Lithia

So I was very sad when one of my RP’s on the side from wifey (she calls them side bitches) faded. It was going really well.  A bit lewd and colorful but very descriptive and the story had potential. Oh well. However I will post a piece of what I wrote for it just because I like it. Enjoy!

The rule was simple: No direct contact with anything outside of the Keijukainen realm. One could observe and that was all. Lithia Inestra, a primitive Keiju, followed that rule without question for over a century. She spent most of her time occupied with the transgressions of man against the wildlife within the dense forests of her domain. A protector, as many saw it fitting, neither ‘good or evil’; those titles quite subjective. Lithia was a mischievous sprite, finding pleasure and beauty in all things broken, occasionally twisting the fate of those that crossed her path. It wasn’t exactly frowned upon, as long as she followed the cardinal rule and stayed out of sight. There were severe consequences for any that breached that verbal contract, but it had been thousands of years since anyone of her species dared broach the subject, thus it had been all but been forgotten.

 

Lithia had two forms.

Her most common was that of a seven inch porcelain figure, resembling much of a lesser scale to the impressive statues that scattered Imperio. Silver, transparent wings endowed the full length of her tiny form, changing colors with her mood emitting a curious glow that could only be seen by those who lingered between the planes of existence. Life and death was also subjective, and humans tended to only believe in what was right in front of them, never seeing past that thin veil that lingered like a shadowy fog in which she thrived within. Thus, she was invisible to most. If one were lucky enough to bestow upon her beauty in said form, violet eyes shimmered like a threatening storm, thick raven locks cascading down between her delicate wings, clothing her naked hourglass form. Wisps of hair would cling beneath her voluptuous breasts as if to cup and support the supple flesh, defining her hairless peach that blushed like a rose between her thighs.

 

Lithia’s less frequent form wasn’t too much different than the normal except she could manipulate herself to blend in with her surroundings, giving the facade she were human. Her wings would be concealed beneath the ‘veil’, her curves lucid, embellishing a hunter green, tight knit corset that barely covered past her nipples. Her belly would be bare, a disheveled skirt ruffled and seemingly torn at all angles like crumbling leaves brittle to the touch. Most times her feet were unclad, her skin impermeable to the harsh climates and rocky terrain.

 

Lithia was growing tiresome of the redundant repose of her mere existence, so more and more she would travel into the cities in her minuscule form, perching along the shoulders of those marble sculptures, seeking out to learn and understand the mundane existence of man. On occasion she would whisper into their ears inspiration or corruptive impressions, finding amusement in how things played out in turn. Lithia had only felt remorse for her fellow creatures she watched over beneath the pale moonlight and never had she regretted her playful objectives; that is until one night.

 

For reasons obscured from reality, eyes befell upon an impeccable subject of a man, his scent being what caught her attention in the first place. There was something animalistic about his essence that lured her interest beneath his ethnological  anatomy, only heightened through his perspiration, overwhelming her carnal senses.  Lithia found herself stalking him for days, watching from the shadows, whether it be in dark corners or nestled within his long blond hair as he slept. She became obsessive, forgetting all else as she yearned to understand what compelled him to follow his brethren and then suddenly stray. His muffled curses and starset eyes tugged on her heart strings, finding his reason for questioning all that he knew, harrowing her own reflective purpose. And so, she found herself whispering into his dreams, her voice harboring an angelic sting as she sang to him with a siren’s call….Until he was excommunicated from his home.
Lithia pursued him through the forests, a place she could meander in her sleep by smell and sound alone. His cologne magnified and now changed somehow, sending her focus into a daze, the pixie under some perception of hypnosis. She wondered now if his soul had awakened, the strength he displayed clearly beyond any mortal she had ever seen as not many had dared to trespass the boundaries as he had. As she roosted along a small stone by the side of the cave’s entrance, she barely noticed the raven until it was already flying off into the midnight fog. Lithia worried if he had noticed, thus subconsciously breaking the cardinal rule when she called out to him, her voice carried in on the back of the winds of her beating wings with a haunting peculiarity, remaining in the open to be seen in her tiny form by any who knew where to look.

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Spring Storm…(With Flare)

So, some time ago I wrote a scene for the RP Shadows Of The Forgotten, called Spring Storm. My good friend, Camila, re-blogged it a little while  back and it reminded me of how I tried to put together sound effects and music to myself reading this aloud. Sadly, the cheap program I have made the sound…well less than perfect. It certainly has tons of room for improvement, but you get the point. I didn’t include the reading in this version because I couldn’t get the audios to not clash enough to my liking, so here is the music and sound effects. Camila was kind enough to take my writing and audio clip and put it into a visual youtube video for me. Thanks again wifey! ^.^

In regards to the scene, it is personally a favorite of mine for a couple reasons. One, I actually managed to get what I was daydreaming about in my head, out into paper. I am pretty proud of this scene because of that reason but also it shows some metaphorical beauty that one may get the basics from reading out of context, but not all of it. For those of you who are not familiar, Ess had found an unlikely friendship in a stalker; a stranger, that which is Luckas. The scenes giving some nice beginnings and background to their unexpected bond, can be found on this blog, referenced as ‘Ess and Luckas Meet Again: parts 1-5’. Anyways, I would like to think here, as Ess, she was experiencing a moment of peace that she wanted to share with Luckas. At this point in the story, it is fairly new, the realization and discovery that they share a psychic bond brought on when Luckas tried to erase her memories. This ‘bond’ lets them communicate in a way, unintentionally at times, so that in the past, Luckas had briefly experienced some troubling things Ess was living in a present moment. This scene is to share with him, those peaceful moments that are rare and far in between and I’d like to think also, to share a little piece of herself. It’s the only time I can remember, showing as her ‘adult self’, an innocence which she believes she has fully lost.

To Slay a Shadow

The brighter the light, the darker the shadow we cast. That darkness can not be avoided, only embraced as it will never stop stalking us day in and day out. When the light is extinguished, some fear that abyss consuming them in their blindness, but only if they choose to keep their eyes closed to what lays before them. Some believe that their obscured twin may even leave them in that crepuscule, but one can not incinerate what will always remain a part of us. Embracing those demons doesn’t just help us understand our own, but in doing so, enlightens us to the world’s best kept secrets. In turn, we then see ourselves in our worst enemy while barely recognizing our best friend. Perhaps then, the enemy transforms to our closest ally. We can then envelop compassion, forgiveness and project empathy to those who lack it.

My Shadow: I can feel his eyes upon my soul, reaching out to graze my skin, his icy breath upon my neck. I question his closeness but fear his distance. All those casted within my shadow will envy me from afar and die within his arms.

~~Written contemplation as Essence Talon, Shadows Of The Forgotten~~

This was just something that flooded my mind after reading OM’s blog post. Thanks for the writing prompt, so to speak. ^.^

Bloody Knuckles

Original writings with Trickster (who wrote Mageria) taken from Shadows Of The Forgotten. Here we have my character stuck on babysitting duty and things take a turn a little bit down the line there. For those of you who may not have read other things I’ve posted, Ess can not have kids. (I’ve previously mentioned Darren as her son…that’s a spoiler, but he was born before the brutality.) That was taken from her at a young age from a brutal beating/rape from her time as a slave at a brothel before she escaped. Some scars just run too deep. We write in Text based Role Playing style, so again, be kind when reading as it is in a different style. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

{Raven’s Nest}

There had been something of a one day cold that was working it’s way through the camp. Nothing harmful, but the best way to deal with it was for the effected person to stay by their fire and sleep for the day. And, it seemed to have caught Mageria. She had managed to get up and dress, coughing the entire time. Jess was glaring at her, but with six children in a building that was comfortable for two adults; she wasn’t going to get any rest anyways. There was a knock at the door, looking at the time told Mageria that she was far late for Ess’s training. She groaned under her breath and started towards the door, only to find Jess there in front of her. The pregnant woman pulled the door open and ordered the children outside before glaring at whoever was on the other side.
“Today, endurance training. You get to take care of the kids.” She closed the door firmly and grabbed Mageria’s shoulder, somehow managing to steer her even though the Captain was taller by 4 inches and had years of fight training.
“You . . . are going back to bed.”

Ess stumbled backwards from the sudden entourage of children running past and around her (followed by Puppy), quirking a brow she nodded with a chuckle at the idea of the kids as her ‘endurance’ training for the day; like she hadn’t done enough running already this morning. It was not a bad day to spend outside, although it was cold, it was well above freezing. Tala came pouncing over happily, diving into a pile of fluffy, light snow besides the wolfhound; the effect covering both animals in white. The boys and girls laughed happily in a game of tag, taking turns in tickle torture when they caught another and at first seemed to be self entertaining.

“Look, it’s the pretty doggie!” Lily yelped happily as she ran up to Tala, the wolf wagging her tail in response, distracted as Puppy playfully tackled her causing Lily to giggle. Lily turned towards Ess and gently tugged on her sleeve, “Can I pet her, Miss. Ess?”

With a slight smirk, Ess nodded, kneeling down to lock eyes with the little girl, “Only if you promise to be real gentle with her, okay?” Lily clapped in her excitement, running over towards the wolf and instantly wrapped her small arms around Tala’s neck, causing the wolf to cough in a slight choke, tail thumping harder in the snow. “Aww, think Tala likes you Lily.”

A sudden defiant scream, alerted Ess to the boys arguing who’s snow ball hit who first, the sight causing her to roll her eyes. With a sigh she stood walking over to the four as they began shoving one another back and forth. “Hey!…Really you all can’t play nice for five minutes?” Ess’ words fell on deaf ears as they ignored her. Tucking her upper lip behind her top teeth Ess let out an ear piercing whistle, Tala bolting forward to her side. For a second she got the boys’ attention before they went back into it. Crossing her arms a bit frustrated, Ess turned to Tala, “Tala….stand at attention!” She commanded, the wolf sitting back on her haunches expectantly with a bark. “Sound the alarm!” Tala tilted back her head and began to howl extremely loud and long, the sad song echoing into the day, causing many who were hustling around the camp in their chores to stop and question it with a curious stare. All the children stopped dead in their tracks to stare at Tala wide eyed. When the wolf ended her song, Ess stared at each child expectantly. “Now that I have your attention…who wants to help with Tala’s training?”

Ess smiled when all the children lined up like little soldiers, awaiting instructions. “First rule…any whining, you lose privledges….Any fighting…..you sit out for the activity for the rest of the day….Are we clear?” Ess spoke softly, yet her tone commanded obedience. All six children nodded firmly, the two girls giggling when Tala barked as if to confirm Ess words. “Right…and then you’ll have to deal with Tala…” Ess held back a smirk as the kids gasped, the wolf trotting circles around the line. “Ok then….while I work on a reward for your assistance….First task is to help Tala with her speed…Try to catch her!” With that the kids dashed forward, Tala leaping aside and around a few trees leading the children in pursuit, Puppy trailing Lily from behind.

Aiden had appeared behind Essence, and when she turned she almost collided into him. “Shit, man!…Funny I was just about to come looking for you…What can we do about making some sleds for the kids…?”

Aiden laughed, raising a brow at Ess’ question. “You plan on having them pull it, Talon?”

Ess shook her head, “Very funny….more like the Wolf and Dog..”

Aiden thought for a moment, crossing his arms across his massive chest, “I think I can work with some pieces we have lying around….When you need it by..”

Ess looked over her shoulder, enjoying the playful scene as Tala remained out of reach of the kids, but only just. It was as if she was letting the kids have a slight chance, enjoying the game herself. “…The sooner the better…”

~~

Lunch time came rather quickly, and already the children commanded Tala about with the cutest hint of authority. Ess taught them some basic commands, and in that Tala was spinning in circles trying to keep up with the demands of the little ones. “All right….who’s hungry?” Ess yelled out to the crowd, as she finished cooking a stew over the fire at her camp. Out of breath, the six happily sat upon the large log of lumber beside the fire, devouring the hot stew with some cider Ess was able to grab from Jess. The Captain was still confined to her bed with the much needed rest that was due to her, per Jess’ command.

One of the girls spoke up for the first time all day, “Miss Ess? Can I feed Tala?” The child appeared to be a few years off from Jason who was in the beginning of his adolescence, so Ess had no problem with her helping herself to the stew upon the fire. “Just..set it down and back up…don’t want to be in the way of a wolf and her food…and don’t forget Puppy now…”

Lily chimed in, “Ya, Puppy’s hungry too.”

Ess looked up at one of the younger boys, Clayton she thought was his name, as he approached her with a shy smile. “Miss Ess….do you know any stories?” All the children’s eyes were on her now, curious to her answer as they worked on their meal.

“Uh…” Ess’ mind went blank. “Let me think…a story…huh?” She smiled placing her bowl aside, arms outstretched towards the boy as he inched closer, climbing up on her lap. Ess wrapped her arms around the boy, a bit surprised by the small display of affection, but it warmed her heart all the same as she gave the child a small squeeze. Ess really didn’t remember any stories from her own childhood, she decided something somewhat true would be best. “Ok….I can tell you about the wolves then….”

Lily piped in, “There aren’t any wolves though…Tala’s the only one.”

Some of the other children began to debate, “..But if there’s no more wolves, then who’s Tala’s mommy?”

“Where’d they all go?”

“There has to be more, somewhere?”

“I hear the WolfPack helps protect them from mean hunters..”

Ess sighed, raising her finger to her lips, waiting patiently for the voices to calm in their sudden array of questions. “Wolves, are pack animals. They have very strong ties to family…they are loyal, loving, intelligent, aggressive, and great hunters. Just because you haven’t seen many doesn’t mean they aren’t everywhere, especially in the forests. They aren’t all like Tala here or like their cousin Puppy…and tend to shy away from people.”

Ess continued on in her explanation before she defined how not all are like Tala, and how she found her years ago. There was much that made Tala different from the average wolf and that was her training, human interaction from a tiny pup, and with the additional help of a Beast Speaker. Ess retold shortened, clean versions of the times Tala had saved her life and visa versa form poachers in these same forests.

“I heard that’s what Puppy was made for….war dogs for hunting wolves.”

Ess glanced along the many faces and then back towards the animals at her feet. “Just because one person created Puppy’s breed for that purpose, doesn’t mean Puppy has to live that way, right? Puppy, likes Tala, and seems to like people who are friendly. Puppy can choose what he likes and what he wants to do. We are all in control of this.”

Jason spoke quietly, “Just like Mageria says we don’t have to learn to fight if we don’t want to..”

Ess smiled as Lily scooted closer to her, nodding at Jason’s comment. “Very true, But one still needs to know how to defend one’s self.” Ess glanced up to see Aiden making his way over to her with an affirmed nod, Ess gently placing Clayton onto his feet. “Ok guys…ready for sled rides?”

The next couple hours flew by, as Ess simply watched the kids take turns on two sleds: One harnessed to Tala, the other to Puppy, giving tours of the camp at different paces. Aiden had explained to both animals to be gentle with the littler ones, making sure they didn’t fly off the sled even though the children pleaded to race one another. Ess shook her head, knowing better. No matter how hard they tried to command Tala or Puppy to go faster, the two only listened to Ess or Aiden.

Lily rubbed at her eyes, looking up at Ess expectantly, reaching up to be held. Ess was taken a bit back, just staring a moment before she knelt down and picked her up, letting the girl rest her head upon her shoulder. “All right kids, time to pack it up and give the animals a rest. Got to be back in time for dinner.” Ess slowly led the group back towards the Captain’s cabin, letting Aiden unstrap the wolf and dog from the sleds. The boys ran forward, barging through the door only to be reprimanded by Jess to take off their slushy boots and change into something warm and dry.

“Can we go sledding again tomorrow?” Lily whispered to Ess.

Ess stood in the doorway, looking at Jess as she set Lily down and smiled just a bit sad. “It will be up to Mageria…ok?”

“If Maga is feeling better..” Lily smiled, her eyes closing in a slit as she turned and bounced off for dinner. After Puppy made his way inside after the group, Ess closed the door behind her, making her way back to her tent.

