• Closed • Integrity (Faith, Padraig)

Aelig's news becomes so much more real...

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Integrity (Faith, Padraig)

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91st Day of Zi'da, 716

Late Evening
In reality, only a few trials had passed since he had announced his machinations to Faith and her tutor-turned-partner, Padraig. However, to the Immortal of Illusion, it had felt as he has been waiting since the Great Shattering. They had not known it, but the impatient Immortal had not strayed far from the ex-slave, so curious was he to see her reaction to his disturbance on the otherwise apparently happy life of the two mortals.

He had watched with fascination, just to see how Faith would digest the knowledge she now possessed, so earth-shattering that it was. Would she rise to the challenge? Or would she crumble under the pressure?

For a time, he had been moderately surprised by the girl’s reaction, and even more so by that of Padraig. It had been.. not delightful… more… delectable to bare witness to the pair as they began to come to terms with his news. Eventually, however, much like everyone else he watched, he grew bored. It was not that he was bored of Faith, per se. Not at all. But the situation could only stay exciting for him for so long… before he needed to give it another… nudge.

And so, on one of the final nights of Zi’da of the 716th Arc, Aelig waited for the young woman to fall asleep, tucked safely in the arms of her new lover. For a few breaks, he watched the slow rise and fall of their chests, both in synchronisation. In a way, they seemed like two parts of a whole, how naturally their bodies fit together, even now, even after they had had time to digest his news.

A swell of bitter resentment built up, like bile, in the back of his throat. He shook his head and turned away. In one swift, well practiced motion, he faded from the mortal realm and entered into Emea. Once again, it was too easy to find Faith. Padraig was harder, yet he was not far.

The tutor did not interest him right now, however, and he made no effort to draw the man in. Instead, he took the form of the guard once again as he materialised behind Faith who, in her dream, was garbed in the same night clothes, looking out the window of the room of her old Master. Gentle footsteps left his movement towards her silent. A gentler smile than before fell upon his features, one which made him look almost attractive, yet it did not reach his eyes. He raised his hand and, gently, slowly, combed his fingers through the length of the ex-slave’s hair. When he spoke, his voice was soft and deep, and carried the promise - or a lie - of affection. “Hello, Faith.
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Faith was sleeping wrapped up in Padraig's arms, curled into him and resting in a way that she never really had as a slave. It was the sound of his heart which did it, the gentle beating of it rhythmic and soothing in her ear as she slept with her head on his chest and her arm around his waist. Entwined together as they had grown accustomed to being over the last season, the former slave slept soundly.

In her sleep the young woman traversed Emea in the unknown and chaotic way those who could not Walk did and she was standing in Tristan's bedroom, looking out of the window. She was wearing the white halter-neck nightgown which she had fallen asleep in and which Tristan had never seen her in. But, to her dreaming mind it all made sense and all was as it should be. She looked down at the brand on her shoulder and lifted her hand to her face, touching the cheek where the freedom brand was still warm to the touch and she sighed a deep sigh.

"Padraig? Mistral is chasing the other cats, look." Faith spoke as though he was there, standing next to her. She didn't hear the footfalls behind her and the first that she knew was the feeling of a hand running through her hair. Her skin leapt into gooseflesh and in the waking world she stirred, uncomfortable in her sleep. In the dream, though she did what she would always do, or always have done, once upon a time. Standing quiet and sill she did not respond until he spoke. When he spoke she dropped a curtsy and turned. It was a man she knew but she didn't know how. That did not matter though, so she smiled in greeting. "Hello. We're ready for you, are you here for your lesson?"

The bedroom opened up into a larger room, although the bed was huge, still and Faith wondered just why the manacles which Tristan had bought with her were laying on it. No matter, there was the table and chair laid out like every time that she had arrived at Padraig's house. "Shall I make the tea?"
Last edited by Faith Augustin Champion on Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:15 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 381
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Earlier that evening he'd occupied himself with any number of things. He'd pulled out some vials and a burner, a few powders from his chemistry chest and worked on something alchemical. He'd read about birds and flight out of a book from the library, about perpetual motion and he'd had any number of other things on his mind. Those other things had been only distractions, but he'd fallen asleep with many of them still toying with his subconscious.

