Private Tales Stealing All That Which Cannot Be Stolen

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Liviana

The Little Spy
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She'd tried to hide when the fight was over, but no cupboard or cabinet was left unopened by the guards who'd come for her, and all she could do was stare up with glassy eyes when they checked the one under the desk. There was little point in struggling, she'd only wound up hurting herself or incurring more wrath than she was already due. She wanted to speak up, wanted to explain that she'd had no choice - but he'd given her several and lies would never fall from her tongue no matter how desperate her situation.

They wouldn't surely seek to punish her. They'd need her. She was invaluable to them, and after a few weeks or months, they'd forget about this entire ordeal and things would return to how they were and she'd drown in tedium and misery once more. The blindfold came as a shock however, and immediately caused her pulse to pitch to frantic. Her pleas for it to be removed were met with grunts and hard shoves, as were her demands to speak with the Lord and Lady in assurance that they'd be displeased with how she was being treated. But would they? Did they suspect she'd been in on this entire thing?

Livvy's panic was audible now. Laboured breaths and sobs caught in her throat. She couldn't even say that she had nothing to do with this. And when they questioned her? Oh Gods, how stupid could she have been to think that freedom had been possible?

She could feel the iron bars before they'd even arrived at the cell. Now she cried, and more pleas tore from her throat as her heels dug into the dirt. The feeble girl was lifted easily from her feet however, and despite her kicking and struggling, she was shoved into the cell, and her eyes widened as she tore the damp blindfold from her face.

"No! Please. I - I shouldn't be here!!" she screamed up at them, her voice cracking in the process. Livvy sunk to the ground, anything to be so much as a few more inches away from the iron bars. She didn't have to be touching them for their presence to be felt in her very bones. An instant ache pounded in her skull and her ears rang with a sound like scraping metal. In the little ball she'd curled herself into, she pressed her hands over her ears and shut her eyes tightly.

"You said you wouldn't let me go back to them." the whisper trembled out. "I shouldn't have listened to you." she added, pushing the words through teeth clenched by anger and pain as her head slowly shook.
 
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Otto von Geist

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Otto had been thrown into the cell only moments before Liviana, his back slamming against the rock shortly before Liviana crashed into him, as well. Though he normally would've been more... tender... it seemed she was already panicking about the issue, and Otto himself was still reeling from Harold's comments about Marjorie, which had him questioning himself and the relationship that had come to define his life for the past 3 years.

"You said you wouldn't let me go back to them. I shouldn't have listened to you."

Her words broke his concentration, as the space between them grew as much as it could. Eventually, he found himself leaning back against one wall, Liviana pressed against the other, knees bent in an uncomfortable position. There was so little room that the toes of their boots were touching, despite all attempts to get away from the other.

"Maybe that is my fault," he said. "My hate for the Regisfords has only led me here. You, too," he said, the admission of defeat present in his voice. He would've kicked the dirt, but there was so little room that he couldn't do so without also kicking Liviana, so he instead settled for banging his fist against the rock wall. "I guess I just thought maybe I could somehow hurt the Regisfords the way they hurt me. That maybe, I could wound them in some way that mattered. Maybe the only way that mattered, actually--their coin purses. I suppose it matters little now, but I had planned on going to their bank vault and robbing that last... I don't know how they knew I would get the jewelry store, and so quickly, too. I wonder..." he sighed. "I suppose it doesn't matter now. It's over. The dream is gone."

He could tell by the way she was covering her ears and shutting her eyes that something was perhaps wrong. Suspecting she may not have wanted it, he nonetheless put his hand on her shoulder, looking directly at her. His voice was soft and reassuring.

"Hey, I know things seem bad... but I am glad we met. I barely know you, but... we're both victims of the Regisfords, it seems, and it felt good knowing I wasn't the only one who suffered on their account. Maybe... maybe there's some way out. Maybe we'll get out. Together."

He offered her a small, shy smile. It was about all he could do for her now.
 
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Liviana

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Livvy tried to focus on her breathing. She was still breathing. She could endure.. but for how long? Already she felt the presence of the iron like palpable tendrils creeping over her skin and leeching what energy she had. Every muscle ached with it and every sense was overpowered with it..