‘Is this what it is like to have kids?’ She pondered to herself, her expression still a bit sad. Ess had enjoyed herself quite so, and she did feel more mentally tired than anything as the kids were good for the most part. Even when they fussed or argued, she wouldn’t mind doing it all again. Absently she rested her palm along her flat belly, thinking on what she would be missing out on, when Aiden approached her with Tala by his side.

“You looked like you all had fun today, eh Talon?” He beamed, pulling his hood tight over his face to hide from the coming night chill.

Ess shrugged, attempting to hide her smile. “Tala got lots of exercise….Thanks for helping out.. with Tala and the sleds and all.”

Aiden gave Ess a playful tap on the shoulder, “Don’t mention it. Happy to help.” He gave Tala a gentle pat along her side as he added, “..Ever think about giving up this life and having kids of your own, Talon?”

Ess’ shoulders slumped at those words, her expression shutting off completely as her fingers clenched around her shirt across her stomach. A flair of anger cross her purple iris’ but she kept quiet, knowing Aiden was ignorant to her situation and was just making small talk. At least that was what she was trying to tell herself, to calm down. Ess attempted to play it off with a not very convincing laugh as she answered, “..If I want any…ever…I’ll adopt..So many without families ya know..”

Aiden nodded, “Right…but if you found a guy you liked…would you try for some of your own?”

Ess began to shake in her anger, not looking at Aiden as she started to storm off but was stopped by his hand clasping firmly around her arm. “…Ess…what’s wrong?”

Essence halted, turning abruptly, her fingers curled in a tight fist which painfully collided into Aiden’s right eye as she snarled in her fury, “Ess??!…Did I bloody tell you…you could touch me!?” Stepping back she held in a few tears, cradling her hurt hand, the knuckles already began to bruise. “Stupid men…” Tala began barking, glaring hard between Ess and Aiden while Ess shook her head to Aiden’s objections.

“..E…Talon…What did I say?!” Aiden cried out, holding his eye, blinking as it swelled and he tried to look at Ess.

“Just…leave me be..” Ess felt a bit ashamed in her fury but would not allow herself to let him see, she couldn’t stand for him to see… Ess bolted at full speed back to her tent, Tala on her heels as tears fell from her cheeks, she dove inside, hiding beneath a pile of blankets. There she remained for the rest of the evening, never leaving to eat or anything. Time seemed to stand still, Ess sobbing heavily for the first time in so long, she couldn’t even remember. She felt so alone in that moment, not even hugging Tala for comfort, as she cried herself to sleep.
~~~

Next Morning..

Mageria waited patiently for Ess to finish her run, sipping a cup of hot cider. She had heard about Ess entertaining the children yesterday; apparently it had been highly inventive. Rather more quickly than she had expected, the other woman came around the bend. She was shaping up nicely. Raising one eyebrow, Mageria beckoned her closer. With a closed expression she obeyed, standing just a bit defiantly before her. Mageria shifted so that she wasn’t facing Ess directly, staring instead out over the river.

“You know, we’ve all got things in our past that we’d not like brought up. Around here, we respect that, because we’ve all got our own personal hells. For example, I’d tell you to never ask Aiden about the scars on his wrists. But,” she shifted so that she could take Ess’s wrist, examining the bruises there. “First things first, I need to teach you how to hit properly. Your knuckles look worse than his eye.” She gestured at a bag of sand hung about chest high from a nearby tree. “You can start with that.”

Getting up, she walked Ess through the proper way of punching without breaking her own bones; then stepped back. “Come find me when your knuckles are bloody. After that we’ll go over the proper places to punch to cause some real damage.”

Ess nodded slowly, her expression almost empty as she stared and mimicked Mageria’s form, not quite punching the bag of sand just yet. When she was satisfied, she took a chunk of her rage and sadness and tested a few punches. Her wrist and knuckles ached a bit, but she saw the difference. Mageria had left her alone, and that was when she began hitting harder. Bending at the knees she lightly danced around the sand bag in a one, two motion with her fists. Trying to keep her mind clear was not an option that day, and it was just one thought after another memory,after another thought, which only seemed to cause her to hit harder.

{Flashback…22 years ago in BlackPond}

Essence backed herself into a dark corner, her hands bound before her which she tried to use to block the man from coming any closer. Her voice was weak from her constant wailing, her cheeks streaked through the filth from her flow of tears. Ess wasn’t alone in the room, however. Several other young girls were huddled together in the far corner, trying to remain silent in their fear of angering their attacker.

“…Now…be a good litta’ birdie and put the dress on for the mistress to see….” Jasper breathed heavily over Ess, the hot stench of him practically suffocating her, causing her to gag a bit.

Ess whined softly, shaking her head slowly, hiding her head behind her hands in preemptive defense, knowing what was coming as she was struck hard across the face.

“…You’ll do it….or I’ll do it for you!” Jasper’s voice bit into her as he began tearing at her nightgown.

“No….stop!” One of the other girls screamed. “Just do what he says….it’s easier this way…”

Ess was trembling, trying to fight off the man to no avail, so tiny and weak in comparison. Ess managed to kick the man between his legs, causing him to pause momentarily in pain only to grip her by the throat, raising her high against the wall. Her pale cheeks began to turn red, slowly to a blue as she kicked, panicking to breath as he choked her with one hand, the other tearing the sleeves off her gown. “Stupid….litta’ whore…” Another moment passed, Ess’ eyes rolling up in her head as she lost consciousness.

Essence awoke some time later, her throat aching in pain, finding herself dressed in a blue, cotton gown. She was on the floor of a room, empty of all but a fire place which was burning the last of it’s embers, several girls huddled around it for warmth. One of the girls spoke, the familiar voice perking Ess’ interest as a blond blue eyed girl, a year or so older than herself approached her. With a sigh, the girl looked over Ess, gently examining the bruises along her throat and jaw. “You…should of just done what Jasper said…you’ll live longer if you do.” The girl paused, forcing a sad smile that did not match the emptiness peering out from her gaze. “I’m Jemma….”

~~
Some months had passed, Ess finding her only friend in that hellish place was to be Jemma. They’d share the bits of bread given to them, or what they managed to steal from the dogs who seemed to be fed better than they were. It was like a prison, where they were told they would be conditioned to be the perfect little fantasy, the perfect woman; or as Jasper put it, “A savory whore.” The girls who cried a lot, were the ones Jasper focused on the most, so it was up to Jemma and Ess to keep eachother calm, and helping to keep eachother out of trouble. It began to dawn on them, how their numbers started to dwindle. Most of the girls had hardly any fight left in them, and when it seemed they were almost broken, Jasper took them out of the room and Ess never saw them again. They weren’t sure if they were being let go, or killed, until one of the girls actually came back. Tess, was her name; of course she stopped responding to such, and when she was returned, wouldn’t even look at any of the girls or explain what had happened to her. The look in her eyes, vacant and cold, gave Ess chills, unable to imagine the horrors she must of went through. It was like a nightmare they couldn’t wake from but instead fell farther into darkness, losing sight of the light.

“We have to find a way out of here, Jemma…” Ess whispered one night, unable to sleep.

“How….? We can only get out if Jasper comes for us….I don’t want to be like Tess…” Jemma cringed.
“…I see that as the only chance we’ve got….”
~~

The next time Jasper came into the room, Jemma and Ess began to cry, holding eachother in apparent terror. “Oh..what do we have here? Is it time for you two now?” Jasper muttered curiously, a sadistic sparkle in his eye as he dangled the room key playfully over their heads. “Well…you two can come along like good litta’ birdies or I can make you…”

The girls continued to wail but stood obediently, shuffling along the floor as they followed Jasper out the room, Tess watching Jasper dangle the key as if it were a piece of meat. In a sudden terrified craze, she began muttering to herself, rocking back and forth. “Why…do they get to leave…why do I have to stay….THEY ARE GONNA ESCAPE….NOT FAIR NOT FAIR..!!!” Tess began screaming, jumping to her feet, she leapt up on top of Jasper’s back, clawing at him for the key. Jemma and Ess were wide eyed in confusion, until they looked at eachother taking off in a sudden sprint down the hall. The commotion stirred up the house, several hired hands appearing down the halls, causing the girls to dip and run into another direction. Soon enough they were cornered against a window, where Ess instantly began pounding on the glass, not caring when her fist went through and sliced her all the way up to her elbow. After taking out all the glass with her bare hands, blood slowly coating her skin, Ess began pushing Jemma towards the window. “Time to go! Hurry, out the window!”
Ess squatted, Jemma climbing up on her shoulders and out the window with a heavy thud as she landed on the otherside. “Run Jemma!” Ess never even got a chance to climb out, before she was struck hard with the hilt of a sword, everything turning black as she hit the ground.

Ess groaned, her head throbbing in the annoyance of always getting knocked out in order for anyone to get their way. Maybe it was a good thing to not know what was happening to her, not like what she saw when she awoke. Tess, Jemma and herself were bound to chairs, all facing each other. Ess went to speak and Jemma shook her head sternly, thwarting that attempt as Tess began hissing in their direction. “You stupid girls…are gonna get us all killed…you know that-“ Tess was cut off as Jasper appeared off to the side, a chuckle escaping him. “Probably right…my litta’ whore…” He stepped in the center of the three girls, turning slowly to look at each of them. “So…whose gonna go first….hmm?”

Ess spat at the man. “You should be the one to die. You’re horrid man!”

“Ah…we have a winner….”

“Don’t touch her!” Jemma screamed.

“Oh…feeling competitive now are we?” Jasper turned away from Ess and grabbed Jemma by the hair with one hand, the other fiddling with his belt.

Ess began thrashing in her chair, rocking it back and forth, til she was almost on her feet, her back bending forward to keep balance. “Get off my friend!” Ess tried to ram into Jasper, using her chair but was simply knocked aside.

“Oh..is that it now…” The man sneered. “What are you gonna do for me, if I leave Jemma bird alone?..Maybe I should have Tess here show you girls how it’s done…”

Tess didn’t even put up a fight. It was like her mind was gone, and all that was left was an empty shell. Jemma screamed, refusing to watch while Ess simply cried silently, darkness filling her thoughts. “I’m gonna kill you one day…”

Jasper laughed as he approached Ess. “I doubt that birdie….”

“If not me….someone else will…”

Jasper brought out a dagger, and began cutting Ess’ bonds loose and then backed away, holding the blade to Jemma’s throat. “Now…if you want your friend to be spared…you best do what I say…”

Afterwards, Ess curled up, trying to cover her bare flesh, trembling in pain to the point she began to vomit. Jasper gently ran his fingers through Ess’ curls, panting like a dog over her as he dressed. “Better than you thought it’d be, wasn’t it birdie?” Jasper then walked back over to Jemma, who was sobbing perfusely, her eyes never leaving Ess. “You bastard!”

“Maybe I am…” Jasper snickered, bringing the blade up towards Jemma’s throat. “Did you get all that? Your turn…”

Ess sat up and growled, “You said you’d leave her alone….you said she’d be spared! I did all that you said! You’ve won!”

Jasper nodded, “I did, didn’t I?” Without another word he grabbed a handful of Jemma’s hair, slowly dragging the dagger along her throat, causing the girl to gurgle as she gasped for life, spitting up thick droughts of crimson. “See…where having friends gets you?” Jasper turned out the door, locking it behind him, leaving the three girls alone.

Ess stared back at Jemma, unable to move, her mouth dropped open in shock in almost a foolish expression as she watched the life drain from her friend. She stood, still without a stitch of clothing on her as she went to her friend, resting her head on Jemma’s lap she held her in her last moments. “I’m sorry Jemma….I’m so sorry….” Ess whispered.

“It’s your fault! You will get us ALL killed….he’s right you know…doesn’t pay to have friends in here..” Tess muttered hysterically.

It was in that moment, Ess felt the spirit inside her fade some; when much was taken from her today. She was soiled through body and soul, made to believe all this was her fault. Ess was the one who wanted to escape and failed. She had shown weakness, and let it be used against her all for nothing. Jemma died anyway, but at least now she was free. Tess was right. It wasn’t safe for anyone to have friends in here. They were all better off alone, worrying about themselves and their own survival. Ess remained with Jemma, letting her blood coat her skin, cracking and peeling once it dried. Felt like over a day before anyone came for them, dragging Ess away from the blond corpse without a fight. The violet color of her eyes twinkled with a silver lining, a curious glow emanating from them as she watched without feeling as the dogs were released upon Jemma in a hunger frenzy, tearing her body to bits as they devoured her.

~~~

~Present Moment~
Some time had passed, Ess finally paused to look at her knuckles when it dawned on her that she couldn’t feel anything anymore. Her skin was peeled back just around the knuckles, shiny and red from their repetition, yet Ess just smiled going for another round. “They…are not….good and….bloody…yet….” She muttered in a defiant growl, the words seeping out each time her fist collided with its target. The aching inside her seemed to level in her excursions, but it never dissipated that day. It was as if she forgot to find the Captain even after the blood began to drip off her hands, she kept going, tears of frustration streaking her cheeks. When her arms tired and she felt the muscles heavy and almost numb she started kicking the bag of sand, angry yells following each hit. Refusing to stop, hours had gone by as she attempted to release her rage into that sand bag before her.

“Enough!” Mageria came around the curve of the path, Tala dancing at her heels. She had gotten distracted sorting some problems out, otherwise she would have been back hours ago. Tala had come whining and scratching at her door, making her realize just how late it really was. Once she realize just what was probably going on down near the river, she had grabbed her healing kit and nearly run out the door.
“Enough, Ess. Sit down, girl.” Carefully taking one wrist, she grimaced at the state of her hands. “Gods. You may not have worked it all out today, but if you can move in the morning I’m going to be surprised.” Gently, she lead Ess over to a boulder and sat her down. Pulling a familiar small jar out of her bag, she started gently smearing healing salve made up with as many numbing agents as she could get in; it certainly made her own fingers go numb. After covering most of the girl’s hands, Mageria carefully wrapped them in a protective layering of gauze.

Mageria started cleaning up, placing her things back in her bag before standing up and slinging it back over her shoulder. “Come on, then. We’ve got something for you to eat back at the cabin. You can eat by yourself if you want, or you can eat with the rest of us.” She watched the path in front of them, smiling at Tala now that the wolf seemed calmer. “If you eat with us, the children have been told that they can’t bother you, so you don’t have to worry about that.”

She didn’t say anything else, just walked slowly as Ess stumbled and staggered. It was obvious that she was still raw over whatever it was that had been triggered yesterday, the only thing to do now was to wait and see if she could move past the pain or stay mired in it. She hadn’t been lying, nearly everybody who chose to work in the Blacks had gone through some trauma or other that lead to them being fit to living a life fighting in the shadows. It usually wasn’t fighting skills that caused somebody to have to drop out of training, she could pick candidates better than that. But nearly one out of three couldn’t move past their pain and would have ended up twisted and broken if she didn’t let them go. She prayed that Ess could move past this.

Ess had practically collapsed to the ground, back to reality once she heard the Captain in her ear. Blinking from an angry expression, her features softened as she let her wounds be attended to and was silent, watching the Captain curiously. Her heart still ached, but the anger was lost for the moment, so that even through the physical pain she was feeling she actually started to feel better. Ess whispered a thank you to Mageria as she followed her back to the Captain’s cabin. “..Those kids…..would never be a bother to me, M’am…” Ess stated firmly with a nod. The idea of seeing them somehow calmed her and made her realize just how hungry and thirsty she really was at that moment.

Tala had curled up next to Puppy as Ess ate with the others. Ess forced smiles at the children when they waved happily to her when she had entered, but now she was just frustrated that she couldn’t hold her spoon very well to eat her soup. With a sigh, she stared at the bowl on her lap, when a tiny voice whispered shyly to her. “Miss…Ess?” Lily smiled at her. “..You don’t feel good, Maga says, so I want to help…” Lily carefully picked up the spoon and brought some soup up for Ess to reach. She could hear Jess trying to call Lily away from her, but Ess only smiled.

