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Alvér’s shaking went on for some time. Alenia continued to pat him gentle as it did. She wanted to give him all the time he needed to calm down. For the most part her own tears had stopped. Her eyes were drying and the clarity returning to her vision. He was soft in her hold, albeit a little cold to the touch. There was an underlying warmness, but it was not what one would expect from the living. As far as Alenia was concerned, that chill was just part of who he was.
Eventually his wracking slowed. The man pulled back from her the tiniest bit, but his hands stayed put. They continued to cling to her in the way she wanted to do to him. It was bittersweet. Though there was not time to dwell on it as his eyes came up to her and finally his hands came away. They were a shining gold, not the grassy emerald she had come to expect. But she had seen them this way once before, shining and tinged with red. Alenia knew what it meant and it split her conscious. Alvér needed to eat, but knowing it was at the expense of others was hard to come to grips with. The woman tried her best to push the thought from her mind. [b “Alright.”] She nodded somewhat solemnly.
Letting her hand slid down the back of his head just one more time, Alenia stood. Her eyes lingered on him for a moment longer before she turned toward the window. It let in only a faint purple glow. The sun was setting, if it wasn’t gone already. [b “It’s probably better that I give you some privacy, huh?”] That way he could return to his room to dress and go out without having to worry about her. He had done his best in the past to stop her from witnessing this part of him, so she felt the least she could do after all this was let him have that. However, seeing him curled on the floor there, gaunt and needy, made her want to stay. It made her want to offer to help him to his room and with whatever he needed, but she did not make the suggestion.
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He sobbed, deep, wracking sounds that made him tremble in her arms. The fact that this had happened at all was terrifying, he didn't want to look up, he was [i unable] to process what happened, pushing it immediately from his thoughts. But it wouldn't go. He was still shaken, shak[i ing] from it, and sunk in the sensation of feeling what felt like thick, stinging fingers burning over his bare flesh. Like he was being flogged again, his wounds touched, but worse, because he was able, while he was so monstrous, to [i feel] his skin on top flexing as whatever crawled beneath it separated him from his own flesh, suffocating him. It trapped him, wholly conscious, in his own body and his own hunger and pain and need, but his muscles wouldn't respond, his thoughts were swarmed with alien, other things.
Alenia's touch was soft on him, snapping him out of that. They carded through his hair, sending a shiver down Alvér's back. It had been so long since he had felt that sensation as it cascaded down, making his breath catch. It tore a hole in him, it felt like, realizing how much he yearned for that, how long he'd been without.
As she continued, Alvér fought the urge to lean into her, his head turning and tucking a bit away from her, and consequently bringing his head further into her hand. He had to focus, he had to not fall apart, he feared showing her how much he wanted this for fear of her disdain, spurning him for his disgusting wants in something so low as touch.
It took time. Alvér had to consciously work to calm down and fight off the spasms of sensory memory, of thinking over what had happened, how he was trapped.
Slowly his breath calmed. His hands relaxed away from clutching so desperately at her like the only anchor he had to this world, to this reality. He sat back a bit, his eyes low, face empty, but lined in a form of pain in its shadows.
Alvér's eyes raised, briefly, and took his hands away from her, realizing he was holding onto her still. Those eyes, now, held that and gold color, overpowering his irises. He looked away, pressing a hand to his head. The vampire's breath hissed in through his teeth, sharp, and he pressed his eyes shut a moment.
"[B I'm sorry,]" he murmured, opening them to look to her. Even now, bloodless, they looked red, tired, hungry. Hungry. He pulled his gaze from her, wincing. His mouth was open then, panting, and his gaze was dragged back to her.
"[B I need-]" he swallowed belatedly, pressing the heel of his hand harder against his brow and pulled his gaze away. It went down, seeing his pale, bare body, and he pulled the cloth that Alenia had given him higher, face tightening. Heat flushed through him, high on his face, hot in his chest, and in a deep, molten pit in his stomach remembering how much of his ugly body she had seen today.
