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With the full force of the Guilds at her back, Rilandra Vlas seized the Territory Throne of Dena Nehele. The common born Province Queen now owes allegiance to the Master of the Guilds for his assistance in both securing the throne and securing Darcia Glassade's continual safety. Trapped between the demands of the Guilds and the demands of the Aristos, Riley is struggling to rule, finding the palace more of a cage than she could have dreamed possible.
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Author Topic: In all my dreams, I drown  (Read 219 times)

Description: Derrial; cw violent imagery in the first post

Offline Lyoshka no Ariake

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In all my dreams, I drown
« on: Jan 12, 19, 03:39:10 PM »
In his nightmares, he always escaped.

He couldn't tell you how and wouldn't want to. No doubt it was a bloodbath. There would be Dena Nehelean blood splattered across the whitewashed walls of the family wing. But in the dream, he was just free, neck bare to the world, scars lurid Red, red, red. He was free to drift aimless down the halls, free to sniff the metallic blood of Queens and Warlord Princes on the chill winter air. Free to suck the red from his cracked lips, hands shaking with the hunger of it, the need to show them what it was Dena Nehele tried to cage.

One by one (in the nightmare) they tried to fight. The no-name nothing guards first, running at him. They screamed meaningless words that streak past him like flakes of snow on a gale wind. He didn't comprehend them and he didn't try. Those words meant fuck all to him anymore. Their eyes shone wild from their faces. He punched through the first, up through the Warlord's gut. His fingers flexed inside the rib cage, seeking the heart, and when his hand closed around the muscle he tore it out, pulped it in one clenching hand. The next he slammed into the wall, left to gurgle wetly in disbelief. The next joined that one, a bloody backhand that sprayed a streak of splatter ripping off his head at the jaw.

Ji Yoon begged him to remember who he is. The Black-Jeweled Healer stared into her gold-flecked eyes, wide and scared. Like looking into a mirror. Bleeding her would be boring... pointless. So Lyoshka grabbed her about the neck, black-tipped nails digging into Ji Yoon's throat. And she flopped like a fish on a hook, and Lyoshka's concerns about her blood evaporate as trickles drained down beneath her gold sweater. He ripped a hole in her from pubis to jaw. Licked Ji Yoon off the back of his hand. Kept going.

Next, Yuki. She stood armed, her naginata held at the ready, but shaking, shaking so hard he could see it. Yuki was crying, really crying, face reddened and twisted with the force of her sobbing. How could I have ever loved this pathetic creature? Considered her my sister? Lyoshka refined sharp Black strength and stabbed his fingers into Yuki's tear-reddened eyes, digging and twisting until he was sure that she must have seen the irony. The thing left over when he was done didn't even look human.

Lyoshka abandoned it in the hallway. Hummed a lullaby from the waves of Kanoya as he continued on.

Jeremiah. Lyoshka felt him call up Black Widow Craft, the Yellow and the Rose intertwining, the Rose ring on Lyoshka's thumb a powerful locus. The compulsion took shape, but before Jeremiah could use it, Lyoshka was on him: forcing a hand into his mouth, deeper, deeper, deeper, until he got a hand around the root of his tongue. He left Jeremiah to bleed out, his Jewels shattered like so much dust.

Last of all: Phoebus, who never even tried to fight him. He didn't even try to talk. He looked up at Lyoshka with sad, soft eyes. No fear. No anger. And for a second, Lyoshka burned with his fury. How dare Phoebus not realize what came for him?

Something flooded his limbs then, and he cut Phoebus's throat with a gesture. Gone before the blood stopped spurting.

That one always left him unsatisfied, somehow.

In his nightmares, he was free. Free to taste that blood, to take those lives. In the day, he awakened and the nightmare that even Jeremiah couldn't touch is wrapped up tight in the back of his mind. A memory only he can sense. It burned, it percolated, and built itself up, becoming worse and worse and worse. Tendrils of that nightmare wove themselves into his waking memory, apart from the world he knew the others saw. He looked at Jeremiah some mornings and saw nothing that looked human.

In Kanoya, afflicted by nightmares, he would go to Kaede (Kaede, who was dead, he knew, though he didn't know how). There wasn't any Kaede in Bidea, and no ocean to wash his mind clean. He needed that, needed the ocean to pull out the filth in his soul. He couldn't tell Mercer about the dream. Something told him it wouldn't help. He craved peace, and lately Mercer only brought him a crawling discomfort, a desire to be anywhere else.