“You’d do that for me?” Ess whispered, thinking how if it was any other adult who tried to do this, she would have shunned them away, but the innocent gesture of this child simply touched her heart; reminded her of someone in her past. Lily smiled and nodded with a giggle as Ess playfully snapped her lips over the spoon, giving an exaggerated satisfied response. “Mmm..thank you..” This went on for a few minutes until the bowl was emptied and Lily crawled into Ess’ lap. “Can I have a hug now too?” Ess asked the child, and Lily simply snuggled herself against the woman, responding with, “Tomorrow, you can come to my tea party…” Ess laughed unexpectedly and nodded, “Yes M’am.”

Some of the boys came over and sat on the floor before Ess with a sweet expression that simply melted her heart. “Can we hear another story, Miss Ess?” Resting her cheek on top of Lily’s head she beamed at the attention of the children, the aching in her chest slowly subsiding. “Well…what do you want to hear about?”

Clayton spoke up first, “Ooo..oo… I want to hear about dragons!”

“There’s no such thing Clayton..” Another boy protested.

“Says who?” Ess interjected, her brows narrowing in a puzzled look. “I happen to know many who believe they exist, and some who swear they have seen one..”

“What do they look like?” Lily chimed in.

With that, Ess was hooked, reeled in and caught, spending the next hour recalling the stories she had shared with a childhood friend, from long ago. In the end, in order to get Lily to go to sleep, she had promised, when she was feeling better, she would draw her a picture of what she thought a dragon should look like.

Just Another Moment…

Hello,

I was rereading some posted pieces on Shadows of the Forgotten and decided to share this. To bring those unfamiliar with the story, up to speed, this takes place after Luckas and Ess leave the city of Blackpond, just after disposing of Ess’ traitorous brother, Ian. He deserved his suffering, trust me. Maybe another time I’ll post that entire scene but in the meantime if you are curious, you can read the story at the above link. Anyways, Ess’ mother died in childbirth and she never saw her (can’t remember her because she was an infant) and Luckas took a memory from Ian and gave it to Ess. It’s a sweet and beautiful moment. Enjoy.

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Ess’ head snapped up at attention, her brows came together in a puzzled expression, as she moved away from her horse and stood before Luckas. Gradually her eyes casually scanned her friend, snickering when her hand reached for Luckas, fingers once again slinking through his hair where she paused to ruffle up a few locs. She let her eyes lock with his, the rest of the world melting away.

In the beginning, as usual, there was only darkness. As if her eyes had been closed, suddenly opening, rays of fading light; reds, oranges, pinks, and yellows streamed along the horizon. Leafless trees bending from a howling wind against the setting sun, gave the surrounding buildings a lingering glow as street torches were lit for the oncoming evening.

“Ian…it’s your turn to clear the table son…” A man’s voice called from inside. “And shut that window, you’re letting the heat out.”

Ian sighed, giving the window a forceful shove, locking it tight. Moving towards the kitchen table, he began piling the dirty plates together, pausing to stare over towards the mantle. There, Ess’’ father was massaging his wife’s shoulders from where she sat before him, rocking slightly in her chair. Symphony was humming quietly, resting her hands upon her enlarged belly, cheeks glowing a rosy hue against her snow white skin. Dirk was running his fingers through her long, burgundy strands, humming softly in unison. Symphony’s eyes slowly closed as her lips parted in song:

Sweet…Sweet child…see me…..
Tiny..white dove..
Destined to be free….
Winds carry you above…
Speckled in crimson blood…

Sweet….sweet love…hear my song…
Burn with desire…
Never settle for the wrong…
Toss regrets into the fire…
Their ashes blinding those who conspire…

There was a pause, Symphony opening her lavender gaze to look into Dirks deep blues and for a moment it was like all else was forgotten. Dirk leaned forward, kissing Symphony’s forehead as he slid his hand over hers and they gasped, muttering simultaneously. “…You can feel the heart beat…” They both laughed, as Symphony continued to sing, her husband’s tenor grace reverberating off the walls when he joined in.

Sweet…sweet baby…
Open your eyes….
Beauty of the soul, little lady…
Real love… that never dies…
Drink deeply the life, draining the skies..

“Ma…how do you know it’s a girl?” Ian muttered out, Dirk chuckling at his son’s apparent perplexed expression.

Symphony turned to look upon Ian, a kind smile overtaking her expression. It was like Ess was there, looking straight into her mother’s own eyes…her eyes. The voice that answered, was unexpected, compared to the soprano-alto that sang seconds ago; now higher pitched with an accent, her vowels dragged out in a subtle lisp. “…Because son….she told me..”

Essence beamed brightly, tears shimmering like stars, aching to fall, yet she held them back, gasping a bit, her vision going dark. As reality slowly trickled back into focus, Luckas’ black eyes already faded from their mimicked violet, Ess found herself stretching out for the image of her mother as it disappeared. She didn’t even notice how her hand hovered just beside Luckas’ cheek, her ears ringing with her mother’s words. “I can feel it……she will be the light in darkness…she will love…she will hate….she will suffer….but still her fire will burn..”

As Luckas’ eyes faded back to his usual black there was something slightly different in his gaze, so much in fact he could feel it in the form of a slight shiver working its way up his spine. He wasn’t sure what that shiver was, or what feeling was behind it really, it wasn’t unpleasant just… Odd. Slowly, he took a step back, his cheek brushing against Ess’ hand as he turned his face away from her, his eyes lowering to the ground as he whispered. “Like I said… Moments.”

Meet Dirk

 So here is a flashback of my character Essence when she was small, having story time with her father. It’s adorable and one of my favorites of her father because he is awesome and there is so much meaning beneath the story he tells for many reasons, that which I can not disclose because it hasn’t all come to light yet in the RP Shadows of the Forgotten. The bits of dialogue that are in bold are usually when a telepath is using some form of power of suggestion. This is noted here for clarification because unless you have read what is posted so far, you wouldn’t know that Ess’ father was a telepath of sorts, more specifically in being like a muse and that gift with the power of suggestion. Many of the things said here, in this flashback, for example, are quotes Ess uses later on or morals or beliefs that are applied to her life later on. She’s only just making the connection because it’s almost like a hypnotic suggestion. It’s subtle, nevertheless. Anyways, Enjoy.

 

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Twenty Six Years ago…Whirlwind..

“Da?” Ess whined, rubbing at her sleepy eyes and dragging her sheep’s blanket behind her. “Da…” She continued, not finding her father in his room but in the living area before the fireplace.

“Essy…it’s late…what’s wrong Sweetness?” Dirk whispered, putting down his pen, kind blue eyes looking over the tiny four year old with concern. “Did you have another bad dream?”

Ess answered only by squirming her way onto her father’s lap and covering both him and herself with her blanket. “I  dunno..” She muttered, bouncing her feet that hung off of  Dirks knees. “I didn’t know where you were..”

“Aww, sweetie..I’m always Here.

What you doing?” Ess asked, staring down at the table where Dirk had left his pen beside a small leather book, torn pages sticking out from beneath the journal.

“Writing stories, Essy.” Her father smiled leaning in and kissing the top of her head.

“What kind of stories? Are you going to read to me?” Ess’ eyes widened in interest as she looked up at her father.

“Maybe when you’re older Essy. Some of them are scary.” Dirk half played, suddenly hugging his daughter tight and pretending to shiver in fright.

Ess giggled, tiny dimples appearing at her cheeks. “Don’t worry Da…I’ll keep the monsters away..” She stated proudly and wrapped her arms around her father’s neck. “I won’t be scared, promise.”

“My brave little girl, so sweet that she would put herself first for her old man.” Dirk winked, absently tugging on Ess’ curls and running his fingers through her hair to loosen a few snarls. “It’s ok to be scared though, Ess. You being brave just shows that there is something more important out there than your fear. But it’s late and you’ll have nightmares, so how about I tell you  a story about your Mother, hmm?”

Ess started to protest, glancing down at the journal as she began chewing on her bottom lip.

“Ok, Da…you  tell me scary stuff when sun is out..and…” She sighed, snuggling up as close as humanly possible to her father, closing her eyes to listen. “I want to hear about mommy being little…” Ess commanded with a tired nod.

Dirk chuckled at his daughter, leaning back with her close against his chest. “Yes, M’am..”

“Let’s see…..when I was around your brother’s age, I first visited this town with my father. Your mother was born here in Whirlwind but I was born…”

Ess chimed in, “Oakstone!”

Dirk chuckled, patting the girl on the back. “Yes, very good Essy. My father was what we call a peddler but he wasn’t any ordinary tradesman because he acquired rare items for people besides the normal everyday stuff we need to live.”

“Like food and fur, but what are rare items?”

Dirk nodded. “Don’t forget the little wooden figurines my mother would carve.”

“Like the dragon!! But if grandma had never seen one, how did she know what a dragon looks like?”

“Now you are distracting me, Sweetness..patience. Daddy will get to that…”

Ess pulled the blanket up to her neck and closed her eyes as Dirk backtracked a bit. “I was not sure what was meant by ‘Rare items’ as they were always kept a secret from me because my Da said it was dangerous to speak outloud of such beauties. If everyone knew about them then everyone would want them and when that happens people fight and destroy those beauties.”

“Why?…If they break them and make them go away, then no one can have em’.”

Dirk leaned in and kissed the top of his daughter’s head. “You are very right. How did u get so smart?”

Ess peeked through slit eyelids and gave a tired smile and shrugged. “Ok, Da. Was this where you met Mommy? How old was she?”

“Oh, right right…Yes, this was when I met your mother. She had to have been a few years younger, so maybe around ten. I didn’t know it then, but your mom had a very special gift and it had just started to show itself. See, my Da set up shop for the day by the Cherry Blossom trees where your mom was playing in the fallen petals.”

Dirk took a slow breath, closing his eyes a moment as if to get a clearer picture, his smile fading as he fought to remain upbeat. “Symphony was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.” He opened his eyes again and nodded. “That is saying a lot too because my Da and I had been all over Valcrest. She was dressed in white, small pink blossoms embroidered along the sleeves of her gown, the folds of material flowing in the summer breeze. Her hair wasn’t as long as it was when she had you, but it was past her shoulders; straight, dark red hair. Your mom was singing as she danced beneath the blossoms and it looked as if they moved to her voice. It seemed like she was controlling them with her song.”

“Was she?” Essence opened her eyes to look up at her father.

“No, Sweetness. As I got closer I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off of her…and now that I think on it, I can’t remember the words of her song.” Dirk fell silent, quirking a brow as he thought, his handsome smile returning. “It could have to do with what I found out years later from your mother. Symphony believed that everything happens for a reason. Some things are within our control and some are not, but we always have a choice..even if the choice is one we don’t like to think about.”

Ess sighed, shaking her head in a bit of confusion. “Da..I don’t get it..”

“ What I mean Essy, is in my case, I had caught her eye one of the times I visited town but I had never seen her before this day. She chose to invite me into her life, even if in the most not obvious way. Her song was about me..so she said and it..brought me to her.”

Essence’s brows furrowed, a somewhat cranky look in her eye. “You saying, mommy’s song made you love her?”

Dirk chuckled, reaching down to lift his daughter’s chin to look directly into her eyes. “Your mother, only made me notice her. No one made me love her because that isn’t something that can be forced. It just…happens. We can’t control it but…we can control what we do with it.”

“..I still don’t get it..” Ess pouted, causing her father to laugh louder.

“You will..but there you go distracting me again..where was I..?”

“You just met Mommy…”

“Right, right. Your Grandpa, my father had been watching me with your Mother and tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention and passed over to me discreetly a couple small Iris flowers…the color of her eyes…of your eyes, Essy. She allowed me to place them in her hair and that was the moment I really first saw her eyes. It wasn’t just the color, but the way they flashed brightly when she laughed. It brought out an intricate pattern…I mean you know with lots of lines and zig zags…like the veins of that Birch Tree you watched me cut down yesterday.”

Ess nodded, once again closing her eyes as if she were trying to picture her Mom in her head. She listened for some time as she stayed quiet and her Father went off on the fine lines of her smile and the kindness in her touch when he held her hand. It was soothing to listen to the description, making it almost as if her Mother was there with them in that moment.

“Da..You miss Mommy a lot…” She whispered sleepily.

“Yes, Baby girl, I do..She was…the strongest woman I have ever known.” He answered, an obvious tone of sadness in his voice.

“So, what happened next? When did you move to Whirlwind?”

“Aren’t you getting tired yet?” Dirk poked his daughter in the side playfully.

“No..” Ess giggled through a yawn.

“Well..just as my Father was closing up shop and packing away the wagon, a stranger came riding on his horse. He was dressed in black and was carrying a curious package under his arm that he was looking to trade with my Father. Your Mother and I watched as the man revealed a large rock like object, rough to the touch but sparkled as if covered in gems and sapphires. My Da’s eyes lit up instantly, weighing the object in his hands, clearly stressing some under the heaviness before placing upon a table. Without a word he went into the wagon and retrieved what I saw as a dagger. It didn’t seem special but the stranger looked quite excited to trade his object for the dagger. After he left I asked my Da what he had traded the dagger for and he said..it was a Dragon egg.”

“Really? Did it hatch? Was there anything in it? How heavy was it?!” Ess sat up, spewing forth an array of questions.

Dirk leaned in close as if he was about to tell a secret, exaggerating his smile as he continued. “Well…I never found that out. See, I didn’t really believe it was a real Dragon egg, but not that whatever it was, wasn’t valuable. Yet, your Mother looked scared.. She said,  “‘Get rid of it..Dragon eggs only bring death..’”Dirk whispered, clutching Ess tight as if he were afraid, but Essence’s eyes widened, jaw dropping in awe.

“So, I tried to get my Father to listen to her but naturally why would he indulge someone’s fears based on stories alone and no real facts. We can’t go by Myth alone..”

“What about the Twins? They are Myth..” Ess objected.

Dirk nodded. “Yes, Baby girl but they are also a guide. I want you to learn from life and make your own decisions and not just fear something because someone tells you to..”

“But, was it really a Dragon egg? Why haven’t I seen it?”

“..That night, after we had returned  to our home, my Mother and Father and I were sitting down to dinner when the screams began. Outside, the town was burning in bright flames that seemed to spread from nowhere.”

“Was it a dragon?! Did it come for the egg?”

“That’s what I thought, Essy. My Father and I never saw what was causing the fires but we didn’t stay to find out.  We escaped, leaving the egg in fear of taking it with us. My Ma swore the fires came from the sky and she kept telling my Da over and over she saw large shadows that resembled a  winged creature but my Da would never admit to believing it.”

“That’s when Grandma made the wooden dragon.” Ess added, Dirk confirming with a nod. “Why did you leave? Why not build a new house?”

Dirk hesitated, finally stretching back and propping his feet upon the table and snuggled Ess closer. “We were all afraid. Many people died Ess and there were rumors. Rumors of what had happened to the town and who had caused the fires. The few who survived, after that, slowly disappeared. Or so I heard.”

Ess’ eyes widened again. “Did someone kill them? Steal them?”

“I don’t know, Sweetness. But that’s why we went to Whirlwind and made it our home. Wasn’t so bad because then I got to be with your Ma all the time.” Dirk sighed, “But now, little Miss, it is off to bed before all this talk of dragons gives you nightmares.” He stated, rising to his feet with his daughter in his arms, carrying her to her bed with little to no effort. Moving to leave after tucking her in and giving her a goodnight kiss, Ess cried out to her father.

“Da..can you stay in my room?” Essence asked sweetly, somewhat half asleep. “I miss you already…”

Dirk was silent in the darkness, an adoring smile crossing over an amused expression. “If that is what you want, Essy. I’m going to get a blanket, ok?” He shuffled out and back in the room in seconds, only taking the time to put away the book and torn pages first. He settled beside her bed, in an upright position upon the floor.