It took a moment, but it seemed he warmed up to the idea of being held at such a time. Alvér curled into her, returning her embrace. His hands were tight on her, his muscles trembling beneath her hold as he shook violently from his sobbing. She wondered when last he had let all these feelings of anguish and fear out. Had he ever? There was no way of knowing, but what she did know was that he needed it. So, she continued to hold onto him, tears still falling from her eyes as she sniffled right along with him. Eventually, her own shaking subsided and she was able to more readily focus on him. That change was a double-edged sword. His skin was soft under her fingertips. Fresh and new like a baby’s. It made her want to pull in closer, snuggle her face into the crook of his neck and never leave. However, now was not the time… though there’d probably never be a time for that, sadly. So she had to beat back the urge with something more important. And right now that was focusing on Alvér and his needs.
Alenia wanted to comfort him. There were probably a million things she could have said at that moment, but somehow none of the felt right. So for the time being she remained silent. Instead, she unlatched the grip of one of her hands from him and brought her now free appendage up to his head. There she placed it lightly atop his crown. It did not stay there long though, as the woman slowly started running her palm down the back of his head. Her fingers ran through his hair, careful not to tangle in the dark strands and hurt him. It was a slow, soothing motion that she repeated continuously, almost mesmerizingly, hoping it would calm him even the littlest bit.
He turned his head away, shoulders hunching, clutching at himself with his own hands to try and hide, to disappear. He was exhausted and starving, still crawling with that hot, shaky panic that was making everything too loud, too much. His thoughts raced, breaking down and realizing what all had happened. It was muddling what all he knew of his faculties he would be capable of at the moment, helpless.
A sob was pulled and his hand pressed over his mouth, whole. His hands pressed on himself, feeling smooth, unblemished skin and familiar musculature before sliding up to try and dismiss more tears. He moved to turn away from her and go, hide again, keep this body from her. His whole, pathetic, mutinous body was exposed to her now, sharply spasming as he tried to hide.
He pulled the bag away from him with a shaky hand to ensure an escape, glancing back at Alenia as she moved. He felt her lay the fabric over him, only able to barely see her through his vision, as blurred as it was, that he didn't very well see her move toward him until her hands gathered him near.
Alvér trembled where her hands touched him, shaking as he fought the urge to resist the sobs. His face was creased with it, but his eyes were distant, searching as he processed what all had gone on.
He jolted, initially, but relented with ease as she gathered him near. It was too much, it was all too much. Alvér's shoulders shook with barely suppressed sobs as she brought him to her, and only broke open when he was held close, held so tightly. He was finite here. The strength of her arms kept him whole. Alenia had brought him back from the brink of oblivion. That was what this was. A shudder overtook him. His head dropped, fingers still clutched in his own skin, white-knuckled, nails digging, onto her shoulder, unwilling to let go of himself for fear of it happening all over again.
His hand moved, closing in her sleeve by her shoulder, fingers clenching as he pulled her near. Alvér's body had been taken from him, had been wholly wrenched and used while he was somewhere inside of it, he had lost control over any part of himself, violated in the very closest way by how own body, or whatever crawled in it that was other. He had gotten used to the thirst, the way that took over his senses, but that had always felt like him still. This was different. This was like when it had happened in the first place. It was something else.
Alvér's body shivered again, crawling with horror at the idea, and he turned his head further into her, that other hand unlatching from himself and fumbling for Alenia. He cried, openly, against her. He could do little else, sobs heaving now as he asked for breath. Somehow Alenia was still here, and something about that made him ache, acutely, at the fact. He could not marvel at it, presently, simply be grateful. Relief hurt, it put bindings on his chest, squeezing his breath out in shuddering, terrified sobs. He had no idea what would have happened if he had been alone.
Alenia watched as he fumbled around with the sack. She let him though; not knowing if intervening would be more of a help or hindrance. But eventually he must have got what he was looking for because something started to happen. Slowly but surely, Alvér began to change in front of her. Like almost everything else that had happened, it was on the side of horrific, but she watched. He was getting better, so even though her stomach was tying itself in knots, her eyes stayed on his healing body. Well, they did right up until the point where he was coming back into a more human figure and she realized something… he was without clothes. It was then that the ceiling became very interesting. She stared intently up at the intricately built rafters.
Then he said her name. And as rasped as his voice was from all this, it still sounded like honey to her ears. Her heart squeezed. It was uncomfortable, but at least now she knew why. However, in that wave of loving relief she felt, there was a pull of something else. The way his voice half cracked when he spoke. There were tears on the verge of staining his speech. It blurred her eyes as well.
