woeni Nov 21st, 2019 (edited) 224 Never
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- Isolde●Allard : [ The cottage was brimming with warmth and activity now that its owner was awake. Henry, and the other grown Ents were outside, laboring in the woods to rebuild the burned parts of her home. Isolde had requested that they use freshly fallen lumber to make the repairs. All in agreement, Henry and the others set out to collect and begin work. Isolde could *feel* them. It was empathy on a physical level— they were hungry and tired of drawing their energy from the soil alone. It simultaneously made her queasy to think of them feasting on flesh, and anxious: she knew it was necessary, and part of their inherent nature. Part of her had opened up to the idea that certain parts of nature were inherently masochistic. It was, unknowingly, the Fallon in her. Her Antlethia rising had begun to chart her course away from the pacifist in the nelipot, unbeknownst to her. The nubile Ents in her home had been set about tasks within the home— which was now in full swing. A fire blazed in each hearth to fight off the cold. Food was being canned and stored for the winter, honey combs cleaned, and dried herbs pulverized for tinctures, salves and food dressing. As for the Allard girl, she was relegated to an unfamiliar life of luxury due to the presence of the Ents. They refused to let her set about her work. Henry insisted that she was too fragile to do such labor as her powers set upon her and she began to acclimate to this new chapter in her life. It was true— she was fraile after years of slumber. But for her, it was only just yesterday that she’d been working on the farm, doing her own work herself. Now she felt...different. Somehow both mourning for the loss of the life she had, and confident that something within her had changed...for the better. Despite the shakiness of atrophy, she felt a live thrumming in her bones. Her blood boiled. The house was radiant with warmth from the fire, but also because Isolde herself was teeming with life. The Ents, the plants, the animals around her house were all lively and active. She was a beacon of fertility and life, a source of power and thrivent energy for anything living. ...And yet, she felt useless in her own home. The spindly digits of her hands held long forgotten needlework, too disinterested in the tedium of the task. She felt uncompromising movement, quaking just beneath the surface of her skin. Isolde wanted to run. To swim. To harness what was unbridled within her. She gazed out the window, lovat hues distant and glassy as she considered something else: Wrath. The Deathstalker, by whom she’d only ever known by word of mouth, had been lingering at the periphery of her every thought. She’d been resisting the urge to allow him to take front stage in her thoughts. There were so many things that ought to be there instead: where was Solomon? (She felt guilty for not minding at all that he’d been absent) Her mother and father had been sent for and their arrival was Nel, despite the blaze, had managed to survive and needed grooming and ridden. The house needed repair. Oh, and somehow she’d woken, soaked to the bone and nude beside not just *any* man’s horse— beside the Prince’s horse, of all people. He’d seemed desperate and concerned for her well being, but she hadn’t the slightest clue how he’d come to revive her. That, above all things, ought to have been the nagging thought tugging for her attention. But it wasn’t. It was the man himself. The Fallon girl sat in a velvet, wing backed arm chair of emerald green clothed in little more than a sheer white chemise and a floor length skirt of linen. She was burning up— almost convinced she could go out into the late fall air without a scrap of clothing on and remain warm still. Her bare feet were crossed at the ankle, window open to let a breeze in. The chilly fall air crossed her collarbones, shifting back a length of wild brown waves. Her hair was positively a mane, having grown wildly in her slumber. It fell to her waist where it tapered. Presently, it was loosely bound at the nape of her neck by ribbon, as she had no clue what to do with so much hair. Her brow was furrowed with focus, lips pursed as she considered the man. He seemed noble enough. He hadn’t laid a finger on her despite her vulnerability. Henry seemed to trust him, and while the other Ents (she needed to name them, but they were countless!) seemed to fear him, they followed suit. It couldn’t be ignored he was handsome, but she did her best to remain modest in thought in that regard. Her mind strayed to the calloused texture of his fingers on the small of her back and the rugged sound of his voice grasping her by the pit of her stomach and stirring between her legs....And then back again. Damn it. She straightened herself in her seat, unclenching her thighs and focusing on relaxing her muscles. She took in a breath, realizing she’d held it for too long, and felt the wavering dizziness make her forehead light. Closing her eyes, the nelipot’s head rest against the wing of the chair, breathing in the cool breeze as it passed over her features. The sun was setting, and supper needed tended. Would the Ents allow her that one small creature comfort? ]
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : :: Wrath was sat in the Blackwood, forty-eight hours removed from the events which led to Isolde’s awakening. The broad-shouldered warrior had always been a deep thinker, but what had transpired by the waterfall was an experience he would not soon forget. Conflicted and confused, the beaded warrior was hunched forward with his sword lying flat on the earth. There was anger and yearning in his soul and the Imperial Prince struggled to process the storm of emotions that raged in his chest, in his head and heart. Melinoe was gone and although he’d been accepting of her journey, of her intent, it hadn’t made it any easier to come to terms with. Moreover the part of her that had once known Wrath ceased to exist. Had it even been real? What did he have to show for it? He wasn’t sure anymore. If she’d really loved him, maybe she wouldn’t have sacrificed her memories. In so doing had meant all knowledge of Wrath had been cast aside, as Melinoe started this next chapter of her life without him. Then again, if he really loved her, why had he helped her, if only to lose her? Although not prone to emotions, he knew he felt something though not entirely sure what. “Love is pain. Love is sacrifice.” Someone had told him once. That seemed pertinent somehow. What he’d shared with Melinoe had been short-lived granted, but it had been real. And it mattered to him. The rugged warrior’s thoughts interrupted by the howl of the wind as the woodland he occupied grew chillier. Darker. Pulling the fur of a newly purchased cloak a little snugger around his prodigious frame, he realised he couldn’t stay here. He supposed a long overdue return to the castle was in order. No doubt his father would have a few choice