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* Plot Information for Hayll

Hayll has sought a suitable Queen to rule for years, but the one it has chosen has become the pawn of a manipulative Prince plotting genocide. While slaves fight for their lives in the Coliseum, Nero Augustus, Consul of Hayll, plunges the Territory towards war safely behind his puppet Queen.
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Author Topic: The Refracted Lives We Lead  (Read 233 times)

Description: Attn: Shadya

Offline Cassius Decius

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The Refracted Lives We Lead
« on: Sep 24, 18, 02:30:08 PM »
TW: Reference to self-harm and rape

See my lonely life unfold
I see it every day
See my lonely mind explode
Since I've gone away


Cassius took out a small piece of cloth and pressed it to his nose. He took a breath and the shards of his broken chalice shuddered, drifted, as he stared at the wall blankly. This was something important. He would not let anyone take it from him. His Jewels he had given up easily, without a word, but this he would fight for. He had already sunk his teeth into the guard that had come too near the scrap of cloth. He had tasted blood and pulled away, sinking to the floor and expecting some kind of pain. But it had not come. And he still had the cloth.

I think I lost some weight there
And I, I'm sure I need some rest
Sleeping don't come very easy
In a straight white vest


The guard pried the sharp stone out of Cassius’ hand. He had seen the look in the male’s eyes, the desire to plow it across his wrist, to end the whispering voices in his head. They pulled him deeper and deeper into the Shallow Place, where no one could hear him scream. Where his mouth opened and no sound came out. Where his eyes grew shut and his mouth closed up into smooth skin and he lived trapped inside his body.

I, I want to get out of here
I, I want to get out of here
I, I've gotta, I've gotta get out of here


Shards of memory. Shards of Self. Cassius sat in the middle of the room and drew. His hands were covered in ink, his nails blackened into half moons. Paper spewed out in every direction, twisting forks of the Twisted Kingdom that ran into the dead ends of his fear. Red eyes littered the papers like blood, bright flashes of someone that the Prince could not remember. Skeletons sat among the papers, a Black Widow’s webs strawn across the old bones. And still the slave drew. He did not eat. He did not sleep. He just drew until he ran out of ink, out of paper, out of energy. And around him sat his life, scattered and unorganized and broken.

The door opened and Cassius looked up at a Black Widow, his lips parted. “Your pleasure is my joy.” The words echoed through the shards. Through time and place. He stood up. He stepped forward. If she didn’t stop him, he planted a kiss on her lips.

See my lonely life unfold
(Leave me alone)
(I didn't want to be)
(Don't touch me)
See my lonely mind explode


Offline Shadya al-Sabbah

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #1 on: Sep 25, 18, 10:51:45 PM »
Hayll was a strange place. She’d spent her entire life, thus far, with an Eyrien. She’d only known an actually Hayllian for two years. She knew that there were differences between the cultures, but Hayll was so different from Pruul that it felt like another world entirely. There was so much water that Shadya stared at it every chance she got. Elenor had taken her swimming and made sure that they followed rivers until they reached their destination in deep south of Hayll, in a Province called Faro. There, Shadya had seen the ocean for the first time in her life. It was like the Great Desert, but made of water.

Shadya al-Sabbah openly wept without shame for the first time in her life when she laid eyes upon it.

Seeing the ocean made up for the few city-folk who’d stared at her with open disdain. The short-lived weren’t highly regarded here, no matter their skill. The long-lived rarely considered the short-lived as anything other than pets or insects to smash, which made Shadya bristle with anger. Still, Judiah gave her a history lesson and Elenor promised that they would move on to other places soon enough.

Shadya was staring at the ocean (yet again) when her escort, Omaru, arrived to tell her that her latest patient was ready to meet with her. Shadya liked to evaluate those who needed MInd Healing before beginning the process, the better to understand the help that they needed. Shadya wore a light yellow dress and sandals, tying back her long hair to keep it out of her eyes. Later, she would need to make memory crystals in order to show Amira everything she’d seen and done during this journey. Her older sister had worried about leaving Pruul, especially while Uncle Fin was away. Shadya worried after her sister’s well-being. Amira was a grown woman with deep standing in the Abyss.

She could take care of herself.

Omaru escorted her to the room in question and Shadya took a deep breath. “Don’t do anything unless I tell you. I need to talk to him first and get a feel for where he is. Don’t rush to my aid unless I give the signal.” she said.

