Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Marcello bargains with Darren, Rose Strand, Dec 14 2007
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 12:35 PM
The Italian had decided to scope out their currently small, sleepy habitat to get a lay of the land and, mainly, to decide where he could comfortably take Niabheara out walking that wouldn't be too tiring, or where there might be convenient rocks or tree-stumps to use as resting places along the way.
Privacy had also been a concern, but as he looked around the town, it turned out that privacy seemed to be quite easily gotten, as there didn't seem to be much of anything, let alone people.
On the other hands, people in small towns talked.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 12:38 PM
"I gather the lady could not do it," A low voice said from behind him. The voice seemed to have its own kind of fluid melody to it, but there wasn't any threat there.
The man was leaning against a building at the moment, quietly surveying the man in front of him. He was strange-looking; from nearly-gold skin and matching hair to too-blue eyes... and bare feet. He wore, at the moment, only a black, loose shirt and a pair of black pants.
He smiled at the man, a friendly enough expression.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 12:41 PM
Marcello blinked, and he turned back toward the blond man, eyeing him with a surprised look for a moment, more surprised not by his coloring but by the appearance of another tallfolk in such a small and little-travelled town.
He tugged at his ear. "Pardon?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 12:43 PM
The man shook his head, still smiling.
"She is not so strong as I gave her credit for," He said thoughtfully, and then whistled, long and low. "My mistake, I suppose." He walked forwards, inclining his head slightly. "You, I think, I underestimated. Well. At least I didn't have any bets out. Like some did."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 12:46 PM
A slow and terrible realization came over Marcello. "Oh, merciful heavens," he muttered. "You're another one of them, aren't you? I'm not talking to any more of you, sir. No offense, but I'm about through with your kind, to be honest. And I've had enough tarocchi readings to last me a lifetime."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 12:49 PM
"I'm not," He said curtly. "I loathe that whole rainbow of them. I'm something else entirely. At the moment, nobody knows what I am. I am not here to tell you to do anything, to be anything, to say anything. I've no advice on your current line of thought."
He quirked a little smile.
"I don't move the chess pieces around anymore," he said reassuringly. "I... quit, I suppose."
He put up one hand, in a soothing kind of gesture.
"Please. Look, here, I'll give you a name and not a color. I'm not one of them. You can call me Darren."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 12:58 PM
Marcello frowned. "You can call me Ned," he answered, looking very much like he was trying to place the name. "I should know who you are," he replied. "Shouldn't I? I know I've heard your name before."
Meanwhile, his mind was racing. He would have to go back to the inn, get the girls packed up and on to somewhere else, and it pained him to think it when he knew Niabheara needed rest, when she'd just gotten back on her feet, and out of harm's...
He went cold. He swallowed, and gave the other man a sharper look. "I have. What do you want with us?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 01:54 PM
"I don't know that you ever met me face-to-face," Darren said thoughtfully. "Not that I didn't threaten her, at the time, with you."
He was quiet for a long time, watching the man's face change, go cold, go sharp. He smiled, moving forwards, but there was a kind of stalking-feline air to his movements... a predator coiling in on himself around the prey.
"Don't worry for her, little man," Darren said, voice still soothing. "I have done with her."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 01:59 PM
Marcello stepped back, going a bit pale. "We haven't met," he answered. At a loss for what to do, he put up his hands, crossing his index fingers in a makeshift crucifix. "I'll have nothing to do with you, demon."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:01 PM
Darren's eyes narrowed and he stepped closer, baring his teeth in a smile that was more a grimace than anything else.
"Drop it," he said, annoyed. "It won't help you. And i'm not a -demon-."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 02:10 PM
Marcello tensed, then dropped his hands, and took another step back. "Then I'll be leaving," he answered. "Good day to you."
He turned on his heel.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:13 PM
Which was, frankly, just too damn much of an annoyance for Darren to let slide, and it seemed immediately he was at the man's elbow and curled his fingers around the man's arm to stop him.
"Do you go out of your way to try and get attacked by those more powerful than you?" Darren said dryly, eyes narrowed nad flashing black.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 02:18 PM
Marcello shook the man's arm off. "I go out of my way to avoid dealing with anyone who has threatened to rape the woman I love," he answered sharply. "You have no right to be here."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:21 PM
"I have as much right to be here as you do, little human being," Darren said, laughing now and amused again. He wasn't going to let Marcello out of his vicinity, but the threat was gone from him and in a flash replaced by this bright smile.