words for Wrath regarding his abrupt departure months prior, when the General had embarked on his quest alongside the seer. Having done so meant his Legion had been ordered back to camp under the authority of his second-in-command. Wrath wondered if he was even the General anymore, supposing he had no right to be after neglecting military duties to go gallivanting off with a woman who no longer remembered him. Rising to one knee, Wrath gathered up his belongings, his camping equipment and blankets stuffed into a bag. Then standing and striding towards his horse who was drinking water by a stream. Sleipnir stirred as he rubbed the steed’s mane, securing the saddle bags to the side of the horse. Equipment which ranged from grappling hooks and rope, to more mundane items like saucepans and rations. Wrath almost ready to set off until he remembered his sword which had been discarded, perhaps symbolically. Looking back as it lay silently on the ground, its power dormant. Maybe he should leave it here? After all, Widow Maker represented everything he disliked about himself. The violence, the war. The anguish and sorrow it brought were contrary to the person he wanted to be. Yet he was his father’s son. Wrath stoically bowing his head, eyes closing and remembering his estranged patriarch, seeing the abstract silhouette of Drenai in his mind’s eye. An ominous shadow in an ocean of flame as his father cut down enemies in his wake with the very sword he’d gifted to him. Opening his eyes again, Wrath outstretched his hand and summoned the blade. The steel gleaming as streaks of moonlight broke through the trees. Widow Maker rising under its own power, hovering as if it judged its wielder before it spun towards him, the grizzled Prince catching the hilt, then sheathing it on his vast back in a swift, well-practiced motion. A branch snapping beneath his boot as The Deathstalker advanced, climbing into the saddle of his horse. Then at long last, after processing his thoughts relating to Melinoe and his father, the warrior considered more recent events. The girl he’d saved. The General riding through the night and into the following day, traversing the Blackwood. His steed navigating a route. For it was a magical horse, descended of Odin’s legendary eight-legged-mount. Wrath had complete trust in the animal, having never let him down before, he barely paid attention to the direction of travel. Wrath had avoided thinking about Isolde. Yet the florist existed on the periphery of his psyche. The memory of two nights ago snaking its tendrils through his subconscious thoughts when he got the chance to sleep. His dreams. A silent admission that the yearning hadn’t been for Melinoe. Rather in his restless slumber what he felt was guilt that he didn’t miss her, even though he ought to. Had parting ways been difficult? Certainly, but Melinoe had given him up and he knew he needed to do the same. There was quiet acceptance. What of Isolde then? Why the seer may have sent him to save the Fallon girl, he couldn’t be sure, but Wrath had been content to do a good deed. A flashback to her standing on the bank. Remembering her bare skin, Isolde’s naked flesh. His calloused hand on her waist to steady her. She’d asked after her clothes and Wrath had explained as best he could, being apologetic and sincere. Recalling the seaweed and the vines, which had pulled her into the murky depths of the misty pool below the waterfall, in the heart of the Reverie Wood, where the Elven people resided. If the Deathstalker Prince had been a different man, that night might’ve gone very different. He might’ve succumbed to his base instincts. Urges. Claimed Isolde by force. Why not? Maybe he should have: No. Wrath wasn’t his father. Remembering the Iron Code: “Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the pursuit of evil. Never back away from an enemy. Either fight or surrender. It is not enough to say I will not be evil. Evil must be fought wherever it is found.” Reciting the oath like a religion. A verse taught to the First Men, by the old gods. Because heroes still existed. In the end, Wrath recalled how he’d given Isolde his shirt, his cloak already lost during the journey, meant he travelled bare-chested with her. The top half of his muscular physique exhibiting scars and tattoos, his rippled abdomen having glistened in the rain when taking her home as droplets covered his chiselled flesh. Allowing her to ride Sleipnir. Wrath walking beside the Fallon girl and his steed, leading the reigns in the direction of Isolde’s farm, escorting her back to her overrun home. Keeping his stay short, satisfied she was alright with gigantic Ents for company, who surely made more fitting guardians than even he. Thus Wrath had bid farewell to Henry, the pair developing a begrudging respect. Leaving Isolde in the care of these great anomalies of nature. A magical flame burning in their woody chests, who had branches for arms and arcane light in their eyes. Stopping at a nearby hamlet the next morning, purchasing new attire by way of furs and leathers, Wrath tried forgetting the Fallon girl, the object of his quiet fascination. Then embarking on the rest of his journey, until he found himself at his current whereabouts. “For starters she’s too young for you.” He muttered under his breath, by mid-afternoon. Trying to convince himself. Knowing his eldest daughter, Synthia might disapprove. Then obviously there was his child with Alauneyl whom he admittedly never saw, which no doubt made things more complicated. Yet Wrath didn’t love the Drow and the feeling was mutual. In fact, his life until this point had mostly comprised of meaningless relationships. He was no saint, occasionally involved in an illicit affair or two, bedding other men’s wives, but ultimately it was him being used. These conquests being of no relevance. Pretty sure there was nothing in the Iron Code about his activity. What now though? Should he go back to see Isolde? What was the point? Knowing in all likihood, he probably frightened her. Wrath being the human equivalent of a fucking bear. No. His course was set. He was going to the castle. Besides… Isolde presumably desired someone different. A man more... Trying to think of the word. Delicate. Prettier. Maybe with a fringe. Someone who wasn’t him. The hooves of his steed trotting over foliage, the fall of autumn leaves reminding him of his childhood. The ground damp from two days of rain. Admittedly much of the Blackwood was a labyrinth of repetitive forestry. Rider and mount passing beneath a thick canopy of branches. Emerging from a line of trees. All of this seemed mighty familiar he realised. Not realising they’d circumvented and gone back on themselves. The sun setting and covering the clearing in atmospheric waves of orange and mauve. Obviously they’d taken a wrong turn somewhere because the mountains weren’t where they were supposed to be, which shouldn’t have been possible. “Sleipnir?” Chastising the horse. It appeared while the General of the North was focussed