Darkness to his words – The Sloth Kingdom : PD

The time piece was causing all sorts of dramas, in all the Kingdoms – including Sloth.  Here we introduce the Prince of Sloth himself, who has some unannounced visitors.

Co-written with Matt, Sieg and Kiri.

Matt:

Kingdom of Hell- Sloth

 

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This is the Kingdom of Sloth. It is not the grandest of the domains within hell, but it still exudes a certain allure to the city as most of the Princes’ kingdoms did. The Kingdom of Sloth has been closed off for years, none are sure why, but now its gates have opened once more. What shall escape from them? Guess you’ll have to come and see.

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A grand barren wasteland dominated the area. There was no sign of life, and nothing moved. It was as if everything in the area slept, which was not far from the truth. The area was under the influence of a heavy aura that seemed to spread through the ground, causing everything to become slow, lethargic, and lazy….. That was until the ground began to quake, and break open.

A massive gorge opened up in the ground, the rocks of the land falling into the endless pit of darkness. It was unsure what was happening, but it soon became clear as a massive kingdom erupted from the ground as though it were propelled by a rocket the size of the moon. The walls were ancient, the lights dim, and it seemed as though it had not seen the light of day in many centuries. It was somewhat of a sad looking kingdom. However there was a certain power to it as well. Many would wonder how to get to the kingdom as the gorge still had a presence. It stood between the rest of the world, and the kingdom’s massive walls. From the edge of the kingdom poured huge amounts of water, like a bowl draining its contents.

Then it was heard. A massive burst of sound that many would mistake as a roar. It blasted all around the kingdom, waking the creatures that thrived within. They began to pour from the homes, and buildings, filling the streets with their mass. Each of them carrying a different appearance, though there did seem to be certain groupings of them. The most common form was a slug-like being that was covered in a dark hood, with no mouth. Their bodies seemed to be made of magma, and they moved slowly through the streets.

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Other variations did exist, and made themselves known, but we shall leave them for a later date.

All those connected to this kingdom would feel a deep shudder in their bones as the power of Sloth returned to the plains of hell. Even the other princes would be able to feel the return of their long dormant sibling. If Sloth was awakening then there had to be a cause, something that interested him enough that he wished to be among the world once more.

From deep withing the kingdom, at the highest point of the castle was the bedroom of the Arch-demon Sloth, but he preferred to go by Tazuya. He slowly was waking from his sleep, his medium length black hair sticking up everywhere from his rest. He was know to gain a bad case of bed-head after one of his infamous “naps”. The roar that had been heard from the kingdom had in fact just been one of the prince’s yawns.

He slowly turned his body, and allowed his feet to move towards the ground, but as soon as his skin came in contact with the cold tile of the floor, a chill ran up his entire body, and he snatched his feet back onto the bed. He quickly crossed his legs, and began rubbing his feet.

“Ah! Too cold, too cold, too cold!”

He continued to repeat this to himself until his bare feet were sufficiently warm once more. From where he sat his amethyst eyes caught sight of a pair of thick black socks on a table that was only feet away from his perch, but between him and the warmth of the socks were three steps of ice-cold tile. Without a word though he sighed, and at the sound a female demon pushed into the room. She had short purple hair, and horns. She was wearing a set of casual clothes that let a pair of large purple wings expose themselves to the world. Though it was odd because she wore an eye-patch over one of her eyes.

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Tazuya thought that he recognized the girl, but he was more focused on getting the socks from the table.

“You called lord?”

The girl had asked a simple question. Her voice was small, young, and seemingly innocent. How was it she had come here? The lord of Sloth could hardly be bothered to retrieve the memory though.

“I need those socks.”

It was a simple request to the girl. One easily accomplished, but then why was the girl hesitating as she was. Tazuya could not think of a reason…. That was until another demon appeared in his room. He was simple as well. He had a pair of fox ears upon the top of his head, and a silver tail swishing out behind him. Tazuya knew this male as well, but still could not work up the enthusiasm to remember a name, or how he even came to be within his kingdom.

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As soon as the male had entered the room he had covered his nose, and made a sound of absolute disgust. It seemed as though he had an advanced sense of smell.

“GAH!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT RETCHED SMELL?!”

He shouted this though his hands that now covered his mouth, and nose. His eyes were watering, and the hair on his head and tail was standing on edge. Tazuya sniffed the air, and shrugged.

“I don’t smell anything.”

He was a simple man, and did not say more than was really needed very often. It was his voice that gave weight to his words. It was calm, yes, but there was also something behind his words that gave a powerful darkness to his words, making those below him quiver in fear. Though it was rare that Tazuya would ever raise a hand to anyone. Mostly due to the effort it required to do so.

“Damn it! Are you really THAT lazy, that you cant even clean this damn room?!”

The male yelled again, and only moments after he had spoke a dark realization fell over his face as he reviewed what he had just said. The entire room was quiet, it seemed as though the entire KINGDOM had fallen silent at the words of the man. It was as though everyone was having a moment of silence for a fallen companion.

“Wh- What was that you just said?”

Tazuya’s eyes had become covered in shadows that came from his hair, and a demonic energy had begun to rise from around his body. There were very few things that could make the Prince of Sloth lose his temper, but calling him lazy was a fatal mistake that a person was only prone to make once in their life-time. Their last mistake.

“My lord forgi-”

The male was cut off as Tazuya’s feet tapped onto the cold tile of his room. This couldn’t be good. Only moments before he wouldn’t even touch the floor to grab a pair of socks. before the male knew what had happened, he felt the heavy fist of Tazuya slam into the roof of his head. It was a small burst, but Sloth had put every ounce of his strength into this single strike. It was faster than a blink, and louder than a gunshot. The male’s head exploded like a watermelon, and his body crashed through the floor. It continued to break through the floors below until it hit the solid ground of the infrastructure at the base of the castle. Even then there was a massive crater where his body had hit. The bones of the male had turned to dust, and his limbs were strewn in all different, and odd directions as though they had been forced a way they were not supposed to go. Other than that though the body itself was intact. Bleeding, and destroyed forever….. But intact.

Tazuya then returned his attention to the female. His purple eyes seemed as they did before now, and he was slouched forward, his natural bad posture. Even still though he towered over the girl.

“My socks please.”

He said to her, his voice now radiating the darkness that normally hid behind his tone. For a moment the girl was stuck in the same spot, frozen by the fear that she might be next to be crushed into oblivion, but this same fear helped kick start her. She quickly rushed over, grabbed his socks, and handed them to him. In the next instant he jumped back on the bed, eliciting a groan from the structure. Though it was the castle that groaned, and not just the bed. He seemed to weigh much more than it seemed. He quickly pulled his socks on, and then pulled his black boots on over them.

“Thank you.”

He was polite if nothing else, but the girl still feared for her life. Once she was sure she was out of harms way she fled the room, the fear still ravaging her mind as she ran. Meanwhile, Tazuya was pulling his black hoodie on over his head, allowing the hood to remain rested upon his head.

“Guess its time we open the gates.”

He sighed again after speaking, and before he knew it the gates at the front of the kingdom swung open. The gates were massive, heavy, and were built to allow Tazuya’s true form to be able to pass through it. So it took half the city to pull them inward, allowing the light of a new day to enter the gates. Any who wished it could enter now. There were no guards at the gates to stop them, and the demons of the city would not interfere. For they shared their Lord’s enthusiasm. That is to say they couldn’t be bothered with the job, and Sloth was not inclined to put forth the effort to make them. So the question lingered in Tazuya’s mind: Who was to visit his reopened home first.

Kiri:
Kingdom of Hell- Sloth
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In the moments between Tazuya touching the ground till he attempted to punch the male, there was a sudden high pitched giggle and in the next moment a blur as the male was snatched to one side away from the punch, still causing the floor to be completely obliterated from the mere force of his strength itself; however, the male was left unharmed, shaky and pale, but unharmed indeed with the collar of his shirt in the hand of a very short, delicate looking girl. She’d been watching closely, extremely closely with an intensity she rarely showed for anyone else, so it was obvious who she was in all honesty as she made each little motion seem perky, bubbly and overly annoying to an extreme level just so show off the fact she was so hyper; yet even as she spoke there was something about her tone that showed she wasn’t playing around today.

Hikari: “Now now Tazuya, you shouldn’t go killing everyone… It’s not nice~”

Male: “Th-thank you…”

Hikari giggled once more before finally actually looking at the male with a gaze that seemed kind, and inspired hope in him… for a moment, then came the fact that without warning he started feeling his soul being absorbed into her without warning; his true form as a Kitsune was being revealed as she did, but this didn’t change the fact that he was losing his soul and his body was left a lifeless puppet that blinked with dull, flat eyes.

Hikari: “A good body is a good body after all…”

And there it was… seems like Hikari somehow had that effect of being a slight sadist, but in reality she tried to keep a store of bodies, never know when you might need a shell to place a soul in after all; Hikari never knew when it might come in handy and therefore was always trying to stay prepared… would this come to merit soon?

Matt:Tazuya had already become calm by the time that he realized that the male had not, in fact, been under his harsh blow. His demonic presence was also returning to the normal level that it tended to maintain. Without even hearing or seeing what had happened, Tazuya already knew who had just arrived.

“Hikari. You know it is rude to interrupt people larger than you.”

It was a simple tease at the girl about her height, or lack of. This was how they tended to interact with one another, but there was no harshness in his words. Then his eyes fell upon the male at her side. The prince did not fully know about her store of bodies, but he always had an idea of what happened to those that she drained of their souls. He just never put forth the effort to figure it all out. Then it struck him. He quickly turned, and looked down into the massive hole that he had created in the ground.

“If he is there….”

As he peered into the hole he saw the crushed remains of the body in the hole.

“Then who is that?”

He asked more to himself, but it quickly left his mind as he returned to look at his small friend. It had been ages since he had seen her. Sleeping for as long as he did had negative effects as well. Luckily though she did not look any older than before, and was still just as short. As if to emphasize this to himself he placed his large open palm against the top of her head with a grin on his face.

“Ah. Everything is as it should be.”

He mused to himself with a large chuckle.

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We all know now that everything was topsy turvy and simply crazy. The turning of the time piece had thrown everything out of whack and one of the things affected by this was just where would Katrina and Grey end up after she hastily teleported the pair away from the Witches circle. As much as she loved her dear Lavinia, being thrown out of the circle in a fit of rage by the Elder and hearing the whispers of her Mistress had meant that the cat simply couldn’t stay there. Directed by the voice to take the strange man with her, she had clasped his hand and allowed her power to channel her to a place whereby they might find a necromancer to undo what had been done. That was the plan….but not all plans go so smoothly.

Out of thin air, the pair landed, with Katrina crashing to the ground first with a god awful thump. Re entry was not exactly her strong suit. Not to mention she looked like Hell. Her hair was everywhere, and she was still smoldering a little from Lavinia’s attack. Dazed and with a really sore bottom, she tried to get up to stand but found for some reason that the environment was making her sleepy. Was this a magical thing, or….was she simply out of power in this strange place. Katrina didn’t recognize any of it. She blinked repeatedly, then rubbed her eyes with her little fists. From the fry pan and into the fire. Could this place be worse than where they had come from? It was starting to appear that way.

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Seeing the form of the man she had brought with her, she started to crawl over on the ground and tapped his back a couple of times, but each time she was getting slower…and slower. Her head was bobbing as though she was nodding off.

“We’re…..here….I…just…zzzzzzz…Eep!…I don’t…zzzzzz….know where….zzzzzzZZZZZ….EEP! Wake up..wake up Kat!” Kat tried to smack her own face to stop the feeling of sleepiness, till she stopped mid slap and collapsed on top of Grey.

~Snorrrrrreeeee~ ~RB~Sieg:

Kingdom of Hell- Sloth
This situation couldn’t have been worst, not only he most likely would be unable to visit a single bar at the kingdom of gluttony but also now he would need to avoid the witches circle for a long while, something that did not made him happy because the fact that the place was the witches territory made it a perfect neutral ground for meeting of all kinds, but no…he had to blow it just because that Prince couldn’t just go eat a big breasted maid or something…no…he had to follow that girl, the very same who pretty much entered his body and pretty much violated any sort of physical, metal or spiritual privacy he had…well…he did not had physical privacy and he did not really had a soul but still! It was rape in some twisted way, but at least he still had the control…at least things couldn’t get worst right?

Son of a moog-!!

He yelled out a half finished insult, one that ended as soon as his face met the cold ground and leave the mark of his face on it. It hurt him, made him recall the first time somebody forced his face on the ground and sadly that might have opened the gates for certain memories that he preferred to keep hidden from the invader inside his body…in the end him basically wearing a preacher’s clothes, holding a book considered holy and going around doing good, not to mention things like celibacy, were things that he did not wanted her to know…in the end if anybody found out he technically was a priest he would become the laughing stock at bars. The idea would have made him blow off, but strangely enough the air itself here felt heavy just as his bones…and it seemed like he wasn’t the only one

Yeah I know we are- wait…what’s with you?

The aura around this place was having a harder time to affect the undead, something he needed to thank his chaos for but that did not meant it had no effect. His body felt like it weighted a ton, but he still had enough reflexes and brain power to put together that something was up with this place…suspicion confirmed as soon as the other female there on top of him. Out of mere reflex Grey caught her, shaking her a bit as he frowned and sighed out. Yeah…his day was getting greater and greater…

Go get the girl they said…it will be fun they said…you will pay your debts they said…and now I’m with shit all the way to my neck

Jobs never came as expected, but one thing was something going off during a job and be forced into an unexpected fight or to retreat and another was to end up a witch asleep on top of him, an spirit pretty much inside of him, and being stuck in a land that seemed to be draining him off by the minute. The worst part of this? He could lay a finger on the witch no matter her looks that he actually did not found so bad…nope…she saved him, the spirit was there to witness everything, he couldn’t blame any actions in him being drunk, and worst of all…she was a witch, he refused to lay a finger upon one in an indecent way again, at least not after what he saw

Why can’t I get stuck in a closet with a succubus again?…is it so much to ask?…

He sighed deeply, his eyebrows furrowing as he started to feel how his limbs felt like they began to weight more than usual. They had to get a move on, where? who knew…but they had to. So Grey basically cursing all along the way somehow forced himself to his feet, feeling as if they were made of concrete as he raised the female, Kat, in his arms, panting sightly in the process. By now he blessed his resistance to this type of things, or else he would have ended up literally sleeping cuddled to the witch for who knows how long. But if he did not wanted to fall asleep he needed something, conversation…anything…

I guess you don’t know where your friend brought us…do you ghost rapist?…

 

The Bothersome Prince – The Kingdom of Pride : PD

Now we return to the Kingdom of Pride, where the Prince is unable to shake feelings of dread, about possible threats against himself and his kingdom.

Co-written with Tory, Sieg and Kiri.

(RP – Supernatural Fantasy)

Tory:

Kingdom – Pride Castle

 

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Pride castle throne room

At the genie’s voice, Astaroth let out a sound that closely resembled a cow’s moo, or a whale’s, as he slid out of his seat as if his body were liquid.
“I am…” he paused and reached behind his back to rub at the newly appeared scratches. He’d forgotten than sliding down objects when you weren’t wearing clothes between tended to cause some form of skin ailment. Upon closer inspection it had also crumpled the chiffon fabric in his cape.
Before finishing his sentence, as he had been talking absent mindedly and even completely forgetting that he was about to say anything, he stood up and twisted his torso around to rid himself of the stiffness sitting diagonally in his chair had brought him. At each movement the bells at the bottom of each peacock feather-like end of his cape clung so that it echoed in a beautiful way, to him at least.
“Awh,” he began with a smile and extended his arms to indicate to both his friends that he’d accept them in a hug if they wished, “at one word from me you’re here to entertain me.” he smiled. “I could not have better friends even amongst angels.”
“How are you two feeling this magnificent, albeit, boring morning? Any stomach cramps? Chest pains? I’m hoping it’s food poisoning that’s settling in slower in you two than me.” he’d told both of them of the reason why he had his legions prepare for a battle and the reason he was absolutely sure was his vision coming true was because of the stomach pains. He just wanted to cling to the hope that it might be something else because he honestly had no interest in fighting with his so-called brothers and followers of Lucifer. Astaroth didn’t consider them brothers or even friends. All they were were princes in faraway kingdoms he’d never personally reach. Not that he wanted to visit demons that could possibly kill him anyway. There just wasn’t anything that attracted Astaroth to that idea.

Sieg:
Kingdom – Pride Castle
Salem nodded at the Alaric as soon as he arrived, noticing too well the look he gave him and just not reacting at it as his eyes shifted towards Astaroth. Truth to be told he pretty much did not blamed him for the distrust towards his person, if anything it was justified, for the Genies were well known for basicly being cunning and enjoying making their masters suffer due to their wishes in one way or the other. It was the funny part of their job, so to say, to be able unlike many slaves to basicly torture their masters a little bit. You wished for a hot breakfast? Well, maybe you should have wished the plate…you wish to have money? Maybe you should have wished you had earned it, you wished for a beautiful lady to sleep with you? Maybe you should have wished that it wasn’t your sister…small loopholes many genies loved to exploit

I…would prefer to refrain from the hug Master…

Salem did not wanted to be mean but he honestly did not enjoyed physical contact that much as Astaroth did, it was not really because of anything or so he said but the last time he accepted physical contact he ended up getting chained to a bed for nearly three days, weird owner with weird fetishes, and while he was sure Astaroth wouldn’t do nothing near that, he still preferred that people did not really touched him. Instead he did the best he could and just…patted his shoulder, yeah, that was as much physical contact anyone was going to get out of him today, or so he hoped

And I’m afraid not Master…but perhaps it’s going to come sooner or later…

He tried to sound reassuring but the more time that passed the more he understood that perhaps Astaroth vision was going to become reality. The signs were there, to the point that even the very wind seemed to be changing, to the point that things seemed all to calm. It made Salem worried, because as much as he knew they had power, he also understood that they were grounded in this location and if the enemy was too large, they could very well turn the tides on their favour. So yeah…Salem was worried, but did his best to avoid showing so

Razorbackwriter:Kingdom – Pride Castle

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With all the wealth and power that was held by the Prince of Pride, it seemed that he lacked the knowledge on how to keep himself entertained. There were many hobbies, or sports he could engage in, but it turns out that the Prince hated being alone. So, when his servants arrived at the sound of his call, he was duly pleased, and even went as far to offer the pair a hug. Salem of course was one to reject physical contact, which was hardly surprising. Alaric would never hug the genie even if offered a king’s ransom. Alaric on the other hand, enjoyed wrapping his coils around an unsuspecting or stupid target. Slithering right up to the Prince, he moved his arms around to accept the friendly greeting, while his coils started to wind around the Prince from the legs up. Alaric’s hands patted the Prince’s back as you could hear the strange sound of the snake’s body moving with a hush along the stone floor. If he had really wanted to trap the Prince in this death hug, he could – but he knew his place and liked the food. The naga started to release the Prince and offered a smile, that was disarming at best.