"In that neither of us does. And yes, I did threaten her so. If it makes you feel any better, I threatened to do the same to you as well." He shrugged, casually. "Although that's... gone, now. Gone baby gone." he grinned. "What is your right to be here, then, little man?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 02:24 PM
"I mean right to be speaking to me," Marcello answered coolly. "And you can stop with the epithets, little whatever-you-are. Is there a reason you wish to speak to me, or may I be on my way?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:27 PM
"Well, I'm not very well going to call you -Ned-, that's not even remotely your name," Darren replied easily, watching Marcello's face perhaps too closely.
"What gives one the right to speak to a complete stranger, then? Must I be human? No, you let the faeries catch you right off... I suppose if I were a woman... but no, that half of me is walking elsewhere now..."
He was moving almost to circle the man again,t houghtfully.
"Do you want me to continue to act all frightening so that you may hate me without second thoughts or did you want an honest answer?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 02:29 PM
Marcello gave Darren a pained look. "Ned is what I'm going by here," he answered. "And you and I both know we're not complete strangers, even if we haven't met face-to-face before. And of course I want an honest answer."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:31 PM
Darren frowned at him. "I don't want to give you one," He said wearily. "All my honest answers worry me."
He shook his head slowly, and then said, "Fine. Here is your honest answer, -Ned-. I am here to ask after the lady."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 02:33 PM
Again, Marcello stiffened. "Then you will understand why I will not answer you," he replied quietly.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:36 PM
Darren rolled his eyes. "That's why I'm talking to -you-," he sighed. "And not simply invading her room, her sleep, her head." He crossed his arms in front of him. He was slightly taller than Marcello; but only slightly. Just enough that it was noticeable.
"Because I am not here to see her, to scare her, to threaten her, or any of the other myriad things you assume I'm going to do. I am just here to ask."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 02:43 PM
"Why?" Marcello demanded. "Give me one reason why I should say anything to you."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:46 PM
Darren considered this, for a long moment of silence.
"I could go two ways with that question," He said finally. "I could say that you should tell me because otherwise I will send you back to her all but torn to shreds and shame-faced. I could." There was another pause.
"Otherwise..." He shook his head. "Because I want to know. Because I am -not- going to go to her room or her sleep or her head. Because I am asking you, not demanding." He shrugged one shoulder. "Because there is something thoroughly right with me and I'm not sure what to do about it."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 02:50 PM
"Wanting to know isn't in and of itself a reason," Marcello answered. "I owe you no favors, and you gave up your right to know anything about her when you threatened her well-being-- when you made demands of a girl that very well may have set her on a path to war. That got a child killed. You...do you have any idea what strife came in the wake of your threats?"
He shook his head. "I want to know what good it will do to tell you anything now."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 02:51 PM
Darren's expression stayed nearly sullen, eyes hooded and all but half-closed as he regarded the other man.
"No," he said flatly. "I don't. When I told her I would leave her be, I did." There seemed to be a strange, unhappy laugh underneath his voice. "I didn't even look."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 03:01 PM
Marcello took a deep breath. "It was already too late," he answered coolly. "The King already knew of your agreement. He had already taken Tristan from her. The wheels were already set in motion. You have...I shouldn't say you have no idea, because presumably, you do...of the fear and terror you set in the heart of someone who didn't deserve any of it, of how it forced her hand."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 03:04 PM
"That depends on the kind of fear and terror you're talking about," darren said, idly, but his expression had gone serious. "There is that we cannot feel for having lived too long. It's nice to see you placing blame in correct places," He said dryly. It was hard to tell whether he thought it was rightly done or wrong.
He began to walk again, but there wasn't any predatory feel or threat to it now; he was pacing, thinking this over.
"And think you she would not have done it otherwise?" He asked, bristling only slightly. "Really?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 03:11 PM
Marcello raised an eyebrow. "I think the war was inevitable. Titania had already attacked in Oireachteigh," he answered. "But when, or how...that could have been left to Niabheara. She could have had more time, a few months, even a year. She could have had a plan. And it was on your account that she lost the affection of the king. Auberon's favor could have given her more time, more warning. And it could have given Tristan his life."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 03:12 PM
"Has she abandoned Cnoch na Niall, then?" Was all Darren asked this time. His face was unreadable, and his voice held no real expression, just its usual slow, purring warmth.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 03:20 PM
Marcello regarded the man with some caution. "She will never abandon Cnoch-na-Niall," he answered. "What interest is it of yours?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 03:25 PM
"A curiosity, no more," Darren said, a little sharply.