So he found himself an Altar so dusty, so out of the way, that he hadn't even seen a guard for minutes. The Territory Court's presence could be detected by dust and by the lack of gilt; this part of the Court was old, shuttered, and covered in glittering gold. Lyoshka, lacking any demands on his time, stripped a protective dust-cloth from the altar. He settled in front of the font, and put his head on his knees, arms crossed beneath it. If he closed his eyes, he could sense the presence of the Mother there. Mother Night was a dragon, and I am the blood of the Dragon, he told himself, as Kaede used to say.

Kaede, who was dead. Lyoshka stroked the flower-petal pendant at the hollow of his collarbone.

He couldn't say how long he sat there, only that the sky outside the window had ticked from high noon down to the early golden hour of winter. Clouds, golden and violet and deep pink, scuddled across the violently firey sky. Night came on fast in the winter. That, at least, was like home.






Offline Derrial Nerezza

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #1 on: Jan 20, 19, 06:18:29 PM »
Derrial Nerezza had come to the Territory Court burdened by secrets that were in part all his own, and in part the Shaos, and still another portion for the Guilds as a whole.  He had blood on his hands, blood that he regretted, which did not seem an uncommon thing in the Palace, but he would have wagered that he was one of the very few that had caused the garden at the heart of the Palace to grow.  Derrial wore that Queen’s mark on his skin, as a memorial to that woman, that brief light that he had snuffed out and stolen away from the Territory.  Book still existed; try as he might to snuff that part of his mind out.  He could not entirely vanish, not if he meant to continue to live, and not if he intended to be of use.  He was Spy and Priest, Guardian and Confidante.  He wore many hats these days, and of the lot, only a few were comfortable.

He had explored the Palace, when he had the time to do so, sometimes escorted, sometimes not.  Derrial avoided the garden for now.  He knew what he would find there, and he was not quite yet ready to put that ghost to rest.  She had been with him for so long now, he was not sure he wanted to give her up, or perhaps he was concerned that if he did, he might lose his way, might forget what he had come down out of the mountains for.  More than likely though, he was worried that the Queen, that Riley, would have questions for him; that she would see and she would know and she would forgive.  Deriial still did not believe he deserved that.  For now, he avoided that step, and visited the Palace many altars.  It was a sprawling building, and he was not surprised to find that it had more than one, but they had not been tended.  Some had been closed, they were so far off the beaten path, and while he understood that, he thought it a shame.

Derrial had had marked one that he meant to clean and tend to.  It had a gorgeous, if dusty altar, and the various accoutrements of the faith were all well-made, very old, and expensive looking.  He thought if he cleaned it up, it would give him a regular task to perform when he was not with the Queen, and he could have his own private dedications there.  He had dressed for work, in simple rough-spun attire, looking more like a member of Lady Sala’s household staff than a member of the Second Circle, or a Priest.  His sword was vanished, and in its place he had a rucksack of cleaning items, and more that he could conjure if it was necessary.  Derrial could have vanished it all, but he liked the feel of the weight, as it gave his walk across the Palace the feeling of intention and purpose.  His Father had taught him that.  Sometimes, it was simply best to know the weight of your tools, all the time, that was why his sword was usually at his hip.

He had not expected to find the space occupied at all, let alone by a Black Jeweled Healer that he had only seen, and not spoken to.  Derrial had made a few mistakes in his reference to Healer Ariake, and in the presence of one of his escorts that day, one Prince Nick Faa.  He was corrected, and told that the Healer should be addressed as ‘Healer Ariake’, and that he would let the Priest know if there was another name or reference to use, which would mean that he had, at last, picked a name.  The Red Warlord Prince was difficult to read, and the statements had been made firmly, but without recrimination or excitement.  Just a plain and factual correction, as if the Sapphire former Shaos had made an error in a math problem.  Derrial followed Protocol, and greeted the Healer appropriately, granting Ariake the higher Rank seemed safest.  ”Healer Ariake, I apologize for disturbing you. I can return another time if that is your wish.”



