Author Topic: Echthos  (Read 441 times)


  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
« on: May 30, 2011, 04:49:33 PM »
The ocean whispers in night air
and you once were with me there.
Do you remember?
And I'm speaking your name.
Though it's over, think of me.
Will you release me?

Into the darkness,
farther, my heart slips.
Into the darkness,
into the sea.
- Tiger Army

Good things, small packages, unexpected ways. The back door blew in a seer, patchwork roar and tow-toned head, signature slipper-shoes. Each foot encased was black-soled, start contrast to what the seer wore within. Summer courted her, played upon her skin. She touched the wall for a moment to whisper.

"VIKI!!!!"  Belial fairly flies off her stool to dash at the young Seer intent on snatching her up for some hugging!

Amthy's gaze followed Bel and in turn found Viki. She brightened and waved, blowing a rosey pink kiss bubble toward her fellow ex-Blade.

Woodwork bade her feet forward, called out her eyes to stand at attention. Therein lies two familial celestial bodies, one already belting out her voice. A whine broke air, half pitiful, half shock. She was overwhelmed by the reunion, full up of limbs, extra, not hers.

"Belial.."  Fingers twitched a wave to Amthy over the shoulder of one who hugged, and hugged, so many time embraces. The seer crushed a few kisses to Belial's cheek.

Belial hugs the Seer tightly.

"Oh, sweets, wherever have you gotten yourself off to!"  She really really should think about the things she asks... before she asks them... as she may not like the answers...

"When it was that I was saved, it was naut. I sought shelter in the Sky. Did naut know the march of time extended so far..."

She spun her story against her throat, quiet, tiny words, framed by softness.

Bel lets up on her hugging of the girl and tries to make sense of what Viki is saying. Of course... Bel doesn't really understand. She smiles and nods, tugging Viki back towards Sid, Ebon and Amthy at the bar.

"The sky?"

"Well, a Tower..."  Viki's voice trails off, lost perhaps between two red lips and the flat teeth that hide within. Off-blue crashes against Sid, wave after wave. The thing sound she utters is so pained, it might have been born of injury. But no, to behold her is another thing entirely.


Reaching forth her arms and smiling like Summer World's own sun, Sid whispers.

"Me Shimmer."

With a spring and a sprint, Viki is there. The mismatched waif tangles around Sid, legs locking hers, arms looping about a neck and latched as well, in equal tightness. She presses her face to a shoulder, lost for a moment in the scent of her, in her essence. So many universal tides shifting at once, a collapse of walls and time, a retreat from gravity. Here, there is starshine, bursts of birth, red and blue. She can taste it with her kisses, furious, tiny things, into the top of a cheek.

'Do naut leave. Ever."

Sid's glamoured blue eyes drift over Amthy's movements and then snap readily back upon the Seer as she moves in closer. There is a look of fragility about the girl and she fights the sensible thinking to not overwhelm her, but she is instantly wrapped up in the feel of her, the scent of her, the touch and taste. Like Big Bangs and Moonbeams, Destruction and Creation, Endings and Beginnings.  Pale flesh sparks and luminesces, tendrils outward from the pair. Her kisses soft on brow and cheek, arms tight and possessive.

"I be nae e'er gone from ye, m'Shimmer. Ye know me call."

The worlds go round, all of them, rotating for the case of their design. The seer spots them in a mind's eye, touches Sid with it, interlocking spirits that threaten to float away. It is a power surge between them, and the air snaps electric, crackles a few moments longer, and then settles to a still.

"I called you, and the Crow."

"He misses ye."  There is a sound so like his and for the briefest of moments there is hope before it is crashed under the weight of who truly brings the sound on wind. Still, she kisses Viki once again, and smiles.

"An' the bairns be missin' they star sister. I fear another took ye call an' nae let us hear it, Shimmer. A bad 'un."

Belial shouts over the crowd of the commons.  "We can ruminate over it later... Tonight we should eat, drink and be merry! Look! All my lovelies are coming home to roost!"

Eventually, Viki returns, shaking off a coat of their connection, smiling ever so softly. Her fingers plant a small touch to her chest, just above the source of a heartbeat.

"A creature who swallows sound?"  Questions cross her face, mingle and die. Belial was speaking of food and drink.

The softest of whispers for Viki's ears alone.  "One who swallows Light, m'Shimmer. Ye hol' careful an' tight to those ye know an' trust. I be home now. The 'stone be safe an' there for ye, too."

Glanhelmion Tasartir settled into his stool and let a hand slide to his new toy, running his hand assuringly across the hip as a conversation formed inside his mind with the symbiotic weapon. A flick of his wrist called forth a bottle of Elvin wine, he chilled it with a cantrip, and then produced a glass in the same fashion. Taking a pull off of the Elvin clove and inhaling a mouthfull of smoke as he poured a glass, red flecked silvers sighting the new arrival, centering on him, he only squared his stance atop is perch, preparing for the inevitable, as he realized he decided to wear his crimson red Bloods Jacket tonight.

Tristin J. Thompson entered, a blunt askew in sneered lips, looking for enetertainment, as he toyed at the Mp3 device, a lope bringing him to stand appraising the crowd in the doorway, before that red-eyed glare settled on entertainment in the form of a Red Bloods jacket.  Or a few, it was hard to make out amongst the crowd.  He stopped short of Glanhelmion just out of reach of what he figured the rather tall, silver haired, pointy eared, a rather poor and twisted Spock impersonation in his opinion. His hand sliding casually to the gun, those red eyes meeting that red flecked silver 'gaze', yeah he was shaking in his nike's.  

"Th' #$%^&* u s'posed to be some kinda' #$%^&* up joke?"  His words holding all the warmth of compressed nitrogen.

Red flecked silvers hardened, red flecks dancing so that Glanhelmion could better see the 'Dead Man' before him, right hand still resting against the hilt of that black stone Greatsword on his hip, a twisted smile found those wicked lips of his, around the rim of his wine glass, taking a full sip before he set aside the thing, dropping it as though contaminated.

"Look you insignificant trash, unless you want to get cleaned off the floorboards, now's not the time, but I could use a work out."

Tristin wasted no time in getting loud, and ignorant in his actions, for after all he could.

"You dumb, mutha&apos #$%^&* reallll.... dumb!"  Sliding the big black semi-automatic pistol from it's holster under his baggy tall Black T-shirt, spinning his fitted cap askew, and pulling on the blunt between his lips, red eyes glaring at Glan, sneering as he aimed the gun into the face of the Trueblood.

Glan found his movements fluid, spinning on a heel, low, pivoting under the gun, reaching up to grip his wrist, wicked black nails forming in the motion with intent to dig, and then snap with a follow through jerk, bringing his palm to bear in the man's (or whatever's) chest. Silver swallowed by red, glowing in glee, a smile forming on lips, as he smelled blood.

Shuffling Viki towards Bel's waiting arms, Sid sidles down the bar to the one with the gun.  "Hey, ye? Loudmouth?"

Bel takes the Starchild close and drags her along with her towards the hearth.  She does her best to steer both Amthy and Viki close to Mari and her protective shell.

"We can watch from here... it'll be fun!"

The hearth, home of Shadow. Viki looks for him in silence, keeping close the secrets she hoards. There was no time to speak of current events with the two of them in her periphery. The rest seemed trivial, unimportant, though the inanimate hummed all around.

A light note of burnt cinnamon in the air around Amthy as the tension brought her a measure of anxiety. Her lower lip thrust out and buttoned over the top. She stopped a comfortable distance from the bar--safe enough for the moment.

"Good to see you, Viki," she said.

More cat than girl it seems, though patchwork is a sigil for some royal house, for sure. Eyes continue to spill this way and that, eating up faces both familiar and familial. The guardian, Glanhelmion, is spotted at the bar. A smile is born at the corner of her mouth, and spreads wider, and wider still, as Amthy speaks her name. Or the half name. There is another name she buries like the secrets she collects...

"You as well, firefly."

Shifting the gun back to the sound of Glan, as Tristin dug a hand grenade from his pocket, spinning to duck behind a rather large wooden beam.

"#$%^&* Blood's, ya'll are s***, lower than it! C-P-Eight-Seven!"  Calling out his affiliations, and hood, before tossing the grenade towards the bar, before now catching sight of Sid and her approach.