"I was merely curious as to whether or not our dear woman was as split in two as I am... and I am still curious as to how much effort it is for you to hold her together." He raised an eyebrow. "I -did- always like you..." He smiled. "The knights in shining armor have always been amusements."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 03:35 PM
Marcello tilted his head to one side, giving him a challenging look. "Not to me. And I don't exactly have any armor, shining or otherwise. I love her; that's all."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 08:40 PM
"Indeed," Darren replied. "That -is- all there is to it." He tilted his head, wandering a few steps idly in no particular direction. "By the time I threatened her here, in her own lands," Darren said, as if the previous thread of conversation had never ended, "all my threats were idle."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 12 2007, 10:15 PM
Marcello gave the blond man a pained look. "But still threats," he answered. "And to be treated as threats. Coming to me now doesn't release her. It won't let her rest easy. You know that."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 12 2007, 11:58 PM
"I know that damn well, little man," Darren said easily, rather sweetly all things considered, eyeing the other man.
"But she is part of this and so I thought I'd ask about her. I figured coming to -you- would show I meant no harm."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 12:08 AM
"I don't know that," Marcello replied, giving the other man a nod. "And enough with the little, or I'll start calling you all kinds of embarrassing endearments. And believe me, you may be terribly dangerous and all-powerful, but I would bet money I can come up with more embarrassing nicknames," he said cheerfully. "Not with you, though. No bets with supernatural entities. They always go wrong. But I have no way of knowing you don't lie, and I'm afraid I've gotten quite used to everyone, including myself, having a propensity for lying. Have you got some way to prove yourself?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 11:15 AM
"I do lie. I have lied with nearly every false breath since the first change of my nature," Darren said honestly enough. His smile was strangely bright and genuine as he regarded the mortal man in front of him.
"But I am not lying now. What do you want to prove I speak truth now? What will persuade you? I can provide it. I will provide."
He tilted his head, smiling still.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 12:26 PM
Marcello hesitated a moment. "And whatever I say, there will be no debt between us?" he asked. "Not between you and I, not between you and she?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 12:31 PM
"No debt," Darren agreed. "This deal is in your favor, for once."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 12:40 PM
"For once," Marcello agreed, sounding a bit pained. "I'll believe you when there is peace in the Erins, Titania is dead and can no longer return, and Niabheara sits happily in Cnoch-na-Niall with no reason to fear for her safety."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 12:40 PM
Darren raised one eyebrow.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 12:42 PM
Marcello crossed his arms over his chest. "Yes, that is precisely the gist of what I was saying to you. You want me to trust you, ever, she needs not to fear you."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 12:45 PM
"Even if two of those were to happen, the girl will always have reason to fear for her safety. Nobility is terribly cutthroat." Darren's smile widened to a grin, a kind of reminiscing-about-the-good-old-days kind of smile. "Not to mention how many plain -mortal- nobles have asked me for help since your kind showed up."
He considered what he said.
"I can show you how to bind me from her," He said thoughtfully. The idea of doing so didn't seem to bother him. "So that I physically could not touch her, ever again. There is a way, if you know the right words. If you have the right blood."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 12:50 PM
Marcello visibly shivered. "Her blood?" he asked. "How am I to know that whatever you tell me isn't a ruse to draw her closer to you and not away from her?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 12:52 PM
"Do you want her to control the binding, or you?" Darren asked, looking somewhat impatient at this point. "Because that's what depends. If you want to be the one to declare who I can't touch, I need -yours-. If you want -her- to be in control, I'd need hers. This is really very simple, mortal man."
He put a hand up to his forehead in a very human gesture of frustration.
"I will show you. You will feel it the moment it starts, that you are closing me out, not in. But. I maintain one aspect I will control."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 12:53 PM
Marcello tilted his head to one side. "What aspect is that?" he asked.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 12:54 PM
"You can only forbid me from one person," Darren answered simply. "One. Single. Not plural. You got that?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 01:02 PM
"Three," Marcello countered. "Her, myself, and the girl we travel with. And you're not to speak to us again. I know enough about demonkind, former or otherwise, to know they work more through manipulations than through actual physical hurt."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 01:03 PM
Darren shook his head.
