• Closed • [Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Darcy, please. Picking up the pieces post-Pythera ambush.

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• Closed • [Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Caius Gawyne » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:58 am

Zi'da 51, 717

Continued from ...
This thread occurs immediately after this.

This for the breakdown. Yeah. Feel it.

He'd gotten a few good strikes in with his saber's pommel—by the Fates he did—gritting his teeth through the motion, and yet Pythera Venora had just kept fucking talking. She knew too much. She threatened everything. She was insane, far more terrible than he'd honestly been able to imagine despite the sincere horror of Darcyanna's pained confessions.

Now, he knew: before this moment, he'd known nothing.

Nothing! What horror ignorance truly was.

With sharp clarity, the twisted escapism of one delicate pianist made far more sense than he'd ever wanted to understand.

He felt his own blood soak into his clothing, warm and thick despite the frigid Zi'da air, drip, drip, dripping from his right side, crawling over too-warm skin and seeping into too-fine fabric, staining the ice and snow of the road. Caius panted ragged, exhausted breaths, so full of adrenaline and rage that he hardly felt just how cut and knicked from the crazed woman's daggers he really was, his left forearm the worst from his desperate attempts to block her feral assault. Once he'd gotten the last good swing in with the satisfying crack of cold steel against bone, the woman shoved away from him and stood.

He wanted to stand after her, he did, but his body betrayed him, resistant despite the rush of molten lead that roared in his veins. The young Gawyne scrambled clumsily to his knees and attempted desperately to keep himself between the youngest Venora and her sister. Caius' jaw clenched defiantly at her accusations, refusing to answer, quite sure that she knew the truth already considering how much she knew of all the time he'd already spent with Darcyanna from the night they'd met until to-trial, that the Valkyr simply continued to taunt them like a spoiled, slighted child. He stood suddenly—too quickly, dizzy, with a surprising twinge of pain that brought shadows caressing the edges of his vision—when Pythera approached again, raising his blade with a hiss. The cold, snow-covered world spun and his ears rang, the chill creeping into his fingertips and digging claws into the cuts that littered his person.

Her threatening words meant little at this point to the northern noble as he attempted to memorize all she'd revealed to him instead, shouting a very caustic, "Fuck you!" for good measure as the psychotic bandit took off on her volareon, the horses terrified and cowering, but too well-trained to bolt. The wind from its wings bit at the red, wet stain that had soaked his shoulder and chest with a pain he'd honestly never felt before in his life, and he groaned, dropping his saber and turning wildly toward Darcy, both bloodied hands raking through his hair and curling against his scalp as he attempted to cling to some frayed edge of mental stability.

He failed,

"I told you to stay, Darcy! She knew—she knew everything!" He growled helplessly, irises as dark as the etherial break before dawn that he seemed to perpetually exist in. His expression was distant, far too full of the fierce need to fight to focus, a bit too much in shock to fully register the hurt, so he hissed to no one, wavering on his feet,

"Fucking insane!"

The carriage driver groaned and the panicked horses whinnied and stamped in the snow, backing up a bit to jolt the carriage, to tug at their reigns. The man stood, clawed and bruised but more terrified than injured, approaching the horses carefully and reaching to calm them, laying his hands on their faces and bringing them back into a feeling of safety with a few quiet words, "Thank the Fates you're all—oh. Seven help us." His eyes fell on Caius, lingering on the red that stained the snow at his feet, and he tore his eyes away to look at Darcyanna reluctantly, voice dropping into a serious tone, "My Lady Venora, there is a first aid kit under my seat. And a small rucksack. Blankets. Fetch them, please. We must all act in an expedient manner, if I may say so frankly—"

Turning to the northern noble, the other man raised a shaky hand and waved toward the carriage door that swung lazily in the chilled wind, "—My Lord, your valor is no longer required. You should sit. We are safe for a moment and you need care. Quickly. I will be right back."

The young Gawyne heard the man speak and his wild gaze drifted from Darcy's face to the driver as he began to trudge off into the snow off the side of the road, gathering sticks and twigs, walking far enough toward a copse of trees in the distance. He didn't move, swaying on his heels, mind still racing. Somewhere in the hot, melted lead of his mind, his brain slowly began to register he was injured, that all the blood was his, and his eyes drifted downward, "Ah, shit."

Caius turned like a terrified animal and staggered his way to the carriage, leaving his bloodied saber in the road, unable to process it all. The wind picked up and gnawed at him, and he all but fell to sit on the wooden step up, breath hitching as the weight of all that had just transpired came crashing onto his shoulders with the deep, aching pain. The sharpness of it stole his ability to inhale right away, eyes flooding with tears as he looked for the blonde Venora once she'd gathered what was asked of her, shaking, bloodied hands reaching for her because in his moment of desperate clarity, he needed to hold her hands, uncaring of his state of being, he kissed her. His lips were cold,

"I'm sorry, Darcy." Always the young Gawyne's first words with her when things twisted sideways, quick to apologize for the burden of failure that hounded him, that chased him awake. He was shivering, adrenaline leaving his system a red stain in the carriage with his blood, "I wasn't enough. I never expected—I—" He blinked heavily, sliding to lean his head against the door frame of the carriage, fingers tightening around her own for a trill or two, squeezing needfully, before he released her and began to attempt to shrug off his vest and his shirt, knowing he was in need of help. He cursed and whined, struggling, tears of pain and terror down his face as he held the delicate pianist's gaze,

"—I had no sarding idea. I didn't. Your sister! We need to get back to Oliver. We. I. I'm not okay. By the Seven, Darcy—" Caius wouldn't say her name, but he swallowed everything and filed it away into the vast, complicated library of his mind. The VII would be on his lips to the Lord Inquisitor, mages or not. It didn't really matter. The threat was enough, that much he knew. Fire danced in his chest, but he sobbed instead, "—I meant what I said—every fucking word—to you."

