Ash and Roar [Fin] Read 11395 times


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #60 on: October 14, 2016, 04:41:58 pm »
What could he say, looking at the fruit that grows from nectar flowers, hanging by her veins and skin, when she asked him if she was good enough? A Kvell she’d learned to know, a real creature in history and action, would have shaken his head – hopefully with some favoritism in his eyes – and told her no, how could you possibly be good enough?, but he was not that Kvell now. He was a designed brother that indulged only when it fit with the image another man, hidden, said to uphold. You’re only bleeding for me, you’ve only prayed to me, given your life – how could that ever be enough? Your hips aren't trained and the inside of your belly doesn't welcome me home yet. You don't ask me to continue with worried eyes while breathing something that sounds like a plea for me to stop. She heard none of that. Instead a gasp, pain in the whistle of the powerful throat. He did shake his head, but at himself, and her doubt. “You are better than good enough.” He’d heard it in a song somewhere. Then he harvested his sister, and she gave him what Ophelia always did, little gems with her voice. How honest. That music lost in sweetness to the sight of her trying her bare feet on the ground again, and failing. What if tomorrow he cut all the tendons in her legs and didn’t tell her?

Sitting down, taking food, he found some peace. Calm was not something the last Oleander son searched for, but he didn’t mind it when it came. It was of very little consequence to him, like a polite breeze, but perhaps his sister did well seeing it in the person who held her fate. A smile, not so calm, stretched his lips, favoring the rightmost corner, when she asked about the color of her treats. It was not a clue when he put a strip of meat on his own tongue and spoke around it, at least not an intentional one. “Love. Let it fill you up, sister. Let the shimmer on the food become your own shimmer.” Small laughter and bloody lips before a lick and a breath brought him back from that candid, contained outburst. His lips were pristine again, when they were set in a smaller formation, focused on feeding and spoiling her.

A kiss on her shoulder for her modesty after she’d let him take her clothes. His cheek against hers insisted she didn’t need to cover up. The water thought otherwise, but it did it well. When she let it hold her up it seemed as though the milky bath was drawing payment out of her cuts for keeping her to the surface. This forest loved the blood of the Oleander sisters. He was sure if she lived here long enough, the trees would give her apples and the moss would keep her warm, but that she would be completely drained in the end, slowly robbed of her inside color until she became white dust dissolving in this pool. He thought it might be a satisfying murder to watch, but there were too many other uses for her instead. The forest would have to find another beauty to love and betray.

He thought of redemption, as she said, quite often. He held it lightly, and tried to lose his ties to it on occasion. It was a precious attachment to the soul, he knew, and he had eyes for it because of that. But he’d find himself without all of the things that he liked more if he should obtain it. “I should like to have it, one day.” And it wasn’t false. If he could collect it and put it in glass, he would. Instead, since redemption would have nothing to do with him, he would redeem himself to himself. A much more rewarding pass-time. “But maybe I am not ready, not deserving.” More fuel to the act he was performing. That was what a good man would say, he assumed. “Wouldn’t that have been a fun adventure, Ophelia and Kvell and the mystery of the lost redemption? You would wear a leather hat and I could carry our luggage.”

What could he do but shake his head at the image of her living in his childhood? He wondered where her place would be in their dynamic. Perhaps her good would infect himself and Ansa, made it harder for them both to blossom, while they in turn purified her of innocence, and elevated the person she could be. To Kvell, any more of Ansa in anyone was to refine them. The silver food. Maybe Ophelia would have become an emissary for both, a voice box, or a means of relief. He could not imagine loving anyone else if Ansa was alive. Therein lay the answer, maybe, that there would be no sin, because there would be no love either. A fantastical lie, instead. “We would have protected you from all sin, baby sister. Ansa and I would have spoiled you and you would have laughed every day.” It was such a waste on such an earnests question. She could blame Nathan, if he’d confess.

She awoke from the water’s spell, and came with clarity from it, at him. Kvell had an expression a more experienced woman would know, anticipating some kind of offering that did not come, which only nurtured the hunger. He should very much like to sample something she initiated herself. Willing mermaid, with her tangled, trailing crown of lilies. Ansa had never swam like this for him. Rather, she would have looked like another category of water tale. While he waited, Ophelia asked a question. He was inspired by her beauty sticking up from the foggy water. Too often she was prey seeking him out. “If there was, would you want it? I feel that you are very redeemable, as I feel I am not.” he took his shirt off. Pearly skin with little silver secrets. He’d known violence too, and with his darkness, wasn’t it completely expected?

Nathan thought she looked like the prettiest debris, with her skin barely parting from the water, in fact, from this distance, the girl and the liquid were inseparable until she was outline by her blood pinking the spring. Her hair was a spectacle, following her and picking up flowery ornament, a tax from the water, for being allowed to host her. What a picture they were, ever superior Kvell, looking down at perfect Ophelia. Nathan whispered for Kvell to stop, released him from the promise he’d forced, but no one heard. Soon the brother was naked, and then he stepped into the pale depths that already surrounded the girl.

“How about I make some redemption for you, sister?” perfect face and hair, leaning against the rock. The head hadn’t touched the water yet. He was also something of the forest, set against the black of the rock. An old creature with youth’s beauty. Perhaps there was horror in the milk beneath his carven torso. Everything was Kvell’s frame. He waited for her to come along, if she wanted. This kind of thing could awaken her to the tension between two people. How a heart could live on those strings. If she wanted to explore him, she may. “Would you know what it feels like?” What if it felt like rigid approval? Or a torrent of spring between them when they moved. Or the sensation of drowning while drinking water, moaning. If she inclined her body either way, or looked into a special room in his eyes, he would either be her hunter, and violently test her skin against the nature that made the edge of this bath, or he could be a board for play, and they could be on the one tongue of sand, a minuscule beach for this milk oasis.

Nathan would see it happen too, knowing full well he wanted to see her with her brother again. But he had no reason to be gentle with himself. He’d be done too fast. And as the siblings swam in the forest in a way they should not, Nathan who had expelled the acute lust from his system once more, would only have the bitterness left. He’d come up from behind his master, swiftly or from a hidden place, to strike him with a rock, while Kvell was still inside Ophelia.

The horror and guilt over the satisfaction of seeing hot blood drip from Kvell's wicked head had the butler on his knees. He couldn't hold on to the rock he'd used, but he could look at Ophelia, trying immediately to dispel whatever accusation he'd find there, or put there in his own mind. "I... he-- it's wasn't real!" he said, pleading with blue eyes. "He's alright, I've seen worse on him." The scars on his chest. More secrets. And Nathan would desperately pull at Kvell's body, that would breathe upon the abuse. He was still pretty, with a beard of blood. A villain waiting for the hero's last stroke. "I told him to be nice to you, and he turned it to deceit!" Nathan continued, frantic as he dragged his master toward the clothes he'd discarded to play with her. "We need to get him back to the car." He'd dressed Kvell before, when he was listless, but today it seemed so much worse. "Please, Ophelia, you have to help." he begged, trying to get the tailored trousers on the wet legs. In truth, he thought somewhere in his livid mind that he wanted her to help him, that he could start being familiar with her again, and have a sign that she didn't think he was a monster. "I did something terrible."

The spring finally had its first drops of brother blood.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #61 on: October 22, 2016, 04:25:30 am »
There were novels dedicated to the awakening of a woman. Awakening like lighting a fire in the dark. Kvell and Nathan might have given her the tinder but it was Ophelia that struck her own spark. A god asking for forgiveness and his apostle at his feet. She would not have been able to distinguish for whom this was redemption and from where it might come. He came down to her, as natural as she, to stir the milky waters. Her hands were trembling, but her gaze was steady dark like miles of autumn evening sky.

