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VenomousEve

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Ivy on the soul. [Fin]
« on: June 21, 2017, 10:35:59 pm »
He stumbled through the trees, tripping over roots hidden in the dark. It was cold, and his breath curled from his lips before being lost in the gloom. “Rosalind?” he called out, twigs snapping beneath his heels too loud. He saw her when the forest opened and plummeted into a ravine. It was probably not so deep as it looked now, but the chasm appeared as an endless and gaping maw in the night. She was turned from him, dark hair free and pale shoulders bare in the thin moonlight. “Rosalind,” he repeated, breathing hard at the coiling bone sprouting from her silhouette.

He dropped to his knees, prayers to a lost Madonna. “Rosalind, please, come back.” He said. She turned when he had given up hope of seeing her face. Black eyes, deep and empty like the ravine behind her, and a too-red mouth. She was bare to the evening chill and his gaze, shameless, with the old rosary wrapped around her fist.

“What of my soul, Father?” she asked, and centipedes escaped the corners of her lips, legs tapping as they passed her teeth.

Father Tristan sat up in his bed with a gasp, fingers clutching at his chest. It was quiet; calm. In the corner, his oil lamp was burning low. He was slow out of the bed, pushing the covers aside laboriously. Father Tristan’s joints ached as he shuffled to his table—an austere construction housing a cracked porcelain basin and a pitcher of water. Condensation dripped down its lip. It was hot, these summer nights. He was deliberate with his motions, pouring water into the basin and washing his face with a tattered cloth.

It had been years since he’d had such a dream, and many more since he’d last spoken that girl’s name. He was old. She should be too, he thought, and yet he was certain she must be just the same as he’d seen her last. That was worse, so much worse, but the town was silent and that was Rosalind’s blessing. He wondered if she had intended it.

The old man crossed to his window, squinting across the gloom of the yard at the old convent. A few lights glowed in the chapel window; the women of faith prayed at all hours. On the far northern corner of the stone structure, he could just see the outline of a dark window. Empty now, of any soul. He blinked hard and felt a shiver race down his spine, involuntary and chill. “Ro—“ he cut himself off. He’d not spoken that girl’s name in so many years, and it seemed wrong to say it now. But he was certain he’d seen, for a brief moment, a pale face in that empty window. Moon on the glass.
--

Rosalind was regrettably lovely—the Reverend Mother occasionally said as much—and Sister Gemma had shed a tear when Rosalind officially left the orphanage and covered her hair. There are other ways to serve God. But Rosalind had been certain of her calling and was no less lovely with her habit and veil fluttering like banners and her heels pounding across the cobblestone.

“Father Tristan!” she was breathless when she threw open the church doors. He hardly looked up from his reading, sitting quietly in the first row of his sanctuary. He had left his work at the orphanage to tend to the convent when Rosalind was fourteen. At sixteen, she had completed her postulancy; she had not told Father Tristan she’d come to the convent for his sake, and it was not right for him to think it, but his lips curled with undue fondness at the sound of her voice.

“Rosalind, ah Sister Rosalind, please… some solemnity in this place.” He said, turning the page of his bible. She was obedient enough, closing the doors behind her with quiet care and walking the center aisle with some attempt at restraint.

“I’ve taken my temporary vows.” She said, when she had taken a seat beside him. He set the book down at last.

“A joyous day, then.” He said, though he did not sound exceptionally joyous. Rosalind inclined her head. She had clearly expected a bit more from him. Dark falls of hair, unbound by her veil, curled around her heart shaped face.

“Is something wrong?” she asked, and Father Tristan was quick to shake his head. He met her gaze, mercurial pools hedged by midnight rings, and reached to touch her veil. She looked very much like her mother then, and it made his stomach knot. He’d not wanted this for her. Her lips parted, a girlish blush on her cheeks, and it made him pull away.

“I’ve been saving a gift for you.” He announced abruptly and stood, hands clasped behind his back. Rosalind followed him quickly.

Father Tristan left her waiting at the door to his room, set off the back of the sanctuary, and went to fetch a small box from his desk. “I had thought you might follow this path eventually.” He explained when he handed it to her. Again, his tone did not find the levity she was looking for and Rosalind chewed on her lip to hold back a frown. It had been kind of him to keep her in mind. He had been dear to so many of the orphans.

She gasped when she opened the box. A rosary, pewter and black pearls, coiled on the red satin lining. It was, by far, the loveliest thing Rosalind had ever seen. “For me?” she murmured, unsure she could accept such a gift. The Father nodded. It had always been hers, really; left in a basket with a wailing infant. He had known her by that rosary and her lunar eyes. Watching her now, he was uncertain that she’d taken anything from her father. Rosalind might as well have been Sister Elizabeth’s ghost.

“For you.” He confirmed. He said nothing else of it, because she had been kept from it all to this point and he hoped it might stay that way. “You should head back, don’t you think? Meditation and reflection on the vows you’ve just taken?” He suggested when the silence between them became awkward. She flashed him a smile and nodded.

“You’re right, Father. I should.” She made her way back to the sanctuary doors. “Thank you again. I will treasure it.” She said, holding up the box before she left. When Rosalind was gone, Father Tristan sat heavily back on the bench. He sighed, staring at the crucifix on the wall, and eventually bowed his head into his hands.

“Is it Your will, or a test of mine?” he asked miserably of the empty.     
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 11:33:31 pm by VenomousEve »

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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 09:42:28 am »
There was movement in the old stone that held the convent up. House of crosses and good hearts. House of delights for God’s oldest teeth. Like undercurrents in water, darkness drew inside itself. An ancient thing taking action, slowly, like a lover waking up, nestled in tight pillows. The rosary had been passed, and somewhere someone was burning his candles. His curious sighs vibrated his acolytes, and they worked harder for their patron tasks. Especially men appreciated them.

Victoria - with her gaunt face that had nevertheless lit when she received the good news, not too long ago, about Rosalind’s chosen path – looked all the stern her features were meant for, today. It should be joyous as Tristan had told her, but the head nun had stiff legs under her habit as she spun at the doors to follow their newest sister inside. Rosalind had not been told, but they had voted, and the blood-cough in the village had a thing to say, too - the men and their failing backs from exhausting dreams. It was all leading to this. Victoria remembered Elizabeth, the last one to really buy them peace.