He'd bluffed as a means of survival with Pythera, but his heartfelt confession to Darcyanna was true in every syllable,

"I love you, Darcy. I—"

The carriage driver returned with an armful of wood and twigs, ignorant to the depths of conversation the young Gawyne was wading into in his currently broken state of mind. While he had little medical training, the driver knew what needed to be done, eyes lingering on how the blood continued to pour from the younger man's shoulder with a scowl. He set about beginning to build a small fire there on the side of the road as if it was the sanest thing in all of Idalos to do, hoping he could get the little flames hot enough. He was better at caring for horses than people, to be honest, but his Lord had informed him that Darcyanna was a medical student, after all,

"We're going to have to do something here for the Lord Gawyne, unfortunately. The horses can't get back to Bellesoir fast enough. You've studied this sort of thing, my Lady Venora, yes?"

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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:39 pm

51st Zi'da, 717

I suppose that’s that then.

Darcyanna sat in the ice and snow and rocky dirt of the road, gasping for air and trembling, crying without sound. Her pale blue eyes stared at Thera, through her, as though her mind was gone. A million miles away from the here and now. Caius had moved in front of her, between the crazed Venora and her broken sister, yet Darcy barely noticed.

I’m coming to find you. I made you a promise, and I don’t break my word.

Vaguely, the blonde felt the breeze off the volareon’s wings as it took to the sky, blinking slowly as she registered the horror that was slowly consuming her mind. Pythera had attacked Oliver, she’d attacked Caius. She knew.

She knew.

Fates she knew.

Caius approached, growling angrily at her for disobeying his instruction, and for a moment the pianist could only nod as though in some sort of dream state. Shock, somewhere in the depth of her mind Darcy remembered the feeling. The medical terminology for the strange trance the mind took to protect itself from trauma.

Suddenly, all at once, the woman heard her name being addressed. She blinked rapidly and tore her gaze from the nothingness where Pythera had once stood to look at the coachman. She frowned for a moment in confusion, her brain processing the words mechanically.

“First aid? I…” Turning her eyes on the northern noble, Darcyanna was pulled immediately into the present, gasping and jumping to her feet.

“Oh Seven, Caius! Oh Fates!” Running to the carriage, she climbed up to wrench the kit from under the drivers seat along with the rucksack, before opening the carriage door and grabbing the blankets. Dropping everything in the snowy dirt beside the coach, she reached for the Gawyne as he dropped down on the step, panic sweeping through her at the sight of him. So much sarding blood, staining his clothes and seeping out along fingertips and dripping into the snow. She didn’t even notice it staining her own hands, or dragged through his sandy blonde locks like some sort of morbid dye. The kiss was too cold, far too cold.

“You have nothing to be sorry for Caius. My sister…” She took a shuddering breath, squeezing her eyes shut to clear her vision, reaching simultaneously to remove his vest and shirt, peeling the wet bloodied material away from his skin, making a sound of horror at the sight of his chest.

“Oh my…” The Venora whispered with shaking breath, watching as fresh blood oozed from the wound from Caius’ attempt to help himself. Her hand fluttered over the gash for a moment, brain unable to drag any information on medicine to the forefront. Shaking her head and squeezing his hands again, Darcy whined at the words falling from the diri. He was going into shock too, she knew it. She remembered it.

“I tried to tell you, Fates I tried, I tried…” Sweet confessions again of love, so beautiful from his lips and at the same time so frightening. The last thing the blonde wanted to hear was Caius’ profession of love as he died in her arms. Turning her eyes on the coachman as he approached, Darcy stammered for a moment.

“I uh…I…a little but I’m…” She was just a novice, a beginner in the medical arts. Damn it. What could she do?

Step up Darcyanna. Step up or he’s going to die.

She suddenly drew her brow and clamped her gaping mouth shut.

“Get us a fire going, and a kettle of water.” She said firmly, face a mask of determination. Pulling open the first aid kit and searching for a moment, she handed the man a needle and what looked like a small metal poker.

“Boil the needle, and stick this directly in the flames. It needs to be red hot.” Turning her pale gaze back on Caius, the Ivory Rose spoke as she pulled out thread from the kit as well as a cluster of herbs. Holding them in her hands, the blonde swore quietly. Some of them looked familiar, but not enough. Not like what was in her own cloak pocket. For a moment, guilt clung to her, but now was not the time to fear his anger. Reaching in, she drew out a familiar home rolled cigarette.

“Caius, listen carefully. I love you too, more than I could ever believe. Right now, I need to stop this bleeding so you don’t sarding die, so I am going to need you do trust me. If you love me, trust me.” Lifting the reevi cigarette to her lips, she pulled out her matches and swiftly lit the cigarette, taking a small puff merely to get it going. Turning the end towards the Gawnye, she put it in between his lips.

“Smoke this.” The woman said unapologetically, taking his uninjured hand to control the cigarette between two fingers. Picking up a soft blanket and folding it, she pressed the material against the wound before turning to the coachman.

“You, come here and hold this against the wound. Firmly, you understand? We need to stem the bleeding whilst…whilst that heats up.” When the man took over, she would stand and check on the water and the metal poker. A cauterising rod, as it was called. Darcy stared at the metal as it glowed red between the coals.

