Private Tales Ash and Iron

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Maeve

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A year.

She'd been free for a year.

Maeve took a deep breathe of the ocean scented air and closed her eyes, savouring the warmth of spring sunshine on her face in the pretty coastal town. She had learnt so much in that one year too. How these lands worked, the different types of people who walked it, and the subtle politics that wove it all together. With no sign of the Fae who had a stake to her soul she had begun to relax as the months went on and had begun to... enjoy this new life. Sure she missed home far out across the sea and at times she squinted really hard to try and see it through the sea mists but, now she was here? It made her wonder if this wasn't what she had been meant to do all along. Fae or not.

"Maeve! Quit daydreamin' would ya?" the cranky voice brought her out of her thoughts and she gave the owner of it a half-hearted scowl before rushing after her. After leaving the comforts and safety of Arun's home she hadn't been sure where to go from there. Back to her grandfather's home or onwards, to forge her own path? Her friend had given her enough courage and tools to decide on the latter and some weeks later she had found herself here with a few bits of coin and an apparently lost look on her face. That was when she had found Vivienne. Or rather Vivienne had found her, as she told it. The older woman was a blacksmith and had offered her board and food in return for hard labour.

Mae hadn't regretted any second of it.

"Can we not just enjoy the day?" Maeve asked sweetly, carrying the blacksmith tools with ease for such a slight woman. Vivienne snorted her answer and Mae tried to hide her smile. Today was market day so she wouldn't push her friend was she went over what it was they needed for the week ahead.

But her freedom had made her sloppy and she didn't notice the warning chime of the wind at that odd, somehow familiar presence.
 

Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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Lórcan had never forgotten about the human girl whose life belonged to him. There was always that thread, a vague tug of emotion that wasn't his, the occasional mental brush that sent him images and thoughts that he enjoyed playing around with from time to time. Over the years, he had felt her grow, rather than watched, but he had checked in the small handful of times he'd ventured from his realm and into hers.

Today was one such day, when no place in the fae lands was far enough to get away from his father and he needed some time to rest and lay low. He made a rather beautiful raven, if he did say so himself. A little larger than the mundane birds, his feathers more silken, and dark gold eyes that held far more intelligence than any animal should. It was in this form that he swooped from the skies above to perch himself on a post close by to silently observe the idyllic new life that Mae had carved out for herself.

A blacksmith's apprentice? Really? The raven's dark feathers bristled. Didn't they know who or what she was? What gifts she had? Who she fucking belonged to? Lórcan tugged at that thread as he watched her, the intention to send her a not so subtle reminder, as it had appeared that she had forgotten.
 
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Maeve

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Laughter on the wind she hadn't heard for months had her head snapping up the moment she felt that...

"Maeve!"

She blinked at Vivienne's concerned face and then down at the tools she had dropped on the floor with a loud clang. For a moment there was a lull in the noise of the market as people cast their glances; wary, confusion, sympathy, concern. Then the sound poured back into the void and people moved on in the way people were oft to do when they had a busy day ahead. She was just a hiccup in their schedule.

"Are you alright girl?" the older blacksmith asked as Mae bent to put the tools back in their box.

"I'm fine," she muttered, shaking her head. He couldn't be here... could he? She looked around warily before catching Vivienne's eyes. "No-"

"Yes. I've been bugging you to take a break for weeks. You are officially off duty," the woman snatched the tools from her grip before she could protest. "You're no use to me dropping things anyway. Go. Do whatever it is you young people do now a days," she shooed, then turned on her heel and strode off through the market leaving Maeve alone.
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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Ah if a raven could smirk.

His beady eyes remained fixed on the girl, his feathers unruffled by the clatter of tools or the raised voice of the blacksmith. His head simply tilted as he watched with growing amusement as Maeve found herself dismissed from her duties. A chuckle rang through his mind, and the raven's wings spread wide in a stretch before they lifted him into the air and alight in a cloud of shadow in a nearby alley, away from prying eyes. He'd stand out enough in a market place like this as it was, let alone drawing attention to his shifting form.