Ophelia’s temptation blossomed because she was restraint in milky skin and apple lips. How awful when she was gentle, horribly gentle, as she kissed him. Kvell, an overwhelming wave, was her perfect antithesis. This was careful, unpracticed, self-conscious. A fan of lace in a dark void, she moved like she needed permission and was tripping over her own audacity. It was getting late. The swollen sun was a ripe fruit bowing low and it cast a bloody brilliance over her pool-darkened tresses. This brother of hers had explored her and marked her with his god hands but she had not reached back like this before. This was purpose in feather light caresses. She ran the back of her hand along his jaw, breath caught on her tongue. Romantic girl had believed his story, that unbelievable fantasy for a sweeter Ansa and more innocent Kvell.

“Is it ok if I…?” she trailed off, fingers running over his chest as she caught his chin between her lips. She drifted closer to him, soft skin and a wreath of lilies, her body’s heat playing some music with the cool water that rushed against him. Ophelia peered at him through long lashes. “I’m sorry I don’t know what to do to please you.” She said. She had been at the mercy of his skillful hands and he had found his own pleasures in his games. Ophelia’s efforts were sincere, but unpracticed. But she was earnest where she was lacking in experience, drawing on the way he had moved against her and climbed his own zenith within her.

Ansa had not cared to please, hungrily extracting her own desires from every provocation. Kvell had been her respite, whether or not she had ever been his. Tumultuous and uninhibited lover, that lost sister was a ghost against him now, with too-long hair and the illusions cast by the water on his skin. Ophelia was brilliant when she was suffering, but this glow was warm still. She pulled him by the wrist to entreat him out into the water with her, still stirring thin clouds of pink to lap at his shoulders. She was smiling. If he’d not known her for her naivety it would have been a simple pretend that she was a siren and he a hapless sailor.

She swam with him, drifting back to offer sweet kisses for his cheeks and brow every so often, until her toes found sand again and she was pulling him onto the small and lonely beach in their opalescent ocean. On the damp shore she hung herself over him and wrapped her arms about his neck. If her brother would allow them to tumble she would seem pleased, as if she had anticipated this outcome regardless of his participation. Cute, because it was unreasonable. Ophelia played out her first seduction like a fairy tale.

She would press herself astride him, cautious at first, and a hesitation as if she thought he might refuse her. If there was none to stop her, she would find the rhythm that most affected his breath and give herself to it with soft gasps and wet lips. Ophelia had intentions of service in this, it was apparent, in the way her own pleasure cast surprise in her eyes and quickened the eager of her hips. When her own offerings to the Master had sent her spiraling toward her own peaking moans, she found herself beneath him, limbs splayed in a pretty disarray.

When Nathan came up behind him and the rock struck his skull, Ophelia did not understand it. She saw the way his expression changed and the blankness there as he was cast forward onto her, his own red spilling in the violent way of head wounds. She had seen him wear borrowed vermillion, but never his own. When she did register that he had been attacked, she shrieked, and then clapped her hands across her mouth when she saw Nathan above them. The night made the rooster more sinister than she had ever seen him, the desperation in his stare unable to shake the way Kvell’s blood had made hers run cold.

“What did you do? Nathan, why?” she was gasping as the butler pulled their prince off of her and out of her. Somehow it was that sudden movement that violated her most. “Seen worse… why… how could you?” it was inevitable that she was crying, bloodied and lovely and unabashed in her nakedness. “There was no deceit!” she defended, because she wished it so more than any other truth. “I—I wanted this! He forgave me.” Ophelia was flushed in the face, frightened and angry. “Stop it! Don’t hurt him like that!” she was scrambling after the two men, horrified that Nathan would drag him so.

She couldn’t understand why he insisted upon dressing Kvell, who she could not tell was conscious or not. Whether it was a product of her own nakedness and the way it had been so often exposed at the manor, or because it simply seemed insensible under the circumstances, she was swatting Nathan’s hands away from him and rushing to cradle Kvell’s wounded head in her lap. “Don’t you have anything to help him?” she demanded. She stared at her loyal rooster as if he were a frustratingly useless stranger. “Isn’t there anything in the car?” Ophelia had grabbed for Kvell’s discarded shirt and was attempting to press the fine cloth to his sopping wound.

They would get him back to the car with a significant amount of combined effort and Ophelia would hold Kvell’s head in her bare lap the full way back to the manor. She stroked his face and watched his lips intently for signs of breath. It was inconceivable to her that he had endured much worse and that Ansa had, on occasion, been certain she could not love him more than when he was in some state that seemed like dying. To Ophelia, this was cataclysmic. That Nathan had had a hand in it, too, was a violent sort of heartbreak. She would not look away from her brother until they arrived at the manor, and even then she would not look at Nathan.

Ophelia remained in the infirmary as dark night settled over the estate. A masked someone—she did not notice who—brought her a thick robe to address her forgotten modesty. Sitting at Kvell’s side, she held fast to his hand. “How could you do such a thing to our Master?” she asked Nathan, and did not understand the fullness of her own question or the things she called her brother.   


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #62 on: October 22, 2016, 08:40:32 pm »
It was a test to Kvell, when he became a figure in the milk with her, to let her swirl in the water by her own decisions. When his nerves awoke underneath her careful play, they immediately laid out all the horrible things he should do. Such an illustrious tint to those images. Instead he had to endure the pleasure of the light caresses, and lean into them without reaching back with clawed hands. His own torture, but it was beautiful to see what kind of creature she was when she was allowed. She was honest the way a reflex is honest, as surprised by her own wading and swimming as he was.

He lifted his chin for her attention and shook his head at her apology. "It's quite pleasant already." he assured her, acting outside the mask Nathan had bartered he wear by being transparent. Better she be encouraged in her innate honesty. He always wanted her without a veil, even if he shackled her sometimes. He laughed softly coming along, arm first, when her hand suggested it around his wrist. Curious brother, heart strangely enticed by her games in the water.

With his broad motions, once their feet could not touch the bottom with their heads still breathing, he petted her as they traversed the smallest sea. The strokes would slow when his fingers rode her spine and drew on her thigh as she came back to offer pecks that he could pay for with satisfied breaths. He followed until they could walk again. The air that had taken in the evening in the absence of their bodies wasn't cold enough to offer more than novelty until they were were on the sand together. And then her brave heat, after her legs framed his. She'd been willing when he played with her during prayer, and hung up on the thorns, but this welcoming was hers completely. The sensation of it had the brother's breath ragged underneath her.

Even this should be better than what she'd been forced to perform atop Nathan. She was prettier now, at least. The bitter memory that he'd directed was soon melted when she found her own pace. What a new thing she was. He had a thought not to participate, and let her run herself exhausted, but she was too enticing, venicine licking at wolven fangs for leisure. It was too much to take, when she brought herself to rapture. He had to show her as well, and chase his own release, so he turned them without violence, part of the dance, so he could make her impression against the sand, too.

He kissed her sweetly, and then deeper, like he had in their labyrinth, when he was moving closer to something fast growing. He thought to be a bit honest and a bit cruel at the same time, and started whispering how much he loved her. How convincing it should be, that he was this kind of man in his heart, after all, when he said it through pleasure's craze. It was an added cruelty that Nathan did not know he'd brought upon the master, when Kvell was not allowed to fulfill. Suddenly, and for a short moment, her beautiful face - always accompanied and encircled by her blushing hair and sand and lilies, all of that pretty Kvell was spoiled with - became sharp as though she was a glass image lit mercilessly from beneath. He didn't know why. The pleasure went away when that image bled into itself, diluted by hurried black. He fell asleep against her, lulled by that rock.

