I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.


    Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

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    Fabien

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    Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Fabien on Wed May 20, 2015 1:53 pm

    It seemed as though the bat’s touch had cast some dark enchantment upon the omen, so quickly and heavily had Fabien slipped into sleep. But it was no easy slumber at first, not deep enough to rob its dreamers of unhappy visions, nor cease to provoke their muscles to twitch and their lips to murmur soft curses. Instead, still full of monsters, and demons, and old ghosts with reaching fingers and bloody throats.

    At some point, it seemed some terrible vision afflicted him, and he began to cry out softly in a voice twisted with guilt.

    “Je suis désolé , je suis désolé... Pardonnez-moi , je ne comprenais pas.

    As the boy rasped, his body moved to curl further in against the bat’s chest, his arms lured toward the vampire’s temporary warmth like one seeking reassurance from a lover. With skin glittering from a mist of cold sweat, and trembling feverishly, he remained there until merciful sleep had kindness enough in her heart to let him rest undisturbed.

    When the omen finally stirred, the sun had fallen heavy behind the horizon, its glow like the starved embers of a dying fire. The room was cast briefly in a reddish haze, though it would darken soon enough.
    But waking in such a space was disorientating, the scent of it was strange, and the  domestic furnishing were alien in their comforting softness.

    Almost immediately the youth was aware of the skin about his throat, tight with dried blood and painfully sore. The sheets crusted with crimson liquid were glued to the back of his neck, and with gritted teeth he sought to peel them aside.
    Then the boy’s serpentine eyes shivered in nervous perplexity over the walls, up and down before he turned to examine his own body. But instead of being greeted by his own ashen skin, his eyes fell upon the dark expanse of fur, the clawed stretch of leathery wing with intricately woven veins, and the ivory threads of hair.

    Worse still was the placement of his hands, the bony fingers lost deep in that fur, the one thin arm half stretched over the vampire’s shoulder in desperation. He was so close. Fabien had never slept in this manner before, even though the bat often had come to rest beside him. But the curve of his body, his fingers, it was all wrong.

    The fox-featured boy drew in a sharp, shuddering gasp of breath. And with it, his body jolted, as though he had been plunged unexpectedly into an icy pool. From there the youth sought to gently untangle his limbs from the vampire’s own, as though he were trying to escape from a sleeping lion.  But he was weak still, so weak, and the slightest movement robbed him off what little energy he had stored.

    It was thirst alone that made him persistent. With an agonised turn of the head, his eyes fell upon the window, where tears of rain still clung to the glass, beckoning him out to where healing pools of water were awaiting him.
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    Tariq
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Sat May 23, 2015 4:38 pm

    The boy’s troubled cries fell on ears of stone – Tariq slept like the dead, only his shallow breathing and smoldering body heat betraying his continued existence in the world of the living. Doubtless the omen was familiar enough with his corpse-like slumber; he had plenty of opportunity to observe it, trapped every night in the suffocating depths of his shadows and often at his side.

    The bat did not suffer from nightmares, even when he deserved to.

    Already the daylight heat was dissipating in a lazy haze of red. It was soon replaced by the sweet chill of evening on the lush island. It was likely the cool air breathing softly through the panes of the closed window that had primed the bat to wake so easily. When the boy stirred petulantly against him he was abruptly called from beneath the waves of his cold, dark sleep.

    There was no slow return to consciousness for the vampire, no groggy confusion or delicious quivering stretch to warm his muscles. One heartbeat he was asleep and the next he was not, black eyes open and lips pulled back from the sharp white bone of his teeth. The iron scent of dried blood filled his nose and tangled his brain in cords of red and it was another long heartbeat before his intellect caught up to his animal instinct. He flipped his sprawled wing up, away from the omen, and tucked it in a curl of claw at his side.

    The omen’s half-hearted attempt to disentangle himself from the bat was thwarted as he reached for him. Strong, elegant fingers pressed into his bare stomach just above his hips as though coaxing his back to arch against him. He pulled him close, fabric sticking to skin and blood flaking like rust.

    “Survived the night, as promised,” he breathed in a low growl into his spine. His fingers idly explored the quivering skin of his stomach and the curves of his ribs before resting fitfully at the base of his torn throat, a strange collar of bone and claw.

    “However, if you continue to tempt me with your blood--” The bat inhaled the scent of his bare and brutalized skin in a shuddery breath, his grip tensing. “—I do not know I could make that promise a second time. Can you stand?” The potential in the soft question that he would be allowed to disappear both from that room of broken glass and bloodstains and from the bat’s presence was made all the more promising by the loosening of his limbs as though to allow the omen to slip from beneath them if he had the strength.
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    Fabien

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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Fabien on Sun May 24, 2015 6:00 pm

    Fabien’s splinter-thin pupils followed the bat’s lean fingers as they snaked over his paled and bruised skin. The careful change in his expression was secret, the slight parting of his lips, the way his eyelids lowered finely. And yet language of his skin, the subtle arch of his neck and soft catch in his breath, revealed the bat’s caresses were not unwelcome. But the omen’s tone was initially hard, and full of youthful determination.

    “Oui” he lied, with fragile confidence. “I will...  remove the temptation for you.”

    With every ounce of effort he possessed, the boy attempted to force his chest upright, and prop the weight of his upper body upon one trembling elbow. This movement, much too sudden in its execution, made him waver as though he might faint. He had lost so much blood, and despite the luxury of sleep, remained so hopelessly weary. His body craved days of rest, and it shackled him.

    Fabien’s vision turned kaleidoscope as he fought to remain conscious, his body in some pathetic half arch toward the edge of the bed. Within his gaze, mirror shards glimmered like sickly stars in the dying light. Mirror shards and blood, spiralling endlessly before him like a wretched, rolling sea. He felt his stomach tighten as though it might expel what little contents it held, and the boy’s chin lifted so that he might look away. But his bruised gaze fell upon the empty mirror frame, a dull oval stained with the memory of the living glass it had once held; now meaningless, nothingness.

    The omen’s eyes ignited in vibrancy.  They were full of pulsing radiance, as though an electrical current surged through him, before it was enticed out from the white tip of his charcoal tail. The bloodied fingers of his other hand crept up and over his own frail chest, and eventually settled just above the throbbing red wound that marked his aching throat. If the bat’s grip remained in place, his palm would slip over the dark stretch of his fingers, ceasing only when he reached the edges of his torn flesh.

    He traced the precipice of this fresh, clean cut with a grimace, like a ghost entranced by the mark of their demise. Gently probing the agnoised skin with a nervous, fluttery touch. He was so still he barely seemed to draw breath.

    “... Thank you, Monsieur, I-...” When his voice returned to him, it was little above a rattling whisper, and so soft it made the boy seem shy.

    But then, quite abruptly, he moved to snatch his master’s wrist like a well-trained pick pocket siezing some new prize. Unless the bat refused him, the omen’s skeletal fingers sought to manoeuvre the vampire’s hand so that he could completely lay claim to his dark palm.

    There he pressed his mouth deep into the well of the vampire’s hand, and in doing so, offered breathy words like votive offerings to an old God. “Thank you,” he repeated, firmly, appreciatively. “I am grateful, Monsieur, I am grateful to awake.” This was followed by the press of the youth’s cool brow, the curve of his cheek and slope of his lips, as he nuzzled, animal-like, into his master’s fingers. The boy's affection was inelegant, like a wild fox seeking the hands of the hunter, terrified and confused by its own longing.
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Thu May 28, 2015 4:06 pm

    Tariq was wordless as the boy struggled to pull himself from the bed. A brown stain of smeared blood remained tangled in the fabric beneath him, an ugly mark like a bruise unseen by blind eyes but flavouring the air with the scent of raw iron and sweet earth.  The vampire closed his eyes and exhaled in a shudder, an electric tremor trembling through his dry wings.

    He remained silent as the boy tentatively explored the grievous wound at his throat. His fingers persisted in a loose clasp just above his bruised sternum, indifferent to the soft touch of questioning hands.

    Darkness settled uneasily over the island, casting lengthening shadows over the room. It transformed the boy’s ashen skin into a burnished silver that nearly glowed with blood loss as he nervously traced the thin line around his throat. The shadows that pooled in the hollows of his eyes and the crook of his collarbones bled and became tangled in the bat’s hair.