"I can't stay here.." she whispered to herself, only barely aware that he was speaking until he touched her shoulder and she flinched, her teary eyes opening and snapping upward to lock onto his. The dull brown eyes had turned the colour of the darkest storm clouds, and it was everything not to waste her dwindling energy on the anger she felt. Yes, he'd been at fault in many respects, but she'd landed herself in this situation, and so her anger for herself was far more scalding.

She didn't have it in her to be pleasant, either. There was nothing but rage and fear and panic, and a quiet plea tumbled from her lips amidst a trembled breath. "I can't stay here." she repeated, her hands still on her ears and rivulets of tears still rolling freely down her pale cheeks as she looked back toward the bars. They only seemed to screech at her all the more aggressively in her acknowledgement that they were there, and so she closed her eyes again.

"Can you get to the lock?" she asked through gritted teeth. He'd already demonstrated his talent for picking them, after all.
 
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Otto von Geist

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Otto watched Liviana with a growing concern as her features seemed to twist and contort. He hated being locked up, too, which was unfortunately rather common in Alliria as a thief, but it seemed she was quite actually panicking at the situation they now found themselves in. Deigning a touch, he reached out and briefly place his hand on hers.

"Hey, it'll be okay. Somehow. I'll check the lock, okay?"

He didn't really know how to comfort a panicking woman, or person at all, really. But it was at least a sensible request, so he scooted himself closer to the cell door, examining the mechanism from the inside. While it seemed the lock could be manipulated from their side, more worrying was the large iron bar that would hold the door in place even without the lock. And Otto didn't have any device on his person that could remove an object such as that--most of his tools were in his pack, which had been seized at the jewelry store, including the... no, wait, the magic lockpick was still in his chest pocket.

"Well, it's a good news, bad news situation..." he said, scooting closer to Liviana again. "They didn't take the magic lockpick out of my chest pocket. But there's a large bar blocking the door, that we need a way to get rid of... and I don't know if it would be possible to remove it from this side."

He nodded at her. "Maybe..." he said, strong hesitation in his voice. "I imagine they'll come and torture us... If I get taken, I can slip you the lockpick, maybe you can use it to escape. And vice-versa. They have to remove the bar to get us out, so... that could be your chance. So, there's hope. Even if it's slim. If they take me first, I'll try to run to create a diversion so you can at least get out, okay?"

Otto offered her a small smile. Truthfully, he didn't know if such a thing would work. But it was worth at least trying, he thought, especially since he was the reason she was here in the first place...
 

Liviana

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Livvy flinched at the touch to her hand now, but did not move away. Not that she could move much at all. Tears slipped freely down her sickly skin and she opened her glistening eyes to stare up at him, a brief swell of hope in her chest as he turned his attentions to the lock.

That hope only soared so high before being shot down and plummeting downward, back to the miserable reality that she was in. Of course it couldn't have been that easy. The outlook was grim, but that aside, she couldn't help but let out a blurt of a laugh as Otto's mind continued to plot and plan despite it all. She assumed that he was trying to make her feel better, and she mustered a trembling smile in appreciation of that.

"They're already torturing me." she growled out and wiped the tears from her face. They wouldn't kill her, and they wouldn't keep her here forever - but she had taken for granted how luxurious her gilded cage had been before now.

The girl's head fell to rest against her bent knees, and she gently rocked there. "Get yourself out, when they come back." her muffled voice croaked out. They'd only hunt for her if she ran again, at least he'd have a better chance on his own. "I'll be alright." she assured hesitantly.

"I had fun."...

She couldn't help but sound like she was in pain, and she was. It thrummed through her entire body and she shivered with it. Her fingers curled into her hair and she fought the urge to vomit. She needed a distraction.

"Do you sing?" she asked, hopeful of anything else to focus on than the taunting song of the bars.
 
