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Thread: The Fated Embrace -or- Mercy and Severity

  1. #1
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    The Fated Embrace -or- Mercy and Severity

    Out of Character:
    Closed to Vortimo.

    Disclaimer: This thread will contain sexual references and acts. If these things offend you, then do not read it.

    All bunnies are pre-approved.


    Tall grass waved about in the twilight breezes of the darkened field. Three pillars of great height stood in a row. The leftmost pillar appeared to be made from a single block of pure black obsidian, absorbing the little bit of light around it. Similarly, the right pillar was formed from a mass of palest marble. In the center, however, stood an obelisk of pure gold run through with thin veins of silver. High above the three pillars floated the silver orb of Luna, the moon, shedding her light upon the scene.

    Caduceus recognized the place, though it had grown more fertile since the last time he had been there, when he faced the demon, Qlippoth. It was barren then, nothing but a sandy desert.

    This was the Foundation of the Tree of Life, where the pillars of Mercy and Severity, as well as the Middle Pillar, took root – Yesod.

    A tall, wizened man stood at the base of the central pillar, wearing robes of dark blue and a pale blue sash about his waist. Silvered wings spread on either side of him, sprouting from his shoulders, and short-cropped dirty blonde hair adorned his head. The angelic figure stepped forward, approaching the magician.

    Caduceus, thinking quickly, gave the Zelator Sign, raising his right arm at an angle in front of him, the sleeve of his robes sliding down his pale, thin forearm. This was a test, and if this being was truly the archangel Gabriel whom he appeared to be, he would give the appropriate sign in response.

    The angel raised his arms to his chest, smiling. He brought his hands together such that his index fingers met, as did his thumbs, forming a downward-pointing triangle level with the shoulders. The Practicus Sign proved his identity as the archangel of Yesod and of Water, come to deliver a message to the young magician.

    "Caduceus Grimaldi, Zelator magician of Hearthwood and student of Tel'Han, you have achieved the realm of Yesod, and thus I am now able to visit upon you this message," Gabriel said, his voice soft as a trickling stream, yet holding a force not unlike the waves crashing against the land. "Return home for the truth you seek. An old friend will give you answers. A new one, however, will bring you greater enlightenment and show you the next step in your path."

    Upon the completion of his short speech, the divine being's wings spread wide, shining a bright light upon the magician. He stamped his left foot once, raising his left forefinger to his lip in the Sign of Silence.

    ---

    Caduceus awoke in his bed in Tel'Han, covered in sweat. Only a week had passed since his first projection, and his chest was still scabbed over from the wounds he had received in the battle with the Qlippoth. An itch irritated the skin there, but the young man knew better than to scratch at the still-healing scabs.

    Instead, he thought about the vision he had just experienced, and the words the archangel had spoken. "Return home for the truth you seek." That was simple enough. The strange words still burned fresh in his mind, and he needed to know what they meant. "Edin nau tsu," he whispered, so soft he almost could not hear it himself.

    So it was that, two days later, Caduceus set out on the road to Concordia, where the town of his birth lay, and the answers he sought would be revealed.
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 08-30-10 at 01:00 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Concordia had turned frightening. The thickly laden trees that had once seemed so shady and comfortable after the open air of their sea voyage was now something coming down as the dark shadows of some unseen monster. Faolan was hurt, beyond Kris' small talent to heal. Now the great Draconian was walking, hunched over, supporting as little weight as he could on her own frame, though with every step he lurched forward, she could feel him needing her strength more and more. Great wings snapped, his sharp toothed jaw was slackening, and as Kris fought back her worried tears, she wondered if they'd ever find a place where he could recuperate from the misunderstanding between a hunter and the Draconian's scaled form.

    Ahead, she could smell hearthfires burning, and it was not long before they fell to their knees, exhausted, when the path opened to the gates of a small town. The wooden gates that surrounded it seemed warm as it glowed from the golden light of the torchfires. The only sentry posted at the gates was a portly older man, sitting back and enjoying a laugh and a pipe from a man who'd stopped, his small cart laden with woods gathered from the floor of Concordia. Kryushan breathed a sigh of relief and tugged her friend back to his verdantly scaled feet, wrapping his brawny arm around her shoulders as she walked into the dancing lights of the sentry torches.

    "Hearthwood..." Faolan wheezed, reading the sign above the gates aloud. "Sounds like a nice place for young ones to call home."

    As the comfortable guard looked their way, Kris glanced sideways at the sweat along Faolan's brow and hoped for his sake that he was right.

