[Featured thread] Poison i.

[ KRI ] Part I of a series set in the Kelvic Research Institute.

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Poison i.

Postby Maore on February 13th, 2020, 1:51 am

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winter 3rd 519
The days bled into each other in a fairly standard and agonizingly predictable fashion.

Get up with the sun.
Relieve yourself.
Sit against the wall and wait.
Eat.
Sit against the wall and wait.
Do not start screaming.

Rinse and repeat. Again. And again. And again.

At sun's rise, Ciraaci pulled herself slowly out of the huddled pile of limbs she used to replicate the feeling of being with others as a source of comfort. Her body was aching already, but the effects were deadened, as always, in this morning guise she undertook. She relieved herself in the chamber pot and put herself against her waiting wall.

And she waited.

Several bells passed in the time that Ciraaci sat there. She picked at her nails and strung her fingers through her dirty hair in an effort to untangle the strands from last night's frayed knot. She scratched an itch in the centre of her back with a dazzling presentation of a fish flopping on the ground. She pulled at the frayed strings of her sack cloth dress and collected them in her palm. She fidgeted away the time in order to enforce the last step in her daily routine.

Ciraaci was sure that the moment she stopped distracting herself she would begin screaming.

That just wouldn't do; in the beginning she'd used up all of the effort to cry for help and received nothing for it but the laughter of her keepers and a painful blow to her unprotected belly. She stopped screaming because survival depended on it. That one blow (and the dozens or so that had preceded it) had hammered home the helplessness of the situation. She couldn't speak to her captors to negotiate better care and they couldn't speak to her to make their demands. Not for lack of trying on either end, anyway; Ciraaci had shouted her Pavi declarations and dropped all variations of obscene hand-sign and Myrian insult she could think of and remember and called out repeatedly in her broken Common for someone to talk to her. In their attempts they had yelled at her, thrown things (and naked men) at her, forced her to eat drugged food and tried to hammer in some crucial lessons in Common with heavy-handed abuse and sweet whispers.

The barriers between Ciraaci, Ethaefal daughter of Syna and Wayward Child of the Sea of Grass, and the Nitrozian workers, men and women who threw Kelvic together with the desire to breed them in predictable ways, was simply a gap too great.

They didn't bring her food 'on time' today.

Ciraaci fidgeted harder.

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Last edited by Maore on February 14th, 2020, 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Poison.

Postby Maore on February 13th, 2020, 2:11 am

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For another bell (or maybe two?) Ciraaci tied her thoughts up in daydreaming, a pastime she really only indulged in when the things happening in her present were too much to bear consciously. She liked to think of it as an out of body experience, like the way that her companions had described walking the Web to feel like. She could remember a few of them by the faint memory of their faces imprinted on her several decades old mind. After so long since they'd passed and their descendants had moved away from their old family, what memory Ciraaci retained of her dearest friends was more of a concept. Red hair like fire, jade eyes, hands of alabaster that plucked dirty stones from freshly sifted earth, a man's booming laugh as they raced over a packed down thoroughfare around the camp. Someone laughed like a bird sings but their name escaped the tenuous grasp of Ciraaci's eager fingers. Someone's hand felt like the heat of the hearthfire as it lay on her naked shoulder, stroking the hair from the side of her face. Breath fanned across her jaw.

Ciraaci was jolted from the meditative dissociation she'd succumbed to when the touch became too real, flinching away from the crowding sensation of bodies around her. A hand was indeed on her shoulder, fingers brushing through the knotted strands of her hair and palm resting against the round apple of her cheek. She couldn't see them but the moment she realized she was actually being touched the comforting warmth became impossibly hot, sweltering, like a fire lit under her skin and settling deep into the flesh and bone.

"No, no, no," Ciraaci's words tumbled out of her mouth desperately, defeating every reassurance that she wouldn't start screaming -- or panicking. The touch reminded her of men she'd been thrown at and had thrown at her, men who smelled like wet dog and cat piss and the feral musk of rodents. It powered through her senses, triggering the revulsion of the worst of these interactions, and her chest began heaving as she pushed herself away.

The hand left her space and she ended up in the corner of her cell, arms wrapped around her legs which had been curled tightly to her chest in an effort to protect her vulnerable stomach and sides from the blows she'd become experienced to receiving for putting up a fight. She wasn't crying, and if pushed, might have yelled as such to anyone investigating. She wasn't crying, which was to say that she was; a few angry tears slipped out of her tightly closed eyes, streaking through the otherwise thin layer of grime on her face.

The cell was silent beyond her heavy breathing and the occasional shifting of another's body, a reminder that she was not alone no matter how much she had wished otherwise. It grew only quieter as her breathing steadied and she was able to gather herself to make sense out of what had just happened.

She'd been touched by an unidentified individual, someone her mind labelled as another caretaker come to wash her hair or assess her physical condition. They didn't come bearing the smell of food, a disappointment to her stomach even though her head acknowledged that she was now too stressed to eat. They didn't come with the intent to poke and prod and pull at her horns and they weren't laughing at her reaction. Nor were they hitting her.

"You're safe," a voice whispered in the growing silence of the cell. It was a sentence in Pavi, the accent unidentifiable though it certainly wasn't grasslands, and her heart dared to hope that she'd been found by a Drykas at long last and was about to be offered her freedom. Her face lifted and she fixed the stranger with a measured look of expectation.

He smiled.

"You're safe with me," he said as he knelt.

