Private Tales Ash and Iron

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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He felt rather than seen that urge to laugh and he smiled to himself, his eyes closing as he shrugged at her question. He paused for a moment, his brow furrowing slightly.. "I suppose.. I want to know, if you found any joy in the life you were granted. Or if it was a waste." he answered quietly, opening his eyes to stare up at the ceiling with a huff.

"You seem pretty adamant that you'd rather have died." Lórcan swallowed. He understood her lack of choice in the matter, the payment that she owed for the gift, the fact that her life wasn't really her own. But, he had done what he'd done to help her parents when they'd begged him to, though everything in his world had to have balance. There was payment for everything, and it had to equate to what was being traded. A life was the only fair trade for a life, it was either kill someone in her stead, or claim that life as his own. Still, to have given so much and to realise how much it was resented was a difficult tonic to swallow.

"There must have been something that made life worth living.."
 
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Maeve

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Maeve wouldn't take her words back; she had and still did mean it. But... she did at least have the decency to look a little embarrassed this time as she stared into her mug of tea and chewed the inside of her cheek.

"For the first 18 years? Yes, it was worth it," before she had known what it had cost her. "I guess it probably won't seem a lot to a fae but it was more than a good enough life for me. I had my family, friends," an ache twisted in her gut as she thought of how she wouldn't see them again. Even if Lórcan did die her people would hand her over to the fae if she stepped back onto their soil; in their eyes she was their property now. By running she had dishonoured her entire tribe.

"I learnt languages, I rode, I hunted, laughed, loved," she smiled faintly and raised her eyes to his as the smile died. "I just wish I had had a choice. When I found out that they had hidden it from me all these years I was... angry and I felt betrayed. I didn't even have time to think they were packing me off to... you that night," she sighed and her eyes dropped once more. "Since then? Some parts have been good, others awful."
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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His eyes closed again as he listened, picturing the idyllic life she described and his lips twitching slightly at the mention of love. A spark of jealousy, perhaps, but he smiled to know that she had experienced it. He heard the smile fade from her voice and his eyes opened to look at her. The guilt he felt that he'd subsequently caused her pain by granting her life was more painful than the stab wound on his side and the poison in his veins.

"I'm sorry, Mae." he said quietly, his tone and expression genuine - a rare thing for Lórcan. "I thought I was doing the right thing. But I suppose I was letting you build a life to take it away from you.. I was naive enough to think you'd be happy to come to Laigin.." his brow furrowed and he laughed under his breath as his hand dragged over his face. He was certain he'd ultimately caused her parents a worse pain, they had a daughter for eighteen years, to love and know, to have her taken from them. Either way, they lost her..

His dark eyes were glassy as he looked back to the ceiling, drawing in a grimaced breath. He wasn't sure he could deal with hearing what other awful things had happened in her life. He'd always be to blame.

"When your three days is up, you're free from all of this.. You can live your life how you want to live it." he frowned.
 
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Maeve

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"Until next year," Maeve added stubbornly before taking a sip of her tea. She refused to believe that this poison would be it for him; not out of any affection of course but because she despised giving up. It was an effort not to look at where the poison was beneath his shirt or ask questions. But men were difficult when they found themselves weak and needed to be prodded slowly, like a wild horse.

"You don't need to apologise, what's done is done. Since leaving even if things have not been... all that good, they were at least all caused by my decisions. Life is not always easy but that is what makes it a life and not a story," she shrugged. Her people had always known some level of hardship and they appreciated when things like crops went well all the more for it. In her lessons she has always been reminded the fates could change any day.

Her day had just come earlier than she wanted.
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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His lips parted with a grin at his words, her words invoking another husky chuckle from him.. "You sound almost disappointed that you won't be seeing me again.." he rumbled, the smile fading as a sigh tumbled from his lips. "I don't expect to survive this.. But if I did, I'd release you from your parents' deal. I'd find a way to change the deal... And if I don't, you're free of me either way. Either way.." he shrugged, his words trailing off. She'd be free of him, free of any more pain he might cause her, of any harm his father might do her.

Lórcan watched her, considering her words, the outlook she had and trying to make sense of how beautiful she was. Like a sunrise she rose to face each day anew irrespective of what had ensued the previous day, casting her warm light regardless.

"Alright.." he answered. He'd stop apologising, or at least try to. Whether he did or not he was finding it difficult to hide that nauseating guilt from her, having been so busy focusing on keeping his pain to himself. He cleared his throat and smirked as he changed the subject.

"So you loved, hm?.. I don't think I've ever been jealous before." he admitted playfully. "That's a story I have to hear."
 