Bel, it seems, has her work cut out for her!

"You know," she said low to Viki. "I think trouble has a mad pash for you."

The scent of burnt cinnamon deepened and joined with dank soil. "Something wrong is happening," Amthy adds, in case they hadn't noticed.

It is then that the seer sees what is directly in front of her, and it is enough to squash the sound of a thousand other voices clamouring for her attention. Palms meet the lobes of ears, in preparation.

"Metal arrows?"  Viki's eyes eat Amthy with concern.

"This fight definitely needs more exploding children," says a voice above the rest, disembodied, celestial, one Morning Star.  Viki could not place his face.

There's rarely anything not made better by exploding children, at least that's the thought that wanders through the fragmented mind of the shadowed sandman that has slipped in through the back alley door.

Fingers leapt into patchwork, disappearing into the multicolored folds and fabrics that encased her legs, hips, and spiraled off at a section of waste. Here, she pulls free a few tiny blades that fit just between the spaces of those fingers, a curious lock of bands and rings. Bejeweled by violence, the seer bristles. It seems she has brought a knife to a gun fight.

With Viki and the pix, Amthy safe, Bel feels a tad bit of relief... She starts to turn her attentions to the battle then spies the blades Viki has seemingly pulled out of her clothing. A hand falls on Viki's shoulder, keeping her right where she is.

The blades are many. Sharpened at head and foot, mirror to a design once bestowed by another. Like claws, they clack when she moves them together, eager. But Bel's touch gives her pause, and her eyes wander, long enough to tumble into the sandman.

What with grenades and the stink of various magics, weapons, and sundries, the sandman hovers about the recessed area of the back door. Hands drifted through the lazy motion of lighting a clove, ears flicking back at the cacophony though eyes linger on those of the patchwork girl. A brow lifts.

Here dies the universe, or at least, this one. The bodies in motion, they fade and fall from view. Threat of violence is forgotten, even with the sharp click-clack of makeshift claw as Viki moves. Yes, moves. Feet are bounding, racing things on the shoes of Hermes. She nearly flies to him, years of wandering worn only in the deep-set of her eyes. For all of it, she is the same more or less. The skin, it still sings of him, to him, his markings, black as pitch, still scrawl across her arms, legs, chest, creep up her back into her neck, lost under a mane of two-tone curls. Wild, feral thing, coated by such dispair that he will not Hear, he will not See, all that time to track and lose and forget. Why had she lost him, in the frey of that final battle? She stops just shy of a foot, for touch was sacred and not to be taken, even between old lovers.

The sandman is quiet, unsurprisingly, but the grey-blue smoke of the clove curls in something of a greeting gesture and wanders the way of the Lady. He has shifted, wandered, drifted, a step or three up the nearbay stairs. A ruined palm drifts out to receive the flight of the patchwork girl.

Heartbreak rises, crests, then captivates, like so many glittering oceans. She takes the extension of palms as invitations, her mouth falls open, full of breath but no words. Her eyes, they squeeze shut.

A curl of finger to the waiting girl as he pulled his ears back at a pitched whine in the air that was sound and not sound.

"The air is full of vorpal blades tonight."  There, the pin-prick touch of a claw on forehead, open your eyes patchwork girl...

Off-blue brusts forth from two pale eyelids, hooks the claw, follows it up an arm, and with it, the rest of her body. She presses against him, full up of things unsaid.

"The air is full up of many things, Skado."

Black-in-black eyes watched the rumpled figure move past, breathed a jag of grey-blue smoke and accepted the vague system shock of so much touch. Forearm moved across thin shoulders and settled.

"Old names. We see you are breathing..."  This is how the sandman says he's happy you're alive...

A small shiver rushes her, from lumbar to neck, and all for a touch. She presses her cheek to his arm where it meets her shoulder, sucks a kiss into the meeting of skin, inked and not.

"What else?"

"We are glad of it, but most words are left in the sand..."

Black eyes swam the too many faces and movements of the common room and he shifted with the efficiency of a mathematical equation to bring spine to rest on the nearest empty space of wall, there in that space near the back exit. All the better to hear you, deary.

"The world is red, of late. I have seen much, naut you."

The mismatched silhouette fits snug between and sandman and a spot of wall. Better to hear, better to breathe, as the threat of metal arrows ensued.

"Your brother wore your face."  Soft confession. She pulled at him, yet did not. Her chin fell, and eyes with it. Sandman feet, desert, dust. So much of him swimming before her. The rest of them could wink out like stars.

"He has talent for such things..."

Long ears flicked back mildly. It was not so much forgiveness as the sandman couldn't consider such activities a slight. It had marched past, as time was wont to, moments trapped in sequence (so it goes). Dark eyes followed a figurine, figure (sometimes sight is tricky) leaping into rafter beams and then dropped down to the patchwork girl.  "Spend no more fragments on it."

"Amvel."  Her smile is quick, but off center, barely there. She keeps her own counsel, steeling herself, 'less the words come at him in a rush. She was loathe to trap him with trivial matters, yet there were things that could be said, in this small sanctuary he so found them.

"Did naut leave, you know. Naut willing. And Time, it was.. it was naut.."  The same. As much as she had thought. So many words lit up her young face but failed to find sound. She wore all of her longing, all of her loneliness, all of her madness and confusion too. It reached out in snippets, snapping at him, seeking to mingle into the depths of his own. Black eyes, meet off-blue once more.

"We know those broken mirrors well."  The sandman lifted a finger to mouth in a quiet gesture, but twisted it about to place the now unlit clove between harsh teeth... and then it was lit again, cyclops eye in the shadows.

"He put you in a pretty little box, and we put him in a pretty little cage."  And the jackal would wander out, eventually. They never were any good at killing each other.

Her smile was secret, sharp, and satisfied. It was for him and him alone. She let out a hand, but it was the one encased by blades. Your trick, see? But she hadn't meant to extend that one to him. It was the other, the unadorned sister, that moved to catch him, small fingers press a palm, underclaw

"Make the birds?"  A request, for the smoke.

Slow motion blink, the only kind black-in-black knew, and then there are the small crow's feet at the edges of eyes. The sandman tilted his head back, exhaling smoke shredded by feral teeth... and of the shreds glided down small small sparrows, gray and desert spice. They flocked together before flying away into nothingness towards the hearth.

The seer watched them for a moment with quiet awe, the same as the first time. And as they fluttered and flitted and dipped into darkness, she turned her head away. And in the corners of those watching eyes, pooling in the whites, small crystal tears which cascaded down a cheek.

One lone smoke sparrow remained, flying about to the direction the patchwork girl faced and landing upon a shoulder.

"Are you grieving?"  He needed to ask, he read poorly such actions anymore.

"Xas.."  She touched her face as if in surprise, drawing back a teardrop on the tip of her finger. She moved to offer it up to the bird, who was a light comfort to her shoulder.

"For you." And 'us' those eyes said, that line of red mouth motiom. And of pallets and paint and canvases that were as good as gateways. She turned her head back to him, aligning faces, celestial and lupine. She shifted on a foot, unsure.

The non-bird pecked a non-motion at the sacrificial tear and dissipated to nothing, as the sandman drifted into motion at the patchwork girl's shifting. The arm unwound from thin shoulders as the other hand carried the clove away from mouth. He leaned down to place a gentle kiss on forehead...almost apologetic, as any gesture was almost with him... and straightened, spine to the comfortable-and-not whispers that spilled out of the wall.

"I have been unwound, we don't know if we'll bother to find the string again."

It was more than she thought but less than she hoped for. At the touch of a mouth, her eyes fell shut again. Yet this did nothing to stop the stream of emotion that ran down in rivulets, broke, dripped, and fell.

"If you should find it, you will find me there."  Her words held such a sadness that threatened to undo her. Even now, fragments drifted and spun within. Four chambers bled. Yes, she mourns.

"Do you regret what has been?"  A simple, true question. Black eyes hold no reaction for the mourning, though he is not unkind. The baleful eye of the clove flares once more then is ground out in a leather-wrapped palm.

"Nau."  Reply offered. There was a severe absence of singsong and riddle.  "It is different for me. It was yesterday, the passing of a moon, not so many as the Real."