  3. #3
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    Ten years. Ten years it had been since last the Qaballist had looked upon the gates of Hearthwood, the wrought iron stark against the greens and browns of Concordia. Back then, it had been Zacheus who stood watch as he rode off in the merchant's wagon, his jolly belly bouncing as he traded jokes and stories with any who would listen, and his balding head shining with the light of the summer sun. Every so often, the man's hacking cough would disrupt his tales of damsels and dragons, and his love of the pipe would rear its ugly head.

    And here the magician found himself again, ten years later, riding back to the village he called home for thirteen years. Three weeks he had been on the road, riding on a merchant's wagon yet again. This time, however, he had served as no mere passenger, but as a welcome protection. In exchange for passage to Concordia, Caduceus had promised to use his magic to defend the precious goods to be sold there. He had performed his job dutifully, though, truth be told, there had not been much to defend against. A couple of desperate marauders were the greatest excitement he had seen. Nonetheless, his presence was welcome, at least for the company he provided if nothing else.

    Night had fallen only hours before, and the magician had taken a seat in the front of the wagon, next to the traveling salesman, Thomasson. His hood drawn up to protect from the chill air of twilight, he peered out at the sign hanging at the gate. "Hearthwood," he read. "'Return home for the truth you seek.'" The wheels rattled softly as they turned over and over. The horses slowed to a trot, happy for the reprieve. Caduceus reached up to his cheek, feeling the stubble he had grown over the journey. No time for such luxuries as a good shave on the road, and besides, he was growing to like a little fur on his jaw.

    Then, his blue-grey eyes caught something he hadn't noticed before: what looked like a young woman was supporting a large reptilian creature to the village. He's limping... He must have been hurt badly. He touched the salesman's hand, pointing to the pair. "Tom, hold for a minute, will you? They look like they need help."

    "Take care, Cad," came the reply in a gravelly voice. The grey-haired Thomasson leveled a steely, but caring, gaze at the hooded man. "One o' these days, yer kin'ness is gonna get ye in trouble, boy."

    Caduceus smiled at the man and gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. "I'll be fine, you worry-wart." As the cart slowed to a stop, the magician hopped off onto the road, making his way over to the struggling pair. "You look like you could use some help," he called. Looking past them, he recognized the jolly coughing man standing guard at the gates. Fitting. The old man still hasn't kicked the habit, he thought. "They're with me, Zach. I'll take responsibility for them." Adding, in the Hebrew tongue, "Achri oshre shanim, agi chamkh hebitheh." After ten years, I return home.
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 08-30-10 at 01:05 PM.
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  4. #4
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    "Yes, we could!" a small voice came pressing its way out from under the bulk of the Draconian. Somehow, Kris managed to turn herself, and Faolan around, looking through the curly strands of mud and honey that had fallen in her face to the voice that was speaking in the torch-lit night. Her earthen colored eyes scanned for a moment between he and Tom, finally deciding that it had been the hooded of the figures that had spoken.

    She had seen far handsomer faces in her time, and more muscled structures, but she supposed kindness counted for more than anything in a Samaritan. She stuck out a hand to flag him down and somehow got Faolan over to him. As she came up along the cart, she could see beneath his cowl. His face wasn't as homely as she'd first thought, though she shrugged off the idea. Faolan's welfare came before a toss in the metaphorical hay.

    "My friend was shot yesterday by a hunter in these woods." Her voice was thickly accented with both the faint traces of Salvar and Dheathain, spiced and cold, a Draconic slur to her words.

  5. #5
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    Shot by a hunter, the magician pondered, as he strained to help the young woman in loading her companion's scaly bulk into the cart. These woods have changed, after all. Or, was it merely the innocence of youth blinding me to the dangers of my home?

    "Aye," he grunted. "The folk here can be a bit overzealous in the defense of their homes. Even here, on the outskirts of Concordia, mysterious creatures and magicks lurk. Nonetheless, we'll see to finding him a safe place to rest and recover." He jerked his head to the side, yelling, "Oy, Tom, give us a hand, will you?" With the sudden movement, his hood fell back, revealing his youthful face, aged only by a slight stubble along his jaw, and his light brown hair, pulled back as always.

