Raven was silent upon our return to my dwelling. I suspected she was musing upon our lesson, and this pleased me immensely. This would mean that she has already begun to understand her power, and the responsibility to use it. I glance behind me, impatient to return to my home. Perhaps Rowan would be awaiting our return. Raven reminds me of Rowan. They could have been sisters in Raven’s time, her first life, and still may be, should Raven be able to understand the unwritten law of this land. Creatures do not take the lives of other Creatures. I, however, am exception to this rule. I do not spare.
Raven drifts to my side, glancing at my visage and the expression upon it, her gaze barely a whisper. I remind her that she agreed to Lessons, and am greeted with a light snarl in her throat, teeth bared in my direction. This makes me smile, and I stroke her cheek with my talon gently, not to injure, but in comfort. She looks away, bloody tears gathering at the corners of her lovely eyes. The creatures that stole her love from her would pay, and suffer.
The windows in my dwelling are dark. Rowan has not come this night, and I find my markings twinge with disappointment. There would be other nights for introductions, I muse as Raven sits upon her place of slumber, a sigh in her chest. Scythe trembles in my hand, pulling towards her own resting place. She had fed well and now she would sleep, for a time. I light the candles that line the mantle of the fireplace, the holding place of Jar, now one of many, all containing Treasures from my Prey, all staring back at me with the blueness of the day sky. And the Heart that still beats, floating in its own Jar, a true treasure taken from Prey.
I see Raven staring intently at the Heart, watching its thumping movements, distorting the magic that holds it there with each and every beat, her ocular orbs far away. Perhaps lost in memory, or in the Lesson to come. She darts her eyes to me, and to my hands, curious and not fearful. I hand her the barbed metal Death Bracelet, another Treasure I secreted away, in reminiscence of my Companion.
“The Next Lesson?” she asks, a small pleased smile creasing her lips, as I nod my agreement. First, we rest, and then, I teach.
I hold the barbed metal in my hands, turning it, examining its structure. I’m sure this is going to be a very interesting lesson.
Maiden says we must rest but I’m not sure I can. My nerves are on end with lingering excitement, the events of earlier still playing in my mind. It was a good feed. A good lesson. Now mixed with questions. This device she just gave me, how will it be used? My thoughts are swirling as I drift off to sleep.
I awaken to the sound of Scythe humming, soft and peaceful, not a sound I can recall her making. She has rested well and is excited about what lays ahead. Maiden is out on the porch, leaned against one of the pillars, she has the metal bracelets in her hand.
I clear my throat before I open the door, not wanting to startle her. She asks if I rested well. I assure her I did. Beside her, I look at her face, she looks happy, also something I’m not accustomed to. She senses my trepidation and smiles. Today will be a good day.
She leads me back to the table, where we will discuss the metal wire. She has placed it front of me and I begin to run my finger along it’s barbs. The feeling of it is quite sensational, cold and unforgiving, yet it screams of pain and torture. My mind is wandering, visions of what I could do with this racing around. I hadn’t heard Maiden when she began to talk and she pounds the table with her fist, bringing me back from my thoughts.
She growls her displeasure, not happy that she has to begin again. She speaks of a companion, a man that she herself learned about the metal from. A man that she is obviously smitten with. I keep this thought to myself, I’m sure she would not be amused by it. This metal it seems has many uses but the most common is as a restraint. It holds prey in place while making it very painful and hard for them to try to escape. If used correctly it will just burrow deeper with every movement, ripping flesh, sending crimson tides out from the punctures it will make.
Visions flood my mind again as she continues on. Men tethered to trees, bound at the neck, wrists and ankles with the barbed metal. Unable to move they beg for mercy, something Maiden and her companion are not known for. They writhe in agony, twisting, trying to find an escape but only managing to dig the barbs in deeper.
Scythe screams, bringing us both out of the visions we were delighting in. Maiden is up, holding her before I even realize what is happening. She looks at me, half-smile half snarl on her lips, “It is time, bring the metal.”