It wasn't the first time Padraig had dreamed of Faith. She'd been present in more of his dreams than he could count by now. Some vivid and some more mundane. Still in a pair of drawstring cotton trousers and nothing else, they were in their own home, but not. It didn't strike him as strange that by all accounts it was Tristan's. There was Faith, smiling at him, and Mistral. Though it didn't strike him as unusual in the least that there was no actual cat, but a living, animated version of that abomination, make that sculpture that Tristan had shown him, chasing miniature versions of itself around the house and under their feet. "It needs a bath," he said bluntly.

There was a third figure there. A man, and Padraig simply took it as the norm as one of the smaller of the Mistral's took flight and landed on a chandelier, which left it swinging to and fro and casting odd patches of light onto the floors and walls. Round and round and round, never stopping. "I'll make the tea," he said and walked to the table where he poured from a large glass beaker into several smaller ones. A glowing green, clear liquid that boiled and sent curls of smoke into the air as he handed one to Faith and then their guest. "Did you bring the contract?" he asked.
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The hand that had begun to caress the girl’s locks slowed as the ex-slave turned. It halted completely when Faith addressed him as if he was some common man off the streets. Aelig’s eyes narrowed in anger. His appearance was identical to that of the one he had borne to meet the couple mere days previously.

Aelig stared at the tutor, who had also arrived, and then turned to look at the slave girl once more. The room darkened, shadows leaking out with the ‘guard’ seemingly the gravitational centre. The shadows, or aura, were tones of anger and disbelief. It was a whisper at first, that nonetheless cut across the air like a blade as the temperature dropped, slicing the warm Saun-like atmosphere in half and filling it with a darkness. The Immortal retreated a step, eyes never leaving Faith’s as he shifted from pale grey to a much brighter blue. His height also changed, growing taller by a few inches, and his features softened, until he bore the appearance of Faith’s former Master, Tristan Venora.

The aura shifted too, mirroring the soft, reassuring presence that a Master was to his slave, matching Aelig’s new form. The aura was dark, still, and ominous, but… there was a bit of a glint to it, a hint of light. If Faith looked closely enough, they would see it twitch, the slightest sparkle of something glimmering, almost golden. Obsidian, the perfect description. It was both exquisite and frightening.

Really, Faith” Tristan’s lips spoke the words of Aelig, as his hand rose once again to rest under her hair against her neck. The thumb gently traced her jawline as he used his strength to pull the former slave closer to him. “Is that how you should address your beloved Master? I am disappointed in you.

Bright eyes examined the girl, who looked so innocent in her nightgown, and his smiled, before leaning forward and placing a gentle kiss upon her forehead. His lips lingered, and he breathed in the fragrance that was uniquely Faith’s. Eventually, he pulled his head back and turned his body but not releasing his hold on the back of the girl’s neck, as he turned to Padraig, silently accepting the brew “Contract?” He asked with barely concealed incredulity, “My dear man, what possible thing do you think I could ever want from you?” He maintained the appearance of the Venora boy, yet any pretence fell, and Aelig allowed the two mortals to understand just who he truly was.
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She laughed when Padraig said that the cat needed a bath, shaking her head and smiling at him, completely carefree. "It can need one, thanks. I remember last time, don't you? There were the workers who were buried and the men who were drawing lots for me. I didn't like that. Plus, that river was cold. No, I think we should ask Mr Spekkle." It all made sense in the whirling sleep of her subconscious and Faith looked at Padraig seriously. "He likes to bathe cats. He puts them in his handbag and then he marries them, you know." She pointed to the smallest one, swining around on the lights. "That one's called Tabitha and she knew I'm yours before you did. Isn't that funny?"

