† The Wytching Flower †

/ By Zuckerbiene [+Watch]

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[center So cruel, it was. He could see Eolande was still prisoner to his queen's whims. A just punishment, he had to admit, if he were in her position. He tried to imagine how that would've gone over with Rossa and snorted. Any sort of restraint probably would've taken on a different context with him.

The blond didn't even so much as flinch at the sudden invasion of his space. Boundaries were not really Eolande's thing unless he set them. He'd learned that early on. So funny now, though, that the tables had turned. Now it was the queen who decided most for him.

"Don't be so crass, Eolande," The name rolled off Faustus' tongue with such affection, despite his ever unchanging affect. "You know as well as I that no heart lives herein." He very gently laid a hand to his chest, as if touched by some humour.

Running long, taloned fingers through his hair, Faustus cast his gaze over all of the animals, the wilderness, the calm. Well, what calm remained beyond Eolande's disgust. If Faustus knew any better, he might think his ex-lover felt betrayal.

"If by him you mean my brother's widow, then yes, unfortunately, I have. He's the very same reason I offend your presence now. Feel free to write him a strongly worded letter upon his return. For now, I need your help. Rossa has sent me to fetch a crystal ball, large enough for his purposes. I know the crystal here is infused with magick, so I thought - who best to consult than Eolande?"

Making his rounds, Faustus realised he was circling the man, taking him in. The sight of his lower half incited both humour and... regret. How long this game of hers would go on, he hadn't a clue, but Eolande seemed to wear his confinement well.

"What is your sentence, anyway? How long does it span?" He moved so easily, so carefree, blond locks shifting easily as he moved. His tall frame was oddly graceful for someone of his size, but it would hardly be characteristic of the white raven to be anything but.

Faustus felt a prickling at his skin and rubbed uncomfortably at his shoulder, pinpricks already rising betwixt his shoulder blades. Here, it was so difficult to keep human form. He resisted the caress of the magick that floated all around them, eyes flashing at the prospect of taking winged form here.

Then, there was Eolande. He didn't exactly hate him, but he was unsure if he was to be trusted. After all, he clearly had a bone to pick, and explaining at length the circumstances that had brought him here was sure to bite him in the ass. And not even in a nice way... shame, that.]
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 14d 2h 21m 24s
Eolande stirred. Soft moss tickled his feet and hands. Long, wild hair shifted around him, nearly thick enough to hide the two tall horns that bent from his forehead. A hollowed out horn hung from his waist, thicker than the two in his head by a handswidth. Muscles rippled under his skin, taut and lithe, warning of the strength this seemingly slender fae held. All around his feet, wild deer stirred, blinking open a lazy eye to gaze at him, velvety antlers swinging overhead. Mixed among them, a pack of wolves stirred and stretched, long white fangs exposed as they yawned. Eolande stretched as well, fangs bared to the sky above.

Chains clanked. He glanced down with distaste. A pair of heavy manacles bound his arms together. They didn't restrict his range of motion, but they could with a mere thought from his Queen. That they hadn't with the approach of this man meant she was playing one of her games again. He snorted. Let her amuse herself. He was busy.

Deer and wolves, squirrels and wildcats, and a dozen other forest dwellers bounded about as he wandered toward the entrance. He stood there and watched Faustus approached, framed from behind by a light like sunlight, bare as the day he was born save that his legs were now those of a deer. Another punishment. His Queen had a sense of humor about her, turning the Lord of the Hunt half-deer.

"Faustus. Come to join the rest of my lovers?" He gestured around him at the animals. They had once been fae, or mortals, or warlocks, or a dozen other things. His Queen had caught them all, one by one, and turned them into animals. He didn't mind it too horribly. By the time she caught them, he was usually bored anyways. The only problem was that she hadn't caught Faustus, and so he'd borne the punishment instead.

For a while, there'd been whispers. She was bored of him at last. A new Lord of the Hunt was due. But Eolande wasn't helpless. He'd crushed the pathetic weakling she'd taken a fancy to under his hooves, and that was the end of that.

Oh? What was this? He sniffed, paced a few steps forward, then grabbed Faustus by the collar and sniffed again, deeper, nose almost pressed to the man's neck. He stepped back as if burned, startled. Square pupiled eyes narrowed, and the air grew tense. "You have met him."