Her heart raced and her palms sweat. She was about to subject the man she loved to the same torturous pain her own sister had once inflicted on herself.

Fates I can’t…

Forcing herself to move, Darcy picked up the tool by its wooden end, walking stiffly back to the Gawyne and the coachman.

“Move the cloth. And hold him.” She said, voice wavering. Looking at the taller diri, she took another shuddering breath.

“I am so sorry about this Caius.” Darcyanna said, before pressing the tool inside the gash against where the blood was pumping from sliced veins and muscle, the smell of burning flesh bringing a sob to her lips, one solitary sound before she pulled herself back together.

She had to keep it together.

He would not die here. Not like this.
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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Caius Gawyne » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:25 pm

Things were happening around him, but Caius just felt cold and found it strangely difficult for any one thing to keep his attention. He was in shock, dark irises drifting back to the blood flowing from his shoulder. He raised his other hand as if to touch the gash that raked its way to his sternum, but he hesitated, palm rubbing his chin instead with a groan. Wildly, he looked back to Darcy, his motions revealing the depth of disturbance that filled the empty spaces between them.

The coach driver returned and began to light a small, compact fire, huffing it to life with the clouds of his breath before climbing into the carriage to fetch some things from under a seat—a kettle, a waterskin—and conversation happened past him but not directly at him. He felt the cold, which was odd, but it crept defiantly over his bare, bloodied skin and pooled at his fingertips and legs, caressing the cuts that littered his person. Steam curled with bizarre curiosity from the bleeding gash that crossed his chest, and his dark eyes traveled over his whole bloodied upper body, all goosebumps and pale skin. He watched Darcy move with purpose, blinking at her when he saw her hands move to her cloak.

Pain seeped in with the chill, sharp, shallow bits like crawling bugs and a deep, hollow ache in his shoulder. It was one of the most intense feelings he could ever remember, rivaled perhaps only by the pain of guilt that had crushed his narrow chest as a child the trial Ivy went missing. Their driver put the water to boil and shoved something narrow and metal directly into the glowing embers. Caius was vaguely aware of methods of stemming bleeding, eyes drifting to the hole in his shoulder and certain that no stitches would do. He knew what was coming, and with a groan, he struggled to prepare himself for the kind of fiery pain he was sure he couldn't properly imagine.

Darcy spoke of her returned love for him and he couldn't help but smile a lopsided wince, coming into focus for a moment at her words despite the fog that floated strangely at the edges of his vision, his words a ragged exhale with genuine excitement catching fire in his suddenly confused, tired mind.

"You do? Really? Why didn't you say—" The match made him blink and he shifted to raise a bloodied hand in objection, "No, Darcy. For Fate's sake, it doesn't hurt that bad—stop. Damn it."

He knew the smell of reevi before she handed it to him, scowling at the blonde Venora as she snatched his hand, giving in with a hiss while her fingers did the positioning to hold the rolled paper. He wasn’t sarding stupid, but there were apparently no other options—

Maybe he should have just been in pain. Maybe he deserved it. Maybe this was penance. Would this please the Seven for all of his shortcomings?

—It was too late now, and he reluctantly acquiesced to inhaling deeply, dark-eyed gaze straying to his inner wrist instead of her face, chagrined to reveal his lack of ignorance of the drug in his hand. His slow, scowling exhale revealed the opposite, giving her just enough insight into his unspoken experiences, and he didn’t look back to Darcyanna right away because in the clarity of the moment, it felt somewhat hypocritical to do so.

There, smudged by blood, was the familiar, faint tattoo of his birthday, the beginning of his sarding sorry end. For Fate's sake. The sun was setting. Darkness suddenly felt appropriate.

The carriage driver stepped in when the delicate pianist turned to the fire, having dug out the antiseptic solution from the first aid kit and all but pouring it over Caius’s bloodied shoulder and chest without warning or remorse. The young Gawyne hissed in agony,

"Sorry, my Lord." He breathed, wiping gingerly with shaking hands in the cold and nervousness, switching to a new cloth to wipe the cuts that littered the northern noble's body, arms, and wrist, "If I remember from horses, cauterizing tends to have a higher risk of infection. Just let me help."

Whining, Caius leaned back against the carriage's door frame and watched the heat of his breath mingle with his next exhale of reevi smoke, smirking at the cauterizing iron that was brought forth from the fire,

"Faldrun's charred nut sack, is that really—fuck it."

He felt the coachman moving behind him and the young Gawyne willingly submitted to the older man's arms snaking around his cold torso, taking one last, long hit with a fearful glance at the fire, coughing and sputtering his exhale with a groan as he set the cigarette down and let their driver grip his arms, finally meeting Darcyanna's gaze, setting his jaw as if it would matter,

"Go on."

The trick to cauterization was to hold the iron against the wound for just the right amount of time—just enough to seal it. Too long, and one would only be burning into healthy tissue. Short bursts were best, especially if the one doing the work was willing to check the bleeding each time. Of course, even after that, dousing the freshly sealed wound with more antiseptic was necessary. It would be icing on the cake.

Caius—unfortunately or fortunately depending on one's point of view—was completely ignorant of the level of pain that he was about to experience, unlike the blonde Venora who was far too aware with such fiery suffering thanks to the same vile beast of a sister who'd brought them without eloquence into this very situation. The bizarre mixture of shock and reevi in his system was just enough to make everything feel distant for a few very blessed heartbeats, but when the delicate pianist pressed the iron to his flesh, a blackness decended upon his vision with volareon wings and his scream was a gurgled sound that rang out in the frigid Zi'da evening. Straining for a moment against the older man's arms that held him, each brief press of the hot iron was enough to bring garbled curses from grit teeth, though somewhere in the middle of the intensely torturous moment, he let the dark swallow him for a trill or two, a thoughtless reprieve of too brief unconsciousness.