“This morning had been relatively peaceful. Well, until now.” The nagas was careful to say.

“You feel…crumpled, Sssire.” Alaric hissed, as he went to move away from the Prince and give him breathing room. The prince had a few questions that needed answering. Wanting to know if the pair had felt any unpleasant sensations in their stomachs? It was an odd thing to ask, and Alaric shot a glance at the Genie. He said he hadn’t sensed or felt anything, and the Naga assumed he meant he was in good health as well.

“My last meal went down in one go and I felt no sssuch ssstomach ailments, Sssire.”

Was it possible that the Prince was feeling stress from the risk that one of the fellow kingdoms may chose time soon to mount a campaign against him? The possibility was always there. The Nagas stroked his chin as he mused over the possibility that the Prince was getting insight into the plots of others beyond his lands and waters.

“Have any spiess over in the realmss?” It was a sensible question. Problem was, with the current standing of the kingdom and its blocking of movement, it would be hard to get intel in and out. ~RB~Kiri:

Kingdom – Pride Castle
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Typically Orimitsu would have been in the throne room asleep, however today was nice and warm and he was taking the moment to let the sun heat up his scales pleasantly to the point that he was drowsy enough to the point that he slept for several hours and wasn’t planning to wake up any time soon. Things had been too tense around here of late, and honestly Orimitsu was currently worried about relaxing and staying in such a good mood that he didn’t turn Pride himself into a meal if he rubbed the Dragon the wrong way. Which, don’t get this dragon wrong, he was definitely willing to do it if he had the chance.

After those several hours had passed, Orimitsu gave a wide yawn which let out a burst of hot air, his maw stretching out wide and tall; one could have compared Orimitsu to the size of a large commercial air liner, basically saying he was huge. Large for even a Dragon, Orimitsu was proud of his Primordial Physiology that made him far stronger than any other normal dragon who had no such abilities. Orimitsu let out a puff of flames and air from his nostrils before shifting quickly into him an form, moving straight for the Throne room; his form shimmering as he used his Flash Step to move so fast that it looked as though he was teleporting from one place to the next; it was a strange thing for a dragon but he knew how to get around certain limitations. Such as the speed issue. However, before he did get there, he stopped by the form of a man leaning against a pillar and whispered softly in his ear. The man soon disappeared after, but what was his purpose?

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“As a matter of fact, I just sent a man out to gather some information.. we should here back soon considering his……. expertise.”

Orimitsu, unlike the Prince or his other companions, wasn’t nearly as laid back in situations like this, despite the fact that he wished to relax and be as such; he knew how to use his resources and power in such a way that it made him a deadly opponent. His first words were in response to the Naga whom had also worked alongside pride for as long as Orimitsu personally could remember; someone he respected for being able to get a job done when it was needed. He had a dangerously sly grin on his face, which showed he had something up his sleeve, but at the moment it wasn’t entirely obvious as to what it was exactly at the very moment.

Tory:

Kingdom – Pride Castle
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Pride castle throne room

Astaroth closed his arms around the serpentine as soon as he was there to accept the hug. He always enjoyed Alaric’s hugs. They were much more hug like than everyone else’s. But somehow, Astaroth couldn’t quite enjoy it as much as he did normally. There was just something about the now that had him in deep thought at the same time he was trying to forget what he knew. An event of this size, or well, much greater size. It was only that it both had as big a meaning for Astaroth, if not more this time. He felt distress that his vision, that particular horrible vision, was coming true. He felt even worse because he didn’t know who was coming and somehow hadn’t seen what for. Although he had his sneaking suspicions. Chest pains usually had something to do with death. He’d felt the pain before on several occasions when people around him or important people were about to die, and the pain always dissipated as they died. The pain was worse the closer the people were to him and since he’d never felt it this bad, he suspected it was about him and his death. Which was the one thing he’d left out of his explanation to the three. Only telling them that they might be attacked for their land.
“Yes, I do feel crumpled.” he said as soon as Alaric had let him go. To emphasis, he bent down to make his stomach crumple and appear as if he were a little fatter than he was.
When both had rebounded Astaroth’s hopes, again, his expression turned foul. His hair began to elevate and float in the air. His form flickered. It was common for him when he felt as distressed as he felt now. Someone was coming for his life, most likely. Astaroth didn’t mess with other kingdoms simply because he wasn’t interested. Doing so would also be dangerous for him and every single person that allowed him to call himself their King.
It was in situations like these that Astaroth often resembled a ghost. Humans often mistook him for one and were surprised to see a ghost as clearly as they saw him.
At the sound of Orimitsu’s voice, Astaroth’s flickering stopped and he smoothed down his hair before he flashed his dragon his warmest smile.
“Where would I be without you?” he asked and returned to his seat. This time he sat down properly, like he did whenever his castle was open for visitors. Head resting on a clenched fist with his elbow propped on the throne’s arm, his legs parted to use the chair’s width. The only difference now was that he was thinking. It would look as if he had dismissed the three, but experience would tell them to stay as Astaroth’s thinking sessions usually required the attention of others to answer questions he might or might not bring up. A bothersome prince to serve, he was.

 

A New Era of Greed – Seven Sins.

Continuing on after the fall of Lydia in the Maze of Greed, there is a new Princess of Greed.

 

Dessy:  

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Mariela looked at Scar, realizing how much taller he was than her. “You’re taller now.” she stated with a small smile. She had always thought Scar was a charmer – but now he actually looked it. But she didn’t state this out loud, and instead bit the corner of her lip and gave a smile, before turning to Tessa and her brothers.

As they walked through the maze, Mariela took time to look around and notice how truly beautiful it was. Certainly much different than what it looked like before. It was a nice change, and Mariela admired how beautiful the maze was. Made her actually want to walk through it this time. Mariela looked down when Scar squeezed her hand, entwining their fingers together as he did so. She then looked up when Scar spoke.

“The castle is quite grand. It has everything you can imagine, and certainly fits for a perfect castle for Greed.” she said with a small laugh, looking at Tessa and her brothers again. “There was a… incident at the ball. We weren’t there to see what happened, but my guess is none of it was good. And if we walk and it’s completely destroyed, I apologize.” she spoke, turning to look ahead again.

“I didn’t think you could do it. Kill the Princess of Greed.” Tessa spoke, and Mariela turned to look at her. “I’ve killed once before, you know. That’s why I ended up in Hell.” she spoke. “That was different.” Sean spoke up. “You did it to protect us.” he spoke again, and Mariela looked at him. “And I killed Lydia to protect myself, and everybody else. The same exact reason I killed that man years ago. To protect the one’s I love.”

“Lydia was so… powerful. Yet you managed to kill her.” Tessa spoke, still not believing that little Mariela defeated the “powerful” Princess of Greed. Mariela just sighed, looking forward again. “Lydia may have been powerful, but that power caused her death. She may have been Princess of Greed, but there is such a thing as being too greedy.” she started.“Her Greed and ambition and desire to be the most powerful person in Hell caused her demise.” she said, then looked at the trio. “That, and the fact she had a really bad habit of underestimating people who were “lower” than her.” she said with a smile.

“So, you’re the new Princess of Greed. What are you going to do now?” Sam asked and Mariela shrugged. “Guess we’ll have to wait and see. But I know one thing. I’ll do a hell of a better job running this place than Lydia ever did.” she spoke.

 

Razorbackwriter:  

Kingdom of Greed – Castle

While the group had been trapped within the maze, the main part of the castle – aka the ballroom looked like it had been blitzed. Clean up crews were already working on the damage, and one of the worst parts being the grand chandelier. Broken scattered crystals were simply everywhere. Blooded bodies were being piled up onto special trolleys by men in white suits, which was funny since their suits were now splattered with the blood remains of many a ball attendee. Scar had gotten Mariela out of the ballroom just in time it seems, but even he didn’t realize the state of destruction that awaited them. They had heard it, but to see it would be a shock, especially for the likes of Tessa and Mariela’s brothers – Sean and Sam.

Thank goodness the rest of the castle had been untouched, save for the courtyard, which was a battle ground for two unlikely guests, one being a Prince no less. Fancy bringing their dramas to a social event. Then again…it was Lydia who hosted it, so it was going to be drama packed no matter who she invited. The stairs that led back up to the Ballroom were at the start of the Maze, so when the group had walked out, they could hear the sound of workmen and cleaners hard at it. News of Lydia’s passing had already started to spread and so when the faithful and servants of the former Princess saw the return of Mariela with Scar at her side, they all dropped tools and started to bow in reverence of the new Princess of Greed. Mariela, was already Duchess and well liked by practically all of Greed’s servants and staff. There were many a happy face, some waving, others began to cheer. Such a difference to the times before, when Lydia ruled with a cruel and unpredictable hand.

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“Long live the Princess of Greed…Mariela. Three cheers!”

The gathered all began to cheer loudly and clap. Such happiness in the midst of the chaos that the Ball had brought. With a new leader, the people of greed had reason to rejoice. May this time be different. May the wars end and the sons come home. Enough blood had been spilt in the name of Greed. It was time for change. Radical change. And Mariela was the one to bring it to them.

Scar looked a little sheepish when Mariela had told him that he was taller. Even he wasn’t sure as to why, but took the smile and the compliment of sorts in his stride. He was more than proud to be on her arm. The alp knew that in the coming days that she might need someone to lean on.

Hearing Mariela explain to her family, and Tessa about how she had killed Lydia out of defense and to protect her family, Scar could not have been prouder. She had needed to step up if she was going to rule, that was for sure. Hell was no place for the weak, and seeing her in this new light – the strength she had came not from wanting more or being greedy and ambitious, but being there to save them all. The Alp glanced back at the now beautiful maze and smirked.

“Lydia got what was coming to her….simple as that.” He always believed in Mariela, but there was the side of him that wanted to be the one to protect her, come what may. It’s what any man that was in love with a woman would do.

Right now however, it was time for that long awaited reunion. Scar knew that Mariela probably had much she wished to talk about with her family, now that the danger had passed. He gave Mariela’s hand a light squeeze and winked before pulling his hand away.

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“I shall leave you to enjoy your family and go organize a meal for everyone. Once I see if we have any plates left.”

He chuckled and then danced off inside the building as many workers picked up their tools again and went back to work.

~RB~

 

Dessy:  Mariela walked with Scar up to the stairs that led back to the ballroom, Tessa on her other side with her brothers next to her. They walked up the stairs, and right before heading into the ballroom, they stopped as servants and workers began bowing. Mariela smiled and curtsied, looking around at all of them. She had been well liked by everyone, even as a Dutchess. So of course they’d take her being Princess quite well. As they cheered, she began laughing, turning her head to give a small smile to all of them. “Thank you.” she said with a bow of her head, continuing to smile at them.

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They all turned back around and went back to work, and that’s when Mariela had finished explaining everything to the trio. Hearing Scar’s comment, she looked at him and nodded before turning to look at the others. “If Lydia didn’t have such a bad habit of underestimating people, or letting her ambition get in the way, she might not be dead right now.” she spoke. Feeling Scar squeeze her hand, she looked at him and nodded at his response, giving him another small smile before watching him walk away.

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She gestured for Tessa and her brothers to follow, turning and now walking into the ballroom. She cringed at the gasps that came from behind her from the trio at the sight: broken pieces of chandelier everywhere, bloodied bodies being carried away by workers. She turned around, giving a sheepish smile to the trio. “As I said, it was quite an eventful night. Scar got me out for most of it, so I didn’t think it was this bad, but… I apologize for having to see this.” she spoke.“Let’s go somewhere else that’s a little less… destroyed.” she said, smiling and turning to walk around.

She carefully stepped over the glass and bodies, the trip doing the same, before she lead them out to the hallway and away from the ballroom. “Seems like one wild party…” Sam commented, causing Tessa to hit him. Mariela just laughed.“It was interesting, to say the least.” she spoke, stopping to look at them. “How’s mom and dad?” she asked, looking at her brothers. “Good, now. Mom went into a bit of a depressed state after your death, and it took everything dad had to bring her back. She still gets upset at the mention of your name.” Sean spoke, and Mariela frowned.

“We had to move somewhere else. The entire town thought all of us were dead, and we wanted to keep it that way, so we left.” Sam finished. “I was the only one who knew. I moved with them, and I still keep in touch with all of them on a daily basis. I think it makes your mother feel better still having me around.” she then said. “I miss them. And you guys. But, hey. I did what I had to do.” she said. “At least you guys know I’m okay. Sorta…” she said, furrowing her eyebrows, but then shaking her head.

 

Razorbackwriter:  

Kingdom of Greed – Castle

The Kitchens thankfully had not been hit by the ballroom blitz. The crockery for the most part had been spared from the blooded onslaught, and Scar breathed a sigh of relief. There was nothing worse than having nothing to eat off. With cooks and maids ready to serve. The alp coughed loudly enough to be heard by all, and many a head turned towards him.

“The Princess has her family staying and I think they are in need of a good feed. So, bring out the best silver and crockery, lets show them what the greed kitchens have to offer.” He clapped his hands for them all to get started and the kitchen crew took to the orders with gusto. To see them all working in such a busy fashion, but with smiles and happy chatter was worth its weight in gold. With that underway, the Alp could return to Mariela’s side and get a glimpse of what family life was like with Mariela and her brothers. In the back of his mind however, he knew a time would come when the new Princess would need to make a choice about whether they stayed or returned to the world inside his hat. Scar reached up and gave his beloved hat a pat. He was so glad to have gotten it back, along with his head. Being headless in Wonderland was not the place he wanted to be….no, Scar wanted more than anything to be at Mariela’s side, and watch her bring new order to Greed.

Re-entering the ruined ball room, the first thing to catch Scar’s attention was the blacksmith dwarf; Suda. He had come running up from the lower caverns of the castle, his face was etched with fright. What on earth was it that had the dwarf reacting this way. Was it the sight of the carnage that was still being cleaned up?

“Scar!…SCAR! Someone stole Beserker!”

The Alp blinked and then stared at the tiny dwarf like he was crazy. “What? Who on earth would want to steal that evil sack of steel?’ No one liked Beserker, in particular Scar. The two had a run in in the days long before the ball, but after the death of Mammon. The dwarf whined and then he handed Scar what looked to be like giant silvery webbing.

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“I found this on the podium where I kept the suit. Like its from some giant spider.” The Dwarf was sure that this was evidence in some way, but couldn’t imagine a giant spider being down in his work shop. Small ones, yes….and thousands of them. “I seen cobwebs before, Scar….but nothing this big.”

Scar ran his finger over the silken threads, that were a little bit too sticky for his liking. He tried to shake it off his hand, but it appeared to be well and truly stuck. “Gah…revolting thing.” Scar grimaced. So…Beserker was gone. In one way, Scar was pleased, since he didn’t think he ever wanted Mariela to be tricked into wearing the thing. It was nothing more than just another curse at Greed. A temptation that led to the downfall of Mammon.

The Alp then raised his head and looked at all the corners of the roof, to see if there was a big spider lurking. What if it was still here? Scar whistled for some guards, who all came over – a group of six. “Search the grounds. We may have an arachnid infestation…..a big one.” He tried to smear the webbing on one of the guards armor chest plates, and then his own hand got stuck. “Ugh…worse than some old slag’s undies.” He finally got it off his hand and shuddered, before looking back at Suda. “You go lock down the blacksmith shop and weapons store. I need to go and speak to Mariela.”He really didn’t want to be the bearer of bad tidings, but he felt that she should know.

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Suda bowed and then scuttled off, while the guards broke formation and went spider hunting. Scar dragged his hand down his forehead then his face. “We’ve not even had tea yet and there is already something troubling.” The alp sighed, before going off to find Mariela.

Thankfully, Mariela was in another part of the castle, and he could overhear that they were all talking about what life was like back home. It was walking back in that he caught the end of the conversation. That she missed them and her brothers. She did what she had to do, to end up in Hell, and claimed to be okay…sorta. That furrowed brow, meant that she was conflicted. Scar cringed. Oh she didn’t need bad news now, so he put on his happy face and interjected.

“We have plates. Heh. Lunch anyone?”

~RB~

Beware the Devil Woman.

Continuing on from “Dream Lover”, Nick has found the woman of his dreams.  But just as he thinks he is close…he couldn’t be more further away.

Co-written with SA.

 

SA:  Her fingertips kept moving along his chest gently, caressing his muscles under their feather-like touch, colder than ice, bringing both hands to his chest to only slowly lift them upwards, to his shoulders – Feeling each inch of his body, in her attempt to relax him while asking her question, to which she only got a non verbal response. A gasp escaped her at the rough tug, feeling his hands gripping her ass cheeks only to push her form so bluntly against his, until their bodies impacted together hard, with an audible noise between them. Chest pressed onto his bare torso, her hands clenching into tiny fists only to then loop them securely around his neck and shoulders, one moving even more upwards to clasp some of his raven strands between her long, slender digits. The kiss – That damned kiss of hers, scolding hot in comparison with the coldness of her body, those lips, scarlet and full, plump and sensually shaped now being genuinely molded with his, once more, only to let him know that the night they spent last night was no dream at all. To break apart from such a kiss seemed like an impossible task and yet she managed to, merely an inch away from his lips as they still brushed together ever so slightly as she mused out. “Why did you search for me…?” Sophia was genuinely surprise that he did. It was something new, something she never really experienced before – To be ~chased~. Usually, she would be the Predator chasing her Prey, the Crow chasing her Butterfly. Had the roles switched? Had she become the Butterfly?

 

RB: – The answer lay within her heated kiss.  Right there, he felt that same passion that had been ignited only in what he thought was a dream.  But this was no dream.  The room was not of her making, and there were no illusions.  She…was very real.  Feeling her hands weave their way around his neck to help secure her to him, he was reminded of how well their bodies molded together.  Almost like they were fused into one being – just for the shortest of time.  And so the moth entered the flame, and the rage that had been built over the last half hour started to ebb away, like the waves withdrawing from the sandy shore.  Only when she broke the kiss, and their lips were just touching; did Nick close his eyes and find an inner peace.  He still maintained his grip upon her.  One hand clutching her ass, the other now strumming the back of her neck – a favorite place where he loved to touch her.  Her whispered words begged the question…~Why search for me?~  The answer was so very simple.  That word that they shared, the same one they said to each other when they had fed on each other’s beings, kept playing over and over and over in his head.  It was the reason he left the kingdom behind.  It was the reason he was standing here holding her now.  Nick’s eyes slowly opened as he continued to nuzzle her with his nose and lips.  “You’re mine…”  –

 ~RB~

 

SA:  That was a surprise, even for her, even for the Crow – To hear those so very possessive words muttered out by him even made her freeze in place, incapable of any other movement as she simply stood in front of him, her lips parted slightly as if wanting to speak, though there was no sound to come out, only a short lived inhalation of surprise. Her arms came back down from their coiled state around his neck only to rest at her sides, before her whole body turned around, as she’d eventually escape his grip. “Yours…?” She repeated, as another question rested on the tip of her tongue while pivoting on heels to turn around and walk over to the window. Her arms did something he hadn’t seen her doing so far – They hooked around her own form, embracing herself tightly while her head canted downwards, seemingly staring outside to the snow-topped mountains. There was silence – No light but the moonlight, creating a dim glow which contoured her perfect silhouette, back turned to face him while she faced the outdoors.