Keeping her eyes away from him grew painful. So much so that Alenia knew it would soon be unbearable. She had to do something about it. And so she found herself removing the long, decorative, vest-like garment she had on. Looking down just enough to accurately lay it on him, she used it as makeshift blanket to cover him and allow him some semblance of modesty. And then, finally, she felt as thought she might be allowed to look at him again. It was then that the full force of how much she missed him hit her. That mixed with the sadness that filled her at seeing him openly weep sent her into a very similar state. Tears soon ran down her face as well; she did little to hide them or her want to be near him. Leaning forward, the woman wrapped her arms tightly around his too-thin form. Her head rested on his shoulder as she cried together with him, relieved that he was here with her again.
Myhrr meowed again, pawing at Alenia’s leg and patting at the bag until she relented and moved of her own accord. She knew this was important.
Alenia’s proximity to him, her movement, made a blind hand shift, the side of it finding her leg. It shifted again, being met with the satchel that she pushed to him. His fingers opened, feeling over the thing, finding its opening, and pulling on it. Alvér’s movements had the hesitant methodicalness of sightless exploration as he opened the thing. A hand shifted inside into that darkness as he continued to explore what it was, but with a growing fervor that showed perhaps he knew.
His breath caught, half in a choke, as something grabbed hold of him. That pulsating, deathly awareness spread and opened over Alenia with how close she was to it’s sources. His body shifted, Alvér dropping his head and pressing it into the floor as his back shifted, snapping straight again and losing its hunch. His spine sunk back into his back.
There was a gruesome pop from somewhere near his throat and mouth and he shivered, hand shifting to it. There he gathered it, maneuvering the useless piece and then taking a breath before pushing it back into place with another wet, cartilaginous crack. He gasped, and Alenia could see his teeth, forming again, repairing their cracks, and sharpening.
It took time, all of this. The wounds closed, the cracks in his visage seemed to fill in and become flesh again, rather than husk. And in healing those wounds, useless flesh fell away like so much dead weight, still, dead. His body had to cease again, as he shuddered, he curled, body flexing it seemed in one last heave, a death throe, and an unearthly stillness fell over him.
A breath drew, and animation returned to the body, fully undead, and his torso was pulled as if by strings, to sit up. His lids raised over his eyes, returned again, or coming out of the darkness. Inside his eyes, pale, green, rolled toward the ceiling. They turned, toward Alenia and in them, their depths were filled with that glint, that light that showed despite the elven face, he was something else.
Now the man sit there, skin whole, and fully naked before her. His eyes dropped, realizing this, and immediately curled up, brows pressing. He was still silent, uncertain, searching. Alvér’s eyes went to her.
“[B Alenia,]” he breathed, voice still husky and rasping as his face twitched. Tears. His lash line glimmered in the half shadow of the hallway, features twisting as he took a sharp breath, arms hugging himself, hiding, shielding and sitting in the stained black he had left on the carpet. Everything that had happened was falling in on him now.
The tears leapt, diving down his face, trembling, hot. His voice, wordless, the confused, broken list of syllables as he stuttered and tried to grasp for language spilling from newly formed lips, and he shuddered. He had empty spots in his memory, confusion and [i fear] crossing his features as his eyes dodged to and away from Alenia again. The heel of a hand pushed against his face. Everything hurt, his body singing with the memory of what had hurt, had torn, had melted away from him and warped; now sitting there exposed, so suddenly, and everything was rushing in on him suddenly and he sucked in a brittle breath, threatening an edge of a sob on it.
Again it seemed the naked kitten would try to come to her rescue. Alenia was a little surprised at this since she seemed to be rather content making herself comfortable next to Alvér on the floor. Thankfully the bag sparked her to move to some sort of action. The animal pulled at it, much like she had done with the elfin woman before. She was probably meant to give it to Alvér since it was his in the first place. Alenia was curious what he would be able to do with a bag of dirt… Was it a vampire thing? All her knowledge of the undead was failing her in her panicked state. Or maybe it wasn't that at all, but a Drow thing? Perhaps she would find out later.
The swirling of magic that began to leak out from the item also led her to think that this was the right answer. So, scooting in a little closer, so that her knees just barely brushed against the bleeding man, she leaned in to set the satchel near his arm. The one that had reached out to her before, because she knew it was still functional at this point. [b “I think Myhrr wanted me to get this for you… will it help you get better? What is it for?”] She fully expected her questions to go unanswered, but Alenia asked them all the same.