    The delicate hoarfrost rim of the vampire’s eyelashes fluttered open as the boy took his wrist. He allowed his hand to be moved, his fingers held loose, the treacherous claws curved lazily. The hand was pitted with dark lines from the thorns of broken glass, the wounds already knitting together. Soon they would fade altogether. His body rejected even the memory of injury.

    The boy’s reverential words broke the silence and elicited a wolfish smile from the vampire. His teeth glinted a terrible bone-white beneath black lips. Gently, but with a thoughtless possessiveness, he slid his fingers to the omen’s chin to lift his eyes to meet his own.

    “One day,” he said, his voice rattling warm and rich in the ribbed cavern of his chest, his gaze vague and dark. “I will put you to rest and you will not awake. I will cradle your head and bid you sweet sleep and lick your veins clean.”  The press of his lips to the omen’s forehead was affectionate. “But you will not cross that deep water until I beckon you. My pleasure.” White hair fell from his shoulders as he tilted his skull, his breath faintly metallic like pennies warmed in a windowsill by the sun.

    His thumb idly stroked the boy’s lower lip. “I believe I made you another promise, beloved, to bind your throat with the memory of my hand until you do better.” His hand encircled his neck, the crook between thumb and forefinger pressing softly into the angry wound that smiled from his throat. “But perhaps the collar can wait until you can fetch it.”

    The potent scent of blood had settled in the room like dust and a deep breath sent a soft shiver down the bones of his spine. His pupils had expanded to fill his eye with a crescent of black, large and liquid and dangerous.
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    Fabien

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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Fabien on Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:14 pm

    There was then a gradual shift in the omen’s body, as his sharp spine moved to relax upon the soft mattress, and the sheets darkly stained with the memory of his unnatural blood. It was as though some heavy weight had been placed upon his frail chest, and was received by the boy in silent resignation. His expression darkened with the lowering sun, robbed of all its vibrancy until only his eyes, wide and luminous, retained the gentle glow of life. These were transfixed upon the bat’s own dark pools, as his words inspired painful visions to arouse the cursed youth’s tormented imagination.

    Fabien’s throat flexed with a single, unhappy swallow. The sharp points of his foxen ears had lowered like sails deprived of the wind, and collapsed upon his crown in utter dejection.
    The omen’s youthful lips silently formed a soft cry of pain as his damaged nerves, excruciatingly sensitive to the slightest pressure, were irritated by the vampire’s touch.

    The mere thought of any restraint moulded about his throat was met with an involuntary shudder of disgust. It seemed the dust and ash of his fragmented memories had not been completely obliterated by this recent trauma. Despite these terrible words and promises, the omen was not repelled from the bat’s dark presence. Instead, it seemed to entice him closer.

    “I wish... you would not need to collar me, Monsieur” he rasped softly, the line of his body angled in toward the vampire as though he might impart secrets.

    Carefully, Fabien forced his weight back upon his elbows with a gentle hiss of discomfort, and strove to ignore the angry protests of his bruised bones and aching flesh.
    His neck arched forward to allow his lips to delicately graze the side of the vampire’s mouth. The stretch of his skin caused the as yet unsealed wound to split, encouraging a single bead of blood to resurface. The sting was ignored, and the boy sought to draw his mouth slowly along the dark line of his master’s jaw.

    The omen was so nervous his breath could be felt shivering from behind the barrier of his teeth.

    “Je peux être bon” he managed to whisper, his lips now close to the bat's cheek. Slowly the bruised shutters of his eyes momentarily sealed, snuffing out the pulsating light that illuminated his sharp features. “Make peace with me.”

    S’il vous plait, Monsieur.”
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:00 pm

    Tariq’s loose grip about the boy’s throat had softened when he shuddered at the spark of pain it incited. His hand fell to rest splayed on the boy’s bruised chest as he shifted closer to the bat, the gesture almost as though he meant to spurn him, push him cruelly to the floor. But he did not. His palm rested softly, stilly, above the omen’s heart.

    He laughed at the boy’s hesitant contemplation, the sound a soft rattle in his throat like the strained breath of the dying. “I wish that too, beloved. So needless; I had other desires for my rest today.” The bat settled into the unaccustomed padding of the rust-splattered bed with a delight that suggested his dashed plans hadn’t been entirely unenjoyable. His great wings lazily wilted over the side to scrape on the floor, so large they were their own presence, an uninvited third guest.

    The night lay in thick velvet on the land, the darkness scarcely pierced by the yellow light the Tether regularly breathed. Outside the window, faint over the soft whisper of the ocean, a night-bird cried, mournful and moving. The bat idly plucked curious fingertips across the wounds marring the omen’s throat but soon moved his hand away as though aware of the pain that opened up inside him at the touch.

    The boy’s nervous kiss, accompanied so charmingly by his breathless plea, seemed to affect some change over the vampire. He stilled entirely, the slight rise and fall of his chest the only sign of the semblance of life beating a rhythm in his chest. Something wicked glinted in the depths of his sightless black eyes. He leaned close to trace his lips over the boy’s cheek in silent acknowledgement.

    He shifted to his side with considerably more ease than the omen had to press his body close. Gently, he took his slender fingers in his, intertwining them almost sweetly together. He eased the boy onto his back, pressing his captive hand above his head, his body pinned to the bed by the soft weight of the vampire’s chest. The gesture was far more teasing than it was threatening, although the angle of his body felt terribly like the taut tension between the jagged teeth of a fox-snare. “Look at me.”

    He was still as polished marble, his voice low. Strands of lank hair fell from his shoulders and conjured a silvery halo around his shadow-dappled features. “Think what you ask of me.” His breath was cool, only tentatively warmed by the heat of his internal organs. For all the blood he had torn from the boy’s aching veins, he had not swallowed enough to wholly slake the hunger that tapped impatiently at his bones. “If you are genuine, Fabien, ask me again.”

    He slanted his skull, this last whispered from between parted teeth as hushed reflection. “And I will make my peace softly.”
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    Fabien

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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Fabien on Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:01 pm

    Fabien’s eyes slowly lifted.

    In this half-light, their liquid illumination was like the polished silver of a scrying basin.

    Their brightness cast a shivering light over the white threads of the bat’s ghostly hair, transforming the space between their bodies into a cave forgotten by the sea. The omen’s eyes were so impossibly wide, so haunted and dew-like. Their pulsating depths shadowed by the ever impending threat of his unnatural sorrow.

    It was not lengthy, this initial look. He did not latch onto the vampire’s gaze, but rather shied away from it almost immediately. It was as though there were something too intense, too penetrative in the hollow blackness of the vampire’s eyes.  Unsurprising, perhaps, given the intensity of their time together, the closeness. The cursed youth had learned something of how deeply the bat could see into him, beyond the weak veil of his stretched skin and tense muscle.

    His pulse was hard within his wrist, its bold rhythm somewhat defiant in its strength and nervous energy. Like a bird caught firmly in the palm of a hand, still fighting to obtain its freedom, and drink once more of the boundless sky.

    The boy’s cheeks coloured, and the line of his sight rose again. The impact of the vampire’s words were engraved upon his brow, and shaped his youthful features into a portrait of such fierce, unrelenting torment. The muscles beneath his skin were tight with contemplation.

    When he eventually rediscovered his tongue, Fabien's voice caught stupidly in his throat. This painful display of vulnerability tightened the strings of the omen’s jaw, and he attempted anew, slowly picking together his words as though they were alien fragments upon his tongue.

    “I want you...” he began, but then paused and swallowed heavily. This silence made it seem as though this were enough, this shaky request. But it merely allowed him to control the trembling hesitation within his voice.

    “... To make peace with me.”

    This was no gentle plea. It had mutated instead into a distorted command, devoid of any strength or certainty. Recognising this, the boy hastily sought to rectify it.

    And once more he arched forward, tensing the flesh of his butchered throat. Once more he strove to bridge the space between them, to press his lips upon his masters' as though he were a stone effigy, a monument of worship.

    Please, Monsieur.” He pleaded unhappily against the bat’s mouth. His frail wrist could be felt trembling within his grasp.
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:21 pm

    The moon had risen as mute witness to the pair’s ill-fated tryst, her silvered light sapping the colour from both the room and its inhabitants like the bleaching of white bones on sand. The smell of blood hung lazily in the air like a flower bud succumbing to rot; sweet, heavy, and potent. There was nothing left but the glittering reflection of the ivory crescent in the toothed shards that sparkled like stars across the floor and the sudden snapping pain as the wounds on the boy’s throat cracked and bled in protest of his desperate, shaking motions.

