A Demon in Distress

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Offline Jae Eun Yoo

A Demon in Distress
« on: October 15, 2017, 10:09:39 AM »

Dear Lady,

Welcome to power. It had been many centuries since a strong Eyrien Queen has ruled in Askavi. I would give you aide, in the form of information. All I ask if that you remember not all of Dhemlan is your enemy.

There resides a Prince of your people below the Keep. He has been there too many years, but his Jewels were strong enough to keep Witch's interest, and his life, in tact. I am sure he would be grateful for release.

May the Darkness guide you,
a friend


The letter was delivered by corvian, writ on plain vellum by a steady hand.



@Jones [/center]

Offline Ilithian

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 01:43:52 PM »



A pinched wrinkle formed over the bridge of her nose. Ilithian turned the letter over as if the answers she sought might suddenly appear there. So many questions! A friend, the letter was signed. Turning the unadorned stationary over again she ran a finger over the vague signature. She was loath to call anyone from Dhemlan her friend, especially anyone important enough to know such a secret. The men of the Court were on edge as they watched her thinking, always wary of every danger. That was their job- to worry and pester so that she might have the freedom to more clearly weigh the benefits against those risks. Diplomatic in every sense every word had been carefully chosen. She recognized the tone, and the patterns. Complement, promise, request. The way the writer made herself- Ilithian assumed the writer was female because she had never met a male with such impeccable penmanship- sound like an ally…

The boyos snarled and snapped to try to keep her from going.  They always did. On occasion she let them win. And this time she was almost inclined to do just that. Sit it out and let her guard investigate. The whole thing seemed like a poorly disguised trap. Except that it made no sense. Surely greater lengths to lure her in would be taken if there were ill intentions? Some detail insisting or suggesting she should be present for whatever efforts were made to liberate this mysterious prince. Something else tugged at the edge of her consciousness, as well. Or her heart, maybe. If there was an Eyrien prince in the bowels of the Keep he was a creature that had longed suffered. He might not recognize friend from foe. Her gifts might be needed.

’his Jewels were strong enough to keep Witch’s interest, and his life, in tact.’ Her stomach churned over the line. How easily could that describe any of the males in her court? She slipped the letter back into the waistband of her protective leather trousers. ”Is that the signal?” She asked the guard to her right rather than turning to the Master of her Guard who was still quite snarly she had come at all.

The ball of witchlight that shot into the sky was indeed the signal. As a compromise Ilithian had remained at Ligure Eyre while the War Party breached the Keep. In years previous this had been an impossible task, but Ilithian’s warriors had held a siege on the impenetrable fortress for months. From her open balcony the queen and a small guard had stared across to the mountain peak of Ebon Askavi. She did not wait patiently. Until the flash caught her eye she had been a bundle of nervous energy pacing back and forth with the letter in hand. Now she balanced with her booted toes peeking over the edge of the flight balcony, wings spread wide, twitching to find the right air current. A touch of Craft to lessen her weight and she stepped from the ledge.

In the air a slew of psychic threads reached her at once. A downdraft nearly flattened her as she was given into the distraction. Ilithian was a strong flier, though, and managed to slip sideways into a more agreeable airflow. She blocked the mental links that pelted her like raindrops, all begging to sink into her mind. Whatever they had to say could wait. She had only heard the jumble of concern before nearly falling.

Lithe as a real bird she landed on the large patio meant to let Eyrien’s come and go easily. Behind her boots thudded in quick succession as her guard landed. She was already moving into the surprisingly bright interior of the building, her wings pulling protectively close. An eternalness wore heavily in the aura of the place. She thought the lingering presence of the Black would always lurk in the walls, like blackened coals that would never quite cool. She was careful not to touch anything as she looked in wonder at a lavishly decorated sitting room.

The central moment of Witch’s death had happened on the first floor, and even a hundred years later one could feel the air puckering and pinching here. As if a great wrent in the very fabric of existence had taken place here. Like reality had been peeled back to expose the potent Darkness underneath and never quite put right again.

Shivering Ilithian found the staircase on her own while her guard and warriors discussed the small skirmish taking the Keep had required. Apparently the soldiers and household staff trapped inside had been willing to surrender. Their hearts longed for home. She could feel it as she passed a group of them on the lower floor, pressed together in a corner speaking quietly among themselves. Her own men watched them too, bowing shortly as she swept by. The captives bowed too, none seemingly upset over their bound wrists.

There was so much going on that no one seemed to notice when she slipped down another level. Then another. And still more. Dark rooms that seethed with age old anguish, cells and work spaces, armories and servants beds. She pressed on and on until the stairs finally stopped. She felt him long before then, and a morbid sort of curiosity quivered in the pit of her stomach. The strength of her sapphire seeped out in a calming waves as her witchlight flickered to life in her palm, casting a low glow into the dark place. ”Hello?”

Offline Eremiar

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 03:06:40 PM »

There was fighting. He could feel it flickering along his barriers. Power caressed his skin and sang through the walls. It had woken him. Blood seeping into stone and dripping slowly down to him. Cries and screaming metal ringing in his ears. Men. Men he did not know. Not the weak and puling things that crept around the Keep these days. Left over remnants of Witch's reign.

He would have killed them all if he'd been strong enough to call in his Jewels.

Hell's Fire, he would have brought the whole Keep down around their heads, his own included. But they were a conniving bunch of Dhemlanese boot lickers. Just enough food to keep him alive. Not enough for him to don the Red. Communal power fed into his bonds so he couldn't make any desperate attempts.

Chains rattled.

