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 Azazel's Frozen Beach

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King Oberon
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PostSubject: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:33 pm

A beautiful beach used to be here, but of late has become little more than a frozen pool. Still beautiful... just a great deal colder.

---------------------------------------



~Several Days Previous; Asylum Interior; Before the Journey to Azazel~

Sunlight nearly burned his eyes upon shifting just so on the cot in his cell. Ebony eyebrows knitted, tattooed eyes sporting a pair of seven-legged spiders squeezing themselves shut even tighter against the assault. Now awake, Stephen shouted his sudden pain to the world in a colorful stream of swearwords and rolled...

... only to fall off the cot and onto the floor. Right on his hand. Steel blue eyes widened in pain as he violently twisted to position himself on his back. From this vantage point, he could hear that his shout had disturbed his neighbors for they were now screeching at the top of their lungs as he had done, albeit his shout was not nearly as shrill.

Next thing he knew, Stephen was being hauled to his feet by a pair of gentleman, the only two that still dared get near him. Once righted, Stephen struggled against them as well as the ties and chains that bound him. Shouting his demands, or much of anything, had not worked in the past yet it usually got his blood pumping to the point where the adrenalin would offer extra strength. Not that it ever did him any good.

The director of the facility was standing next to a line of others just like Stephen: chained, and fitted with the infernal jackets that hindered any and all movement. Though, from what he could see the chains were a recent addition compared to the ensemble they’d gotten him into. “What have you done with my wife?! Lemme go!” Stephen snarled through gritted teeth at the two attendants dragging him toward the line of other cases of unmanageable folk.

“Thy wife is none of thy concern,” replied the man to his left, whom Stephen immediately spat on. Caught off-guard, the orderly released him... which was just what he wanted. Immediately, the former mortician rammed into said orderly, knocking him over, and kicked at the other. A yelp of pain was like an alarm system for the entire room within the ward, though also served to excite the other inmates in the asylum that were present.

Orderlies and guards flooded the place, almost as if dancing with the inmates that were out of their cells. Admittedly there wasn’t much any of them could do to fight and with frustrated defeat Stephen was forced onto his knees, struggling futilely against the straitjacket. The echoes of many chains rattling from not just him but others in the room sounded like a thunderous waterfall until, slowly, all had exerted themselves into tiredness.

Stephen started when a sheet of parchment was roughly shoved into his face for him to read. Angry steel blue eyes glared at the person responsible: the ringleader of the band of knights who more or less put him here. “Thou and thy buddies-“ the knight paused to glance toward the others who had been deemed insane, “Art going for a little trip... into the icy tundra of Azazel. Prithee, how doth freezing to death set with one such as thou?”

Stephen shook his unkempt mane of raven hair out of his face and put on a countenance as though he were standing tall and proud, and more than a little ticked off by the way nostrils flared and his jaw set firm. A hateful glare bled from Stephen’s eyes to all in the vicinity, saying nothing in reply.

They would pay – all of them would pay. Even though he was more than guilty of his crimes, Stephen vowed to himself that one day, they would die a most horrible death.

“Get him on his feet and on the chain with the rest of them.” the knight ordered.

Stephen wearily struggled against whom he deemed his captors as they did as ordered, though managed to wriggle free of them and place a well-aimed strike to the knight’s retreating back. It pained his shoulder to do it, but Stephen didn’t really care. Next second, the man found himself shoved against the wall in a choke-hold by the knight he’d assaulted. Blue orbs gazed emotionlessly at the man who could easily have snapped his neck and left him for dead.

“Thou art lucky I don’t kill thee where thy stand!” roared the knight, approximately the same time Stephen spat in this man’s face. The knight’s jaw tightened, and quicker than Stephen could anticipate a fist had connected with his face. Stephen shook his head in an attempt to right his addled senses from the blow, and immediately sunk his teeth – the only weapon available to him that could do any damage at this point – into a patch of unarmored flesh at the knight’s wrist.

Orderlies rushed to the aid of the knight, whom had let loose a bloodcurdling scream of pain as blood had been drawn. Stephen's mouth flooded with the hot crimson liquid, the site of the wound trickling the same substance down the knight’s arm.

With a force that would’ve broken his jaw had he not cooperated at least a little, the men freed the still-bleeding knight from Stephen’s grip. One went to cauterize the knight’s wound while the other roughly shoved Stephen toward the line of others from the Most Dangerous Ward. As the brute of a man wearing a white tunic chained Stephen onto the line somewhere in the middle, Stephen sprayed all those nearest him with the mouthful of Knight’s blood that he’d gathered.

Before anyone could respond with anything more eloquent than shouts of surprise and disgust, the knight reappeared. A bloodied bandage was now wrapped around his wrist. He stared at the blood dripping down Stephen’s chin from the minutes-earlier assault and kicked, knocking Stephen down to his knees. In rage, Stephen attempted once again to stand but a few brave souls placed their weight on him, holding him down and still.

“Bring the mask,” commanded the knight.

Blue orbs widened in fear at the device as it was brought into view, for it looked like donning and removing it would be more than painful... he could see the small spikes in the interior of the mask, glinting malevolently. Thus, Stephen struggled even though it was in vain. They weren’t going to get that thing on him if he could help it!

A strangled cry tore through Stephen’s throat as buckles secured what was more or less a muzzle onto his face, the needle-like barbs superficially but painfully sticking into his skin.

* * *

Restrained, masked, and chained, Stephen reluctantly marched with the other lunatics on a kind of Trail of Shame from here to Azazel. He refused to resign himself to his fate, occasionally trying to break free. The guards and orderlies in charge of this trek were on horseback nearby but not too near. The reasoning for that was so the masses could humiliate them as they passed, tossing rotting food and rocks or whatever else they saw fit to do upon them without fear of legal retribution. Most of his comrades were well-known criminals in the area that were unstable in the head, and thus most of the common people found reason to celebrate their departure in such a manner.

Even as they barely cleared the city limits, Stephen heard those supervising the journey taking bets as to whether or not their “cargo” of sorts would freeze by the time they arrived. While the majority of them seemed to have little tolerance for cold, Stephen knew he could count on his Carakleinian genes to bolster his defenses even while wearing such thin of garments as he was now. They could have made him walk the path naked and he would still have a much higher chance of surviving than any of them.

’I’d bet my soul I could last longer than any of you in winter’s hell... would you bet yours?’ Stephen thought darkly while glaring at the guards, his eyes the only visible indication of his musings.


~ Several Days Later; Azazel Beach ~

Even after several days, the blood stained upon the white straitjacket had not fully faded. And, personally, Stephen rather liked the gruesome touch it conveyed.

He had been the first to notice the temperature change, and was personally thankful for it. In the near-distance Stephen could see the palace for they’d arrived to the outskirts only yesterday. While he had very little in the way of magical powers, the man could practically feel the icy signature of his cousin’s magic all around.

If it weren't for his current physical state, Stephen would've felt as though being welcomed home to Caraklein.