What’s the signal?” Omaru asked.

The last words in the world that you’ll ever hear: Elenor is playing it safe.

Omaru made a face. “Yes, that definitely means something is wrong.

Shadya nodded and opened the door to the room. The stream papers strewn about the room surprised her. The images on the pagers worried her. Something about the path laid out was familiar, though Shadya couldn’t immediately say what it was. She noted the red eyes in several of the pictures, following the trail into the room.

Your pleasure is my joy.

Shadya’s face turned in the direction of the voice just in time to find the Prince advancing on her. He was moved to kiss her and found the flat side of a dagger pressed against those kissing lips of his.

So this must be what Judiah meant when she talked about the Hayllian Handshake. Very different from the Queen’s Handshake in Dena Nehele.” Shadya said, keeping the Prince at bay. She liked the names, though. They'd been added to her list for future use.

This knife is over a thousand a years old and it’s killed a lot of Hayllians in its time. Do not ever try to touch me without my leave, or it will taste Hayllian blood again.” Shadya said.

Now please take five large steps backward.” she said, waiting for him to comply. When he did, Shadya would sheathe her blade.

You can call me Lady Shadya.  Can you tell me your name? Or tell me what I should call you?” she asked.

Offline Cassius Decius

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #2 on: Sep 26, 18, 09:10:29 AM »
Starting a landslide in my ego
Look from the outside
To the world I left behind


The feeling of cold metal. Soothing, trickling back through the shards. Metal on wrists. Metal on feet. Metal pain. Cassius stared at the knife for a moment, his tongue coming out to taste it before he pulled away. There was not fear in his chiseled face, as there should be, but a clouded desire. A wish for her to follow through with her words. The guard in the corner, the one assigned to Cassius, shifted, about to protest, but he let the Black Widow keep working. Surely she knew what she was doing. Surely all his diligent work of keeping anything sharp, anything harmful away from the Prince, would not be wasted.

I'm dreaming
You're awake
If I were sleeping
What's at stake

Cassius’ hand came up, about to touch the Widow again, wanting this thousand-year-old knife to end his life in a way he had failed at. All that wasted pain. Wasted. Everything wasted. But then, his mind shifted, curved, red eyes staring at him, red eyes telling him to live. The slave put his hand to his head, closing his eyes as he stepped back. “One. Two. Three. Four. Five.” Cassius used the counted steps backward to try and focus on those red eyes, but they slipped away as his foot crumpled a piece of paper underneath him. He looked down. He dropped to his knees, the Black Widow forgotten.

A day without me
Whatever the feelings
I keep feeling
What are the feelings
You left behind

He stared at the picture. A dark mess of twisting lines. Bodies. Packed together. Red eyes. All within a tightly outlined Ring. Cassius stared at the drawing, sitting back on his heels, and stared. His mind aches trying to remember, trying to sift through the broken shards of his mind. He held the picture up to the Black Widow, wondering if it was her hidden in the lines. Wondering if he was supposed to serve her. The Prince frowned, the nice contours if his pretty face vexed.

In the world I left behind
Wipe their eyes, and then let go
To the world I left behind
Shed a tear, and then let go


Her words caused him to look up, his golden eyes faded and dull. “My name…” The words swam around the room. Did things have a name? “This drawing is very important.” He stated, holding it up for her again. “Do you know what it’s of?” The slave glanced around, at the long lines of papers that surrounded him. The eyes were everywhere. They surrounded him. The male bit his lip, hard, fear creeping up inside him. Why were the eyes staring at him? What did they see that he couldn't?

“Cassius.” The word left his lips and the Prince was surprised at it, having forgotten the original question. “My name is Cassius. I belong to Aurav Longinius. That’s two names, isn’t it? Hmm.” He searched for his second name, but he couldn't find it. Maybe it would crop up later. “I think...I think something bad happened.” Cassius looked at his bandaged wrist. “Did I do something bad?”

If he had, why was he still alive?

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #3 on: Oct 03, 18, 12:17:56 AM »
He licked her knife.

He licked her knife.

The action surprised her. Was he fucking with her? If he lacked fear that the prospect of being harmed by a sharp blade, that was worrisome. Shadya vanished the weapon. They’d taken his jewels, so she held the advantage there, but she knew better than to consider harmless any member of the Blood. The passions and hungers inside them ran deep. If this male’s chalice was as damaged as they feared, he could still do her grievous harm if she wasn’t careful.