Someone was coming. He felt the ripples of each step. Head cocked he listened, the tread was unknown and the scent unfamiliar. Woman. Witch. He knew that much. The strange musk of the distaff gender did little to please him. They often threw the women at him in hopes nature, instinct, would override years of torment. Protect. Serve. Kill. It didn't work. The limp form of the hearth witch who'd startled him during the battle above was testament to that.

He didn't even know what she'd wanted.

Eremiar sucked air through his teeth.

So that was it. A new trick.

Queen. He rumbled, though there was no telling if the sound was a snarl or a laugh. Her power slithered into his cell, creeping up the walls and along the steel of his chains. It teased at his barriers, half of which were already open. Calm boy, good boy, it seemed to whisper. His wings twitched in annoyance.

Chains rattled.

Light grew.

He was tall. Skin like molten bronze beneath the layer of grime that coated him. Hair a dark tangle to his waist. It caught in his chains, loose hanks of it hanging from links, and twisted around his wings. Eremiar had no memories of its last cutting, or just how long ago that might have been. And his eyes were gold rimmed in red. Tarnished, but there was still intellect behind them.

Just.

And he wore nothing but chains.

Bound wrist and ankle. Thigh and bicep. A heavy belt around his waist. And chains for his wings as well. They hung heavy down his back and along the floor. Flight muscles pulled tight in bondage. He stretched them the last time he'd been let loose. The time he'd broken Witch's favorite pet.

Warning rolled out of him. He wouldn't play. Serpentine promises of agony and shattered, dusted Jewels. He would not submit. Snarling answered her hello. Squinting against the brightness of her witchlight Eremiar thrust himself at her, chain clanking. They made good weapons if she came too close. He roared. He would not submit. Metal ground against stone as reached the limit of his chains. They rattled as he retreated, eyes seeping from the glare.

He rubbed them, grinding hair into the lids.

Rubbed them and looked again. Took in the dark shadow behind her. Tucked tight against the small spaces of inside. Folded but there. Wings. His own strained against their bonds as a low moan escaped him. Eremiar covered his face, fingers leaving pale trails in the flesh as he dragged his hands down, tearing hair away with their passage. He followed them. Down, down, onto the floor, until he knelt, forehead pressed to the cool stone, steel bands cutting into his muscles.

An Eyrien Queen.

The menace retreated, Eremiar took back the threat, but left his barriers open. The weight of centuries suddenly made him tired. No Dhemlanese trick to torment him, but a Queen of his people. Her Sapphire whispered to his, tucked safely away in his cabinet, and this time he allowed the soothing craft to do its work. Eremiar shuddered, pleased to kneel before her.

Offline Ilithian

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 06:34:31 PM »



Metal clattered on stone, a horrid cold sound that vibrated through the dank dungeon until Ilithian thought it might have crept inside her bones. It was not the sound though, that made her quake on unsteady legs. A threat washed over her, a terrible and odd sensation that shoved other people’s panic down her throat. Not her own fear, not her own death, though she felt them as if they were. A hundred times over and never the same person twice.

Death snarled from in the shadows of the cell across from her; someone more dangerous than she could ever pretend to be. The tendrils meant to soothe brushed against stiff coldness. Barriers that barely felt human to her soft touch. Disturbed that they did not flinch closed at her investigation she pulled back while the orb of witchlight levitated up towards the ceiling.

Fear was pushed aside, even as she noted the body at her feet. Another step in the dark would have sent her sprawling. Ilithian didn’t know if the witch was alive or dead. Nor did she waste time checking. He made a sound like thunder and launched against his metal bonds. Though his energy wanted to press her away she could only come closer until her dark fingers had wrapped around the bars between them. Inside her chest her heart felt like a weak fluttering thing. A flicker of disgust was quickly replaced with outrage, her hands tightening around the bars as the Warlord Prince flung away from her to paw at his eyes.

Ilithian had never broken a lock, she had never needed to try.  It was surprisingly easy to do as her anger with Dhemlan spilled out into a burst of Craft she struck against the bolt.  With an echoing clatter it fell away, letting the door creak open. She was being rash, she knew, for a stranger she did not. No warlord prince should be so bowed, and that he was of her people, tortured by others… Stomach churning with hot indignation and uneasy caution she joined the prince in his dirty cage.

Wrong. Disgustingly wrong. A sad sound of sympathetic pain caught in her throat as she pulled her own wings closer. She could not bring herself to imagine what those chains felt like. Everything that made him Eyrien had been taken from his control. Bound wings, bound body, hair a wild matted mess. Everything they thought made him Eyrien, at least. A sliver of pride raced through her as he accepted the consolation of her Craft. He had survived for Darkness only knew how long, yet he still roared and snarled and refused to submit. Ilithian searched him with her eyes, looking for the end of his chains, the way to his freedom. He did not speak to her, or shrink his barriers away. It made her nervous to touch him, but she wanted her skin against his for the full effect of her Calming Touch. It was the least she could provide. Lowering to her knees she redoubled the energy feeding the Craft. Palms down hovering over his shoulders she scooted closer, ”May I, Prince?”

Her eyes drifted to the stairs as she felt a guard coming down.

Offline Eremiar

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2017, 10:30:22 AM »

Brave. He could taste the not-quite-fear on her. Tongue on the rough edges of his teeth. Just there, he could taste it. But still she broke the lock on his cell and entered his prison. It stank. He stank. Knew it and was ashamed. But still she came, kneeling on the dirty floor by his head.

Eremiar shuddered. Too close. He drew his elbows in tight against his body. Wings too, even if it caused the chains to pull against them tighter. The weight of the metal trying to drag the membranes to the floor. He had agreed to the touch of her Craft, but he had not expected her to follow it into his cell. She moved and he snarled. Jaw tight, Eremiar bared his teeth and silenced his throat.