"Two," He replied, "You choose which two. And I'm only forbidden to make contact with whatever two you choose."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 01:09 PM
"The girls," Marcello agreed. "What do I need to do?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 01:11 PM
"Well, first off, I'd rather we weren't standing where any stray dog might see us," Darren said amicably enough, "if only because it's bound to give you right away if someone sees you doing old demon magic. And the stray dogs here can very well be men in disguise."
Darren glanced around, and began to wander towards the woods outside of town. "Come with me," He said quietly. "I swear on your name any harm inflicted on you will only be done willingly, and by your own hand."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 01:13 PM
Marcello snorted as he followed the demon. "Which name?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 01:15 PM
Darren laughed out loud, bright and cheerful and utterly mad.
"Whichever one you like at this very moment, I suppose," he said with a grin over his shoulder. "I don't know why I'm doing this. I could invade her this moment. Or I could hurt you. Do you have any idea why I'm doing this?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 01:19 PM
Marcello blinked. "I'm sure it's got to do with manipulating someone," he answered politely. "If not her, her friend you're so taken with. I'm still not sure why I'm going through with this and not just asking you to bring me Titania's head, except that I would be remiss to refuse the chance to protect her."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 01:21 PM
Darren blinked, face absolutely blank and inhuman for a moment. Then he laughed again.
"Oh, the parasite. you mean the parasite, don't you? Maybe. Maybe I just want him to know that you, someone who I have now spoken to only once, was able to guarantee her safety when he couldn't. When selling himself couldn't. And all you had to do was drip a little blood onto the circle."
He shook his head.
"That's what I'll tell him, anyway. But that's not why."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 01:28 PM
Marcello winced. "Does he really love her?" he asked the demon. "Do you know?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 01:31 PM
"Him?" Darren smiled, slowly. The trees had closed around them, and seemed to respond strangely to Darren; grasping at him in threatening ways when Marcello would pass through unharmed. As if the very land itself was trying hard to reject him.
Darren stood for a moment, trying to decide, and then went to the right, feeling his feet sink into the brush and mud.
"As much as he loves anything. Which is to say, with only part of himself, and only to his own convenience. Only so that he may fancy himself a hero. Only because what other love he has is never enough to satisfy him. Only because she is unavailable. Were she to declare herself his and forsake everything else, he would tire of her in an instant."
He shook his head.
"Only because her father did not. Only because she said no."
He found a small clearing and stopped, giving a quick little nod. This place had been used for somewhat else; there was already a cleared bit of dirt where a fire had been.
"this is the place."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 01:47 PM
The young man looked around, his expression having grown careful and concerned as he listened to the ex-demon. "We need a circle?" he asked. "What else?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 01:49 PM
"You have to make it," Darren explained. "But I will show you. Make a circle in the dirt where the firepit was-draw it with your finger but make sure there are no broken lines." He had begun to stalk back and forth a bit, in a feline way. One could almost see a tail lashing back and forth.
"After that, you have to put the old language into the circle."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 01:53 PM
Marcello smiled a bit. "The circle bit I know from books," he answered, getting to his knees to draw the circle paintstakingly in the dirt. "Faustus. Although I don't think Faustus was about you. We are clear on this arrangement? I owe you nothing? No service, no soul, absolutely nothing?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 01:55 PM
"No, Faustus was not about me," Darren said with a laugh. "I am infinitely more attractive than that particular dealmaker."
He continued to pace, that predatory expression on his face again. When the circle had been drawn, he stepped into it, carefully, letting his toes wriggle in the dirt.
"Nothing," he agreed, "save keeping only to the two. Which you agreed to."
He grinned, crouching down and using his finger to catch Marcello by the chin. "I don't take souls, by the way," he said softly. "We've never needed to take your souls from you- you gave them readily enough with only the barest hint of prodding."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 02:04 PM
He shivered, his eyes glimmering as the blond man touched him, and he jerked back.
"Oh, I'm aware of that. That's what Othello was about," the young man pointed out. "Although that--"
He frowned. "That might have been you, now that I think on it. Or something very close to you. Although the mortals who know they're serving devils or demons or what-have-you; they're always far more desperate. The ones who don't realize they're damned might be more entertaining to you, but they don't feel like their lives were squandered. That's what Othello means at the end, when he talks about how his life was well-lived until the last. One blemish on an otherwise happy record. Faustus is just one big blemish."
