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 A Lesson for Lesia

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John Blackwell

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Age : 27
Location : Nelson, NZ

PostSubject: A Lesson for Lesia   Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:39 am

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection
so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter.
In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons,
ambition; but to our daughters there is something
which there are no words to express.

Joseph Addison

John attended to the guttering flame inside the hooded lantern, tapping the reservoir of thin clear oil that produced a small blue tongue of fire, and therefore a dimly glowing spotlight on one wall of the darkened room. Outside, the Nightal wind was howling across the Ride into Shadowdale, but the man had muffled the sound as best he could with heavy curtains drawn across the windows. He set the lantern upon a nightstand next to the bed and adjusted it carefully, slowly, so that it would cast its pale beam focused tightly on a tarnished silver hairpin balanced upright on the mantelpiece. When the light touched it, the hairpin reflected an illuminated crescent in its own shape, superimposed on the ceiling from the angle of the lantern's light. John was pleased.

The floorboards creaked under his weight, but he was barefoot and making an effort to muffle his footfall this late in the evening as he approached the young woman in the overstuffed chaise lounge across the room. It still pained him to use his darkvision; a lasting vestige of his many months in the dark places below Toril and on other planes. He allowed his eyes to shift into that spectrum long enough to consider her face, her posture. Evil memories prickled at the edges of his mind as they always did when he used his attention in the dark. The headache would pass. The cruel Elven whispers could be ignored until his eyes relaxed into normal sight, and they ceased.

His daughter was deep asleep, head hanging low with exhaustion. He smiled inwardly but his face was resolute. Stony. Immaculate. John approached the open side of the chaise and squatted to be level with her, eye-to-eye over the armrest. He brushed her cheek gently with the backs of two massive fingers, stroking down in a smooth motion to the sharpness of her jaw and her chin that looked so much like his own.

"It is time to continue your lessons, child." He said in a low, almost soothing whisper, but for the deep rasp that had settled in from age and many furious years nursing old hatreds. "Open your eyes and tell me what you see."

He looked toward the display in the center of the room from the corner they were in, eyes alight with an old passion as he took in the simple spectacle of the spotlight, her mother's hairpin and the crescent it made.
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Anyad

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PostSubject: Re: A Lesson for Lesia   Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:13 pm

She dreams of her deity. She dreams of its wisdom. She dreams of the hunger.

Her eyes snap open, bypassing those stages of consciousness that lie between sleep and wakening with but a shudder and a sharp intake of breath, teeth clenched as she stares into her father's eyes. A crowded moment, terror fighting violent intent across her features as she emerges, a split-second battle burned short by years of wakeful sleep. She comes about, stilling hands that tremble and clench with swift-blooming smile, back held stiff as she turns to stare at the light through the parting blur on her eyes.

"Serpent pin." Hoarse from sleep, narrowed eyes turn skyward, confusion and a pinch of dread suspicion scoring her tone as she adds;
"Hers."

Manic, her eyes swing back to that patient face, seeking an answer even as she understands, the first sense of his tableau sinking into her as an axe would. A rawboned hand flies to clutch at her linens, armor undone and spread behind her back as rumpled support, tense fingers seeking the comforting grasp of protection she no longer wears. A hiss of air between teeth, her twitching, gentle smile maintained and widening despite the spark of silent madness that now flares in her eyes. She seems to seek words, breathless silence stretching a few heartbeats long before they are found.

"I think I see the past." a leaning elbow to take the weight of her head, she sinks back into her seat. Slowly warming gaze locked to his, her voice rises practiced, joyful, without a hint of suppressed emotion.  
"And I see you, father. What is this lesson about? Kindnesses done? How blood binds love? Matricide?"
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John Blackwell

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PostSubject: Re: A Lesson for Lesia   Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:03 pm

"The past. Good. Good, Lesia," he said, coaxing her slowly, mentally, into the darkened chamber.

