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Author Topic: Bones to be hollowed  (Read 367 times)

Description: yuki. summer 193ap.

Offline Haneul Mhin

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Bones to be hollowed
« on: Jun 21, 18, 02:46:04 PM »
Haneul returned to Tikal on the Gray Wind. His assignment was not yet complete, since Yua was not yet home, but he couldn't bear to remain away any longer. He had kept secret upon secret to preserve the mainland from his Lady's wrath. For months, he had said nothing, trusting in the plans his father and sister had made to free his friend, knowing that Yuki's rage would not be easily quelled upon learning where her student had gone. But seeing concrete evidence of the young Healer's suffering and confronting the violence in his own heart left him rattled. It was a burden he could never share with his father, the one touchstone for acceptable behavior he had as a Dark-Jeweled Prince of the Blood, who would never countenance violence done to a woman.

Only Yuki would understand why he had done it, if such a thing were even possible. He himself had no idea why he had begun down that path, only that it had been such a horrible compulsion, a need to react to the fear in those stones. To the insistence that this was acceptable. But she was his Queen, and if anyone in all the Realms of the world were to understand his actions, it would be her. She could contextualize what he had done for him. If there was guilt to be assigned, or a price to be paid, she would know, and she would ensure he paid it.

Everything that happened in Raej ran counter to what Haneul knew of himself. He was not a warrior, not a monster. He was an escort, an aesthete, and he didn't torture people. Faced with the suffering of his loved ones, he had done precisely that. It had felt repulsive even as he had done it, and yet he'd still...

The hand in which he had held Ama Ea-Nasir's tongue spasmed closed as if he could reach in and rip out her tongue again.

He knew Yuki's schedule by heart. He'd arrived just after dinner, when she would be sitting with Nova, perhaps, or with Xiaowen, playing card games or discussing the news of the day. Would it be better to ask them to direct her to him? Should he go to her, cut out the middleman, hide his face in her shoulder where her Queen scent was strongest? He was no Warlord Prince but he had revealed himself the worst kind of beast. The fact that she had been a slaver didn't stop him from wanting to be ill at the thought of how her blood had splattered on the floor, frozen over into a black puddle on the sandstone floor.

It was no consolation. He wanted to be a Healer, to serve as something useful, but the moment he encountered adversity he turned to this grievous harm. Would Yuki send him back to care for the woman if she wasn't yet dead? Could he stand to do that?

She was in one of the little private gardens attached to their place of residence. He stopped in the doorway, the stiff, bloody cuffs of his sweater like shackles on his wrists. "Yuki?" His voice cracked on her name, did he even have the right to say it like that anymore, maybe she should be Natsuhana-sama to him now, forever, always. Surely she wouldn't countenance what he'd done. Maybe she'd even be angry that he dared return with his task incomplete. He wouldn't know until she turned to him. He wanted to say her name again, but the words wouldn't come.

Offline Yuki Natsuhana

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #1 on: Jun 22, 18, 11:24:48 AM »
Much like Tacea, Yuki had developed a routine: routines were useful, as a Dragon Mother, because it provided structure, created accessibility, and helped to foster an understanding of the how and why which drove the workings of a Court.  In Shalador, routines had served purpose near enough to how they had always served the visiting Queen.  She understood how foreign she must seem, how strange.  To their ear, her voice carried unheard of modulations, sounds of a world in a time split asunder from their realm for generations.  How off putting, and deeply unsettling, for a woman to wield any weapon with basic proficiency, if not the mastery of a warrior Queen, whose talons had been polished upon the whetstone of laborious drilling and unyielding expectation. 

Thus, routines.  Breaking fast, visiting her unexpected patients in the form of wasted vessels barely holding onto their life sparks, exchanging confusing and marvelous words with the Black Priestess Queen, lunch again… her days were full, even as she felt empty, so distant from where she longed to be.

Routines were easy and predictable.  They reduced something unfathomable and mind boggling into smaller morsels, captured in mundane habits.  A shallow way to understand a new thing, as Natsuhana Yuki must seem to her hosts, and that newness made her a danger to them.  A danger and a challenge to their society, a culture which allowed and permitted transgressions that horrified the Ebon Grey Healer Queen to the bone. 