Shoved back into horrible awakeness by another liberal dousing of stinging, cold antiseptic liquid once their driver released him to clean and wipe gingerly where the iron had been, Caius groaned. Slumping against the carriage again, the young Gawyne looked at Darcy with an expression that spoke volumes about the new depths of understanding he found himself in unwilling possession of and spoke,

"I can only know my natural death. This sarding sort of thing—being so close to my own murder that I can taste it—is a surprise. " He hissed absently, reaching for what was left of the smoldering rolled reevi without hesitation or apology, aware that she wasn't finished with him yet, distant gaze drifting to the needle, "I'm a great grandson of the fucking Immortal of Prophecy and that's all I have to show for it. Fucking waste."

His last words were made with a twisted face of pain, exhaling more hot breath and smoke,

"Stitches next, my lovely Lady Venora." The northern noble laughed, eyes fluttering as he imagined more pain, more than willing to drift as far out of his mind as possible, "You'll have your damn Letter in no time."

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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:58 pm

51st Zi'da, 717

She noticed it, that moment in time, that not so inexperienced way Caius took to the reevi and his eyes avoiding hers. Maybe when this was over, maybe if he lived, she would have something to say about it. Maybe. But not here, not right now. The coachman helped her, doing for his horses what she hadn’t for the human. Of course, she needed to sterilise his wound. She hadn’t thought of that in her panicked state, but she had remembered to sterilise the needle.

There was that, at least.

The scream that wrenched from the Gawyne just about killed her there kneeling in the snow beside the carriage. The pianist knew he’d passed out, saw the familiar slump against the coachman’s arms, and with a thankfulness for the brief moment she worked in short sizzling bursts on the other spots that seeped dangerously, drawing away with a nod to the older man. Moving back towards the fire, Darcy dropped the tool in the snow with shaking hands as Caius was cleaned with antiseptic and gauze. They still needed to stitch him, but fates, that smell.

Reaching for the water, the blonde gasped another sob, her panic rising and her chest tightening. How could Pythera do that to her, willingly and with joy? She wanted to vomit. Taking deep desperate breaths, she shook her head and clenched her jaw, fishing out the needle from the boiled water and returning to the blood soaked scene. He looked at her, so uselessly leaning against the doorframe, and the Venora saw in his eyes. Saw the understanding now, of what she’d tried so hard to keep a secret.

She knew. Fates Thera knew.

Turning her pale eyes to the needle so she could thread it, Darcy’s brow drew together angrily. If she’d stayed away from the northerner, if that night they met had been a mere passing of ships in the night, would any of this had occurred? Had she just been the cause of her brother and her lovers demise? The guilt twisted like a snake in the depths of her soul, and she couldn’t bring herself to look at the wound again just yet.

“I don’t want my sarding letter if this is how I get it.” The musician said softly as his eyes fluttered in pain and more than likely the effects of the reevi. Her gaze turned to the driver.

“Help me get him in the carriage ser, and then I need you to return us to Novtrevé as fast as you can. I will stitch him on the way.” The coachman began to protest, knowing that the ride would be bumpy if he moved at speed, but Darcy looked at him with a streak of shark black cracking the panicked pale blue in her eyes.

“My brother is currently possibly dying, maybe even already dead, and Lord Gawyne needs urgent professional medical help. Do not argue me on this ser. Just...just sarding help me.” The authoritative tone in her voice faded as her eyes bled blue again in fear and hopelessness. He moved then, helping the small Venora to get Caius carefully inside on one of the seats resting his good side against the wall, Darcy kneeling on the injured side with threaded needle in hand and first aid kit in her lap.

“I will start us moving Lady, but I will not move with speed until you are done. You can discipline me how you see fit when we are back at the estate, but for now, just do what you need to for your Lord.” The smell of reevi, antiseptic and coppery blood filled the air as he threw blankets over the far too cold nobleman and closed the door.

“Caius...I’m...I have to tell you I’ve never done stitches before.” She looked at his eyes, before glancing at the wound again as the carriage began to move, her heart thumping in her chest. Lifting the needle, the blonde noblewoman shook her head and dropped it again with a couple of hitched breaths, fighting the urge to sob uselessly.

“The best I’ve done...I once darned a sock. So...this is going to be a bogfight.” Taking a deep breath, Darcyanna lifted the needle and thread to start at the top where it was deepest, ignoring the way his swollen and ragged flesh gave under the press of the point as she drove it through muscle and skin on one side. Once she had it through, she went in and out the other side, bringing the threads together to tighten and tie them off.

Her stomach turned. Fates that was only one.

Cutting the thread, she clenched her jaw tightly with swirling dark indigo eyes as she resolutely worked through another stitch. And another. If Caius made sounds of pain, the musician fought to ignore them, working as quickly as she could. If he talked to her, she listened, but did not reply as she concentrated. If he begged her to stop, she might not start again. Each few stitches, she would swipe gently with a gauze to mop the blood that oozed from the pinpricks or from the flesh being squeezed together.

When the last stitch closed on his sternum, Darcyanna poured more of the stinging antiseptic fluid on the wound before leaning over to bang hard on the wall.

“Go ser! With haste!” She called out loudly, before returning to the cold Gawyne and fussing with his blankets, ensuring he was covered in all of them, taking his other hand tightly and trying to look at his face.