Raven startles as I speak to her, Scythe fairly drooling as She quivers in my palm, Her smooth stalk nearly prickling in my grasp. She rises to her feet, clutching the Barbed Metal of my companion, with a smile much like a snarl. This pleases me. Prey is close, almost too close, and I am alight with desire to feed, and Feed. I bid her come, and open the door. Night has fallen like an inky blanket across the land, the shadows reaching out to stroke my cheek with their velvet fingers.
Her body in pre-preparation to spring, Raven is tense beside me, her anxiety fragrant with silver and anise, and voicing a high squeal around us. Prey is very close, this time too close, having breached the spells that Rowan had placed around my dwelling, in an effort to cease my hunts. It amuses me now to imagine her terror and disappointment, that horrid bubbling sound spraying from my mouth. pleasure dashed, I turn to other pleasures, Prey. My mouth fills with water as my hunger rages, flavoured with arousing fury, as I search the branches for movement, for Light, or a Darker Light.
Prey dares much, choosing to stand so close, hiding in the shadows, in plain sight, to run his fingers through my hair, letting his senses fill his mind. Scythe swings out, placing her tooth upon his neck, biting gently to taste the essence of this creature. He smiles. I am displeased with this reaction. I am Death Maiden, I am Fear. I am Rage. Yet his lips curve up in amusement.
Raven slithers in the lovely darkness, close enough to see, close enough to harm, should she lose her control. I glance at her, Scythe nearly floating in excitement of feeding, warning her to stay where she stands, while I prepare Prey for his coming lesson. I feel pressure upon Scythe’s shapely stalk, and snarl as I press harder on Her quicksilver tip. Prey must be mad, ill in his skull shell, of this I am sure. He is touching Scythe in a most ill-mannered fashion, unmindful of Her sharpest point digging further into the flesh of his throat. I yank Her free of him with a growl rumbling in my chest, stepping closer to claw my talons into his throat, fully intending to tear it out.
She is at my side, quietly speaking to my ears, stilling my fury with a word. I nod my agreement, lessening the hold I have on this disgusting creature, he who dares smile in my direction again, his fingers running along my cheek as a death’s head moth’s wing. Hunger of another sort fills my blood, making it scream in harmony with Scythe’s, and I choose to Feed before I consume his essence.
My companion has her visage twisted in a suspicious expression, displeased with the situation I have placed her in, and I could smell her confusion in the air. Rowan is close, she has started the fire before the door of my dwelling, and now stands as still as stone in the doorway. Raven startles, snarls, prepared to spring at Rowan, as she moves in her quiet way towards us, her hands out in greeting and to grasp Scythe to her breast as a loved child. I greet her with affection of my heart, running a talon along her face, with a smile, as I had Raven not so long ago.
Prey hangs in my grasp still, watching the bond that has grown between my Witch and I with interest, and I turn from Rowan, Scythe, and Raven, hearing the conversation between the two Creatures as a dull mutter in my ears, my attention fully on Prey and his eyes. They are Treasure. I will take them for Jar. He stares back into my unnatural blues, meeting dagger for dagger, leaning towards me as he does wrapping his hands in my midnight shot ember hair, and pressing his lips to mine. I match his fervour, biting his bottom lip hard enough to cause him to hiss, but lightly enough not to draw lifewater to the surface and feel him rise against me. First, I Feed. Then comes the pleasure.
Rowan talks to me of her first lesson. How frightened she was, how Maiden taught her about the barbed metal. She was unsure of her own power, still is, but she learned. Learned that unlike all the other creatures who live on this place, Maiden is different. She spares no one. This thought still confuses me, if she spares none, why are Rowan and I safe? Is it only a matter of time before we too become prey? Rowan smiles, she believes we are safe. I hope so, I’ve seen what Maiden is capable of and I have no desire to be on the receiving end of her fury.
I watch closely as Maiden begins to toy with her prey. She teases him, giving him a false sense of security. Hope, a fleeting idea, especially where she is concerned. He has no hope for survival, even if he managed to free himself from her, I will not let him live.
The way she toys with him is amusing, kissing him, biting his lip, as if he’s a long-lost lover instead of food. It’s all a ruse, one he is foolish not to see. Rowan senses my confusion and tries to explain. It’s the art of the kill. Anyone can raise a gun or wield a knife, but being a slayer is more than just taking lives. A true slayer has finesse, style, to them it’s a labor of love. That was part of Rowan’s first lesson, the art of the kill. Could this be what I’m supposed to learn?