Offline Lyoshka no Ariake

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #2 on: Jan 22, 19, 11:02:12 AM »
The interloper was a dual-casted male. Lyoshka looked up from his dead-eyed reverie, something like interest sparking behind his eyes. Something in his head told him that a dual-caste male was an abomination before Mother Night, but it didn't really matter in this case, did it? This Dark Jeweled Priest Prince wasn't Tacean. The mainlander barbarians had different understandings of what was appropriate in the service of the Mother than the civilized did. But a Priest... a Priest with a sack of something that bore a quite distinctive smell. Like lemon rinds, like cleaning solution.

"Prince." Lyoshka inched forward off the dais, roundly ignoring the necessities of greeting. Not as much as a gesture of disrespect as... as he simply forgot it existed. It was easy enough to lever himself to his feet once he had the momentum going. The interloper was taller than Lyoshka, but then, most people were. Most people that were smaller than he was were prepubescent. "You're a Priest Prince." He considered this, and considered further the clothes this man wore, which looked more like the clothes of a day laborer than a member of the Court. Yet even the barbarians who ruled in Dena Nehele wouldn't put a Priestess to work as a maid or a footman, would they? While the clothes and the cleaning supplies would indicate otherwise, Lyoshka gave the Territory the benefit of his doubt. This old, out of the way altar did need a good cleaning.

He shook his head. "You're going to make the altar clean again, aren't you? I would like to help." This didn't seem like such a bad place to be for a while, even if he was uncertain about being alone with this stranger male. Something about the Sapphire was chilling, frightening, cold as the blue winter sky. There was no danger, though, not while Lyoshka wore his Black, and kept his Red close to hand. There was some peace to be found in work, he hoped, some kind of... focus. Something other than watching the clouds scoot across the sky. "You're a Priest. Why?"






Offline Derrial Nerezza

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    • pd2sapphire
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      Wandering Priest

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #3 on: Feb 06, 19, 10:30:07 AM »
Being faced with the stare of the Black Jeweled Healer was a bit like having nails driven through each of his feet.  Derrial could not back away now, not without offering a kind of insult, and there was clearly something disturbing in those eyes.  He had followed Protocol, and he had been polite, and only received a response a few heartbeats before it would have become a terribly awkward meeting.  He was  acknowledged by the Healer, and then nodded as Ariake arrived as a bit more specificity.  ”Yes, I am.  I am serving here in the Territory Court for as long as I am needed.”  Whatever the Healer was thinking, he was keeping it to himself, before he seemed to shake off the line of this thoughts.

”Yes, I am.  I marked this one earlier, and thought I would begin here.  There’s more than one unused altar.”  He gestured, ”The Palace is a sprawling place.”  Derrial smiled, ”I would welcome the help.  I think I brought enough in the way of supplies.”  He moved more confidently to the foot of the altar, and knelt there, pulling out what he had brought with him, as well as a bit of fabric he meant to tie over his nose and mouth.  He conjured another peace and offered it to the Healer, ”To keep the dust out of your nose and mouth.”  At Healer Ariake’s question, he sat back on his heels.  It was bluntly asked, but Derrial had not come from rarified air, so he felt not particular intrusion because of it.

”That is not an easy question for me to answer, Healer Ariake.”  He took another moment to consider it, and all of his reasons, and then took a deep breath before he spoke again.  ”I am a Priest because I had a realization that I know to be true.  I came to a conclusion regarding Mother Night, the Darkness, and the role of the Blood, and believe it with all my heart and soul.  I would like for others to believe as well, if not exactly as I do, but to understand the truth of our world.”  Derrial smiled and chuckled quietly, ”I do not mean to preach to you, Healer.  I am not asked that question as often as one might think.  I am used to a bit of surprise with regard to my being a Priest, but not explanations.”  He handed out cleaning supplies, and gestured, ”Let’s begin with the altar itself, shall we?”



Offline Lyoshka no Ariake

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #4 on: Feb 09, 19, 12:35:25 AM »
Needed... Why would they need a Priest Prince? Lyoshka supposed that there was the pregnant Queen. With the Court Priestess (he supposed that was who she'd been) gone, he saw no one else who could tend to the woman's Jewels. There was a twitch at the corner of Lyoshka's eyebrow; the pregnancy made him uneasy, reminded him of things he'd rather forget. Something kept pulling his future responsibilities forward in his mind: Makoto. His children. Lyoshka closed his eyes and tried to will that memory to pass.

