering of sweets. Her tears had dried and she pressed her palms to her cheeks. “They are beautiful!” she gasped, and looked between the men appreciatively. Ophelia did not know what shimmering silver sweets ought to look like and could not have known to be dissatisfied with them in any way. Or concerned.

She fell easily to the trick with his finger, again, silly girl that she was. The small shock was quickly overridden by Kvell’s theatrics, which earned him frantic fussing from the girl who had bled for him day after day. When she did realize he had tricked her, she blushed in embarrassment because she felt she had been foolish. Ansa would have been a lovely sort of sullen. She probably would have made a point of biting down on Kvell’s finger the next time, too. For her part, Ophelia was exceptionally dainty with the rest of the pastries, just in case.

When her brother suggested a trip into the woods, she became excited. In her defense, curious aspects of such a suggestion aside, she had not had the opportunity to leave the grounds of the manor since she had arrived. While she had not considered thoroughly whether she should want to leave, either now or at the termination of their contract, she was understandably enthusiastic for the change of pace. She remained happy and blushing for the duration of their breakfast, taking her sweets and light kisses with equal delight. Ophelia might not have understood that she loved her brother already, but she had learned that the alternative to his affections was a terrifyingly cold rejection that had nearly left her breathless.

Ophelia was insistent upon walking back to the room, though she did not seem entirely steady on her feet. Her wound had not been exceptionally bad, but she had bled profusely. Beyond that, it had resulted in her skipping supper the night before. When she and Nathan were alone, she smiled softly for him. “Thank you, Nathan. I’m truly sorry for yesterday. I was cruel. I probably deserved this,” she said, light fingertips to her gauzy circlet. “But I think that maybe Kvell has actually forgiven me. Maybe, because I tried hard, we’re closer now. Don’t you think? It would be nice to rest, but maybe it’s good that I go with him if the mood is so nice like this, no?” she asked him. Too much hope in that voice. She must have realized it too, because she cleared her throat and looked away. “I mean, that is… well I… don’t want to be hurtful to you. But I’m happy too, right now.” She said carefully.

They had reached her room though, and she did not stay with him in the hall to hear options for amending that state. Ophelia did not wish to be hurtful to him, but part of her knew she would be. It wasn’t something she was proud of and she preferred not to linger on it. That alone made her feel a bit dirtier, because she was again taking advantage of Mr. Brandston’s kindness. “You don’t have to answer me when I ask questions like that. It was thoughtless of me. I’m sorry.” She apologized again and then went into Ansa’s room and shut the door behind her.

It might have been fate that she selected a scarlet dress, simple in design and made of a rich but unembellished velvet. The collar of the little gown was such that it enhanced the modest provision of her chest in a rather 18th century fashion, feminine and lovely. The full skirt fell above her knees, as Ansa’s dresses seemed designed almost exclusively for. The whole thing would have looked sweet and vaguely antique if it weren’t for the modern leather harness that had been paired with the bodice. It wove an intricate pattern across her, meeting at junctions with silver rings that echoed the hoops on Ansa’s bed. A black lace shawl softened what the leather had given an edge and she was a fine embodiment of Oleander manor itself, caught in the refined space of old money with modern injection.

 She stepped back out of her room to where she was sure Nathan was still waiting and twirled once for him on her bare toes. Ophelia had done her hair up into a high ponytail that swirled around her shoulders when she spun. “Do you think he’ll like it on me? Do you?” she asked. “I thought maybe it wouldn’t suit me like it suited her.” She smiled at the butler again. “Maybe this evening… if you have books you recommend, that would be really nice.” She said. An honest gesture because he was not the only one concerned he had offended.

Nonetheless, she was eager to be on her way back to her presently docile Wolf; Little Red with the black cape. When she was brought back to Kvell, she was quick to go to his side and to keep a very polite degree of space between herself and Mr. Brandston when they approached. She was still trying hard. If Kvell didn’t notice it, there was no doubt that Nathan would.   


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #56 on: September 29, 2016, 07:00:51 pm »
Her brother was not immune to her charm the way a monster ought. He enjoyed her tears, and fully submerged his heart in the crying that she treated him to, in his lap. He was even able to take in her suffering, its size clear by the effects of its absence, her hiccuping celebration. But he ate it, and ran it between a particular organ that lies between the soul and the body. He did not make her suffering his own. What a delightful doll, dancing when he whistled, always soaring above his expectations. If he’d thought her lovely had been to her determent before, he was growing certain it would be a crucial part of her destruction, now. Anything you want. Happy. What scrumptious music, Ophelia.