Thin limbs curled around her body, laying claim to patchwork, as if to bundle oneself together.

"You are the Lover. You always," she said.

"It was yesterday, centuries ago, and tomorrow..."  An opening and closing of palm, which in a more animated figure might have been translated to a shrug. In that palm was a small something glinting a sad and chipped silver. This beaten to hell coin was offered between thumb and forefinger.

Off-blue eyes flicked open and fingers lay claim to the small offering, bouncing metal between digit, over knuckle, then back. Questions hung everywhere, ran wild in the small space between them.

"Then I will have tomorrow, for I will always love."

Her face, his reach, so many sharp angles she did not care fo avoid. She would kiss him once more, quickly, but only to a spot where bone framed a face. And, she was gone, black soles sporting slipper-shoes, small bright movement toward the alley and beyond.
[i:e66902e6f2]Victoria Alexandra Chylde[/i:e66902e6f2]

[size=9:e66902e6f2]I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music
And it breaks my heart - Regina Spektor[/size:e66902e6f2]


  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Where Stars Go To Die
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 06:08:29 PM »
It burns like a fire in the night
a glow that rises and becomes the starlite
Under the trees, in the night
You'll find it there
In the space between heartbeats
Where the whole world disappears

In a nightbloom garden
Our hearts did meet
Like the razor's kiss
That sealed our love

And the flame still burns (forever)
And my heart still yearns (forever)
And in my dreams the fires blaze
But the embers fade(forever)
And the light grows faint (forever)
As forever fades away
Forever fades away
- Tiger Army

Over hill and dale, some miles from anywhere in particular, there is a place that sits nestled at the bend of a river, caddy-corner to one small, unnamed, unimportant mountain.  They chose this place for the river, for the seclusion, when they first arrived, these ladies in blue.  When she fell the second time, it was this place she had found, upon impact, her body radiating bits and pieces of the continuum.  When they had found her, they mistook her for an elven girl (it was the ears), an abandoned, naked, pitiful thing, skinny save for the budding curves of womanhood.

They washed her, dressed her, tended to her hair.  When she would not speak, they sang to her, and when she would not sing, they gave her pen and ink.  She seemed to like making marks, but they made no sense to the ladies.

It was Brigid who had reached her first, with her healing hands pressed to either side of the seer's temples.  She was telling a story of their Mair-yee, a Goddess who gave birth to the Son of the Sun.

"Son of a star, you mean," the seer corrected her, a soft intrusion into the story's development.  "Stars will wear skin if their parents please it."

For a year, they tended to her and their other charges, a host of orphaned children, for this was a peaceful, loving environment, hidden from the likes of those who would prey on such unfortunates.  It was unlike the dreaded Rhy'Din Orphanage which makes the news every now and again...

But the seer does not read.  Her information arrives via other sources: buzzing insects, ancient cobbles, the swirl of spirits in a tavern.  Sometimes, it is stolen, lifted from the shoulders of those passerbys.  She cannot help these things.  Her eyes and ears are above, fixed with so many of her cousins who still watch, and perhaps wonder, but never reach down for a skin of their own.

With this cacophony of sound come endless trials: mangled information, vital things missed entirely, lost under the deafening roar of some trivial nuance.  The farmer's wife is laying down with his brother, the butcher.  The news of the war along the coast does not reach her in time to warn the nearby village.  Etc, etc..

The seer stands now, at the door of this sanctuary, come again and again for the care of the givers.  They do not press her, and they allow her to come and go, for she keeps their secret as they keep hers.  The young charges delight in her small songs, and she'll often romp with them at whim, in the grass, a barefoot faerie child, free from the burdens of Sight for a while.  They clothe her in white, for all their charges wear similar shifts of dress, even the boys, but the seer darts and deflects attention, stealing scraps for patchwork, weaving patterns to make the ensemble her own.  Each piece of fabric she collects is a memory of someone, or something, or some event worth knowing.  Each is a small reminder of what she might do when she leaves her place of rest and solace, to chart some course of action, following the deafening roar of prophecy.

She does not know why it has been Gideon of late, with his dead teeth and his tangled relations, but all of that seems small now, as small as the coin that sits in her hand, scarred and sad and chiming a tune across her knuckles.  A lover's token. Remember me...

She pulls at her skin for a moment, where the inkings of tattoo twirl and spiral, across her stomach, along a limb, up and into her very scalp.  They are a language, a story, ghosts of a tribe she was never born into, but she wore them to be one with him, and will wear them for as long as she keeps her skin.

It is not for the tattoos that she contemplates leaving.  In fact, the thought of being free of his ink was a deterrent.  However, this realm spins wild, and in too many directions, launching too many tasks for incapable, addled eyes to hold and focus.  She is without purpose, and, as it is confirmed, without a partner.

Time marched on for too long.  Years had ticked by between her rising and her descent.  The sandman holds her heart, but she no longer holds his.  There is only the memory of water and dust and teeth.

For some scrape of time, she sits in the doorway, in the dark and in solitude, for the blue sisters are asleep, as are the children.  Morpheus sit by her side but does not take her.  The old god understands, for he too, lost his son, as did the Goddess Mair-yee, but the lady declines to counsel another star.

It is fine, Viki thinks.  I do not need you, mother-of-a-star, for mine own was taken long ago.

Time creeps by again, spilling bewitched hours upon the land.  In moonlight, the seer shines, leaking out her origins through the soft pores of this borrowed body.  She hums a funeral dirge, something she remembers from years ago, when, as a child in this realm, she lost her first friend.  It was before the Sight had its stronghold, before her eyes above opened wide.

Following the river, the seer comes to a wide lake, as vast as an ocean in the dark, for there is no clear border between earth and water in eve's full throttle.  She sits lakeside a moment, plunking bare feet into the wet, marking her black soles brown with mud.

Luckily, it is a clear night.  The stars above hover in the ether, and the seer knows for some there is a stalemate between rise and fall.  Tonight, she will rush to join them, abandoning the vessel once and for all, to linger above, at one with the Sight, without the drive to action.  Action is a human thing, for legs and feet and hands to carry.

She knows there is a chance she will only fade, that her skin will rush with lakewater and her light will burst beneath the surface, a small supernova hidden by the damp and decay of the living and the dying sealife within.  Either way, it will be a departure.

The sandman's coin is pressed into her mouth, between two rows of flat teeth.

It is a pity, she thinks, that she does not have enough for her eyes.  But the lake will soon take it all, mirror of the twinkling world above, where she plans to go, one way or another.

She rises.  She walks.

The white shift, now wet, clings to youth, to the ripe vessel that leads it further under.  Soon, the sandman's inkings disappear under the black, until there is only a two-toned head bobbing above, treading water with human feet.

She breathes, but only to remember breath.

And, perhaps, to remember other things.

"I would have you whole and in pieces but preferably whole. And I will help put you back together if you will tell me stories while I do."

"Whole is something that is not us... but you can pretend that some pieces happen to be so. We would have you as you are. " [/color]

"You may.  And I will pretend when it fits the situation."

"When it fits, one perhaps does not need to pretend..." [/color]

"I wanted to be close to you..  Needed something to carry. What shall we do?"

"Stories and thoughts and quiet things, and perhaps you will see the unhome with its nothing door..." [/color]

"Take me with you, and through the nothing door."

"As you wish." [/color]

"Do naut release me, whatever you do.."
[i:e66902e6f2]Victoria Alexandra Chylde[/i:e66902e6f2]

[size=9:e66902e6f2]I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music
And it breaks my heart - Regina Spektor[/size:e66902e6f2]


  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Inside Out
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 10:47:57 PM »
We might live like never before
When there's nothing to give
Well how can we ask for more
We might make love in some sacred place
The look on your face is delicate

So why'd you fill my sorrow
With the words you've borrowed
From the only place that you've known
And why'd you sing Hallelujah
If it means nothing to you
Why'd you sing with me at all?
- Damien Rice

I want to tell you the sad, sad story about a deer and a man.
That's how certain songs start, how they begin an orchestra of long-lost lives, little languid lies, and everything inbetween in which the Beast represents.
He watches, standing on the shore of the lake, where water laps up against bare feet. There is grass, there are trees, there is a navy sky above him, filled with stars and a moon that, eventually, will belong to him.
"You realize," he tells her, even from the barren shore, "that if you leave, it will not change anything."
In the dark of the night, his voice sounds like something that not even the moon can comprehend. Bylah sounds like time and space, like --
The Norse had a tree they called Yggdrasil, that held up the sky, roots keeping the worlds together. Something of that nature.
Bylah is not Yggdrasil. What he is? Is another tree, perpetually feeding the soil from everything he soaks up. Bylah is not a Beast.
Not really.
"Misery, mine little one, loves company. Would you rather be miserable here, or miserable there? Because in the end? It is still misery."