When it didn't, he opened his eyes again, black gaze following the Priest Prince. He stepped aside to allow the male to pass to the foot of the altar. The dust cloth he used to tie his hair back out of his face, choosing instead to shield his face. He had the power for it; it was barely the tiniest piece of his Black to protect himself from the dust. Hair was another matter, especially as it grew longer. Now it brushed his cheekbones when it wasn't contained. Sometimes that bothered him, but other times that queasy uncertainty seemed like something that was meant to be. Nobody liked the necessities of Court dress, he told himself, why should he be any different?

He listened to the Priest Prince; it would've been rude to disregard the man's answer to Lyoshka's question. The role of the Blood... He remembered, suddenly, with an astonishing force that made him tremble, the moment where he had hovered at the edge of the Black. The moment before he dove deep into the well at his core and realized the full potential of his Craft, he felt...

An awareness of perversion. The twisted nature of the Blood, how they didn't realize the gifts they had been given, the Queens, the Healers. The collars around the throats of men and women who deserved better. Mother Night, or something like her, longing for justice, holding out the Black like an offering, like his Offering. The Abyss screamed out for him, for him to take the Black in his hands and

MAKE

THEM

PAY
--

She had seemed to be his mother, there in the Darkness. A loving presence, a loving-kindness, wrapped around his heart.

He blinked. "The role of the Blood," he echoed, realizing his hands were full of cleaning supplies. He looked at the tarnished silver candelabra, and then to the Priest, and to the other pieces of the altar. "What is the role of the Blood? When I was in the Abyss, I thought... that the Blood were... perverted. There's something sick in the soul. I wanted to fix it..." But maybe he had just made things worse.






Offline Derrial Nerezza

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    • pd2sapphire
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      Wandering Priest

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      Dena Nehele

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      Sol

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #5 on: Mar 13, 19, 10:03:21 AM »
Derrial never doubted for a moment that he had the Black Jeweled Healer’s intense attention.  He could feel the dark eyes settle on him when he started speaking, but what he did not expect was the impact of his words.  Something echoed in the Healer, and the Priest prince could see it, and he was not at all certain what he could do about it, if he somehow inadvertently sent this person into another downward spiral.  Derrial had to really force himself not to bring up a shield, that would have been useless anyway, and he schooled his thoughts by remembering his mediations, to avoid reacting with fear or concern.  The Healer had not asked for his blessings, he had simply been the recipient, the vehicle for Mother Night’s truth.  The Priest ought not to react with fear just because he was emotionally delicate.

He nodded when Ariake echoed his words, and seemed to return to himself.  Derrial was rather proud of himself, and his training, as he was able to hide his relief.  He listened to the other’s response, and he could not help but feel sympathy for the question put to him.  How often had Book asked himself that very question in the mountain caves, with a sword against his neck?  He took a breath, made a gesture at the silver candelabra, and began to clean off the top of the altar.  ”You are a Healer, that instinct to fix something is a strong one, I am sure.  Especially for you.”  Derrial paused to smile gently at Healer Ariake, ”It’s not a bad instinct at all, and it is very much a part of your nature.”

Derrial was quiet for a moment, considering how best to answer this question.  ”Okay, understand that this is my perspective.  We have a Conclave, Protocol, and Blood Law, but as far as the faith, opinions vary.  Even when there is dogma, it can be debated.”  He shrugged slightly, ”Those are my caveats, I suppose.”  He returned to cleaning the other, ”Our relationship with the Abyss and Mother Night is a personal one, I find.  We’ll start with Witch, big W, Witch.  Born of the dreams of the Blood, all the Blood, to set the world right.  The Purge stopped the Eyrien Conquest, and forced everyone, everywhere to take stock.  Dena Nehele took the wrong lessons from it, I think.  I can only speak for here...perhaps in Askavi they learned a lesson, or Hayll, or Raej, or Shalador.  I cannot say, but here in Dena Nehele, occupied by Eyriens, pillaged and abused, with a conspiratorial Resistance, the Purge let those conspiracies take charge.”