on matters of the heart, Wrath’s trusted companion had seized the initiative. Embarking on a different route. Carrying his Master back the way they’d come. Wrath’s steel grey eyes befalling a familiar cottage. Had the Prince really been so distracted that he hadn’t noticed? Or had something more surreal taken place? He supposed it wouldn’t hurt to check up on her, Wrath reasoned. Realising he was going to look like an idiot, having only said goodbye two days ago. Reluctantly dismounting from the saddle, Wrath turning back to his friend. The steed twice as large as a regular horse, with a snow-white coat and a long mane of thick white hair. “You and I are going to have words.” He grunted. Pointing his thick finger at his muzzle. “You’re supposed to be descended from mythical beasts. You don’t even know where you’re going.” Scowled Wrath. A humour in the horse’s eyes, conveying a beguiling wisdom not of this world.The warrior climbing over the fence and back into Isolde’s farm. “Wait here.” He needed an excuse. Trying to think of one, walking across the field. Cautiously venturing past Ents along the way. Striding through ruined crops. All he could think of was that he needed his shirt back. To be fair, it was a designer brand from House Rango, those didn’t come cheap. Maybe it had sentimental value. It didn’t, but he could pretend that it did. Reaching the door and knocking. Not realising his own strength, his clenched knuckles resounding through the wood, the door vibrating on its hinges. What the hell was he doing? ::
- Isolde●Allard : [As it turned out, they would. The Ents inside of the house prattled about behind her anxiously the entire time, but they didn’t seem too insistent on preventing her entirely from helping prepare supper. She hummed as she worked, features in peaceful repose as she added a pinch of dried sage to the kettle. “What about you, do you like the name George?” She asked, glancing aside to one of the small Ents standing on the butcher’s block holding armfuls of chopped carrots. With a small grunt sounding more like a pinched squeak, he chirped in reply. That was settled then. One more named. She glanced up from her casual work toward the fire, “Easy, Robert.” She remarked cautiously as the small ent skittered away from the coals as they tumbled onto the hearth after him. Nearby, Wrath’s borrowed shirt hung over a suspended line to dry by the fire. Several small sprouts hid behind it, tinkering with a thimble. It rolled along the floorboards between them. When the knock came, Isolde turned to the door, where dust tumbled from the top of the frame to the floor. One of the elder Ents, Charles, moved toward the door to answer it. “Give me a moment.” She said as she pulled a towel from the counter and began patting her hands dry. Charles paused, grunting to communicate with the nelipot. “No, it’s probably just mother and—“ she opened the door, lovat hues softening as they set upon the Prince. A gentle blush bled over the bridge of her nose and she released the breath she’d been holding after a brief pause, “Hello, Wrath.” She beamed (though she meant not to,) hands idly twisting the dry cloth between them. Behind her, a small crowd of sproutlings gathered. Their heads poked around her sides and from behind her shoulders. He was better in person than in memory. Still a towering presence, but somewhat less intimidating with proper clothing on. It looked new, she thought. His blond hair was off of his face. No longer the disheveled, waterlogged tousle it had been when they first met. His scars were apparent still on his face, down his neck and beneath his cloak and collar. A shiver traced her spine as she considered them. The idea of how one gained such scars was too difficult for her to entertain. He was certainly rugged. Perhaps she looked like nothing more than a simple country peasant in comparison. He must have come to collect his shirt, that’s all. What interest would he have otherwise at the small farm? From starkly different worlds, the two stood before one another on the precipice of something new. Their independent stories began to fashion a single path for the pair to follow. “...come in.” She prompted, stepping to one side of the door frame to lean against it. Her forehead rest on it briefly as she stepped aside, “Leave your weapons at the door.” Her voice was almost commanding, until she realized who she was speaking to. “Please.” she timorously tacked on at the end.The tingle at the edges of her spine spread across her lower back, offering a chill as she watched him duck to pass through the door frame. Was it strange to find something as simple as walking through a threshold attractive? Perhaps it was just all the fresh air she had been taking. Or perhaps it was the long sleep. She hadn’t quite been herself since waking from her long somnolent years. Still...she couldn’t help but admire the way he held himself. Linden, who so craved to be a man of even half Wrath’s stature, was a paltry runt of a man. He tried to offset his stature by depreciating and manipulating others, Isolde included. Delicate though she was, she’d always been keen to his intentions. Awareness prevented troubles with Linden. He was cunning but not wildly intelligent, especially when he drank.But Wrath seemed to naturally emanate with potency. Not just due to his size, but by his nature he commanded the kind of presence people like Linden so desperately tried to replicate. One either had it or did not, and in this case Wrath certainly had it. As the general entered, Isolde moved to close the door behind him. Briefly she wondered what might happen if her parents were to arrive while he was there, but she thought they’d both be so pleased with him there that there would be very little reprimanding. Father, because of his history serving in the Deathstalker militia. Her mother because the house guest (and a male!) was a far stone’s throw from any of the men she herself would have entertained on behalf of her daughter. The trouble would moreso be explaining to the pair that they were counting chickens long before the eggs even lay in the nest. “I imagine you’ve come to collect your clothes...” she began, setting the dish towel down on a table as she passed. “Though dinner’s on and you’re welcome to stay with us.” the Fallon girl continued. There was a rustling of leaves in reply from the Ents. “Shoo.” She replied to the lot of them with a playful swish of her hand. ]