 

RB: –  It was not the reaction he was expecting.  He was so sure that when they had been together that she said that same word.  That he was hers.  Nick believed whole heartedly that she was now his.  To feel her almost recoil was like a sharp slap on the face.  At first he didn’t know how to take it.  Watching her as she held herself within her own embrace.  Walking away from him towards the bedsit window as though to contemplate the gravity of his words.  Nick turned so he was now side on, his head turned towards her silhouette that was bathed only in the moon’s rays.   “You changed me.  That night, I have relived over and over in my head.  Sophia, I know I was more than just a meal to you.”  Nick still bore a dark expression.  His emotions now all over the place.  The vampire crossed the room to stand in behind her. As much as he wanted to touch her again, he refrained, as he made his point known.  “I am yours as much as you are mine.”  She was so deeply bound inside him that being this close to her was the closest he ever felt to being whole.  –

 

 

SA:  There were many who fell in love with the Wraith – Many who became entranced with her, after the first encounter – many more who promised her all the world’s jewels or the world itself, only to forget everything the moment the illusion shattered around them, the moment they were free from her embrace. Nobody actually took the effort to chase her down, nobody took the effort to try and relieve the night she gave them – but him. Why did he? Sophia had no answers to her question, even though he spoke the truth, the Wraith was incapable of understanding the meaning which lied behind those words. “This isn’t supposed to happen…” She wasn’t even able to grasp the sentence fully, when a wave of pain shocked through her body, from the inside out, making her yelp out suddenly. It was so odd to see a woman like her in actual pain, such agony that it made her lose balance and fall to one knee, one hand gripping at the middle of her chest while the other gripped the edge of the window, for support. Something went wrong – Like a short-circuit in her functioning system, for she was, indeed, more of a machine than a real woman.

 

RB: – How could she say that it wasn’t supposed to happen?  Surely she knew, since she herself said that the cards never lied.  He never lied.  From the moment that he sat down at that table and accepted her game.  Nick had to have done something that no other man had done before.  Was this so shocking?  The vampire brought nothing with him, but the clothes on his back and the card.  The card of strength, that she herself had given him.  He was not offering her gifts of untold wealth, castles in the sky.  He offered her the one thing he had power over.  Himself.  The will to find her and know the truth had been all encompassing.  “Before I met you, I was only hungry for blood of the living.  Then you…”  his voice trailed off as he watched her suddenly grip her chest and fall to one knee. In an instant he sped to her side, and caught her up in his powerful arms as thought he thought she was going to faint.  Nick held her close to him as he walked her to the bed in the centre of the room, and laid her down upon it – his face etched with concern.  Did he cause this?  The beast in him could be cruel, and deadly in one moment, and then tender and caring the next.  He reached up to brush her hair back from the black blindfold that covered her dazzling eyes.  The ones that stared at him unblinking in his dreams. –

 ~RB~

 

SA:  That was when it all came down to the very moment of her collapsing into his arms, her body now resembling something that could even be categorized as frail, fragile. A fragile China doll, about to shatter in pieces, shaking and shivering in the male’s arms as arms came to loop around his neck in a sudden instinct to hold onto something, anything, those limbs shivering slightly against his flesh. He could feel her, looking at him even beneath that black mask which hid azure hues, he could feel her burning gaze on him, chilling him to the bone – She was pleading. “Don’t go… Please…” It was such an odd sight to see a woman who seemed so strong all throughout their little game since the Reading and until this very moment to appear so frail now, pleading for his company. When she was settled against the mattress, there was an audible sigh which escaped her, a pained sound as she curled up into a ball on her side, until nothing else was to be heard. To recognize whether or not she was asleep or even actually dead was a complex task, given her lack of breath, the way her chest remained still, immobile and without any respiratory function, making her appear fully dead now, that there was no sound coming from her. At all. Intuition was key in order to determine the fact that she was actually asleep, falling into a blackout state of exhaustion as only the digits of one alabaster pale limb moved in the air slightly, as she slept.

 

 

RB:  It was hard to describe the feeling, when this bewitching woman whose power was so great that it had harnessed him – was now begging him not to leave her.  Didn’t she just walk away from him when he said that she was his?  Sending out such messages that it was confusing.  Pushing away, then pulling him back.  What could he do but stand over her as she let fatigue wash over her.  Nick stood there, his lips drawn into a thin line.  The woman looked so frail, so delicate in this state.  Silver eyes swept over her form, and watched as her chest failed to move.  Acting almost as though she was a corpse – devoid of life.  Nick’s head tilted slightly before he let out an exasperated sigh, bringing his hand up to sweep back his wayward locks from his eyes.  He had travelled so far, and finally caught up with her – but so many things were unsaid between them.  So many things he wanted to say, to express.  Now she was out to the count.  Locked within her own being, be it from lethargy or something else.  Surprising since she had just fed.  The change in her was clear when she walked in the door.  Had something he said triggered this reaction?  He kept asking himself, why?  Sophia wanted this…she had to.  The wraith told him that he was hers.  He was only telling her that he felt the same way, yet it was wrong. Spinning on the ball of his right heel, he wandered over to the window and leaned to touch his forehead to the chilled glass.  His nails scratched downward creating an awful sound, that mimicked how he felt inside.  Being ripped apart by this bevy of emotions.  He’d left everything behind for her….was it for nothing? –

 ~RB~

 

SA:  To see a Wraith asleep was such an odd sight to see. There was an odd feeling of peace to her, to the way Sophia slept, when she barely got sleep at all, usually – To her, sleep was not something she truly needed except from moments of full exhaustion, which now made her appear so… alive. Curled up in a ball in a fetal position, like a small child trying to fall asleep, she looked so peaceful – unbothered by anything in the world, when, in her mind, she was going through Hell. Sleep. Most welcome it as a completely natural state of being, a state of being in which mind creates temporary relaxation upon body and ones guard drops, leaving themselves open for a sudden attack – Most of the times, there was no attack – But a perpetual feeling of apparent peace dominating upon body and mind and spirit, in between, like a constant balance between them both. In sleep, people allow their minds to take control, control which installs such things the vast majority categorizes as dreams and yet, dreams were more than just simple, fickle imagery of one’s mind – Oh, no. Dreams were much, much more that just that. Nightmares, now, nightmares were something far different, a very different stage of dreaming – One, foolish enough to do so, would believe that nightmares were nothing but another form of dreams, just a state created by one’s own mind and yet, there was something else to it, in addition. Such an odd visage. Snap. It was an audible snap as if bones cracked, followed by a loud, agonizing scream that could be heard through the entire rundown tavern. A scream which made everything FREEZE, just for a second. The scream of a frightened woman, waking up from a nightmare. Or so, it seemed. Azure eyes burned brightly, deeply as she looked around her surroundings only to recognize the visage of her own room in the castle, recognizing the Tavern she was in. One hand moved up instantly to her black mask, making sure it was perfectly placed over her eyes, hiding them from view of others. Paranoia, going haywire as she shook from each inch of skin.

 

RB:  Those two hours that Sophia slept, the vampire hardly moved from his place by the window.  As though the moon’s view might in some way bring him solace for the way he was feeling.  Every now and again, he turned his head back to the sleeping woman, but she made no sound, nor moved at all.  He made a silent promise that he would not leave her, and he didn’t.  Though when she awoke it was going to be hard to know what to do, or even what to say.  Though she still had this bizarre hold over him, he was starting to feel as though it was something that she did to all men.  Enslaving them in this sinister way.  Her blood pumping through his veins – so vital and addictive.  It was like she had harnessed his very core.  As he continued to stand at the window pane, there came a God awful cracking sound, like the splintering of bone.  It was sharp enough to make Nick snap his head around, since the noise was coming from the bed.  What came next was a blood curdling scream, that was so loud in pitch, that it tore right throughout the entire building.  Anyone with sensitive hearing would need to cover their ears to save themselves from damage.  Nick’s image instantly shifted across the room, like a blur as the very sheer veils around the bed were whipped up and then floated back down as he reached her side.  He wasn’t hovering over her, but he was damn close to it.  Watching as she pushed her hand up to the black bandanna that shielded her azure coloured eyes.  You could see the terror in her facial expression, the sheer agony of whatever it was that had brought about this shocking display.  Nick reached out and with the full size of his hand, placed it over her own to assure her that the bandanna never moved out of place.  “You’re safe.” Nick uttered, keeping his hand over hers. –

 ~RB~

 

SA:  To an extent, she did this to all men, and not only men – It was her way of feeding, the Reading she performed being her way of actually choosing her victims, choosing the manifestation of Sin that she’d feed on. On many, she fed on Greed, Envy or Wrath, being the most common which she encountered towards her, and yet there were the very few she actually was impressed with, to choose Lust. To spend the night with them in a perpetual illusory state of mind, to offer them a night to never forget only to fill her own hunger. There were even fewer which managed to go past that level, their number barely managing to be counted on one hand. Nick was one of them – Impressing her throughout the Reading and to their oh so intimate private meeting to only break all the boundaries of true surprise when he followed her here. It was a shock, such a great shock that it massed up the natural balance of how things usually functioned, the system which she guided her action along with, the Woman who functioned so much like a Machine that it even needed to reboot. It was the only time he’d hear and see her breathing, her chest heaving sporadically and insanely strong with short lived gasps, breaths of air in such despair and agony that she’d almost lose it, soon enough. When she felt the hand onto her own, Sophia craned her head slightly to the side, looking at him beneath the mask to make grasp of his visage, close to her after such a nightmare. Instantly, she rushed into him, her body jumping upwards to bump against his, roughly pressing together, her head burying into his chest. Still shaking, still shivering – Still in such a fragile state.

 

RB:  Nick could feel the turn of her head.  See how it craned ever slightly towards him.  He knew she could see through the bandanna in a way that no one else could.  She could see straight through him.  His facial expression remained unchanged.  Deep concern shown through his black eyes as they narrowed.  To come from an almost breathless coma to this quivering and shaking being that was in a state of panic was alarming.  Nick had acted in a way to protect her in a sense.  Hope that she would not feel so naked without her black eye coverage.  What was surprising however was that she rushed at him – leaping from the bed in such a way that it nearly knocked him off his feet.  Nick staggered about with her now pressed hard against him.  Shaking and shivering as though feeling the death of cold.  But he knew it was fright.  The woman had always been cold to touch.  The vampire’s natural reaction was to envelope her in his arms –bringing her in to the safety of his hold.  Her head was nestled tight to his chest, and his hand instinctively moved to the back of her head, slowly brushing his fingers down over her hair.  Sophia seemed to be so much smaller like this.  Delicate…fragile like a wild flower.  The protective side of the vampire came to the fore, and he released a low grumble like murmur that was a way to try and bring her some comfort.  Nick brought his chin down so it just touched the top of her head, and he closed his eyes, swaying her gently.  Hard to believe he had murdered an entire inn full of men just hours before, and yet was being so gentle with her now.-

 ~RB~

 

SA:  There was genuine fright in her actions, the way her body shivered, the way her flesh trembled against his. Genuine fright in her voice as it started breaking off even before she started to speak. Her hands came to his chest, clenching into small fists and gripping onto pieces of his shirt. “I feel.. so much pain…” Pause. She tried to gulp out gently, pushing down the node stuck along the column of her throat as she continued. “…he hurt me… I don’t remember.. I just feel the pain…” One of her hands slowly moved around to her front, gripping her own shirt in the middle of her chest, where the scar was – That small, vertical scar which was such a clean cut that it looked like an operation slice more than a brutal stab. She remained in his embrace, still shivering lightly yet beginning to slowly calm down after awhile, shivering much like a caged bird in the middle of winter.

 

RB:  Bewilderment soon changed to anger, when Nick heard that someone had hurt her.  A darkness not seen before started to appear in his eyes, and though he would never think to harm her, his grip around her became more intense.  Fingers almost twitching as he tried to absorb what she was saying.  Then she pulled on his shirt, her small hands closing into fists – her voice was shaking, stammering as though the words were too difficult to say.  “Who hurt you?”  His only words were a question that she may not even be able to answer.  Sophia then showed the mark that he had seen before on her chest that lay between her breasts.  So, she had been impaled by an object, possibly a sword of some description.  The swelling of anger was building deep inside him and it was hard to make it stop, till he felt her drawing back into him – continuing to shiver like a frightened bird.  Nick brought his hand around to place his fingers under her chin, in the effort to make her reveal her face to him.  She would be able to feel the sharp rise and fall of his chest, as he swore then and there that he would protect her from all men – regardless of who they were.  “No man will ever lay a hand on you again…so I swear.  They do…they die.”  He meant every word of it. –

 ~RB~

 

SA:  She didn’t answer. To Sophia, it was more than a choice not to answer the man’s question in regards to ‘who’ actually caused the wound at the middle of her chest, but an incapability of knowledge, a lack of it – She didn’t answer because she didn’t have an actual answer for it, the memory of what actually happened years, centuries ago being a faded vision through her mind, one that she could not grasp yet but in small snips which transferred themselves in the shape of nightmares. Her body, so close pressed against him as if desiring his protection and warmth where there was now, her voice breaking off with each syllable and those trembling gasps she let out between her scarlet lips made her all the more fragile to him, a side of her which she hardly put on display for many – Slowly, without even noticing it, Sophia was opening up to him, letting Nick in on a territory he would never step onto again – The territory of the truth, behind this abnormal woman, letting him stand right in front of that scattered puzzle, as if inviting him to try and place the pieces together. A task nobody ever accomplished, so far. There was a sob, the moment his hand went up to place under her chin, a small sniffled breath followed by two solitary tears, rolling along her cheeks, from those masked orbs under the black bandana. How odd to see that her tears were perfectly normal, compared to how abnormal she was – Just two droplets of saltwater trailing down until they reached and caressed the man’s fingertips as they rolled off her chin in its angled position held by him. His words echoed through her mind as she slowly began to make full sense of her surroundings, the last images of her nightmare fading away, seeing him much clearer now. “Nick…” She murmured out, mostly to be certain herself that it was him, standing in front of her, holding her now. The only word she would have been able to whisper now.

 

RB:  The vampire towered over the diminutive wraith, his head bowed as he swore his undying oath to protect her from harm.  The most bizarre thing then occurred.  A great set of wings tore through his back and he had to suppress a roar of pain, though this was a natural part of his being.  Large leathery wings flapped out proudly, nearly touching the roof and the floor, before they started to enclose around them both.  It was his way of showing his true self – the real beast behind the man she knew.  His hot breath could be felt as he let his head lower and he began to kiss away the tears that were falling from her cheeks.  He was a such a contradiction.  This beast was being so protective of her, a clear sign that he was of a greater power than he truly let on before.  When Sophia whispered his name, he took this as acceptance of his oath.  He brought his forehead to touch hers once more, his arms tightening around her form as he brought her hard up against his bare torso.  His scent would be heady to her, if she remembered it from their last encounter.  Nick’s sharpened nails drew along her back, but not so much to scratch her – he’d never want to hurt her, especially now.  That word that he had said before and again was repeated.  “Mine.” 

 ~RB~

 

SA:  The wings were a nice added touch. It brought a surprise from her as her eyes roamed over the extra appendages, letting one arm extend out, brushing those soft fingertips of alabaster digits along its edges, feeling the feathers out ever so carefully. When they looped around the both of them so protectively, it only forced her body to press closer to his, her arms soon coming to wrap around his neck, in a possessive hold which only matched his. That word was muttered out, soon after, bringing a small murr out of her, a rumbled purring noise as her head moved in, only to allow their lips to press against each other. A deep, yet gentle kiss, lip on lip contact, mumbling into it gently. “Mine.”

 

RB:  There it was.  The word he had been waiting for, the one that he had heard her say in his mind over and over like it was a dream.  He knew now it was so very real.  She was his.  The kiss only sealed it .  Those soft lips that he had come to think of;  and cherish were now his once more.  “Sophia..” the word whispered as he broke the kiss, to look at her face one more time, before practically lifting her off her feet.  Nick started to kiss her again, only this time it was fueled by pride, and passion.  There was a rumbling sound from the pit of his stomach as it swelled up through him till reaching his throat.  Animal like and fierce.  The dominant nature now on display.  He was marking his territory by the way that he kissed her, so that she may never forget what had transpired between them.  No matter where she went, no matter what she did, Nick would be ever present.  She was his….and she knew full well by now, that he was hers.-

 ~RB~

 

Ruby – Part Three : SS.

The Ambassador Valmont has taken his new friend and charge; Ruby back to the Embassy of Hell.  It may be a great deal different to what she has been used too.

Scene setting – The Embassy : Seven Sins series.

Written with Tsu and Zu.

https://i1.wp.com/www.celticcastles.com/chateaux/chateau-codignat/images/castle7.jpg

Residence and offices of Valmont, the Ambassador of the Seven Kingdoms.

 

Razorbackwriter:  

The Embassy of Hell

Tall and imposing gates with spiked tips awaited Valmont and his new friend, as they had come back down the path of souls to the Embassy of Hell. Towered peaks were seen high above the tree line, and there was an air of wonder about the imposing sight that lay before them. The gates started to open of their own accord, with Valmont not even having to lift a finger as he strolled along with Ruby. To anyone else, they would think that the Ambassador had done very well for himself in Hell. In the past he had brokered deals between the kingdoms and helped settle disputes, before it all turned to bloodshed and battles. Sadly, he had not managed to quell Mammon’s appetite for getting his hands on other kingdoms, and in particular trying to unseat Gabriel from her new position as Princess of Wrath. Valmont had yet to see Gabriel, but had heard of the curse that Mammon had imposed shortly before taking his last breath. He did not value a woman to take the role of one of the seven heads of hell, and in a way by leaving her with a dick, he would get a dying wish come true. None of that mattered now, of course. No doubt Gabriel would be seeing to have the thing removed. One way or another. It was bound to be the talk of the town, sooner or later. Valmont was in no real hurry to find this out.

As the pair strolled up the drive, Valmont would spot a dinner table all laid out and adorned with candles. Wine chilling in a bucket on a stand and plates all ready to be filled with a sumptuous meal. Someone was expecting his return, but who?