He obeyed her request and stepped back, so Shadya took a moment to kneel down and look at the pictures. She did not touch them; she did not want to agitate him or make it appear that she was disrespecting his work. In her peripheral, she saw him kneeling to look at the pictures. Shadya turned her gaze on him and watched him quietly to see what he would do. He started to say his name, but then stopped and held up one of the pictures. He called it important and Shadya immediately committed it to memory. If he believed it important, then it could be a key to his recovery or learning just what had happened to him.

Shadya started to answer, but then the Prince looked around the room, his fear seeming to grow as he noticed the eyes in all of the pictures. Whose eyes were they? Was it the person who’d harmed him? Was it someone else?

He called himself Cassius.

Hello, Cassius. You asked me if I knew what the picture was. I don’t but you’ve told me that it’s important. Can you tell me why? You’ve drawn many, many eyes in your pictures.” Shadya said.

Do you know whose eyes these are? Is someone watching you, watching us right now?” Shadya asked, pointing to another picture where the eyes peered out at them. She didn’t immediately address the information about whom he belonged to. The very thought of belonging to someone made Shadya sick to her stomach. Slavers were literally the lowest form of life in the world, even lower than the True Sabbah. That was a very hard depth to reach but the slavers deserved no consideration or thought beyond how fast they could be returned to Mother Night, preferably with as much pain and suffering as possible.

I don’t know what you’ve done, Cassius, but I know that you don’t deserve this. I’d like to help you get better. If we’re going to do that, though, I need you to trust me. I need your help to learn what happened to you so that I can keep it from happening again.” she said softly.

Are you willing to help me?” she asked, trying to keep his gaze focused on her.

Offline Cassius Decius

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #4 on: Oct 05, 18, 02:36:55 PM »
“I can feel her. I can feel her right now, but she isn’t watching us. She isn’t.” Cassius looked at the piece of paper, at the red eyes, and tears ran down his cheeks. He needed something, but he didn’t know what. And it hurt and he didn’t know why. The paper fluttered from his fingertips and joined the others on the ground.

Lost.

Something was lost. Cracked shards. Cassius cupped his face with his hands and stared into the darkness, trying to let it calm him. But it wasn’t enough. There was always shifting landscapes, shifting people, shifting voices. They washed over him, making the slave feel as if he was travelling through time, through space, his environment like the sand changed with the wind.

“I do deserve this.”

The words came out of his mouth and Cassius’ gaze returned to the Black Widow, sharp and focused. Clear. For one moment. One precious moment. He did deserve this. His entire life, stretching back longer than this woman had been alive, drove him to this. Drove him faster and faster, his failures too numerous and too heinous to count.

But it slipped away. His eyes clouded. His hands tapped rhythmically on the ground. One. Two. One. Two. One. Two. The sound calmed him, the movement something he could follow.   

“I…trust…where is my Master? Has he said I should help you? Are you my new Mistress?” Cassius crawled to the Black Widow, his body crumpling the paper. He settled at her feet, his hands tightening as he tried to focus on what she said, as the voices within his head laughed. And cried. And screamed. So much screaming. “My will is yours.” He murmured, his eyes drifting off, wondering where he was. Wondering why it was so dark and twisting and filled with so many paths. The words came instinctually though. “My Jewels are yours. My body is yours.”

Offline Shadya al-Sabbah

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #5 on: Oct 08, 18, 10:32:00 PM »
Shadya listened and considered what Cassius was telling her. He spoke of her, saying that he could feel her, but that she wasn’t watching them. Was he referring to a lover? A mother? A Queen? Shadya was wary of entering the mind of a male who was missing a Queen that he couldn’t remember. The damage to his chalice could be immense in that case, maybe even beyond her ability to fix. Shadya forced herself to calm down and think. She didn’t know anything yet. There was no point in pondering the possibilities before she had a chance learn more about Cassius. The collar around his neck bothered her, but she knew better than to attempting anything with it at present. A slender piece of metal that ruled a man’s or a woman’s life. 