“Are you eager to honor your vows, sister Rosalind?” she asked when enough steps had been quiet in the otherwise light halls. That blush was becoming on the girl. She might be blushing worse, soon. “We have…” and even the woman most others looked to within these walls faltered then. It was fantastical in the dreariest way that she could alter the poor orphan with just the end of her sentence. “something for you to do.” In the outskirts of the village Thomas Levi and his neighbor Evan Smitter hiccupped in their fits of cleaning their lungs of mucus and blood. It was the first reprieve they’d had in a fortnight. Rosalind might have questions for Victoria, and she would have to answer shortly. What is it? It is your holy duty.

Rosalind was familiar with the corridors of the convent, but not with its basement. Solid stairs with an iron rail. White walls because the caretakers cared to take great effort to keep them that way. A room with a low ceiling and five candles, lighting more than they should be able to. A miracle, already, but not from a good hand. Victoria tried not to see the harness hanging on a single nail on the wall that attracted the glow  of the flames the most. “Wear this  under your habit, always. I will be in to gather you when you knock on the door.”

It stared back at her when Victoria left and sealed the room so that Rosalind could be alone with the thing. A simple thing, of thin, black straps held together by ornamental, silver fastenings, made to look like knots. Straps over either shoulder, which was innocent enough, but then loops around her soft orbs, stretches down her stomach that would loop again around each thigh. No real support, just restraint where no one saw, no protection. It was, despite the what little material it used, the very picture of immodesty if she put it on. And it would hug her perfectly when she was collected by Victoria and others.

-

“And that will be the very smallest of her epiphanies today, Father Tristan.” Said a voice made out of the feeling before regret, when there is only elation of that which was regrettable. Tristan turned and dropped the book he’d been reading, the only book. Looking down, he thought he’d held it hard, steady. He was sure someone had backhanded its spine to have him relent it. But there was no one here. The Levi wife still had chores and her friend in everything, Mrs. Smitter, had been staying home to dab Evan’s forehead, lately. The rest were not this early.

“Ah, you’re letting go of faith already? She hasn’t.” continued the silver throat, somewhere over his spine and inside his skull. “Right now your little ward is being led into a grand chamber, sinfully decadent, really – where do the donations go! – and her veil is being peeled back so that Sister Irene can take a knife to the roots of her lush hair.” Pain spread in Tristan’s nose the way it used to before crying when he was a little child. It wasn’t his sorrow, it was the theatricals of the being playing inside him. “Such an evil act, shaving that off her!” And it did break Tristan’s heart a little. She had such beautiful tresses. He turned with all the sympathy he had for Rosalind, but the doors closed before he could run passed the threshold. Heavy doors, shut like turning pages. He fell to his knees immediately, hands together and breath low, whispering a hard rhythm.

“Nothing above the clouds see what happens in my halls, Tristan.” The voice promised, and the weight of it sounded real, like the demon was being honest. Tristan continued to pray into his knuckles. “Nothing above the clouds will see when they put my mark on her, and I can finally see your hidden away doll, dressed in Elizabeth’s beads.” Tristan remembered the way his father had held him when he came out of the cold river that ran through their lands. It was so tender it almost put his grown self to sleep against his crossed thumbs. He fell back, gasping when he realized it was a kind of seduction.

“You reject me?” laughter in his shoulders and his forehead. “I am just passing time, staying close until I’m called. It won’t be long now. I’ll teach her something today, don’t you worry, Preacher. Maybe she’ll show you.”

VenomousEve

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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2017, 06:30:00 am »
Rosalind had meant to pray in the small chapel by the south wall of the convent, when the Reverend Mother came for her. She had not uttered a single prayer under her new vows before the Sisters sealed her fate. In truth, it had been a long time coming. It was not pretense that made them hold their tongues until Rosalind had made the decision to hand her heart to the divine. It was earnest faith; earnest faith that she must be wholly pure to remain acceptable to the order’s greatest burden. Now, it was with tight lips and bit teeth that they handed over their cross.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.


She was confused, but nodded along with the things Mother Victoria said. “I am eager to be faithful.” Rosalind said. It might have been the greatest sin of all, to believe this sacrifice was noble, but tradition had a way of growing into piety. “What can I do, Reverend Mother?” she asked. Victoria did not give her a revealing answer, leading her instead down the winding stairs. Her habit swept the steps and she cut her finger on the iron rail.

Blessed art thou among women…

Rosalind did not understand why the candlelight felt heavy and understood the harness even less. “Reverend Mother?” She began, wavering voice and a puzzled stare. Mother Victoria left her without a response. She would wait on the other side of the door as she had said she would.

When she removed her habit and underclothes, Rosalind was uncomfortable in her nakedness. She did not remove her veil. She was alone with the leather loops, but she felt as if she were being watched and it spurred her into some haste. There was no mirror to see herself in, but she was flushed and shy once she’d strapped herself in. She had never worn something so lewd. No fabric had hugged her in such a way and the leather and rings pressed against her like fingers. Rosalind was quick back into her habit and quicker to the door.

“Come with me. I apologize, but these preparations take time. We must start now.” Because the witching hour does not wait, and Demons have insatiable appetites. Rosalind’s brow furrowed, and she shifted the fabric of her dark clothes uncomfortably. Mother Victoria pretended she did not see it.

“Preparations?” Rosalind asked, and she looked worried at her own questions. She wondered if her faith was weak. “Do you also—“ She fell silent, because it seemed like a filthy thing to inquire on.

“No.” Victoria said, and Rosalind was quiet and allowed herself to be led down a dark winding halls that took her deeper into the basement. She thought this space seemed larger than it ought, but did not know if she had gotten lost in the twisting passages. Rosalind watched the Reverend Mother’s veil sway in silence.

Pray for us sinners,
Now and in the hour of our death.