“Hungry?” Valmont asked of Ruby, before realizing that the girl’s crude stitching might stop her from partaking in a meal.“Err…sorry.”

A slight hint of red shade appeared to his cheeks, but he offered to walk Ruby towards the table, and see just who was expecting them.

 

~RB~

 

Zu:

 

Ruby had never once explored many places since her arrival here in Hell, but she had a feeling she’d see places like this one more often than she ever thought possible. It was a really big embassy, but Ruby thought of it more of a palace or castle. She wouldn’t be able to remember where she saw something like this before; it was in her past, something locked away from her memory thanks to this curse of hers. She still clung to his arm, that way she wouldn’t lose her one and only friend. Ruby wouldn’t know what to do with herself. She hasn’t realized it yet, but she’d become more and more dependence on him, losing her own independence; it was all due to his kindness.

Ruby was lead to the dinner table, something also unfamiliar to her. The only time she rested was on the harsh ground in Hell. When asked if she was hungry, she wasn’t even listening because she was too busy staring in awe at the dinner table. She had taken off her hood, thinking nobody would be around them for a bit and it’d be more comfortable for her, now that she was accepted. Ruby took her seat, yet it didn’t feel right. She got off it and then sat back down, continuing this process until after doing it five more times, took her seat.

 

Razorbackwriter:  It is customary for a gentleman to hold the chair out and then slide it into position as the female guest takes a seat. Oddly enough, Ruby was having a bit of trouble. Perhaps this was all a bit much for her to take in. A dinner table out in the gardens of the grand estate. Valmont knew nothing but this type of lifestyle, and had hoped that Ruby would grow to like it. Valmont watched as Ruby sat down, then got off….then sat down, then got off. The Ambassador kept trying to move the seat forward, but each time he did, the girl kept hopping up. Valmont showed a perplexed expression till finally Ruby settled in her seat at last.

“That’s the ticket.” Valmont now pleased that he could take his seat at the table.

Soon a line of servants came trickling out of the main building. bringing with them various trays that were each packed with all manners of exotic food. From stuffed pheasant, to wild boar with an apple in it’s mouth. Vegetables with butter that were steaming as the trays were lifted off and then placed on the table neatly. It was enough to make the mouth water, and the taste buds tingle in anticipation. One servant started to pour red wine for Valmont, and he took up the glass, swirling it and inhaling its fine scent.

https://jobmob.co.il/images/articles/objects/waiter.jpg

“Mmm full bodied. Good year too.” This was said after he took a mouthful and swished it about in his mouth, making a strange sucking sound. “Very good. More please.” The waiter filled his glass, then made his way over to the girl and started to fill her glass. Valmont leaned side on so he could see his way around the waiter and whispered.

“Need a straw?”

~RB~

 

Tsu:  

https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/2nGPHwn.png 

A door opened and steam came out from it, a male walked out from it. His hair was down and a towel wrapped around his waist, walking over he spied out the window from the side. Noticing he had returned with a guest, he’d better dress and go down. Nicholas walked away and pulled out his cloths that he wore, consisting of a white shirt, with a blue jacket and long black pants. Standing in front of a mirror, the towel dropped from his waist, he looked like a male, with girlish features but, it wasn’t just that. His whole lower half was of a female, he hid this very well most the time. A small sigh escaped his lips as he dressed himself and looked in the mirror, everything looked neat and tidy, just like he liked it. Bringing a towel up to his head, he dried his hair and then did a simple braid on the side. You’d wonder why a male would braid his hair but, he did it for not wanting to to hang down and because of the hormones of wanting to look like a girl, in a way. Sliding his shoes on, he opened his bedroom door and walked out, after making sure everything was folded and put away.

Nicholas walked down the stairs, descending down them to the side door. Opening he walked out and breathed in the cool air, it was indeed nice with the warmth. He continued on walking down a path way and came into view of where he saw both the people, finally stopping by them. ” Welcome back Valmont, I see you guys are enjoying the set up.” a deep but, light voice had said, his head looking over towards the girl. ” I see you brought a guest. I do hope you enjoy your stay and meal Miss.” He said finally and stood there looking back towards Valmont. ” Everything is done and filed, so I think nothing is left to be done.. for now at least. Is there anything else you’d like to be done?” Nicholas asked him and waited for a response.
 

Zu:  All Ruby could do was stare at the very thing she was oblivous to. She couldn’t remember the last time she had anything related to food. She’s seen it since beginning her life in hell, but never experianced it. Ruby would try to remember if she ever had something called food, but nothing came up. She had her hood up, thankfully, and made sure of it, because just as she had promised herself, only Valmont could see her face, as he gave her the time of day to even associate himself with the likes of her. Ruby could only stare at the glass that shouldn’t belong to her, being poored in front of her. When asked if she needed a straw, she could only stare at the glass. Ruby didn’t really want anything, even if she could, but that mattered not because the glass seemed far too interesting to her than Valmont at the moment.

Just as she was about to look at Valmont once again, she heard another voice and almost jumped out her skin in fright, about to pull out her blade as her instincts would have her do, but she fought against that and turned to see a female talking to Valmont. She couldn’t tell it was a male, even with the voice, as the body was of a female. She just looked at Nicholas blankly, her face still covering her features. Ruby would continue to stare before looking back at the table.

 

Razorbackwriter:  ” Welcome back Valmont, I see you guys are enjoying the set up.”

There was no mistaking the voice of Valmont’s secretary; Nicholas, who had just strolled out into the garden dinner setting. Welcoming back the Ambassador and of course, his guest. Valmont set down a napkin he was about to lay over his lap and rose to standing at Nicholas’s arrival, offering a light now, before gesturing a gloved hand towards Ruby. His guest had been studying the wine glass in detail and at no time made a move to actually attempt to drink from it. Perhaps food and drink were not her thing. Still Valmont had his manners, and could only smile when Nicholas hoped the girl would enjoy her stay.

“Charming as ever, my good friend. I would like to introduce….well, I am not sure of her name for she is unable to communicate. Let us call her…” Valmont took in the color of her cape and then chimed a pet name. “Ruby” It was a name that was not only easy to remember, but quite feminine. The ambassador paused, and listened to Nicholas ask if there was anything else that needed to be done, as all the filing was up to date. Valmont offered Nicholas a seat at the table, before he himself sat down.

“I am sure you are aware that the Greed Kingdom was putting on a ball this evening. Course, it ended in disaster before it had truly begun.” Valmont pressed his hands together just below his chin. How did he know this? Well, seeing and hearing disfigured demons in ball gowns hurrying from the estate, along with great blasts of fire and light in the sky was a pretty good indication. “I dare say it was a right ballroom blitz.” In a way, Valmont was glad he missed it, but miffed at not knowing who was amongst the dead. It was his job to keep tabs on all the Royals and for now that was something he needed to catch up on. First things first though, he had his guest to consider.

Valmont picked up his wine glass, and turned the glass around by the stem as he gaze at Ruby, whilst thinking…obviously.

“The royals can wait. No sooner is one crowned, another falls. It’s just happening at a faster rate than normal.”Valmont let out a sigh. “We have only just come through the War of Wrath, and no doubt there will be some repercussions over that. Hostility carried forth even after the final march of the drums.” Valmont set down his glass, then asked Nicholas. “I have a small task, though it might take some time. I wondered if you might work with me, in helping this dear girl learn to communicate. She knows nothing of how to engage, aside from a nod…or a head shake. Do you have any thoughts?”

~RB~

 

Tsu:  Standing there by them observing, his eyes went to Ruby’s to watch her for moment and looked back. Did she know? Something seemed a bit odd and he wasn’t sure, regardless he’d have to be careful. Oh how hectic it’d probably turn if anything was known, it’d be a ball. Finally coming to he listened to Valmont talk and thought about it, it must of been some night. Lifting his hand he rubbed the back of his head a bit and let out a small sigh. ” It must of been a busy night, huh. I did indeed hear and it probably was a spectacular ball.” He said with a bit of sarcastic tone to it, being playful towards it. Shortly a second later he’d chuckle at the last of his words of the ball and simply shook his head. He wondered what Valmont was thinking, while staring at her and holding a glass. You never honestly knew much anymore about what people thought at times.

” She can’t speak? Well, that’s rather weird but, we all have our own things.. I guess.” That would indeed be a task, how to teach someone how to communicate. A couple of ideas passed through his mind but, he wasn’t so sure. Nicholas looked at Ruby once again and mentally faced palmed. ” Excuse my manners, its nice to meet you Ruby, I’m Nicholas. I think it’ll be fun to help you with this communication thing.” He said and looked over to Valmont, a small smile came to his lips as he thought for a second. ” Well, of course I wouldn’t mind, I’m your Secretary after all and will do whatever is needed. As for ways to communicate.. how about sign language? or for starters we could set her up with a piece of paper and pen, tech her how to write? Then, she could use words through writing but, that might take a little while too.” Nicholas said and let out another sigh as he waited and hoped one of the two would work, if not they’d both have to think of something soon.

 

Zu:  Just because she wasn’t paying attention, didn’t mean that she wasn’t listening to what the two were exchanging. She started to mess around with what was around her as they were talking to each other. Ruby was really interested in what was surrouding her, never before has she experianced this before. It seemed she would be called Ruby, and there was a jolt in her brain that was only there for a moment but in that moment, something sprang up that she should be remembering. She looked around the place, having the face of someone who saw a shadow but quickly dismissed it. Of course, all her reactions were covered by her hood. She went back to playing with the silverware; Ruby looked like a child the entire time, which wasn’t a surprise.

 

Razorbackwriter:  ” She can’t speak? Well, that’s rather weird but, we all have our own things.. I guess.”

Indeed, this was true. Valmont for one had his own flaws that he had carefully masked over the years. The times he had to bite his tongue and not burst out loud at the ridiculous proclamations made by various Princes over the years. Often curbing his own carnal desires as he watched women throw themselves at the regal heads of state. Though it was a different story when it came to those that served beneath the glistening ballrooms and darkened chambers. Valmont had learnt how to come about the most tantalizing gossip that was whispered from the very sheets of those he served. As of the moment, he was out of the loop, but he always had a way of getting back in. He was of course discreet in just who he spoke to. Being surrounded by such immoral creatures allowed him to be influenced by them, and taking pride at times in outshining them. Not that they knew that. But in this setting, butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Valmont did enjoy Nicholas’s company. Strange in a way. Valmont was not interested in the same sex, but there was something about Nicholas that usually tugged at the very pit of the Ambassador’s being. Valmont would never pry of course, but he just found himself taken in. Nicholas was not rash or one to be boastful. Didn’t parade around like some mad fop, but instead with an almost casual serenity. It was peaceful and relaxing to be in his presence.

Nicholas gladly offered to assist in helping their young hooded charge in learning to communicate, though this might require many hours and a lot of patience.

“And this is why I hold you so highly, Nicholas. Always ready to step up to the plate.” The Ambassador rising from his chair, no longer interested in food, but the newest challenge that was sitting before him. While Nicholas’s idea of a pen and paper were good ones to help start in the teaching, Valmont had another idea.

“I was thinking more a small chalk board. About the same size as a notepad. Tied with string so she can wear it around her neck. If we are going to teach her, she’d need a lot of paper. A chalkboard can be erased and written on, again and again.” Starting off simply, might be the go.

Approaching Ruby, he knelt one one knee so that again they can meet eye to eye. He noted her hood was down and he gazed up at her face. He was not afraid of what lay beneath it. Having already seen the curse – her vile stitching. Whilst he had thought of trying to break her free from it, he also didn’t want to spook her. Baby steps were sometimes needed. Another thought came to mind. She carried a weapon. A sword that she would easily un sheath when threatened. Was this because in another life she was a warrior? It would be so much easier if she could tell them.

Watching her play with the silverware, Valmont gathered that food and drink were also foreign to her. She wouldn’t be able to open her mouth. What had he been thinking? It brought from him a sigh.

“How foolish I have been? Swept up in my own world to see that this is all very new to you.” He rose to standing and offered Ruby his hand. “Why not come inside, and we can show you the beauty of the Embassy.”

If she did take up his offer, one of the rooms that they would go to was a training room. For sword fighting.

~RB~

 

 

The Cards Never Lie.

 

Within the darkened halls of a Castle far off in the lands of Blood Rose, a Vampire walks – but little does he know that a woman seeks him out.  To find the answers to his past…his present and his future.

Co-written with SA.

 

RB:   

-It was in the wee hours that most of the Castle’s inhabitants were asleep.  This was Savage’s time to wander the hallowed halls on his night watch.  The Queen had stayed up late to attend to urgent business from one of her lesser allies, and so with the rabble having taken their leave, the Knight had the halls to himself once again.  The echoed sound of his footfalls would alert any that happened to enter the castle grounds that not all slumbered.  Eyes of silver narrowed at the slightest sound.  It was of course just the low whistle of the wind through the tower windows.  The odd clanking of metal chains that hung from the walls within the Queen’s chamber.  This was of course music to the ears of Nick.  Pressing his crimson stained lips together, he hummed to himself, as he walked along with a pronounced swagger.  Shoulders hunched forward, since he was conscious of his tall stature and how it appeared to others.  Onyx locks hung down over his eyes – his head bowed and his gloved hands shoved deep into his trench coat pockets.  Turning the corner, his shadow cast along the wall; almost like he was being followed by a ghoul of malice.  Taking his right hand from his pocket, he placed it up towards the weathered oak door to the Queen’s inner sanctum and let himself in.  Banners of the Blood rose ancestry hung from the walls, along with portraits of the former heads of state.  Soulless eyes staring down at the Knight as he passed under them – without care.  Reaching the middle of the floor, the Vampire tilted his head back and inhaled sharply.  The scent of dead roses still lingered within the air.-

~RB

 

SA:

What else could be said, about the creature that walked in the Halls of the most unlikely? She looked female, but most certainly was not one. More akin to a Monster. There was a presence to her. She wore a dark silk coat over her leather dress, the edges frayed, twisting as if alive. The lower half of her face could be seen, pale skin of alabaster, with dark red set lips. Such a heavy contrast between what was worn and what wasn’t. The coat was adorned with a silver chain, black pearls hung from it. As she entered, each sense held a tell. The sight of her, towering over others, despite an average height. The smell of burning incense, floating in thin air around her. The sound of her obsidian beads clanking together in her movement. Even the feel of her near. The air turned cold as she passed. The astute would notice certain aspects of the woman. Each movement lacked the mouth feel that was reality. When she moved, it was a smooth motion, perfectly done with its intention. And as she stood, or sat, it was completely motionless. The astute noticed she held no sway. Nothing that so attributed to the universal fact, that all are bound by Entropy. The way of Order into chaos, which invariably leads to the involuntary motion of cells fading away to death, only to be reborn, ad nauseam, until nothing but chaos is left. This was her, lacking in that fact. Chest did not rise nor fall. Each white strand of hair had its place, even found her lacking a shadow. There was a feeling of wrongness, however sleight. That which couldn’t possibly be, was. Subtle as it was, many would choose, instinctively or not, to ignore it. This was the Fortune Teller, the Blind Reader. “Fortunes told, for Females bold. Males apply, for a different side. The price is set, as can be. Three questions answered, truthfully.” She spoke in a deep rumbling of a voice, yet with a feminine accent, delicate and suave through a sardonic smile, pearly whites. The only polite way to bare fangs in company and as she spoke, her hand trailed long digits along a silver case in which lied a deck of cards. “Good evening~.”

 

RB:  

The slight sound of the crack of bone, caused by the turning of Nick’s head could be heard by those with sensitive hearing.  This was in response to the sudden arrival of another within the grounds.  The Knight glanced upward towards the time piece – a clock of some five hundred years, and he knew it was too early for dignitaries to grace the castle with their presence.  Turning on the ball of his right foot, yet remaining stony faced, Nick faced the entrance to which a woman appeared.  His brow creased slightly on the sight of her.  Remarkable, would be a word to use to describe her.  But the first thing he was aware of was the scent of burning incense.  Like the kind you found in quaint shops within the Asian markets.  In fact, Nick could not remember the last time he had smelt such a thing, though it brought about a hazy recollection of a woman he once knew.  The woman spoke in rhyme, and it piqued Nick’s interest.  From what was said, he assumed, be it wrong or right that she was a Fortune teller by trade.  Her voice could be described as being rich, yet with a dark quality.  This added to her allure, especially when she smiled.  ~Mmmmm~  The sporting of her elongated fangs, that pressed against her plump lips.  Naturally, it awakened the Knight deep within, and he withdrew his gloved hands slowly from the depths of his pockets.  Eyes like quicksilver traced their way down to the deck of cards that she held in her hands.  A reader of fortunes and dreams.  What price would he pay to hear her wisdom this eve?  The vampire made a curt bow, as he felt that formality was first and foremost of importance when meeting someone new.  “Salutations, my Lady.   Is it not a little late to be out on one’s own?”

~RB~

 

SA:

She could be the easiest categorized as a puzzle, the pieces of it scrambled all over the ground as none of the pieces had any connection to each other – They didn’t fit, no matter how much one would try to assemble the puzzle. A black mask placed upon her upper facial features, hiding them from sight as if guarding them away from outside view – Her greatest, darkest secret which laid beneath that mask. The appearance of this ‘woman’ lacking beauty defined by society’s standards, the appearance of a rather anorexic build and an impressive height, making her almost like a walking skeleton, if not for the delicate curves, though very slight contoured. Alabaster skin, porcelain pale, with no blemish on them but a single scar at the middle of her chest, hidden by her dress and a Mandalla tattoo, on her upper back: The Flower of Life. How ironic, for a being who was closer to Death, than to being alive. She made no sense, at all. Her movements, robotic, performed like a true machine, lacking sway and yet feminine at the same time, as if trying her best to enhance and intensify the façade of being an actual living girl. One would almost feel obligated to pity a Blind woman and yet there was something different about this one. A mixture, a synesthesia in all its beautiful meanings, from the scent of incense burning seemingly from her own body, to the coldness which now surrounded the room, most to all of the surrounding’s heat absorbed only to emanate back the cold air. From the mechanical movements of her form to the delicate features to create this beautiful façade to don upon. To his bow, she returned with one of her own, figure bending at the waist like a true machine would, snow-white tresses cascading down over her features, until she rose back up. “You see, I am a Seeker. Many would call me a Stargazer – A Seeker of Knowledge. I travel this realm in search for new discoveries, new ways to push the boundaries which hold life’s limitations. I seek Art, but what is beyond that written on a papyrus or painted on a blank canvas; I seek the Art of being.” She paused. A long pause, as if to take an inhalation of breath, though there was none – There was no breath to take. A hand placed upwards again as index finger pointed, towards her own face. “I wouldn’t feel so threatened. After all, I am Blind.”