Twice had the great Darkness kissed the smooth, ivory brow of this young daughter: once to proclaim her one of the dragon born, and once again, to bestow upon her the heavy sweet mantle of balancing both the scales in life and death.  She would — she must — at any point in time, be ready for the rending of her spirit, for to take the life of one was to wear the weight of that sword stroke forever upon her own mind.  And a Queen stood poised, always, to bear that in perpetuity in defense of her people.  She gave, at the cost of death, justice.

But a Healer could offer with her right hand what the left could not. 

Mercy. 

Life.

Mother Night had blessed Yuki, and Yuki contemplated this convergence of blessing and destiny as she walked the small garden she tried not to consider hers.  It was not, in the strictest sense. Yet, the land knew the shape of the song which lived within the heart of the Queen that walked its length and breadth.  It knew her touch and scent; here, Yuki had spilled blood and power alike, and laid in the soil enough of both that although this was not Tacea — it was hers.  How could it not be?  She’d bled for it. 

It eased some of the longing knotted so tightly within her to have this.  To have a place that rooted her, infused with timbre of Yuki’s strength. 

Whatever easiness it brought her stilled, went quiet and watchful as a wolf when the wet air of Tikal stirred and brought with it the unmistakable notes of blood and pain.  She knew in the same instant, psychically, that Hanuel had returned.  Geta tapped out a quick, decisive patter, rounded and softened by soil into something gentle as her lungs clenched in sudden fear. 

But the stricken look of a one drowning, lost at sea, greeted her.  Ebon Grey power flooded her Chalice, lapping at the rim, and spilling out to enfold the Prince bound to her beating heart.  It isn’t his, a voice assured, cool, calm: the assessment of a Healer who knew her Craft as well as she knew the touch of violence.  And so, it must belong to another.  
That was the Queen, gathering her steel from the sheathe, gleaming in the night air.   Yuki saw Hanuel Mhin even as he fractured, as he cracked open around the intimacy of her given name.

So she held out her hands to him; both of them.


Justice in one, mercy in the other.

Offline Haneul Mhin

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #2 on: Jun 22, 18, 06:19:27 PM »
Yuki reached out to him and Haneul fell into her arms. His hands, his fingers, laced together behind her throat as he buried his face in her shoulder, where her scent was strongest, black tea and the acrid taste of smoke. He clung to her, let her Dark power run over him like a cleansing rain, but--but he didn't feel clean. The feeling of wrongness still clung, the cold rage that had led to him tearing a woman's tongue out still echoing down his spine and each thread of his nerves screaming out the perversion he'd committed. His power was not for harm. His spark was meant for kindness. But he had heard the crimes she had committed and he had torn the Raejian slaver's tongue out and left her for death.

It hadn't been surgical. It hadn't been considered. He had not wasted even seven breaths to contemplate the cost of his actions. The price hadn't mattered, only the need for justice, the need to get some little bit of Yua's dignity back. He choked out a sob, wet and throaty and embarrassing, and his shoulders shook as he tried to pull himself together.

Haneul was not his father, who could have seen his own children die with a stone face. His father didn't cry, and he had never reacted this way to the cruelty of the world around him--a world that he, Haneul, only saw the fringes of. It brushed past him like a summer breeze. Now he had been thrust beneath it, within it, to sink or swim. "Yuki," he repeated, his words returning as her calm suffused him. He could feel the beat of her heart against his chest, even through her robes. Her heart beat inside his own chest, thumping against his rib cage. Haneul molded himself to her like he wanted to be merged with her, like he could disappear inside her. He wanted to go back to the dark of the world he had understood, where the harsh truths of others' inner lives were far away from him. Where they could be, quite simply, ignored.

No doubt Yuki's escort would be here somewhere. Let them see how he clung. None of them thought much of him anyway. He needed his Queen. How was he supposed to confront the thing he'd become without her? "I did something--"

Speaking with Haneul was not like speaking with other Tacean males. Left to his own devices, he could talk for hours, spinning a river of terrible metaphor and overblown hypotheticals. He did not talk of a thing but he embellished it, weaving a complicated world with his words that was often not borne out by life. It took a truly skilled mind to fish reality from his fiction. This was not a normal conversation with him.