    With the merchant's help, the injured lizard man was loaded onto the wagon, laying against a sack of grain supporting his back. "If memory serves, there's a nice inn by the name of Chalumoth shel Sandalphon, Dreams of Sandalphon, here," he said, wiping away some of the blood from the wounded creature's scaly hide. "Unless you have any objections, I can afford two rooms. One for you and your companion, assuming you'll want to be there to keep an eye on him, and one for me, so you can have your privacy." He looked up at her as he said this, only now noticing the curling locks of honey-brown hair falling about her shoulders, and the creamy complexion of her skin. His eyes met hers for an instant, and he couldn't help staring in awe at the beautiful and expressive orbs, before catching himself moments later and looking away.

    He hadn't felt anything like this since his visit to the Citadel, where he met the exotic beauty named Karuka. Their paths led them their separate ways shortly after meeting, but he remembered the brave redhead fondly. He shook himself mentally. Now is not the time for those thoughts! he scolded himself. She needs your help!

    "I don't believe we've introduced ourselves," he said, distracting himself from the embarrassment and the memories. "This is Thomasson--" he gestured toward the older man beginning to set the cart to motion again "-- and I am Caduceus. And you are?"
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 08-30-10 at 01:08 PM.
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  6. #6
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    She was busy watching her friends expression of pain when he mentioned the room arrangements, but she was drawn back to his voice just in time to catch is interesting name. The syllables were a little unfamiliar, and she knew that if she tried to repeat it, she'd probably end up butchering it, so instead, she grinned and offered her own name.

    "Kris, and this is Faolan." Her hand squeezed the Draconian's shoulder gently before she tilted her head, looking Caduceus up and down.

    "You're handsome, and very kind. Would you make your bed with me tonight?"

    There was a pause where only the sounds of Thomasson's creaking cart prevailed, and then, in a voice rougher than the road they bumped over as they entered Hearthwood, Faolan spoke.

    "Us. With us."

  7. #7
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    The words rang in his ears as she uttered them. "Would you make your bed with me tonight?" So straightforward, as if it were nothing at all for her to request a place in a man's bed.

    The young man gulped, and he fought hard to keep his jaw from going slack. He'd never done anything like that before. Such things had crossed his mind, but he had always been so focused on his magic, as had most of the girls at Tel'Han. Twenty-three, and emotionally fifteen, he mused.

    Then, after a moment's stunned silence, the lizard man spoke up intimidatingly. All thoughts of sharing beds left his mind, replaced by images of feral wrath and frail spines ripped in twain. The minutes passed in silence after that, as the cart wove its way into the town square.

    Caduceus peeked out the front of the wagon, from under the canvas canopy, searching for the square letters of the Hebrew language spelling out the name of the inn. When he had spotted the Dreams of Sandalphon, he pointed it out to Thomasson, and the old man slowed the mules to a stop.

    It was a struggle getting Faolan out of the cart, just as it had been getting him in, but it was managed with minimal strain, and Caduceus helped support him as he limped to the door.

    The inn was a small one, with only a few rooms and simple amenities. The outer walls were of cobbled stone, though inside everything was wooden. A sleepy-eyed teenage girl leaned against the desk just inside the door, a kercheif over her dirty blonde hair. She perked up as the door squeaked open, and her eyes flew wide at the group coming through. A mass of muscle and scale, supported by a tall, lanky young woman and a man in robes.

    Caduceus recognized this woman, though her features had changed since she was a child of seven when he had left. He made his way to her, and spoke in the language of his people. "Dinah, hiethi avehb sheni chadrim semuhkim," he began, though as he spoke, he felt a strange stirring in his loins as a cold fire alit just above, where he was branded with the mark of Luna. The words he sought caught in his throat and became something else as he spoke them. "Mihshev ached lached matupes lahevria beth, vamishev laatzmi veheghbarath hetzaayreh."

    Out of Character:
    Translation:
    Dinah, I'd like two adjoining rooms. One for the scaled one to recover in, and one for myself and the young lady.
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  8. #8
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    They had gotten Faolan snuggled into a large bed, with the promise that a doctor would be there to patch him up in the morning. For now, Kris leaned over him, washing the dried blood from his scales, kissing him softly on the head as exhaustion from their journey and the stress of the past few days finally caught up with him. His eyes slowly fluttered closed, the dark circles seeming even more stark without his eyes to distract her from noticing just how puffy and worn the skin seemed.

    She was preparing to curl into bed beside her friend when the innkeeper led her gently from the room, to one across the hall. Behind the door, she found a single bed, laden with woolen blankets and a cotton quilt. Standing by the dresser, seeming to be infatuated with something on the top of it, not daring to glance at her, was that boy. He was the handsome one who'd helped her, who'd paid their stay here.