 

RB: 

-Nick found himself drawn in by the woman’s charm and candour.  She was so different from the many beauties that had graced these halls in a way that was hard to describe.  Those he had seen before had vitality, and colour to their skins, but he found them shallow and wanting of attention that was never to be gained.  Nick frowned upon such silliness that he had seen and had to endure silently.  This woman was unique and not only intriguing – be it from her scent, but also in the way that she moved.  Call it hypnotic, and in some ways robotic.  A beautiful woman of noble stature who was quite tall, taller than those within the palace walls.   Skin pulled taught over her frame, yet the curves that were shown from the tightness of her bodice and skirt showed she did carry some muscle.  They say that beauty is skin deep, but in the case of this woman, hers was haunting yet refined.  She was…a work of art, and she spoke the words of one that was worldly.  Travelled far, and seen so much.  Yet…that was the catch.  She wore a mask over her eyes, and for reasons that were still unclear, she was by all accounts blind.  A seeker; or a stargazer as she so eloquently put it.  Ever searching the lands to learn more, to drink in what others have to offer and feed her taste for the art of life.  Nick brought his arms up and while his left crossed his chest, he held up his right elbow so he could strum his long fingers along the edge of his chin.  A woman of winter white, pale soft skin that looked to be kissed by the moon’s light.  She did not breathe….her chest did not rise nor fall.  Alive, but not.  Had Nick found her to be a kindred spirit?  She spoke of seeking knowledge within outer realms, but not the kind that are written by scribes, or painted by the masters – but word of mouth.    Lowering his arms without word, Nick took a step towards the woman, regarding her with interest.    “You do not look as though you would be threatened easily, my Lady.  I have no doubt in my mind that you could hold your own.”  This was said with the slight hint of a smile.  He was taken in by her, though he might well wonder why.  “Though, I don’t know if this is the best place to find the kind of art you seek, I know of a tale or two that may interest in you.”

 

~RB~

 

SA: 

They say a certain flame could burn so bright as to steal the heat of its surroundings, giving it the feeling of being no flame at all – but ice. If this was the case, it surely was a characteristic of the woman. The temperature dropped increasingly so, as if her very being there created an upset in the world around her, a state where reality met illusion and tangibility had no grasp on the laws of this earth anymore. An omnipresent feeling of coldness, heat perfectly absorbed by her – She didn’t bring the cold, no – She simply burned so scolding hot for it to emanate from her in waves of cold air, even though her very skin was the touch of ice itself, colliding against flesh, upon contact. That sardonic grin came again to pull up the corners of crimson lips, only to bring a response to the male’s words, a non-verbal communication given by just that simple, yet remarkably complex gesture. And then what? There was no sight for this woman – at least not the certain sight a commoner would be familiar with for she ‘saw’ beyond what others could see and the price for that was her own optics, optics that were kept secret from view. It almost caused a paranoia from her, a tick which soon came into stage as one hand was brought up to scratch along her temples, fixing the mask, keeping it in place. An ordinary tick, performed frequently according to her own paranoia of having the mask somehow slip from her face. Which she could not afford. While he took in her, she took in everything there was about him, like Predators encountering each other on an open field. Each detail, perfectly soon deposited in the depths of her mind, each characteristic of this male simply placed as input, data, stocked like a machine whose sole purpose was to gain…knowledge. As he moved towards her, she moved too, with a step forward and then, one to the side, as if creating a small dance only to soon have them both circle each other. “A tale?” That piqued her interest, slightly and with that, her hand moved to pull and pluck the deck of cards from her silver case, their metal prison, putting it aside to have them in her palm. The back of them, black, with an odd looking sigil cast and painted over the dark backdrop, assumingly the brand of Tarot used – But the front was an oddity. Each card, no matter how many there were, was blank white. “I would love to hear a tale…”

 

RB:

-Walls that had stood the test of time, held within them the stories of the many families that had lived and died.  If only those stone cold walls could speak, they would tell the most amazing of stories, that could captivate the listener into a bright and colourful world that existed long ago.  Over many years, one does acquire a taste for the unusual and macabre.  Nick felt that to tell anything of what had gone on before this woman’s arrival could be the giving away of the secrets to which he had been sworn to keep close to his chest.  However, with all asleep, the Vampire was going to be bold, and tell the tale of the current monarch.  Nick moved his arms back, so as to clasp his hands in behind him, as he straightened his posture.  He did not stare at the girl’s mask, but rather – looked past her to a simple picture that hung upon the wall.  “You would think that a woman of noble birth would want for nothing.  Least that is what some would believe.”  Nick lowered his gaze momentarily, to show a darkening of his irises as he remembered the fateful night.  “Deep divisions within her family had driven her to despair.  War looming, and the constant bickering of children that were old enough to know better drove the Queen to split herself.  One that would feel nothing, the other part of her was to become a simple rose, whose colour changed with that of her mood.”  This may sound fanciful and even farfetched, but truth was often stranger than fiction.  “The children simply did not see the change.  The lack of emotions as the Queen walked among them, while in a special chamber, the petals of the rose were slowly falling.  One by one.”  Nick paused for a moment, before continuing.  “You would expect that the children could see the change…feel no warmth of love from what was once a woman that exuded it so passionately.  They were blind to her sadness, and it was this…recklessness on their part.  The immaturity and selfishness, that was in fact killing her slowly.  Softly.”  The vampire’s voice trailed off….

~RB~

 

SA: 

She listened. It felt like ages since she actually listened to a story that managed to pique her interest and intrigue her, at least, after such a long time when stories were what she lived for, the Seeker – A true Seeker, at heart, yet she had none beating in her chest, despite the pulse that could be heard at a close distance. There was no blood to rush through her veins to create one, but more. A hand came up to make sure the mask was still placed upon her vision, hiding it from sight of others as the story went on. All the while, those wide Cards shuffled in a one-handed almost impossible shuffle given the shape of her petite limb which enwrapped along each card in their dance. As if waiting for something to happen, they obeyed their master, caught in an endless shuffle, anticipating the climax of the story – each card, stark white, with no description at all and yet, there was an aura to them, an energy which only emanated waves of darkness like raging tides crashing against the rocks on the shore. A nearby table was spotted by whatever lied beneath that black bandana as her body soon circled his once more, like a Predator, to make sure its prey would not flee away – and yet, by now, she knew they were both Predators. And the game has begun. With ease, her body shifted to take a seat at the table, as a chair was instantly pulled across from her, with no intervention from the Reader, at all. A chair awaiting him as Cheshire-like grin only came to take its rightful place upon the femme’s alabaster features into a sardonic mockery of sorts as the cards kept shuffling now on the table in front of her. “Poor child…” Was all she could mutter out. Her lack of Empathy made it so she could not resonate with humanly known emotions and yet her intelligence only cast a sense of understanding. She understood emotions, enough to get her way around people in certain socialization situation, despite lacking the skills for them – But she could not resonate in feeling them; Which is why her statement came off rather crude. Mocking, even though it was never her intention.

 

RB:

It was so easy for one to get lost in the telling of a tale.  In a way it revealed a side to Nick that few had ever seen.  While his often cold exterior and being known as a man of few words, he had managed to weave a tale, that was both sad, and romantic even.  Like a fascination with a fairy tale, that may never have a happy ending.  It took the Vampire a moment to compose himself – that was until the woman responded by simply saying “Poor girl..”  It was like a slap in the face, and one that brought Nick around quickly.  Nick had not noticed the appearance of the table that she was now seated at, and it was unusual that something like this would arrive almost unnoticed.  The chair opposite the fortune teller moved outward so that the Vampire might take a seat.  Before making his way towards the table, the Queen does appear.  Nick’s eyes snap open, and he is lost for a moment, till he knows he must show respect.  He had just been telling her story, to the fortune teller, and now she is amongst them.  He changed direction, and came before her so that he may bow politely.  “My Queen.”  Nick notices her take off her mask and that she is wiping something, that he knows right away is blood.  “You have taken ill?”  He is of course, worried for her health.  “My Queen, a teller of fortunes is here.” – He raised his hand to where the girl is sitting at a table with a deck of cards. –

 

SA:

‘Closer…’ She could almost feel him entering her own territory. Her own little game, about to start. She could almost feel how close she was from installing her own grasp as the cards began to shuffle faster now, in an almost hypnotic trance only to drive the man even closer. And closer and closer until he would sit down – But then, the interruption happened, one which only caused the femme to lose focus, stifling a small growl in as the cards fell flat on the table, rearranging themselves back into the deck. “Queen?” She managed to muse out softly, realizing that the odd woman coughing blood was actually the one in the story, slim white brow quirking upward as the male went to greet her in such a respectful matter. She didn’t rise from her seat – but only given a small nod in greeting, those black claws slowly digging into the wood, impatient and displeased by the woman’s verbal approach. “Mi’Lady.” She began, one hand rising up eventually, palm facing them both. “…Reading ones Fortune is far beyond telling ones Future… It’s a far more complex art than just that.. for you see.” Her hand lowered gently, index finger tapping along the now neatly arranged deck. “…The Cards never lie.”

 

RB:

The Queen dismissed Nick’s concern off the bat.  Something she was prone to doing from time to time.  The Knight did not persist to question her further, as she had just fixed a new mask on to replace the one that she had soiled.  The smell of her blood was still faintly wafting in the air, and Nick’s jaw tightened as he showed restraint.  Swallowing hard, he resumed a more regal stance but then remembered that the Fortune teller was waiting.  Silver eyes darted to the table, where the cards were now neatly arranged again in the formation of the deck; her index finger tapping them as she explained that what she did was more than just telling fortunes.  In her words, the cards never lie.  “If you don’t need me, I wish to see what this woman has to say…about my fortune.”  The right hand corner of Nick’s lip twitched, and there was the flash of an elongated fang on display.  He didn’t think that sitting down with the woman, would hurt.  Much.  So, he wandered over and turned the chair around with the quick flick of his wrist, then straddled it, so he could fold his arms across the top.  “Enlighten me.”  He was to the point, and stared at the woman’s bandanna that masked her eyes. –

 

~RB~

 

SA: 

“To Read ones Fortune entails so much more than the Future. The spreads I used, they are based on the questions my clients put. You see, my most common one is using the 3-star fold, in which there is Past, Present and Future as well as one card that represents my client. So, in all honesty, Fortune Telling is an art – The art of truly –Reading- a person in the deepest meaning, down to their core, regardless of their future. It depends on their question.” A hand came up in the air again and this time, her digits folded together, palm facing the strangers a sign that she had more to say. Another faked inhalation, only to primarily carry on the facade of humanity, for her chest did not rise in normal respiration phenomenon. “Fortune Telling is all about helping my client get an answer. The Future is ever changing, indeed, for Fate’s twisted ways change with her ‘current mood’ so to speak, and so I do not read Future, per-se, but the consequences of my client’s answer, which the cards show. Mi’Lady. The Cards never lie.” And they were odd cards, in all honesty. Completely blank, white, null and void of traditional imagery. “Furthermore…” Pause. “I state my price first off depending on gender. Now, I don’t mean to discriminate, of course…You may find this odd, but Fortune Telling has a much higher percentage of Women customers. Simply put… I tailor my advertising to my largest audience. The price point is also much different. As I do not take money, but something far more… idealistic. Men have much different, idealistically, to offer, then a Woman. On top of all that. . . Then there is the fact that most Men do not wish to pay the price for a Reading as refined as my own” She shrugged again. Her head craned to the side. “Let me put it in laymans terms, that you may know. Men do not ‘believe in bullshit psychics’; and the con that they perpetual on their ‘weaker’ Female counterparts.”; She paused, and leaned forward. The grin went from being Sardonic, to being cruel grin. The only polite way of baring ones teeth in Civilized company. “So, that is the first aspect on which I base my price in. As for the other, the price is decided after all Three questions from the Reader were answered. So, of course… Each price is personal. Individually crafted, to match the one who wanted the pact.”

 

RB:

Nick leaned forward whilst using his arms as a way of propping himself on the chair.  Left arm draped across the chair back, with his right fist poised beneath his chin.  The vampire listened intently to what the woman had to say, but also was taking in her mannerisms.  Noting that although she appeared to be taking in breath, her body or chest were not inflating, the way a humans would.  She moved her hands, like a carnie at a state fair.  Digits moving fluidly as though almost dancing, and mesmerizing in a way that was hard to look away from.  It was like she used her hands to do the talking.  Animated, yes that was how she appeared.  The deception of being life like, when in fact she wasn’t.   Nick understood what she was saying, when she was to name a price, that was rated according to the gender of the customer.  From her point of view, Fortune tellers had more women folk as clients.  He could totally get as to why that was.  His reason however was more of curiosity if anything.  That and he had been kind enough to tell the story of the Queen, and now he wished for her to do the same.  Though, he was to pay a price.  But what would that be?  What could he possibly have that she would want?  Silver coins?  No, not material that was for sure.  It was then she showed a change in her facial expression.  This was a woman who was used to get what she wanted.  Nick made up his mind then and there that he was willing to pay that price, since he felt he had nothing to lose.  “Alright.  You have set the deal.  Now, ask away.”  –

 

~RB~

 

SA:

The Queen left. A shame, for she could’ve shot 2 rabbits with a single bullet, at that, yet she didn’t mind as much – Before going for the big prize one must crawl their way step by step, no? Her attention directed itself back to the male who sat down at her table again – The moment he did, the cards began to shuffle once more, in understandment of his statement, which brought out a small chuckle from her. “So impatient… You don’t even want to know the price.” Yet, she knew what he was thinking of being the price, what everyone with a little bit of working grey matter in their brains believe to be the price and yet the reality was much more grim. But, he agreed. And as she spoke, she took her hand. A solitary black claw, that slipped between the pale lines of her palm. From it bubbled dark pitch. A solitary droplet hit the table. It ate away the wood work like acid. It followed a lined path all its own. A circle, with two diagonal lines intersecting it. Her symbol, the one that was present on the back of her cards, as well. “The pact is made.” Her other hand held the deck of large faced cards, oddly blank. “Ask your question.”

 

RB:

The pact was made.  The two now facing off against each other.  Oh her chuckle showed that she did have the upper hand, as the fortune teller had not revealed a price.  “I’ll take my chances and see what the outcome is.”  Nick’s lips thinned as he gazed down at the droplet that had hit the table, and now created a pattern, that was her symbol, like the backs of the cards.  The vampire drummed his long fingers against his chin, before dragging his fingers downward and finally letting go.  He decided then and there he was going to enjoy this.  Now that the Queen had retired, he had a more relaxed posture and knew he didn’t have to snap to attention anytime soon.  “Right then, my question.   Why didn’t Legion kill me when he had the chance?”  Legion was the one that Rose had chosen to test Nick if he wanted to be a part of her guard.  The creature, that even Nick had a hard time figuring out, had used an attack that was designed as a last resort….a kill shot.  Yet the moment that Nick accepted the strike, and what it entailed….ie, death, Legion offered a vial to counter the effect of his virus.  Nick stared at the woman’s face and awaited her answer.

~RB~

 

SA:

The solitary black droplet of what was supposed to be her blood, if she even had any, soon rearranged all the woodwork on the table and shifted each line carved in the hard surface to mold into her own symbol. It was her Pact, the way to let them know that now? Now they’ve stepped in their territory. “I will read you a 3-Star fold. One card will be drawn first, the card which represents you – That card is ~you~ and each card, later on, will revolve around it. The Past. The Present. The Future.” She didn’t ask if he understood. Whether or not he did, she would still enjoy this game, for she felt this was no ordinary man. His question actually brought back her curiosity. . The Reader heard them all: Questions about Fame, Lust, Power, Love, Eternal Youth or whatever-the-fuck Fortune one might state, believing that Fortune Telling was simply based on the good things. It wasn’t. So, for somebody to ask such a question, so different from the rest, was like a breath of fresh air, finally, after years. Centuries? She almost lost track of time. “I really did hope, my dear, that you do not expect my Reading to be one of those cliches where I tell you that ‘You will meet a tall dark stranger and live happily ever after, right? Because it won’t be – The cards never lie; They always speak the truth, even when honesty is cold heartedly… blunt. So, I thank you. For giving me a change.” Despite such mocking words from the Reader, there was curiosity to it, mainly deduced by the fact that smoke started to come from the card, each time she tried placing them down in a shuffle – The deck itself did not like this man present at the table. The tendrils which looped around her feet, those black cannibals of darkness almost roared, displeased towards the Reader herself, revolting against the one across her. “Hush.” – She bluntly grunted, towards her own shadows of those cards, until they obeyed, stopped fighting against the Teller’s will. “The cards do not like you…”

 

RB:

“What’s to like?”  Nick said with a shrug of his shoulders.  Since his arrival in the Kingdom, there have been those that figured that the vampire wanted something other than just to sit in a chair all day and greet those that entered like a mindless twat.  The truth however was something that no one would expect.  As for resorting to the types of questions like…a romanticized ideal of Miss or Mister Perfect, it was enough to make Nick snort loudly in disgust.  “Please, I am not some hapless fail who is seeking the dream come true. “  Now Nick was being honest.  His face displayed that he thought little of the ones who constantly asked him for a date.  But back to the cards.  He didn’t get an answer to his question.  “My first question was asked, I was not expecting the cards to play profiler.”

~RB~

 

SA: 

“Good.” – She mused out in a sort of chuckle, pleased by his response even though there was still irony in the skeptical way of the Reader’s doings. She understood, so far, that he was not ordinary, quite far from it and yet she did not have the certitude that he would live, by the end of this Reading. After all, it’s why she based her price according to gender, first, taking quite the discrimination towards men. A living dead girl with a perpetual amnesia of her former life except that of her killing – by the one she loved. But what was she? One would simply mistake her for a bloodsucker, of sorts, like the man across her and yet she was nothing, not even close to it. Oh no… This woman was something else, as the first hint would’ve been those dark tendrils rummaging under the table to soon take grasp of her own being, coiling, lacing and dancing around the table, as if forming a circle around it. Their Pact, their own moment of intimacy. Like having a romantic dinner, under the moonlight – Although he might prove to be the Dinner at hand. “I will ask you 3 Questions, throughout the Reading… If you choose not to answer one, another will be asked to replace it. If you choose to lie in your answer… well…” The grin was back, cruel now, as if to show that he had no reason to lie, for his own existence laid like under a constant swinging pendulum. “The Cards will know. And after their little fit, I don’t think I have to explain further why that is such a bad, bad idea…” They submitted, in the end. Allowed the creature to place them into an odd formation, with one vertical and three other cards horizontally placed, below the first one. Two digits hovered above the vertical one, as she spoke. “This is the card which represents you. It is the one all the other 3 will revolve around. This card, is you.” And while she spoke, she lifted it and placed it face up. It wasn’t blank anymore, no – But the image of a Lion and a woman, tugging at the creature’s maw, the image of an Infinity symbol shaped halo hovering above her head. “Strength”.

