Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

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Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Sun May 01, 2016 10:15 pm





Bring me a child… a very special child…

The words had been stuck in her head for weeks now. A nagging feeling, tugging from behind her bellybutton and seemingly leading her through her life like a tether… and someone was pulling at the other end. At first she didn’t notice it, but a broken train detouring her left a strong impression of walking the tracks in her gut. She got as far as the beginning of the tunnel before a construction worker shouted at her, yanking her back from the edge by the collar of her jacket.

That had been three weeks ago. Today, the train re-opened and without realizing it, Diem was first in line for the new “fast track” ride home.

At first, everything was smooth, quiet. The tugging behind her bellybutton disappeared, and Diem felt a sense of peace. She sighed softly, leaning her head back against the window, and eased into the hour ride home when suddenly the train jerked forward. Several people lost their footing and fell hard into the floor, and many on the benches fell forward. Diem slammed hard into the railing beside her, and the older woman beside her nearly fell in her lap. Darkness fell as every light flickered out, leaving silence and black to fill Diem’s world. She felt her heart in her throat as her hands reached out to find some purchase, and she felt nothing.

No other person. No railing. No wall. No benches.

No train.

Her heart started to beat in her throat, and tears of panic welled in her eyes.

”Hello?” Diem cried hopelessly; already knowing in her heart that there was no one else.

And then light. Bright, blinding, white light. Shielding her eyes, Diem turned away; curling into herself as the purity of the light seemed even to burn. And then a voice.

”Rise, child… You’re safe here.”

Shaking, and unsure of herself, Diem slowly lowered her arms from her eyes; testing the light as if to make sure she would not be blinded. What she saw stole her breath. The woman was beautiful. Hair as white as moonlight, and eyes with a galaxy swirling within them. The softest smile, as unassuming as a rose, spread over the woman’s lips and she stood. From her back, a pair of white-gray wings spread; their edges seeming glinting with edges as sharp as razors. Softly, they folded around her like a cloak, and she approached regally and with an air of love.

”You’re exactly what I’ve been looking for… exactly what Vikander is looking for... “

Diem’s brow furrowed, her head canting as if beginning to shake when the angel began to speak again. She spoke of a Dark King, tearing a kingdom apart. Of a world where darkness was spreading and Death was running rampant. She spoke of monsters, demons, creatures of nightmares and incredible fantasy, and at the center of it, Diem.

”The Dark King banished me from my kingdom, and only you can release me from my prison. You are The Key, child… You are what will save Vikander from the Dark King’s destruction. Go, find the Moonborn, but be wary child for he is Bloodcursed. He will lead you to me, and together you will help end the Dark King’s tyranny.”



The breeze stirred Diem first.

In her tiny apartment, there were only two windows in her home. A very tiny window in her restroom, and an even smaller one in her kitchen. Just enough to give some natural light to her miniature herb garden. Neither of them opened very well, and more often than not, she didn’t even bother to try. So why…?

Doe eyes fluttered open slowly, and the world around her started to focus. .

With a shock and a gasp, Diem shot upright in the meadow and spun around. She definitely didn’t have any of this in her apartment. Where the hell was she?! Oh, god, her dream... Her head was pounding. Lifting her hand up, she pressed the heel of her hand against her temple and tried to get a better lay of the land. Sharp shards of dry grass pinched and poked at her thighs, and Diem became suddenly, painfully aware of what she was wearing. The pencil skirt was torn at the thigh, the small slit having run up nearly to her hip from her fall on the train. Her blouse was only still partially tucked, and the arms of the blazer she wore were torn at the shoulders. And she had only one shoe.

Frowning, she stood to her feet slowly, wincing with the effort and kicking off her single black pump.

Diem stood in the middle of a meadow surrounded on three sides by tall, reaching trees. Sounds of nature called from the tree line, making Diem’s skin crawl. They weren’t sounds she was familiar with. Nothing like what she heard in the city, and definitely nothing like anything she’d heard in those nature documentaries she’d watch occasionally. On the last side, a building stood. Light shone from the windows, with the sinking sun behind it, and sounds of men and women called from inside. It was familiar, at least more so than the bickering sounds of carnivores in the forest.

Making her way to the inn, Diem hardly paid attention to the words being spoken inside before she opened the door. What her eyes saw, her mind could barely register, and Diem stood frozen in the doorway as her brain struggled to make sense of the scene before her.


Last edited by lexibeth on Wed May 11, 2016 11:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Mon May 02, 2016 12:21 am

The Spider Cross Inn was bustling with its usual amount of activity by the time the sun was setting over Vikander. Weaver merchants with their carapace vests and spinning silk pouches at their belts, sat poring over scrolls diligently, their scrunched, contorted faces looking out from underneath hair and hats with residual webbing still clinging to them. Psychopomps, tall, furry beasts with demented rabbit in their features and grand antlers on their heads, stood leaning upon the bar, smoking glass weed, surprisingly chill for all their horrific appearance. A ruckus was currently livening up the gambling table, a Burning Man, his body charred with cracks of bright orange fire burning within him, spat molten liquid as he protested his loss to the barrel-chested reptilian across from him. Their noise and that of those cheering them on, competed with the neighboring cluster of tables where a Gatoa woman cajoled the crowd about the horrible conditions living under Jaq'in, her feline features baring her teeth in a punctuating hiss, pupils dilating to slits full of hate.

A Tulpa stood in a circle of chairs by the fireplace at the far end of the room, her voice soothingly feminine and gay as she sang an upbeat rhapsody, her features bulbous and distorted, like a painting bubbling and melting with heat. Bruce sat in the corner beside where her audience gathered, just close enough to still hear her song but not for the light of the fire to illuminate him. His usual spot was at the bar but the smell from the weed the pomps smoked, made him feel ill. And besides that, the night that was drawing ever closer was a cold one, the fire’s warmth seeping into his bones, even in his little corner.

Keen green eyes watched for any new business prospects but Bruce rolled them as he saw a lanky figure approach, letting out a tolerant breath as he prepared himself for the unwelcome visit.

“B-ruce,” the man rasped in a damaged voice, his smile stretching the skin of his face in an unnatural way. “I hope that you’ve reconsidered my proposition?”

“Why? Has the content of the package changed at all?” Bruce asked dryly, giving the dark clothed man a level look. “If not, then I think you have your answer, Anarth.”

Anarth’s features closed off to a petulant little frown, lips pinching in displeasure. Resembling a crow stretching the confines of a human flesh suit, Anarth’s beady eyes and protruding nose took on a baleful cast as he glared down at the seated tracker. “You know as well as I do that this is a great opportunity--”

“Really? That’s something I know?”

“—Sacrifices have to be made for growth—“

“You’re asking me to become a dealer, Anarth,” Bruce said with a sigh, rubbing at his mouth, his hand swiping over the hair encircling his lips. “I think that the real sacrifice will be when you give up your habits.”

“Spare me, Moonborn,” Anarth spat with a resentful sneer, his limp black hair moving over his shoulders as he glanced around in a paranoid fashion. “If I wanted an armchair therapist, I would have gone to a psychopomp. And don’t act all high and mighty, like we all don’t know what you have to do to keep yourself together during the cycles of the moon.”

“Is this winning me over?” Bruce asked, playfully looking upward with a thoughtful expression before his eyes came back to the slender man. “I’ll give you two guesses.”

“Fuck you, Bruce!”

“’kay, one more.”

“You will regret not taking me up on my offer!” Anarth threatened, his body trembling with his rage as he leaned on the table, the shadows dipping into the circles under his eyes and making his snout grow with the sudden lack of light. “You could have had it all! I want you to see my growing success and feel a pitiful pang of sorrow that you told me ‘no’!”

“I’ll feel something, alright,” Bruce murmured, leaning back in his chair with his foot perched on the table edge as Anarth backed up and turned away. Tipping his head cutely to the side, Bruce filled his voice with mocking wistfulness as he enticed the other man, “Are you gonna show me, Anarth? Are you really gonna show me?”

The crow-man had stopped to listen and despondent disgust registered on his pale face before he huffed and turned away, slinking back through the crowd. Bruce made a small sound of amusement, shaking his head at the ridiculous little man. Then he grew solemn as he lifted the sleeve a bit on his right arm, noting the rune tattoos, barely visible as high up as they were on the skin of his forearm. With a beleaguered sigh, he shoved his shirt back down, shaking off the mood that threatened like a cloud overhead, forcing himself to listen to the latest song from the Tulpa, her dress swaying as she danced to her tune. The night was still young and there were plenty of other clients who could pay for the help they needed. Ordering himself a drink of sweet and sour bademae, the tracker gave the room another sweeping look, noting the recent entrance of the human woman. Humans weren’t often seen in Vikander but Bruce didn’t know if he should sit up or not. It wasn’t all that interesting in and of itself.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Mon May 02, 2016 1:57 pm

She had to be dreaming. She simply had to be. There was no other logical explanation for what she was seeing. Humanoid rabbits with antlers? There was just no way… Her subconscious was pulling memories from her childhood to create these crazy creatures. A taxidermist her mother forced her to when she was eight, her pet cat Bitey hissing over every little infraction, the portraits of her mother she lost in her fire… Diem pursed her lips and pinched her eyes closed while inhaling a deep, calming breath. When she opened her eyes she’d be back on the train. She’d be on her way home to her small, sad little apartment. She’d make dinner, two fried eggs and a piece of toast because she loved breakfast for dinner, and then settle in with the crossword before bed. In the morning her alarm would go off at 5am like it did every morning, and she’d start her routine over again.

This was just one wild, insane dream that boiled over from all the stress this month. That’s all it could be. Diem’s face relaxed and she sighed; hopeful to return to her mundane routine.

”Shut the door, meatbag!” An angry voice slurred from her left.

Jumping, Diem’s head turned to look at what she could only describe as a slug. The thing reminded her of Jabba the Hut, but slimier. Slick with goo and appearing a hell of a lot meaner. Trembling, she thought to step back out of the inn when a high, jittering call from the woods behind her nearly shoved her into the heart of the busy tavern. The door slammed behind her with a heavy thud, and she instinctively hugged her shoe to her stomach as she tried to navigate where to go.

Nothing, or no one she supposed, in the bar seemed to pay her any extraordinary attention. Once she was out of the doorway and the cooling night air was no longer flooding into the space, all eyes… or what she could only assume were eyes… shifted back to the activity in front of them. The upbeat tune filled the bar around the clattering of a dozen different voices as Diem spotted an empty seat across the way. Her heart pounded as her anxiety shot through the roof, her head nearly beginning to spin as the walls around her started to close in. She needed to make it to that chair.

Shuffling her way to the safe haven, Diem’s hand shakily reached to touch the back of the seat before she plopped down; forcing herself to take slow, deep breaths through her nose and exhaling through the purse of her lips. Her shoe remained steadfastly in her grip; pressed against her stomach as if the pressure were keeping her anchored. From here, with her back against the wall, she allowed herself to take a longer, deeper look at her surroundings.

Suddenly, a short, portly man with a beard as long as he was tall stood in front of her; finger jabbing into her chest and beady eyes glaring.

”Who sent ye?!”

Diem leaned back further into her seat, eyes widening and lower lip trembling with the effort not to cry.

”Wha-... I... “ She shook her head as she stuttered, the small man leaning in closer before he whispered gruffly in her ear.

”Must’ve been an angel, lass, for ye heavenly!”

He peeled back with a roar of laughter; his little potbelly shaking as he leaned heavily against the table. Slapping the surface with the palm of his hand, he wiped tears away from his eyes with the other. Several eyes shifted their way at the scene, though Diem’s gaze couldn’t lift from the garden-gnome looking man for the life of her. If it weren't for his suspenders holding up his lederhosen, Diem was sure they’d fall from the force of his trembling gut. Finally catching his breath, he began to stroke his long, braided beard thoughtfully; eyeing Diem with a genuine twinkle in his eye before he tossed his beard behind his shoulder, lifted his small hat from his head and gave a bow so deep his forehead nearly touched the toe of his boot.