But then, the man was there and it was dark and it was gloomy and his hand was in her hair and Faith felt cold grip at her heart. It was Tristan and he was disappointed in her? She pulled against his hand as it held her, wincing as she felt the thumb stroke across her jaw. "No. No, I'm not yours any more. Padraig? Please... please tell him. No, please ewwww." He kissed her on the forehead and Faith struggled against him, her body mirroring her sleeping movements in the waking world. "Get off me! I don't want you, don't you know that? I never did, I served you. I had no idea what it meant to give myself to someone I love, who loves me. I don't care if you're displeased get off me!"

Yet his hand did not move and Faith stopped struggling. He had a grip of her and she remembered Padraig's words from the last time a man had wrapped his hands around her, although that had been her throat, rather than the back of her neck. "He won't snap my neck, he needs it to be slow. I'm going to be in with the horses, that's why the manacles are here. I told you they were metal." So many of the trials before melting together into the one dream and Faith stood, back straight and his hand on her neck.

She wasn't a Dreamwalker and so, to her mind it all just made sense and she didn't realise it was a dream. But there were things which did add up and she spoke, her voice showing her fear. "It's you, isn't it? You did this to me. You... you won't break us." Faith didn't know who he was but she thought she understood what he wanted. "You want everything he has that's important to him. You want us. Not me, which is what you think you want, but you want us. A relationship. But I won't be yours. I'm his. Freely given, both. Vri knows. I love him in Vri's name and I have sworn it. You won't break us. Don't sign it, Padraig." Faith looked at him and she smiled. "He wants you to sign away us. But it's a contract and it's meaningless. We both know. Don't sign it, love, he won't hurt me." She looked at Aelig then and frowned slightly.

"Is it Tristan's baby?" Faith couldn't help but think that wasn't quite logical. But there was this hand on the back of her neck and she wondered whether the cats were alright.
Last edited by Faith Augustin Champion on Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 597
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"Mister Spekkle has an unnatural growth on his nose. But it's not so bad. It's his breath that's terrible," Padraig said in utter seriousness when Faith mentioned the apothecary, and then his gaze slid to the rotating chandelier. "No, that's not Tabitha. Tabitha has blue hair and wears a naked dog in her hat. Someone should open a window," he added, suddenly distracted from both Faith and the interloper by how cold and dark the room had become.

"There we go then," he said when a flash of bright blue filled the room. "Don't drink that by the way," the scholar added in a whisper meant only for Faith, referring to the green bubbling vials he'd handed her and...What was it now? Tristan? "It's poison." He seemed delighted by the prospect that he'd just attempted to poison an Immortal, or Tristan.

But he was quick to shift moods when Faith was grabbed hold of. He reached for his own sword, shouting "Unhand her!" before coming up with a sticky handful of a familiarly colored, sticky and toxic green goo that tangled his fingers hopelessly together.

Apparently quick to distraction in this dreaming state, he frowned at Faith and pondered what she was saying. No, no contracts. No signing them away. "I am hers, she is mine, we are ours...us. We. You are...an insufferable boob, that's what, and never the t'wain shall meet." Then of course he realized it wasn't Tristan at all, but the same Immortal who'd delighted in their torment some trials earlier. Padraig was unrepentant however, mostly, when Aelig chastised him. "I stand by my assessment...Sir." Insufferable boob, indeed.
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She was sweet. Innocent and pure, despite her past… or maybe it was because of her past. The smile remained in place, endeared towards the ex slave, and Aelig wanted nothing more than to touch her cheek once again, and brush his thumb against her lips. Magnificent, that fire within her. How he looked forward to breaking that spirit in a way that the slave trainers of Athart never could.

When she continued to speak, with such passion, the Immortal’s feelings only intensified. But the tutor was just as passionate and persistent in his inordinately displeasing presence. As Aelig rose the mug of steaming liquid to drink from, the man uttered his final words, insulting him no end. He paused, on the precipice of drinking, and a still fell over the room. The icy darkness returned, immeasurably uncomfortable, as if Faldrun had stolen the sun from Idalos. Deeply disquieting, a blackness radiated from the Immortal of Illusion: the last had been a warning, this was a promise.

