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Author Topic: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind  (Read 518 times)

Description: attn: Jeremiah

Offline Regarte Barrault

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Summer 193 AP, The Dreaming

The line between the dreaming and the waking grew slimmer each day. Or was it each hour? Regarte had long since lost her hold on time. It was slick like seaweed, slipping through her webbed fingers no matter how she tried to grab it. She swam down, down, her powerful tail propelling her deeper into the dark.

Down here, everything was quiet. Only the sound of her heartbeat interrupted her thoughts and so she found she needed no thoughts at all.

No breath passed her lips. No words were spoken. No one tried to pass hot spoons of sea water into her mouth or lock her in a chamber filled to overflowing with her screams.

Behind her, in that room she had known for so very long, bloody fingers curled against her calloused palms. She didn't like that place without Dorian. Thirty seven years he had been gone. Or was it seconds? Long, too long, left with black feathers and wings of midnight. Even Hell has kind demons, and Regarte had found those, or more rightly, they had found her.

But not tonight.

The she who she had been slept restlessly within the confinement of her bones. The she who she was swam further, harder, straining happily aching muscles. She saw it, finally, shimmering irridescent Rose in the light that streamed through from the water's surface before darkness swallowed it. Gathering it in her hands, she pulled herself up and out of the water onto the stone steps of the underwater cave. Light too bright came from one side and she turned to shield her eyes. One step followed the other on freshly granted soles, taking her deeper into the twilight before her.

Wrapping the skin around her body, she let the tail trail behind her. She had her suspicions. When she saw him, she knew.

"Look what you have become." 

Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #1 on: Jul 30, 18, 01:11:02 AM »
With everything that had gone on in the aftermath of the Decimation, that fateful day, Jeremiah had not truly paid attention to himself. Things were still masked and hidden, be it by the spell that Elenor had taught him or otherwise, and so there was no thought about how things had truly settled. Though this mostly happened as he slept, so it was no surprise that it was not fully noticed.

That the venom sac that had been near forced into being gave way to a snake-tooth underneath his ring finger; that the witchblood that had always been part of his psychic scent was not merely there but it riotous bloom.

He was too invested in following the edge of the Abyssal waters that he was fond of. The ones that he swam within, the ones that carried stories to him and from him, the ones that could take him - though he realized it not - far, far away and yet never leave his bed.

Eventually, he came out of the waters within a cavern, torn between following the step upwards and going deeper or following the glow of soft light. Two paths, he realized, but neither offered true respite. Behind him, within the water, he realized he had left a skin behind.

One that was being gathered and pulled away from him, bubbles forming on the water's surface as it began to ripple. Something was rising from the depths, something that was always so terribly lost.

Look at what you have become, she said to him but he did not hear her immediately.

He was watching as she cloaked herself in the scales of the skin that had been shed behind him. The Rose hues stayed upon the scales but they were suffused by Sapphire, as part of the skin became one with her. Not entirely unlike a selkie but then who was the selkie here?

Him or her?

Jeremiah was distracted from looking at himself in this moment, more focused on the form of the witch before him. The witch that had saved him when he had nearly come undone.

"Lost Sapphire," he breathed out. "You've taken my skin." Not that he was particularly worried about it. Not from her.

Offline Regarte Barrault

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #2 on: Aug 27, 18, 10:37:39 PM »
Within her small room at Dark Haven, Regarte's body lay on her thin mattress. Heavy manacles were secured around her wrists and ankles, a step taken for her own protection, they told her. It's what they always told her. The tea that she drank that made everything slide sideways was for her own protection, as was the collar that rubbed her neck raw. In Dark Haven, there were so very many things for her own protection. After all, in Dark Haven, there were so very many things to be protected from.

But here, in the pale light of the cave, she was safe. The fang of the snake-kissed Rose would not pierce her flesh and pump her full of venom. She wondered what that would be like. Would she slip away quietly, losing her way of the path so thoroughly that nothing but her Jewels would be left behind? Or would it be a new and unexplored kind of agony that would seize her body until she could endure it no longer?

"You don't need it anymore, silly." She pulled the skin closer, causing the light to catch the glimmering Rose scales. "You will always shed what you no longer need. It is your nature." Bare feet found slick footing on the wet stones of the cave, and yet she made her way closer to him. Could he not see it?