    Tariq allowed the omen to finish his plea in patient silence, his hold on his trembling wrist binding as tight as an iron manacle. He returned the boy’s unhappy kiss, his mouth tasting of copper and hunger as though to swallow him whole.

    “Very well.” His wolfish smile did not quite reach the unfathomable depths of his dark eyes.

    “I will do it. But-“ The word was a soft hiss as he shifted his weight to more fully pin the omen beneath him. His wings rustled gentle in the dark, the crackle of an angel’s heavy pinions. “No matter how softly my peace is made, your flesh will cry out.” As though to illustrate this point, the bat released the boy’s wrist. The muscles of his stomach tensed as he wrenched his chin upward to bare his abused throat. He licked his neck with the cutting line of his eager tongue, the dew of blood from cracked lines red like rose hips bursting seed, like rubies hanging heavy around his neck. The bat plucked them with his mouth and swallowed. His tongue caressed the flesh with relish, his chest thrumming with pleasure.

    Doubtless, even this tender touch ignited raw and severed nerves to flush with hurt. The bat kissed the hollow of the boy’s throat as though to lap up his suffering. He murmured lovingly into the skin, “Perhaps you have learned the greatest lesson pain can teach.”

    He took his time. The press of his lips fell lower, away from the torn lines of abused flesh, down into the hollow of his sternum. He kissed it, tasted the stained skin on his tongue, relished it before moving on. His hands traced the entrancing fragility of his ribs beneath torn flesh, the taut expanse of his belly trembling with the secret movement of organs just below the surface. They fell lower, stripping the last remaining clothing that protected the boy’s skin from his master with thoughtless impatience. The bat moved leisurely, his satisfaction in this disrobing felt in the eager tension of clever hands, the hunger that quickened in his throat and wet his sharp-toothed mouth. His useless eyes were shuttered beneath dark eyelids, only a slender crescent of black lingering. His attention was entirely in the motion of his hands as they unshucked their prize.

    “That the only way out—“ His breath was cool on the inside of his thighs, his mouth, lips, tongue teasing just enough to elicit shivers. But he continued on, down, until the last of the cloth was stripped from skin and he was clothed only in the shadow of the bat’s dark fur and a splattered patina of rusted blood.

    The vampire straddled his hips, self-assured and precisely where he belonged. “--is through.” The words were distracted, his focus shattered now. The tips of his dragging hair pricked the boy’s bare chest as he stole another taste of his raw throat, his lips pulling threads of hot pain from the wounds despite their care.

    "Let us find out."
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    Fabien

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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Fabien on Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:33 pm

    It was not with relief that Fabien allowed a sharp breath of air to slip free from deep within his thin chest. He had not completely offered his body gladly, nor stretched out his flesh like a sacrificial lamb desirous of the blade.

    Not yet anyway, not this night.

    The omen’s narrow shoulders stiffened in pain as the flesh of his brutalized throat was touched, and pulled taut against the wounds desperate to heal. A small, half choke of discomfort split apart his demonic teeth, before it was swallowed back hastily like acidic bile.

    As the vampire slipped his way across the boy’s hammering heart and muscular waist, something within him began to writhe in growing discomfort. It was as though the parts of him not yet fully harnessed and bitted to another’s whim were roused, the parts that wanted him to lurch back with bared teeth and vibrant eyes. The instinct which made the gentle bow of the boy’s upper lip transform into a sour, hate filled curl.

    But he had wanted this, after all, hadn’t he? He’d almost begged for it, in fact. And those voices, once so loud, so full of firey protest... were now reduced to a mere whisper. A vague irritation, like a dying fly caught against window glass.

    The youth’s skull turned aside, and a troubled sob caused his diaphragm to spasm weakly. His dazzling eyes were drawn back once more to the empty mirror frame, to the awful dullness of the wood.  The muscles of his bared thighs were initially tight with tension, and his fingers nervous moths that twisted restlessly against the side of his hips. But this was quick to thaw under the sudden softness of the bat’s mouth, and the soothing, albeit troubling rhythm of his voice. It was there that Fabien was drawn, the space he occupied until the heavy weight of his eyelids began to relax like cloth.

    The omen turned his skull back towards the bat, towards the dark eyes and the cascade of ivory hair. The finality of his master’s words enticed soft trembling toward his knees, through the legs that had so briefly softened in acceptance. One panicked hand extended sharply, to snatch and curl where it could about the bat’s wrist. He gripped him there, bracing for some sudden, aggressive motion that he was unprepared for.

    Instead, there was only the sorrowful pain of throat, the miserable ache of irritated skin.

    “M-merci... Maitre,” he exhaled in a small, shuddery breath.
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:17 pm

    Tariq’s eyes, black though they were, were transfixing in their intensity. They burned with a silver luminosity that beckoned the boy ignore the last embers of his protests and follow him meekly to the slaughter. They only burned brighter at the shuddery gratitude that spilled ragged from his lips.

    Avec plaisir,” he replied softly, the words rough on his serpent’s tongue. The wicked grin bared his teeth to the moon.

    The bat’s spine was taut, the muscles braced against the omen’s chest quivering. His eagerness to hurt him carved splinters into his palms, filled him with restive energy. He bent low and traced his tongue along his throat once more, drawn to the hurt that sang from broken nerves like a wolf to a bloody bone. His teeth brushed the skin enough to coax a bead of blood over his tongue and he shivered at the taste of it. The room was heavy with the scent of rust and it burned a terrible tension in his veins.

    Abruptly, the vampire broke off with a soft hiss. In a moment he was on his feet, glass crunching. His heavy wings shivered, eyes glowing and breath coming through parted jaws. He put distance between himself and the miserable wretch crossed with dark lines of blood shivering on the bed. His footsteps blackened the floor, but he seemed not to register the pain of glass-torn flesh. His shadow filled the room as he crossed to the window and paused before it.

    “Not here,” he said, biting off the words. His liquid eyes could see nothing of the view through the glass, nothing of the rolling black water or silver light they reflected. His long fingers were restless. One pointed ear twitched and fell still. He turned to face the omen, his countenance wolfish in the shadows. He inhaled through his nose and released the breath in a soft hiss. A moment passed in strained silence.

    “Not here,” he repeated quietly. “And not until I remove the temptation to rip out your throat, beloved.”

    The bat navigated carefully back through the galaxy of broken glass and knelt close to the half-stripped boy. He regarded him in silence, nostrils flaring, before offering him the strength of his hand. “Walk with me, if you can stand. We will take you to the baths and wash your wounds; it will quiet my teeth to rinse you of your blood.” His tone was easy despite the raspy growl still sheathed within it; the command had an edge of urgency.
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    Fabien

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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Fabien on Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:58 am

    As their bodies briefly parted, the omen’s breath fled from his rattling chest in a low, shivering gasp. It was as though some thread has been loosened between them, some slowly tightening coil. The boy’s dark pupils burned into the ceiling above their heads, his vibrant eyes unblinking and ringed with such shadows.

    Fabien’s pulse was rapid in his chest. He could feel the ticking rhythm throughout his entire body, flickering like a flame on the tip of his tongue. It had seemingly paralysed him, made him oblivious to the vampire’s struggle. But at the sound of his master’s voice the youth’s head turned, and his eyes fell upon the outstretched hand.

    The idea of summoning strength enough to hoist his body from the bed made the boy wince.

    “I don’t... like it in there,” he whispered softly. Some memory, some half vision shuddered its way through his mind. Of water deep and bloody, of wet fur and endless gasping. Abruptly, he lifted one soot dusted hand to gouge his fingertips deep into the hollow of his temple, as though he hoped to dislodge scene.
    “The rain is better... the rain is cleansing... always...”

    Despite this frail protest, the boy was not disobedient. Trembling with the effort, he managed to once again prop his upper body upon his spiked elbows.  Then with a pained grunt, he forced his whole chest upright, ensuring to wrench what crumpled clothing he retained back over his hips. Soon his cold fingers had extended, moving in to claim the bat’s clawed grasp so that he could haul himself back onto his feet.

    It was then that his strength began to crumble. The boy stood uncomfortably for a time, his body swaying uneasily as the floor gleamed hotly before him like a river of molten glass.

    “I feel light... like a bird,” he rasped, his voice caressed by an abstract amusement which had curled its way into mouth.

    Something gave way within him, as though a hand had snipped the tendons at the back of his legs. He lurched forward into the bat’s chest, his knees sure to crack unpleasantly upon the punishing floor if left unaided.