He backed away. "You reek of decay. Has your heart softened? Rotted away like fruit?" He hated it. That stench. True love, whether Faustus or anyone else realized it yet. So sickly sweet, so disgusting. He gagged. He wanted to turn the man to a deer where he stood. Just a whiff was enough to set him off for days.

The warlock was lucky the Queen wasn't around. Oh, the ways she would toy with a fool like him... It would be a mercy to turn him into one of Eolande's denizens of the wild.
  Silveus Realta / kaitoXi / 14d 2h 57m 32s
[center To call this a mess would've been an understatement. This went so far beyond a simple tangle of unfortunate circumstances. This was the deliberate sort of chaos that usually culminated in something horribly unpleasant. Faustus couldn't help but question for the Nth time why the hell this was the way things had turned out.

As he drew the phone from his ear, he took a long look at the darkened screen of his phone. A slow breath left him and he could feel the sting linger for a moment longer than he usually allowed.

"Faustus?"

"Where can we find a giant crystal ball?" No smart remarks, no attitude, just... nothing.

Angeleau stared for a long moment, mostly in disbelief. This was either some major character development, or this was going to end very badly later on. "There may be one in the depths of the reliquary, but I know the fae guard a much larger one in their realm."

"The lake?"

"None other-"

"Fuck me..." Faustus summoned his leather and shrugged into it. "I'm beginning to feel like this is a very complex game of karmic payback."

"Really? Is there anyone you haven't diddled?" Angeleau stared at his brother in disbelief. "...Seriously? No explanation? What, did you fuck the faerie king's daughter or something?" They were so nice, it was the only cause for malice he could think of given Faustus' history.

The blond cleared his throat, gathering a small satchel of offering. "Actually, it was the faerie king."

"You didn't?"

"I did." Faustus said in a matter-of-fact tone that was very reminiscent of his younger self. "I'll meet you at the shoppe." And then he was gone, disappearing in a flurry of white feathers that disappeared the moment they touched the hardwood.

"Dramatic bastard." Angeleau scoffed. He shook his head as he took his leave, still in disbelief. Did Rossa know of that conquest? He imagined Faustus had done it to spite him, and the thought actually brought a twinge of sadness to his chest. Ever the doomed pair. Life could be unfair like that, he knew.

Faustus steeled himself, reminding him every mile that he soared that it was for a good cause. They were going to help bring Silveus back... get him a place, try to improve the situation.

Guilt ate at him a little as he dropped in altitude. [i I should have been nicer to him.] If he wanted the chance to apologise, they'd have to save him first, of course. Though he was certain he had far more atoning to do, he opted to worry about one cause at a time.

As he descended, he could feel the veil sting at him, biting at his flesh and singing where his bare skin had been caught. Ever the salty one. These wounds would heal easily, but it didn't mean the ruler of the fae wasn't petty enough to ensure these visits were always uncomfortable.

Faustus drifted until his feet landed in plush moss. He padded through a glowing patch of lilies, waving little magickal motes away from his face. Someone kissed his ears and mussed his hairs. The teeny tiniest of faeries, he realised, catching one on his finger as he sauntered for the lake and it's rather intimidating fortress. It floated singularly at it's centre. More than a lake, this place was more like an impossibly large spring - cavernous and crawling with life. It pulsed with pure magick, reminding him very much of why he actually didn't hate coming here.

"Faustus." Came a soft voice. "How interesting of you to join us." It was one of the king's many servants - looking positively mischievous, he quickly realised.

"I'm just here for Eolande."

"He's aware. Shall we cross?" the servant's sharp little features were such a contrast to his soft form and flowing translucent robes. Faustus reluctantly followed after him, used to the song and dance of crossing the waters. They would drown an unwelcome visitor - a very suitable consequence that reflected the harshest of the king's personality traits. For such a sweet man, he could be impossibly cold. Reminded him of-

No, it was best not even to think it. He'd have to go admitting something pathetic if he did, so he kept his mind entirely blank as his bare feet touched the surface of the waters. They rippled underfoot but he never sank.

[i He'd let me sink just for the satisfaction.] He'd done it many a time before. What a surprise to find himself on the other end, stepping up onto cool stone for the most part dry.

