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For years, the Dark Religion has persecuted the Light Jeweled with its doctrine of stigmatization. Under the messianic Queen Elisif Brenden, it has flourished, ensuring Glacia’s success in other fronts. But upon her death, a line has been drawn and forces beyond Glacia’s borders are gathering to stop its theocracy once and for all.
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Author Topic: In 2...3... Out 2...3...  (Read 1435 times)

Description: tag; Jake || Set in Autumn 192 || tw: allusions to self-harm

Offline Warren Winters

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In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« on: Jun 05, 18, 10:03:55 AM »
Warren was struggling far more than he would have liked. Well... he would have liked not to have been struggling at all, and at this point he didn't care whether the lack of struggle came with brainwashing or freedom. He just... wasn't sure if he was going to be able to do this more often than not. The living weight about his throat was heavy and unquestionable. It was warm to his skin - just a little warmer than maybe it was supposed to be, because of the buzz of power inside of it. Or maybe that was just his imagination and his constant awareness of the thing that made it constantly feel like it was about to blow at any moment, encompassing him in a supernova of fire and pain.

At least he'd been able to keep face in front of Miina. Well, when he'd seen her. He wasn't proud to say he'd been avoiding her, but he had, managing to limit their interactions to brief almost in-passing intervals a few times a day. They were never alone together. Right now he wasn't sure how long he'd hold up if that happened, especially if she asked him how he was doing.

He wasn't sure how well he'd be able to lie to her.

So he avoided it. He kept to the kitchen or to his rooms. He desperately tried not to walk around like a terrified kicked puppy, surrounded by flesh-eaters. He tried not to notice the approval on some of the others' faces - dark and light Jeweled alike - when they noticed he finally now wore a collar like the rest of the light Jeweled at Court. He tried to smile like it didn't bother him. Most of the time he succeeded (at least when he was around other people). Other times he ended up locking himself in the pantry again, curled up in a little ball, trying desperately not to scream or reach for the nearest sharp object.

Today was a bad day. He hadn't slept more than a cumulative couple of hours the night before, fighting the urge to fall back on some old habits he'd promised himself he'd not turn back to. He'd hoped that getting to work would help distract him, but even that was proving challenging. His mind couldn't focus, his hands wouldn't stop shaking, and his chest was so tight just taking small breaths was becoming difficult. There was this heavy pressure over his whole body that if he made too big of a motion, too took deep of a breath, moved just a little bit too fast, everything would crumbled and he'd lose whatever tenuous control he still had.

He started getting a dizzy and his vision started to spot before he realized he had been holding his breath. It took another extra couple seconds for him to build up the resolve to let out the air he'd been clinging to on a slow, carefully controlled exhale and take in another.

'In.. two.. three... out... two.. three...'

Raj's deep, steady voice remembered in the back of his mind. The Warlord Prince had found him that day, hiding in the pantry. He'd managed to calm him down - and he'd done it again several times since then as well, using breathing exercises and constant, patient reassurance. It didn't fix things, not remotely, but it helped.

Warren set down the pan he was holding before he dropped it, then he pressed his palms into the edge of the counter and bowed his head, focusing as hard as he could on the memory of Raj's steady voice. Then he breathed, trying to focus only on the breathing and nothing else, not even the desperate prayers that it would work.

In.. two... three... out... two three...

Offline Jakob Volkshund

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #1 on: Jun 20, 18, 02:12:24 PM »
It had been a harrowing few weeks but at least he hadn’t had to work with that asshole Kain anymore.

Okay, it hadn’t been harrowing so much as it had been a frustrating sort of boring. Jakob, used to a semi-nomadic lifestyle, now found himself remaining closer to his new “home” for many reasons: primarily, his Queen, Miina. But second to that came this two-fold stigma -- he was a former acquaintance to the Underground (hey, just their transporter, okay? Marks were marks, fuck you) and now a Light-Jeweled Bound to a Red Queen.

He had been happy riding that grey line between good and bad. Now, he was happy riding the curve of Miina’s body.

