The Wolf, the Doe, and the Serpent

PilarPilar Member Posts: 43 ✭✭✭
Backstory: I've been sitting on these logs for a loooong time, this arc actually spans over a few months due to scheduling etc but now it's time to finally share! Aisling and Pilar have a son whom they love but he only came to be because a minor serpent spirit approached Pilar in Dendara to help her conceive....for a price.

As their son grew, Pilar performed rituals and gave blood sacrifices in secret to keep the spirit at bay. Now that he is grown, the contract with the serpent has been fulfilled but it has grown large and greedy from her efforts to appease it. Pilar can no longer keep her secret from her son or husband any longer.

One night, after her sister's housewarming party, Pilar and Aisling make up from a fight beforehand. She attempts to come clean with him about what's happening after they promise to be more honest with one another but the spirit has its own plans.



Pilar
She is an agile Yeleni, a petite vision of a female faun with all the wildness and odd beauty of her kin. From the waist up she has the golden brown frame of a human female matured to the height of womanhood. Her cheekbones and jawline are sharp, her brown eyes like slivers of ripe almonds, and her nose sits straight above a cupid's bow mouth. Twin ebon horns emerge from the top of her head, ribbed and ending in sharp points at their tips, they add a few inches of height to her otherwise diminutive stature. A doe's ear peeks out from her black tresses, flicking back and forth at the slightest sound. The other side of her skull has been shaved neatly to the scalp, revealing the other ear cleanly severed in some ritual or accident. Sable hair, thick and glossy, tumbles over her shoulders and down her back freely, often shrouding her face. Bands of crimson have been tattooed around her neck, right shoulder, right wrist, and where her waist is smallest, a flush pattern of thick and thin loops against her chestnut skin. At her back between the shoulder blades, a frostbrand has been seared into her flesh in an elegant geometric pattern of a blooming flower. Her tiny waist and flat belly give way to ample hips that meld seamlessly with a doe's hindquarters. Swathed in velvety brown fur, it fades to a creamy white, a direct contrast with her dainty black cloven hooves. The clean scent of a refreshing sea breeze lingers around her - the aroma marking the blessing of the Maelstrom.

(painted neatly on the brow) : a magenta-inked dath of an eye
(oversized and draping the body) : crimson robes beset with leaping does
(tied at the wrist) : a charm of tattered feather and bone
(resting against the breast) : a heavy quartz pendant on a gold chain
(low around the hips) : a belt of tattered waist beads
(pinned to her robes) : a delicate charm of dark looped hair
(stacked halfway up both arms) : many bangles of bone and gold

Aisling
He is a powerful Azudim of Atavian heritage, one of monstrous height, built like an Orgyuk, from the broad shoulders and thick limbs to the dense white fur that covers nearly all of him. His large hands bear scars both earned in battle and carved intentionally, the latter like spiraling suns along his palms, the matching constellations sprawled over his forearms. His features are stern to say the least, a strong jawline, a sharp nose, long, pointed ears - though one is torn, a chunk of the tip lost in combat - and two white tusks, peeking from under his lower lip. The Azudim's left eye has been removed, replaced by a glowing gem that smolders with wisps of frost from the man's own naturally low temperature, unpleasant and reminiscent of the Tundra. His one remaining eye is white, bearing only the black outline of his iris and the simple point at the center. His skin is a deep, near-violet color, contrasting sharply with white hair, the latter soft and untamed. It grows like fur, starting at the top of his head, short and messy, and trailing down, thinning to a thick line over his stomach and spine as it descends. Eldritch violet light surrounds him - a blessing of chaos and dreaming. Suffused with a pale glow, he walks with the boon of the Unbound.

(worn on the hands) : black buckled leather gloves
(hanging from a leather cord) : an entwined band carved from a wintry icecrystal
(wrapped around the left arm) : a heavy chain of white kav
(securely buckled) : a soldier's knee-length black boots
(painted over his back) : a floral-scented wolf skull dath
(worn on the legs) : some black linen trousers lined with wool
(neatly laced) : a loose, front-laced white shirt
(worn on the back) : a burdensome tower shield of pahpanvel



Within a chilly den - the neighborhoods of Enorian
Rather spacious, this bedroom bears large, rectangular windows on the walls, though no candles, sconces or torches line them, casting the entire place in dark during the night. The ceiling bears glass instead of marble, allowing a view of the sky directly above the nest that rests in the center of the room, sunken into the floor by at least three or four feet, filled with soft cushions, thick, plush rugs, blankets of fur in dark, earthen hues, pleasant to the eye. The floor that lines the nest bears some personal belongings, a dresser, a small cabinet with bottles, small trinkets. This high up, and without the warmth of fire, this room is rather chilly, though not quite uncomfortable for it. Resting on the ground is a cube-shaped silver sigil. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. Aisling is here.
You see a single exit leading northeast (open pine door).


[This is sort of an awkward place to start but it's the day after the party, they basically worked out their argument and have promised to be more honest and open with each other.]

Pilar begins to laugh softly with you as well, disbelieving herself of the situation and what transpired. Shaking her head again, she lowers her eyes and lifts your hand to her lips, gently kissing the knuckles and your calloused palm, "I want everything to do with you, husband. Everything."

Aisling always allows the touch, the pull, fingers curled slightly over the faun's hold. "I'll remember that, and track you next we have a fight, hm?" He teases, amused.

Yes, and we will-" Pilar begins earnestly, pulls back her excitement, then continues, "we will be more honest." Biting her bottom lip, she pauses for a moment and says, "Volk'in, there is something else I feel that I must do with you, give to you, but I am not sure how."

Aisling blinks, eyebrows rising. He waits, expectant.

Pilar swallows and lowers your hand to her lap, squeezing it for support, "When I was a little Grecht, being raised by my sisters, they had powerful minds even then. They could read my every thought and feeling before I had them. I felt that I had no privacy even in my own head." The small woman averts her eyes nervously as if she were being admonished by an authority figure, "And so for many years, I practiced learning to close it and keep my inner self well hidden. As Praadi, that discipline only strengthened with the constant practice of ritual."

Aisling tilts his head, listening on. He nods slowly, "... What is there for me to do, my faun?" He asks, quietly, "That I can safeguard your thoughts, somehow?"

"I've begun to think that if it were opened, if you could see me better inside then we could avoid these things," Pilar says, her voice lowering, "like you are with sister. Lin."

You say to Aisling, in Grecht, "I have closed it so tight but I am not sure how to open it to you..."

Aisling's eyebrows shoot up, and he clears his throat, "... My faun, that is a lot of trust." He rumbles, "You are sure? We can-- look into rituals, I suppose, or telepathy." He says, though another pause follows. "Is this something you truly want?"

Pilar nods eagerly but she frowns, her brow furrowing, "It is something I want but it is not something I can do a ritual for. I do not want...I do not want the Praadi to know, the spirits to know. I do not want them involved, they will make demands, they will want a piece. I want this to be between us."

"I'll... I'll look into telepathic methods." Aisling mutters, gaze drifting as he considers for a longer moment. "It may be a two-way matter, but you've seen much of me, so it is fine."

"And you've seen so little of me and I-" Pilar cuts herself off suddenly and stiffens, her eyes widening briefly in alarm as her ear twists around to some unknown sound. She doesn't wait for you to speak, she simply puts a finger to your lips and stares up at the glass ceiling as if expecting something to appear. And indeed it does, a faint shape begins to coalesce above the two of you in a fel-green mist characterized by the sibilant hiss of serpent raspily demanding, "Priiiiiiiccceee...."

