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Darane Svatura

 
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Olivia Diogenes
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:57 pm    Post subject: Darane Svatura Reply with quote

Sunlight. It was sunlight that gave her away as she ran through the vesh. Not the existence of it, but the way it found her and delighted. A flash of honey. A glitter of warmth. The leaves barely rustled and Ruv didn't make a sound as he galloped after her. She flickered through the underbrush-- obtrusive but silent. They played games still. Her and the wild wolf she had raised since a pup.

-----

Her siblings were not surprised when she found the beast, though they were shocked that she saved it. They had thought she had no patience, no care but that spent for herself and her wanderlust. She was all acrobatics through the trees and her adventures in the dark. Thank the goddess that their work involved the body and she had taken up her circus tricks like a fish to water. What would they have done to keep her still if they had been a different sort of people? A different clan. If she only knew! Her brothers said she was half wild-thing. That she was the spirit of Slobuzenja given smentena limbs and a wild mane of lazy, ashen-sunlight for hair. Her eldest brother had eyed her warily when she was born. Those eyes. 'Detlene,' he had said. Something haunting about the cold wilderness in her little face. Their mother had struck him for it. No one should whisper curses over new born babes.

As she got older, she developed a deep love for her family. For her three brothers. Even for her sister who regarded her with more disdain than the rest. But Liv had a roving heart. Love sought her endlessly. She loved climbing, she loved swimming, she loved running, she loved summersaults, fishing, throwing knives, frolicking, and she loved Ruv. Her family felt they came second, and her mother always reminded her that family was everything. Liv knew, but those bonds were different. She felt them. She felt them unfailingly and they were so far out of question, they were such pure Truth, that she could not imagine a world without it. So, she took it for granted. She was never really close to them. Well, except her middle brother. But even that conscious bond had been more about the wolf. He had helped her when she nearly failed, when the little beast shook with fever and her heart nearly gave out for a creature that had been left in this world to fend for itself. No familia. What a horror. Liv would be its family. Its sister tethered only by the vesh in their hearts. A loose touch, but an unbreakable bond.

So when her brothers had to leave, something in the East demanding the attention of her clan, she thought nothing of it. Travel West while the boys go East? Of course. Why not. Fate bound them and they would find each other again. It's just politics or trade or a contract about boarders and territory.

'Emre, I love you, I will see you again. What is this face?'

'Be smart, Liv. Just be yourself.'

'What do you go on about, brother? I am always myself. How could I be anything else?'

He had frowned at her. And she was aware that there was some wisdom of experience beyond the brows that narrowed at her. 'Do not worry about me!' she explained, as certain of that as she was certain of anything.

'I always worry about you, Olivia.'

She made him kiss Ruv goodbye. Emre fluffed the wolf's ears and looked back twice as he departed.

-----

And so here she was again- running wild in the woods. She had worked Ruv up and he was relentless in his wild perseverance. They had met up with the camp that her mother had business with just that day. She had set perhaps one foot inside the boundaries, sniffed the air - the strange spices, the different sweat- and she had left. Leave the old people to their talking and such. She was 13, and none of it concerned her. There was wilderness to explore. These were new woods, with new hiding spots, new climbing trees and new springs to bathe in and fish at.

She had spent the day hunting rabbits and they had caught 3. They were skinned and cleaned carcasses in her sack. Perhaps that's why Ruv ran so heavily, so portentously. Hunger. Between Ruv in the underbrush and Liv's snares and knife skills, they would have caught several more. But she had found a stream. Cool water. The sun that broke through the trees and warmed a large flat rock had been almost too much to bare. She had bathed and sunned herself. Nivasi. There was a sun-kissed tone to her pale, porcelain skin. It had been there, slightly caramel, since she was a child. Without tending, she paled quickly. But today, she fed it with languor that sprawled out with satisfaction and accomplishment. It fed her heart. So as dusk would fall, she would feed her stomach.

As the sky threatened to bring evening into the afternoon, Olivia came into the new camp from a different way than she had left. She was caught by a guard, whom she tossed a smile at and a word or two in their common tongues. She made him laugh. He told her where there was a fire pit she could use for herself. He asked for a rabbit. She gave him one. Ruv watched as she pulled the fresh meat from her pack and the guard commented on what great big teeth her pet had, and how it licked its maw.

'Ruv? Ruv is a good dog,' she shared with him. And though that only vaguely placated his wary heart, he let the two wildlings in. Liv flashed her inviting charm and she followed the line of wagons and carts according to the directions he gave her. She came upon a clearing. The fire was burning so there were people there.

She steeled herself. She would need to make introductions. She was wild but she was not a savage. It was her first day, she would not have her mother's wrath. She stepped out of the boarders and into the common area. She swept her wheat coloured hair from her face, fixing it absently.

Absently.

Lost for a moment.

Lost in a moment.

He stole that first moment from her.

She left something of herself in that place.

Left herself in the way her gaze chiseled him from reality. Like subtractive sculpture, carving him from her child's heart. He left her with her breath caught. Perhaps it never returned. She had seen men before. Men and boys. She had seen them shirtless and working. She had walked in on her brother when he -- she knew. She understood. But the way the barely fading sunlight fell on his skin-- she wanted to run her hands to catch it, like catching fish in a stream. She could feel the texture, something velvet and soft. Masculine, but... Hard but... The lines of his muscles held a captivating quality. His body told a story. Like home and protection and love and family painted itself in the sunlight, straight from her mind. His olive skin spoke of his parents, of his home, of his people. The way the sun must have deepened it spoke of outside, of exposure, of work. His nakedness displayed a friendly but strong nonchalance. There was something proud. But something boyish. He was 16 and she wanted to touch him. She wanted to set her mouth upon him. A soft, sweet musk was on her tongue in the back of her throat. She knew what he smelled like. What he felt like. Her fingers curled and straightened around nothing. Around the air. The moment filled her with a rich, dark warmth that rose and unraveled from her core to her extremities. Her soft mouth parted like she would speak, but breath was necessary for words. She loved him. She loved him like the vesh, like the sun. She wanted to run through him and bask in him. She wanted him to look at her. She wanted him to see how she meant all the promises that spilled slowly through her mind like the honey of her hair.

And he did. He saw her.

And he reacted.

Something about the look that crossed his features.

She wanted to tell him it was all right.

Ruv licked her useless hand and nudged the bag of rabbits at her hip.

Somehow she managed to edge back. To disappear into the line of make-shift shelters.

With her back against the wood, she listened as her heart pounded like she had stayed out too late in the woods. Like she was running hard for home. Like there was a demon in the forest.

And there was.
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Olivia Diogenes
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Written with some insight and assistance from Writ's writer for his parts of their past.]

"What? No. I don't know. Can you leave Ruv alone, he doesn't like that," Liv said to the girl that was petting the wolf awkwardly. They had been in a conversation about... clans, or family, something painfully boring but Liv couldn't take her attention away from how the girl just didn't understand how to pet the wolf. The uncomfortable protectiveness and feral empathy was welling up and eating her from the inside out -- until it burst out as an interruption, and an ending, to the conversation. A conversation she would only realize later was information gathering and false pretenses.

It would be a few days before she saw them standing off to the side. Alone. Him and her. His hand on her narrow waist, her face fore-shortened, turned, her hair hiding a crooked smile. Liv would miss the glare that the girl tossed at her because Liv left them with purpose, even after having run into them by accident.

He had somehow hijacked her internal lodestone. She found herself more often actively avoiding him than trying to find him. Though the former was continually a bittersweet surprise. It was a few days, perhaps a week, of awkward, teenage hell. And moping. There was some moping involved. Liv found herself needing to also eschew the heavy eye of her mother. A woman who, and the mechanism was a complete mystery to Liv, knew when she was around like she was a limb of her very body. Separated by a door, a wall... whatever it was, if Liv was in earshot her mother would say things that she wanted to share with her daughter. Liv vaguely wondered if the woman just talked to herself, or more particularly, to her, when she was alone and these were just the times that she got lucky that her daughter was actually able to hear.