When he takes his first step out into the water, he does not walk atop it. His feet shift the silt, make it move. The water turns cloudy, dark.
He disrupts the mirror without regret. A bolt of silk - irony, thy name is water - drags atop a moment, before becoming sodden, sinking. He does not seem to notice.
"Do you know, Viki, what the stars do when they get old? They eat themselves. They spend all of their lives running from me, fearing me...until finally, they can take no more and they devour themselves from the inside out."

The seer is a far stretch from him, yet even with the distance, over every bobbing wave her threading arms birth upon the surface of the water, she hears him.  Her unearthly senses, laid to waste by sadness, scream electric once more.  Her skin crawls with him, even submerged, and for a moment dreary eyes do brighten with his ever increasing proximity.

She watches the lake seem to crawl away from him, her reflective world crack.  Do the lights above look smaller now?  She chokes back a sob and pries the coin from her teeth.  It was singing all the wrong songs anyway.  

"I See little difference in this or that.  Have you come now to further the might of water, or take what I would give back unto this, this place, where I am stuck?"

Her eyes are large as saucers, an off-blue swirl, the whites streaked apple-red.  She floated there some moments more, aware and not.  Even now, she was between, and only the Shadow could eat that away.  Here was his Maker, who might eat it all.

"Mine body does naut know how to eat itself.  The skin, this collection of being, betrays thought.  Wants for completeness."

"Lies," he accuses like the molested child, save perhap's he's the guilty party.
Or was there ever guilt at all?
"Your body knows well how to eat itself. You are not asking that of it - you are asking the water to waste you away. For me to waste you away. You cannot stand there and tell me that you do not care, Viki."
In the dark, his face is white, eyes like black holes, crawling with spider-silk thin veins of fire.
"Will you abandon the little lives you've met? Is your selfishness so great that you wish to leave behind those that you know?"
The water eddied and shifted about him - and his was of such height that even now, he was just barely waist deep, even as he encroached on her like the coming summer, water growing warm from the furnace in his belly.
"Do you think," he hissed quietly, "that even from such lofty heighs, you will escape me, little one?"

Warm and too-warm.  Summer reponds to itself.  She feels her body bend back, no lack of buoyancy there.  Perhaps she floats like Ophelia, with tendrils of hair curling in the black water, with a borrowed bedtime shift billowing all around.  She might make the connection if she knew the story.  But she knows so many stories...

In her little hand, the scarred coin presses cold.

"Do naut think I would be much for crunching, Star-Eater."

Madness at one with self-destruction.  Was it ever compliant with anything else?

"The vessel burns hot and empty, iron cauldron with nau stew.  It is another thing to be wrapped in little lives, and then tie one life to you, give pieces of yourself to This Other's pieces, and then find them missing.  I cannaut unmake these things, and I do naut want to.  I want more or nothing."

A black brow arched, a line of neat sculpture above his eye. He stepped forward, a white hand winding into the water, settling on the small of her back.
When he bows his head, it is a curtain of jet black that smells of woodsmoke and sweetish rot, falling over her.
"A great philosopher once said that you can not always get what you want - but if you try hard enough, you can get what you need." Black eyes narrowed down on her, where he towered above her, blotting out the moon's light.
"Do you want to know what it is like, little one? To be devoured by me? Do you even grasp what I am...?"

Touch taken, uninvited.  Yet the seer seems not to care, when in earlier hours it might have called down a red alert, of feral violence.

"You made the Shadow."  Even in absolute abandon, there is the undertow of addiction.  Her eyes glitter, even with the absence of Moon.

She pulses faintly, in tick with a soft heartbeat, borrowed, bargained, the girl forgets.  Asking the madling to define Entropy is akin to asking a butterfly to define God.  They flutter so much pretty nonsense before flitting away.

Her eyes snatch his odds and ends, then leap to find the water, and treading hands, and still moving feet.  He is too much to fit behind the frame of her gaze.

"What I need is made up of dust, so I go to the thing that is naut dust.  Ancient men, great and naut, always talking-talking at my ears.  And I can see them sometimes, and per'aps your phi-los-'fer is there, in the thick of faces.  But he does naut speak to me."

"I did not make him. Mine body, perhaps - but what is a Shadow but son and flat surfaces, and a body to by shoved from? He made himself; I merely stitched him to Gideon."
He eased until he stood by her, his other hand settling atop her belly, eyes slitting. "What you need - what every living thing needs - is to die. It is all you have needed since the moment you came into consciousness. Life is not about needs, Viki. Life - living - is about wants. Existing is about simply needs. That is what it is, Viki. Do you want to exist? Or do you want to live?"

"I want so.."  Her moan is colored by motion of water, ripples sprung by breath and vibration.  His hand at her navel, pressing down upon the shift that seeks to evade him, lifting here and there, ghost of cotton fibers.  She burns beneath him, something more furious than before, and eyes steady from their eternal wandering long enough to focus on his face.  Oh.  What a Face.  It is the priveledge and duty of a half-there creature to behold such a face as that.

She is lost momentarily, enthralled by the secrets of those who have come and gone, and stir inside him.  Knuckles brood over a coin in hand, giving up the white.

"It is endless wanting!"

Those black eyes slit a bit...before he leaned down, down, just to put his lips to her ear, just so he can tell her a story - a story he wants no one else to hear.
Not even the stars.
"She was eighteen and alone. She was shy, but smart. She did not think she was beautiful. She did not think she deserved anything. She had been abandoned by all of her friends, lived with her brothers whom she disliked, and parents that did not get her.
"She was plagued with sickness, perpetually sick, and was nothing more than a simple human being. Do you know what happened to her?"

Her lips tremble, struggle to carry the voice that shifts between steady and singsong.

"Nau, but I might steal the end from you, only I do naut think it polite.  Sick ones die?"  It is a guess.  Strange what we remember to take with us at the crossroads.  If the self is uncared for, there are still the things that have been enstilled.  Storytellers were held in high regard, and to pry up the ending before the middle had grown up and old was just bad manners.  

She keeps her head straight, little ears listening.

"No. I brought her into mine house, where she still lives with me. She taught me how to love - that I could love, even if she did not do it on purpose."
He straightened, looking down, down, down at her...before his hand lifted, so white it looked like some dove set free, settling on her cheek.

"You have been running around for so long - you have been hurting yourself too much. You keep messing around with darkness and you are the one who is losing.
"Life up there will be no better than life up here - and I promise you, Viki - the view is not better from up there - I know. Everything down here looks tiny from up there. But from here, the world is bright colors, never dulled. From here, life is magnificent."

Love," echoes the seer, and she lifts her hand to find her cheek streaked with saltwater tears.  Oh, but in the black where they bobbed, was it not freshwater?  Surprise coats her face, coaxes her to look at him again.  It seems he has pulled up this last emotion, when she thought she had strangled them all.

"The Lover did naut do it on purpose."  Here, we have common ground, or so the seer thinks. Star and Star-Eater, bonded by lovestory.  Do the fish speak similar things, to the sharks?

"The tiniest things overwhelm, scatter, beg attention. Ride me like little shadows.  Up there, it is only Eyes, and there is no drive to undo, or push at things.  Although, I do naut want that either.  It is a deadsea, the Sky."  

She presses her mouth against the metal coin she cradles, speaks into it and to Bylah simultaneously.

"What is it like inside of you?"  Curiosity could be curtailed only so long...

"Everywhere is a deadhouse," he tells her - that is his point. It's just as bad there as it is here.
Her question, however, makes him think. What was it like inside him?
"Hot. I have a furnace, little one - it burns all I devour. It is dark and hot and wet - like a good woman - in me. It used to be silent, but now I make a sound that I once did not make. It sounds like a slow drum."
Fingers tightened on shift as he stepped back. Shorewards.