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : :: While Isolde was naming her tree-friends, Wrath was deliberating on if his impromptu visit here had been a mistake. Conflicting emotions which ranged from an earnest need to see her again, whilst not wanting to be presumptuous and assume the feeling was mutual. What if his Royal status had bearing on the florist’s choices? She might only play an accommodating host for fear of reprisal. Worse still, out of obligation to the Crown. Wrath didn’t want it to be that way. His Imperial standing as the Emperor’s son was irrelevant. But would it be to her? He imagined how he would feel in her shoes. Anxious that he was imposing or that she’d be afraid of him. The irony that he could be so ferocious on the battlefield but would second-guess himself like this, bordered on absurd. Typically emanating a natural charisma which made him an excellent leader and yet he was overthinking his visit to the cottage. Inwardly chiding himself, realising he’d thumped her door far too hard. The second-generation Nephilim possessing nigh colossal strength, which was even said to exceed his father’s. The Deathstalker family tracing their linage back to the Matriarchal Divinity: The Prime Goddess, Sophia. Grateful that his fist hadn’t smashed right through the wood, he was heartened to see Isolde open the door. She might have thought herself a simple village girl, but Wrath didn’t view her that way. Not at all. Knowing that his quest to retrieve her slumbering body and take her to the Forest of Reverie, travelling to the secret waterfall where Isolde’s unconscious form had been submerged in its murky depths, foreshadowed something important. Isolde was special. He didn’t know how or why, but that much was clear to him based on what he’d seen already. The unexplained disappearance when he’d dived beneath the tide searching in vain for her, only for Isolde to re-emerge on the bank some distance away couldn’t be taken for granted. Nor the alluring view, recalling the contours and gradients of her body, her slim shoulders and the curve of her hips, when he held her. Albeit for a time. Respecting her vulnerability, he’d seen fit to cover the maiden with his shirt and before that, shelter her with his great bear cloak that had been drenched in the rain and lost. There was an inherent understanding that Melinoe had sent him here for a reason. For the seer had explained her rare gift of prophecy. Yet the true purpose of his quest wasn’t something the General could hope to fathom. Though he was beginning to feel it. The florist exhibiting a fragile beauty he’d not encountered ever in his life. Evidently Wrath had known other women, but this was different. The gruff warrior distinctly aware that it felt right. She smiled and it was sincere, his instincts told him that much. The blossoming of her cheeks noted but went unmentioned by the Prince. “Greetings miss,” he begun politely. Wrath’s steel grey eyes filled with warmth and optimism. Losing himself in her muted green hues that reminded him of the forest he’d spent all day traversing only to be brought here again, presumably by his stupid horse who had a mind of its own. The sproutlings which peered from behind Isolde were worthy of notice as well. “Hello friends,” enthused the Prince. Feeling ridiculous but playing along. Nodding gratefully when Isolde invited him in. “I was in the neighbourhood.” Wait. What fucking neighbourhood. She lived on a farm. Regardless, Wrath was intent on filling any awkward silences, keeping the conversation going. Heeding her words, the warrior lifted his hand to seize the hilt of his broadsword. “Of course.” Drawing it for the first time today. The evening sun reflecting on the blade as he set it down respectfully, leaning it against a wooden bucket and some earthstained plant pots. Given his prodigious height of seven feet, the Imperial Prince lowered his head, entering the threshold of her home sideways because of the bulky width of his frame. The behemoth’s presence had been bred for war, yet here he was in a place of tranquillity, brimming with vibrancy. Realising that his old life might be represented in that grim weapon he’d been asked to leave behind. The appetising aroma of a homecooked meal filling his nostrils. “Something smells good,” he remarked. Just maybe he had a brighter future, foolish sentiment surely. Yet he hoped, in despite of himself, carefully sidestepping over the sproutlings. “I wanted to check you were alright.” That much was true. Nodding when she mentioned his shirt which was hanging on the line. “Thank you, yes.” Oddly touched by the thoughtfulness. Suddenly Wrath felt indebted to Sleipnir. The legendary steed clearly knew what was better for its master than he did. More importantly, nobody could spoil this for him because they didn’t know he was here. Unlike his father, his whereabouts weren’t monitored, meaning he could go where he pleased. Therefore there would be no political agendas from interfering nobles, or so-called Royal advisors who could judge the florist on her suitability. At least for as long as Wrath remained at the cottage. Able to get to know Isolde without scrutiny from others (with the exception of the sproutlings of course – who gleefully observed!) More importantly, Wrath could discern if Isolde was interested in getting to know him too. He hoped so but lacked his father’s arrogance, so assumed nothing. Caught off guard by her prettiness in the natural light, Isolde’s frail but elegant appearance was worthy of admiration. Her long dark hair and full lips made for a striking visual and he immediately desired her. Briefly imagining the florist in the Great Hall, under very different circumstances. The rustic cottage they found themselves in would always be her home, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t have another. A castle perhaps. “I’m famished.” He admitted. “What’s for dinner?” Grinning cheekily. ::
- Isolde●Allard : [Isolde couldn’t have ever fathomed hosting anyone or anything quite like Wrath prior to this, but she supposed she owed him some measure of debt given the circumstances. She wondered: how had he come to know of her plight and seek its resolution? From what she had gathered in the previous days, her mother’s letters left at her bedside told a story of years’ worth of attempts to cure whatever ailed or befell her. Isolde herself had considerable curiosities about what had happened to her. Her last memory prior to finding herself standing naked beside a horse were those of a fire. One that had left evidence all through the grounds and house. She remembered the animals, the entrails, their dismembered bodies strewn about the yard. Heads on pikes and flies in their eyes. She remembered Solomon’s face, and the awful expression that melted his expression when he saw her alight. And, of course, she could vaguely recall the pain. The fire had been intense, eating away at her legs and climbing her skirts to swallow her whole. After nothing more than minutes she couldn’t feel anymore. Her skin peeled in layers of charcoal sheaves, cracking to reveal fault lines of deep, angry red tissue beneath. But that was all like a horrible dream now. After a couple of days awake, the edges of that memory were already fading. The nemophile’s thoughts weren’t satisfied: what happened? While her questions went unanswered, she suspected the letters would clarify what had happened. Or she hoped. His rough voice had softened, recalling her full attention. His greeting was warm. Genuine. Unlike the precedent set by Drenai, who’d casually welcomed her into