A sharp nod of agreement that opened a cut on his forehead as it ground against a rough patch on the floor. He'd thought he'd worn them all smooth over the years. Enough leeway to pace, to stretch everything but the most important part of his body. What good was if he if he was too atrophied to perform? To service Witch's women, or kill her men who thought to challenge him.

He'd enjoyed slaughtering her men. Every attempt at creating a Dhemlanese warrior who could match him failed. He was less sure about the children. It had taken him time to learn to go beyond the Night's Fire and find the power to break their Jewels before anyone could react.

Under her touch he trembled. Skin flinching away, muscles drawing taut as he held himself in place. He would not flee. He would not strangle her with his chains. He would be still. Behind his barriers was concentration. Focus on the gentle pressure of her hands on his skin. On the cool calm that was like blue water that seeped into his flesh and spread. Like a bath or a warm blanket.

The water stirred, half closed eyes opening. Eremiar looked too, eyes rolling and senses straining. His nostrils flared, sniffing. Male. Slowly he tucked his toes against the stone, fingers flexing. He would rise. Rise and descend and kill the male. Protect. It was not right that she should come alone. But she was here now and he would keep her safe.

Maybe he would call in a Jewel. Just his Sapphire. She would not take it from him, would she? He'd had nightmares for so long of Witch finding a way in and taking them from him like she'd taken so much else. Ere huffed, reaching for her, the thread like a spear thrown and then regretted. Too hard, he slammed against her barriers, buffeting her.

Gleaming cold stars. A lady holding a braided lead. Blood pooling around a dead man.

Offline Ilithian

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 03:11:20 PM »



As a girl Ilithian had once seen a battle scarred feral dog climb down from the mountain forests. She had been too distrustful at first to do more than watch as the snarling beast was driven away. Her heart, however, recognized an intelligence in the mut. So out of pity she had tracked him down. And he had shared the secret of the Kindred and enchanted the queenling. Under her careful attentions he had grown strong again, hidden in a copse of thickets on the edge of town. She thought they would be friends forever. But one day he was just gone.

There was no pity in her now. She had become too Eyrien for that, and even chained on hands and knees Ilithian could feel the power waiting to erupt from him. As she crept closer he shivered, tucking his body in tight so that the chains scraped the floor. The same way the dog had not wanted to be touched the prince growled sharply. The sound was cut off before she was uneasy enough to pull away. And to her surprise he nodded consent, head grating against the stone floor.

Fresh blood, the scent sharp and metallic as her tongue stroked her lower lip. The want to protect was as strong in Ili as it was in any warlord prince. She wanted his pain to be her pain instead, and she sucked a sharp burst of air in as her touch made him quake. Pulled tight as a bowstring he vibrated with the strain of a body that wanted only to refuse. How long had they hurt him, she wondered?

She had strong Craft, honed on men abused by war. This might have been the worst living torture she had seen but Ilithian was no stranger to Witch’s toys. As least this one had been allowed to keep all of his parts. There were day in youth that Ilithian had poured every ounce of her Blood Opal into calming men who had been picked apart bit by bit until only their screaming mouths and suffering minds were left.

*Stop* On a sharp thread, distaff to spear she halted the guard. The Prince had tensed and twitched. He still did not speak, but she could feel the predator rising in him. Better to move slow around the man that was as feral as any wolfdog. Better to keep the other predators away. Turning back to the white thread with the intention of requesting water and blankets she suddenly found the world pitching sideways.

Or so it seemed. Wings thrown out to catch her balance she was knocked back by the sudden force of images shoved into her head. They passed quickly out again without any harm done. But she had chirped in complaint as her ass hit the hard stone floor so the guard came further down. ”No. I need him to bring us water.” Her voice firm but calm she slipping her hand onto the chained shoulder in front of her then threw a shield at the stairs that stopped the guard from coming closer. Instinctively she wanted to protect them both. Her wings fanned to out to block the warlord prince on the floor in front of her from the guards view. *I fell. I’m fine. I need water. A blanket… some trousers. Right now. Go.* He only hesitated a moment before moving to obey.

To the warlord prince she seeped another heavy dose of her calming Craft. ”He’s going to leave it at the top of the stairs. He won’t come back down… What’s your name, Prince?”

She chatted while she slowly crawled along seeking the locks that bound him there. Her hands following the chains shamelessly despite his nakedness, careful not to wander over the sensitive expanse of his wings. No one had ever touched her wings, and she had never been that brazen with anyone either. This was certainly not the time or man to try it with. In the dip of muscle, nestled against his spine was one lock. Another, the metal beaten and time worn, hung near the wall. Frustrated she touched the small lock on his back. ”I’m afraid to break it while it’s on you.” She was sure it was there to attach the chains over his wings to the chains binding his body. The chains that dug into her soul just looking at them. ”I’ll try this one first.” She stood, passing a hand over her rump as if she were dusting it off… but really she thought it was going to be bruised later.

Offline Eremiar

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2017, 06:32:07 AM »

He did not like it. The Craft made it tolerable, dulling the blade of his anger, smoothing the rough edges of distrust. But he still did not like it, her hands on his bare skin. Her nearness. But he thought he might have strangled her with his chains if she'd tried to leave. And he knew the male would die if he came into the light.

But he did not.

He did feel guilty for upsetting her. Still no fear as she squawked, knocked back by his psychic link. Eremiar withdrew it. Just complaint at rough use and surprise, he thought. Command in her tone as she reached out for him again. He leaned into the touch, and did what he could to ignore the figure on the stair. This time he took more care, but he was still heavy handed.

Eremiar didn't remember what gentle was anymore, if he'd ever known. It hadn't been something cultivated in his Caste before Witch, and certainly not after.