When the rooster came, Kvell challenged him, when Ophelia looked to the honest man for answers. The brother made sure Nathan’s eyes fell away before they could say too much. If she saw that, it might as well have been discretion. For all that she knew, it could have been butler’s proper, even. In the dark, you’re blind, and today Kvell was providing a blindfold and making Nathan tie it taut. Kvell went on to be disproportionately delighted by her appetite for the silver treasures, and all but purred when she fussed over his finger. He wanted to hurt himself badly, cut parts off, maybe, for that kind of care. It would be the most agreeable thing he could do for her love, he though, and wagered quietly that Nathan might agree. Kvell saw her off as though he lived in the infirmary. There was no doubt that he would be gone later.

Nathan was left to deal with her unreasonably elevated spirit. His discontent should smolder just beneath her attention, as though he was debating whether to put out a fire that insisted it wanted to burn. He wanted to caress around the wound he’d given her, too, when she brought her own fingers to it. “It is I who have been cruel. I did that to you. I’m so sorry.” Vibrato. His chest continued to rot when she, with her logic learned from the world outside, hoped that her efforts might be matched with Kvell’s favor. Perhaps if her brother wasn’t such a demon in these matters. It pleased Kvell to see her in pain, and on this walk, it was painful to Nathan to see her so happy. “Not at all.” Was all he had for her when she apologized and went inside Lady Ansa’s room.

While waiting he resigned himself to witnessing her fate. There were many days left, he said to his inner ear, even if this day rippled with badness, he should be able to help her overcome it, and his own guilt at the same time, with diligence. There was strength in his spine and his trademark kindness for her on his face when she opened the door. But then her lovely, mingled with the taut and salty flavor that red and black and skin brings to a man’s tongue, made his lower lip lax with horror for an unattended moment. How carelessly she spun, so unlike Ansa despite being her copy, that he barely thought of the resemblance at all. Attitude is everything. He felt her destiny was steering her, then, to have dressed so close to the playmate Kvell had really wanted, today. “You mustn't…” he said, unguarded tongue, before he somehow took his wits back and pulled at her cape to bring it closed around her. “c-catch cold.” He said. “But today looks warm enough.” Save this girl. Because she will not save herself. “And of course he’ll like you.” That much was true, too true. What predator doesn’t like things clad in blood? He only nodded about the books. Evening seemed like such a journey away.

Kvell had also changed. Hair back, without the rouge strands in front or at the sides, and gray workwear trousers, never used. Shirt of darkest blue underneath black jacket. Black gloves and black boots. He looked with surprise to Nathan after having seen Ophelia’s choice of attire. Where the brother stood, holding the door to the car, he welcomed them. “Why, this is hardly fair, my lady.” He said and kissed her hand after having spun her, the skirt lifting enough to make the butler look away. “But I do enjoy temptation like this.” He continued and drew his gloved finger over her cheek. “You mustn’t blame me later for sitting close, though.” As though sitting close was the way Kvell courted things he wanted.

After helping her in, he teased Nathan about her wear, and Nathan assured their master that she’d somehow picked it all herself. “Ah. Even better.” Kvell said for her to hear when he got in. Maybe it sounded to her as though Kvell, with his light tone, was trying to lift Nathan’s mood, too. Nathan replaced the driver, as Kvell had suspected he would, and they were on their way. He did sit close, after the gloves came off. In fact, he crowded her, and wouldn’t stop until she was nestled between himself and the door. He wasn’t shy about the fact that this was his design, as his eyes did not leave her for the entire plot.

“So, Ophelia, did you always shimmer like this?” he asked, playful, as he lowered his forehead to touch hers exactly where the cut wasn’t. It so happened they were right in the angle of Nathan’s mirror, as well. “Or are you wearing fairy dust for me, so I’ll let you return to your life as a forest nymph?” Whimsical, because beasts are. “I don’t think I’ll allow it, though.” Hand on her corset, pushing so she’d feel additional pressure on her stomach, wedge her further into the seat. Intimate, possessive. With the green shadows distorting and passing his face from outside their glass, he might be a more agreeable form of forest monster, then. Perfect lure. “You make your brother quite gluttonous.” Would she know all of these were compliments? Surely, if she listened to the tone, she would suspect, at least. Greed is a compliment to the gold. All sins are like that. Her knowledge of what a brother should be, and what she should want from one, had become irrevocably askew, anyway. Fortunate for her, in some sense, that today’s cruelties were only a menu of delights. Or so the ill contained beast thought.