Lórcan smoothed out the sleeves of his dark, silken suit jacket and adjusted his shirt collar before turning on his heels to casually stride out into the open, helping himself to a ripe apple from a boastful basket of them as he passed, a subtle wink at the woman tending the stall rendered her speechless enough not to protest his thievery.

He paused by a tall stack of boxes and leaned his shoulder up against them and casually crossed his ankles, trying not to allow the pain he felt in his muscles and bones register on his blasé expression as he waited for her to notice him before purring a sultry "Hello Maeve." and curling his lips into a Cheshire grin.
 

Maeve

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Maeve only stared at her friends retreating back as her hands clenched and unclenched into fists. Being alone was not what she wanted nor needed. It was the reason why she had settled so comfortable into the life of this postcard seaside town. A day off was more of a punishment than a reward. Perhaps she could go seek out one of the farmer boys who came in to town on market day with their goods from further inshore... they were always bored and eager to sneak off somewhere.

With a sigh she turned to head in that direction when she caught sight of him and froze.

The iron dagger was in her hands in a flash, pointing towards him with a warning growl.

"Stay the hell away from me," she spat, heart racing. This had been the moment she had been waiting for for a year. The moment when she had a chance to put that blade through his perfect little eye and end the need for her to look over her shoulder.
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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His dark gold eyes flashed with a hint of amusement, but he made the effort to look offended, a hand settling on his chest as he frowned indignantly at her. "Such violence for such a lovely thing." he commented, his voice like deep, rolling thunder.

"Come now, Your Highness. That sort of language and behaviour is quite unbecoming. I am simply here to visit and make sure you're safe and well. I take care of my things." he smirked. "There's really no cause to make a scene." he rumbled to her and crunched into the red fruit in his hand. His nose wrinkled in a grimace as he chewed and swallowed before tossing the fruit over his shoulder with a look of distaste.

"I forgot how bad the food is here." he muttered and pushed himself from the stack of crates to straighten himself, a hand combing through his wind-tousled hair as he regarded her, seemingly pleased with what he saw. Like the 'perfect gentleman' he was, Lórcan bowed at the waist, his gaze remaining fixed on hers.

"A pleasant surprise you are indeed, My lady."
 
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Maeve

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Several stall owners began muttering at Maeve's behaviour towards an apparent stranger who could very well be a customer for any of them. All they could see was the fine cut of his jacket and hear the pleasant way he spoke marking him as wealthy. They threw her condescending looks and she was pretty sure the whispers would soon reach Vivienne who would promptly give her a good clout. For whatever Maeve did it reflected on her, she liked to remind the fiery redhead every opportunity she got. If they knew what was in their midst, however, Mae was willing to bet their tune would promptly change.

"I am not one of your things," she snarled.

It was only the quick glance to the crates stacked beside her that might have warned him what she was about to do. In a surprisingly quick step she was behind them where she then shoved them with all her strength, sending them toppling towards the taunting male. After that she didn't look back. Like a hare being chased by the snapping jaws of a hunting hound, Maeve was off like a shot through the crowds.
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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"Oh but you are, one of my post prized possessions, in fact.." he gave a husky laugh in amusement.. "It's only fair, I am the only reason you're alive, after all." his shoulder shrugged nonchalantly and his arms folded across his chest.

He gave her a pointed look and his lips curled with some semblance of amusement as he felt her intention to run, his eyes drifting over her form, at the twitch of muscles tightly bound to flee. He stepped only just out of the way of those falling crates and his head shook with a quiet sigh.

He called after her, his purred voice carrying in the wind, following her every step of the way as though he were right beside her. "Where are you going?.....You can't run from me, Maeve.........So hasty."

Above, the raven followed, but below, below every face she looked at would be his. Suddenly he was everywhere, smiling roguishly at her, the little mouse caught in a trap.

"Is this any way to greet me? After all I've done for you?.." they all spoke.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve fought the panic clawing its way up her throat as she ran.