Maeve

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Maeve looked dubious and perhaps rightly so; the price had to be paid or the gifts were forfeit. Would she embrace death to escape it? It was ab unsettling thought. She had run in order to survive and to kill him to win her freedom. Now everything seemed a little more murky. Instead of saying anything she sipped at her tea.

Then nearly choked on it.

It took her a few minutes to stop laughing and when she did she has to wipe at her eyes to remove a few scattered tears.

"A child's love," despite it her words her smile was warm and eyes distant with the memory. "He was one of the nobles sons so we grew up together, got into trouble. There was three of us. Him, me and my friend Aoefie - we were inseperable. But, I was the princess and I couldn't choose who I was to marry. Aoefie and he married a month before I left."

She smiled faintly and tried not to think of the fact they had both been in the party who had hunted her in her escape.
 

Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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It was as if the sound of her laughter, that honest rumbling of her soul lifted a veil from his eyes and allowed us to see the world more clearly. He was glad to have been gifted the opportunity to hear it. Dark eyes remained fixed on her as she revisited the memory, as though he could see the image of it behind her eyes.

"I see.." he commented, his tone laced with some modicum of apology. His brow furrowed as he considered something, returning his gaze to the ceiling and wriggling into the cushions. He wondered if he was as terrible as she'd expected him to be. He knew that at first, he'd kept up his mask of cold arrogance and cruelty, the one he was so used to wearing around most of his people. Only a very select few people had ever dug below that surface. The guilt he'd felt when he'd frightened her so much had caused him more regret than he'd felt in years. He didn't see the point in trying to be cold with her, not anymore, not when he had so little time left. He wanted to spend it as himself. He wanted her to stay with him and not spend the next couple of days in the woods.

"What did you expect?...When I came for you? I'll assume with the iron and ash that you planned on killing me.." he laughed under his breath, though there was no amusement in the sound. "Looks like Daddio beat you to it." he murmured.

"I suppose I'm the monster you expected..?"
 
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Maeve

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Maeve shifted uncomfortably in her seat and glanced towards the bow and arrows she had left propped by the door. Iron and ash wasn't allowed on the island she had come from because it had hurt the fae who ruled over it. They had burnt every tree and their weapons had been made of bronze. She hadn't even heard of Iron until she had come to these shores.

"The fae I met on the Isles... were..." she didn't really know how to describe it and slowly she set down her empty mug and wrung her hands. "They treated us like pets, no, worse than pets," Mae frowned and chewed on the inside of her cheek. "Sometimes we wouldn't see them for ages but when they came things were always... chaotic. People didn't act like themselves anymore. Sometimes they took a particularly gifted person or for a game they would steal a newborn child and hide them in the wilds. I thought you were like them, I didn't realise there were different courts or families," she had only learnt that her people had been under the rule of the Summer Court when she had met Laith who had explained the deal he had struck all those years ago to unite his people and doom them.

"I guess no, you're not what I expected. You didn't just steal me away for one even when you had every right to do so."
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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"I know what the fae on the Isles were like.." he commented sharply. In truth they were like many he knew. He had treated humans like pets in front of his father and his court himself. Another dose of shame.

"I can be like them." he admitted.. "My father is like them..In more recent years I have stopped trying to impress my father so much.. But there is a someone that I want to be and someone that I have to be and those two do not always coincide. He has been trying to break me for so long. He succeeded a few years ago. Now I just drink and fuck my way through the Autumn Court and whatever others will let me in." he snorted.

Nothing helped. Nothing numbed the constant torture that raged within him, nothing until his father plunged that blade into his side and sealed his fate. A slow death to put him out of his misery.
 
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Maeve

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Two bright spots of red bloomed across her cheekbones. His words stirred something in her she couldn't really identify so she turned it into anger instead.

"You're Fae," she clenched her hands into fits though kept them in her lap. "Why are you limiting yourself to... to that," her wide green eyes were full of bewilderment and exasperation. Did he not realise the power he had at his disposal? For 18 years until this magic - his magic - had began to manifest itself she had been a simple human. Powerless. Everything she had worked for had caused blood, sweat and tears. Work that he could have done with a wave of his hand.

Mae shook her head.

"Lórcan..." she started as though she meant to say something more and then sighed and instead stood to check on the food. "Dinner is almost ready, go wash yourself up."
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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He frowned as he felt her anger, unsure what he'd done wrong. His lips pressed into a thin line as she seemed to fight with herself over saying something more, and he grimaced as he sat himself up at her command.

"What?.." he asked, his hand running into his hair, his features tired and pale. "What is it you chose not to say to me? What is it about being Fae that you think prevents me from being made to suffer? You think we don't break? We break." he snorted at her and pulled himself to his feet, his jaw tightening.