The Immortal lowered his mug, placing it on the windowsill and finally stepped away from Faith and over to her partner. His eyes were narrowed, but there was also a glimmer of curiosity on his expression, as he raised his hand and, in one swift motion, grabbed Padraig’s upper arm, dragging him in closer so that their chests were pressed against each other. Breathing in, Aelig closed his eyes and pressed his free hand to the man’s forehead and dragged it over his eyes, nose and mouth before releasing his hold completely.

The man would fall limp, faced with nothing. With eyes open, there would be blackness. Any breath of air would smell of nothing, nor would be be able to sense air filling his lungs. He wouldn’t be able to taste the metallic taste of deep sleep, nor hear any possible exclamations of horror from himself or his beloved. Though he could move, he would not feel the pain as his chin collided with the floor, nor be aware of gravity holding him to the world, for his body would not exist to him. The ultimate Illusion: Oblivion.

Interest in the man’s reaction held his attention of a few ticks, but eventually he grew bored of the insignificant man, turning his attention to his own body and brushing off any imaginary dust from Tristan’s clothing. Ignoring any shouts from the pair, Aelig finally answered Faith’s demanding question, “Who else would bed you, slave?” His playful amusement at the mortals’ situation had passed. He was growing weary of the insults, of the arrogance of the puny species who walked on their Parents’ land. They were pawns, nothing more. All of them.

And they would all suffer. “You are worth only as much as someone would pay for you, Faith.” Wherever Faith was, he reached out and grab her by the upper arm, much like he had done with Padraig, pulling her towards him. Gazing into her eyes in an almost loving way, he traced her shoulder: the location of Faith’s now absent slave brand. “Worthless,” he whispered, releasing her in disgust.
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So I know I'm guilty of a bit of godmodding here (as if this whole thing hasn't been just that!) but you earned this, Pad! There was no way I was letting you off! It's only for a short while so don't worry. :)
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"I'd forgotten the dog! Oh, that's funny. I love you, you know. Do you think we should think about a dog?" She frowned slightly and looked at the not-Tabitha Mistral. "That one isn't going to grow up well you know. We should get a suitor for her. Maybe someone stupid. We can hit them with a brick?" She was delighted with that idea and she beamed at him.

Taking the poison she nodded her understanding and then put it down. "I'm not thirsty!" Faith announced and brought two cups of tea from her tray. "I didn't want one. Remember? That was a lie. I forgot to make one for me because no one told me I could. I'm getting better though, aren't I?" But all thoughts of such fled as he held on to her and Padraig tried to protect her. She stood, unable to move as Aelig grabbed him, though and Faith cried out "Don't you touch him! You don't want him, it's me, remember? You want me. Not him." She sobbed, trying to move and trying to struggle but she couldn't move. "Padraig! Hear my thoughts, remember, you can! You can! Oh stop it... stop hurting him, please? Please."

Who else would bed her? It wasn't the question that provoked the response, it was what he called her. Slave. That had been her name in Athart, or a thousand different ones. "This slave would... I.. I would. Not a slave any more.. please, please stop hurting him. Please?" She shuddered when he traced the brand on her and then, as he released her Faith moved and fell on to her knees next to Padraig. "Please, love. Please. Please wake up, hear me. See me. I'm here. Know that I'm here, please?" She kissed him, gently, holding him and rocking. "Its so hard... why are you doing this to us? I love. I am love and Famula guides me. I am love and Vri walks with me. We are love. Come on, Padraig, there are more than him. Come on come on.... " and the devout young woman knelt on the floor, cradling her love in her arms and praying a fervent and heartfelt prayer to the two Immortals she worshipped. "Guide us. Guide him. Love will overcome.... we are the light for each other in the darkness. Blessed Famula, Blessed Vri... come on Padraig. Come to me, you and me and us. Come on..."
Last edited by Faith Augustin Champion on Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 427
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The Immortal looked at him like he was one of those rats that Padraig had experimented with, on, back in the lab at university. It was unsettling to say the least and suddenly the dream seemed more real than it had before. Shame that it hadn't happened before. Before he'd let his mouth and impulses get the better of him.