At the back of his road-weary mind, Stephen was certain they’d likely be deposited into the nearest dungeon until someone decided where to put them from there, if not execute them on the spot. It was no secret that a few of the people chained to the line were outlaws destined for death once they got here. It was just another exercise in torture, and no doubt the outlaw would be given to the finest torturers this side of Alrania.

That was a compliment by Stephen’s reckoning.

Subzero temperatures, as he’d correctly surmised, still didn’t bother him. However, Stephen was getting tired of this march. Surely they would be there soon, and the lot of his traveling partners could simply collapse where they stood. Not that he truly cared about any he marched with.

It was rather difficult to get much sleep being restrained as he was and when several of those present twitched, snored, or in one man’s case, didn’t sleep at all and instead sang songs in a highly annoying pitch. And, as fate would have it, the guy that didn’t sleep and sang - deliberately off key - happened to be the person behind Stephen.

“Shut thy mouth!” came Stephen’s muffled voice from within the mask, sneering at the man in question as they walked. The barbs on the inside of the mask made speaking rather painful, but he figured it was a small price to pay if the guy actually did stop singing even for a moment.

As ‘Off-Key’ attempted to trip or kick him, Stephen couldn’t tell which, he dodged out of the way what little he could as being chained to the guy and wearing leg irons kept him from running or even kicking back. However the clever move was not quite as well-played as Stephen would have liked for, a second later, the lot of them had fallen on a thick sheet of ice.

“GET OFF ME!” Stephen screamed as ‘Off Key’ fell on top of him, the falling looking very much like a set of dominoes. To Stephen’s misfortune, ‘Off Key’ had struck the side of his masked face mostly out of accident in the fall. Stephen winced as he felt a trickle of hot blood slide down his face, over his chin, and down his neck beyond the confines of the mask. By that time, ‘Off Key’ had rolled off of Stephen, grunting in pain as his form hit the ice. Stephen immediately brought both knees upward to assault the aggravating man in this rare moment of opportunity before slowly getting to his feet.

He was rewarded with a very satisfying cry of pain for his efforts.

Dragging some snow onto the ice, Stephen found it was a little easier to stand on snow-covered ice rather than ice alone. Guards and orderlies merely laughed at the slipping and sliding group before most of them turned back towards their home. Only a few guards remained to see that they were either escorted to the local asylum or died by freezing, though would take measures to ascertain he did not share the latter of the two possible fates.

_________________

^Updated on: 2/20/11


Last edited by King Oberon on Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:12 pm

Rowan lay in her usual spot in the far corner of her cell. The cold stone floor no longer chiller her, for she was used to sleeping in such a spot, she felt more safe, or as safe as she could feel in a place like the asylum. She had not gotten much sleep through the night due to the screams echoing through the corridors and bouncing around her cell. After two years in her little room, she still had not grown used to the mournful cries of the other’s locked up as well.

Her eyes stared at the wall in front of her, fixed upon a fly as it crawled its way through a crack in the stone. She often watched it as it grew from a maggot in her food to a full adult. Soon it would die and be nothing but a shell on her floor, at add with the others. The light that slowly made its way through the barred window on her cell door made its twisted shape on the floor a few feet from her face. Soon the sound of heavy footsteps echoing closer to her cell caused her blood to freeze and her grip upon her doll, Missy, to tighten.
The clinking of keys in the lock was soon followed by the high pitched squeal of the door as the guard opened it, a full beam of light hitting her square in the face. She could barely make out his silhouette against the brightness. She did not move, save for her breathing.

“Alright little girl, you’re been invited on a special trip.” He said with a hint of contempt. She couldn’t see, but a wicked grin spread across his face. Rowan did not move and simply cowered into herself.
“Hey! Didn’t ye hear me? I said get up!” She said loudly, causing Rowan to startle and sit up.

“Where am I going?” she said in a small barely auditable voice. She heard the guard chuckle a bit, which sent a chill up her spine.

“On a lovely walk on the beach.” He said with mock politeness. “And aren’t you lucky…you’ll be joined by a few of your friends as well…. Now get up!!” With that he reached in and yanked her on her feet by her arm, the chains around her ankle clanging loudly against the stone floor. Rowan did not make a sound though her arm felt as if it were ripped from her body. She simply learned to take such treatment, not much different from that of her father’s. She cowered again as he kept his grip tight around her wrist as he unlocked the chain attached to the wall. She knew better than to run, she learned that not long after she arrived. She had tried to escape when a guard arrived with plate full of rotten food. She did not get far and her punishment was 30 lashes, along with the torture of dirty hands all over her.

She made sure Missy was tightly stuffed into her bodice as not to leave her behind. She’d been fortunate enough that none of the asylum guards have not gotten the cruel thought to take it from her…yet. She did not resist as he lead her down the corridors to the room at the end of the hall. She could hear the shouts and taunts of insane prisoners as she walked past the cells, many of them she did not care to hear. The large wooden door creaked loudly as it opened and she was shoved inside. Directly in front of her sat a sinister man at a desk with a small stack of papers in front of him. She heard the door slam behind him and all was silent for a few moments before the man spoke.

“Miss Rowan Violet Baines….” He said in a deep voice. Rowan stared at him, her eyes glazed over from lack of sleep as well as her usual defense in such situation by retreating into her own mind. He stared at her as if expecting her to reply. With a heavy sigh he went back to the papers in front of him. “You have resided here for two years today I see…..your charge was causing the deaths of your parents, Igraine and Bertram Baines, by setting you mother on fire and stabbing your father to death. Is this correct?” again he brought his eyes back to her. Rowan’s expression did not change, nor did she answer the man. As if expecting her silence, he again returned to the papers. “It also states that you are quite mad and therefore had no concept of your actions, which is why you were sent here and not to the prisons. You have no living relatives, nor has anyone come to claim you. It seems you are alone in the world…pity.” His last word was void of any hint of caring. Rowan felt the sting of his words, though the meaning of his tone escaped her comprehension. “It is decided then that since you will be a permanent resident it the asylum, we’ve decided to move you to a more capable facility. You will be joining others on a walk to the asylum in Azazel. I bid you mercy upon you.” He said without raising his eyes and motioned for her to be taken away.

Rowan felt herself being dragged away, her feet barely able to keep up as she was led down a series of corridors. She was almost relived to be leaving the hell she was in, but frightened at what was to come. She was snapped back into reality as she watched herself being linked to a long chain, a long line of prisoners ahead of her as well as behind her. She glanced at the man behind her, who returned her gaze with a malicious grin as he licked his lips. She quickly turned back around facing ahead. “Alright you wastes of flesh, get moving!” she felt the tug on the chain and the line start forward. Rowan’s heart sank as the prospect of death…or worse, loomed ahead.


Days Later…

The sound of off-pitch singing kept Rowan awake all through the night as a man two bodies ahead of her sat up all night screeching at the top on his lungs. She lay in the snow covered ice, shivering and numb, with her hands over her ears, eyes clenched shut. It didn’t so much help with the noise, but did seem to help to block the cold.