"It doesn't fucking matter anyway.." he grumbled as he stretched.
 
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Maeve

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Mae pointed towards the barrel of water sternly before answering as she pulled the meat off the spit.

"I'm not saying you don't break... I'm just... don't you realise what a human would give to have an ounce of your magic?" She glanced at him over her shoulder. "But they don't have it and they still wouldn't give up like you apparently have. You don't seem to..." her lips pressed into a thin line and then she went back to dishing up the food onto two plates. When she was done she stood and held his plate out to him.

"Just stop feeling sorry for yourself, if I have to listen to you sit around whining for three days I'll smother you with a pillow myself," she raised an eyebrow as if daring him to argue.
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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A dark brow quirked at her bossy insistence that he wash up, and so as she spoke he obeyed, gingerly removing his shirt before leaning over the barrel and cupping the water over his face and neck, his jaw tight as he fought the urge to argue with her, that was until..

"Feeling sorry for myself?..." he rumbled dangerously, those shadows slithering over his muscular back. The barrel splintered slightly under his tightening grip and his eyes closed as he fought and failed to push down the anger that rose from his gut. He turned his face to look at her, his eyes darkening.

"You have no idea what I have endured and for how long I have endured it - And yet every fucking time I am beaten down, I get back up. You've had a few bad things happen to you in your life which has been a mere whisper of mine, and you think you have the right to preach to me about giving up and feeling sorry for myself?!... I am not whining, I am trying to fucking die in peace, because I am so sick and tired of torture, I thought I might try.. talking to you, but clearly that was a fucking mistake." he growled.

He'd dropped his guard, something he only ever done with a very small handful of people in his entire life, and it'd felt like she'd driven a blade into his heart. He wasn't sure why. Perhaps he'd wanted pity? Perhaps he'd wanted to be held and comforted and closer to what he'd once loved. No-one had ever loved him like his mortal love had, perhaps he'd stupidly hoped to find an ounce of her in Maeve, like a mauled cat crawling it's way back home before it allowed itself to die. He didn't know, all he knew was that she'd torn him to shreds with a few simple words and it was far easier to be cold and cruel than it was to lay your heart on the table.

"This was a mistake." he muttered as he looked back down at his reflection in the water, his darkened features distorted in the ripples caused by each drip that fell from his face. He straightened and rolled his shoulders, snatching his shirt and striding for the door which blew itself open with a loud slam as it hit the wall..
 
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Maeve

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"I do know."

Maeve's voice was dangerously quiet and the way she jerkily put the plates down on the side as she shook with anger showed just how much restraint she was having to apply to speak calmly. Without another word she shrugged out of her jacket and yanked her shirt up and over her head, turning her back to him so he could see the scars across her skin. Five large puckered welts marked where a whip had lashed into her skin on multiple occasions, scars from blades cut silver patterns criss-crossed here and there, burns covered her right hip and when she turned back to face him the branding sigil of the elven tribe who had enslaved her stood out against her ribs.

Her green eyes smouldered with cold rage.

"I might not have lived as long as you, I might never live as long as you, but I know torture. I know pain and I more than understand the feeling of pointlessness. But unlike you when I was on the brink of death I didn't just roll over and accept it," she jerkily tugged her shirt back on as the cold wind turned her skin bumpy with gooseflesh. "So if you were expecting me to sit here and hold your hand and coo over you for three days as you died then yes, this was a mistake. But if you came here to fight your fate," she grabbed up the plate and held it out towards him.
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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Lórcan paused, his body rigid with rage as his eyes snapped toward her, a retort ready but it died on his tongue when she lifted her shirt. She had about as many scars as he did. His mouth parted and his dark gold eyes took in every little flaw and mark upon her perfect skin and he turned to face her, the full extent of just how much the poison had spread now evident in the black tendrils drawn over his stomach and side, stopping only two inches from his heart.

He walked toward her, his face, his strides, his breath all painting the perfect portrait of pure rage as he drew close to her. But the rage was not at her, but at whomever had done this to her, at himself. How had he not known? Why hadn't he felt it?... Perhaps he had and assumed the pain to have been his own, there were rarely days when he wasn't in some form of pain, and the days he wasn't he was so numb with drugs and alcohol that he would've have felt a thing. His jaw clenched and he reached to take her chin in his hand, his stance looming and possessive. At the end of the day, whether she liked it or not, she did belong to him and someone had damaged her. His 'property'.

"Who?.. Who did this to you? Who's mark is that?" he demanded, his tone not one that dared any argument. He ignored her taunts now, ignored the plate of food she offered and the spreading poison in his veins. All that mattered now was ending whatever abomination had caused her harm.
 