his office with a mantle full of decapitated sea-hags and a blase customer-service demeanor. She broke into a full, radiant smile in response. Her hair curled at her temples and cheeks where they lifted in response to her smile. Without really knowing it, she was responding to his energy. Isolde passed the hearth toward the kitchen, figure backlit for a fleeting moment by orange ember so that her silhouette became briefly visible. The bucolic setting might have been uncommon territory for the warrior, but Isolde’s warmth made it feel like home. As he continued about making himself at home, Isolde paused midstep, glancing back at him as he quipped about supper. Despite herself, she laughed. “Ah, a little bit of everything...” she mused, semi-distracted by the humor in his tone. It was mostly true— the stew was somewhat of an odds-and-ends tuber and hearty vegetable meal. Things which were harvested into the fall— like spicy carrots and potatoes, along with things which could be dried and then cooked whenever she pleased— legumes and herbs from her own garden. “Tell me, who are you?” she asked, voice casually interested. She picked up a ladle and gestured with it over her shoulder as she moved barefoot over the earthen floor. It was a simple question, but her tone would have indicated that she expected more of an answer than what she’d already been privy to. Yes, she knew his titles. But nothing of the man himself. The Fallon girl’s interest was piqued. She collected bowls as she moved through the kitchen, features alight with the delight of company. Or exertion— one couldnt be sure which. The Ents tagged along after her feet like attention starved kittens with no direction. Wanting to help, but not knowing exactly how. ]
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : :: Advancing deeper into the cottage interior when prompted by Isolde. Taking in his atmospheric surroundings, a place occupied by miniature Ents and the woman he’d restored to the waking world, only two nights prior. There was a homely feel he appreciated here, a dwelling so unlike anything he was used to, given his typical residency in castles and other Imperial strongholds. Perhaps in another life, had his father not been Drenai, Wrath might’ve known what this felt like. To grow up here. Or somewhere similar. Alas, the grim walls of the citadel were soulless sometimes. Or at least appeared that way. Though he wouldn’t express it in so many words, he was mindful of the energy which emanated from the hearth. Here in this fertile environment. For Isolde’s cottage was comforting, enriching, even to a man like him, whose very existence had been cultivated by his tyrannical father to achieve one purpose. Violence. That was the Deathstalker curse after all. The Emperor’s children typically bred for conflict and destruction, which only made his presence here all the more ironic and poignant. “You have a lovely home,” complimenting her. One might have thought him patronising, but it was clear by his tone that it came from a place of sincerity. Wrath wasn’t typically the type to deliver falsehood, meaning what he said, when he said it. The second-generation Nephilim appearing delighted by her explanation that the food she was preparing, was something of an experiment. “Wonderful. Surprise me.” He enthused. His colossal size dwarfing every living being in the cottage, though the General was always mindful of the larger Ents outside, who roamed Isolde’s farm. So very intrigued by them, his curiosity required sating. “How did you happen to come by these guardians, if you don’t mind me asking?” As to her query, he supposed it was a fair question. “You already know my name and titles,” he declared. “The rest? Well I befriended a soothsayer. She and I grew close, but she made a sacrifice and now I can never see her again,” explained the gruff warrior. “When we made our farewells, she told me there was a task I needed to fulfil. That it was important.” Wrath’s steel grey eyes meeting Isolde’s with earnestness and depth before he delivered his revelation. “She told me that I had to find you.” Allowing the gravity of that statement to sink in. “So I suppose the more important question is, who are you?” Countered the Prince. ::
- Isolde●Allard: [Her demeanor shifted and she was able to discern the feeling of ache and nostalgia on Wrath's mind. Perhaps it was a new skill, gleaned since her wakening. Maybe it was hypersensitivity to any human interaction. Or perhaps she was intuiting something about him because of their mutual draw. But he seemed relaxed, which she was pleased about. Isolde had made her home into a place of comfort and tranquility for herself-- isolated from many of the other villagers by her odd life circumstances. Many now believed her to be a witch. Not yet dead by house fire, but not living either. Of course, there would be an entirely different interpretation once they found out she'd woken. Isolde feared that day, truthfully. Her home had become a source of peace and safety for her, and she was happy someone else felt the same under her thatched, partially reconstructed roof. When he spoke, it was with a measure of longing. The pair were begging for thread without words to articulate it-- in their independent ways. "Thank you..." she offered gently, casting glaucous hues over the over-grown interior with a wistful smile. "It needs a little work, but most homes do..." she mused, lifting a shoulder passively. As the man inquired about Henry and his...siblings... Isolde glanced to one tottering across the counter with bay leaves to add to the pot. Afterward, she picked him up gently and rubbed one of the almondine leaves sprouting from his head. His twiggy, waifish arms flailed at the affection, leaves shuddering with pleassure as he released a small squeak. "I found Henry in my garden." she explained non-chalantly. "He's the biggest of them outside. The poor thing was eating a hare when I found him." her shoulders trembled as goosebumps rose on her arms at the recollection. "They have a hunger." she admitted, with some disappointment. "When I realized their appetites were...unsavory...I took them to see the Emperor. I imagine his interest in them is somewhat related to their ability to feast on flesh." she explained whilst setting the small Ent on the counter again. "I propogated the next few, those out with Henrich that are a bit smaller. But I was never able to tend them before...the fire." she explained briefly. "They're not as strong. I imagine I'll have to figure something out for them soon." she continued, making her way to the table. Seeming sated with the information provided on her Ents, Wrath moved on. His answer to her question left her with fewer answers than she'd hoped, and new questions still. Before she'd been able to ask them, he turned the question on her. She parted her lips, pausing thoughtfully "I-- ah..." a delicate hand lifted to gesture openly, but no thought came. She was distracted by the summary of his story. The Allard girl met his gaze, feeling its intensity as the thought sank in. Isolde wasn't accustomed to anything exciting in her life, much less extra-ordinary. "I'm a villager." she answered modestly, glancing down as she traced the lines in the wood grain on the table before her with a fingertip. She truly didn't think of herself as anything but. Still-- something was different. Her blood felt like it hummed in her veins. "I've been asleep for years." she resumed, lashes flitting to his expression to read it with caution. Who was the soothsayer and why had she sent him to Isolde? "And now that I've woken, nothing seems the same." ]