    It was a pitiful sight. A dying child lured from their sickbed, his hair weighted with thick clumps, so caked was it with his own blood.
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:00 pm

    The omen’s halting words and the sputtering memories that wavered beneath them incited a flicker of humour in the vampire’s face. “I know.” He let it rest quietly between them.

    He waited with silent patience as the omen struggled to shakily prop himself up. Blood – mostly dried, mostly his own - darkened the tangled sheets beneath him like the memory of a bruise. The air flushed red with the scent of it and the vampire breathed softly to loosen the groan in his throat, a soft tremor in his outstretched fingers.

    The boy stumbled but was not allowed to fall; the vampire quickly moved close to brace him, lending his easy strength to his battered body. He fell hard against his chest and the bat’s grip moved to support him by the forearm. He clasped him firmly by the wrist as though in preparation to dance. His smile was laced with the wet ivory of his teeth and did not quite touch his dead eyes. “Come then, little bird.”

    It would not have been the first time the bat gathered the boy like an injured dog in his arms but now he refrained, instead lifting him beneath his arm and forcing him to stagger on clumsy feet. A heavy wing flared protectively about his thin shoulders as though to shield his shivering flesh from untoward eyes. He lifted him over the graveyard of broken glass and placed him on his feet again as they reached the hall.

    Apparently even the slave-house slept in these thin hours. The few night-eyed patrons still slinking the halls were too intent on their own wicked business to pay them much mind. The house slaves avoided them instinctively. It was an uneventful, if slow, journey to the bath door.

    It was mercifully empty. The water pumped from deep under the earth and heated by flame tended by a slave’s hand still smelled faintly of underground metals. Soft wisps of steam clung near the ceiling and the lighting was dim, the torches hardly burning at this late hour. The bat’s claws on the rough stone echoed softly as he entered with his bloodied burden.

    The bat carefully eased the boy down on the stone steps, his feet and legs submerged to his waist in the warm water. Whether it was an oversight or a temporary acquiescence to the boy’s exhausted pain, he left the crumbled fabric clinging with water to his lower half. Wordlessly he sat on the stair behind him, cradling the omen behind his legs as though in fear he would slump over like a corpse without the support. A clawed hand rested quietly on his collar, the pad of his thumb brushing gentle over the thrum of his rapid pulse in his throat.

    The wound on his stomach was barely visible now, a dark line of knotted skin that was already fading due to the boy’s blood that smoldered hot in his veins. It was not quite gratitude that possessed the vampire to allow a moment of peaceful silence to pass as the boy adjusted to the warmed water and the bat’s inescapable presence – but perhaps it was something like it.
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    Fabien

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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Fabien on Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:59 am

    Fabien’s luminous eyes burned wearily out from beneath the curtain of his lank, matted hair. Their beacon-like glow was reminiscent of flare light, sparking out above some lonely black sea. He wavered unsteadily within the vampire’s grasp like a drunkard, the muscles of his shoulders and thighs quivering unpleasantly.

    This journey, short though it was, was clearly torturous. The omen’s breath was a deep rattle within his chest, his ribs sharp daggers which rose harshly beneath gleaming ashen skin.

    As they neared the baths, the boy began to recoil. He pulled weakly against the vampire’s grasp for the first time, a subtle display of his continued aversion to this place. But he had neither strength nor will to resist him further, and so stumbled his way inside, silent.

    Still consumed by his sickly wheezing, the boy allowed himself to be lowered into the water like a doll. And he remained there awhile, vacant eyed and shivering, his muscles twitching now and then beneath the bat’s fingers.

    “Je ne suis pas prêt á aller dans les incendies” the omen rasped softly.

    And then he turned, with a sudden sharp twist of the waist. It was a movement that transformed only too quickly into a weak lunge, and he pushed in toward the vampire like an eager hound leaping into its master’s arms.
    The heat of the baths had encouraged blood to the surface of his skin, to the rift about his throat. It enticed fresh red threads to spiral in delicate tendrils over the bar of his collarbone. Dry blood had begun to seep from his wheaten hair, until it was dripping clean over his shoulders.

    The boy sought to bury his head in the thick fur the bat’s chest, bent like a broken sinner seeking redemption. It was an awkward embrace. The kind bestowed by street urchins who had never learned affection. Of gamins who crushed fledgling birds between their dirty hands because they had never been taught delicacy, and gentleness. But unless he was pushed aside, Fabien sought the vampire’s arms as though he might protect him from all the ills he suffered.

    “You won’t be rid of me yet, Monsieur?” he gasped. “S’il vous plaít, don’t leave me yet.“
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    Tariq
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:27 pm

    Apparently, even The Golden Tether slept in these late hours. The braziers that lined the walls had been left neglected long enough for their light to grow dim. The dark water in the baths was illuminated only faintly by the flickering smolder. It cast long shadows and illuminated the perspiration that sheened Fabien’s ashen skin until it nearly glowed. Stripped to his waist, his chest was marred with thick streaks of blood, the black smudges accentuated by the dark blush of fresh bruises. However it could not hold a candle to the damage that marred his throat – a thick cut from something like a blade smiled from the hollow just above his sternum. Caked with blood as it was it was impossible to guess the extent of the damage, although it looked severe enough to have crippled, and potentially killed, a mortal boy.  

    However, it was clear it hadn’t succeeded in ending this fox-eared boy’s life as he shivered in the vampire’s arms. The bat resembled nothing so much as a monster drawn from the depths of the black water that softly hissed as it spun about his feet. Silhouetted by the grim hook of his heavy wings at each side, he rested with the bad omen between his knees on the stone steps that led into the water. The cobwebs of his long hair were matted, tangled together with blood and sleep and some frightful exertion. But worse than the rusted smell of blood that hung over him were his eyes – the black depths of his blank eyes that glinted a predator’s yellow as they gazed vacantly through the boy desperately embracing him.

    Tariq had stiffened at the omen’s weak lunge, the memory of his sharp fingers in his side evidently still fresh in his brain. But it was a weak-lived instinct and he softened beneath the trembling hands, the gasping mouth. Gently, his palm cradled the back of the boy’s head to hold him close to his chest. The pads of his fingers smeared water-thinned blood beneath them. “Hush, beloved,” he murmured softly, his blind eyes flashing in the dark. “I am not leaving you. I will not leave you, not for a long while yet. I am here.” The words were gentle, consoling, the beast soothing the boy banded with blood and streaked with tears over the gurgle of the water. His fingers smoothed through the clumped tangles of his hair. “I am here.”
    ---
    Sive - A wandering soul, frail and bone weary with the weight of abandonment. Lonliness in the depths of an establishment that always surrounded her with bodies that only left more holes. Unacompanied most of the time, too obediant to go where she should not. A rental cut short left her with some time, and a longing to be clean. Inside the baths, there was a face she saw. Something familiar from a long time ago, his breath and blood, those ears. The name was on her lips, whisper quiet. It was rare to use that failing voice, and she hadn't the time to prep it for use. Was this a dream?

    There was a time she thought she might be going mad, and then it seemed to fade. Perhaps it was a lie, and there was something waiting deep inside, to tear her the rest of the way down. Feet moved softly, scraping against the floor, bringing her to the other edge of the bath, where she slowly sunk to knees to watch the two. And there he was. Tariq, the master of her nightmares. Her breath caught in her throat, and she was positive this couldn't be real.
    ---
    Fabien's features were almost entirely shrouded against and within the bat's dark fur. Only the ashen skin of the omen's thin neck was visible, but bent so far down that every sharp point of his spine threatened to pierce through his scarred flesh.  He kept his brow pressed close, not far above his master's freshly healed wound, as though he toyed with pressing his trembling lips there in a remorseful kiss. It was difficult to identify the wretched creature at first. There was no crackling demonic tail in sight, no sickly stripes snaking around his chest or trail of smoke which so often circled about him.  Only his voice, rasping and breathless as it echoed about the walls, fully revealed who it was. And despite the bat's instruction to quiet, his lips shaped the same words, over and over as though in prayer. "S'il-te plait reste avec moi... S'il-te plait reste avec moi, Monsieur."