"I found the woman who owned Yua," he said. "They made her a slave, Yuki. I found her and she--she called Yua a vicious little bitch--I, I, Yuki, I tortured her. I was so angry. She told me..." He gasped for breath that wouldn't come. "Her voice was so... I couldn't... I didn't... I didn't think. I was so angry."

He couldn't look at her. Haneul hid his face from her in her shoulder, and he didn't look at her. He didn't even deserve to live in the same Realm she did.

"I tore out her tongue, Yuki," he said. "For saying those things about my friend. About my sister. I'm sorry, Yuki, I'm sorry, I don't... I was so angry."

Offline Yuki Natsuhana

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #3 on: Jun 22, 18, 07:06:52 PM »
There is so much blood.


That was the first, whole thought Yuki had.  Before it, impressions of Hanuel flowed over her in waves — his arms, his hands, seeking her frame like fishing boats desperate for the shore, torn apart by storm.  Her right hand gripped him by the back of his neck, fingers instantly weaving through his hair as if she might hold all of him there in the strength of her palm, guarding him with flesh and Craft alike.  She felt his shudder tear through him as if it echoed inside her own ribs, a clatter of interrupted breaths and stuttering heartbeats, but discipline kept Yuki’s breathing smooth, deep, the organ drumming just shy of center steady.  Queens were given comfort, taking ease and pleasure from their males, but Healers needed that even, vast lake, their surfaces embracing every skipping pebble and sinking stone with a graceful ripple. 

The left hand, empty and sure, brushed down the curves of her Prince’s spine, unwinding tight muscles, warm with Sapphire blooming beneath his skin, summoned by her call.  There was the stink of fear stitched into the physical scent of old blood, the stench of terror and agony emanating from Hanuel’s clothes.  Yuki frowned, though he did not see it as he clung to her, hiding his face to the tender pulse of her carotid artery.  “Come inside,” she said, words pressed to his cheek, emptying herself so that he might pour his words into her, psychic threads shooting along the complicated web kept stretched across the complex the Tacean delegation called their temporary home.  Dismissing people, sending them out or to the far side, establishing shields and check points for the entire chain of command. 

Her hands left their tasks, fingers brushing the hem of his over robe and vanishing it.  There was blood too on the cuffs of the undershirt.  As her hands drew him into the garden, and further, to the far side where thin veils and psychic shields marked the passage from her master bedroom into garden.  His shirt winked out of existence, leaving his skin shining like a pearl in the lushness of nightfall.  Still, she smelled it, the stink of horror.  Yuki’s fingers at the small of his back guided him, invited him into a space that smelled even more strongly of her than the garden, and sat him on the bed they had shared together more than once since setting foot in this wild realm.

There, the Queen brushed hair out of his honey gold eyes, and studied him, turning his words over with the care and consideration they deserved.  For a handful of seconds — too long, but not long enough — Yuki closed her eyes, feeling the curl of her thick eyelashes brush across the curve of her cheek, and swallowed her own fury before it rose.  

She was furious with herself.

Yuki had judged Hanuel ready to take on more demanding tasks.  Had judged his heart ready for the burden she had placed on it.  When she had sent him to find Yua for her, she had not expected to find anything less than the ugliness he described, but it still hit her like an open handed slap across the face, strong enough to send stars spinning in her eyes.  Hanuel was her Prince.

And Yuki had sent him, an avatar of her will, to execute her desires.

Had she not longed for a similar vengeance?  To still the wagging tongues of those who tarred the honor and reputation of her apprentice?  Had she not harbored those fervent and undeniable hungers to act, to penalize, to take justice?  She was as responsible for the things Hanuel had done as she was for anything committed by her own two hands.  More.  She was responsible for how this was eating Hanuel up on the inside, the ushering of violence to him as new as a horrible truth to a babe.  Unlike her, Hanuel had not been raised for bearing the cost of such justice.  He did not possess the tools of tempering his anger. 

