Solo To Remain Unbroken

It's always a struggle.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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To Remain Unbroken

Postby Asterope on February 12th, 2020, 3:41 am

5th of winter, 519 AV

It had been a few days since Aster had discovered her new body, and she'd shied away from using it since then. It still felt so strange and alien, and she was protective of it; but her curiosity also couldn't be ignored, itching under her skin for her to explore a new version of herself.

Finally, she couldn't take it anymore. When night came this time, and she felt that tug at her mind to choose, she pictured the stranger she could now become. Aster felt the familiar tingle and glow that faded as quickly as it came, and when she looked down, she was delighted (and yet still surprised) to see the deep, warm shade of her skin.

"I was starting to think I was just petching crazy," Alard spoke up, grunting as he stood from where he was lounging in a chair by the fire. Aster flinched slightly, turning to face him. She'd almost forgotten he was there. He reached up to grab her chin, turning her face this way and that, and she clenched her jaw but stayed stock still, her dark golden brown eyes flicking back and forth, following Alard's movements.

"Guess it really is random," he muttered, and Aster did the best she could to keep her expression blank and neutral. If Alard noticed any twitch of her eyebrows or lips, he said nothing. Finally, he dropped his hand, only to move both of them to her shoulders as he stepped back. Aster folded her arms over her chest self-consciously as his gaze dragged up and down her whole body; she felt like a steak being examined or a prized horse being eyed, and neither were good feelings.

It just reminded her that she was property now. "Not bad," Alard clicked his tongue, and Aster bit hers so hard she tasted blood in her mouth as heat rose to her cheeks. Her fingers twitched, curling in and out of fists. Alard dropped his hands from her shoulders, catching her wrist and forcing her into a spin. Aster stumbled as she did, both caught-off guard and still unused to her different proportions from having refrained from using this body for so long.

She skidded to a halt, and instead of making her spin again, Alard walked around her in a tight circle. Hunter and prey, the wolf and the deer. Pretty stupid for a wolf, Aster thought to herself. Then again she didn't actually know much of anything about the animals, but she was certain it wasn't hard to be smarter than Alard.

One day she would stop being a deer. One day, she was going to be a lion, and she was going to tear his throat out. The sudden vicious thought surprised her; they still always did, but she was learning to let them sit, become comfortable with them. She was going to have to if they were to ever come true. Aster let out a long, slow exhale as Alard came to a stop in front of her again.

"A few things we need to do to fix you up, though," Alard hummed, a sudden smirk that was more teeth than anything spreading over his face; he stared down at Aster with the wolfish grin, looming over her, and she hunched her shoulders as she stared back. "Have to break you in again, it seems."

Aster's mind raced as thoughts flew through it, what he meant specifically, what he could mean, disgust and fear and anger and hatred all condensing into a hot, tight ball in her stomach, because whatever it was Alard meant, she knew it wasn't good.
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Asterope
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To Remain Unbroken

Postby Asterope on February 26th, 2020, 12:50 am

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She was right. She'd learned to be complacent to an extent, but when Alard casually walked over to the hearth to pick up the damned brand that she was all too familiar with, Aster practically bared her teeth and hissed, immediately backing away.

Alard stuck the brand into the roaring fire, stirring up the coals and watching embers float through the air. "You know there's nowhere to run, sunshine. Come on, now; I can't have you walking around looking like someone else without a brand on you. Who knows what you might try to get up to?"

Aster's back bumped the wall as she found herself now all the way across the room from the hearth. Alard pulled the brand from the flames when it was sufficiently hot, the eight-pointed sun glowing a bright cherry red. Alard turned, walking towards her with an expectant hand held out.

Aster bolted. She dove past Alard, knocking her shoulder into his side and sending him staggering as she scrambled for the other side of the room. She knew this was a fight she couldn't, wouldn't win; it wasn't even much of a fight, considering she didn't have a weapon. But she wasn't about to make this easy on him.

Letting out a string of swears, Alard nearly dropped the brand as he whirled around, face darkening like thunder. "Don't play petching games with me, you sparkly little whore," he spat. "You know you damn well won't win, now come here."

He advanced again, and Aster kicked out uselessly at him, her foot level enough with the crux of his thighs that Alard angled away from her. Aster seized the opportunity, scrambling forward to try and dodge past him again, but Alard let go of the brand in order to catch hold of her upper arm, his fingers digging in to her skin hard enough to leave bruises.

"That's enough of that," he grunted, even as Aster yanked at her arm and glared and growled like a cornered animal. Alard bent, his torso twisted awkwardly so he could keep an eye on the squirming Eth in his grip, and retrieved the brand, where it was slowly beginning to smoke from where it was burning into the wooden floor.

Straightening up again, he yanked Asterope over to the table nearby, tucking her arm underneath his own and pinning her hand to the table, ignoring her free hand battering at his back. "Oh, you're gonna get it after this," he snarled under his breath, and Aster finally faltered.