Aisling frowns, about to speak before you silence him. His attention follows yours, his fur bristling at the sight, and the faun can feel his lips twist, the instinctual urge to bare teeth at the spirit.

Pilar is quick to clap her hand over your mouth in a bid not only to keep you still but perhaps muffle any snarls or growls that may come. She keeps her eyes fixed on the mist above and whispers, "I have recently paid but I did not think she would come again so soon, I...I am sorry for you to learn this way, husband." There is some fear in the little faun's voice and she swallows as the serpent spirit begins to take form, its many coils writhing as its neverending body takes its final shape and its glowing amber eyes open with a slow and listless reptilian blink.

Serpent Spirit
The length of this rather large serpent spirit is indeterminate, so looped and twisted are its coils, and it shines with a
fey, fitful light. Parts of its long, slender body are translucent, while others are sheathed in shining silver scales, and its eyes flare with an amber glow.

A serpent spirit says, "Priiiiice..."

A serpent spirit says, "...Priiiiiiceeee..."

Aisling reaches for your wrist, easing her hand away. He grunts, "Paid?" The man asks, brow furrowed as he glances between the two, and even in his confusion, he inches forward, one thick arm coming around the faun, as he curls defensively, "What did you ask for? What's the trade?"

"Hush! Don't let her hear you!" Pilar says sharply in her native dialect, trying to cover your mouth once more. However, it appears to be too late, the long neck of the serpent spirit lowers and its amber eyes glow brightly as it stares at the faun with an almost sly and knowing smile. Without breaking its unblinking gaze, it hisses, "Your promise wassss to sssssate our thirrrrssst, little bat...we hungerrrrrr...."

A serpent spirit says, "...What blood have you brought usssssss...your own or something more sssssacred and delicioussssss and BOUND..."

Aisling pulls the faun sharply against his chest, leaning forward as to face the spirit. He's grown warmer at the chest, something only you can realize, pressed to him as she is. He doesn't bare teeth, but he speaks with an underlying snarl, that of something else speaking, "What has my faun requested, Spirit?"

"...The requesssst, the exxxxchhhaaaaange, the sssscrumptioussss DEAL...." The serpent replies to you with glee but it gets in Pilar's face, the faun growing tense and defiant under its stare, neither Praadi nor spirit willing to look away first. The silvery reptile hisses loudly, slowly opening its maw and unhinging its jaw to reveal fangs glistening with amber venom, revealing a gullet large enough to swallow the small Yeleni whole. Save for clutching your shirt a little tighter, she stands her ground and her defiant frown only deepens as she growls, "Tell him since you would not let me do it myself."

Aisling's fur bristles, claws digging gently into your skin as he holds, ready, tense, for an attack. He snarls still, deep in his throat, what bestial traits he holds all the more aware before a spirit of Dendara.

A serpent spirit says, "...The prayer for a barren womb to be warmed, to be fiiiilllled, a quickening with a blood-sssssoaked arrangement, a SON...."

Pilar bites her bottom lip as the serpent snaps its jaws shut before the faun's face, causing her to flinch only slightly but she still refuses to look away. Trembling in Aisling's arms, she grips the man, and growls, "And I PAID it, many times over!"

A serpent spirit says, "...AND STILL WE THIRST FOR MORE..."

Aisling falters, momentarily. He swallows, gathers you closer to his chest. He offers his other arm, the one not keeping you secure against him - and by now, he is a being of heat, starting deep in his chest. "I am bound to her." He snarls, loud, a bark, "Take mine - and leave us be."

Pilar gasps at the man's arm outstretched and she grasps at it, snarling at you, "Don't be an idiot, you do not know what she is asking for when she is being a GREEDY SNAKE!" The moment her eye contact is broken the serpent hisses delightedly and its coils drop, wrapping around the both of you and constricting both Yeleni and Azudim in its silver scales. Squeezing tightly, it bares its fangs and hisses with its sibilant voice in amusement, "...The blood of the BOUNDin place of the blood of the PREY, aaalllll for the SSSSON...." The enormous head of the serpent rubs against yours before facing the faun once more with glee, "...If we were so greedy, so HUNGRYand thirrsssssty, we could ssssssimply take your preccciooous ssssson back..."

Gasping, you say to a serpent spirit, in Grecht, "You promised you would NEVER!"

Aisling does his very best to keep the serpent from constricting around them too harshly, arm trembling around you as he tries to keep it at bay. He bares teeth back, large tusks, nose pinched, fur bristling against the faun's cheek. He snarls low, and waits - if you will not allow him, he can only defer to her.

"...and you promised me SSSSSSSATIATION...." The serpent replies raspily, droplets of amber venom leaving speckles on Pilar's face. She blinks her eyes shut and bows her head, panting and seeming to give in to the position the spirit has put her in. When she looks up at you finally beneath her shroud of hair, the faun's cheeks are now not only streaked with poison but also tears. Swallowing, she says to the serpent without looking away from her mate, "We...we love our son. We will do anything for him, die for him if need be, we will pay it. Your belly will be filled as you helped me to fill mine."

Aisling's hand rises, to ease the faun's cheek to his chest, against his shirt. He breathes, looking to the spirit, "Take mine." The man says, not quite a demand, but the snarl remains in his throat, that of challenge.

Pilar shakes her head against your shirt, staining it with venom and pleads, "Husband, please-" But she is cut off by the giant serpent finally turning its amber eyes on you with a sharp hiss, the spirit blinking slowly as if in recognition before speaking again, "...And yyooouuuuu, so BOUNDto this one's blood we can TASTEit with every drink..." It leans in, eyes blazing as its tongue peaks out to taste the air and your skin, the ethereal appendage somehow both solid and translucent, "....From you, we will drink DEEEPLY..."

A serpent spirit says, "...Praaaddiiiiii, your tribute is accepted. Bring the sssson...."

With that, the coils of the spirit lightens as it dissipates and its constriction eases. Like the mist it came from it stills and fades away, leaving nothing behind but a weeping Pilar in your arms.

Voice muffled by your shirt as she buries her face in it, you say to Aisling, in Grecht, "I held this secret for so long and held her off for so long, I am so sorry! I am so sorry...I am so sorry, husband..."

Aisling swallows harshly, staring out yet, into the darkness of the room, searching for a hidden enemy, almost. He shakes his head, strokes the faun's hair, tense - and so protective yet. "Faun, why?" He asks, quietly, "Why not tell me?"

"We were so happy and you were so happy when I told you, I-" Pilar hesitates, gripping your shirt harder, "I thought that I would tell you later. Then we had our boy and we raised him together and again I thought...I thought I would tell you later..."

You say, in Grecht, "I wanted to show you when you looked into my mind...what it was like, how I felt, why I accepted..."

"I trust you." Aisling reassures, glancing out yet. He breathes, "I-- I don't know, it's been so long since I've handled telepathy, my faun, you'll..." The man seems just a tad overwhelmed, still overly alert.

Pilar keeps her head bowed, her sniffling beginning to calm at those words and she nods, "...I am sorry that I did it but I am not sorry for the birth of our precious boy."

Aisling says in a shrill chatter, "Please, breathe. It's- it's okay. What am I giving? Simple blood?"

Pilar pulls back a bit and does as she's told, taking a deep breath before speaking again, "She will appear, we will pour our blood directly down her throat and hope that her jaws do not close...."

Aisling's head bobs in a faint nod, "Okay." He rumbles, leaning close to press a kiss to the faun's brow, "That's fine."