”Me name’s Fergus.”

Her eyes travelled over his small person, nearly half her height when she was sitting, and landed on the two nubs protruding from the top of his bald head. Her eyebrows rose in surprise, but too quickly for her to get a better look, Fergus was standing upright again and placing his hat back atop his shiny head.

”What brings ye to the ol’ Spider Cross Inn? Not verra often we get young Travellers such as ye self.”

Leaning against the tabletop with his shoulder, Fergus let his warm eyes settle on the human girl’s face. She appeared very out of sorts. Ripped clothing, trembling hands, paranoid eyes… And she radiated pain and fear. Not a safe combination in parts such as these. Fergus would wager that she wasn’t even sure how she got here, which wouldn’t surprise the old Satyr.

”Well,” Diem started, nervously clearing her throat, ”I was on my way home when my train… crashed? I’m not sure. But when I woke up, I was here.” Her eyes danced around the room again; fearful and unsure. Fergus clicked his tongue and nodded, as if it were nothing unusual. Which, perhaps, it wasn’t. She wasn’t the first Traveller to come through his inn, but the last one had been over one hundred years ago. But then… then the girl said something that made Fergus’ tail twitch. ”And a woman in my dream, she told me to find someone that would help me.” Diem’s dark eyes fell on Fergus, a slight glint of hope beginning to flicker in her eyes. ”Are you the Moonborn?”

Fergus sniffed hotly, scrunching his nose at the unintended insult before shaking his head; resolutely not turning his gaze to the shadowed table near by where he knew the brute would no doubt be listening.

”Nay, lass. I’m not. No idea why ye’d be lookin’ for a mongrel like that. Only good for when ye need som’tin… unsavory.” He emphasized his words, letting his distaste for Moonborn clearly shine through his tone before he slapped the table; his tone returning to it’s earlier jovial nature.

”Whelp! I’ll get ye som’tin te warm them bones wit and then ol’ Fergus will help ye figure out what ye came here for, eh?”

With a soft smile and a nod, Diem watched the little man leave and dip through the crowd out of her sight. She sunk back a little easier in her chair, feeling far more at ease after his kindness; hands relaxing on her shoe before turning her head to look around. Her gaze found, and stopping, on a pair of green eyes so sharp they could cut her in half. Her heart stuttered in her chest, and her breath rushed from between parted lips softly. There was that tug from behind her navel again…

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Mon May 02, 2016 9:39 pm

As soon as the word passed from her lips, Bruce was latched onto the conversation. He’d been ambivalent up until then, still leaning back and tipping his chair, looking around the inn’s main room, as if expecting and waiting for anything else of interest to happen but his attention was always 30% on the human and her encounter with the innkeeper. Now, though, she had his full attention, Bruce still tipping his chair but holding still as he listened to Fergus’s condemning review. With a small sneer, Bruce took a gulp from his drink, hating the stupid prejudices some of the Nightmares had against those with his cursed blood. Like anyone here was completely spotless?

When the inn keep left the young woman’s side, Bruce lifted his eyes to her again, watching as she looked around the room before finally meeting his gaze. It wasn’t like he was busy and to be honest, he was painfully intrigued, especially with Fergus giving her the typical bad impression before Bruce had even introduced himself. Glancing at her weird shoe clutched in her hands, Bruce sucked his teeth a little and let his chair legs fall to right itself on the ground. Getting up, he put on a friendly expression and sauntered over to her table with his drink, all the while tense and ready for her to give him some bad news.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked, his voice deep, with a soft rasp cutting into the edges of his words. Having his answer, he took the seat beside her, settling himself in, sparing a smirk and a wave to Fergus who had noticed him from the bar. “Couldn’t help but overhear a little of your conversation,” Bruce said to the human, turning back to her languidly. “What do you want with a Moonborn? And don’t let the goat taint your first impression; I’m actually not that bad a guy. Comparatively.” The last he conceded the point with a crooked grin, taking a sip from his mug while he waited for her answer.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Tue May 03, 2016 7:41 pm

She couldn’t take her eyes off of him once they were there. It’s like she was trapped; stuck in his web. A completely appropriate feeling considering the name of the inn, she thought. Still, it didn’t put her any more at ease when he rose languidly from his chair and approached where she sat.

For a heartbeat she was back in New York, sitting in her usual bar after a stressful day of just taking the verbal beatings from her asshole boss, when she glances up and sees an attractive man approaching. Ash-brown hair, green eyes… goatee that he somehow pulls off. Just that cool smile on his face. Completely at ease with approaching… Diem’s heart would skip a beat. She’d feel her pulse quicken and her mouth dry… anticipating the attention… when he would walk past her and sidle up next to the other woman two stools down.

This time, though, he came to stand right before her. In the middle of a fantastical tavern filled with monsters and little goat-men. His eyes were on her. He spoke to her. Diem felt as if her mouth were filled with sand, so she just nodded. It was enough for him, taking the back of the seat across from her and pulling it out just enough to claim and taunt the keeper as he sat down. Diem’s eyes sparked back and forth between the men; noticing the displeased glare in the keep’s eye before returning her attention to the scruffy man before her.

And a man he was… Diem wanted to reach out and just hug him for being human. Being something she recognized. Being normal. But then he spoke. It took Diem a second for his words to click. ‘I’m actually not that bad of a guy; comparatively’. Diem’s eyes widened. He was the Moonborn?

She hesitated on what to say.

”I… don’t know…”

The suspicion in his eyes caused her to panic a little. ”I was on my way home when everything went black and a woman just suddenly appeared, telling me I’m ‘the key’ and I need to find the ‘bloodcursed moonborn’” Diem actually formed quotes with her fingers, shaking her head as the overwhelming craziness of what she was saying continued to sink in. Shaking her head, Diem reached her hand up to rake her fingers through her hair; pulling roughly as the aggravation began to set in and the initial shock started wearing off. Her eyes started to glisten as they darted around the room; her head continuing to shake as she struggled to make sense of what was happening. ”I mean, am I in hell? Did I die? Or have I just lost my mind?”

Swallowing, she turned those eyes back on the man in front of her as if he would have all the answers. The look on his face wasn't a pleasant one anymore. Diem realized then that what she just said could have been completely misconstrued. She remembered what Fergus said about the guy, calling him a mongrel. She frowned, shaking her head again as she sighed with frustration.

”I’m sorry. I don’t know what any of this means. I’m about 99% sure I’m dreaming but everything just hurts too much for it not to be real,” She murmured, her eyes darting around the tavern and her voice trailing off as she absent-mindedly started to tug at the tear in her skirt; knuckles brushing along an already deeply purple bruise. Then, finally, she let her gaze settle with his again; that pull at her gut easing with his proximity. With a deep sigh, she held out her hand; a whole new level of apologetic in her eyes.

”My name is Diem. I really hope I didn’t insult you… I really didn’t mean to. I’m just… overwhelmed. ”

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Tue May 03, 2016 9:47 pm

Suddenly things weren’t so friendly anymore, Bruce’s hackles practically rising and his body tensing as he responded to the slur. She tossed it out so flippantly, so unabashed as the words passed from her lips, for a moment when she questioned whether she’d gone crazy, Bruce was willing to agree with her. Either that or she was touched in the head. Unable to hide the tense glare that forced its way to his features, Bruce watched her try to rectify her mistake, while nearby denizens glanced over their shoulders at the table. They weren’t looking at her with the intent behind Bruce’s defensive glower but rather with the same look that Fergus had given her when Bruce had taken his seat beside her: cautious and protective of the human waif. Naming him as she had so blatant and loud, they all recognized her weakness for the ignorance it was and were all wary of what he would do in response. Because cursed as he was, what wasn’t he capable of?


Bruce shook his head slightly, dispelling the tension with a small, unkind grin. “If you don’t know what a word means,” he started, quickly rubbing a hand over his mouth as he eyed the surrounding tables where gazes no longer looked at them but ears obviously still listened, “Then you shouldn’t say it. I don’t know if it’s different where you’re from but ‘cursed’ isn’t a good thing here and it’s not something anybody wants to be identified as.” He ended with a sneer at her, making a small huffing noise as he took another swallow from his drink.

“In any case, Diem,” he raised his eyebrows at her, “What you said doesn’t really help me any. I don’t know who this woman is or why she’d be telling you that you’re the ‘key’—“

“B-rucey!” a damaged voice said from over his shoulder.

Bruce didn’t even look, simply letting out a heavy sigh and looking down at the table with a muttered, “Crumbs.”

Behind him, Anarth approached with two heavy set troll-hybrids standing beside him on either side, two massive men-monsters, so tall their heads and horns brushed against the ceiling. With a satisfied grin on his face and a menacing twinkle in his grey, beady eyes, Anarth said, “I’ve come to try to sell you on my request.”

Another heavy sigh and Bruce turned in his chair to look at Anarth and his tusked, olive skinned friends. Giving them both a long look over, he finally said, “Trying to scare me now? Sounds like a solid way to establish a business deal.”

“If you gave me any other choice…” Anarth said, pursing his lips cutely, stringy black hair falling in his face.

“I’m a little busy right now,” Bruce said with a hand gesturing at Diem. “An actual client.”

Anarth was skeptical and smiled condescendingly at the tracker, “Well tell her to take a hike. You’ve unfinished business with me to settle.”

Glancing at Diem, Bruce let out another sigh, saying under his breath, “Stay low and hide.”

“What?” Anarth asked with an irritated frown.

“I said, ‘challenge accepted!’” rising to his feet and slamming his fist up into Anarth’s chin all in one flowing movement, sending the crow-man careening backward with flailing arms.

Instantly, the troll-hybrids were on the guard, drawing weapons as Anarth fell to the ground, shrieking for them to “Get him!”

Bruce was prepared, drawing his own weapon, steel bladed ‘claws’ that set in the leather gauntlet on the back of his left hand, using it to block a blow from one of the troll’s thick sword. The other was quickly advancing while Bruce kept the blade tensed and away from him, the claws making soft metallic scratching noises as they slid along the length of the sword. With a poke of his two fingers into the huge nostrils of the first troll, forcing him to veer backward with a snorting growl, Bruce was free just in time to face the other, ducking under the massive hammer that was swung through the air. It hit one of the beams of the inn, wood splintering, shards flying, patrons gently skootching out of the way but otherwise trying to maintain their own conversations and dinners.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Wed May 04, 2016 2:55 pm

Fergus’ ears rang with the tension in the air. The human child had insulted the Moonborn viciously, and to his face. His skin pricked, and for a moment Fergus sadly imagined himself mopping up the bloody remains of the girl after the dog was done with her but to his surprise, and most of the bar’s for that matter, the mongrel did nothing but chastise her. The satyr stood on his step stool, leaning against the bar to keep an eye on the meek little woman and her brutish company while the cook threw together a hot meal for her. The longer the damn Pook took, though, the more anxious Fergus became about leaving the human unprotected.

She visibly shrunk under Bruce’s calm, but warning words. The rims of her eyes began to well with tears as she took in a deep, trembling breath through her nose and nodded her head. He didn’t accept her hand, so she slowly and somewhat awkwardly took it back to her lap; fidgeting with that damn shoe again with her eyes blinking wildly to try and keep the tears back.

”I’m sorry,” was all she was able to meekly reply with before he started speaking again only to be interrupted by a wiry, villainous looking man with two very, very large henchmen.

Diem knew the type. Her boss in New York was one of the city’s most sought after defense attorneys. He represented a lot of terrible people, and Diem wasn’t unused to them looming around the office. Something about this man, though… made her skin crawl. His skin didn't seem to fit him right. Stretched in unusual places, his nose large and beak-like. He looked like a cartoon character. The Moonborn reacted to his presence with distaste, and Diem could feel the tension rising to a fever pitch.