As day came and they continued the walk, the man’s singing seemed to get worse. Rowan almost thought about possibly throwing some snow at him, but a side glance at a nearby guard made her consider otherwise. She was startled by a slight tug on the chain and she strained to look ahead of her. The singing man was attempting to kick the man in front of him, who was bound and a mask covered his face. However, the man missed and fell, pulling them all to the ice below, including Rowan. She hit the ice hard and cried out as her side hit against the ice. What was worse was the man behind her landed directly on top of her. “Well, hello little red... Come to daddy!” he hissed menacingly in her ear and she could feel his chained hands againt her legs. Rowan squirmed and screamed but was muffled by the snow. A cry of pain emitted from the man as a whip came down upon him from the guard. She watched as the man was yanked to his feet. “You! Save it for the cells!” The man gave a scowl at the guard and then turned his gaze back at her. “Oh I will…” he said and gave her a wink. Rowan slowly stood up, finding it hard on the ice and after some slipping she managed to right herself. As they continued to walk, she kept her focus ahead of her. Most of the time her eyes focus on the man in the mask, curious as to who was behind it….and why he was so tightly restrained.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:42 am

A hand roughly grabbed a fistful of raven hair and forced Stephen to look up at the hand’s owner rather than make sure he didn’t lose his footing. Tattooed eyes scrunched into slits, allowing their pale blue irises the minimum amount of vulnerability against a possible onslaught. His blood’s continued trail down his neck and into the collar of his straitjacket and tunic felt very awkward yet oddly enjoyable, despite the pain of sharp barbs sticking into his face. A feminine scream seemed to mirror his own pain, though he had no idea if it was a scream from among those on the chain or if it was in his head. “Save it for the cells,” the guard snarled at him in a low rasping voice. Stephen jumped when he heard the exact same words in the form of a shout not too far away. The mortician glared at the guard. Once his hair was freed from the vice-like grip Stephen struck the guard rather hard, square in the nose, with his forehead.

More crimson drops stained the half-Carakleinian’s pale skin and collected in ebony eyebrows as the guard’s nose bled at first in drops, which soon turned to a full stream. The guard shouted and backed away from him to tend to his nose, but two more arrived from behind to keep Stephen still and shouting about one of the inmates going through an ‘episode’. With his level of sanity, or lack thereof, Stephen wasn’t sure who was being referenced amongst the line or if they were talking about him.

The squirming stopped just long enough for Stephen to stop and stare at a woman standing two or three bodies away from him. Her hair seemed aflame, it was so brilliantly red. Only since Ichabod Payne had he seen persons with red hair, and even then it was a dark red. This woman’s hair... was different. It surprised him that she was in the asylum, too. Never had he seen her before... perhaps she wasn’t part of the Danger Ward? But then why was she with the rest of them? Icy blue orbs couldn’t help but notice the doll tucked into her bodice...

“Get moving!” one of the guards shouted in his ear, causing him to jump and thrash about anew. His legs were chained so he couldn’t kick at them, the straitjacket hindered his arms, and the mask over his face prevented him from doing anything serious to his escorts. Ergo, all he could do was struggle against the restraints and attempt to gain enough momentum to bodily strike one or the other.

He gave one last glance to the woman a short distance in back of him before a pair of guards hauled him along on the march of sorts. While he barely knew who Scarlet – Stephen’s temporary name for the woman – was, he knew the inmate behind her rather well. There were quite a few he could identify by sight as those in the high security wards. Stephen envied a few of them, for they were at most simply chained to the line. Perhaps if he didn’t fight so much hadn’t killed at least four in his previous prison sentence, they wouldn’t have restrained him. But he couldn’t help it: he wanted out! Stephen also wanted a few other things, but that was beside the point... his wife’s corpse was likely being returned to its grave in Caraklein, and his scalpels no doubt pined for his return to the morgue he called home...

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:30 pm

Letting herself slip into the depth of her own mind, Rowan began to feel a little more at ease, despite the bitter cold and constant snickering form the man behind her. She was broken from her retreat by the sounds of more scuffling coming from a few bodies a head of her. She honed in on the man causing the ruckus, curious to find it caused by the strange man in the mask. She watched as he knocked his bound face into the guard restraining him and a morbid sense of joy filled her. She giggled outwardly, clasping her hands together in excitement. She delighted in seeing blood shed from the ruthless caretakers of the group. The cold seemed to disappear as she was filled with the feeling she had not known in many years. Whoever this man was, he did not fear the guards. He was wild, and free, like an untamed stallion fighting the binds of those foolish enough to believe he could be broken. What she would give to have that feeling, that fearlessness, to know that such a wild spirit would be feared and therefore no harm could come to her.

She kept an intense eye upon him, fascinated by his lack of obedience towards the guards. She faltered slightly when she saw him turn and meet her gaze. Yet, she smiled her approval of his treatment of the foolish man attempting to show authority over him. Just barely able to reach to do so, she removed her doll from her bodice and brought it to her cheek in a comforting embrace, her emerald eyes never leaving the man, even as he was shoved forward, forcing the line to move again. She once again felt the numb of the cold as they picked up their journey again. She did not have to glance behind her to know that the man had his eyes fixed upon her as well.

As they walked, Rowan kept her find busy by whispering a conversation with her doll, Missy. The doll, who before had a blank look upon its face, now seemed to have slight smile to its tattered yarn mouth. She did her best to keep her hidden from the guards, afraid they would take her most precious friend from her as a cruel form of torture to her fragile mind. She had almost forgotten her fear of the man behind her, as well as the cold. She let out a giggle at something Missy “said” and quickly quieted out of fear, her eyes darting around to make sure no one noticed. But someone did notice.

She felt a sudden tap upon her right shoulder and her head snapped in the direction only to find the space empty. The next thing she realized was Missy was ripped from the grasp of her left hand. She whipped around to find the man behind her dangling the doll by its skirt out of her each. “Lookie what I got, crazy little red! You want it? You gotta come get it!” she said with a devilish grin as he dangled the doll to the side of his face. Rowan whined in misery as her only friend was now in the hands of a dirty-minded criminal. Panicking for the fate of her doll as well as the potential danger she would be in if she tried to rescue her little cloth friend, she tried to reach for her, careful not to get too close. “Gimmie her! Please! Don’t hurt her! Give her back!” She pleaded with the insane man, tears filling her eyes and the helplessness overcame her. She gave one last reach and was sure she could grab her doll, but just as she was about to grasp her, he dropped the doll and griped her hand tightly, pulling her against him.

She screamed squirmed but he brought his chained arms over her head and around her waist and pinned her against his body. “T’ hell with waiting…you’re mine now girl! ...So sweet…so little…” he hissed as she felt his dirty tongue against her neck. Fear gripped her as the memory of two years before flooded into her mind. She pushed as much as she could, but the chains around her wrist allowed her little movement and well as his strong grip upon her. The guards she feared and hated before now became her only saviors, and prayed they would soon deliver her from her hell. But nothing came, for what seemed like hours as she felt the man make every attempt to assault her. Her mind screamed for mercy and help, but was lost to who would help her now. She cried angrily now as no one seemed interested in removing him from her.