Pilar sniffles and looks up at you with pleading eyes, "Really?" She looks a mess with her robes drooping around her shoulders, red-eyed from crying, and her hair uncombed from sleep. Dabbing at her tear-streaked face with the sleeves of her robes, she murmurs, "I wanted us to have a child and I wanted to be a good wife and I...you are too good, putting up with me."

"Do not speak as if it was only a wish of yours, my faun." Aisling murmurs, his voice ever accompanied by a throat-deep growl. He cups your cheek, using his thumb to carefully wipe away her tears, "You blessed me with a child, with the love of a loyal, darling wife, and you've bore the weight of my anxieties. I am not putting up with you. We are together."

Aisling says in a shrill chatter, "I'll gladly give blood, for our son."

Pilar trembles and swallows, "I am afraid she will drink from you until you are dead..."

"Then my wolf's spirit will wander Dendara and see you, and watch over our son proper." Aisling says, leaning close, lips brushing against the faun's cheek. "But I am strong. What is there to be done, to sate it once and for all?"

"She only wanted my blood at first, for our son to remain in Dendara," Pilar murmurs, closing her eyes at the kiss, "but in my blood she tasted yours and she tasted our son's once he was born. I told her that was not part of our deal but she would not stop whispering to me and following me and demanding from me...I think after this. This will be done."

You say, in Grecht, "Spirits thirst but only the corrupted of them consume."

Aisling says in a shrill chatter, "... you've requested of a corrupt spirit, then?"

Pilar blinks as if she had not considered this, "I...I do not think so. If her jaws should close, should she attempt to swallow any of us then we will know."

Aisling's head bobs, a faint nod. He stays close yet, a small comfort, "Then, I will do so." He rumbles.

Expression hardening, you say, in Grecht, "And I will exorcise her..."

Aisling says in a shrill chatter, "How, my faun?"

"Praadi have been taught, husband," Pilar murmurs, keeping her voice low, "and I am one of the best of them."
He told me I was so small...
I told him, "Water me."

Affirm Pilar!
Lin

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  • PilarPilar Member Posts: 43 ✭✭✭
    [Part Two - Pilar escorts Aisling through the portal of Dendara to meet with their son to tell him why he is bound to the plane and to prepare himself for the final ritual with the serpent.]

    In the midst of a great stone circle - Duiran
    A large, blood-splattered totem has been erected here, formed of obsidian, ivory and red-wood. Facing outwards and surrounding the totem are a large ivory bear, an obsidian raven and a red-wood serpent. Squatted close to the earth, a gnarled, dark-skinned dryad crouches here with eyes intently following you. Ivaryen stands rooted amongst the ancient stones, its bark alight with the gleam of the primordial. A small cairn rises up from among the standing stones, shining with a fey inner light. There are 2 cloaked forestal wardens here. Humming with energy, a crystal aegis has been attuned to this location. There are 4 burly centaur crossbowmen here. Torrents of water twist and shift around the watery form of an undine aquacaster here, masterfully manipulating her element. With a stoic expression, a Sentaari monk stands here. There are 2 barbaric Satyr shamans here.
    You see exits leading north, east, south, and west.


    Pilar sits atop a giant, black-furred wolf, a deep blue short robe embroidered with black bats slung across her arm. She smiles at Aisling and beckons the Knight closer, "You look better than when I last saw you."

    Aisling approaches you and the wolf, his knighting cloak draped over one arm, "My faun." He greets, tone low, a small smile
    to him, "It's... It's been better."

    Pilar chuckles and pats her wolf companion, spurring him to carry her closer to the cairn, "I think he is expecting us."

    You reach out and touch a small cairn of rune-marked stones.

    [Walking through Dendara]

    A forested rise overlooking the valley - Valley of the Ancients
    You find the weather around you imperceptible. Struggling upwards from the murky depths of the wood, this thickly forested rise offers brief glimpses of the verdant green carpet of pines sweeping away to the south and west, broken by the occasional toothy white ruin or patch of lurid, fey light beneath the canopy. The air here is cold, and crisp; far colder than the interior of the forest, despite being no more than a dozen feet more elevated. Large, dark-feathered birds flit from branch to branch, eerily silent, though the occasional snatch of warbled singing manages to filter down through the heavy branches. A brilliant blue flower blooms forth from the earth here. Dark fur stretched tightly over sinewy muscles, this giant wolf snarls at those who walk too close. Aisling is here.
    You see exits leading southeast and south.

    Pilar hops down from her wolf once they reach the forested rise, the air so cold that her breath can be seen. It is quiet, mostly still, and clear enough that all three figures can easily see who approaches from the forest. "we're early," the faun says matter-of-factly, "I wanted him to be surprised to see you. Are you nervous?"

    "To see our boy? No." Aisling rumbles, a faint smile to him. He shifts his footing some, glancing out into the forest, "For the other matter? Somewhat."

    "You haven't seen him awhile, he might be bigger than you remember." Pilar replies with a small chuckle, lightly petting Tlaloc in thanks before she turns to take your side, "He is reminding me more and more of you as he matures, Volk'in."

    Aisling's brow furrows, and he straightens somewhat, "Is that a good thing?" He asks, with a bit of a sigh, "Has he been handling Dendara well? I worry, life here can be complicated..."

    Pilar moves the shortrobe to one arm while she loops her free one around yours to squeeze it reassuringly, "It is a good thing. I promise." As deep night falls, the faun keeps close in the darkness and there is only a light rustling in the undergrowth from the forest. She turns her head and her smile grows brighter as she sniffs the air, though her eyesight is useless her sense of smell is still acute, "That's him." A few beats pass after she says this before a tall Grecht youth, clad in thick blue-black fur, a loincloth, and staff and dhurive at his back, emerges with wide-eyed awe. He seems to ignore the faun and only have eyes for Aisling, "...F-father?"

    Aisling shifts his footing at the approach, similarly sniffing at the air at a familiar scent. He turns to face the approaching man, opening an arm, "Been a while, hm?" The Knight says, by way of greeting. The Grecht approaches, just a head shorter than Aisling himself, still hesitant and wide-eyed even as the Knight reaches to pat his shoulder.

    Pilar doesn't wait to be acknowledged by their son, the moment the young man draws close enough she throws her arms around his middle to give him a firm squeeze. He wraps one arm around her and place the other on Aisling's shoulder, chuckling nervously, "A-aye, mother told me that she would bring you by when she could but...ah, it is good to see you." Though clearly awkward, the young man does seem quite happy and the faun looks up at him as she releases him, "Are you doing well? Eating well? I have brought you a robe to keep you warm, my son!"

    Quite proud, Pilar unfolds the short robe from her arm and holds it up before pushing it on the Grecht man, "It is cold and I am worried you shiver. Wear it, my son, keep you very warm."

    Aisling manages a quiet, if not awkward chuckle, withdrawing his touch as he watches. The Grecht mutters a 'thank you', bending down to your height as to take it from her hands and shrug it on, the fit beyond perfect on his lanky form, "Thank you, mother. It's been a little colder." He agrees, adjusting it over his form. Aisling remains, looking over the man for a moment, his expression softening.

    "Good, good," Pilar mutters, mostly to herself as she pulls and tugs at some places on the garment to make sure it fits their son correctly, "your father and I have been wanting to see you together but we have some...some..." The small woman frowns and the Grecht youth furrows his brow, glancing to Aisling then back to his mother, "What is it?" He is answered only with silence before Pilar pulls her remaining ear backward and blurts out, "To have you, my beloved boy, I had to make some deals and sacrifices with a spirit and now...you must be there for- foraritualtocompletethedealsothatyoucanremainyourownpersonandfree." Holding onto the hem of her son's robe, she squeezes her eyes shut and flinches as if expecting some rebuke, "Your father he did not know so please forgive me?"