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Otto von Geist

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It was a decision point for Otto. The bars were thin, but not so much that he couldn't reach between them. The iron bar would likely be heavy, but not so much that he couldn't at least touch it. Perhaps he'd given up too early, he thought, as he looked now to the withering woman next to him. He didn't know why she was suffering so--he assumed poison, given her weakness--and that meant he had little time to act. Otto knew they wouldn't kill her, of course, just as they wouldn't kill him (at least, not immediately), so he suspected that they would have to administer another dose at some point.

He'd left a woman before, when it came to it. He wasn't about to do it again. The mere sight of Liviana in such pain was enough to bring both pain and rage to his already aching heart.

"Only a little," he said, rubbing his hands together and eyeing the lock. "If it will help, I can try." He retrieved the lockpick from his vest pocket, thankful they hadn't removed it. Without guards nearby, he had to at least try to escape. For Liviana's sake, if not his own. So, he set about putting the pick into the keyhole, ignoring any protests she might have about it. Softly, he began to sing a lilting tune.

"Thorn and thistle, wind and stone..."

The lockpick worked its magic, shifting the large lock open. He put the pick back into its box, placing it into his pocket again.

"King of old, on magic throne..."

He slipped his arm between the bars, his hand reaching for the heavy bar, his arm already feeling extremely cramped as he clutched the bottom of the blocking bar on the other side.

"There slipped an errant thief so bold..."

He grunted in pain as he began to lift. He reached the bar, pushing up with every ounce of his strength as his expanding muscles chafed against the bars. He leaned his shoulder in further, as it popped with a sickening noise. He expelled the final lyrics with a strained recourse:

"And in the secret chambers... found his gold."

Finally, he was able to prop the bar out. He pulled his arm back in, crying out in pain; he'd dislocated his shoulder in the process. But they would have to worry about it later; for now, they could escape, as he shoved open the prison gate with his remaining good arm.

"Come on, let's go," he spat, through the pain, slipping through the iron bars at last. He didn't know where they were, but they couldn't have been far from Alliria. He started to run, occasionally looking behind him to see if Liviana had caught up, or if he would need to help her. Once they were a safe distance away, he turned to her.

"I don't know where we are, but they can't have taken us too far," he said, out of breath and touching his arm. He looked to Liviana. "Are you alright?"
 
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Liviana

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The sound of the lockpick teasing away at the iron lock was just as soothing a sound as his voice as it sang to her. She didn't move from where she sat rigid in form, but her shivering slowly subsided as she was able to focus on something other than the claws of the iron on her mind.

The moment she heard the clunking and screeching of the door being pushed open, followed by the confirmation that they were free to leave, Livvy wasted no time in scrambling to her feet and stumbling out of the miniature hell and out into the fresh air. A few more staggered steps and the iron released its grip on her. She breathed as though she'd been submerged in ice cold water for the past few minutes, her greedy lungs screaming for air that she drank in eagerly.

Livvy wasn't all too aware that her legs were carrying her, only that she was moving quickly, her panted breaths small, silky white plumes on the crisp night air. She near collided into him as he stopped to turn to her, her feet skidding to a halt in the dirt, her dull eyes wide and still slightly shell shocked as she cast them over him and around.

Forest. Suddenly the scent of pine ensnared her, bringing tears to her eyes. Harold Regisford would never have brought her here if he knew where his ancestors had taken her from, not if he'd known the strength she could draw from a place like this. When had the last time been, when her surroundings had been lush and verdant and not the gilded prison of stone? A quiet sound rasped in the back of her throat as she took it in, and her trembling hand reached out toward the closest, ancient giant as she looked up at its heaven bound canopy. As she laid her palm flat to its rough skin, the tree had exactly the opposite effect on her as the iron had. It infused her with life and nurture, reaching deep into her very soul and drawing out all pain and discomfort and soothing every ache but the everlasting one in her chest.

Her laboured breaths slowed and a deep sigh tumbled free, the girl's forehead falling to rest above her hand and her lips curling at the resurgence she felt.

"I am.." she said finally in answer to his question. "Thank you Otto Von Geist." she whispered, committing his full name to the contract she'd just signed with her spoken gratitude. "I'm in your debt." she said, turning to look over her shoulder at him, her gaze falling to how he held his arm.