I continue to watch as Maiden allows this man to touch her. To someone else this would look like long-lost lovers reuniting, but I know better, as does Rowan. They caress one another, groping like lovers on a first date. His hands exploring every inch of her. Her talons are out, raking his flesh. He is aroused, loving the rough way she treats him. His hands are in her hair, pulling her head back as he kisses her neck. If he could see her eyes he would know this is not pleasing to her.
They continue their false lovers dance. Unsure of Maidens intentions I begin to grow restless. I know about love, I had that once, I want to learn about pain. I want to know more about this metal that I hold. I want to see it wrapped around him, digging into his flesh, crimson flowing. The thought makes me salivate. His lifewater released from within, calling to me, wanting me to feed. I have been twisting the metal around in my hands, oblivious to the cuts it is causing. Rowan sees the tiny droplets of my own lifewater, beading up in little points on my fingers and gasps, bringing me out of my trance.
We return our focus to Maiden, her game has worked, prey has let down his guard. He has forgotten about Rowan and myself. His only focus is on her, his lust is strong, you can almost feel it in the air. A smile has returned to Maiden’s face, she is enjoying his ignorance. Her eyes catch mine, it’s almost time.
I tap Rowan’s arm, did you see that? We stand by the fire, ready to pounce at her command. Rowan still holds Scythe, she is humming, ready to feed. I have the barbed metal in hand, eager to wrap it around his wrists. Soon he will regret coming here, he will beg for us to stop, pleading for his miserable life but he will receive no mercy.
I let him take me, this creature, though his existence offends me, I relish the stiffness he fills me with. It is plentiful enough to abate my Hunger, causing me to dig furrows with my talons into his back. He hisses in my ear, pounding into my hollow all the harder, daring to bite my shoulder, before raising his head to stare into my unnatural blues. That smile upon his lips annoys me, and I lift my own in a snarl that he mistakes for a plea for more. He thrusts harder again, stabbing me over and over with his flesh sword, his hand at my throat, gently squeezing.
Humans are strange beings, that pain would cause them pleasure, I muse as I drag my hands around his smooth sides and puncture them with my claws, eliciting a howl from Prey, and causing his climax. His seed is hot as it coats my insides, my own apex exploding from deep within at the same instant.
I sense Raven and Rowan, watching me Feed with interest and dismay. I care not at all, as Prey collapses atop me, his hands yet again in my hair, fingers moving as small animals in search of play. His lips find my windpipe, leaving behind a shivery wetness. This is an odd sensation and though it does not displease me, I do not like it either.
Less so do I enjoy having him press them to mine, tongue licking my lips. Prey must learn his lessons. I bite him, hard, bringing a gush of his salty lifeforce to my own tongue, and feeling it drench my mouth, trickling down the back of my throat. His hands clench into fists, pulling my curls painfully, pleasurably, as his stiffness grows within me again.
This interests me not, only the flavour of his pain on my palate holds my desires. I release his lip from my teeth, feeling its sticky warmth drizzle down my chin, and instead grasp his airtube in my hand, my talons pressing into the flesh surrounding it,yet not puncturing. Not yet.
I hear Scythe’s song, Her minute trembling speaking to my black heart. My Beautiful Destroyer is aflame with need. Mine own slaked, I was ready to devour the essence of this Creature and allow Her to slake Her own. Prey ceases his movements, his eyes, Treasure, still filled with lust, holding my own, an ocular embrace. I smile, licking his Lifewater from my lips as I push him off of me, feeling his depleting stiffness leave my body with an almost pang of regret. I hold his throat, talons now digging into the flesh and bringing rubies to the surface as I gain my feet, and he his.
I can hear Raven’s hunger from here, and her urgent need to use the Barbed Metal she holds in her hand. Soon Child. Soon. Rowan stands still, holding Scythe close and murmuring in her soothing, quiet way, but both prepared to pounce to my aid should the need arise. It wouldn’t. Having Fed replenished me, as did the drink of warm claret of Prey’s veins.