Shadya put aside her discomfort to focus on Cassius and his tapping. Shadya noticed the way the tension seemed to dissipate when the tapping started. Cassius asked her if she was his new Mistress. The question clearly threw her off-balance, shown in the slight lift of her eyebrows. She didn’t want to own him, but she did want to help him. His next words were said, as if by rote, and they made Shadya uncomfortable.

No, Cassius. I’m not your Mistress. Your Master does want me to help you so that you can remember your life and all the things you love. After that...you’ll be free. You won’t need a Mistress or a Master, or anyone to tell you what to do.” she said.

If you still want one, then that will be your choice. The important thing is that you will be able to decide for yourself, and only for yourself.” Shadya said gently.

In order to help you, I’d it if you would sit down on the floor for me. I have to look inside your mind, which means that I need you lower your barriers for me. Together, we’ll help you put everything back where it goes so that you can get better. This will take time and effort, but if you need me to stop, I want you to use the word ‘lullaby’. ” Shadya said.

She offered her hand to the Prince, hoping that the instinct to protect and serve hadn’t been overridden by his pain. He took her hand, seemingly receptive to her touch. His hands were softer than he expected and she dragged the pads of her fingertips from the edge of his wrist, down into his palm, and then all the way between his middle and ring fingers. She did this three or four times to start, letting Cassius get a feel for her hands, her skin, while she matched her breathing to his own.

Slowly, she drifted down into her Tiger Eye, followed by her Purple Dusk, and whispering softly as she shielded her chalice. There was no sense in risking her mind by getting lost in his. Once Shadaya felt comfortable, she extended her senses and pressed gently against his outer barriers. They parted easily, like the flaps of Elenor’s tent, and Shadya stepped inside the Cassius’ mind to survey the damage done.

She found shards of a shattered life and mind littering his chalice.

There were so many shards, so many pieces lying about that Shadya wasn’t sure where to start.

She ventured deeper into Cassisus mind, attempting to weave some of her strength into the Prince’s chalice as well. He was fragile enough; she didn’t want to send him spiraling into the Twisted Kingdom. He would not return from that path.

Cassius? Can you hear me?” Shadya asked aloud. She waited for him to confirm, and then took a deep breath. She continued to caress his hand, and then began to tap out the rhythm that calmed him earlier. One. Two. One. Two. One. Two.

Tell me the earliest thing you remember about your life.

Offline Cassius Decius

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #6 on: Oct 08, 18, 11:06:51 PM »
The words disintegrated as Shadya spoke them, Cassius focused intensely on her lips. The way they moved. The way they crinkled, the way her cheeks softened and tightened. She was very beautiful. He liked when his Mistress’ were very beautiful. It made it easier for him to bed them whenever they wished. The slave looked up at her and thought these thoughts as her mouth continued to move. Move and move and move.

“Lullaby. That is a pretty word.” He said, his golden eyes blinking.

He didn’t understand why she said it or what she meant, but he would follow her orders. He would sit down and he would open his barriers for her to see. Plenty of master’s had done that before. They found it thrilling to riffle around in a slave’s mind. Is that what she wanted? He looked down as she touched him, his other hand coming to trace down from her elbow to her palm, bringing goosebumps to the surface.

His mind might be shattered, but two things remained. Submission and sex. They had been bred into him ever since he could remember. So that is where he started.

“I remember…my collar. It was smooth and it wouldn’t come off. My mother said they were going to test it and she held me still and it…it…” Cassius focused on the rhythm of skin against skin.

One. Two. One. Two. 

“They taught me how to serve after. How to kneel. How to speak. How to act. I never misbehaved. I just…I just wanted my mother to smile.” Cassius’ mind swirled, the shards lifting up and shifting in the eddies of his thoughts, like a swift current, pulling him further and further out. “She never did. And then they took me from her soon after. I tried to reach out, I tried to pull away from the men who took me, but I couldn’t get away. And…and…I had to sit there while she screamed my name over and over and over and over.” The slave pulled his hand away from Shadya and a storm disturbed the smooth current of his mind. Images of his own daughter, long dark hair and golden eyes, screaming his name. Screaming for him. Screaming. Screaming.

Cassius pressed his hands against his ears and started to rock back and forth. Back and forth.

“Make it stop. Make it stop. Please.” He begged her, his voice small and pleading.