He finished the circle. "Now the letters," he said. "If it's Latin or Greek, I can manage it. If it's something else, you'll have to show me. They always use Latin in the plays, but Latin was a pagan language first. It's just church-language. I'd think Hebrew would be closer, but I don't know it."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 02:09 PM
"Gold star for you, I think," Darren said warmly, and with a little smile. "I prefer the knowing servants. I prefer the desperation. But then, I also like to sprinkle a little hope in there, just to make that wound fester..." He trailed off into a whisper, and then frowned. "Or I did. Not anymore, I suppose. Not now that my feet touch bare earth."
He watched the man closely, now that he -could- look at him at such a close angle, smiling low and sweet. His own eyes seemed to be flickering oddly-bright blue and then dark, nearly black.
"Older than Hebrew," he corrected, and then after a moment he spoke the language aloud- a language that could nearly be described as flutelike in its melody and complexity. It was a whispering tongue, snakelike. As he spoke it, allowing the slow ache in his thraot to take hold, he grabbed Marcello's hand. "Write as I speak, I will move your hand in the right ways," He said softly.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 02:13 PM
Marcello's hand went cold at the man's touch, but he did as he said. "Tell me what I'm writing, when you're done," he requested politely, watching the letters appear effortlessly beneath him.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 02:16 PM
Darren continued to speak in that low voice until the circle's edge, just inside, was absolutely filled with letters. The letters would be reminiscent, barely, of Arabic in their fluidity, but there was something even older than that to them. When every letter had been finished and connected, Darren drew back, reluctantly let go of the man's hand, and put his own hand to his throat.
He coughed, hard, wracking his body forwards, and kept his hand over his mouth. When the cough subsided, he pulled his hand away, covered in black, old, molasses-like blood. Except that it had a much redder sheen that it ever had had before.
"You wrote," he hissed, his voice hoarse, "my name, what I was, that I am that no longer, what you are, and what you are requesting."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 02:19 PM
And for a moment, Marcello had a twinging pang in his chest, eyeing the blood. "You're not well," he observed.
Then he shot the blond man an uneasy smile. "And what am I, in your language?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 02:23 PM
Darren wiped blood onto the ground below him and shook his head.
"It's not that," he explained with a little, blood-stained smile. "I am forbidden to speak the old language. Now... now, I can manage this much, I have... changed... but it still tears up the throats of those who are not worthy to speak it." Darren snorted and then spit on the ground, narrowing his eyes.
"It was -effortless- before your clay-made species came along. Now if I keep going..." He gestured at the ground where he had wiped the blood.
He blinked at Marcello, tilting his head. He hissed one of the words again, and had to force down a hard cough.
"You are Second Sons," he explained, quietly. "The most loved."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 02:30 PM
"You know, you say that," Marcello replied, "and you maybe got a raw deal, but at least, theologically speaking, you got to know our father. We're like the ones who got sent away to the most expensive schools and get sent an extravagant allowance once a month that we squander and take for granted, but really, we never get to see him, not even on holidays. I know you don't either, but you...you're like the one who ran away from home because you were upset that our father kept sending us the allowance while you had to stay at home and work. But even though you were staying home and working while we were getting to be spendthrifts without a care in the world, you actually got to know him. And as someone who grew up without a father, I think there are a lot of people who'd rather be the poor, dumped-on one at home than the one with all the allowance in the world."
Then he frowned. "How do Tuatha fit into the picture, exactly? They don't; they don't have souls. And there's the question of the Teind. Am I talking too much?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 02:34 PM
"Always," Darren replied with a smile. "Always you talk too much." He reached out of the circle and put his hand on Marcello's again. "But at the moment I don't really mind."
He shook his head, turning Marcello's hand palm-up, and showing him his own. Darren's hand was smooth-he had no fingerprint, no lifeline, nothing.
"We are the children who get no second chances," Darren explained, very softly. There was a rage in there, boiling under the surface, that he held under wraps only just barely.
"We are the ones who argued for love outside of God. Or, at least, that was one part of it." he laughed, but a soft unhappy sound. "I think that was what I was fighting for. Here is a secret, mortal man. I fought for the right to desire something other than the Father. At the time... I thought that was what others fought for too. I could tell you I fought for love. I've said it before."