Another rule one was to never disrespect was the whole shoes thing. He didn't mind the softness under his bare feet as they approached the arch that lead to the king's personal domain.]
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 14d 3h 51m 58s
The antique pink phone rang, its shrill tone perfectly preserved from the days when there was one phone line and everyone jumped on it to find out who was calling whom. He already knew why they were calling, so when he picked it up, he didn't answer with his usual trill. "Bring me your largest crystal ball, and hurry," he snapped.

Rosso quite liked the kid, as it was, and he certainly didn't approve of anyone dragging an innocent mortal into their business, regardless of who was doing the dragging. He'd figured it was the kid's job to speak up against Faustus--heavens knew he'd done his fair share of trying to talk reason into that prideful bastard--but this went above and beyond. He couldn't stand by this time.

It wasn't that he knew what was happening. Not at all. But Rosso wasn't one of the best clairvoyants in the world by some quirk of statistics, like the rest of those guessers and hacks. He simply knew things. Like that it would rain tomorrow, and that he and Faustus were doomed as a couple from the second they met.

It hadn't stopped him, of course. There were some punishments that were worth the journey there, and he'd had a hell of a ride. But when the end finally came, it had surprised no one less than it has surprised him. Of course, the exact circumstances had been an unpleasant surprise, and he certainly hadn't appreciated hiking two miles in six-inch boots to help a stripper home in a hurricane, but such was fate, and such were Faustus' unfortunate tastes. [i Would've worn the damn stupid-ass wellies if I knew,] he reminisced regretfully, for the dozenth time. Those had been great boots, and they'd been completely ruined.

But no. If he wanted a clear picture, he needed tools. A huge crystal ball would go a long way to clarify the image and help him search. And in the meantime, while he waited, he grabbed a bag of pink salt and started drawing out the formulae on the floor. Best to have everything ready before Faustus stomped in.
  Silveus Realta / kaitoXi / 14d 13h 43m 28s
[center John watched on with little interest or concern. In fact, for the most part, the air he gave off indicated some level of boredom. As though this were really an inconvenience for him. To be called on to purify and prepare a sacrifice... again. For what? For their purposes, yes, but how could they be sure this... abomination... was the one? What made him different from all of the others.

The waters bubbled more furiously, until they were positively roiling, overtaking Silveus as he succumbed, drawing him into their depths as they purged the darkness from him. Julia watched on calmly, used to this ritual bath. It would not kill him, but it would feel very close to death. Of that, she was certain. She had once experienced it... long, long ago.

He memory attempted to creep to the forefront of her mind, but in the instant she reached for it, something stopped her. A wall. Like solid iron, it barred her from venturing any further.

“[i Julia].” John snapped, his honey brown locks aglow in the illumination that reflected off the baths. His feature were cast in a wilderness of flickering shadows. He looked almost... daemonic. Her form shivered as she venture forth to retrieve Silveus, stilling the waters as she melted into the surface.

Easily, they floated him back to the surface, pushing him back to the water’s edge where John knelt to drag him out.

“Pathetic.” He muttered, drying him down with clothes intended just for that purpose. Silveus was dressed in a plain sand coloured tunic and soon transported to the temple to be deposited in the reflection chambers. It was there that he would wait, until they were ready for him. Until he would meet those that had designed to claim his life.

John almost pitied him. It wasn’t his fault that this was his destiny. Doomed from birth to fall prey to darkness and purged only to be sacrificed. In fact, if he was being entirely candid, it was pretty fucked up.

It wasn’t his job nor his desire to care. He had his duties and his place - like everyone did here. As he passed through the white marble halls, he squinted, annoyed by how much sunlight reflected from all sides. Everything was smooth, endless, and sterile. It did nothing to inspire calm. He would sooner believe this place bred madness.

He carried Silveus to the last door. Stone slid away into a recess to reveal an entire white room. A large soft couch of sorts - it may have been a bed? Hard to tell from the odd design. There was also a table, a chair, pillows, not much else. Nothing he could potentially harm himself with, really.

Laying him out on the softness, he took a proper look at him for the first time since they’d collected him.

“You poor bastard...” ]
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 15d 14h 14m 33s
He must have passed out at some point, because the next thing he knew, he was being jostled. Dark stones swung back and forth beneath him. His head kept brushing against something soft. He blinked slowly. It hurt. His back hurt. What was going on?