It's not real, it's not real, she told herself as the Prince's face peered at her from every stall, every customer, every passer by. She tried not to flinch as she shouldered past the gawping Lórcan copies. Any one of them could be the real faerie and she wouldn't know until it was too late. As the exit to the market loomed closer she put on a burst of speed to break the crowded square. It would be harder for him to hide the further away from people she got. Harder for him to use them against her.

Skidding out of the square she didn't miss a beat in heading for the blacksmiths forge. That was where her ash arrows were and a whole heap of iron. It had to keep her safe.

"I never asked you to save my life!" she hissed beneath her breath for she had no doubt he could hear her whether she whispered or shouted. "I should have had a choice."
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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He knew where she was heading, and the raven descended into her path before she could make it there, alighting on the ground in a cloud of living shadow which quickly settled around him, leaving an unruffled and unamused Lórcan waiting for her.

"You think death would have been better than living in my home?" he asked incredulously, a flash of rage in his gaze as he took a step toward her, but there was some semblance of hurt in his tone. "You don't even know me. Have I once sought to harm you, Maeve?" his brow quirked, his jaw tightening as he fought to restrain his words.

"You've armed yourself. You'd see me dead. For what? Giving you a chance at life?" he growled. "Some are not so fortunate to have that luxury, and here you are ready to spit in my face for such a gift. Ready to kill me. I must say it is not the reception that I had expected." he sighed and dragged his hand back through his unruly dark hair, trying to regain some decorum and nonchalance.

"You can relax. I haven't come to drag you in front of an alter." he snorted.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve managed to skid to a halt before colliding with the dark, shadowy man who appeared barred her path to the safe haven of her home. Her green eyes darted from him to the door that lay only a few feet away then back again, her whole body moving with her ragged breaths. She looked like a wild thing possessed and from every line of her posture it was clear she was willing to go down fighting if need be.

"Why are you here if not to collect what you are owed?" The fae, as she had learnt these people called them, were very precise with their deals and always ensured they got what they were promised. Her fingers clenched on the hilt of the iron knife but she didn't point it at him this time, not that the loose way she held it at her side should be mistaken for anything but deadly.

"Will I just live in your home like a pretty little bird?" she sneered, making it quite clear what she thought of that.
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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"I.." he paused and clenched his jaw. He wasn't entirely sure why he had come here, he'd had to escape his lands, needed time to think, to make plans and to heal. He bared his teeth in a silent sneer and his head shook at her latter question.

"No." he stated firmly. "You'll never set foot in the Autumn Court.." he assured her, a bitterness to his voice. He shifted a step to lean against a post beside him, the movement a casual one, but his aching muscles threatened to betray his weaknesses if he did not rest them.

"Just a visit. I promise." he pressed his hand to his chest and dipped his chin. "Now will you put that knife away and act with a little more decorum?..." he frowned and folded his arms, his dark gold eyes studying her from head to toe.

"I must say, I didn't have you pegged as a blacksmith's apprentice...Are you, hiding?.." he asked, his dark brow arching with some mild amusement.
 
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Maeve

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The Autumn Court... So that's where you're from.

Maeve tucked that little bit of information away for later. There had to be a way to manipulate it, especially when it got such a volatile reaction from him. His tone had her gripping the dagger so tight her knuckles turned white with the effort but at least it didn't shake like she felt like she ought to be. Still... if he hated his home as much as she hated the idea of it...

She was just relaxing her grip on the weapon when he insulted her. Rage coloured her cheeks a vivid shade of scarlet that almost rivalled that of her hair.

"What better place to find ash and iron than a blacksmiths forge? Would you like to come in for tea and I can show you up close?" she offered sweetly, battering her eyelashes thrice before giving him a stone-cold glare.
 

Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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Lórcan laughed, a genuine, mirthful sound void of his usual cold cruelty, and a grin that made his cheeks dimple warmed his features for a moment before a pained flinch wiped it momentarily from his face. His jaw clenched, and he cleared his throat, trying to smile through the worsening pain, his arm pulled firmly against his side.

"I can't quite tell if that's ludicrous or genius.." he mused and suppressed another chuckle at her. He rubbed at the back of his neck, his brow creasing as he studied her a little more, as though admiring an artist's masterpiece. She was, he supposed, his masterpiece after all. "But a blacksmith forge is no place for a Princess." he rumbled dryly.