“I’m so sorry.” The terrified and worried Venora whispered, her own clothing stained with blood and dirt and the strong smelling antiseptic, streaks of red in her platinum locks and across her face unnoticed by the woman.
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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Caius Gawyne » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:21 pm

She wanted to move him, and he scowled at the thought. He was cold, unable to help from shivering now, not just from the temperature but from his body simply being done resisting fear, shock, and exhaustion. Caius heard her snap at the driver, closing his eyes again for a moment as he attempted to convince his whole self that he'd have to help the process. Exhaling one last lungful of smoke through thin lips, his expression softened like Cylus giving way to Ashan, and even his irises were a vibrant mix of thawing greens and gold and violet, pupils dilated and dominating their colorful round space,

"You know—ugh—" The young Gawyne sat up with effort, ignoring her riposte about her Letter in medicine while preparing himself for the coachman to take a hold of him, attempting to be useful. For a brief moment, however, his left hand shot out with surprising quickness to catch the delicate pianist's arm and his expression was wistful. Pausing the moving of his weak, lanky self, he declared seriously,

“In the short amount of time we’ve known each other, you’ve made me first into a fool, then into a liar, and finally, of all things a sarding hypocrite.” He flicked the spent end of the reevi cigarette into the fire for emphasis, sighing languidly at the motion required of his cold body to do so, “Almost a corpse to-trial, apparently. But here I am thinking, Darcyanna Venora, for Fate’s sake, I’d just like to make you a Gawyne. Mine. Is that too much to ask?”

Caius laughed then, his sudden grin stupid but his words real, unfiltered by the reevi which hadn't dulled the pain so much as made it just not sarding matter. He didn't want to think about Oliver, and so he focused on Darcy's beautiful, stressed face instead. Blood loss and suffering loosened his tongue and too many moments spent near death had forced him to be more than just casually honest. He was lifted and clumsily attempted to help the pair resettle him in the carriage, whining in pain at all the motion, his limbs not obeying all of his will.

The young Gawyne chuckled at her when she mentioned darning, "Well, for the record, I'm not a Fate's be damned sock, and—oh, shit that hurts!" He growled and had to grip the seat with his hand from his uninjured side to keep from squirming, unable to keep from watching the needle pierce his skin with a distant sort of interest, high and distracted by his own wandering thoughts, "Better me than you, though, Darcy."

While the northern noble didn't cry out or scream again, he growled and hissed, struggling to sit still through each new stitch. He fell quiet somewhere in the middle, strangely aware that his noises were bothering her, that his audible suffering was making things worse. He resisted the urge to touch her, though in their vicinity and his admittedly indescribably strange state of mind it was tempting, so he rambled instead, breathing changing and voice breaking when things hurt but otherwise not giving too much of his pain away.

He mostly talked of his childhood, anecdotes about growing up a boy in Gawyne and the kind of trouble he and his siblings got themselves into and out of. He waxed somewhat poetic about his family relationships, about how he loved them and especially how he missed them, grinning distantly for a trill or two before he came back into focus, finally reaching a hand up to brush the blonde Venora's face despite how hard she was concentrating, bloodied fingers tucking stray strands of platinum hair back behind her ear while she finished the last stitch.

Caius startled with wide eyes like some wild animal when she shouted and banged for the driver to get going, but then he hummed as if it had meant nothing when she tucked him tighter in his blankets and reached for his hand, which he promptly and eagerly tangled with hers. Sighing wistfully in his altered, distracted state of mind he set their hands down on her thigh where he was quite aware her scars were,

"By Warren's empty grave, beautiful creature, what do you have to be sorry for? She's a psychopath. Look at you, saving my life—thank you. Fucking ridiculous how much that hurt, by the way, but far more ridiculous than that is—" he muttered with a lopsided smile, amused and afraid at the same time, wanting her closer because he was so cold, "—how much I love you. I should have told you at the Soirée, but I'm a sarding arsehole. I'm afraid, you know? I've never been so scared in my life, Darcy."

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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:22 pm

51st Zi'da, 717

But here I am thinking, Darcyanna Venora, for Fate’s sake, I’d just like to make you a Gawyne. Mine. Is that too much to ask?

The Venora blushed deeply, concentrating on her stitches as the Gawyne spoke, unable to think over the rushing in her ears. Only two trials ago on the dance floor at Novtrevé he’d claimed making things more official, now in the space of a few bits or so, maybe a break, he’d admitted he loved her and now....wanted to marry her?

It seemed too wonderful to be true.

“I would...I would like that too...but...you’re high Caius...” She muttered softly, not wanting to trivialise his words, but unsure she should be taking them to heart at this particular moment in time. As she snipped another stitch, the blonde chanced a glance and a smile.

“Let’s talk about those things more when we’re safely back at Notrerevé and you’re well.” Taking a steadying breath, she listened quietly as he spoke. Spoke of Gawyne and his siblings, spoke of his feelings and his longings, barely noticed the bloodied fingers that tucked her hair away.

The carriage bounced as the coachman drove the horses, who barely required encouragement to gallop back towards the familiar safely of home. The strange colors in Caius’ gaze held her own, and for a moment in the relative safety of the carriage and the reprieve of knowing he wasn’t now bleeding to death, Darcy looked down at their stained hands on her scarred thighs with a tearful sigh.

“I’m sorry that I pulled you into my crazy family mess. If I’d just kept to myself that night, after the alley. If I’d simply kept going it alone, then you’d never have been in this carriage, you’d never even have known Pythera and her insanity. You wouldn’t have been hurt, if it wasn’t for me.” His fingers were freezing, and the blonde couldn’t hold back the fear in her own pale gaze. Shifting carefully, she moved closer to Caius, pulling her cloak off and throwing it around him over the blankets. Reaching up, she smiled weakly whilst brushing his sandy locks aside.