    Had he been in sharper spirit, with his senses free of pain and exhaustion, he would have known Sive had arrived long before now. He would have hauled up his body like Lazarus from the tomb, and talked over to wherever she lingered to claim his prize. Now, the broken creature remained sprawled within the bat's arms, his torn throat still seeping droplets of water thinned blood down and across his shoulders and arms. With a low, shuddering breath of air he sank against the vampire's chest, unable to remain upright of his own will.
    ---
    Tariq was very difficult to sneak up on. Perhaps it was that he had been too focused on the omen’s shallow breaths, or possibly it was the hot blood thrumming through warmed veins that had closed his ears to the feline’s careful approach. Whatever the case, it wasn’t until she kneeled at the edge of the bath that his blind eyes jerked up, broad ears quivering on his skull at the sound of her scraping feet. Those dark eyes narrowed. Ridged nostrils flared. Whatever words he had for her died on his tongue as the boy sagged against him, mouthing his plea like a frantic prayer.

    Gently, he shifted the omen so he could kneel on the step beneath him, borrowing the strength of the stone. However, his eyes remained on the newly-entered slave. His voice echoed clear and strong against the walls of the room as though it were a cathedral, the words clearly meant for her. “Come here.” It was every bit a command, the syllables terse against his teeth.
    ---
    Sive - Surely she was seeing things, then, it was dark, her senses weren't typically relied on, but it seemed like a scene out of nightmares. Or a long ago memory catching up to her. It couldn't be him. It couldn't be them. Her dearest friend. Why was there so much blood? Her breath was hitched, it seemed so loud her own ears fell flat against her skull, trying to burry beneath hair. The slave was too busy looking at Fabien to notice the jerk of the bat's head. It wasn't until those words fell on ears that she glanced up to him. The memory of his lack of sight did not leave her, but she couldn't look into those eyes. Head dropped, along with hands, slapping on the ground and pushing her back, the rest of her body curling in on itself, ready to crawl away. She could pretend she was never there at all. But if this was a dream, did it matter?

    Sive slowly pushed herself to feet, trembling steps leading her forward. So slowly, as if she were being pulled by invisible strings, while what was left of her will screamed at her to run. The closer she came, the deeper her breath. Until she was so close. Close enough to touch. Once more she sunk to knees with the grace of despair, every muscle heavy. She mouthed the the name again. Fabien. But it didn't leave her, so she cleared her throat and tried again. "Are you real?" A whisper.
    ---
    Fabien sank upon the stone edge like a sailor washed up from a sea wreckage. One trembling arm alone propped his weight, while his head remained still cast down in its solemn bow. He had not parted the bat comfortably. Still the fingers of one hand reached for him, as though fearful he might suddenly be abandoned here in this stifling place. The vampire's words caused the youth's shoulders to flinch almost instinctively, as though the command were directed at him, and not some unseen creature.  But slowly, slowly the boy's head lifted, strands of bloodied hair plastered to his lips and cheek like tentacles. The omen's vibrant eyes began to slip across the floor like a snake, slowly exploring every dark corner before at last they fell upon Sive. He watched her approach from beneath the curtain of his hair, his thin chest heaving unpleasantly as though every breath he took robbed him of energy. The omen's eyes burned so brightly they sparked upon the surface of the water illuminating the bathhouse walls like a sickly glow.

    There was no recognition in the look he bestowed upon his old friend. It was unpleasantly distant, as though she had disturbed some sacred ritual. But her words caused him to shudder, and he pulled back with a hiss as though he might empty the contents of his stomach into the warm water. "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" The omen hissed, his foxen tail suddenly unspeakably animated. Where it had once remained dormant and still, now it lashed above the surface of the water like an awakened sea serpent. The omen pulled back suddenly, and with effort, pressing one trembling palm over his eye. "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" he repeated, louder this time, his words tinged with an aching snarl, his other eye still upon Sive.
    ---    
    Sive's eyes darted to the omen, the noise his tail made causing her gaze to shift between it and his eyes. Eyes that held nothing for her. The slave shrank back, body folding low, torso over thighs, palms on the floor, as if she were trying to bow. But really, she wanted to fold in on herself and dissapear. Those words were unknown, and what she once thought was a grizzly scene, now seemed to be something she had intruded on, and at once she felt awful and torn asunder, lonliness near crippling. Tears stung, dribbling over cheeks, and she realized this must not be a dream, because only in life did she hurt so deeply. And now, what was she to do? Was this her punishment for her inturruption? "I'm sorry." Her voice cracked, ruined and raw. Whatever she had done, she was in desperate need for them both to forgive her, so she could stop feeling so empty.
    ---
    Fabien's charcoal ears suddenly lurched forward, the demonic tips perfectly aligned upon his skull. His teeth came together in a screech of pointed bone against bone. The omen tore his eye away from her, his mind flooded with so many whispers and voices and fragmented memories. He continued to press the ball of his palm into his eye with awful pressure, before his fingers wrenched up into his skull and scraped over the flesh of his scalp. As soon as Sive's pain and sorrow began to coil its way through him, the omen moved. One hand and knee he moved, hauling his weight through the water and over to the edge of the bath where she lingered. It was a horrible vision, the skeletal creature with glowing eyes crawling like some being enticed from hell itself.  He was swift, despite his blood loss and pain, and only too soon his bare side brushed the bat's leg as he moved to crawl entirely from the bath and reach Sive.

    The boy's shoulder blades flexed beneath his skin, and one lean arm extended, the muscles tight and flexed under his gleaming skin. His clawed fingers reached for the top of the feline's skull, to claim some hold upon her hair so that he might hoist her head up and inspect it further. But instead of claiming her flesh so easily as once he did, the omen's hand lingered but inches above those familiar silky threads. His entire arm began to tremble, and the awful fingers clenched and unclenched desperately. But instead of enacting his desires, the omen glanced back, back over his shoulder. "Can I... Monsieur?" he rasped, his breath shuddering wantonly through his teeth and over his lips. Every part of his body was strained to breaking point, pulling against some unseen bondage; some tight straps that held him back.
    ---
    Tariq’s black eyes had followed the feline’s trembling steps in a hideous parody of sight. He remained silent as she sank to her knees. Her whispered question provoked a predator’s smile to reveal the wet glint of ivory teeth beneath his black lips to the thin light; however, the slight coil of dark humour was short-lived. As the omen half-clambered his way to her, the bat’s wings abruptly rose dripping from the dark water. Droplets splattered the ground from the force. They lingered at his side in a wary hunch of black membrane and white claw, the muscles of his bare shoulders suddenly trip-wire taut. The boy’s strained request seemed to ease the tension and the vampire leaned into the stone at his back, his long toes splayed against the ground as though in preparation to pounce. However, he merely dipped his snout in silent acquiescence, the horrid depths of his blind eyes dropping away from the feline for the first time since she entered.
    ---
    Sive's eyes rounded, fear paramount, holding her still as stone but screaming for yer to yell at the same time. This was not someone she knew. It couldn't be. The closer that body shifted to her own, the more she screamed. Inwardly only, as it was too difficult to do so out loud. But her features were poised just so, those pale eyes wide, pupils dialated, lips slightly parted, ragged breaths escaping with the rise and fall of her chest. She found she didn't move at all by the time she was reached, her head tipping just enough so her eyes could follow that reaching hand. Her shoulders pitched forward, head bowing, ears back and tail curling between legs.

    Terrified. Even those ears trembled as they picked up off of her skull to hear the inquiry. And then her eyes shot up again, first to the omen, and then to Tariq. She could not make sense out of any of it. Tears soaked into the fur at her cheeks, leaving rivulets to make it obvious. "Please..." She begged either of them, her body shaking so violently she worried she might fall to pieces. "What am I supposed to do?" This asked to no one, or anyone. Her vision slipped somewhere else, far away from the both of them so she didn't have to see either of their expressions. Surely this is how she would die? By the hands of her best friend, who didn't seem to know her anymore, while the maker of her nightmares grinned at her, like she deserved it. The slave sobbed once, it caught in her throat, and then she realized she couldn't breathe.
    ---
    Fabien's dark pupils fixated upon his master eagerly, as his breath remained a ragged flush within his throat. Whereas once it had been heavy pain, now it seemed to grow thick with yearning and hunger. Upon the bat's signal, the boy moved without thought. His actions were so horribly sharp. Soon he was before Sive, his weight heavy on one knee in some half crouch like a bridegroom courting his sweetheart. For a moment it seemed he almost recalled her, and would take her gently into his arms with that strange, hard possessiveness that had once united him. But it wasn't to be. Instead, the boy claimed her hair, his fingers curled into it until they had form a tight bond between her ears. With the careless, easy strength his curse had bestowed, he moved to haul her neck straight and sharp enough to make the bones click. The feline would need to be quicker than lightning to evade him, so sure and determined were his gestures.