    Aisling's expression remains soft, his shoulders easing as the faun confesses. The Grecht, on his part, needs a moment to parse, brow furrowed, lips downturned, "What ritual? What spirit?" He begins, glancing between his parents with some measure of nervousness, "Am I to witness? To participate? Mother..." A tinge of what seems to be disappointment or fear.

    "You will have to participate, my sweet boy," Pilar confesses, tears welling in her eyes, "she will want a taste of us all, the serpent. The spirits thrive on strong bonds, you know this. It was never enough what I gave the serpent on her own, she will not be satisfied until she has drank the blood of all of us." Taking the hem of the Grecht man's robe, she touches it to her lips and then the magenta dath on her forehead in a ritualistic manner, "Your father and I will be there to protect you. I hope that you can forgive me."

    Aisling steps forward, resting a hand on the man's shoulder once more, squeezing firmly, as a way to steady him. "It is done." He rumbles, almost apologetic, "We'll get through it, aye?" The Knight lingers close, and in turn, the Grecht swallows, his father's touch causing a faint shiver, and his mother's tears bring with them concern.

    "'Get through it?'" The man repeats after Aisling, some consternation in his voice, but the fat tears on Pilar's cheeks soften him and he sighs, "Aye, we'll get through it. I will be there. You are my mother and I know you love me, I cannot be angry with you." This makes the faun look up at her son almost in disbelief and she throws her arms around him in a loving, tight hug, "I prayed for a son like you and you have been a blessing to us!"

    Aisling seems about to return a stern look at the man's response, though his softening does the same to the Knight. Aisling breathes, stroking the man's shoulder with his thumb, a small acknowledgment, that he's still there, "... I'll come by more often, aye? Maybe bring you outside, if you'd like, sometime."

    "You cannot leave before the ritual," Pilar is quick to explain, looking from Aisling to their son as she releases him from her hold, "your spirit is too tied to the land. Afterwards, you will be free to move between planes. Your father has built a home for us, I have gardens for you to tend with me, your aunts and other siblings will want to see you as well!" Smiling sheepishly, embarrassed by her own excitement, the faun says more calmly, "There is a life outside of Dendara and the care of the Praadi an Kiar, your father and I want to see you in it."

    "I long to see it, though Dendara is vast." The man says, stroking your back with clawed hands, lingering close to his mother, always, rather than his father. "Something to think of after this ritual is done, and the spirit is appeased, mother." He continues. Aisling hums, looking to you as he withdraws from the pair, "How are we doing this, my faun? When?"

    Pilar furrows her brow in thought at Aisling's question then glances between the two men, her husband and son respectively, before answering, "The serpent will likely be more sated, as her kind are, by the end of the summer before the warm season begins to wane. She should be less greedy, want less blood from each of us, and willing to let us go." The faun wrings her hands a bit, whether from nervousness or excitement from what she is speaking of is unclear, "Serpents move into hibernation during the autumn and winter, it will be a good time the next week or the one after."

    Aisling's head bobs in a faint nod, and he reaches to scratch at his stomach. He looks to his son, breathes, "Sounds good to me." The man says, and finally, takes the cloak that's been resting over his arm, "I brought you this, boy. It's from the Templar. A Knighting cloak." He rumbles, offering it - it smells of the Knight, "It... May mean little, but it is sure to keep you warm."

    Though the young man keeps closer to his mother, his large ears swivel between his parents as they speak. When Pilar finishes and Aisling speaks after her, he turns his large eyes to his father and sucks in a breath when he offers his cloak. There is a brief moment where he hesitates in accepting it but soon does, his clawed hands carrying the heavy garment with reverance, "Mother told me about these things, what it means to Templar. I am honored." Politely, the Grecht bows at the waist toward his father and the faun smiles proudly at the gesture.

    Quite happy, you say to Aisling, "I taught him that."

    Aisling's eyebrows rise, and he manages a smile, a baring of teeth that you can tell is genuine all the same, bearing warmth."I have the token you made for me yet." He rumbles, patting his hip, said token hanging discreetly from his pouch, "That we remember each other."

    The Grecht man's large eyes fall on the token as he rises and he chuckles softly, glancing to Pilar, "Mother wanted something to keep with her and said you could use one too. I'm glad you like it." His gaze turns on his father once more and he looks up at the Knight nervously, "When this is all over, I hope we can spend more time together. Even hunt together, father."

    "Gladly. If it suits you." Aisling rumbles, glancing over the man, head tilted, "You've grown strong. I look forward to it, my son." His tone has softened some, as has his posture, and he looks to you next, though he still addresses his son when he speaks, "You and I can keep the house stocked for your mother."

    Pilar chuckles as she takes a step backward so that she is more at Aisling's side, "And your Aunt Lin and Esrytesh, too. I like the furs more but they are liking the meat." The faun chuckles and giggles delightedly, as if she's told the funniest joke, "They will be so happy and glad for it!" In return, the Grecht boy looks a little confused but laughs softly as well since the faun is so amused, "I am sure, mother. The two of us will do our best."

    Aisling's head bobs in a sharp nod, agreement. He exchanges a glance with the other man, another nod, and falls silent, as the Grecht looks to you once more, his mood settled, warm, "What should I be doing to prepare, mother? For your next visit."

    "Yourself," Pilar begins, looping her arm around Aisling's, "I want your body to be prepared, my son. You are not like your father and I. Drink much water for days before and much fruit. Wild onions and garlic that you find should be eaten daily to strengthen your blood. We will both return in a week and a few days, you should be even stronger by then."

    "I'll do so." The man reassures, with a bit of a smile, that of a son that knows a somewhat overbearing mother. Aisling glances between the two, "... I'll come by and bring some, to help." He adds, "Spend some time here with him."

    Though the Grecht man looks quite happy to hear this, Pilar looks up at Aisling with a raised brow, "And who will guide you through the gate to-" Cutting herself off, the faun flicks her only ear and chuckles, shaking her head, "My sisters, I suppose, that should have been obvious."

    Aisling hums, rolling his shoulders in a shrug, "I think I can wander here regardless. My blood still stains the oak in Abelaas." He rumbles.

    Pilar blinks, as well as their son, and the faun then laughs truly outloud, "Ah! The long way around!" The Grecht man chuckles as well and scratches the scruff of black fur at the back of his neck, "I know of the way to that gate. When you come, I will be there to meet you."

    Aisling's head bobs in one sharp nod, "I'll see you then, son." He says, with a faint smile.

    "I must hunt for the night. Mother, father, thank you for the gifts," the Grecht youth pulls back his lips to reveal a fang-filled smile as he clutches the cloak to his chest in his claws, "we will sate the spirit and be together again soon." Pilar smiles up at the boy, tugging at the robe she made him to make him stoop down to her level. She gives him a kiss to each cheek before letting him go. Once free and on his feet again, he hugs Aisling closely, even awkwardly, around the shoulders before turning and taking off in long, silent, strides into the forest undergrowth.

    Aisling affords the boy a similarly awkward gesture, an arm around him, a pat on the back, and then, the Grecht is off. He releases a breath, and looks to you, managing a small smile, "... You've managed to raise a very warm man, my faun. I am proud." He rumbles, quietly.

    "Remember when he was so wild? I thought he would be wild forever but he has matured," Pilar replies, glancing up at you with a pleased grin, "as I said, husband, reminds me of you."

    Aisling says, "Truly our son, I suppose."