But, consumed in her fear, she failed to notice the lashings that rang out and his grip loosen, she could feel a struggle, but within the chaos she could not determine who was fighting against whom. After a moment, she realized it was her who was being wrestled free from the man. Three guards it took to release her from the man’s vice. As soon as she felt her body freed, she sank to the ground and struggled to crawl away, her hand still chained to the line, not letter her get far. She grabbed Missy from the snow and quickly shoved her back into her bodice, now safe from any harm. She looked back to see that in order to free her, the man’s chains had to be removed and he now struggled violently as they attempted to once again place the shackles around his hands. One more whip brought him to a knee and he weakened enough for them to restrain him once more.

“That’s it!” shouted one of the guards in charge. “I’ve had enough if his rubbish from the likes of you! I’ve had enough dealing with that one,” he motioned to the masked man, “I am not going to give you another opportunity to delay this godforsaken trek any longer!” He snapped his fingers and pointed to Rowan and addressed the evil man again “If you cannot keep your hands to yourself then I’ll give you something you won’t want to touch!” He said with a hint of a smirk. In a moment, Rowan’s chains were released from the line and she was pulled aside. “Now,” said the guard, “Who is willing volunteer to give up their spot for his lovely lass?” He said with hint of contempt, obviously mocking Rowan’s integrity. Not a voice piped up for moments on end, the only sound the howling of the bitter wind. “I will!!” came a cheery voice. Rowan’s eyes flew to the source and was a bit surprised to see that it came from the singing man. At this point, she could not care any less who was chosen, as long as she was not put back next to that dirty man. “Good!” said the guard and had the other guards release him and switch his spot with Rowan’s. “Now, if there are any more interruptions, I will personally make sure NONE of you arrive at Azazel!”

Rowan closed her eyes and breathed slowly, desperate to calm herself from her ordeal. Still a bit shaken, she stood stiff, afraid to relax, certain if she let her guard down again, she would be assaulted again. After a few moments of steady breathing, she opened her eyes and was taken back as the masked man was now standing before her, she now chained behind him. Her green eyes fixed upon him as a revelation soon hit her brain. This man was as violent as the one she just experienced. Would he too try to harm her? He only comfort came in the fact that he was tightly bound in a straitjacket and his face covered. Still, as intrigued as she was by his wild nature, she could not help but feel afraid. She slowly let a friendly smile emerge, hoping to hide the fact that she was indeed afraid of him. The silence between them lasted only a few moments before they were all forced to move again. Despite her fear and previous ordeal, she had to get something off her chest.

“I liked what you did…to make the stupid one bleed…brilliant!” she spoke in a voice audible to only him. Perhaps, she thought, if she showed her approval…he would not feel the need to harm her.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:50 am

Stephen could hear the shouts of the woman whom he’d seen applaud his work with a smile. The mortician/doctor doubted he actually broke the other man’s bulbous protrusion of a nose, even though that had been his goal. He turned his head in an attempt to see what was going on, but one of the guards made sure he kept his eyes forward. And it wasn’t because said guard was concerned about the mask tearing up his face, either. Stephen struggled against the guards but like most of his efforts they were ultimately in vain. The leg chains weren’t nearly long enough to trip them so he continued to struggle further, gaining slight momentum with each passing moment.

In the mortician’s twisted mind most screams were like music to his ears, but this instance was remarkably very different for a reason he couldn’t explain. The red-haired woman’s protests reminded him of his night with Arianna Terris. During the act, the screams and clawing had only driven him further to overpower her. Memories of fingernails biting skin still made his flesh tingle delightedly, but the screaming was something he realized in hindsight he could’ve done without. For one thing, the shouts weren’t nearly as blood-curdling as a “patient” about to be embalmed alive... a hobby he tended to engage in when he tired of lifeless corpses. Such a thing was rare but not uncommon, particularly when he needed a change of pace.

Deciding something had to be done, Stephen deliberately crashed into the guard on his right, shocking the man enough to gain one release. After shaking off the second guard he attempted to tackle Singing Man but without the proper use of arms Stephen didn’t dare risk falling lest he fall on his face again. However, by that time, the guards had finally decided to get things under control regarding the scarlet-haired woman.

Two swift strikes to his sides caused Stephen to weaken enough to refrain from attacking the guards for now. Once more they shoved him facing forward, toward their destination. Unkempt raven hair flew in front of his face, curtaining the masked features even more than it normally did.

“That’s it! I’ve had enough if his rubbish from the likes of you! I’ve had enough dealing with that one ... I am not going to give you another opportunity to delay this godforsaken trek any longer!”

Stephen glared at the guard that pointed at him. Had he not had the mask on, the mortician would’ve made a rather hostile posturing even though his arms and legs were still bound. Not that he didn’t try anyway... It was their fault he was fighting - their fault he vowed to never make it easy for them. After the way they treated him, they deserved every bit of trouble he could stir up! Or so that was how he thought.

At the call of trading spaces with the woman, Stephen didn’t offer his spot for two key reasons. Firstly, he liked his spot on the line for the most part, Singing Man/Off Key notwithstanding. Secondly Stephen felt if the lecherous man were desperate enough then it wouldn’t much matter after awhile if it were man or woman he assaulted. Perhaps a misguided notion, but the mortician wasn’t about to take his chances. For several long moments Stephen didn’t think any would give up their spots, the howling of the wind the only speaker amongst them. He jumped when the Singing Man cheerfully offered himself up to being switched. To Stephen, this was about the best thing that had happened all day.

“Good! Now, if there are any more interruptions, I will personally make sure NONE of you arrive at Azazel!”


’Fun’s over, I guess, if I’m gonna get to Azazel in one piece,’ Stephen thought, glancing toward the palace he could somewhat see in the distance. With a displeased sigh he walked on his own after a shove or two from the guards, deciding that good behavior was now his only chance of arriving in Azazel safely, being chained to this many people as he was. It was shortly after that third step that he felt eyes upon him.

After a glance to make sure the guards wouldn’t hinder him again Stephen craned his neck despite the spines in the mask to set a single wild, steel blue eye upon the woman, about all he could manage in his current state without tearing up his face completely in the process. Stephen could just barely make out that she was smiling at him, yet he could clearly smell the fear in the air. At least the mortician believed it to be the scent of fear: a smell reminiscent of burning wood and this inexplicable twinge of something else... Not even the line’s continuing locomotion tore his mind from trying to process the input from his nose, nor did the eye trained upon the woman flinch from observing as much as it could.

“I liked what you did…to make the stupid one bleed…brilliant!”

Despite the pain and the fact she would not be able to see it, Stephen grinned dementedly from behind his mask. The only hint that he was smiling was the slight shift in muscles around his eyes, which were blackened by ink due to a customary practice in his father’s society. “Thank you. I would have liked to have broken the oaf’s knob-nose... but alas. Another day, perhaps... They all shall bleed; they all shall perish; crimson spots dripping from my hands in their river of blood... They won’t keep me – they can’t – for I will get out…! And when I do, vengeance – sweet and cold as ice – is mine!” Stephen replied quietly, as though he were divulging the most innocent of secrets, even though the tone was far from it.