A hand wrapped in snake skin darted out to grasp his wrist. With a surprising strength, she pulled him to the edge of the water. "Look," she said, circling behind his heavy tail. Calloused fingers reached to sink into his silver hair, tipping his head forward to look into the water. "Look!" she repeated.

Glancing over his shoulder, she could see his reflection dancing in the water. The spider. The snake. The bear. The mountain lion. The rose. The ryllis. The badger. The shattered remnants of a monstrous cage. All flashed before her as she watched the water move.

"What do you see?"

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #3 on: Aug 30, 18, 10:36:13 PM »
There were lessons now to be careful, to be mindful, to avoid things latching upon him because he was a Black Widow learning his way. None of this he thought of when it came to this Sapphire, forever lost and never moored in one place. She floated somewhere between the Abyss and the Twisted Kingdom, touched both places and was changed for it for all that she was still simply witch. Yet that was enough, was it not? Everything was possible when one was a witch, nothing out of her grasp, but this Sapphire wanted not anything but for others to understand, to see as she did.

That, in the least, Jeremiah could do.

"You are right," his tone was thoughtful, "I suppose I did not realize it was time yet." He watched as she pulled the skin closer, wondered as it sunk into her as if it was a living armor that could protect her, and was caught off guard as she grabbed his wrist and pulled. Jeremiah stumbled but straightened with a grace born of being a fighter. She slipped around him, the phantom feeling of her brushing something behind him that he did not have just another distraction.

Fingers in his hair pulled him right back. No response came as she told him to look, not immediately, because he was doing so. The water was deep, so very deep, and he knew what lurked within its depths. Something flashed but it was the old ghost, the man with a too wide smile, because it would always be there. Fears and doubts and otherwise were never truly conquered and only accepted. That, he suspected, was not what she was wanting him to see.

Or ... perhaps it was? At least a part of it. Jeremiah's head tilted towards Reggie's (she was so small and yet so tall; the magic of this place they were within) as he continued to look. The air of the cavern changed, alive with the hum of everything that was this Lost Sapphire. The water shimmered as the ripples in the water grew. No, he realized, there were two sets of ripples. One his and the other ...

The other he focused upon, that heavy tail behind him coming to curl around her feet without him realizing still. "What I was," he breathed out, watching the water dance. The spider that darted across its surface as it turned into a snake. "What I am." The snake opened its mouth, a singular fang visible, before scales became fur of a great bear. It was as it shifted into a mountain lion that he froze but even that fell away as it burst into the bloom of roses and amaryllises that eventually became a badger. A shattered cage was visible, turned to a cairn made of stones that were cracked and broken as witchblood sprung to life. He thought, for a moment, they might have spread across the entire surface of the water but they stayed only within the ripples.

"How do you see me," he asked, "when I am so many things?"

Offline Regarte Barrault

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #4 on: Sep 03, 18, 12:15:01 AM »
The usual silk at her wrists was replaced with long strands of shimmering Rose scales. It was easy to get distracted by them as the pale light within the cave glinted off the water, then the scales, and then her irises. Still, she needed to concentrate. To focus. This was important and her Rose needed to know, needed to understand.  If only others could see what Reggie saw. It would really be so much easier.

Sliding around him like the snake he was, Regarte curved forward until she was kneeling at the edge of the water. She placed her hand out just over the surface before darting a look over her shoulder. She needed to know he was watching. Really watching. With his heart and not his eyes. Only fools looked with their eyes.

When she was certain of his attention, she turned her attention back to the water. Her hand swept out in a great arc, smoothing the ripples and creating new ones at once. Reflected up from the surface, the freshly shed snake would see a small, dirty room. A thin mattress lay on the floor. Heavy chains were secured to the floor and led to thick manacles locked around pale wrists and ankles. Copper stained the edges of the woman's skin where she was restrained, although whether it was blood or rust was not easily apparent. The same color could be found at the woman's neck, spilling out from a thick collar at her throat. She was sleeping, her midnight hair spilled out all around her.

"Not that. That is not important. That!" She moved her hand again and the image shifted to reflect the walls of the small room. Stuck haphazardly all around were paintings. Most were of a man with silver hair and blue green eyes, although they were a slightly different shade in every painting. There was a clear progression of skill within the paintings. The newest ones were of snakes and spiders. They, too, had the same blue green eyes. There was even one of a badger, its eyes bright.