Funny. He'd have thought that the attempted poisoning was the thing that would have offended the thin skinned immortal the most. Not the name calling.

But it was a dream, right? A place where the subconscious came out to play, and where one's deepest, darkest desires could be expressed without consequence. But it appeared it wasn't the case. The dream quickly turned to a nightmare when Aelig took hold of him, and dragged him close befor ehe could stop it. The immortal's breath was hot, and foul, like something rotting. Or so Padraig thought it to be and it added something extra to the fear and the dread. Still, even in the dream he worried about Faith, and only Faith. But he found himself helpless, unable to be of any use to her, or to himself.

Helpless to stop it, or even protest when Aelig's hand swept down over his face. And took with it every sense of sight, smell, taste or hearing. Or even a trace of the tactile, of the pain of hitting the floor that would have reassured him that there remained some semblance of life in him. His mind still turned and railed against it all, however. But the lack of everything else came as a shock to his system, the lack, interestingly enough, so much worse and more terrifying than any frightful sounds, sights or physical dangers he ever could have experienced.

It was an illusion, considering the source, and somewhere deep inside, even in this dream state he knew it. But breaking free of it and convincing himself in spite of the knowing was, thus far, beyond him.

Did he struggle or thrash about? Did he lie still or try to regain his footing? Did he curse the immortal who'd done this? Or did he call out Faith's name and reach out for her? He thought it, but couldn't know. Were his eyes opened wide with fear, or closed tight with tears sliding down his cheeks. Padraig wondered if this was what death was like. The knowing, but not the seeing or hearing or feeling. Oblivion was a very good name for it. From what Faith had told him of dying, the process of it, he rather thought it might be preferable to this as a chronic condition.
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The pathetic little slave’s begging was like music to Aelig’s ears. Every anxious word that flew from the girl’s lips fuelled his ego and warmed his soul. A lazy smile lingered on his stolen features as his eyes closed, breathing in the scent of anguish and pain, just as he listened to Faith’s squawking.

The enjoyment was short-lived, however, for the girl only begged him briefly. Her attention soon turned to the man on the floor, who was surprisingly still. He had expected writhing and thrashing - anything to cause any sensation to the body. The Immortal confessed himself disappointed at the tutor’s calm. He desperately wanted to see and hear and feel the man’s suffering at the cruel punishment he had inflicted.

Aelig knelt down, just behind Faith, who was now rocking back and forth, clutching at Padraig as if he might fade away before her. He wondered how strong the couple was. He wondered just how deep the love was, how absolute it could be. He wondered what might push them over the edge. A small part of him wanted to find out now.

My sweet, sweet Faith,” he murmured, his lips close to the ex-slaves ear. Again, he began to stroke her hair. His touch was in stark contrast to what it had been mere moments before. It was gentle… loving, almost. It was the touch that silently promised protection above all others. A touch that, had it come from anyone else, might have been reassuring. Aelig found great pleasure in knowing that, with Faith’s knowledge of who he was, as well as his appearance, would be anything but comforting.

There was a distinct irony that, because of his ministrations, Faith was unlikely to ever trust the father of her child again. “Your trust in love is misguided. A here to cradle a man who would have left you. How can his love be pure if he would blame you for something that befell you when you were a slave, at a time when you had no control over that which your Master wished to use you for? For a love you believe to be so unconditional, I see so many conditions.

Leaning in, Aelig too a deep breath, relishing the smell of the girl's locks. She truly was a beautiful specimen. “You should know better by now. You will always be a slave. Whether to a Master, or not. Your life is meaningless... and any happiness you find is a gift, given at my mercy. And my mercy is so easily swayed-

Enough.
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