"How about we set the hostilities aside. We can be friends again, right?" his brow quirked and he straightened himself with some effort. "I'll make a new deal with you. Three days. Give me three days with you and I'll leave you alone and won't visit you again for another year." he proposed.
 
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Maeve

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Lórcan wasn't the only one taking in a good measure of the person who stood opposite. Maeve ran her eyes slowly over the fae Prince from head to toe in a soft caress. He was as beautiful as she remembered but she couldn't forget the shadows she had seen earlier nor the distinct otherness to his whole being. It made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end as that instinctive, primal, part of her whispered he was a danger.

The grimace on her face said as much as she needed to on her opinion of them ever being friends.

"Three days?" Her green eyes like polished emeralds returned to his and then narrowed in suspicion. Deals were not things to be made light of. "Three days once a year and the rest of the time you leave me alone?" It was all about the wording. "And you cannot hurt me," she added quickly. "Or anyone I love."
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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His gaze narrowed with mild amusement as she, in his mind at least, appeared to be admiring his appearance. His lips curled and he ran a tongue over them as his head shook and he took a careful step closer to her..

"That's not what I said, Princess. Three days, and I will not visit you again for a year. In a year, I'll see how my mood strikes me." his brow quirked and his teeth flashed in a roguish smile.

"And of course, I have no intention of harming you, nor anyone you.. love." he added, the word catching in his throat slightly.

"Fair?..." he held out his hands, baring his palms to her in truce. "How bad could it be?.." he asked with a pout of feigned plea.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve's face contorted with barely concealed rage at his counter offer along with his smug little smile. He knew he held the real power here. If she refused he could drop in on her whenever he wanted. Of course she could run again and she could be more prepared next time with a weapon. This deal.... this deal would buy her breathing time.

Her fingers clenched and unclenched on the iron knife as she pictured what his pretty little face would look like with a nasty scar slashed across it.

"Fine," she ground out, slammed the knife back into its holster, and snatched at his hand, shaking it hard before she talked herself out of it. "Three days. Not a moment more."
 

Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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He stared back at her with a grin, as though he could see precisely what she was thinking. She had a fire in her that called to him and dared him to play with those flames, stoke the living rage that seemed to simmer under her skin and burn in those bright, green eyes.

"Deal." he answered in agreement, and clasped her hand in his. The moment he did, the skin of her arm came alive with swirling shadow that snaked and coiled around her limb before settling in the form of a dark feather on the inside of her forearm, and sank into her skin, leaving the inky brand there as a reminder of her pact.

He smirked. "There. That wasn't so bad now, was it?.." he chirped and rolled his shoulders. "So, what fun shall we involve ourselves in on these three glorious days?.."
 
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Maeve

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Maeve snatched her hand back and grasped her forearm to stare at the inky tattoo that was now embedded in her skin. Her lips twisted in distaste. It wasn't that she minded tattoos of course, just that her skin was now marred with something so... him. Wisely she swallowed the angry words that came to mind: it was best to pick fights and if she had to survive three days with this fae, this was not the occasion.

Warily she let go of her arm and instead folded her arms under her breasts defensively.

"A trip," she blurted out, glancing back down the path towards the market. "Away from here," far away from people she had come to care about. "I just need to... to grab some things..." she looked back to him and then her eyes flickered to the door behind him pointedly.
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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His muscles tensed slightly at her defensiveness, his dark gaze narrowing as she answered and his gaze followed hers to the smith behind him before fixing on her face once more.. He couldn't very well have expected her to trust him, she'd have been a fool to, especially since he had rather enjoyed toying with her. Though, he had made a promise, the mark of which was clearly branded on her arm, and not trusting him to keep to his word was an insult.

