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  1. #1
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Name
    Avis Tsakaka
    Age
    16
    Race
    Kenku / Tengu
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Corone

    The Rise and Fall of Sir Vitruvion Elssmith - Part One

    Part one of a story I've been planning on writing for a while. Follows on from a long series of other solos and wraps up the current storyline for Stare and Vitruvion.
    Chapter One

    Chaotically, she yawned; a wide-beaked deceleration to all that she needed air. Her head tipped back, so that the extent of her pink tongue, deep throat and oesophagus could been seen, glorious in the natural state. Her eyes slid closed, shutting off the access to her power that could quell an army. Rolling back her shoulders she made a most of her soundless movement, the yawn wider and more disgusting than one could truly desire.

    "Stare," came a quiet, disapproving tone.

    One eye peeked open as the need to gulp air began to dissipate. She spied the elegant man, these days less formal and more relaxed. The smart tailcoat jacket, the tailored breeches and the matching necktie had all gone, to be replaced by cotton trousers, still fine, and a white shirt. His cane, a symbol of his character, had all but disappeared, and the golden dagger that had been hidden within it all this time now sheathed and slid into his belt.

    Slowly she closed her beak, her head turning to look at him as he sat across the room from her. He was staring at her, over his newspaper with one eyebrow raised. That familiar look made her pause, the life she had and the knowledge she had coming back to her as the distraction of that single yawn had obliterated her awareness of it. Her clawed fingers curled on the edges of the book upon her lap, and she grunted.

    "Disgusting?"

    "Indeed," Vitruvion Elssmith said, his white hair perfectly framing her face. Her employer. Her god. Her master. Her actual liege-lord now. A man she had made a deal with in order to gain the best of what she could from the situation she had been stuck with. The fact she was immortal, by his hand, and he was too. The fact he was so obsessed with her safety he could barely let her out of his sight currently. The fact she meant more to him than they dared give a name to now, because the word 'love' would never be uttered again. Not by either of them. Because it still caused her horror to know that he was in love with her ...

    Of course, for all that they had gone through, there were reasons. Their relationship, if it could be called one, had begun a year prior almost, when she had been physically kidnapped to be taken as a 'guest' into his underground sex-slave dungeon, ruled by a tribe of machocistic men. There she had been abused by him, raped, and verbally assaulted - until she had become more useful to him as a servant and a member of his staff than just for sex. They had found out the truth of their connection - that he was the son of the god who had created and then abandoned her race, making her not only his employee but also his subject. He had wasted little time: he had bound them mentally by way of an immoveable cuff on her wrist and a ring on his finger; he had formally made her his literal property; and then later had made her immortal, so that their bond would last into eternity, and she would be stuck with him, despite his cruelty and his abuse of her in the early months.

    And then things had changed. Dramatically. His half-brother had appeared in his life, and for some still unknown reason, had begun to destroy everything Vitruvion loved dear. He had killed a close friend. He had destroyed two of the trading ships that held up the god's business empire. He had kidnapped her, by way of Bounty Hunters, and also brought her own brother back from the dead, but as something cruel and with no memory of her. He had disabled Raevin, perhaps permanently, the mighty elf warrior who had served Vitruvion for decades, and most recently had kidnapped Ventura, Vitruvion's only loyal sister. Their own city also, Beinost, where much of Vitruvion's life was, had been almost brought to chaos when agents of this enemy brother had killed livestock and burnt warehouses to cause the city to almost starve ...
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Name
    Avis Tsakaka
    Age
    16
    Race
    Kenku / Tengu
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Corone
    Terror. Horror. And then someone had blurted out that Vitruvion's obsession with keeping Stare close was because he had fallen in love with her. Something he had never hoped to be found out. Something she wanted never to know. Not really. So they had barely mentioned it. And through a week of silence and then negotiation Stare had dealt with what she had - a knowledge that he would never let her go - and bargained with him for a deal for their futures.

    Her agreement to stay with him, in exchange for no sex. Ever. Her understanding and acceptance that he ruled her life, in exchange that he would respect her. Properly. His ability to show some resemblance of affection in exchange for a consideration of formally freeing her, because legally she was his slave still. She knew she had changed him, and that their mental connection had allowed both of them to grow as people. He had, through her influence, she believed, but also that of suffering at the hands of his brother, become a better person, to the extent where he had not used his prisoners within the Hollow for over three months.