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ :: Wrath would not easily forget the events leading him to this point, seeing him deferring leadership of the Northern Legion and gallivanting off on an adventure, culminating not merely in the soothsayer’s departure from his life, but embarking on an additional quest. Reawakening Isolde in the depths of the waterfall. A place said to be sacred. He hadn’t understood the reason, only that he had a promise to fulfil and the Deathstalker aimed to keep his word. Although honour wasn’t typically synonymous with Wrath’s family, the blonde-haired warrior was the exception to the rule. Having made a commitment, the principle mattered enough to rescue a stranger from her unnatural slumber. A rose amidst a bed of vines he thought, recalling the state of the cottage when he’d first discovered this place. To their credit, the Ents had done an impressive job of clearing the debris and maintaining the property. Obviously Isolde’s home had seen better days, recalling the thatched roof which required fixing. Offering Isolde an inclination of his head when she expressed her gratitude. “Of course.” He responded. “If you need any assistance, I don’t mind helping around the farm.” The Fallon girl might’ve very well thought he was joking given his Imperial rank, but the Prince was completely serious. Nor was he afraid of manual labour or getting his hands dirty. The Emperor’s son observing with silent admiration at Isolde’s handling of the twiggy creature. “You love them as if they’re your own.” Observed the Prince. A stern look when she mentioned their insatiable hunger. Wrath raising a brow at the mention of his father. “That doesn’t surprise me.” He answered dryly, void of sentiment. “Fire?” He queried, reading Isolde’s expression. Sensing her heartache. Listening as Isolde elaborated some more. “They’re fascinating. I’ve decided Henry is my favourite.” He told her. Wrath advancing, closing the gap which separated him and the florist. “You’re no mere villager, girl. You’ve been anointed by Fate. For what purpose? I’m not entirely sure, but I didn’t come all this way for nothing. You’re important.” He decided. Thus making it so. Willing that idea into the universe. Perhaps out there somewhere, the seer was listening. Some remnants of her being, lingering in the periphery. “Her name was Melinoe.” Confided Wrath, as if answering an unspoken question. “I’m sorry. What was the cause of your slumber?” Wrath hanging his head to address her, accounting for their disproportions in height. His large mitt gently brushing pass her arm. An attempt at reassuring Isolde. The Imperial Prince nodding sympathetically. “Perhaps you’d like to come with me to the castle, together we could find help there? Get some answers.” Reasoned Wrath. ::
- Isolde●Allard [Searching his face as he spoke, she offered an amused grin before nodding toward the outer wall of the home. She was humored by the offer, "That's precisely what this place needs-- one more person to frighten away the neighbors." she rose an eyebrow as leaves rustled overhead. Henry was listening in. Dirt trickled down from the leaves that masked the hole in the cieling. "They are." she replied in reference to the way she doted on the Ents. They felt like an extension of herself--one she imagined wasn't too dissimilar from how a mother might feel for her children. It was a bit more eldritch than that, she could empathize with them on a physical level, able to feel (to a degree) what they felt. The supper simmered over the fire, air fragrant with cooking onions and potatoes. Her attention on the Prince as he spoke, she noticed the steep drop of tonality when he referred to his father-- noting the particular nuance of disdain. He was less than passive about his feelings regarding the Tyrant, but he with held and moved the conversation along. Loyal, but frightened of his father, she felt endeared to him for it-- she wasn't particularly fond of the violence he was known for. As her father explained it, those willing to kill were also those responsible for the sanctuary she and the other citizens were afforded. She begrudgingly accepted, though with little love, the fact. "Henry is--" she began, but was abruptly cut short by his advance. Wrath towered over her and the scent of campfire, leather and pine clouded her senses. The florist had been immure for so long that his proximity made her heart quicken. In the moment, she wasn't so sure she feared him so much as she feared the -idea- of him. He represented things she was barred from for so long. Human connection, trust, freedom. She'd been relegated to her homestead for years prior to the fire. A social pariah due to Linden's influence. It wasn't until she'd stumbled upon her profession as a florist that she'd even really -been- to the city. She felt like she was going to be found out-- she had no business in occupying anyone else's time. Certainly not someone whose time was as valued as his. The waterline at her eyes was glassy, features tender as she nodded in regard to the woman-- Melinoe. Isolde felt the lingering pain in his voice. He leaned in as he spoke, pausing to listen as one of his massive hands lifted at her side. Isolde leaned into it gently, like a moth to flame. The nelipot wavered, lips pressed together as she considered the claims he was making. The girl hadn't been called important a day in her life, save for the affections her parents gave her. The withy florist felt something inside of her melt. Her throat felt tight and she breathed in before taking a step back to give herself modest space before her impulses drove her into his arms outright. "Whatever brought you here..." she glanced out the window to clear her thoughts "Fates, a horse..." she added with a timid smile, "I'm glad it did. You're the closest thing I've got to a friend--" the Ents collectively grunted, leaves shaking in rebuttal. "...a human friend." she amended, palms out in front of herself as if to signal apology. "I don't mean to--" she paused, thinking, "I don't mean to reduce what we've experienced as mere friendship.." she gestured between them with a hand, "it's just..." she tried to collect herself, "more than that, but not quite..." she drew a breath in and lifted both shoulders, "What I'm trying to say is yes." she concluded after floundering for a moment. "But I don't want to burden you." What had she just agreed to?]