Frustration bubbled within her chest. This was supposed to be a new form, a fresh body, it was supposed to be hers and he was ruining it just like he'd ruined her other ones. Hot tears of anger welled in her eyes, but she clenched her jaw, refusing to let them spill even as her vision blurred and her eyes began to burn and her throat ached.

They spilled over without her agreement when the hot metal of the brand pressed into the back of her hand. By then it was a familiar pain, but that didn't make it hurt any less. She swore, trying to pull her arm away, but Alard held it tightly until he was satisfied, releasing her as he pulled the brand away. The smell of charred skin was never a pleasant one.
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
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Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
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To Remain Unbroken

Postby Asterope on February 26th, 2020, 12:53 am

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"Go wrap that up," Alard grunted, turning to replace the brand to its usual spot by the hearth. "Don't want you losing a hand or whatever."

Gritting her teeth, Aster silently did as she was told, fetching a clean rag that she dampened in the half-full bucket in the corner before winding it around her hand, hissing out a breath and wincing when the cloth made contact with the angry red skin of the burn.

She finished wrapping it as best as she could, tying a clumsy, one-handed knot over her palm to keep it in place, grimacing as she flexed her hand a few times. Petching asshole, she thought, and had a brief vision of herself pressing the brand into Alard's skin over and over and over again.

Something in her told her she should maybe be worried about her increasingly frequent and violent thoughts, that maybe she was turning into someone, something, that she wouldn't like, but she tuned it out. She would do what she had to in order to get out of this situation when the time came, and if that came with some retribution to Alard for the suffering he had put her through, then so be it.

She could worry about her slowly but surely greying morals and ethics when she was free again. She was shaken from her thoughts by Alard's approaching footsteps; she turned, shoulders hunched and hand cradled protectively to her chest.

"What's taking you so long?" He grunted, sneering down at her. He wasn't happy. That was fine; neither was she. Aster glared down at the floorboards, and didn't respond.

"Giving me the cold shoulder now, huh?" Aster realized what was coming a split second before it happened, and took what little reaction time she had to brace herself. A crack echoed throughout the room as the back of Alard's hand hit the side of her face, sending her head snapping to the side. Her cheek stung, and Aster blinked a few times as her vision spun slightly before reorienting itself, the ringing in her ears beginning to fade as quickly as it had begun.

She faintly tasted blood in her mouth as she straightened back out, blinking hard once, then twice. She knew what was expected of her in the pause that followed. Inhaling deeply, she forced her anger down; her complacency was a thin veneer over her anger and despair most days, but it was what had kept her going with minimal harm so far, so she'd keep clinging to it for as long as she had to.

"No, sir. Sorry, sir," the words tumbled out of her mouth, not the genuine words of an eager servant or even the fearful words of a bullied slave, but more like the monotone, rehearsed words of an actor; read the script, play the part, get through the act.

That was how Aster was treating it, because that meant there was a scripted end to it all, and if she imagined it any other way she was scared that she would lose what hope and courage she had managed to gather over the past few seasons, what she had hoarded away inside her chest like a crow with a nest of shinies. And she couldn't afford that. Not if she wanted to survive.
Last edited by Asterope on February 26th, 2020, 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 505
Words: 516144
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
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Medals: 5
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To Remain Unbroken

Postby Asterope on February 26th, 2020, 12:55 am

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It seemed to be enough for Alard, though; either he didn't care that the words weren't genuine, or he was too stupid to realize that they weren't. To be perfectly honest, Aster wasn't sure which it was, and she wouldn't be surprised either way. Alard wasn't exactly a genius, and he didn't care about the specifics as long as he got what he wanted most of the time.

"Are you sorry?" Alard asked, gripping her chin in his hand and forcing Asterope to look up at him. "I keep thinking I've got it through that thick skull of yours, and then you turn around and do things like this. Do you think I like hurting you, sunshine?"

Yes, Aster thought, bitterly. "No, sir," was what she said instead, and she couldn't quite keep the bitterness from seeping into her voice, but Alard plowed on ahead before she could even finish speaking.

"Exactly, of course I don't. You're my property, and I don't enjoy hurting things that belong to me. Besides, I hate marking that pretty little face of yours, no matter what it looks like," Alard continued, speaking as if he was telling a child that water would make you wet or that the sky was blue.

Asterope bit her tongue and stayed quiet. "Now," Alard continued, moving away to sit on the edge of his bed. "You're going to be good and make it up to me." He motioned Aster over, and she slowly, reluctantly crept over, her feet dragging on the wooden floor even as she felt her stomach turning, knowing what he wanted; it had become somewhat more commonplace for Alard to use her as a whore over the past little while.

Not commonplace enough for it to be regular, but more than he had done previously, and enough to make her want to be sick; then again, even once would have been too many times in her book. These were the times when she forced herself down inside of her own mind as much as possible, forcing herself to blank out and just act on base instinct, do as she was told and not think about it.