    Life was not perfect, but it was better. Stare lived with an existence that was now at least barable, with a being she knew cared more for her safety than anything. He had still not formally freed her, but she hoped that in time it would occur. Soon. If she kept bringing it up.

    Though there was one thing she could never change. And that was his high sense of decorum. Which she had just ruined by her loud, huge yawn.

    "Sorry," she apologised in a low voice, leaning back into her armchair. And she genuinely meant it. Kenku mouths were not the most beautiful.

    "If you are tired, then go to bed," Vitruvion kept peering at her over the top of his paper. "You are certainly less belligerent when you are more aware."

    For a moment she stared at him - glared almost - and then looked back down at her book. Her claws curled lightly, gorging the thin leather of the binding.

    "And now you seem intent on harming my books. Go," he raised a hand and shoved it towards the door over his shoulder, back beyond the sofa he sat upon. "Bed."

    Her eyes blinked. Lifting her book to the side she glanced over at the third figure in the room, the one they had been missing out, and saw him only regarding the conversation with raised brows. Still, the elf with the one leg kept his eyes lowered to the large history tone before him, the same one he had been reading since they had very literally appeared in the front room of Vitruvion's townhouse in Radasanth unannounced. And still with little explanation.

    "I'm not tired," she said quietly. "Only ... Exhausted."

    "From doing very little?" his tone was disbelieving. "Aside from reading for the majority of the day and some limited travelling?" Her god smirked, amused. "Go, Stare. I will not be far behind."

    And I need to talk to Raevin. Alone, he added quietly, into her mind.

    What happened to your obsession of not letting me out of your sight? she growled, but was already pushing the book to the side and standing, smoothing down her tunic.

    There was a growth of the smile on his face as he watched her. We are far safer here than Beinost, and I will be following you as you ascend to the upstairs.

    "Hmm," she grunted, but she turned her eyes away from him and continued towards the door. Raevin glanced to her quickly, still not speaking, still not commenting. But she did not look back as she pushed on the door handle and exited the room, her feet claws lightly tapping on the floorboards as she did.
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  3. #3
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    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Avis Tsakaka
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    Female
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    Corone
    There was a long, arduous pause.

    Raevin, the captain of the guard, at least when his leg had been whole, let the silence continue whilst his employer looked at the paper. The elf's lips pursed, he paused and considered. He thought before he could no longer not speak.

    "Would it be possible to deduce that yourself and Stare have ..."

    "Come to an agreement, yes," Vitruvion replied, folding the paper into its natural state. He then folded it again and laid it to the side. Lifting his eyes he looked directly at Raevin. "She has, in her own way, sworn her loyalty to me," he kept his voice even as he gazed at his old friend and ally. "She has agreed to remain at my side, willingly, for the foreseeable future."

    Raevin's lips parted. He was no fool. He was one of very few who knew of Vitruvion's godhood, and the fact that Stare had been made immortal purely because their employer had refused to live without her. Those combined meant that the arrangement Stare had seemingly pledged herself to was ...

    "Sir," Raevin said quietly. "You mean she has given no stipulation to an ending of time. Meaning ..."

    "She has pledged herself to my service for eternity, yes, Raevin," Vitruvion said calmly and sedately. "She is mine, and now she accepts that. There were some other exchanges of understanding, and it was not without its challenges to arrange, but," softly, he smiled. "I have what I want."

    "Her," Raevin murmured.

    "At least her loyalty, indeed." The god's chest swelled with some pride. His fingers played with the ring on the middle finger on his right hand. "And for your awareness she is now knowing not so much the location of her soul, but the fact it is not in her body."

    Raevin blinked, then winced. "Ah."

    "Ah indeed," Vitruvion nodded, "But I agreed to elements of honesty with her. Thus, she needed to know the fact she has a phylactery."

    "I will still advise that making her something of a lich was risky, sir," Raevin said honestly, "but she knows now."

    "At least," Vitruvion nodded. "And with that -" he looked directly at Raevin. "You can now entirely regard her as your equal. In standing and authority."

    "I already did, sir," the elf nodded.

    "Good," Vitruvion grunted. And he turned his head away, looking into the fireplace. It was lit, bright flames licking up the wood like starving wolves. It, as well as the bold lamps overhead, lit the room in the fast fading light from outside. He and Stare had arrived in the late afternoon, and eaten little before it had become close to night.