Nathan almost became sick the moment he saw Ophelia's horror. Her little hands on the mouth he'd made large with fear. As he tried to redeem himself by saving Kvell, she said things he couldn't accept. It was killing him very effectively, the way she suffered from Kve'lls slumber and wound. Truly, this had been a mistake. Had he just sewn the two closer in doing this? "He didn't forgive you!" Nathan cried as she defended Kvell's body. She was successful in keeping the butler away since he didn't want to hurt her. His fingers curled as he tried to explain. "He just forgives when he forgets, and he'll only forget you when you bore him, Ophelia." How could any man forgive her, if she was so lovely and loyal with guilt stacked on her dainty back. His stomach upproared when she sat there, holding Kvell's head as though it was her that kept the bones together. Would she be half as kind to him if he fell down?

"We have to return. There is nothing in the car." And why should he mend Kvell here? So they could continue this scene? Surely it must have been written somewhere, such a pretty little drawing, man and the lovely forest nymph. But he thought that he should have done his best to prevent the ride home, when he saw her in the mirror, completely attached to Kvell, and his still features. Was she beautiful because she was so securely fettered to the master? No. He'd thought she was the brightest day, when he'd seen her when she first arrived.

"You have to believe me, Ophelia. He wasn't being sincere..." he tried once during the travel, but he couldn't get her attention.

Sparrow was livid when she stood there by the gurney, waiting for them. She also slapped Nathan's hands once Kvell was on the mobile bed. He answered when she asked what happened. On their way to the infirmary, it was clear that Sparrow was not as distress about the injury as Ophelia, but rather Ophelia's company. Yes. Sparrow knew. She had a different relationship to Kvell's blood. "See what your love does to him, sister?" she hisses so that the leather mask whistled. But Nathan couldn't have that, not when Ophelia was so torn apart by something he'd done, so he begged the little bird to do her mending and leave them be. Moa, behind her mask, made sure he felt truly low for being such a dog to the weakest sister before she left, instruments in the basin and Kve'lls head well wrapped in white bonds.

Nathan would have preferred the volcano that was Sparrow stay, if it could have filtered Ophelia's eyes. Somehow, the injury seemed graver, simply because of how much darkness it brought to her. "I..." he stood by the foot of the bed, shaking his head at her as though it could make her sweet to him again. How could he answer this? Would he tell her that he couldn't see her take such pleasure with Kvell, that she'd not reached with himself, and he couldn't look away either?

"He spoke of playing a particularly deadly game with you." perhaps not lethal, but he wanted her to know he'd protected her. "I couldn't take it, not when you were already hurt from what I did." his hands were granite, shivering by his sides. "Damn it, Ophelia, I'm sorry." Head dropped and shoulders slumped. "I bartered with him, called him brother. For you." She was so lovely, dressed in the blanket and worrying for Kvell. "I told him he had to be kind to you today, I thought that would make you happy." A gesture out, as though the fanning fingers would point out the entire day to her. "Wasn't he strange today?" Already his heart was hurting, for being blunt, but he couldn't stop, not if there was a chance of redemption for him in her eyes. "What brother do you have that acts like that? Laughing and speaking gently? It was only convincing because he sees us normal, soft-hearted, and he imitates! It's like when he makes me wear a rooster's mask, Ophelia. It's like you look like Ansa but you're not!" Tears in his eyes.

Kvell listened to this without protesting. He would not remember a syllable and could not squeeze her hand back. Without dark plots and playful ill-will, his features were softer set. The details did not cling to shadow since the sun and the light wasn't trying to warn her. He was just a sleeping, handsome thing, guilty in the past and surely tomorrow, too, but innocent presently. Might be hard for her to believe Nathan's story, looking down, but it also made sense that the brother he'd let her know could not have been the gentleman at the clearing, today.

Nathan sat beside her, hoping for her absolution, perhaps he was underneath her the same way she'd placed herself underneath Kvell, and prayed to him. He plucked a single, clinging flower from her hair and offered her clothes. He offered her escape too, with a car filled with all things from the mansion she would want, but didn't expect she'd take any of it. Nathan didn't want to soak in the shame, and would eventually leave her with Kvell, unable to see her so worried for a man that wasn't himself.

The night would grow outside until it was immortal for a few hours. It was at this time, when there was mostly darkness in the infirmary, that Sparrow decided to visit Ophelia and the unmoving master. Quiet as her totem, she'd sneak in, wine fumes billowing from her beak. Her soft soles would not give her away before her arms did. From behind she'd throw herself on the pretty sister, wrapping limbs tight around her throat and tear her away from the chair and Kvell, that they could be on the floor together.

"You're not her!" she called, furious and mad. She tried to tear Ophelia's head from her shoulders, and when she couldn't, she would try to climb her and hit her in her perfect face. "I couldn't do anything if he loved Ansa, I could respect her because she was my goddess, too!" What an insane bird. "But then Ansa gave me the gift of her death and Kvell consoled himself with me for a few nights." Her throat fluttered with the words. Fond memories.

If Ophelia struggled - her own arms were not restrained - and took the mask from Moa's face in that effort, a cute right side would see the limited light. Soft cheek and a pointed chin. Blue eye. Sweet, almost childlike if not for the snarling expression. "I grew up here the same as Nathan, did you know? I was here more, even, because I didn't have parents that took me outside." still shadows over the left side. "I played a doll once, with them, and their father scolded me like their own daughter. I was happy." frothy lips. "I was going to be all that Ansa was, if you'd just come a few days later!" Sparrow turned her head and shoved it down in to view. Teeth had raked her, and stolen the apple of her cheek. There was no lower lid for that eye, only lewd, slick flesh. Even her lip was pulled to the side and up, exposing teeth forever.

"I would have gone to hell to wait for him with Ansa, and that would have been the honor of my life." she said with unreasonable pride. She became more violent, but careless. "But then you came and took his attention away again!"


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #63 on: October 23, 2016, 01:15:24 am »
Ophelia began to cry, shaking her head violently when Nathan insisted on tearing through her illusion. She wanted none of it, because Kvell had said he’d loved her and she hadn’t heard anything of his spite from the days before. She stamped a bare foot. “You’re lying!” she said. “Stop talking. Stop saying things like that!” she had let go of Kvell’s hand to clasp her own ears. Childish by any other estimation, but this was a girl with acute and well-held delusions. Kvell had overwhelmed her in a week. He had swallowed her whole. There was no girl in that room who wished to hear Nathan’s reason.

“You’re lying. You wouldn’t do such a thing. You wouldn’t tell him to lie to me.” She told him, staring at him with wide and glistening eyes. Faith in some better goodness the Rooster had failed at. How bitter it should taste. “He’s hurt me before. You didn’t stop him then… you wouldn’t tell him to lie to me now,” she sounded so sure. Defending a butler that suffered the same sort of sickness she’d contracted. A man that would believe wholeheartedly that Kvell was god.

She was shaking. “Why did you do it if it was by your own design? I was happy. I was so happy. Why are you lying to me? Why did you hurt him?” Ophelia stood up, shoving the chair back with a start. Fists clenched, like she intended to beat upon the rooster’s chest. But she was not a violent girl, even when she was so deeply moved. She collapsed back onto the seat and sobbed into her hands. “I was trying… I was trying to be good. I was trying to do something he would like.” She said in strangled gasps.

Ophelia would hear nothing else from him. She was bewildered and frightened, because Nathan had been a constant goodness in the manor that had betrayed her with a stone. She didn’t know what to do with that information, nor how to justify what he’d done. She couldn’t understand it because his explanations felt as false as her own happiness with the day. Somehow this was her fault. Nathan had never hurt Kvell in games of the Master’s design. It was that she had tried on some courage and acted so boldly. If she had not been so desperate to hold her brother’s attention, perhaps he would have noticed the strike before it had happened. She made no move to acknowledge any of Nathan’s efforts, face hidden against her palms. When he finally left and she was alone, she had already forgotten that she had been upset with him; in the manner that was so very true to herself, Ophelia had quietly shouldered the blame. A distinctly self-sacrificing sort of absolution, whether it was what Nathan had hoped for or not. 