“I like it better when you’re here…” Essence mumbled almost incoherently.

Dirk rested his head next to her hand and  watched her for a bit before falling asleep to the sound of Ess’ soft snores.   “I will never leave you..”

Essence and Luckas Meet Again: Part 4

Shadows Of The Forgotten…

Continuing the same scene…we get an unexpected visitor. All rights to Ari are credited to a an amazing, fellow writer, Nibblesnbits (her Screen name). Or as I call her at times, Nibblets. Can’t leave stuff out now… Enjoy!

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“Hum…” Luckas chuckled looking at the drawing. “I always imagined these demons to be more… Human-like. You know, like darker and creepier versions of our selves with red eyes and manic smiles on their faces… Oh, wait…” He said, breaking into laughter.

Even though he joked, Luke had paid close attention to what Ess was saying, it made a lot of sense. After all, some things are just worth the risk. He tilted his head and smiled rather cheerfully. “I hope you remember what you just told me. It might save your life some day.” He sighed and mumbled under his breath. “Hell, it might even save mine.”

Ess’ head snapped up listening past Luckas’ voice to catch the familiar shuffle of boots and clammer of armor, her fingers releasing her journal to the wooden floor. Her attention turned towards her front door as if hypnotized, raising a hand towards Luckas to be still immediately going for her sword and dagger that was still on her bed. As she withdrew both her weapons a curious sliding thud echoed off her door, causing Ess to curse quietly to herself as she was expecting something quite different from what she found as she peeked out from one of her curtains. Men dressed all in black, similar to those she encountered that morning with their leader and his hawk. Kirsten was the man’s name, if she remembered correctly. He indeed had left a curious impression on her, one that she was not willing to trust. Ess had no idea who was at her door, for she could not see into the shadow and she hoped she wasn’t running into the man again, but at least this time she wasn’t alone.

Ess licked the tips of her fingers, squeezing the life out of the candles by the windows before she whipped open the door, ready to strike at whatever threat was before her. Instead, she found a woman falling onto her back as she was using the door for support. Ess violet orbs widened, her gaze shifting furiously between the men in the street and the girl at her feet and in a matter of two seconds she made her decision. Biting down on her dagger, she freed up her left hand, taking a rough hold of the girl’s arm only to drag her further inside before closing the door quickly however gently behind them, locking it tight. Was this the woman Kirsten was searching for earlier? The description didn’t match up, but who knew if this woman was enlightened and to what end. Peeking back out the curtain, Ess was trying to determine if she was seen in her haste.

“This day just gets better and better…eh Luckas?” She whispered over her shoulder as she proceeded to quickly explain to Luke about her morning hunt and the company she encountered. Switching her gaze towards the girl, Ess’ brows met as she spoke, “So…who the hell are you and what kind of mess did I just get myself into?” Her tone was serious but slightly amused, remaining on the softer side so not to be heard from outside.

Luckas remained seated for a little bit, but the moment Ess moved towards the door he picked up the journal she had dropped. Considering the option of skimming through it, but discarding it quickly, he placed the book carefully on the shelf where it had been safely kept moments earlier. He stood back while Ess opened the door to reveal this blond girl that had been leaning against it. He wandered to the window and peeked outside to see the black riders that were wandering up and down the streets.

Watching curiously as Ess pulled the girl in and closed the door behind her, and raising an eyebrow to Ess’ explanation of her morning encounter, Luckas wondered how this would get in the way of what they were planning to do. Ess asked the girl who she was and what kind of mess was she in, but she didn’t reply quite as quickly as Luckas would like.

Moving closer to the new arrival, Luckas looked down at her, as she hadn’t even gotten off the floor, and spoke without any hint of emotion or interest in his voice. For now this person was simply a distraction from what he wanted to do, and to him that could mean extra fun or something he needed to get out of the way. “Stand up straight.” He ordered, patiently waiting for her to stand and enjoying the expression on her face as she realized she had no choice but to obey. “Look at me.”

The moment his eyes caught hers they lit up, shifting from their deep black to a bright green as he went through her memories. The scenes flashed and passed by: The forest… A dungeon… Torture… Riding to Newhaven… Everything in the past day was reviewed in excruciatingly vivid details, after which he simply pulled his gaze from her and returned to his seat.

“Ari Lupir, Wolpack recruit, shifter, but only takes animal forms, if I’ve seen correctly. She was taken from the forest, to Blackpond, tortured, brought here to those guys out there, healed, and now they are ordered to hunt her down and kill her.” Luckas informed. Then he turned to Ari and snickered. “You know, for someone who claims to trust no one you trust shady characters rather easily. Just saying.” He then gave a light shrug and turned to Ess. “Help her, toss her out… Whatever you like… I’m good either way.”

Turning to Ari, his eyes flashed red and he smiled. “I sincerely hope your Alpha comes for you though. I’d just love the opportunity to pick his brain on a few matters.”

She growled, shaking her head to remove the images from her head, everything, every moment she had relived even if she wished she hadn’t. Obviously it was his enlightenment that gifted him the ability to do this and she hated him the moment it all clicked. She looked up at the girl, her eyes hard as she withdrew her emotions form view. She hated being controlled by others besides herself and to make herself feel wild she slowly let her enlightenment take control, the silver in her eyes slowly coming through.
“Don’t you dare talk about him, she snarled as she took a step forward. She couldn’t help it, that struck a nerve and she became extremely defensive. She shook her head trying to regain control and resisting the sudden urge to shift into a bear and with one deft swipe, take off his jaw. What he had pointed out about the trusting thing, well…..she was just very glad that he hadn’t dug deeper to see the reason why she “trusted” like she did. When she was sure she wasn’t going to flip and tear someone to bits she opened her eyes which she realized had been closed.
“True and not,” she said in a monotone voice, “Trust me. And what right do you have to push yourself into my memories?”
She couldn’t help the tiny growl that rose from her throat as her eyes narrowed. She glanced over the frail, skinny boy and then dismissed him as unimportant, instead turning her attention to the girl. She could smell the wolf that clung to her, its sweet smell permeating every inch of the room.
“What he said is only somewhat true, but to spare you the details I will just tell you this,” she said dipping her head momentarily, “Kirsten’s men, the Night Hunters did save me from my pervious fate and now instead of one Lord, I have to deal with a small army of professional killers. So, I thank you for dragging me into your home but I would hate to intrude on you and your lover here.“

Ess absently twirled her blades, her wrists stretching to their familiar weight as she quirked a brow at Luckas. “Wolf Pack? As in…the Alpha who supposedly killed the girl we saw at the Inn?” Shaking her head to herself she sighed, not liking how political all this drama appeared to be. A crooked smile curled Ess’ lips as Ari began scolding Luckas for his mental intrusion. With a laugh Ess leaned into Ari, the points of her blades threatening to pierce her chest, “Don’t mind Luckas…it’s just something he does. It ticked me off too, but there’s no stopping him really….But you don’t seem to be a direct threat, right?” Ess nodded retracting her blades, turning about to peek back out the window as she asked Ari, “Why would they save you and then try to kill you? Is it some kind of sick fetish?” Ess began giggling at the last comment as Ari stated, “…I would hate to intrude on you and your lover here.”

Ess thought to herself about what to do with this woman, as Luckas seemed to not care either way. As always her conversations seem to get interrupted, by no real fault of anyones, but it was getting tiresome, and they need to work on their plan sooner than later. “We weren’t enthralled in the heat of passion or anything, if that’s what your worried about Ari..besides..I haven’t decided if I would charge him or not for it.” Glancing over her shoulder she playfully winked at Luckas only to add, “The name’s Essence by the way….” Crossing her arms Ess leaned back against the wall beside the door… “So, Ari… What do you plan on doing now?”

Luckas seemed incredibly amused by Ari’s rage. “Well, if you don’t like the conclusions I’ve drawn from twenty four hours of memories… I can simply dig a little deeper.” He said in a low growl, his eyes flashing green again, but only for a split second. “And excuse my manners, but people lie and I truly trust no one. I have no time to waste with whatever bullshit story you were planning to come up with while lying on the floor.” He smirked slightly. “And don’t bother trying to shift and bite my head off. I can control you even if you do and you really wouldn’t want to push me into it.”

He then turned to Ess and answered her question, the growl returning to his tone. “The Alpha; as in the one who sent our dear friend Xypher a letter this morning.” He informed. “This…” He smirked slightly, glancing towards Ari and imitating Sean’s tone as he spoke. “… Kid, is the Alpha’s recruit. I just happen to think it would be delightful if he came by so I could discuss said letter with him face to face.”

“We weren’t enthralled in the heat of passion or anything, if that’s what your worried about Ari..besides..I haven’t decided if I would charge him or not for it.”

Luckas laughed lightly at the words. “Hey, speak for yourself.” He played. “And please give me notice if you plan on charging me coin, so I have time to steal it.” He asked her, a little devious grin spreading across his features. “Although, if I recall correctly, I already paid you coin about five years ago…” He stated, tilting his head to the side and looking up at her with the corner of his eyes. He was pretty sure Ess wasn’t going to just throw Ari out without any help so he’d have to help her as well if he wanted to go back to what they were planning. “How small of an army is this and what kind of enlightenments do they have?” Luke asked, turning to face Ari again, his tone a little less aggressive this time.

Ari flinched, her eyes narrowing with the sudden doings of the Alpha that she had no idea about. It hurt just a little to know that he had opened up but had kept many many other things hidden. She couldn’t blame him, she was just a recruit. She frowned, realizing that acting out in anger probably wasn’t the best option. She wouldn’t let the boy dig at her, not anymore. Sean may have been her weak point but she needed to get over it. Ari smirked, her cheeks flushing as they flirted. She coughed and shifted quietly.
“I wasn’t bullshitting my way through this,” she murmured, “Only trying to figure out what the hell had just happened.” She looked up at Essence and then back at Lukas. “As for how many, you cannot ask me that. If I could answer that, I would. As for enlightenments, there are many: Beast speaking, telepathy, and there are empaths. There is also a pain blocker; I don’t know what you’d call it. There were probably more, I wasn’t there for long.
Then, then there is Kirsten. He…he can go into your mind, find your biggest fear and then bring it to life through illusion,” she paused, her eyes locking onto Luckas, you didn’t have to read her mind to know that she was comparing the two and was shocked.
~~
Ess sighed, giving obvious annoyance at the idea of the Alpha causing Mageria this trouble, that Luckas and herself had to sort through. “Leave her be Luckas, she obviously is oblivious to what the Alpha has been up to, you can see it in her eyes. I think she’s just lost a little, maybe?….I know how that is.” Ess’ violet gaze flickered in a soft glow as she inspected Ari closely, right down to her pores and the blond variations in her hair. “Hm…telepaths..”Ess spat, not excited about the idea. “Is there even a way to block that? Like visualizing a stone wall or something..or perhaps…someone else’s memories?”

Tilting her head to the side, she pivoted away from the door as she looked at Luckas curiously. “My my, aren’t we in a rush to get me alone again, eh?” Ess did have some questions she wanted to ask Luckas, but certainly not in front of Ari, but that could wait. Ess could tell Luckas was a bit restless and she figured he knew her well enough to not turn down someone in need. She would try to keep out of the technicalities, the only thing she personally knew was that this Alpha had done Mageria wrong and so many others would suffer at his selfishness.

“I don’t feel like waiting around for someone to break down my door…should there be a distraction?…Maybe a bait n switch?” A wicked smile crossed her face, looking back over at Ari. She wondered if she could pull off Ari’s mirror image, giving Luckas a distraction to toy with..while Ms. Ari made her escape… “Ari? You can change into…any beast?”

Luckas listened in silence as Ari listed a few enlightenments. Telepaths couldn’t harm Luckas, he was resistant to most forms of telepathy, but they could probably resist him as well, which was troublesome. He usually made empaths nervous… Like poor Alistair, the healer couldn’t stand to be around him for more than five minutes… When she started talking about Kirsten, however, Luke’s eyes examined her closely and he leaned forward, oh so slightly, in his seat. Still, he remained silent.

He looked at Ess pretending to be offended. “Hey, I’m a telepath!” He exclaimed, putting on a pouty face. “That hurts my feelings, Ess, I thought we were friends…” He started, but broke into laughter a few moments later, not being able to hold up the act any longer as he explained. “There are a few techniques and tricks to shield your mind from telepathy, but it takes a lot more time to learn than what we have.” He told her. “Another time, maybe, I can teach you.” He grinned at her, noticing her expression as she looked at Ari, he knew what she was thinking. He wasn’t all too pleased with the thought of those guys going after Ess thinking she was their target, besides, it was unlikely that they could keep them fooled long enough for Ari to get out of the city safely. He didn’t have a better idea though. “What kind of distraction do you mean?” He asked. “The ‘sir can you help me find my puppy?’ kind or the ‘by the twins everything’s on fire!’ kind?” He asked. “I can do either. I like the second one better though.”

Ari looked nervously from each of them, her eyes flashing slightly.
“Any animal,” she said in answer to Ess, her body shivering, “except for birds for a long period, I can’t stand the feathers.” She gave a small smile and then as a thought hit her, her smile broadened. “I would say we don’t need a distraction, besides it won’t work the Telepaths will be everywhere digging. If you want to help me escape out of the city, hear me out.” She paused, thinking quickly and nodding as it came to her. “You have a wolf Ess yes? I can smell her everywhere. I can do wolf very, very well. If we can find a way to give me a description or image of her, I might be able to mimic her coloring. Luckas? Is your enlightenment only limited to searching and coercion or can you put up a front on someone’s mind? Like a shield around mine so that they don’t know I’m actually a human.” She nodded slightly, if he could that would work wonders and if not she would have to be extremely careful. “If you could spare the time Essence…. you could take me to the nearest city gates or someplace where if I were to become human again I would blend.”
She paused, closing her eyes and envisioning it out like a dream. When she reopened them she slowly shook her head, “Damn it.” She didn’t wait for the knock to change into something small, a small ragged looking cat. She had kept her mouth shut, letting loose only a small whimper as she changed, just as the knock sounded. She yowled, flicking her tail and ears towards the clothes on the floor. Her tabby form scampered past Luckas and into the shadows, slipping though them and under the bed where she let her mind settle, thinking only cat thoughts as she waited for Erin to disappear.

Ess’ brows came together again, her nose bunching up in a look that questioned Luckas and his playful pouting at her words against telepaths. “Oh ha ha, You know ONE telepath is enough for me…especially at once..” She snickered, thinking to herself that Luckas had called her a friend. Even if it was in a playful ruse, he still said it, similar to how he absently kept calling her ‘pretty lady.’ Just little things to hint to Ess that he was trying, maybe wanting to trust her. Maybe even enough to explain why he would offer her defensive tips against enlightenments like his.

Straightening her body she wandered over to her bed, kneeling down beside the headboard to remove a curious box from somewhere she purposely avoided to reveal. Lounging lazily along her bed she began sifting through the box, pulling out tiny viles in all assorted colors. “A color for every purpose…for every mood…” She muttered to herself, thinking which mixture she would play with today. Glancing at Luckas from out the corner of her eye, a loc of hair playfully dangling in front of her glow she thought about his desire to cause chaos for a distraction. “How bout lighting someone on fire?” With a wicked smile she laughed, not giving away whether she was joking or not.

Ess picked out two viles, one purple and one black, tucking the rest back inside the box. She turned over onto her back, arms outstretched in front of her towards the ceiling as she looked between the two, weighing out in her mind which one she would prefer. As she listened to Ari’s suggestion, she motioned, still holding the viles, over to the wall where Tala’s picture hung. “My wolf…who is currently MIA, that’s what she looks like…”She paused with a sweet smile curling her lips.