 

RB:

Nick watched with a raised brow when the first card was shown, and this was the card of strength.  It was not exactly what the vampire was expecting to see, but then again he was new to all of this.  Once again he rested his chin upon an upturned fist with his shoulders turning in slightly almost like he was hunched over.  With his height and the angle of the chair, he just found the need to sit with an almost casual air.  He was informed that she was going to ask him three questions, which was not at all what he thought was expected.  He still didn’t get the answer to the question he asked of her and her cards.  There was that sinister grin again.  Like a cat that just ate a plump canary.  He half expected feathers to be poking out the sides of her mouth.   Nick let out a heavy exhale of breathe when he was told not to lie.  The cards already didn’t like him, so what point was there in lying.  “Three questions?  Alright, ask away.”

~RB~

 

SA:

‘Ah, Strength. Quite the misleading card of the Major Arcana. This card continues the lesson of the Chariot, showing that once we have learned to control emotion. This is a Fire card, and therefore detrimental to all the emotions. The only qualities that abound in Strength are courage and patience. Courage, the antithesis of Fear. There is no emotion here, but determination. The Symbology of the Lion…The image of the woman opening the mouth of the lion shows both courage and patience. It’s a card which, first of all, explains the Duality between them both. So Strength is not a card of compassion and love, but a card of quiet yet unstoppable power. Such power radiates from the soul, and for a consciousness aware of this power, there can be no resistance, and no defeat. But with Strength and Power, comes responsibility. One must be aware of it, at all times. One might fall in the pits of their extremes. Interesting.” She slid it against the woodwork, until it reached the other side of the table, to him. “How did you die?” It was her first question, which quite bluntly stated that she ~knew~.

 

RB:

“How did he die?”  At the asking of this question, Nick automatically pushed himself up so that his back was straight and rigid.  His lips twisted and he reached up to scratch his cheek.  All this movement, so sudden off a direct question.  It was one that he could answer of course, but it also fostered memories that he would rather forget.  “A woman..”  Nick said, almost flatly.  “One that to this day has been able to hold part of me in a vice like grip.”  There was now a coolness to his voice, his eyes also reflecting the somber change in mood.  “Course, you already knew that.”  Nick’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the bandanna covering the woman’s eyes.  “Promised immortality….but she left out one small detail.”  At this there was an almost haunting smile playing upon his lips.  “That I’d die at her hands to get it.” Nick scoffed, and then looked away momentarily.  “Next question?”

~RB~

 

SA:

When he got up, she felt like instantly pointing to the circle which now grew closer to him, as if making sure he would not leave. This was a Pact of life, one he could not escape until the Reading was over. Even if he were to step out of the Circle, he wouldn’t have gotten far. A small reminder. It didn’t faze her, when he reacted that way. There was no compassion to this woman, nothing but the cold which soon travelled along the entire room. Oddly so, it felt cold, but it felt like the warmth of the room was instantly absorbed by her. “Refrain yourself, please.” It was such a cruel, crude statement and yet never sounded as dismissive as thought it would – It was honesty, such cold hearted honesty that it seemed like she wasn’t much different from the Cards she shuffled in her deck. “You’ve wandered off.” It was such an odd, vague statement from the Reader, as it all was with her. No beginning nor end in everything which concerned her being, a statement left to the man’s interpretation. She did not continue it in order to state from what he wandered off, but it became visible that the Darkness –knew- at least something of this man. In many ways, they were alike, despite being so different – They both had creatures lingering within with which they have created bonds, they both found Death by the hands of people they assumingly cared for and yet, the Teller was… much more grim. Two digits hovered once more above the next card – One of the horizontal ones. And it shifted it around, to become vertical, before flipping it over. The first oddity of this card was that it was Upside Down. The second oddity, being that the card was The Wheel of Fortune. And on the wheel, the image of the Lion, hanging upside down onto it. Each Card revolved around the First One. “Huh.” She stated. Almost surprised by the outcome, given the fact that a wheel, placed upside down, is still a wheel as it becomes regular once spun around. “How ironic…” A few seconds passed for the Reader to make grasp of the situation itself, before musing out once more. “Your Past is represented by the Wheel. You’ve never had balance in your past. Your Past was a continuous spinning motion of the Wheel. A constant cycle. You’ve been to the highest point of it. But soon found yourself at its lowest. You’ve never found an equilibrium to it, and yet you’ve always stayed constant…” She did not pass the card along. None of the others were, except for the first one. “Second question… Why this Kingdom? What made you swear Loyalty?”

 

RB:

His movements may have seemed abrupt, but it was a mere change in posture, from a more slouched, or hunched over way of sitting, to actually sitting up straight.  He hadn’t left the table and so her comment left him feeling somewhat confused.  He answered the question in his own way and spoke of it as though trying to detach from it.  Or stay impassive.  “If you mean I wasn’t direct enough in my answer, I didn’t feel that I needed to give you the ins and outs of the actual act or deed.  Just…who did it and why.”  Watching the turning of the next card, Nick stared down at it and surprisingly knew exactly what it meant.  The teller’s reaction though actually was comical.  She didn’t expect it, obviously.  Now Nick folded his arms across his chest on the asking of the next question.  “Why did he swear loyalty to this Kingdom?”  Nick paused for a moment, as he remembered when he first entered.  “Honestly?  Because the moment I walked in the door, I was asked to be tested.  That has never happened before.”  The vampire’s bottom lip jutted out momentarily; before he sucked it back in.  “I was taken to an arena and pitted against a man loyal…deeply loyal to the Queen.”  You could see Nick’s fingers drumming his forearm slowly.  “I was injured in an attack that I refused to run away from.  I’m not a coward, and I don’t run.  The Queen insisted healing me…even after I told her no.  Something about her selflessness in helping me made me think.  If she was willing to suffer herself, then she was worthy of my service.  If that makes sense?”

~RB~

 

SA:

She remained stoic to both his answers, choosing not to respond in any way – It wasn’t her place to disrupt his train of thought, as long as she was given truthful answers to her questions. She’d keep the feedback, for the end. Her index and middle finger now hovered upon the middle card. Shifted it into a vertical position before flipping it over, to reveal the image. The image of the Lion and Maiden, standing in front of Seven Cups, each Cup holding something, either a gem, a necklace, or even creatures like snakes and dragons. “This is the Seven of Cups. The Seven of Cups represents your Present. Who and what you are now. The Card symbolizes a Decision, one you must make at a certain point in your present, one you are currently confronting with. Careful, for not all the choices are real – Some are imaginations, hallucinations. Some are represented by your own delusions. Most of the times, the card symbolizes Temptation, when confronted with so many options, that you need to have the will to choose the right one. You’re confronting yourself with the decision. Which cup to pick.”There was one more card left unturned, on the table now. One horizontal card, which held his Future and 2 questions by the reader. “If you had a choice to change your question right now, at this moment, before the card which holds your Future is lifted, would you change it? Or would it still remain the same?” It was a test, to determine the price of her Reading – All three questions were in fact little tests in order to place an individual price for the woman across the table. It was how she worked – Each reading was personal and each price was molded individually to match her clients.

 

RB:

“I see no reason to change it.”  Nick was quite serious in his delivery. “It would remain the same.”  He felt he had nothing to gain from changing it.  The last card that had been turned over, was supposed to be about temptation.  While he could not see as how that related to him within the Kingdom, it was clear that the Fortune teller believed that he was going to have to make a decision and soon.  To choose one of the offered cups.  Nick had nothing to say about the card, other than he had sworn loyalty to the Queen after the fight with Legion, if that counted for anything.  There was one card left to be turned, and this was of his future.  Did he even have one? Did anyone?  “Ask your last question.”

~RB~

 

SA:

Her digits hovered above the last card. Tapped it a couple of times, as if anxiously anticipating herself the outcome of it. It was soon flipped, after being turned to a vertical position. And to her card, the Reader almost gasped. Froze, before a sardonic grin came across pale nude lower features, a Cheshire-like grin to spread lips apart and bare her sharp pearly whites to the imagery of the card: The Lion, on the ground, stabbed with Ten Swords into its body. “My my my…” She began. “…Your Future is represented by the Ten of Swords.” It was such a morbid visage. It would’ve only taken One sword to kill a man and yet this card had Ten. It wasn’t murder – But annihilation. “This is the Card which bares your Future, regarding to the choice you make in your Present. The ultimate manifestation of the Swords, inevitable result. Those who refused to listen to the Ace of Swords shall, in the end, be impaled by the Tenth. Many take this card for its negative implications and yet…” Index finger tapped along the upper part of the card, against the black night background which held, in the corner, one small ball of yellow. “…The Sun is up, against the black sky. Enlightenment. A new beginning. You will learn from your mistakes. Or you will be impaled by them.” After she was done speaking, she leaned in, forward, having both her elbows on the table and her head resting onto her palms, as if directly looking at him, beyond the bandanna. “Did you figure out the answer?” This wasn’t a question for his prize, just curiosity – With all the cards turned, and the first one closest to him as the other 3 rested to her side of the table, she wanted to see if he would figure it out, before stating her price.

 

RB:

The final card.  Such shocking imagery…macabre, yes, but intriguing and enlightening.  Throughout life, it is all trial and error.  It’s the only way we learn.  Growing in fact through the pain of our mistakes.  This card brought everything back full circle to the question he had asked initially, and that was why did Legion spare him with the vial?  “I believe I did find the answer after all.”  It wasn’t the fact that Legion didn’t kill him, but that he accepted the vial, and thus lived another day.  Or an unlife, if you could call it that.  Legion would have never heard the end of it from the Queen, after she had specifically called the match to be no death.  Nick was prepared to fight to whatever conclusion there was.  It just ended so abruptly.  “I chose my fate.  I agreed to fight…then I accepted his offer of help…eventually.”  After he said this there was nothing but silence.

~RB~

 

SA:

There was one card left, where there were none. The woodwork created by the Pact bond by the Reader seemed to boil down, like acid sinking even deeper into the material. It burned. It boiled and sizzled. It let out smoke, like a furious dragon and made ~one~ card jump from the deck, right in the open palm of the Teller, to which her expression changed drastically into a scowl, deeply infuriated. She knew what it was. “…Blood Tarot is the most consuming system. It always ends with a Card for the Reader.” She wouldn’t show it to her client, but she looked at it, herself, despite already knowing it – The card never changed, despite numerous Readings performed. A perpetual state which leaped beyond tangible grasp only to lay neatly into the creature’s hand. The Card of Death, Upside Down. The Creature who could never find Death. It took her awhile to snap out of it – The trance it created, looking at that card for so long as if desperately trying to force it to change – It never did. One card for the Teller and never a good one. That was the way of Blood Tarot, the price she had to pay in return for the Reading. The card to damn her entire existence, her whole ‘life’ condemned by one simple card around which revolved everything. Darkness itself. Her. With a snap, her body stretched and with it, each joint crackled into a loud noise as if trying to shake off the whole Reading. Detach and cut the strings she placed on the woman in front of her. “As I said…” She began, before leaning forward, against the table which was now slowly turning back to normal. The black engraftments of her blood slowly fading away, letting the woodwork come back to what it originally was. Her pact, written off. The cards slowly went back to being full white, blank, except the one which was left in the man’s hand: Strength which represented her client. “The Cards never lie… Now. For my price.” Pause. A single digit was brought up, to rub against her own chin gently before fixing the mask over her vision once again. “Dinner?”

Curses and charms – SS.

 

Scene setting : The Masquerade Ball of Greed.

Co-written with Krystal, Zetta, Temp, Moo, Perv, Dessy and Nhal.

 

Krystal:  Maya managed to sneak herself and Allister in via a baker’s van as it was bringing new supplies into the castle. As the driver got out, they made their escape, ducking into the open loading bay doors. They were lucky enough not to be seen, and they made it into a quiet hallway on the third level of the castle.

Music could be heard resonating around the castle walls. It was very loud, and Allister was giddy with anticipation. “This is going to be exciting…! C’mon, lets go find some fancy clothes in one of the rooms!” Allister grabbed Maya’s hand as they began sprinting down the hallway.

Maya’s hood flew off as he dragged her with him. “Hey, slow down…!” she hissed, trying to stay quiet. They found a room and ducked into it, closing the door behind them.“Perfect. Now lets hope there are some nice things in here…” Maya went to a wardrobe and began digging. She pulled out a black tuxedo and tossed it to Allister. “Try this on,” she said, hardly even glancing at it on the hanger.

Allister caught it before it whacked him in the face, and eyed it up. It was laced with some nice silver fabric, complete with a frilly under-shirt, a choker, and a vest. The pants were simply black dress pants accompanied with shiny black shoes. Allister nodded approvingly before going to another side of the room to try it on. “Keep your back turned, don’t peek~” he teased as he pulled off his shirt.

Maya scoffed, mostly ignoring him. She abandoned the wardrobe and headed toward the opposite side of the room of Allister, opening up a closet. She gasped quietly, and stepped inside, closing the door behind her with a soft ‘click’ of the door’s jamb.

Allister heard it, and as he finished putting himself together, he turned around, finding Maya gone from the room. “Maya?”he called, heading toward the closet.

“I’m in here, just hang on,” she said, sounding a little troubled. Something about a god damned zipper and her hair could be heard as mumbles on the inside.

After a few long moments, the door opened, and out of the darkness of the closet, Maya stepped out wearing a red silk dress complete with black frills and black jewelled patterns. She also held a mask in her hand that perfectly matched the outfit. The servants of the castle sure did have classy clothing. She stepped into the room and did a small twirl. Her hair was down and against her back, curling elegantly along her pale skin. “How… do I look?” Maya asked Allister, her blue eyes shining through the mask she wore over her face.

Allister’s eyes widened from behind his own mask, and he opened it to say something, but it just closed again. After a pause, he cleared his throat and held out his arm, a smile spreading across his lips. He’d never seen her look so… astonishing. “You look gorgeous, Maya. Lets get going so we don’t miss the fun.”

Maya took his arm, a slight blush forming on her face. “Thank you, Allister. You’re too kind.” With that, they made their way down to the main area to join in the fun. They made their way down the stairs and joined in with all the other masquerade folk, blending in quite nicely. Tonight would definitely be an interesting one.

 

Temp:  So far everything had been going rather smoothly as far as the party went. William’s infiltration was flawless and his mingling was working out fairly well, despite his issues with talking. Keeping things short and avoiding contact with others was proving to be very successful. There were more and more people showing up, some of which were fairly powerful. Regardless, he was a being that they were all weak against, and that’s not counting his arsenal. His targets were all around him and doing various things, but almost all of them were in perfect view of others. The first kill he was going to carry out would have to be as subtle as possible. As he made his way through the room he quickly took notice of Maya and Allister, something that immediately worried him. There was no way they could recognize him in his disguise, but seeing them in such a dangerous place was troubling. Even though they were here, he would carry out his mission. His first kill would be a rather low end noble who was on his list, and luckily was in a crowd of people. With a series of poisoned needles in hand, all he had to do was bump into someone and stick them with one, the rest would follow shortly after. This was exactly what he did, as he approached the noble he ‘accidentally’ nudged him with his shoulder, immediately apologizing afterwards. The room was busy and full of people, so accidents like this were to be expected. What wasn’t expected was said person dying shortly after. Since the noble had been surrounded by people, figuring out who might have had a hand in his death would be fairly difficult, if anyone even cared that is. The man wouldn’t die right away though, and instead would likely just show signs of fatigue before succumbing to the poison completely. The man was as good as dead. One down…how many more to go?

 

 

Dessy:  “Why do you sound so jealous, Scar?” Mariela asked jokingly, turning her head to watch Lydia walk down with the raven who turned into a male. Scar sounded like he was jealous, but with Scar, it was no telling, really. “She made an entrance, that’s for sure.” she said, watching Lydia walk down the stairs. Mariela looked at Scar when he spoke about “something being bound to happen”, then made the comment about people asking her to dance, and she gave a shrug. “I highly doubt that, Scar. But, thanks.” she said, giving a light smile. She’ll admit, Scar had a way with words when it came to charming women. Scar was also not as bad as Mariela originally thought he was going to be.

 

Nhal:  

https://i1.wp.com/i1297.photobucket.com/albums/ag36/nhaluss/Mobile%20Uploads/291bb991-7b3d-4d10-b362-30f1b712eaf2_zps17df3aed.jpg

There is no need to be so formal child…” His center eye began to glow again lightly as he gazed in her direction, observing her outfit. “An interesting choice to say the least..” He turned his long neck and looked around the large room slowly. “I am yet to find our lady of the hour… Do you suppose you could point out our new Greed if you spotted her?…” He spoke softly before releasing a shallow yawn, lifting a hand lightly to scratch at his shoulder. The smog that was his lower body whisped around slowly, blowing around and twisting, fading like smoke.

 

Moo:  Kirsikka’s gaze turned until landing on Sloth once more. A brow began to perk, but she quickly normalized her expression again. “Interesting? I planned it carefully to impress you, my Lord.” Perhaps rather daring of her to say. Though, if she were trying to impress Belphegor, it was likely she needed something more dark in nature. Being in white now, she looked like a frost princess. Almost as if she didn’t belong in Hell at all. More like she was an angel forced to stay here; until one came to know her personality.

At the mention of the lady of the hour, Kirsikka’s gaze turned up toward the top of the stairs, where a woman happened to come into view. Talk about perfect timing. “I think she’s just made her entrance,” the female replied with a bit of a smirk. “What a lovely woman… Don’t you think?” Her head turned once more to smile at her Lord, awaiting his response. Knowing what she looked like at least made this easier. Now she could keep track of where the woman moved while they went through their own motions, as planned before the party.

[Short post is short. slkjf]


So, the one and only princess of greed had finally arrived. Gabriel gazed at the beauty from her position on the floor, a broad smile placed over her lips. “I would expect nothing less,” she commented with a chuckle. A black raven swooped in and perched itself near her, and morphed into that of a handsome man, Gabriel couldn’t withhold a scoff. Skip the pleasantries; she wanted to meet this woman and come to know the new head of greed. It seemed the woman was already enjoying herself, with a bounce to her step, eyes roaming the room. Now, who could she be looking for? Gabriel began moving once again, tapping Cecil’s arm to notify him instead of simply dragging him along. “Shall we?”

The change in expression on the princess’ face while her eyes landed on Gabriel was a bit of a treat. Mostly because Gabriel could laugh with the woman over the subject of her little involuntary sex change. “Try to act a little normal?” She turned her head to look at Cecil, casually stepping between guests and avoiding small groups of demons. “If you impress me, you might come to enjoy the after party.” A joke, mostly, depending on Gabriel’s mood when this party was over. If things went over smoothly, she would have her feminine body back once more. Due to Mammon’s apparent hobby in curses, she assumed he had books on such subjects…and if that was in fact the case, perhaps with the new princess’ kindness, everything could return to normal. Her main priority in coming to this party, otherwise the woman might not have chosen to come at all. She had just been to war with greed, after all. Whether or not this new throne holder recognized Mammon’s delusions and stupidity mattered very little.