Nathan knew where to take them. Ansa didn’t like this clearing. It had grass instead of wooden chips, it had soft earth where there could be sharp rocks. It was a perfect barefoot paradise that she’d not wanted when Kvell presented it to her. But Ophelia was not pretty because she was mad. She was simply just pretty. “Ah, here.” Kvell said, having imposed himself on her, his lips touching hers as he spoke. “Your beauty wasn’t in time to spoil me before we arrived.” He said and opened her door, fully aware that she’d spill out, pressed like this. With one hand latched over the back of the leather she’d rested on, and the other arm a quick hook around her waist, he caught her before she could land on the ground. They were both hanging out of the car now. “Clumsy.” Me, you.

With elegance mine-money could afford its nobility, he stepped out of the car with her still against him, which of course was made endlessly more intimate with the prohibition of her undergarments. Then he walked around the vehicle to add sway into her, that he could open the trunk and bring along a basket larger than she’d seen, so far. He put her down because he had to, eventually, but kept her hand. “I’ve designed these parts myself.” He bragged, throwing his arm at the forest around them. Flowers growing through some trees, strangely intact bodies of water. Rocks that weren’t native. “It’ll be good for your feet.” He said and let go of her hand.

It was now her job to explore, and his to carry the basket after her. He had information for her, about inspiration, and how some of the flowerbeds were originally planted to mirror the constellations above, but those seeds had their own life, and the lilies meant to make the stars and the foregetmenots playing the part of the black sky were too unruly for their gardener. Now they were simply vanilla and viola buffets siren calling from their diffuse puddles. She would find that some of the rocks were smooth and perfect heights for her to sit or lay on. If Nathan had been allowed to come, he would have tried to keep her away from them, if Kvell lingered close. Whichever path she chose, eventually she’d find herself at a spring. Fog suggesting heat. It was as well meant in its conception as it had become nefarious, now.

This place was riddled with traps. Vines hung like curtains from some trees - his wealth had bought nature itself - and some trunks were wound with chains. Their shallow rust made it all the more romantic industrial. He dropped the basket. “Here seems like a good place.” he said, as though she’d found this place for them, and had not been led here by the world he’d designed. “We should play, since you make me so full of games.” He said and took out a small pastry, immortalized in amber, from the basket. But he’d made a promise to Nathan. “Today is not the day you try the big game. But I think you’re ready for some lighter tomfoolery, at least.” He said and tossed it to her. His familiarity during their walk had carefully loosened her cape, and he knew the outwear would fall off her if her arms lifted to secure the clear, gold treasure he’d sent in an arc through the air for her.

If she didn’t understand already, the loss of his jacket and his menacing crouch should make the game rather plain. He would set after her, making sure to miss on his first leap, so she’d know to flee. A man like Kvell could be menacing in the forest for a slight, barefooted girl. But he wasn’t roaring or snarling. A few huffs, animalistic enough, when she twisted out of his reach. He wanted her entertained, he wanted her laughing. He’d catch her, sometimes, loosely, that she could escape, barely, to keep her breath in her throat and her adrenaline plentiful. But eventually, he would capture her fully, and tickle her. Kvell was this bad creature, never mind a promise. So he’d tickle her for glee first, and then attended to her ribs and pits and neck and thighs until she couldn’t breathe, until there were tears for the distress that comes with too much of this stimulation and lack of breath. And then he’d kiss her better, and push her on her feet again.

In the end the vines would take her, like web waiting for a young dragonfly. They had tasted Oleander twin blood before. They were eager to dig into her skin as their cousins had done in the labyrinth. He had designed them so, placed them for such purpose. If she had not stuck with her arms up, he would pretend to try and get her loose, pretend at failure,  until he’d hung her arms together above her head, her feet lifted above the forest floor to make her just the right height for him. It was a very cruel way of suspending someone, but it was one of his favorites, because of it. Nymph indeed, betrayed by the forest. To think he still considered this kindness, a dear outing.