Rosalind was brought into another room. Old sconces cast dim light in the windowless space and drew shadows on the walls. There were three Sisters waiting, and though they wore their habits they wore no crosses. Their veils covered their faces, and Rosalind was reluctant to go to them. It took a light touch on her shoulder from Mother Victoria to send her on her way. “Please, take off your veil.” Mother Victoria said. Rosalind looked startled.

“Have I done something wrong?” she asked. Victoria shook her head, but motioned that Rosalind should proceed nonetheless. Rosalind touched the rosary around her neck, and took several deep breaths before she complied. Her dark hair spilled around her shoulders as she clutched her veil in her hands, and she looked ashamed of herself for the lovely strands. Had she not just taken vows symbolized by the uniform of her order? She felt certain there must be something wrong, to be approached this way and made to bastardized the solemn threads.

The veiled Sisters were around her with an unnerving and silent efficiency. One held a basin, another a razor, and the third a pair of shears. Rosalind opened and closed her mouth. She wanted to protest, but held her tongue. How many martyrs had met their fate because they could not raise their voices against their faith? She stood straight, stiff as a board, when the first coils of her hair fell to the ground. The sliding blades of the shears were deafening as they sliced through her strands.

When one of the veiled Sisters brought the razor to her scalp, Rosalind looked as if she might cry. The Sister who held the shears did. “Such a shame.” The Sister murmured, and Rosalind recognized her voice as Lorraine’s. “Such beautiful hair.” Sister Lorraine said. There was no more talking after that.

When Rosalind was left with only half her hair and her veil wrinkled in her fists, the Sister with the basin came to her to clean her with warm water. The Reverend Mother exhaled softly. “When you are finished here, it will be late. I wish this was not so sudden, Sister, but it is for the best.” She said, and then left Rosalind alone with her obscured keepers. Rosalind shivered. She was not smiling and blushing anymore. Lorraine was sniffling.

“For what purpose…” Rosalind began, but the question died on her lips when three more Sisters entered with covered faces, brands, and needles.

It was several hours before Rosalind emerged from the room. Her eyes were red—she’d not been stoic after the first smoldering trace had been burnt into her skin. Father Tristan was waiting for her with the Reverend Mother. Rosalind flinched when he reached for her. Beneath her habit, she was a maze of careful black symbols and raw nerves. Tristan pulled his hand back. “Ro—Sister, are you alright?” he asked, and there was dread in his voice because he knew she was not.

“I wish to be of service to my God and my order.” Rosalind said and tried on a brave smile for him. Father Tristan could not keep her gaze then. He was certain that she bore the mark beneath her veil, the one that had sentenced Elizabeth in angry red scar tissue. It felt horrifically wrong then that she did not know what any of it meant. A lamb to the slaughter, he thought, which was an insult to the seductive hell unto which they were about to hand her.

“You are. You will be.”

Amen.

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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2017, 02:50:49 pm »
Tristan tried to believe like she did. Of course that would be her answer - faith in Him, faith in them - even when adorned in all the throbbing promises they made to an evil that was truly the only evidence of their God. It was a little burden then, to him, to see her pull away. At least that much was his to carry. And so they had to take a corridor that brought them along deeper, the pure but written-on Rosalind kept in the belly of their train of veils, and the priest at the head, as though his lantern would have any effect on the darkness they sought to deliver her to.

At the last wall of the walk a space opened up like a concert hall, small at first, still limited in reach and breadth, but grander than anything that should have existed under ground. Candles along a path, and was that a pillar of tilted moonlight in a corner far back? Witching tides. The darkness made the eye unsure of the limits of the light, which suggested the room ended there, or that it was endless, great as the buried earth itself. And what lies under the dirt, deep enough, if God is in heaven?

When Tristan stopped, where the candles spread into a circle, the Reverend Mother went on, leading the veils and their Rosalind beyond him, to the epicenter of the dotting flames. Tristan looked down at his hand. It felt empty without the weight of his bible, but the ceremony did not go well if the good book went with him. His lowered head felt appropriate, though. This vast blackness wasn't empty the way shadows are meant to be.

Victoria said the prayer first.

A creature has come
A creature has won


And then the sisters prayed with her, the flames swaying with their syllables. Rosalind was invited into the chant with Victoria's gesture. It was when the girl joined the chorus that the fire would split to sometimes climb the distant walls with their firelight. Tristan didn't want to look at the macabre spectacle, but turned his eyes up when the rhythm felt too much like his breaths. He counted more veils than they'd come with, and some of the habits were tattered. Some were new quality but old, forgotten deigns and materials.

Victoria was at Rosalind with a rush, and if the girl flinched it didn't stop the Reverend Mother from pulling her veil. Her habit went with the shroud on her head and it parted to reveal the marks and the harness and everything the harness held but didn't conceal. Young, luscious flesh, with script that was no longer irritated. Another little ominous miracle.

A symmetric tap of heels came into their perfect reading. The footfalls came from far away, forever away, until there was a tall shade born into the vastest casts of the light. He wore garb Rosalind would recognize, almost like Tristan's clothes, white collar too, but that was revealed to be lace, climbing up his long neck. Luxuriant black robe, tailored without a flaw, and what a sinful shape to that body, like she would fit in his arms, if he wanted to carry her like a child.

If she looked up and saw his eyes, they were endlessly yellow, in a crueler way than the sun is yellow, with dancing rings like surrounding, erupting horizons - black mountain chains around the orbs of tandem planets. White face and hair the color of flicks of blood in the night. Brows black and sharp at the ends that weren't thick. A handsome pretty, with lewd cheekbones and a mouth that constantly looked used, and usable. He wouldn't allow her to look away as he entered through the candles.

"Victoria!" he said with an accent that explained her last name. "Please! Give my beloved Rosalind some of her modesty back!" he berated as he came with all the familiarity of a doting hen, swatting away the respected hands with his own - pampered, flawless, long. "Look at what they've done." he complained and corrected the habit on Rosalind's shoulder, but let her youthful breasts be bare and available to the onslaught of his gaze still. The harness, at the will of its master, squeezed her softnesses a little tighter, to have the flesh stand more alert for him. She could tell the difference in herself. If anything, his little fussing with the fabric would only make her more aware of her nakedness, and that she was not to allow herself any more shielding than he applied.