Liv's mother didn't need luck. But that is another tale all together.

Talking to him was as unavoidable as destiny. And fate would have it just so. On her way to one of her favorite spots in this new *vesh*, she heard the boys leaving the clearing. She saw them, knew them to be his friends. She would tell herself that she went to make sure he *wasn't* there. But she knew he was.

She stepped into the light.

The hard thud of his throwing axe didn't make her wince-- it made her inhale.

"Your wrist is too stiff.... just a little but... it'd help."

He didn't turn to her. She didn't have a guess as to why. But he spoke to her, "Throwing an axe isn't like throwing a dagger."

She swallowed thickly. Too much knowledge-- too quickly. She didn't balk, but her wandering closer to him strayed. All of her had this fiendish desire to be less direct. Like she could fake him out. Then she changed her mind. From behind him, she threw. And she dotted his axe like an 'i' with a swift, decisive and slender dagger.

That's when he turned, and something in her withered away. But she wasn't sure if she would ever miss it.

"I--" she swallowed again. The blush started on her chest in a red flush of blood. And it must have crept to her tongue before her brain because she said "So ...You're with that brunette girl you steal touches of when you think no one is looking?" Her directness would stay with her for her entire life. No matter how stealthy she trained her body, her words were as true as her thrown blades-- even if it admitted that *she* was looking.

He looked like he swallowed a bug. She added, "I mean... she *is* pretty. Really pretty." Because her mouth just...

He actually coughed. He choked on that imaginary insect. Dryly he responded, "I don't need to steal."

A rush of something like anger ran through her. Anger with a twist. A sharp, stinging, salted twist. Belladonna. Foxglove. *Poison.* Olivia had never known jealousy before. In fact, she didn't really understand. "Oh," nearly a murmur. "Right. I... of course. I just meant you're sneaky about it." She would fill the silences ad infinitum. "Not sneaky *enough* though, yeah?" And she grinned at him like they were old friends. Like she had a right. Like she could creep under his skin with charm and familiarity that she would steal from and into him first, and return later.

But he could lengthen the silences like a declining sun. Like they were shadows. And shadows like that... well, it would take Liv a few years to hide in shadows like that.

So his regard of her was long. It was complicated... It was not guarded, it didn't feel guarded. But she could not read the thoughts behind his eyes. There was just this extended... pull. Like his gravity deepened. She padded several steps closer. It was enough for Ruv to close their gap in equal measure, his faithful 15 feet away. *Her* long shadow. The wolf stepped out of the woods where he had waited, like a good dog. But no one noticed. "Apparently not enough for *everyone,*" he finally said.

Liv couldn't contain herself. She couldn't put her mouth in check. She smiled like he praised her. She enjoyed being stealthy. It suited her. And praise from him was like her first sip of whiskey. It warmed her from the inside out. And her head got fuzzy.

Then he added, "She isn't mine."

Which crashed into her somewhat nervous explanation "Well, barely enou-- what does *that*.. I mean. None of my business, that. ...I guess." Though she attempted decorum, the wrinkling and scrunch of her sun-kissed nose betrayed her overall impression about the entire matter.

"I-- should go I...." she stepped light and quick, passing him. She wriggled her dagger from the wood and about-faced back towards him. It was almost too quick, like she couldn't have him behind her. But Ruv came up behind *him* and sniffed at his open hand which hung useless against his thigh. "*Ruv!*" she called the animal like a badly behaving sibling.

But he decided to steal the rest of her heart. The youth crouched down slowly, his eyes on the ground. There was a second nature required for touching and meeting animals the way they needed to be. Especially wild ones, or ones with wild hearts. The wolf sniffed at him. More importantly, he let himself be sniffed. And then there was the tiniest of smiles. Liv's heart was in that careful, up and open palm that he extended to her companion. She couldn't hear it, but she felt the cadence of her mother tongue, the sweet lyrics of Romani murmured deep and soft in a greeting meant for creatures. Respect and awe. Openness and peace. The warmth she saw was something she'd only glimpsed of him with his male friends, but more often alone in a quiet pleasure he seemed to have for the world.

"He.... his name... he likes you. I just.. he's Ruv," she had a gentle, awe-filled undertow of commentary. She didn't realize she strayed closer. Like her center of gravity wandered towards him, graceful, but creeping. A sneak-thief. Maybe it was jealousy, she wanted him to know *her* name, too, so she crept up on him to say it softly. "And I'm Liv... Olivia... but.....Liv." Her voice going more and more quiet as she neared and she watched. She adored the fact that they bonded. It was inexplicable. She would wonder what that was for years. No matter how much sorrow it gave her.

Lifting her gaze from Ruv and his peculiar behavior... (Not that he was a dangerous animal, but he was slow to take to anyone other than Liv and her family) she saw that he tensed slightly as she crept closer. Eventually he lifted his eyes to her and answered in a tone that was much less rigid than his body was. "I know," he said. Whether he meant he knew who she was or that Ruv liked him was open to interpretation... But... It was soft. Tender the way he said it as an extension of the warm Romani in his throat.

Her mouth parted to speak, but finally she closed it before regrets spilled out.
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Olivia Diogenes
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Writ's parts brainstormed with Writ's writer.]

"Olivia," the voice was stinging with urgency.

Olivia pulled herself from a fitful sleep. "Wh- huh...Vai?" As she realized who it was, she pulled her covers close to her and scooted down and across her bed away from the girl. She reached for the bedding, blindly seeking her knife in the folds of her patchwork blanket. A trusty companion as ever-present as--

"Ruv..?"

"Your wolf, he has found something in the woods and he wont leave it be."

"What are you talking about-- Vai he...? What?" Sleep tugged at her senses, trying to wash the soft sand from her pale eyes. Liv rubbed them with the side of her hand. "I...where?"

"Come."

Olivia looked at her once. She ran through all of the motivations and the possibilities. She did not trust this girl. Though she had done little more than throw disgusted looks in her direction, Liv was aware that she was not sincere in her friendship and had, in fact, been aware of the times she was slighted and the reasons for the slighting. But... Ruv. He was not here. She could only assume she was telling the truth. At least half a truth. Nothing would explain why or how the wolf would have left her side while she slept, but that just meant it was more urgent that she find him. She could ask questions later. She knew that Vai had early morning wanderings into the vesh. She gathered and she guarded. Liv slipped on a loose tunic-like sweater and shrugged on pants before bolting out the door.

The two girls ran through the trees. Vai was spry and talented enough in the way she could see the spirit of the vesh. However, she was not fast enough, and Liv fought the urge to pass her when she had the chance because...she felt in her heart that she knew where Ruv was. What direction he was in. She felt like she was pulled in the direction in front of her. She felt a sense of urgency even as behind her, in the direction of the camp, she felt a soft, troubled, dream-turmoil that threatened to disconnect her from what she thought was Ruv. She stumbled once when she had the strange sense that she was falling backwards. Falling upwards. She almost lurched into a tree. Vai heard the mis-step and turned but did not ask after she saw that Liv still ran after catching herself with a powerful slam of her palm into a young tree. Liv ran and ran hard. Her mind was a wild searching, and sensing thing scrambling in every direction. Liv *sought*.

Vai stopped on the edge of the clearing. It was one that Liv had not spent much time in as she had found favorites that she frequented and had never felt the desire to discern the rest of this dark, foreign forest. She saw Ruv. He was laying near the North corner and his body was limp, his limbs scattered like he had been thrown or fell. But...that made no sense unless it was from the jaws of a larger animal. Liv scanned the trees, looking for predators. She saw and heard and smelled nothing so she sprinted to the creature.

She touched the fur where it was darker. Her hand came away red. "Ruv, ruv, ruv!" her heart and her mouth cried.