The gown, captured, seeks to tug the seer along, but the move doesn't register.  There is only the Maker of Shadow, blotting out more of the sky, with an essence of ether clinging to a body that the seer knows is larger than it seems.  For the first time, she grants touch to it, tiny flat fingers pressing to a torso.  Power snapped in the interim, exchanged between contact.  Clearly her pieces weren't so scattered as she had thought.  In the other hand, the coin is silent, unoffended.

"Did the Lover-girl bring the drum, do you think?"  She sounded like a small thing on the carpet of some distant schoolroom.  And why and why and why...

"She did," he murmured, slowly drawing her away, away, back to the shore. It's deliberate, but slow. He is in no rush.
"I blamed her totally - I pulled out my heart so she could see the way it beat for her. It has beat for no one else. It will beat for no one else."

"It is the same, Maker.  Mine will naut beat against my breast again.  Naut for any Other."

Suddenly, the seer finds she is able to stand in the lakebed, so near to the shore, where water nurtures soil, breathes life.  Swamp flora dots the plane here, great green lily pads, long, stalking reeds.  A thought crushes against her temple, steals to the other side, and bends to the shell of her ear.

"Why did you hear me?"  Why are you here, is what goes unsaid.

 He stopped when he was shin deep, looking at her with those sharp, cruel eyes.
"Because I could not not hear you, little one. Nor could I stand by, idly, and simply watch - for I know well what it is like in the sky. I have pulled the stars from the sky, put them in mine horns - in her hair - and those stars? They do not know they live of selfishness. You do not strike me as selfish."

She does not shiver in the damp cloth that tugs her down, that slows her legs to meet his casual move to the line.  There is a stone that stands to a point in the wet, between paces.  Here, a foot circumvents a fall.  She cares enough.

"The thought to shed skin is because I am ever so beseiged by selfless things, loud crying secrets, dead souls wantings.  Selfish is the absence of sound, and the coveting of a Shadow." Star-Eater, Maker, now Confessor, she presses a touch to the hand that tethers her to life.

"You will naut eat me then?"  What was this?  Had he uncovered another longlost feeling?  Flesh pulsates light softness.  She can no longer keep the shine underskin.

Where she is light, he is the dark place, dark spaces, swallowing it all up.

"Not today, I will not. Eventually, Viki, I eat everything. Nothing has escaped me, nor will it..but today is not that day."
He releases her, and walks up the shore, forever patient and solid. He puts the lake behind him.

And the seer, she is adrift between again, although very much alive.  She allows herself that numbness that a brush with death might endow, put surely, all stoicism is sure to crack.

Bound by skin, and it seems, tethered still to life, she is crushes the coin against her lips, speaks to it like she would any other inanimate.  All of it housed a spirit in one shape or another.

"Will I see Domikai again, or See him only?"

The coin laughs high, ringing bright of silver trinkets.

"Call his name unto me and he will come."

She breaks with force of a gale.
[i:e66902e6f2]Victoria Alexandra Chylde[/i:e66902e6f2]

[size=9:e66902e6f2]I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music
And it breaks my heart - Regina Spektor[/size:e66902e6f2]


  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Re: Echthos
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 10:56:03 PM »
( Author's Note: Much thanks to Bylah's Player for the last piece, to Gideon's Player for the work-in-process (stay tuned!) and to Domikai's Player for rocking my world, as always.  To everyone else I seemed to have startled by the location of this post, you are entirely too trusting. -grin- )
[i:e66902e6f2]Victoria Alexandra Chylde[/i:e66902e6f2]

[size=9:e66902e6f2]I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music
And it breaks my heart - Regina Spektor[/size:e66902e6f2]


  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 82
    • View Profile
Mark Twain
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 02:45:41 PM »
Don't taint this ground
With the color of the past
Are the sounds in bloom with you
Cause you seem like
An orchard of mines
Just take one step at a time

And you seem
To break like time
So fragile on the inside
You climb these grapevines
Would you look now
Unto this pit of me on the ground
And you wander through these
To climb these grapevines

It was slow and meandering, his pace.  No true hunter stalked with speed, not until they'd scented prey, were closing in for the kill.  No, most predators were mistaken for lazy, slow and undulating in their motions they seemed lackadaisical, unfocused... and that was half the lie that lulled others into trust, into ignorance.  No sheep noticed a wolf in their midst if it moved like them, sounded and smelled like them.  So it was for Gideon as he ate the streets up in slow strides, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans, untucked black oxford wrinkled up over his wrists, the top button of his collar undone, stark white of a tie pulled loose at an awkward angle under the collar.  So empty, tonight, those streets, devoid of life or movement, and he'd resorted to prowling grounds unfamiliar.  Eyes strayed, half focused on the cobbles before his feet as most of his mind bent on that call, reaching out and pulling toward himself all those who'd welcome what he had to offer.

Barefoot, black-soled, the little seer wandered, pulling tight a water-logged shift to her person.  In the dark, perhaps she pulsed faintly, phantom lights stuck to her skin like some second layer of cloth.  How far, how long she had wandered?  There were clues in her hair, lakebed brambles, mud between her toes, blistered, bleeding, but she seemed not to notice.  Her face was awash with the misery of one stuck, misplaced, determined to do a thing and then denied entry, or rather, talked out of it.  She cried softly, a meek, child's sound.  For are we all quivering infants in the Shadow of Death?

She rounds a corner, eyes the cemetery gates.  Confusion holds her a moment, stills her pace, and then, there is the outburst, a choking, horrible sound that gives itself to gravity.  She falls with the grace of one that cares for nothing,

He heard the sound of bare footsteps on the pavement before he saw her, glancing up at the sound, and for half a moment he thought she was one of those little miserables answering his silent call, for all she looked like one; slim figure in a white nightdress shift, wandering in a drunken stupor, vacant eyed and desperate.  But then she turned, fell before the cemetery gates and there was that sound...

The moonlight was a passing thing, dark clouds sheering across the heavy hang of the half orb, blotting it out from minute to minute, and when the last one passed the silver light caught its match in the mass of tangled hair.  He drew up pace, dark brows crowding together as he stared for a long second.  Nothing of the little scene made sense if the crumpled mass before the bars of wrought iron was who he thought...and then that scent of her hit his nostrils with the shift of the breeze and he was sure of it.

Features clouded further and he drew a slow breath as he moved forward again, eyeing the broken little being cautiously, like the bait in a trap.  He cleared his throat uncomfortably.  "Viki?"

Metal sang against her skin, the gate yawning wide as if in welcome for the thing that balled itself up before it, and then it told her to turn her head, and she listened.  Great red lines branched outward, in the whites of her eyes, sharpening the blue, even in such a dark.  Gideon, he was a sudden blip on her radar, still swimming in a Shadow's scent, but she did not even have the drive for that addiction.  She only smiled, drinking up the irony of this find.  How was it that she first found him?  In this similar state?  On hands and knees, entrenched in sorrow?

The smile was brief, concluded by more tears.  They burned hot at her face.  Sorrow had no impact on the makeup of one such as she.  She stared at him through the haze, brought her hands, palm up, into her lap.  There sat a coin, still chiming things only she might hear.  To Gideon, it would seem just another strange currency, foreign and of little value.

Not even a word, not one fractured, nonsensical statement.  He frowned and drew up beside her, gazed down at her for a long moment before hands slid from pockets to tug at the front fold of jeans at the top of his thighs as he knelt. Tears.  Her face glistened with them, cheeks salt-sticky with the long legged tracks of the hot things.

He frowned and reached forward...never had that respect for touch and what it bore that the little seer did, never quite so polite as she in the context of physical space, he took her chin in thumb and forefinger gently.  How many of those pretty little shivering drops had he caused her, beat from her or drew with just a hard word?  These weren't his doing though...and something about them ran so much deeper than the bitter ones he'd caused.

His voice was uncharacteristically quiet, almost gentle.  "Little urchin?"

She was a mess, not meant for such closeness by one so refined. Summer still coursed through her, perfuming the air with floral spice, but it was the remnants of the lake that creased her, that and another matter entirely.  She wore scrapes and bruises, earth wet and dry.  The white shift only gave up its natural color in parts, for most of it was so stained by the grime of some still watering hole that it clung to her tightly, took up her flesh tone.