He polished the altar’s surface, and then began to move and clean the rest of it, going around  it as necessary.  Derrial continued, ”We are not simple beings, even the Landen are drawn to the service of a Queen, which means they are part of the whole, not simply overlooked by Mother Night, but necessary to her plan.  We are human and predator, descended from Mother Night herself, I am certain.  We are flawed, because the humanity that gives us free will, can also put us at odds with our natural born natures and instincts.  We are all capable  of violence to varying degrees, the Warlord Prince has not cornered the market on that, but we all have a Caste, and that Caste makes certain demands of us.”  He paused and straightened to regard the Healer, ”I believe that it is when people run counter to those instincts, to their natures, and force others to do the same, that the corruption, the problems begin.  Dena Nehele has had that problem for nearly two hundred years.”

Derrial’s hands opened and closed to hide the slight tremble in them.  He had to take a moment to maintain the soothing tone of his voice.  ”Queens are precious, not only for what they do for the land, but for what they can do for all of us.  If a Queen is good for the land, Landen will eventually arrive to serve her, furthering that good.  They are not tools to be traded, commodities to be stolen and leveraged, they are meant to be served...service is not servitude.  The Role of the Blood is simply this; follow your nature.  Slavery is anathema to those Roles.  The assassination of Queens, is the same as cutting the throat of the land and Landen.  Consider the humble bee and their hive; no one kills the Queen.  The drones are like the Landen, working for the betterment of the rest.  Males protect the Queen, some mate with her.  Females serve as guards, scouts, some even care for the Queen, others nurse the growing larvae, the youngsters of the hive.”

”Every bee has a purpose that serves the hive.  The Blood are not so different, save for the fact that we are human enough to deny our purpose, to ignore our natures and our instincts, and that is where we fail.”  He took a steadying breath, ”That is what I believe.  Your instinct was to heal everything, but that ignores the complexity of the problem.  The instinct was good, but absent experience and specific knowledge, the results were devastating.  The reason we also have our humanity, is because it can sharpen our instincts,  Instead of lashing out blindly, we can be specific.  Instead of burning the whole house down, we can just patch the roof.  Does that make sense to you?”



Offline Lyoshka no Ariake

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #6 on: Mar 13, 19, 02:04:22 PM »
The Priest Prince spoke, and Lyoshka took up one of the tarnished candelabras, a rough cloth and the tub of strange, chalky white paste. He dunked the cloth into a bucket of water, wrung it out. As Derrial smiled at him, Lyoshka started to apply the paste to the silver. His attention was still on the dual-casted male, but his eyes were on the silver as he smeared the paste over the fine details of the candelabra. Conclave. Protocol. Blood Law. Did the latter two mean anything at all in a world where Garen L'Voide had run amuck? Had he even cared that he was grinding the soul of the Territory, of the Blood itself, under his heel? The Master--sometimes Lyo found himself slipping into old patterns--had presented him with an alleged rapist and Lyo shattered him. And the Master had said... that it was right. That Lyoshka had power, and it was right for him to use it, to shape the world to what it needed to be.

No, not what it needed to be. What Lyoshka wanted it to be. Which was different, and altogether worse, because what he wanted sometimes was...

The conspiracies, the Resistance, those were the Guilds. Sometimes Lyo thought he saw the Guilds, the core of them, deep and seething and rotten. Some limbs were less diseased than others but none of them did good, like a kidney so full of stones that it couldn't be saved. That strange twitch in the muscles of Lyo's face again, sharp-pain above his eyebrow. He could save it. Craft bent to his will. Burn it out. Make them pay. Make the world what Lyoshka wanted it to be, make the world what it needed to be, but these were different things. He needed it to stop. He needed it all to be... different. Stopped. Forever.

"Sometimes..." His voice was hoarse. It scraped his throat as it came out. "Sometimes someone is so sick that even if I went and fixed everything... they'd just come back to me again later. They'd just be in pain the whole time, waiting for the next time their organs collapse or their arteries occlude. And even if they weren't, they would wonder, and avoid things that might make them sick again... and in wondering and avoiding, they'd waste their time." His hands stilled on the candelabra. "What if the hive is too sick to save? What if the house is more termite nest than home? What if the Blood are too sick to save?... Sick in their souls, where my Jewel can't reach?"