Clearing her throat when it was suggested she take a hike, Diem sat up a little straighter and lifted her hand to interject; unconsciously ready to do something she was absolutely comfortable with. The moment, however, passed, and Bruce was turning to her and telling her to hide. Diem wanted to shake her head, tell him that she could help when in one fluid motion, he upper-cut the man so hard he went flying back into his goons flailing.

The confrontation was fast, brutal, and efficient. Diem yelped and flinched back as the beam splintered overhead; arms raising to cover her head as she lept out of her chair and backpedalled until hitting the wall behind her. She looked up just in time to see a mug of something come flying at her face before a quick hand yanked her out of the way; the bademae splashing across the bricks and floor. Diem spilled across the lap of a large… toad-man? He let go of her wrist and looked down at her with a short, expectant croak. Diem’s brown eyes widened and she nodded, the smallest little thank you making it past her lips just before a loud crack sounded through the inn.

Those three men fighting froze, unable to twitch even a muscle, but the rest of the bar turned to look at Fergus standing on his bartop; gnarled staff in hand and an expression of utter annoyance on his face.

”ENOUGH!”

Lifting the staff and jabbing it toward where Anarth stood, Fergus narrowed his eyes.

”Ye ken better than t’run ye filthy trade in my establishment, Crow. Take ye leave now n’dunna come back less ye wish to face me. N’ put ye tongue back in ye mouth, ye worm! I doubt t’lass wishes t’be knobbed.”

Diem snapped her head to the side as the hot, foul breath of the thing that snatched her spilled over her face. She ducked off and spun around just in time to see it slurping its appendage back into its mouth with a glowering sneer of disappointment. She stared at him, horrified, and decided she was better off not knowing what ‘being knobbed’ was. Moving away from the toad-man, and feeling his jelly eyes on her the entire time, Diem turned to look at the Anarth as he glared her way; exiting the tavern after a quick exchange with Fergus.

Only once the crow and his trolls were out of his establishment, did he turn his glare on Bruce - still frozen by the satyr’s spell.

”Ye’ve had yer fina’ warnin’, Moonborn. I ban ye from-”

”Wait!” Diem called, stepping forward. She wasn’t sure what was happening but she was positive it wasn’t a good thing. She came up to Bruce’s side, standing just a hair in front of him as she appealed to Fergus. ”He was protecting me, that’s all. The… other guy,” Diem paused, unsure of what to call the beak-nosed man, ”threatened me, and him. I’m sure if you had still been by my side, you would have handled the situation with much more finesse, Fergus, and I really appreciate you understanding that there was no other option.”

She spoke with such an assuming softness in her voice, like she couldn’t imagine anything but Fergus understanding what had occurred. She even appealed to his ego, claiming he would have handled it better if he had been able to be by her side, and then subtly sliding that little guilt card from her sleeve as she reminded him he hadn’t been by her side to protect her. Diem was gambling that the little goat-man cared even that much, but she had a feeling… And it paid off.

With a wrinkle of his nose and a huff, he tapped his staff against the bar top again and turned; muttering about how he sure as hell would have handled it with more finesse than the scruffy beast as he hopped off the countertop and back to the floor. He shouted something back into the kitchen before making his way round to where Diem was looking up at Bruce; her eyes dancing over him with something kin to curiosity before Fergus’ clicking tongue drew her attention.

”Yer bleedin’, lass,” Fergus sighed, motioning to her bare feet where she was standing on wooden shards before shooting Bruce an accusatory glare. ”Follow me. We’ll get ye cleaned up before one’a these monsters takes ye as their next meal.”

Stepping behind Fergus to follow him, she turned her head to look at Bruce; hope filling her eyes. She didn’t have to say anything out loud. The message was clear.

Please don’t leave.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Wed May 04, 2016 4:51 pm

Chaos reigned and things were quickly spiraling out of control before the spell suddenly had Bruce and his two opponents in its thrall. Bruce was frozen with a clear view of the satyr on the bar top, the broken back of a chair clutched in one hand which he’d just slammed against the first troll, in the process of tossing what was left into the face of the other. Although irritating and almost suffocating for how the spell held him, Bruce took the moment of respite to calm his breathing and let the blood coursing through his veins to slow down. To be perfectly honest, he’d been having a good time, the trolls just dumb enough to get in each other’s way but smart enough to stay focused on Bruce, coming at him with a seemingly endless persistence.

Anarth stood panting off to the side, nose leaking a ribbon of scarlet down his lips and chin. He looked affronted at the accusations from the satyr, wondering about the small creature’s involvement, since something like this was small potatoes for a Thors Day night. Despite his desire to argue, he was worried about the eyes and ears around, especially with the sensitive matter of the business he sought to procure. It wouldn’t do to get the attention of the law in this place, especially when nowadays, under Jaq’in’s rule, an erasing was just as likely as imprisonment.

Smiling faux sweetly, his face contorting to fit the expression, Anarth muttered a complacent, “My mistake.” Turning as his troll-hybrids were released, Anarth spared a heated glare for the obvious cause of the innkeeper crashing the brute session prematurely, eyes twinkling with a mad fire as he led his escorts out the front door. Somehow he’d get the Moonborn to do his bidding, he just had to find the right leverage or threat.

Bruce let his eyes follow as far as they would go before Anarth and his guards drifted out of his line of sight, waiting to hear the door to the inn close for a final time behind the last troll. Then back to Fergus, not even hiding the roll of his eyes as he threatened to ban Bruce from the inn. It would have been a blow to business, since the Spider Cross was in the middle of a web of roadways and portals and offered a ton of traffic at any time of the day or night. But Bruce was prepared to take the hit when suddenly he found the human woman stepping in, vouching for his motives. Smells wafted from her, causing him to breathe deeply, even as the spell refused him movement of the chest to take the deep breath he wanted. There was soot, metals, and sweat on her, something chemical with a floral imitation and a spicy zap of blood overpowering it all. So alien, most of it, and yet so real, Bruce was caught up in it enough that he almost fell into her when his body was released so suddenly.

With Fergus ushering her away to tend to her wounds, Bruce was left adjusting to his mobility again, watching them go. The look in her eyes said it all and although he was annoyed by the situation over all, he couldn’t help feeling a sense of attachment to her. He’d stepped up to protect her from a bad situation and she’d done the same for him. Besides that, Fergus was a dismissive and racist asshole, and Bruce would be damned if he allowed the satyr time alone with her to counsel her against unsavory sorts like himself. Convincing himself that it was a matter of pride, Bruce quickly followed them to the room Fergus took her into, the inn filling in the space where the fight occurred with fresh chairs, splinters cleared, and monstrous creatures seated, as if the drama before had never happened.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Wed May 04, 2016 6:46 pm

Fergus hadn’t exactly wanted the Moonborn to follow him and the girl, hoping to have some time alone to steer her away from the dangerous company she seemed set on acquiring but the greedy dog wouldn’t leave her alone it seemed. He would just have to get creative then, he thought to himself as he guided the young human to a private room near the kitchen. He gestured for her to take a seat on a stool and turned to climb a small ladder; his little body waddling to compensate for the backwards bend of his knees. He reached for a bread-box sized tin and pulled it down off a shelf, shouting something incomprehensible through the saloon doors to the kitchen only to get a gruff snarl in return. He just chuckled and shook his head as if the violent-sounding creature behind those doors shared an inside joke.

Coming back over to where Diem sat, he lifted up one foot after the other and sighed; clicking his tongue with an aggravated little grunt before getting to work. Fergus had been a healer several centuries ago, and although the Dark King’s rule had forced his hand into other trades to stay alive, he didn’t forget his purpose when the opportunity presented itself.

”Try ta hold still, lass,” He said with a smile; running his hand down his beard to flip it over his shoulder. It reminded Diem of the way business men flipped their ties over their shoulders at the cafes and soup houses in New York so that their silk wouldn’t get messy with food. The thought made her smile, and appealed Fergus to her even more.

Until his needle-like fingernails started digging splinters out of the bottoms of her feet.

Diem whimpered and instinctively reached out for something to grip; gritting her teeth as the fingers of one hand curled in the lapels of Bruce’s jacket and the other gripped the lip of the stool beneath her. Those wide brown eyes slammed closed, lips pursed and cheeks flushing as he dug out every single piece as quickly as he could. It was over relatively soon, but Diem’s cheeks were still damp. Fergus shook his head and eyed Bruce over the back of Diem’s painted toes before returning his gaze to his work. How was this girl going to survive in a world like this?

”So ye dream, lass… What else did the woman say to ye?”

She took the question and latched onto it; her mind returning back to what had only happened a mere hour if that before. Her lips softened as she spoke; recanting as best she could the message the angel gave her before she woke up here.

”She said that there was a nightmare ruling as a false king,” Diem started, not realizing that in this case a nightmare was a creature, and not a metaphor. Fergus’ eyes darkened, having theorized for some time what sort of creature their king may be. ”And that she had fought against him a long time ago. He had tricked her, and overpowered her and banished her between worlds. She told me to find a door, and that only the bl-” she paused, turning the weight of her eyes back on Bruce with a wince. ”She said I had to find the Moonborn, and she was… specific with which one.”

Fergus’ brow scrunched as he scowled, finishing the thought that Diem didn’t want to repeat out loud. ”Bloodcursed.”

Frowning with the small understanding now of what that meant, she nodded, not taking her eyes from Bruce for a moment. Apologetic, always. She seemed to always be worried and sorry for something. The air grew warm between them, and Diem felt wings where she’d normally felt a tug before. Her eyes left Bruce’s after a heartbeat more and looked down at Fergus as he wrapped her feet with clean cloth. She cleared her throat and continued.

”She said that she once she's free, she will release those under the Dark King from his rule, but that I’m the key.”

It felt crazy to even entertain the words out loud, but the longer she was here the more real it felt. Fergus stood up and moved to her other side, instructing her to peel her jacket off so he could take a look at the bruises underneath; grabbing a stone grinding bowl and filling it with different herbs and liquids to form a foul-smelling paste. Diem’s nose wrinkled, as her hand peeled away from Bruce’s chest; moving to peel her jacket off. She winced, her right shoulder cramping in protest. Fergus glanced over at Bruce just standing there, clearing his throat and raising his eyebrow at the dull brute; glancing toward Diem struggling with her jacket and then back to him before the beast finally got the clue and helped Diem remove the scraps of clothing.

Those cheeks flushed once again, and Diem cleared her throat softly before thanking Bruce; finding it difficult to look at him despite the fact that helping her with her jacket wasn’t really all the intimate. Once it was off, Fergus climbed up beside her and began poking around at her arm and continuing to ask her questions about her dream. Bizarre details like what the woman’s teeth looked like and how long her nails were. He even asked if she had eyebrows. Diem confusedly answered them all the best she could; wrinkling her nose as he cut off what remained of her blouse sleeve and then smeared that awful paste over her shoulder and wrapped it up.

”Did she give ye her name?”

Diem lifted her arm up to gingerly touch the bandage at her shoulder as Fergus moved on to the bruise at her thigh; pulling aside her skirt without quite realizing that Diem didn’t want her underwear shown. She balked and pushed the skirt back in place before Fergus swatted her hand away and revealed the bruise some more; exposing the entirety of her leg and hip and the thin strip of fabric that she wore underneath. Panty lines were a real taboo in her industry… Still, Fergus paid it no mind and Diem was careful not to look at Bruce as the swamp-green putty was smeared over the dark mark on her thigh.

”Mmm… Ireland, I think?” She answered, unsure of her memory now.

Fergus, however, paused and glanced up at her. ”Eirelynn?” He asked, with a proper lilt to his voice. Diem’s eyes brightened and she nodded. ”Yes, that’s it! Do you know her?”

”I ken the name...” He said thoughtfully, his gaze dropping back down to her leg.

Suddenly he slapped his hand on the table and grinned. ”Well tha’ should do it! Ye should be well in ta mornin’. Let’s get ye some supper and fresh clothes ta warm ye.”

Hobbling back down off his stepstool, he righted his beard in place and then shot Bruce a warning glance.