Except that she didn’t always have need of a sex toy and because Jakob couldn’t just go pick up with his old connections, like he normally would have, and he didn’t really have any other skills to offer Miina in a Courtly setting, he was stuck in this sort of damned limbo, waiting for a job. Which meant that he was bored, and that meant the Kalas estate had a frustrated Warlord Prince prowling listlessly throughout its halls.

At least he hadn’t threatened anyone yet. He wasn’t that untamed.

Jakob decided to see what sort of entertainment could be found in the kitchens. Hell, maybe he would even learn how to cook something besides shitty dry chicken. He’d never have enough patience to do pastries, not like Warren did, but didn’t mean he couldn’t learn a new trick or two.

“What’s shaking, kiddo?” Jakob asked nonchalantly as he strode into the kitchen with his hands in his pockets, slapping on a roguish grin to cover the fact that he was bored out of his mind. “Got any cookies that need eating?”

Offline Warren Winters

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #2 on: Jun 30, 18, 04:00:26 PM »
Warren almost choked on his own breath, and did end up biting down uncomfortably hard on the inside of his cheek at the sudden sound and presence of another. His hands shook as they fussed down his apron and he caught his breath - though his eyes were perhaps still a little bit too wide as he struggled to right himself and turn to face the other male.

“P-Prince. Hey..” His smile was a weak attempt at cheer, but he was trying, and at least he wasn’t curled up in a little ball in the corner. Some how he didn’t think Prince Volkshund would be terribly impressed with a mid-afternoon panic attack - even if it did come with a side order of muffins.

So he took a deep breath, winced at how shaky it was, then took another, and had to turn away from the Warlord Prince because it was way too fucking obvious he was struggling with something.

“Cookies? Oh, I think.. there should be some on the counter. From last night.” He made a vague gesture down the counter to where there was a plate covered with a glass dome to keep in the freshness. He’d baked them after his first attempt at sleep, before he’d ultimately knocked on Raj’s door and cuddled up next to him, letting the other male’s warmth and reassurance lull him into a brief slumber. A sharply aching part of him, though, had craved the calming touch of his Queen - had wanted to curl up next to her and let her presence sooth him, wash over him. There was a bigger part though that didn’t want to go anywhere near her.

And an even bigger part that resented himself for wanting that touch. That hated himself for this inner conflict. That desperately wished he could fall completely on one side of the scale - either get over it and comply, or rebel and probably die in the process… but at least it would mean he wouldn’t have to wear the collar anymore.

“I was just about to make.. something. Was there anything you wanted?” He couldn’t even remember what it was he’d been prepping.

Offline Jakob Volkshund

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #3 on: Jul 26, 18, 03:16:00 PM »
The way the kid acted, like he had been caught or scared, had Jakob arching one eyebrow curiously. Warren stammered through a greeting, took a few shaky breaths, and then gestured towards the opposite counter. Under a glass dome, a few cookies remained. Jakob went to investigate. He picked one up, sniffed it, and then looked at it again.

Blech. Nuts. He hated nuts. But he ate one anyway, just to please the kid.

“I was just about to make.. something,” the kid said, “Was there anything you wanted?” Funny. He didn’t look like he was making something. He looked like he was...lost. There was a pan near his hand, a cutting board too, but not much else. He looked like he was starting something but couldn’t figure out what. Wasn’t like Jakob knew much about cooking anyway.

A chef getting lost in the kitchen though? Something was up. The kid really wasn’t acting like his usual, jovial, shrimpy self.

“There’s always something that I want but you aren’t my type, sorry. Something on your mind, kid? Court boys giving you problems?” Jakob asked, leaning against the counter, giving Warren plenty of space. “You don’t look yourself.” He’d thought of Warren as a rabbit before but now it really seemed to be true.

Jakob crossed his arms over his chest, initiating a casual, listening sort of pose. A quick glance of his eyes towards the fruit bowl had an apple floating his way, which he captured from the air and bit into loudly, obviously settling in for Warren to explain what was going on. "Spill," he said. "What's up?"