"You're hurt?"
 
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Otto von Geist

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Otto watched with a sense of wonder as the two of them finally reached a safer location, as Liviana laid her palm against a tree and seemed to be suffused with some kind of primal magic that Otto couldn't begin to understand due to his rustic roots. He knew of mages, but not the workings of magic, and while it seemed possible that a spy could be magical, something about the situation was odd. What kind of mage drew power from trees? Was she from some far off land where such things were common? Either way, the little ritual seemed to bring her a renewed strength, present in both her voice and manner, but it was only a momentary distraction from the agony of his dislocated shoulder, and it almost enough to make him not give her a little sarcasm in response to her concern.

"Well, while you're very welcome, I suppose you must have missed the crunch my bones made when I disbarred the iron," he said, raising an eyebrow at her. He couldn't deny that she was possessed of an otherworldly beauty in this moment, but even so, the pain was incredibly distracting. "I suppose if you're keen to repay me, perhaps you could help me set it? It's..." he grit his teeth, "Very painful."

There was, of course, the other pressing concern of their situation. The Regisfords wouldn't let them just escape. Every moment they spent was another the Regisfords could use to send hounds, and manhunters atop swift steeds, all designed to bring them back to that most abominable of cages, and Otto had no intention of returning. He suspected Liviana felt the same.
 
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Liviana

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Livvy's pale cheeks tinted rose as they warmed, and her teeth latched onto her lower lip if only to add to the look of utter sheepishness she felt. Her mind hadn't been entirely present, focused only on getting out of that cage and far enough away that she could breath easy and the pain stopped. She hadn't realised he'd hurt himself in the process of freeing her, and her throat cleared awkwardly.

"Oh..I'm sorry. Yes, yes of course.." she frowned, shaking her head as though to force herself back to her senses. She glanced over her shoulder before approaching him, finally realising the same concern that they would likely be hunted down before long.

"We should go that way. The forest is thick, it'll slow them down at least." she nodded toward the hills of forest that spanned miles into the distance. "Perhaps find a river to wade through.." she added as she placed her hand gently atop his shoulder and the other in the crook of his elbow. The dogs knew her scent well, and though she could change her appearance well enough, she couldn't change that.

"Hold still.. It'll only hurt for a second.." she promised with a tight smile. "On three. One..." There came no two, only the sickening pop of his shoulder clicking back into place as she yanked and pushed it into the socket.
 
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Otto von Geist

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It had been selfish of him to ignore the magic he'd just witnessed in favor of his own pain, but then, these were strange circumstances, and it was in such circumstances that the strange ceased to be so unusual. He wasn't keen on the idea of escaping into the woods--too much could go wrong, and they had no supplies--but anything seemed better than staying here to be at the mercy of the Regisfords, so he was loathe to disagree, nodding his head as she suggested it.

Then she placed her hand on his shoulder. "Only a second?" he asked, shooting her a sharp look, but by then she had already set his shoulder again, causing Otto to cry out in pain for a moment until finally he could feel movement in his shoulder again. "Gods, that hurt," he said. He sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. "Wish I could say that was the first time that's happened to me, though. Thank you. You're right though, we should be moving, and quickly."

Otto could hardly stand to see the frown that had formed on her face by now, though, as he started walking with Liviana deeper into the woods. He was overtaken by a particular curiosity, now that the two of them had invariably started moving in a direction together, now that the moment was over and he'd been granted control of his common senses again. "Say, that business with the tree... I don't suppose you're some kind of mage, are you?" he asked, frankly clueless about the magical world, having grown up in the streets. "I've heard of magic, seen it a few times, but never seen someone be... refreshed by a tree like that."
 
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Liviana

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Liviana drew in deep lungfuls of air. She'd forgotten how fresh and clean it could be, how curative the smell of the forest alone was to her. She'd been starved of it for so long that she greedily touched at every strand of tall grass, every low hanging bow or branch or falling leave within arm's reach, like a child unable to contain their excitement at a baker's market.

She glanced at him, her lips twisting as she fought for an explanation without telling him too much. If he knew what she was or where she'd come from, he'd use her like the Regisfords had.. Humans couldn't help themselves.