Yuki stroked his hair, gentle, letting his anger spill out, absorbing it in her silence, waiting until they reached the cold place of his wrath.  Where her anger was (and always would be). 

“Prince,” the Ebon Grey Queen chided, soft.  “Prince, you are mine.  What you do with your hands, in my service, is rendered onto me.  I sent you, and you served.” 

Later, she would get a proper report from Hanuel.  She would sit and hear of this abomination the realm of light called slavery, would sit and hear of the insults given and the price paid.  Later, because right now his life spark was guttering, moored on a dark and hopeless coast, searching for light.  “You exacted a price without thought to the scale, and who holds it.  You took from a woman her tongue, her words, her speech.  You gave violence out of anger, not to teach or to protect.”

Revenge is often like that, Yuki shivered, seeing in a daze the lesson before her as clearly as if her mother were reciting it.  She had allowed it to stew within her soul, and Mother Night had sent this as a message, a warning, as cruel as it was kind.  Wrecking the havoc of what revenge begat on one of Yuki’s most vulnerable males; how much worse would it be with her, with one of her caste and strength driven to the ugly workings of hatred?

Sapphire Craft spun out from her, running the bath, heating the water, unlocking silken bags filled with flowers from their homeland and spilling them into hot water.  She wanted to wash the scent off of him, the heavy cloud that still followed in his wake.  It was an unspoken command, one that she gave as she stood from the edge of the bed, one hand unfurled in invitation.  The rest of his clothing vanished as well. 



Offline Haneul Mhin

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #4 on: Jun 22, 18, 08:28:26 PM »
Haneul calmed beneath her touch. He always had. Yet it seemed, still, an incomparable affliction, improper and frightening. Her fingers wove through the fine, close-shorn hairs at the base of his skull and her hand smoothed the long line of his spine and Yuki held him close. He clung and she guided him away from the garden, where his fear (of himself) and rage (at the world) could not reflect upon the Tacean delegation. He had risked so much of what mattered to her in coming to her like this. Had he the presence of mind, he would have returned to his sister. Should have returned to his sister. But would Ji Yoon have thought less of his agony? His sister had seen death, but he knew she had never inflicted pain upon someone for pain's sake. Would she think him unworthy of her tuition?

Did Yuki think him unworthy now?

Come inside, she said. He let her guide him, trusted her with every inch of his being. At her command he had gone away and the person he had found was not a man that he wanted her to know. He could feel the soft give of that slaver's tongue between his fingers and his palm. Even when he clenched his hands hard enough to cut his palms with his blunted nails, he could feel it.

What he had done was not what he had been sent to do. What he had done was not what his Queen had willed. There was a price to pay, he knew that, and he was ready to place his heart on an altar if that was what the Queen he served demanded. He would die for her, obey her judgment even if it killed him to do it. Each word banged into his skull like a gavel and he bowed his head, reminded that his dishonor was hers. His overreaction, his inability to control himself, reflected on his Queen as well, and that--that was worse than knowing the depths of the cruelty he was capable of.

He could make excuses. She called Yua a vicious little bitch, he could have said. She couldn't remember my sister's name, only that she belonged to a loathsome man. Yuki would understand. Did understand. In the moment he hadn't thought of what was right or just, as he ought to have done. As Yua would have done. "I'm sorry," he said. The words were poor facsimiles for the depths of his emotion.

His Queen commanded, without words, and he obeyed, sinking into the bath. It felt impossibly deep and yet there was not enough to drown himself. Even so, immersing himself in the scents of home and feeling his Queen so nearby helped, each gesture reminding him of what was true. His actions, perhaps, cost Ama Ea-Nasir her life, and even if she survived she would lack the facility to speak. She would curse his name with every psychic thread, if she even knew it.

"My father will hate me if he knows what I've done," said Haneul. "He would never have done that." He couldn't bear to look up at Yuki, who knew his father's temperament as well as Haneul did anymore. "I shouldn't have done that. But she had to pay somehow. She won't in any other way--if there is a Price for it--it was not my Price to demand and--"

His voice dropped, quieter even than before. "My sister is a slave in Hayll," he said. "This land takes everything from me."