”I’ll be righ’ back…”

Then he turned and pushed through the saloon-style doors to the kitchen; barking something at the unseen cook inside only to get another loud snarl in response.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Wed May 04, 2016 7:51 pm

At first, Bruce found himself just a simple observer, until Diem was putting herself in his personal space again. Despite his usual agitation with unfamiliar touching, his protective instincts kicked in, responding as she whimpered and shivered against him, offering himself as a sturdy presence for her to cling to as she was put through the pain of the splinter removal. It was actually kind of pathetic how easily hurt she was, the slivers barely embedded into her skin, and Bruce’s expression mirrored Fergus’s until his eyes met the satyr’s at one point. Dissolving quickly to a scowl that very clearly had ‘don’t fucking look at me like you know me’ written all over it, Bruce stood more stiffly beside Diem as she shivered and repressed the desire to writhe in agony, sniffing in impatience as he waited for his role as support to be over.

There was a moment when he tensed again, his jaw clenching with an internal pop as Fergus brought up the curse again but when he saw the apology in Diem’s eyes, his expression cleared to one of aloofness, sniffing off the insult. When Fergus began mixing his concoction, Bruce identified the different herbs he used, the smell of the salve actually soothing to him, reminding him of his own past wounds and the healing power of topics such as these. In fact, the scent of it made Bruce wonder about Fergus, especially since he recognized that the satyr knew what he was doing.

When his attention was drawn back to Diem and her struggle with her jacket, Bruce shuffled to help her, with the same weary attitude towards her weak status, like a defenseless little Tulpa fluff. No, not like those actually, since even young, cute, and mostly helpless as they were, the children of Vikander often used them in sports games, kicking the baby Tulpas to each other in the fields. Even with that abuse, they still grew up just fine. Bruce let the smells of that fake floralness attached to her clothing wash over him before setting the jacket aside.

Finally, her exam was over and having heard the fullness of her story and finding himself not the least bit interested anymore, thus allowing that Fergus could now tell her whatever he wanted, as soon as the satyr left the room, Bruce stood in front of her with a casual shrug. “Alright, well, sounds like you’ve got a lot going on, ‘nilla,” Bruce said with a lazy smirk, “And I truly wish you the best of luck with everything. Don’t worry, the goat will take care of you and you should be extremely grateful,” he paused to glance over his shoulder to make sure Fergus wasn’t nearby. “That stuff he put on your arm and leg is very high quality. He’s got some knowledge, despite being an ignorant little hircus, so, I trust I’ll be leaving you in good hands.” He waited a moment and let out a sigh, nodding slightly and moving to leave the room and this ridiculous waif and her drama behind.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Wed May 04, 2016 8:57 pm

”Alright, well it sounds like you’ve got a lot going on, ‘nilla.”

Diem blinked up at Bruce as he came to stand before her. She tugged canted her head slightly to the side, confused by his casual tone and unfamiliar nickname. Or rather she assumed it was a nickname… He could be calling her the cruelest name in the book and she wouldn’t even know it. It dawned on her that despite understanding the language - a fact that had not completely left unnoticed when she got here - she didn’t actually understand the language. It was another reason that Diem was losing hope that this was just a dream. Wouldn’t she understand every little nuance if it were all in her head? Would she feel as hungry as she did? As thirsty? Definitely nothing would hurt as badly as it did. She couldn’t remember a single dream or nightmare that she had where she was in pain, and she’d been in pain nearly every second since waking up in that damn field.

So, as he casually wished her luck in her endeavors, Diem shook her head. No, this isn’t how this was supposed to go! The woman, Eirelynn as Fergus had corrected her, told Diem she needed the Moonborn. The possibility of another was definitely out there, but with how everything had lined up so far… Him being at the bar, him being “cursed”, him helping her and then she him… her reactions to him when he was close. It was the same feeling that had guided her on that train and landed her here. It was all pointing at him, and now he was just going to leave?

”Wait,” she asked, reaching out her hand for his sleeve before he could step too far away. She missed entirely, grasping his hand instead. His skin was warm. Very, very warm. It didn’t burn, not in any way she could explain anyhow, and she pulled her hand back immediately. Skin to skin contact… was unusual for Diem. It felt so beyond intimate. Almost erotic, despite the innocence of the touch. She drew her hand back into her lap and closed her eyes for just a second, trying to gather her thoughts before she spoke.

”I understand. I’m a complete stranger to this place, and I don’t know anything about how this world works. I’m helpless, hurt… and probably annoying you,” Diem began, her eyes turning back up to his. At the very least, she wasn’t afraid of eye-contact. ”I’ve insulted you, and have come to you only with a story of a dream lady telling me that you’re supposed to lead me to her. It’s insane, improbable, probably impossible, and nothing in it for you.”

Frowning, she twisted her fingers together, keeping her eyes locked on his.

”But, please... I need your help. Even if all you can do is point me in the direction of someone who won’t try to kill me, or “knob me”... whatever that means,” she murmured; the sexual reference going way over her head.

”Please.”

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Wed May 04, 2016 9:35 pm

He could be a real asshole to her. In fact, he was filled with that particular urge after her unwarranted physical contact, yet again. She had no business touching him, let alone on the hand and he was of half a mind to slap her across the face for it. Who in the fairying forest did she think she was?

Stifling the urge to point in the direction Fergus went when she asked to be pointed towards someone who could help her, he stopped and looked at her again. Clothes torn, weak, trembling, squishy soft, pathetically ignorant. Everything she pointed out was true, that she was very likely to get herself killed or worse, making the same mistakes she’d made all evening. Not every species in Vikander was as restrained as he was, and there were plenty who’d take advantage of her infantile waffling. There was no code of honor except one’s personal design and the only thing that people truly respected was power, of which Diem had none.

Remembering Anarth and his goons and the toad that licked her, obviously taking his reward for saving her, Bruce shook his head at himself and his stupid honor. He wasn’t the most reputable guy out there, like he’d told her, compared to others out there, he was hardly the worst.

Hands on his hips, Bruce let out a frustrated breath through his nose and looked at her again, “I don’t work for free. Especially not if I’m going to be babysitting you half the time. Is there anything you can offer me for compensation? Anything to trade for what I’d be doing for you?” He looked her up and down, wondering if she had anything valuable that she’d be willing to part with. Again, he thought of Anarth offering him at the very least actual money for his request, if not as much as made the risk worth it, and he acceded that at least whatever Diem would have him doing wouldn’t be illegal.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Wed May 04, 2016 10:20 pm

Did she have anything she could offer him?

Diem had watched plenty of… movies in her lonely New York apartment where women traded “what they had” in exchange for protection or help or… well, pizza, but Diem definitely wasn’t trading that. She didn’t even know how that could… work in this world. Her lips pursed as her mind reeled over anything of value she had on her when it stuck.

Twisting, she grabbed her jacket and pulled it close to her; grabbing at the pockets to feel for something inside when she found it. Reaching in, her fingers wrapped around the piece as her eyes rose to meet Bruce. She wasn’t even sure if he’d want it.

”It’s not very much, my purse must still be in New York,” she warned as she pulled her fist from the pocket of the blazer. ”But it is all I have.”

From her fingers dangled a locket bracelet made of what appeared to be silver.

Brown eyes watched him - hoping. Hoping it would be enough, that he would understand.

”And I can promise you that anything valuable we come across, I will keep none of it. You can have it all.”

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Wed May 04, 2016 10:57 pm

Taking in a whispered breath between his teeth, he could smell it as soon as she took it from her pocket, frowning as she finally revealed what was in her hand. Silver. Or at least some form of it, diluted by some other metal and possibly cheaply made. Giving her an irritated look, his expression quickly softened and he rolled his eyes slightly. Only she would offer him silver and actually mean it as a gift or payment. Anarth might as well but only to be a smarmy little cunt.

Grabbing the cloth that Fergus had cut from Diem’s sleeve, Bruce laid it over his hand like a glove to shield himself, opening his palm for her with a tolerant sigh. “That’ll do, ‘nilla. For now,” he said, wrapping the locket in the cloth quickly to put layers between his skin and the smelly metal, finally tucking it in his pocket when he was done. “But since there’s no way for you to guarantee that this journey will acquire you any sort of wealth, whether along the way or at the end of it, then I’m going to say, this will get you as far as 3 days worth of my time. Starting tomorrow morning. So, you best get a good nights sleep so you can make the most of the time you’ve been given.”

Turning from her, he sauntered to the door, putting his hand upon it and letting in just a bit of sound from the main room of the inn, “I’ll meet you back here in the main hall in the morning. Watch your back, stay close to Fergus, and try to stay out of trouble until I get back.” Without much else to say to her, he left the room, walking brusquely across the main dining room, making a beeline for another hallway off the other side of the building, and straight into a cupboard portal. He had to sell the silver jewelry as soon as possible and he knew the best place to get what he could from it, especially if the metal wasn’t pure.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Thu May 05, 2016 10:02 am

Diem nodded, unable to keep the relieved smile from crossing her lips. Her entire face lit up with relief, and for a heartbeat she wanted to reach out and hug him. She stopped herself, luckily, and merely watched as Bruce turned and left after instructing her to stay safe and meet him at this exact spot the next morning.

Only a moment later did Fergus re-enter the room, holding a platter of food and a goblet of something that smelled like wine. Her stomach grumbled loudly and she turned on the stool to face the small table where Fergus set up the meal. Her gaze danced over the food, and she was surprised to find herself recognizing a lot of it. There were potatoes, sausage, some sort of root vegetable that looked like a cross between an onion and a beet, and large curds of cheese crumbled over a hunk of bread. Diem lifted her eyes up to look at Fergus; shaking her head in her disbelief over his kindness.

”I can’t pay you for this… I gave my bracelet to Bruce.”

Fergus’ eyes narrowed and he scoffed. ”Of course ye did, lass. Filthy mongrel won’t do an’nay t’ing out of the kindness of ‘is heart. Eat up, lass. Yer safe here and I’ll be sure to see to it that yer taken care of.”

Shaking his head, he reached forward and peeled back the bandage over her shoulder to peek before nodding with satisfaction. ”Ye’ll be right in ta mornin’.”

Diem smiled at him, her eyes welling as his generosity was never-ending.

”I’ll repay you one day. I promise.”

Fergus smirked and shook his head. ”I ken ya will.”

Patting her hand, Fergus backed up and sidled down from his perch near her on the table; making his way round to a door at the other end of the room. ”Ye’ll be stayin’ in ‘err tonight. Get yer rest, lass. Me sure ye’ll be needin’ it.”

He’d overheard the exchange between the Moonborn and Diem; selfishly eavesdropping from the kitchen during their exchange. He knew what deal she’d struck with the beast, and what it was that had appealed to the tracker. With a slow breath, he turned to look back at her as he approached the main door to go out and continue the night with the rest of his patrons. But before he could completely leave, he paused and looked at her over his shoulder wth one last piece of advice.  

”Jus’ do me one t’ing, child… Keep yer guard. Yer companion, he has a temper.”

Diem held his gaze, letting his words sink in before she nodded. He gave her a small, almost sad smile and then turned; leaving her behind to enjoy her meal.






She dreamt she was floating. Everything around her was dark and cold. The water swallowed her whole, but she wasn’t panicked. It was… peaceful. Small bubbles rose all around her toward a surface she couldn’t see. Her eyes gazed toward a small shifting ray of light; casting through the darkness to spear through the water until it illuminated her in the center. She smiled, feeling warmth fold around her like a blanket. The urge to find the source of the light filled her belly, and Diem began to swim for the surface.

She swam for what felt like hours, the surface never seeming to come any closer. Until, suddenly, she was breaching the calm surface of the black lake. She gasped for air, her lungs burning for something they hadn’t missed until just now. She sucked in deep gulps of crisp oxygen and her eyes fell to the shore not even a foot away. A huge black stallion with a mane and tail of smoke stood and flames licking at his hooves stared her down. Diem didn’t feel fear so much as curiosity, as if the horse were merely studying her, when something tugged at her ankle.