Offline Shadya al-Sabbah

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #7 on: Oct 08, 18, 11:50:57 PM »
Bile rose in Shadya’s throat as Cassius explained his earliest memories. Until now, she’d just assumed that the Prince’s master had stolen him and forced him into this life. The idea that his mother had been complicit in breaking him to the collar stoked a deep, ugly anger in the pit of her stomach. Shadya constructed a bulwark against those painful memories, walling them away so that they would not hurt him. The anguish did not fade immediately, but it withdrew like the tide pulling away from the shore.  Shadya withdrew from his mind smoothly and quickly like smoke. The depth of his pain stole the breath of her lungs and she had to let him go in order to reclaim her own mind and space.

She wanted to make Cassius rest and then find his master and put her knife through his neck until his heartsblood leaked all over the pretty marble floors of his opulent home. Or maybe she would make him find the nicest knife that he owned and then force him to peel off strips of his skin and eat them, describing how they tasted from start to finish. Or maybe she would just take the man to bed, ride him senseless and then stick her snaketooth into his jugular right as he climaxed. She wouldn’t even mind letting him spend himself in her, so long as she got to watch the light fade from his eyes. A thousand torments she could visit on Cassius’s master, but she put them aside to to focus on her task. Later, she would tell Elenor what she saw and allow her Queen to decide what action would be taken, if any.

My mother used to sing me lullabies when I was little. After she died, my older sister did it. Sometimes, my Queen does.” Shadya said, extending her senses as she sought all the places his mind was damaged. There were so many that Shadya audibly gasped. She couldn’t piece his memories together until she made sure that his mind itself was strong enough to hold them and all the horrible things that had happened to him. By the end of the first session, Shadya’s jewels were so closed to drained and she was so tired that she had to be helped back to her quarters. But she promised Cassius that she would return the following day.

She visited a Hayllian temple that night and prayed at the altar for an hour before she sought connection with the Darkness. She slept fitfully that night, waking in the middle of the night to sneak down to Cas’ room and sit by the door. She didn’t say anything or indicate that she was there, but she wanted to be sure that he rested.

The following day, she work and constructed the map of the Prince’s mind that she’d obtained from her initial observations. There was a deep and grievous damage to his mind. He’d been made into a servant, a slave meant only to give to other people, no matter the cost to himself. They took and took and took from him and then wondered why he’d broken.

Her mentor's words returned to her.

Cripple a man’s body and he will live long enough to heal and seek revenge. Cripple a man’s mind and you never need fear his reprisal.

Their next several sessions focused solely upon strengthening Cassius’ mind to withstand the weight of his violations without breaking beneath them. They worked together for days that became weeks. All the while Shadya gathered the shards of memory and constructed a place inside Cassius’ mind to hold them all safely while they strengthened his mind and chalice. Two full weeks passed with the pair learning more of each other, and Shadya telling him about Pruul and Dena Nehele.

At the start of the third week, Shadya sat down in front of Cassius, legs folded beneath her, taking his hand and tapping out their calming rhythm.

Cassius? I think it’s time that we take a look at  a few more things that you remember. You’ve done very, very well so far, but I’d like to talk about the woman with the red eyes. Can we do that today?” she asked him softly.

When he agreed, Shadya entered his mind and called forth the pieces necessary to assemble a picture of the red eyed woman.

Offline Cassius Decius

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #8 on: Oct 09, 18, 10:15:18 AM »
Cassius did not sleep well.

He did not sleep at all. He kept hearing the screaming, echoing back and forth from the shards of his life. Everywhere. Drenched in the chaotic tremble of his mind. His golden eyes stared at the ceiling, blinking, blinking. The guard in the corner with him asked him if he was okay and the Prince took deep breaths, in and out. In and out. Shadya came in soon after and Cas’ face broke open in a smile, his eyes crinkling. His Mistress would help him. She would guide him right. Taking the brew the Black Widow gave him without a single question, the last though Cassius had was of the long haired Black Widow and the gentle tapping of her skin against his.

Over the next few weeks he became more comfortable with the witch. He even smiled at her a few times, grasped her hand lightly, showed her his drawings. Gentle and docile. Sweet. Cassius almost felt bliss in the shattering of his mind, the forgetting of his life. So it was with a little trepidation that he nodded his head when she announced their course for the day.

“O-okay.” He stammered, glancing at the pictures on the wall. The red eyes staring at him.