“Scchhh, little fawn, or the vines will bleed you more.” He said and carefully, finally, pried the preserved sweet out of her hand and put it in his pocket. They would not go to grand ma-ma. “I win.” He declared and kissed her softly, hand on her waist to squeeze at her corset again. “We can’t get you lose, the thorns are in love with you, too. But if we can make your blood run faster they won’t be able to hold on.” Thinly veiled. He kissed her a little more, a bit oppressive, a bit of truth about the monster that he was. As though it was a normal staple of love-making, he locked fingers around her throat. She still had room inside for oxygen in, out. She simply needed to learn love should be severe.

He played with her with his other hand, the way he’d learned she liked. Lips on hers, on her face, on her ear. He caressed the blood at the thorns, her skin there, and drew that hand over his own lips. He sampled her like this until his mouth was smeared with his real image. How did he taste when he kissed her, now? It was unfair to Nathan, Kvell’s knowledge of her body, his knowledge of the act. And he proceeded to wash that first time out of her memory, loving her against the suspension of thorns with freedom an accuracy Nathan had not had. If she struggled it’d make it sweeter for both. She must learn to take pain and pleasure, and confuse them, and adore them.

It was rather theatrical, her crimson, the forest frame, the dark brother. Without intending to, he’d directed and made quite the image for Nathan’s heartbreak. He’d followed, tame rooster in the woods, and watched from a distance with a corroding heart, while the other man gave her pleasure he’d not been allowed to give. Unfair to say the least. But worse if she, from where she hung and took her brother, saw him, because he’d not be able to move, stricken by lust and dread equally.

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #57 on: October 02, 2016, 04:40:32 am »
Ophelia giggled a little when Nathan fussed over the cold. “It’s warm, Silly. But thank you for worrying.” She told him. She was happy because he’d said that Kvell would like her like this. She was happier because Nathan still seemed to care for her in spite of her effort. “I hope you’re right. I tried to pick something that he would like.” She said. She had not realized that it suited her to look like an angel, because it gave her brother a reason to insight her fall. However, she did seem to have begun to grasp that Kvell did not have a true sweetness without a bit of edge. Poetic with her velvet and leather.

The girl was beaming like a proud school girl when Kvell seemed to approve. Nathan had said he would, so she thought he must not be pretending. It made her a bit more certain that she had been forgiven, and the blush she gave him when he told her she was tempting was only half out of her delicate manner. The rest was the thrill of success. She was laughing when he twirled her and did not take the time to worry for her modesty. If she had, she might have given Nathan the sort of look that would make his heart ache.

She was sweetly eager to hear his praise and beamed at Nathan when the butler had told him that she had picked her clothes herself. How lovely of him to work in her favor that way. Nathan was such a good man. He must like to see Kvell happy too, despite their differences. Ophelia scooted over in the seat to make room for her brother but found there was hardly a need. He had his intentions and made them quite clear, pressing her near the door like a conspiring lover. She was as rosy as her hair. “I wouldn’t try to leave. I promised that I would not.” Ophelia told him with some seriousness. She was not of the mind to be misunderstood, whimsy aside.

The poor girl was unfortunately suited to delighting Kvell regardless of her behavior, whether she realized it or not. She trembled for him then, and it was lovely in their close quarters. His lips were so very close and he looked so very handsome. She had been seduced by him before and not understood it. It was a new kind of spark to realize it now. “Is it very wrong of me that it makes me happy to hear it?” she asked him of his gluttony. “I know it isn’t supposed to be that way between siblings.” In a low voice because she felt a bit like she was confessing. It wasn’t so quiet that Nathan would be unable to hear.

Ophelia would have been better suited to have known herself a good deal better, before she went to Oleander manor. To have learned the difference between a desire to please and this sort of attraction. Perhaps it was by design that those things were becoming inseparable in her head. The more she fell into that rabbit hole, of course, the further she’d fall from Nathan. The butler must realize there wasn’t all too much time left to save her, or find himself a new place in their peculiar triad. Indulge darker pleasures. Learn to like hunting the way Kvell did.

She squirmed when he kissed her, but not to get away. It was instead a rather endearing exercise in restraint, because she was eager to find further approval and would have happily thrown her soul into his passion if he’d asked for it there in the back seat of the car. It was only a small sort of luck that the drive was not too long and they reached her enchanted playground quickly.

Ophelia did tumble from the car with a small gasp and flailed for the moment before Kvell caught her. It was the sort of thing she would have interpreted readily as Nathan’s deftness, which was unfortunately innocent. She was quickly reminded it was Kvell that had kept her from falling though, when he pulled her close and made her feel lewd for having fallen in the first place. What a terrible girl she was. But the forest was beautiful here and she was willing to be spellbound by the superficial loveliness of it as quickly as she had been taken by her brother. She did not see the ulterior motive of the hungry vines and thought the chains looked like jewelry.