Offline Warren Winters

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #4 on: Aug 07, 18, 01:06:13 PM »
A shadow of a smile twitched on his lips at Jakob's quip about wants and the (in Warren's opinion) unfortunate fact that the Tiger Eye Warlord wasn't quite his type. On a day where he had his shit together, he might have chuckled and taken the opportunity to flirt with the other man a little bit. Jake was usually in good spirits about it - he seemed to understand that Warren just liked to flirt and did respect that Jack was disappointingly heterosexual.

'Something on your mind, kid? Court boys giving you problems?'

"O-oh, no, nothing like that," he said with a small smile. If that's all this was he could handle that just fine. A little bit of heartache was easily mended or distracted from with his work, and he was typically able to work through those struggles without spiraling too badly.

'You don't look yourself...'

Warren glanced over at him again, then away, shoulders hunching just a little bit in shame, his gaze firmly locking on to the fine tremor that had wrested control of his hands. Damnit, he was usually so much better at this. Even on his really bad days he was usually able to put on a mask - at least for as long as there was someone else in the room. It was exhausting, but it was what it was. But now...

He swallowed, and his throat moved against the thin, elegant noose about his neck. He froze, then shuddered lightly as his eyes pressed shut. The whole room was just too big. Too open. It was just the two of them, but somehow the room just seemed so loud. Was it raining outside, or was that just the blood rushing in his ears?

'Spill. What's up?'

His mouth tightened, and there was a whisper of a sound at the back of his throat that was closer to a whimper than anything else. He looked over at Jakob again then, and his eyes landed on the matching collar that the other light-Jeweled male wore. His gaze lingered there for a moment, then drifted up to lock with Jake's. For just a moment, it held - and had Jake any intuition at all he would be able to see the younger man's agony.

"I'm fine," he croaked quietly. "I'm just.. adjusting."

Offline Jakob Volkshund

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #5 on: Aug 24, 18, 11:39:27 AM »
Everything about the kid’s posture said that something was wrong and he was trying to hide it. Poorly, but maybe he was better at it on other days. Or maybe Jakob had just gotten really fucking good at sniffing out bullshit, given that he spent a lot of time dealing with smugglers and other people who wanted to keep their secrets.

Problem was that there were secrets that were good to keep, because they protected people, and then there were secrets that were bad to keep, because they ate away at people. And this looked like one of the latter ones.

“You’re a terrible liar, kiddo,” Jakob said. He followed up his statement with a crunching bite of apple and a cool gaze leveled at Warren that pretty much told the shrimp that any attempts to lie further would just backfire because Jakob would call his bullshit.

And the Warlord Prince had seen the way the Warlord’s eyes had lingered on that little collar around Jakob’s neck. Jakob’s hard eyes fell on the matching one around Warren’s neck. “Just adjusting, is that what you wanna call it?” he echoed. He took another bite of apple, the crunching sound reminiscent of breaking bone.

He gave Warren precisely ten more seconds to respond before he said, “I’m gonna say it again, kiddo. Spill. Because you’ve got the look of someone hurting you and I’m in the mood to fuck someone up for it. So, you better explain what’s going on or I go get our lovely Queen involved and that just adds to the headache.” He shot Warren a toothy, roguish smile. One thing about Warlord Princes was that they were obnoxiously protective of their own and even though Warren wasn’t Jakob’s type at-fucking-all, he was still a Brother Bonded to Miina, and that meant he fell under some weird parameter of that protection.

Yeah, Jakob was still trying to figure out that thing too. But for now, it was just easier to punch someone, rather than figuring out his own feelings.

Offline Warren Winters

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #6 on: Oct 04, 18, 10:38:19 PM »
“Well that’s just not true,” he tried to counter with a wobbly smile when the Warlord Prince called him out on his shitty lying. It wasn’t that he was a bad liar - he just… was in a really bad spot and couldn’t steady his damn brain or his pulse or his breath long enough to rummage up enough energy to deliver a convincing spin. Warren didn’t think of it as lying so much as playing the part or, when he was feeling particularly cynical, just surviving.