When she looked down, terror gripped her heart. Seizing. Just before the clawed hands dragged her under.




In the morning, when Diem woke, there was an outfit laid across a chair for her. Leggings and boots, a tunic and long jacket, and a pack full of supplies. Diem’s eyes watered as she ran her hands over the necessities only to stop when she felt something hard in one of the small pockets of the pack. It was a flat coin, similar to what one would find by placing a penny on train tracks. Wrapped around it was a note, written in a language Diem couldn’t read but somehow understood.

She didn’t know how she would ever be able to thank him.

As she changed out of her torn New York clothes, Diem found that she didn’t hurt at all. Her bandages fell away to show no wounds on her feet, or anywhere else on her body where Fergus had dressed her. More than that. She felt… good. Ready.

Opening the door, she stepped into the room where Fergus had helped her before. A mangy looking dog lifted its head and looked at her; brown eyes regarding her as if judging if she’d have treats before it laid its head back down and closed its eyes with a sigh. Diem frowned, hesitated, and then shook her head.

”Nope. No way.”

Turning to the main door, Diem pushed through and entered the main tavern from before. It was the morning, many of the patrons from the previous night having left or were in their respective rooms sleeping off their liquors. An unfamiliar ogre eyed her from his table, hunched over his hollowed bone-cup as Diem moved toward the bar and searched for Fergus.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Thu May 05, 2016 2:41 pm

In the depths of Cravens Hollow, several miles south of the Spider Cross Inn, Bruce walked into the Bear Shack, given a warm welcome by the owner behind the counter. Kottin was a burly man, round about the middle with jowely cheeks and a button nose over his sunny grin. He kept himself clean shaven because he said it made him look trustworthy to clientele. In an establishment made for the selling and trade of goods, trust could certainly go a long way.

Standing at the counter, Bruce watched as Kottin unwrapped the bracelet, the heavy-set man whistling softly as he touched the bare metal and turned the locket and chain this way and that. “Silver, right?” Kottin asked needlessly. “How’d you come by this?”

“It was a payment,” Bruce said dryly.

“Are you serious?” Kottin laughed incredulously, his belly wobbling as he shook his head. “Wow, I would have expected you to punch the head right offa their shoulders if someone tried to pay you with silver.” Kottin was an old friend and knew about Bruce’s affliction, having been on the wrong side of the bloodlust at one point, as evidenced by the puckered scar that ran from under the corner of his jaw down the side of his neck to disappear beneath his shirt. As a Bearsark, Kottin too understood the toll of transformation, his own controlled by his emotions rather than influenced by the moon.

“I don’t think she would have been able to withstand even a slap to the face,” Bruce said with a wry twist of his lips and a sigh.

“Ah, so it’s a ‘she’ is it?” Kottin said with a triumphant air, even as Bruce closed his eyes briefly and started to shake his head. “Say no more! That’s completely understandable.”

Anyway,” Bruce said, forcibly changing the subject. “What can you give me for it?”

An hour later had Bruce walking out of the Shack with enough supplies for a 3 days journey and some chips of chocolate in the purse at his belt, in case they needed to buy anything else during that time. Kottin had even thrown in a couple of dark chips, a light-hearted superstitious word said about the budding romance between Bruce and his client, which had gotten the Bearsark a crude gesture for his efforts. With only a few hours until sun up, Bruce slept in Cravens Hollow, returning to the Spider Cross Inn with the sun peering through the main hall’s windows.

Surveying the hall, Bruce found the human and approached her as she came up to the bar. “Ready to go?” he asked, looking her over and noting her much more familiar style of dress. “Did you rest well?” Not really having much to say about her answer, he looked around indifferently, his eyes coming back to her to ask, “So where exactly are we headed?” He had to admit during her rambling mess of a story, he’d only been paying the barest amount of attention.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Thu May 05, 2016 4:24 pm

The little man was nowhere in sight, but her eyes did catch the glance of a familiar face; her black heel held up to his face as he inhaled deeply. Diem’s face twisted into an expression of disgust. He held her eyes as the tip of his pink, bulbous tongue snapped from his slimy lips and ran it thoroughly through the inside of her pump. Diem’s lips parted as her nose wrinkled; the corners of her mouth turning down as those dark bambi eyes fought to tear away from the perverted image.

Then, as if delivered from the heavens himself, Bruce arrived; coming up to her side at the bar. Diem’s gaze darted back and forth between Bruce and the toad before suddenly turning her back on the thing and trying to process the very clear advance. She drew her upper lip between her teeth before shaking her head; trying to dispel the image from her mind before lifting her gaze up to his.

”Yes, thank you,” she started, lifting her free hand up to her shoulder. ”I don’t know what Fergus did, but… It’s like I have a brand new body.”

Her lips curved into a small smile as her eyes danced with his before she did a broad sweep of the bar again.

”I was trying to find him to thank him, but… I don’t think he’s here anymore.”

The disappointment was apparent in her tone; a sense of loss in her voice before reaching up and tightening the straps of the pack outer her shoulders.

”So,” She started at the same time he did. ”Where do we start?”

She blinked at him, taken aback by his nearly exact question.

”What? Don’t you know where we’re supposed to go?”

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Thu May 05, 2016 5:07 pm

“Crumbs. How in the fairying forest would I even know that?” Bruce growled out through gritted teeth with a level look at her. The only thing worse than babysitting someone was wasting his time. He was forced to remember parts of the conversation last night when she’d told Fergus all about the dreams and the Nightmare, coming back to a name that neither of them knew. Even as he was annoyed with her for not knowing more or even having a fucking plan(why was he doing this again?), he forced himself to get into the mindset of treating this like any other job.

“Alright, looks like we’re starting from the bottom, then,” his raspy voice drawled. “So, we’ve got to find this dream lady and then I can just hand you over to her and she’ll take over from there. Sound like a plan? What was her name? Evelyn?” That’s when Bruce remembered more of the conversation.

“Fergus knew it,” he said to himself with a thoughtful twist to his lips. “It’s not much of a lead but it’s really all we have. Might as well start there.” Turning to the bar, Bruce knocked heavily on the wooden bartop so that it pounded through the ground floor. “Fergus! Where you be at, you hircus little shit?”

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Thu May 05, 2016 6:20 pm

Diem pursed her lips in thought; eyes narrowing in just the slightest at Bruce as he gave her an all too familiar stare down. She was beginning to recognize that look. She would wager he was deciding on if she was worth it or not. With her thumbs hooked into the straps of the backpack and her eyes holding Bruce’s, Diem also thought back to see if she could remember any clue that Eirelynn gave her. Anything that would help Bruce lead Diem to her. She also tried to listen to her gut, for a lack of a better phrase, since that little tug at her navel had really pulled her left and right until she landed right here.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

She was left standing with no better an idea than the Moonborn before her.

”Eirelynn,” came her correction just as Bruce remembered Fergus’ familiarity with the name. With the heavy thud of his hand against the bartop, Diem startled backwards and gave him a wary look. Tired, sluggish heads turned to look their way but no one really seemed to give too much of a care to bark at him. Mornings didn’t seem to be too active in the Spider Cross Inn, Diem thought to herself. Anyone here seemed too hung over, or too drunk, to do anything but sit and stare. The occasional mumble from a corner sounded, but no response from the satyr Bruce wanted.

What they encountered instead were a pair of blood red eyes and several rows of razor sharp, needle-like teeth slowly coming up and over the bar as if rising from unseen stairs below. Diem’s eyes widened and she stepped back, startled by the appearance and the gut-wrenching instinct to run, but Bruce didn’t seem to flinch back. A high pitched, syrupy sweet voice came from the creature, though the mouth didn’t appear to move; stuck permanently in its shark-like smile.  

”He’s not in, dear. Out on an errand, he said. What do you need?”

Imelda, as she was known by the frequent patrons of the Spider Cross Inn was a purely gentle soul despite her appearance. Diem knew none of this, of course, and definitely was drawing conclusions from the appearance of the eight-foot tall gray behemoth. She cast a wary side-glance at Bruce, taking note not to run from his casual demeanor in which he spoke to the thing, but god… how she wanted to.

Those eyes seemed to stare through Diem even as the thing spoke with Bruce, taking in what he was saying before giving a very slow, sloth-like nod. ”It’s familiar, yes…She was a general once… Long ago… She fought against the Dark King but she lost… So he rules now…”

Diem’s eyebrow rose before she cleared her throat. ”He tricked her.”

The shoulders of the creature shifted, up and down slowly, before that sing-song voice sounded again. ”No one knows.”

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Thu May 05, 2016 7:16 pm

Letting out a sigh as the creature, Imelda, emerged with her news, Bruce shook his head and muttered, “Of course he is. Well, maybe you can help me out, then. I’m trying to find out any information I can on a woman named Eirelynn.”

Waiting for Imelda’s answer, he let out another breath, giving her a polite yet restrained half-grin. “Kinda already knew all of that. Thank you for your time, Imelda,” he said, glancing behind him where Diem stood and noting the human’s correction. “If you happen to see Fergus, nail his hoof to the floor. We’ll be back later to ask him some questions about it.” Giving the bar top a pat, he turned from it and motioned for Diem to follow him, walking towards the front door of the establishment.

“Well that was helpful,” he said with a sneer, trudging down the dirt road a ways, his leather boots crunching on the gravel under foot. “And I’m sincerely doubting that old goat knows any more than that. There is one thing, though,” Bruce said, stopping on the path, midway up the easy slope of a hill where the road bisected it. “I’m starting to wonder why I’ve never heard this name before. In my line of work, gathering knowledge is a very big part of the success of a job. Not only that but everyone is familiar with Jaq’in but not what came before him. I’m thinking the older they are, the more they’ll likely know. I think I might know someone who was around during that time or might have heard something more indepth.”

Walking up the path a bit more, they crested the hill and saw a field laid out before them and at the far edges, a forest, like a natural wall of some kind. The road didn’t go the way he pointed, the forest beyond his finger looking dark, purple and blue trues twisting their branches into the sky, leaves of navy and indigo clustering their branches. The leaves and trees changed depending on where one looked, subtly and progressively, the trees in front of them that split to allow the road through were green and brown, full of life and almost earthlike beauty. As the eye traveled from the road to the trees where Bruce directed them, the trees changed to the more blue and purple of their intended target.

“Hope you don’t mind walking,” Bruce said, leading the way off the dirt road across the field of golden and orange hay in a direct course to the trees. “We’ll have to cross through the Forest of Silence in order to get to the psychopomp gardens. Voice is forbidden, lest you wish to lose your life or possibly worse. That means no talking, no noise. I trust it is something you can handle.” The field around them glistened like scales in the rising sun, morning light bringing the grasses to life, almost like fire or gems, yet soft and feather light to the touch. As they walked, a small animal with fearful eyes rushed from its hiding spot, loping away through the grass, swimming through the shining grass.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Thu May 05, 2016 10:00 pm

Imelda. Interesting name for something that looked like it could slurp your flesh right off your skeleton. Diem stuck close to Bruce, hands grasping the straps of her bag tightly as she listened to them finish their quick conversation. Her companion clearly was not very happy with the little information provided, but at least it was something? Eirelynn wasn’t a complete unknown, Diem gathered. It made her feel a smidgen better, knowing she wasn’t making her up. Still, it was a little concerning how little was known…

Her eyes turned to Bruce as he thanked the creature and motioned for Diem to follow him out of the tavern. She hustled after him but paused in the doorway to look back at the thing behind the counter. It was shrinking back down again; moving slowly as if melting but stopped when Diem’s eyes caught hers. She hesitated. Fear still the initial reaction to the being, but… she wasn’t so sure. Slowly raising her hand, she gave Imelda a little wave. Her smooth head lifted a little more, and a hand as large as a taxi cab’s tire rose and wiggled four fingers as long as Diem’s forearm.

