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These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends

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76 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:22 am

"She went rogue on us," I frown as I start peeling one of the apples, the peels going into a bucket for compost before I work on coring the apple. "Started using her gifts on her friends and allies, taking and doing whatever she pleased. You know how they say that the magic sometimes drives us mad? I think that's what happened to her... she started taking this perverse delight in her gift, using it for things that didn't even sit right with me.

"She had to be stopped," I sigh, shaking my head sadly. "Damn shame, too. She was fucking brilliant. But Skycrest can't have open warfare within its walls, and that's exactly where that mess was headed."

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77 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:29 am

"So is that why Richard saw it fit to include himself in my affairs?" I ask after a moment, "He'd figured out what I was and was looking to fill a void?

"Or does he just enjoy having people under his thumb?"

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78 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:35 am

"I don't know what Richard does and doesn't know," I admit a little sorely as I toss the peeled apple into a bowl and grab another one. "He keeps his knowledge under wraps, never puts all his eggs in one basket. Frankly, it's the only reason he's lived as long as he has.

"But yes," I concede flatly. "He does enjoy that."

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79 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:38 am

"So the fact I likely lost what little leverage I had-" I start, looking back at my tea as I tug it by the saucer to sit in front of me, my fingers catching the spoon to pull it out. 

"Doesn't bode well for me, does it? Dead or alive, I'm about to be under that thumb proper."

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80 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:45 am

"Oh, darling," I laugh as I put aside another peeled apple so I can pour my tea. "You were under his thumb the moment Chekhov's men stepped foot in Richard's territory. He may have dealt with the immediate threat, but Chekhov is still alive and well, and Richard... well, Richard has a weakness for new playmates.

"The moment he thinks tipping Chekhov off will be more entertaining than watching you and Marnin dance, he will. Not to betray you or to help Chekhov. No, he's much simpler than that... he'll tip him off just to see which one of you is meaner. And when you survive, because you will, he'll find another toy and you'll be in the clear - until you wiggle just right and attract his attention again."

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81 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:59 am

I still slightly as I look at Lavellan, panic and anger mixing uncomfortably in my chest. 

"It doesn't work that way," I say lowly, "Chekhov isn't stupid, he knows exactly where I am. How do you think I got to the city? Advertising my place in his guild won't do anything for Richard but get my daughter's head delivered to my doorstep. My staying dead was Chekhov's order, not-" I stop, shaking my head. A bubble of magic burns just under my skin as I inhale deeply, exhaling slowly as I close my eyes. The same familiar bubble that's teased me for years, lingering in my chest but unable to escape. It leaves me feeling more agitated and anxious as it settles into my bones, a sick sort of laugh in my throat.

"It's a really long story, and I don't feel like telling it, but if my name starts popping up on Chekhov's radar, first thing he'll do is kill Nikolai and Bea. That was the promise he made me, like he got some perverse pleasure out of leaving me just close enough to death to smell it. To taste it, and know the pain of it. Then he promised me, disappear and they're safe. No contact, no slipping letters or gifts... That would be him showing mercy, which was something the man's not known for."

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82 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:12 am

"Richard knows how your deal with Chekhov works," I say blandly, any sympathy I may feel for her not showing on the surface as I add some honey to my cup before taking a sip. "Richard also knows where your family lives, where the men watching them live. He also knows precisely when and how and where to strike to neutralize any danger they're in... or exacerbate it.

"He's not a fool, Ljuba," I press as I put my cup back and fix a hard stare on her. "Playing with people is what he does. If you ever doubt the level of his malice when he does, you need only ask me for the crystal I have focused in on your family. If they're alive and well, then you'll know that he's not angry - not really. And, gods forbid Chekhov comes to play, checking on them would be the wisest thing that you can do.

"Because, Lju," I frown. "If they're dead, that means Richard didn't bother to protect them when he whispered in Chekhov's ear. And if they're dead, then so are you."

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83 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:29 am

My heart pounds painfully as I stare at him, a hand coming up to shove at the tears threatening me before one can fall down my cheek. 

"I don't enjoy being played with," I say steadily, "And my family- They're not pawns for Richard to play with... I left that life, I have lived above board in fucking squalor, being spat on to ensure they were safe. And for what? To wind up in the pocket of another maniac, who's going to dangle it in front of me and watch me dance for his amusement..?"

Scowling, I look down at my tea, my hands steady as my nails trace the pattern of the saucer. "If his aim is to see who's crueler, I won't disappoint."

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84 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:43 am

"That a girl," I respond as I reach over to pat her knee lightly at first, but before I can think better of it my hand pauses to squeeze gently - some vague attempt at comfort.

"You're not the first one to stumble into this thinking you've been helped," I say quietly before removing my hand quickly. "There is no help in this world, Ljuba. Never trust anyone who says he wants to help you. In fact, if I were you, I would find a way to squash anyone who offers because they always herald trouble. Especially in this new family you've found yourself in."

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85 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:29 am

Sighing, I push from the table and nod vaguely. 

"I need something to drink with," I gesture towards the mug in mild frustration. "There's not much dignity in having it running down my front," I gripe, my aggravation growing slightly.

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86 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:34 am

"Ugh," I roll my eyes before nodding toward the pantry. "There's a bundle of reed straws hanging in there next to the honey. Help yourself."

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87 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:47 am

There's a scowl still lingering on my lips as I head back to the pantry to grab the straw, pulling one down from it's bundle before returning to the table. 