A knock on the door and the sudden transformation of Ari into a kitty cat did not seem to phase Essence as she rose from the bed, snickering at the cat as it disappeared into the shadows. “Interesting..” She whispered only to turn towards the door snapping loudly with a strange accent, “PISS OFF!” Ess slid the viles down her dress, snuggling them between her breasts before her form melted away; her burgundy curls straightening and darkening to deep brown, her skin glowing with a tan sun-kissed radiance, and her lips and nose were a size smaller than her norm with a higher cheekbone definition. Ess smiled to herself, clearing her mind as she looked at Luckas with a fake innocence.

Luke shook his head in disappointment when Ari said they wouldn’t need a distraction. It seemed like he really wouldn’t be having any fun with this. “I can’t shield another person’s mind. That’s not how my enlightenment works, neither is it exactly the way you said it is.” He stated in a slightly annoyed tone as if he was trying to discuss philosophy with an infant. “One thing I can do, if you grant me access, is project your memories and maybe your thoughts onto others. That way if a telepath was to search for you, he won’t be able to know your exact location, your mind would literally be all over the place. Do you understand?” He asked. “I would have to be close to you to do that, however and wouldn’t be able to keep it up for too long; an hour, at most. I’m not risking my life for anyone, especially the Alpha’s pet project.” He muttered, narrowing his eyes slightly, but relaxing a little bit soon after and turning to Ess with a little grin. “Oh, I don’t plan on sharing you with any other telepaths… They better stay out of my territory.” He stated, his tone not making clear if he was joking.

“Oooh, can I?” He asked, hopefully when Ess asked about lighting someone on fire. Aside from that he kept quiet in his seat, resisting the urge to kick the Ari-cat as it made its way past him, settling for kicking the girl’s clothing underneath the bed instead. Maintaining his relaxed posture as Ess replied to the knock on the door by telling whoever it was to piss off, he remained seated and silent, honestly starting to get bored of this whole thing.

Erin didn’t need to open the door to know that Ari wasn’t in there and he shrugged turning to the group of men behind him. It wasn’t his job to deal with women who were pissy and he nodded sharply, making sure they dispersed before calling out an apology and ambling off. His head hurt and he shook his head gently, this was wrong.
Ari ambled out, after she was sure he was gone before jumping up, looking at the picture. She began to arch up, her body shifting into an exact replica of Tala except for her eyes and she dove under the bed, emerging with the black clothing in her jaws as she looked pleadingly towards Ess, then back at Luckas with a tiny growl. She didn’t want to drag them further into this and she pawed at the door, whimpering slightly. She could smell that she wasn’t wanted here and she’d rather take that chance of running to her death then staying here with these two together. Ari liked Ess, she was willing to help but the boy…Not a chance. She growled and furiously began to claw at the door. Her mind screaming to be let out.

Once Ess was sure the person at the door had left, with an odd apology, she relaxed a bit, still in her Miraged form. Essence’s mind raveled in Luckas’ responses to her and Ari’s. Thoughts raced to possible conclusions in several directions, only to rest into a calming almost meditative state. Luke acted as if he cared for no one but himself, and perhaps most of the time he did. He maybe wasn’t too fond of Ari because of the Alpha of the Wolfpack (which he stated), but she didn’t quite believe him when he said he wouldn’t risk his life for anyone. Perhaps that was still to be foreseen. She liked the idea of Luke not sharing her with the enemy, even if he seemed unsure of her at times, he hinted at his greed in his escapades and may just resort to hoarding whatever plans he had for Ess to himself. Ess kept an emotionless smile, lost in herself momentarily, the painted facade giving no hint to her soul except an eerie sense to those who didn’t know any better. Giggling at Luke’s obvious interest in lighting someone on fire, Ess just nestled that bit deep into her memory for another time.

Snapping her attention to Ari, Ess smiled a bit impressed. Kneeling down she extended her hand, almost forgetting it was Ari and not Tala and couldn’t help herself as she gave Ari some scratches between the ears. “So pretty…” Slinking across the floor, Ess opened one of the many floorboards, taking out a familiar pouch full of coin. She winked at Luckas wondering if he would recognize it as she tucked it into the pocket of Ari’s clothes that she held in her mouth before explaining the quickest way out of the city. Standing with a gentle smile, she turned for the door, unlocking it slowly as she peeked outside not seeing a single man in black around. Before she opened the door wide for the ‘wolf’ to escape she whispered softly, “Good luck young lady, hopefully we meet again and hopefully not on conflicting sides.”

Essence and Luckas Meet again: Part 3

Shadows of the Forgotten

So here we continue a scene in a tavern and I decided to not cut out another favorite character that belongs to Blackbird. Crystal Rivers/Crys. I think she helps set the environment and it is the first time Ess sees her, which is ironic because it turns out they know the same people. (which doesn’t come up now) Sheila is an NPC. Basically, for those who may not know the term, that character can be played by anyone.  Again, please advise this is in the style of Text Based Role Playing. Anyhow Enjoy!

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Crys had made it to Newhaven in a decent amount of time. She didn’t rush to the city as if she could stop anything, because she couldn’t, but she had increased her pace after she had finished speaking to Ari. She hadn’t been as far as one of the cities in almost three full years, but she had heard enough from the other assassins to know the shape of things around them both.

As she entered the Inn a bell rand above the door, announcing another customer had walked through it. A few people were inside, she could sense them, and hear their voices, but no one she knew; and definitely none of them were Wolves. There was no one behind the bar at the moment, but that was good in a way; it gave her a quiet moment to look around, so to speak.

She might have looked a bit odd to whoever bothered to watch her movements as she paced slowly silently counting steps between tables and running her hand through the length of the counter, amused to find that, at least to her, the place looked exactly the same as it once was. She had to appreciate Sean’s attitude on that, at least. It almost brought back memories, even though the wooden surface of the counter was smooth and lacked the several knife wounds and scorch marks the previous one had, and the floor boards didn’t make the familiar screech in response to her footsteps. The whole place was squeaky clean and impeccable in a way it had never been before. Almost familiar, but… Not quite. As if someone had taken an item of sentimental value and replaced it with another exactly like it; the same, but not quite.

As she finally settled down in a stool by the counter she heard a female voice speak quickly as Sheila wandered in from the backroom. “You’re not welcome here.”
“I thought this was a neutral zone.” Crys replied, unfazed by the woman’s attitude; she was expecting that.
“It’s not neutral for you, but since you’re here I can take the opportunity to personally tell you to go straight to hell and rot there.” The woman replied.
“I’ll be sure to head that way after we talk.” Crys replied, with a little laugh, turning as the woman walked past her to serve a customer at a table. “Sheeeila… I’m not leaving…” She snickered. “It’s just easier if you tell me what I want to know.”
“I’m not telling you anything. Just crawl back to whatever rock you’ve been hiding under…” She then proceeded to mutter something under her breath, it was barely audible, but enough for Crys to get.
“Whether I do or not leave him alone is none of your concern.” She replied, an angered expression forming on her face. “He is a grown man, in case you’re not aware.”
“Oh, I’m aware.” Sheila snickered, again walking past her.

Crys now realized there was someone else by the counter, just a couple of steps away and stopped to hear the sound of one single gold coin dropping on the counter. She didn’t hear what the customer had ordered, but she heard Sheila’s response. “That’s not enough, pretty boy.”
The young male replied by snickering softly. “Yes, it is… Take it.” He didn’t raise his voice above a whisper, but even though his tone was gentle, something about it caused a chill to run down Crys’ spine.
“Huh, it is enough.” Sheila agreed suddenly, causing Crys to turn, now knowing that something was off.
“No, it’s not.” She stated, dropping another coin on the table. “This should do it, however.” She stated, turning towards the young man. “What did you do to her?”
“You?” He mumbled absently, sounding a bit shocked before chuckling slightly. “Pardon me Miss…? I’m with a friend, and suppose I was trying to impress her. I only have this one coin, however, and so I made use of my gift. I honestly didn’t think the Pack would miss one lousy coin all that much. I much appreciate your gesture. I will repay you one day.”
Crys frowned slightly, wondering if she knew this person, he seemed so startled to see her there for whatever reason. Still, he didn’t lie when he said he meant to impress his friend, he was actually keeping his voice down enough not to be heard from where Crys could tell the only other female customer was. “Rivers…” She started simply, since she felt it was fine to give him at least that. “… Crystal Rivers. And you, Mister…?” She trailed off leaving room for his name, same as he had done for her, and then moved on. “It’s clear that you like this woman enough to steal from people who can easily kill you for it… Who am I to stand in your way, right?”
“… Just Luckas…” He said. “And, who knows? I might just have a death wish or something.”
Crys chuckled. “Alright, Luckas… Believe what you will. It was nice meeting you.”
He retrieved the drinks from the counter and began to walk away without saying much more, however she caught a whisper as he walked away.

“It was nice meeting you in person, Crys.” He whispered.

Crys tilted her head slightly, wondering what the hell that meant, however she simply let the strange man go and turned her attention back to the matter at hand. “So, where were we?” She asked Sheila, with a fake smile.

She remembered when Sheila showed up in the Pack. Jake had run into her in Blackpond and helped her out of some trouble… He sent her to the camp with a letter to the leaders saying that he thought she would be a perfect recruiter; and so she was. However, the woman had never liked her for her own reasons, and after a few occasions in which she had demonstrated her dislike very clearly, the feeling became mutual.

“I said go to hell.” The woman repeated. Although this time she stopped across the counter from Crys. “Would you like a drink, since you’re here?”
“I’d love a drink, I just don’t trust you not to poison it.” Crys replied. “I don’t have all the time in the world, Sheila. I need to know when you last saw Jacob, and where I can find him.”
“Of course you do.” The woman said. “When it’s convenient, right?”
Crys stood up, her seemingly endless patience was beginning to wear out and she leaned forward on the wooden counter, her face closer to the woman. “Enough with the innuendos already… Just tell me what it is you think I did wrong this time so we can move on with our very separate lives.” She muttered.
“Honestly Crys, to sum it all up: I think you would have done us all a huge favor if you had just decided to stay dead. Especially Jake, the poor guy really deserves a break.”

That was it. It wasn’t completely Sheila’s fault, but the woman should have known that when someone crawls in the dirt for hours trying to catch the next breath, spends days just trying to keep her heart from failing, and consequently loses everything, all within a month, ‘you should have stayed dead’ is just not something you say without causing something to snap. And something snapped inside of Crys so painfully that she didn’t think twice to plant her foot on the stool she had been sitting on moments earlier and push herself up and across the counter, pulling one of her Sai and launching herself at the woman, aiming a stab at her face.

Sheila only had time to grab a metal tray to defend herself with, the Sai dagger collided with it forcefully; once, twice, three times before the impact knocked the woman over to the ground. With very little room to move behind the counter, Sheila planted both her feet against the metal tray to push Crys away, pulling out a short sword that was sheathed at her waist as she jumped to her feet. “I believe I hit a nerve.” The woman stated, slightly pleased with the fact that she had managed to get through Crys’ calm exterior.

Crys was knocked back a few steps, but kept her balance enough to not fall back. At this point the rage had subsided, but it didn’t mean she was going to sheathe her weapon and walk away. Not without answers, and she didn’t have time to waste. Gripping the metal tray with her free hand like a shield, she advanced towards the woman, letting her attack. Crys camly dodged the first blow, blocked the second blow with the metal tray and the third with the Sai, trapping the blade of the sword between the blade and one of the metal prongs of the weapon, pulling it down and out of the way. She then slammed the metal tray against the woman’s face, momentarily stunning her and causing her to loosen the grip on the sword, which was then knocked out of her hand.

It could have ended there, except Crys still wanted her questions answered and, admittedly, she wanted Sheila to suffer a little. The woman’s hand placed on the counter as she tried to catch her balance had provided the perfect opportunity, and Crys pulled her second Sai and stabbed right through it, pinning the woman’s hand to the wooden surface.

Sheila let out an ear-piercing scream at the pain caused by the blade. “You… Psychotic… Bitch…” She muttered, as Crys held the tip of the other blade pressed against her skin at a very dangerous spot below her eye.
Crys sighed releasing the Sai that was jammed through the woman’s hand and pinned to the wooden counter and reached under the counter, feeling around the space where a few bottles and other ingredients were kept until she found a lemon. “I’m sorry Sheila, but really… I have somewhere else I need to be and you’re just not being helpful.” She stated, speaking softly and squeezing the lemon slightly in her hand.
Sheila tried to slowly reach for the Sai, to release her hand, but the hand holding the blade to her face stiffened only slightly and she reconsidered. “I’m going to get you for this one day… I swear I will!” She muttered.
“Fine, as you wish. Until then, you’ll answer my questions and tell me ANYTHING else that might be useful to me. You have ten seconds to start talking.” She told the woman, pressing the lemon against the blade of the Sai that was pinning her hand, threatening to slice it open and let the acidic juice flow onto her wounded hand. “Ten… Nine…”

“You’re bluff-“The woman didn’t finish the sentence, Crys had sliced the lemon open and the liquid had run down the blade of the dagger, causing her to scream in agony. “On the Twins… I’ll kill you…” She muttered.
“I don’t bluff: Now talk.” Crys stated, threatening to squeezing more juice out of the fruit.
“Jake was here, the day before the Festival. He told me to inform Sean that he was with the Black Knights and something else about a woman from Blackpond meeting with the Queen and mentioning the Pack. Three of our people walked in not soon after and confronted Jake, that’s when this woman came inside to help him. They didn’t seem to know each other well, but he was friendly with her; they casually mentioned the fact that she had followed him and mentioned ‘the others’ at one point of the conversation, so I assume she was one of the Blacks, or a part of the Guard. They knocked our guys down, and I didn’t catch much more of their conversation since I went to the back, but there was this other man here and by the time I came back there were other people on the floor and Jake and his friend were leaving. I haven’t seen him since, so… Well… A little while ago he mentioned going to Blackpond; he seemed to feel strongly about the situation there for some reason. If he’s not with the Blacks I assume that’s where he’ll be.” The woman informed. “That’s all I know.”

Crys sighed softly, placing the split lemon on the counter and lowering the Sai that was pressed to Sheila’s face. The tip of the weapon hadn’t even left a mark on the woman’s skin; despite the steadiness of the wielding hand, the touch of the blade had been gentle enough to leave it intact. Sheathing the dagger, Crys picked a cloth and a bottle of rum. “This will sting, but don’t move or you might make it worse.” She informed, soaking the cloth and wrapping it around the blade, using it to press Sheila’s hand against the surface of the counter as she gripped the Sai by the hilt and yanked it out with one steady pull. As she sheathed the bloody weapon, she kept pressing the wounded hand against the counter. Sheila’s breathing was unsteady from the pain, but she didn’t as much as move a muscle. Crys took the time to take the woman’s hand and wrap the rum-soaked cloth around it, binding it tightly, before leaving the establishment without another word exchanged; the bottle of rum still in her hands.

———————————————-

Luckas spent a good few minutes ‘interviewing’ the servants who cleaned the dirt in Xypher’s chamber, cooked his meals, and overheard his conversations. He was very disappointed; the man was as boring as one can be. It seemed the old man only had one woman in his life, and that was his dead wife. They couldn’t get him that way, but Luke had an idea of what might work. It would probably be the most entertaining part of the whole thing. Xypher wouldn’t make a good kill for him, but in a way that was good; if they had to end him nicely and quickly he wouldn’t be at a loss.

Walking out of the castle and onto the courtyard, Luckas shivered, realizing he hadn’t been outside since the previous day; he’d forgotten how cold it usually was this time of year, but he simply brushed it off, putting two hands in his pockets and forgetting the cold after only a few steps.

There were several Inns in the city and Luke hadn’t asked Ess which one she would be going to, which was dumb, but he was lucky to find her in the first place he looked. He waved the gold coin she had tossed at him earlier and headed straight for the counter before even walking over. The barmaid wasn’t there yet, so he leaned casually against the counter of the bar, waiting.