She wandered among the flowers like she belonged there, stooping to run her fingers over petals which looked exceptionally soft or bright. “This place is positively magical,” she breathed, looked back at Kvell with a brilliant smile. It might very well have been that the previous days had not occurred at all and Kvell had always been a good prince.

Ophelia wriggled her toes in the grass and continued on, peeking now and again at the basket her brother carried. She was curious, but refrained from asking. It was likely a function of a demure disposition but it might have been the fear of something within that could break her happy spell. Regardless, she looked adorably nervous when Kvell decided they had found an appropriate place to stop. She could have been content wandering the flowers all day, if he’d not said something. That nervousness turned quickly to startle when he sent the golden treat sailing her way. She jumped for it with her hands up, shawl fluttering away like she was some emergent butterfly. When she had clasped the pastry in her hands, sweetness on her fingertips, she took a satisfied breath and made to show Kvell.

It was then that she realized this had the design of a different game and her mouth made a delightful round as she understood. A good humored shriek when he lunged for her and she went sailing away on spritely feet. She was confident here because the grass had been gentle and she kept the pastry held high like it was the ultimate prize.

The game of tag was believably sweet. She laughed and smiled for him, crying out in delight when he tickled her and struggling to dart off again. Ophelia realized he was more or less letting her go, but it must certainly mean he wished to see her run. So she did, until she was breathless and the vines had snagged and caught her well enough that she was strung up in his verdant web. Chest heaving and cheeks flushed, she blinked at him from where she was tethered and did not seem to mind the little pricking thorns that kept her there. “I’m stuck, will you help me down?” she asked him with a smile. How utterly unbelievably naïve she was, to think he’d had any other plans but to leave her there.

When he closed in on her and sang about his scheming vines, her bright eyes grew wide and she thought briefly to struggle. It only confirmed that he was correct and the little insults to her dress and uncovered skin would become more severe if she pulled. However, if Ophelia had intentions to become worried over her circumstance, his kisses assuaged it. This was not so very different from the labyrinth then, and somehow that memory had become gentle in the wake of the past days. Would he be delighted by the way she moaned when he closed his hand around her throat?

Sweet girl was delectable in her dichotomy. The expression she wore was so very unsuited to her brother’s games. This was an innocent heart, raised by good women of the cloth. But the sounds those sinful lips made begged him to consider her a harlot. His fingers played the chords to make her sing and she had no recourse to silence it. She was still breathless and tingling from his game of tag. Somehow there was less shame in this, when he possessed her. Her sighs were pleasure and relief. He should have loved her like this the first time and she might not have betrayed them both. She had offered this when he’d laid her on Nathan and bastardized her sacrifice. Whatever part of her still needed atonement, she thought to find it in this. But the vines drew blood and she found pain when her hips sought pleasure. It made tears sting her eyes and it made for an unfairly provocative image. The little nymph in the forest, pink from the chase with slick lips and slick cheeks and huffs of breath that strained her bodice.

Ophelia felt rather outside herself then, bewildered by her own eagerness and aching with the desire to reach for release. She bit hard on her lip and had the sense to be ashamed of herself even as she arched for the pain and his pleasure. This was the sort of god he was after all, wasn’t it? Somewhere in the midst of her sweet singing she caught a glimpse past her brother’s shoulder and met the gaze of her loyal rooster, there in the trees. It pressed her shame into full view and she gasped with the wave of guilt that his stare brought crashing over her. She cried out, stare still captured by the man beyond, and felt Kvell bring her over the edge.   


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #58 on: October 02, 2016, 04:59:50 pm »
Nathan had every intention of staying where he was, parked. He didn't fear for her life or safety. Kvell had made it know what kind of game he was going to play, today. Better not look for punishment. It was enough to have seen her so happy, through the mirror in the car, with Kvell so inappropriately smitten. Those cracks in Nathan's heart longed to be tended to, with him leaned to the hood of the car, waiting. And he'd not even heard her little confession to her brother in the backseat, and how Kvell had answered that her happiness over his unbrotherly desire was the most godly thing a sister could feel. But in the forest the butler thought he heard her screams dying everywhere, her bones breaking in every twig. So he had to go. Hero's valor in scout's act.