Offline Yuki Natsuhana

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #5 on: Jun 25, 18, 11:55:33 AM »
Yuki helped him into the bath, taking a moment to brush her eyes across the bared form even now a familiar and warming sight: he was safe, after all, returned to her whole and unscathed on the surface, but her glance dwelled on the spasm of his hands, the tightness of his body stretched like a coil wound too tight, choking out the light of the day.  Hanuel’s body was unharmed — there were few things or people who could challenge a Grey Prince, she supposed, but that had not stopped her from worrying — but he had not come from the exchanged untouched. 

She had, in the years in Shalador, done her best to bring as much of home as she could to the jungle island.  Fragrant hinoki cleverly forged fit together without the use of nails or screws, formed the wide, deep basin of the bath.  Hot water coaxed out those high resinous scents of wood, sharp and clean.  The bamboo ladle she took up as she had many, many times in temples and bathing rooms alike; this was a strange reversal of their usual roles.  Yuki had rarely bathed others, her stature and status too high to make such things permissible.  And never had she bathed a male bound to her.  Men in Tacea where trained to service, because to serve was an honor and their service was to honor; in this way, did Hanuel’s service belong to Yuki, who had accepted him and the responsibility for that honor much as she had accepted Yua.  It was not shame or disappointment that the Queen felt, however those twin demons haunted her male, the ghosts heavy upon his face and swirling through the bond they shared. 

Yuki lifted the ladle, the bamboo segment three quarters full of steaming bath water, and poured it in long, slow line across his shoulders.  The length of her silk sleeves dipped precariously close to the surface; she frowned disapprovingly at it before the fingers of her Craft swept it up, holding it back with invisible hands in the elegant drape of any court lady.  The Queen continued the silent task, letting the quiet fill them both, accompanied only for the sounds of water and the careful breath of one accustomed to the meditative counts. 

“I know,” the Ebon Grey lady said, softening the words as much as she could.  He needed to hear them — but he also needed the steel, the balancing of his own blade upon her finger.  “I hear your apology, Prince.”  Formal recognition, formal words, stripped of the joy that ritual often brought to the language between Queen and male, a daughter of dragons peering into the souls of those who belonged to her fate. 

She should have sent a woman with him, Yuki thought, wanting to press the heels of her palm into her eyes, as if they might ward off the uselessness of these regrets.  Tomorrow, tomorrow — after Hanuel was cared for, these things could be alchemized, transformed into priceless pearls of wisdom, bought and paid for in the coin of her dear Prince’s innocence.  A high price; one that she wish she had spared him.

Yuki’s heart ached for him.

Hanuel, oh! Hanuel! 

“Your father is a man of great honor.”  The bamboo ladle floated now, at the direction of Craft, set at its periodic task, and her hands alighted upon the angles of his shoulders with all the care one took in harboring butterflies upon the finger.  She stroked an unseen line, watching the muscles jump and easing under the undeniable force of her Queen’s touch, the mesmerizing demand of her Ebon Grey spinning out beneath Hanuel’s own rank of descent.  “And he has earned that honor upon countless battlefields, through the bloodshed and ugliness of war.  A blooded man learns his limits, is shaped and hammered by the fury of hot emotion until he learns that every sword must be plunged into water, extinguishing its flame, for it to know its final truth.”

Her hands went to his jaw, tipping his head back as she leaned close, watching him.

“I sorrow that you have been blooded thusly, but you are mine.”  

A repetition of something already said, but this Yuki whispered across his lips, this she spoke from the echoing cavern of the Abyss, possessive and fierce and kind as she commanded his attention.

“Your service is mine.  Your heart carried my will.  Your hands demanded my Price.  We must contend with this heartless place, this realm of Terreille, and its cruelty must not choke us.”