Carried. He was being carried. He tried to scrabble upright when he realized it, but the second he moved, his back screamed in pain. Rather than fight it, Silveus dropped back against the man who was carrying him. Where would he even run? He had nowhere to go back to. And even if he was going to try and head back to the manor, he'd been teleported here. He had no idea where to go.

Something hot dripped down his back. Dark blots appeared on the stone. Blood. His blood. At the sight of it, he began to shiver. Why? Why were they doing this to him? Why sacrifice him? What had he done to make him worthwhile?

He was set on his feet at last. Silveus' knees crumpled. He almost fell, but the stiff arm of the man who'd trapped him kept him upright. Strip. Disgust shuddered through his body. [i Never.] Why should he have to do that for this man? He wouldn't. He refused.

One of the white creatures drifted forward. Silveus flinched back. He hadn't noticed them before, but now that he had, they were horrifying. It came closer, and he backed away, only to get caught by the man. He tried to escape, but the man's grip was firm. The creature reached out, pale hand emerging from a dark robe. It brushed his skin with a long, black fingernail.

Ice sparked through Silveus' body, sharp, horrid shards of ice that dug into his soul. He clutched at his chest and coughed. Cold! So cold. It was like winter, when he took a breath and his whole body froze from the inside, daggers of ice shoved through his lungs and into his heart, his stomach, his spine. All color faded out of the world. Hope bled out of him. He knew, then, that there was nothing. No chance of survival. He was caught. No one knew where he was. He'd be killed, he'd vanish, and no one would even mourn his death. Silveus wobbled where he stood.

"That's enough," the man muttered.

The dark nail vanished back into the creature's robe. It backed away, silent.

"Strip."

This time, Silveus didn't hesitate. He yanked off his clothes as quickly as he could. He didn't want it to touch him again. Whatever it was, he wanted it far away from him.

The man shoved him into the water. Silveus splashed into icy water. For a second, all was calm. Then the water began to bubble, as though it was boiling hot, though it stayed just as frozen cold. Something whirled in Silveus' stomach. He bent over and vomited. Black sludge poured out of his throat and vanished into the bubbling water. His nose began to run. He put a hand to it, and it came away black. Something dripped down his cheeks. Black, sliding like tears from his eyes. He felt wetness in his ears and knew without looking that it was black, too.

[i Am I dying?] he wondered, and then his eyes rolled up and he collapsed into the water.
  Silveus Realta / kaitoXi / 15d 15h 10m 51s
[center Accustomed to such violence, Julia could do little but to watch on in worry, her form shivering at the screams of their... well, she couldn’t call him a guest. No matter how much they wanted to paint this as something else, it was murder. Murder at its most corrupt. And here she was again, to witness yet another sacrifice that would likely yield nothing.

A faint chime left her, but it was the only response she could muster as she watched on, the big brute of a man called... John of all things. It was so pious. Too good for him. He was anything but, despite his delusions about their vision for the future of their coven. He was convinced this was the way, so he stuck closely to the plan.

More pain, more blood, more screams. Were she still mortal she would have surely shed tears for him. She was useless - a mere witness to what went on and tethered to this place. Her responsibilities consisted of reporting on the status of a variety of events. It was not how she’d envisioned her life after death.

If only she could recall who she was before, she might be able to break the spell they’d used to bind her.

Silveus was being dragged from the cell - ever mishandled she realised. John eventually hefted him up over one shoulder to take him to their next destination. Cleansing pools were such useful things. Only the purest of waters was suitable for their cause.

They ventured through a maze of stone walls, a trip that seemed much longer on the way out than on the way in. It was designed to be that way. It prevented prisoners from escaping. Magick had some uses, of course, but they had no interest in the dark sort those Rävenkroft degenerates employee. He sneered at the thought, disgust twisting in his gut as he strode across a large field.

Others were moving to join him. Two more bodies flanked him. They appeared neither to be male or female. Neutral entities with terrifyingly blank eyes. Their skin glowed pale white, teeth razor sharp behind thin lips. They were there to ensure he didn’t run away. A reminder that his circumstances could worsen at any moment.

John approached a veiled area, one they passed through easily given his freedom of range. Julia was much slower to pass through, anchoring herself to one of their guardians as they passed through.

The waters listed and rippled, bright with a light that shone most beautifully. It was rather misleading, in his opinion. Much like the removal of his wings, this would hurt, but in a different way. These waters would force the blight out, but he’d suffer for every one - the darkness bubbling away but by bit.