She did not recoil this time from his touch, did not meet it with sharpness or disdain, she simply.. sat.  The eyes that looked out at him could not focus on his face.  They drifted, darted, slinking along the seamlines of his jeans.

It was the voice that drew her out, finally, although when she spoke, it was at his chest.

"Is this how it feels, to give up oneself to another and watch it walk away?  And be entombed to a body that will naut move, Gideon?  Is this what you wear for my Brother?"

Usually her words were characteristically vague, disjointed into fractured puzzle pieces never meant to fit together to begin with, to hear her ask something so plain, so pointed...he jerked, once. Words an arrow that pierced him through the sternum.  He wasn't half sure that if he looked down he wouldn't see the long shaft of such a thing protruding from his chest.  He could feel the point of it lodged there, pricking at the hear that couldn't beat.

The loss she spoke of shone clear enough upon the moon of her face in that pale light and even without the question Gideon would have known it instinctively for what it was.  How often had he seen that look in the mirror when no one stood behind him?  How often had he felt it on his features, in his bones in those slim seconds when no one was looking?  He'd had a heart once, hadn't he?  He'd loved once.  Everett and Illiana had awoken or bred in him those feelings he'd never thought he'd had or could have...and each had broken them in him too.  But once potential was awoken, there was no sleep for such things, even though they'd die over and over they rose from ashes, the ghost of a phoenix, more bitter and broken each new time, and though he'd buried the last of such things under the rubble of hate and hard anger, still it grew there, twisted and warped but alive nonetheless.  Viki's own pain called to it, each to each in siren song of loss and heartbreak.  It balled within him, the wound that would not close, and bled slow drops of pity for the little seer he had hated, cared for, and hated once more.  She was no better than he now, though... and he would have wished his misery on no one.

Handsome features rearranged themselves into that expression now, the one no one ever saw.  Exquisite misery, perfect commiseration, understanding and empathy at once.  The pale blue of his eyes, oddly luminescent in the darkness, held the whole of her, saw and knew.

He nodded slowly, swallowed shards of glass to speak.  "Yes, Viki.  Every night...every second, without end."

"It does NAUT end!"  She tore her face from his hold to shriek into her hands, head buried in her lap, hidden beneath a rush of curls and their twin colors.  Chestnut seemed to shadow the rebel white, spiral and lay claim to her shoulders, her skinny spine that still glistened with water.  She looked a landlocked mermaid, some siren imprisoned on these miserable shores, half rocking into a stretch of a sob, only to shift her weight back again.

She did not seek to crash against him, but he was the only person who knew the land she crisscrossed, knew the weight of heartbreak, knew the toll it took.  She saw all this as he dropped the mask, confirmed that yes, indeed, it was without end.  Suddenly her borrowed life yawned outward in front of her, a black promise of many, many years, alone.  How could he move, how could he wake?  These things she wanted to ask him, but became distracted by his proximity.  Somehow her arms had found his, long-lost, entreated him to embrace the rest of her.

Her shriek startled him, widened eyes at the outburst before the set of his shoulders fell, echoing the ache she lamented.  He moved to reach for her as she collapsed but in a moment she was there, against him, thin wet arms clambering against his own.  He hooked hands under her arms against her ribs and drew her to him, her sodden dress soaking through his jeans and shirt.  He folded her in; strong arm round her shoulders the other round her waist.  There was something about Gideon's hugs that seemed so perfectly strong, like they could blot out the world for the moment while one existed within their orbit, something more solid about him than other creatures that made his embrace a place of perfect sanctuary.  One hand slid up the back of her neck, cool against her skin as fingers stroked soothingly at the line of her hair.  He knew better than any that no words were strong or good enough to heal, there was no language that could ease that pain of loss, and he made no effort to wield the futility of such hollow objects.  He pressed a kiss to her temple, tasted the dirt of standing water, the salt of smeared tears, and murmured a quiet susurrus of soothing sounds against her skin.

These are the sounds the seer heard when he murmured: wings of butterflies, gentle rains and drifting wild flowers.  Hands clenched and caught him, fabric first, and then flesh, soft needful touches as her arms wrapped his throat. Even her fingers were fever-hot, as if the fire within raced down to the tiniest extensions.  She had found a way to coil herself around him as he tightened his hold, legs locked to the bend of each hipbone.  Her face hovered halfway between his silent heart and his mouth, dark brows lifting in receipt of the kiss.  Still, she cried softly, outlet for their mutual misery.  Would that he had thrown her from that roof, her eyes said, as they rolled up.  But no, not after what she had learned lakeside...  

Still, the waif seemed uncaring, carting unwanted life.  He might take some it from her, if he so desired.  Red eyes, red mouth, upturned to meet his face.  She opened up to speak again, but another sob stunned her.

The arm at her waist scooped under her bottom as he rose smoothly from where he knelt, hoisted her with him, held her tight against himself, bastion in the storm she swam for now.  He shifted slightly, enough to stroke he cheek gently as he offered her a sad sort of smile, gentle in a way most all who knew him would say he was incapable of, and kissed the tears that streamed down the apples of those hot little cheeks.

"Sssh, little urchin."  No heat in the nickname now.  He stroked the plaster of her hair back from her face.  "Let me take you home.  You're soaked through.  Let's get you a bath and a drink, yes?"

The flick of sheened icewater eyes ticked over her features, not to be denied, but asking permission anyway.  "And you tell me what's happened on the way."

Partners in an unending dance of love and hate, and here is the turn now, the music rising once more to meet them, guide them into a gentler sway.  The seer savored the sudden gallantry, guided her pressed body into an easy bundle for him to carry.  He wanted her story, her secrets?  The inanimate whispered around them, unanimous in their agreement that he had won the right.  Had he not redeemed himself, once under fire and again, here, now?

Eyes could not discern even where she was.  Who knows how long she would have wandered had he not stumbled upon her in the dark.  Home.  That was an alien word.  She nearly laughed when he spoke it, but all that was born of trembling lips was a blend of whimper-whine into the shell of his ear.

And then, she found the strength to speak.  "I do naut know where that is any longer, Gideon."

"I'll find it, Viki."  He assured her, tucking his chin over her slender shoulder comfortably as he stroked the line of her sodden back gently. The long wet hem of her shift slapped awkwardly against his legs as he walked with her, but he paid it no attention.

The seer stuck to him like glue, somewhat calmed by the soft assurances he offered, by the manner in which he cared for her.  Strange how these were the same hands that reached to yank hair from root, that tossed her adrift, as if she were a feather, into the Shadow that still rode him.  She could taste the Shadow there, tucked as she was against him, but she did not sample it, even if her body called for it, crawling, hot with need.  Oh, even now, in the throes of misery!

She swallowed a whine and buried her face into his ruined shirt, as his steps seemed to chart a course for the Inn, and for Two-Oh.

"Gideon.."  Her broken voice lit up in alarm.  She didn't mean for him to revisit the memory of his own loss.  It was akin to walking her through a desert, with every grain of sand swirling to a shape of her Lover's face.

"It's alright, luv."   He pressed a kiss through sodden, clinging strands of hair into the crook of her neck.  His ghosts had been with him long enough to become welcome company, familiar faces that no longer held the threat of destructive pain, their knives dulled against the whetstone of time.

"Talk to me, urchin?"  He pressed softly, not necessarily urging her toward the topic of her grief, "Tell me a story."

"You are a mirror," she said.  Round and round we go. 'Luv' was certainly better than 'wh*re' and 'urchin' was ringing more joyful in these brief hours.

Through the door of the inn and up the stairs, god how familiar those steps were, feet still knew them even after the long absence and even now after he'd willed them to forget. He stopped before that cursed door and carefully avoided looking at the burnished number upon its wood planks as Viki placed her hand to the thing.  He in turn, knocked, and when no answer came he turned the knob in that easy trick of strength that broke the catch

Her eyes dipped to the floor, watching the path of his feet.  Indeed, they were destined for Two-Oh, but the Poet was not in.  The seer pushed the door gently from her perch on high to make certain.  Darkness licked the walls that held no trace of him.  He had not been there for days, it seemed, certainly with his artist, perhaps aglow in her gallery.