    A pause.

    "If you do not mind my asking, sir ... How long are you staying?"

    Vitruvion paused before looking over to Raevin. "Indefinitely. I have made the arrangements to close the manor in Beinost for now, the staff paid for a stipend," he interlaced his fingers. "Merla is to remain as a consultant in the offices, but Stare's work with the businesses over the last many months have made them all more able to manage themselves. I have made the decision for us to retreat, Raevin. In all of the circumstances, with Ventrua missing, yourself injured and even Pride," he spoke of a protoge he had, who had once been a guest within the Hollow, but rescued from there when Vitruvion's close friend, her master, had been murdered by agents of his enemy brother, "has not reported in for some days."

    "She is supposed to be ..."

    "With the faun, yes," Vitruvion inclined his head. "Who I presume would be able to protect her, but it may be that my brother's demonic influence stretches even there. That, and Stare is determined to go to this wedding tomorrow." He let out an agitated breath, before spreading a wide-fingered hand. "So here we are. For now, here, surviving."

    He looked to his old friend. "You will protect her tomorrow?"

    "Does she even need my protection?" Raevin raised a brow. "And, sir, I am ... Incapacitated." He looked down at the missing portion of his left leg.

    "You can at least be an extra pair of eyes," Vitruvion sighed. "Watch over her. If you see anything untoward I will transport over immediately and remove you both from the scene."

    "Are you ..." Raevin asked carefully.

    "Most definitely not invited, no," the god said, leaning forwards. His long fingers curled around the edge of the arm of the sofa. "Now. That was all I wanted to say. If there is nothing I am heading to rest."

    Raevin arched a brow. "You said to her you would not be far behind."

    "Indeed," the god smiled. "Although I have agreed to her proviso that there will never be any ... intimacy between us." He rolled his shoulders back as he stood. "We work with what we have."
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Name
    Avis Tsakaka
    Age
    16
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    Kenku / Tengu
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    Female
    Location
    Corone
    'Intimacy' however did not exclude physical contact. It purely meant, from Vitruvion's understanding, sexual acts and anything alluding to that. He would never touch her again in an area that would excite the erotic pleasure centres of a normal being. There was a fine line between an embrace and a deliberate brush against her breast. However he had spent a century on this world, and through his experiences learnt what was acceptable and what was not. And he had spent a long time doing what was not.

    He pushed open the door to his townhouse bedroom. In it was a large, ornate four poster bed, with freshly made linens. A matching set of chestnut wood furniture was pushed up against the panelled walls. It avoided the double glass doors that led out to a small and narrow balcony, yet at the moment blinds were drawn across this. The room was quiet and empty, undisturbed. And there was certainly no Stare to be seen.

    Vitruvion let out a short grunt. Turning around on his heel he headed back out to the corridor, leaving the door to the master bedroom open. He strode down the second floor hallway, edging two doors down from his room to one situated just before the bathroom. Without a moment's hesitation he pushed the door open, heading directly in.

    A smaller, less decorated room. It held a cabinet, a double bed and a small painting on the wall of a landscape. A small trunk was on the floor beside the bed with a pile of clothes, chainmail and a thin bladed katana. And in the bed, with the blankets loosely around her, was his own kenku.

    A small smile flickered across his face. Striding into the room Vitruvion went straight over to the bed. He wasted no time in leaning over and sliding a hand beneath her shoulders, and his other arm beneath her knees. Stare mumbled, peeking open a sleepy eye and gazing up at him as he lifted her into the air and pulled her right to his chest.

    "Evening," he said quietly.

    "Evening," she mumbled, but much smaller than before. In his arms she twisted, curling towards him and closing her eyes again. "Wanted to ... Try it."

    "I noticed," he smirked lightly, as he turned and began to head back out. He kicked her door lightly behind him, using the end of his foot to tug at the edge.

    "Hmm," she stilled as he carried her back down the corridor. He did not look at her as he headed back into the master bedroom, but rather shoved his door closed behind him in the same method. Making his way over to the bed he switched his hold to briefly grip her with one arm, leaning her body against his chest, and then twitching back the covers of the bed with his now spare hand. He moved down, lowering her to the bed.