John set Silveus down on his feet, his face hard. “Strip.” There was nothing but disgust there - as if speaking to a child who had just been rolling in the fields on a particularly rainy day. He could hardly stand to look at him, let alone smell his impurity. Offensive. Simply unacceptable.

The guardians lingered near by, a simple reminder that compliance was in his best interest.]
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 16d 5h 52m 26s
He barely had time to catch his breath before two new visitors came along. The imposing man was terrifying enough, but the spirit behind him? Rather than run, Silveus backed away to the far wall. He held as still as he possibly could and put his hands up. He didn't want any trouble.

"What do you want me for? Why am I here?" he asked.

The hulking man grimaced. "Look at this, Julia. What a mess. Is this really the best they could find?"

Silveus glanced at the spirit behind him, but she drifted aimlessly, silent. Her eyes were completely blank, her face slack. He didn't know how spirits usually looked, but she looked as if she wasn't here at all. Empty. Void of whatever life spirits usually had.

He was so distracted by it that he didn't notice the meaty hand reaching for him until he was pinned against the wall by his neck. Silveus grabbed at the fingers, panicked. "No, no, no, please!"

"How many ways has he been blighted? At his age, it'd be more surprising if he was still a virgin, but look at all these other sins. Sodomy, avarice, pride, the list goes on and on, and let's not even start on the despair, the lack of life. Julia, avert your eyes."

The spirit hung limply in the air, unresponsive.

He wasn't being choked. Silveus realized it suddenly and stopped struggling. He was pinned, but the man wasn't trying to hurt him. He held his grip on the man's fingers just in case. All it would take was a single twitch, and the massive muscles running up and down his arms would end his life.

"And... magic? Black magic. Those fucking warlocks--" The man's eyes narrowed suddenly. He ripped oven Silveus' shirt and whipped him around. Silveus's face smashed into the wall.

"Look at this! Julia. These fucking wings." Silveus was sure they were still hidden, but the man grabbed one by the stem anyways. "How badly did they blight him? That damn fool of a warlock taking him for a husband. What an absolute waste. We're lucky the warlock died before he was completely beyond all hope, but purifying this one is a steep order."

The man pulled. Pain lanced through his back, through his muscles and his bones. Silveus gritted his teeth. Fingers dug into his flesh. His skin felt hot. His stomach churned. He dug his nails into his hands. [i I won't scream. I won't.]

"Damn, how deep is this? Julia, this is utterly ridiculous. A little more..."

He yanked. Sharp as knives, pain cut through Silveus' body. Silveus screamed. It hurt. He couldn't breathe, couldn't think. Everything was pain.

After an eternity, it dulled to an ache. Silveus panted for air, hands clenched tight. Every breath made his back ache louder. But it was over, it was over, at last it was over--

"And now for the other one," the man said.
  Silveus Realta / kaitoXi / 17d 17h 27m 39s
[center Seriously? Faustus didn’t want to be angry with his brother. He couldn’t have seen it coming - especially not in broad daylight. And yet, he could do little to ramp down the rage he felt. Just one thing after another since Logan had passed. Why hadn’t he made more preparations? Too busy enjoying his mortal existence, he guessed.

Resentment bubbled in his chest. For Silveus, for the whole damn thing. If Logan has never gone out that day, he would never have met him. He’d be alive now, and they’d have far less frustrations.

“Don’t.” It was Angeleau’s voice. He appeared from thin air, fog dissipating as he stepped forward.

“What?”

“I would advise you to redirect your thinking. It isn’t his fault.”

“I’m aware. Still, I cannot help but wonder if I had been a little less carefree in giving Logan freedom-“

“Don’t. You’ll only frustrate yourself further.” The brunet warned. He looked more like a vampyre than he did a warlock. All black leather, trench coat, high, thick-soled, steel-toed boots. They thudded heavily when he moved but did little to hinder his mobility if anything at all.

“Who could have taken him?” Faustus was already texting Rossa, letting him know as politely as possible that his mother had asked to see him about a small issue of sorts.

She likely wanted his assistance with scrying. Especially now that the rest of the siblings were out hunting. For Silveus, no less. It was the only way to describe the kind of search they were conducting.

“If you two were on better terms, I’d advise you to try travelling, but I doubt his mind would be so open.”

“It’s unlikely. Travelling can be dangerous.”