Someone walked in a minute or two after Luke, but he didn’t turn to look. Whoever it was didn’t seem to acknowledge him either, better this way. The newly arrived customer was a redheaded woman and an odd one as it seemed. She seemed to be walking aimlessly through the entire place mumbling something under her breath. That went on for a little while, until she settled down in a stool by the counter, sitting with her right elbow leaned on the counter and her back was turned to him. The barmaid came from the backroom of the bar and said something to the woman about her not being welcome, and they exchanged words here and there. Luckas was getting the odd sensation of knowing that redhead from some place and it just made his stomach twist painfully; how many of those was he going to get?

Finally the barmaid addressed him. “What are you having, hun?”
“Two of what the pretty lady over there is having.”He said, discretely indicating Ess with a nod and dropping the gold coin on the counter, fully aware of the fact that it wasn’t enough.
“That’s not enough, pretty boy.” The barmaid told him, crossing her arms over her chest.
Luke leaned forward, whispering softly. “Yes, it is… Take it.
“Huh, it is enough” She replied, beginning to pour the drinks.
“No, it’s not.” The redhead spoke suddenly, dropping another coin on the table. She had turned to face Luke and now he knew where he had seen her before. “This should do it, however.” She continued, facing him and asking in a severe tone: “What did you do to her?”
“You…” Luke mumbled, a little shocked that he’d just stumble into her this way. It felt like seeing someone come to life out of a dream. It was odd and amusing. Quickly he came up with an explanation for what he was doing, taking the chance to maybe introduce himself. “Pardon me Miss…? I’m with a friend, and suppose I was trying to impress her. I only have this one coin, however, and so I made use of my gift. I honestly didn’t think the Pack would miss one lousy coin all that much. I much appreciate your gesture. I will repay you one day.”
She was suspicious of him for his shock in seeing her, probably wondering, like he had, if they knew each other. Apparently she brushed it off, because she replied giving just the opening he needed. “Rivers…” She started simply, but Luke already knew that. “… Crystal Rivers. And you, Mister…?” She gave him room to introduce himself, perfect. “It’s clear that you like this woman enough to steal from people who can easily kill you for it… Who am I to stand in your way, right?”
Luke flinched slightly at the last words she spoke, but just brushed it aside as her having bought into his talk, playing with it instead of showing it had bothered him slightly. ” …Just Luckas…” He said. “And, who knows? I might just have a death wish or something.”
She chuckled as if she didn’t believe him. “Alright, Luckas… Believe what you will. It was nice meeting you.”

Luke didn’t respond this time, he simply took the drinks from the counter and walked to join Ess at the table, a slight frown crossing his features as he whispered to himself. “It was nice meeting you in person, Crys.” He would have to tell Jakey about this, he was sure the man would be delighted to know Luke had met his ‘better half’.

With this thought still in mind, as Luke sat down across from Ess sliding one drink across the table to her, he had a strange grin on his face; the one reserved for annoying good old Jakey. This would be good…

Snapping out of it, he shook his head slightly and spoke. “So, did you have time to misbehave or was I quick enough?” He played. “Xypher. Well… The man is practically an eunuch.” He stated, still shooting glances towards the counter. “Captain was right, someone familiar he would want to converse with might be our best bet. Say, do you think you’ve spent enough time with her? I think he’d believe that she wants to face her accuser.” Luke suggested.

Essence finished off her drink, a curious smile leaving her lips as the memory faded. The bell rang in the door a few times here and there but she kept her eyes down most of the time, until she noted Luckas entering, passing her with a smile he headed straight for the bar. She nodded and winked, thinking to herself how that boy looked like he should eat something; that they both should most likely if they were to have their strength up for later.

As she waited, a moment later another patron entered the Inn. Ess didn’t pay much attention until she noted out of the corner of her eye how the woman walked about curiously, as if she were memorizing where things were. Ess quirked a brow, not quite understanding at first why the woman lacked direct focus on her surroundings and then it clicked. There was much overcompensation with the red-head’s sense of touch while she seemed to pause and listen to her surroundings. ‘Must be something off with her vision.’ She thought to herself, unsure exactly.

Ess retracted her gaze, reaching for her wrist she retrieved one of her small daggers, twirling it between her fingers. Slipping her hand along the smooth surface of the table, Ess dragged the tip of the blade deeply through the edge as she carved her name into the wood. She looked up as Luckas sat across from her, sliding her drink within her grasp.

“What’s that look for?” She inquired, watching Luckas closely, half hearing the red head and the woman behind the bar arguing softly in the background. ‘“Go to hell…”’…Was mostly what she got out of the conversation as she focused on Luckas.

“Ah…I managed to keep to myself…decided that I didn’t want you to miss out.” Ess shrugged casually, her tone was careless remaining upbeat. As Luckas spoke about Xypher she sighed, “Ok so you were productive, good to see. I impersonated Mageria while we sparred before you and I ran into each other in the practice grounds, so I know it’s feasible.” Ess paused, leaning in closer towards Luckas, she slid her arm across the table, hiding the blade beneath her sleeve. “I can mimic the Captain, but I would need some practice to impersonate her voice…then there’s the blue eyes I can’t do..” Raising her glass she sipped her drink, her cheeks giving a gentle red glow as the heat of the liquor spread across her face. Some people found drinking was over all bad for the blood, but in Ess’ case, while it thinned out her blood, it held back any potential bleeds since it promoted better circulation for her.

“Luckas…” Her eyes brightened with an idea. “You have many memories of the captain I’m sure…are you able to…pass those on to me? It would make the process quicker, to know more of her speech patterns and how she tal-” Ess was interrupted by a sudden commotion of metal against metal, snapping her attention away from Luckas towards the women at the bar. Apparently they were not on very good terms and seemed to be battling it out on the bar counter itself, amidst curses and threats. An amused grin took over her expression, her teeth peeking through as she watched the women argue; about what she wasn’t sure. Ess glanced over at Luke as she drank heavily from her glass, giving a curious almost questioning look. “Is that your fault or something?” She joked.

“Whatever do you mean?” Luke asked with a mischievous grin as Ess asked about the look in his eyes. With a small chuckle, he added: “One secret at a time. I’d hate to see you lose interest in me.”

In the back he could hear the barmaid and Crys talking, but he really paid them no mind, keeping his focus on Ess as she mentioned the difficulties in passing off as Mageria. Luke listened intently, leaning back in his chair and absently thinking of the best ways to get around those details. When she suddenly asked if he could pass his memories onto her he sat up straight. he never tried that before, he wondered if he could though… His memory manipulation skills were similar to Lena’s, so it was likely. He only had two full conversations with Mageria though, one of them happened three years ago when she thought he was a vision.

As he heard the sounds of metal clashing he jumped to his feet to get a better look at what was going on at the bar as he replied. “Oh, I wish.” He snickered, when Ess asked if he had anything to do with that. However he continued on with their conversation as if there had been no interruption. “In theory, I could, but we’ve only actually had two full conversations in three years. Although, I’m not sure the one when she thought I was a ghost counts as a full conversation. If it helps… We can try…” He laughed out, as a high-pitched scream echoed through the room. “Assassins are so incredibly fun.” He said absently as the barmaid stood with her hand impaled and pinned to the counter by a Sai dagger, its twin touching her face menacingly. Turning his attention back to Ess, rising his voice slightly as the woman screamed again, he continued. “We can try that, but we’d need a more private place…” He stopped talking as the screaming stopped. “… Because neither of us will be able to see a thing of our surroundings while we do it.” The sounds of the bell above the door announced that Crys was leaving the Inn.

Luckas sat back down and finally reached for his glass, drinking from it and leaving it half-empty, or have-full maybe, depending on one’s opinion. He glanced towards the door and an amused grin appeared in his face. “Do you know who that was, by any chance?” He asked Ess, with a snicker that said he had incredibly good gossip to share.
Ess smiled, thinking how ironic it was that he commented on her losing interest in him. “Hmm, good to know I still have yours.” She couldn’t remember how long it had been since she spent so much time with a man, noting that half the day was already gone and she still had her clothes on. It was quite a different experience, the nervousness creeping back inside her stomach, lingering with a dull pain. The change was exciting but it was something she was not very familiar with, and she knew that the fault could only be credited to herself.

“Well..” Her voice grew louder over the women’s curses and screams as she watched the one with the Sai dagger release lemon juice upon the other woman’s wound. “Us redheads can get away with just about anything.” She smiled up at Luckas as she answered his notion to go somewhere private. “I was wondering how long it was going to take you to suggest that.” Leaning back in her chair she downed the rest of her drink, relaxing.

“Seriously though…”She looked over Luckas with a perplexed gaze. “When was the last time you ate boy? Come on…I’ll heat you up something at my house and we can see if my idea works. There’s much to prepare for.”

She shook her head curiously. “Am I suppose to know who that was? I’ve never seen her before. Course I usually don’t talk to women..” Ess chuckled. “Too complicated, and always fighting over a man in one way or another.”

Luke raised an eyebrow when Ess asked when was the last time he ate. It was just so unexpectedly thoughtful. “I… Uh… Yesterday.” He admitted, scratching the back of his head. “In my defense, you distracted me.” He added, crossing his arms over his chest and tilting his head. “And… Boy?” He asked. “Haven’t we had this conversation already?” He asked with a grin, emptying his glass and taking a few glances around before saying. “That blind redhead who left just now… Was the leader of the Wolfpack until three years ago. Word out there, officially, is that she was killed by the current Alpha. She hasn’t been seen anywhere in three years.” He shrugged. “Makes me wonder why she’s here, now of all times.”

Standing up, he added. “I wouldn’t advise you to fight her over any man.” He nodded towards the woman behind the counter. “Something tells me that was friendly conversation.” He shrugged lightly. “Not that you would have to fight her over me… There’s plenty to go around.” He told her playfully, snickering softly as he stomach emitted a rather loud growl. “And thanks for reminding me I’m hungry.” He laughed. “Can we go? I might bite you otherwise.”

Ess pushed back her chair, making her way for the door. “You are younger than me…although a man..you’re still a boy.” With a laugh she added, “Don’t take offense..just accept it Luckas.” She knew age didn’t mean much, as it was one’s mentality that mattered, but she thought it was funny how she may have slightly touched on one of Luckas’ nerves. Ess fished out a few more coins, feeling a tad bit bad for the bar tender’s current state, leaving her a hefty tip.

“Huh??” Ess stared at Luckas long and hard..”Really…THAT was..” She looked almost offended as she eyed Luckas. “Why the Hell, would I challenge HER?” Ess didn’t understand what Luckas was getting at as she opened the door and exited, only a few more minutes towards her home. Ess only had ever heard rumors and rumors..well…never did one justice. With a sigh she whispered, “I guess anything is possible, except me sharing…” She smiled half heartedly, playfully giving Luckas a shove. “You definitely don’t want to see me jealous either..”

As they approached her home, a simple cottage size building with one large room, Ess noticed a note on the door. Snatching it down, she didn’t even bother to read it as she crumpled it up knowing who it was from. After unlocking the door, she quickly threw a few logs onto the dying fire to add some light to the room, as she kept the curtains closed on her windows. She paused, as if debating what to do with the note before she tossed it into the fire. Unhooking her belt, she lazily draped it along her bed, her fingers slipping beneath her Tunic to retrieve her leather journal. Her eyes froze over a simple, old looking Teddy Bear dressed as a knight that guarded her pillows only to snap out of her trance, she grabbed the Bear and placed both the stuffed memory and journal on an empty shelf.

Ess sighed, mostly silent as she lit more candles and began retrieving clean bowls from a cabinet. Wandering back over to the fire, she hung a tiny caldron over the flames as they grew, it containing a stew she had made the day before consisting of assorted meat and veggies from the market. Unwrapping a small cloth, she revealed half a loaf of bread she cut in halves for herself and Luckas, placing the pieces beside their bowls on her mini table beside the fireplace. As the fire roared, many of the shadows dissipated revealing entire walls covered in Ess’s drawings; wolves, dragons, self portraits of her different selves (including her true form), Tala, what appeared to be a family portrait of her father and brother, and a smaller picture of a young boy simply labeled ‘Blue Eyes.’ All of them were drawn in ink, with exceptional details, only the eyes had color which added to the illusion that they seemed to follow her where ever she went.

“Sit Luckas, relax..stay a while.” Ess smirked, pointing towards a ceramic bowl and pitcher of water before a grand mirror that reached towards the ceiling. “Go wash up first..it’s my silly pet peeve, people who eat with dirty hands.” With a shrug she gave the stew a stir before wandering over to a large white tapestry extending from floor to ceiling; painted with what looked like a dying Oak tree. She carried a candle over to it and stepped behind to change. Ess didn’t care that Luckas was in the room, or that he probably saw her hourglass silhouette shadowed behind the cloth as she threw on a simple red cotton gown, stretchy and comfortable. Ess appeared from behind the cloth holding the candle in one hand and a set of men’s clothes in her other hand. The shirt and pants were a plain black, the material loose and soft. Quirking a brow she wondered out loud, “You think these would fit you? I made them some time ago but they won’t fit me…you can have them if you want.” Essence didn’t need them and she didn’t want Luckas to think she was being charitable, so not to cause offense or wound his pride.

“So, what you’re saying is that I’m a man-child, is that it?” Luckas asked, slightly amused. He didn’t quite get why Ess seemed somewhat offended by his comments. He was just playing, and his tone showed it clearly, but he brushed it off as she shoved him saying that he wouldn’t want to see her jealous. “Oh, I don’t see why I would ever see that.” He said innocently, with a small chuckle.

As they arrived at her house, Luke was quiet for quite some time; his eyes registering things such as the note at the door, later tossed into the fire unread; the teddy bear on the bed and the journal that were put away together in a shelf. He took his time looking over all the drawings on the walls, the one of the boy caught his eye and he couldn’t seem to look away from it… It was familiar somehow, but maybe he’d seen it in her memories at some point. Looking away from the drawing he finally broke his silence as he walked to wash up as she asked.
“Your drawings are impressive, you know.” He stated, washing his hands and face and frowning slightly at how pale his face looked in the mirror. He didn’t turn to where the woman was changing, however he took a very discrete glance in her direction, which was followed by a little smirk. He only turned to face her when she asked him the clothes would fit. He stared long and hard at the clothing, half wondering if they did fit, half wondering if he should take them. The infirmary had been the only occasion in which he accepted anything from another person, but he was naked then.

The clothes Mageria had given him were a little long on the arms and legs, but they did fit just fine and, aside from the little blood stain in one of the sleeves, they were new. Luke never carried anything, he was used to taking what he needed in the moment he needed it, in any way he needed to. Be it food, clothes, money… It didn’t matter. “They might, yeah.” He answered simply, still unable to actually say he’d take them. Finally he spread his arms and looked down at his clothing before looking back to Ess. “Why, do I not look handsome in these? I thought they were quite stylish.” He joked, then he waved the blood stained sleeve. “Although the shirt might be permanently ruined.”
~~

” “Your drawings are impressive, you know.”

Ess smiled, her cheeks flushing softly with color at the compliment, almost forgetting the drawings were even there. Feeling a bit embarrassed she answered slowly, “Thank you Luckas…uh..just something I do to pass the time…sometimes I fear I may forget what I cherish most..or what they look like.” She glanced along the drawings of her family and her childhood friend with an accomplished nod, unrolling the shirt and pants to see how they sized up to Luckas.

“They seem alright…and definitely warmer than what you have on.” Ess stepped back draping the set onto the bed. “They are there if you would like them.” She added a wink, “I will admit Luckas, you are handsome..but don’t tell anyone I caved…you know how rumors are.” She looked over the blood stain on his sleeve and only answered his comment on how the shirt may be ruined, with a questioning gaze. Was he hurt? She didn’t want to pry, so she simply turned back towards the fire, serving the re-heated stew into the bowls. Absently she went to get Tala’s dish on the floor, pausing abruptly with a small laugh, forgetting that her furry friend was not around. She felt almost naked and alone without her faithful companion and had to remind herself that she indeed was neither of those things.