As she entered his mind and begun to rebuild the memory of the red eyed woman, Cassius felt his body begin to tremble. It started small, at first, but then turned into full on shaking. And still the shards kept going, fitting into place. Building a picture. His breathe became erratic as his heart pounded and he became dizzy. And still the picture built, the last shard settling into place to reveal a beautiful black haired woman. Smiling. The wind blew her black hair gently and Cassius drank in her body. The ways he shifted weight to one foot. The way her fingers ran over each other while she thought. The way her cheeks hitched up when she smiled. She was stunning. Breathtaking. Perfect.

“Precious,” he breathed.

And then memories, each tiny shards themselves, came. The woman violated. Over and over. Her blood in the air. The sound of her screams. The feeling of her fear as she was tortured. The sound of his name on her lips as she cried. The feeling of her Touch before pain. The loss of her forever ripping his heart out. Pain. So much pain. Too much. Cassius threw himself at the image of the woman, shattering it into pieces. He continued forward, slamming against the newly fortified walls of his Chalice and his mind as he tried to get away from the pain. From the love that burned him.

“No!”

The walls of his mind held, thanks to the expert work of the Black Widow, but Cassius’ grief spilled out into the real world. His hands pushed Shadya away from him, the Prince moving forward to loom over her on the ground. His teeth clenched, his eyes hard and angry and desperate. What was she trying to do? She was hurting him. Hurting.

A long moment drew out and Cassius’ breath faltered as he glared down at Shadya. He wanted to hurt something, make the pain go away, but he had never been allowed to hurt anything in his entire life. Not without permission. And...she was helping him. Shame colored his scent.

He pulled away.

“I’m sorry. I...I wouldn’t do that normally. I can’t…” He fell backwards onto the ground, away from her. “I’m just sorry.” He pressed his hand to his head, ashamed and disappointed in himself.

Offline Shadya al-Sabbah

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #9 on: Oct 12, 18, 11:05:38 PM »
Shadya would never admit it aloud, but she like the way his face lit up when she entered the room.

He showed her his drawings. They talked about his life and family. Thus far, Shadya had been very, very careful to keep her life and connections outside of Elenor out of any conversations they had. This work, Shadya’s work, was about helping Cassius. She did not want to upset him or trigger any painful memories with bits and pieces of her life. Sure, Cassius wasn’t old enough to have endured the Purge or fought in the Great War, but he could easily have family who’d endured one or both of those things. Therefore, telling him about what happened in Dena Nehele or talking about her Eyrien uncle were both off-limits subjects.

Cassius trusted her to help him and Shadya would be worthy of that trust.

He agreed to her idea, though she sensed his hesitation. Shadya didn’t take that personally, but it did make her reconsider the plan, if briefly. What if he wasn’t ready? What if this was too much for him? The longer she thought about it, the more that she realized that she was projecting her thoughts and worries onto him. Cassius had been through a lot, but they’d come very far together in these past few weeks. She couldn’t know his readiness or what he could handle without exposing him to those things.

Remember, if it’s uncomfortable, tell me and we’ll stop. I don’t want to hurt you, Cas.” she said softly.

Shadya began and it all seemed like it was going well. The red-eyed woman seemed important and Shadya wondered if this was, perhaps, his mother. Or his lover. The latter thought scraped against Shadya’s temper, but she smashed it down. Bit by bit, she reassembled the memory of this woman, hoping to give Cassius something stable to hold onto, a foundation to continue rebuilding his mind. But when the trembling started, Shadya realized that she’d made a grave mistake.

Precious.

The word confused Shadya. Why would Cas call her that? But as the image of the red-eyed woman sharpened in the Price’s mind, Shadya understood that it wasn’t a term of endearment, but a name. This woman’s name was Precious. She was beautiful. Like, Judiah-level beautiful, which was Shadya’s benchmark for female beauty. She was clearly long-lived, but something about her features was more feral than the regal and sharp angles that she saw in Judiah or Cas. And then she saw the wings.

The flood of information from Cassius’s memories started as a trickle, then became a stream, and soon blossomed into a tidal wave that threatened to drag her down and crush her in the undertow. She wasn’t his mother or his lover, but her scent burned itself into Shadya’s mind just as Elenor’s had and the Black Widow realized who and what Precious was. Not just a Queen, but his Queen.

The connection broke as Cassius shoved her away.

Shadya tumbled away from him and struggled to get her bearings. It didn’t take long.