Prey attempts to touch me, to reach out and stroke my visage with his fingertips, and I snarl, startling him. He smiles yet again, this confusing Creature, his hands finding my waist and pulling me closer. Raven growls and crouches to spring, and I feel that horrid bubbling erupt from my chest. Rowan smiles, her mildly indulgent smile, placing a hand on Raven’s shoulder to stay her. The game is complete and now Prey will pay. I allow him one last devouring of my lips, for my own enjoyment, before squeezing my hand tighter. He drops at my feet in a fleshy heap, and I motion Raven and Rowan closer.
I suck Prey’s blood from my finger tips, it tastes of honey and desire, sweet to my tongue, as I listen to my companions discuss how to best confine Prey for the Final Indignities. I feel pride. Raven was learning her Lessons very well. At my feet, Prey’s naked and well-formed body twists in his unconsciousness, it wouldn’t be long before he wakes and the Dance would begin again. Raven delights in the suggestions, and turns to me, her pleasure in her Lessons evident, as she begins to tell me her plans.
Maiden approves of our plan, tells us to get started, she will be right back. She heads to her home, to clean herself up I would imagine, as Rowan and I begin.
Prey lays twitching and unconscious, but not for long so we move quickly. Rowan hoists him up and against a large Elm, holding him as I use my abilities to string the barbed metal through the tree, using my minds hands keeps me safe from the barbs. It slithers through the tree like a demonic snake. I secure one end around a large branch, the other wraps around his wrists, binding his arms above his head, then down around his neck, twice for good measure. Lastly his ankles are bound together, can’t have him kicking his feet about. Rowan steps back next to me and we take in our handy work. He looks secure to us, hopefully Maiden will approve.
We are standing by the fire when she joins us, the blood cleaned off, hair back in place. She walks to prey, examining what we have done, circling the tree and nodding her approval. Prey starts to come back to us, murmuring low in his throat. We stand, three sisters of destruction, watching his futile attempts, smiling at the thoughts of what’s to come. Scythe joins us, singing Her sweet song, anxious for her taste of him. Maiden strokes her blade whispering that the time is almost here.
He tries to move his arms but it’s of little use, he is caught, trapped and unable to move. His eyes widen with fear as the realization sets in. He has become aware of his misfortune, too late to save himself, the pleading begins.
Rowan approaches Prey, her voice soft and soothing, speaking non truths, everything will be ok. Prey has fear in his eyes but his body becomes still. The barbed metal has been digging in, causing much discomfort. Rowan is nose to nose with him, stroking his cheek, if not for the metal you would think they were lovers. She grabs his manhood, hard, and pulls. He shrieks his displeasure, beginning to twist again, trying to free himself. Rowan laughs and releases his swollen member, red marks already appearing where she had gripped it so tightly. This will be her treasure but she will wait to take it, there is much in store for him, don’t want him bleeding out too soon. She returns to us, smiling, turning prey over to me.
His pleading makes me sick, the way he whines like a little girl. I hold up my hand, the sound instantly muffled as if a cloth has been stuffed in his mouth. His eyes widen, tears begin to spill down his cheeks. I step to him, smelling his fear, breathing it in. It’s intoxicating, fear is, a delightful mix of honey and cinnamon. I stroke his hair with the gentlest of touches, trying to calm him. I don’t want his heart racing, he needs to be calm. I lick my lips and smile, showing my fangs to him. He closes his eyes as I carefully kiss his neck. The vein is pulsing, calling to me with every beat. I need to stay clear of the barbs, don’t want to get cut. I sink my teeth into him, sucking his lifewater out through the holes, careful not to drain him completely, we need him conscious. I step back, crimson dripping from the corners of my mouth, and smile. His head dangles forward, pressing against the barbed metal around his throat. Fresh droplets appear at the punctures, a sign that I didn’t take to much.
