Incisors Read 908 times


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« on: August 24, 2017, 09:09:07 pm »

August hadn’t moved from her seat in the dining car. Her rose kid gloves were still laid on the edge of the table where she’d placed them while the attendant rambled on about how they’d had to use one of the sleeper cars to house the new staff of the Ételan Academy. They said it was an emergency. She believed them, because why else would they do something so stupid? Logically, she understood. Worse than this would be arriving at their home to find it unmanned. Who would unpack the luggage? But, presently, she was sulking. Of course, Valentina August sulked like she didn’t give a damn anyway.

She sat in her comfy chair like she didn’t realize it would accommodate slouching, because her body had never slouched before and wouldn’t start here. She set the tall, delicate tea cup down on the saucer after a testing sip, steam still rolling off the dark liquid. It rocked back and forth in the cup, gently moved by the constant rattle of the luxury locomotive. Her coat, lined in pale fur, had been shrugged off, pooled behind her and long fingers held up a book.

Her dark, violet eyes cut across the edge of the page to see Emily Toubeline hurry back into the car, looking smug and a little wicked. She didn’t wear the expression right—like a tourist trying to pass as a local—and it grated August. She hurried through the car, from the given away sleeping car on one side to the ones on the other housing their student body. She had been on a mission to gather intel for her friends. Again, tourist. August had acquired all the information before settling into her seat.

The old staff had fled their Academy after one went missing. The vanished maid was surrounded by speculation. They’d spent two weeks trying to find the woman while the rest of them celebrated yule. One by one, they’d slipped away—leaving for fear that something wicked was in the forest. Superstitious and foolish. They’d be hard pressed to find better employment, especially now. The new staff was enthusiastic to take up their new posts—opportunities like this didn’t come around often. Most were born into the position.

August was about to touch and turn another page when she realized her gaze at followed Emily to the other end of the room, locking on the cluster of students sitting there nearest the door.

Ezekiel was grinning. Not at her, of course, but at his friends. It was a bright gesture, full of honesty and just a hint of cleverness. She couldn’t hear their exchange of words from where she sat, but she could see the ease with which he spoke and the way he leaned back and to the side in his chair. Oversized gray sweater with a neck so wide it showed off the shape of his collarbones and the start of freckles that spread beneath across his shoulders. His little sister sat like a lump next to him, ill-fitting to the group as always. She chewed a pink lip and watched the others uncomfortably through her thick lashes.

August hated them both. She had since the day the arrived. Ezekiel was unyieldingly happy with himself and his life and Percy was weak. Most of all, though, she despised them for being a part of the pack. That was what the other students had started calling them at some point. Someone swore they heard them call themselves that once and it just stuck. For some reason, that particular group were friends—separate from everyone else. August suspected it of being a secret club of some kind—not too terribly uncommon. She was in a few herself. But she couldn’t figure out what group they were or why. They didn’t seem to fit one another—not really. And yet the pack never fractured. There were no falling outs. There were no exiles or new members unless they arrived at the Academy new as well.

His pale blue eyes looked back at her. Another girl might have flushed or blushed, but not August. She stared back, expecting him to look surprised or turn away but he didn’t. Ezekiel Castellano, Duke of Loyala, smiled at her with maddening ease, as though they were old friends and staring what neither abnormal nor bothersome. And then he went back to talking to his friends.

Yes. She hated him.


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Re: Incisors
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 12:28:37 pm »
Vasil didn’t touch the walls when he traversed the corridors. Suspension was shit back here, but gentlemen are brought up with high leather boots just so that shit in the lower quarters won’t bother them. He made a point out of stepping lively on his shining shoes, subtle because he was expected to be gaudy, without faltering even when the train turned and bounced. He still wore the aura of arson around his mouth, from the cigarettes he’d lit with the people in the car that had an open window. Good conversation with journeying souls and the help. And his little rolled up notes, black paper and white filters, were always a good trick to keep their attention. Chapped, travel-weary lips were eager to have at it and suckle the smoke out. He liked to see their oral fascination with something he’d brought in a nice box.

He imagined they spoke well of him when he left them. Isn’t that Russian guy kinda nice for being so posh? But he wouldn’t be very hurt if their tongues that turned silver in his presence grew blades in his wake. It’d be pretty weak of him to be bothered by those things. But they’d be wrong if they didn’t at least pay a little tribute to his beauty. Nose a little malicious, and the triangular shadows on his cheeks and the spears of his lashes made his face a collection of weapons. Rapier handsome, as mother Valenkova liked to say, of course her little prince would be Tsar! What would she think if she saw him balancing the floor that did not have its designated cleaner, now?