Alvér, with Alenia there, raised a hand towards her hand. It was warm, solid, and separate from everything going on. Her skin was smooth, dry, and her weight on him as she looked him over, patting with a persistent, anxious motion. His palm was slick with his own blood.
When she left, his hand went with her until she pulled out of his pathetic grasp and he was alone. But he could hear Myhrr, meowing in distress. He could hear her paws coming closer to him, her voice announcing her nearness as Alenia's running footsteps receded.
When she came closer, he felt a stirring within him. It was dark, cold, like a night's breeze in the calm. It swelled the hunger in him, and the weakness that starvation wrought. He knew what was there, he could feel it. He could smell the associated memories that came with it. Of dank earth, of decay, of the ever-pressing [i silence].
His breath drew, the creature curling up a bit more with a pained sound.
Myhrr turned, hearing her name, and looked at Alenia. Her ears perked at what she saw the familiar item. She knew that was important. Turning, the cat nosed around at Alenia's confused hands, smelling at the edge of the satchel. There, she turned again, meowing at Alvér. She had the thing. She brought it to him.
He didn't respond, visibly. Turning back the cat pawed at the bag, meowing again and reached over to take it into her little jaws, tugging at it.
Alenia, too, could feel what felt like a connection here. An intuition that gave her the same cold, still, deathly feeling she had before from such a creature as Alvér. The panicked emptiness she had feared earlier in him had something stirring in it.
Putting a little too much energy into nosing through his things, both out of genuine curiosity and desperation, Alenia found something odd. The bag seemed it wasn’t a bag at all, but a portal to someplace else. In it, she could feel the familiar touch of earth and stone. Her brow knit together in a look of confusion. [b “What the…”] her voice dropped off, censoring herself unnecessarily. [b “Where does this even go?”] Bewilderment mingled with curiosity in her tone. It wasn’t as though she was looking for an answer from either Alvér or Myhrr, but rather voicing her perplexity.
After spending a couple of moments getting over the surprise of what she found, Alenia tried to get back to the real matter at hand. And in this case, that involved looking at Myhrr who had somehow convinced the mangled drow to give her attention. Though, then again, she might have been trying to distract him. The fiery haired woman wasn’t sure how much credit to give the animal in this situation. [b “Myhrr… I’m not sure what to do with this…”] She thought it unlikely that the cat would give her any more hints, so she found her eyes gravitating toward the item in question. Not quite ready to give up and accept that she might have been sent on a wild goose chase, Alenia buckled down and reached into the satchel’s depths again. Blindly she felt around, hoping to come across something more in the soil than the occasional garden rock. Alvér had to be keeping something worthwhile in here, why else would he bother keeping it around?
The satchel was sitting on that mound of cushion that Alvér had been lying on. The room smelled like ash, wood fire, and the man who she had found in it. It was leather, and looked like it had items in it, however when Alenia grabbed it it didn't move like it did. The soft leather didn't have individual shapes she could feel in it as she clutched it to her and ran back downstairs, and then across the ground floor, and then back up two flights of stairs to make it back to the hall.
She could hear Myhrr in it as she ascended, heaving. His hand, blindly, had made it to and partway through a stroke over the animal's back.
There was a little, dry curl of his voice from somewhere in his broken throat, but no words could be formed with the state of him. But his hand shook, his whole arm trembling with the effort of unfurling his fingers as Myhrr nosed into his hand on the floor, and to lift it to pet over her head. She was bowing down, now, belly to the floor, to nose under his palm immediately, making a plaintive, hurting sound.
Myhrr jumped when Alenia dropped so suddenly beside her, but otherwise stayed close to the heap of a man.
When Alenia plunged her arm into the back it went right through. In that the bag did not [i have] a bottom. With the force she put behind it, the satchel's bottom should have stopped her, and she ended up going in past her elbow, feeling nothing.
In a moment, however, her fingers felt something. Soil. Putting her fingers in it, she felt dirt, earth, and some small stones, the likes of which someone would uncover in a garden.