Offline Derrial Nerezza

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    • pd2sapphire
    • pp
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      Wandering Priest

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      Dena Nehele

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      Sol

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #7 on: Mar 14, 19, 09:05:26 AM »
Derrial was cleaning off the side of the altar.  It was an old one, but lovely, carved stone, with a marble capstone.  It looked like it was all one piece, but it was not.  Someone, a long time ago, had patiently assembled from roughly five heavy slabs, including the altar top.  Each of the four side were carved and decorated, and more interesting, no two faces were the same, though each one held a different aspect of Blood folklore.  It was worth cleaning, and recovering.  Derrial stopped in his work at the words of Healer Ariake, and moved over to him, sitting on the floor just inside of arm’s reach.  ”Destruction is not a Healer’s instinct.  Any Healer can harm, of course, if there is need, if they are pressed, but I don’t believe it is their first instinct, Light Jewel or Dark.”  He paused a moment, ”Our humanity doesn’t always let us hear our instincts.”

He looked at his own hands, ”Just because you can do a thing, does not mean that you should do a thing.  There’s more to life than that, more complexity and variety and nuance in every situation, every person, every where.”  Derrial carefully opened his senses, dialing his sensitivities in to the Healer in front of him.  Ariake was not concealing anything, and why would he?  They had the power to defend themselves, and his emotions, fueled by his Black Jewel, had stabbed at everyone in the Territory.  ”What you are talking about his not healing, not from the way you’re feeling.  That’s wrath.  That’s anger.  That’s vengeance.  You can call it healing, but that is not true.  You are very powerful, but you are also very young, and the only lens you have to see the world is one of pain, inequity, and suffering.”

Derrial crossed his legs, and held out his hands, ”Sometimes even the sick want to live one more day, see the next sunrise, be sure their children are well.  Life is hope, Healer, death is nothing.  Even after a hundred times healed, one hundred and one could hold the breakthrough.”  He tilted his head, ”Their time is none of your concern, wasted or not, only the healing, only the hope.  I do not need to clean this old chapel; am I wasting my time?  A dime novel on the street has no academic purpose, is the reader wasting their time or yours?”  Derrial smiled gently, ”The hive always saves what it can.  Queens are sometimes moved to healthier hives, but the hive is never destroyed, abandoned whole cloth.  The hive, the Blood, is each bee and person, not the honeycomb or land they live in.”

He shook his head, ”What if the foundations of the house are solid?  What if there is wood carving and décor that might never be seen again if we don’t get rid of the termites first.  You are a Healer, my Friend, not a Priest or a Priestess.  The soul is another matter.”  Derrial met the pained Healer’s eyes, ”The Black Jewel is not license to shape the world to your will, at least, that is not what I believe.  We are, all of us, descendants of the same being.  All of us are given scales, Jewels, of that being.  We are custodians, not owners.  The Hive cannot learn, cannot improve, cannot grow if it is simply destroyed, and while the comparison is apt structurally, people are not bees.”  Derrial nodded, ”Have you returned to the Abyss since your Offering?  That is an unfair question, I can sense that even your deep well has been drawn from for some time, you have more, of course, but you are not tending it.”  He fingers curled, ”Take my hands, and I can take you there, just you and I and the Abyss, just you and I and the embrace of Communion.  It might ease your mind, give you some peace, I only ask that you let me guide you--if not today, perhaps another time, when you have more reason to trust me.”



Offline Lyoshka no Ariake

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #8 on: Mar 14, 19, 01:15:03 PM »
Every word Derrial said was familiar to Lyoshka. They were each justification he had used, each lesson his mother had taught him. The tutors had, sometimes, literally beaten the ideas into his head: When is an action supererogatory? When it is morally praiseworthy, but not morally obligatory, but for you, all actions in benefit of another are morally obligatory-- His chest tightened, something inside the ribs gripping hold of his lungs and the throbbing of the hot blood in his veins. All the awful noise of living, all the awful noise of being alive, the blood in his veins and the breathing and the electrical pulse of his heart. Having to care about all these people and their mewling need for him, how they reached and reached and demanded his time and his care and he couldn't say no it had to be yes, yes, I will help you, I will endure, I will be the black sky so you can be illuminated. Their grasping hands. I won't let them touch me!