“Who are you?” he asked with a fair amount of congeniality, trying to avoid his skin touching the barbs on the underside of the mask. The mortician had never seen the woman, insofar as he was aware. If Stephen didn’t know any better, he’d say the Carpatus Asylum had donated a kind of tossed salad of people they deemed lunatics: some from the lower-level wards such as Singing Man and this 'Scarlet' woman, and others from the higher-security cells, such as him and the man formerly behind the aforementioned female.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Rowan was relieved that the masked man was not hostile towards her…yet anyways. He almost seemed quite pleased to have her next to him. She listened intently as he spoke of taking bloody vengeance against the guards, his morbid tone having no effect on her and she regarded it as though he were speaking of the weather. Though he was bound from head to toe, Rowan could not understand why, he seemed friendly enough, to her at least. Perhaps it was just another way of the cruel guards to take control. Evil Monsters, she thought. She smiled sweetly as his question. She too was just as curious about him.

“I’m Rowan….Rowan Violet….my last name is Baines, it was my papa’s. Mama named me Rowan, because my hair is red,” she said, twirling a long ruby lock around her finger. “Then she named me Violet too. Know why?...because it was the color I was when I was born…then I breathed.”

She glanced around at the nearby guards, making sure none of them were within earshot, before slipping her doll out from her bodice again and whispering. “This is Missy, mama made her. She’s my best friend. She tell's me all her secrets. They’ll take her away if they see her... so shhhh…don’t tell!” she said with her finger against her lips before stuffing the doll carefully back into her clothes.

Rowan studied the masked man before her, trying to make out just who he might be. She periodically had been among other residents of the asylum, but could not recall this wild man. She surely would have guessed him by now and knew he had to have been from a different part of the facility. His raven hair flew in every direction possible and slightly covered his eyes. She strained to peek under the mess only to find them surrounded by black shadowy skin which made her all the more curious. She cursed the mask he wore, blocking her from seeing even more of him and she wondered the purpose for it. It was then that she noticed the fresh trickles of blood flowing from bottom edge of the mask along his neck, staining the already putrid straitjacket he wore. She frowned and her heart filled with pity, knowing that for sure the mask was the cause of the bleeding.

“Why do you wear that? It’s hurting you! Why won’t they take it off?” She asked, her little voice full of concern, not even bothering to ask him his name. She wanted to reach out and remove it, but was afraid of what would happen once the guards saw what she had done. She shivered a bit as strong icy wind came up and blew through her flimsy clothes. She hoped they would arrive a Azazel soon, she wasn’t sure how much more of the cold she would survive.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:25 pm

Her silence regarding his plans – or was he truly discussing the weather – didn’t bother him at all. Nor did it occur to him that, were he speaking to nearly any other of the female persuasion, they would not likely find the topic a pleasurable one to dwell upon. Stephen was more or less off in his own little world where droplets of blood were as roses, and spiders were one of the most adorable creatures to walk the earth. He still squirmed in the straitjacket some, but not nearly as much as he had before. Azazel was the ultimate goal... there, whether he was free now or not, he would hopefully find freedom. If he could only get free he could give the guards escorting them a really big surprise!

Even as insane as he undoubtedly was, it didn’t take a genius to determine the smile on the woman’s face was a good signal. He listened as she talked, for he had nothing better to do other than feel the occasional drop or two of blood ooze from the wounds beneath the mask. It was hard to see her as he was, but he did catch a glimpse of her vivid red hair previously; a trait that intrigued him. To his mother’s culture, blond hair meant one received divine favor from the gods, even possibly becoming a demi-god oneself... but he didn’t recall anything about red-haired individuals. Either way, she was a fascinating female specimen to say the least. Pale blue eyes watched as closely as they could as the young woman twirled a length of hair around her finger. A chuckle escaped him at the reasoning given behind the second name, but didn’t remark upon it.

Stephen became keenly aware that Rowan seemed to be doing something with her bodice, but couldn’t truly see what she was doing until the woman produced a doll. Though some would consider Rowan a bit old to be talking to dolls, the mortician didn’t give age a second thought. Gaia knows he’d heard and seen stranger things even before he came to the asylum... and most of the time it was he involved in said stranger activities! Stephen nodded slightly at her plea for him not to tell anyone. It was a simple enough request, particularly since he didn’t exactly have any special fondness for any of their “escorts”. In fact, anything that could be remotely interpreted as fondness was the thought of knowing that one day he would kill every single one... their blood staining his hands a deeper and deeper shade of crimson.

The mortician couldn’t help but wonder what intrigued the woman so about his appearance. When he first arrived in Carpatus it had been his tattooed eyes that gained the interest and fright of certain villagers. Was she trying to place him? He’d already given up on that, assuming she came from one of the lesser-security wards. Stephen could feel her watching him, feel her eyes upon the mask... peeling it off his face. That probably didn’t make sense, considering she hadn’t so much as touched him and the mask was still firmly in place, but he didn’t care about the logic of it. There were a lot of things he said and did that didn’t make logical sense to some. But it always made sense to him.

“Why do you wear that? It’s hurting you! Why won’t they take it off?”

Pale sapphires blinked with confusion at the concern in her voice. It wasn’t the fact that she hadn’t asked who he was, but that she was concerned about him without even knowing who he was that astonished the man. Stephen contemplated for a moment as to how to respond, hardly shivering at the icy breeze. Although he was half Carakleinian, the mortician was rather adept indeed at withstanding the cold. He had even lived in Caraklein for six of his thirty-seven years, and visited the country for brief stints in several others. If anything, Stephen stood taller in response to the frigidness of the wind as opposed to others curling into themselves for warmth.

“I am forced to, in punishment for tasting the blood of a high-ranking knight. If they took it off I would make them bleed one way or another...” he answered, sounding rather at ease with the topic being discussed despite a dark, vengeful overtone. “Another means of control,” Stephen grunted as an afterthought, giving another vain tug on the arms of the straitjacket.

“I will get out of here... and when I do, may the Gods have mercy upon my captors, because I shall show them none!” he muttered psychotically. From beneath the cloth of the straitjacket it could be seen that Stephen’s left hand – strapped snug against his right side with strong cloth and unyielding chains – was clenched in a tight fist. Admittedly it was the hand holding his late wife’s necklace, some of the beads cutting into the skin of his palm, but it was also a fist made in desire for revenge and freedom.

Not watching what was going on ahead of him, Stephen ran into the body ahead of him without realizing those in the line before him had stopped. A strangled cry tore through the mortician when his face collided into the other man’s shoulder, though whether it was a cry of pain or an exclamation of twisted enjoyment of said pain was impossible to determine. However, it could’ve been a bit of both. Gazing at their immediate surroundings, Stephen noted that he could see the walls surrounding Azazel Palace... and that they were rather close.