Hearing cautious pawsteps behind her, Alenia did turn to look at the cat coming their way. She was her canary in the coalmine. However, because she seemed to have let her guard down to some extent, the woman felt free to continue her worry over Alvér. Alenia didn’t even know where to begin with him. He was practically mutilated, even to the extent of being unable to respond. Her brown eyes look for any minute movement to indicate that he was trying to communicate with her. To tell her what he needed. However, as she was trying to concentrate, Myhrr came calling. The elfin woman attempted to ignore her, but her feline friend soon made it apparent that she wanted attention. [b “Myhrr, not right now, please.”] She even went so far as to brush her away as she clawed desperately at her clothes. It was distracting and only made this puzzle in front of her all the harder to figure out.
Then came the biting, which was incredibly unexpected, but not nearly as much as the visions that danced in front of Alenia’s eyes. Or rather, instructions. And considering right now that was all the petite elf had to go off of, she was willing to give it a try. So as soon as the images ceased, she shot up straight though remained of the floor. [b “Good kitty.”] Praising the animal, the bard leaned down and placed a kiss on the top of her head before turning to Alvér. [b “I will be right back.”] She didn’t want to leave him alone, but Alenia rose to her feet and took off sprinting down the hall toward the room she had last seen the satchel.
By the time she came to the top of the tower, she was winded. Still, she snatched up the bag and began her descent. It was easier on her body, though as fast as she was trying to be, it did not give her time to fully catch her breath. She returned to the dark corner of the hall to see Alvér had not moved. She hadn’t expected him to, but it was still a relief to see him there. Coming in closer, she fell back to her knees at his side and began looking through the leather bag, hoping to find something that might help him.
Once the sun's searing touch left his skin, the thing collapsed, senses and mind taken over by the pain pulling away from everything else. Muscles felt spent, skin feeling aflame now as it came to realize how wounded it was.
It didn't even move when Alenia approached once again. The worst of it was on his back. Blackened, gaping wounds where the skin had softened and burned away now wept freely on the carpeting. The mound that resembled Alvér heaved, breathless, hyperventilating shallowly on the red carpet that was staining blacker by the moment.
His body did tension a little when she touched, but relaxed when it wasn't on a wound.
Moments passed by where Alvér wasn't even able to muster the strength to respond to her. His throat was ravaged, dry, bleeding, and his jaw immobile. His fingers, however, flexed in the carpet, at least the visible hand she could see. The other he was curled on top of.
Behind her came the voice of the cat. Hesitant, initially, it took a bit for her to creep back closer. Closer. Alenia wasn't moving. She wasn't being attacked. None of her peach fuzz hair was standing on end, so that was fine...
Myhrr crept up behind the bard, mewling, and smelled around the area. Her body language still spoke of fear and aggravation, pupils small, head fixated on the husk of the man in front of her. But her voice sounded upset. Pleading.
A paw came up and patted at Alenia. No response. A glance. No more. Again. A hand that swept back to acknowledge her. She unsheathed her claws a little and caught one in her jacket, tugging. Persistence, voiced by the animal as she tried to get Alenia's attention.
That wasn't working, that wasn't getting what she wanted. Myhrr's mouth opened now, latching onto her hem and tugged, meowing louder. Tugging, tugging.
There was a persistent glow from behind Alenia, the shock of magic leaping in behind the bard's eyes. Stairs. The tower railing made of rope. A dim room, a faded, round carpet and a mound of a familiar man underneath blankets. The hum of his voice, the sensation resonating close, deep into Alenia as his hands came from beneath the blanket and scooped her up, tucking her close. Something smooth, soft and leather touched her hind paws. He kissed her head and tucked her close. He slept. Curling up in the darkness under the blankets you smell at the satchel. It smelled of dirt and earth, held tucked against his abdomen.
That satchel. He carried it with him. On the chamber floor, smelling at it. Dirt. Earth. Leather.
These flashes slid in muddled stream of consciousness through Alenia's eyes, overtaking the world before her.
Finally came a significant reaction, something more than the idle shuffle around his edges. Alenia was glad for it, that and the fact that he hadn’t snapped at her. Though her feelings about being wrapped up by him were mixed. Being close to him was nice enough, but there was the issue of his tendrils exploring here and there. Thankfully they didn’t manage to get anywhere too terribly embarrassing, but still she tried not to think about it too much. Nor did she have the time to, as the shriek of the cat pulled her attention away. Turning her head to look toward the stairs, Myhrr was just barely visible. But from what Alenia could see, the animal was not pleased. And she soon came to find out why. But moments after the bard looked away, one of the mass’ insentient tentacles took an iron grip on her arm. It pulled her in, and not in a way that suggested Alvér just wanted a hug. Her stomach dropped.