The waif sighed, turned her head.  Waterlogged, but all cried out, and so her story began: "It is the same, and it is naut.  There was a battle.  I am wanted for mine eyes.  He sought to save me.  I was lost in the thick.  And I wandered, longer than I thought...  When I had found him, he did naut seek to be bound again.  And I, I did naut ever slip those stitchings.."

She tugged at her shift, exposed a portion of color, turned up a sleeve to reveal the ink that scrawled across her body.  "I wear him, Gideon.  Do you want to see him?"

Gideon swung the door open, only just managing to shut it behind them, listening to the stream-of-consciousness tale the little seer told in that tear-thick voice, before she put that inked arm just under his nose.  He blinked at the stretch of her pale skin in the moonlight and the black etching upon it, brows drawing together as he reached out to flick on the light.  Yes...she was covered in the scrawl of ink.

He let her slide down, put her on her feet and took her wrist in his hand, turning her arm over as he shoved the sleeve a bit higher.  "Did he do this to you?"

"Xas. I wanted.  It is his people. I am naut his people anymore than I am this slip of girl before you.  It is all skin, borrowed for a time."  Not that this is different from any other life, she said with her open hand streaming casual gestures into the air.  The slip bunched at her shoulder, bleeding brown water into the floor as he raised it.  Here now, in the lamplight of the Poet's room, he might see the obsidian etchings continue onward, peeking out at the curve of a knee, steeling through soaked fibers of a tragic dress.  He might be reminded of his sorrow in a passing glance, but she can see it always, by the simple pull of cloth over a head.  Shameless action, the seer pursued this.  It is not a body but a canvas she revealed, and with the attitude of one who does not hold to such ideas as modesty and virtue.

Although, what has been unwrapped was more or less on the cusp of woman.  She did not draw to him but rather wandered away so that he might see the etchings swirl down the bones of her back.

Beautiful and terrible, those lines that ran the length and breadth of her, like the patchwork and ribbons she usually wore but melted, melded to her flesh.  Her nudity was hardly an embarrassment to him, who had very little modesty of his own and had never viewed the seer as an object of desire anyway.  His face drew hard lines as he stared and eventually shook his head slowly.

"I can't pretend to understand, Viki...It's hard enough to wear those marks within."  He forcibly drew the line of pale eyes off her and turned to open the door of the bathroom.  The sound of hot rushing water from the tap followed his departure as he filled the tub for her.

"Things whisper.  Some say, 'it will be enough to wear him'.  Others say, 'these are yours now.'"  Feet wore down the floor with her pacing, leaving a track of soles.  Here, a heel.  There, ball of foot, and small spray of toes.  Her hair tangled, caught the wet of her skin and clung, making up new sigils where each curlicue fell.  She found herself once more drawn to the sound of water, but this was a manmade rush, heated and filtered.  Her face pressed to the wall, pointed ears perked with interested.  The Vampire, he made hardly a sound.  She followed the nothing of him, no boiling blood or bleeding heart, but still, he had shown himself in other ways.

A coin is given to the countertop, between a sink and a mirror.

"But you are here again Gideon.  I can see them, you know, your markings.  They are bright now to me, as bright as the things I have stolen from you."  Apologetic was her press of head to his, fingertip touch to the shirt she had wrecked with her lakeside misadventure.

He was bent over the tub, and his shoulders rose as she pressed her head to his.  He turned his face away, fought to keep that mask of indifference in place.  It was not easy to be here in this little space that screamed Everett with every trinket and scent. It cut at old wounds, reopened that stump of an amputated limb that he'd soldered shut with the torch of anger and wounded pride.  If the poet came back to him tomorrow he knew, oh yes he knew, he'd welcome him with open arms, smash his pride at the man's feet and break himself in loving something he was not fit to touch.

The muscles of his throat worked silently in a hard swallow as the glut of those emotions rushed up against the back of his teeth in a hard wave.  Here was the difference between himself and Viki:  she was a creature turned inside out, all her inner workings, all the soft and tender pieces turned to face the world in their fragile glory, with her armor on the inside, a hard case of unbreakable steel masked under all that delicacy.  Gideon was a creature turned steadfastly outside-in, all those achingly tender parts hidden behind the cold hard portcullis of that perfect marble shell of his shield against the world.  When that mask came down, nothing got in, and nothing could leave.

He fumbled for that barrier now, but his grip upon it kept slipping.  He managed to school his face to stillness before he turned to offer the seer a thin, pained line of a smile that touched just one corner of his mouth.  The misery of him swam crystalline depths of pale eyes as he reached up a hand to help her into the tub, the tap now off and the basin full of steaming, soapy water.

"It's nothing I want to speak of, Viki.  Come let's get you cleaned up."

"I-am-sorry-I-tried-to-take-what-is-naut-mine."  No mention of the Shadow, but the thought is there, slung between the syllables of trying singsong, a shade of her usual freestyle manner of talk.

She took to the water easily, as if skin had already made a home of it, worked up an appeal, and now her sea legs could be stretched once more.  Such a domestic scene suited her dual persona: there she was, fragile, fragmented thing, in need of care, yet at other times, hoarding knowledge, sought by many unseedy persons for reasons selfish at best, and at worst, utterly vile.

She let her head bend to gentle touch, and eyes fell under the surge of water and soap, splashed, spilled, sopped, and scrubbed.  Lukewarm, the water grew hot with the addition of her body.  Bubbles flew like great crystal orbs, and the seer's eyes leapt to them, as if to scry some new vision, but they collided and burst before birthing any scene.

She lifted her knees to her chin, nestled her head against them, and peered up at him.  So many questions for one so conflicted.

"Are we naut friends now, Gideon?"  Soft words, sporting a side of shifting eyes.  They could never keep still.  They crawled across him, across the room, and Elsewhere, wide wanderers.

"I do naut hate you for your dead teeth, you know.  Once upon 'nother time, someone like you was wrapped to me.  But then the sandman, he did appear more brilliant before me."  Quake of a confession.

She wrapped her arms around her legs and pulled her knees tighter, as if to crush the voice in her throat.  Too much, they said.  She would give up everything to this one in her state of disrepair.

He sighed softly at the apology and sat back on his heels as she made herself at home in the tub.  He reached up to pull the knot of his tie loose, threading the thin end out of the knot with a slow pull, tossing the white stretch of silk away onto the counter of the sink before he undid the buttons of his cuffs and rolled black sleeve up to just under his elbows.  He rose only to take a knee behind where she sat in the clawfoot tub.  Nurturing was nothing that came easy to him, and hardly second nature...but bathing was easy enough.  These were matter of fact things, easy habit that kept emotion at bay.  He found soap and lent elbows against the edge of the tub to scrub the stuff into the mess of her hair, gathering damp strands, scooping water over them before he worked pads of his fingers up the curvature of her scalp, sudsing.

He coughed a laugh at her question.  Were they friends?  The line of his gaze fixed upward absently.

"I won't harm you again, urchin."   It was as much of an answer as he could give at the time.  She knew, now, the wasteland he walked, and her misery was beyond anything he would have had the power to inflict.  Moreso the urge to cause her pain had withered and died away.  Gideon had always been softer than he let on, softer than the hard rage and his cold bearing would ever own to.

He pressed hands to her shoulders, urging a dip back in the water to rinse the soap off her hair.

"I don't hate you, either.  I wanted to, but I don't."

Laid back, her body shaped to the form of the tub, curled, at odds with the water at times.  Soap rushed to temporarily clothe her, ring round the adolescent planes of her body, the flat space of a stomach, the curious dip where ribs met hips.  She pushed herself under so that the surface might steal away her face for a time, although, so weakened by her emotions, she hadn't the strength to be submerged for very long.

She caught one of his wrists in her hand.  It was only leverage, a means to retract her body from the bath.  The seer was watchful of the way the water came at her, how it pooled and framed her, how it clung to her skin, to her eyes.  The newness of his words threatened tears.  Instead, she drew small circles into the air.

Round and round?

He held braced the arm of the wrist that she held over the tub and reached across himself with his other to  grab a towel off the rack before he lifted the wrist she held tight to, raising her up.

"Come on, magpie.  You'll be a damned prune."  He rose and offered the open towel.

"Maybe..."  Thus elevated, she descended on the floor dripping new.