Warmth. Regret of a thing badly done. Peace, like cool waters. Still as a lake.

For now he would wait, as asked. The male would live another day. But he had no way to give her his name. He breathed out, smelling his last meal on his breath as it fanned out along the stones. He knew it. He'd clung to it like his Jewels. Witch had known it too. Purred it from the Darkness. He stomach clenched.

Then twisted as her hands wandered. Finger tips brushing ribs and hips. Eremiar sat back on his heels, back bowed, butt tucked deep into his ankles. He blew at her with a bit of psychic Craft. Tightly controlled fanning so he did not rip through her barriers, or accidentally slam into her with true power. No more. A leaf on the wind.

But her hands had found the lock and left his flesh. Muscles uncoiled. No more touching. Memories lurked below the surface. Nails raking his flesh. Soft bodies swarming him. They were all the same to him. Shapeless, faceless demons he remembered all at once and not at all. It was like being swallowed up. A shuddering breath.

Eremiar grabbed the lead chain and pulled. It drew the chain tight, the lock swaying, the rivets that held it to the wall groaning. Five. One for each section of his body. Those around his wings were merely connected to the others. They needed no wall to anchor them. Witch had known he would not risk flight for freedom.

He looked at her over his shoulder, eyes following the path of her hand. Then up at her face, eating up the expanse of her wings as they went. He nodded. That one. He would help, power gathering. He had rationed it carefully, except for when he forgot and struck out, like he had with the hearth witch. Startled from dreaming nightmares to waking ones. Eyes closed, he called in the Sapphire, which hung from his neck on a leather cord, its setting time worn bronze, darker than his flesh.

His eyes glittered under just opened lids.

He would help.

Offline Ilithian

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2017, 03:14:07 PM »



Next time he tried she would be ready. ”Clearly my cat-like reflexes need work.” She joked. Again the warlord prince made no words- apologetic or otherwise. Not that she wanted an apology. Blunt psychic links and hard handling had been her life in the refugee camps. She was no healer but her presence in the infirmary had helped. This one had lashed out accidentally. Accepting that he could, or would, not speak Ilithian tested the air close to him with delicate tendrils. His barriers were still open and seeping out his private feelings. He did not close or mask them. She was too cautious to open her own barriers to anyone. Least of all this mystery prince. Years of conditioning made her shy to even brush against his. But what else could she do? It only made sense that the pictures, emotions, and slices of memory were his language.

”It’s alright… I’ll just call you Prince for now, you’ll find a way to show me later.” When he was out of this place, cleaned up, fed, maybe rested and tended by a healer if he would tolerate the attention. ”We just need to deal with one thing at a time. Starting with these chains.” That was how she’d won three quarters of Askavi back. And you didn’t mess with successful methods.

Darkness only knew how long he had been alone in this horrid place. Even a landen would be able to sense the appalling secrets the walls had seen. On her acute Blood sense the veiled knowledge was almost overwhelming. Ancient suffering, even before this man Heartsick for him, heartsick for the creatures that had not survived like treatment, Ilithian rambled enough for the both of them. Her words were unimportant as she told him her name, where she came from, about the siege it had taken to finally breach the keep.

”I was going to send them back. As a sign that we were open to some compromise...” She was thinking out loud now while he rose to his knees. Speaking blindly as if no one was listening at all. Rain was very good at sitting quietly while she mused. This one seemed to have no choice. It was a relief for him to sit back. His nakedness did not bother her, but his head pressed to the floor did. No more touching his silent whisper asked. She had moved on already, but nodded anyway, lessening the power in her calming Craft too. He had been better behaved than she would have expected under the circumstances. Maybe he was biding his time to freedom. That might have been the trick, she considered. Dhemlan preying on her queenly instincts and hoping she’d be killed by the savage thing they could not force into submission. ”Now I think not.”

Ilithian was referring to the Dhemlan soldiers and servants upstairs. Their loyalty to their Queen and territory was admirable. This, however, was unforgivable. To let a person rot away under such conditions was an atrocity she could not abide. Death, if they thought he deserved punishment, would have been acceptable. Not this torture. She would pry into their heads before she left. And those that had known, had seen this travesty, would die. If any remained they would have to find their own way through the mountains and enraged hunting camps to safety. Her friend would just have to understand.

From her inspection of the wall she felt him shiver. More heartsick for whatever he was reliving. Sorry to be the catalyst that made him feel… she brushed curiously against his open barriers. Like flying into smoke. Surrounded on all sides. The light tap of her returning guards thread drew her attention. He stayed out of sight on the stairs while he left a bundle before retreating back.

His clanking chains drew her eyes and she followed them to his crouching figure. He was very tall, she realized. Even folded up to sit back on his ankles he was level with her hips. Instinctively her wings lifted higher, so she could be tall and intimidating too. Thankfully the rest of her was less Eyrien and the friendly nature of Shalador rolled off her in waves. She was no small wilted maiden- well, maybe a maiden in the vestal sense but she had well made webs to mask that- the point being she was not stunted or short. To say he was tall meant he was damned tall.

The appearance of his Jewel rippled through the confined space. For a second she bristled with alarm. Intense as his eyes blazed the fury was not directed her way. His Sapphire was not as deep as her own, but she could feel in the abyss that there was more of him lurking. Worried that this was his birthright she opened a thread, Sapphire to Sapphire.

”Oh, well done. Mine is mostly on a necklace too. You’ll need some Craft to spare if you want to fly out of here,” She brushed him with the live thread, encouraging him to tap into her own reserves rather than risk breaking his own. That he might use the invitation to break her had not yet crossed her mind. Still moving with measured steps Ilithian crept to his shoulder. Hopefully she would be safer there than in the path of… whatever he intended to do to the lock.