Was a prey animal a liar when it flashed the colors on its pelt to make it look more dangerous or less delicious? Just.. right now Warren might as well have been bleeding upwind, limping toward a clearing that was undoubtably filled with more hungry wolves.

Jakob didn’t really need more than a couple of seconds to figure out at least the origin of his weakness, anyway. He felt the older man’s gaze land on the collar about this throat, heard the dryness in his voice when he parroted his lame excuse back at him.

His lips pressed together and he looked back to the counter, trying to figure out what he’d been doing so that he could go back to doing it as a way to buy time. Not that the Warlord Prince was going to be hospitable enough to grant him that out, though apparently. He’d barely moved to pick up a pan (because that was better than nothing) when the other man asked again. Well, not asked - it was more of a… gentle demand. Of a sort.

Which was fine.

Until Jakob mentioned Miina. Warren flinched, hard - though whether it was at the mention of their Queen or the sound of the pan clattering against the floor was up for debate. “D-don’t. Please, just - don’t get her. I’m fine. I’ll be fine. I have to be, so I will. Don’t.. just, don’t.” He tried to sound firm. “I just.. need some time to… get steady or something. I’ll make sure I’m alright.” Yeah, he tried to sound firm, not panicked or desperate, not like he was pleading and begging, not like he was on the verge of tears.

He tried.

Offline Jakob Volkshund

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #7 on: Oct 22, 18, 10:37:17 AM »
When Warren flinched and begged for Jakob not to involve Miina in whatever was bothering him, Jakob cursed under his breath. “Well, shit,”  he drawled. “It’s her, isn’t it? You never been collared before?”

The answer was obvious: no. Warren hadn’t been collared and now Miina, for whatever fucking reason the Dark Religion demanded, had done so, dehumanizing her fragile little chef and turning him into a beloved pet rather than a person. Well, shit.

The need to fuck something…or someone…up grew greater.

Unfortunately, the person was responsible for this was their Queen and as much as Jakob would love to throw a knife at someone for this, he couldn’t very well do it at Miina. Still, she’d get the sharp side of his tongue later. After he figured out what to do with the shrimp.

“Come here, kid,” Jakob said, stepping closer and opening one arm for a side hug. “Look, we both know I’m not your type but I think we’re a little beyond that shit at the moment. You need a hug. Get in here. And yeah, you’re going to be alright.” If Warren accepted the comfort, Jakob’s tone would turn a little softer, since his Warlord Prince need to protect something would have been fulfilled. But if Warren didn’t, Jakob’s tone would remain that dagger-sharp, ready to inflict some real damage on someone.

Regardless, Jakob went on to say, “At least you’re in the care of a good Queen. Yeah, it’s fucked up what the government says she has to do to us but she ain’t going to turn you out to the wolves and let them use that thing against you for their own pleasure like some Queens might. She knows better than that. She ain’t that type of Queen. Now, do I like being collared? Fuck no. But that has a lot to do with me being a Warlord Prince more than me hating the Dark Religion. Understood? So yeah, you’re going to be alright. Just takes a moment. And then you’ll see that it doesn’t mean anything to her except appearances, keeping the status quo. You’re still her perfect little chef.”

Jakob paused for a moment before adding, “Raj ever tell you what she did to the Queen that was stupid enough to collar him and abuse him?” Maybe Raj had, maybe he hadn’t. Either way, Jakob spilled the beans. “She broke the bitch. Stripped her of her Offering. For hurting one of her own. So yeah, that’s the kind of Queen you’ve got watching over you. Anyone messes with you, she’ll tear into them, and if there’s anything left of them still kicking, you can bet Raj and I will fix that real quick.”

Still, it was pretty fucked up, having to do this. Jakob understood the kid’s panic and concern. It wasn’t easy to accept. Shit, Jakob really hadn’t accepted it either. It was probably one of the reasons why he wasn’t tied down to anything else in life – because he was tied down to someone because of that collar and he was trying to buck that as well. Unsuccessfully.

But hey, he wasn’t about to project his own shit on the trembling kid in the kitchen. Nah, he’d save that fight for Miina.