"No. I'm not a mage.." she answered with a quiet laugh under her breath.. "I was born in the forest.. I suppose I've just.. been a little deprived of it. Don't you find it uplifting too?" she asked casually, but gave him little time to answer before she paused, hearing a river in the distance. It was too far for him to hear, she was certain, and so she twisted her lips..

"I think there's a river this way.. We should cross through it.." she suggested, and altered their direction toward the sound of water.
 
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Otto von Geist

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Of course, Liviana was a spy, and it made sense to Otto that she wouldn't relinquish such information so easily, especially since such information could be compromising for both of their respective healths--more so than even what they were already enduring. Still, he couldn't help but give her a quip for her trouble.

"Yes, well, the next time my arm breaks I'll go spend an afternoon with a tree," he said. "It doesn't matter."

He thought about why she might want to direct them to a river next, but his head was still foggy from their time in the small cell and the pain of having his arm reset. "Sure, a river. I could use a drink--my head's killing me from that pain. I'm sure you're still feeling it too. Well, never fear; my sword arm is still good, and ask anyone who knows me--I have a mean right hook."

I wager you could put me into the mud on a whim, he thought. So perhaps it's your sword arm I should be more concerned with. After all...

He looked at her for a long moment, examining her face again, remarking upon the elegance and beauty she bore despite the sweat, dirt, and grime they'd both been thrown into in the cell. His thoughts continued as he walked with her in the direction she'd chosen, time passing around them in a gentle silence throughout the woods, although not in Otto's mind.

...there wouldn't be any witnesses out here. She spoke of being unable to escape the Regisfords, until I kidnapped her... If she killed me, would that set her free, at last? Or would she merely go back to them? I suppose time will only tell, but I'd wager if she's been a spy a while, she'd be more than happy to bide her time like a spider until the moment was right to make her move.

At last, the two of them would arrive to the river she spoke of.

"How charming," he said aloud, his voice full of a teasing bite. "I don't suppose you might elaborate now why we needed to come to a river?"
 

Liviana

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Livvy's brow furrowed at his smart retort and she huffed quietly. She didn't take being made fun of very well, she never had, and so the childlike excitement she'd felt for the first time in so long was to be so brief as he mocked her and her mood dipped.

She said nothing until the got to the river and he asked another question of her in that teasing tone. "The hounds know my scent, yours too. It'll throw them off... It's not magic, it's just common sense. And I didn't say it the trees could heal like that either... I'm not an idiot.." she muttered quietly and waded in without bothering to wait for him.

Ah but to wound a fae's pride, would surely bring One bad fortune...

The river was shallow and calm enough that they could walk up it for quite some time before it grew too deep and slowed them down. The evening was creeping in, and she was on the lookout for somewhere safe enough to rest for a few hours. Another few days walk, she hoped, would be out with the Regisford's range. She only hoped they weren't prepared to search further.

Livvy climbed the bank with the aid of a low hanging bough, and she stared off ahead at a distant tree line. a few patches of trees stood taller than the others, no doubt elevated by rocks and so, she hoped, some shelter or caves where they could safely light a fire and dry off.

"This way.." she murmured.
 
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Otto von Geist

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Otto was taken aback by her response; perhaps his mind and pride were merely wounded by their recent experience together, but he'd felt his response had been appropriate given the clear display of something more than mundane back near where they had escaped. He knew something was afoot, he just didn't know exactly what, but if Liviana was willing to go to such lengths to hide it...

Then maybe it's not something she wants to share, he thought, nodding to himself quietly.

"I suppose you must know more of dogs than I, as the only scents I'm familiar with are sadly the various perfumes used by ladies of the court," he said. "Or, at least, you know more about things beyond the city limits in general. I could have really used such knowledge when I was at first exiled, and certainly could use it now..."

Her next response was little more than a murmur, so he followed her next to the river, refusing to wade into its waters, waiting a moment to add to what he'd said.