Next, she rubbed her wrinkling nose, she would try to coax him into letting her call in a knife. To chop away that mess of tangles and matts. Well… if he didn’t shake off those chains and wring her neck.

Offline Eremiar

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2017, 08:26:20 AM »

Eremiar grunted in agreement. There had been a cat in the dungeons once. A mangy thing with one ear and squinting eyes. He wondered what had happened to it. Sometimes it would chase rats into his cell, pinning them in corners, or snatching them from under Eremiar's feet when he happened to stomp on the fleeing creatures. They had existed together. Neither friends not foes.

He'd envied the creatures freedom. The small body that slipped through the bars with ease. Had it died? Or left with so many of the others who had fled after Witch's death?

Why hadn't anyone come for him then?

Such were the things he thought about while she talked, Fingers following his chains. Touching his body. Her mouth worked like her mind, he assumed. Filling the gaps it found. Ilithian. Her story told him the story of Askavi, a place he had lived in but not seen for a very long time. Secret camps. Secret training. Dena Nehele. He would remember. Maybe one day he would go there, see if he had any people left.

Perhaps he would not. For now he would stay near this Queen. This Queen who did not try to pry open his mind. Did not try to lay claim to his body or his power. Her hands were not possessive. He blinked at her. Compromise she said, and Eremiar smiled, tasting where her words were taking them. The muscles along his back twitched, chains singing as his wings fluttered.

He would help with that too.

Eremiar stilled, teeth baring as the guard returned. He did not move other than that, holding still as she brushed against his parted barriers. He did not wish to knock her down yet again. Quietly he let her taste, waited when she grew distracted by the other male. Careful, careful. The urge was there, though, to lung, topple her down, force his awareness on her. Chase her down until all her webs broke.

A deep shuddering breath.

Upswept wings. Not a challenge. Defense, he reminded himself. Serve. Protect. His Sapphire was hot on his skin. The Jewel cool but the power burned. His stomach rumbled. There was food upstairs. Food and the chance for freedom. They just had to break these chains. Surprise. Panic. There were okay, they were smart. This one he should protect not destroy. It was not an invitation to chase, to kill. Grimacing he clutched his thighs.

But that was an invitation. Sapphire to Sapphire. Eremiar felt her power pool around him. Deep within her, a wellspring. It grew stronger as she crept closer. He could feel her just at his shoulder but didn't dare look. Couldn't look. He saw nothing but power. Saw it and grabbed it.

Like a backdraft Eremiar swept in and swept out again, snatching her reserves for his own. Smart. Smart. He had to be smart. Locks were thick, and he could still taste the very ends of Witch's power on them. Chains were smaller. Each link perfectly forged and charmed but a single link. A single dozen links. These were small things. With a roar he shattered them, body heaving with the effort until he was upright, head brushing the ceiling.

Locks fell, clanging against the floor. The chains followed more slowly, sliding from his body before they were aided by his hands. Eremiar ripped at them, not caring if it hurt. Mad for their removal. The bands would have to wait. The steel there was thick and hard. But with the chains loose he could at least move. Stretch.

Stretch!

His wings took up the cell. Cramped, and twisted. They brushed ceiling and wall and still needed room. Eremiar eyed the door, and would have fled if there hadn't been a Queen so close at hand. Ilithian, he reminded himself, letting go of her power and vanishing his Jewel.

Offline Ilithian

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2017, 06:49:35 PM »



There was something unsettling about his smile. Perhaps the glint of pleasure it held. Ilithian had killed before, but she never savored the act no matter how much it was deserved. Now, his not speaking she could get used to- learn to enjoy even. Shame he was not her boyo. He would need a great deal of patience and understanding. Not everyone had a heartbond, though, so maybe he would stay. His queen could be dead, or not even born yet. If he found her then they would deal with the repercussions. She would mind his leash, tentative as it might be. Her bloodbonds were strong if he would accept them, she had always been able to trade her dedication for loyalty. It was why the chains made her sick. How could a queen that wore the Black need such cruel measures? Why could Witch not call to their base nature if Ili with her Sapphire could? Or had she not wanted to? The humiliation and misery that stained the walls pressed harder on her barriers for a moment as if whispering ‘this was the point’.

Warlord princes were not meant to sit passively. It was no surprise this one simmered with pent up rage and angst- his caste’s need for physical expression built up now until nothing short of violence would do. This was all a struggle on his senses and urges. The hollow tingle in her spine, urging her to flee, was enough warning that she had to move slowly. He was eager to indulge every impulse. She would let him have first choice when the Dhemlanes upstairs were judged. Then he would be less likely to try hurting her boyos once he was in the eyre.

Males were less complicated than they tried to seem. You just had to remember they were predators. All of them. Like wolves that needed to be directed but allowed to hunt. How you held their leash depended on a variety of factors. Starting with their caste. She would figure this one out. He was different to say the least. But he was driven to be protective, he wanted to guard her more than he wanted to hurt her, so he was less feral than she had first assumed. 

She was glad his eyes stayed trained on the chains as he took what was offered. Ilithian had never actually shared before. In the moment it seemed the most sensible thing. He knew what needed doing, he just needed the power to do so. She had the power but not the knowledge. The sensation, however, was not one she enjoyed. Most children thought of corporal punishment as a beating. For Ilithian the threat had always been the breaking of her jewels. So the sudden transfer left her feeling vulnerable. Naked. As chained as he was. Her lips pressed tight in concentration to keep the link open. Then as quickly as it started it was over; before she could even gasp at the force with which he took possession. A finger touched his elbow then fell away again. She had instinctively reached for the comfort of male nearness. He needed not to be touched, though, for now.