“Not for you. Not for us. We have wings for a reason.”

“Yes, but it’s different than simple astral projection. At least in that sense, you’re still alive.”

“It wouldn’t be the first you’ve died.”

“I don’t enjoy the return trip.” Faustus jested dryly.

“We’ll consult your fiancé.”

“Ex fiancé.”

“Whatever.” Angeleau’s eyes rolled at the distinction, tossing long raven locks over one shoulder. His hair was bone straight and silken, eyes the colour of moonlight.

“Soon, we’ll have him returned to us, believe that.”

“Sooner, he’ll be on his way. I believe that alone.”

~O~

Hours passed before anyone thought to acknowledge Silveus’ existence. Heavy footfalls travelled at startling speed down the stone corridor, the sound of chains rattling too loudly in the stillness of the pitch black.

The subtle glow of a pair of red eyes appeared at the roughly cut slot shortly before the door was wrenched open.

“Run and you die.” A simple enough explanation. “And don’t even think of trying any spells. We’d hate to have to put you to sleep.” Dead weight was also remarkably inconvenient to lug around.

There was a smaller form behind his as he entered the cell, a hulking mass of a man, but the form that drifted in the doorway was of a more feminine orientation. It flickered like a flame, lingering as if to keep watch over their doings.

She was a prisoner here, too. Of a different variety. A creature of spirit, her features were faint, everything from her knees down simply mist, much like her hair. It, too, flickered wildly as she floated nearby.]
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 18d 5h 55m 52s
Silveus flinched as he hit the floor. The stone [i hurt.] His captor didn't seem to care. The man vanished, and he was left alone in the dungeon. A true dungeon, too. Stone walls. Bars on the door. A tiny window that didn't let any light in.

His heart raced. He stared around, wary of everything. Why was he here? What did they want? There was nothing he could do about it. His body was still numb. He couldn't even lift a finger.

Tears started to leak down his face, unbidden. Silveus blinked them away, lashes heavy and wet. It was no use. They kept coming, one after another, until streaks had been carved down his face. Why? Why him? One person after another, out to get him. It was awful. Why couldn't they leave him alone to die? If they'd just left him in that house, just let the darkness devour him...

He swallowed back his tears. No. He should--he shouldn't give up. He was better than that. Logan wouldn't want him to die like this.

Sacrifice. What for? Silveus shivered. He didn't want to be sacrificed.

He could shiver. Silveus was so startled that he stopped dead, then twitched again. It was starting to work off! He started to twitch his fingers and toes. Inch by inch, the numbness wore off. Finally, he could climb to his feet. He sighed out and ran his hair back, hand still heavy from the numb spell. What next?
  Silveus Realta / kaitoXi / 18d 14h 18m 46s
[center Much better. He despised when they ran. Unlike his usual counterpart, he cared not for the chase. Especially when there was so much yet to be done. Hauling the man up, he potato sacked him with about as much dignity as one and hefted him the rest of the way back to base. They’d be keeping him in the dungeons for now. They were heavily protected with magick and subsequently quite the bitch to find. The perfect place to hide this one until they were ready.

Well, okay. They weren’t savages, though some might disagree. Especially, and most notably, the winged bastards. He sneered at simply the thought. The Rävenkroft lot were nothing but trouble. High and mighty and too powerful for his tastes.

As he dipped beneath a low-hanging threshold, Silveus’ unnamed captor grunted, careful not to bump his quarry on anything. The dungeon keeper greeted him with a simply incline of his head. They were used to one another. Too often did he venture down here to deposit some poor soul.

How did it feel, he wondered - to get the shittiest end of the stick?

Then again, it was supposedly an honour. Not everyone was suited to be a sacrifice. After all, or just anyone would do, why go to all the fuss? It would make very little sense at that point.

He laid their guest out in the dungeon on a bed of sorts. Just a pile of hay with a hemp blanket tossed over the top. His work here was done. The cell was locked, his pockets were filled, and he was on his merry way. If he was lucky, they would never meet again.

The cell was stone on all sides, all about, above, below, and there was no source of light beyond that which filtered through the small slot someone had carved out of the heavy wooden door. This was designed for isolation, surely. Not a single comfort but the hay, and not another scrap to fend off the damp chill with. Like most underground places, it smelled of earth and stone.

Footsteps traveled to and fro, but the passes were few and far between.