While it had been a few years since he’d seen his cousin, Stephen couldn’t help but feel as though he were being welcomed back home.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:01 pm

Rowan could not help but feel resentment well up inside of her as Stephen spoke the reasons why he wore the mask. She hated the notion of control with every fiber of her being. Too long had she been under the control of someone. First, her father, then the asylum, and now, the merciless slave driver’s that these guards were. She somehow could feel his pain. She wanted to be free, but she was not strong enough to release herself. This man, however, would fight his way out if necessary, which was just what he was doing. How she revered such a quality. He would enact revenge and justice upon all who had wrong them both. Slowly a hopeful smile spread across her face at the thought.

“Good…you need to be free. I can see you. You are not one to be caged like a little bird. If only I were as free as you…but, I fear that my fate is in the hands of these bad people…..if not the cold..” she said as a frozen blast of wind cut her to the core and caused her to shiver un controllably.

Before another word could be uttered, she watched as He crashed into the man ahead of him, in turn causing her to run into him as well. His cry of pain nearly bringing tears to her own eyes. She looked up at the walls of what she assumed was the outer limits of Azazel. A twinge of fear struck her as she knew that the end of the line was near and that her fate now was uncertain. But the only thing that eased it was the strange sensation of warmth that she had not felt since starting on this walk. She suddenly realized that the warmth was coming from Him, for she was still pressed against him in the suddenly stopped line. Instead of shrinking away from such contact, she reveled in it. Not only for the warmth…but for the safety and comfort she felt. She could not explain why she did not cower away from such a feeling. But it took away from her fear…that was all that mattered.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Thu May 27, 2010 6:29 pm

Along the path and seaside of the frozen shore, Elektra walked with calm steps with Iago at her side. As a particularly icy gale caressed her features, Elektra closed her eyes, reveling in the sensation. In her mind's eye, she imagined that it was Iago's touch that set the snowstorm within her and was tempted to lean into him and entwine their hands. She almost did too, before she remembered that on her other side, the left, walked Count Fersen.

While the Carakleinian ambassador had yet to say anything, Elektra was almost positive he at the very least suspected something, if the knowing and suspicious glances he shot towards the two of them whenever he happened upon them meant anything. Still, Elektra had meant the words she had spoken to Iago the morning of their first night together; she truly could care less about what the outside world thought of the two of them. After all, she knew Fersen. It was rather easy to buy his silence, should it come to be that he truly did know what was going on.

She smiled at Iago softly as her azure orbs met the frozen waters of a matching hue. Staring at the open sea, she wished this was not a business matter that brought her hear, for she was overcome with the overwhelming urge to go for a frozen, icy swim in the small area of water she had left liquid. She wondered briefly if Iago would object to to a midnight swim in the arctic waters, but forced the thought from her mind for the moment. She didn't need a light blush splashing her features to catalyze or prove any theories Fersen may have of the two of them.

The scowl disappeared from her temporarily though as they reached the purpose of this trip and stumbled upon the sight of a mass of lunatics other Alranian cities and towns seem to have felt the need to dump upon her.

She felt her face go several shades paler as she began trembling lightly at the sight. When Fersen had told her of an upcoming arrival, she hadn't anticipated this many. She could feel the nauseau start to wash over her as she struggled not to falter from her stance. She couldn't stand the sight of Alranians... Particularly so many... With each Alranian, she saw her ex-husband in them. Her ex-husband, along with all the memories they "shared". Particularly the ones that she still had "souvenirs" from, along her back, arms, and neck...

"Who did this?" she demanded of Fersen with a glance that was colder than the air surrounding them. "Who allowed this... this.. filth to pollute the land of my realm? Tell me!" she called out in near hysteria fused with fury. With each glance and every person she saw, memories took over. Dark ones, frightening ones. Screaming, beating, choking...

Every. Single. Damn. Memory.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Sat May 29, 2010 12:20 am

Cloth of darkest black trailed against the pure white of snow, accompanied by black boots and a staff of equal darkness as Iago strode towards the icy shores. His pace was calm, almost lazy, yet in perfect time with the sorceress he walked with. The caress of the frozen breeze nipped at his skin, and he couldn’t help but imagine that the sensation was brought about by the sorceress at his side. Elektra... Iago wondered if she knew she’d helped bring him to life as much as she had beseeched him to do the same upon their first night together. How he wished they could simply forsake the arrival they were going to meet, letting guards and stable boys tend to such things, and return to one of their bedchambers for further time alone. Even the simple desire to lace his fingers with hers had to be denied, for they were far from alone: Ambassador Fersen was accompanying them as well, to Elektra’s left.

It seemed clear to Iago that the Ambassador suspected something going on between him and Elektra. All too often for the sorcerer’s taste did Count Fersen happen upon the pair of them, a knowing or outright suspicious glance often reserved just for them at that particular moment upon his face. Personally, it worried Iago that Elektra would lose her status because of the façade he maintained: a sorcerer of humble origin and faraway land, somewhere between Alrania, Caraklein, and another kingdom.

Iago had grand plans to overthrow the governing system in Danothos... and he knew Elektra had designs of her own for Azazel that were well underway. If the inevitable were to happen and the populace were to find out, the sorcerer would only concern himself to great degree if anyone in power – particularly Yorick – ever heard of it. His father was the very meaning of the word ‘killjoy’: any happiness Iago attempted to gain was repeatedly crushed by Yorick in some form or another...

The sorcerer considered himself fortunate indeed to be loved by a woman that didn’t regard social status as being greater in worth than gold.

Obsidian eyes glanced in the direction of azure ones, their owner more than willing to reciprocate the smile bestowed unto him. Iago gazed upon the mostly frozen sea, save the small patch she left that was not a solid block of ice, and couldn’t help but notice how the shades of blue between waters and pools he gazed into upon sleeping and waking seemed to match perfectly. Sadly, even here, business had to come before pleasure. The sorcerer wasn’t sure he had enough Caraklein in his blood to withstand an icy swim, but he had managed more than one night in a realm of ice without even the smallest of physical complaints. Of course, complaining had been the furthest thing from his mind on those occasions... Iago immediately banished such thoughts, however, just in case Fersen happened to spot his unfocused gaze or the slight coloring of his face that had nothing to do with exertion or the cold.

------------------

Stephen listened to Rowan’s words, and couldn’t help but agree. He was not one to be caged; would not be tamed. The people at the asylum just wouldn’t back down. But that was okay – for Stephen had no intention of easing off, either...

For the briefest of moments, he wondered if his cousin might release the red-headed woman if he requested it. They had been rather close in the past... It was not because he felt compassion for Rowan’s plight, as compassion really wasn’t in his vocabulary at all. Although, he mused, she could be of use to him. Like an apprentice, or something... It wasn’t the first thing that came to mind, but it would work. When Rowan said she was cold Stephen couldn’t help but snicker as his initial thought, far from pure, returned to the forefront of his mind.

The half-Carakleinian took gasping breaths to dull the pain of running into the man ahead of him. However, what caught Stephen’s attention even more than the fact he could very well end up with the mask permanently stuck to his face was that she had run into and remained pressed against him. Thoughts of how Arianna had resisted him and tried to pull away from him came to mind; Stephen wondered if Rowan’s actions were merely an Alranian response to the cold or if this was something else. Regardless, it had been nearly half a year since he’d been with a woman... Could he really be blamed for his musings?