And in the same way he had swept in for her reserves he suddenly expanded to fill the cell. She covered her ears at the thunderous sound he made, slinking back until her wings pressed against the bars of the cell. The lock was forgotten for the moment as she watched him with a childlike sense of awe. Terrible and dangerous and marvelous! Some of the old warriors spoke of the war that way... but all of the males she knew were young, with a fresh fierceness that they were still learning to master. While a small voice in the back of conscience warned she ought to be afraid Ilithian could only grin with anticipation.
 
Too rough! More rough with himself than he had accidentally been with her. She made a clipped sound of annoyance. ”Be careful or you'll need a healer.” She recognized his need to slough them off though, so softened the set of her eyes.

His wings filled the space, pressing her farther back against the bars. He was a giant. The sort of Eyrian little Dhemlanese children had nightmares about. Slow as a creeping mouse, her own wings quivering with the strain of keeping them closed, Ilithian backed to the cell door. Pleased, and breathing easier as he dropped the link to her power, she twitched her chin toward the bundle. ”What first? Water? Food? Pants or maybe a trim?” Hands motioning towards her own hair she made a sour face. “You're a bit, uh, wooly.”

Offline Eremiar

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2017, 11:26:26 AM »

Eremiar turned his focus slowly toward the Queen who had backed herself up against the bars of his cell. He paused mid-pull, chains caught in his fist, and stared at her. Still not afraid, much as she'd slunk away. But he did not like the way she looked at him, so he bared his teeth and snarled at her.

And pulled all the harder at his chains when she chastised him. They snapped against each other with a sharp crack, the length quivering around his body. Slowly he let them go, until they fell, dragging only at his shackles instead of the rest of his body. His wings rotated, still too cramped, pinions forward and then back. Edges scraped the walls and ceiling as he advanced, stalking her to the door of his cell and crowding her until she retreated out of it.

Freedom lay that way.

Ere glanced at the bundle, nostrils flaring at the stink of others. Squinting, he picked it up and shook it out, scattering the food and upturning the water. The trousers crinkled in his fist. Tucking his wings in tight, he steadied himself on the bars and pulled them on slowly. Metal bands and chains catching and tangling until he sorted it. Chains first, legs after. He'd have to break those off to be more comfortable, but not now. Ere didn't think he could stomach channeling so much power again so soon.

Not with real freedom just up a staircase.

His hair had to be pulled free too. Tugging at his scalp as it ended up tucked into the pants. He gathered it in great hanks and tied it into a knot behind his head. Leveling a look at her, Eremiar flared his wings, trying to chase her farther back toward the stairs before he crouched, gathering up the spilled food. He was fast, stuffing a half stale roll in his mouth while piling it all into his arms.

He watched her. Quit, furtive glances, waiting for her to pounce, chains scraping the ground. One end tangled around the cell door, slamming it against his body when he moved. He stood, jerking his leg until the door snapped shut, chain tightening. Still he ate, and pulled, frustration rising. Peaking when he dropped what was left of the food, a half eaten apple tumbling across the floor, a pastry oozing onto the stone. Grabbing hold of the door, Eremiar heaved, swinging his body around and wrenching it from its hinges.

He beat it violently against the cell bars. Utterly silent as it all spilled over. Exhausting his rage on the metal until the chain worked itself free. Sighing, he set the door down and turned back around. He huffed at her, pressing past her to climb the stairs, wings half extended so that she was blocked completely from view. Long strides taking two stairs at a time. Covering landings in a single step.

Up and up. Back into the world that had gone on without him. Light growing as the ascended, burning his eyes and heating his skin. He twitched and huffed and made low sounds of distress. He didn't stop until they reached the Keep proper, a sprawling room full of guards, and the cowed, quivering Dhemlanese prisoners. Eremiar eyed the room, taking a single step into it and flaring his wings.

Someone stammered.

Ere turned. The Steward. He knew him. Small, sweating man. Always wiping at his brow with a rag. Lingering behind the others when it was time to renew the wards on Eremiar's cell. Cowering, quivering, blustering man.

He died first.

Eremiar swept into the room, wings finally able to extend their full length. He used them like weapons. Battering aside guards and prisoners alike, until he was able to wrap his chains around the Steward's neck and strangle the very life from him. His smile was fierce and his pleasure radiated outward into the room. Vengeance. Just a small taste of it. But vengeance all the same.

Offline Ilithian

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2017, 10:06:01 PM »


Top lip flaring up in a resigned pout Ilithian chewed on her tongue to keep from laughing. Experience promised that would only make him bristle more. This one needed to be his own master. Very understandable, if mildly amusing to the young queen. She had never dealt with a male so quick to snarl. He would be a challenge. Well, keeping him from causing too much chaos and massacring her court might be, anyway. With a twinge of guilt she pushed thoughts of her first circle away. They would be… less than pleased at this new acquaintance.

Oh well, they would forgive her.

Again she decided it was better to comply than complain as he rounded on her. Doing his damndest to trying herding her in his desired direction- like a giant mountain dog. He even sort of had the fur for it. Her nostrils flared with deep, steadying breaths and the tip of her tongue ached with carefully bitten back laughter. He overturned the bundle with unnecessary force. Offended, apparently, that he required it to exist. He chose pants first. Hm. Ilithian would have bet on the food. If the only person to bet with wasn’t the dead floor witch. While he clanked and clattered the clothing on she kept her eyes carefully trained on the warlord prince’s face, though the temptation to follow his actions was there. Only because he moved and she was just as much a predator as the rest. Sort of.