    Aisling glances about himself for a moment, shifting his footing, "... Sometimes, I almost wish for another."

    Pilar blushes brightly at the mention of another child and bows her head, dark hair shrouding her face, "I...I think on it sometimes too."

    Aisling reaches, resting a hand on your arm, squeezing gently, "In time." He promises, "And on our own. No spirits."
    He told me I was so small...
    I told him, "Water me."

    Affirm Pilar!
    Lin
  • PilarPilar Member Posts: 43 ✭✭✭
    [Part Three - In the dead of winter, the family finally confronts the spirit in one last bid to fully nullify the contract.]

    In the midst of a great stone circle - Duiran
    A large, blood-splattered totem has been erected here, formed of obsidian, ivory and red-wood. Facing outwards and surrounding the totem are a large ivory bear, an obsidian raven and a red-wood serpent. Squatted close to the earth, a gnarled, dark-skinned dryad crouches here with eyes intently following you. Ivaryen stands rooted amongst the ancient stones, its bark alight with the gleam of the primordial. A small cairn rises up from among the standing stones, shining with a fey inner light. There are 2 cloaked forestal wardens here. Humming with energy, a crystal aegis has been attuned to this location. There are 4 burly centaur crossbowmen here. Torrents of water twist and shift around the watery form of an undine aquacaster here, masterfully manipulating her element. With a stoic expression, a Sentaari monk stands here. There are 2 barbaric Satyr shamans here. Aisling is here.
    You see exits leading north, east, south, and west.

    Aisling waits by the cairn, hands at his sides, shoulders slumped slightly. He glances sidelong at you as the woman fades into view, "My faun." The man greets, every bit as warm as he usually is, though there is focus. The expectation of a fight.

    Aisling begins to follow you.

    Pilar appears at your side, her quarterstaff of blossoming dogwood in hand and smelling powerfully of an earthy yet floral scent. She reaches for your hand first, saying nothing, and squeezes it before leading you through the portal.

    You reach out and touch a small cairn of rune-marked stones.

    [Walking through Dendara ensues...]

    Surrounded by lurid, intoxicating flowers - Valley of the Ancients
    You find the weather around you imperceptible. As the forest runs up against the sheer slope of the western mountains, it dips gently into a wide hollow; a bewildering profusion of dense, thorny flowers cluster in every nook and cranny offered by the tall pines, filling the grove with scent and near-blinding colour. Tiny, luminous insects dart from flower to flower, large wings flicking and droning as they coast through the air, and bulbous, dark-furred spiders lurk below. Aisling is here.
    You see a single exit leading southeast.

    Pilar remains silent, focused, not glancing up at you once until she comes to the flowery hollow in the forest. It is the deep of night but at the top of a small hill, a tall Grecht man stands with a simple staff leaning against him - the son. He turns to greet them as his parents approach with a nervous, toothy, smile, "Mother, father." The faun lets your hand go to hug her son around the middle tightly then take a step back, "We have come to do as we have promised."

    Aisling approaches after you, to pat the man on the shoulder, a warm smile to him. He says nothing, lingering close to the pair, and his son shifts his footing, slight nervousness ever present at the task at hand.

    "The elders told me," the young man says, his voice low as he lays a hand over his father's, "I made sure to eat well and I brought a drum to...to help you keep time." He jerks his head behind him and sure enough, strapped to the youth's back is a small hand drum that's been newly made. Pilar nods once, sharp and proud, "Very good boy. Your father will be our teeth as well should anything go wrong."

    Aisling nods once, sharp. He glances between the two, pausing for a moment, unsure, "... You two are so at ease with such rituals." The man comments, reaching to scratch at his stomach, "What should I do, my faun?"

    "You will both need to eat these," Pilar replies, digging into the sleeve of her robe to produce a handful of dried flower petals, "the spirits often choose when we see them and how we see them. This will help you to see her for -her- as it is." Divvying them up in her palm, she passes one half to the youth and the other to her mate. Immediately, the Grecht man pops them into his mouth and chews, winces at the bitter taste, then swallows them whole.

    Aisling eyes the petals, glances to you, to his son, and then, follows the boy's lead, putting the petals in his mouth, though he barely chews, swallowing them swiftly.

    You say to Aisling, "Keep yourself ready, in the winter snakes are weakened by the cold but they are not harmless...if she bites, you will have to tear into her. If she spits, the venom may sear you."

    "My teeth are ready, my faun." Aisling rumbles, and nods to his son, straightening up some. He pauses, to tug his gloves off, tuck them in his belt, to reveal sharp claws.

    Behind Pilar, the Grecht boy pulls the drum from his back and settles down amongst the flowers with the instrument in his lap. Already his yellow eyes are quite dilated but he looks poised and ready. "I am too," he chimes in shortly after the Knight, ears pulled back and a look of determination on his face. With these affirmations, the faun nods and lowers her eyes as she steps away, putting some space between you and their son. With her quarterstaff of blossoming dogwood in one hand, she reaches into her breast pocket to get a curved, deeply grooved bone knife with the other, "Then I will call her."

    Aisling's ears twitch at the sound of drums, and he swallows harshly, watching you move. Some tension lingers in him, readiness that is familiar in the hunt, that gold tinges his gaze even now, even as he stands, tall and stiff, and watches.

    The Grecht youth begins a slow yet powerful beat and Pilar turns to the field, lifts her head to the starry sky, and begins her ritual dance. The silk of her robes sworls around her body as she moves gracefully with her staff and dagger in hand. In time with her movements and the drum, tinkling music sounds from the flowering boughs of her staff. As the beat of the drum becomes increasingly more intense so does the former Hand's steps, her hooves now pounding so hard into the ground that motes of green dendaric energy begin to rise.

    Aisling inhales sharply, and keeps his small distance, his eye follow the faun's dance. It's clear the effect it has on him, that his eyebrows rise, that his fur bristles, sheer awe at the little Shaman.

    More and more, the motes float around Pilar, drawing close to her body and pulling away in a breathlike pattern until they begin to coalesce into a serpentine shape above the field. Again and again, the faun pounds her hooves into the ground, sweat pouring off her brow with her efforts, and their son's drumming helps her keep time. She is no longer dancing to his rhythm, he is now drumming for her.

    A serpentine voice begins to whisper in the faun's mind as loud and clear as though it were in her ear, "....You are
    pounding...you are calling...CALLING...CALLING..."


    Aisling's ears twitch, perk. His gaze sharpens, he bristles, and his jaw sets in the effort to keep from baring his teeth. He shifts his footing, widens his stance in preparation.

    Pilar's dancing suddenly stops, one leg lifted and her dagger and staff crossed over her chest. Her dark hair is shining with her exertion, tendrils sticking to her forehead as the verdant motes continue their wild dance despite the faun's stillness and the drumming has ceased. The Grecht man's eyes are fixed on his mother but he keeps his hand on the drum. Without warning, the former Hand strike the ground hard with her lifted hoof once, twice, and then a third time. It is on the third that the motes shiver then gather in the sky, finally taking the shape of an enormous serpent coiled amongst the stars.

    A serpent spirit says, "...A deer....she runs...she pounds...SHE CALLS UNTO ME IN THIS DEEP NIGHT!"

    Aisling takes a step forward, instinctive in his attempt to use his body to shield the pair, though it is useless, with the enormous serpent above them. He breathes, swallows, and his lips form a thin line as he looks to you for direction.