Ess seated herself at the table only after she quickly washed her hands, motioning for Luckas to join her, not waiting for him to sit himself before she began nibbling on the bread, dipping it into the stew. After a few moments in silence, both of them munching away at their meal, Ess paused to pour them both a glass of water. “So, you said in theory, my idea should work. Is it going to be painful? What do you want me to do? The memories transferred, if it works, will emotions be included?” Ess let the flow of questions escape her, her words almost colliding together. She shook her head at herself, thinking her current action reminded her of her childhood friend, how he would always ask a lot of questions all at once, before taking a breath. Essence hadn’t realized until now that, that had rubbed off on her.

“…sometimes I fear I may forget what I cherish most..or what they look like.”

Luckas flinched slightly at that sentence, shooting another glance around the drawings on the walls as if he now saw them as extra people in the room. It made him nervous for inexplicable reasons and he didn’t speak for a long while, still giving the walls discrete glances as he sat at the table and started digging into the food. The silence gave him time to think of how much he was trusting Ess, and how much that could cost him… He also wondered what she would think of him if he told her… Who he was, what he knew he was… Could she ever understand…

He broke out of his thoughts at the sudden wave of questions. “It won’t be painful, all you have to do is relax and maintain eye contact. No emotions are involved aside from whatever feelings you have at the moment.” He answered, in one breath, just the same way she had asked. Then he stared at her for a little while before asking something out of the blue. “How did you get that?” He asked, tracing his finger along his own eye as if drawing her scar on his face.

Essence steadied herself at Luckas’ question, her fingers swiping the last bit of bread around the bowl to pick up the remanence of stew as her chewing slowed dramatically. She wouldn’t raise her gaze up to meet his as he stared at her. Not knowing how to respond exactly even though this wasn’t the first time she was asked that question, Ess simply painted a smile on her face, pushing herself to her feet, evading the question. “Would you like more to eat, Luckas?” Ess abruptly turned towards the fire, the flames reflecting in her violet orbs as her smile faded. She didn’t know how much Luckas had absorbed of her soul, but she had assumed he knew about certain demons that remained buried beneath her surface, including how she obtained her scar. Crossing her arms, her hands clasped her elbows tightly as if she were shivering from a chill, remembering with a sigh that she had told him to ask her questions instead of invading her personal space and he was remaining true to her request.

“…I acquired many scars with this one around the same time…” Ess began hesitantly. With a shrug, she kept her back towards Luckas as she continued. “…I had my revenge…many of those responsible for my pain..are no longer in this world..” Clearing her throat she glanced over her shoulder at Luckas, “It’s a pathetic story..I’m sure it would just bore you.” Even though she was trying to avoid the answer to Luckas’ question still, she wouldn’t lie to him and she knew if he pursued the knowledge, she may just re-tell one of the many tragedies of her life. Ess suddenly felt mentally weak for even considering such a tale to someone she barely knew…but then again she hadn’t felt such an odd connection with anyone in quite some time, and it scared her tremendously.

Luke had been leaning forward on the table, but immediately pulled back when Ess avoided his question and stood up from her seat, leaning back as far as he could. He was used to hitting people’s weak spots, but he usually did it willingly. He didn’t think this would be such a delicate subject; he simply wanted to use the example to get a point across. Her reaction, however, proved that his question was much more important than he thought it was.

Not really knowing what to do, he absently chewed on the last piece of his bread until there was nothing left, listening to the little Ess was willing to tell, and seeing how difficult it seemed for her to tell him that much. Looking at her in that particular moment made him wonder what memories truly were; blessings or curses. Suppose it depended on what memories one kept, but either way they all posed as weaknesses in a way or two.

Slowly, Luckas pushed his chair back and got on his feet. Walking over to where Ess was standing, he stood as close to her as he thought he could without being intrusive and reached out as if he was going to grab her shoulders, but stopped himself half way through the gesture and lowered his hands, letting them rest at his sides. “You don’t have to tell me any more, if you don’t want to.” He whispered. “Just answer me this: If you could forget all those terrible things that happened in the past. If you could erase those memories, and still be you, but not knowing what made you this way… Would you want that? Do you think it would be better?” This he hoped she would answer. It wasn’t just important… It was everything.

Looking up from the flames, Ess inhaled deeply as she turned to face Luckas. Something natural, that had been lost emerged from inside herself, dropping all facades Ess let her walls fall in that moment. She took a tiny step forward so that they were just far enough to not be touching, but the heat of her skin emanated from her entire being, radiating like the fire behind her. Gently she looked up into his dark eyes in a peaceful, thoughtful manner.

“You want to know, if I would willingly erase my past?….To avoid pain and still be who I am? That isn’t possible, Luckas because I would be someone else entirely.” Ess eyes flickered and glowed with her heightened emotion, brushing a loose curl from out her gaze. “We define ourselves by our pain and triumphs. How do we learn and better ourselves if not from those memories? We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we continue on in our lives, what to do with the cards we have been dealt.” She paused, taking in a breath, her eyes gazing back and forth from his own, down towards his mouth as she watched his expression, looking to understand where these questions came from.

“I would rather feel pain, than be empty. Sometimes we need to act irrational, to be sane in the long run. I choose, to be a stronger person. I chose to suffer for a time, because I thought it was my punishment for my failures. I am beginning to understand differently now, but I would not be standing before you now without going through what I did. I understand that there may be some memories I have wished to do without, but in the end, what’s the point? We might as well just light a fire and burn in our emptiness…..ring out…give up.” Ess closed her eyes a moment, inhaling through her nose before opening those beautiful eyes back up at Luckas, shaking her head. “I admit, I was weak once. That I am still lost in some ways. I know what it’s like to be a slave and have no free will, so I appreciate my life now and my ability to choose, even if they are not always the right choices.”

Essence didn’t realize how her hand reached up to touch Luckas’ cheek as she whispered, “Life doesn’t always make sense and is never easy, but the journey is just as important as reaching the end, Luckas. How would you realize what you love and hate?….How would you make sense of all the chaos that is in this world?…I’ll tell you what still hurts just as much as knowing I can never be a mother…..” Ess retracted her hand, her warm, soft skin brushing down Luckas’ chin. “It’s losing loved ones. But I would rather have known them, than never met them. Even if they disappoint or hurt me…because Luckas…because they have helped shape me into the person I am today…” Ess pointed knowingly where the picture of the blue eyed boy hung on the wall…. “That boy…that child….showed me many things..had more knowledge and wisdom at that age than I did…He taught me that I am beautiful…that I do matter…That I should stand up for myself and defend my life. That if you really do love someone, you trust and support them, even if you don’t always agree with their actions…that we can forgive…”

With a shaky laugh, her eyes glimmered with tears she never let skim the surface of her skin. She caught herself in her rant, a bit surprised she unraveled like a ball of twine, her skin blushing a deep red as she kept her gaze upon Luckas. “I’m sorry…guess I went off the deep end a second there…Not what you expected huh?” A shy smile curled her lips, her mind wondering if she had said too much.

Luckas stood facing Ess hearing her words intently, as if in a trance. Although his body was as still as he could be, his mind was racing furiously underneath his cold exterior, something inside his chest was aching painfully for reasons that, once again, he was unable to understand. She had said what he expected her to say; what he wanted her to say, what he needed someone to say… It was validation in a way… Purpose… Meaning… Maybe those thing existed after all. Maybe this was someone he could share his secrets with one day… One day, maybe soon, but not today…

Opening a rather faint smile he moved back to his chair and sat, leaning back on the chair and looking up at the woman before speaking. “Let’s say then, hypothetically that you had this one terrible event happen in your past… Something so horrible that merely scratching the surface of that memory brings more pain than any normal person could possibly handle without giving up their sanity… Knowing the nature of those memories, knowing the little you know about what they could do to you… Would you still want to remember? Would it be worth it? He asked. “If you had been who you are your whole life without knowing, if you were aware that once that door opened it could never be closed again… Would you want to know then? Isn’t ignorance bliss in this case?” His tone was one of someone presenting a simple logic problem, but something in Luckas’ eyes gave away the fact that it wasn’t such a simple question to him.

Essence smirked at the word as she breathed, “Hypothetically hmm…?” Her brows narrowed a bit as she studied Luckas, understanding there was something deeper he was hinting at, but what she couldn’t decide. He had stood before her and actually listened to what she had to say. Not many ever cared to do that, even if there was a personal reason behind it. She didn’t understand why it mattered what she thought as he continued at her with more questions, studying her in return.