 

Eventually in reaching the princess, Gabriel gave a deep bow. Definitely out of character. “Well, how do you do,” she greeted with a devilishly handsome smile. Tilting her head back to gaze at Lydia, she took in the woman’s features; or what was apparent, save the upper half of her face. “Might I say you look absolutely stunning this evening.” Being that Gabriel was a man, she would have to play the part and offer to take the princess’ hand, to kiss upon it before letting it go to straighten once more. “I couldn’t help but fight my way to the front of the line in hopes for a dance with someone as lovely as yourself.” With her arm having been freed from Cecil’s, she was open to make a move. Taking a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, she held it up for a brief moment before sipping from it. She was open for conversation first; though the flattery should have been promising enough.


Well, Astarte had never really expected to dress up while she was in Hell. But parties weren’t out of the question. Standing at the doorway to the ballroom now, she looked down at her outfit, feeling a little silly. Anything but girly, dresses were certainly not the norm for her. Such had been made aware while Rin played dress up with her in the mansion before his untimely death. Luckily enough, even after much hassle and bickering with the seamstress, she was put into something a little more her style. A leather mask and corset seemed befitting, as well as the fact the mask was nearly cat shaped. Astarte had originally rolled her eyes at the idea, but she couldn’t disagree with the seamstress while looking in the mirror. Hopefully her lover would feel similarly.

Speaking of Blitz, he had chosen red for his color. So, the skirting on the dress was overlaid with red colored velvet; heavy and even a little warm for Astarte, but wearable nonetheless. Standing here beside him now, she hoped for the best possible outcome in this mission. With both men close enough to hear her, she gladly would remind them to behave. At least until the cards were handed out. “Let’s try our best to make good terms with Eva,” she said lightly, switching her gaze from one to the other. “Something is bound to happen; it’s a party in Hell. Jump in where you want, but… Remember that we’re here on behalf of the Anarchy Division.” Seemingly content with that, she moved her arm in place of Blitz’ so they could enter the well dressed room, which was filling rather quickly. Being prepared, the hellcat already held business cards in her free hand.

[Mask // Dress]

 

Razorbackwriter:

 ~Prince Charming? Don’t you ever stop being dandy showing me you’re handsome~

The new Princess of Greed was gracious in her approach to Gabriel, who acted like Prince Charming. Even though the two had not met before, it was pretty clear from Gabriel’s effeminate features that this was the Princess of Wrath. His voice had an unmistakable tone, putting his best foot forward in treating Lydia with respect. No doubt Gabriel would have been a lot different if she were in her normal body. “Might I say you look absolutely stunning this evening.” He said, looking her over before his eyes came to meet her own. “I was about to say the same thing. You cut quite the figure in that suit.” If it was a night of performances, Lydia would keep up her end as well. “I see that Mammon had left you with a little something before he died. You are taking it well in your stride, I must say.” Watching Gabriel take up a glass of champagne, and prepare for small talk, Lydia was happy to oblige. “Course, he left me a little something too.” Lydia meant the Kingdom of Greed itself, not that Mammon would have ever wanted her to have it. His pet hate was to see women in authority. The Princess giggled and flitted her fan, while her man in waiting stood regally at her side, keeping close eye on those that moved around them.

 

“I had thought that perhaps there would have been ill will towards Greed, but of course I seek to allay fears that we are still on a war footing. I mean, Mammon attacked…what? A day after you had been crowned. Tsk tsk. You’ll be happy to know, I am not one that rushes in like my predecessor.”

Lydia offered a wide smile, before nodding politely to Cecil. “You must be awfully proud to be escorting Gabriel.” The Princess doing her utmost to engage conversation. For a moment however, she let her eyes pan the room, only to spot Maya and Allister, the couple that had tipped off Lydia about the death of Belial. Lydia took in a sharp breath and narrowed her eyes, before remembering herself and then showed a much softer look. She knew tonight would be about business above all else and she was sure to make sure Gabriel had her attention. “Later this eve, I have a gift of my own for you.”She leaned in and then whispered to Gabriel. “To remove that…nasty little curse.” Gabriel was sure to know what that meant. As she was Princess of Greed and had inherited all of Mammon’s powers, it was within her capabilities…..for a price.

Scar could see that the Princess had already gone into hostess mode, and let out a snort as he saw just who it was with. It took a moment for him to stop staring, and of course it was Mariela who would reign him in. She accepted his offer to dance, and with a polite bow, he ushered her onto the dance floor, and began to waltz with her to the beat of the music. He was very light on his feet, and you could say he was a natural. Around and around they would go. Scar holding Mariela firmly as her skirts were to float along the floor. “You dance divinely, my dear Mariela.” The alp said in a soft voice, as they moved effortlessly between the other dancers.

~RB~

 

Zetta:  He looked onto the giant kingdom of greed to be very forthcoming to his impending mercenary career. Hoping that in all of his prior adventures and grandeur, this would be one of many thrilling times in his life. Unlike those times though, this job offered subtly which was something foreign to the man as with his strength, most things were as simple as overthrowing competition. Now he needed that competition to thrive, for as long as he needed to until he himself was rich.. Before coming into the Ball, Blitz would have turned to Eren, a mere glance out of one eye as he only actually turned his head to the side some to at least get a clear viewing of the other powerhouse here. “Maybe we’ll run into the one you were fighting before..” He flashed a half-smile then as he still carried a joyful persona, despite the disappointment in coming here only to make an appearance for their company. Then, as if he initially did not know the weight of his words, after a second past and they would have been coming upon the entrance of the building his face shut into one purely serious. “If we do, you wanna fight him solo?” As they were a team now, it was his choice whether or not he wanted to fight alone when it came to settling scores. And essentially standing up for Anarchy division he considered that odd chance that whoever it was who fought against Eren would show himself here as well; As wounds like he had could only have come from someone who was strong, and with some sort of fire manipulation, who similarly carried different flames like his partner did.

The three were now right about to come into the party and integrate themselves with nobles who were all but foreign to them all. For now, he abandoned his thoughts on fighting, considering the farewell their new boss had given them she likely did not expect them to come to blows with anyone.. Unless maybe the host or hostess offered a cake in celebration to their own arrival. Regardless he would not start rumbling just yet, not until he was introduced to some more comfort while spending time here. He turned around when Astarte had begun speaking only to tell them to behave themselves for the most part as they were representing Anarchy Division. While he had wanted to quickly move and tell her that he was already thinking ahead of her in that term, he would only appreciate that she had not said any sort of belittling comment along with her words of warning. She told them something simply, and he only smiled and nodded, taking her every word into the consideration. “Yeah, yeah..” He followed up with as even though he agreed with her he had still been hoping to cause a little bit of chaos while he was here..

Enter the Mortal-God: Donning a buttoned up red trench coat and brown khaki’s, Blitz spread his arms wide first, to aid in his lover’s opening of the door. Upon entering he brushed his shoulder against Astarte, only to get her attention, the moment she would look his way even in the slightest. The demigod would snatch her away from her stance, wrapping one arm around her waist, the other across her back he would swing all the way to the opposite side of where they both were but only barely off of her feet. Taking her into his own space of Romanticism and deliver an embellishing kiss.. A bold public display of affection. He did not care, as he would leave her to fall if she did not catch herself right after that. “Mask on, mask off. You’re my girl..” Blitz was unsure of what she would be doing while he would be giving out of his own given business cards, but since she looked so good in that dress of hers he only felt it was right to lay his stakes on her as anyone could be eyeing his love at this point. And at the ends of their togetherness he would be off on his own, making moves into the crowd to begin handouts. He held forty of them in a stack, like a deck of cards, by the end of the night his hands would be empty.

[Mask//Outfit]

Cecil’s eyes were moving with the dancing peoples all around him, he was observing everyone to try and detect the idle threat who thrived in settings like this. Where everyone was so busy that no one could take the time to notice one insignificant difference, that difference would be the thing that tipped off a chain of wrongdoings. Knowing this for sure, only because of the nature in Hell, and what Lady Gabriel had told him just before coming into this place. How he should not trust anyone, and more importantly be alert. These two things were different, the second one she did not tell him, it was what he implanted in his own mind. To be mistrusting would only be effective if he was also alerted to deception, while the man himself was not especially perceptive. This day could hold no endearment without the Lady’s presence steadily beside him, he felt that with her he could be happy. But every individual here could potentially end his happiness, and the most dangerous one would be where he least expected them to be. This result became more evident when the other princess in Hell had finally showed herself, drawing the attention of the crowd before her. Where she would look directly at Gabriel, bearing an altered expression for her specifically. One such look that the woman herself returned..

As expected she would follow up by getting her royal guard’s attention before making her move toward that one. The mere tap absorbed his thoughts completely and his eyes tracked this to even take a step before the woman, her words of promise bringing a skip to the beat of his heart.. It was very tempting to kill everyone here, and surf her to the feet of the one who she had been eyeing so closely. But the words before that were to tell him to be normal, which likely meant calm. Unless she was referencing his own form of normalcy, where he would be destroying anyone who gave her the wrong look.. Cecil was not idle with his movements unless it was for Gabriel after all. So his arm curved, as to make it an effortless move forward for the one leading him, and then he would be moving right along with her. They would brave it all the way to the space right before the other Princess.. His love was acting all nice again.. Just like before with that guy.. It was made clear to him now that this was the face and attitude she wore when she wanted to control a situation and put it in her own favor without directly applying herself. His mind flashed back to the failure that happened back then and he instantly considered snatching away this one with an overwhelming presence and forcing her to do whatever Gabriel wanted from her, all so she could stop this fake attitude and be the one he fell in love with…

Alas, that would have been wrong.. Or perhaps that would be his ticket to impressing Her. Now he was conflicted on what to do.. His eyes were wandering madly as he was stuck on what he should do. Doubting himself consistently until he noticed the other Princess nodding at him, for noticing sake. Taking the words spoken to him before he would nod as well. Towards what that woman said just now though his head turned to the side, and even tilted downward. Even if he was acting normal, it was too much to think about considering himself as the one escorting Gabriel, with it being brought to light for the first time- even minor he forced himself to swallow his ecstasy, lowering his eyelids to suppress visual excitement. “Yes… Very lucky..” He struggled to say, stepping out of the way when he noticed both women making their way to the dance floor.. If he was left idle then he would take the time to look over them, waiting for the bad feeling he had earlier to go away.

He that is proud eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle – SS.

Scene setting : Pride Kingdom

co-written with Temp.

 

Temp:  Astaroth appeared sitting upon his throne, seemingly out of nowhere. He had just returned from the battle between the armies of Greed and Wrath. There was a great deal of disturbing occurrences during the battle, all of which were now being analyzed in his mind. Gabriel had somehow managed to get a variety of unique followers within an extremely short amount of time, for seemingly no logical reason. Both the armies of Greed and Wrath were stricken with mass casualties. Mammon, the Prince of Greed himself, fell in battle. Astaroth would likely have joined him if Lucifer himself hadn’t stepped in. This meant that he owed him, which wasn’t something he was happy about. Better to owe a favor than to die though, right? Normally retreating would have shaken someone like him down to the core, rattling his pride heavily at it’s core. However, he had made it clear to himself that there was simply no other choice. It still stung a tad, having to retreat, but there was no winning that fight. A one on one fight with Gabriel, now that would have been different…right? He had taken a lot of damage during the fight in his demonic form. Perhaps joining the fight in that form immediately was the wrong move. Next time he would fight in his normal form, or perhaps learn a condensed version of that form. There was a clear advantage in having multiple forms, as it put him into a position of having different phases of damage, vitality, stamina, etc. His pride in himself was not arrogance, it was something that was a fact. He refused to accept himself, or anything in his army that he couldn’t be proud of. It seemed his current capabilities weren’t sufficient enough, which meant he would have to continue training.

His wounds, along with the clothing that he wore, began to heal and return to normal while he sat on his throne. Healing his wounds wouldn’t take very long, but recovering from his transformation would. He was well aware that he would not be in fighting form for several days, but he refused to sit and fester. “Send me a General, immediately!” His words were loud and piercing, and would surely attract the attention of his servants. Eventually his order was obeyed, and a servant presented his lord with one of his many Generals. “Bolster the defenses, hire more spies…saboteurs…assassins…everything…I want scouts patrolling every hour…any spies in the dungeons and caught from here on out are to be executed…no more questioning. Kill any and all that are suspicious. Make me proud.” The General knew better than to question his lord and master, and bowed his head in total agreement. Astaroth knew damn well that the army of Pride was by far the most highly trained and powerful, as he would not accept anything less. Still, there was always room for improvement and more willing and able souls. There was no telling what awaited him in the future, so for now he would prepare and recover…and after…he would do anything necessary to become stronger. He now had a mission, a purpose. Kill Gabriel and all her followers.

 

Razorbackwriter:  

https://i1.wp.com/adala-news.fr/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Shishaku-Valmont-Kiken-na-Kankei-T.2.jpg

The Ambassador decided his next port of call on his mission to tour the Seven kingdoms of Hell would be none other than that of the Castle Pride. Already well aware of the fact that it was Lucifer that dealt the hand of fate to save Astaroth from Gabriel’s blade, the Ambassador was sure that the Prince of Pride would be wounded…both morally and physically. Of course he could heal himself, over time but no doubt he would seek vengeance against Gabriel and her supporters. The interesting thing was, the Ambassador served HELL, not any individual kingdom. He ensured that there was a balance in that those that needed to know the current state of affairs of each other’s kingdoms were told. What was interesting was the shift in the balance, from the Seven Princes to now….five with two Princesses taking the place of Belial and Mammon.

Ah yes Mammon. The Prince of Greed who uncharacteristically rode into the Castle Wrath as though his tail was on fire, and died tragically….and all too soon. Felled…by a woman…and betrayed by a woman. There was a connection between the rise of the two Princesses and one that the Prince of Pride was sure to need to know.

Having already paid a visit to the court of Envy and seeing for himself how women again were clamoring at the feet of the current Prince, Leviathan, the Ambassador was almost certain that there may well be….another change in power. Jealousy was a powerful Master. If one woman was scorned, because Leviathan chose to lay with the other that adored…who knows what she could do. All this was of course speculation….for now.

The black carriage arrived at the main gates of the Castle of Pride and a footman jumped off the back of the carriage and strode up towards the guards on duty. He would hand over the seal of the Vicomte de Valmont as an address for a meeting with his royal Highness the Prince of Pride. If the guards allowed the carriage passage inside, it would roll on through to the inner court yard, where Valmont would alight and await to be escorted up to the main hall.

 

~RB~

 

Temp:  Astaroth had been doing nothing but resting in his Throne since he arrived in his Kingdom. His transformation had taken it’s tole on his body, and his mind was in a bit of a strange place. He would fix his position in his throne as he was informed by a guard of the Ambassador’s arrival. What the man was doing here he did not know, as Astaroth had already known about Gabriel for a while now. Still, it was worth checking out…just in case.

The guards at the gates would escort the Ambassador all the way to the castle, as well as bring him inside. The Ambassador was brought into the Throne room, which was actually rather occupied at the moment. Astaroth’s most powerful and highly trained warriors filled the room, they were his Royal Guard. He looked down at the Ambassador with an annoyed look, but not due to any hatred he had for the man. He was simply not in a good mood was all. “Valmont…I trust you have a good reason for being here.” He was not in the mood for company, but he would put up with this meeting…for now.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Surrounded by the Royal guard and many other warriors of note, the Ambassador of Hell bowed before the Prince of Pride, who had a rather annoyed look upon his face. One was to expect that Astaroth would be in a bad mood after the failure at Wrath and who could blame him. Valmont certainly couldn’t. One thing that the Ambassador noted was that unlike the Prince of Envy who was surrounded by women and one very over protective guard, was that this was a court made up mostly of men. In truth, this was how Valmont liked it. Yes, he was the Demon of Seduction and perversion but he knew that when against women, you could never ever really trust them. Like what was happening in Hell at the moment. Did Belial have any inkling that his own love would behead him? Word was that she killed her son too. That meant she wanted no competition. She was true to her nature, and that is what made her all the more dangerous.

“Valmont…I trust you have a good reason for being here.”

“Indeed I have, my Lord Pride.” Valmont was curt in his response, knowing full well that the Prince would not favour any dilly dallying on his part. So, he got right to the point of his visit.

“As you know, the balance of power from men in the seats of thrones is changing. Gabriel being the first. And you are most likely aware, that Mammon acted…out of character at the battle of Wrath castle.” The Ambassador said, turning his head to look up at the Prince with a serious expression. “Mammon had been betrayed, my Lord Pride. His own Lady of Ambition tricked him into wearing Beserker. The armor was the reason that Mammon….fell so prematurely.”

Now, the Prince of Pride would have known that Mammon acted almost insane in his attack on Gabriel. Without care for his own life. Odd…really.

“So, now there is a woman as head of Greed. But…that is not the end of it.”

This is where the intelligence of the Ambassador would come in truly useful. “I have just been to see Leviathan – the Prince of Envy, and turns out he has a little female problem of his own. Two women are vying for his affection, another too sick to compete….BUT….after the fall of Belial and Mammon to women…it’s a matter of time before Leviathan does as well.”

“Leviathan still wishes Gabriel’s favors and is a staunch supporter. As for Baal, well….I dare say he is licking his stump. Having lost his arm to Mammon. The same Prince he betrayed for Gabriel.”

There was a pattern emerging, if the Prince of Pride chose to see it. The Ambassador went into the final act of his intel collection.

“Of the five remaining princes, two are aligned with Wrath….and Gabriel may think highly of Lady Lydia for her wicked plot against Mammon. That would be three against you….my Lord. Sloth is silent for now….but then there is Lust….”

His voice trailed off at the mention of the other Princes…as he was sure that all this was sinking in. “It’s no doubt that each have aspirations for greatness. Question is….who do you trust?”