Before fully falling forward into whatever fate awaited her in the envelopment of darkened folds, there was a pressure on her stomach. The feeling of a more solid hand on her. It pressed her in opposition to the tentacles. And in the end it won out, Alenia fell back away from the mess of a person. Thankfully not in a way that would hurt her, though she was left to see the horror show of a scene that came next as he crawled into the light and began to crumble to ash. Her stomach rolled over itself as his visage was left riddled with deep laid gashes. She steeled herself, but before she could do anything he flew off up the stairs, a streak of shadow.
Taking a couple of deep breaths, Alenia tried to remain composed. She managed to tame her stomach for the time being, but that still left what was to be done here. Standing around and gawking was not an option, not while she knew her friend was left what she could only imagine was unfathomable pain. So, slowly but steadily she started up after the trail that lead her to where Alvér rested. In the darkness his body throbbed. It became more obvious the closer she got.
Approaching him for the third time that day, she did so with less hesitation than the other two times. Coming up to him fully and kneeling at his side, Alenia placed a hand lightly on his elbow, just above the bandage that had somehow managed to remain intact on his arm. It was one of the few visible places without significant marring. [b “Is there anything I can do?”] Her voice was soft; as if she was worried the sound alone might hurt it further. It probably seemed like a stupid question, she had done enough, but there was a time when she was able to heal him in town. The woman didn’t know the stipulation that allowed that, but even if that was impossible, she could still try to find something to ease his suffering. Even if it was as simple as helping him to someplace comfortable.
As the creature turned, its body slumped against the interior wall, the one where the sun didn't touch. Its heat played on his skin, sending dry, uncomfortable flashes over it. It couldn't get to her anyways. The head leaned against the wall, aimless, face empty, broken.
Then touch. Her hand met his skin and a start passed through the creature. Its shoulders twitched and seemed to freeze up, growing still at the unexpected contact. Unused eyelids, still laden with lashes, fluttered as if in disbelief, at the brush through his hair. It was the first human movement, the way the hand moved as if to stop, or to meet the hand, to feel it, but it stopped.
The stillness was calm, neutral until her prolonged closeness, the pulse in her fingers began to make his skin crawl. [i Hunger.] Hunger. It crawled with want. His stomach roiled, sick with hunger and desire to rend, to open that envelope of hers and take what it gave him.
His fingers, tightening slowly, fisted in his own flesh, the excess, swollen, disgusting parts of him. What fingernails remained dug into his flesh, the sound of them dragging across his skin breaking their silence. The other, hanging over his side, held the carpetting, a stitch breaking there. His body shivered, feeling a hot, feverish wave crash over him.
If he was still capable of salivating, he imagined it was happening. The coils that had tumbled, bursting and breaking out of his mouth, twisted together. Around Alenia's base, now that she had edge into the protective dark membrane between them, the cool, soft touches of the tentacles began to explore her every edge. Around her, knelt there, they explored her legs, movement outside of her stockings. Heavier ones began to press, exploring around her torso. And the connected arm was being touched, experimenting, by those that pushed from his mouth.
From up the stairs, Myhrr uttered a low, yowling sound. The kind of unhappy, warning sound that dragged on. Her pupils were barely visible with how tightly they had pressed together, barely peeking out from around the banister at the top of the steps.
Hungry. Hungry. Prey. Near. Alvér had to fight to keep still. Something, even when he had planned on giving up, was stopping him. Keeping him from harming, something that twisted his stomach. Something he couldn't blank out, deaden or ignore.
The touch was so warm. Something dark, something black, slid down out of one of the empty sockets.
There was another moment. Something still, fragile between them. With his hand hovering there, clutched, muscles battling between grabbing for her and holding on for dear life. It hurt. The sharp, skin level pain on him distracted from the crawling, needy howling inside of him. The boundary around those eyes, they tightened a bit, creasing at the edges in his efforts.