*She pulsed in the darkness of the subconsciousness of the world. Of him. Of her. Of them. The spectral influences, the landscape of their connection --written in bones and blood and stars and magic-- quivered. She had looked so hard with all of her, that she found both him and Ruv along the same lines of heart-strings. They shivered silver in the morning sun. They frayed as consciousness crashed in and threatened to stir the very nature of all she touched. There was agony, and anguish. Liv pulled.*

In the same moment, Liv realized several things. First, she realized that Ruv was not dead. In fact, the wolf seemed to have been tossed and left unconscious. Secondly, she realized that this was not the work of teeth or claw, but the work of a man-made blade. And thirdly, she realized that someone was behind her.

Liv's crouch, roll, and defensive spring to her feet included an assessment and an attack.

"Why!?" she yelled at Miklo as he reached down to palm his tattered shirt and the blood that sprung there from where she had swiped her blade. "Why would you do this, what *is* this?"

"Don't you *dare*," hissed Vai from behind her. Liv pivoted to allow an easier glance at the girl. Just one-- noting that she had no weapon and she was at least a warning-sign distance away. She would know if Vai did something. If she moved. But Miklo was closer, and stronger. "Don't you dare pretend like you don't have a part in this."

"A part in what, *lóoverni?*" spat Liv. And the quick motion that Vai made towards her made her take two steps back at the apex of the triangle of threats that they created.

"Do not act ignorant, *muladi bavol.* You come in here expecting everything, like you have a right to take," Liv became distracted by the insult. Trying to pick apart what exactly the problem was. Other than Writ.

"I do not plan on staying. Let me take my ruv. You are monsters-- sappéskomátchi ozi. You disgust me, I would not stay here if He asked." She was almost distracted by this claim, uncertain if that were true. Thinking about it for just a moment. One too many. Vai sneered and this appeared to anger Miklo even more than her accusations. He lurched for Liv, he reached for her throat, he tackled her to the ground. But Liv had three brothers. She knew more about the limitations and the advantages of the body than she even understood herself. She received the fingers around her throat, she let him. But she trapped his arm to her chest which was the opposite of what he expected. She hugged that hand and pulled it towards her. Then, using her legs at his sides as leverage to twist her body, she grabbed the inside of his bent and grounded knee and threw her hips so that she threw her leg over his shoulders and the back of his neck to flip him onto his back with little more than her body weight and his confusion, inertia and unpreparedness.

Vai reached for her, but stopped. In her place of dominance, the boy stunned beneath her, Liv yelled at Vai. "Leave! Leave and I'll leave! Just let me take my ruv!"

Liv did not know what to do next. She was unsure as to how to subdue Miklo more than with her self. He grabbed her and pulled. He growled at her in such a way that she could feel his rage. It was hot and firm between her legs and he was grabbing at her center of gravity to throw her. Liv plunged her knife into the thick muscle and fat of the boy's side. She was aware that she would not pierce anything of importance, but it would hurt, and he would not be able to fight much or run. She hobbled him. And she moved to get away but he grabbed her, furious. His anger overcame his desire to protect himself. There was a struggle. Olivia screamed, she was wrathful and set on fire by a wild and indignant rage that was done with pleading for herself or her friend. She was done with *all* of them.

When Miklo got the knife, Vai had grabbed her hair.

But Ruv had woken, and Ruv sunk his teeth into Miklo's hand. The wolf snarled and tore. He yanked and shook his head, maiming Miklo's dominant hand-- maiming it permanently.

Liv was free of the boy, and though she slammed her hand on top of Vai's in her hair, she could not force those fingers free. She twisted to take on the girl at just the moment she saw Ruv lunge. And she knew, with a deep sense of dread that that was too bold. Too much. Too vulnerable. The wolf's thick chest was so exposed as he lunged. Oliva screamed. It was blood curdling. She knew. The rage and heartache and loss fluttered in her throat as she screamed for the life-companion she had spent only a short 4 years loving. She screamed for how alone she felt already. Knowing that she was not allowed to return to or to find her family (even though she had tried 3 times already) and they would not likely take her back. Knowing that she would try and try and try and nights in the woods with Ruv as they escaped and ran were the only solace she would have away from this Kompania. She would run, but she would run alone now. And the desperation that flooded her with was both for Ruv, and selfishly for herself.

She crumpled as a dead weight at the end of Vai's clawing fingers. This was unexpected and set the girl off balance. Liv watched as the weight of the large creature fell on Miklo, but fell without direction and without an expectation of landing. His teeth had encircled the boy's shoulder, but the power behind it was gone. Red. Red everywhere.

Olivia pressed her fingers in the dark, scented earth and she pivoted on a knee and ball of her foot to spring back on Vai--

But she was too late. The girl let out a heavy-pressed gasp as Writ crashed into her. He was a spectral savior, still wrapped in his sleeping robe, bounding from the pre-dawn woods.

Confusion took Liv, but not for long. *Let them have each other* her mind hissed. She got up and made to lurch for Ruv *and Miklo* but there was a deep, stern, "No."

Liv spun on Writ. "No?!"

She heard Miklo stirring, struggling under the dead weight of the wolf.

"He *killed* him. HE KILLED HIM! HE KILLED MY BEST FRIEND WITH MY OWN KNIFE I WILL--" *if I had not brought it. If I was not here. If you weren't here. Oh god.*

"No."

Liv looked at her hands. She was shaking.

Miklo groaned and pushed the body off of him. Something strangled and wet made sounds in the back of her throat. She felt ill as she heard the lifeless sound of Ruv crumpling in the grass.

Behind her, Writ withered Vai into complacency with the weight of his hazel stare. He unarmed her with his presence-- with the command of his self. Writ's heavy silence was--

Miklo started to right himself.

"Leave," growled Writ. "Leave or I will do what Olivia deserves to have done."

Liv watched her fingers. She could not look up. She could not look at the other boy-- the creature that had killed her friend. She swooned and steadied herself with a hand in the ground again. She thought she would fall to the ground in an embarrassing heap. She wondered why she felt so sick, and sicker as her mind frantically tried to recall if that was the first time he had said her name. Or perhaps just her full name or...?

The ground became blurry as she began to see it through her tears. She felt them leave. She felt them run. She saw the knife tumble into the grass and she stared at it, throwing accusations at it, at herself. If she had not brought it... if she had not drawn it...if she had not...

"Oh god. Oh god," she began to murmur and fight the urge to hug herself and rock in the grass.

"Olivia--"

"Go, just go. I don't care. I don't care about any of you," she started sobbing as she half crawled, half slunk to Ruv's fallen form and she threw her arms around the thick, still warm, width of his furry ribs. Liv pressed her brow against the first wound she had found on him and did not care that she painted half her features, and all of her arms, in blood as she sobbed into the dark pelt that smelled of comfort, and safety, and love, and home. Other than that soft clutch, she had no strength in her limbs. She sobbed uncontrollably, hoping that if there was something left of Ruv, even with his heart pierced perfectly beyond the guard of his familiar ribs, that maybe he would understand that she loved him. That he had saved her. That she would never forget the gift he gave her. That she would have done anything-- That he understood that he was the last thing she had in all of the world. Even in a place that appeared to wish to give her that which others coveted. Even unto murder.

"Please. ...I can't..."

"They killed him, they killed him, they-- " she disintegrated, unsure if she accused him or accused their parents or their religion. Her soul spilled out of her eyes, through tears, and her mouth, as spit. She nearly smothered herself in the dark fur. She felt as though her heart poured out and ran empty in the grass of that clearing. It must have been horrible for him to stand there while her heart wept and *needed*.

Perhaps that's why he put up his hands-- frustrated with the world and with the impending demands and leadership that would wait for them back at the camp. In the haze of her profound grief he managed to find the knife. He would wash it and rinse off the blood in the fresh water that ran near by. The intimacy, her sorrow, if he could not assuage it the way anyone would (with his hands, with his arms)... then he would give her privacy. Respect these moments. Writ would sit and hum a soft quiet parting prayer of his people while he waited for her. While he stood guard, and stood vigil.

At length, Liv slept. Her body utterly exhausted and curled around the body of dead Ruv.