John's fingers still rested, grasping lightly on her chin, propping her face so she would look him in the eyes. Eyes like ashy cinders, cold coal. The shine was gone from them as he had slipped into his normal vision and was now adjusting to the contour of her face, only the barest silhouette visible from the soft glow of the lantern. The wind picked up outside as the night went on, whistling through a crack in the shuttered window behind the heavy curtains.

He slipped through the shadows around her, moving with a modest grace made all the more startling by his advancing years and thickly-thewed frame. She had seen this before, many times now in the years they had been traveling together. First, when she tried to escape, and he snapped her ribs for the insult. Again, when she finally managed it, and he caught up with her once more wandering with a troupe of enterprising musicians headed west through the Stonelands north of Cormyr. That time she was not even scratched; even as her friends were heaped in bloody, steaming ribbons all around her.

John flowed to the end of the chaise lounge and sat himself down, one leg slung over the front lip of the couch and the other half-crossed under Lesia's smaller limbs, now strong and broken-in from two years of hard travel. She could see him now as her eyes woke to the room, where she was, what was happening. His chest scarred with a latticework of cuts, some still pink, ragged, fresh with recent memory, but most far more distant. White, thin, multifarious. The jawless skull and sunburst brand on his left breast that still radiated a sick warmth all its own.

John took one of her small, pale feet in his callused hands and began kneading the soft flesh as he spoke, his voice low and primal as he wove a web for her from the splintered threads of his mind.

"I carved a furrow through the heart of this dale with blood and iron in the bitter claw of winter, Alturiak, three years ago." He muttered to himself as his thumbs softened in the arch of her foot for a beat, "Gods, has it only been that long?"

John steeled his resolve and continued.

"I was in the unofficial employ of a Red Wizard who had defected from his tharchion and fled my home, our home." He continued to work with one hand as he brought his left up to one of the two chained pendants that always hung around his neck, even half-disrobed as he was. "He became my new 'master', though through many battles together, we became... friends." He made a strange face when he spoke of his relationship with Hamza. John nearly spat the last word out of his mouth like a piece of uncooked meat, and continued with venom, "When he was executed by the Zhentarim in their cowardice, he left me this symbol of his faith in written will. And when I pass on from this plane to my reward, you will wear it also."

He was silent for a few moments, seemingly concentrating on his task, both having returned to pushing all the tension out of the rough rim of her heel. When she opened her mouth to speak he pressed harder, and began again. John's wrists and forearms flexed with the effort as his fingers worked up the outer blade of her foot.

"Hamza was not the first of my companions to die at their hands. Far from the last. But one of their number made my death, and the death of those I loved his personal project. I would have you gut him and his daughter both in an instant for the insult if you were ready." He breathed heavily, his mind turning and turning like a coin spinning in an open vault. "I have heard the creature called Fidhellis before, but to me, to you, he will always be known as Unterminox. You must prepare for that day, my child. It may come sooner than I anticipated." John's hands maintained their iron grip as they finished with her first foot and traveled slowly, pressing up her sturdy, bony ankle to her calf.

"I absconded from Shadowdale in the early winter, a far different man than you know today. Softer. Weak in the head, still bent to the will of my former mystic masters in body and deed. I was bred to follow orders but before long, I found myself issuing them. There were so-called rebels before me, a nascent band, disorganized, hungry, but I brought the best of them into my service and forged a path against the crude excesses of the Zhentarim. And so it was that Unterminox made it his mission, their mission to craft my doom." These words hung in the cold draft of the room. He clamped his hands around Lesia's calf and pulled the knotted muscle toward himself. It was painful but this was a fairly regular ritual between them, in nights on the road, especially after bloody battles, or long days of hiking back-country. He knew her body like his own, now, and responded to each striation of muscle, each ball of tension, each shifting of her posture like a master harpist tuning a favored instrument.