“You’re not an asshole Caius, you’re not. I’m...I’m scared too.” She sobbed suddenly, pressing her free hand over her mouth to suppress the sound. Forcing the painful hitching breaths down, she took a shaky breath.

“I love you. I have loved you for so sarding long, since the morning after...after I was so fekking stupid. I love you and...Fates Gawyne I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what we’re going to do...bogs.” How he could smile when he was in so much pain and so weak, the blonde could only put it down to the reevi.

Seven, she could do with a hit.

“Uh...do you need anything else? For the pain? I think there’s um...there’s willowbark in the kit? Or..uh...water? Do you want some water?” Darcyanna asked, looking around for more blankets, distracting herself from the chill in his hands, from the serious words that fell from intoxicated lips.
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Darcyanna Venora
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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Caius Gawyne » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:16 pm

"Right, Darcy, and you've never shared a single tidbit of truth while wasted in my presence. So what I say doesn't count? I'll say the same when I'm sober. Ask me again. You'll see."

Caius hissed at her nervous dismissal with a sudden, hurt vehemence and his eyes filled with tears, far less reserved with any possible filter now stolen by just how high he'd allowed himself to be.

A hypocrite, indeed.

"Nowhere is fucking safe!" The northern noble moaned, eyes wide, Pythera's telling of their entire relationship from the beginning crawling down his spine like volareon talons, "Your sister's made sure of that—bogs! I'm going to send every mage-hunting dog under my command after every last one of those bandits, Darcy. I don't care if there's a single fucking spark amongst them, someone is going to burn—I'm telling you these things now because, well, because when else am I going to get a chance?"

Pale and desperate, everything felt far more important in this present situation, pretenses carved away one slice of a dagger and one press of a needle at a time. The jostling of the carriage over snow and ice was not at all helpful for the young Gawyne now that he'd been fully embraced by the raw wildness that reevi seemed to release into his usually far more reserved, far more thoughtful self. He groaned, her apologetic words not sitting right with him either. Thoughtlessly, he moved to wrap his arms around her, to greedily bring the warmth of her body closer to his chilled bare skin, but immediately regretted any motion in his right side, his shoulder snarling like an angry jacadon awakened from sleep. He felt it, and whined a little, but it was such a strange sensation in the moment that his right hand still came to rest against her side,

"Shut up." Caius snapped softly, possessively, less angry than the words may have sounded, "If you'd just kept going that night, those drunk sardfaces would have had their way with you in that alley. If you'd kept going, no one would have ever noticed what you've been doing alone to die slowly in terror. If you'd kept going, I wouldn't have you here and now, and—Bogs. Just shut up with talk like that. Your sister—" He refused to say her name, face twisting as his fingers curled into the fabric of her dress with a sharp inhale, his heart suddenly racing in the cavity of his chest despite all the blood he'd lost, "—has made her mistake because I am fucking alive."

He couldn't help it, sliding his left hand away to turn it and glance down at his wrist, the faint, white-inked numbers parallel to his palm marking his birthday. Darcyanna could see it too if she looked, there among the nicks and cuts that littered his forearm,

"I'm fucking alive."

He repeated the phrase in a more hushed, more purposeful tone, out of focus for a trill or two as he felt the prophetic whispers of breaks and bits, of a trial that felt both far away and too close. The tears that had welled in his eyes rolled down his cheeks and he looked back up at the delicate pianist with the weight of too much knowledge suddenly dragging him down—he knew he'd stood in Vri's shadow just bits before and he knew where the Immortal waited for him elsewhere in time. What he didn't know is the in-between. Anything could happen, honestly, and yet for a heartbeat or two he felt the press of death so closely that Vri himself may as well have kissed him,

"Since then, huh? You're sarding amazing, you know. No, you don't know. You've been under that beast of a woman's thumb for far too long." That hint of a smile returned coyly, her confessions of love tugging him easily away from the warm caresses of death. He shifted beneath her, restless under the weight of the word he suddenly felt so poignantly, "I don't even know when, Darcy. I just know I do. I just know what I feel for you isn't stupid shallow shit but the real sarding deal. All of it—what are we going to do? We're going to be just fine. In Ashan, we can visit Umbridge. You can see my home and meet my family. And in Saun, bogs, it's going to be so damn hot, but in Saun, you're going to be so beautiful. Andaris will be hot and I'm going to be sweaty and I'm sorry, but maybe you won't notice while we say our vows, right? And then I will make you a Gawyne—my Winter Rose instead of Ivory—oops, I'm not supposed to talk about all of this. Shit. I'm too high, right?" He was grinning almost wickedly, irises a honeyed amber and violet. Bringing a bloodied finger to his lips to mock himself into silence, he laughed handsomely and looked away for a moment, chagrined at his own delirious ramblings, the blush blooming across his too pale features hard to hide,

"Water would be nice. Yes." Caius tried to be serious, brow furrowing, glancing at the delicate pianist sideways because he was almost embarrassed but also so serious and yet she had no sarding clue. He spoke his heart and she was just going to dismiss him. He deserved it. He'd greedily smoked what she'd given him with only a token show of resistance, perhaps selfishly afraid of the pain he knew would be coming. He'd revealed himself as the fool he was underneath the calculating, academic facade,

"You're here for the pain, and that's enough for me. I've already made a mess of myself to-trial, I think. I'm sorry—do you think less of me now? I deserve it."