"I must seem much less... impressive... with the mask off," he said. "Not quite the master criminal I painted myself to be, which turned out to be a near-fatal stroke of pride for the both of us... and... I... I'm sure it must vex you to be bound to someone new," he said, continuing to walk, as his thoughts turned back to what was now the cornerstone of their relationship. "After all, the devil you know is better than the one you don't, right?"

He felt awkward saying it; theirs was a tenuous relationship now, alone in the woods comforted only by the occasional sounds of the forest around them. His own thoughts seemed loud, intrusive almost. He didn't really know what he was saying; he didn't understand this business surrounding her apparent ownership, and he certainly didn't condone owning another person, yet according to Liviana the two were inextricably bound now, barring that Otto returned her to her original masters.

"There is an abundance of reasons I shouldn't trust you as well," he said. "You are a spy; how do I know you won't kill me before returning to your masters? That's the danger, isn't it--endless paranoia won't get us anywhere but in the dirt, one way or the other. I struggle to suggest it, but I must put my trust in you, because there is naught left in this world that I can trust barring my own two hands, lest those fail me as well the next time I play thief."

He hoped she would pause and turn around to give him a moment, where he would reach his hand out for hers as a sign of trust, as the wind picked up around them, signaling that perhaps a storm would be arriving soon, or perhaps it was some other omen Otto knew he should pay more attention to, but right now his focus was on the strange woman he'd met, whom he was now bound to...
 
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Liviana

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"Is that so.." The dull girl answered with a roll of her eyes as he spoke of his knowledge of ladies' perfumes. Men and their uncontrollable urge to brag of the notches in their bed posts. Livvy had watched the men of the courts, the games they played and the values were boring and pathetic, but the little whispers and so-called 'scandals' she shared with the Regisfords were more valuable to them than gold.

She didn't answer as he mentioned knowing more about the untamed lands outside of the city. She hadn't been allowed to leave the city for.. Gods, she'd lost count of how many years it had been now, but the ache to return had always been there - once a prominent pain in her chest, and after time, a dull gnawing sensation at every thought of it that crossed her mind.

Impressive? Livvy couldn't help but smirk, her brow arching as some taunt about him assuming he ever seemed impressive to her at all danced on the tip of her tongue. It wasn't lost on her either that whilst he wore a mask to appear more impressive, she wore hers to appear less so, to blend in to the drab human society she'd found herself imprisoned in. But, then he reminded her that she was now bound to him and her smirk was snuffed out and her attention shot to him, first with affront, and then with the sad realisation that she couldn't deny the truth of it. She'd lost herself in the sudden sensation of liberation, free of the Regisfords and once more back in the arms of her beloved forests. His reminder stung, and she swallowed a bitter lump of pain in her throat as she huffed quietly and set her sights once more on the path ahead.

Livvy listened silently as her new 'possessor' spoke of trust. She couldn't deny being a spy, but her brow furrowed as the realisation dawned, that he seemed just as alone in this world as she was. She did stop, and she looked down at his hand as he took hers. Somber brown eyes rose slowly to his face as she took the gesture's meaning, and her lips pressed into a thin smile. There really was little other choice.

"I have never killed anyone in my life.." she stated firmly. "And if it makes you feel better, the concept of trust lost all meaning to me a very long time ago. I've yet to understand it again.. But there is no need to worry about my betraying you. I have no wish to return to the Regisfords." she assured him, and cast her gaze heaven bound with a small smile at the scent of the impending storm. "We should hurry."

She tugged his hand and turned on her heels to continue on in a run, chased on by the low rumble of distant thunder. Livvy followed the incline in the land, and the trail of jagged rocks did, as predicted, lead them to a small alcove deep enough to shelter them almost entirely. Judging by the placement of boulders and the patch of charred wood at the back of it, it had been used for such purposes before, and some dry wood had been so kindly left behind.

"The storm should call off their search for the night, if they even realise that we're gone at all. We can see it out here, and continue east at first light. I-if that's alright with you, of course.." Master she thought sourly.
 
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Otto von Geist

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There was a lot to unpack in the words Liviana had chosen to him, but there was scant little time to interpret, as she mentioned that they should hurry--presumably to find shelter before the storm reached them.