    "We have come to fulfill our bargain! You will have your payment and you will release our son!" Pilar calls up to the coiled serpent above the trio, its silvery body in constant motion and gold eyes fixed on them. It hisses, makes a reptilian sound so close to a growl and yet so unlike one as it listens. The Grecht youth is in awe, wide eyes staring up at the enormous spirit whose coils never seem to end. When it speaks next, it pulls it scaled lips back just enough to expose two pairs of oversized fangs shining with venom.

    A serpent spirit says, "Mmmmn.....thisss one remembersssss...remembers blood warmed with love and sacrifice is sweet...is powerfuuuull...."

    Aisling's fingers curl, claws in view. His gaze flickers, to his son, then back to the threat, to the fangs bared and the threat of venom displayed. Discipline wins out, he does not bare his own, but he remains tense and ready to pounce, regardless of the spirit's size and distance.

    Pilar takes some steps back toward Aisling and swallows visibly as she lays her staff down amongst the flowers then raises her empty palm. Behind her, she hears the Grecht boy suck in a breath as she slides the dagger not across her hand but her wrist. Blood comes pouring from her and the serpent is quick to react. While the bulk of its body remains suspended, the enormous head lowers before the faun and the Knight behind her. Its forked tongue darts out to taste the air and wag in the faun's face. The two stare each other down before it lowers further to rest among the grass, its giant maw opening like a trap waiting for prey to fall in it.

    A serpent spirit says, "We...will....driiiiiiink....."

    Pilar looks back at Aisling and then their son before she places her hand in the serpent's maw bravely. Turning her wrist over, she sucks in a breath as her blood spills into its waiting mouth and the spirit thrums with power.

    Aisling approaches the faun further at the sight and scent of blood. He reaches, rests a hand on your shoulder, and peers over his own to look upon his son, in silent prompting to remain close, that he may keep track. There is no attempt to interrupt, not yet.

    There is something the serpent is doing that makes Pilar gasp and more blood seems to come pouring faster from her wound. Still the faun holds, unwilling to pull away until the serpent has been sated. The Grecht youth rises from his place at the drum and comes to stand near his parents, watching with concern as his mother pours her very essence into the spirit. Meanwhile, the thrums coming from it seem to pulse faster and faster until the faun finally pulls her hand away to grip her bloodied wrist. The spirit's mouth remains open but its low, pleased, hiss echoes through the hollow.

    A serpent spirit says, "Next...the one that comes from you both...the boy...."

    Aisling can't help the building growl that starts in his throat, but still, he doesn't openly protest or challenge. He turns, reaches to touch the man's arm and urge him forward, and in the same motion, he inches forward himself, closer, that he could leap between them at any point.

    Panting, Pilar passes the knife to the boy and he takes it nervously in hand. The faun closes her bloodied fingers around his holding the hilt and murmurs in her native tongue, "Be brave, my son. Face her." This seems to draw upon the man's bravery as he steps forward, doing exactly as his mother did before him. He winces, hisses, as the blade cuts across his furred flesh and he places his hand in the giant serpent's maw. His blood coats its mouth and its body undulates in the sky, thrumming with power as it draws upon the man's lifeforce directly. He hisses, chitters something beneath his breath, and cries out when he can finally draw his bloodied hand back. Turning to his father, he passes the knife to him next and holds his wrist tightly, shuddering as he rips some linen from his loincloth to help stop the bleeding.

    Pilar rushes to help him as the serpent's gold eyes turn on Aisling, excitement in its voice.

    A serpent spirit says, "The Knight...the Wolf...the mate....the man....THE MAN...."

    Aisling takes the knife, sparing his son a brief, concerned glance before his attention returns to the serpent in full. He gladly takes the spot in front, bulk shielding his wife and son from view, and proceeds to fold the sleeve of his shirt over the left arm, up to the elbow. He grits his teeth, holding back from baring teeth yet, and runs the blade over his wrist, cold blood pouring forth, and he offers his arm forward, in the serpent's maw.

    The taste of Aisling's cold life force seems to almost calm the spirit. Its undulating body ceases to move and the serpent becomes eerily still as more of icy blood pours into its mouth. Pilar quickly finishes wrapping her son's arm, her own having long since stopped, then turns toward her husband. Her eyes widen at what she sees and so do the Grecht's. In its stillness, the giant serpent's body still thrums in a steady beat of growing power that rises with the same tempo of an excited heartbeat. Getting to her feet quickly, the faun rushes forward as the pulse grows faster and faster, just in time to pull the Knight's hand back from the serpent's maw as it snaps shut with a sound reminiscent of a mouse trap.

    Pilar clings to Aisling as the enormous serpent's head rises to look down at the trio, gold eyes aflame and its maw dripping not with saliva but with acidic venom.

    A serpent spirit says, "This blood...it inflamesssss meeeee....the love....the sacrifice....the ANGUISH OF BEING."

    A serpent spirit says, "The bond in this one....the convictioooon....EXQUISITE!"

    Aisling holds, steadily growing weaker, the effects of the early dried petals making him hazy, even as he tries. It is your pull that wrests him from it, arm snapping back with the faun's hold, and at the sight of threat, at words and venom, he bristles, stretches his arm in your hold as to use it as a barrier and keep her and his son back behind him. It is the hissing that finally tears the baring of teeth from him, sharp in fangs and tusks. "Enough!" He demands.

    "MORE!" The serpent demands, silver body beginning to glow with green flame as its large eyes become fervored with bloodlust. It rears its head before lunging forward at Aisling, stopping just short to snap its jaws at the Knight. Pilar eyes her staff between the serpent and her mate then puts her own hand out to stop their son from grabbing his own staff, "Don't!" The spirit's body falls to the ground around them with a heavy thump that sends clouds of flower petals flying into the night air.

    A serpent spirit says, "It was YOURS I tasted on her...yoursss, Knight....YOURS...AND I WILL HAVE MORE."

    Aisling flinches, or braces for the hit, but it never comes. Still, he's triggered into action, gaze filled with gold, mouth open in a loud, warning snarl from deep within his throat as he pushes forward, tearing his arm from the faun's grip to try and pounce the serpent, to try and use his bulk to keep its body down.

    Pilar lets Aisling go to rush the spirit but the force of his hulking body moving forward makes her fall backwards. This time the serpent is ready to meet him and does, mouth open and fangs first, in an attempt to snap the man up in its jaws. On the ground, the Grecht youth moves quickly to help his mother back up to her feet, his eyes dilated and expression worried, "Mother, what do we do?" Shaking her head a bit to find her wits, the faun looks over her shoulder at her forgotten quarterstaff of blossoming dogwood then back to her son, "She...she was corrupted after all. Get to your drum."

    Aisling's hands come to find the serpent's fangs, to hold tightly in a vain attempt at crushing, and a not so vain one in the keeping the spirit's mouth open as he tries to turn its head. It's much like handling a charging bull, to grab by the horns and twist, that they may fall on their side. The venom may burn, but their grip is steady, all his attention going on this confrontation.

    The venom does indeed burn and it only gets stronger the more intense the serpent gets. It sizzles on Aisling's clothes and a spray of it sprinkles onto the man's lower face, neck, and chest in the struggle. The serpent is just as formidable as it looks and it won't be turned easy, its huge head pushes forward with even more of its gathered strength as though now just trying to swallow the man whole. In the meantime, amongst its coils, Pilar snatches up her staff and forgotten bloody knife while their son settles in with his drum. Quickly, he begins a mournful beat even as the fight goes on and the faun begins to dance with calm, measured, steps as if there were no fight and her arm were not stained with her own blood.