A large man was fiddling with his luggage overhead, which halted Vasil in his march for the finest seats, a few casr away, yet. The gruff person looked at the waiting youngster with some annoyance. It seemed this beast of a commoner was used to get his way on merit of his abundant meat. Vasil stood as friendly as he could, hands behind, wrists resting on the ties of his vest, which in turn parted the unbuttoned stretch of his shirt more, to show that long neck and the cavern of his jugular notch. For all intent and purpose, he was not being confrontational. But there was enough fang in the corner of his closed smile to let the abundant meat know a violent eater was close and that the thin, gilded veneer of civility only applied to this moving room. The man sat down quickly, uncomfortably, to let the son of the mother land continue, which he did with a grateful flick of a finger to his brushed back brown hair. “And you too, have a good day.” He left with that.

Eventually he’d treaded through all tiers of the rattling cylinder transporting them, to a door that had some sigils and a very new lock. He pulled out a card with his crest, a wyvern and two rows of teeth, and held it to the reader. It opened to let him in. Even the air was better in here. He continued to walk forward. It was easier in the titanium class cars since suspension was better. He caught the ambience of the dining room just in time to detect a hint of all the old things. A thread sewn between Ezzy and the eight month’s Valentine. He stopped by her side on his way and bent down as gentlemen are meant to do, also peering over at the group that was his on merit of species and birth.

“He’s nothing to be upset over, Bvalyendina.” He said. “En forskeillig sjaele.” An unfortunate soul, in her native tongue. He tasted his tongue a few times as though to cleanse it before laughing at himself. “I am sorry. It’s a hard language, you have to admit.” And then he stood straight, hand on the back of the chair she wouldn’t use to its fullest. “You can come sit with us, sometime, you know. Books are for, ah, how should I say this, the damsels.” He nodded and even hummed at his excellent choice of words. Everyone wanted to be a pack member. Though she showed no sign of it outwardly, it’d be out of character for elitist August to not at least be curious. He wouldn’t mind trying her admission, even though it was all a matter of blood rather than salt behind designer cotton. “Anytime. You can come as my guest.”

His hand left the back of her chair to find a home in the slacks he wore on his endless legs. The hook of the limb, just at the elbow, was an offer but also a condition. Wouldn’t he just be pleased if Valentina hung on him as he sat down with the pack? Ezekiel would be piqued, surely.


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Re: Incisors
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 05:11:25 pm »
Her cheek turned just so, violet eye slanting up at that pretty Russian face. She liked to play unimpressed at all times, but every so often Vasil made it difficult. August was an elitist to her core and he was a tsar, after all. She smiled, just a little, for his Danish and even more when he called it a hard language. A Russian, thought her mother tongue was hard. His was forged of iron and vodka. “Yazyk ne dlya vsekh.” Language isn’t for everyone, she replied in his tongue.

Her eyes returned to the page of her book, fingers fanned across the hardback of it and thumb tipped in a lacquered white nail holding the page in place. She tried to return to her firm, impassive expression, but he called her a damsel and it was hard to hide the start of amusement pulling at the corners of lips and eyes. That didn’t happen often anymore—being mistaken for someone or something she wasn’t. Seventeen, and already her character was known. Valentina August was an expert in everything she set herself to. It had only been natural that she’d been taught to ride at an early age. Her mother had hoped for her to compete. It was a dignified sport, riding. To her mother’s disappointment and her father’s delight, August had taken to hunting on horseback. She had gold medals in it someplace—probably a case in her family’s home or her father’s study.

From the corner of her eye, shadowed by thick lashes, she saw him offer his elbow in the slightest way. It wasn’t tempting. Not because he wasn’t tempting or because she wasn’t curious about the pack. It wasn’t tempting because August did not like doing as expected or accepting offers she hadn’t negotiated.

The princess flipped the page of her book and left the tsar to stand or leave, already dismissed.

Ezekiel saw the interaction but the judgement and curiosity never left his eyes, deep pools of ocean blue. He laughed at the joke Nicholas finally reached the end of, punctuating it by taking another drag off his cigarette before blowing a long stream of smoke out and up toward the ceiling of the car. Nicky had a tumbler of whiskey in the other hand, twisting round to follow Ezekiel’s momentary attention behind their little corner. He stretched up, seat struggling to contain the lanky youth as most did. “Moscow!” He hollered in delight.

Ezekiel’s smile returned in full force. He loved Nicky’s outbursts, in circles of well-mannered, civilized creatures. Nicholas had all the same upbringing but none of the focus or care. Sixth son of a big family in South America. He had all the freedoms of his bloodline with none of the expectations. Ezekiel leaned forward and craned a neck to follow Nicky’s attention to the tsar like he had just noticed him too. “Vasil, where have you been?” His smile grew a little wicked. “And where’s your wife?”

Persephone sat like a ghost in the chair beside Ezekiel, holding a large white mug of cocoa in her hands, warming her palms around it and looking out the window. The snowy mountains moved by, dropping away to give them a view down the side of the hill the tracks cut into. An ocean of snow covered trees stretched out around them in all directions.