    She let out a small sigh, eyes peering open briefly, before she buried herself over further to the other side of the bed, deeper into the covers. Vitruvion took the time to pull off his boots and rid himself of everything but his under-trousers, still respectable. Then, ensuring there was enough room he slid under the covers himself and twitched them back over his body. Then his arms snaked out, one sliding around her waist, the other over her hips. As she lay still he pressed his forehead to the back of her shoulder, and took a moment before he breathed deeply, now able to privately hold her, but never any more.

    "Mine," he reminded himself as he tightened his grip. And she willingly adjusted.

    "Good night, Vitruvion," Stare whispered.

    "Night, my darling," he whispered.
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  5. #5
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    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Name
    Avis Tsakaka
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    16
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    Kenku / Tengu
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Corone
    She awoke early, the sun streaming in from the east. Blinking, she screwed up her face, unused to the site of such intensity. After all, for the last four weeks she had been residing within the Hollow, within Vitruvion's private chambers, and that had been long and arduous, but there had been no sunlight due to the fact the entire horrific establishment was in a series of ancient catacombs. Vitruvion had insisted she stay there whilst he went out looking for his sister, and when he had come back the bullrush that had been the discovery of his true feelings for her had descended. And she had basically been an immovable ball of tears and silence for a week. Until she had given in and allowed him to talk to her.

    And then here they were now.

    She remembered going to her bedroom in the townhouse and collapsing, admitting to the exhaustion she felt. Then, not twenty minutes must have passed before Vitruvion, without so much as a mention, came and claimed her into his arms. As per their agreement her body for sexual pleasures was strictly off limits to him, but he had bargained his way into physical contact. For him, that meant her sleeping in his bed, with at least some semblance of clothing still attached, and she begrudgingly gave into that demand. It was him, entirely, his obsession with possession. Something she would need to live with.

    She was in his bed. As she gained more alert she moved slightly, and noticed the constraint wrapping itself across her body. It pinned one arm to her side, and the other was caught casually up into a hold as his hand curled around the base of hers. Her other arm seemed to be free, with his spare arm resting curled up somewhere at the base of her back. Therefore she was only partly trapped, and it was probable that he was asleep, and so his hold would be loose and therefore, she could ease out and greet the day.

    No sooner had she begun to ease her hand from his hold however, that his own moved. There came a quiet grunt, and his fingers moved, snaking quickly to seize her wrist directly into his supernatural godly hold. She didn't say anything as he silently tightened his hold around her, bringing his spare arm up to wrap her into an embrace. She felt his breath slide up the back of her neck before his cheek brushed against her head.

    Then he relaxed.

    And said nothing.

    Stare let out a quiet sigh, curling up, yawning a little. For a few long moments she lay there, blinking into the morning light. It was crisp, and bright, full of the glories of a fresh new life. She thought about Vitruvion, and what he meant to her. Security. Money. Stability. Service. Ownership. Possession. He was her salvation, a man she had begun to trust despite their past, yet also her greatest nightmare, the one who had ruined her life in the first place. He was her future, which she had committed to fully now, and though she knew he would never deliberately hurt her, she knew that he would also never let her go.
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Female
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    Corone
    With a grumble and a mutter are tried to move. But even as she flexed her hand he had a hold of he stirred behind her, his clutch on her wrist tightening.

    "No," his voice said quietly.

    And she protested. Shifting her weight back she tried to wrest control of her hand, sliding up her other arm where she could and pressing against the fingers at her wrist. His response was simple: he moved quickly, other hand snatching up that wrist too, so that he held her in a vice and in an embrace, his chin coming to rest over her shoulder. She sighed more now, closing her eyes and trying to tug at his hold, tilting her head to peer at his face.

    His eyes were still closed, and his expression was one of stillness, of serenity.

    "Mine," he murmured.

    "Vitruvion," she said quietly, her heart rate entirely normal. In fact, despite of the situation, she was perfectly calm.

    "I don't want you going today," he said almost directly after she spoke. He was still even in tone, and gentle. And still had his eyes closed.

    That she already knew. Breathing in slowly she shook her head in ridiculousness of what he was, of what he was trying to do.

    "I know," she replied. "But we have already had this conversation. Lots of times. And you agreed -"

    "The danger is real and and possible, Stare," he murmured against her feathers. "And we made a deal, but I am responsible for your safety and thus decree it is not right after all." He tensed his jaw. "You're not going."