    Aisling's lips part, in pain, and in a near-roar. He begins to shift, that his muscles bulge and his fur stands on end, but there's rush, there's an immediate threat, and his palms are burning - the skin on his cheeks rips as he opens his mouth wide, filled with jagged teeth, growing over each other in the rushed mutation. It's enough, just enough, that his bite can catch the serpent's nose, intent on sinking teeth and breaking the scales that shield the spirit.

    Pilar continues to dance and the Grecht boy keeps drumming with his mother, however, where her eyes are downturned his are fixed on the back of his father. The serpent shakes its head, a sound akin to a scream coming from it when the Knight sinks his fangs into its nose. Immediately, its body moves, transparent parts of it going through the faun and their son as it falls and attempts to wrap its upper body around the hulking man. It won't give up just yet, though the screaming might continue its long fangs glide over the Knight's front in an attempt to find purchase in his flesh.

    A serpent spirit says, "YOUR BLOOOOODDDD....YOUR ANGUISSSSHHHH....I MUSSST HAVE IT....MUSSSST HAAAAAVE...."

    Aisling's bite is strong, crushing in force, and his unthinking instinct has long since kicked in. He won't release, legs moving, kicking, when he starts to feel the serpent wrap around him, and it is only his hands to fail, burnt terribly, that his grip on the creature's mouth begins to falter. He can only snarl, loud as he can, and hold.

    Her dancing beginning to slow, Pilar twirls both a quarterstaff of blossoming dogwood and a curved, deeply grooved bone knife in hand majestically as the Grecht youth's drumming dies as well to match her steps then stops. Save for the grunting, hissing, growling struggle of Wolf and serpent there would only be the musical clinking of her bangles and trinkets on her body. By the end, the crystals in the boughs of her staff glow faintly but the bloodied dagger burns even brighter with Dendaric flame. It is just then that the serpent spies an opening in the Knight's offense and hooks a fang in the open tear of the man's cheek to not only rip his mouth open further but sear the wound with sizzling venom.

    Aisling cries out, a strangled, canine whine, that he releases the serpent's fangs fully in his panic, clawing madly at its nose, turning his head, attempting to bite once more, the large, wide-open maw as threatening as the serpent's own in its baring of teeth.

    Pilar plants her staff deep into the loamy soil and a pulse of energy threads through the ground. Wherein the serpent may have taken another more substantial bite from her husband it is quickly distracted by her and suddenly seems to know exactly what she is getting up to. "TRAITOROUSSSSS VENISSSOOOON...FEED ME YOUR MATE'S BLOOD AND BONE!" It shrieks as it forgets Aisling, forgets the Grecht youth springing to his feet to come to his mother's defense, all while she keeps her eyes turned to the thrumming ground beneath her hooves.

    Aisling takes full advantage, his face largely bloody and burnt, his palms raw, it matters not. He tries to hook an arm around the serpent's head, to tackle it down, "Son! With me!" He demands, a garbled bark of a command in his mouth, too filled with teeth and blood. you needs time, and he seems intent on shielding the faun until then.

    The boy moves as quickly as he can, eyes dilating further as a shift takes hold of him and forces the Grecht to drop to all fours. He joins his father in a flurry of teeth and claws, biting and tearing into the spirit's gleaming scales as it struggles to get to Pilar. The faun herself seems oblivious to what is happening but her mouth is moving in low whispers of prayer...quickly. Dendaric energy continues to gather in her dagger while the crystals in her staff glow. In one slow, careful motion, she draws the edge to her whispering lips and closes her eyes, her prayers stopping as she inhales the crisp air deeply. With two wolves keeping it down, the serpent screams and thrashes, sending clouds of petals into the sky as it demands again and again, cursing in between, "SONS OF KALAVAR....DAAAAAMN YOU, VENISOOOON....TRAITOROUS DEER...EAT YOUR MATE...SUP ON YOUR SON...SWALLOW YOUR SORROW!"

    Aisling can push through the pain, if only for this, his deformed maw finding purchase in the thrashing serpent, his burnt palms and jagged claws keeping it down alongside his son, now as sharp and filled with teeth as he is. He can barely spare you a glance, concerned, overwhelmed and in pain, pleading for it to end.

    Pilar exhales slowly onto the flaming dagger and whispers of the emerald energy float across the field to land on the serpent's enormous head, searing a hole through its visage. This sends the spirit into a thrashing, screaming, wailing creature, hissing and wheezing with the pain of an oncoming exorcism. Grabbing a tight hold of her staff, she pounds it against the ground once, sending a pulsing beat through the soil that makes the thrashing spirit freeze in place with its golden eyes turned toward the night sky. Stepping forward with the blade first, she drags the bloodied, flaming edge along its maw and down its body, tearing the ethereal threads that hold it together and now have the spirit unraveling like a knitted sweater. Gaze still on her hooves, she follows the many coils with her knife, motes of the corrupted serpent floating and disapparating into the night with a relieved sigh.

    Aisling drops from the serpent when it suddenly seizes, and watches in awe as it comes undone. He is panting, his still-torn cheeks stained with a thick mix of blood and saliva that still drips down his jaw and ruins his fur. Still, he doesn't seem bothered by pain, not from the tears, not from his burnt palms, his eye wide as he stares at the faun from the floor, stomach to the ground.

    Once at the tail, the pieces of the spirit fading away, Pilar finally lifts her eyes and the power physically drains from her. The light in her crystal trinkets fade, the flame on her dagger burns out, and the earth disperses the last of the gathered energy with one final pulse. She leans against a quarterstaff of blossoming dogwood panting and falls to her knees, a new sheen of sweat on her brow, as she clutches her chest, "Good...good Gods..."

    Aisling stares at the faun yet, and after a moment, to his son. He breathes out, a raspy laugh coming through, and when he speaks, it's with some difficulty, "Is everyone okay?" The man asks, unwilling to try and even sit up, happy to just lie on his stomach, with his palms against the cool grass.

    The Grecht has only to make some subtle shifts before he is on his feet again, his eyes also on Pilar sinking to the ground in exhaustion. "Yeah, I-" he begins, panting, before his eyes fall on his father and he moves quickly to the man's side, "father...your face...." His expression is writ with concern and it isn't long before the faun nearly stumbles over, putting a hand to her mouth in a failed attempt to hide her gasps, "Volk- Volk'in!"

    Aisling's brow furrows at the responses. He reaches, brushing burnt fingertips against the tears, rips that reach nearly to his ears, and his mouth opens wider, too wide, as he tries to touch his gums - within, there are multiple rows of teeth, scales stuck between, blood and venom clinging to them. He seems too tired to be shocked, withdrawing his touch with a faint wince, and then, strange relief as he rests his head upon the grass. "'s fine." He mumbles, trying not to move his lips much, it seems.
    He told me I was so small...
    I told him, "Water me."

    Affirm Pilar!
    Lin
  • PilarPilar Member Posts: 43 ✭✭✭
    [Part Four - Back in Enorian, Aisling awakes to find his son and wife working furiously to save his face after the fight... literally.]

    Within a chilly den - the neighborhoods of Enorian

    There is the clinking of glass, the tearing of linen, and the bitter smell of herbs hanging in the chilly air. Muffled and distant, Pilar mutters one word orders to the lanky Grecht youth who works just as quickly as she does. The tips of the faun's fingers glow with a verdant light as she applies a warm paste to Aisling's cheeks, her brow knit with concentration and worry, "...too much damage...too torn to stitch..."

    Aisling lies on his back, his ears twitching, a small sign of his wakefulness. The man breathes, and groans low, soreness and the sting of his torn skin bringing him into the waking world proper, his remaining eye fluttering open. The man breathes through his nose, deeply, "Faun?" He chances, the simple act of taking shifting the skin along his cheeks.