"Ah." he said, stepping back and falling on his knees with lax hands in his lap as he looked up at her, tears growing. "Look at this." Nails to his large lips like he'd been violated by her beauty. "Rosalind. New sister. We are rejoined at last." He was almost as tall as she with his knees on the cold floor. "You remember me don't you?" He asked and it sent panic into Tristan's heart. Had the demon come for her before? The new man caressed his ear so the lengthy hair that did not touch his shoulders hung behind the shell. A little seam along his razor jaw, like the cloth angel doll she'd imagined for herself, growing up. Modest orphanages left the toys in their girl's imagination. When he breathe the old thread was strained, and she could think the cotton was pushing to get out.

"I have been waiting for this." he said, teasing as his prayer became low around them, and he stood. He unbuttoned his jacket and parted the lace slightly. Sternum. A man's skin. Certainly nothing Tristan had ever done for her. "But before we reunite and all is forgiven..." he started and reached for her hand, lifting it easily. His marks would sing on her arm. His other hand came down suddenly on her knuckles, a firm rap, loud clap. The pain would be as she could remember any punishment at first, but the ring would stay and dance inside her bones until it dissolved into a suggestive heat. An aperitif. "That's for forgetting me just because I told you to hide in the woods and find a sappy twig for practice." Somewhere Tristan winched.

He was close now, this thing that masqueraded as a man, with gravestone hue and resurrected irises. She had her hand back, like she was owed that but not her robes shut. His knuckles rode her recently naked scalp, and awoke the burn of his mark, three lines from upper right to low left, and then a single line through them, from upper left to lower right - the bound heart. "They did well." he mumbled and lifted her face with his fingers under her chin. "Well, Rosalind. Welcome to me, yes? I am your long lost friend. And you're beautiful like a new desire." he leaned to kiss her, but sighed against her mouth instead. "What is? Aren't you happy to have me?" This stranger that makes the script hum.

The new nuns, truly her sisters now, took steps forward from the sisters that she knew. The new women peeled back their veils. Some of them had horns, and some of their faces were like animals. They were all beautiful the way men find willing things beautiful. His prayer continued on their generous mouths.

"I can help you reconcile your faith, you know. I can give you all the divine answers." he promised.

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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 06:22:42 pm »
Rosalind glanced around the circle and looked to Father Tristan for answers when the veiled sisters gave her strange chanting instead. She was a naïve creature to the world, raised in the safety of the church’s havens and held by piety and compassion. But she was not completely blind to the persistence of darkness, and that these words were not the sort of prayer she’d ever through would cross her lips. Tristan, like the Reverend Mother, gave her nothing for her confusion.

When she gave in to the encouragement of Mother Victoria, her voice was a wavering thing. There was uncertainty, a strong lack of purpose, a creeping sense of being cast adrift by her order before she’d even made it a real home. This was her duty, the Reverend Mother had said, and the sisters had repeated to her at intervals during the arduous application of ink beneath her skin. She stared at her hands, clasped before her in something caught between prayer and fear.

When Tristan saw that the other had come, their unwelcome past set to swaying in candlelight, he wanted to look away. But, Victoria fell upon Rosalind and his fingers curled against an instinctual urge to reach out and pull the girl away. He could not draw his stare from her, the lovely child that had grown into a lovelier young woman, and couldn’t tell if it was out of macabre fascination or earnest protectiveness that made him so intent.

Rosalind shrank away and gasped when her veil was pulled from her, reaching to shield the side of her head that had been shaved. It was a strikingly vain gesture from a girl who had never been terribly in tune with her own pretty. That awareness was a gateway to sinfulness the Sisters would have to bear. The creature they sought to appease had no hand in this cultivation of such a simple vice.

While the girl fretted over the loss of her dark tresses, Mother Victoria stripped her of her habit. Father Tristan did look away then, but not before he had seen the lines of symbols tracing down her spine and the curling runes lining the greatest accentuations of her feminine form. He did not want that image seared into the backs of his eyelids, but his heart had seen a perversion of its furthest tucked desire. When they all heard their visitor’s footsteps, they turned their eyes toward heaven.

Only Rosalind and the fallen Sisters would see his face and, after tonight, Rosalind would be sent to play sacrifice alone. Mother Victoria set her teeth and closed her eyes, bowing out of the way when the beast said her name. It was no honor to hear him shape those sounds. That hell knew her name often frightened the Reverend Mother, late at night when she woke at unexplained hours. It sounded like a death knell now. It always had.

Rosalind’s breath was harsh and cut with whimpers when the man came near. She could not find modesty behind her hair or her hands, and she squirmed when the harness snaked tighter of its own accord. The young Sister shook her head in disbelief when the man offered a familiar thread. “I do not know you.” She said, shakily, and clenched her fists as if that might lend her confidence. Father Tristan was both afraid for her and proud of her heart.

It was a small consolation, not nearly worth coming days, that Rosalind was so pure in the face of this thing. Father Tristan imagined the beast must look monstrous, though the footsteps had sounded human. It was easier that way, because he understood the dangerous pull of seduction and it made his whole body ache to think of Rosalind tumbling into that pit. He was forced to set aside his own anguish when he heard her yelp, the demon’s strike clapping across her small hand. Still, he did not look.
“Sisters.” Mother Victoria’s voice was harsh and sudden, cleaving between the lazy honey of the demon’s own musings. “We turn our faces from the darkness. Let us leave and shroud ourselves in holy meditation and prayer.” The nuns who were not acolytes of the hellbound soul turned on their heels to follow the Reverend Mother out. Rosalind, who had been frozen in her proximity to the strange man, cried out then.

“Please, don’t leave me!” she called. A very human panic to call on deeply human sympathies. It made Father Tristan hesitate—he had begun to follow the good Sisters from that forsaken place—and clutch at his heart. “Father!” Rosalind was cruel to appeal to him especially. It was enough to force his feet forward, the denial that she had earned any favoritism from him.