And afterwards, they would bury Ruv. But not in that clearing. In the other. In the place where Writ threw his axes, and Olivia played with her companion. Writ wrapped her in the sleeping robe he had run there in. She was so still. So quiet. He had little worry of her moving or accidentally causing them to touch. It was like dressing a doll, propped there, only breathing. Barely doing that. She watched him absently in a hazy stupor as he dug the grave. Her mind was unsure as to what it witnessed, other times it was completely certain, as certain as death. Sometimes she thought about Ruv. Sometimes, the better moments, she thought about him. She helped a little. Later, she would find that hard to remember. For some reason it would matter.

When they walked home he guided her wordlessly into his tent.

She slept and stayed there for several days. She haunted him like a half-remembered ghost.

Writ slept on the floor. But only after she asked, and after he had slept outside with the flap open the first night. The request was just one of the soft, mid-conversations that stumbled out of her mouth as though it were generated by a response to a slow, sleepy narrative she had fallen into in her mind-- somnambulant and distant and broken. She was only vaguely there, silently conversing with herself in a fog of misery. In a way, he anchored her. She murmured mostly to herself in that blurr of days. But to him, as he began to leave the second night she had said, distinctly: "Don't. Stay. Please."

When she was gone his bed gently smelled of her. But it was strange. She was sweat and tears and a heavy sorrow that married something bitter with something earthy. All of it was chaotically stirred with a dollop of the honey-sunlight of her hair. Youth. Youth and grief. And girl.

He never gave back the blade.

How could he have?

How would he have brought it up? But really, there just hadn't been time. The last time she tried to run away was three weeks later. Three weeks in which they spoke more than nearly all the time before. Three weeks where she hid behind the emotional boundaries of her steeled decision to run far, far away, back to her family, and steeled behind her ruthless, obsessive escape planning. A theme for the rest of her life.

She would leave this place. She would find her brothers. They would take her back.

Three weeks where she would wonder if maybe she had started to love him. That maybe she should let herself. But she would only wonder that after it was *he* who was gone.

After it was he who was unable to endure the sight of her slung between two men of his kumpania, carried by her arms and dragged through the dust like a prisoner.

Such a smile on her lips- defeat and contempt. Had it been for *him*? There had been a small cut on her lower lip, the plush shape of it was slightly swollen and topped with the dark red of dried blood. If he looked now, there was still a soft light feather of a scar there.

But when she smiled now it recalled defiance, not defeat.

If he didn't understand that yet, she would tell him.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ismarin, his mother, had been in labor for three excruciatingly painful days.

"Have I ever told you the story about how you came into this life?" Bebi Nisha asked. Writ was six years old and sitting on his Aunt's lap listening for the sound of his newest sibling's first cries from just outside the door. Light brown, with gold and green flecks swiveled up towards the woman's pointed chin. Her dark eyes met his and a warm smile soothed his worry like the hand she passed over his unruly sable hair. This wasn't the first time he had sat perched like a gargoyle in Nisha's arms, waiting anxiously for the arrival of another extension of himself-- another sibling. This would be his fourth, and from the look on his father's worn and drawn face, his last. Even at six years old, he had had a sense of this. A ridiculously inborn skill to observe and understand things a boy of his age simply shouldn't.

The first time he had waited, was for Tielah, who came just eleven months after him, and every day since, had spent an exorbitant amount of time and energy trying to make up the insignificant difference in their age by turning everything into a competition. A trait that would turn ugly more often than not and frequently backfired in the way that where Writ was concerned, his path was so strongly carved that there was very little she could do to affect its trajectory, no matter how hard she tried. More memorably, if not just because he was actually old enough to hold the memory himself but because of the surprise of it, was the birth of his brothers. They were only expecting one. Nisha and his mother being who they are, how they are, were shocked and, quite frankly, terrified when after Diece had come screaming into the world, Ismarin was still in labor. His mother had never felt another-- never saw the second fine gold line of life that marks the connections in people. Nisha had never sensed him either. Writ would also quickly come to find out that Van was his only sibling whose thoughts were silent and his presence only recognizable in his mind by an unnatural emptiness in the space he occupied. Where Diece was light, Van was dark. Not good vs. bad.. just.. a shadow. Like two halves of a single person, put into two bodies. Twins only by birth, image and tone, complete and utterly stark opposites in every other way. Even the midwives had been taken aback. They said it was as if Van didn’t have a heartbeat until Diece had drawn his first lungful of air. Eventfully mysterious as that day, and the three years since, had been, Writ was most eager to meet the latest Petrescu addition. He felt the corded bond wrapping tighter and thicker every month of his mother's pregnancy that had passed and felt in many ways anchored to the coming child. This one, would be special, he could feel it, deep down in his bones.

His little brows tightened in agony as all of those thoughts rushed through him in the blink of an eye.

Nisha felt his mind start to wander and she clicked her tongue at him. "Pay attention now.." she urged, distracting him from his own sense of responsibility and anxiety. "There was a great moon in the sky, little love. Your daia and dat, had not been anticipating your arrival for another month." she grinned at him and pinched his olive toned cheek. "Oh ale.. you were ready! You didn't even give me a chance to perform the unknotting.†Nisha pointedly glanced down at the pile of knotted ribbons in their mutual lap and the resultant smooth strands she'd deftly untangled and placed around their feet like patchwork on the floor- a protective, invisible barrier cast around them to keep his three year old twin brothers from romping through them in their terrible wake of endless activity. "You just.. showed up," she continued, "Quiet as the night! No crying or fussing. Strong. Stubborn. Like your dat. Beautiful. Magical. Like your daia." Her arms tightened around him in a squeeze. "Sensitive. Curious. Like your bebi!" A melodic laugh left her throat as she continued, "I knew you would be my favorite.." she whispered conspiratorially, "Just as you know this one will be yours.. don't tell the others!†Writ smiled crookedly at her and shook his head in promise. Of course not. He had replied without opening his mouth.. and Nisha smiled knowingly.

The permission he gave himself to be sufficiently distracted in that moment by the páttrimíshi was just that, a moment. A brief pause in the tumult of his heart before he resumed his vigil, training his eyes on the door. Nisha hummed a hauntingly deep velvet tune and swayed the both of them back and forth.

It was only a few moments longer, a couple of rounds of his aunt's song, before his sister, Tielah, came running out to them, sent by the midwife with news. In her child voice she shouted "CHAYA!" with arms raised in a V. Clearly excited to have another girl in the fold. An excitement that wouldn't last very long, as it would turn out.

------

"Tag! You're it!" Vai screamed and ran as fast as her feet could carry her away from him.

Diece and Van followed after her amidst a gaggle of other boys from the Kumpania forming a wall between their brother and the dark haired, dark eyed girl made of long lashes and giggles that tickled the skin of whatever poor kid they landed on. Today.. it was all of them.. so they protected her from their supposed leader who prowled like a wolf on the other side of the field.

"Traitors! Doshmani!" Writ shouted theatrically and smirked at them while his form crouched, murky hazel hues plotting a strategic path.. finding the chinks in their childlike armor.

A pin drop. He sprinted.

The form of that 12 year old boy, already a man in so many ways, was graceful and swift dodging the swipes of smaller hands that attempted to bring him to the ground as he got nearer to his quarry. Outstretched fingertips caught the girl by her hand and a taut jerk of his own pulled her chest to chest with him. She blanched, eyes wide, lips parted by panting breaths. Then five shades of red crept into her cheeks and her lashes lowered dreamily. The sight of it bent Writ’s head towards her and she raised her chin expectantly.

"Chikno." A stern voice called from the sidelines. Petre. Writ snapped back from Vai about three feet and turned a guilty gaze towards his father. Tielah was standing next to him, arms folded across her chest with a smug smile. Writ bared gritted teeth at the irritatingly proud expression on his sister's face and stalked towards the waiting reprimand.

"Oooo.. Writ’s in trooooubleee!" His brothers called out in eerie sing song unison.

"No, he's not." Said a small voice suddenly.. impossibly at his side. Where did she even come from? Writ looked down at the sound of Chaya who beamed up at him and took his hand while they marched across the field.