She reeled back, startled by the gruesome sight before offering a small, apologetic smile and turning to leave; half jogging to catch up with Bruce down the dirt and gravel road. In the daylight, the world was a much more welcoming sight. Colorful and bright; with more shades of colors than Diem had ever imagined. Who knew there were so many different types of blue? New York was a gorgeous city, and her work had taken her to plenty other parts of the state, but no country side she’d ever been to looked anything like this scenery. She felt like she was in some sort of hybrid of a Harry Potter/Dr. Seuss/Tolkien world.

So enthralled with her new surrounding world, when Bruce came to a sudden stop in front of her, Diem walked right into him and bounced right back off like she was a pinball. Stumbling back, Diem managed not to fall directly back on her ass but it was no less embarrassing. Her face flushed and she cleared her throat after a fast apology, moving to step back up beside him before looking down the two different paths as he continued to speak while glaring at her. She pretended not to notice, and focused instead on a flock of birds circling over a canopy of dead-looking trees. Only when he gestured toward a different area of the forest did she follow his eyes to the gradient colors of the trees away from their current path.

”I walk everywhere in New York,” Diem commented absently; feeling like if anyone was up to the challenge of a long walk it’d be her. Following after Bruce, she raised her eyebrow at his warning; hands lowered so her fingers brushed over the tops of the grass field they walked through. No talking, huh? She half expected it was just a trick from him… taking advantage of her ignorance to get her to not annoy him, but… Diem eyed the approaching tree line cautiously. Better safe than sorry.

On the east coast, forests had plenty of space between each tree. Any hollywood movie you ever saw depicting a forest is from the east coast. This was like a jungle. Diem struggled. Her pace was halved, and half the time she was throwing a twig or a small rock at Bruce to get him to slow the fuck down. She nearly snapped at him as he helped free her from a tangle of roots that tripped her; glaring hotly right in her face as he pulled her boot free and then held guide her slender foot out from the natural trap. She parted her lips to say something and he quickly slapped his hand over her mouth while flashing her a very real “are you fucking crazy?” look.

After that Diem decided he was probably telling the truth.

Still, she wasn’t as up to the challenge of walking through the forest like she’d originally imagined.

Finally getting Bruce’s attention, he begrudgingly stopped to let her take a break. A shallow creek ran through the trees close to where they were; the crystal clear water sparkling like diamonds from the thin lines of light let through the thick canopy above. Diem motioned for Bruce to rest with her, but he wasn’t looking. So, suppressing the sigh she desperately wanted to shoot at him, Diem moved over closer to the creek and dropped her ass down on a bed of moss; clueless to the puff of pollen that wafted up into the air around her. With a deep breath, she adjusted her pack behind her to use as a makeshift pillow and laid back; losing consciousness before the weight of her even fully settled.




It was stifling hot the cafe. One of those awful summer days where the heat and humidity of New York city weighed down even the most seasoned of persons. Diem was barely nineteen and working as a waitress. Her tank top was sticking to her flesh, her shorts exposing the slender length of her legs. She had the physique of a runner, but not the stamina. She felt as if she were going to die from exhaustion and she’d only been outside for half her shift. She had three more hours of running tables, and the cook was in a terrible mood today - not to mention the manager always decided to stay late and help on these days. He was a sadist and a predator; somehow able to justify hiring only young women to run his tables and waiting on these hot days to run the air conditioning so hard it broke. It left the girls tired, sweaty, and desperate.

He liked taking advantage of that.

”Not now, Jacob,” DIem sighed as she punched an order into the computer system. ”Table 3 is upset with his order, again and Barbara is taking her break early. I don’t have time.”

Jacob, the aforementioned manager, loomed over her shoulder; close enough that she could smell the pine of his aftershave. It made her stomach churn. He lifted a hand up and pulled her hair away from the back of her neck; running his fingers over the overworked muscles of her shoulders.

”Now, Diem, don’t you remember our last review? I’ve already spoken to you once about your struggle with being a team player on these critical days.”

Diem’s eyes darkened and she shrugged her shoulders in a subtle way to try and get him to stop. His touch made her skin crawl.

”Going to re-label the fridge with you right now doesn’t even make sense. Jess can’t manage the whole cafe on her own. Dillon isn’t even bussing right now. Why can’t he help?”

Jacob let out an aggressive sigh and crossed his arms as Diem side stepped him to move behind the bar and begin filling drink orders.

”You know Dillon is a retard, right? The kid can’t even count to ten.”

She looked around, startled at Jacob’s blatant disrespect before turning those bright eyes on him again. ”He’s functioning autistic, and I’m pretty sure he can spell ‘butter’ correctly,” Diem snapped, knowing damn well Jacob was a terrible speller. His eyes flashed, seeing the opportunity and jumping on it.

”That’s it. In my office. Now. I’m going to have to do a formal write up for your behavior.”

But she wasn’t looking at him. Across the street a black horse stood, watching her; billowing smoke pouring off his neck and swishing behind him like a tail. His hooves glowed like burning coals and a little shift in his step opened flames to run up his legs. Eyes as red as blood watched her, and Diem felt a tug behind her belly button.

”... what…”

She felt something crawling on her hand and glanced down; jumping back with a scream when the cockroach skittered off her wrist and to the floor. She looked up at Jacob, the flesh of his body beginning to rip and fall apart as thousands of insects broke free from his mouth, nose, ears and eyes. She could still hear his voice, threatening her as he crumbled into messy, mushy pieces. She slapped her hands over her mouth to stifle the screams coming from her as the insects swarmed the cafe...

… eating everything alive in their path…

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Thu May 05, 2016 11:24 pm

It was pretty simple: just be quiet. That’s all she had to do. Not that she’d been too terribly talkative since they met but she’d not had very much of anything important to say. Thus, the equivalent of talking too much about nothing was just saying enough of nothing to still be annoying. And she kept telling him stuff about herself like he gave a huff-puff.

Bruce flowed through the forest with ease, the trees practically dividing around him as he stepped between them, his feet barely making a sound. It became a chore because he kept on having to stop to wait for Diem to catch up. He thought she said she walked a lot back when she lived in that “New” place or whatever. He was very tempted to tell her that she shouldn’t boast about things when they clearly weren’t true, but instead, he found himself stopping her from giving into the urge to speak. For Crumb’s sake! How hard was it to just shut the fuck up?

It was about midday when the vanilla human was asking him to stop for a rest, working out through her hand signs that she needed a break. Keeping in the huff of irritation that he wanted to expel, he stood by the stream while she settled down to get her bearings again. The sun was low in the sky and they should have been in the gardens by now. Bruce shook his head and rolled his eyes to the sky, realizing that stopping now, they might as well make camp, since in just another hour, they’d be covered by darkness. The one good thing about that was Bruce only had 2 days left to be stuck with her on this stupid mission. The bad news was, the more time they wasted on travel, the less likely he’d feel good with leaving her with nothing more than the information she started with. Making a pact with himself that whether or not she had a clear direction by the evening of the third day, if she couldn’t pay him, then he’d leave. He couldn’t take on jobs out of guilt, especially when he truly owed her nothing and she was going to be this much trouble to work with.

Finally turning to look at where she sat by the waterbed, Bruce frowned as he noticed her laying down, fast asleep. At first, he rolled his eyes, taking this as another example of her vanilla physique and lack of endurance. That is until she started to murmur in her sleep. Glancing around, Bruce worriedly checked their surroundings, even as he stalked over to her prone form, nudging her with his foot. Big mistake because then the human was screaming, belting out primal noises of terror and struggling against an unseen foe in her dreams. Bruce didn’t have time to wonder about the implications and if Madame dream maker was visiting again and sending another message, quickly unshouldering his own pack as he knelt beside her.

A rustling forced him to look up, something shadowed moving in the depths of the forests that bordered the clearing and the stream bed. It was gone out of sight and in the failing sunlight, Bruce did not even give in to the temptation to assume that the movement was a trick of his eyes. He didn’t have that luxury, knowing the stories of what lurked in these woods and why the voice of the living was forbidden from being heard within them.

As Diem continued to whimper, Bruce shook Diem and even smacked her across the face, finally noticing the thin dust that coated her and the flattened bush of moss beneath her. Gritting his teeth and forming his lips into a line to keep from muttering a curse, he unbuckled his pack and pulled out his water bag, forced to check his surroundings again. More movement behind another tree, closer now to the tree line, and his body froze when his eyes latched onto a figure standing amidst them. Long limbs, greyish purple, it blended into the trees and even looked like a person shaped one, but the face it had was like no human he’d ever seen, eyes blank and yet focused at the same time. The formation of its body, with short squat torso and long legs and arms, like branches, made him think of a psychopomp, but it appeared hairless, nothing but chalky, gritty skin, colored like the earth and flora of the forest. It didn’t move while Bruce watched, keeping his gaze even as he tried to pull his eyes away from its flat features.

Pouring water into Diem’s face, Bruce struggled to wake her, his face miming as best he could as he shook her and tried to articulate that she needed to shut the fuck up. Even as he did so, he could hear more sounds of the beings moving closer through the trees and for some reason, he knew if he could just shut her up before they got here, he wouldn’t have to deal with whatever they intended.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Fri May 06, 2016 12:07 am

Her chest started to rise and fall rapidly; her lips parted wide and throat flexing with each panicked gasp for air. Her hands clawed at her own body, trying to tear from her flesh the feel of the insects yet her eyes remained resolutely closed. Stuck, as if her eyelashes were glued to her cheeks. Bruce crouched over her, trying to wake her but the shaking of her form and strike of his palm to her cheek only seemed to worsen her nightmare. Diem shriveled in her deadly bed; curling into herself as she fought against an invisible assailant and ignorant to the real threat which approached through the trees.

With each passing second, every drop of his eye, the creatures shambled forward. Encroaching on the small space where the mewling human cried for help that could not come. And yet someone was there, fighting to release her from her prison. Diem let out another cry; spine arching as her nails dragged across the flesh of her throat and leaving ragged, red lines behind.

And then, with the splash of cold water upon her face, Diem’s eyes finally opened to find Bruce’s face looming over her. She gasped for air; choking on the fire in her lungs as her hands moved to grip at Bruce’s arms as he shook her. Her eyes watered with the effort, her mind reeling to separate dream from reality. Especially a reality that felt so much like a dream.

Her lower lip trembled, eyes locked on Bruce’s as her breathing slowly calmed. She shook her head, confused, when she turned her head. It took her a long moment for her brain to register what her eyes were seeing. So like their surroundings, the beings that stood amongst the trees. Diem’s eyes widened, her lips parting in a silent cry. No sound, but horror still bled from her lips.

Diem trembled, remembering Bruce’s warning to stay silent, lest she experience something worse than death. And she knew she had failed. But she couldn’t remember why.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Fri May 06, 2016 1:15 am

Bruce tried to steady his panting breaths as much as he could, to keep from making noise even as Diem blinked and sputtered awake in his arms. As he got it across to her that she should be quiet, she looked around and fear contorted her features as she registered the company her cries had brought. He looked up as well, freezing as one of the unmoving beings stood in the clearing, just a few feet from them. It stood still in the growing darkness, blue shadows making it indistinct but now he could clearly see the death in its eyes and the frozen, idiotic joy in its mouth. Bruce cradled Diem close to him, praying to the Gods of his father that staying completely still would force the creatures to retreat.

Spoiler:

A whole minute passed in the stare off before suddenly the creature shrieked, the sound of a man screaming in terror echoing up from its throat and sliding past the thin gap between its exposed teeth. An almost ridiculous sound if it weren’t chilling coming from the creature that clearly wasn’t portraying the distress that the noise articulated. It was enough for Bruce to realize it wasn’t going to go away on its own, the Moonborn shoving Diem aside as he got to his feet, closing the distance to the creature in a charge, bellowing a war cry as he slammed his fist into its face. Droplets of some matter sluiced through the air upon impact, making Bruce think he drew blood. But when the creature’s neck swung back around to face him, unharmed yet now twisted around, he knew this wasn’t going to be a simple fight, let alone one that he could win.