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Caius Gawyne
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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:20 am

51st Zi'da, 717

Darcy blinked at his vehemence, shaking her head and squeezing his hand with a patient smile, placing a gentle hand on his now too cold cheek.

“That’s not what I meant. I believe you. It’s just...” It was the bizarre ride back from the Tulburns all over again, only this time she was the one digging a hole. This wasn’t the time and place for it, not half dead in the back of a coach hellbent on getting back to Bellesoir. The rage in his voice as he spoke of hunting the VII down and burning people??

It scared her.

As he reached to draw her close, the blonde protested heatedly, knowing full well how the movement would hurt him. Moving as close as she could, the Venora pianist leaned against him without weight, lending only her warmth and her care.

“Don’t become her Caius. Don’t loose yourself in that rabbit hole.” Her eyes shifted to look at his wrist, frowning a little when she noticed the tattoo. When had that happened? Looking closer still before the Gawyne moved, Darcy picked up the date. His birthtrial? Who tattooed their birthtrial on themselves? Glancing back at his face, she made a sound in her throat, reaching up with stained fingers to wipe the tears that rolled down his cheeks. She saw there, his mortality had been laid out for him on the cold road to Andaris, a thin line between being alive. And not.

“Yes Caius, you’re fucking alive. You alive and you’re going to stay that way.” The blonde said with conviction, wishing the breaks away so they could be at Bellesoir sooner. Would he last the trip? Fates, if she could help it he would.

That sarding smile again, and sweet words of confession uttered from his lips. Darcy couldn’t help but smile, tears of her own falling as she listened to his words. Saun, the season of weddings for Rynmere nobility. Her eyes dropped closed with a laugh, blushing furiously at such beautiful heartfelt words midst his high. Looking up again, her pale blue eyes warming with lime and lilac, the Venora shook her head.

“Caius Gawyne...”

Yes, you’re too high.

You should just rest.

You don’t know what you’re saying.

“Is this a proposal, because if so your timing leaves much to be desired.” She laughed again, reaching for the waterskin and opening it, moving to assist the nobleman in taking a drink. Her smile faded as she took in his face with a serious look.

“No Caius. I don’t think less of you. Not now, not ever.” Corking the skein, Darcy put it aside and looked the northerner over, considering how her own words flowed when she was high. Scared. Hurting.

“I would wear roses in my hair, and lace. You’ll look amazing in the purples of your house. The heat will be a distant memory whilst we recite words of love written from our very souls. Oliver will smile, Charlie might cry. Bellesoir would put on a flower festival in our honour. Mother and Father would announce it in the royal papers. I would definitely cry. I always sarding cry.” The blonde said softly, tears coming again, wishing for all the things she said out loud.

Say your goodbyes Darcyanna.

Her chest tightened, hitching painfully against the sobs that wanted to escape. What was the point in all these beautiful dreams and words, when the Valkyr was going to return and take her away? Darcy looked over the man with a weak smile, her tears streaking through the blood on her cheeks.

“Darcyanna Gawyne, has a nice ring to it.” She joked, before her smile faded again. This isn’t the way she wanted to remember her final trials, seeing the man she loved—Fates how she loved him—fading away as the sun fades from the sky.

“Survive, and I’ll come to your castle in the mountains. I’ll become your Winter Rose, and we’ll hide away from the world and all it’s ugliness. I’ll fill your eves with flowers, and your hearth with nochi.” Her words were serious, silvery lilac eyes holding his. Even if Pythera found her, even if she took her and ended her life, even if she hid her body—Darcy needed Caius to understand that she wanted his fairytale. Wanted it with everything in her being.

“Survive, because I’m not sure I can keep going in this bitter place without you.”
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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Caius Gawyne » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:25 pm

Don't become her, Darcyanna cautioned and Caius blinked at the delicate pianist, confused. He was nothing like the monster her sister appeared to be, but he was also desperate for justice and safety. He moved to accommodate more of her against him, far too eager to hold her to care at all about the pain, though he inhaled sharply at the discomfort.

She wiped his face and his eyes fluttered shut heavily, foggy and elsewhere while also present and comfortable now, "I'm alright, Darcy." He chuckled at her, suddenly aware of all the blood he'd lost and the severity of his injury, "I'm not going to give your sister the sarding satisfaction of me dying. Nor you—no matter what she's said over the arcs. She's made her mistake this time. You'll see. Together, we are stronger."

The northern noble meant those words, just as convicted as she was. He was convinced that this was the moment of change now, and even as he drifted more into fantasizing about their future, unable to help himself with the delicate pianist close to his exhausted self, the warmth of her body welcome and comfortable. His words, honest but ambitious, made her blush and he grinned at her when she spoke his name,

"Please, my sense of timing is fucking horrid. You know this by now." He giggled, really giggled, but rolled the word proposal slowly off his loose tongue back at her coyly, "And if this was a proposal, would you say yes? Why waste more time? I know I want you, and you feel the same. I—I mean—It's not, though. This. No, no." Caius patted her assuringly, though his expression was still amused, curious, "I'll figure out something sarding special, I promise. I mean, now works, too, but I can wait. You can still say yes, though. You will, right?"

She offered him the water he'd asked for and he drank greedily before settling back into the seat, hissing through the effort it took to huddle back in the blankets.

Ah, but she humored his fantasizing anyway, picking up from where his high ramblings of an imagined wedding in Saun left off and his grin grew wide, almost wicked in his warm amusement, finally forced to bite his lip in barely contained excitement. She spoke her future name and a bubbled noise of delight escaped the wounded Lord, a hum of agreement that resonated in his bare chest when she leaned against him again,

"Baronness Darcyanna Gawyne. Mine. Yes. Perfect."