    It made sense that she would bed with him. She'd offered the arrangement, after all, and Faolan needed to rest alone if he were to regain his strength for the rest of their travels. Sightseeing in a world whose balance was on the precipice of being turned completely upside down wasn't going to be like their little adventures at home. The dangers ahead were hardly known, the waters darker than any deep, black stream in Dheathain.

    She stretched as she crossed the room, looking through the fluttering curtains to the dark-lit streets and began to pull off her boots as she smiled over her shoulder at Caduceus.

    "What do you wear under that robe?"

  9. #9
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    This woman, Kris, could have any man she wanted. She was beautiful, caring, honest -- any other man would take her without a second thought, ravaging her and, often as not, tossing her aside the next day. But she had chosen Caduceus, and he was not any other man.

    I'm kind, and caring, and...Lord, what is happening to me?!? Is this woman the one from the dream? Is this a lesson? A test? She is gorgeous, and she wants to bed with me. Why? I am nothing more than a country boy for all she knows, and she doesn't seem the unscrupulous type regarding her partners from what I have seen.

    All this ran through the magician's mind, and much more, as he left her to make Faolan more comfortable. He stood there, staring at the dresser in deep thought, his boots gone from his feet and by the door. He heard a soft creak and a click as the door opened and closed, and he knew it was Kris. The mark above his loins still burned from before, though it was softer now, and he could feel it begging him, urging him to take her. Not in blind lust. Not in selfish desire.

    In the love of a caring stranger.

    Bringing his hand over the mark where his robes covered it, he whispered, "Elohim, mabrekh aotnev." God, bless us.

    He heard her question, and rather than speaking to respond, he simply turned his head to look at her, meeting her eyes with his for the first time since the offer on the wagon, and smiled softly. He pulled his arms in through the sleeves of his humble raiments, bringing them up and over his head, tousling his hair and tossing the low ponytail about as the thick cloth pulled over it. As he did, it revealed the milky pale skin of his thin chest and arms, as well as the simple tied woolen trousers he wore over his lower half.

    He was not without muscle, having carried his own wood for years to feed the hearth in the brutal winters of the Comb. But then neither was he a strong ox of a warrior, hefting a sword as big as he was. He was only as muscular as one would expect a country boy to be. His ribs did not poke through his chest, and he had the faint semblance of abdominal muscle over his stomach. His arms were not wasting near-vestigial limbs, but carried a noticable amount of meat on the bones. What muscle he had was lithe and wiry, from the stretches and meditative poses he performed in his magical rituals.

    After a few moments of standing there, half naked for the first time in front of a woman, he shivered, feeling exposed. He wrapped his arms over his chest self-consciously, and his toes curled in, dragging briefly on the wooden floorboards beneath him.

    Looking away again, he stepped back from her, preparing to sit down on the soft blankets of the small bed. Then, the mark roared to life, hidden under the waist of his pants, and he stepped closer again, pulling Kris to him to kiss those soft lips, pausing for a moment before his met hers.
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  10. #10
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    There was something apprehensive hanging in the air, though she couldn't tell if it was quite fear or not. She wondered why he was so nervous, holding his arms in front of him as if he were lost or hiding. His frame was smaller than that of a Draconian warrior, leaner like her own. She appreciated the lines of his musculature, the way he moved, even if it seemed like he would bolt from the room at any moment. That was, of course, until he kissed her. The floodgates were broken, and she could feel the tension snap apart.

    Suddenly, she didn't feel like she had to be so careful. The timidity she'd been displaying thusfar had only been to keep from frightening him away, and now she had no problem pushing him down, so that he sat on the edge of the bed, sliding into his lap as she kissed him. His arms were around her, holding her close, the fingers curling into her skin as his toes had done on the floor just moments ago. This time, she knew the tiny gesture was more possession than shyness.

    Using her fingertips to brush away his hands, she let herself slide to the floor, kneeling between his knees as she began to pull the waistband of his pants downward, revealing an expanse of skin, marked with a shape that was familiar. At night she'd often watched the moon in all it's phases and the crescent that she found here, glowing faintly with a silverish gleam, was so akin to the true lunar body that watched over their meeting now. She bent closer, taking in the detail of the skin, the way it seemed to shimmer with moonlight, as if the glow of the skies was dancing in that place despite the curtained windows. First she kissed it, pressing her lips against the glow as she closed her eyes, before dragging her tongue gently across it, following the movement of her hands as they continued to bring the woolen pants still lower.

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