Offline Warren Winters

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #8 on: Nov 27, 18, 01:07:59 PM »
Any further attempts at protest or pleas to ignore his plight died on his lips as the Warlord Prince offered him comfort. His throat tightened, contracting in a hard swallow, and tears burned in his eyes as he took first one hesitant step toward the older male - followed quickly by two more to close the distance. Maybe Jakob only intended for the touch to be brief, a distant embrace and a pat on the back, but Warren was cracking and frazzled and touch was something that had always kept him grounded.

So Warren snuggled himself against older, larger, and more volatile man's side, his arms around him and his face mostly hidden. Jakob would probably feel him trembling, and might note the sharper angles and thinner frame caused by the combination of stress and a loss of appetite since the collar had locked about his throat. He wasn't neglecting himself on purpose, he really wasn't, he did try to combat the despair and the tension and the fear that was not-so-slowly eating him alive... but there was only so much he could do and he was still struggling in trying to find himself some kind of a balancing ground to survive on.

The touch of the other male helped calm him. He was able to take a few deep breaths, able to relax a little, able to take comfort in the other's strength and just the other's presence, his willingness to be there and touch him.

His words weren't nearly as helpful. They didn't make it worse, or undo the comfort of the hug, but Warren's shoulders hunched in a bit and he became a little smaller against Jakob's side as the Warlord Prince assured him that Miina was a good Queen who did it because she had to. That she wasn't going to give him away or let anyone hurt him. Jakob confessed he didn't like the collars either - but because he was a Warlord Prince rather than because of anything to do with the Dark Religion and since Warren didn't know what to say or think about that he ignored the comment as fully as he could. He was so conflicted on the subject. Too conflicted. If he thought too long on it he knew he would self-destruct and he... dammit he couldn't let that happen.

"I know," he choked out softly, his voice rough and muffled against the other man's shirt. He took a slow breath and pulled back just enough to look up at him. "I know." His attempt at a wobbly smile was likely wholly unconvincing, but he tried. "The Lady.. she's good. She.. she's amazing.. I just..."

He looked away, his voice stalling - his tremulous grasp on his self-worth weakening again. "I.. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I-I'm sorry.." He was trying to say other things. He was trying to say that he would be better, that he would try. Or maybe beg Jakob not to tell Miina about this again. But all that came out was a rough, strangled broken record.

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry."

Offline Jakob Volkshund

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Re: In 2...3... Out 2...3...
« Reply #9 on: Jan 07, 19, 11:17:26 AM »
The kid came to him like a damned kicked puppy, bracing for rejection but wanting that touch, trembling as he snuggled into the embrace, and Jakob wanted to shove a knife through someone’s ribs just a little bit more. At least the kid understood that Miina was a good Queen, just a Queen backed into a political corner. But when that voice broke and the kid started apologizing for things beyond his control, apologizing for probably existing, Jakob blew out a long, exasperated breath.

Damn this Dark Religion shit.

“Don’t apologize for shit you didn’t do wrong, kid,” he said. “Yeah, this situation is fucked up, but it isn’t your fault. And if you keep beating yourself up over it, it’s just going to eat you alive.” It was already eating the kid alive and Jakob grit his teeth angrily. He was going to have to have a talk with Miina about this. How the Hell could she just ignore Warren’s anxiety over this?

He really thought less of her at that moment. And that was something he hadn’t thought he would ever do. Not his petal perfect fuckable Queen. The Brenden bitch, yes, but not Miina.

“Come on,” Jakob said, squeezing Warren against him a little. “We gotta get you snapped out of this shit. Ain’t healthy for your head. Let’s go take a walk. Or go find you some guys to drool over.” Something. Because, obviously, hiding in the kitchen, trying to ignore what was going on wasn’t working for shit. “Get a jacket on.” If Warren protested too much, Jakob would just turn that toothy grin on him and say, “What part of this sounded like an option?”

But if Warren relented and did what Jakob said, the Warlord Prince would take the kid on an ambling stroll out of the estate into town and try to distract him with shiny objects, handsome men, or a few beers. Trust Jakob to know where to find some of those things easily.

 

 

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