Punching it a few more times in an attempt to knock it off its feet, Bruce was startled as cold, hard fingers grasped ahold of his arm. The skeletal creature proved its strength and fluidity of movement as it picked Bruce up into the air above its head, its back arching fluidly as it took a lunged step forward to toss the man through the air. Even before he hit the ground, Bruce shouted at Diem to “Run!” landing in foliage amidst some trees, his shout like a gunshot starting the race, the other creatures still beyond the trees suddenly breaking into loping runs towards the young woman. And at their lead, the creature that had tossed Bruce aside like a rag doll.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Fri May 06, 2016 1:49 am

The silence and the stillness that filled the space between them and the creatures was thick with tension. It snapped and sizzled with electricity; drawing Diem closer to Bruce’s sheltering form as his arms cradled her. She stared at the creature, breath seized in her lungs, as her fingers fetched deeper purchase in her rescuer’s cloak. Waiting… hoping… praying…

They would not be so lucky.

She dropped from his arms as he lept to his feet and charged; roaring for a fight. Diem reached for her pack, throwing it over her shoulder as kept her gaze on the Moonborn’s attack. She took hope in his attack, believing wholly that he would only do so if he would win. But as the creature lifted him above his head, bending like a willow in the wind only to launch Bruce from the forest, Diem realized… he had been buying her time.

”RUN!”

His plea hit her just as the creatures launched from their positions; charging for her like bulls to the red. Diem scrambled to her feet and did just as he said; no hesitation in her escape. She darted through the trees; stumbling and and scrambling for escape. Where she tripped, the creatures glided. Her slight figure and established distance the only advantage given to Diem in this unfamiliar forest.

Diem could hear them behind her; driven by their unnatural hunger. Terror and adrenaline fueled her, but the thought of Bruce wavered in the back of her mind… concern for him even as instinct to survive pushed her forward.

And then the world fell away beneath her feet.

There was hardly a moment to gasp a breath of surprise before she hit the ground; her legs buckling underneath her as gravity pulled her down the slope of the hill. Her body tumbled and fell in a cartwheeling mess of leaves, dirt, twigs, arms and legs. Stopping only when her body fell into the cradle of a tree; robbing her lungs of air. She gasped; hollow sounds pouring from her throat as her eyes watered.

Silence fell across the forest, and Diem laid prone; frozen and fighting to find her wind. A scuffle sounded from above the ridge and Diem pursed her lips and focused to force herself to relax. Tears welled, and as slowly and silently as she could manage, Diem sank back into the hollow of the tree; her pale face swallowed by shadows as she pressed back into the shelter of the trunk and made herself as small and camouflaged as possible.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Fri May 06, 2016 12:09 pm

The trunk slowly enclosed around her, nestling her within the inside of the tree, leaving nothing but a tight, gnarled slit, too small for anything but a snake to slide through. And up above, the thing that she’d fell into and thought was a tree, turned its face to look in the direction she’d come, blinking awake. Up on the ridge, the gravers would not come down towards the waking being, scuttling back into each other and over each other in worried agitation, unsure whether to give in to the urge to chase but not willing to go near the sleepy psychopomp.
 
CK blinked wide, yellow green cat eyes at the gravers, watching them disappear back the way they came, and suddenly, feeling the life now trapped inside him, he understood what happened. But as fur sprouted on his form, his long whiskers twitching in concern, he wasn’t really sure what to do about it. Slowly rising from the earth, his legs emerging from underground, clotted dirt and leaves brushed off of the gnarled root-like appendages, fur slowly sprouting on them again as he became more awake. For a moment, CK stood and glanced around, the gravers gone now and the slit in his belly refusing to close because of the person in there, his long fingered hand coming forward to brush at the side of his belly where she’d hidden. With a small grunt and whine of distress, like the sound of an oak groaning in a heavy wind, CK waddled out of his napping spot and hurried down the path towards the gardens.
 
It was full evening by the time he made it home but one would not be able to tell, the air a lighted blue. The forest cleared out and there was an expanse of huts and burrows, all different sizes, some of them several feet tall to fit the myriad shapes of the psychopomps that dwelled within them. Beyond the huts, glowing blue as they reflected the moonlight, were the fields of glass weed, long stalks swaying gently in the breeze, the bobbled protrusions dotting their lengths brushing against each other, filling the air with a musical clinking cacophony nearly constantly. Some lanterns emitted soft yellow light, illuminating CK, dark blue, almost black fur nearly covering him all over except the still tree-like slit in his side. Approaching a small gathering of other psychopomps, CK walked up to his friends, hoping they could help him in some way.
 
Among them was Rogen, a psychopomp with an amorphous black body, small torso with long, pole-like arms and legs that bent like noodles when he gestured or moved, his eyes tiny white lights nestled within his face and antlers coming from either side of his head. Novak stood casually beside him, much shorter, his ears sticking up straight and pointed, face flat and mouth dipped like a cat’s, eyes a comforting reddish brown, and deer-like. And Franco, light purple fur, bushy and untamed all over him, ears long like a rabbit and sticking out at the sides, two tiny fingers of antlers sticking out of his head, and his long, fluffy tail wrapped casually around the front of his feet.
 
CK came up to the group, worriedly puffing as they all offered friendly welcomes, his hands motioning softly as he tried to explain as best he could, the predicament he found himself in. “Hey, uh… There’s a girl…inside me.”
 
“Don’t be crude,” Novak said with a scoffing sound, his voice a soft baritone but youthful.
 
“Dude, what?” Rogen asked with an incredulous snort, his voice much deeper and lightly graveled.
 
Franco snorted as well, smirking widely and flashing a bunch of gum above his needle, cat teeth, glancing at the others as he said, “Nu uh. For real?”
 
“Yes, for real,” CK said, shifting from one foot to the other, rolling his eyes. “This isn’t an attention thing.”
 
“So wait,” Rogen started, brow furrowed over his white, lighted eyes as he applied some critical thinking to the matter, “When you say ‘there’s a girl inside you’, what do you mean? Like, did you EAT her or is this some kinky shit?”
 
Franco tapped Rogen’s arm with the back of his hand, laughing again and giving CK a knowing nod, “I know what happened. Have you been smoking? Had a little too much GW?”
 
“Well yeah,” CK awkwardly admitted with a self-conscious shrug, “But that hardly has anything to do with it.”
 
Novak, who’d been giving him an intense, squinted look, finally spoke up, nodding as if he knew something. “I know exactly what this is. I understand perfectly.” The others listened intently and CK let out a small sigh of relief that finally he’d be getting some genuine help. “Sometimes…you just don’t feel like you were born in the right body. It’s okay. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re here for you.”
 
The other two pomps made sounds of sudden understanding, even as CK groaned softly and shook his head. “No--! That’s not--!” he huffed a breath, his whiskers twitching in agitation. “Listen, I have a serious issue here and I came to you for help and all you do is make jokes!”
 
“You mean you weren’t trying to be funny?” Rogen asked.
 
Franco bared his gums again in a cheeky grin, “We’re just laughing at you, not with you.”
 
“Actually, I was being totally serious,” Novak corrected, his pointy ears twitching in interest. “This is a real life experience you’re having and I support whatever decision you make about your identity.”
 
Liking the sound of that, Franco agreed, “Yeah, I support possession too or whatever.”
 
While Novak tried to chime in about how that wasn’t even close, Rogen also agreed, “Give into the demon, brah.”
 
“Screw you guys!” CK growled, throwing his arms down in a dismissive gesture and stomping off, the other three laughing about the situation, even while Novak tried to explain what he meant to the other two, ever taking the situation as an opportunity to expand his companions minds.
 
CK stomped off through the huts and trees of the idyllic village, most of the psychopomps awake and about at this early evening time. One even stopped CK to let him know they had some pyrotechnics smuggled into Vikander that they’d be setting off later. Feeling alone with his burden, he acted like he was excited for that but doubted whether he’d be able to see the show or not. Wandering to the far end of the gardens, CK found himself at a ledge overlooking a wide river a few feet down, plopping himself at the edge and sitting with his clawed feet dangling above the rushing water. For a moment, CK wondered what the girl was doing inside him and if he could even convince her to exit his person, but glancing around to make sure no one was around, he let out a soft sigh and said, “Hey… you still in there?”
 
That was a dumb thing to say and realizing it, he coughed to clear his throat and said, “I’m gonna try and let you out now. You gotta hurry because I can’t hold it for very long.” As he said this, the fur around the gnarled slit disappeared even further, going up into his face, turning him into the tree like being when the human had first entered him. It was uncomfortable as he lost half his fur enough that he could push himself to open his stomach again, the slit widening to the hollowed out trunk that Diem had climbed into. “H-hurry…” CK urged, his voice strained as the hole trembled, waiting for her to jump out. As soon as she did, CK released a huge breath, panting in discomfort as his body closed fully, his fur once again sprouting all over him, covering him dark blue. Once he’d caught his breath, he looked at the human woman with a nervous finger tap on his knee, his eyes darting around before coming back to her. He was much more massive than any of his companions and thus, much larger than her but with the face of a cat, white whiskers so long they brushed his shoulders, he presented a non-threatening figure.
 
“So…uh,” he rumbled awkwardly, “I hope it was good for you too.” Realizing that was something Rogen might say, and feeling how uncouth as they were coming from his lips, CK cringed at himself and rubbed his antlered head.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Sat May 07, 2016 6:17 pm


Shivering, fighting for the wind in her lungs, Diem hardly realized what was happening before it was too late. The tree enclosed around her; encasing her in a gnarled womb. Still, her fear to repeat her mistake of speaking kept her silent. Her hands pressed against the inside of the creature; palms and fingers reaching to find some purchase even as the gnarled roots curved around her in an attempt to close. Tears welled as the thing moved, coming to stand heights above the ground. From her bubble, Diem could see only a shard of her surroundings; that last inch of tree not transformed giving her the barest view. She licked her lips; sucking in hard breaths as her adrenaline spiked every pulse of blood through her veins.

The distance they covered tripled what Diem would have done on her own. Long, loping strides carrying her through the forest as the sun set to leave only the bluish tint of night. She saw or heard no sign of the creatures that had hunted her, but instead discovered new. She could hardly make out their full appearances, but the little glimpses she managed through the slit in the tree-creature showed her enough.

They looked like child’s drawings come to life. Diem’s fear was slowly filtering away; replaced by curiosity as the thing that carried her spoke to these new creatures. She recognized none of them personally, but their features reminded her of the rabbit-creatures in Fergus’ bar… they didn’t look friendly, but Diem was quickly learning that nothing in this place could be judged by it’s visage. Shifting her weight in the tree’s belly, Diem tried to get a better look at them all as they spoke and teased. More than that, it was their conversation that struck Diem. A bunch of teenagers, or young adults, just sitting around and taking none of what their friend said seriously. Even the jab about identity.

Diem was tempted to reach her hand out from the slit, wiggle her fingers to prove what it was this creature was claiming, but uncertainty kept her still. Her companion, however, was through and huffed away. She was startled by the motion; falling off to the side within him as he moved until she found her perch again. Biting down on her lip, Diem held her hands out to the sides to help keep her steady as he moved; head craning to try and see out of the side of him on where they were going.

The scenery was breathtaking. Beautiful in the most inexplicable ways. The indigo and navy hues that glowed from the different sized huts and tents, the whistling and clinking sounds of the glass weeds that sprouted around them, and the deep and youthful voices of the other creatures around them… Diem was enthralled, but she couldn’t be certain what measures this creature was going to go to to remove her. And after that, what he’d do to her for invading him.

When he asked if she was still there, Diem hesitated; breath hitching in her throat. She froze, going completely still and waited. And then when he told her he’d release her, well… Diem didn’t hesitate after that. The fur seemed to shed from the opening; her surroundings turning back into that network of roots she’d taken shelter in before. She could almost feel his strain from inside; as if muscles were tensing in pain as she slid out from the opening once it was large enough for her make her way through.