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Poison.

Postby Maore on February 13th, 2020, 2:27 am

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This man did not look like Drykas did, and that was the first indication that he wasn't one. His hair was cropped short, his skin moonstone pale and lacking the weathering a man his age would have had after years of riding under the sun. No braids, no windmarks, no scars which might have indicated a lifestyle of at least some hardship.

He looked like some silly highbred boy from Kenash, a Dynast brat that hadn't had to lift a finger in his whole life.

Dislike rushed through Ciraaci within a chime of hearing his voice, pure contempt settling deep into her divine bones and hardening her eyes. Her lips tightened in a refusal to acknowledge him and the message he was attempting to impart. I am not safe, her spirit declared into the void between them, something neither of them were actually capable of acknowledging. He had the benefit of being some sort of city gentry allowed to frolic with the beasts and she was nothing much more than a captive animal kept in a too small kennel away from the open sky she belonged to.

"Name?" Asked the man, breaking the silence of contempt and amusement between them. He asked it so sweetly, so gently, that her lower lip quivered in response, a subconscious reaction that she immediately fought against. She'd cried all her tears. Ciraaci would not weep to be asked so sweetly a question by a man who didn't even gesticulate while he spoke. His Pavi was a sham.

"Ciraaci," she answered, similarly lacking the hand-sign that accompanied a greeting. If he wouldn't try, neither would she. By her standards, he was far from the type of man she'd want to hear Pavi from in this place. It was the rudest she could get without earning the immediate repercussion of a swift kick to the leg, as she'd come to learn would happen if she acted even the slightest bit of a nuisance. "Name?" She asked, her tone dripping open contempt. Her hands fluttered with the desire to reinforce the spite before she wrapped them together and held them still on her lap, pressed tight against her stomach and out of sight.

"Ennoia," he answered.

Ennoia gestured at the door behind him and one of the people Ciraaci recognized as a guard entered, bearing a chair, and dropped it down. The not-Drykas sat in it after dusting off his leathers. No jewelry sparkled at his fingers. No windmarks. No scars. Not-Drykas Ennoia fixed Ciraaci with the same affable smile he'd given her when he first assured that she was safe with him and her eyes narrowed in distrust of the situation.

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Poison.

Postby Maore on February 14th, 2020, 4:03 am

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Ciraaci and Ennoia sat in silence for a while once the guard had taken his leave. She expressed her distrust and dislike clearly in every small inflection of her body language, from tension in her jaw to the narrowing of her eyes. He expressed patient amusement in response, like he had all the time in the world to wait and her refusal to relax and trust him at his word was just a source of amusement for him.

More dislike suffused Ciraaci's whole being and she bit down the desire to make demands of him, to yell and shout as she had done to every other visitor she'd received before. He'd definitely understand her, which though being something she'd always wanted proved instead to make her more wary. They had a way to talk to her now and she couldn't hide behind the safety of cultural differences to stop them from getting answers.

"It's a pleasure to have meet you, Ciraaci," Ennoia said after a moment. His Pavi truly lacked, but only noticeably in his verb conjugation and the use of outdated niceties. She flinched at the realization that his tutor must have been old, by several decades at least, and undoubtly deceased if her treatment here had indicated anything about unwilling guests. It wouldn't have occurred to her that the tutor was someone close to the man. The humans seemed like the kind to cut family ties. "I am sure you have many things you want to say to me right now."

He extended a hand into her space. She reacted on gut instinct to throw her head back, away from the offending limb, and hissed at the jarring impact of skull against worn stone. The man offered a soft smile in apology and withdrew his hand, folding it on his lap. Ciraaci wasn't a peerless talent in reading people who lacked knowledge of hand-sign, but she was absolutely certain that he was laughing at her on the inside. Her scowl became a permanent fixture.

"You're safe with me," he said again like she hadn't heard him the first two times and like she would believe him this time.

"I doubt that," said Ciraaci, her hands freely forming helpless gestures to further lend emotional impact to the statement. He read her hands and seemed fascinated by what he saw but made little other indication that he recognized the use of them in a Pavi conversation. She forced her hands to settle again, this time by clutching the tattered hem of her ratty dress, and tried not to express more discontent at the situation.

"Anything else you would like to say to me, Ciraaci?" His eyes gleamed in the dim light like the dwindling embers of a fire. They seemed amber. For one moment she found them fascinating before he blinked and the spell was broken. Her scowl morphed into a fairly impressive sneer, if she did say so herself, and she jut her chin out angrily.

Ennoia tsked. "That's really too bad. I was so sure you would ask for new clothing or a pet or something, but I suppose you're happy with... this." He'd made a pointed gesture around the room, indicating grimy walls, the shallow pile of moldy hay, the used chamberpot and the simple lack of space.

Ciraaci knew it was baiting. She recognized it from her own dealings with friends and rivals in the past, people she'd rode with and spoken to and had the pleasure of being guilted and manipulated by.

Still though, it was very tempting.

Ennoia laughed and rose from his chair.

"I suppose a beggar can't be choosy in her amenities. Do let us know if you change your mind, though. I will be back." The easy way he said this and the casual act of removing his chair himself as he left the room briefly stole Ciraaci's pent up breath.

She didn't want him to go. She didn't want the silence to come back. She wanted to eat, to drink, to bathe, to see the sun again.

When the corridor beyond the door went silent and Ciraaci realized she was alone again and would perhaps be alone for the rest of the day, she began to weep.

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