once more, with feeling


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Post Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:11 pm

Re: once more, with feeling

So then, he would move as she did. Small power—collect what she could. Hold it in place; lock. Small built to sweeping—mind spark, nerveshot, muscle bind and then move. Body spoke his intent. Come closer, follow, gift a little death in her walls—just one more. Build up a tally, Brittle might say.

Semantics. Strange word for her to know, that—but tied to her breaking. Knew this, dropped still the in-betweens, the time words all out of place. His play—a different thing. His precise:


I destroy warriors.

Ear bent to that, to the careless beside she saw him choose to push. Warrior thing, likely, no business of hers, and yet—her warriors were hers. Hers in breaking her, hers in bound to her, hers in the long road, shared water, shared soul. They were not here though—she kept them outside gate and path and stayed quiet in the tether. Trial here, also hers. Alone.

He brought death to creep the air. Closer still. She drew her breath so, just so—felt scorch in her lungs, spill slowness in the veins. Taste like burning. Eyes could dim, sway—sever the between in will and act. All this, were she to take more breaths, longer ones. All this, were she to stay at his side.

Good to know.

She drew her orbit wide again, hummed another healmark. This one, the first chest point—clear breath, clear blood. No need for the greater gift, no need for others. Not yet, anyways. And better to be clear now to listen, his words twisting over and around like snakesong. Hard to follow, a touch. Hard to bring meaning—the follow of his play.

Gave her a word—strange word. Gave her a cause—strange cause. Spelt the working of the snake. Curious still, the why. Garden heavier, this place now. Stone sunk, half shapeless. Eye. Reaching hand. Shatterbone. “This push…your need?” said she, tip of head—reason, question, root of wanting. “Always so?”

He said she could send him—small power, that, too. Wonder what the bounds, for snakegift—weighed on her neck.
Ask her, had said he. Hummed, like the healmark, she soft said and thought, “Right foreleg. Coil.”

To send it to bind there, wind and band black and red and white through the fine-deep of her scars. Might be better suited for her motion, for what dance still remained. If not, so be it. See, test the bounds of these things.

As he test her, and think her unique. Better. Strange, again—for an imperfect thing. What was he lacking so, need find in her? In the way here. In what he meant to do, which ever-changed. Moment to moment, and ever having to watch. Like the pits, like the dance. Reminders that weighed, and released, burrowed down and through.

And he watched her garden and saw things deeper than others yet shallower too. This she knew in her watching—some thing he could not grasp. For his nature, or from his own breaking. Had one such as he ever been broken? And what breaking that would be. Not in her small power. Still. Curious.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:55 am

Re: once more, with feeling

So that was where she brought him; deeper into shadows, deeper into the heart of it all. Stranger stones here, small reaching things, watchings things, broken and unfinished. He could appreciate this place, the dark nature of it. And here, as she stepped away again, other stones; ones that were familiar, but not. They seemed to be grave markers, and yet there were no neat rows, no tokens of remembrance; things he'd seen in other places, worlds he'd cleansed in his powers.

Her breathing had shallowed, roughened a little; so delicate, her little lungs. He'd seen, and she'd shown where the tolerance for such a thing ended, hummed a strange note. Her breathing smoothed out again; that, too, was strange, a magic not known to him. He wasn't meant for magic, however.

He was made for death, for killing. It wasn't magic that put death in his eyes, was no working of energy or will. His eyes would kill, there was no help for that; the smaller deaths, though, the crippling of bones, the seizing of muscle, that he could push with his will, press his advantage. Neurotoxins in the air he breathed, acid that burned and ate, and all seeping from his very skin. No magic, there, but simply how he was made, a tolerance granted from the immunity of constant exposure.

Her magic may be her own, and it may not; borrowed again, perhaps, for he couldn't sense her in the little humming note but in the most distant of ways. Another gift, granted to her; he was not the only one she found favor with. Good. His prize would be made all the sweeter.

Not always, he answered, breaking away from her path to get a better look at what might be markers. Small deaths of her heart, her soul? Those she had killed? She held skill in her movements; it was possible. He wouldn't ask. It was enough to see.

Small words, simple questions, but the answering would reveal more to her than he had to others. It was nothing that was difficult to say; nobody else had bothered to ask. Only when the restraint becomes too... Constricting.

Made for death, he walked careful around the frailty of the living. He kept his focus to the small deaths, held his will close, breathed his taint softly in the clear air. Ever careful, ever restrained, for his only talent was pain and death. Few could tolerate the pain he brought. None withstood his death.