~O~

“How could you have lost him? It was but a simple task!”

“I understand, Mother, and we will retrieve him-“

“Silence, Bastion. I am speaking to Faustus now. You had better pray your ancestors are willing to help you out of this mess. I can only begin to guess which of your many adversaries could have taken them.”

“There are... many, but very few bold enough.”

“What value would be even hold?” Bastion seemed lost to the point of nabbing some random mortal. Seriously, what could some big baddie see in a really shitty warlock?

“Well, we were working on that, you know... before he was taken. Clearly, there’s more here to explore.”

“Well, the two of you will be doing plenty of that until we’re recovered him. In the meantime, I will make my rounds and try to see who may have heard any whispering.”

What a mess... “and summon your... ex.”

Faustus sighed. “I don’t need his help-“

“I wasn’t asking.”

The queen had spoken.
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 18d 21h 55m 35s
Silveus fell backward as the man pulled him along by the back of his collar. He thumped to the floor. His shirt cut into his neck. He tried to breathe and came up empty, grabbed the front of his collar and heaved. At last, air!

Inexorably, the man drew him backward. Leaves flew as his feet scrabbled at the ground. Branches snapped. They were in a thicket of some sort, deep in the woods. More than that was impossible to tell. It was dark, so dark he could barely see his hand in front of his face.

[i How?] Seconds ago, they'd been in town. It had been noon. He'd been out with the brothers and they'd been shopping. And now, now what? "Let me go!" he shouted. "Help!"

Screams split the air. Harsh laughter sounded out, not joyful but mocking, mad. Silveus dug his heels in. The man pulled him on like he'd done nothing. He twisted, trying to free himself from the chokehold. It did nothing but tighten his collar.

His... collar...

Silveus grabbed at his buttons and undid them. He threw his weight against them as best he could. They popped and snapped.

The last button gave. Silveus yanked his hands from the sleeves and ran.

"Stop!" the man shouted.

Silveus didn't hesitate. He ran through the woods. Branches pulled at his undershirt and gouged cuts in his bare skin. He ducked past brambles and thorns, felt them catch at his legs.

Suddenly, his legs went dead. There was no sensation from his hips down. Silveus crashed to the floor. He clawed at the ground. One foot at a time, he pulled himself away. [i Just a little further.] As long as he was still moving, he could--

A boot dug into his back. He was pinned to the floor of the forest. Wet leaves were plastered against his face. "Give up already, nephilim. You were born to be a sacrifice. Accept it."

The lack of sensation crawled up his spine, and Silveus passed out.
  Silveus Realta / kaitoXi / 19d 11m 17s
[center Okay, so he definitely wasn’t the only one thrown by that reaction. He only seemed that subdued when something was on his mind. Bastion cast a suspicious glance toward the shoppe. Perhaps Rossa’s doing? He had a way of handling Faustus that none of them dared replicate.

At Silveus’ behest, Bastion ambled alongside him, keen to explore the town after so many years - so many decades. He couldn’t recall the last he has actually spent the day on these cobbled streets. Too much work and not enough play, he guessed. It was actually kind of sad when he thought about it.

“Yeah, actually. Cheap but safe, I’ll take you through. We can stop for a little something.” Probably would have been a lot more enjoyable than dealing with Faustus and his moping.

“Besides we can- hey, watch it, will you?” Bastion’s brow furrowed, hand reaching to pull Silveus out of the way - just a hair too late when the two suddenly vanished.

He- wait. What? The warlock spun around, inhaling deeply. No scent? Just traces of energy where the magick had disappeared them both. Turning, he dashed back for the car, stepping out with a hand set to the bonnet before Faustus could pull away. The car jerked to a stop, shock playing over the elder brother’s features as he stepped out.

“Are you out of your mind? Where’s Silveus, you left him?”

“Worse, he’s disappeared, as in taken.”

“[i In].” He hissed, his temper rearing it’s ugly head.

Bastion said not a word as he misted into the passenger seat, mobile pressed to his ear. “I’m calling the seekers, they can try to pick up a trail in the meantime.”


Faustus was fuming, dark energy rolling off of him in waves that stifled Bastion back into his seat. He cracked the window for some reprieve but to little avail, eyes cutting across to the blond.

“Do try to contain your anger.”