    Both Pilar and the Grecht man gasp, the latter setting down a mortar and pestle before moving quickly to his father's side. The faun ceases applying the paste to grasp the Knight's hand, smearing remnants on your fingers as she squeezes it tight. "Husband," she near sobs, tears welling in her eyes, "you are awake. You can speak. I was so afraid you would not be able to."

    Aisling looks between the two, lips parted, that his teeth are displayed, unwittingly. His fingers curl, and then, promptly stretch, burnt skin still carrying a sting, despite the faun's paste. "You danced so beautifully." He says, and his voice is raspy, words coming slow, "And you, my son. So fierce."

    Pilar's tears finally fall as she lifts your burnt hand to her forehead first and then her lips, kissing the skin reverently. "I only wish that I could have protected you more..." The Grecht man's voice trails off and he lowers his eyes, surveying the damage to your body with a deep sigh. He looks somewhat battered from the thrashing serpent, covered in soil and pollen, but is otherwise unharmed.

    "My fault. Made it messy." Aisling rumbles, fingers twitching gently against your lips, against skin. "Didn't know what to expect." It's said apologetically, his eye drifting shut once more, "You've inherited my teeth. I am so very happy."

    Your son lifts his eyes to meet your remaining one just as it closes, a warm pride on his face before he looks to his mother. Pilar nods in the man's direction and he smiles more fully, revealing a set of fangs, "Aye, that I did."He leans over to press a kiss to his mother's cheek then lowers his head respectfully until his forehead touches your belly, a grateful gesture, "Thank you both for freeing me."

    "And we are sorry, for putting you in that situation." Aisling murmurs, no accusation of guilt, but simple acknowledgment. He grunts, grits his teeth for a moment, before opening his mouth, running his tongue over his teeth, too many rows, jaw stretching too wide, as if the bones had changed within, alongside the tears. It doesn't last, he closes once more, "I feel... Good. Relieved." He concludes.

    Pilar only nods in agreement and gently stroke's the scruff of blue-black fur atop the boy's head. "Tlaloc is in the garden downstairs and then there is the baths and food in the kitchens," the faun suggests, "tour your new home." Taking the hint, the Grecht man lifts his head and smiles warmly at his parents. Rising to his feet, the lanky youth exits into the hallway with hardly a sound or looking back. Once he is gone, the faun turns her attention back to you and lowers your hand into her lap, "I am glad, beloved. I was...I was so worried."

    Aisling's ears twitch, tracking the boy's movements for a moment, until he can no longer. His hands come to rest by his sides, against the mattress, covered in herb paste, soothing the intense burns. "Eh, losing voice is... It's not so bad."

    Pilar reaches for the bowl of the herbal mixture again and dips her fingers in, preparing to continue her work. Sighing, she shakes her head and says, "I would hate for you to lose anything because of me..." Frowning a little, she leans forward and begins to apply it along the inflamed tears on your other cheek. This close, she still smells of soil and the flowers in the field.

    Aisling tilts his head to the touch, exhaling slow. He begins to try to sit up, eye opening, and one large arm coming around the faun, to pull her close, to his lap, if he is so allowed. you is light enough that, if she doesn't protest, he all but drags her to sit on his thighs, "Enough guilt." The man rumbles, "It's fixed, and I am fine... I feel wonderful."

    Pilar sucks in a breath when she realizes you're trying to get up and pushes at your chest with her arm in an attempt to get you to lay back down. "Volk'in, you've been injured let me-" her protests are cut off when your arm encircles her, pulling her into your lap with hardly any effort at all. The woman's ear flicks backwards as she struggles not to drop her bowl in the jostling, "We've been working on you for hours and hours, you should feel wonderful."

    Aisling tilts his head, to press kisses to the faun's ear, to her cheek, the movement sure to bring some pain with his torn skin, though it seems bearable. "Thank you." He murmurs.

    Pilar manages to set the paste back down then cradles your head, smearing the leftovers on her fingers over
    untended parts of your cheek, "...Anything for you, husband."

    Aisling tightens his hold, a low growl deep in his chest, familiar. He rests his chin against your shoulder, "And I'll take any losses for you. Voice, gaze, limb." The man whispers, "You are worth everything."

    Pilar sucks in a breath when you hold her tighter, the rumbling growl coming from you making her grow still. "But Volk'in, your face, your teeth," she asks, voice just above a whisper, "it must have hurt so much. I was in a trance but our son told me what he saw, how it happened." As she speaks, the small faun begins to cling to you, drawing you closer to further examine your facial wounds, "I should have known better..."

    Aisling sighs quietly. He seems eager for even clinical touch, that when you press against him, his body relaxes, fur soft and pleasant to rest against, "I didn't focus enough, for the mutation, but this feels..." He pauses, trying to find the words, "Feels good. My teeth don't hurt anymore."

    Pilar pulls back only enough so that she can hold your face in her hands. Her eyes search your remaining one before lowering to your mouth, the tears on your cheeks, and the exposed fangs along with your tusks. The faun swallows, stares, then asks quietly, "Open your mouth and show me?"

    Aisling grunts, displeased at being held back, but he doesn't push. With the faun's request, he opens his mouth, head tilting back as his jaws stretch well beyond the usual, enough that he could easily catch most smaller animals in a single bite - and within, fearsome, jagged teeth, multiple rows grown from his gums, and his tongue, oddly larger.

    Pilar continues to stare down your maw as it opens before her, fingers cradling only your hanging lower jaw by the time you have reached a new limit. She trembles as she takes it all in, eyes darting from one new feature to the next of a mouth and fangs she was once so familiar with. The inside doesn't look nearly as bad as the outside and she lets out a slow breath as her fingers gently trace the seam, your lower lip, then dart over the tips of sharp teeth to lightly touch your tongue. The moment she does so, she snatches her hand back and bites her lip, "You have so many more now but it's not...you're not as badly hurt. I'm glad."

    A cold shiver of fear holds itself in the faun.

    Aisling rumbles low, closing his mouth slowly, some care. He stares at the faun, settling, and it becomes clear that, once he's somewhat healed, only a faint seam will remain. All the same, the man hums, "... I'm not hunting you, my faun." He reassures, "Please."

    Pilar keeps her lower lip tucked between her teeth but she nods in understanding, releasing it finally to take a deep breath. Shaking her head, she chuckles softly to lighten the mood and mutters apologetically, "I am sorry sometimes it's uhm...hard to fight." Without another word, she presses herself to your chest again and clings to your clothes, "I mean it. I am so relieved you are fine."

    "As am I. You were... Awe-inspiring, my faun." Aisling rumbles, his hold tightening around the faun, briefly squeezing her against his chest, "You danced so beautifully. We would be gone without you."

    Pilar doesn't seem to know what to say so she buries her face in your shirt instead. For now, she seems to just enjoy holding you to her and enveloping herself in your scent, the closeness of it all clearly calming the small Yeleni. Though her voice is muffled, she says against your chest in her native tongue, "I love you, husband. We would all be gone without you as our shield."

    "Enough." Aisling murmurs, blood and herbs sure to stain you as his hand grips her, tight and secure. His eye drifts shut once more, and he lingers just like this, holding on, breathing slow, "I love you. Enough."

    Pilar is quiet for a moment longer but she still must have the last word, "...I mean it."

    Aisling chuckles low, shaking his head, though he doesn't push. His wife must have the last word, and he seems used to that fact.

    [END]
    He told me I was so small...
    I told him, "Water me."

    Affirm Pilar!
    Lin
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