"Aye," Otto said, nodding in agreement as she started leading him by the hand, the two bounding through the forest around them like shadowy wisps of smoke as storm clouds gathered overhead. He remarked on the softness of her hand, wondering if she kept it so in order to fool potential targets of espionage; his own features were similarly smooth when he'd been Marjorie's beaux, and it seemed both of them had been in quite similar circumstances indeed...

Finally, they reached an alcove that was unfortunately not too dissimilar in appearance to their former holding cell, though blessedly larger and without the wretched iron bars which trapped them together. The dry wood and dried straw beds seemed convenient to Otto, though he was simply too exhausted to question such a kindness at the moment. He listened to Liviana's new plan, noting her stutter at the mention of asking his permission, though he was too tired now to pursue it.

"That's a good plan," he said, simply, catching a yawn before sitting in one of the beds. "Perhaps as we head east, we can get some directions and find somewhere to go. Somewhere... we can start over," he said, at last thinking about the road ahead beyond just their immediate future.

He helped get a fire going before turning in, lying down on one of the straw beds again; it was hardly comfortable, though better than the bare rock underneath, and his consciousness was quickly failing him. Before he slipped entirely, he muttered something to Liviana in a drowsy haze:

"Let's start over... we'll steal the whole world, you and me..."

Then, the darkness of sleep overtook him, and consciousness failed him until the following morning.
 
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Liviana

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Somewhere we can start over..

We'll steal the whole world, you and me..

She watched him for a long moment after his eyes had closed, her head tilted, and the echo of his voice bouncing around in her mind as now that she was sort of alone and had a quiet moment to think, she considered precisely what she had done..

She had escaped the tedium that was her miserable life within noble society, and she had swapped it for an unpredictable trundle toward nowhere in particular with a thief who said things like 'we'll steal the world, you and me..'

Did he count her as some sort of partner, rather than a tool to be used? Of course, he didn't know what she was capable of, and the moment he did she was certain that would change. But still, right now, she found herself smiling at his words, and she felt a long-since-snuffed, spark of mischief ignite in her chest. Perhaps they would steal the world..

Thunder cracked overhead and rolled over the skies, the flash of lightening here and there illuminating the cave in a far more brilliant light than that of the fire. Livvy wandered to the mouth of the cave and sat down to watch the spectacle, the sound of heavy rain a delightful assault on her sensitive ears as she let it drown out all other sound and quiet her mind.

It was there she fell asleep, soaking in the scent of pine and petrichor, so soothed by the natural cradle around her that she slept more soundly than she had in decades.
 
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Otto von Geist

"The Ghoul"
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In his dreams, Otto was visited by a nightmare darkly indeed. He was back in the role of being Marjorie's mistress, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the court, when before him something foul began to occur: darkness overtook the estate, the eyes of the court glowing a dim yellow against the darkness, the only light visible aside from the faint blue of the midnight sky from a nearby window. Otto tried to call out, but was speechless; then, lightning flashed, and before him he saw Marjorie, but not, her face overtaken by some terrible violence, her canine teeth having turned into proper fangs and her jaw unhinging slightly, creeping towards him more with each flash of lightning until finally she was upon him, and he thought he was about to have his innards ripped out when finally he awoke in a cold sweat, shouting loudly into the alcove around him.

He said nothing, taking a moment to catch his breath and put his hand against his forehead, feeling his clammy skin against his sweaty palms in an undesirable mixture of sensations. In a moment, too, his sudden need for a bath was complemented by another feeling: hunger. They had gone some time without eating, at least, as Otto remembered it, but there was no food readily available here in the wilderness, and he hardly had the equipment with which to go and hunt something--not that he even knew how to, even if he did have the necessary gear.

Slowly, coming to his senses and slightly blinded by the dawn, he called out to see if his uneasy companion was still with him, or if she had slipped away during the night. Not that he could have blamed her--bad luck seemed to follow Otto wherever he went, and being alone with a man carried its own set of issues for a woman such as herself.

"Liviana?" he said, his voice seeming small, his mind still beset by the horrors of the nightmare...

Liviana