The fear amused him because it served as an acknowledgement for what he was. It didn't change anything; served no other purpose. So many, so many had their minds break under the fear of him when they saw what he held in a neutral state. When they felt what he could call to bear.

He didn't suffer from it, didn't lament over it, this gentling of himself around all the delicate life that would fall to him. It was simply the way of things. But sometimes - well, the coiled snake must eventually strike.

I don't need such restraint, here, he said, and turned back towards her, the lines of his body cocky, teasing, playful, you make no such demands.

He moved away from the strange stones, let his gaze travel over her almost carelessly. He saw the something still, a small flash of color as he skipped over her eyes, but the something that was not fear, not anger, just watching; just being, as she was. As he did.

The snake moved as he did, shifting when she spoke, sliding down to her leg. It bit, just a scratching of teeth across her shoulder; a single flick of the enchanted tongue and the small wound was gone, the skin unblemished.

With this spell the binding would determine what sort of hold the bearer would have. Those who were weak, who would belong to the spell, the snake, the ones that were not strong enough to send such an enchanted thing away would bear a mark; a tiny shadow, almost a birthmark. The forked tongue of the snake.

She bore no mark, and would instead hold mastery of her gift, mistress of the living death that now wrapped about her leg. Strong, then, strong enough for this, the little snake now bound to her heart and will. She need not even think, merely feel the need; it would obey.

Strong enough for him to relax the restrictions he normally held. Strong enough to show him what he had never thought to dream of.

You are perfect, he said, and there was no flattery in his tone. The words were flat, with as little inflection as if he had said that water was wet, or fire hot. Show me your limits, he added, and his voice darkened, roughened, the sound of bones snapping and grinding to dust. Remember the word I gave you; hold it in silence until you need it.

He crowded closer, following her, pushing a bit, just a little. Closer again, but not near her face - behind, beside, crowding, taunting, teasing, starting gently, wanting to find the edge of her limits. He pushed differently, this time; no challenge to him, no readiness for battle, no gathering of his will, his power. He was not so fast with maneuvering, made for power and rapid strikes rather than swiftly dancing steps, but made a good show of trying to scratch at her back legs with his hooves, trying to jostle the spines on his shoulders over her rump. Never rough enough to break skin, never enough to poison the blood, but still enough, perhaps, just enough.

A place to start, before they found the edge.
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Post Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:30 pm

Re: once more, with feeling

She did not often walk this deepness. Not fear, not shame, just—simplicity. This place was as she had been, and she was no longer. Appeared sometimes, only; stone harder marked or need none. For this so clearly hers—willsoul in stone.

And he walked. And he looked. And he answered.

Only when the restraint becomes too…restricting.

So, like Id then—but made so, not broken so. This she understood in the memory, skitterflash behind her eyes. Blood shed between ram and leopard, between Elemental and Ares. All that had to be bled. If not—fester, crack, and the scars on her legs. This stallion—something so. But his control in his will. His control made into him, in breath-body-blood. She saw it, read him clean.

Was as he was. As she. Common ground, through divide far and deep.

And he light now, playing now—in his way of word. Able to feel so, in the stone, in the heavy. And perhaps path opened to him to feel such. Would call that—kind? Her, not him. Some kindness beyond her knowing, beyond willing. Simply meant. He asked for such—garden opened hand.

If so, what serve her?

You make no such demands.

No, not demand. Such thing of self, and hers yet fluid, unformed—for so long someone else’s will, someone other’s word. For so long just the death and the dance and the balance. Perhaps why the snakegift heed her. It bit—she did not ask it. Lesson learned there, but left no mark. Only coiled as she told it. Deeper magic than she’d guessed, some meaning yet unfigured. Its control settled in her mind. She had this, then.

And in it, his want deepened. Escalate.

You are perfect.

And him not Architect, no pride in the words and no poison—but her ears went flat all the same. Perfect. “Not I,” said she, the closest to some felt thing, felt behind the watching. Closest to care. “Better.”

The limit, the word reminded, and he came to know her—so read that intent so clear as screaming. In the voice, and deeper in the body blind to but release—in strike, in scar, in violence. And once her, before her knowledge, once her would have met it—with tooth and hooves and unfound pride. As she did in the pit. As she did with Id. She had given that. Would not, again. Use another’s words—break under another’s will.

She could not know this, the core of Sanguine’s road. The sister of iron, of steel, who bonded those the same. Blades she kept, folded over and over upon themselves—tempered in pressure, in scalding, in some terrible binding. Blades she kept that would not be broken. Souls the same.

Hers, the same. Unyielding.

So wide, again, away from spine and hoof. But her eyes ever watching, her neck ever turned. “Touch not, basilisk,” said she, simply. “Restraint…a time longer.”