It dawned on her, like a creeping decay. Nathan was close to Kvell, which meant she should have been following Nathan’s rules too. Nathan had asked her if she had wanted to stay in the manor and she had refused. She had offended him, then, and he had punished her with Kvell. Just like Kvell had punished her with Nathan. They were different, and not so. Ophelia’s sobs quieted. “I’m so sorry,” she said to Kvell in the silence, and reached to stroke his bandaged brow. “This was my fault.” She told the sleeping brother. “I wanted to make you happy, but I made another mistake. I have to keep Mr. Brandston happy too, so he won’t hurt you. Just like I need to keep you happy so that you won’t hurt him.” She said with a curious calm. There was some peace in understanding what had transpired. She was no longer frightened because she was confused.

Ophelia sat with her hands folded in her lap, watching her brother prince sleep. He could not be a demon with a face like that. Everything had happened for a reason. Girls who sin are punished. And Kvell was god and Nathan his right hand. If Nathan was unhappy, surely Kvell could not be either. What a thoughtful Master that made Kvell. And that Nathan was so concerned for Kvell’s happiness too: what a good servant. She had made such a mess. Ophelia recalled the photo in Nathan’s quarters. Brothers, Nathan had said.

And then Moa toppled her to the floor. Ophelia cried out and grabbed at the arms around her throat, writhing when Moa took the upper hand. She was not able to avoid the blow to her cheek, which would blossom violet petals by morning. But she had not stopped struggling. Ophelia understood now that Nathan was an authority, though a lesser authority to Kvell. She had no reason to believe that she was beneath this livid sparrow. Ophelia clawed at Moa’s face, hoping to frighten her off, but only succeeded in ripping away the bird’s mask. Blue eye like Nathan, but wearing so much spite. Even when Brandston had struck down his master he’d not worn such malice.

Ophelia was seeing spots from the small woman’s arms tight on her throat and her ears were ringing with the sudden flow of oxygen now. She was tender there, from Kvell’s own doing. She struggled to push the maid off her and struggled to understand what she was saying. Kvell was this one’s god too then. She didn’t have it in her to be jealous. Her brother was the king of this castle. He could have what he pleased. “I’ve never wanted to be her,” Ophelia wheezed. “You’re not Ansa either.”

She managed to push Moa off of her when the woman began to act more erratically, though not without incurring more scratches and a heavy blow or two. “Stop it, please!” she said, dragging herself out of the sparrow’s way. Moa caught her around the waist again. Ophelia didn’t want this woman to mark her body. Hers had already been claimed by Kvell Oleander. It wasn’t Moa’s to damage. She realized that she might get away with a concerted effort, but not without further harm. For that matter, she didn’t want to hurt Moa either.

Nathan had punished her but he’d not turned away from her. He’d taken her here and gotten Kvell help. He had never failed her in this place, even when she’d upset him before. Nathan punished her and then forgave quickly. Surely if she called now, he would come. But Kvell had shunned her for relying on the butler. She was caught. “Let go of me!” she demanded, grabbing at the blanket she’d lost in their tumble. It slipped off the chair and gave her no aid. “Kvell!” she cried out. “Nathan! Somebody please help me!” she said. And she could not have said which man she thought might come to her aid nor whom she would have most hoped for.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #64 on: October 23, 2016, 02:37:10 pm »
Nathan, who had gone to protect himself from hurting her farther, sat in his room, still in the clothes of today. He was leaned into the spot where she'd been over him, saying things he couldn't hear, burning him, though he knew she would, until he'd lashed out. It was his fault in his mind, as much as Ophelia thought the blame was all on her. It seemed long ago that she'd been here. Would she come if he asked now? Hard to fathom that her first visit had ended with her in the infirmary, by his violence. Was it really that different from how things were tonight? Someone was sleeping against their will in a room where medicines and ointments waited behind glass against the walls. And Ophelia was hurt. Perhaps last time was better only because she'd not been awake to still suffer from his actions.

She was still calling him a liar. He heard it. He relived her covering her ears when she couldn't believe Kvell was not the dark saint he'd been today. She still believed in Nathan, too. Neither of them fit into the good image she'd made for them, and she was left in the wake of what should be disappointment. But she didn't have the heart for such inward judgement. There had been something else in the silence before he'd finally left. He wished fervently now that he hadn't taken today away from her, that he could have bared to look away from their bodies on the sand.

But it had cut him profoundly to see such symmetric entanglement. Kvell had not looked at her to catch her next sorrow, and she had not been in whatever misery Kvell liked to sacrifice her to. It had simply been a fueled and intimate moment. Nathan almost turned his thumb out of place, holding on to it, remembering. They had been lovers in the forest. The one thing Kvell's darkness made impossible, the the one thing Nathan had promised himself Ophelia's sensibilities could not give away. So out of the princely beast and the orphan girl who was blind to all evils, Nathan was the real fool. He groaned and rubbed knuckles into his brow. Again Ophelia was asking him to be silent, so she could continue believing he'd never ask Kvell to lie to her. Yes, Ophelia, I am that hypocrite.

He wanted to tell her, even when he was not with her, now, that love would make a hypocrite out of the best of hearts, but it wasn't possibly true. Not when Kvell was a solidly dark thing, even when the sun was out, not when Ophelia was always a scratch or a soaking cut. No. Only Nathan was a hypocrite. He held his mouth uselessly, because he had nothing to say to anyone. He rubbed his eyes without result also, because there were no tears, frustration or otherwise.

Sparrow became absolutely outside herself when Ophelia thrust the truth, that she would never be Ansa, either, into her mind. Her shriek was powerful, truly a human bird then, when she bore down harder on the beautiful, nude girl. The face that had been eaten by Kvell himself took on color, her maimed left side twisting just like the pretty part of her features. It was not hard to upset Sparrow if you knew her weakness. Ophelia managed to get her off, somehow, but Moa had seen Ansa's madness, knew it by heart, and even her faded imitation of it was enough to infuse her soul with more strength.

She wanted madly to hurt Ophelia. It was worse that she was naked. That contract shadowing her ribs, those small cuts boasting Kvell's attention. "He doesn't love me, you see, not for long like you and your sister. But if he's passionate, with anger or sorrow, he can act as though he does." Miserable laughter, hands trying to find Ophelia with her nails. "If I cut you up he will be devastated. Yes. He will punish me. Maybe then." the scars opening her face glimmered through the shadows to reveal dedicated intent.

Suddenly the bird ontop of Ophelia ascended, unclutching her talons from the naked sister. Moa gasped and hung by her arm in the air, her fight flown. Behind her, holding her up, was a quiet creature, a large thing forced to be elegant, and - today - a dark thing crammed into the mold of some garden dandy. Kvell's head still hung, hair falling over most of the white bands that Sparrow herself had wrapped and fastened. His mouth was soft, jaw lax, eyes too deep in the shadow of their sockets for the women to know whether he was awake. Moa whimpered, and from this lofty perch, Ophelia would be able to see clearly Sparrows eaten face, doubtlessly Kvell's work. The eye that wasn't blue was milky, and the hard scar tissue was even paler than her complexion. Half-mask of silk worms, escaping a bite-mark crater. It accented her adoration and insanity well.

"Master! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you." she said, feet dangling as she pleaded with the quiet Golem, come to animation to aid his sister when she called. "But she hurts you with your love! She even ruins Nathan!" Moa said, and turned to look at Ophelia again, still proud, even though she was suspended by the hand that had struck the bare girl while she waited for her brother to wake up. Moa even pointed the other hand. "She's an obstacle, master, she doesn't love..." Kvell lashed her with his other hand, Moa's hair fanning up like half a sunrise before it settled. She fell silent and limb. Kvell lowered her to the floor like coiling rope. His eyes were still in shadow when he fell back into bed, head to the side, leg over the edge. He might never have been awake at all.