"There is a Queen who asks me that. Her words are shining glitter falling between cracked lips. She wants to know why I keep dreaming of you and why the eyes are always the same. She doesn't see that you are you are you. You wear different faces and forms but that doesn't change being able to recognize you." She turned and looked at him then. "If we only recognized each other by our outsides, we'd never be able to recognize anyone at all."

Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #5 on: Sep 03, 18, 07:48:34 AM »
Jeremiah moved as she did, wondering silently at the feel of different form settled around him. Scales glinted upon the Sapphire, a rosy hue, but he caught sight of similar on him. Just as he saw the shadow of a tail, long and curled loosely around her. He said nothing about it because it simply was. Crouching down, he nodded as she looked over her shoulder at him.

In this place there was a brightness to his eyes that had nothing to do with the eerie color they were while awake. Jeremiah's gaze stayed upon Sapphire, following the movement of her arm. All at once the ripples were gone and then back, with them something else visible. He froze as the image took shape, as he saw Sapphire held down and locked away. Again he wondered at the feeling of his chest constricting when here he did not breathe. Was it even his feeling? The weight upon his wrists and ankles, the haze that settled over him until she waved her hand again.

His mouth opened, to argue, to say something, to ask, but no words came. There was a hiss that turned to a growl and then died away because-

-because-

Nothing was ever right with the world and he felt the weight not only upon his wrists and ankles but his throat as well and he knew a truth that he wished he did not. Yet it was smoothed away by the phantom feel of hands holding him, not kindly, and pushing something inward so that everything softened and became not right but what they wanted it to be.

Jeremiah sighed, eyes opening (when had they closed?) to study the walls of the room as that feeling faded. There were so many paintings, each of them him. Those were eyes that could not be mistaken; not when they were constantly shifting, changing from one to the next. "The outsides hide the insides but the insides are what we are, what we will be, what we have been." His head tilted, eyes trailing from one image to the next. Realization settled slowly, things clicking into place as he stretched his fingers out. Some of these paintings were younger but the eyes were always the same because he was and he just did not know it.

"You've waited a long time," he said softly, "for me to remember these things, haven't you? You'd find me and I would know you but not know you because I couldn't find myself." The words made sense but only here, in this place. "I only saw the outsides, not the insides." Not anymore, no. Now Jeremiah saw more than ever.


Offline Regarte Barrault

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #6 on: Oct 30, 18, 10:34:48 PM »
The Sapphire witch watched as he watched, aware when his eyes slid closed and his mind took over the sight his new caste granted him. So long he had balanced on a ledge as thin and sharp as a volcano glass. Each time her wanderings led her to him, he would find her anew, his mind cleansed of her presence. When his words acknowledged as much, she looked up at him, eyes as pale as glaciers seeking his ever changing sea.

"A very long time," she agreed. "At least, I think so. Time is not the same here as it is there, and I can't always tell when it slips through my fingers faster than I realize. I spill it sometimes. It gets all over my hands. It's the worse thing to try to wash off. It gets on everything you touch."

She stepped backwards, almost dropping herself back into the water. Her heels hung over the edge. The rock was slick beneath the balls of her feet, like the bath might feel if it had been too long since the tub had been scrubbed. She didn't do such chores anymore. She had once, she knew, but now she got lost watching the skin of her fingers split further from the nail, small cracks filling in with scarlet. It dried a rusty brown if she used it to paint. There was no other color quite like it. But they didn't like it, and she tried to be careful of what they liked and didn't.

It was just so hard to keep all the words in her head. That's not what her head was for.

"I get lost," she said, taking a breath as if to continue, but no words came forth. Instead she teetered on her heels, rocking, at ease with the sea as the sea was in her gentle laps against the steps. Time passed while she held that moment where she might speak for far longer than seemed right. Who was to say what was right here?

"I found you when I was lost. But then I could find you again. Will you remember me now?"

Offline Jeremiah Mercer

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #7 on: Nov 06, 18, 12:59:01 AM »
"As long as you've been lost," murmured Jeremiah, "as long as I've wandered." Which meant it was certainly a long time indeed. There were flickers at the edges, an awareness that told him he had wandered far only to be looked after by the likes of this Sapphire. Another soul, like himself, whose mind did not beat the steady beat of the Blood but instead a riotous melody that was as beautiful as it was potentially deadly.