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Maeve

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Her temper guttered like a candles flame in the face of the inferno of his rage. She tried to take a step back from it but the grip on her chin whilst gentle was a threat too. Her hand shook and the plate she had been holding slid to the floor in a splatter of meat and veg and broken wood. Maeve swallowed and very slowly raised her hand to grip his wrist.

"Tribals," for once she didn't buck against the demand and her touch on his flesh was a soft caress as though she sought to soothe the anger riding him. "But they're dead Lórcan, Ar-- a friend killed them all," the outlaw elven Prince had seen it as his problem to deal with to make up for his father's shortcomings.

"They bound my magic so I couldn't heal and by the time I was free... I don't know enough to get rid of the scars," her other hand came up to rest over his heart. "I'm okay and they have paid," she repeated gently.
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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He didn't acknowledge the smashing plate, the sound hadn't registered with him, nor did his grip waver as her fingers curled around his wrist. There was no light left in his eyes, the gold flecks dimmed and swirled with shadow.

That it had been someone else and not he who had visited the punishment upon these 'tribals' that she spoke of only caused his anger to flare a little hotter with the guilt.

"You could've reached out to me. If I'd known." he growled through gritted teeth. He had given her a piece of his soul so that she might live, there was no greater cost to him other than his own life, and yet these elves believed they'd had the right to lay a finger on her.

"I can assure you, unless they died long and slow their debts were not paid well enou--" He cut himself off as her hand pressed to his chest, the touch like ice and fire, painful and soothing all at once. His heart stumbled a few beats and he reached to grip her wrist and pull it away from his skin, his face a grimace of confusion as he looked down at the small handprint she'd left there.

His gaze snapped back to her face and his fingers tightened a little around her wrist. "What did you do?.." he demanded.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve's temper had begun to rise once more at his ludicrous suggestion she should have reached out to him. Firstly how? Did this... did this bond work in that way? Could he hear her across leagues? Secondly, and more importantly, why would she have when he had been intent on taking her away for himself? She would have swapped one prison for another! She had made a mistake in caving in to his childish tantrum by showing him a piece of her only one other person knew of in the hopes it might show she understood. She should have let him go. She would of if that burning sensation didn't echo in her own side, Gods if he just let her--!

His words and the tight clenching of her wrist brought her back to the now. For a moment she looked at him blankly as her mind replayed the question and then with a frown she looked down at his chest and her hand.

Abruptly the cool starlight glow of her magic she had only seen once before that had mingled with the dark shadows of his anger, disappeared. The room swayed as exhaustion hit her and her legs nearly buckled beneath her.

"I... I don't know," but the black tendrils of the poison had retreated from his heart.
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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The swirls of smoky shadow dissipated as he stared at the hand print, his free hand trailing his fingertips over the raw flesh with a slight wince. It'd been like a branding iron, a white hot burn, painful and yet necessary to cleanse. His lips parted, but for once in his life Lórcan was left speechless as he watched the black, poisoned veins under his skin recede slowly back toward the wound they'd spread from.

He hadn't realised how tightly he'd been gripping her wrist until he drew his eyes back to her face, a deeper frown of apology offered as he lowered her arm and unfurled his fingers. Lórcan simply stared at her for a moment, trying to make sense of the power that she had that he himself could not muster. He had tried several times to reverse the poison and heal himself, and several times he had failed.

All she'd done was touch his chest.

"I.." he frowned, noting how she seemed to weaken and he reached an arm around her lower back, taking hold of her and guiding her to the chair. "Here. Sit.." he commanded gently, reaching for her tea to press it into her hands and crouching down in front of her chair.

"Are you alright?.."
 
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Maeve

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Maeve didn't have it in her to protest at his gentle ushering or support. Her feet felt like lead and her head full of cotton wool, much like it had after she had healed Arun all those months ago. Instead she leaned into him as her body began to shake.

"Y-y-yes," her teeth chattered and the tea cup trembled in her hands. "C-cold," she admitted with a grimace though perhaps cold was an understatement. It felt like she had gone for a swim in an icy ravine though a hand to her forehead would reveal her temperature was the opposite.

"I t-t-told you to l-let me tr-ry," she could only summon a small frown before tiredness erased it and she sunk back into the chair limply.
 
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Lorcan

The Autumn Prince
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He ran his fingers into his hair and dragged them back down his face as he looked over her, at what he'd caused. Gods he really was a prick.