”No need to be bossy. I’ll follow your lead, Prince.” She reminded him tenderly as he splayed his wings in what she assumed by the glare he gave her was meant to be a menacing manner. Was, probably, a menacing manner to most people. To Ilithian it felt more like a request. Not a very polite one, albeit, but using only body language gave one fewer polite ways of asking for what they needed. It saddened her that the food seemed to make him more dangerous. The anger in the pit of her stomach boiled hot again. His posturing had not made her retreat this time. If she gave in completely he might try running her over all the time.

In a sort of compromise Ilithian stood with her side to him, staring at the stairs absently so that he could scrounge around without feeling judged. She kept her wings carefully tucked behind her, the very ends of the left sitting over the right. Without looking she felt his eyes flitting back to her as if watching for her to come scoop it all away. Tucking her hands up against her throat she flattened her palms so he could see that they were empty. That they would remain that way.

The taste of his irritation burned the back of her eyes nearly overwhelming the stain of anguish the room would eternally hold. She kept them on the stairs anyway. The warlord prince was battling a door, not threatening her, at least not yet. Then metal tore as he wrent the thing out by the bolts. Now she did jump, startled more than outright afraid. Glittering gold eyes whipping around as she hissed low in her throat. The sound was drowned by the earsplitting ruckus of his torrential rage. On and on he went, pounding metal on meta. It looked like the sort of anger that required much screaming. She didn’t think she had ever been that angry in all of her life. He did not roar or scream or cry, though. Then nice as anything he laid the door down.

He was trotting up the stairs a second later with Ilithian close on his heels. A cluster of threads, her distaff to spears, went flying. Subtle warnings to her guards that they should leave the prisoners and make their way out to the terrace. Most refused. She demanded. More refusal. By the time the Prince burst into the room where her warriors waited she was angrily sucking her bottom lip. If they died she would really have to hear it from the first circle. But she had warned them!

*Sit down. Now. Right on the floor* She insisted to her men. Some complied, eyeing the Prince suspiciously. That was their job, she reminded herself, ready to wring their insolent necks. To protect her with their lives. If they ran because she warned something dangerous was coming what good were they at their jobs? So she forgave them and hoped this warlord prince would stick to revenge instead of outright violence. *Leave him.* She warned, giving one of her guards a stiff push with her Sapphire as he flinched towards the Prince bearing down on the former Steward.

With a sigh she gave apologetic smiles to her bruised guards as the newcomer shoved the out of his way. A quick tinge of fear tickled her spine as she watched him kill the Steward. A young guard turned away, scooting on his bottom towards the door. As she picked up a book from a side table Ilithian looked at him sharply. ”I told you all to go outside before he got up here. Now you have to sit still. Close your eyes if you need to. I don’t need him mixing you up with the Dhemlans.”

With her eyebrows lifted she flicked her thumb at a closed door, speaking to her silent friend. ”Bathroom if you want. The guards have knives if you need one. I’ll wait for you to finish up here.” She flopped down gracelessly onto an overstuffed armchair with the book settled on her lap. ”Mind my boots, though, they’re new.”

Offline Eremiar

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 01:39:46 PM »

Eremiar felt her threads slip by him. Warning her males no doubt. Foolish things that had let her come down to meet him on her own. The idea of being rid of them crossed his mind. But vengeance ran hotter than the urge to protect at the moment. He did pause, swiveling to glare at the youth who began scooting across the floor, movement drawing his eye. The Steward kicked, back arching before Eremiar returned to his task, making sure the man would stay still for eternity.

Chains swayed at his sides, arms hanging limp as he panted. The Steward slumped at Eremiar's feet, the purple fading from his face as it grew lax, life having been chased from the body that had housed it. His wings trembled, slowly folded down the length his back, to drape over his legs and drag the floor. They hung lower than they ought, the muscles permanently disfigured from the weight of his bondage. But they still functioned, Eremiar could feel the promise of flight in them.

He cocked his head toward Ilithian, eyeing her males, the book in her hand, the way she threw herself into a chair, dismissing his deed as nothing. He looked too at the door she gestured to, a knife tucked into a guard belts, and the quivering, whimpering bodies that crowded the room. The boots she was so worried about.

Snorting, Eremiar plucked a guard up off the floor by his throat and dragged his dagger free of its sheath. Dropping the pup back onto the floor, Eremiar stalked into the bathroom and slammed the door behind him, his hair vanishing beneath the crack. Inside he cut away the hair that hung below the knot he'd tied, leaving behind long lengths of twisted, matted hair.

He washed his hands and face and stared at the creature in the mirror, unsure if that was actually himself. Memories flickered, a fierce crack, a rod breaking against his thighs so as not to damage his wings or the muscles that supported them. Again! Came a voice. Harsh master. No soft mother for him. Again, Eremiar!

Eremiar. Touching the glass, he left the danger in the sink and returned to the room.

He was ready to leave this place. Wings spread, he gesture, palm open, fingers spread, his thumb still slightly crooked, to the balcony, eyes focused on Ilithian. She was not Witch. This was not her house.

And Ere wanted no part of it. Not anymore.

Offline Ilithian

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 11:08:45 PM »


Not watching was harder than Ilithian would have thought. The Steward’s thrashing was easy to ignore in favor of the book, which turned out to be filled with carefully painted landscapes. The horrible gurgling sound and the grinding of chain links almost drowned out the gritting sound of gnashing teeth. None of that phased her either. It was the sobbing Dhemlans, fearing for their own lives not sympathetic, that drove her to distraction. Made her want to look up at the scene unfolding. But she would not indulge any of them- not the weeping captives who deserved whatever came next, or the guards who silently bristled at the nearness of danger, and least of all the warlord prince at the root of it all.