    "Vitruvion -" she began.

    He interrupted her with a clenching of his fists. Tugging on her wrists he moved them closer together and slid one hand around them. His other arm he used to pin her arms to her chest, and she could see a soft smile spread across his face.

    "I can force you to stay here."

    "And what? Betray my trust?" she retorted rudely, irritation now spreading into her. "Go back on your word when we agreed I could go? It's a wedding Vitruvion, of one of my best friends and his fiancée. In his own church nonetheless, a place you could easily find alliances if you allowed. Let me go. I will go to the ceremony, and be back before you even realise."

    Deeply, he scowled. He shoved her hands against her chest, over her heart, and tightly pressed himself to her back. "You demand a lot from me, Stare Tsukaka."

    "And you demand even more from me, Vitruvion Elssmith," she replied directly, locking eyes with him over her shoulder. "But you are right, I am yours. So make your decision."

    Black eyes bore into bright blue. Kenku into the god's. He was awake now, that was clear. Awake and able to gaze at her as she watched him with some determination and deceleration over her shoulder. Her beak tilted.

    "Damn," he hissed, releasing her wrists.

    With a quiet sigh she flexed her hands, the liberated now and feeling the best for it. Turning back her head she looked back out to the room, waiting for him to slide his arms away from her and letting her go entirely. Her heart rate quickened however when he instead wrapped the arm over her shoulders and moved his form by pushing on his feet. She frowned as he gripped now across her chest and shoulders, and raised himself so he could rest his chin on top of her head.

    "Vitruvion," she clacked her tongue inside her beak with disapproval. "This doesn't -"

    "It's still early, girl. And until you have to leave you're in my protection, under my command."

    She rolled her eyes as he curled his body around her. He was careful to keep his lions from her hips, the contact never making it. Yet, she could still feel the fiery tempest of his heart.

    "I need to piss," she murmured.

    He paused for a moment, then scowled, opening first one arm and then the other. "Fine. But return here."
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  7. #7
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    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Avis Tsakaka
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    Female
    Location
    Corone
    "I'll be watching the entire time."

    "Mmm hmmm."

    "So ... No 'funny business'. You go the ceremony, give them pleasantries, and then head directly back here."

    "Yeah."

    "Then that's it. Everything else - we continue as before. No interruptions to our lives. Is that understood?"

    "Vitruvion," her tone was a sigh, coming from behind the folding screen in the corner of the room that she had insisted be set up.

    "What?" he demanded back, standing there at the end of the bed, arms folded glaring at the screen.

    Her beaked face appeared around the edge. Her deep black eyes, framed in feathers, gazed at him steadily.

    "I'm coming back," she said, gently. "You don't have to worry about me not coming back."

    He paused, lip curled in distaste of the whole matter. His intense blue eyes stared, even glared at her. Her brow lifted, observing him, daring him to refute her statement before he let out a long sigh. The god relaxed his stance, letting his arms fall beside his lithe, clothed body as he drank in a long breath of air.

    "Do you trust me?" she asked quietly. "In this at least?"

    "You know I do, my dearest," his voice was soft, warm.

    She nodded once, her hand gripping around the edge of the wood, her eyes swimming slowly with warmth. "I promise I will always come back, Vitruvion. It was part of our agreement, and will be until the last day of our existence. I know who and what you are, what you can do." She paused, moving back silently, disappearing from view. Vitruvion visibly tensed, raising a hand and pulling it through his hair.

    "Stare."

    "I agreed," she murmured, stepping out.

    She was dressed in her finest tunic. Black chiffon and wool woven gently, with a border picked out with real silver thread. A corded belt surrounded her waist, With the knot tied at her side. A dagger was slid into the belt, and at her neck hung a string of dark black pearls. On her left wrist was shackled the cuff, woven with chains and holding in it five dim marbles of azure blue. Cupping her hands together she looked at her employer and her god with patient eyes.

    "I'm always coming back, Vitruvion," she repeated. "As I promised, as you wanted, I am yours."

    He let out a long slow breath. His heart thudded solidly as he took a step forwards, the stress clear in his eyes. Stress, that would never had appeared there a year ago, born from months of her steady influence of simply having a good heart that was connected mentally to his. Though he was still ultimately the bastard she had first met, a man who had yet to formally free her. And a man who rejoiced in the idea of her being 'his'.