"Where's your bathroom?" I ask as I drop the straw into the tea, not taking my seat as I look down at him. I want to wash my face, to brush my fingers through my hair and look less frazzled than I feel. Instead, I shift my weight a bit to imply I have to pee - something about sharing an insecurity with Lavellan seems inappropriate, especially given his response to my simply needing a straw.

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88 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:49 am

"Through the bedroom," I respond as I point in the direction she'd need to take to find the bedroom.

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89 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:28 pm

I nod without a word, grabbing my tea and heading in the direction he'd pointed. Just through the door of his bedroom, I'm again met with a warmth. Beyond the initially intimidating clutter of the first area, Lavellan's home has a warmth and homeliness you wouldn't expect from the man. I recognize many of the plants littering various surfaces as I pass through, even letting my fingers drag across a particularly fragrant herb before I walk through to the bathroom. 

Once inside, I freeze almost entirely. The windows, the beams and stonework on the floor, the plants. My chest practically aches at the little oasis he's carved out. 

With privacy, I'm able to drink my tea rather quickly and breathe. There's no worry of dignity as I discard the straw to gulp it down, my mask forgotten on the sink as I hold a rag under my chin to avoid spilling it. Dignity aside - the shit stains and I'm running out of tops. 

Once it's gone, I rinse it quickly under the tap before looking up to where a mirror should be only to be met with a view of Skycrest, my chest deflating slightly. So much for fixing myself. Taking a seat on the edge of the tub, I stare down at my mug. Anxious is the only word for how I feel right now. Anxious that Marnin - someone who reminds me so fondly of my husband - will have nothing to do with me. And beyond that, anxious that his cutting ties will lead to his brother impulsively ruining what's left of my life for fun. I'm even anxious about the man who's home I'm in, who seems bothered by my presence and only deigns to tolerate me out of curiosity or obligation, I can't tell. 

Running a hand through my hair, I grab my mask from the sink and stand to return to the kitchen. And there it is. A mirror hanging from the door, my own grotesque visage staring back at me. No amount of water or soap could remedy this, I think, scowling sharply as I pull the door open.

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90 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:41 pm

"I put together another mug of tea for you," I say once I hear the woman returning. The food has already gone into the oven and I've moved on to preparing the string beans and the squash, the sink now full of the beans as I snap off the bad bits and give them all a good scrub before plugging up the sink and adding a bit of salt to allow them to soak.

"It'll help take your mind off of things," I offer as I grab the mug and hold it out for her - reed straw already tied to the handle so I'll remember to keep one available for her.

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91 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:47 pm

I don't offer a response as I set my mask and the empty mug on the table to take the one he's handing me, only nodding my gratitude as I retake my place at the table. I take a quick drink, noting how much stronger this mug is compared to the last, before putting my mask back on.

"Thank you," I finally say, sighing as I fiddle with the straw absently.

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92 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:55 pm

"There's a porch, too, if you start feeling claustrophobic," I say absently as I cut into the squash, halving it neatly, before I begin sprinkling a few mild spices on it and some olive oil. "Or if you want to rant some more..." I say hesitantly as I open up the oven to add the squash in with the meat. I genuinely hope she doesn't want to have any heartfelt moments, but they're certainly revealing which I suppose makes up for the uncomfortable inconvenience.

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93 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:57 pm

"I'm content with silence," I say a little roughly, never looking up from my tea in between sips.

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94 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:02 pm

"Could be silent at your own place," I grumble under my breath as I set a timer and then wipe my hands on a towel with a heavy sigh.

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95 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:04 pm

My jaw clenches at the overheard remark, my gaze flicking towards him tiredly.

"Pardon?"

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96 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:09 pm

"I said," I inhale deeply as I turn to lean against the sink, my arms crossing over my chest as I raise an eyebrow at her. "You could be silent at your place. But you're not. You're here. So tell me..? Why on earth did you come to me?

"Is your life here really that lonely..?" I ask a little more quietly, my gaze shifting away from her as much to give her privacy after asking the personal question as it is to avoid having to witness any emotional response I might get for asking.

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97 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:11 pm

My breath catches at his question, and my eyes drop to my tea as I twist the straw in it anxiously. 

"It's like I told you-" I say tensely, "Aside from Marnin and his brother, I don't know anyone else in this city, and to be entirely honest with you..?"

I look up at him, scoffing slightly at his hesitance to look my way. "Yeah, I just don't want to go home and be alone again."

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98 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:04 am

"Well," I sigh as I drag my fingers through my hair. "I have some work to do later, but you're welcome to hang around and watch. And I can always do with a second pair of arms if I need to go out for something.

"If you're not feeling better by tonight,  you can sleep here as well, but if you do, I will most likely have work for you to do the next morning. Just to take the load off of my own plate. The pay will go to you, of course, assuming you do a satisfactory job."

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99 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:35 am

"That's fine," I shrug softly, nodding as I take another long swig of tea. The warmth of the first mug is starting to settle in my bones, and I idly wonder just how long I'll have to wait for morning to arrive at this rate. I'm always ridiculously groggy after a Valerian sleep. 

"Is there anything you need me to do in the meantime?" I ask after a moment, grateful for the lack of slurring from the vox as I turn to look up at him. "To lessen the burden of my being here?"

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100 Re: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends on Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:42 am

"It's not a burden, it's just... weird," I respond absently as I wander into the sitting room to grab a box of materials before coming back to sit at the table.

"People don't usually come here," I admit a little uncomfortably as I open to box and put a stack of burlap squares and some thread in front of her. "But since you are here... can you make dolls? Just the bare bones, general shapes... I need two females and three males."

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