She could feel the acid burning the back of her throat, threatening to crawl up into her mouth if she thought about it much more, so Aster inhaled deeply and forced her mind to go blank.



Aster slipped out of bed as soon as Alard started snoring, padding over to the basin in the corner and grabbing a rag. Dunking it in the water, she scrubbed herself down as vigorously as she could, until her skin was red and raw and tingling and she couldn't feel the ghost of Alard's hands on her anymore.

She stood there for a long moment, gripping the edges of the wash basin and staring down into the water, which rippled gentle black in the darkness of the room, the fire in the hearth having burned down to nothing some time ago. She could just barely make out the silhouette of her reflection staring back up at her.

Something felt tight in her chest, and Aster stared into the inky blackness as she forced her breathing to calm from the ragged pace that was building up. It felt like claws tearing into her throat as she forced her chest to expand as she inhaled slowly, her vision taken up by the void of dark water, forcing the unpleasant thoughts that had been crowding her head to fade away again.

She didn't know how long she stood there for, forcing her breathing in and out in long, slow beats, staring into the dark basin of water until her vision was just blackness, but finally she felt her knuckles loosening as her grip on the basin loosened, her breathing coming slowly and naturally. Aster blinked, her vision coming back into focus as the details of the room at the edge of her sight sharpened again.
Last edited by Asterope on February 26th, 2020, 1:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 505
Words: 516144
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
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Medals: 5
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To Remain Unbroken

Postby Asterope on February 26th, 2020, 12:56 am

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Straightening up, Aster winced at the soreness in her back; she must have bent over the wash basin for longer than she had even realized, then. Stretching out, she blew out a gentle, quiet breath, splashing her face with water as carefully as she could to avoid waking Alard. The caution wasn't really necessary; he was a heavy sleeper, and his snoring drowned out most quiet sounds, but she was still mindful of her movements anyway.

Wiping her face with her hands and shaking the droplets off, away from the basin so that they didn't splash, Aster padded over to the window, standing in the stream of moonlight that filtered in through the somewhat dirty glass. She pressed her forehead against the cool glass, letting her gaze drop to her naked body, skin still tinged slightly red from her vigorous scrubbing earlier.

Absentmindedly, her fingertips trailed over the skin of her stomach. Walking over to where the patch of moonlight fell on the floor, Aster sat down in it, stretching her legs out. She had examined the new form before, looked it over, but that had been in shock and amazement, and there had been so much to take in. Now, she was curious about the details. She wanted to see what she could glean from her body; from the callouses, the scars, the soft spots. What could she learn about this body's life from the spots that marred it?

She had done something similar with her Inarta body, though over a more prolonged period of time, and she hadn't been able to come up with much. The scars that body bore were pale enough that they were hard to see against her white skin, and they were generally inconclusive; scars on her knuckles and her forearms, mostly, but not in any shape that Aster recognized.

But perhaps this body would be different? She wouldn't know until she looked. So Aster looked over her own skin, trying to find what clues she could. She wondered where these forms exactly came from, that they had their own scars and imperfections and flaws that told a whole life story that she would never really know.

Were they the forms of random people out there in the world, right now, lent to her for some purpose? Or of those who had passed? Were they somehow tied to her, forms she had known or even had in the past, before she fell a fully formed woman into the sea?

She had no idea. All she could do was wonder and try to piece together the few scarce clues she was given. With a soft sigh, Aster pushed the thoughts from her mind; all she was doing was giving herself a headache. Instead, she began to examine herself, scanning her gaze slowly over the tanned skin of her forearms, then her upper arms, then twisting her neck and angling her head down to peer at her shoulders and back as best as she could. She continued like that over her whole body, as much as she could see of it, cataloguing all of the scars and markings she came across.

She had a few dark moles here and there, or smatterings of dark freckles, but otherwise her skin seemed free of natural markings. Scars were less so; she had callouses on her fingers, mainly on one hand and on her middle three fingers. Her feet, too, were calloused, as if from walking barefoot often. She had no tattoos that she could see; would tattoos show up on these bodies? She had to imagine so. She didn't know much about tattooing, but she knew that they were permanent at the very least.

A small scar over her belly button made her think that she must have once had some sort of adornment there, but it was impossible to say for certain. Other than that, she noticed a few pale scars along her forearms, but it was difficult to say what they might be from; a sharp weapon was the most educated guess that Aster could make.

She frowned, puzzling over the scars and their potential significance until the sun began to creep over the horizon and her eyes grew heavy with exhaustion. She couldn't quite figure them out; the scars on her arms were disturbingly angled to suggest some manner of self-harm, but Aster couldn't be certain. Stifling a yawn, she finally gave in, and pulled on her night clothes before crawling under the thin blanket on her cot, letting her eyes slide shut for what little sleep she could steal before Alard woke her.

She'd survive the day, and she'd survived days before just like it; she would continue to do so. She just had to keep holding on; and at least now, at the very least, she had something to occupy her thoughts with.
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 505
Words: 516144
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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