"I should have.. I just, didn't think there was much point. I don't understand.." his words trailed off and he frowned as he stood, a hand waved toward the fire, the flames flaring with a new burst of heat in response. He grabbed the woollen blanket draped over the couch and wrapped it around his back, and shifting her to squeeze in beside her and pull her onto his lap against his chest, wrapping the blanket around each of them.

He could feel how cold she was, and his body warmed, radiating what heat he could muster as he held her tightly against him and rubbed her arms. "The shivering will stop if you relax. Rest a bit.." he rumbled quietly at her.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve didn't understand either and, worse still, she had no idea how she had done it. There had just been that feeling of anger and frustration, of wanting him to just admit he wanted to fight the death promised for him, for him to let her try and help...

She went rigid when Lórcan pulled her into his lap but she didn't protest. It was because she was tired, she told herself, because she was cold and he was warm, she justified. Taking a corner of the blanket she rubbed it against her cold nose and shifted herself into a more comfortable position.

"S-S'hard to r-relax when you're as-s-s hard as ro-ocks," she complained but tried to ease that primal fear that screamed at her to not relax in the presence of a man who could kill her with a snap of his fingers by nestling her head against his shoulder.

"Have you never heard of a steak?"
 
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Lorcan

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He shifted a little, letting her sit between his legs, though his arms remained firmly braced around her, holding her against the warmth of his bare skin. Her comment made him laugh, the sound like distant rolling thunder and the glittering gold had returned to his eyes, amusement easing the tension that'd almost snapped him just a few moments ago.

"That's the first time a female has ever complained about my exceptional physique." he mused smugly, a dark brow quirked as he slowly rubbed at her upper arms and shoulders beneath the blanket. "But, if it displeases you Princess, then I apologise. I'll endeavour to let myself go a little." he grinned.

His gaze fell to the top of her head as she nestled her head there, his chest tightening slightly, and instantly he was sorry. Sorry for snapping at her, for letting his temper and possessiveness take control of him once again, for ever frightening her. Without knowing it she was soothing him more than it seemed he was soothing her. He realised he'd gone rigid still after a moment of staring at her and he forced himself to ease again, his arms tightening their hold as he let out a breath, absently brushing a cheek against her hair, the scent of which he committed to memory.

"What did you do?.." he asked quietly, still able to feel the handprint that he now wore over his heart, a mark that felt both hot and cold, that had stopped the poison in its tracks. Perhaps she really could heal him.. The wound was still there, but the dark tendrils had retreated at nothing more than a touch, and that had taken its toll enough it seemed. He wasn't sure what healing such a wound entirely would do to her, and looking at her now, he wasn't sure he wanted to try.
 
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Maeve

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A snort was the only response the young redhead gave to his smug self appraisal; men did like to think so mightily of themselves didn't they? It reminded her of something her mother had said once after a fight with her father about them being as vain as stallions. Maeve thought that sounded about right for Lórcan, and she was glad he couldn't see the smile that tugged at her lips for it surely would have only done to stroke his ego more.

Tiredness dragged at her and despite her resistance her eyes drooped shut. If she just rested them a moment she would be okay and maybe she could heal the rest of him, then he could leave her in peace for a year. Funny, that wasn't a thought that entirely made her happy now with his arms about her just so.

Mae barely heard the question as sleep claimed her.
 
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Lorcan

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Lórcan looked down at her when she didn't respond, feeling her body relax and her breaths deepen with sleep.

"Difficult to relax, hm?.." he whispered to himself amidst a deep sigh of his own as he allowed himself to relax too. He wasn't sure how long he'd been sitting there, listening to her breathing and the cracking of wood in the hearth, his arms never breaking their hold on her, but one minute he was watching the flames and the next he too was devoured by sleep.

He dreamt that he'd awoken in the chair to find her gone, the fire in the hearth nothing but ashes and the cabin in cold darkness. He'd called out for her to no response, and after checking the cabin he'd realised the door had been ajar and so wandered out into the night, checking the lake and the forest, calling her name.

She had run, and how could he blame her? He'd turned to head back to the cabin when he heard her voice, not out there, but in his mind.

"How could you?" the voice sobbed and the handprint on his chest burned red hot. He looked down at hit, the mark illuminated by light, her light, inside his chest.. She hadn't run. He had killed her, as his father had taunted him to, he'd taken back the slice of his soul, drawn it into him and healed that wound on his side. But it was no longer his, she had made it her own, given it her voice, her emotions, her thoughts, all now trapped within him. "How could you?.." the voice sobbed again.

"I'm sorry. Please forgive me, I'm sorry Mae." Lorcan begged as he fell to his knees on the forest floor, arms wrapping around himself as though trying to embrace her.

"I'll never forgive you.."
 
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