Nathan had been frozen by the door, drawn by Ophelia's call but terrified as he came upon the resurrected prince shaking the rebellious bird. Now he hurried in to cover Ophelia with the blanket she'd torn down. He held her to him, into him, standing her up, wrapped in that cloth as though to protect her from the demon, their master, now sleeping again. He stared down at Sparrow, wing-clipped and calm, finally. The bite marks on her face were grotesque so close, but he knew them well. Before Ophelia, Moa had not been made to wear a mask, and she'd pranced proudly as the jagged edges of Kvell's eating mended into the disfigurement it was now.

"I am sorry you're in this menagerie of macabre dreams, Ophelia." he said and held her tighter to him. It was the most whole he'd felt all day, but it still seemed to him as though he was borrowing her from Kvell.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #65 on: October 27, 2016, 05:50:03 pm »
She watched in some sort of horrible fascination as Kvell came to her aid like some sort of peculiar avenging angel. He was too frightening, looming over them both, to be comforting. But his face was serene and lovely as if he’d not even bothered to wake and administer his justice. Her lips parted, caught in wonder as she trembled, as he settled back onto the bed as if he had never moved at all. Ophelia reached out to touch him, his legs splayed over the edge of the cot.

But Nathan was there, wrapping her up like the most benevolent spider with a mood that made her suspect she ought to be frightened of her brother Master. “I didn’t know such a thing had happened to her… or that she wanted…” Ophelia started, peering then at the limp sparrow without her mask. She looked to the butler and shivered. “I don’t think that I could want something like that.” Ophelia admitted. “She scares me more than he does.” She said. Ansa would have terrified her, surely.

Ophelia seemed to recall very abruptly that this rooster was the same one that had bashed a rock on Kvell’s head. “Please don’t hurt him,” she said suddenly, wondering if he might try to punish her for having called out to Kvell first. Kvell, had he been awake, might have punished her for calling out to Nathan at all. Her brows knitted. The Sisters had said often that one could not serve to masters. Something biblical, she was certain. It resonated with her now.

“I will try to make you happy too.” She told him and it sounded a little like pleading. “But he is first. He is your Master too. If you wish to punish, punish me. Just please don’t hurt him anymore.” Ophelia bargained. He wasn’t a better man than Kvell, if that was what he’d intended to be to her. She smiled at him though. Anxiety behind the dark eyes but her expression was hopeful. Certainly she’d said something good and reasonable. He would agree to the request. He had to. Ophelia hadn’t a clue what to do if he denied her.

Lightly she disengaged herself from him, keeping the blanket wrapped tight around herself. “I will stay with him until he wakes up.” She told Nathan, sitting back down on her chair. She pulled the blanket closer to her chin. “But I don’t want to be alone with Moa.” Ophelia glanced at him. The maid would need to remain in the infirmary, she guessed, given the impact she’d sustained. Nathan would probably set her up in the other bed. She didn’t know if the sparrow would restrain herself if left another chance. Kvell had struck her down, but Moa had given up half her face for her fantastic ambitions. Ophelia didn’t want to presume she’d fall in line now. “Will you stay too?” She stood from the chair again and made to crawl up onto the bed with Kvell, where she positioned herself carefully against his side. She was staring at Nathan.

“I’ll make it up to you. I’m sorry for asking. But will you do it? You care for him too, right? You didn’t mean to hurt him. You just meant to punish me. So, for him, will you stay?” Ophelia suggested. Awful woman, because she was sincere.

Regardless of what Nathan determined to do, Ophelia would remain curled against her brother in silence. If he had stayed, she would murmur another apology as she began to fall asleep. “I’m sorry I upset you today. I’m sure it hurt you to hurt Kvell, too.” She sighed. “Kvell, you, and Moa too; I don’t know how to keep any of you happy.” And she would dream of Ansa with a half-eaten face and all the disappointed faces of Oleander Manor until morning.

When she woke, it was with a start, a tight gripping fear that Moa was descending on her or Nathan on Kvell. When she found that neither was the case, she let out a sharp breath. She would look for Kvell, either to find him just waking beside her or absent from the infirmary. She would call to him, regardless, and when she had been reunited with him she would fuss over his injury and apologize profusely. “It’s because I did something to upset Mr. Brandston that he hurt you, I think. I’m sorry. Please don’t take it out on him. It was my fault, I’m sure. Punish me instead.” She would tell him, naked innocent veiled like a saint in her blanket. If she had not learned to desire the twisting pleasures of her family home, she had at least learned to ask for them like they were holy.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #66 on: October 27, 2016, 09:54:56 pm »
So easy for Nathan to tie her up tightly in the blanket when her hand was out for Kvell, laid down softly on the bed. Keep away from that sleepwaking demon, keep close to me. She'd learned Sparrow's little pride. Kvell had not meant to hide it when he told them to wear animal faces, and Moa had protested with her tension. Back when the order was given, Nathan had been a bit relieved. He'd thought to spare the girl he'd not yet loved from that much, at least. "She's another kind of Oleander mad, poor Moa. She plays deeply whenever she's invited." Her terrible scars were her sought after reward. He wanted to tell Ophelia to have sympathy, but he didn't know what Moa would do if she saw such an emotion in the living sister's eyes. It might just make her worse.

He was pulled out of that scenario by a request. How fast her mind turned back to Kvell. His brows gathered as though a string had lashed between them. It wasn't an accusation, but how could it be anything else. As always, when confronted with her eyes, earnest despite their confusing expanses, he became without words. She held him there, between defending himself and giving her everything she wanted, until she said something wonderful without happiness in her voice. He still wanted it but he shook his head.

"I don't want to punish you, Ophelia. Nobody has the right to punish you." It was impossible to wash the flaring pursuit of Kvell's satisfaction from her. He wanted to shake her free of it, wring the blanket so hard around her that the admiration and caution would run down her naked legs and onto the infirmary floor. "But I can't hurt him anymore. I didn't mean to, today." Blue eyes on the slumbering master. He'd rather not take anything from her, when she pleaded so. When she moved away he didn't squeeze her arm through the cloth to make her stay.

"I'll stay." he assured her.

It was reasonable that she was weary of Moa now. He gave the girl her mask back before he lifted her to another bed. Would she have appreciated this, laid down to breathe in tandem with Kvell? When her arm rolled off the edge he caught it and she sighed. The salts would wake her, surely, but he didn't want that. Ophelia wouldn't, either. He sat there with the quiet bird and looked across the room at Ophelia fitting herself against Kvell. It hurt Nathan to see her there, at this distance, speaking as though there was nothing selfish about him. What could he do but nod and think that she was beautiful, like someone lost, and Kvell was her cave.

When she slept, he wondered if he could somehow twist himself into the person she said he was. It would be easy to blame her when she offered it so vigorously. Perhaps if he didn't name the emotion that stayed in his stomach, and just let it be pain at what he'd seen, then his outburst that led to Kvell's bloodshed could have been completely justified. Because of Ophelia. But it is always the heart's fault. You can't fault an object of affection for the heart's reactions. So he had to be quiet when she said it was her, but he also had to take it upon himself, somehow. He wondered how much he'd suffer, trying to make her happy, and if the passion that led him to strike their master would let him.

Nathan carried Moa out when her breathing was more intentional. She didn't live all that far, and her bones should be hollow. No one to laugh at that, not even himself. She asked with a clear voice from her own sheets what had happened, and Nathan explained how he'd seen it. Moa sat up and rubbed her hair, where Kvell's knuckles had rapped. A smile where her lips would still do what she wanted. At least she didn't stand up, put her mask back on, and hurry over to quarrel more with Ophelia.

"We can make it so that she's yours and he's mine." she said, turning away to see the morning through her window.

"No we can't." he answered and stood.


