Queen among the Triple Closet

Discussion in 'ONE ON ONES IN CHARACTER' started by The Mood is Write, Sep 29, 2016.



  1. The festival sent the city into a frenzy. This week was a celebration like none other: this week, they celebrated the soldiers from other worlds, and their own part in protecting those worlds by hosting the most dangerous monster imaginable.

    The monster's visage decorated banners, and children threw rotten eggs and tomatoes at targets made to look like it. The creature's face was all red eyes and black horns and snarling wicked teeth, with claws ready, and as the day progressed, the festival workers lowered the banners of the monster and raised banners that showed an orb of green and blue surrounded by wings, with a twisted halo over top that resembled a sideways numeral.

    Today, the last day of the Festival of Greenstone, a special guest was slated to appear.

    All but the last monster banner had been lowered and replaced with the banner of the heroes, and a hush fell over the crowd, little by little, as the king stepped forward.

    "Good eve, one and all!" His booming voice echoed as he raised his hands. The crowd grew still as people of all ages and walks watched their ruler, heads upturned as the quiet grew and the monarch waited.

    Finally, his voice shattered the silence with a thunderous laugh. "I promised you a special guest tonight, and it's not just one of our allies protecting us and fighting for the truth of existence: no, today, it's someone special, someone whose presence with us has enabled us to protect existence as much as our revered allies!"

    The crowd began to murmur.

    "I present the monster, bound to the form of a maiden and shackled for your pleasure!"

    A pair of doors opened under the king's balcony, and a tiny woman walked slowly forward, onto a platform. Her figure was petite, more than two heads smaller than the guards who bound her wrists to the platform.

    Her pale skin looked like snow against the blood and black of her dress, which looked darker still against the pale green stones that decorated her jewelry.

    Most striking was her ankle-length golden hair that blew freely in the light breeze, wavy and thick, her vivid red eyes, and a black ring of horns that grew from her head in a crown.

    "I have a few rules!" The king shouted over the excited crowd. "The biggest is you don't touch beneath her clothing, and the second is not to damage her crown. Her crown keeps us safe from her cruelty." The king laughed, and almost immediately, an egg flew at the young woman's face. She closed her eyes, but made no move to defend against it.

    Dzhed stood, ready for the impact, and the egg shattered against her crown. Agony rocked her, and her vision blackened as she felt more impacts against her body and clothing. It felt like forever, but eventually the attacks stopped, and a hand rested on her shoulder. She jumped and turned to look, only to see the king standing with a guard nearby.

    "Time to wash up, Dzhed. You did well, my pet." The monarch purred. The light flickered across his broad form, and Dzhed looked around to see that the guard held a torch, and the night above was filled with stars.

    "Thank you." Dzhed murmured as she turned and bowed.

    "You look pretty, with that martyred expression. Go wash, and meet me in the throne room."

    The night went by with none of the promised cherries, and the next morning, Dzhed laid in bed, nursing bruises all along her arms as she trembled at the memory of the day and night before. Tears flowed freely, and she did her best not to think about how it made her feel. Even the act of feeling the pain caused by everyone's hatred brought throbbing agony to her head.

    And yet, the day held more for her than self-pity. She forced herself to rise and dress, to prepare for the day. Outside, she heard the usual noises: servants cleaning, people gossiping, and birds singing. Just another day.

    The small woman finished dressing, then sat on the edge of her bed and placed her face into her hands.
     

  2. You know, this is a terrible idea. What if the monster eats us?

    You're ridiculous. The lot of them aren't that stupid.

    If I could go a single day without you two, it would be a peaceful day indeed.

    On yet they bickered, and the male wilted at the separate voices in his head. There was no end in sight to the punishment of becoming two siblings. It had been nearing a full year since the sudden merging of the sister Marian with her brother, Aziel, and still they struggled to let their new being- the new conscious that they had formed- be. With three dominant voices in his head, including his own, Faendol- as the name they chose- was never inclined to let others know of his inner demons, lest he be labelled a lunatic and locked into a cell.

    It was on this day that the city was in celebration, and vehement whispers reached his ears. Monster. Evil. Special guest. He held his skepticism about the whole event, and rightfully so. In his travels in search of a 'cure' to his 'ailment', the closest thing he'd seen to a monster had been a drunken orc that tried to proposition him. He doubted anything could beat that.