Of course, her brother, when she asked, strung up, already had every intention of upsetting her nerves and overwhelming them and then take her down, but then, upon her request, he thought to have his way and then leave her for the night, hung up and blood scented, to see how he'd find her on the next morning, and what beasts she might be speaking of. A promise would not allow it, and he didn't mourn that imagery long, when her moans drew him in. That hand made tighter acquaintance with her windpipe when she divulged she'd developed a taste. How much fun he would have with this later.

It was strangely entrancing to listen to her sounds, and see her writhe. She was not discovering as much as she was experiencing, anymore. He wanted to see where her new line was, how much further he could push her until finding the limit of this hunger. A new precipice where her pleasure would find agony, again. But that was her brother of every other day. Today his scheme of antics had been written by another lover. So he fed love into her hips, harder and harder, which shook her and invited the thorns deeper into her shallow vessels. What a fall of red she became.

He, who was trying on a place that had Ansa's texture and slick, but a new way of hugging him, was also loosing himself into their moment. Trained lover that he was, he knew what to play at, and simply sought it in the hanging fruit he'd put into the vines himself. He'd denied both Ophelia and Nathan what followed next, when she fell to pleasure, and he was deep. It was the zenith of what should not happen between those with identical blood, but he still let it, and marked her intimately, with boiling signature. So nothing would be lacking in this one tryst.

He kissed her wet cheek and let himself be himself, to nurture and pamper the lie, as he unsheathed cruelly from her. The dress would not fall back, complicated into the bodice as it had become, and he took two steps back to admire his work. Opehelia, newly loved, with her arms together, above herself, hanging in the conspiring vines. She'd proven to take so very well to physicality. Did he look proud, then, and would she feel accomplished, warmed by those dark eyes?

"See?" he said and touched her cheek to record her expression onto his fingertips. "I love you so much." And the caress ran from her jaw to her neck and down between her softnessess until he could hook his thumb into one of the bridges that laced the corset into its tightness. "You needn't worry." Though I prefer you do. Love doesn't save anyone. Acts of love does. He pulled downward, which - they knew now - would serve to cut her arm worse, not release her. Thirsty vines.

After enjoying her for some time, until some blood was cold and other had become dark and hard, he came to her again, lifting her out of the hold of the forest he'd planned, and corrected the dress, finally. Kiss on her nose and laughter for her ear. He'd chased her and then he'd tupped her, she would be as tired as Ansa would have been, only Ophelia did not have the strength of beautiful madness to invigorate her again. He placed the surviving sister on a blanket by the spring and lifted the lid of the basket.

Glimmering treats for her. Even the small sandwiches were dusted in gray. It would have been a pretty theme, until he placed his own morsels beside hers. His were white breads, dark fillings. Stark contrast. And, of course, the waxed paper unfolding with noise and holding the treasure of cubes and long cuts for his carnivorous tastes. He winked at her when he placed meat on his tongue. How natural for the prince, to eat what looked like pray rather than meat, out here among the trees.

With blood-painted fingers he also made sure she had her fill of mercury food. Some of it was only just covered in the metallic powder, holding the flavors of what was underneath, mostly, while other things were deliberately a bit dry because of the presence of the too-subtle-to-be spice. He might love it, too, since her arms might be too bullied to be of use anyway. Not that there was any question that Ophelia should always eat from the master's hands if he was present.

Nathan, who had dealt with his lust and left it marking his hiding place, thought it looked like a natural occurrence, crimson armed girl with the well-tailored darkness. Yes. It seemed like a very rare but not impossible encounter of a mythical animal, or a woodland female, interacting with the human owner of the trees. Like there must be piece between industry and nature, lest nature be farther abused. The rooster that was not a rooster as much as she was a nymph, still breathed faster from the care he'd given himself upon seeing Ophelia taken, moved carefully to keep her in his view. She'd seen him, too, when she was critical.

Kvell moved behind her on the blanket, and started with the corset. He had a few tricks, and he pulled violently sometimes, but it came loose quickly. He would help her off with the dress if she had found lethargy in fatigue, if she'd found fatigue, at all. Tomorrow, perhaps, she would know what it truly meant to wear this outfit. But then, he would wear something too, and no longer be bound by a promise his fowl brother had forced between them. He kissed her shoulder and started to undo the hair at the top of her head. It had some of the forest in it, and it was endlessly fitting. He needed to see her natural, out here.