I might have demanded more, Yuki came to understand, because she was furious with this world being slowly destroyed from within by the cancerous poison of its sins.  Was this how Witch had felt, those many centuries ago?  Faced with how wrong it had gone, driven into a corner of the helplessness of watching lives snuffed out by the blackness in the hearts of others, had she unleashed her strength to scour the fabric of the realms?  For once, the Healer Queen almost agreed, however privately.

But she believed also in fostering hope, in tending the garden, nurturing the weak, the pale, the dying trees or plants that yearned for the sun; to bring the dying vine back to life and breathe the dream of fruit and flower into withered roots. 

“It has not taken me, Hanuel.” 

Her mouth was benevolent on his brow.

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #6 on: Jun 25, 18, 02:36:34 PM »
He let himself breathe in time with his Queen. Yuki had spent time in the care of the convent at Black Immortal, learning her power and the responsibilities that came with it; he knew few people as level-tempered as she, as reliable, as worthy of trust and honor. In his presence, he hadn't noticed how often the rhythms of his life aligned with hers. His breaths inhaled with hers, his heart beat in lockstep with her. In his absence, with his sister or in the awful cell where Yua had been kept, he had found himself trying to match himself to the people around him. It did not come as naturally as this did, and the return to normalcy in this small way leveled the anxiety that followed learning something awful about oneself.

Her reprimand was welcome, too, for all it was couched in kindness. Haneul knew he had overstepped, and it eased his fear to hear that she knew it too. Though neither of them would say the words so baldly, it had been a clarion call for him, a reminder that he needed the limits of Court and Protocol and Queen for more reasons than just his personal pleasure. He might not bear his father's high Caste, but he wore a Darker Jewel. The Gray that sparkled on his finger made him a terrifying adversary, and it was his responsibility to ensure his ire fell only on those who were deserving.

Haneul hesitated to lay a hand on his Queen again; in private, he could be more up-front about what he wanted, what he needed. But though she laid claim to his actions and rebuked him in the same breath--its cruelty must not choke us--he still wondered. Worried. In his thoughtlessness and haste, had he ruined whatever strange relationship existed between them? Haneul knew the truth of his own feelings. He loved Yuki in every way a man could love a woman, and particularly in the ways a man loved a woman to whom he wished to be a husband. In the deepest, darkest parts of him, he wanted to be whatever she needed, to fill the gaps in her life. However unlikely it was--he could never forget that she was a dragon queen, and he was the son of a she-bear--he still dreamed. Had his flaws been made clear enough to her that she would no longer permit him to worship her as a male ought?

The world was changing. A whole mess of catalysts, each set ablaze, the flickering shadows of their flames leaving everything Haneul knew striped in ash... but not Yuki. She was right. Terreille had not taken her, his constant heart. He drew back, cupped her head in one hand, and looked her in the eyes, brown and long-lived gold. He wanted to ask if she was sure, but that was his own doubt speaking. Yuki had never lied to him, would never ask him to do anything that wasn't needful.

He brushed his lips over hers, an offer, or maybe a request. His hand at the back of her head, fingers twining into her hair, he could almost forget what he'd done only hours ago. The dark and rotten core of him still belonged to her: Did she forgive him that imposition?

Offline Yuki Natsuhana

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #7 on: Jun 30, 18, 12:38:40 PM »
The bond between them was a channel Yuki walked often. 

Why not? 

It had been a blessing given unto her by the great Darkness, a thread wound between two souls by the very material which comprised their beings.  Between Queen and male, it gave many things: duty, service, belonging, yes, belonging in the rooting of those who had been destined from birth as the heart of the land, beating in fragile mortal flesh outside the eternal slow turn of the world.  A Queen needed roots, and the Ebon Grey vessel spinning upon the surface of this horrible realm needed it more than most.  How not, when she had been trained and weaned on the violent beauty of Warrior Queens, dragons sliding through the Abyss to render judgement and protection alike?  So she, more than the Queens she saw of Shalador, needed her males, her bonds.  They reminded her of earth beneath her feet, of loamy soil made soft and fertile with her touch.  Their minds and spirits opened to her without thought or will, not unlike the flowers which bloomed in riotous colors wherever she went. 