For he was ‘meant’; the garden had opened, widened, and she knew. The place for his killing, place for his marking—deeper still. Deeper still, in the stonesoul of her. Would he wear the waiting—or would he work his will? The choice, either way—she had her small power, to send. A—pity, if so. But a power, all same.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:17 am

Re: once more, with feeling

Balance

He had given her the ability to pull him short at any time, the word to bring a stop to everything - Mongoose, he had said. The fighter of snakes, killer of snakes, where he called and ruled them. Fitting. She moved away, spoke words, but not that word. Not their word, shared between them, given in trust to be used when needed.

It was a trust, at that - a trust she would know when to use it, how to wield this control he had granted her, this limitation to his urges. A trust that he would heed her. She had not used it, yet, had not truly told him to stop.

Balance

Not I, she had said. Better. Better than perfect, perhaps, but he had thought she meant differently, that she was nothing more than better than others who would limit the feel of what he was. Less than perfect, but better at least. A compromise.

Balance

Compromise again, pulling away rather than striking out, kicking to gouge where he had pawed to harrass, to tease.

He thought Do not make the Warrior's mistake.

For they did, always, the Warriors who would face with him. Always it came to battle, to the path littered with death and despair. And they always fought to defeat him, to disable even. They forgot what he was, and he destroyed them.

He was not made to battle. He was not made to defeat, to conquer. He was made to kill. Only to kill.

Always, they fought to win; and always, he was meant to kill.

Balance

Still, still, she saw, she must. Those clever eyes, seeing so much while they watched him, tracked him. She had seen a proper push, had seen the challenge to him, the readiness to kill should she return in kind. This; no, she must have seen the difference, here. Teasing, taunting, pushy, yes, but not a push. Not play.

She had said it was meant. Whatever it was that happened, however this turned upon itself, it was meant.

He could not be other than he was.

Balance

He thought, I will not tell you again.

She had been reminded already, a token towards the fractured sentences that did not stem from madness. Words were new, had come with difficulty; the creation of this place. He would pander to her, to a point. Accommodations could be made. She had earned as much, in her cleverness.

He did not normally make such efforts. He would not repeat it, would not remind her how to stop him, if she wished for waiting.

Balance

He saw her move deeper, not merely away but further towards where she led him. Before, when he first came, he would think it a trap, maybe. There were some things that could hold him. Now he was curious; he wanted to see, was not opposed. But she had failed to use the word.

He thought, It may still be a trap.

He thought, Let her try. If she fails; oh, the fun that shall be had.

Balance

The snake upon her leg, his promise again; to leave. Asked to move, for however soft her words were he would know the soft sound of blood upon any tongue. It shouldn't have worked; the spell would not fully set, would not obey, without the tasting of flesh, the binding of blood. Asked of a thing, it had offered the connection itself; chosen her and left no mark. It wanted to be hers.

He thought, Snakesong has called to her.

Balance

Touch not, she had said, but not their word, not her power, not the one thing to make him stop.

He thought, Balance.

And said nothing, moved in silence as he drew to her again, although he knew he showed her plenty. Ears perked, steps light, he watched her. He thought, Use the word, if you have need.

Crowding, but not simply stepping near; pressing towards the place she had stepped, herding her towards these depths she would lead him to. She had compromised; he tried to do the same, as much as his nature might allow. No hooves now, no reaching nips, but shoulders and chest, jostling and pressing. Less touch, less force. But he did not stop, not truly, for she had not given the word that would stop him.

She would learn. She had not needed his words for other things, for the truth of him; she would not need his words to see this. He didn't punish her for pulling away, didn't strike out harder, for this was the beginning. She would learn.

Until then, he tried to find the balance.
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Post Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:33 am

Re: once more, with feeling

And what know she of all the thoughts coiled in his head? The flaw in her eyes. To know only that he thought and struggled something and expected—and nothing more. Reasons were words. His mind, his knowledge, his being—made in words. She had nothing but eyes. Body. Only went so far. Not Mirage-eyes, Avalir-eyes that saw and knew. Hers—only the moment next to next. Never the reason.

Divide between them—in power, in knowing. Not such that swallow. Not yet.

So she would not know the gift of his word, its meaning. Brought nothing with it save the way he’d said it, the tone-pitch-promise of voice. Ever-close. And his balance, now, back and—hard for him. That she not understand—something. Something beyond body—tied word, tied power. And maybe he see now beyond perfect. The way which she fell short—the way which she was not made for him. To know all this, was fair. Truth.

If anything, she could not lie. Another thing, lost with words.