    Dark locks dragged along the streets, until the androgynous male brought a gloved hand around to wind the thick strands about one arm. It wasn't long after that he was being carried along by a crowd, as a booming announcement about their special guest rang out. There was something about the monster being bound, but then...

    He saw her, so eerily beautiful, luminescent eyes setting wide. He seemed to forget to breathe in the short moment he had to watch her before something struck the ugly crown of thorns atop her head.

    Monster? She's no monster. She's...

    Deceiving us, clearly. Why aren't we throwing something?!

    But he made no move to snatch something to lob in her direction, seemingly captivated, until he was pushed down by the rest of the crowd. Dirty feet trampled him as greedy hands clawed at the fine fabric of his coat, until he scrambled to his feet and shoved away. Among the chaos and focus upon the 'monster', his struggle went unnoticed, even still as he departed toward the inn, disgusted by the display.

    Surely there had to be some other meaning to this, surely there had to be justification. His own struggles temporarily forgotten, he found himself practically drinking himself under the table at the nearby tavern, until he couldn't see straight, opting to drown out the bickering inside his own head with copious amounts of alcohol, in addition to the new troubles eating away at his mental walls like famished mosquitoes.

    He had to be dragged out of the tavern by some kind soul, who dutifully paid for his room at the inn, then left him to his misery.

    When morning came, his head pounded with a familiar ache, but he paid it no heed. Marian and Aziel were quiet for once; there was no bitching about the sun from Aziel, or the cheeky, chirpy 'good morning, sleeping beauty!' from Marian. Perhaps he had killed them with all of the rum...

    Good luck with that, sunshine.

    Groaning quietly to himself, he pulled his tangle of floor-length hair to himself to begin groggily braiding the mess. Half an hour later, he was done, and shambling out of his room to the rest of town.

    He wanted to investigate this and poke the proverbial beast until it cried uncle. There was something more going on here, he knew.

    You could keep your nose out of trouble instead. Couldn't hurt.

    Riiiight. And next he'll shit gold bricks and then we can pay someone to research this clusterfuck.

    "Shut up," he mumbled, his timing proving ill. He'd just passed a vendor shouting about his goods, and at such a close range, the man heard.

    "Wot wassat, eh, pretty boy?"

    Color blossomed against his face. "Nothing!" he yelped and scurried along deeper into town, the tips of his ears burning.

    He ventured closer to the castle, and asked those nearest the castle doors if they'd heard any further mention of the girl who had been humiliated the day prior. Fae was turned away with sneers and looks of disapproval instead of viable answers, which only aided in his frustrations.

    He even turned to asking the guards, but they made to act as though they would have no issue making a show of force if his 'weasel face' kept sticking his nose where it didn't belong.
     
    #2 Aerylei, Sep 29, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
  3. Throughout the time it took for Faendol to arrive, his mutterings caught attention, and when he began to ask questions, someone broke away from the crowd.

    The door groaned open. "Dzhed." The king's voice rumbled from the entrance to the room, and she looked up.

    "Yes, your Majesty?" Her voice was quiet, and her eyes unfocused, thoughts willfully elsewhere.

    The king's gaze slowly traveled over her form, up and down, and up again. "You've got some idiot asking after you. Clearly from some place you've not been put yet, or somehow missed the stories growing up." He smirked. "Someone mentioned him to me a moment ago, and I think it might be fun to introduce you." His smirk turned into a broad grin, and he suddenly began to laugh before he explained quickly what she was to do.

    Clad in a tight-fitting red gown that left a large portion of her breasts and shoulders uncovered, but clung to her arms, ribs, and wasp-shaped waist. The skirt was fairly traditional, though simple, almost insultingly so.

    Gold and black embroidery cut through the top, concentrated around the scandalously low neckline, with more around her waist. Beneath, a special-made corset reduced her waist down to the width of her calf, shoved her rear back until her spine ached, and shoved her breasts up to form a nearly-flat surface as she quietly struggled to breathe through compressed ribs.

    She felt ridiculous. Pain throbbed in her chest and back that sent a blush to her chest above her breasts, her cheeks, and her ears.