"Into the water you go." he said and took off his boots, finally. He'd stayed almost entirely dressed, even with her against the vines. Now, no socks, and rolled trousers, almost up to his knees. He did not know if she could swim, but of course wouldn't let her drown if she did not. Perhaps he'd take a while though, if that was the case. Would she even go, if she didn't see the bottom in the milky water? A few waves of his hand, and surely she would, anyway. He wanted to see her blood turn the milky rosy. It would be good for the cuts, but mostly it was for the image of his nymph stirring the waters with herself. This part of the forest was starved for human ruby life.

"If a soul such as mine would have come to your Home." he started, feet submerged from where he sat on a rock perfectly placed and shaped, by the water. "And it was sorry, for some reason or the other." he continued, lifting a foot to have the water drain between the toes. "What treatment would you have offered for my sins?" Prayer, probably. They would not have said his forgiveness laid in indulging all the dark things he wanted. They would not have given him the pretties they had for him to cut and bleed and play with. Houses tended to protect their purest, even if other things suffered because of it.

There was no regret in the man, increasingly a boy, where he sat. But Kvell was always looking for new points of view. He'd only found his current one by testing himself and Ansa, after all.

Nathan, who was growing insane in his silence, could think of a few things he would like to teach the Sir that no one else had the gull to. He wondered if it hadn't just been better to throw the son of Oleander right into the fire from the start, that his coming atrocities could start to be cleansed. Nathan kept eyes on the beautiful Ophelia, and tried not to have so much darkness in his heart for the want. He had wanted to court her, write her letters, find flowers for her borrowed room. Now he fought not to think which of Kvell's things he'd rather do to her, too.

Perhaps that was why Homes did not give out their Ophelias to men.

VenomousEve

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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #59 on: October 13, 2016, 07:47:45 pm »
She trembled and winced when the thorns cut her deeper, but her nerves held their breath for the pleasure trailing behind. There had rarely been pain in this manor without equal measures of ecstasy. A gasp when she reached his fullness and hers. Ophelia had done well then, she thought, if he had been moved to engage her this way. She had been cast to his butler with the scraps of her virginity, but she was not Nathan’s garden. This was how she’d been intended to blossom, under her brother’s caress. Strung in the vines, it did not strike her as anything but truth. Even still, she cast glances beyond Kvell’s shoulder to the rooster among the trees.

It was not that she was dissatisfied her lover, it was quite the opposite. In that moment that her body was Kvell’s and her eyes were Nathan’s, she felt a sort of intimacy with both men she’d not grasped before. That sort of enlightenment might have sparked the first recognition of a budding love for her brother, who had shown her this strange scarlet world. She was warmed by that tiny flame and smiled sweetly for him when he stepped back to look her over. “Am I good enough?” she asked him. Timidity was gently swayed into a desire to please. She was blushing again, a new embarrassment born out of eagerness rather than shame.

When he told her that he loved her she heard forgiveness more than affection, because it was what her guilty heart desired most. However, his forgiveness had not once been cheap in this kingdom and she became fretful the moment he said she needn’t worry. Ophelia trust him, but her trust in Kvell’s judgement did not speak for faith in her own ability to perform. She had been, by most accounts, innocent to this point. To enjoy his butler’s company was not a crime under conventional rules. Ophelia had not yet determined all of Kvell’s rules; only that she would do best to flourish in his selfishness as any other sun would be made to scorch her.

Ophelia was becoming noticeably anxious when he finally stepped back to her. She had not learned to appreciate his gaze, unseen as children in the Home had been.  When the Sisters watched carefully it was not generally a good thing. Besides, after his initial sweet, she was quick to recall his propensity for tartness in all things. The vines were eager to remind her of that. There was pleasure only at cost here. It crossed her mind that he might intend to leave her there, and she wondered what sort of sacrifice that would make her.

But he did take her down from the verdant snares. Though there might have been gentler ways to wrest her free, it would have hurt none the less. Ophelia had not developed Ansa’s propensity of directing her cries into harshly bitten lips, so she was honest when she yelped as he took her down from her spiny ribbons. She had been suspended for some time and chased before that, so it was not terribly surprising that she stumbled when her feet touched the ground. Kvell was kind to her though and helped her fix Ansa’s dress. If she tried, it was easy to believe they were good siblings raised together. Doting brother and clumsy sister out for a picnic by the lake. She was willing to invest in that fantasy, even, though she wasn’t sure where to place the soreness between her thighs in that dream work. Ophelia breathed deeply and settled on the blanket. It wouldn’t be Kvell if she didn’t feel this way, because she’d not known her brother without the games. Best, then, not to fantasize too much.