It was that thought that caused the man ahead of him to turn and give Stephen the dirtiest of looks before taking a few steps away from him. Stephen, however, remained still so as not to accidentally cause the woman behind him to lose her balance or shy away. Not that he could really do anything as he was.

With a sigh containing more or less equal parts exasperation at still being confined and weariness from the trip – among other things – Stephen slowly bowed his head in very temporary defeat. If he didn’t catch his second wind, there was always tomorrow. Living to fight another day, as it were...

--------------

Iago noticed Elektra’s smile disappear rather too quickly to have simply been to keep suspicious parties from suspecting their love for the other. With reluctance, he forced his gaze away from her and onto the sight she apparently found so displeasing... and couldn’t help but scowl as well at the group of lunatics. A few of them were straitjacketed but all of them were obviously restrained in some other fashion. By reflex Iago shifted to stand next to the woman he loved in a rather protective gesture, then placed a hand upon her shoulder when he noticed her quake with some as-yet unidentified emotion.

There were so many of them... likely enough to fill up a small village. The sorcerer couldn’t help but feel a well of anger rush through his veins at his father’s people. In his mind if the lunatics were that much of a problem to require transfer to another asylum, the dangerous ones should be executed just to get it over and done with. And of all places to send them, why here? Iago could only think of one answer: the asylums hoped their former patients would freeze to death... an icy mummification of sorts. Why couldn’t they have selected a different frozen tundra to have the crazies invade? Like an island-sized chunk of ice floating about on the sea, for example?

"Who did this? Who allowed this... this.. filth to pollute the land of my realm? Tell me!"

While her ire was not directed at him, Iago removed the hand from her shoulder. Instead of shying away from her wrath the sorcerer shifted to place his hand at the center of her back, lightly caressing in a manner he hoped would seem neither too rigid nor too intimate. “Some look to be men of the north... others of the west,” Iago murmured in an attempt to help establish who was responsible. As he had not a clue into the matter of who ultimately was to blame, Iago didn’t say anything further.

------------------

Stephen heard Elektra shout; would’ve recognized her from a mile away just by ear alone. He jerked his head back up to make sure it was really her and not just a voice in his head playing tricks on him. Although he somewhat regretted the action, feeling a fresh wave of pain tear up the lower portion of his face. Tattooed eyes focused upon the woman and two men that had arrived on the scene. Was that Ambassador Fersen?! Yes... yes, there was no mistaking him. Stephen couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the man, noticing Fersen was several shades darker than the he remembered.

But who was the other man beside her? Was that Posol?! The one more or less responsible for taking Elektra away from her chance at the Carakleinian throne?!!? If so, the man looked quite a bit younger than Stephen imagined, from what little he’d heard the Duke was supposed to be insanely old. Stephen had, as promised, continued his and Elektra’s mission, but hadn’t been able to finish the job. He only hoped his cousin would not be too terribly disappointed. Vaguely, the mortician wondered if the authorities found and disposed of his “trophies” that were kept under the floorboards of his home in tightly-locked chests back in Carpatus.

For their sakes, he mused, they’d better not have!

"Who allowed this... this.. filth to pollute the land of my realm? Tell me!"

“Always happy to see you, too, cousin,” Stephen muttered with a snicker, though he wasn’t sure if he’d be heard by her or not. Between Elektra possibly providing for him a way out of his current fate and the woman named Rowan pressed up against him, the mortician more than ever wanted to be free. He was so close! His arms felt like they were about to end up staying in this pretzel-shaped position forever. Although tired and all attempts thus far had proved futile, the mortician struggled against the jacket’s various straps, belts, and chains.

... Did he just feel something start to give way?

Stephen paused, glancing around to note the position of various guards. Seeing none particularly close, he continued pulling. “I’ve... gotta... get...outta...here...!!” he snarled to no one in particular, the last syllable in time with a rather loud snap as one of the belt straps holding his right arm came free. Pale sapphire orbs gazed in amazement that one of two arms was now free, and began struggling anew to free the other. All he’d need then were to remove the chains and somehow get the straitjacket the rest of the way off...

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:21 pm

Rowan stiffened at the sound of another woman’s voice. She did not need to see her to know she was angry, she could tell by the tone, she’d heard it many times throughout her life, mostly directed towards her. She slowly peeked around the masked man to see the raven haired woman and two others standing ahead of them. She was amazed at her beauty, pale but in no way sickly. She had an aura or regalness about her that demanded respect and a prompt answer to her question. Rowan could not help but feel fairly intimidated by her.

“Always happy to see you, too, cousin,”

So this woman was his cousin? How was he is such a condition if he had such members of his family in power.? Perhaps their relationship was not a one of fondness for each other. Rowan could only guess.

Her attention was once again drawn to the masked man as he began to struggle relentlessly to free himself. She glanced around them worried that a guard would catch him in his escape attempt and apply their usual treatment. Strangely enough none seemed to pay any notice; they were all busy conversing with the Raven-haired woman. A sudden snap of one of his arm straps finally coming free made her heart nearly stop. She could not believe her eyes: He did it! He was almost free! Rowan felt a great joy rise inside of her and a slight smile spread across her slightly paled face. She once again glanced around to see who was watching.

Satisfied that no eyes were upon them, she quickly grabbed the strap to the other and began working to free his other arm. Her heart raced as her finger worked, knowing full well that if caught she would no doubt be beaten or executed…or both. But it was a chance she was willing to take, in order to free this man. She was doomed to either freeze to death or rot in a cell the rest of her days anyhow. Finally the strap came loose and she nearly squealed in delight. Her eyes turned to the mask and without hesitation, grabbed for the top buckle, though it was difficult with her hands still chained to the line, but she pulled with all the strength she had in her to reach, pulling the prisoners along with the chain. With her hands finally on the mask, she practically yanked the strap off, catching a bit of his raven locks.

It was only a matter of time before one of the guards finally took notice of the escape attempt. “Hey, You!! STOP!” he yelled and ran for the both of them. Rowan felt rough arms forcefully grabbing her and ripping away from the man, followed by the crack of the guard’s staff across her shoulder, but not before the one strap of the man’s mask was freed. Rowan cried out in pain as she was thrown to the icy ground and attempted to prepare herself for the beating that was to come. “You little witch! Now look what you’ve done!!” another guard shouted as another crack came down upon cheek, and another against her side. She knew this was it, her fate was sealed and she prayed the beating would not last too long before she lost consciousness. She only hoped she had given the masked man a chance for freedom.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:20 pm

As sapphire orbs scanned the scene before their owner, Elektra couldn't help but be glad that her hands were not entwined with Iago's. Despite learning the extent of her powers and gaining quite a bit of experience, she had yet to learn enough discipline to control her emotions, often leading to destruction, for her emotions were tightly bound to her powers, and any outburst of emotion was a potential for lethal repercussions. The parasol she held opened above her was proof of it, for it was already going through a rapid change of temperatures, that even the Caraklein-made delicate material of the parasol threatened to break form the force of it all. Although with the stress and magnitude of the situation, Elektra very much wanted someone to suffer, she certainly would not wish it on Iago, of all people.