    And if he caught her eyes tearful gaze would soon be but inches away from his burning, hateful eyes. The omen inhaled deeply, drinking the scent of tears and woe from the air between them, and only then did his eyes briefly close. "I know this melody," he whispered softly to her, and moved to press his lips her tear stained cheek. He traced the wet line of her sorrow with his youthful mouth, before he breathed his next question deeply her finely shaped feline ear. "Why do I know it, chérie?" There was such weight to his words. This was not a simple enquiry; it seemed like a test that must be passed, the answer to her question. But in that moment his grip began to soften, and the awful sharpness from his muscles withdrew.
    ---
    Tariq’s blighted eyes, once fallen from the pair, did not return to linger anxiously over the scene. Instead, they turned to the dark waters they mirrored as he leisurely began to busy himself with the task of fastidiously removing the thickening stain of blood from his clothes, his fur, his hair. He coolly slipped further into the warmed pool, the water lapping softly at his waist. The clawed edges of his ragged wings floated on the surface like the half-seen corpse of some terrible sea-monster. Only the idle slant of one long ear turned toward the pair on the edge of the bath suggested his continued interest; otherwise, it appeared the piteous Sive was on her own.  
    ---
    Sive's expression frozen in terror, even as she was pulled in, knowing better than to think she might be remembered. Even if it did ease her heart at first to recieve that touch. Any touch, really. But especially this one. One that never held much comfort to begin with, and yet the one she missed the most. She lacked speed, she was still and frightened, and caught up easilly. The pain that came with her hair being gathered up in such a way, the pull that made her neck stretch uncomfortably, all at once made her want to cry and groan. Instead she tried to breathe, flinching as the omen's lips drew closer. Touched her. She shuddered, wild eyes darting to the pool, to watch the vampire act with disinterest. This she should have expected. There was no help for her. No saviors, no one to lend a helping hand and gentle comfort.

    Ears flicked forward against the scrape of that familiar voice, tearing her attention away from the pool to settle on the imediate threat. She hadn't replied earlier, unsure what she could possibly say. No amount of begging would do her any good. Ah, but how she wanted to reach and pull the omen close, to hug and remember what things used to be like. Instead her body was slack, arms at her sides. After a hard swallow she tried to whisper her reply, but with her breath catching in her throat as anxiety overwhelmed her, it became hard to form cohearent sentences. "Y-you once knew me as Ca-na-ry."
    ---
    Fabien's serpentine eyes scrutinised her features with a hard, child-like interest. His eyes held all the savagery of a feral child, one who would slowly pluck apart insects wing by wing. His demonic ears remained diligently upright, the yellowing die that pinched through the cursed flesh quivering just gently as he soaked in her words. The omen's lips curled and pulled back from his jagged teeth in a slow display of amusement. "I had such accidents with those, they" he whispered, shivering slightly as old memories were dislodged. But they were not memories of her, nor their time together within the bars, when the rest of the Tether slept soundly. "They are so fragile, you see chérie." At last he turned gentle, and his other hand rose to apply a soft, tender caress to her cheek with the back of one bony palm. "Sometimes the cages I used would..."  Still his fingers lovingly stroked the softness of her cheek, moving down to the strained line of her jaw.

    He knew these bones so well and yet still he could not find her image within his butchered mind. Slowly the omen's sharp clawed hand began to slip around her gasping throat, his conjurers palm and fingers long enough to encase her fragile neck with so little effort. "...Would crush them." The bad omen's fingers began to restrict, his grip ever tightening like the undulating muscle of a python. "Then how they sang," the boy murmured. His eyes never left hers. And slowly, and with the most brutal intention, he attempted to crush the life from his dearly cherish friend.
    ---
    Tariq remained at his place waist-deep in the gently hissing water. Thinned blood washed from his fur in rusted streaks, the contrast between blood-blackened muzzle and the clean brown of his mane striking. The omen’s rasped words prompted his pointed ear to twist, although he didn’t spare either of them a glance. “Enough, Fabien.” It was a lazy command, the expectation of prompt obedience dripping from each syllable. He turned abruptly enough for the tip of one wing to flick them both with a spray of water. “We are not finished here. And you-“ He gestured to Sive with a clawed hand. “Come here.” This time it was clear he meant for her to join him at his side, although whether she had the strength to do so after suffering the boy’s hand was another matter entirely.
    ---
    Sive momentarily watched eyed that were so strange to her that she had to look away. Those eyes she used to meet for moments at a time, she now felt she had no right to stare into. A touch to her cheek caused her to twitch in surprise, expecting the worst. It might not seem possible for someone who's strings were so tightly wound to tighten all the more, as if such a gentle caress made her ache. Ever fearful, terrified by all she had seen and witnessed. For the smallest of moments, eyes rounded as she felt something around her throat. The world around her was black and quiet, giving way to words that sounded far away, though they were right in front of her. As that grip tightened her arms finally moved, hands seeking his sides, as if gently reaching to pull a treasured pet into a hug, careful, but insistant.

    Lips parted, moving with words that never left her. She gasped for air, stealing what she could before it was closed off. Pain seared as it became more difficult do traw in breath. Eyes rolled back, lids drifting over the whites of eyes to conceal them. Assuming Fabien relented when told, she'd sputter and cough, choking on air, body attempting to bend forward to relieve some discomfort. Her head was reeling, and even if she was still being touched she would struggle to obey a command. The slave crawled towards the water, carefully making her way in, nearly falling in completely, but she was able to save herself before her face was submureged. The journey to Tariq's side felt like it took forever. Despite the warmth of the water, she felt cold.
    ---
    Fabien's heartbeat was a violent drum, and Sive was sure to feel it the moment she pressed into him. For that embrace, small and fleeting thought it was, caused his pulse to race all the faster. His expression had changed too, from absent and cruel, to searching. There was softness in his eyes that had not been there before, and a surge of sadness as though he had discovered something of great meaning that had been lost from him. At the sound of his name, at the vampire’s command, his fingers slipped free of Sive’s hair. Slowly the pressure about her throat subsided, and the boy’s punishing hand released her, like a bird, to slip free from him. The omen’s spine grew law, and his arms fell lifeless against his bare sides. Blood from the monstrous gash at his throat still sought escape down his chest in delicate threads. “Something is wrong,” the omen wheezed softly, his breath shuddering. “Something is... wrong with me.” He lifted both hands, clean and almost innocent after the waters caress, not tainted with soot and earth. The boy shuddered heavily, and moved his fingers back toward his brow, to caress the smooth surface of his skull in confusion. He obeyed the bat no further, but remained instead upon his knees, his tail curling protectively about his ankles as if it encouraged him to remember.
    --
    Tariq did not allow the feline to grope blindly for long- the instant she was close enough he reached for her, gently drawing her close. The vampire was flushed with blood, his body warmer than even the water that sucked softly at the fabric of her dress. His hands were thoughtlessly possessive. They flit along her face, her waist, performing a perfunctory examination for the benefit of sightless eyes. Clawed hands lingered with interest on her bare throat before moving on. “There, there, little one,” he said, his voice hardly rising above the slap of water against the stone. “What were you hoping to discover here today, hm?” He did not give her time to answer before raising his voice once more. “Fabien.” He called to the boy and this time there was a tooth of warning in his tone. “We are not finished here.”

    Tariq turned his blank gaze to the slave shivering against him. “And now we have a pair of hands eager to help.” His smile was cold, laced with the icy shards of his teeth. “How fortunate.”
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    Tariq
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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

    Post  Tariq on Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:45 pm

    Sive hardly saw any recognition in the omen's face, she'd been so wrapped up in the threat of his hand crushing her windpipe. And with her back to him as she crept into the water, he was left to fend for himself. Though ears did pick up on his words, and she twisted ever so slightly to finally catch sight of him. A touch, something pulling her near made her freeze. At least she tried to freeze, but her body easilly moved where it was willed. Never once, she thought, did her breath leave her quietly. Feeling weighed down by the fabric she wore, afraid of her body giving out on her and going under, she reached to grip onto Tariq without really thinking on it. She would use him as a form of leverage, something to hold onto while he explored her.