    Still, she had been given an order, and she stepped out, onto the long balcony. It extended far to either side, and nearly encircled the house, leaving only the back of the castle without its sunny platform. She approached the low stone wall that encircled it, then looked around for a few moments before she let her gaze drift downward. A few people stopped to gawk at her, and she waited for Faendol to join them, though she didn't look at him directly, but instead let her gaze slowly wander over the now-paused people.

    Far from enough to call them a crowd, but she counted at least two dozen individuals before she became bored and turned to her right. She let her hand trail along the stone that stood between her and slipping to what she hoped might have been oblivion.

    The ground below looked rather inviting.

    A sudden spike of agony ripped through her forehead, and she stumbled, falling to her knees as her pale hand gripped the stone railing. Tiny whimpers escaped her lips.
     
  4. Still he received no affirmation of the girl's identity, and with every growing moron that blew him off, so grew his own drive to seek answers.

    You're attracting attention...

    Let them look. We aren't here for 'em.

    The anxiety crept into his bones like an assassin in the night. He was garnering many uneasy looks as he unceremoniously shoved his nose where it clearly should not have been. But then, as he wandered around, the sight of someone on the balcony caught his attention, and he froze.

    She looked like she couldn't breathe in her get-up, and even still his eyes glued themselves to the obvious. With a great, obnoxious fit of coughing, Fae turned away, the tips of his ears burning while Aziel laughed heartily in his head. Marian was uncharacteristically quiet while her brother basked in their vessel's clear discomfort.

    Well, damn. Looks like someone knew you were coming.

    There was a great pause inside his head, the silence almost deafening but yet so welcome.

    ...Marian?

    Hmm? Oh, hi!

    You're staring at her tits, aren't you?

    That's preposterous!

    I can hear your blush, Marian.

    Shaking his head free of his intrusive voices, beautiful eyes trained upward to stare at the woman while his jaw nearly dropped. He saw her suddenly fall and at once he had half a mind to rush up there, but he wasn't sure he could- he was still learning the whole town's layout, for he'd only been here a few days yet.

    "Miss! Are you alright?" he called from his spot below her, attracting a few inquisitive stares at the long-haired stranger.
     
    #4 Aerylei, Oct 2, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  5. Dzhed continued to grip the stone wall. "Yes!," she called, then winced. "Yes, yes my lord. Please, do not waste your concern on my well-being." Slowly, she rose, then began to walk again with only a subtle glance back toward him. It wasn't the intended way to get his attention and lure him to her, but nonetheless, it might work.

    He seemed to have a soft heart.

    Perhaps he would try to follow her as she circled round to where a stairway led down into a small yard. Certainly, a stone wall stood between him and the park now, but he looked agile enough: he might be able to jump it.

    She fought to keep from looking back at him. She only had to follow orders.

    She just wished she could breathe. Her chest ached from the compression on her lower ribs, and she felt faint. From the wall, he would be able to see the stairs down. She paused and leaned against the railing as she focused on breathing. Nearly to the stairs...
     
  6. Wasting his concern? His brow furrowed atop those brilliant blues, gaze following the scandalously-clad woman. She may have been dressed, but in the end, it wasn't something befitting a proper lady, not in his eyes.

    Follow he did as the lady wound her way around, only stopping long enough to stare at the wall before him, and then it wasn't long before Aziel piped up.

    You won't make that jump.

    If you believe in yourself...

    He heard a scoff. Gods, you're such a bleedin' heart.

    Yet again wrapped up in the quarrel of the two, Fae shook himself free of his thoughts- damn these voices!- and he hefted himself up over the rather small wall, then dropped down on the other side.

    Puss. Didn't even try to jump.

    Unease settled within him as he took a few cautionary glances around. The two within bickered about the point of this meeting, but he did his best to snuff their voices out, instead leading himself closer to the woman, even if with every step he knew he shouldn't.

    There was something unsettling about her.

    "Are you sure you're alright, ma'am?" He paused, a gentle smile warming his features. "You look like you can hardly get a breath in."
     
  7. Pain throbbed in her forehead as she turned to look at Faendol. Eyes unfocused, she took in his appearance in silence as her forehead prompted her with pain that only added to her inability to breathe. Her face and chest had visible redness about them, and she smiled at Faendol. The pain ebbed slightly, enough she could think.