Tielah glared at the pair of them.

Always in cahoots. Always on the same side.

Petre put a hand on his son's shoulder and tapped Chaya in the bottom with his foot to shoo her affectionately. "Go on, goodlo.. I need to speak with your brother."

The playful scene on the field dissolved behind them as they walked in silence, replaced after long by the interior of his father's meeting tent. His mother was there, and Nisha, and Vai's father.. and Miklo's father. Writ's jaw clenched. He could see what this was just by those assembled faces. He flopped onto a pile of pillows and regarded them each with a dark sweep of his eyes.

"So.. you are going to tell me to stay away from my friend because she belongs to Miklo now? I don't get a say? She doesn't get a say? Miklo doesn't need a say.. he most definitely would agree with you lot because what Shav wouldn't?" he spat, impetuously, and threw his arms up in exasperation. "I understand tradition father, but this?" His quick assessment seemed to startle everyone except Bebi Nisha who simply sat there, half hiding a proud smile.

The silence stretched on for an uncomfortable amount of time.
Finally, Petre turned in his seat to the other two men in the room. "I think you can see that my son understands the situation." He said plainly. Without removing their jaws from the floor, the men both nodded succinctly and rather unceremoniously scrambled out of the tent. Leaving Writ's view with one last glower.

"Barearav, Writ. You must." Ismarin pleaded as she rose to her feet and came closer to her son. "You must." She repeated and touched her fingetips to his shoulder.

The scent of wildflowers and honey invaded his senses. A disctinctly vivid image, robbed him of his sight.

A girl. Running down a forest path. Bright, almost white hair floating around her features, ethereally. Her smile. Pure. Unadulterated. Freedom. Happiness. A wolf pup tucked into her jacket.

"Wha—Who?" Writ croaked, the sudden switch back to reality leaving him breathless and panting. He steadied himself with one palm pressed against the floor.

"Olivia Diogenes. Yours. Your intended. That is why you cannot have Vai. You belong to someone else.. and it would be disgraceful. This is your duty, kom. You cannot kor. Even if you try. This will happen." It was his mother's turn to leave, a steady gaze on his father as she departed. Finish this. it said.

"You have four years before she arrives, Writ." Petre said. "I suggest you do your best not to ruin Vai or your reputation in the meantime." His father’s eyes flickered towards Nisha very briefly. If Writ wasn't the strangely observant creature that he was, he would have missed it. "You can not always have what you want, my son."

------

Some things would never be the same after that day. Some got worse. Some better.

The entanglement with Vai had definitely spiraled out of control on a number of occasions as they got older. They were drawn to each other. Always had been. The difference was that while Writ found the arrangements antiquated and all levels of unfair, he respected traditions and did his best to honor them. He was expected to. Vai, on the other hand, took it as a challenge. "They can't tell me who to want." She said into his ear, "Don't you still want me?" she'd ask, groping him viciously into any available somewhat hidden space. He often thought it had much more to do with the thrill of it, the risk of getting caught than it did him specifically.. but he was a prized rebellion and even that was amplified after word got around camp that Writ's intended would be arriving soon.

It wasn't a magical or mystical quality that made secrets impossible to keep for Roma.. it was their big f**king mouths.

He was sixteen now and the tone of him changed in more ways than one. He still had an easy smile for his friends, a playful streak with the youth, his sense of responsibility and a charm that was kept under wraps out of necessity but.. he grew quiet. More secretive in his rebellion. More stalwart. He often retreated into himself, preferring to work in a physically demanding capacity throughout the camp. It shaped his body, long, lean and well defined.. harder.. more man, less boy. Besides being exercise, he also needed the process in order to burn off the strange energy building up inside of him as the days grew closer and blurred together.. waiting.. for her. For the end of his freedom and choices.

When he wasn't laboring in the fields, he was drinking with the men of the Kumpania. With his friends. He indulged on a more regular basis these days much to his Bebi Nisha's chiding- she was the only one that seemed to notice, besides Chaya who watched him like a hawk from inconspicuous gaps in the ether. Strange creature.

Writ was sitting by the fire with Joa and Shane.

Burning logs of wood were crackling loudly. A graveyard of bottles surrounded the pit like little glass corpses of bad decisions made. Joa gesticulated wildly as he spun his tale- his voice sounded warped in Writ’s ears like he'd been underwater; the white of his hazel eyes burned red and his vision was blurred to match his other altered senses. Numb. Blissfully numb. No weight. No responsibility. No feelings. Just.. nothing.

"Writ…" a voice called from somewhere nearby. His slouching frame righted itself for the most part.. upward at least but still slightly tilted. "Writ!" It said again in an aggressive whisper. His eyelids slowly crept open to find a pair of long lashed dark eyes hovering a very close two inches away from his own.

"Vai?" he asked groggily.. the crease in his brow deepening in post-drunk confusion as he peered passed her face at the pit where the fire had gone cold and burnt down to ash. How long had he been there? How long ago had his companions left him? Did they even try to wake him? He was suddenly aware of how cold he was- sitting out in the cool night air with nothing more than a pair of pants and the last drying remnants of his alcohol induced sweat. She was warm.. And so close that he could feel the heat radiating from her skin.

"Who else would it be?" She asked teasingly, dragging her finger along his jawline. The touch pulled a soft groan from his throat. "That's it.." she encouraged and crawled cat-like into his lap. "Remember how nice this feels? Doing what we want. When we want. With who.. we want..?" The cadence in her voice timed to the rhythm of the soft undulating roll of her hips.

Writ let his head fall back and opened his eyes to the stars above. There was a sadness in the slow way he blinked up at them. His body responded to Vai’s manipulations readily enough.. but the rest of him.. sat passively inside of himself, trapped, unmoving. Too numb to object to what his body clearly wanted.

She'd take his physical response as consent.

"F**k me, Writ." She demanded, unzipping his pants while positioning herself for accepting him. She sounded much too comfortable with those words. So much so that it jarred through the haze of his inebriation like a smack across the face-- his mind's last-ditch effort to thwart baser instincts. She saw the flicker of reservation pass over him and leaned in hastily to kiss him before the thought could take too much of a hold. In a calculatedly sweeter tone, she pressed a whisper against his lips.. "Please? I.. I want you to be my first."

He had always had a hard time denying her.. and when she begged him like that.. in the state he was in.. well.. he lost the struggle. Eyes closed and barely conscious, he gave in.

Later, he would come to find out that Vai's claim had been a lie. Nothing more than a manipulation from a girl that refused to take no for an answer. Not that it much mattered. He felt nothing afterward. Just a void- black and hollow.. where any feelings for the girl he spent his childhood circling should have clung.

It would be two days later, standing casually warm and shirtless by the fire, laughing at the banter amongst his friends. before he felt anything at all in regards to that drunken episode.

He felt eyes on him. Cold pin pricks up the back of his neck.

Mid-laugh, he turned towards the sensation.

His smile faded, leaving a look of strained thought across his slack expression as burning hazel met pale blue from across the field. Her ashen hair gave her away- sticking out like an ethereal sore thumb amidst the dark complected, dark haired Roma around her. Even if it hadn't.. the lurch of his heart was all the confirmation he needed.

Olivia. his mind declared reverently.

Those four syllables were apparently strong enough to manifest his first two real emotions in days
.
Guilt, a stifling amount of it, and perhaps it's unfathomable origin..

Love.

Raw and unrecognizable.

He watched her retreat.

The way his mind reached out and begged her to stay, now that she was finally here, surprised him. He didn't know what he had been expecting.. but the wild thing standing there with her wolf at her side, wind still tangled lovingly in her hair no matter how she tried to smooth it away.. wasn't it. And he wanted her. Instantly.

Even more surprising than that revelation was his next thought..

Vai. He needed to find Vai.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I can't stay mad at you.." she cooed from the tree-line.