He was brutal. Either by quirk of her nature or caste the pain of others disturbed her psyche, penetrated more deeply than it did others, lingered in her heart long after it was done. She just liked people too much for her own good. Could forgive a lot of things done badly. Never torture, or drawn out suffering for the amusement of others. The Prince slayed the Steward in a savage, painful way. But he could have been more terrible, taken longer, made the man suffer more. Ilithian had expected it, the Steward was deserving of it, but she was glad it ended quickly.

Her eyes quirked over a page displaying rows of neatly lined up apple trees. Each small red fruit painted with a delicate, detail oriented hand. Not until he was done did she look up. Then she studied the abnormal droop of his wings. Lips pursing she started thinking of how she could convince one of the healers to get close enough to take a look. Bribes of Good Honey would not be enough, not even Esmarian’s best batch.

The wild thing was seemingly not worried about his wings. If they did hurt she doubted he would say. Males were very bullheaded that way. Walk around with a leg and this one had held onto his maleness in the dark for at least a century- she had no reason to strip him of anything but his bonds today. As she followed the path of his eyes from belt to captives to boots she stretched her legs with a small smile, clicking the short heels together while show them off. ”I hate shoes, but these are cozy.” She admitted.

Then she stilled with the rest of the room as he lifted her guard. Dark eyelids drooping low. He was weak… Could she shield the guard? If she did would the Prince lose control? Or worse, confidence in her? There was no leash between them yet, only the luck that he was longing to be useful and decided to kneel for her. Thank the Darkness he didn’t make her find out. With a thud the guard was back on his bum. They would have matching bruises, Ilithian thought, a short peel of laughter breaking free this time. Then the devil stormed off for a bit of privacy.

As soon as the door snapped shut Ilithian bounded up out of the chair. First to check on the pale guard, then to silently reassure them with a hint of calming touch that things were going as well as could be expected. She moved quickly from one Eyrien to another with a soft smile and pat on the shoulder, not so much as a whisper leaving her lips. She didn’t need the Prince getting prickly that she was pacing, or touching them, or not right where he had left her.

When the taps on the sink quieted Ilithian settled back in the chair. Turning her golden eyes expectantly up she took him in. Less grubby, very good. Still a knotted mess though. He’d need more feeding and a real shower. At least he hadn’t made her sit in the bathroom while he did whatever he was doing! She knew a few boyos nervous enough that they flailed when their ladies weren’t in sight.

He motioned towards the balcony. Instinctively Ilithian’s winged twitched with anticipation. She would have skipped if it were appropriate, ”Are you excited?” She was excited for him. It bubbled up from her belly and made her smile wide. Flying was always wonderful, unless your name was Rainvar. She couldn’t imagine being locked away a hundred years. As soon as they were in the open space she spread her wings wide. The sunshine on them was cleansing after the moldy, damp dungeon. Twirling a little she opened her arms wide like a second pair of wings and danced backwards toward the ledge. A dark umber finger pointed at a peak across the Black Valley, ”That’s where we’re going, in case you forgot.” Or never knew, where Ligure was. ”Hollar… or grunt or whatever you do if you can’t keep up.” She wasn’t afraid he could catch her in the air. Ilithian was too sleek, she could drop into dives the males were too heavy to pull up from and ride air currents that wouldn’t support them. When she dropped from the ledge, wings tucked close, she laughed the way a child at play would before splaying her wings again so that they caught the air and forced her to rocket back skyward.

Offline Eremiar

Re: A Demon in Distress
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2017, 12:26:39 PM »

He ignored it. The whisper soft sound of her boots on the floor. The soft feel of her Craft, too soft for it to effect him, but he sensed it. Like a dying man tasting water when he smelled it. Settling and soothing her guards. Petting them like children, he assumed, muscles flexing beneath iron bands.

She was where he'd left her, however. Lounging like a cat, book upside down in her lap. Something moved behind his eyes. Slow. Predatory. He saw. He saw. Only half blinded by the light. Too eager to taste the sky to make her suffer for it. The urge was there though. He'd like to taste her fear. Eremiar had tasted the fear of a lot of women, some of them queens. So far she had kept hers in check.

Laughing when she should have been silent.

He followed her onto the balcony, wings dragging the floor behind him. He would save his energy. Parts of them felt bruised where he'd used them to batter her guard and smother her captives. She danced, and Eremiar paused, looking back at the room  behind them. The bound, huddled creatures within it. Her guards, waiting. Then back at the dancing queen. Down the finger she used to point.

The place she wished to go.

His fingers twitched. As if beckoning those behind him.

Then his stomach dropped as she fell from the ledge she'd so carelessly danced on.

He had forgotten. Forgotten what it was to be Eyrien. To fear no heights.

He leapt onto the ledge and dove off after her, half afraid to find her broken on the stones below. But no. She rose, wings wide and full of air and Craft. Snarling he turned after her, sweeping past the balcony, toes brushing the stones and he set Witchfire to licking the back of the room.

And then he followed. Instinct taking over where his mind had forgotten.

Even bigger in the sky than he was in a close room. Surely he shouldn't have been able to achieve it. But flight had been his since he'd been a child. Once so small he hadn't really needed Jewels for it. Gliding from trees or rocks. Once a roof. His wings had only grown to match him. To outstrip. Twice as wide as he was tall. Too low on the shoulder but still functional.

Freedom.

Eye closed. Peace like cool waters coating him.

Blue sky. White clouds. Warm, dry sun.

And behind him, his enemies burning.

Below him his Red hanging from its strap.

Flight.

Silently he followed Ilithian to her roost. The seeping wounds of his psyche soothed, for now, by the sky.

 

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