The symbols snaking over her skin throbbed with an unnatural and dizzying heat. Rosalind quivered. “What have I done?” she asked quietly, staring after the dark shapes of her order as they left her. She spoke the words nearly against her demonic visitor’s lips, soft breath and torment that might as well have been a sigh of pleasure to such a creature. She’d not moved still. If she’d been able to consider it, she’d find that she was quite firmly rooted to that place. But even the sweet and dutiful Rosalind hadn’t such a pious eye to those small deceits. Instead, she did not question her proximity to him, only bemoaned it. “What are you?” she asked, small, when they were alone. The tattered Sisters who remained shifted in their circle. Eager and jealous, their habits brushed the floor.   


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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 10:01:46 pm »
Tristan had the strength in him to help with the crops and carry chests for the people. Close to the convent, they relied on him for manual labor, sometimes, and he'd been born with a strong back. Now he felt as though every bone that held to the other wasn't entirely in place, and like his limbs were failing to move him. Pretty Rosalind, sunk into the abyss so easily by them. It should be a crime to do that to any person under their church, but he knew it hurt him more because it was her. Still he followed as he tried to hear echoes, but demon voices don't ride stone walls unless they intend to.

The man from the darkness stayed where he'd been planted by his steps. It was always a hearty thing to have so much grace to play with. So he listened to her pleas to those that couldn't protect her, and lamented her expressions. His hand came over one eye, so he could imagine her beautiful hair on both sides. "Ah, such a decadent waste." he said, as though he'd not written the terms. Then, when his perfectly cruel fingers came down and allowed both his treacherous celestial shards full view, he swallowed contently. It was a lewd, loud sound, and his long neck pumped once with it, to move the white lace around his neck.

"It upsets you." he noted and the low of his voice was forgiving for that, but the whistle as the air was sliced by his vocal chords was judgemental. Here I am, divine for all your knowledge, the very seal of heaven, though with dark wax, and you're not happy to be in my audience. He let Rosalind watch Victoria lead the veils away. The father went too, of course. Hah, this was becoming poison to all of them again.

He petted her hair this time, on that part of her head. "You've not done anything yet, Rosalind." he assured her. Notes of disappointment from the glittering mouth. Heaven moved on his skin, the way something completely alabaster can move inside itself. Shapes of the dragon that could maul the world, ivory gums and bone teeth. Feathers too, because he was born up high, originally. He held her face with his hands, so she would know the fear of something larger than her, that could he fill this cavern with his gait, and at the same time know the comfort of his acceptance. Congregation with any great beast is flattering. This behemoth, though, she'd not tame.

"Well, maybe." he retracted as his hands poured down her jaws and read the columns that moved her blood, and only barely didn't hook fingers in the shelves of her collarbones that already had his script. "These are already singing my message." And those hands were underneath her hills then, lifting them slightly, and letting them settle again. The harness squeezed her hotly with his meaning. "The men who help you carry earth to the garden see them." As though she'd grown herself this pretty on purpose. Isn't all beauty the wearer's fault?

He drew in through his nose when she asked him of his being. A little sugar to his ego, as though the existence of this order wasn't flattering enough. "I am yours, child." he declared and held her waist inside the parted habit. His signs danced and radiated off his touch, disappearing like lighting into her stomach, where they then gossiped downward. "A means for you to serve..." he thought about the wording. "Ah, any higher power you wish." The single curl on a lonely corner of his endless mouth suggested he'd put himself up as a candidate, if she was still shopping.

"All you need" he began, and flicked the rosary that was her leash to him. Two beads became black and soft like skin. "is say my prayer. I'll always teach you what to do." And then he fell on his knees, the robe fanning out to reveal white legs, sinfully clean. A statue's legs. He clasped his hands at this new height, held them to his chin as he leaned closer, looking up at her. She could try to move back but she would fail. His mouth would be at kissing level with the highest meeting of her legs. His breath was exotic. It would stain her as he looked up.

"Rosalind, Rosalind, little baby Rosalind." he said, and kept her gaze while his words hit against her virginity. "Can you feel the power I have?" journeying through you like shooting stars, inventing your wishes along the way. Turning your thighs into fireplace glow. "I can tell you how to help the people. I can even tell you how to appease Father Tristan. I know you're fond of him." Shadows at the far ends of his eyes, because he was evil, and handsome. "Won't you sit down with me, I promise to be there at every crossroads."

And there it was, a first impossible test. Disobey the farthest angel, which was rebellion, or trust him, which was a betrayal. He'd allow the invisible roots that kept her to the cold floor to loosen enough for her kneeling, but she'd have to shrink close to him, and then his tongue would be out for her descent, drawing a straight line from the mouth she'd vowed to keep quiet to the mouth that was meant for prayers. Letting that happen, even though she'd been lead heavily by him, wasn't that something to confess about, too?

Father Tristan was on his knees when they came up the stairs, and Victoria wanted him to go to the big cross, said his prayers would be louder there, but Tristan shook his head as he whispered every good thing he knew into his hands. But also the protector wondered with some curiosity in the horror, what Rosalind might be subjected to at that moment.

VenomousEve

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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 03:48:48 am »
Rosalind was shaking. She wanted to look away from the strange man but she found she could not, which made her tremble more. He was frightening and beautiful, which made him more frightening still. “Why am I here?” If I have done nothing. She clutched at the edges of her split habit. She would have pulled it closed. She should have. She didn’t know why she didn’t. It might have been the runes singing down her belly, squirming with a red heat, or the symbols slithering down her arms that hissed against her skin when she flexed her fingers to move. His gaze was tangible and lascivious. Rosalind had never known a stare like that.

She let out a small cry when he touched her, fright and a deep unrest when her skin lit against his fingertips like sparks on a wire. Rosalind bit down on her own tongue to silence herself. There were tears in her eyes that spilled over when his touch found her soft and blossoming orbs. The harness tightened and she gasped. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She mumbled, and recognized the lie. It felt invasive, like something he had planted in her. It was an unfair attribution, but one he might appreciate. More delicious, even, because she was willing to deceive herself for it.