“It’s only human to be hesitant or frightened of pain..emotional, physical, or both. Is it easier to live a lie? To deny oneself? Yes. Everyone has experienced such opportunities to avoid or escape pain, and it’s natural to do so. Yet, one can never really escape the past and it will catch up. Does one choose the path of insanity and despair, strength and prosperity, or perhaps one discovers insanity only to recover. Whatever is devastating enough to tear through a person, once that gauntlet is passed, the release is euphoric.” The glow from her eyes brightened as she bit down on her bottom lip at a thought, snickering to herself. Clearing her throat she seemed to float across the floor, seating herself back across from Luckas. “I think the journey would be most devastating, this extreme pain. If it is something to even consider, then it is worth it. Opening new doors has only proved beneficial in the long run….just have to find a way over the bottomless pits.” She started to laugh, “You know…the ones with the soul devouring demons with scary sharp teeth..” She stood abruptly, making her way over to the leather journal she had placed on the far shelf. Quickly ruffling through some pages, she paused at an eerie drawing, her laughter slowing. Looking up she turned the journal about to display her version of a demon.: A small, lanky, yellow slit-eyed creature with dagger like teeth. The skin was almost transparent hinting that whatever was inside this thing burned with a hideous fury. “I’m not religious at all, by the way, but this is what I think of when I am battling my demons. I believe we all have them inside us…sometimes they win battles..however small…But when we win battles…they are forever life altering.” She paused again before finishing, “If you give a meaning, a reason, or find that purpose in something else that makes the pain worth it…then to hell with Ignorance..”

~~~~~~~

To Be Continued….

Essence and Luckas Meet Again: Part 2

Shadows Of The Forgotten

Continued from Part 1. Just another glimpse…Please be advised, some things could be deemed inappropriate from younger readers. Thank you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Essence stepped outside Mageria’s room, closing the door gently behind her. Her eyes were locked onto the floor, lost in thought temporarily although she did notice Luke standing opposite against the wall. Ess wasn’t sure what style she would be looking for, for her disguise. Male..female….flashy…subtle…some skin…a lot of skin.

A slight smile curled her lips as she muttered, “I don’t suppose you’re going to want me to model my ideas for you? Course…I would like to take a hot bath first.”

Ess paused licking her lips teasingly as she passed Luckas, her arm brushing his ever so slightly. “…And well, I feel you would have to wait outside this time for that.”

Ess was a tease, and she wasn’t sure if all of it was instinct and subtle humor, or the fact that maybe she did find Luckas attractive and she was trying to hide the awkward feeling inside her stomach. Course, she had a talent for that, which was how she was always able to pretend to be another person to satisfy someone’s fantasy. She was a great actress.
“In the mean time Luckas, should we go over a strategy? Back up plans?…..” Ess winked.. “I also have…insurance for this kind of task…”

“Lady, you shouldn’t tease a man like that, especially not one who can use mind control on you.” Luke snickered. “I might give that impression sometimes, but I’m no kid.” He warned. “If I wasn’t such a gentleman you’d be in so much trouble right now.”

His tone made clear he was joking, but maybe he wasn’t entirely. Luckas sometimes found himself saying things to Ess he wasn’t even sure were serious or all in good fun. He still hadn’t completely shaken off the odd feeling he got from her presence, and he wasn’t sure if the fact that she was so determined to figure him out was comforting or annoying. He wasn’t sure if he wanted her around or if he wanted her gone… If liked her better as a friend or as prey. She was tempting, that was a fact, but he’d never had a friend before.

Finally, he got to the subject at hand. “I’d love to know what you mean by insurance and we should talk some things through, yes, but first I need you to listen, and this is important: I can get too carried away with this. I mean, I might actually break the guy’s mind beyond recognition before we even have the information Captain wants. So, while I’ll be trying my very best to keep it to a minimum, at least until we get something out of him, I might not be able to. Now, this is the important part: If my eyes are bright red, no matter what happens, do not touch me. Not even if the guy breaks out of my hold and runs a blade clean through my chest: unless you see black, stay the hell away. Are we clear?” He asked, looking the woman right in the eyes. He really didn’t want to hurt her. At least not until he chose to do it.

Essence couldn’t hold back her laughter, her head falling back almost limp as her eyes rolled up in her eyelids. “I…don’t believe I would ever hit on a child, my dear Luckas…nor do I fear you would be forced to resort to mind control…”She trailed off batting her eyes, her lips pursing as she made a soft kiss like gesture into the air in his direction. A momentary slip of her composure, she used that gesture to attempt to keep his attention away from how her eyes softened a moment, a wave of mixed emotions slamming her hard before she took back control of the subtle change. She had given something away and it made her nervous at the very idea of her emotions going past the pleasantries of normal business. Never, had Ess given herself the opportunity to consider anything else beyond how she would aquire her next bit of coin. She always felt that path would make her weak, vulnerable and she refused to let herself fall apart, losing herself like she had once before. Never did she wish to relive that moment. A painful memory flashed through her mind, quickly disappearing:

[13 years ago]

“Please don’t let it be him…”Ess prayed frantically to herself. Her violet orbs fell upon the names, her brows narrowing in anger as she screamed out in defiance at the stones. Falling to her knees, her fists began pounding against the earth, finding their way to the tombstone. With several cracks she had broken her hand, yet she ignored the physical pain as it was nothing compared to the realization of her loss. Ess disappeared in her blind rage, cursing the Twins, herself, and even her friend. Her wails of despair echoed into the city, carried off by the storm in a haunting mockery of her pain. She had met her breaking point that she had tried so hard to keep away from; she had fallen off her precipice disappearing into the abyss of sorrow.

With a soft sigh she brushed the feelings aside as if they never prodded her mind.

Clearing her throat, her painted smile faded as she focused on Luckas. Nodding at the appropriate times she knew he was correct in warning her about his gift, that she needed to be mindful of her casual demeanor and not touch him. The way he stared into her, gave her a spine shivering tingle that fluttered throughout her entire body. It was not a bad feeling, only the nervousness came back, this time she kept it well hidden. He was strange, Luckas. She saw something inside he was battling with, but couldn’t decipher it just yet. He was letting her accompany him on something most private, giving fair warning to protect herself while he had expressed conflicting concerns between his dark side and something else. The general concern for some random children who mainly meant nothing to him personally and then to shift into plans of torture and demise of foes…It reminded her, of well, herself. Sometimes feeling like she was split down the middle, and she knew Luckas had no idea how deep the split actually went inside Essence, even if he did take a peek into her soul.

Finally she spoke, “So…no skin on skin then?” The smile creeped back into view. “I get it Luckas. Only….does this mean I can’t lasso you with a rope to move you?” Ess was curious if he only meant direct contact, or if random objects acted like a conduit between him and another and would not save one from his fury.

Luckas watched Ess carefully. There was definitely something about her; something special, and he couldn’t quite tell how exactly it affected him, but he couldn’t deny it did. It was odd, being affected by someone, he couldn’t remember the last time that happened, that if it ever actually did. Lena was someone he feared and respected, and someone he could learn a lot from, Captain was someone that simply fascinated him for what she had managed to live through, in a few moments he’d even thought he felt admiration for her, but either way he didn’t have interest in them personally. They weren’t people he would ever let this close, not matter how close Lena had gotten, it was never as close as this… And maybe it was way too close for both their sake. “Absolutely no skin on skin.” He stated. “You could try and lasso me, tie me up, wear gloves, whatever else, but odds are I’ll fight you. I wouldn’t take that chance if I were you; I’ll be blind, def and void of any reason, and the slightest touch is all it takes” He warned. Then he relaxed a bit and shrugged slightly, adding: “There is also the possibility that I’ll pass out afterwards, but I think I can trust you not to take advantage of me, right?” He asked raising an eyebrow and giving her a fake suspecting glance, before turning it into a wicked grin. “Because I’d much rather be awake for that.” He said, winking playfully as he began walking.

“There’s this tower I like to hide in and no one usually goes there, so that is a good place to lure him into, it’s secluded enough; I’ll show you where it is. Unless you’d rather lead him out of the Castle, but that might be a little harder to pull off, I mean… You may be a talented actress, as I’m sure you are, but the guy probably won’t be that stupid.”

Essence walked beside Luckas, holding back a fit of giggles at his comment of tying him up. She decided to leave that one alone. A sweet, calm like smile remained on her lips, her eyes flickered in a subtle glow with her emotions as Luckas mentioned him trusting her. She remembered their first meeting..well second meeting, almost like a battle of wits discussing man’s flaws and how trust was one of those things that was fragile and could be shattered easily. Ess agreed with much he had said, and couldn’t ignore the fact that he was giving her a shot in the dark. He most likely was similar to her, in that she built a wall around herself to prevent any permanent damage from seeping in, if that trust was broken.

“I think I’d rather you be awake for that as well…so no passing out. I’d take that as a personal insult.” She teased. Quirking an eyebrow, she scrunched up her nose , still smiling as she answered his offer of trust in her own way, “I’ll mind the red eyes Luckas, but I don’t leave people behind.”

Rolling her eyes, Ess muttered under her breath, “What is it with boys and their forts?” Then again, as she thought about it, she was like the cool girl allowed into the “Boy’s Only” Club. A bit louder she asked, “Let me guess Luckas, this tower of yours is scattered with human skulls?” With a chuckle she turned to face him, “Stupid people are not a challenge, so I hope he’s got more brains than a rock.” Ess began thinking of how she would lure the Warlord to this said tower, and depending on what information Luke and her found out, depended on her main strategy.

“Generally speaking hun, I see this going into the direction of me leading the Warlord to you…maybe having a bit of fun myself…and incapacitating him..at least temporarily so you can have your fun, without worrying about a sword through the chest.” Ess would show Luckas what she meant later in association with her back up plan and “Insurance Policy.”

Ess rolled her shoulders, as if they were sore. “In the mean time..I need to relax if I am to have enough strength to play…which means for me…to go visit the tavern for a drink. You are welcome to join.” She stated to Luckas, reaching by her hip she retrieved a single gold coin which she tossed lightly in his direction. “You can buy me a drink.” She slowly winked.

Luckas sighed softly when she said she didn’t leave people behind; that was cute, but it just gave him something to worry about. He didn’t say anything more though, the last thing he needed right now was to admit that he worried; that would be a whole other concern all in itself and he wanted a clear mind. Going back to the teasing was the best way he found to keep that out of his head. “Well, whenever you want to take advantage of me I’ll be wide awake, believe me.”

When she asked if the tower had human skulls in it, Luke laughed out again. “What? No, silly woman.” He choked on laughter. “First: I don’t play with dead stuff. Second: It’s just a bell tower, nothing much.” He said with a shrug. “And how do you plan to incapacitate him? I need him awake and sober for this, so no drugs.” He told her. “Even if they ware off quick, they might cause some side-effects with my enlightenment.”

Catching the gold coin in the air, Luke quickly slipped into his pocket with an amused grin. “Tell you what, pretty lady… Assuming you now know how the get out of the castle by yourself, why don’t you go ahead and I’ll meet you there in a few minutes? I have a little ritual of my own I’d like get done before we have our fun.” That said, he began to walk towards the ‘noble area’ of the castle, waving playfully over his shoulder. “Don’t have too much fun without me.”

Ess shrugged and added, “What if he is awake and sober…but can’t move?” She was thinking to herself about the many different…toys and products she acquired over the years to satisfy such a purpose. Raising her left hand up a bit she spoke softly, “I promise..on pain of death…not to ruin your fun Luckas, or interfere…” Her smile faded into her serious persona, nodding as she did understand his complexities of his enlightenment, at least from what he mentioned. She was exceptionally excited to see exactly what he was capable of, since she honestly couldn’t remember everything from their first encounter, but she was still left impressed.

Again, he complimented her oh so subtly, her expression questioning yet she kept her lips silent.  Rolling her eyes slightly she sighed, “Ok, but don’t take too long. I’ll keep a seat warm for you.” Placing a kiss on her hand she blew it towards him as she spun around back the way they had come, remembering an exit they had passed that would lead her back towards the gate. “I can’t make you any promises that I’ll behave while you’re away.”

Essence made her way to the Inn fairly quickly, sitting at an empty table by the door. Nodding to the woman behind the bar, she held up two fingers, hinting that she wanted a double. The woman nodded, knowing Ess’s usual choice of hard alcohol. As the glass was set down before her she quickly downed the liquid, letting the burning sensation coat he stomach before motioning for another. Sipping the second drink, she handed the woman a few coins, leaning back in her chair, heels upon the table. Half the day was just about over and so much had already happened. Tossing around some ideas in her mind, she contemplated what she would see from Luckas and what she would reveal to him in turn. In a half smile, she sipped her drink again, violet eyes fluttering about the room from patron to patron. As she lost herself deep in thought, she began to remember one of the first times she had engaged in such a pre-meditated action…

[NewHaven about 10 years ago…]

Essence sauntered forward, heels clicking against the stone floor of the courtyard, as her hips swayed side to side in a hypnotizing desire. Dressed from head to toe in a dark, red-like purple satin, the cloth hugging her curves, dragging along the floor, was sleeveless. Her thick curls fell messy and loose down past her shoulders, encasing her soft pale skin from the night’s chill. Carrying no visible weapons, her fingers fiddled with a small pouch that hung from her left hip. Two curious rings decorated her left and right middle fingers. One was simple, a plain silver band with a curious hook like claw that extended across her palm towards he wrist; the other was a white gold, topped with a metallic purple sapphire. Ess had applied only a hint of color to her lips and eyes, earthy tones that embellished her violet gaze and drew attention away from her tattoo like scar beneath her left eye. Breath taking was an understatement, yet she wasn’t completely conspicuous, managing to blend with the crowd to attract only the occasional stare which could of been credited to her perfume. The scent was enticingly sweet; a mix of lavender, honey, and vanilla.

The night was alive with entertainment, music and plenty of drink. Torch light surrounded the main gathering in a particular circle, the shadows dancing across her face. Ess looked around, looking up at the castle from afar, absently wondering about what it looked like inside. Everything seemed to slow down as her eyes locked upon her target, she temporarily fell deaf as she honed onto Devon Fields, pushing out the tired music that haunted her ears. Devon was tall, blond, green eyed son of a noble whose charms got him almost anything or anyone and his peers simply turned a blind eye. ‘Weak and pathetic,’ Ess thought to herself with an attractive smile. She would not approach him directly, but found her harmless lurking would eventually draw his attention as she mingled with the men and women of the party, calling herself Talena Lumin.

For a moment, she felt she was being watched and when she glanced around with a nieve expression, Devon and her locked eyes for a second before she turned away with a slight yawn. Turning slowly she disappeared into a circle of men and women, temporarily losing Devon’s gaze. Keeping her attention on him, she saw how he looked away only to double take her figure , his eyes flashing quickly from person to person as he tried to pick her out of the party. It worked out wonderfully when the crowd parted around her, displayed perfectly for the noble, wine glass in hand. Pretending to not notice him as she finished off her drink, she didn’t have to fake her bored expression as he dropped his current conversation to approach her.

The next few moments were typical; they introduced themselves, Devon giving the facade of knowing ‘Talena’s’ family because she played herself off as a cousin of a noble family and Talena, in turn, indulging the man to a dance. Her violet orbs kept to their dim contrast, her mind void of any emotion as she inspected the weasel and his obvious fake persona. Smiling sweetly as he boasted and lied about his adventures and conquests, she was light on her feet as she was twirled left then right, heels seeming to not touch the ground. Politely she kept her attention on him, all the while the wheels inside her brain twisted and turned remembering the rumors, only to see for herself what darkness he left upon the women from her side of town. Ess was getting better and better at discovering the demons hidden away inside the souls of men, and it wasn’t hard at all to see the familiar sick glimmer in his green eyes as he complimented her again and again.

“You honor me, M’lord.” She whispered softly, her gaze luring him closer to her as the dance completed.

“May I get you another drink, M’lady Lumin?” Devon bowed politely giving a devilish smile.

Ess nodded knowingly as he went to retrieve them both another glass of wine. Quickly she thought about how to switch the glasses, remembering how the noble drugged each girl before he had his way with them, never much for the fight as he seemed to like to take his time with his docile playmates.

When Devon had returned, she automatically reached for the furthest glass from herself, knowing he would pull away. Ironically he was taken back a bit, the glass slipping for the stone floor with a small shatter.

“Oh, I am terribly sorry M’Lord. That was my fault.” She apologized, taking the glass presented to her. “Let me grab another for you.” With another sweet smile she carried her glass with her as she pretended to sip it, leaving a noticeable lip smear to show she had held onto her own drink as she retrieved another for him. With her back to him, she poured the wine into another glass, walking back pretending to finish off the entire contents in one breath. Stumbling a bit she handed Devon the drink.

“Perhaps, I have had too much tonight. Would you escort a Lady back to her home?” Ess willed her cheeks to glow with a pink tone, giving the illusion she had indeed over-indulged that night. Devon smiled, quirking a brow at how she inhaled the drink and nodded as he repeated her action in response. “What kind of gentleman would I be if I refused?”

Once they made their way away from the crowd, Ess stumbled a bit more, her hand touching her head as if she was dizzy. “Devon…I feel….sick…” She lied, her legs giving out from under her, yet she never hit the cold ground. Devon had caught her as she ‘faded from consciousness’ and without a word he lifted her into his arms, turning into another direction of his home.

Ess remained limp, listening to the sounds around her, feeling Devon’s body tense and his heart race in excitement. She almost thought she heard him laugh to himself, but she was never sure. Before she knew it, they had entered a room somewhere, and she was carelessly tossed onto the soft surface of a bed. Essence noted the sound of Devon unbuckling his belt, letting clothing fall to the floor, soon after he gripped her ankles, dragging her forward, her legs falling like a rag doll on either side of his hips. She let her mind drift as his rough fingers slid over her skin, tugging at the lace of her gown here and there, fumbling with the hooks of her corset. Keeping her composure and illusion that she was passed out, she simply waited.

Ess was happy that the drug had managed to kick in before Devon defiled her. Peeking with one eye, she saw his body grow limp and with a confused grunt he slid off her onto the floor. Slowly she lifted her head questioningly, opening both eyes as she wondered if he would move. Minutes went by before finally standing quickly, she dressed herself. With much effort she managed to yank the naked man onto the bed, using the sheets from the bed to tie him down. She wasn’t sure how long he would be out for, but she sat in a nearby chair to watch.

An hour passed before the man stirred, Ess’s eyes snapping to attention she rocked forward to stand over Devon, her curls teasingly tickling his bare chest. A wild glow in her stare emanated from her form, a devious smile curling her lips while her fingers playfully trailed along his chest and along his inner thighs. “Wakey wakey..” She sang, placing a kiss on his cheek.

As he opened his blurry eyes, his confusion was great causing her to giggle quietly. He moved to speak but was cut off as she backhanded him hard across the face, the jewel of her ring imprinting along his cheekbone. Now he was awake, twitching about as he attempted to break loose. Eyes wide, he glared at Ess, “Tricky Bitch you-” She cut him off again, shaking her head disapprovingly to keep silent as she slapped him harder this time across the other cheek, her ring slicing a superficial cut down across his lip.

“I’m sorry…you were saying?” She muttered mockingly before stuffing a rag into his mouth. “What? I can’t hear you?” Crawling over Devon’s nakedness she straddled his hips still fully clothed herself, her fingers inattentively playing with the ring on her right hand. With a twist she turned the claw like point around as if it was an additional fingernail. “You almost made it too easy, sugar..Tell me…do you like how this feels..” She teased as she grinded herself into his hips, her tiny silver claw finding its way towards his chest, she slowly pressed and dragged it across both pecks simultaneously. The blood trickled down onto the bed as he thrashed, attempting to knock Ess off of him, yet she tightened her thighs, bucking wildly as if she were riding a stallion yet to be broken.

With his muffled screams she wanted to take her time, but knew she had to get to the point before someone heard him. When she looked into his eyes, she only saw memories of her own defilement and torture. Her vision taken over by one memory in particular…

BlackPond over 15 years ago…

Tye was revealed Ess’s gift after his nightly visit with her. He was almost as bad as Jasper with his repeated abuse, so as much as Ess tried to hide her fear, it manifested in her Enlightenment. He was startled into thinking she was a boy as she took the shape and form of her lost, older brother. He liked the idea at first and tried his damndest to teach her to use that gift at will for his own pleasures. When she refused, he made a deep, vertical cut underneath her left eye.

She fought through the pain as she whispered, “I know you didn’t mean it.” Smiling sweetly as blood poured down her cheek, she reached between his legs with one hand, the other reaching for his short sword left lazily on the floor. She leaned in slowly to kiss Tye deeply and as he bit her lip, she thrusted the blade between his ribs, twisting hard.

“You like boys so much…”, she teased, “…I thought you wanted to know how it felt to be stuck like a pig!”

As soon as she retracted the blade, Tye’s personal guards came rushing in and knocked a hilt of a sword into her head and all went black. When she had awoken, she was lying naked in a dark, cold room. Heavy breathy creeping from each corner as rough hands grabbed her and spat in her ear, “” “This will take the fight out of you….””” Repeatedly beaten, raped, they had cut her so bad she would never know the joys of being a mother…

Ess’ eyes refocused upon the man, the images fading from present thought. She started with Devon’s face, leaving raw gashes that would normally heal into an ugly scar but she didn’t plan on letting him live that long. They seemed fitting to match the damage he had done to the other women, almost ritualistic. Putting much emphasis on the sharp tool, letting it linger before the man’s eyes, she gradually inserted the blade into his ear canal, causing his eyes to roll up into his head. Grabbing a pillow she shoved it over his face trying to silence his screams. Only when they softened did she pull the pillow back. Sliding her body down along his, she began jabbing her toy along his stomach, similar to the way a fork cut into an under easy egg, slowly a thick substance leaked out from the many holes. By the time she reached between his legs, the man was in tears, blood raining down onto the bed. Pausing a moment, she reached for the ring on her left hand, giving a twirl of the jewel, it opened, revealing a curious black liquid. Dipping the end of her claw into the muck, she closed back up the ring, watching as the goo coated the silver tool.

“This, won’t hurt much…” She frowned, a bit disappointed at that aspect as she impaled his male organ with the weapon, knowing the poison would soon numb him completely. Devon’s body lurched forward, only to be knocked back from the restraints, he spat the rag partially out in his despair, only to have it shoved deeper into his throat.

“It’s almost over, fortunately for you darlin’.” Essence growled as she crawled off the man, using the loose sheets from his restraints to wipe at the blood along her arms and chest. In the time it took her to gather herself, blowing out some candles to darken the room, the last thing she saw was his naked skin turning black as his wails softened. She knew the pain was going away as the skin darkened quickly. She took one last candle and brought it over to the man, gently lifting his head to look down at himself.

“Do you see Devon? It’s going to fall off before the toxin reaches your heart…” She stated happily, slightly lying but it still got the rise out of him she wanted. He was indeed weaker now, but he had head butted her in the forehead as she spoke. With a curse, she put out the candle on his nipple, digging the hot wax into his flesh.

In the darkness she laughed, muttering incoherent rants about the women he had tortured and raped. She remembered as many names as she could before she spat on him, leaving for the door. Ess knew he would be dead within the hour, with or without help. With a sigh she peeked out the door and slipped away into the night.

~~~~~

To Be Continued…

(Again..ehem ALL CHARACTER rights of Essence belongs to me and Luckas belongs to BlackBird. Remember…Cleverbot is watching…) >.>