He slipped forward as she moved back to the water, not to catch her or to stop her, but to teeter as she did upon the edge. Jeremiah swayed as she did, at ease with the ebb and flow of the dark water that could easily rise up and swallow them whole. Every now and then the scales grew less apparent in places upon him and became the soft bristle of fur instead. The rest remained, the bright glow of his eyes (a sea lit from within by the fire that illuminated it), the claws that were there but did not cut into anyone, and the fangs that most certainly sharper than ever.

"It's okay," he said finally, "to get lost." A hand was held out to her to pull her close and then, quite suddenly, lead them to spin atop the abyssal waters. Jeremiah kept an arm around her, leading them across the water in a dance that had not been danced in a long time. No one remembered it, no one knew it unless they were here within this space. Jeremiah smiled at her and he was more of what he was in this place than his waking self than he had ever been before. "I can't forget you anymore," promised Jeremiah, "because even if you get lost I can find you. You just ..." He looked thoughtful. "Call for me, like you always have, and I will come to find you and we can dance and even when things spill I can help.

"Because sometimes I do too. The things spill over and it gets upon my hands and my clothes and it stains but ..." Jeremiah shook his head. "It doesn't matter. It simply is and we work with it. There are weights upon us when we wake, cages that hold, monsters that follow us, but none of that is true here. Not with me here, not if you call me." It was a truth and he believed in it because there were images in the water and images that glittered within the cave. The images upon the water Jeremiah swept away with a graceful turn, the tip of his toes spreading ripples in the water that saw them gone, and the ones that glittered upon the walls he blew away with a breath as he dipped her.

Jeremiah smiled, sweeping them back around until they were to the water's edge once more. Standing upon the slippery rocks but there was no worry about falling.

Offline Regarte Barrault

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #8 on: Nov 18, 18, 09:57:03 PM »
The shimmering Rose snake reached for her with hands it should not have. Spiders, however, had eight. Perhaps this was a compromise.

She offered her hand, shed snake skin trailing from her wrist, and he pulled her close, his heavy tail coiling around her as he moved them out onto the water. Her feet knew the steps even if her mind could not remember how or why or when she had learned them. Once she had loved to dance. Hadn't she? It seemed like something she would like.

He told her he would remember, and she smiled sadly. "If you remember now, will I forget? I don't want to forget. I've forgotten so much. Like how much ocean water does it take to make primrose tea and whether it is best to wash your hair by the light of the full moon or the absence of light when the moon turns away from us and all there is is the darkness."

They moved across the water in a intricate patterns, following long forgotten steps. "Call for you," she repeated, as if she were considering it. When he brought them finally back to the rocks, she offered him an awkward curtsy. It was not something she had done it seemed in a very long time. "I can call for you. I know how to do that."

Balancing her hands on his shoulders, she raised up on her tip toes and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. "It's time again. It's always time." She slipped back from him, stepping back into the water, slipping down into its depths. "Remember," she whispered, and with a splash of her tail, she disappeared beneath the gentle waves.

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Re: It is not the bite that kills, but the poison left behind
« Reply #9 on: Nov 25, 18, 01:55:59 AM »
"If you forget, then I will remind you all over again." The point was made when Jeremiah whispered into her ear how much ocean water it took for primrose tea and the best time to wash one's hair. These were things that held great meaning here, in this place, and did not necessarily matter outside of it save for when they did.

The Lost Sapphire was indeed lost, even here and before him, because he could see so much that trailed behind her. It was starting to fill the snakeskin that he had shed, tinting the pink with brilliant shades of blue and green. As it filled the snakeskin it was also slipping out of her. Without what was hers, with that shadow around her neck, it would always continue to do so.

There was nothing he could do about it and that bothered him more than anything else.

So as she slipped away from him, right after her lips brushed his forehead, Jeremiah caught her hand. Her fingers slipped through his as she sunk back into the water, returning from where she came, but he did not let her go back with everything.

Jeremiah took from her, as he would normally not do. At that moment, as their fingers were interlinked, he reached and took nightmares. He took the shape of monsters that lurked behind her eyes, another that hunted her from her own shadow, and one more that sometimes waited to catch her when she was not looking.

"Rest," responded Jeremiah, in response to her, "and truly do so. Your nightmares are mine to swallow up." What more there was, what more could be said, mattered not. The Sapphire was gone and the Rose was left in this place where he painted her nightmares upon the wall and then erased them from having ever existed in the first place.