“I want to serve God. I want to be a servant to the church and my faith.” Rosalind said. Shaky voice, but there was still a foothold on confidence in that. It was tragic that her good heart should be her greatest downfall. The dark creatures, his court, swayed and made strange and inhuman whispers weave. Rosalind shuddered. These women, if they were women, were terrible and nightmarish things. It was not that she could not see the lewd appeal in their shadowed faces, horns and wildness peaking their burning eyes, but that she could see perverted habits of her order hanging over their shoulders and was afraid for her own soul.

When he placed himself at level with her most hidden self she thought to tear away, stumble back, run. None of those luxuries were afforded her, rooted in place as if by her own desire, and fanned instead with a smoldering breath and the dread of an innocence burning away. She began to weep, because she felt the markings—his markings—shift and burrow and light a twin fire in her core. Chastity was holy in its unblemished sacrifice. An offering given without conception of its loss. Rosalind did not know if she should be disgusted with herself or search for greater fortitude when this stranger’s very nearness made her quiver in every repulsive way.

Any theological woes the girl had been grasping at, hoping to keep her heart true, were wrenched from her with her name stolen on his tongue. She thought again of the stitched thread he’d conjured at his jaw and wondered if she had given him the syllables and sealed her own fate. Rosalind did not want to be captured. She did not wish to be entranced. But the Demon had her in enticing shackles and offered up now her first chosen sin. She stared back at him and her cheeks flushed with color beneath her drying tears. Frustration, perhaps, but more in the pink than was good and true. “What is your name and why have I been brought to you?” she asked, and wanted it to be accusatory when it fell off her lips like bashfulness. Coy thing, beneath the sweetness of her upbringing. Perhaps any other deliverance would have been a waste. She wore his brand and well as she wore her dark coils.

“I feel I have been thrown into a lion’s den. How am I to know that I’ve not been sent to suffer? I don’t know your prayers. How am I to know that you are here to lead me well?” Rosalind murmured. And, perhaps, she was too frightened to do anything other than ask for a lie. Surely, if the creature told her he was heaven-sent, she might conjure the deception in the history on his ivory skin. But then Rosalind was better made for him than poor Father Tristan had feared, that she might consent to please an Angel to win the Father’s favor and forget so quickly in all of it the substance of her chaste vows.

Rosalind sank to her knees, even as she demanded those answers and felt from his slick muscle the first throes of a forbidden Eden. It made her clasp her hands across her mouth and hold back new cries. For fear, or sorrow, or ill-begotten pleasure she could not have known. “I want to serve God.” She repeated, and it was nearly whispered. As if she were unsure if God could be replaced.



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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 08:47:05 am »
He recognized her curiosity about the pretty he wore. Some of heaven's child on him, today, but the edges were earthen, like he'd learned this middle realm to be sharp, free of the confusing sanctimony above, and the dizzying agony beneath. It should be through these details that her forming attachment resounded. What else do humans see, if not their things in other things? It was good to feel her try to cover up, and be told otherwise by the deep blue and framing reds of his language in her skin. Not a challenge to his craft, but a caress. "Your promises to be at the foot of the church." is why you're here. "You're in the ground itself. Look at where you are, the foot, the root, you are at the very bottom of the house. Doesn't this fulfill you?"

He let go of a soothing breath when she cried out upon his contact. Good sounds, as he'd expected. But he moaned and closed his eyes at her first lie. Plays at honesty are still little deviations from the truth. He shared some of the heat when he lit her on fire with his nearness to her part that he awakened. He also looked around at his collection of souls that had lost to the patron emotions he raised in them. "They too." wanted to serve God and their faith. Was she frightened at that, and at the same time drawn? His creations were beautiful in a contradictory way.

When his tongue was out, the zenith of it dipped onto her skin where her sister nun had turned her little hairs into a blasphemous cross above her forbidden folds, she acted out with strength from above. He looked up as though he was pious and she was the altar – how perverse a likeness, when in fact he was a male evil, licking at a standing betrothed of his good enemy. When she lowered herself his tongue rode the center line of her body, over her stomach, rearranging his glyphs like they were liquid, up through the valley of her young, round builds, and flicked last at her chin. The trace his left was rich, hot, with a bothersome presence, always teasing at the trail it’d been set in. Benign corrosion at her skin that reached deeper than the throb of the surface, testing what would annoy her, and what would please her. She couldn’t bely the telling lights that her nerves offered inside her sunless body.

He wrapped a beautiful, genderless hand around her chin so that she could look up at him, where they sat. Giant man, suddenly. His feet under the priest’s grab, bare despite the sounds of heels they made, twisted together in a tail outside her vision, reaching around them, eager to encircle her thighs. White snake. “Name of Iryal, Rosalind.” He said, and his voice could barely be heard, and still it would shake her ribcage. The old pronunciation. The harness softened her body with an intrusive, decadent massage as it felt the presence of the seamless, white scales. “You have been brought to me because of God.” He explained. “Because he birthed me with a broken heart and sewed it together with his hair.” And now my heart is hidden from his eyes, and it can be the only factory of lies.

It felt good to be so close while she questioned him. Really, this was the chipping of her defenses. Don’t speak to the abyss, and here she was, raising her hand for answers on the darkest edge. “Lions are merciful, they just tear apart.” Therefor I am not of lions. “Suffer you will. It is exactly all our burden. Pious roads are gravel, not silk. You deceive yourself if you think otherwise, sister.” The tail bound one thigh high, sliding up her stomach now, and then the scales were not so seamless, petting her apex continuously. “You are praying right now.” When you’re heating up. “Just reach inside your habit with your left hand, and count the black beads with your right hand while you read.” A creature has come. A creature has won. The snake seemed to have eaten rocks, suddenly, a bumpy, long belly running over her only mouth that didn’t question him. “I offer you only the knowledge of your faith.” He reminded. His voice suggested that should be enough for any sister.

He looked at her hands holding her mouth and shook his head with quiet hurt as the tip of the tail that romanced her slithered up the valley of her soft hills and toward her throat. A careful pinch of her wrist to lift her hand away just as the sharp of that tail curled up her chin. “Then serve him with me, Rosalind.” He offered as he kissed her chastely. He didn’t let go, but left her the use of her arms if she wanted to treat him to lovely thrashing. Eventually the endless tongue of the first, unsanctioned liar was passed hers, and in her. The tail also found its way into a corner of her mouth to fill her. The tail divided to fill her lungs and stomach, candidly finding her heart. Only when that sacred, pumping gem was hugged did Iryal take his kiss from her, to let the tail roam her and lovingly choke her as it pleased. Divine violation, at its most picturesque.