His wrists are raw and open where the metal has dug in, his skin hanging in flaps. This intrigues me, the way this tool of torture works. Unforgiving in it’s purpose, mangling flesh and causing pain. I can see why Maiden and her companion like it. It shows no mercy, no remorse as it pierces and rips prey apart. I like it, the sheer brutality of it makes me tingle with delight. I could finish him, squeeze the metal tighter around his neck, cutting through his flesh until I hit bone. Then just one forceful yank and his head would be severed, no more prey. I can’t do that though, Maiden needs her turn, she must show him the error of his ways, were I to deny her that I fear I would receive his punishment. So I still my thoughts, can’t have my mind committing such tortures just yet.
I look at his downturned face, his eyes are still closed, so I smack him. He jolts, eyes wide and filled with fear. I take his chin in my hand and kiss his lips before I push his head back against the tree.
It is time for Scythe to taste him.
I am well pleased with the binding that Rowan and Raven have placed upon Prey. His death bracelets well constructed, a worthy contraption. Raven has tasted of him, her efforts to withhold admirable in the face of such an easy meal. I have pride in my blackened heart. My gaze meets Rowans’s, her mild eyes aflame with delight. An odd come about, her normally kind disposition replaced by the light of a darker essence, bearing that as a predator. The Witches of this Land will not be pleased, of this I am sure, and a heavy price will be due as they discover the changes.
It matters not to my mind, as the scent of pine and abject fear waft to me on the slight breeze, its breath cooling to my bonecover. I am starving, my flesh crawling with desire to excise his flesh from his bones with my talons, my teeth, with Scythe. Prey stares stonily in my direction, his lip turned up in a sneer making his almost handsome face displeasing in the fire animal’s rage.
Rowan shifts her weight, her air hissing from her throat, annoyance that I take my time to observe Prey in their torturous contraption. I smile at her, baring my teeth in what I hoped was a pleasant manner. It felt foreign to my visage, to show my teeth to a Beloved One, yet she returned it with a further relaxed sigh. I glance at Raven, who has taken her place at my other side, watching her lick her lips in a most delightful manner, eyes on Prey. Scythe is singing to my soul as Demon’s Bells, Her song one of famished need, Her lovely stalk shivering as my palm touches it.
I approach Prey with caution. I have learned my lessons well, and remain wary of him, though he hangs in a tree, the blood sparkling on the barbed metal, turning it into a glimmering jewel. He has yet to understand his doom. His ocular orbs beg me for mercy and I let the bubbling sound rend the air, throwing my head back in pleasure.
Prey startles, the colour draining from his face, turning him pale as the moon, pulling himself backwards and causing a small bloodfall from his injured wrists. Scythe’s tip dips forward to drink of his lifewater, a satisfied sigh settling upon her Beautiful Blade. I hold Her close, pressing my lips against Her sharpest edge, capturing a crimson ruby upon my tongue. A most delicious mixture of fermented fruit and turned soil, flavored with terror and remorse. I feel my companions stare, the combined weight of their gaze enough to cause a snarl to escape from between my teeth.
Prey lunges forward, causing himself further injury, in an attempt to cause me pain, to stop, to Spare him. I dig my talons into his scalp and ruthlessly push it back against the tree, sounding a hollow thud upon its impact, running my free hand across the barbed metal at his throat, and down his chest, digging furrows in his bonecover, slicing deep and leaving streaks as it travelled. His eyes grow very wide, almost fall out of the sockets that hold them tightly to his head, and screams against the will of Raven’s abilities.
With the lightening speed of one practiced, I pluck one of his eyes from its place, leaving it to dangle moistly against one cheek. Prey writhes and twists, the barbed metal cutting to the bones that hold his hands to his arms, and causing it to dig deeper yet into his throat. This pleases me, and reach to pluck the other when he bites me, his teeth slicing through my flesh as air, with the intent of tearing off a mouthful of my bonecover. Raven darts forward, prepared to end him in defense, her snarl now a shriek of fury and dismay.
I still her with my eyes, and snatch the remaining orb from his head, hearing a wet smack as it hit his other check, Rowan is close, holding Jar, Treasures Preserving Fluid astringent and strong from the open lid, fully prepared to receive It’s newest jewels. I grasp the slimy roots in my hands and pull them free, Prey’s resulting bonechilling shriek an aria to my raging soul. Carefully, with respect I place them into Jar, where they bounce off their brethren, already acquainting themselves.