"Unterminox is the house he made for himself. And while I would destroy it utterly, crush the life from all he loves with these very hands, I never had another nemesis I would grant a soldier's death." John proceeded to her other foot and a strange smile played across his face. "If you see him. When you see him. He will be shrouding his face from all the world. He will forever bear the mark of his pride, from the day I laid him low and gave him to a fate far crueler than even my blade could administer. He learned much from his enslavement to the dark elves, and the coin he brought was instrumental in the purchase of my first militia. He returned the favor, nearly. I should say, he had his adopted daughter do the thing... though perhaps his methods were more refined, even still. When I was imprisoned a second time, after his eventual release from his bondage in the dark, he had his daughter probe the flesh in my head. With small blades and subtle spells. So it was that my enemy cured a lingering madness in his lust for converts to his tyrant god, and laid the seeds of my own eventual freedom."

John breathed through his nose, the phantasm of his long-dead heart racing out of habit from the smoothness of her skin, and the old memories on his lips. Labored breath. He swallowed hard. He read her face.

He was searching for something.
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Anyad

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PostSubject: Re: A Lesson for Lesia   Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:17 pm

She listens, rapt, fanning her toes absently as his hoarse growl washes over her.
She knows that voice, has learned to take that touch, learned to read the flames in those eyes so like her own.

Her father's wisdom, such as he doled out was always a carefully decanted mixture of bile, sorrow, insight and nostalgia of the aching kind, reserved for occasions such as this. - Times of safety, together, alone, he would bare but a corner of his heart again and again, rotgut on his breath and vice in his eyes, revealing just enough to give her a measure of his pasts, his madness, his ever-dwindling list of men to destroy.

She knows the message behind that twitch of his eye, the tell-tale sheen of sweat on the pallid sallow of his cheeks. Unbidden, she places a heel in his hands with rigid grace, eyes overcast with anticipation of the grip, the pain and eventual release.
He had a need, one she has learned to understand and appreciate since those first painful months, a need to express love in a hundred different gestures, through words and motion, violence and touch. His love, his ritual and as she slowly stared believe, his religion, in some small-yet-significant way. Legacy, history, grudges, bad blood boiling and flowing down and over every inch of the darkness he was and would be cast into...
She flinches, lips twisting with a withheld cry of pain that blooms in her eyes instead.
He truly is worked up tonight.

"Is that why we came here? Vengeance on this man?" asking the question she already knew the answer to, candid, her lips parting to soothe him with the warmest of smiles.
"After what you told me of this place... of the elves that live here, of what they did to you and you to them... I would have thought we came to leave a swathe of bodies wider than the road itself."

A moment of hesitation and worry despite herself, a fearsome twinge of uncertainty that she felt every time he talked of death and suffering so elaborate and richly deserved. Taught control even amidst the harshest of delicacies offered to her divine, these were the moments she would hate, thinking back, later, drunker, sitting down.
Instability, ever since that night on the outskirts of Yhaunn. The epiphany she had, a realization as chilling as alien to who she became under her father's weight.
As he was set to drown in blood. - As without him, she would surely die out here.
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John Blackwell

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PostSubject: Re: A Lesson for Lesia   Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:17 am

John licked his lips furtively.

His hands pressed into the other foot while she asked her questions, his mind slowly crafting his reply even as she still softly gasped to the tune of his skilled ministration. Her skin so soft and malleable even after all he had done to harden her. Her body crisscrossed with anaemic scars, after every battle and every challenge he put to her she looked ever more like her father. Battered, but not broken. His word written in blood upon her purity, by accident and design. He could only hope her mind would prove as compliant to his will as her flesh.

"A quiet, meaningless death would be fitting vengeance for the patriarch of a fallen house."

The flesh of his flesh made his body electric. His thumbs worked the muscles of each toe in turn, down to the smallest, then over the top of her foot to feel the tendons there, taut and alive with her youthful energy as she splayed the canvas of skin to receive his touch, and all the pain and pleasure it would bring. He traveled up her ankle, feeling the small, sturdy, interlocking bones. Her bones. His bones.