    He nodded as he cupped the underside of her beak. A soft smile flickered across his face as he gazed into her eyes.

    "Mine," he murmured.

    She let out a gentle sigh, before she nodded. "I'm not anyone elses, that's for sure."
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  8. #8
    Senior Member

    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Level completed: 51%,
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Avis Tsakaka
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    Location
    Corone

    Chapter Two

    As the lips of the couple met the words of the priest could still be heard.

    “Husband and wife,” he said, “wife and husband, bonded.”

    Bonded for eternity, in life and in death, if it ever came. Intertwined in their religion that had the groom at the centre as it's messiah, with promises and rings and gifts that only they knew of. A cat and an alchemist, coming together in a world of a thousand faiths and thousand races, swearing to each other that they would love only that person.

    Forever.

    So perfect and lovely, a man who was not invited, but nevertheless watched, scoffed sarcastically. Absolute waste of time, all of it.

    And you moaned about them not inviting you, The kenku whose eyes through whom the man watched replied back to him in the same, telepathic way.

    Vitruvion curled his lip as he lay back on the sofa where he was, some miles away in the same city, in the grand townhouse.

    I did not 'moan’, Stare, he corrected her. I protest. I disliked the way that they referred to me.

    Stare’s eyes glinted with amusement as she remembered the words from the invite. 'Mean god’ and 'grumpy’. She watched as Nevin and Eteri parted from one another and turned to smile at the audience watching the ceremony. Cheers abounded, praises were sung as the god of this religion and it's high priestess promised their troth. The kenku looked over to her elf companion, the elf Raevin who had been Vitruvion’s captain of the guard, but who now leant heavily on his seat. In his hand he held the oak staff that was his constant walking aid, and his half leg was being stared at by a kid.

    Raevin raised his brow at her as he began to clap slowly. Briefly she nodded to him and began to clap herself, the groom and bride now united. He paused and leant to whisper to her, “commentary?” She nodded in response.

    Good. It is done, Vitruvion said coldly, and she saw an image of him leaning to sit up. Now you can get back here, as you agreed.

    Stare paused, her mind working. Vitruvion, this is barely the start. Just the ceremony. There is the meal, and a celebration that will go on into the evening.

    I gave you permission to go to the wedding. You did, he replied. Now you can come home.

    Stare sighed as she began to stand with the rest of the congregation, rising out of their seat as the jubilation rose. The elf beside her huffed as he took up his stick and began to ease himself to his single leg. His eyes glanced to her as he assessed her emotional state.

    “What is it?” he asked.

    The kenku muttered a reply under her breath. “He wants us to return. Now.”

    Raevin blinked. “But the day has barely begun,” he frowned.

    “You try saying that to him,” she hissed, “you know what he's like. Stupid over-protective idiot.”

    She tried to fake happiness as the newly weds came down the aisle, smiling themselves away into bliss. Fanatics of his religion the themselves into the ground in worship, others who were friends just applauded politely. Stare and Nevin shared a look of acknowledgment as she nodded her congratulations to him, and Raevin replied.

    “If you can hear me, sir,” he whispered in Stare's ear hole, straight to Vitruvion, “then I would ask you consider that we have been safe thus far. There are no reported vagabonds as yet.”

    Nothing is ever safe, Vitruvion growled.

    It was a true enough fact. Stare had to admit it, with all they had gone through. From little more than a year ago, when she had first been kidnapped by the very man she stood next to, all for Vitruvion's sexual pleasure, to now, where she was head of the same Vitruvion's vast commercial empire. They had gone from her being nothing more than a slave, to now their current agreement. They had battled his truly evil brother time and time again, as bit by bit the world had been torn from Vitruvion. Now Vitruvion was determined to keep Stare as close and as 'safe’ as he dared. The wedding had been a point of contention, mainly because he had strictly not been invited, but this was where they stood.

    We will come back after half an hour at the meal, Stare said softly to him. I promise.

    He was silent for a moment, his piercing blue eyes haunting her mind. Steadily she kept herself watching the couple weave their way down to the end of the aisle. Hands clasped before her she waited for his reply, knowing that if anyone could persuade him, it was her. Her, in all her glory and gentle spirit.

    Very well, dearest, he said with a sigh. Very well.
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

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