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : :: The looming presence of Wrath Deathstalker would’ve been an ominous sight in any other circumstances. Clad in leathers and furs, his blonde hair braided and tied back, while his beard denoted his tribal roots. Exhibiting a strength and weight of character that was only matched by his ability to maim and kill. Alas, this was the grim counter-balance to Wrath’s story, for he was the product of a violent Age. Ultimately, still his father’s son. The Prince remembering that Widow Maker was waiting for him outside the cottage and eventually he would have to retrieve it. Yet he indulged this fantasy with her a while longer, imagining something better for himself, here in these rustic surroundings. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> Although he’d spent his later childhood years in the castle, his mother had belonged to a clan known as Eshin and something about Isolde’s home reminded him of that place. The hearth here had an honesty, a warmth that went beyond merely mitigating the chill of the night, as nightfall descended on the forestry outside without either of them realising. Obviously this was no tribe. Yet what it did share in common with his mother’s home, was the overlapping sense of familiarity and that of family. There was love in these walls. It was that which stirred something in his soul, something Wrath wasn’t used to, though was grateful to experience, if only for the novelty. Least to him. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> Renewed appreciation for the woman he was speaking with, considering his own words. Believing them: Isolde was special, he told himself inwardly. Wondering if the homestead was responsible for these waves of sentiment, or if she herself had been the source. Had in fact, some intangible link to her surroundings, emanating an energy in the same way she did over the Ents who defended her. Had Sleipnir really come here of his own violation, or had Isolde called to the horse? Wrath was certainly no sorcerer or druid, but he knew power when he encountered it. These anomalies of Nature led by Henry were protecting Isolde for a reason which extended further than her ability to merely tend to plants. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> Thereafter Melinoe had deigned the florist important enough for Wrath to seek out. Though he was yet to discern why, he understood now that he had a purpose again. One that went beyond, merely doing his father’s bidding, conquering another country. He was needed here, he realised. With her. Wrath’s strong arms enveloping the Fallon girl when Isolde reciprocated his subtle advance. “I know.” Reassuring her. “Whatever this is between us, I won’t pretend to understand. But I feel it too.” He admitted. “Though I am your friend first.” Came his reassuring words. A promise. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> “…and it is no burden. I’ve chosen this road with you. So we’ll walk it together. Though I’m at pains to admit it, Deathstalker Castle calls to us. We must heed the call, if we are to discern the truth.” Knowing a wealth of knowledge awaited them in its towering stone walls. Both in the tomes it contained and in the individuals who occupied his father’s stronghold. ::
- solde●Allard : [There was an underlying appreciation in the articulation of his roots hidden within his physique. Perhaps that was what so interested her. The bristly exterior might have been outwardly different, but hidden nuances articulated parts of Wrath that hearkened something ancient. Something stirred within her at the thought: she recognized her old soul for a fleeting moment and her curiosity was kindled. Perhaps there was something at least -different-, if not special, about her since she’d woken. The delicate florist implored him with a gaze, lips parted as she read his expression up close. He was ruminating on something that endeared him. The back of her neck tingled as the breeze pulled leaves from the autumn trees and scattered them like embers outside. Old voices whispered between the tall grasses where leaves fell, intermittent snowflakes drifting down lazily to signal brumous weather’s imminence. The trees groaned in the wind, and the surface of her pond chased lines after an invisible force. Dried flowers rustled between russet leaves and cold stone. The vines crawling up the walls of her home crept perceptibly, leaves sprouting as evergreen despite the season. And Isolde’s frame softened in his arms. Her chest throbbed and the plants in susuration around them prattled on and on, encouraging them both in an old tongue. Quiet mumrurs in a primal language that required no words. He was right to compel her to the castle and everything around them leaned in with bated breath to witness the outset of their path. Isolde was connected to all of the plants, the marshes, and gardens. They whispered in their withy language to the birds, the foxes and even the horse— all compelling the pair toward one another. Inexplicably, the florist was reassured with no further effort required on the general’s behalf. The world felt as if it was conspiring to encourage her, and who was she to resist? She lacked control over the building momentum, but she also lacked self-awareness to harness it. She was guided freely, like a sail on the wind, by forces that had been lying beneath the surface all of her life. The flowers bloomed brighter and healthier for her, her pets outlived average lifespans, Henry and his siblings came to being, ecosystems thrived. A period of growth was necessary in the empire, and the Fallon woke to meet the need. Her skin was warm beneath the thin chemise, skin luminous for a moment. Perhaps it was a trick of the firelight. When the warrior spoke, she could feel the rumble of his voice in her chest. They were close, and the feeling brought her comfort and a list of other new feelings. If that weren’t enough, the words themselves acted like a soothing balm to her aching heart. She knew her lips were like honeyed nettles. Conflict played at her internal dialogue, both equally insistent that she remain chaste and guarded. Old wounds defensive and sentinel over her feelings commanded that she be rational! But nature was far more prominent..and admittedly more appealing. “My parents...” she began, thoughts loosed by reality “They’re due by morning, or the next day...” her voice was a bit dreamy, slowly gaining a bit more sense by the moment. The Ents shuddered in response. “I’d need to make arrangements for their arrival.” she explained, not one to neglect her duties. (And also excited to see her mother in person after so long.) Without realizing it, she looked doefully at Wrath, loose tendrils curling at the outskirts of her cheeks. He was willing her to him, and she wasn’t resisting.]