But you have to, you have to, even Haneul, even his best friend--hands on his body and things inside him--even his Queen would turn from him if she knew how bloody red his vision went when he thought of the Healing. Ten months, fall to late summer, he'd worn that collar, and maybe others wore it longer but that collar was not the worst of it. Healing was the worst of it. The compulsion to use his Gifts in service to evil, the Master's slow twisting of the inclinations that tradition said should be natural, incumbent, in the Healer. They made me do it, not the Decimation, not even the sex, the physical rape of the body that was nothing in comparison to--to raising his hands and setting them on another human being to heal them and knowing their gratitude would not be for him or for good but for GAREN FUCKING L'VOIDE--a rape of the talent, of the goodness in his heart, every valuable piece of him defiled, a channel for power and money when it should be--

"It wasn't Healing, what I did," he said, and if his emotions were a maelstrom of the rage and hate Derrial had named them his voice was still level. "It was an accident. It was my Price." He rolled the p in his mouth, lovingly, his Tacean accent rendering the word strange to Dena Nehelean ears otherwise, and the word needed to be said properly. The word had weight, that way. Not like requesting the price of a bolt of silk from a merchant or bargaining for fresh baby's-breath for a posey to ease a child's asthma, no, it was Blood Law, the canon by which they all had to live their lives. "It was my Price. Their lives. My freedom."

Live their lives or pay the Price. Master.

His hands had long stilled on the candelabra and that was for the best; it fairly shone, the tarnish burned away beneath the cloth. He knew cleaning. "The master kept me collared like a dog. He sold me like a whore. Days and days and days where he expected me to Heal and Heal and Heal, like it was a kindness, like I should be happy to, like what waited for me if I didn't was--" He'd wanted them all to die, the whole rotten Territory to burn out clean like it was an infection. But that hadn't been the purpose of his Craft. Only an incidental: take the collar off. "I looked pretty on my knees with a cock in my mouth."

More than just Garen's.

"I killed them. So what? How many of them are still alive today because of what he made me do? Because of how I chose to suffer for them? I could've called Yuki and she would've come and she wouldn't have come alone, she would've brought two more Ebon Grays on her heels, do you really fucking think there's anyone in this Territory who could've stopped her? Every minute of life this fucking Territory had after the moment Garen L'Voide first made me touch his cock was on my sufferance. Every heartbeat was at my will.

"Why should I suffer for them any more? Why should I care if they want one more sunrise? They never cared for me! Not one of them thought that it was wrong, what the Master was doing, and if they say they care now it's because I made them do it. They ban slavery now because it was the only way to save their rotten, shitty lives--not because it's wrong! Not because it's the morally obligatory thing to do!

"Why should I bend the truth to suit their needs? Why should I pretend that all I am is a Healer, that all I do is Heal, when all Healing has ever done is made me suffer? Why should I sink my time and my power and my life into giving them one more day if they're going to waste it? Why shouldn't I be the one to decide what's right and wrong--who deserves to live and who deserves to die--why--"

Lyoshka couldn't get a good breath, couldn't will his chest to expand enough to breathe, to inhale, to do anything except pant with the force of what was inside him. Not just the Black, not just the blood or the Blood. Because that was the question, wasn't it?

Why?

"No one else was going to do it," he said. "It was them or me." His first boundary. The one he would never cross again. Lyoshka, or whoever he was, before anyone else. His wants. His needs. His freedom. He carefully set the candelabra aside and wrapped his arms around himself. Lyoshka turned back to the window, which, while boring, at least wasn't looking at him with such horrifying knowing.






Offline Derrial Nerezza

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Re: In all my dreams, I drown
« Reply #9 on: Mar 14, 19, 02:57:03 PM »
Healer Ariake’s emotion were in turmoil, and to Derrial’s perspective, they were so terribly raw and loud.  He had adjusted his perceptions to focus on the Black Jeweled Healer, but he almost felt that had been unnecessary.  He would have felt the Healer’s frustration from a few rooms away, he was certain.  He dared not attempt to read the other’s surface thoughts, he was worried about being detected, and his intentions being misinterpreted.  He wore the Black but he was young, relatively inexperienced, and there were a number of ways to affect even Healer Ariake if one moved with enough subtlety.  Derrial was wary of the power that accompanied him there in that temple, but he was pleased that he was not afraid.  He wanted to help the young man, who had already made so many difficult choices about who he wanted to be.