    "Thank you for answering my summons, my lord." She curtsied low before him, head bowing as her red eyes slid shut. Her hair was held in a bun on the back of her head, roughly the size of a cat, and delicate curls hung about it, not unlike the golden sugar candy curls sold by a few festival vendors. She waited a few long moments before she rose. The pain was fading drastically with each order she followed.

    "I apologize for the inconvenience of my calling for you, my lord. My name is—" She picked up after only a moment. "Dzhed. I am the most recent wife to His Majesty the King, and father of no heirs." Another order completed, though this wasn't one from today. "I apologize for many things." Again, the statement was off-script, and the pain faded to little more than a dull throb. One order left.

    "Including this." Those two small words nearly stole consciousness from her as white pain burst in her forehead, but yet she pulled a tiny blade from within her dress and lunged toward him. She couldn't see from the pain.

    The blade was hilariously child-sized, but very sharp. It was unlikely she would, or even could, cause permanent damage, but she might leave an inch-deep cut with the dagger that was only one-fifth blade.

    Even as she stabbed blindly out in front of herself, her lips remained tight together and down-turned into a frown of pain and concentration. Her eyes remained shut equally tight, and with her very predictable stabbing, it likely wouldn't be hard to simply take a step away from her and then deal with the girl.
     
  8. Beautiful eyes watched her every move, enraptured, the voices in his head dulled to a dreary mumble. For the first time since his arrival, Faendol felt in control of his motions, in control of his own breathing, as he stared wordlessly at the woman. She was beautiful, cruelly so, and the sudden change in her demeanor caught him entirely off-guard.

    Oh, for Heavens' sake. Why are all the pretty ones batshit?

    Fae! Get away from her!

    He was disobeying their direct wishes with the way that he grasped her wrist, twisting it up and away. The sudden pressure against her tiny bones only increased as pained eyes watched her. She had stabbed him, but it was so minor a cut that it was nothing his healing couldn't fix. Still, the sudden pain startled him, shock written clear as day across his androgynous features.

    "Why?" It was all he could manage in this moment, holding her closer than he meant, one arm holding her hand- and consequently, the stupid dagger- off to the side, away from both individuals.

    The others did not speak. In their moment of danger, there was an uncomfortable, pained silence in the place of bickering. For now, Fae was in complete control of himself, and it was horrifying.

    "Why?" Louder, firmer this time. Anger boiled beneath his surface, but he kept it under wraps, afraid to break the supposed queen of the realm he had taken temporary residence within.

    He made no other moves to touch her. He wouldn't hurt her, despite the underlying, screaming urges to do so.
     
  9. Tears cut through her makeup, but even through her agony, she felt... relieved. He'd stopped her. His grip hurt, but stabbing at him and the scent of his blood had relieved the pain. It wasn't a strong scent: clearly a small wound, but she couldn't see through the tears and her still-unfocused eyes. Her throat tightened visibly as she trembled, about to put more pain on herself. From her horns, Fae could see blood forming subtly around the base.

    Still, the orders had been completed. She'd attacked Fae after luring him. That was the end of that. "Sorry. I'm... I'm sorry." Her voice, choked and quiet, came from trembling lips. "The king, he..."

    Her body trembled, fear added to the slow-fading pain. "The king, when he... when he gives an order, I must... must obey, or the pain..." the queen's words trailed off as her blurred and returning vision finally saw the man's face, and her pain, emotional now, felt like a boulder in her stomach. She'd hurt him, and more than merely physically.

    "Please, please... I'm sorry, but please run far, far away from me!" Her voice remained quiet, barely a whisper as she closed her eyes, willing herself not to look at him, not to see the betrayal in his face. "The king, he thinks... thinks it's funny, that it's a game. I'm sorry... I'm sorry..."

    The orders had assumed that once she stabbed the man, she would flee, but the king forgot to tell her to do that part. He'd given nothing but told her to take a knife, to lure, and to stab a certain specific person.

    "And... don't do anything else. He's watching."
     
  10. His rage subsided, replaced by a hollow need for more answers. There was so much more going on here than he thought, and he should know better, but he craved knowledge, even if it would hurt him in the end.