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : :: The Prince, much like his father was a complicated beast. There was conflict in the grizzled warrior, an anger in his bones, which Wrath harnessed into order to be stronger and more durable. When he entered a battlefield Wrath drew upon an ancestral rage, allowing him to fight harder and vanquish his enemies with greater authority. Yet while holding Isolde, that storm inside relented, until the Prince felt a calmness that was unfamiliar to him. Realising he was contented. That was the moment the General of the North understood that Isolde was not like other women. Realising that she gave him something they could not. Peace. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> It was a startling revelation, yet one he’d stumbled on during his brief time in the cottage tonight, knowing it was true. Understanding that a man could make a life with a woman like that. Who allowed his demons to sleep. Wrath exhaled when he held her. Then he breathed. Feeling his heartbeat slower. Mindful of Isolde’s too, throbbing in her chest, the pair enveloped in each other’s arms. Outside the wind and the trees spoke to each other in a language he didn’t understand. An autumn hymn whispered in a rustling of leaves. But there was knowledgeable recognition on Isolde’s face. The florist mindful of her surroundings, of the creatures nearby and within, who she’d given names to. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> Though Wrath was driven by other forces, which spurred him on. The rocks and mountains were his religion, their dramatic peaks cradling the horizon in the distance, knowing that Deathstalker Castle could be found just beyond those gloomy crags and precipices. Thereafter it was the grim steel of his weapon which dictated the warrior’s temperament. Knowing that any sword, even Widow Maker was capable of enacting great justice, though equally much harm as well, lest the Iron Code was followed and restraint exhibited when the battle was over. Ultimately it was a man’s strength of arm and their own integrity which dictated one’s purpose and role in the world. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> Wrath had chosen an arduous life, one dictated by neither power nor wealth, but rather a cause that deemed worthy and for its own sake. Now Isolde would be his reason. A quest to be undertaken, that would see both Deathstalker and Fallon travel to the prodigious turrets of the ancient fortress. Wrath’s hands had carefully seized Isolde’s waist during their embrace. His palms steadily rising up her back. Firmly and possessively. The General hanging his head to look down at her when she spoke of her parents. “I can leave if you want. Give you time to speak with them.” Not wishing to make her life difficult. >>
- Ɯɍλτн·Ɗϵɑτђsταᴌᴋϵᴙ : >> However when he took in the sight of her, Isolde’s loose hair framing her delicate face, her eyes filled with vibrancy and other things he didn’t understand, Wrath felt a compulsion to claim what was already his. Unlike before when he’d seized her in the forest, there was no hesitation. His bearded mouth crushing against Isolde’s full lips. The moment lingering for a few seconds before he pulled away unapologetically. Breaking off the kiss. “Prepare the cottage for your parents’ arrival if it pleases you. I won’t be far. I can wait in the woods.” He suggested. ::
- Isolde●Allard : [She ought to have resisted, really. Isolde should have nipped the bud before it bloomed, before it emboldened Wrath to act on his instincts— but she didn’t. The coarse texture of his palms tugged gently at the linen of her shift as they cupped the small of her back and traversed upward. His grasp was uncompromising, but gentle. The Deathstalker held her firmly in place in body and mind alike. His affection felt consuming and the Fallon girl had no objections to it. The way his hands fit the contours of her frame fit like second skin— a thicker, stronger skin. For all of her resistance to violence throughout her life, she hadn’t once considered what a comfort a warrior’s embrace might be. It emboldened her, to a degree, making her feel invincible. A strange thought captured her attention: she -wanted- him to exercise that grasping possession. Isolde didn’t consciously encourage him, but everything about her -c
- Isolde●Allard : nature responded by enticing him. The florist’s back arched under his palm, chest grazing the sigil on his chest plate. Her head tilted, exposing a length of her throat. Without experience in such things, she could do nothing but follow her instincts. As he spoke, she considered his words hazily— aware of the headiness of his presence. Was this what it felt like to be drunk? “Mm, no.” she replied without thinking. Her base instincts spoke out of turn. Isolde didn’t want Wrath to go anywhere. Her delicate hands found their way to his biceps, briefly clutching when she recognized her slip. In a moment’s turn his mouth was against hers. Without hesitating her full lips parted under the weight of his, framing his lower lip gently as she felt most of her decency flit away with wreckless disregard. The girl offered a muffled sigh, palms slipping from his arms to his chest. Glaucous hues closed, muscles relaxing and leaving her a bit dazed when he withdrew. -c
- Isolde●Allard : Around them, the Ents rattled and tittered— either cheering or rambunctious with excitement. Wrath’s voice murmured in the quiet between them and the nelipot opened her eyes, realizing she’d have pushed herself up onto the balls of her toes along the way. She heard him, but the words were settling in slowly. More pressing, the voice of her mother followed “...Isolde?” cautiously, the doe-eyed woman peered around the opened door. The kettle was bubbling over the fire, sizzling as its contents spilled over the edge and into the heart of the fire. Ents scattered, having tried to warn them of her parents’ arrival. “What is this?” her father asked, mother poking nosily around the entryway. The girl went rigid with surprise, turning slowly to glance at the pair whilst never leaving the circle of his arms. Gravity inadvertently pulled her toward him. “Mama, Papa...” she said softly, features bright with ardor. “Isolde!” her mother sobbed, overcome with relief by the sound of her -c
- Dɪᴏʀ has joined the conversation.
- HËÏŅË has joined the conversation.
- Isolde●Allard : child’s voice, exuberant to see her walking and breathing. Her father eyed Wrath skeptically , despite recognition in his eyes. Isolde was his daughter before he was a loyalist. Her mother, Elizabeth, moved to the pair and reached out to cradle Isolde. It would be apparent where the florist’s features and gentle nature descended from. Elizabeth was a gracefully aged version of her daughter, beautiful around the eyes and full in lips. Once the women embraced, they collapsed under the weight of their emotion. Aware of her father’s concern, Isolde watched his face as her mother cradled the back of her head, tracing the length of her hair gently. “Your hair is so long..” Elizabeth purred, seeming not to mind Wrath’s presence at all. Her father, Douglas, walked to the girl and cradled her chin affectionately. She smiled gently, “This is Wrath, he took me to the Reverie Wood.” she explained , cautiously evading the details -c
- Eione▪Frosт has joined the conversation.
- Isolde●Allard : for...her parents’ sake. Her modesty was still intact after all. Henrich grunted at the door from his hands and knees, head stuck into the room in protest. Too many humans! ]
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