"Of course." he forced a smile and let out a sharp huff as he stepped aside to allow her to pass and collect her 'things'. He leaned himself back against the post, crossing arms and ankles as he waited and watched the mortals busy about their short lives around about him, smirking at their glances and whispers.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve allowed herself a moment to just breathe as the door to the house shut behind her. She leaned against the thick oak and closed her eyes, hoping that the woods strengthen would someone bleed into her mind to keep it from unravelling. What had she done? Saved them. That's what she was doing, she reminded herself stubbornly. He had promised not to hurt them but playing with them? Stupid. She should have added that too.

"It's only three days," she said outloud as though daring the forge to somehow deny her. Silence. With a sigh Maeve pushed off the door and slogged her way upstairs to her little sanctuary. It took a depressingly short time to pack her stuff into her backpack and write a lie to Vivienne announcing a sudden need to go for a hunt. She was a hard master but fair, she would understand. With one glance round the forge Mae took a breath, squared her shoulders, shouldered her pack and bow, then stepped put to join Lórcan.

"Let's go," she quipped as she breezed past him. If she stopped and lingered, Maeve knew she would have second thoughts. "You want to spend time with me? Fine. There's an old hunting lodge I have not far. You can watch me hunting for three days."
 
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Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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He could feel his father's mind searching for him, feel those eyes boring into him even across realms. Lórcan winced and squeezed his eyes shut, blocking him from his mind before he could see or sense where he was. A brief shock of pain burned through his mind, and the fae's body tensed as he let his head slowly bow as he endured it. It lasted long enough to make him consider hurling the contents of his stomach onto the grass, but he managed to resist, and was straightening himself as Maeve strode passed him.

Lórcan dragged a hand over his face and pushed himself from the post with a coy grin, his first few steps stiff as he strode casually after her. "Maeve, if you wanted me all to yourself, all you had to do was ask. No need to be shy about it.." he purred, and suddenly he was close to her.

"I will gladly watch you hunt for three days." he crooned. "At least I won't go hungry." he smirked, his eyes wandering over her quite suggestively.
 
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Maeve

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With a snarl Maeve stopped and spun to face him. She didn't know how she had draw one of the arrows from her quiver but it was in her hand and pressing against his throat before she blinked. The iron head glinted in the sun, the dark metal a contrast to the light red wood of the Ash.

"Touch me and I will cleave the skin from your back with one of these, tan it, and turn it into a new rug," her words were honey sweet yet dripped with poison and her eyes burned with that barely reigned in temper.

Suddenly the wind about the pair flared up, swirling, dancing, teasing at the strands of their hair and tugging at their clothes like curious impatient hands. A soft laugh jingled on that wind and quickly Maeve lowered the arrow, casting her eyes to the sky with a sigh.

"Come on, it is a long walk and I don't want to be arriving after dark," the wind died down on the tail end of her words returning to the pleasant spring, ocean breeze it had been before.
 

Lorcán

The Autumn Prince
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Lórcan stilled, his chin rising just a little as he felt that iron press against his skin. His throat bobbed as he swallowed, but his mouth twisted and split into a wolfish grin at her threats, his hands slowly raising in front of him in attempt to placate that rising temper of hers. As the wind picked up around them, his brows rose, following her gaze skyward as the arrow lowered, leaving a small red mark on his flesh.

"I see you are going to keep me on my toes, Princess." he rumbled as his shoulders rolled, and he followed after her, smirking to himself as he watched her strut away from him, his eyes drifting low with a shake of his head in approval.

"I can get us there faster, if you'd like.." he offered, his lips pursing as he laced his hands behind his back to stroll behind her.
 
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Maeve

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"Don't call me that!" She snapped, her long legs making short work of the track that led out of town in the opposite direction to the main flow of foot traffic. Every poor soul who so much as glanced at her got a dark look and most wisely made a point of giving the pair a wide birth. But his next words broke through her temper.

Maeve slowed her angry stride and then, with a heavy sigh, came to a stop. She turned towards the fae stalking her shadow like a wolf and fixed him with a wary look.

"How? You don't know where it is," the image of the wooden lodge came unbidden into her mind. Nestled on the edge of a small lake with its little sailing boat moored on the pier and the forest at its back it was as far as could be from the normal hunting trails. She had made sure of it.