Several days earlier, immediately after an enthralling pair of eyes lit up his skin and culled his very soul with her presence, he'd gone to find Vai and broached the subject of their encounter. It didn't go well. Not in the least, and definitely not as he'd expected. He had tried to tell her that he did want her.. that he always had. That he cared about her deeply and was honored that she wanted him back and was willing to .. give him that.. but.. it never should have happened. It was stupid and irresponsible. They were promised to other people. The physical affection they had shared in the past couldn't continue. He wouldn't tell her that now he didn't even wish it could. Whether that was cowardice or tact was hard to determine. He even tried to apologize. All she did was stonily tell him that she lied about her virginity, and that he was off the hook for any banishing of her due to marihme. She simply laughed and walked away.

"Oh, was that you being mad?" He asked dryly, wiping the dirt from his hands and refusing to look up at her. "What are you doing here, Vai? What do you want?"

"Aw. Writ, are you still sore about the whole You weren't my first thing?" Vai stalked closer, "I mean you probably would have noticed if you hadn't been so drunk. I only told you that to get you out of your own way, you know?"

Writ clenched his jaw and finally brought his heavy eyes to her.

"What? Don't look at me like that." Vai put a pout into her mouth that normally would have caused all sorts of reactions in him. When it didn't, she changed tactics-- smiled and batted her lashes up at him as she closed the distance.

"It's not about whether I got there first, Vai.. and the fact that you think that is what this is about just further goes to show how very little you actually know about me." He ran a hand through his hair-- her familiarity making him uncomfortable in new ways. Finally, the rest of his body seemed to be catching up with his brain. "You lied to me. Then you laughed about it like it meant nothing. Tell me again why you are mad at me?"

"You know why I'm mad at you." She said, taking his now clean hands and placing them on her waist to illustrate her point.

He had finally told her no. That's all this was. She couldn't stand not having that power over him anymore. No reaction to her charm or beauty. No more craving her touch. She needed it. Needed it from him. He was hers. He could see the possessiveness creep into her dark eyes.

"I just ca--" he paused. A familiar tickle stung at the back of his neck and he saw Vai's eyes go hard over his shoulder. Taking his hands back, he turned and glanced behind him to find no one there.

When he turned back around Vai's chocolate brown hues were brimming with tears and her mouth was set into a scowl.

"Why? Because your dili djolano has arrived? Now you can throw me aside like I'm trash after getting what you wanted?" she spit the words at him like they were venom.

The fury that rose in him tensed his muscles but it was short lived. He had hurt her. He hadn’t meant to.. didn't even think it was possible.. and seeing her react so strongly quickly stamped out any anger he felt towards the insult and the implication she hurled at him. It was replaced with shame and a thick sadness. Had he been callous? Uncaring? His brows furrowed. He wouldn't argue the point.

"I'm sorry." He said, running a thumb over the slick trail of spilt tears at the apple of her cheek. He'd take it. He'd take the blame. He'd take the smear on his name and reputation-- If that's what she needed in order to feel better. A cut for a cut. They'd been friends their whole lives after all was said and done. Suddenly, he hated himself for not being able to give her what she wanted. For no longer wanting what she wanted. He hated his parents. Hated his responsibilities. Even hated Liv for being something he couldn't ignore. No matter how inaccurate of an assessment, he'd accept it.

Vai squeezed her eyes shut when his hand made contact, causing another stream to roll over his skin. She knew he was sincere. She could see what he was doing. "Why do you have to be so good?" she asked weakly before pressing a kiss into his palm, turning away and walking back through the trees.

-----

There was a week or so of quiet gloom where he spent his time isolated in his tent whenever permitted to.

Eventually, he'd emerge more frequently, and when he did, Vai kept her distance but had a smile for him if their eyes met. He had to admit that it was more than a small relief to see the upturn in the corners of her mouth. She spent more time with Miklos now, who was absolutely beaming under her public attention.

Writ felt like he could breathe a little easier, though Vai's absence in his everyday life left him feeling more alone than ever. Sure, there was his family, but even those relationships had suffered a bit from the wallow he'd fallen into.

And.. there was Liv. Her blonde hair catching light like a beacon anywhere she went. He knew exactly when to turn and where so that they'd at least cross paths from time to time, though he couldn't tell if that made him feel better.. or worse.

All at once, he had made a conscious effort to be more social and get ouf of the pit of malaise he was wading in. It.. wasn’t easy.

The guys were hooting and hollering. Clapping each other on the back as their game ended.

Writ exhaled as they departed and he rubbed at his face. How had he done this regularly before? It was exhausting.

After a moment of quiet, motionless, re-centering—a suggestion from Bebi Nisha after he'd sworn off drinking, post fireside incident (of course she knew all about that too but was kind enough to keep it and her thoughts about it to hersel.)

He plucked out an armful of throwing axes from the wooden target and walked the requisite paces away.

Thud. Thud. Thu--.. lightening bugs descended, touching ground along the light, sunbleached hair of his raised arm.

"Your wrist is too stiff.... just a little but... it'd help." Came a voice he somehow already knew. This was the first thing she'd ever said to him.

With his back still to her, more to buy himself enough time to wipe the stupid look off of his face than anything, he responded. "Throwing an axe isn't like throwing a dagger." He had been able to feel the little needle of a thing on her. Felt the muscle memory in her dominant arm and hand. It made him slightly dizzy.

The dagger in question zipped passed his head and sailed to a perfect point just above his last thrown axe. His mouth twitched and the tilt of it turned the rest of his body around to face her.

"I--" she began. Her stutter and stall, her deep swallow and sudden pink hue that crept up her neck to her cheeks brushed his lash against lower lids in a slow blink. It felt like a dream. Like everything was playing out in slow motion.

"So ...You're with that brunette girl you steal touches of when you think no one is looking?" she continued

The words stung in so many ways he couldn't begin to address any of them.

He choked on air.

"I mean... she is pretty. Really pretty."

He coughed. Truth was, he couldn't even see it anymore. Dryly he responded, "I don't need to steal."

A flash of unreadable emotion crossed her features.. elegant and plain. Wild and natural. It was his turn to flush a ruddy shade into his cheeks.

"Oh.. I... of course. I just meant you're sneaky about it." Pause. "Not sneaky enough though, yeah?" She grinned impishly at him.

There was something so familiar in the cadence of her voice. In the way she spoke to him like they’d known eachother for centuries beyond their own scant ages. He watched her quietly for a long time. A rush of panic as she crept closer was kept hidden beneath the surface of his features though he could feel his very soul tremble. The cords that bound them glistening sharply in the sunlight as they pulled taut...

It was the wolf's appearance that would finally nudge him hard enough for words to find their way out through the complicated mess of a maze where he kept his feelings about.. this whole thing. "Apparently not enough for everyone," was his long-delayed retort, an edge of charm and praise in the lilt.

She smiled.. And it almost buckled him at the knees.

"She isn't mine." He added absently, like it just fell out of his mouth. A sneaky fate flag thrown on the ground—like a criminal hoping to be caught.

"Well, barely enou-- what does that.. I mean. None of my business, that. ...I guess." She stuttered.

They stared at each other awkwardly for a moment.

"I-- should go I...." His eyes watched her as she passed him, nose lifting siightly as he inhaled the gust of her scent that assailed him in her hurry.

Just then, Writ felt a cold, wet nose snuffle over his skin.

"Ruv!" Liv shouted.

Writ smiled a freely genuine, untortured smile for the first time that day. He crouched down slowly, palm up and open, arm half-way extended so that he wasn’t too close, but still an invitation in. Showing proper respect for the regal animal, he was careful to keep his warm eyes on the ground. When Ruv accepted his supplication, Writ smiled even wider and allowed the thick velvet language of their mother tongue to warm his throat and murmur affection to the creature. There was a kinship there.. and it was anchored.. in her. It was like Ruv could see it too. They recognized each other.

Important. Good. Hers. the thought bonded them in a mutual understanding.

"He.... his name... he likes you. I just.. he's Ruv.. and I'm Liv... Olivia... but.....Liv."