His words had an impact, which was a good thing.  Thinking was better than doing, and right now that was what the Healer was doing.  There was anger there, and pain, and even deep sadness, but nothing had become action, at least not yet.  Derrial wondered how often this would happen to him.  How many times would he be faced with choices, or the lack thereof, that could change the shape of the land he loved.  He had murdered a Queen, and set the stage for everything that followed, and here now, he tried to reason and say the heart of a Black Jewel that could render him and the entire Territory Palace to just so much dust.  Derrial should have known that simply tending to the Queen would not be all that he would do.  That would have been far too simple.  Ariake was a bonfire, his emotions so bright, that Derrial felt them prickle his skin almost like the heat of a literal flame.

”I know that it was an accident.  I was in Communion when your Power swelled, and the Abyss hurled itself at me.  I rode that wave, but I sensed no malice in it, just a great sadness.”  Derrial spoke softly, ”I am glad that you are free.  I am sorry that the cost was so high, but I am glad that you are free.”  He shook his head, ”He is no longer your master, and he is no longer even alive.  The fault of the Decimation lies with him, not with you, and if he survived, his life would have been taken as the Price for his greed and arrogance, of that I am sure.”  Derrial sighed, ”I am sincerely sorry that all of this has happened to you.  You should have been protected, and kept safe.”

Derrial’s brow furrowed, ”It matters because it runs counter to your nature.  Your rage and anger and sorrow, all more than justified, overwhelmed your nature—because of what had been done to you.  It matters, because you are not happy that you killed so many.”  He shrugged at the mention of all the Ebon Grays, truly Dark and powerful Jewels, especially in triplicate, but Dena Nehele had a long tradition of beating the odds, and he did not like to work in hypotheticals.  ”But you did not call, Lady Yuki.”  Derrial turned his hands over, and pressed them to his knees.  ”I always thought it was wrong.  You are making assumptions for hundreds upon hundreds of people, Blood and Landen both.  You are not all knowing, and never will be.  For all of your power, you are still just a young person, and you were hurt—and like everyone that is hurt, we lash out to ease the pain.”

”Slavery is anathema to the Blood, or it should be.  It is an evil that I believe took root during the occupation, one of the wrong lessons taken from The Purge.”  Derrial tilted his head, ”You are no longer being forced to Heal.  Have you healed no one that has given you satisfaction, the feeling that something has been set to right by your hands?”  He shook his head slightly, and leaned forward, restraining the urge to touch the Healer’s shoulder.  ”You cannot decide who lives and who dies for three reasons.  The first, it would only cause you harm in ways you cannot see right now.  The second, as if have said, you are not omnipotent or omniscient, you cannot claim to know the truth in everyone’s heart, anymore than you can honestly tell me the truth in your own.  The third, that would make you no better than the man that made you call him ‘master’, it would be an act of complete arrogance devoid of thought, reason, or even morality.  Slavery is not wholesale slaughter, but they are close cousins.”

Derrial spoke calmly, ”I do not want you to bend the truth, you are a Healer and a person, only just an adult.  You were never allowed to be a child, never allowed to learn and grow and blossom within the auspices of your Caste.”  He risked moving closer, and reached out to put his hand on the Healer’s shoulder.  ”That is no longer true.  You are no longer alone.  There are people that care about you, and who you are, and who you want to be.  Their lives and deaths of all the people in Dena Nehele do not effect you anymore, unless you force them to.  You are no longer collared.  Do not collar yourself by allowing the past to dictate your future.”  Derrial took a breath, ”I have done wrong, child.  I have done terrible wrong, but I know it, and I have learned it, and while it scars me deeply, I chose to become a Priest, I chose to be who I am for a better future.  Killing myself would have been easier, life is a far harder choice.”

He moved to stand in front of the window, facing the Healer, and sat down again, offering his hands.  ”Kill me if you must.  Divide me into cubes.  Steal away my future, and in doing so, tarnish your own.  Mother Night set you free.  Why would you cage yourself again?  I am not asking you to forget or even forgive your past, and I cannot claim to see the path through that horror all the way to the future, but I can offer to light your way.”  Derrial clenched his jaw, ”I am sorry for what you have suffered, child.  I am sorry that you were forced to be an adult long before you were ready.  I am sorry that I was not there to help, even though I had no way to know that you needed my help.  I am a Priest, Healer Ariake, I am your Priest.  I will fight for you, I will protect you even from yourself.  I will speak with you, I will be a shoulder for you to cry on if you wish it, and I will be a touchstone for you when you need it.”  He raised his hands, ”Join me.  Let us go see our Mother, together.”