The silence his remark was met with did little to quell his anxiety. Faustus was clearly about to kill something, and Bastion wasn’t keen on bearing witness. It was torturous just to make the drive back to the property, and the moment he had the chance to jump ship, Bastion was gone, grateful for the open air.

Faustus moves so quickly it was doubtful anyone registered his arrival back at the manor - already moving into the study where his mother very likely was posted.

“Enter- Faustus, what’s happened?”

“We have a problem - Silveus is gone.”

~O~

When they materialised, it was in the thick of a wood, darkness concealing every bit of light as Silveus’ captor dragged him along. Could they have simply teleported in, he would have been glad, but precautions had needed to be taken against such witchery - much to his regret.

“[i Move.]” he growled, tugging him roughly along. The ground was rough and uneven but he was used to navigating it even in this pitch black.

Far ahead, voices were rising - a cacophony of laughter and shouts. Their coven head would be pleased with this. After all, what better way to repay those winged bastards for the ‘kindness’ they had shown.
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 19d 47m 5s
Silveus blinked. That... was it? He deflated. A part of him felt disappointed, oddly, that it had happened so easily. The rest of him, though, was glad. He needed to have his own space. He didn't rely on anyone else to survive. That wasn't him. That wasn't his way.

Still, this was startling. He rubbed his brow. Was Faustus feeling all right?

He glanced at Bastion and found him just as confused. "I don't know. I... didn't expect that." Faustus just... let him go. It felt wrong. He didn't know what to feel. Relieved, for sure. But also exhausted, and kind of empty. That was all it took? All this time, all he had to do was ask?

"Um, can we explore some?" Silveus suggested. "I want to see the town." Especially if he was going to have to find an apartment and a job. He needed to know where the good places were, where he'd have jobs nearby.

He started off toward the town center. It felt good to be busy. To have an objective. Something to accomplish. Kept him from thinking about all the terrible things that had happened, that he'd been able to do nothing about. Silveus whistled as he walked and glanced around, taking in the world. The warlocks' house was nice, but it was cavernous, at times, dark and depressing. The sunlight on his skin and the wind in his hair felt good.

"Do you know where the cheap part of town is?" he asked Bastion. "I need to find something I can afford while I'm between jobs." He had a little saved up, and what little was left of the life insurance payout, but that would run out fast unless he was careful with the spending.

He turned the corner and bumped into someone. "Oh, my apologies," he said, and then heavy hands descended on his shoulders. Silveus looked up, startled. Dark eyes smiled back at him, set deep in a rugged face.

"You'll be coming with me," the man said, and then they both vanished.
  Silveus Realta / kaitoXi / 100d 22h 39m 39s
[center Oh, boy. He was really in for it. As if getting Silveus to smile wasn’t difficult enough, but such was dealing with Rossa. He set the price and you would pay it. One way or the other. Granted, he was fair. It was one of the things Faustus loved about him.

“As you wish.”

Rossa smiled at that. So nice when Faustie actually listened. He could be stubborn, but he wasn’t an idiot. “I’ll be waiting.”

“Yeah, I know,” Faustus waited until Bastion had ventured back out with a Silveus and meant down to plant a soft kiss to Rossa’s cheek. “I’ll see you around.”

Almost too flustered - not by the kiss but by how... soft Faustus was being, Rossa momentarily paused. “Don’t forget to keep in touch,” he warned, seeing them off. What had gotten into him?

Venturing back out into the fresh air reminded Faustus of just how tired he was. At least, until Silveus started in on his demands. Bastion cast eyes betwixt the two, worried by the potential outcome. He knew his brother. He expected some sort of push back, and where Silveus was right now? He wouldn’t have been surprised if it turned into a full fledged argument.

Instead, Faustus stood for several moments with his eyes closed. Had he not heard him? Was he even listening? Bastion grew more uncomfortable by the moment, and just when it seemed he would never speak, he parted his lips at last.

“Okay. Whatever you want.” Shit, too dismissive. “If that’s what you need.” He wasn’t good at this. “If you need any help finding a place, we’re around.”

And that was it. No grand argument, no resistance, no fuss. Faustus moved past both of them to head back to the car, hair plaited back into the braid it usually was.

“What just... happened?” Bastion squinted, looking at Silveus. “I’m... confused. Also, are we following him or did you want to explore some more?”
  f a u s t u s / Zuckerbiene / 108d 22h 14m 27s
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