She took the treats he fed to her like it was an act of obedience rather than a personal desire, though the way her nose wrinkled and her dimples showed said the sandwiches and sweets were a delight as usual. Ophelia noticed that her foods were in contrast to Kvell’s and it was only against his dark morsels and stained fingers that she thought to ask. “What makes them shimmer so nicely?” she asked him with the sort of tone that expected a delightful answer. Like fairy dust. She had become less aware of him with the sting of the brambles fading from her cuts to a dull ache. Ophelia could believe he was benign. She was tired, too. Woman in her prime, but she was still fresh to his whims and was both physically and mentally exhausted by the life of Oleander manor.

When he made to undress her, she did not protest. She did, however, attempt to cover herself with her hands and the pile of fabric once it had been taken off her. It was in her charm to be bashful each time when Ansa had been beautifully brazen. Ophelia set aside her small modesties when he sent her off toward the pale water, remembering how lovely baths felt on superficial wounds. In that some relish the cold for the searing flow of heat that breaks it, she was learning to accept the injustices to her body for the aftermath.

Fitting of the brother to ask her about godly things when she was a pagan thing of the forest then. Her hair caught the low sun as it danced through the trees and set a rosy halo bright around her face, even as the tails of those strands became dark swimming serpents in the water. She was confident to enter, submerging herself t her shoulders. At the Home, she’d liked summers the best because the public pool offered free passes to the children. Ophelia fancied herself a fairly strong swimmer for all the hot days she’d spent splashing in chlorinated delight.

She floated around to face him, the mermaiden and her seductive human prince. Ophelia smiled and buoyed herself up to stretch out on her back. The water swirled and stole its own pink halo from the freshest marks on her skin. A pretty face and the soft feminine sweeps of her extended shape peeked above the cloudy pool. Would Nathan find it better to watch or turn away, having seen so much of this outing already. Ophelia wasn’t thinking of the steadfast servant then. She was thinking about her brother’s soul and her own. A pity, maybe, that it was in this sort of moment that she was most beautiful. Considering the gravity of sin and salvation and the darker paths she had been drawn to wander she was a star twinkling in the night. Couched in Nathan’s sweetness she might only ever be a flower among prettiness. Lost.

“I might have tried to help you find the goodness in yourself. I would have gone with you to pray. But redemption isn’t something we find for each other. You must seek it yourself. I think that the path there might be something quite personal.” She offered. Her own voice sounded distant to her submerged ears. Ophelia wondered why it was easy to say to him, this man that had lived in a castle of impurity, when she could not picture herself returning to the Home with her new burdens. She thought there might be something to say about how far she’d fallen. If Kvell had been raised to know a different love, perhaps there was nothing he needed forgiven. She, who had been guided by the good Sisters, had no reason to think she could be pardoned.

“If I had been raised here with you and Ansa, would I have sins to take to the alter?” she asked. Would she have been more like Ansa and her wild demons? The answer seemed like it must be an explicit no. She was too sweet, even as she learned the Oleander tastes. If anything, it was possible Ansa might have killed her. Or, if Ansa had eclipsed her instead, she might have escaped with Nathan marked on her soul rather than Kvell. But Ophelia had made Kvell god because she believed herself entrenched in the sin of finding pleasure. She had no reason to believe she would have been anything but a wicked girl had she grown up behind her family’s walls.

“Is there a different kind of redemption here?” she asked him then, righting herself in the water to stare with a remarkably focused expression. If Kvell was god and redemption was found through prayer, she should know how to pray to Kvell. Ophelia drifted over to him and caught a small spiral of lilies in her hair as she went. Nymph. She looked up at him earnestly from where she floated at the foot of his rocky throne. If she’d known what it was to seduce a man, she might have reached to encourage him into the water with her. But Ophelia did not recognize that want even if her expression did. A chance to find Ophelia’s redemption, then. A passion that burned slower and sweeter than his raging Ansa had.

The sun was setting. Surely, in the peace before the next storm, Nathan might be able to emerge to suggest they make their way home. If he had, instead, found some pleasure in watching her come undone at his Master’s hand he might witness it carried out on her own terms and a gentler hand.