    There was little new, hair was longer, she still held a brand over her heart from her last master, piercings he had given her, but that was it. Perhaps there might be something different in that voice, as if it pained her more than usual to use it. But it was possible that was because of an omen's abuse. "I came for a bath, Sir." Bruised flesh, when touched, made her flinch and suck in a gasp, but otherwise she was as still as possible, even though she did not want those touches. Head bowed some, because she was ever willing to serve, but still she trembled, afraid of what might be in store for her now.
    ---
    Fabien's back straightened almost immediately, and his skull turned just enough so that one sharp pupil moved to regard the bat. Gradually he rose to his feet, his bony hands still trembling gently at his sides. The omen was painfully slow in his actions, his steps faltering as he turned back toward the water' edge. "I don't... remember why I'm here," he rasped softly. There was no plea within his voice yet, but it haunted the edge of his words with disastrous promise. The boy began to prowl the edge of the water, his eyes lingering only briefly on Sive, before they turned away. He struggled to look on her for long. Eventually the cursed creature rediscovered the stone steps he had only just crawled from, and began to re-enter the water until it lapped about his thin ankles. His foxen tail sparked into life, crackling the air in his wake as though it sought to pull him back from those dark waters and away. "Qui est-elle?" He enquired softly, his eyes fixated upon the vampire.

    Those eyes did not settle on Sive again, they moved within the space around her. "Qui est-elle, Monsieur?" The omen's fingers moved to caress over the taunt muscles of his stomach, his palm flat as it slipped over his scar ridden ashen skin. It was as though he was searching, in this action, for some answers to his own question. As if in that embrace between them, there had been left some trace as to why he suddenly felt so strange, so sickly. He remained where he was, the water just a little below his knees, frozen in place.
    ---
    Tariq savoured the gasp that rose when he pressed the pads of his fingers into bruised flesh but did not unnecessarily prolong her pain. He allowed her to cling to him until his hands were satisfied with their exploration. “Then you will have it,” he assured in a soft serpent’s hiss into her ear. “First you will rinse my fox of his blood.” The achingly sharp points of his teeth and deadly sprawl of his claws hinted at pain, pain, such terrible pain, but when he nudged her forward, back into the water and close to the agitated omen, it was with tenderness. His ears flicked upward at the boy’s perturbed question and the ghost of a smile haunted his black lips. “Do you not remember her, beloved?” He lazily turned back to the last of the blood still crusting his fur. “She is-- ah. Not your friend.” There was something of guarded menace in the look with which he blindly regarded the feline, nostrils flaring.

    “She does as I say. Let her tend to you.” This too a command, his fangs clicking together at the last.
    ---
    Sive felt tears tremble over cheeks again when she heard words from Fabien that broke her heart. She wondered what she could have done to have the memory of herself taken away from her dear friend. But she didn't look at him, instead focused on the vampire, who held precedence. He who needed to be heeded well before the omen. Her touch did not leave him until she was pushed away, at which point she slowly made her way to Fabien, eyes downcast, searching for his reflection. And then she froze suddenly, ears flat against her skull and eyes wide. She found her own reflection, dark and unrecognizable. There was a sharp sound of water shifting around her as she turned to stare at the vampire as if he'd just reached into her chest and tore out her heart, and was now holding it in front of her with a cruel grin. "Why?" More tears, and she struggled to keep herself upright.

    "What did I do?" A sniff and she'd turn to face Fabien again, this time seeking out his eyes, which she expected little from. "I would do anything." She glanced back again. "Anything. If you killed me, I would strive to rise up, just to do as you say." Well probably not, because then she would be dead. "What did I do? How do I fix it?"
    ---
    Fabien sunk onto the step, the deepest part of the bath he dared enter so far. With his old joints cracking softly, he settled upon the step until the water just eased over his hips. Still his vibrant eyes were upon his master, though his features relaxed when an answer was given and his anxieties laid to rest. No friend, no connection to his past, no intimate bond that tied them together. Just another slave wandering the halls at night, some unfortunate stranger who had disturbed them and was now lost. And her sweet misery was evidently intoxicating to the suffering starved omen, who bestowed gentleness only on his favourites. Now, and at last, his eyes fall back upon Sive, watching her approach him as though she'd been instructed to place her head within the jaws of a wolf. "She says strange things, Monsieur," he wheezed. One of the boy's forearms fell to rest upon his knee, but his other hand extended toward the confused feline, and one finger beckoned.

    "Come then, closer to me, cherié." Fierce desire made the boy's muscles tight beneath his flesh, and once again it seemed something dark and absent was working its way into his youthful features. Now, she was caught between them both. The bat and the spike eared omen, with his lashing tail and beckoning finger.
    ---
    Tariq did not look up from the work of his clever hands at the sound of the feline turning to tearfully question him. Idly, he inclined his head, strands of ghostly hair falling over his shoulders. “She does as I say-“ he repeated delicately, the menace growing more naked as it sharpened his words. “- because she is clever enough to know what happens if she does not.” He took a half-step nearer to her, the dark water washing against his waist, the space in which the wretched girl was trapped growing smaller and tenser. The braziers had fallen to a smolder this early in the morning, their soft orange light a mere glow that bathed the room in dusk. The vampire turned a sharp ear to the omen’s observation. “Oui,” he agreed in a soft hiss. “Pay it no mind. She speaks for me.”
    ---
    Sive felt like she should die. Take away the pain. But not in the water. The water was scary. Shoulders crept high, nearly meeting cheeks. Her legs gave out and she sagged deeper into the water, fear glazed eyes recognizing what she'd just done. Don't anger the bat, slave. He would eat her. She turned and inched closer to the omen, ears low and tail trying desperately to curl between legs. He beckoned, and the vampire herded her closer, and so she came to do the work meant for a stranger. Trapped, and having no intention of trying to escape, she fell silent instead, holding onto choked sobs and the whine of each aching breath. Destroyed, the slave shifted close to Fabien, where she would cup water and lift it to the wound at his throat, letting water wash away what was left behind.
    ---
    Fabien in that moment, believed the bat's words without a flicker of hesitation. From this position, bent with his chest leant forward, his mutilated throat was easily accessible. The horrible depth of the wound revealed in all its glory. The cut was not entirely jagged, but the skin had yet to fuse together. It was little wonder he was still able to speak at all, nor move. It was evident the omen cared little about whether the blood was cleaned from him, but he did care extensively for the agonised creature to move in closer to him. He bowed his head a little for her, the light of his eyes flickering like gas lamps. Now they were together again, she'd likely feel his heavy breath upon her ear, each warm flush. But the longer they lingered together, the colder that breath became, until something within him seemed to faintly crackle and buzz like an old generator sparking into life.

    "Be gentle, cherié, it stings," Something seemed to shudder through him anew, and the omen's hand extended sharply to grip Sive's wrist, forbidden her from seeking more water to cleanse his wounds. He sought to twist her arm painfully behind her back, hard enough to make the tender joints grind miserably. "Non... non, something is wrong. Pourquoi est-elle si triste?" He snarled, suddenly frustrated by his own longing, and the strange sensation he obtained from having Sive close. He pulled the feline hard into his chest, and one lean hand snaked over her collarbone until he sought the throb of her heart beneath the water slick fur. The pressure of his hand was so tight; it was almost as if he debated tearing the frightened organ from its case. "Why do you know me?"
    ---
    Tariq, satisfied now that Sive had remembered herself, turned back to the task of cleansing himself of the blood that lingered over him like a death-shroud. He submerged himself in the depths of the dark waters. The slave’s choked tears became muffled underwater as he scoured the dried blood from his muzzle, the hollows of his eyes. Dark tendrils of it snaked upward before dispersing. He resurfaced just as the omen twisted the feline’s arm, his hair clinging to his face like the countenance of a drowned man. He stood tersely, water raining down in a loud splatter, and approached the pair in silence. The bat took a seat on the step next to his beleaguered omen. A clawed wing extended to its impressive full length and curled around them, draping them in membrane and shadow without quite grazing either one.

    A terrible tension seemed to be collecting in the slant of his shoulders, gathering like a dark storm cloud in the breath that hissed softly from parted jaws. But the vampire offered neither protection nor guidance and remained wordless, his cloying proximity impossible to ignore.
    ---
    Sive watched water trickle over blood, meeting it, diluting it, and washing it away. She sympathized with that fleeting blood. Her nearness to the omen was stiffling. Breath tickled her ear, causing it to flick in retaliation. His eyes were on her, she knew it, she could feel it, but she could not bring herself to look into those eyes that no longer recognized her. It was too cruel, and she could only take so much pain. Fingers were gentle, brushing up blood, never minding it touching fingers, lingering in her own fur. But before she could reach for water again she was hissing in pain, that arm easilly snatched up and moved behind her. It hurt, it made her head go fuzzy, her body warm. Her chest heaved as she was trapped, wriggling ever so slightly as if she wanted to get away. But as she was touched again, that pressure made her pause.