~RB~

 

Temp:  Astaroth sat rather calmly in his throne, though if one was to pay close enough attention they would see the anger on his face growing. It hit an all time high when it was revealed that Mammon had been betrayed…by yet another woman. His teeth grinded together as he thought back on the battle. Mammon did have on an unusual set of armor…and his actions…they were psychotic indeed. There was no reason to doubt Valmont in this regard, as he was one to witness it. The mention of Leviathan was one that angered him as well, due to his alliance with Gabriel. It seemed he was also surrounded by women. Female ambition was at an all time high apparently, but such a thing was absent in the kingdom of Pride. Finding a suitable female was no easy task for Astaroth. It seemed that was probably a damn good thing. “Women…dangerous creatures…” There were none in his Kingdom that were close to him, but they were still present. He had no reason to fear these females, but if any of them were important to him…this would be a time where his guard would rise. Thankfully, the female issue would be one he wouldn’t be involved in. Now there were two Princesses and even more alliances would likely surface. Lucifer himself had saved Astaroth, surely there was some bigger reason for this. In terms of allies, Astaroth really didn’t have any. “Who do I trust? Nobody but myself.” None of his guards made a single comment or even moved an inch at his words. It really wasn’t something that was hidden after all. “From what I can see…the only choice I have is to ally with other kingdoms…or hire an outside force.” This shit was really getting on his nerves, and it was beginning to show. His anger was rising by the minute, while his body continued to heal. When he was back at full strength…he would have to do everything necessary to increase his power.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Everything was going just as Valmont anticipated. The news was causing the Prince of Pride to grind his teeth menacingly, and he was in agreeance that it was the women of hell that were doing all the damage to the status-quo. “Women…dangerous creatures…”The Prince of Pride uttered, and to this, Valmont simply nodded. Yes, it was sinking in and all truth. Valmont had no reason to lie, for the truth was far more devious. As for who Astaroth trusted, he trusted no body but himself. You couldn’t really blame him for that.

“Well understood, my Lord Pride.”

The race for alliances was on. No doubt Leviathan and Gabriel were both on the move. Lady Lydia had yet to make her move officially, but that would come in good time. Valmont was sure of it.

“From what I can see…the only choice I have is to ally with other kingdoms…or hire an outside force.”

Now here was something interesting. Ally with other kingdoms outside of hell…trust the other remaining princes….or hire an outside force.

“Why hire one….when you can buy one.” The Ambassador said, before pulling out a card from his jacket and then offering it to a guard to give to the Prince. If he read it, it would be a card for none other than Hell’s Kitchen – The laboratory.

“Word has it that the good Doctor is making…an army of super soldiers. His assistant, the hunchback Igor was down at the battlefield gathering bodies of the dead from the war of Wrath. Harvesting them….for the purpose of reanimation and perfecting them. It’s one way of getting a leg up on the other kingdoms if you….have the primary contract for the first battalion.”

The Ambassador waited to see what the Prince of Pride thought of this.

~RB~

Bad habits – SS.

Scene setting : Greed Castle

co-written with Moo, Temp and Dessy.

 

Dessy:  Lydia seemed to sense Mariela’s concern about there being fighting at the ball, and seemed to understand her fears. “You’re right. We can’t be held responsible, but I wasn’t talking about us. I was talking about every other kingdom fighting one or another.” she said, looking at the floor before looking up at Lydia. She did give a smile when Lydia assured her everything would be fine, but she still couldn’t help to be concerned. “So, where’s this seamstress we’re supposed to be seeing?” she said, letting out a breath. She didn’t notice Scar missing, and was oblivious to the fact that there were people outside. The shield that was once over the castle would have disappeared by now, allowing anyone to get in at anytime. It never lasted long unless Mariela willed it to. She didn’t because it was only for the war. Both girls being oblivious to this fact, they just continued on their way.

 

Moo:  The pair hadn’t been standing idle for very long before Oroan cleared his throat. It was gruff sounding, pulling Serin’s attention away from the area she’d last seen Nami. As she looked at him, he would lean back against the pillar. “So why didn’t you use it last night?” Serin’s brow popped up and he snorted, turning his head away momentarily before reconnecting his gaze. “You know what I mean.” His expression said it all. Don’t play dumb with me. “He was using black elements.”

Serin turned awkwardly against the pillar she leaned on, her shoulder brushing against it as her feet slid out just a few inches. Her arms crossed over her chest. “I didn’t see any means to…”

“Bullshit,” Oroan cut in.

“Oroan!” she hissed. The demon master looked uncharacteristically timid as she lowered her eyes, head tilting slightly. “The last time I used black earth, I nearly killed you.” Her eyes would lift to meet his as they stood there silently for several moments. “…Anyway, keep watch for Nami.”

Oroan watched as his master’s fierce exterior masked the irrational fear once more. This was what made her special, and gave a demon such as himself feelings. She would be special to him, in a non-romantic way. He returned his gaze past the gates of Greed, same as her.

 

Temp:  Nami had continued to go higher and higher, heading towards a particular room, with an ambitious goal in mind. The throne room. She knew that there would be all kinds of valuables in that room, as part of being Greedy was being able to see the things you possessed. Surely a Prince of Greed would have trinkets and shiny objects near the Throne, last time she checked he did. This wouldn’t be the first time she had stolen from the Throne room, and it wasn’t going to be the last. Eventually she reached her objective, landing on a balcony that was connected to the Throne room. Instead of doing something silly like opening the door or a window, she poofed directly in. She was still completely invisible, and making next to no sound. Her eyes began to examine the room, taking in all the things that she could steal. There were plenty of objects that looked valuable, but she wanted to get something…special. Her gaze would eventually lock onto a chalice that sat on a table right next to the Throne. It looked absolutely perfect. It was over sized, clearly made of gold, covered in jewels, hell…it even had the Greed insignia on it…perfect. Nami quickly hopped up onto one of the nearby pillars and began to climb towards the ceiling, wanting to get a better view of the entire room before she tried anything else. From the ceiling she could see that she was alone, except for one thing…a cat? It didn’t look like any cat she had ever seen, and she had seen quite a few! She could morph into one after all. Something didn’t quite feel right about it…but the Chalice was right there…The urge to hop down there and grab the chalice was very much present. This was the first time she had ever hesitated in stealing something so close and valuable…why was that?

 

Razorbackwriter:  Lydia would rise from her place at the dining table, patting her lips with the napkin before asking Mariela to join her as they went off to the seamstress’s house. It was a dwelling within the castle grounds and they would need to take the main corridor in order to reach the inner courtyard. This would lead them past the main hall on their way. Lydia seemed to have forgotten about the force field that she’s asked Marila to construct during the war, since now that it was over, she saw no real need for it. Feeling a touch more relaxed after breakfast, the new Princess of Greed’s mood improved greatly. The thoughts of a masked ball, and entertaining the other royals of the Hell gave her a right tingle deep down inside. Ever ambitious she wanted to put her best foot forward and show all of them just what she was capable of. All in good time.

“The Seamstress’s name is Frau Voulen. Worked for the Prince of Greed and his…lovelies for as long as I can remember. Now…she can serve us.” Walking arm in arm with Mariela again, Lydia was being at her brightest. “I hear she does the most exquisite hats. Ever thought about going to the races?” she asked. Lydia being a bit of a gambler on the horses. It would be another outing….a fun one that was for certain.

The Throne room.

Scar was a very light sleeper. Strange you might think for a demon of Nightmares, but he enjoyed the odd forty winks; especially somewhere comfortable. The Prince’s throne was indeed, very comfy. The alp in the shape of a Cheshire cat was making a light purring sound. It’s tail sweeping about behind it slowly, like a snake that was in a trance. Looks, could indeed be deceiving. For as the Alp slept the hair on its forehead parted to reveal….a third eye.

And this eye suddenly opened. The pupil darted from left to right menacingly. Even turning to a slit as though it was aware of something. All Alps have a third eye and if one was to get too close to the eye’s range of sight, well….let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty.

 

~RB~

 

Temp:  What was with this apprehension? Nami would normally have already been done by now, but she just couldn’t bring herself to grab the chalice. Setting a trap before grabbing it crossed her mind, but that would likely make too much noise. Using her poof ability could work, but it could be unpredictable, especially if she was stressed. There had to be a safe way to get her hands on it. Perhaps she could ‘fish’ for it. Imp’s always had a ‘bag of tricks’ available to them, hopefully it would solve this little problem. With a puff of purple smoke, a tiny fishing rod appeared and was now being held by her tail. Having access to a ‘third limb’ like her tail was very handy. Hopefully this would work. Nami crawled along the ceiling until she was directly above the Chalice, though was rather high up in the air. The hook and near invisible string would then start to descend towards the Chalice. As soon as it was in range it was hooked and tugged at gently, just to make sure that it was secure. Before she would actually start to reel it in she decided to wait, just in case someone walked into the room.

 

Dessy:  Mariela had waited until Lydia finished, before taking a step back when Lydia stood. Lydia linking her arm with hers again, they started leaving the dining room and down the hall. “Races? What “races” are you talking about?” she asked curiously with a tilt of her head. Mariela has never really went to anything because she had always stayed home. Her family had lived in a small three bedroom cottage in the middle of the woods away from isolation and the rest of the village. After all, they didn’t want to be exposed as being witches. People usually went to the house if they needed help, especially with healing. Mariela’s mother was a great healer, and that’s where Mariela got most of her healing skills from. So, Mariela didn’t know what “races” were, or much of anything, really.

 

Razorbackwriter:  “You mean, you have never been to the races?” Lydia asked with a surprised expression. The Demoness of Ambition thought that everyone had. Now, she needed to explain to Mariela what races actually were. “It’s a track where horses run around it ridden by very short men. The first horse past the post wins. You bet…on the horse of your favor and if it wins…you make a lot of money.” This was where Lydia’s love of gambling came to the fore. She absolutely loved games of chance like poker and 21, black jack and the roulette wheel, but nothing thrilled her more than getting all dressed up and going down to the track. “I’ll take you to the next event.” Lydia promised as they were about to walk past the throne room. It was then she turned her head, expecting to see an empty room, when she spotted the Cheshire cat on the throne. A cat wearing the Alp’s hat.

“SCAR?! What the devil are you doing on my throne?!” Lydia roared, suddenly releasing her arm from Mariela and marching off into the throne room like her ass was on fire. In a blink the Demoness of Ambition was half way down the long red carpet, while on the throne, Alp woke up with a start. Hearing Lydia shriek was not exactly music to his ears.

“Ah…shit.” The cat formerly known as Scar uttered as he tried to stretch; his tail fluffing up instantly. Neither Scar nor Lydia had noticed the facet that someone was trying to steal a jeweled chalice beside the throne.

“I leave you alone for five minutes and you are trying to take my THRONE?!”

Again her voice was raised as she got ready to reach out and throttle Scar with her right hand. The cat was quick to reply.“I was just sleeping….Mistress!” Trying to defend himself before the Demoness released an angry retort. Oh he knew she had a dark side and it was rising. “Please…please…the throne was comfy…that’s all.”

At that, Lydia picked up the cat around the throat and gave him a good throttle, before dropping him back again. the cat’s eyes were rolling about in it’s head comically.

 

~RB~

 

 

 

 

Behind the beautiful smile – SS.

Scene setting – Greed castle.

co-written with Dessy.

 

Dessy:  Mariela continued following Lydia, and when she didn’t receive an answer, she raised an eyebrow. She looked out of the window at Mammon’s steed, and when Lydia picked up her speed, Mariela held her dress up so she could walk faster and followed her. She was obviously determined for something, but for what, Mariela didn’t know. When she got to the mark, Mariela stopped, dropping her gown and looking at the mark, then up at Lydia. Being a witch, she recognized the mark, but didn’t know Mariela’s intentions. She stared at it, then looked up at Warner when he spoke, and then turned back to Lydia.“You’re summoning who?” Mariela asked, sensing Warner’s panic as he stepped back. Mariela gasped when she saw the green hands reach out to grab Warner, and took a side step away. As the blade sliced Warner’s throat, Mariela let out a scream before covering her mouth with her hands. Mariela should’ve known Lydia wasn’t all good. She was being naive. She was in Hell, after all. She was probably the only good one here. Mariela looked up once Lydia started chanting, and watched the fire around Lydia. When Lydia’s head turned and spoke in an unnatural tone, she took a few steps back. Seeing the face form in the mist, she gave another loud gasp and stepped back more, not speaking a word, her hand over her mouth the entire time.

 

Razorbackwriter:  

https://i0.wp.com/www.flash-screen.com/free-wallpaper/uploads/201010/icos/1287028924.jpg

Mariela’s scream was hardly a surprise to Lydia who had failed to show the demonic side of herself before the witch. This was a complete turn of a events that could not had been anticipated, for Lydia did serve the Prince of Greed right up to the moment he rode off to face Gabriel of Wrath. But the signs were ominous that Mammon was fighting for his very existence, or had come to meet his doom at the hands of those within Wrath castle. No one knew of the betrayal of Baal, nor the amount of allies that Gabriel had come to engage during her rapid ascent to greatness and a crown. While Mariela fell back and clasped her own hand over her mouth to stifle her screams, Lydia merely turned her head towards the girl and lifted but a single digit to her crimson lips, as though to beckon her to continue silence while in the presence of the Devil himself.

An eerie sound crept over the room, as shadows flew from the pentagram and danced upon the walls of the main chamber. A low distant drum beat came as though from ones own heart. The form of Lucifer grew. A large beast man with horned hooves, sharp horns that formed out through his shock of black hair and spiraled out behind him. This increased his overall size, and all this without a stitch of clothing. Naked and glistening, he towered over Lydia who was now petite in his presence. Lucifer waved his hand before her as her image shimmered and then Mariela would be able to see her true form. Massive wings beat slowly behind a body that was so svelte that it looked to be created by the very Gods of creation. Perfectly formed bosom – and child bearing hips that led down to long slender legs. Her feet no more, but replaced by hooves like her Master. She had her head bowed, till Lucifer placed a claw under it and then brought it up so that she stared at him with eyes – dark as coal.

A sharp pointed tale of Lucifer whipped out and then slapped her backside, as though punishing her for the summons, but then he could only laugh at the way she jumped slightly and her bosom bounced.

“When the Beserker returns empty….you, Lydia shall be the new Princess of Greed. Though you are always to me, an Ambitious little bitch.” This was said with a loud laugh before he turned to notice Mariela. He could taste her fear as though it was a fine wine, and it did make him smile darkly. “Who….are you?” Lucifer asked, as he started to make his way towards her. Lydia’s smile fell away from her face. Worry now etched in her features as the Devil had asked the witch of her name. Lydia wanted to say, but knew it better than to interrupt.

 

~RB~

 

Dessy:  Mariela started cursing herself in her mind for getting into this mess. She should have just decided to walk away, instead of standing outside of the castle. If she would have turned around and just continued on her way, she wouldn’t be involved in this mess. She shouldn’t even be here. She didn’t belong in Hell. She was to good natured for that. This was a curse. She was stuck in a place she didn’t belong. When Lydia put a finger over to her lips, Mariela just gave a nod as she removed her hands from her mouth. The form then grew – into a man with hooves, horns and a tail. He was also naked. This sight caused Mariela to jump, and she bit her tongue to stop herself from screaming once again. Her attention then turned towards Lydia, watching as Lydia changed to what, Mariela assumed, was her true form. She watched the Devil slap his tail on her bottom, and Mariela had took another step back. Hearing that Lydia would be the new princess, Mariela tilted her head, now understanding what Lydia was trying to do. She froze in her tracks when he turned to her, before asking her name. She stood up straight and looked at him. “I’m.. Mariela..” she spoke with a shaky breath, taking another step back when he walked towards her.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Lucifer repeated Mariela’s name three times as he trudged around her slowly. The great hooves stamping into the stone floor, his tail flicking from side to side. There was indeed a menacing, almost foreboding sense of tension in the air, but for some reason, he did not make a move on her. Perhaps it was because Lydia was already addressing him in his mind that Mariela was of use to her, and not only that she considered her a friend. Not that you should really trust a demon like Lydia, but she was good on her word.

“Mmmmm.”

Lucifer liked what he saw and shot a look over his shoulder as he dipped his wings slightly. “She’s perfect.” This comment was aimed at Lydia who gave her shoulders a little shrug, but inwardly was pleased. Would Mariela take this as something sinister?

The fires that raged from the Kingdom of Wrath however had Lucifer’s attention now, and he didn’t stop walking, instead he made for the exit, the loud pounding of his hooves echoing out till at last he had left the room, along with the shadow followers that had accompanied him. With Lucifer being the most formidable creature in all of Hell, he was able to breach her shield. With Lucifer on the war path it would be interesting to see how the other Princes of Hell would react. The shimmering image of the naked form of Lydia reverted back to that of her more formal look, with her horns missing and her tail curled up within her long skirt. She let out a sigh and then trotted over to Mariela offering to hug her.

“So sorry about that. It had to be done. I mean, Warner was a wonderful servant and just gave his life for me. Isn’t that sweet?” Lydia hoped that Mariela would not flee into the night after the horrors that she witnessed.

 

~RB~

 

Dessy:  Mariela stood still as she let Lucifer walk around her, not moving a muscle. She had closed her eyes and held her breath, fearing for the worst. “She’s perfect.” was all she heard, and her heart was racing as she heard those words. Hearing the pounding of his hooves, she opened her eyes to see him gone, and she finally breath again and put one hand over her chest. She looked over at Lydia as she transformed back to her formal self, then walked over and offered to hug Mariela. For some reason, she felt she could trust Lydia – in a weird way. Lydia was a demon, yes, but she had swore to protect her, and Mariela felt that she would keep that promise. She ran over into Lydia’s arms, hugging her and still shaking a bit from everything she witnessed. “Nothing about what just happened seemed very ‘sweet’ to me.” she spoke, taking deep breaths after everything had calmed down. She then removed herself from Lydia’s arms and turned to look at her. “What did he mean when he said I was “perfect”?” she then questioned.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Lydia drew back slightly, and you could actually see the worried look on her face. Truth be told, she liked Mariela a lot and the last thing she ever wanted to do was hurt her or see her be upset. It was only natural that the young witch would be intimidated by the likes of Lucifer and his comment that she was perfect must have unsettled her. Lydia chewed her lip while bringing up one of her toes to a point and twisting her ankle back and forth. She gently swayed her shoulders from side to side as though she was truly feeling sad and nervous that Mariela might run off screaming into the night now that she had seen Lydia for what she was.

“Lucifer is…like the big cheese in Hell. He was saying you are perfect because….you are. Don’t be surprised if you get a Ducchy out of this.” By Ducchy, she meant a royal position. “Duchess of Greed. Has a nice ring to it. All the boys are going to just love you.” At this Lydia nodded profusely, before linking her arm in the witch’s again so they could walk along. Past the floating body of Warner, who looked pretty well dead. Lydia had forgotten to get the green mist hands to let him go and she whistled which made the hands vanish. The body then hit the floor with a sickly splat. Two servants came out from the shadows and dragged him off to the meat mincer room to chop the former staffer up into bite size chunks for the hell hounds. The castle had many hell hounds, due to the Prince of Greed being a keen dog enthusiast.

Lydia perked up a bit and then grinned. “You know, since there is probably going to be a new leader here…and I mean me. How about…we celebrate when this horrid war thing is over….and have a masked ball. Even invite all Greed’s enemies to make….Hell a more…happy place.” This was said in a cheery sing song voice as Lydia tried to improve Mariela’s mood.

“Are we…still besties?” Lydia asked hopefully. Batting her eyelashes and smiling ever sweetly.

 

~RB~