All at once, the cat, her voice broke in a crescendo as Alenia felt at once the tentacle on her arm tightening, all at once, a branch of muscle. It locked her in place. And Alvér's hand latching onto it, yanking it away from her. His hand planted on her stomach and pushed her back, trying to hopefully land her on her rear.
The creature lurched forwards, back arching into the sun. It bowed down, stung, but he crawled, pressing his brow into the floor, and clenched his fingers, tearing, into the carpet. There was a choking sound and the back arched again, bringing the body around, facing Alenia, shadowing her from the sun.
With a shudder, parts of the body broke apart like they were sandstone, falling into ash. Tentacles, whole, fell off of the body, limp, and crumbled. They left holes in the body, deep, wounds. Alvér wavered a moment, falling to the side and grasping at the railing. Fingers, clenched in claws, ripped gashes into the wall- paper and plaster- as he crumpled onto the stairs beside, and partially on Alenia. The body writhed, trying to jerk back into the shade.
In a blur, before he turned away, Alenia saw the things in his broken mouth writhe, falling out of him like ash and leaving the ruined pieces of his jaw having there, loose.
In one motion, leaving a trail of blackened, slick, the thing pulled itself up, using its many appendages, and lashed out against the animal that snarled at it, batting with claws.
Myhrr, now a much bigger threat, dove away and streaked down the hall as the thing missed a grab for her, and then fell still. She could see, as Alvér's bare back was turned to her, the bloated, twisted swelling gave way. Things under his skin, that gave it that wrong, thick look, pulled away under his flesh, leaving it normal, and pulled his shoulder out of place. And the bare flesh underneath then peeled, vampiric, and blackened.
The thing fell, twisting into the darkness of the upper hall.
There, if Alenia ran up, she saw the remaining tentacles pull, twisting into the shadow.
It lay there, still. His broken head, cracked verily open in front of her, looked as if his face was moments from falling off like a shed, porcelain skin. Even so, it was still twisted in pain. His body heaved, wounded, small, feral, burned and bleeding in the darkness. There looked to be no more strength for the moment in the thing, as it had happened before when it had come out in the first place.
Watching every movement carefully, trying to discern if here was coherent thought behind any of them, Alenia’s eyes stayed steady on the creature. Her voice had faded off after pleading with him to return. There was not much else to say if she wasn’t getting through to him. But with how he reacted, she thought she might be. At the very least he wasn’t fully feral as he had been when he chased her and Myhrr. Had still be in that state, Alenia was fairly confident he would have rushed to her voice, at least as far as the shadows would allow him. But no, he stayed put and turned face. Which, to be frank, was very much something she would expect to see from her Alvér. Turn away. Avoid. Hide. From what she had seen in the past that was often how he seemed to handle problems. So, after watching for a few more heavy moments, the woman began to slowly creep forward.
The stairs creaked underfoot and for every one louder than a whisper she paused, waiting for the nest of darkness that was Alvér to come lurching from his place on the floor. It never happened and she eventually came to the line drawn on the ground, the place where the light ceased to exist. She stopped again. But this hesitation was a little longer than the ones that came before it. This was the line where her safety net would be no more. If something went wrong, it would be down to who was faster. And after seeing how he moved in this form, Alenia was worried it wouldn’t be her. Still, the danger did not fully deter her. She crossed the threshold, stepping into the dark.
After that, her course remained straight and steady. Hesitating here wouldn’t do any good for either of them. In this manner, she made it quickly to the creature’s side. Her gaze still watched for any sign he might rush for her, but for now she caught no indication, so she took the opportunity to speak again. [b “Alvér, I still want to help you…”] She wasn’t confident she knew how to do that, but despite it Alenia still wanted to try. [b “But I need you to come to, so that I can find out how to do that.”] Perhaps that put unnecessary pressure on him. It was possible, but she really wasn’t sure what to do for him. At least not what she could do that would be effective. Because it seemed like every time she tried to reach out or do something on her own, it has found some way to backfire and make him even worse, or push them farther apart. It was hard. But even still, the urge to reach out and comfort him was strong. She did not win against it.
Hand coming forward, Alenia placed a light touch to the near foreign face. Her fingers just barely brushed his forehead, sweeping the hair from his eyes. In this she came to rest her palm on his cheek, caressing the side of his head gently. [b “We can get you through this together.”]
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