Solo Poison iv.

[ KRI ] Part IV 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 iv.

Postby Maore on February 26th, 2020, 3:09 am

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winter 41st
The morning started pleasantly enough; Ciraaci had enjoyed ‘sweet dreams’, as wished the day before after Ennoia had left well after dusk, and she’d slept heavily. Her dreams had been of the plains, of running wild and free with the Drykas as they are, and were, when she walked among them. She dreamt of Leitis and Aeres.

And when she woke, Ciraaci was filled with a feeling of joy, vague and filling, like the warmest bread slathered with honey that she’d ever eaten.

And then, ten chimes in, she remembered that Leitis was dead, Aeres may have been sold off, she was no longer with the Drykas and must no longer be Drykas, and the feeling of joy turned sour and rotten in her mouth. She vomited not soon after, spilling bile and undigested bits of greenery onto the stone floor, just as the daily change overtook her and she adopted her divine seeming. The sound of the heavy door being pulled open registered faintly over Ciraaci’s sudden obsession with this scene; her vomit, pooled on the floor, a mess, and herself, some god-wrought creature kept here because of what she was, beautiful in ways beyond compare. Once, she’d heard that the sight of an ethaefal cleaning a floor was alike to cleaning a latrine with silk. At this moment, Ciraaci felt like the silk had long since been spoiled.

She became aware of the guard that entered when he spoke to her, his voice grating against her oversensitive ears, punctuating the throbbing pulse of a headache that had begun to nestle itself deep in her head, originating from somewhere around where her horn had been sawed and snapped. He had brought her food. She could smell it. Tasteless porridge, black tea, a husk of hollowed out bread crust stuffed with sweet fruit. They were feeding her better, on Ennoia’s word, but she couldn’t be grateful today.

Not when the guard dropped the tray, spilling its contents across the already soiled floor.

Not when the guard shouted at her.

Not when the guard hit her.

She took the abuse with a detached sort of horror, a strange calm that smothered the screaming instincts to run and hide and fight back, that choked down self-preservation’s sharp little fight-impulse and yelled louder to stay still, just take it, there was nowhere to hide, nowhere to go.

He lashed his hand across her face, she fell down, spilling the pile of straw as her hand swept through it. Bile tasted like blood on her tongue, hot and angry.

He kicked her legs, bringing the toe of his boot into the meat of her thigh. The impact felt like agony, raw and angry.

Anger boiled in her gut, pooled under her skin, filled her mouth and heaved in her lungs and soaked in her stomach. It burned. It choked. She felt like a spark on the cusp of bursting into wildfire.

Ciraaci didn’t fight him back. She curled her body into a ball, tight and secure against the force of an angry man’s blows, and waited out the storm like she’d waited out the storm she’d been born in. She drank in the anger, letting it settle deep in her gut, and let the pain and fear of the beating diminish under the passive fantasy of the Sea of Grass, let herself dream of the wind brushing through the long stalks of grass, felt the loamy earth against her side, pretending she was anywhere else but there, where the pain was.

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Poison iv.

Postby Maore on March 13th, 2020, 2:15 am

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It could have been bells before the guard stopped yelling and hitting her. Ciraaci was only dimly aware of it as he stepped away, kicking aside the food he’d brought in for her, and hissing something under his breath that, even were she able to understand the words, got lost behind the roaring in the ethaefal’s ears. She could have sworn he was still yelling at her, a phenomena that was distinctly confusing when she heard actual yelling from a new voice.

The ethaefal lifted her head on aching shoulders to look at what was going on, thinking it better to see her ‘punishment’ rather than to take it blind and live in uncertainty. What she saw was Ennoia, his face red and his eyes blazing, shouting intelligible words at the guard, who himself was gesticulating wildly at the mess in the cell. The ethaefal frowned, not quite sure of what she was seeing, and decided that the most prudent course of action was to lay back down and collect her senses. In time, the pounding of her skull would diminish and then she could think beyond herself to whatever had been done to her.

It was mere chimes later that Ciraaci was being shaken awake, an act that spooked the ethaefal into sitting upright. Her body cried out with the aching of her bones and the distant hum of discomfort nestled deep in her skull, somewhere at the back of her eyes, or her right temple, even under the broken root of her missing horn--a deeply discomforting ache that she’d been growing accustomed to but that now, with all the other pains, reasserted itself as a concern. She groaned, leaning into the wall at her back, and the hand tightly clutching her shoulder released her to grab the remaining whole horn and give her head a little shake. This roused her; the motion jostled her sore neck muscles and bruised limbs and reminded her of the threatening headache, and she lifted her head to find Ennoia looming over her, face set in a scowl that immediately melted away into something warm and comforting. She was soothed by the sight and released a pent up breath.

“There you are,” said Ennoia, who stepped aside to allow in a third grown man, a human who reached into Ciraaci’s space to wrap an arm under her shoulders and pull her to her feet. The ethaefal didn’t put up as much of a fight as she’d have liked to, making the decision to help this man support her and take her wherever she was intended to go. Her mouth opened, shut, her throat constricted as she swallowed and tried to wet her lips, and she tasted vomit, which essentially killed everything she had to say before it even escaped. Ennoia must have seen the struggle for he laughed and patted her arm. “It’s okay. I am having you cleaned up. Your cell should be fixed up when we’ve got you back.”

Ciraaci grunted her acknowledgement. The man helping her, who she assumed was a slave, mumbled something under his breath to her, but she couldn’t put the words together well enough to make sense of them. It wasn’t Pavi, and that was the greatest barrier.