Cassius was standing over her.

He was hurting. She’d hurt him and now she was going to die for it. She pushed herself up to her knees and looked up at him, wondering if he’d make it quick or if he’d tear her heart out of her chest slowly. It would be a  shitty way to die, but one she’d earned. She’d not placed a stop command in his head. She’d let her guard down and now she was paying for it.

Cassius stared at her briefly, and then backed away from her. He was ashamed and disgusted with himself. He was embarrassed that he’d harmed her. His feelings mirrored her own and Shadya wondered if that was a side effect of the Mind Healing or just the fact that they’d spent so much time together lately.

Cassius, it’s...it’s okay. It’s not your fault. I pushed you too far, too fast. I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry, okay?” she said. She wanted to reach out and take his hand, help calm him down, but what if he didn’t trust her? What if he hated her now?

She would deal with it. Elenor had given her this task and Shadya would handle it.

Offline Cassius Decius

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #10 on: Oct 13, 18, 11:32:25 AM »
The former slave saw a brief flicker of fear in the Black Widow’s eyes. Fear. Of him. The same fear that deadened his eyes whenever he kneeled at his Master’s feet. The male felt like throwing up at that look. He felt like walking into the desert and letting himself waste away. It wasn't Shadya he didn't trust.

It was himself.

Cassius stumbled backwards, his legs hitting the frame of his bed. They gave out then and he sat on the edge, his entire body continuing to shake. His hands, his legs, his very mind. All of the healing Shadya had accomplished up to this point held, but only barely. Such was the power of the woman with the red eyes. She haunted him, waking and while asleep. The Prince began to cry, the tears washing down his face as his mind ached from the pain of trying to remember her. Cas was adept at pain, he had been trained to enjoy it, but this was something else. This was torture.

“Can we…can we just leave the red-eyed woman out? She…it hurts so badly. It hurts more than anything else.” He looked at Shadya before burying his head in his hands. “Can you just erase that part of my life? It hurts too bad. I don’t know if I can relive it.” Just that small moment, the image of the red-eyes woman before he had shattered it, letting the memories float away, had been too much. Why did she have such a hold over him? Was she his Mistress? His friend? Cassius was asking the Black Widow for something he didn’t even understand.

Cassius took a long breath and dropped his hands from his face, trying to wipe away the tears. Thus far, he had screamed. He had curled up into a ball. He had become angry, but this was the first time he had cried. And it made him feel helpless, because he didn’t even know what the tears were for—only his body did.

He gestured for Shadya to sit next to him. “I wasn’t like this before. I raised my daughter until her mother gave me away. I made people laugh until they forgot their problems. I stopped people from returning themselves to the Darkness. I just…I don’t know where that Cassius is anymore.” He wanted to return to the Darkness. He wanted all of this pain to stop. “I’m sorry I scared you….I’ve never raised a hand to a witch without an order to do so. I just…want you to know that. The person I was before—he would never hurt you.” If the Black Widow had joined him, the Prince laid his hand on top of hers, squeezing once.

If only he could find that old Cassius.

Offline Shadya al-Sabbah

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Re: The Refracted Lives We Lead
« Reply #11 on: Oct 16, 18, 11:49:19 PM »
Shadya’s work took on a new complexity with the revelation of Cassius’s Queen. She didn’t need to ask if Precious was on the grounds; if she had been, Aurav would have been best served by bringing her in to keep Cassius calm while Shadya worked. But given her effect upon him, that was probably a bad idea. Shadya had much work to do before they could approach her as a subject again. Shadya already knew that they’d have to talk about her again, if only because the idea of a bonded male being unable to stand his Queen’s presence would destroy her work faster than any torture that the collar could inflict.

I will be very honest with you, Cassius. Yes, I can remove her from your mind. I can cut her out and you will never recall her for as long as you live, which...is a long time. I can even make it so that you don’t remember that I did it. But somewhere in this world, your Queen is out there. Some part of you will always remember her and...it would cause you greater pain to find her again and not understand why she hurts you than for us to slowly rebuild your memories of her.” Shadya said.

I will do it if you truly wish, Cassius. But first...let’s work on restoring your happier memories before we go taking things away.” Shadya said.

For now, please let me back inside and I’ll put her back in the box. I may know of someone else who can make you happy.” Shadya said.