He, finally, pulled his hand away.
"I fought because of pride. Like everything else. Pride. Because we were supposed to be servants."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 02:42 PM
"Which is ironic, considering you should have seen what pride does firsthand," Marcello answered. "I'm not faulting you; servitude is a lousy bargain. Not being able to choose love is a lousy bargain, too. But it's not our fault. Mankind's fault. We didn't choose to be the favorites."
He closed his palm uncomfortably. "What now? What's the next step?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 02:44 PM
"I'll tell you another thing you're not meant to know, little man," Darren said, but this time the endearment seemed to be just that, rather than an insult. "I am beginning to understand that. Which I think is the reason I am doing this at all."
His eyes drifted down to Marcello's wrist, lingering there for a moment.
"Now you have to bleed," he said quietly. "Onto the edge of the circle. Not much. Just enough." Darren shivered in a way that seemed entirely too pleasant, smiling, eyes hooded. "It will fill itself in. Once it's filled-and you'll know-you name those you want protected from me. You will spell out exactly how much I am not allowed contact with them. You will then wait."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 03:14 PM
Marcello took his bronze knife, and made a small slash in his arm, just small enough to bleed a little into the drawn edge of the circle, and, as the demon had said, it filled in, a rich, red-black around the outline.
Then he clenched his jaw tightly for a moment, as if thinking. "The Tuatha known as Niabheara ni Dowd, last of the Niall clan, and the human known as Jamilah Ai'Livahzi, the Oracle Priestess of Ranikhan," he listed, making certain to specify enough that he could not claim the binding was placed on two other girls. "You will not harm either of them physically, nor attempt sexual congress with either of them. You will do nothing to bring fear or emotional strain to either of them. You will not terrorize them. You will make no threats to either of them. You will make no contrivances against them. You will not manipulate any situation to their detriment. You will send no ambassador or other intermediary to do any of these things, nor will you contrive for any other to do these things of their own free will. You will do nothing that could possibly bring hurt or pain to either of them, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. You will not touch them, nor speak to them, nor appear to them, except in the case that one of them freely calls you, and should that case arise, you will be bound to all the other terms of this binding, and you will not accept any trade nor gift nor payment from either of them that would contradict these terms. You will leave them free and happy and untouched."
He bit his lip, as if attempting to consider whether he had left anything out, and studied the circle intently. "Now what?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 11:39 PM
Darren let his fingertips touch the edge of the circle as it filled in, just barely. His fingertips glowed, almost, as the red settled in. He shuddered, a whole-body thing, and made a low little whispery noise of pleasure in the back of his throat.
"Ooooh," he breathed out. "You're -good-."
Smiling, he tilted his head to consider the other man. "You're very, -very- good. Now you say your true name-it's the only name that holds. The name you consider your own most fully. And I can't use it against you, so don't worry... we don't work that way."
All of his words were breathed out, something inhuman and echoing to his voice. His eyes, at some point, had gone entirely black and there was the suggestion of wings, just barely visible, at his back. His fingers seemed nearly claws.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 11:45 PM
"My father made me read a lot," Marcello answered.
He looked worriedly at the creature, at the man who had become a demon, and with his mouth half-open, he stopped.
"I don't have one," he said, after a moment of consideration.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 11:47 PM
Darren was quiet for a long moment, one eyebrow raised. He hadn't left the circle, and the slight glow from the filled-in blood did not fade.
"You don't have a name that belongs to you," He said, his voice flat. It was hard to tell what he thought.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 13 2007, 11:54 PM
Marcello frowned. "I...no. I have upwards of twenty?" he answered. "I can use the one I'm using now?" he suggested. "Or my christening name. Would those do? They're just names; it's not so much what I'm called as how I'm called."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 13 2007, 11:57 PM
Darren sat back, thoughtfully, staring at him with wide matte-black eyes.
"It won't close the binding if it's not something you think belongs to you truly," Darren said thoughtfully. "Your christening name doesn't mean anything. Neither does the name you're using now. They're syllables you answer to, not your -name-." He snorted, derisively.
His fingers, his claws curled in on themselves only slightly, as he thought, expression flat and inhuman.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:02 AM
"Can I use something else?" Marcello asked, tugging at his earlobe. "Words that mean more to me than a name?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:10 AM
Darren thought about that, slowly meeting the other man's eyes. He grinned, bright and cheerful.