Kvell saw her first when he woke. An expression he'd not shown her, which extended from the waking struggle to make sense of the world. A soft surprise in the wide of his eyes, and then an excitement in the large mouth. He thrust his head closer, hand in her hair, to call her name, a name. He was about to tell her of a horrible dream, and rejoice in its absence. He became mute when her hair could not be lifted fast enough. The black eyes quivered in a blink, and his throat clucked with a protest as the truth invaded this oasis. The tips of his fingers hardened, but held her scalp a little looser. Disappointment, a moment of apathy to host all the griefs, and then a sigh through his nose.

"Ophelia." if it was not clear what he'd thought he'd seen, his hand combed upward, playing with her lovely hair, letting it pile on her head and overflow until he reached the length where Ansa's would have stopped, but hers went on. "Ophelia, my sister." In the end, even Ophelia's hair ran out. He trailed the traces of Moa's abuse on her face. "Did I?" he asked and those eyes narrowed to seek the answer in the swelling. "No." he deducted and turned away with her still against him to solve the mystery of him being in this room.

When he discovered the gauze with three fingers he smirked. "Nathan." he mumbled and laughed. This creature that she knew, the creature that he'd shown, was a real part of Kvell, but it was not yet laced with too many emotions, even if she was starting to grow on him. There had been many more layers for the person he thought she was, waking up. He was drawn when she explained in better detail what had transpired on their secret beach. He grinned wide by the end of it.

"Should I punish you?" he echoed. "Should I take my frustrations and share them?" he was about to be cruel, but thought of something else. "Did you enjoy yesterday?" His performance. "Was I what you have been craving?" A child, indeed, eager to be complimented. "I was gentle and generous and soft." he bragged and kept her to him as he spun them, so she would be underneath him. The motion upset the binding and it spilled from around his head to gather on her chest. He was perfect again with wild hair and clean eyes. "Tell me how you felt, meeting that brother." he demanded.

With his dark ingenuity, he stared pushing her hair and bind it around the bars of the bed, and bringing the mass back, divided. "Be honest, or I'll know." he warned as he tied her wrists with her own lovely tresses. So much rosy treasure. "Tell me and I'll give you the punishment you want." and asked for in such a lovely way. There was enough hair to tie around her throat too, binding her wrists to the side of her neck. With one hand he could tug outward, and the hair would tighten to choke her slowly.

He had every intention of listening to her straining through whatever she would reply, rationing her oxygen in smaller portions. And in the end, he would reward her for her honesty, if she'd give it, and kiss her firmly, to steal the last of her breath, and let her fall asleep, with blue lips. He'd never let her expire of course, but he wanted this kind of beauty on her, needed some vengeance for the man he'd had to be all of yesterday.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #67 on: November 14, 2016, 02:58:09 am »
Ophelia trembled as he blossomed, rising from sleep like some conjured demon. He was beautiful and frightening and, she realized, familiar now. She swallowed hard as he pressed her into the infirmary bed, still warm from his dreaming. “I—“ she began, ready to offer herself as a dutiful sacrifice with the eager she thought he might require. He seemed struck by another whim, though, and she blinked in some confusion. He was almost innocent, looking for approval. It was surprising, but she didn’t think on it on as he conjured yesterday’s sweetness and made her blush.

She nodded at him. “It was… I felt as if I knew you better. Or… perhaps, you knew me better…” A soft breath and she stared up at him with those lovely large brown eyes. Her pulse quickened; he might feel it beneath the delicate skin on her wrists. She had the look of a wild thing in a new trap, cautious but not afraid because she had not lost the sweetness of yesterday. “I was too bold though and you were hurt.” She said.

Ophelia squirmed beneath him, wincing when she turned her head too far in one manner or another. The way he had pulled her tresses into binds had secured her head and wrists both. He asked for the details of her heart and she’d yet to reconcile them herself. She recalled the way the water had caressed them both and they’d swum carelessly through the milky ripples. His warmth against her, she wrapped around him with an awakened thirst. He’d tangled her in vines and played her every note with a finesse she’d not hope of repaying. She had tried though, earnest effort and the swelling desire to please. Had her wrists been free she would have covered her face with her hands.

“I wanted to please you. It made me happy to feel you, ah…” she stumbled over her own words, half-mumbling them as she tried in vain to avoid his gaze. “You did not frighten me and you let me—“ she seemed unable to confess her own forwardness. “I don’t know how to feel this way. I’ve never wanted… this…” she had flustered herself, and it made it almost impossible not to want to tease her. It would be difficult to blame either Nathan or Kvell for whatever predatory nature she might awaken in them. But Kvell seemed to have been born a predator and Ophelia would not have been able to see herself for what sort of temptation she was. That naivety itself might have made her a sinner.

Her own hair tickled, wrapped around her throat. She’d never thought much for how long she’d let it grow until now. The pink-shaded gold grew in thick and lovely; the Sisters had often joked it would be a shame if she did choose to enter the convent. Ansa’s had been the same, but the wild girl had never had the patience to let it coil long. Ansa would cut it away herself, if the senior Oleanders had not sent to have it trimmed regularly. In truth, the parents had worried that she might play this very game Kvell was enacting with herself. Ansa’s whims had been cruel and painful and she had taught Kvell to find them beautiful.

Ophelia’s breath was quick. Shamefully, she could feel her entire body warm in anticipation of him. Every nerve bit, anxious, because he overwhelmed her with everything he did. Pain or pleasure, it all melted together under her brother’s command. “It didn’t feel so wrong to be with you,” she mumbled. She was gasping shallowly then, tense as he pulled her hair taut and stole the depth of her breath. She was blinking rapidly. “I was happy to be your sister. I wanted to know you… the way you have learned me… I don’t know why you make me feel…” she felt fuzzy, unable to bring the necessary air into her lungs. It sent spiking adrenaline through her veins, her body caught between what it knew of him and a primitive fear of death.

She was pretty with her lips swollen purple, chest heaving as if he’d already had his fill of her. Her eyelashes fluttered and blurred her view of him when he kissed her, slick tongue and warm lips, wishing her into the shallow oblivion of oxygen-deprived sleep. She moaned, before her chin dipped gently to the side and her eyes fell shut.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #68 on: November 15, 2016, 07:06:07 pm »
Kvell was affected when she confessed. Self-discovery through remembering, as though it was happening all over again, but this time she couldn't hide from it. He was prepared to hear something naïve, he had not known her to be anything else, and had her strands wring her slowly so she could sing that tune that he could savor it. Instead the exclusive strings had her play a new sonnet, one of rapid intake and failing gasps, to fuel a naked testament. How bad she was to him without knowing, to call herself his sister as though it was the most solid truth she could say. His pretty bird in a closing leash. He wanted to chase her consciousness as it was slipping, thrust into her the way her hurried lungs suggested, and steer her into pleasure when the blackness took her, to paint her soul with that association – train her to crave it – and then it seemed as though that inclination was already there, the way she warmed underneath the chill of deprivation.

”You weren’t bold enough.” he corrected, to impart that she could have been a better sibling if she’d done more. Think on this, as you depart, beautiful Ophelia.

But the malice that she always courted became secondary upon the confession she gave. She was slipping away, but not as Ophelia. This girl loved him, she was too pure not to, and that emotion, the way she felt it, washed her of any chance to love him like Ansa, anymore. Their loves were not the same, and he should have punished the orphan sister for it. He should have tied her to death with her hair for failing so profoundly underneath him. But he, and he thought it was both odd and treacherous of him, also wanted Ophelia’s love. He was confused, littering her lower lip with pecks as she disappeared into the breathless place he sent her too. Did she feel it, did she try to stay to soothe him?

Kvell stayed atop her, giving her hope of life by uncurling fingers off her rosy gold. The hair unwound around his hands, and he watched as the shimmer loosened, as though inflating with her lungs, and her lips took back color and gloss from breath. Kvell lifted her head and placed her long, pink pretty back around her. It wouldn’t be such a crime to anyone, would it, if he filled her with poisons to preserve her like this? How lovely she was when she was still. The quietest tragedy. He felt she had made way in his heart, and he knew he had to be all the worse toward her, because of it.