His skin prickled as she came closer and the muscles in his back and shoulders clenched reflexively. Her nearness was almost overwhelming. He risked a glance at Ruv.. who seemed to be giving him a mental nod of understanding that made him laugh inwardly.

"I know," he said unable to hide the shred of lightness that crept into his voice just as she crept under his skin.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Written with Writ's player.]


Somewhere in the forest, he ran, chasing laughter and the sound of four feet padding through fallen leaves.

It was the only part of dreaming he could recall before he startled awake some several hours later.

Sunlight streamed through the apartment and lit the gold of her hair into a combustion of white, shimmering flames. He was struck by the sight of her. Almost convinced she wasn't really there. Warm hazel drifted over her sprawled form reverently. Sometime in the night, they'd shifted again. He was on his back and she was laying on her stomach with her cheek pressed to the junction of his arm and shoulder. One limb trapped beneath and curled around her sleep-draped body, he raised his free hand and gently touched a fingertip to her jawline. Mine he mouthed.. as if marking her in the way she'd long since marked him.

She stirred sleepily and nuzzled closer just as he started to pull away. His body tensed in his attempt to move from beneath her undetected. She grumbled incoherently- perhaps sensing his retreat and in protest, rolled onto her side. Writ took advantage of the movement and slipped his arm free coming up and away from their nest of tangled sheets with a bittersweet lopsided grin of victory. How he wanted to crawl right back in beside her. Mold his already aching body around the curve of her and push himself between the velvet crest between her thighs, clearly visible from where he stood.

His jaw clenched and he bit down on his bottom lip with a shake of his head and a dismissive, absent rub to the eagerness rising obediently to the call of his desire for her. Yeah.. I know... later. He glanced down at the anatomy he was currently coaxing into submission with a hard grip.. issuing assurances in his mind to it like it was a wild animal too long held captive.

Liv slept and she slept so soundly. She was wrapped in an exhaustion she had never known, born of a desire that had lain dormant for her entire life. A desire never fed. A need never acknowledged, nevermind satisfied. And sanctified in love. She slept soundly because she was filled, and whole, and safe. She had given him every part of her and he had held it in his heart and kissed her to sleep with promises she would have been too afraid to ask for.

But not in that one moment, that one terrible moment that bound them together in a way he would always see in the back of her eyes. In her gaze, now forever laden with a trust and commitment of the soul that was so much a part of her nature it had called to him from that very first instant they had met in gazes across the kompania clearing. Know me. And when she looked at him, she knew him, too. The depth and power of that link, across any expanse of light or distance.. There would be times where people, just seeing how she looked at him, would stop and not dare to cross that gaze or sever the way that she beheld him.

Now it swirled and seethed, released and alive in her. And together they had made her from it. He had understood what she had asked for and his consent and his wish for her, and him, and their new family had answered her most wild -dark and deep like the forest-- desires. Consecrated by him. So the sleep she slept was profound. It was limitless. Cradled in his arm she slept in blissful dreams. Dreams that would be wrapped in the scent of him as she nuzzled against him, naked and a part of sublime balance. Yes. Fate.


In those dreams they ran through the vesh. Together. A pack. The deep brown musk of their essence wrapped in the lush green of familiar woods and deep earth, black soil. Home. Low and just beneath their stomachs. Earth between their fingers. Clutched like his sable locks. Mine, the dream said. And she felt it draw along her skin like gravity -- electric and connected through space. Something among nothing. No, never nothing, she struggled against the dream to connect their hearts with silver strings. To keep them close.


Silently, he moved around the room, gathering scraps of his clothing. His sweater was sticky and in disrepair but his undershirt went relatively unscathed during their escapades so he tugged that over his head- the action of which tossed his long, tangled hair into a charming, just rolled-out-of-bed vibe.

He had no idea where his boxers had disappeared to so.. commando it was.. in leather pants. One side of his mouth curled in careful discomfort as he adjusted himself within the confines of his clothing. A foot shoved into his boot while he procured a piece of paper and pen- continuing to work the shoe into place as he wrote: Bi kashtesko merel i yag.. I've gone to gather wood for our fire.. and by wood.. I mean baked goods. Don't you dare move. I'll be right back. -Yours. He folded the note neatly and gently set it on the pillow next to her.. fingertips fighting the impulse to stroke her awake. A flicker of a smile graced his lips and out the door he slipped.

-----------------
The air was cool and it nuzzled itself around his bare neck, slipping down the back of his shirt between the red grooves of freshly scratched raised skin-edges. Don't forget, the wind said. Touching all the places the ghost of Liv lingered.. a welcome reminder that this was the reality now. He walked down the road with a permanent half-formed smile.. like an idiot in love.

"Jackpot." He said aloud, mostly to drown out his growling stomach. His eyes had locked on the twinkling lights of a sign that flashed Patisserie at him like a wave from an old friend. The smell of dough and chocolate and coffee attacked him- it was accompanied by the pleasant lilt of a French accent that came dancing mellifluously out of the mouth of a brunette girl behind the counter.

"Que puis-je vous obtenir?" she asked.

The sound of it made him mildly homesick.. only he didn't feel sad or torn about it anymore. Home was laying naked.. asleep in the mess they'd made.. in an apartment a few blocks away.

Writ pointed at a few items in the case. "Un de ceux-ci et deux de ceux.. Oh... and a coffee.. black.. and a Noisette- ... wait.. can pregnant women drink coffee ?" His face had suddenly gone comically perplexed.

The french girl beamed and glowed and cooed and laughed a throaty laugh. "Oh! Oh mon amie..." she gave his concerned expression a pitying pat on the back. "Oui! A little bit won't hurt..."

Writ nodded absently and let his fingers fall over the iris petals in the counter's display. I don't even know if she likes coffee.. and if she does.. how she takes it. He felt suddenly inadequate. Like not knowing her coffee order meant certain doom. Had he ever known anyone's coffee order?

The girl seemed to sense the storm clouds forming behind his eyes and she leaned onto the counter, mousy, pointed chin in the palm of her hand, propped up by her elbow pressed against the glass. She nodded towards the flowers. "If you touch her like that.. I don't think it'll much matter what coffee you bring home."

Writ choke-laughed with a single, strangled "Hah.." and a raise of his brows. Her forwardness had been enough to snap him out of it. He retracted his hand and rubbed at the back of his neck, letting out a long, exaggerated exhale. That previously plastered half-smile crept back up to his mouth and a sharp little glint lit in his eyes as an idea crinkled their corners. She looked amused by the sudden appearance of determination. "Do you have drink carriers?" he asked.

-----------------

Her fingers twitched gently and she felt the need to seek him. To touch. She reached for where she expected him to lay and found sunny warmth but not him..not his... Slowly she opened her eyes. In the morning light her pupils cringed and the ice blue of her eyes was haunting and spectral. Like she looked for him beyond sight, beyond touch.... through the veils. She blinked and brushed her palm along the sheets, tracing the impression of him until it rode up the pillow case until she found the paper. Looking for it as if she knew it was there. Her body felt his absence everywhere, especially as she woke missing him like missing pieces of herself.

...But she would carry that burden now and always. Aware of her secret wish to have him forever a part of her, inside of her.... Even more than this. Than the night before. More than their daughter in her belly, though that somehow made the ache more tender and she had no words for how that helped ...how it came close....and how full of joy that made her. Perhaps that heavy gaze of hers would just forever wish to pull him in. Spooky action at a distance. Aligned and metaphysically linked. Gravity and spin. Her nimble fingers unfolded the note and traced his penmanship adoringly. Yours. Pale blue would forever draw him up and into her, thirsty, even for echoes of him...as she read.

Her smile was soft but it was tethered to her heart, like it rose to the surface from that place-- the depths of her hinted at in the corners of her supple mouth. Yes. Our fire. Our hearth. She pulled the paper to her naked chest as if she could embrace it or glean some further meaning by pressing it into her skin. But as it comforted her she slipped back into a gentle, perfect sleep. Perfect because it would end with him. ...