“You took your vows so easily for him.” he said, and meant both Tristan and God. “That was foolish, to think life can be simple like that.” He scolded as he watched the tail press on her forbidden folds below, and slither back and forth in her mouth, motions told in the way her cheeks waved. “But you can still have grace and the father.” He said as he reached out to casually weigh and squeeze one orb. The scales inside her would start leaking a very intimate poison to soak her organs and fill her up with want for what he offered, catching her up on a lifetime of neglect. Physical, because he’d rather her mind decay in its own time so he could call it true love. In the end, he might not be so patient. “Just spoil him. Just show him some of yourself.” He suggested. It was easy enough to take the heated wants from a younger, desperate Tristan and thrust them into her mind for a moment. “See? That is how men feel. They need understanding and relief.” Then that image was gone with its overwhelming want.

Rosalind was elevated now, laying down in the air, held up on a bed of snake’s body, still petted where she was forbidden, and still fed to the brim. He let his head fall back when the last of the poison was delivered into her heart, and then held out his arms. Her habit was on the floor and she was cradled against him. He kissed his mark on her head and smiled like a parent would, never mind how he’d just had her. “Now you are of me, and we can go anywhere together. Let’s start spreading good things to the people.  You know my name. You know my prayer.” He bit her cheek and there was some blood. “Now spread it to others.” And you will love me in time. The other things in the room said their one versions of his chant when they recognized his elixir in her.

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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2017, 08:21:05 pm »
She took the name he gave her and thought to speak it out loud, but the sounds were lodged in her throat. It was sinister, no matter how pretty the syllables might be, and she could not bring herself to say them. Instead, Rosalind quaked like a good and Godfearing girl, a weak but demonstrable protest against the havoc his script nursed through her body. Rosalind’s face in his hand, long hair falling in wealth on one side of her pretty cheeks, and those moonlight eyes imploring him for a sign. Anything that might ease her soul and make this overwhelming betrayal something holy. But then, if her order were her Judas than she was divine.

Did Father Tristan know to what he’d handed her? Rosalind could not debate it for more than a split second. He said she knew his prayers and she did not want to, but, as if he’d stolen her voice from her, she moaned in an unbidden heat and felt it must have been his hymn. White scales on her softest self and she was given a new theology.

Rosalind began to cry again, when he kissed her. She squirmed in his hold, small fists pushing against his chest at first and then falling away like she’d been burned. The bare skin of a man, cool scale and Demon’s breath or not, was a strange and unknown thing. And then she was subject to a shameful affliction, whimpers choked and thrust back in a dry wretch as the long tail filled her. When he took his mouth from her, she was wide-eyed and coughing, unable to expel what he’d shoved between her teeth. Her lungs burned, and her heart fluttered, and she was tearful. Slick cheeks, slick lips, slick thighs.

She was not herself if Iryal was in her. The ministrations of the forking tail were too directed, too rhythmic and sure, and her innocence too poised for the taking. When he was speaking, it was an awful hypnotism laying her own sins bare. Rosalind and her good heart had come to the order with youthful zeal. A sweet girl, a fine child, dedicated and willful. She had wanted to be a maiden of the church, but she could no longer hide that the church was Father Tristan too. Not with that tail secured so tightly around her beating heart.

It was shameful, and yet there was relief in it too. This creature that knew her, had her childhood stitched in convenience, and cradled her guilty ambitions like they were precious. She was drowning in a dizzying mess of his suggestion and her own unbound womanhood. Her sounds were muffled around the tail, simpering vibrations against the white scales, and her body moved and twitched to ease the discomfort of his violation. Such efforts were so easily forged into the pursuit of pleasure, untrained hips and the rise and fall of her gasping chest.

He elevated her, body and soul, with all the worst sorts of promises. He gave her a trembling taste of her idolized Father’s youth and she was left aching for the fulfillment of her own. Her eyes glassy and her breath shallow when she was cast bare and vulnerable into his greedy arms. She blinked up at him, disoriented and squirming, skin hot as it crawled with his glyphs. It was too much for such a body to bear, which was well enough, and she fast slipped into a troubled sleep as she lay cradled against him. She needed only his echo when she left in the early hours of the morning, dressed back in her habit and veil and led up from the basement by Iryal’s wraithlike consorts.

--

“Sister Rosalind,” Father Tristan’s voice carried a note too loud through the empty chapel. He’d been troubled during the mass, unable to focus while the girl knelt quietly and said her prayers. Rosalind was slow to stop her departure and glanced over her shoulder at him with a weary smile.

“Yes, Father?” she asked. He frowned, crossed the space between them to get a closer look at her face. There were dark circles under her eyes and a pink flush to her lids. It was unsettlingly lovely on her fresh face to see that kind of tousled wilt, but he hadn’t the time to meditate on those undue thoughts.

“Are you well?” he asked her, hesitant to pose such a boorish question. She could not be.

“Yes, I’m fine. I didn’t sleep well, that’s all. Honestly, Father, I don’t remember much after I saw you yesterday. I remember spending the evening in prayer and little beyond that.” She squeezed her own shoulders a bit sheepishly, staring up at him through her dark lashes. “Thank you for worrying about me, though. It makes me happy to hear it.” She murmured, and there was a coy color to her listless cheeks before she smiled sweetly and turned to go.

The Father crossed himself with a sharp intake of breath when she was gone, but it did nothing to dispel the nauseating dread she’d left in her wake. He watched from the window that night, when the light in her bedroom winked out and he saw strange dark shapes flit from the woods. “Oh, Rosalind,” he said, and pressed his face into the palms of his hands. The girl would become his torment and never remember a thing.

Rosalind returned to Iryal, dreamy-eyed when she reached the Demon’s chamber. “Please help me. I’m worrying Father Tristan and I don’t want him to be sad. Show me how to ease his fears.”