“Are you going to die for me, too?” he whispered and traced the lifesong on the side of her neck. He dipped his head low and washed her pulse with his tongue, one stroke. He groaned through his itching teeth, but didn’t apply them. Later.


The light was suffering, coming in. The windows were immaculate but the air was spotted. Dust that became specks of fire, twirling, almost not descending at all, with the color of the sun as it wore its face a little deeper for the hour. The heat, whatever amount it could provide, cut her across the breast and belly, over her contract, coyly trying for her attention without being too insistent. When she woke she would wear all her bathing clothes, the naked she’d saved Kvell in. But on the side of the bed there would be a new table, with the things she’d worn to the designed clearing,  yesterday. A hood, also, red, so red it didn’t belong in the room with the orange light, or on the wood of the dark table. In-fact, this kind of red could only have been taken from particularly denied veins. A vengeful red, the red surrounding the edges of a bright reflection over a puddle of life. He would expect her to wear it, of course. Where did the scuffs on it come from? There had been violence on it.

There was a note that fell out of nowhere when she was done, flitting like a scorned bride fleeing. A detail that had taken the seamstress countless hours to facilitate. The handwriting was that of her dear tattoo, first.

Beloved Ophelia,

It so happens that an old woman is sick. For some reason or the other, sweets will cure her completely. I have given you a basket, it is under the table, and you’re to traverse the forest with this precious cargo that you may save the old woman’s life. Won’t you find it in your heart to go? You saintly heart, you.


Kvell Oleander

The rest of the note contained rather rushed scribbles. The ink was blue, cheap. Still, there was an unshakable elegance as though the hurrying hand couldn’t forget its upbringing.

Ophelia! This is Nathan, I write this through deceit. Please, I beg you, don’t go. This is a very dangerous game, and Kvell loses himself into it. You might be irreparably maimed. You might even die. Don’t go or I might not be able to stand for the consequences. Please, Ophelia, for yourself.

And with the last read word, there was music playing. Slow strokes, ominous, as though a childhood something had been strung out, like a crib with chipping paint, or a soft porcelain face with failing enamel. Something lively lived too many lives. The door to the infirmary opened and she would see grass laid out in the corridor. When she walked out there was trees. Another lush scene signed by her brother and captor. Along the walls and in the way, here and there, woodland animals with their usual leather likenesses and tailoring. Their chests weren’t out, not at attention. Their master had told them to stand as they wished, and many of them were in the middle of the hall, obscuring the path, having low conversations.

But if she looked back when she came out, the other way of the corridor, there was a shirtless brother waiting for her, quiet. His feet were bare, also, but his pants were black and pressed. A wolf’s mask, taking over the face she knew to be wondrous, leather folded and placed to imitate fur. His mouth was free, and it was red. No word for her as he came, always towering above her stature. Kvell put her hood on, if she did not already wear it, and then stuck his fingers into the shadow to caress her cheek. A ginger, delightful petition for her favor, thumb on her lip. He knew what she liked. When that courtship warmed her enough, over her ear and down her neck, he would bring her in so he could bend down. A kiss for Red.

But he was deceitful and wrenched her to the side before the kiss could land, and pushed the cape away from her shoulder. His teeth sank deep into her flesh, through the dress, his hands lifting her by her arms to let her feet whisk the air. He was grinding bone and clasping her like this, waiting for her pain to thrash her, or whatever reaction she would give. Then he unlocked her from his jaws and pushed her back to fall on the grass. Blood on his mouth, enough to reach and fall from his chin. That kind of wolf, then. With concerned breaths  and whispers the critters sought out the walls to clear her escape through the mansion. Kvell turned and walked in a regal, pompous way back to where he had stood, quite a distance, and then he twisted, one arm out, back to look at her.

He strode toward her, quiet like a calamity at the horizon, and then his long legs took long leaps. He was running for her soon, limbs flailing expertly. A wordless violence that wanted to be loud. It was promised in his eyes that he would tear her from her herself if she did not run, also.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #69 on: December 07, 2016, 07:12:28 pm »
Ophelia woke to the late afternoon, amber light and lazy calm. It would have been peaceful if it had been any other place, but quiet tranquil here was the collective breath before the storm. Or so she had come to expect. Even yesterday’s happy frolic had been etched in her skin with thorns and Kvell’s brow with stone. She closed her eyes and thought she should go back to sleep. Ophelia seemed only then to realize she’d been left nude.

She sat up to the empty, arms clutched across her chest as if she owed the furniture modesty. “Sir Kvell? Mister Brandston?” she called out. “Brother? Nathan?” when there was no answer. She found there would be no reply still, and turned her eye to the table. Her clothes, the same as before, but a new hood in a more sensual shade had replaced her dark cape. This one, she thought, must have been Kvell’s choosing. It was a distinctive color, like the one his meats left on his teeth; the hue he summoned to her milky skin. Ophelia touched the fabrics and shivered. It was cool in the empty infirmary.

Ophelia slipped into her clothes, accustomed by now to the eerily perfect fit, and wrapped herself in the crimson cloak. It was not a new garment, but its color had suggested it could not have been. The signs of use were essential to its place as her shroud. In the way she had stopped questioning the ghost of Ansa in the room she’d been given and the clothes she now wore, she did not question her red cape. The paper fluttered down like quick flighty wings and she, moth to a flame, was fast to retrieve it.

Kvell’s note was enough to worry her; she was not unaware of the children’s story he conjured, and she clutched the edge of her cloak with some chilly realization. In what she knew of her brother, he would only play one role in this. Nathan’s hastily added script simply undermined that little fright. She peeked beneath the table for the basket anyway. When she had retrieved it, Ophelia settled on the edge of the infirmary bed to think. Both men demanded of her without any accord. To listen to one was to invite the punishment of the other. Days before, Nathan’s note might have simply been a warning from someone to whom she’d become dear. But the slick run of Kvell’s blood down his temple was a firm line in her mind. None of them were innocent. Not Kvell, not Nathan, and not she.

In the end, Kvell was her master first. She would beg Nathan’s forgiveness as it was required, she decided, and left the paper on the table where her clothes had been. Basket set neatly over her arm, she went to the door, the soft strains of some foreboding tune slipping from beneath as she drew near. It made her hesitate, because somehow this whole prelude was more sinister than the rest. Perhaps it was because she knew the tangled place she held now, or the haste in Nathan’s script, or the way she had felt more alone than ever before when she’d emerged from the slumber Kvell had submerged her in. As if she seemed to have recalled her old God, she crossed herself solemnly before pushing the handle and opening the surreal scene her brother had prepared.

It was as if she’d been set back out into the garden, but the walls and the masked figures said otherwise. She felt her breath catch. Ophelia had guessed, from the dusty light through the windows, that she’d slept for some time. Still, to be thrust now into a strange fairytale land when this had been a corridor to the house’s other rooms just hours before was startling. Beyond that, the lax way in which the servants all mingled was unnerving. She couldn’t have said why, but there was a lack of care that made her feel as if she’d been severed from this place. A guest again, with her basket of sugary offerings.

Ophelia glanced over her shoulder, as if reconsidering taking up this path, and was met with her brother in the only mask that could have suited him. She swallowed back that peculiar feeling he conjured inside her, something akin to fear but laced with anticipation, and nearly took a step back when he came to her. Her dark eyes were wide, looking at the wolf’s face for explanations she was certain he would not give.