"Unterminox is an enemy, and a resource. I can feel his bitterness even now. In my long, frigid exile from the black walls of occupied Shadowdale, I knew a mere fraction of his pain now, having been on the cusp of lordship and cast out by a handful of mud-streaked bitches and a woodland wizard caked in birdshit."

He took a moment to consider, and savor the thought, wishing he had witnessed the moment of his fall from somewhere other than the temple dungeons. Imagining it gave him great pleasure, and this rawness telegraphed through his hands as they traveled Lesia's calf, slowly, gripping.

"We are in a strange position now, my child, but I believe our star is ascending. My old hatreds have been brought low; not by my blade, but their own hubris. Faith killed the man I would not, then could not. His heartfelt attachment to the illusions of order, control. We had opposing weaknesses but mine sustained me, his hampered his mind, made him weak. And so the story of his folly is now written in the sand of this place, while he licks his old wounds from a sundered throne in some misbegotten citadel erected by the same hands that nearly peeled his face off."

He looked her in the eyes now. John was unused to speaking at such length, even to his daughter, his one constant companion for these past few years. A physical man, he preferred nonverbal communication whenever possible, and he could be quite withholding when his moods darkened and he turned to violent expression. Dark lusts. She loved him now, would listen, would strive to please him - he believed - even as his ragged voice grew softer from the strain. Something deep in the waters of his still heart had begun to stir.

He shifted on the lounge unfastening the last lower toggles of her armor across her midriff that he hadn't undone while sleep still held her before arraying the lamp. She had a habit of falling asleep in her boiled leathers. He tried not to take it personally anymore, after so long on the road. So long with him. John's heavy brow knitted with these thoughts as he reached beneath Lesia's backside and hefted her into his waiting lap, the coarse black linen of his Tashalan trousers, cut and tailored to his heaving frame.

He held her there for a moment, his lips resting on the skin between her neck and shoulder. Almost tasting - nostrils buffeting hot breath down her collarbone while his body cradled hers in the dark, watching the flickering crescent on the ceiling. John broke the kiss to rasp in her ear even as his hands moved to begin pressing and pulling the tension from her bare back.

"You have your mother's wit, my daughter. It is the elves. The Fair Folk of this fetid forest that can never be forgiven for their insult."
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Anyad

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PostSubject: Re: A Lesson for Lesia   Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:03 pm

To take his diatribe with an amused expression so completely absorbed, clenched jaw stretching her bitter-sweet smile. A careful frown at a tone of anger, a strategic a twist of lips - eyes alight with a deliberate spark of excitement that grows as he dissects the past and ties it to future.

Some things feel almost familiar about another such night. His questing, pressing touch now borne like a familiar fixture to the spectacle she would watch from the outside, looking inwards. Her mind would wonder, trying to find that uncertain moment, those border-conditions that turned terror and hate into... this.
From the monologues to discourse, to intercourse on his many old hells; to hold words and thoughts against the cold, burning sanity of her father was a skill not painlessly learned nor easily forgotten. On the slow work to change the message he held in his eye, on how she paid out and changed herself for him.
Detachment would come with practice - she has had plenty.

Now onto his lap with barely a gasp, limbs lifting to help his motion the way he wants. Kinship through intimacy for these most nostalgic of lessons, made no less easy by his longing felt plain and first hand. His body rigid as stone, lips open to breathe burning imprint of each word onto her shoulder.
Elves. Death. Elves. Death.
Another story she has seen unfold before, an odyssey of torment and murder - erotic for function, methodical yet mindless - traced across the land wherever he traveled, reserving only the end most dire for fey and bastard breeds alike.

"Will you do as with the others? Slow and wide?" she asks, face turning skywards as his thumbs press down. Her mind travels time even as she speaks, calling forward another indelible image her father had scored on the back of her eyes. The first time she saw him kill an elf - the look in his eyes as he stared, apathetic at what was left of the creature afterwards.
"Would you risk that here, of all places?"
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