    Fae, stop it. For once, Aziel sounded serious, even grim.

    You'll get killed. You'll get us killed.

    He ignored them. His eyes narrowed down at the tiny woman, his concentration suddenly elsewhere. Faint light radiated from the stone in his coat's collar. It briefly enveloped his form, a gentle warmth radiating from him, as his wound healed, the androgyne sucking in a hollow breath.

    "I don't give a damn." It was in answer to both the woman and the two within. He released her, snatching the tiny dagger from her fingers in the process, even tossing it down to the ground. It was an open act of defiance, plain as day for anyone watching to see.

    Still Fae didn't care. He was putting himself in danger, he knew.

    But the drive for answers overwhelmed his personal safety.

    His eyes bore into her closed eyelids, willing her to look at him, a stubborn determination in his own gaze. Without another word he turned, retreating from her, then hopping back over the wall.

    The silence in his head was deafening. He'd give anything to have it go back to that morning, before he saw her. But now he needed to know.
     
  11. "I don't give a damn."

    The tiny, busty woman flinched visibly, tears gathered along her lashes as her shoulders began to shake, but she remained still, remained silent.

    The man wrenched the knife out of her hand as he released her unnaturally thin-boned wrist. She dropped the knife and let him toss it away. The skin of her pale wrist glowed red in the shape of his hand where he'd gripped so tightly.

    "I'm sorry." Her voice grew more choked

    His gaze burned into her, and she trembled, head bowed in submission. Every part of her wanted to shrink away, to become nothing, and her throat closed entirely. She felt like she couldn't breathe. Her guilt choked her as tight as a noose.

    His gaze remained, and she looked up, misery in every part of her face. His expression looked... frightening. She quickly lowered her gaze as tears began to slide down her face. He walked from her, and she heard him hop over the wall. She collapsed, flushed from the chest up. Her fingers and nose tingled, and her body wanted to curl forward, but the corset dug at her, forced her back to bend the wrong way, forcing her to either spread her legs to lean forward, or to be content with staring at the sky.

    "I am... definitively the monster..." She murmured to the stones below and between her parted knees.

    Clapping came from behind, and she stiffened, desperate to shrink to nothingness even further.

    Finally, the king spoke. "Ah, Dzhed, a beautiful performance." He grinned, his words unfitting for someone so large and coarse, with an uneven beard and arms thicker than Dzhed's head. "However," he said as his tone changed from cheery to chill, "I believe you disobeyed one of my orders entirely."

    Dzhed trembled still more, but said nothing.

    "And you did it knowingly, trying to warn him, trying to send him away before my fun was through." The king's massive hand rested against Dzhed's back, then squeezed, forcing the little air within from it as she lifted her head and let her mouth fall open, desperate for air.

    "You'll stay in that corset all day, and then you'll go into the throne room and strip everything excepting it, and you'll sit among the dogs. Maybe their obedience will rub off on you... or something at least entertaining."

    She nodded.

    "And if you loosen the corset, I'll give an order you can't complete."

    Again, she nodded.

    "Good. Go away, you're making the garden uglier."

    The top-heavy woman rose and stumbled away, mind dizzy, until she arrived in her bedroom and fell onto her side on the bed, panting desperately.

    Had she heard a crack when the king grabbed her?
     
  12. Marian and Aziel didn't speak until the next day.

    His waking hours after his encounter with the queen had been spent furiously taking notes within his room at the inn. With all the coin he'd collected doing odd jobs during his travels, he had more than plenty for at least another night.

    Fae knew what he was doing was beyond dangerous. The androgyne was nearly waving a giant, multicolored flag in the king's face that screamed, Here I am! Come and get me! Stab me more!

    The uneasy feeling in his stomach spread to other places, his neutral expression turning down into a firm frown. He stopped to re-dip his pen in his inkwell. His furious scribbling had manifested into a sheet full of chicken scratch, fleetingly-legible words like monster woman, unseemly king, and a plethora of questions dotting the corners.

    There was no method to his notetaking. It was purely Faendol trying to keep his head about him, the silence near him so painful it made his chest tight, as if he couldn't breathe.