"What means more to you than a name?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:12 AM
"Poetry," Marcello answered. "Plays. Stories."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:17 AM
"Then tell me something that is more true to you than any name could ever be," Darren replied easily.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:24 AM
Marcello glanced skyward for a moment, moving his lips to himself for a moment. "If thou survive my well-contented day," he recited after a moment, his expression serious and earnest, "When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover, and shalt by fortune once more re-survey these poor rude lines of thy deceased lover, compare them with the bett'ring of the time, and though they be outstripped by every pen, reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme, exceeded by the height of happier men. O! then vouchsafe me but this loving thought: 'Had my friend's Muse grown with this growing age, A dearer birth than this his love had brought, to march in ranks of better equipage: but since he died and poets better prove, theirs for their style I'll read, his for his love'."
He finished, rubbing his chin hopefully as he looked to the demon.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:27 AM
The glow of the blood shone bright, suddenly, in the circle and the letters and Darren himself had some light shining under his skin. He closed his eyes and shuddered again.
Then he grinned, slowly standing up and stretching his arms over his head.
"Ooooh," he said slowly.
The circle had gone dull, the lines hardly visible in the dirt.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:29 AM
Marcello raised an eyebrow. "Ooh?" he asked cautiously. "Does that mean that worked?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:32 AM
Darren looked down at his hands, flexing them slightly.
"Yes," He said softly. "It worked, mortal man." After a moment, he slowly stepped out of the circle. As he did, it faded away completely as if it had never been there.
"It worked. I always was the one to take the pain... I suppose I was made to like being fenced in..." He smiled, walking up to Marcello, lifting one hand to pat the side of his face reassuringly.
"The circle is the best part of these things, you know."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:34 AM
Marcello stepped away slightly at Darren's touch. "You like being confined?" he asked warily.
And then, "are we well met, then?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:37 AM
"Half of me is still fighting every moment of bondage and servitude we have ever been placed in," Darren replied rather sweetly, all things considered. "Half of me is still inflicting pain on everything her eyes catch. Half of me is still dreaming of destroying your little lady-love and all her world with it. Half of me still has the pride."
He shrugged, casually.
"I am the other half. I have no focused desire-I want everything. I always have. I take the pain so she can give it. I hold the agony so that she might not feel its true nature. I accept my barriers and she doesn't. we didn't split right down the middle, not exactly."
He looked away, thoughtful.
"I don't know that I came away with more."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:43 AM
Marcello frowned. "You accept your boundaries, but doesn't that also make you less bound?" he asked. "Not a slave to a single emotion?"
He tugged at his earlobe, pausing for a moment. "Is there a way for me to know the binding has taken hold?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:46 AM
"I am not a slave to pride anymore," Darren said quietly. "That is what I won through this."
He frowned at him. "I don't know. Think of the boundaries you gave. Is there any we could test here and now? Or would you like to me to try and terrorize the lady to prove it to you that I can't?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:48 AM
"Try telling me to hurt her," Marcello answered. "No intermediaries, remember?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:48 AM
Darren inclined his head slightly. He opened his mouth, then closed it.
"... I don't want to."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:54 AM
Marcello let out a deep breath. "Tell me something you know about her that I could use against her."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 12:55 AM
Darren thought about the rather -several- things he knew. One, that she, underneath it all, a girl and could be manipulated...
He shook his head, hair falling into his eyes.
"No. I... don't want to. It's not so much that I can't, I don't... want to. That's odd."
He raised his head, looking at Marcello with narrowed eyes.
"... how did you do that?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 12:58 AM
Marcello shrugged. "Isn't that how it always works?" he asked. "I'm not exactly experienced with the binding."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 01:00 AM
"No. Barriers should feel like fences, should be tangible to me. This..." He shook his head. "It's... an agreement, mortal man. Not a barrier. It's... I don't want to."
He frowned, looking a little agitated, beginning to pace again. He walked up to Marcello, going to grab him by the chin.
"What am I?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 01:05 AM
Marcello jerked away. "Please don't do that," he said firmly, and he reached into his jacket pocket, pulling out Alynealin's tarot deck, unwrapping the silk, and handing it to the demon. "Shuffle those and hand them back to me."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 01:08 AM
Darren frowned. "Don't tell me not to touch you," he countered, something almost anxious in his voice. Almost angry.