Finally, he made it back to the apartment. He had to put the edge of the pastry bag between his teeth, and use his pinky and ring finger.. and hip?.. to open the door. He nudged it the rest of the way with his foot and when he reappeared in the doorway, he was standing there holding three drink carriers, balanced precariously in his hands and wedged between the side of his chest and forearm.

Twelve different piping hot beverages.
An assortment of chocolate, almond, and plain croissants, eclairs, macarons, millefeuille,and tarts.
Three irises, pilfered from the display.
One stupid grin.

...And it did. In half a dream she felt him nearing. Closer and closer like he was hunting for her. Her role in her dream changing and morphing, protean and just full of life and permanence. The rustling pulled her from him, to him. He caught her in a lazy, slow, sunbathed stretch. The felinity of it was accidental, a product of her proportions and her contentment and how perfectly comfortable she was now that he was there. Though the sun had slipped from her pale skin, there was always something honey and caramel about her-- something joyous and inviting that glowed. She was utterly unbridled by any need to conceal any part of her from him. No secrets. Simply his. There was even the weight of that, like she would and could satisfy a part of him with a display of herself- a quintessential truth to it. The moment culminated in slowly opening eyes and such a smile-- just for him. His.

He wasn't sure if it was the ruckus he'd made trying to get back through the door.. or if she had already been awake.. but he was glad for the sky blue eyes that peered at him from the bed he'd left them in.

"I have questions." He said, matter-of -factly.

"Questions, my love?" she murmured with a sleepy voice, waking up with every breath. "Like.... are you expecting company?" The smile changed a little, a little less heaven, a little more reality. Humor aimed at his coterie of coffee. She rolled gently onto her side, her body a sweeping violin curve in the bed they had shared.
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Olivia Diogenes
Young Wyrm
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Joined: 02 Sep 2018
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liv worried her lip as she tried wedging the phillip's head screwdriver into the seam between the metal cylinder and its lid. She had been trying to pry it open for the last 10 minutes and she had made no progress. She was genuinely frustrated and the tension sat in her entire body. She was coiled like a spring, sitting on the floor, hunched over her project in the center of a sprawl of schematics and tools. She tried putting more elbow grease into it. Her whole body stiffened and her coltish legs flickered with strain before they eased up and recrossed underneath her. The sun was slowly setting and driving the large open area of the loft into an abstract of itself, made of shadows. She should turn on the lights but... This has to come off....in a ...

It was 5 years ago. London.

Emilian's hand on her shoulder made her start and she nearly threw the canister at him.

"What the ***, how the h--?!" She had sprung into a crouch, facing him.

"You need to take a break," the roguish boy said as he ran his fingers through his long hair. The better to see you with, my dear.

"Yeah, sure..I will..I just need to get this open."

"What is it?"

Liv narrowed her eyes at him.

He narrowed his own back.

"Part of my project."

"Yeah, I gathered that," he extended his arm, curling his fingers in an impatient 'gimme.'

"I--" no, you can't. "Fine," she handed it to him, rather begrudgingly.

He had a hint of a smile on his mouth-- the kind that crawls up from a bad thought and tries to bury itself in your skin.

He reached for the screwdriver as well. Liv put it in his palm with a satisfactory slap. He placed the tip of it in the area she had been working, then the area opposite. He felt it grab better purchase but he couldn't get the leverage he needed. He turned away from Liv, which gave her a moment to straighten the soft, short-shorts she had been working in into a semblance of modesty. She re-aligned the oversized, but cropped, sweatshirt she had falling off one shoulder so much it was nearly eye-catching. Olivia was younger, tanner, and more ill-tempered.

"Ian, don't sneak up on me like that. I don't like it."

"Yeah?" he said distractedly as he placed the canister on a work table and sat down awkwardly, putting all of his weight into it. His loose peasant shirt, buttoned only in the lower buttons, opened as he leaned. He didn't see her frown at the sight of him. But she did. "But *I* do." He paused to grin at her-- a snapshot of smug masculinity, even on his pretty face. She could never figure out if she liked the way he looked at her. "Lighten up, babe."

She frowned, and about to speak, she was interrupted by a well earned *pop!* and the sound of scraping, rusted metal. "Ow!" called Ian as he shook his hand, the screwdriver having skimmed off the quickly opened container and digging into his flesh hard enough to draw blood. "F**k."

Liv started to pad silently over to the open kitchen, turning on the water and slipping a stark white towel under the stream. Ian slowly made his way to her, canister in one hand while the thumb of that hand pressed the wounded heel of his opposite thumb and made it weep dark blood. When he got to her she turned towards him and waited expectantly. He offered her the cylinder, and also waited expectantly.

"Not even a --"
"Put that dow --"

That grin again. But he put the canister on the counter.

"Thanks, Liv," he said more quietly, less presumptuous, as she pressed the cold, wet towel into the wound.

"No, thank *you.*" though her heart wasn't in it. It was perfunctory.

"No, I mean... for taking on this gig."

"Oh. Yeah. Whatever."

"No, like, you're really helpful. You're really good at what you do. I know I owe you more than just," his free hand fluttered in the general direction of life and the things in it.

"I understand."

"Yeah. I guess you do," he said softly as she turned back to the sink to wash out the red and re-wet the towel. He came close up behind her as she did, pressing his hips against the back of hers, and pushing her slowly into the counter as he leaned down-- his dark hair mingling with her pale blonde. "But I don't just--"

"Ian, stop."

"Stop *what*, Liv?"

"Stop, I'm not done with your hand."

He placed a hand on her hip, fingering the terricloth a little lower to stroke the pads of his fingers on the sweep of curve to bone. Around the other side, he wrapped his arm and put it in front of her, above the sink-- the wound still bleeding. "Yeah, I'm not stopping you."

"Emilian."

"Olivia."

"Ian... have you found him yet?"

He inhaled slow and heavy, sucking the air from the room and pressing his chest against her. She could feel his heat, skin to skin, through his open shirt and the deep dip of her sweatshirt collar. "Liv... when are you going to--"

"To *what*, Ian?" She pushed her palms into the edge of the sink and pressed back. There was a buck in the motion and it was meant to dislodge him. It didn't. The hand on her hip became a hand around her and low on her bare stomach. Her pelvic bone. He picked her up a little. She pushed his other hand away with the white towel, the water not wrung out made crystal rivulets flood down his wrist and into his loose sleeves. The water was pink with blood. "No. Stop it." She squirmed gently to make him let her go. He pulled her closer. Tighter. She was aware of anatomy and physiometry and physiology, particularly his, in dark detail. "Ian, put me down."

He exhaled at the nape of her neck, "You're going to --"

She elbowed him. Harshly. Right in between the ribs that mattered, and were tender. It winded him. It was enough to let her slide out of his arm and half-skip away. He nearly dropped the towel and so he grabbed it with keen Romani reflexes with his free hand. He shook out his other arm, water already wetting his elbow and seeping into the fabric of his clothes. "Damn," he laughed. "Liv, s**t, calm down."

"You calm down. Don't pick me up like you f**cking own me. That's not the case and--"

"Oh, isn't it?" Emilian lifted a very pretty brow at her.

"Is that what this is?"

"What is?"

"All of this," she waived her hand at the loft. The job. Her things. London.

"I mean--" he began. Then he paused and studied her face. Her angry face. "No. No, of course not."

"Then don't f**king do that. And knock like a god damn person. We aren't children. I could have hurt you. And you don't... You aren't..."

His brow rose higher.

"It's not ok, Ian." He stood there, watching her. Something calculating between both of their gazes. There was an electric, stiff silence. Then she asked again, "Have you found anything about Writ?"

"Writ. Mm. No," he pressed the towel into his hand and after one moment of that tenuous stare, he turned. He turned fast, on his heel. "You may never find what you are looking for, Olivia. It's been years."

"But you said--"

"I said I'd try. We ....we're trying."

"That's all I--"

"No, you got a lot more than that. Whatever. Figure this s**t out. We need you tomorrow."

The door clanged closed. She knew she'd have to go and lock it herself.
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