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Re: Ivy on the soul.
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2017, 10:40:38 pm »
The little fates that she breathed, with every touch she accepted and fretted over, stayed in the room and burnt the immortal candles faster. She had started her story there, when the scales moved against her, and then when they'd spread his signature inside her. Little girl who wanted to come into this house and do good in its name, and was only afforded to do so by its inhabitants by doing unsavory acts. Iryal was honest, the way artful tongues can be, and that was a kindness she'd not met with from the others, who thought their own hearts were only subject to the multitude of lights that came in through the church windows. He was a bit sanctimonious about that, but that was a pebble sin in this cavern he commanded.

Rosalind had been honest, too, whether she remembered it that way. But she'd not prayed in the way Tristan liked to hear. She'd tended only to the two black beads on her rosary, and the other hand had been insistent and diligent for his acceptance. She learned herself fast in her room, with his sisters, daughters watching and praying along. The flush came from there, perhaps, and part of the animal that was Priest Tristan knew that, and was very curious while he tried to stay composed. It translated all too well into worry and horror. It was the only reaction a pious soul could have from it all, at least to start.

The candles had migrated further into the dark, and spread like constellations, none she knew, these star-paths were older, and from a different view than she'd be used to. Among it all stood her friend from yesterday, tall like the ceiling was high, but he lessened in size as she came closer. Angels have confusing forms. His robes were parted now, and there were white scales underneath, but a man's skin, also. All of it white, because he became more like alabaster with every sin he took. His legs were a man's legs, and the feet, though bare, were human on the stone. Her confidant and violator, the tail, had not stayed to greet her, today.

"Gladly." he sang and held out his arms. Gladly I'll help you. Her harness throbbed against her, and the marks that was starting to tell her story liked it. "It is no mystery why Father Tristan might be under stress." he explained when she came near. He pushed at the air with one finger, and her habit would part as easily as it had on their first meeting. It was up to Rosalind to decide to cover herself or hang her arms until her steps left the habit behind. After all her good praying yesterday, he expected the latter.

"He has all this good inside him, you've seen it, he is a good man." another truth, for most part. He hugged her and kissed her head, the veil following the other cloth. So lewd already, with only half her riches of hair. "But a human vessel has only so much space for goodness." He took her hand and put it on his own chest, cold skin, frigid scales, but the seams and the shadows were searing. His robes also flitted away, and they landed on the flames, which burnt them into a pretty, short lived storm. Legs full of scales, but the pattern lost its density reaching beyond his abdomen, like cherry blossom petals rising. His length, exposed to her, was probably as curious as it would frightening.

"You will have to treat the symptoms. You'll find him blushing in gratitude, and gasping with happiness." he moved around her, hand sliding under her breasts as he made a full circle. Every touch from the demon would light up his glyphs, a tell-tale of how it affected her. "See there? I touched your goodness, all your virtues came to the surface, and they were acknowledged. Now they are settled. Don't you feel better than before?" His hand took her throat, which was a threatening thing, but despite his ominous lock on her, where a squeeze could depart her pretty head from her recently daring body, the surges in her wouldn't be flight, not in a way that made her flee, anyway. "Exciting." he narrated and held her pulse a little harder, taking just a little oxygen from her breaths before he let go.

"Do that to Tristan." what a shock to the man, to see such morbid flirtations. Would Tristan think it was vengeance? Surely he thought he deserved as much. "Sit in his lap so he'll know there is no need to be on his knees, as he always is." That would buy her some time. "He worries about you, you know. You have a new friend and he thinks I couldn't possibly be good enough for his dear sister Rosalind." Two fingers nestled with the cross that was still well outlined close to her apex. "So relieve him of that." he suggested as his other hand went from her shoulder, over one sensitive hill, and down to her belly. The patterns lit up, red and blue, like burning bruises. "Show him." Tristan would fret over the harness, no doubt, but it'd be a shock simply to see Rosalind part her habit in church for him.

And then Tristan would try to make it end. The priest would try to flee to preserve her, or himself. "And then run after him!" Iryal said. She would remember it like prophecy when it inevitably happened. "Trip him and kiss him better. He has a weakness when he runs, in his right foot." Just a little sprain, being everyone's muscle man, but he did step lighter, there. Rosalind could easily hook her shoe into his ankle. "Kiss him where you can find his heart. Soothe him." and there were almost tears on the angel face then, coming off the sunstorm eyes. How much the demon must feel for her priest, and how much she must be pulled along into the scenario. "Here." he started, touching her neck again. "And here." he held her breast, the left one, everyone's favorite. His fingers then painted lines all over her torso as suggested routes for her lips. "And here, if you find a rhythm." He took her hand, places it on his last limb, clad in the mosaic of larger scales. A pulse there, and the scales were luke farm for her fingers. "It'll make him happy." Because great, good men are weak for women like you, Rosalind. They become babbling boys, stuttering while you please them.

If she didn't believe, which she would, he spun on his toes and landed on his knees, face turned from her. A pitiful angel, then. "Maybe you could tell him he's a good friend. Maybe you could take away his mission to stay in the dark. Anyone deserves comfort." Underhanded and over-acted, but he'd put the suggestion of his own sadness in the air. Better she practice on someone. He had his pulse on all those places, too. Single lights flickered and there were his nuns, obscene faces and swaying bodies. If she was confident in the effects of her lips, then she would wield them better. The poor man would have no chance. It was a present for them both, really, that Tristan be her first stop, before she'd be weaving release and frustration into the townsfolk.

-

That would be start of very turbulent times. The new generation would have horror to speak of, but never to spread too far, because everyone had a father, or a brother, or a sister who'd had their head turned by the friendly, beautiful saint of the town. The plagues were gone, and the water in the river was drinkable again, but there was another thing that became ill, and something else that they thirsted for. Iryal thrived and ate their descent, because Rosalind was so pure that her sweetness lasted longer than any of his little acolytes.

Tristan, healthy and young, primed to serve the great purpose he was sworn to, ran along with time, and then couldn't keep up, hair graying in the absence of the orphan he had known. He had his prayers, perhaps, but Rosalind matched them with her own. And hers were heard by a much closer patron.