And she had not thought, really, that her words would turn him. His body said his word alone. But what else had she? Beside the thing she was not yet want to give, beside the still wide out of reach, beside the offer of deeper still. No attack. No, not that way. He meant to herd her—long as he followed. Kept her eyes; stayed just so beyond.
And the Red Bull ran close behind them and covered their footprints.

Not her words, but they came anyways. Like the path going deeper—the path that opened to even her but rarely. This the unmade part. This the heart.

This the pit.

And it was there, like it was made before. The wide, deep darkness. The wide, smooth circle. Packed dust. Where she’d waited, so quiet-perfect. Where she’d killed so—here in the stonesoul of her where there was no stone. Only this and what writhed within.

She walked the edge, one eye to him, one eye to it. On the half-stone, half-shadow scraps of her soul, tearing and screaming and bleeding themselves in that pit. Climbing over, fallen and fighting. Getting closer, like water to overflow. And into the garden—all her ruin.

“This, in me,” said she. “Of me.” Something screeching, pulling itself up and over—hooves gouged deep in the lip, and a flicker in her like pain. But she twist then, to slam her strike, shatter bone-that-was-not and send it down again, down to the tearing. “Break this…it knows it is mine.”

Her trial, alone, before. Not Sanguine knew what the soulseeding reached—not what it brought. And she did not tell—for there were no words. Only the breaking—her soul, in submit to her the way only a weapon knows. She had walked the pit and culled the bodies wearing all she was and all her might-be’s of words and care and gift. She had done this time and time again—alone.

No one came here, but her. And it had opened to him.

“Basilisk,” said she, before a shadow crest behind her, before she turn and tear the throat from herself. Spoke again, mouth full of her own darkness. “This death...will do?”

His mark, in the deep set stone of her, the soul deeper than body—till it ash, till it crumble. She would not lock it here.
Meant.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:05 pm

Re: once more, with feeling

Distraction, deep enough to sway him from the lesson - and a lack of understanding, clear in the lines of her, a certain lack of defiance that marked her failure as exactly that, rather than a refusal, a dismissal of their word.

Words were difficult for her. New. Perhaps this was a weakness she held, a small breaking within her that would need adjusting to. She was smart, and he felt something twist within him at the concept of talking down to her, of spelling everything out as if she lacked comprehension. There were plenty he would do so with, but she had impressed him; he thought better of her than that.

This death will do, he agreed, coming to stillness within range of both her and this pit of writhing shadow-selves she struck so casually. He turned to her, seemed to focus solely on her, and yet when something tried to climb out, to invade the rest of the garden, ribs broke beneath his hooves, the sharp whistle of punctured lung following it back into the dimness.

But not your death, he continued, and looked at her face, stepping closer as he studied the curve of her jaw, the dip towards her nose, the dripping darkness from her mouth. Intent on his reflection in the shimmering coat of water that rippled over her, red-gold eyes flickering back at him. No harm to him, from his own gaze, his own face. Basilisk, she called him; that which kept her from looking at him in full, from seeing the way the colors shifted in his eyes. That which kept him cautious with her, even when he had relaxed the rest of his guard. Those eyes she could not look at, that is what she called him by. It was from this that he spoke to her.

Never your death, he repeated, lifting his head and looking down at her. You will use our word, will tell me "mongoose" to make me stop. I will listen to nothing else. But I will always listen to this, I will always stop for this, the word shared between us.

It was demanding, commanding, and absolute, allowing for no contradiction. It was also the closest he had ever come to being kind. Not your death. He would play with her, would hurt her, and he would enjoy it. But no matter why, no matter when, she had to know to stop him.

Use our word to call me back, he commanded, and disappeared into the mass within the pit.

His gaze held little sway in here; that was interesting, unexpected, but logical within the mass of life-that-was-not. Not her, not true, but from her, of her. Broken and struggling, some of them, and others still dancing with deadly assurance. His aura slowed them, and he saw them flinch when he met their eyes - vibrant yellow eyes, paler than her stripe, the same harsh color as her mane. But not fall, not die, their shadow-spirit leaving.

There seemed to be no end to them, and he gloried in it. He'd never had the chance to extend his abilities until it bored him; always, there was a limit to his play, a point where those he tormented could go no further. These kept coming, breaking under hooves and teeth, silent and screaming, the torment of her making and breaking. Ash and bone, dancing darkness that tried to hamstring him, tried to overwhelm him, that didn't realize he lived his entire life with not-quite-seeing. He saw more from the corner of his eyes than any he had ever met.

He stood in a pile of decay, rotting destruction surrounding him, and it was easily the happiest he had ever been.
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