And then she was free. On her feet beside him, Diem turned to face the creature. He was… huge. Large enough to have her entire person encased in him and none of his friends noticing. A mix of nightmare and fantasy, she stared at him; mouth softly agape before he cleared his throat and spoke. She could see he immediately regretted it; uncomfortably scratching one clawed finger at the top of his head. Diem’s eyes sparkled and a short laugh coughed from her mouth before her cleared her throat and pursed her lips; still unable to hide that slight smirk.

Danger? She felt none of it despite his imposing figure.

”Thank you,” she started, stepping back a little and adjusting her bag on her shoulders, ”For helping me. And I’m sorry for… entering you?”

She shook her head with a snort at how ridiculous that sounded. ”I thought you were a tree.”

Worrying those lips together, she canted her head to the side. ”I’m sorry your friends didn’t believe you.”

Reaching up, she tucked her hair out of her face and then turned to look around; the thought of Bruce being back there and alone with those definitely evil creatures not far from her mind.

”I need to find my friend. He’s still out there with those… those things…” Bright brown eyes lifted up to the creature again as her face twisted into one of worry. ”I’m afraid I may have gotten him hurt.”

Or killed, but she couldn’t bring herself to say it.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Sat May 07, 2016 9:19 pm

It was nice to hear her laugh at that and momentarily, CK forgot his awkwardness and smiled back at her, happy that accidentally trapping her hadn’t sullied her impression of him. When she apologized, CK shrugged and smirked in a way that his wide mouth shrugged as well. “Hey, no sweat, ya know?” he said, trying again for that brazen flippant attitude that the other pomps affected with ease. “What’s a first date really worth?”
 
Feeling the relationship references starting to chafe, especially with them being completely different species and incredibly different sizes, CK abandoned the faux bravado. “Oh, them?” he asked, motioning over his shoulder with a long fingered hand as big as Diem’s torso. “Don’t worry about that. We’re on the slope of early eve ‘High Time’ right now and there’s not a whole lot that you can tell them and have it get through. You just gotta kinda hope for the best. My expectations should have probably been lower.”
 
When she brought up her friend still being lost in the woods, CK blinked his bright, sickly green eyes and scratched his head again. “Back there? You mean in the middle of that graver attack you were running from? I’m not sure how he could have gotten outta that. The creatures we share these woods with are pretty vigilant and persistent and if I hadn’t been there, likely woulda ripped you right out of your hiding place, tearing out your vocal chords and commandeering them for their own. I can’t imagine, once having him in sights and knowing his voice, that they would have lost track of the vibrations.”
 
CK was glancing over his shoulder and spoke in a matter-of-fact tone before he did a double take at Diem and realized the effect this information had on her. Cringing a little, he cleared his throat with a deep rumble, again the sound reminding one of the snap of a tree branch in the wind. “Actually…well…um…” he fumbled, finally letting out a breath and clapping his hands together once in a decisive manner. “Okay, it might not be too late. We’ll get a search party going and bring your friend to the village, alright? No problem at all,” he said, even as he worried about interrupting mid eve ‘High Time’ to rally the troops. Standing from the edge of the stream, CK towered over Diem like an ancient redwood, his low hanging hand coming forward to gently brush her back, coaxing her to follow him as he walked back to the village proper.
 
When they came back abreast of the huts, the air was coated with glitter and sparkles, silken filaments of smoke weaving through them, making the air look like shimmering glass shards, yet brushed through with the ease of clouds. It smelled overwhelmingly sweet, at times reminding of cotton candy and others of honey and syrup, but never quite one or the other. Sitting in a line on a halved trunk bench outside of one of the huts, the diluted glow of the lanterns barely seen through the glass-shard smoke, all three of CK’s companions sat. As CK and Diem approached, Rogen sucked in a breath from a tiny, spun cigarette pinched between his black fingers, his brow contorting as he held in the smoke and his eyes glowing a bright white as he let it all out, ending on a bothered cough.
 
“Good shit,” Rogen said as he passed the joint to Franco, glancing up and waving to CK. “Hey! Just in time for mid eve, bro!”
 
“Got your ladies panties out of their twist?” Novak asked, sucking on a pipe with the same breathing method as Rogen had. “And I mean that completely seriously, since I’m assuming you wear them now.”
 
Gesturing at Diem illustratively, CK enunciated carefully for his companions, “No. THIS is the girl that was inside me. She was stuck but no thanks to you dunderheads, we got her out and everything is fine now.”
 
Franco squeaked as he laughed, smoke bubbling from between his teeth as he sputtered, “Duh-duh-dunderheads! Haha!”
 
Rogen gave the human a long look before pointing and asking CK, “Wait… so you DID eat her? Did you just shit her out? Are you gloating over a bowel movement?”
 
“Suck an elf,” CK groaned, rubbing his temples and then making a canceling gesture with his hands as if he’d had enough. “I’m not gonna get into another discussion about this with you guys right now. We need your help. Her friend is stuck in the woods, probably being attacked by gravers as we speak, and we need to find him before he’s lost forever.”
 
“A rescue?” Novak asked, pipe halfway to his lips. “Tempting.”
 
“There will probably be some ass-kicking involved,” CK added, trying to goad his companions into a more motivated state. When Novak again stopped his pipe in mid air and all three subtly leaned forward, waiting for him to say more, CK added, “A chance to pulverize some stupid gravers and smash in some undead skulls!”
 
“Yeah! Now you’re talkin’!” Rogen said, getting up from the bench with a triumphant air. “Let’s go send those little wendigo-wannabes running!”
 
“AND save some dude’s life while we’re at it!” CK added with a fist pump as Rogen led them from the bench, Franco whooping in an animalistic way as he scurried after, Novak tucking his pipe away and jogging with them, ready for some action.
 
“Meh,” was the general response to that, though.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by lexibeth on Sat May 07, 2016 9:49 pm




Her face fell as he detailed what would be happening to Bruce right then. What would have happened to her, had he not been the creature he is. And on top of all that, she wasn’t too thrilled to realize that hiding did nothing to discourage them. Vibrations? She cleared her throat instinctively; lifting her hand to brush her fingertips down her neck as she looked away.


That had not been at all the response she was hoping for.


But, her hopes were not entirely squashed. As CK cleared his throat, like ropey branches snapping in the wind, Diem’s eyes lifted back up to his. They’ll get a search party and help her find Bruce. Hope filled those doe-ish brown eyes, and she practically jumped to hug him. It failed miserably, but the intention was there. Sparing a short laugh at their ridiculous size difference, Diem stumbled back as he stood to his full height and lowered his hand down to coax her into following.


Diem was used to be fairly smaller than most. Even in heels, in New York among nothing other than humans, Diem was considered an impish woman. It was difficult to be anything close to intimidating when you only stood at 5’5” when in heels and had the body of a runner. Minus the athleticism. But, standing next to this fantastical giant made Diem take a little more of her fragility into consideration. She was lucky he was as gentle as he was with her. He could crush her with a sneeze.


Once reaching his friends again, Diem this time able to completely see them from her own vantage point far beneath CK’s build, she gaped. They were… majestic. Startling and incredible creatures. Even the more nightmarish one had a shimmer to his fur and such incredible flecks of gold dancing in his black eyes that Diem was breathless. She lifted her hand up to dance her fingers through a fresh cloud of magnolia and honey, a barest whisper of a dreamy smile crossing her lips before she heard CK introduce her. She grinned, canting her head to the side and waving.


”Normally folks call me Diem,” She jabbed, winking at the Pomp who cracked a joke about gloating about her being… excreted; winking before dropping her arms back down to her sides. She shifted her gaze over all of them as CK started to entice them to help hunt for Bruce. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting. Maybe more resistance? Quite the contrary as they all seemed to enjoy the initial idea of going into the forest and disrupting the gravers as they called them. Diem’s relief was fast, and obvious, as she turned her chin lifted up toward CK again and her grin widened.


As they all started running off, Diem’s little legs couldn’t even keep up with the first steps.


”Wait for me!” She cried after CK; jogging to catch up and fluidly leap into his lowered hand before her stomach dropped as he lifted her high into the air. A little eep of fear managed to squeak past her lips before he perched her up on his shoulder. Shifting her weight to find a more balanced position, Diem found a place comfortable for CK to grip before she turned her head and looked up at him.


”Thank you,” she whispered before it was too late.

Now, silence while they hunted for Bruce.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

Post by Guest on Sat May 07, 2016 10:48 pm

Bruce ran. From his fallen position, he’d gotten up and ran as fast and far as he could, the barest blip in his mind about where Diem had gotten off to. He couldn’t concern himself with that right now, and he was of better use to her alive than dead. But he wasn’t running for long when the gravers caught up, spindly limbs launching them through the air over his head, somehow able to track him despite not making a sound since he’d picked himself back up.
 
Appearing in front of him, it forced Bruce to face off against them, the creatures seemingly breaking their forest’s vow of silence to chatter at him and shriek with the ghostly voices of their victims. Pulling out his steel clawed gauntlets, Bruce held his own against their attack, purpled bodies slipping past his blades with nary a cry of pain, even as he put holes in them. They had no regard for their own well-being, throwing bodies against the edge of his blades in a wave that didn’t seem to end. He understood the tactic but stubbornly fought against it, breaking his own silence to roar in anger as he tore through the flesh of the undead creatures.
 
As intended, the attack wore him down, fingers that felt no pain, turned into weapons, jabbing past his defenses, stabbing through his shoulder and neck. That had him falling to one knee, his hand going to the wound to gauge the damage, even as his throat rattled with a wheeze in pain. Thankfully, they missed an artery, the hole merely causing him discomfort, even as it dribbled a liberal amount of blood down his front, drenching his jacket and leather jerkin. Sweat and dirt dotting his forehead, Bruce got to his feet as the creatures regrouped for another wave, his throat agony, even as he roared another battle cry, bringing his claws up for the final showdown.
 
Then other cries rang through the forest, rowdy and raucous, heralding the emergence of other beings in the forest. The gravers closest to Bruce paid no mind, but at the psychopomps landed on the scene with a fury of bravado and pumped up machismo, the ones nearest the pomps began peeling off in any direction to escape the much larger, guardians of these woods. Flailing nun-chucks with a practiced air, over and under his shoulder, Rogen struck a pose before charging at the nearest creatures. Franco jumped over the fallen trees that separated them from the fight, spinning in the air like a saw, bushy purple hair flashing metallic in the slivers of moonlight through the canopy. Landing amidst the action, he flashed gum above his teeth in a grimace, no sign of good humor left as he bared his claws, rabbit ears drawn back and rushing like lightning for the attack. From somewhere, Novak had found a machete and sang the Bee Gees while hacking into the back flesh of a fleeing and terrified graver that couldn’t get out of his way quick enough.
 
And stepping solemnly into the clearing, the trees seeming to bend for him, was CK, Diem on his shoulder. There were still a few gravers wrestling with Bruce, ignoring the psychopomps, even as their brothers got the shit kicked out of them, Rogen choking one with his nun-chuck chain while Franco punched it several times in the gut, the Bee Gees catching on while they fought. All of a sudden, CK clapped his large hands above the fight, the sound reverberating so hard, the trees swayed with it. Nothing else was important enough to stay after that, the rest of the gravers who weren’t currently dead or unable to move, rushing off into the darkness of the woods, terrified of their reckoning. Franco and Rogen whooped and hollered in delight, kicking dirt after the fleeing creatures and shaking their fists and making crude gestures in warning, should they even dare to return. While Novak continued to sing the high notes to the Bee Gees song, and Franco made a particularly crude gesture, which Rogen commented a “Dude, nasty,” with a laugh, CK asked Diem, “Is that him?” pointing to the man who’d been left standing after the gravers left.
 
Bruce panted heavily, holding his throat as he stumbled a step forward, hazy and unsure if this was the salvation he’d been hoping for or if it was just a dream.

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Re: Vikander [Ten & Lexibeth]

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