    The waning of his candle on its little stand signaled the end of his night, and before he had a chance to rid himself of his last source of light, it went out. With a heaving sigh, he tucked the sheet into his coat, then retired to his bed.

    As he roused himself from his tormented sleep, one piercing voice rang out, clear and crisp, but it was still within his head. The sound of Marian nearly made him sob in relief.

    Aziel is scared, Fae. You can't do this to us. Please, don't. The barely-contained terror in her voice made the androgyne tremble, wide eyes focused on the nearby wall. Meager daylight filtered in through the room's window, and on this bleak morning, even the birds had fallen silent.

    It smelled like rain.

    "I have to." It was a choked whisper, so heavy with emotion tears pricked at his eyes. "There is evil at work here. I cannot let it continue."

    No response. It was as he expected.

    His morning was just as dreary as the rest of him felt. The light was gone from his eyes, his uneasy night showing with every uncertain footstep through the town. As he reached the market, a steady rain had started, and even the growing dampness against his face didn't stop the haunting expression he held as eyes focused on what he could see of the castle.

    Someone spoke to him and at last, he begrudgingly went about his daily routine.
     
  13. Dzhed woke in her room to the sight of a maid unlacing her corset. The king stood behind the woman, glaring down at his queen.

    "Oh, she wakes. Good, good. I'll not have those sky men on my neck today," the man crossed his arms and shook his head. "It's only constriction, you dramatic bag."

    Dzhed could breathe now, though only barely. Her face felt puffy and half-numb, and she couldn't feel her legs. She couldn't make out the king's words. The maid pushed inward on the sides of the corset, then unclasped the pins on the front. Little by little, Dzhed felt more air with each breath, until the corset laid underneath her and her body almost entirely eclipsed its impossible waist. Her back dropped onto the bed, and she gulped air between sobs of relief.

    She remembered she lost consciousness, but not when or how long ago. Everything spun in bright colors about her and the king continued his scolding despite her lack of ability to hear and understand him.

    Finally, his words cut through the haze: an order. "You may wander for the day, but you'll be back before sunset, even if you have to climb off a dick and start walking naked to do it! I don't want to see your face until dinner!" The rest of his words faded into the ear-ringing haze as her body struggled to adapt to the sudden nerve-burning pain of restored life in arms and organs. A rib snapped loudly back into place, and Dzhed's pallor increased sharply.

    Several hours passed as she laid in her bed before she recovered enough to rise. Mind fogged, she pulled on fresh underwear and a simple black dress that didn't constrict her chest. She walked from the palace in a fog, uncertain why she felt so eager to be away from the castle, but certain her feet could find somewhere. Most people glared at her. Some looked fearful. One or two followed her. She arrived at a small park and sat on a bench, then turned her face skyward to stare up at a grey sky. In the distance, she could make out blue, but above? As grey and cloudy as her mind felt after her brush with death.

    The first drops fell onto her face and crown, and she closed her eyes as they began to fall in earnest. It took only minutes for the rain to soak all but the part of her dress immediately beneath her comically-proportioned breasts. The cold and patter against her body felt refreshing and kind, and as she dozed, she hoped for sleep, dreams, and bravery.

    Sleep... and dreams... and bravery... Those words rang in her mind, calming but meaningless. They filled her chest with warmth, and somewhere, somehow, she knew her wishes were heard.

    ~*~​

    Worlds and worlds away, a young man with a quiet face closed his eyes as he felt in the distance something by now so familiar he barely noticed, but this time it held a note of desperation. It felt like a call and a plea all at once, but he could do nothing about it. A shaky hand lifted his flask and took a sip, and he could feel his husband's disappointed gaze.

    "I felt it again," he explained, and by now he was sure his husband understood. He hoped his husband understand. "It's full of... desperation, sadness..." He trailed off as he felt his chest grow tight, and strong arms wrapped tight around him as Judas began to cry.
     
  14. His wanderings after the market held no vital purpose. He was alone with his own thoughts, sans Aziel and Marian. Fae may have wished for silence for these two years, but never had he wanted it like this. Every step through the damp town sent a pulsing ache through his chest. Every passing glance made him second-guess himself.