Prey is sobbing as though his heart would break, his pain as fragrant as the most delicious food. I run Scythe’s sharpest tip down his torso, pausing as she bites him, burrowing into his side and causing a gush of his lifewater to splatter down onto the hard ground, Scythe’s Song is one of fulfillment and malevolence, raising an octave as She tears free of his flesh, the meat of his belly a gaping wound in which his internal ropes peek. I move around him, Scythe drawing lovely pictures in blood on his bonecover, delicate lines resembling ribbons drip and drool from Her bites.
I offer Rowan her Treasure, willing to allow him to suffer a little more before I administer his Final Indignities. She shakes her head in her quiet way, gesturing with her hand to continue. I nod my acquiescence, offering her Scythe to hold close to her as I end this Creature who dared enter my space. I step close to Prey, feeling him recoil at the lack of distance between us, and lean in to gently kiss him, running my tongue across his lips, feeling his lips part beneath mine own. Humans are strange creatures I muse as I pull away, while pressing my talons into the gaping wound of his belly, drawing his internal ropes through the small hole with a yank.
They tumble to the ground at his bound feet, in an outpouring of vile lifeforce, tumbling into a pile. Prey is most appreciative, howling his agony to the sky, the empty sockets in his head glowing crimson in the firelight. I whisper to him that he may go to the clearing once he has gained his perspective, the error of his ways. He spits in my face, brave creature he is shouting his innocence to the laughter of my companions behind me. It amuses me that he believes this is so, shaking my head in disbelief, and slam my fist into his chest cavity, shattering the cage of his ribs to reach his heart. My talons sink thickly into the beating organ, feeling his lifewater flow over my hand in an almost too hot rush.
I rip it free of its moorings, pulling it free of its fleshy confines, still beating, yet slowing. Slowing as I inhale Prey’s final essence into my body. It is sugared agony, the thoughts of his life trapped in each drop, a treat that tingles in my mind and on my tongue. It stopped beating as it took its first breath in the chilled air. I turn to Raven and Rowan, dropping his blackened crimson organ to the dirt at my feet. “Perspective,” Raven muses as Rowan approaches Prey’s shell, her tone questioning.
Rowan is inspecting the remains of prey, her inner struggle obvious. She touches him with a shaky hand, tears forming in her eyes. Maiden is right, the witches of this place will not be happy. I am more concerned with the disposal of preys body. We can’t leave him hanging from a tree in the courtyard, that would be ill-advised.
We are discussing what to do when hear it, the awful sound of flesh tearing. Rowan has removed her treasure. She holds it in her hand, studying it. She closes her eyes, reciting strange words into the air. Her head drops and she places her memento into the satchel she wears around her waist, slowly making her way to us.
We determine fire will be the best way to dispose of what’s left of prey. Rowan can cast a spell to hide the odor of burning flesh. Maiden gathers wood, placing into the pit on top of the remnants of the fire Rowan had made earlier. I release prey from his shackles, an invisible hand holding him in place as the barbed metal recoils from around him. I move him to the fire, dropping him atop the flames.
Rowan goes about casting her spells, protection against anyone finding our little den. I turn to Maiden, wishing to discuss what will happen when the others discover the changes in Rowan. The witches of this place are peaceful, choosing to live in harmony with the land and all its creatures, they are not going to be happy. Maiden agrees, there will be a heavy price to pay. Unsure of how long it will be before they discover what has happened, we must formulate a plan. Do we include Rowan? Surely we aren’t sending her back to them, they will do unspeakable things to her once she’s discovered.
Maiden calls to her, come let us go inside, clean ourselves up and discuss tonight’s lesson. I put my arm around Rowan’s shoulder, hugging her as we ascend the stairs. Maiden and Scythe follow us into the home. Jar is placed on the mantle with the others. We take seats at the table, Rowan is the first to speak. She knows that her coven will not be pleased. They will sense the changes in her, they will come for us. Yes us, Maiden may have taught the lessons, but I will be just as guilty in their eyes.
We decide that, for tonight, Rowan will cast a spell, one that will conceal us from any that stray too close. Tomorrow, once we are rested, we will decide how we will proceed from here.
Death Maiden and Raven
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