"I... I -want- to do that..."
He took the deck, staring at it almost blankly, and then slowly reshuffling and handing them back to the other man, staring at him.
"Well, what am I then?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 01:14 AM
"I didn't tell you not to," Marcello answered. "I requested that."
He took the cards back, and pulled the top one off the deck, holding it out to the blond man. The card showed a youth in full armor, holding a massive sword.
"That," he said thoughtfully. "Is a strange card for someone as old as you are. It's a page. It means you're at the beginning of something, just starting to learn, inexperienced. This page is a page of trials...problems to overcome, lessons in right and wrong."
He raised an eyebrow at the demon.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 01:18 AM
"I -want- to touch you," Darren replied. "you're exactly the kind of person I want to touch; you have your shining little bit of -right- around you. I should be destroying that. I should be hurting you. Or, at the very least, touching you."
But he didn't move.
"I don't need -lessons- in right and wrong. It's burned into my wings what I did wrong," Darren hissed.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 01:22 AM
Marcello raised both eyebrows. "You don't need punishment," Marcello answered. "A lesson isn't always a punishment. Are you trying to learn what's right? Are you looking for the truth?" he asked, putting the card back and pocketing the deck again. "That's what the card is saying."
He took a deep breath, uneasy. "You paid your part. Do you want to know how she is?"
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 01:26 AM
"-No-," Darren replied anxiously. "I'm -not- looking for right. I don't -want- to be right. I want to -touch- you." But he still held himself back, uneasy himself, stalking around the small clearing. It seemed like his own body could not quite contain him now-there was the sense of the edges of him being unclear, jerky, moving of their own accord.
"Yes. I want to know how she is."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 01:38 AM
"She's well," Marcello answered, taking another step toward the clearing's edge. "She was sick, but now she's well. She misses home, but everyone who's away from home gets homesick. And she's very brave. I think she's going to be all right."
He hesitated again. "And now I should go."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 10:00 AM
"How long will she hide?" Darren asked. "How well? How far will she go away from here?"
He reached out, grabbing Marcello's arm. "Don't leave."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 10:10 AM
Marcello shook his head. "I don't know," he answered. "Those things are all in the future. I can't--"
He blanched, turning cold. "Please," he said, his voice tremulous but still even, not daring to move his arm. "Please let me go."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 10:16 AM
Darren stared at him, eyes running over his face, his own expression strange and still anxious. "Do you think I'm going to hurt you?" He asked, his voice soft.
He did not lessen his grip. Not yet.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 10:21 AM
Marcello's heart skipped a beat. "I think your demeanor has changed. You promised you would not hurt me," he reminded the blond man. "Our business is done. I would leave now regardless."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 10:23 AM
"I don't have to -let- you leave," Darren replied, but there was something hollow to the words. An old play whose lines he was still reciting.
"That's the thing. I don't -have- to. I could -keep- you."
He frowned. "I... I -should-."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 10:32 AM
Marcello bit down on his lip, taking a deep breath. "If you keep me, you'll have no way to reach her," he pointed out. "No contact."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 10:37 AM
"I know," Darren whispered, stepping closer. For a moment, his fingers tightened on Marcello's arm.
It seemed for a moment that he would force him here-do something violent, in any case. Anger and pain had always been more familiar than this uncertain alliance he was making now.
Would just be -easier-.
Darren let go, smiling just a little.
"Did you ever think maybe I want to talk to -you- just as much?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 10:50 AM
Marcello shook his head. "No," he answered. "I didn't think that. I'm afraid that sometimes we don't get what we want."
He rubbed at his arm, stepping away again. "I know that better than anyone. I need to go now."
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 10:51 AM
"Yes," Darren said, closing his eyes. "You do. While I can still see things the way they are now. Go. We'll -speak- again."
The very slight emphasis on 'speak' sounded almost like Darren was reminding himself-these new rules, this new way.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 14 2007, 10:59 AM
Marcello shut his eyes again, tightly, taking a deep breath.
He didn't say any kind of farewell, but merely left, walking hastily from the clearing to the woods before be broke into a run.
Posted by: Darren Meander Dec 14 2007, 11:00 AM
The running wasn't really necessary. By the time Marcello had exited the clearing, there wasn't anyone there anyway.