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Poison iv.

Postby Maore on March 13th, 2020, 4:15 am

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Ciraaci had been bathed before in this place, but she never got used to the sight of the room it happened in, and as she entered, she remembered exactly why she hated it in here, no matter how gussied up it might have been under Ennoia’s apparent request.

The floor was the kind of cold stone that sucked the heat out of her skin, eating it up like maggots in a corpse, setting her to shivers nearly immediately upon entry, regardless of whether or not she’d just stepped off of equally cold stone. Perhaps it was the smell that got to her, the pungence of instinctive fear that triggered the base human instinct to be afraid, to want to hide the sensitive soft parts of her body and flinch away from the chill. Perhaps it was her experiences here, but for the life of her she could never remember her earlier times in this room.

It could have been the waiting caretakers. It could have been their buckets of water, their harsh soap, their coarse brushes and rags and pungent perfumes.

It could have been Ennoia insisting that he stay there and supervise as she was stripped down to her skin in front of him.

And then it could have also been the slave who’d brought her to this room and who stayed at her side, helping her caretakers bathe her by lifting her heavy limbs and exposing her to their invasive touch.

Under Ennoia’s gaze, Ciraaci trembled the whole way through the bathing. She flinched under the hot water dumped over her, cleaning off the grime of her cell and scalding her pale skin where it struck, heightening her sensitivity to the rough scrubbing that followed. She flinched under the cold water that followed, flushing away the soapy bubbles and leaving her skin raw and goosefleshed under the chill, dead air.

Everything about Ciraaci continued to hurt under this dispassionate treatment, from her flayed nerves to her pride. She’d never get used to being bathed in this fashion, never get used to being treated like livestock, like a prized broodmare being put to pasture for a stallion to mount. She’d never like Ennoia’s eyes on her when she felt exposed like this, no matter how strangely compassionate he seemed to be, no matter her own conflicted feelings of fear and interest.

Ciraaci didn’t want to trust him, but she did. Him watching her was for the best. She knew it to be so. The people touching her knew it, too and they took special care to make sure she knew it doubly so, hurting her under his scrutiny, and she remained as silent as she could even as they aggravated unseen bruises and fresh cuts caused by the guard’s fists and kicks. Ciraaci trusted him despite knowing she shouldn’t and she refused to look at him and acknowledge the shame swimming underneath layers and layers of discomfort and agony.


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Poison iv.

Postby Maore on March 13th, 2020, 4:56 am

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It might have been the first time ever, or in as many years as these people have been alive, that Ciraaci considered ending this agony by hand. She knew she wouldn’t really do it, considering her task for Dira had never been accomplished, but the fantasy of somehow cutting the entertainment she provided short to spite these people was a strangely alluring image. She could try to choke herself on the food, swallow straw or the contents of the chamberpot (which she really couldn’t see herself doing, but the thought was what mattered.

It was a good enough series of fantasies to bide her time as the embarrassing bath was run its course and she was again pulled to her feet, dried off, and had a new tunic to pull over her head. Her hair was brushed by impatient hands, which slapped away her own lazy reach for the brush so she could stop the merciless tugging. Ciraaci would have preferred to groom and braid her own hair, but she submitted swiftly to the hard smack, folding her hands in front of her and nursing the one that had taken the blow. A part of her was more aware than the rest, the part that called itself self-preservation and directed her body through the motions even without the conscious effort to do so, and it sat still and let the hands on her body treat her like a child’s doll.

It told her limbs to cooperate when the slave lifted her to her feet and again supported her back to her cell, where the smell of vomit and hot tea lingered well after it had been cleaned up, and it shaped hums and grunts in response to whatever Ennoia was saying to fill the silence. Self-preservation let her slump onto a fresh pile of straw that had been laid down as bedding but refused to let her lay back, alert to Ennoia’s intentions. He didn’t often visit her for nothing and even subconsciously she recognized it. Ennoia wanted something. She had to pay attention.

So, Ciraaci did as best as she could, blinking at the human man and trying to put together the jumble of words leaving his mouth as if it were imperative to her survival--which it very well could have been, she wouldn’t know.

It took a pause in Ennoia’s string of words for Ciraaci to realize he’d asked a question, and that was when she shook her head and leaned forward, trying to gather up her senses enough to understand what he’d been saying and was expecting of her. He must have read the confusion on her face for he sighed and rolled his wrist in a strange gesture, something that seemed to imply frustration or urgency.

“I’m trying to help you,” said the human, now that she could piece together his Pavi well enough to understand it. “You know that, right? I don’t know what you did to upset the guard, but you need to listen to me so I can stop that from happening again. Do you understand, sunshine?”

Ciraaci should have bristled under the reminder of her divine connection to Syna, but she instead blinked slowly and nodded her agreement. Yes, she understood. “I trust you,” her mouth said without the consent of her brain, like the thought had crossed her mind and forced itself out through stealth rather than subjecting to her scrutiny. She was unconcerned by it, and figured that the ease of saying must have meant it to be true. Ciraaci did trust Ennoia. He had ‘saved’ her from the guard. He had her bathed and clothed and apparently had her cell bedded with new straw.

He won’t let us leave, a stubbornly uncooperative part of her mind whispered, trust is too much.

She opened her mouth to address the concerns of being let out, not for the first nor last time during her stay, but the words died just as they came onto her tongue, replaced by hungry salivation for the fresh tray of mealstuff that Ennoia had brought in during her thoughtful silence.

She could trust food, at least.

Like a dog trusts the hand that feeds it.

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the void behind my teeth.
 
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