"Shell and skin of fruit, laid waste by a star-too-close.  Gets stuck in your dead teeth, Gideon."  Humour was a good sign, was it not?  She let herself be enveloped by arms that might have once sought harm, cotton cocoon for inkling skin, scrubbed and caressed gently clean.  Her hair looped, playing at a mask over her eyes. Little seer bandit slinked close to steal a kiss, cornerstone of his mouth.

"I have a secret for you Gideon."

He grimaced at her description of his teeth.  It felt far too close to the point of the truth, and for Pinocchio always wishing to be a real boy, to be called a puppet stung like nettles.  He let it slide though, in the light of her state and this new peace, though the kiss she gifted him was met with a tightening of his own mouth.  He wrapped the towel around her and rubbed at her arms beneath the cotton as brows drew together in a tight line.

"I'm not my shadow, Viki."

"It is naut for him, it is for you."  Gentle were her touches to his shoulder, pressing thank-yous to where she had upset the folds and brightness of his shirt.

"I have seen, in the pictureframe, the Shadow, the Sister, and the Student all swirling around you.  I did naut know which would win you, but sometimes, Sight is sweet, come to offer solace where there is only darkness."

Her palms met his forehead, as if to feel a fever she knew could not be.

"Pit the Sister against the Student.  Somewhat else slinks in the back of her, but I do naut know what.  It is better to keep such a thing far, far away.  The Student will know what to do with her."

He blinked at that, expression darkening slightly as he meaning sunk in.  Hands stilled on her shoulders as he shook his head slowly, bright eyes hard, hiding the fear that her suggestion welled within.

"Catlin is just a man, magpie.  Kestrel could kill him more easily than snapping a twig.  He is a wild thing...but there is no feral rage that could withstand her strength.  I would die myself trying to save him from her if I allowed such a thing."

Perhaps he misunderstood her suggestion, but Catlin broken into bleeding pieces in Kestrel's lovely hands, her laughter killing the ringing of screams still hanging in the air and it made him ill.  He drew the wet little thing before him against himself in a taut hug, held her close and still as if he'd replaced her in his mind with the blonde wraith he thought of now, desperate to keep her from that vision.  He rested his chin on her damp head, let it slide to his cheek as he tightened his grasp.

"No."  He drew a slow breath.  "No."

"Nau, nau.  Naut the Sailor, Gideon, the Student."

Her tone kicks to a level of pedagogue as she curls her warm limbs around him, meant to squash his desperation.

"The Sailor, he is another story for you to write.  The things that whisper do naut whisper of him now."  Frustration streaks across her features, clean now, near suitable for society had he donned her with a dress. She was pretty in the rough, natural way that deplored powder and finery.

"The Student.. is.. Ahh.. I see him red with you Gideon.  He is naut Lover, nor Friend."  Unfortunately, Viki has no calling cards for Eli.

"Student..."  He drew the word out.  He had misunderstood.  Catlin's learning to read had done it.  He knew no other student, knew precious little about Eli, save for his nature now and that he studied the dead.  Gideon had yet to conceptualize that it was dead like himself that absorbed Elias' time.  Stupid, thick man.

He heaved a sigh and released Viki from that all encompassing hug, rubbing her back absently as he stepped away, writing off her secret as more nonsense words for the moment.  Perhaps in time the meaning would come clearer.  Gideon was a pragmatic, unromantic creature...he had no use for the surreal, in spite of his own nature.  He gathered an end of the towel and wiped the drips of moisture from her cheek and chin, bent and gave her forehead a brush of a kiss.

"Come on, urchin.  Let's put some clothes on you."  He left her, and the bathroom behind as he headed back into the purgatory of that bedroom and pulled the closet door open to fish out one of Everett's shirts, a soft chambray oxford whose scent of ink and sandalwood was enough to claw hard at the bottom of his heart, careless cat with claws reaching for a toy.

"It is a prize she wants..."  Make way for singsong, coasting around the bend of a wall.  She came trailing along eventually, clinging to the comfort of a towel.  It sang small words of home and hearth, for that was all it ever knew.

"It is you with your teeth sharp, or if is a replacement.  I See a game played betwixt ones above her, above you.  Do naut give her either Gideon."

She finds his face between the bend of an elbow and the shoulder of a shirt too large.  Her eyes wink around the dangling, teasing fabric, scented by one Poet gone too long.  Give her time here, and he will return to find his shirts spun into patchwork.

"Wish that you might stay.  I saw your Shadow's Maker.  He makes me want, and I want naut to be alone."

Patience and his will power wore thin at the same times, fraying ends of spider-silk fine things.  He held the shirt open for her, slid it over thin, inked arms and closed the buttons one by one down her torso.  He smiled though when he was done and stepped back to tousle her damp hair.  Nothing more endearing than a woman in nothing but a man's over large shirt.

"I'll stay till morning comes, if you like.  As much of an irritating little lunatic as you are, I wouldn't leave you alone."

He stepped closer and gathered the mass of her hair in his hands, held it out from her and wrung the drops out carelessly onto the floor. "Would you like a drink?"

She lifted her arms to find the shirt clearly did overreach, Everett's cuffs eating away at her wrists and hands.  She bunched at the sleeves until she found little fingers, sought out Gideon with a smile that said far too little. She was all spent by sound.  With a dip of her head, she nodded into the sponging of hair.  Heat lent to the process, sending water skyward, creating a sort of humid halo around her head.

 "Tea?  If it is hot.  I do naut like it when they put little glacial bits into tea..."  Her eyes wandered briefly to touch upon a window.

"Tea it is..."  He agreed and dropped the mess of chestnut strands against her shoulders and moved for the door.  He had his hand upon the door knob before what she'd said earlier registered.  It might have become far too easy to gloss over the things she said that made no sense to him, let them slide...sometimes he only heard half of what she said, and always to his detriment.  He paused now, though and turned to glance at her over his shoulder.

"You met Bylah?"  He turned back around slowly, a small half smile stealing its way up one corner of a generous mouth.

"No wonder you looked the way you did on the street.  He's..."  words failed and he lifted a shoulder with he shake of his head.  Insouciance to the death. "...well, he's terrifying isn't he?"

"By-lah."  The seer tasted his name with a shudder, pulling the Poet's shirt tight to her frame as she pressed into the bed.  The mattress bore her weight easily.  The blankets were unnecessary, though created a kind of nest, many layers and levels of softness to lull her backward, where one might meet with a dreamgirl.

"He is many things.  Fear is for those that do naut accept... digestion."

Her face seemed pensive, though her body suggested exhaustion and the ever present bite of heartache.  She shaped herself to the bed, half lidded eyes still stuck to Gideon's side, the way he moved between a doorframe.

"My look was for the coin in the bath.  Do naut speak to it.  I am angry with it."

Well, that is true."  To the first at least, to the second he just gave her one of those bewildered looks that she drew so well.

"Alright then.  Tea."  He turned the broken doorknob and left her for the crowd below to make tea.  This he could do, god bless the United Kingdom.  The minutes ticked away before he returned with the tray.  Tea, biscuits, honey, milk, sugar...and a small bottle of scotch for good measure.  He balanced the tray cautiously, reopened the door and set the thing down on the desk.  A ritual he'd performed too often in this room.  Strange how four wooden walls could hold so much.  He sank onto the bed beside her and poured her a cup, fixed it the way he knew best, honey and scotch.  Nothing worked better on misery.  He offered her the teacup and saucer with a thin smile.

"Ask and ye shall receive, magpie"

"Amvel," it rang of thank-you, the sandman's tongue.  Up, the seer lifted for the receipt of such a gift, ever so careful not to spill the brew into Everett's shirt or bed.  Lips met ceramic, sampled the blended spirit, and budded into a smile.

She drank as one without the knowledge of anything else but thirst.  Perhaps Gideon could relate.  It was easy, to shelter misery with spirit.  Emptied, the saucer clinked as the cup was returned.  The seer chided it softly, set it to a lonely end-table, and curled around the vampire without much cause for concern.

She was too tired.  It had been a long life.
[i:e66902e6f2]Victoria Alexandra Chylde[/i:e66902e6f2]

[size=9:e66902e6f2]I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music
And it breaks my heart - Regina Spektor[/size:e66902e6f2]