    And then, luminescent eyes laid upon the lone, soaking figure on the bench. His breath left him in a sharp exhale, fingers fidgeting against his coat. After an uncertain glance around, and against his best bets at personal safety, kindness won out, and the press of his coat draped against her tiny shoulders. The healer was becoming soaked in the steady rain, but he made no move to cover, instead watching her silently.

    Nothing from Marian warning against it confirmed his decision. With his placement on the bench beside her, an odd, gentle warmth spread out from his chest and outward, and he let out a sigh of relief.

    "Was sitting in the rain part of the orders for today?" His voice was quiet, the black of his hair plastered against his cheeks. Intelligent eyes watched the woman in the hopes that she would stir.
     
  15. The thin and strangely-proportioned woman jumped as she felt his coat about her shoulders. Eyes focused and stared at him, and her mouth fell open. After a few moments, he sat and spoke.

    He should have fled at the sight of her.

    Despite her attack on him, despite her warning, there he sat, asking if sitting in the rain was part of her orders, expression hard to read and already as soaked as she was.

    It took a few moments more for her to fold her hands over her lap and bow her head. "No, my lord. I was... given a day to myself. His Majesty was... disappointed twice in as many days by my actions." The brief hint of hate in her voice s she mentioned the king sent a shock of pain through her forehead.
     
  16. His expression softened at her words, though there was something that flickered in his eyes at her politeness. She sounded like a dog that had been beaten into submission time and time again.

    Fae turned from her and let out a sigh, his face lifted up into the rain. He didn't care, anymore, not after the events of the previous day. The healer bit back a scathing remark on her words- she had also been a disappointment to him- but in the end, what did he matter?

    "You'll catch a cold in the rain." The words that left him were gentle, despite the way that his nerves stood on end being so close to her. Had she another knife? Another order to hurt him?

    Not waiting for answers from within, he stood, his form looming over hers. Instead of turning away from her, however, he offered her his hand.

    "Come to the inn. It's dry there." He hesitated, acutely aware of his own naivety. Faendol pushed down his urges to flee and forced a smile instead.

    "Please. I can make tea."
     
  17. Dzhed stared at his hand, shock on her features. Why was he being so kind after she attacked him? He offered her a dry place to be, tea, and told her she'd catch a cold.

    Thin, pale hands clasped in her lap trembled, but she nodded and lifted one to accept his offer and stood. "Thank you," she murmured as she stood still, rather than prepare to follow after him. With head bowed and cheeks flushed, she spoke. "I... I am very sorry about before. I am—" She cut off and shook her head, then tried again. "I am not strong enough to resist his will. Aren't you frightened of me? I am the monster. I hurt you." Her voice grew thick and choked. "You should stay away from me, so I don't hurt you again."

    Her gaze refused to lift to look into his face, but her hand atop his gripped tight: desperate and white-knuckled, but it shook violently as heavy raindrops rapidly sank into her hair and clothing.
     
  18. She's not our monster. The voice that greeted the woman's words brought enough relief to make him tremble, but Fae fought any signs that would let it show, the only indication of his inner glee a shine in his beautiful eyes.

    "I've gathered enough to realize that you aren't the true monster." His voice was quiet yet commanding, so full of unbridled emotion and unwavering will it would have made a cynic think twice.

    Fae gave a gentle tug of her hand, a smile curling his lips. It was unnatural how friendly he was being to the woman, especially after the previous day, but he'd gathered enough from his own quiet contemplation that she was not one to be feared.

    He knew where fear was rightfully deserved.

    "Come with me. Please."
     
  19. The tone of command in Fae's voice silenced her protests, and she closed her mouth. He seemed so confident, so sure, but she knew he was wrong. He had to be, or she would have been able to resist properly and prevent herself from stabbing him. His hand tugged hers, and she looked up from their joined hands and toward his smiling face.

    How could he smile so freely at the likes of her? How could he bear her touch? How could he say, after she led him astray and stabbed him, that she wasn't the monster? She hoped the rain hid her tears as she nodded her head slowly.

    "Yes. As you wish," she agreed despite her dry throat and followed, steps uncertain as her thin, slipper-like shoes followed after him, well-soaked by the rain, much like the rest of her. The rain suddenly seemed a little less friendly as it came harder, and a chill brought bumps along her skin.