What was normally a comfort to her, a place of refuge, had become warped with a roiling firestorm of fear and guilt.  Haneul needed all three diamond facets of the jewel — the Queen, the Healer, and the woman between them.  He needed Protocol and Blood Law, and for her to hold his leash, so that he might know that whatever he feared on the other side of those lines would be safe guarded by her hand.  The left of justice would bind him.  He needed too, forgiveness and healing, or this wound would fester and grow ripe with self loathing, a fruit heavy enough to break his brittle will.  She would give him both.

This Natsuhana no Yuki gave to her Gray Prince in the firm press of her soft mouth, the silken slide of sakura pink lips lush and luscious against his entreaty.  All males enjoyed the touch of their Queen, and Haneul more than most.  Yet this was not the familiar brush of desire she knew so well, the physical longing and ache so many of her Circle experiences for the sharp beauty of their Lady.  This was… permission, being sought, affirmation rather than the pleasures of loving. 

The latter she often accepted with open arms and empty palms, glad for the release and the passion, for the  glorious melding of two bodies bent to the act of honoring and consummating their love.  To seek what was always theirs, the unfailing certainty of the claim which knotted them together, was a crippling doubt that had never plagued any she held close to her heart.  Seeing it now, playing across the chaos of Haneul’s heart, tore something inside of her.

The gravity of the moment wrought a solemn ivory quality to Yuki’s fine and delicate features, a porcelain sculpture of iron compassion, shadowed as her face hovered above his, the twilight veil of her rain straight hair tumbling around them in a crescent of darkness.  Sweetness and bitterness both, she tasted upon her tongue.  The sleeves of her kimono hung heavily across the rim of the hinoki bath, her neck where his hand clung in desperation a long line of exposed skin in the darkness. 

“Prince Mhin,” the Queen laid the words into his mouth, gentle, inexorable when laced with the mantle of her castes, forged of heady Ebon Grey power.  “I command your service.  Give to me the shape of your life spark and I will shape of it recompense.  I shall train you to the arts of healing, and you shall mend where once you broke.”

Yuki closed the scant, vanishing distance between them, her tongue warm and inviting as she claimed the breath from his lungs. 

Offline Haneul Mhin

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Re: Bones to be hollowed
« Reply #8 on: Jun 30, 18, 07:45:51 PM »
Yuki did not turn him away. Haneul supposed that he had known, at some level, that she wouldn't. She might speak prettily, in roundabout words and metaphors, but she had never dissembled about her care for him. Her feelings were plain, at least in that way, and his doubt was like the doubt of a child whose favored friend has left their sight: immature. He'd bonded her, hadn't he? In part, their happinesses were intertwined.

With her order given, the command laid down, some of the tension bled out of his shoulders. The grip of his fingers in her hair slackened, and his palm slid down the long line of her throat to rest at her shoulder, to slip beneath the brocaded fabric of her robe. "I hear, Lady," said Haneul, between kisses. Whatever he'd torn open in his own heart was, temporarily, healed. The pressure that built at the core of his Chalice abated with the Price named for his transgression. Perhaps later it would seem to him an unfair verdict. He wanted to be trained as a Healer, his deceased mother's opinion no longer relevant. In the moment... it seemed only fair. He had done harm. Training as a Healer would teach him restraint and care.

"I hear," he said. He heard, he served, he obeyed; the first law, as his father had told him so many times, was not obedience, yet obedience would often be demanded of him. But when the right woman is making the demand, it will hardly seem onerous, the old Warlord Prince had promised. "I obey, Yuki."

He could have simply vanished her clothes, as she had done to his. Calmed now, his Queen's touch and his Queen's kiss leveling the spike of his mood, he saw that the robe she wore was one that he had always favored; the colors played nicely against her skin in any environment, lending her cheeks a pale rose bloom and emphasizing the darkness of her Jewels as she wore them. Over the time since they had begun to share a bed, he'd become quite adept at undressing his Queen, his nimble fingers unwinding the fabric of her obi.

Without her permission, he wouldn't go so far. He kissed the hollow of her throat, taking one of her hands in his. I love you, he thought. That was the core of it, wasn't it? I love you.