She closed her eyes when he tucked her into the deep hood and did not open them when his thumb grazed her lip. It did not take much for him to stir her, and she made a soft sound under the touch. Had she been wrong, perhaps? This game could be kind, like yesterday. Ophelia had not hated any part of it, even when he had let the vines hold her with their sharp fingers. If this day was to be the same, sweetness with the edges that suited him, she could be eager for it. She was quick to follow the way he moved her, ready to taste his mouth on her own, and cried out when he tossed her to the side and met her flesh with his teeth.

A strangled sob and she reached with her opposite arm to touch his cheek, a wordless beg for his sympathy as she crumbled under him. Ophelia was not a fighter. She never had been, never had resisted him strongly, and it would have been utterly beyond her to do so now. She fell when he let her, clutching her shoulder and sobbing, looking up at him through those star-scattered lashes and imploring because she had still not learned these games were for his pleasure whether she had done something to deserve them or not.

In all this, he had not said a word to her. She was whimpering, panting, her own blood slicking her fingers as she watched him walk away and then turn back. As if to say, “ready or not,” he stood and was a very real wolf to the bleeding girl. She scrambled to her feet. She was to run then. So Ophelia ran. The moment he took his first step toward her, she was fleeing. But to flee is to invite the chase, and so she did not look back as she ran.


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Re: Ash and Roar
« Reply #70 on: February 20, 2017, 07:47:28 pm »
Lovely little sister and all the things in her that called for him. She was not Ansa, then, the same way she had refused to be her all this time, when she pleaded with a touch as his teeth clasped at the cloak, and her shoulder through it. If the shove to send her away  had seemed like requested mercy, his leaps did not. A pulse steadily hammered his diaphragm and the grass was good on his feet. He could also be long-legged in the woods then, but perhaps of a strong crown and abusive tendencies, a bull to her fawn. He caught up too quickly, he realized, killing his own amusement fast at this pace. So he took a reckless speed when he chased her around a corner, and made sure to dig his heels into the grass too late. A tumble, all those endless arms and legs swirling like a laid down spinning top, that came to a dull crack against the wall. Grunts and huffs as he stood, brushing splinters off his bare torso. What  glorious fun we have.

He couldn’t see her anymore, and that was lovely. When his echo left, he dropped his masked head to listen. The patter from a bunny and a raccoon cut into what he wanted to hear and his throat found a large sound to quiet them. King of these woods. Then Ophelia’s lungs and soles spoke to him. He was off again. Such a fatalistic sense of direction, his sister, taking the laid out route. He imagined that he could sample her scent from here, even. Their distance shrunk, but she gave good game, now that she could take time to choose her turns. There was grass almost everywhere for her.

He was close to frantic with the joy of the hunt when he caught her twisting around another bend, and continued to stress. Soon he had eyes on her flailing cover, her skirts lifting too, reminding him that she was also a delicious woman, playing with him. A madness took the eyes inside the mask, and he stomped off, clawing at the dancing fabric, the color of her insides. He missed, but didn’t stumble this time. It all mixed to panic in her, and she finally veered from the grass, into a blackened path with a window at the other end, far. Surely there would be a door or something for her to flee through.

But she was wrong in guessing so. His feet, when there was floor to meet them, held some furious momentum until that waned. A lazy walk with endless reach can also make hasty pace. He drummed his fists against the walls and the dull sounds ushered in her demise, rhythmically. She would find that there was only that window, overlooking the labyrinth. How beautiful, Ophelia, surrounded by light. He hammered faster, the funnel of noise shaking them both in this private tunnel. He wondered what kind of shape we was cutting to her eyes, that must be spoiled by the sun and only  barely adjusting to look back into the shadow barrel he was coming from.

He’d pursued her well, because when she tried to press herself against the window – she knew the game he wanted – and he tried her skin with his fingertips, her cheek was touched with glistening sweat. What a lovely, warm morsel she was now, afraid in her exhales. “You shouldn’t have gone from the path.” He said and took her hands to place them on the back of his neck. “But let’s be friends anyway. I won’t betray you.” To remind her what tale they were in, and give her hopelessness back if adrenaline had diluted it. He lifted her easily, weight like Ansa, but they never felt the same. There was no rebellion in the way she helped by keeping close. With her breath still hoping to pay back the deficit of oxygen they’d built, kissing her was a delight. She gasped and flung the back of her head against the glass every time he let her resurface from their tight faces and his oppressive tongue. Little sister would let him snuff her like this, even.

He was appropriately ravenous, and didn’t play like a lover with her against the window for too long. The clothes came away, as was their duty, and the cloak became a bed on the floor where sun streaks heated the blood thing into a blanket of fever. She was her pallid self on it, and he kissed her stomach, forehead to the apex of her ribs as he held her in place with hands on her hips. On his knees. Tongue hard, digging against the skin, that was soft, but not that soft. The resistance in her first layer aggravated the beast he was playing and he started to nip soon. She had better protest with her music that he’d become accustomed to. And she filled the corridor with her voice when he bit into their contract. If she fought he’d hold her down and pull with his teeth. It was time for them to have their last, waking moment together, said his lust.

And later, months, Kvell Oleander stood there in the room where the floor had candles like grass. Two angels now, unmoving like true judgment. The first celestial, that had greeted Ophelia, was ornamental. A statue built on Ansa’s ashes. But for his perversion, the latest sister was beside her. Twins in black in this room of death and an older brother’s whims. Kvell had his arm around his side, pitifully. Nathan came into the room and looked up at Ophelia where Kvell’s devastating, murdering lusts had suspended her. Another funeral like this.

“Are you happy now, brother?” he asked, fists by his sides. “She went into this with you, because she is a saint. All the things Ansa taught you, and you couldn’t help yourself a second time.” Between teeth, grim.

Kvell had his eyes on then Angel Ophelia. Nathan thought Kvell was stunning in this room, made from the shapes that candles make out of obstacles. “I love her, you know.” Kvell explained. “And this is how I love. I love her no less than Ansa, and so here she is. Isn’t she beautiful?” As though the dead need explanation.

“You are a monster. Everything you love dies by your hand.” Nathan said and sighed with misery.

“Not everything.” Kvell corrected.

Back at the window, in their game of red and wolf, Kvell was bloody mouthed and euphoric, teaching Ophelia what it was like to dance at Death’s threshold before stepping away from the living fray itself. He’d signed it finally, that contract that bound them. How easily he scooped her up by the back of her neck, and let her head fall over one edge of his hand, the rest of her naked, trailing on the floor so he could lift her throat up for a rosy kiss. There was no brother, there was only whatever thing her beauty made of him. And he presented teeth, rows widely parted, pink and red and white, in a mouth that was eager to take her breath far away.

They’d not heard the hunter, who’d been given the boots for the fox hunt, and a good jacket to ride in. Rifle in hand. A click, maybe the stirring Ophelia would see, but not Kvell, mesmerized by her pillars of blood and air. The beast came down on her, eager for a haunting taste, and then an image to remember her by. A billow of smoke, and a crack of powder sending hail. Kvell caught the malweather in his bare side, and was thrown out the window, nails cutting her where he’d held, but not bringing her along. He rolled off the slant of the roof, spinning top, again, in the Oleander garden air, and fell onto the gravel to make the pebbles into rubies. Half his face was wolf, and the other half was open lips, trying to pull his breath back. Nathan hung the rifle on his shoulder and started tearing the cloak to tie it around her pretty bleeding. “No more games today. And don’t worry. This is his design. Our holy, indulgent master.” Salvation for her in the faded daylight.

Kvell by the two encased angels reached up, despite the lingering pain from the rubber pellets used to subdue riots at his mine. His hands soothed Opehlia as she struggled in the chains that kept her above the worshiping candles. “Don’t you like saving her, brother?” Kvell asked Nathan’s shame. “How will you do that if there isn’t a handsome villain torturing her, eating her piece by piece?” He plucked her down from the hooks. He kissed the outlines of her hair in the restrictive material and held her to him. “Would you like to play some more now, Ophelia?”