    Her heart was racing, and she finally looked behind him, at the area surrounding them. She should try to escape. But it was Fabien. It had been so long. Even if he did not know her, she knew him. Didn't she? His question made her faulter and she tried to move, to look back to Tariq, only to find he had gotten closer without her realizing it? She shook violently, getting no help, and having no desire to lie. "We once shared a cage, I loved you as my friend, and now my friend is gone, and I am alone again." Whispers were harsh, words breaking, threatning to fall to pieces. She curled in on herself a bit, sure that either of them would lash out and end her at any moment.
    ---
    Fabien's eyes were unblinking, and his sharp ears quivered once again as he listened to her explanation. He watched with deep, trembling interest as her lips formed each word. And as the answer came, the omen desperately sought for these memories. He ripped through the doors of his mind, trying ever ruined corner for some trace of her presence. Gradually he released her arm, his cold, corpse-like hand slipping from her with a gentle sigh. His other hand departed the flutter of her heart, leaving her free to breathe without his cruel pressure. The boy's features had changed, smoothed out somehow and turned more youthful, more how she remembered him. And so it seemed something had been dislodged, and then the omen welcomed her, with both arms extended, into his embrace. Back against his heart, the chest that was still alive with some strange electric current.

    His arms sought to curl around her with his old, firm gentleness. The way they always had before in all that time they had been together. It was a pity then, that this brief moment of gentleness was a trick. That he was so good, so very good, at feigning kindness when there was only cruelty. Whether she accepted his embrace or not, it would soon become apparent he boy meant to hurt her. "She is a poor liar, maître," he murmered, glancing toward the bat. Then the cursed creature arched forward, and immediately sought to force his dearly beloved friend beneath the surface of the water. Down he would force her, into those terrifying depths, where she would not be able to regain her breath unless he chose to let her go. "Such fine sadness, but a poor liar."
    ---
    Tariq’s breath left his chest in a hot hiss at her response to the omen’s fumbling questions. The tip of his ragged wing trembled as though in anticipation to knock them both off their feet and into the dark water, put an abrupt end to their confused reunion. However, the omen’s rejoinder coaxed a flame to burn beneath his black eyes, setting them aglow. The bat’s wing fell to rest on the ground behind them in a dragon’s sprawl of claw and thick membrane. “Truly,” he rasped in his crow’s-tongue, his muscles losing their tense edge. He lounged back easily into the stone step. His long hair still dripped specks of diluted blood. The feline, it seemed, could expect little aid from his still figure.
    ---
    Sive had poured her heart and soul into those words, expecting nothing in return. She should have expected cruelty, but instead was pulled in close, an embrace she missed. An embrace that never made her feel any better in the long run. Her heart continued to pound, a part of her feeling lighter. Better. Could he have remembered her? Or was he taking pity on her? And then dread as he spoke. No! The words were on her lips but never made it through. She was under the water, body convulsing violently, trying to resurface. Not the water! Panic and dread and fears from long ago came bubbling up with the air bubbles that surfaced from her under water screams. And without thinking she sucked in a breath, and water was sucked into lungs.
    ---
    Fabien's neck arched as he felt her struggle, and a smile once again curled into the corners of his wretched mouth. Already his movements seemed somewhat more fluid, less laboured and rigid with his own pain and suffering. Instead his woes were allowed to flit aside, as he savoured Sive's unhappiness until his toes were curling with pleasure. However, the omen did not mean to kill her, he had no appetite for such things. And when he felt her struggling soften, he released her slowly and withdrew his hand so that she could surface freely. His foxen tail lifted and whipped against the wet stones, crackling in a mixture of satisfied delight... and something else, something he had yet to place. It was there though, under the surface of skin, sure to work its way free like a gangrenous splinter.

    The boy moved, turned his body aside and towards the vampire as though he were desirous of something. Tentatively he reached out to trace his fingers along the bat's forearm, a nervous gesture, as though he were uncertain of his own actions. "Did she clean me well, Monsieur? Are you satisfied now?" So painfully changed was the omen now, beyond repair it seemed. Only once did his glowing eyes turn back toward Sive, still studying her with a dull glimmer of confusion and uncertainty.
    ---
    Tariq had observed the scene with mild disinterest, sightless eyes unfocused and lazy. It wasn’t until the omen released the feline from her waterlogged torment that he leaned in and took hold of her wrist. Firmly, but without unnecessary malice, he pulled her from the water and against him as though she were an exhausted child needing succor. He cradled her wet, shivering form against him with one arm. The other responded to the omen’s gentle touch, extending his forearm to bring him close by the back of his head. His question hardly needed an answer; the bat radiated languid satisfaction in every soft movement, in every still muscle and tranquil curve of spine. But he pressed his warmed lips to the boy’s forehead before releasing him. “Yes,” he breathed, the liquid black crescent of his eyes partially concealed beneath the hoarfrost of his eyelashes. “I am satisfied.”
    ---
    Sive was drowning. One of her most severe fears, drowning. There was no more air, and she struggled to get to it. Never before, she thought, had she struggled so violently for anything. Especially her own life. And as conciousness threatened to leave her, as her body lost the strength and will to struggle, she was pulled free. Water hurled from her mouth, burning as she finally had air. Lungs expelled water, and she coughed until she was sure she'd have no voice at all, it hurt so badly. Greedy gulps of air soon followed, and in a haze she was pulled away from the omen, her shivering form in the clutches of the one she feared the most. Ah, but such comfort was not disuaded, and she curled in close, tears mingling with the water that clung to every inch of her. There were words she did not grasp onto, only the terror she'd felt moments before, hanging her in limbo.
    ---
    Fabien's eyes shivered over Sive, her small sodden form curled against the bat's chest. It was not with remorse that he looked upon her, but something strange still clouded his eyes. It was as though he were watching her through a mist, catching glimpses here and there with no shape or substance. At the press of the vampire's lips against his brow, the omen's eyes closed. For a moment it seemed he too might then fall in and against the bat's chest, his shoulders trembling with relief and something that might have been joy. The youth's head sank, and the pointed fingers still outstretched above the place where they had slipped over the bat's dark fur. Just when it seemed he might recline closer, he pulled back with a shuddering intake of breath, and pushed his fingers through his wet, tangled hair. This, whatever it was, whatever had happened, was too much. It threatened to gnaw its way through him unpleasantly. "Can I... can I leave now, Monsieur? Can I go?"

    Fabien rasped breathily, tearing his gaze away from them both. The omen was only too aware of what had led him to this bathhouse. But perhaps it would be forgotten, for tonight at least.
    ---
    Tariq held the girl close, cordially lending her the heat of his body. Clawed fingers soothed through her drenched hair as though he were stroking a well-loved family pet. His touches were ceaselessly tender, the brutality she had just suffered only seeming to have increased his fondness. The omen’s eager question distracted him only briefly. “Yes, go.” It was a soft assent, not fettered by any restrictions or boundaries. It wasn’t until after the boy had heeded his dismissal that the vampire would lean in close to a feline ear, his breath warm as it fluttered gentle against skin. “Your bath as promised, mockingbird.” Cruel humour laced viciously through the whispered words, peaking at her old pseudonym. His long memory apparently had fewer holes than his wayward fox’s. “You will rest with me for now. When morning breaks, I will release you back to your cage. We have much to discuss.”
    ---
    Sive's half lidded gaze was mostly on Fabien, watching him watch her, his movements towards Tariq. All of it. But that gaze was blank. Broken. As if she were lost somewhere in her own thoughts and bad dreams. Ears flicked forward and breath came in quick, as if she were surfacing from the water all over again. He asked to leave, and was given leave to do so. Her body curled against the vampire's a bit more, soaking up what comfort he gave her. Even if it was cruel comfort. Tender touches mocked her enough that she could sink into the tease, making her wonder at his intentions until his words chilled her. Even though it was a mild relief to hear an old nickname, she sobbed quietly against Tariq, all of the pain in the world seeming to sink into her. And she couldn't take it.

    Still, she nodded through tears, mouthing a, "Yes, Sir," but the words were barely a whisper. It was hard to speak. Whatever it was they were to talk about, she was not going anywhere, not until he let her.

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    Re: Act VIII -- He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes.

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      Current date/time is Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:46 pm