He corrected softly with a weighted seriousness, but concern flooded his wild thoughts as her smile faded, too close to her and far too perceptive in his state of mind to miss the pain that briefly washed over her pale, beautiful features, "No, no one will take that from us. Stop worrying."

Caius spoke to her thoughts without clarifying, but what she said next brought more tears to his eyes and he was far too emotional to do anything but hitch a sob at her promises, "Oh, by the Seven, Darcy, you are a wonder. I won't die. Not to-trial. Not the next. Not for that monster. I'll be okay. We're going to be okay. Together. Nochi around my warm hearth all from you? Winter Rose? Yes. Yes, oh! Please. I'll go through all of this trial again to make every word of that true—every drop of blood for such a thing. Children, really? How many do you want? We tend toward large families, us Gawynes, but I don't sarding care. The world is fucking ugly sometimes. You make it fairer. Every trial, you do. Do you see that? With your music and your smiles. You don't, do you? Too sarding afraid—"

His expression darkened for a moment, irises paling in a sudden fear, paranoia clawing at the edges of his reevi-induced ebullience, "Oh, bogs! We need to move, Darcy. When we get back to Andaris. I've got the nel and can always ask around at the Gazette. We should hide in Mid-Town ... but together, we could live together. Is that too forward? Does it matter? Oliver will stab my other shoulder, that brother of yours, but maybe not. I want to protect you. You and I and Smudge and a piano, okay? To keep you safe. Scandalous, I know, but safer. Keep our residences just to be confusing. I've got friends—"

The young Gawyne paused, blinking, and ran a hand over his face before brushing her cheek with it, catching himself in a moment of clarity as fear flitted away and he focused on her face again, "Damn you, Darcy, I fucking hate reevi. It turns me into such a prophesying mess, whether there's truth to it or not. I'm such a sarding Gawyne." He laughed, rolling his eyes, "Art students do the stupidest shit. I swore this stuff off, but here I am. A rambling, delirious idiot full of far too much honesty. I love you, though. I mean that. Again. Kiss me and call me roguish with this fancy scar your fucking sister has gifted me with. We'll both survive just fine. You did a decent enough job, but we'll have to work on your stitching."

He put all of his thoughts together in one tumultuous paragraph, smiling but serious, needy but exhausted. He wanted it all, Caius did, especially with his altered state,

"You'll have to survive, too. Because I've been nothing until now without you."

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Caius Gawyne
Peace. No matter what the price.
 
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[Between Venora and Andaris] Brokenness

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:00 pm

51st Zi'da, 717

The pianist couldn’t help but giggle through her tears as the Gawyne acknowledged his well known sense of timing, both enjoying hearing him laugh and also committing the sound to her memory. There were moments in time, pivots in reality that mattered in so many ways, like the flutter of a butterflies wings bringing the hurricane so to speak. Darcyanna felt it, like a cold finger up her spine, this was one of those times. Somewhere in the future, her sister waited.

Whether she got her was a matter of what they did in these moments.

Resting her hand on his, Darcy nodded with a smile.

“Now, or later, I’ll say yes Caius. I’ll say yes.” She said softly, not entirely sure he heard her as he continued to speak, lost in his own reevi-dreams.

Baroness Gawyne? The blonde kept her peace, unwilling to interrupt the space his mind was fleeing to in his pain and high, simply smiling and nodding. If it made him happy, she wouldn’t point out the intricacies required for that to occur.

Again, she couldn’t help but laugh with lip trembling and tears still falling in a stark contrast to each other, listening to the taller diri ramble in his excitement. If it kept him talking, kept him conscious, she would gladly listen to it all.

“How many? Fates, perhaps starting with one my Lord? Just to start with...” The fear captured him then, suddenly with fiery paranoia. Darcy moved one hand to rest it on his uninjured side and made a soft placating sound as she urged him to lay back and relax.

“Move? Living together? Us? It’s not...it’s sweet. It’s smart. Oliver won’t stab you Caius, he will...he’ll be...” The lump in her throat constricted her words again, thinking about Oliver—Fates be alive. About future things. She choked back another sob, looking out the window as they bolted along the countryside.

“You, I, Smudge and a piano. Everything we ever need right there, no matter where we are.” The Venora managed softly, taking his hand in both of hers again. Maybe it would work? Maybe he was right? Pythera couldn’t be everywhere and know everything.

Right?

Focusing back on the man, she laughed again, a genuine sound thick with the emotional drain of the trial.

“You hypocrite Caius Gawyne! Here I was thinking you’d never touched the stuff in your life, and now the truth comes out. I never.” It was teasing, a half hearted attempt at humor whilst covered in the northerners blood and racing towards Bellesoir. Lifting a hand to his too cold cheek, Darcy moved to press a soft kiss to the Gawyne’s mouth, before resting her forehead on his with a broken gasp, fighting back the fresh onslaught of tears.

“Shush you rouge. We’ll both be fine, I’m sure. All of us. You, me, Oliver. We’ll all be fine and when this is over we’ll all laugh...we’ll...it’ll be fine.” She lied through the ache in her chest, kissing him again and settling back. Fussing with his blankets, blue eyes avoiding his, she smiled.

“Now, enough of this talk of surviving and such. Talk to me, my lovely Gawyne. Tell me more about printing, or these so called ‘hot seasons’ in Saun.”

If he was talking, he was breathing. If he was breathing, he was alive.

Hurry coachman, hurry!
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Darcyanna Venora
The Ivory Rose
 
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