She leaned towards Iago's touch, not caring that Fersen's suspicions may be proven true, showing that the gesture was much appreciated, willing herself to focus on the comforting touch instead of her anger. It helped, knowing that at least this time around, Iago was there to stand beside her. But still... Elektra always had a temper. Especially when it came to the painful aspects for her past, and this time was no exception.

“Some look to be men of the north... others of the west,”

A nod of understanding was the only acknowledgement Elektra offered as her gaze remained locked on the scene before her. "Very well. Then that is where their corpses shall be delivered."

------------

Fersen watched his charge with a wary gaze, hesitantly stepping closer, for he knew all too well what Elektra was like when in the throes of anger. While he would never speak ill of the late King Strenver, if he were to be honest, even he, the ever loyal Count Fersen had to admit, while Strenver Kohva had been a great King, he had been a less than stellar Father. His biggest mistake when it came to raising his children was his failure to teach them self-control. He taught his heirs many great lessons: how to command the respect of the Court, how to dominate and takeover another country, how to bend other's to one's will... everything. Everything but how to put a reign on one's emotions, that is.

Strenver had spoiled all of his children, particularly the one who now ruled Caraklein in his stead, and the youngest born he had favored, that now stood before the Ambassador. Anything they ever wanted, no matter what, was theirs, given to them at a snap of their fingers or a stamp of their foot. It didn't seem like much of a concern when they were all young children, but now that they were older, adults with responsibilities, they desired not jewels, nor robes, nor riches, but the invaluable, priceless treasure of absolute power; Control against all the incontrollable forces such as Time and Fortune and Faith that everyone else had long since accepted as their superior and bowed down to. It was hell. They'd kick, they'd scream, they'd rage, they'd destroy, with no consolation or object to pacify them as their ruthlessness became nothing but sheer foolishness.

A raven eyebrow raised at the touch the Danothos Ambassador bestowed upon Elektra, though he ignored it for now, as difficult as it was. With this issue at hand, he couldn't afford to let his focus stray. No matter how tempting it was to be proven right... Forcing himself to focus on the present, he attempted to halt Elektra's steps. "Khariza, you must calm yourself. You cannot afford to lose control over such a trivial matter!"

"Trivial matter?" she retorted with a wave of iciness etched upon her very tone. "The other realms have felt the need to dispose of their garbage upon my territory, as though the land -and I, by extension- were no more than garbage!" Her voice broke slightly on the word 'garbage', displaying the slight root of the problem, and heart of everything when it came to reasons of why she was as upset as she was now. "Garbage", or "Foreign Garbage", to be exact, were Posol's way of referring to her, encouraging his other Noble friends to do the same.

Fersen hesitated a moment, unsure of exactly what to say to her. The situation was remedied anyway, though, for anything he would have said would have been cut off, as Elektra continued her rampage. "I won't have it, Fersen. I demand respect and consideration and will be damned before I yield to the others!" she proclaimed, shaking from both rage and adrenaline. "If you refuse to help me, then fine, stay there." With that she closed her parasol, flinging it unto Fersen's arms. "And don't break that!" she added with a hiss as she ventured towards the lunatics.

A weary sigh escaped the Ambassador, as he fought against the throbbing pain in his head that was beginning to erupt. Briefly, his eyes wandered to the now-withered parasol thrust upon his hands. "Break it? Hmmph. There's nothing left but a bloody stick!" he scoffed, rolling his eyes.

------------

With a determined stride, Elektra approached the mob dumped upon Azazel. Had it been any other time, she would have had a group of escorts accompany her, or at least have approached with slight hesitation, but with her current mental state, she thought of no such thing. Whoever said that anger is the blindfold to all could not have been any more correct.

While others would have thought her attempts to be foolish, Elektra remained both determined and stubborn in regards to inspecting the group. Asylums were interesting things, for they could be both a sanctuary and a prison. Should one commit a crime, all they would have to do was claim insanity and they would be spared the doom and darkness of a sentencing and instead sent to an asylum, were chances of being released after being "cured" would be substantially higher than being free from an actual prison. Surely one of these that stood before her were a mass-murderer attempting to outsmart the system? Or at least have a little sense and sanity left that she could use them for information.

She ignored and blocked out all other commotion occurring around her, gazing and inspecting each individual, her hopes for a "sane one" diminished after each and every one she met who sang off-key, muttered nonstop to themselves, or, in one soul's case, felt the need to dress like an overgrown chicken and apparently felt the need to harass his companions...

The Sorceress was just about to call an end to her inspection, frustrated and disappointed by her lack of at least a semi-lucid one, when an unfamiliar sight caught her attention: blue eyes that matched the hue of her own, entirely. Many people had blue eyes, to be sure. Despite her pride in her country and nationality, not even Elektra would claim that it was Caraklein alone who bore azure orbs. Carakleinians did, however, have their own shade of blue: generally a deeper shade of blue, but lightened around the edges, with the potential to brighten a brighter shade, should the owners mood and moment call for it. But it wasn't solely the color of this man's eyes that commanded her attention, but rather the fact that she had seen those eyes before...

"C-Cousin?" she asked softly, with a curious tilt of her head.

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:43 pm

Iago didn’t openly hail fanfare in response to Elektra’s leaning into his touch, though inwardly the necromancer smiled. He did increase the pressure plied by just a little, though eased his hold moments later as Fersen approached. That glance from the Count did not go unnoticed, and it was his opinion that Fersen knew a bit more than he let on about his added depth of relationship with Elektra. If it were not for assurances from the recently-discovered love of his life that Fersen’s silence could be purchased... well, things would have gotten mighty awkward at an ill-opportune time at that. As the Count ignored them for now, Iago let loose a slow and silent exhale of relief.

The sorcerer’s attention shifted upon sensing the changes of magical energies surging into and around the parasol Elektra carried. He wondered what the reasons behind it could have been. However, given the countenance upon Elektra’s face, her reactions moments prior, and her response now... which was only a nod and mention of shipping the corpses back from whence they came, Iago surmised it was merely an outburst of magic needing an outlet. Vaguely he wondered what such power would do unto human flesh, though wasn’t at all willing to volunteer as the test subject. Iago was well aware he could be wrong in his assumption, but in what time they’d been allotted together as friends and now as lovers... it was his best hypothesis.

A shame on one hand, he mused, that such useful corpses would be sent back to their places of origin to rot. But it was Elektra’s decision as it was her realm. Besides, there would be others of the not-so-lively variety that could possess qualities much more befitting the sorcerer’s schemes. He’d never resurrected a lunatic before... who was to say they would be any more sane or controllable after their post-mortem Summoning? If anything they’d probably be crazier.

"Trivial matter? ... The other realms have felt the need to dispose of their garbage upon my territory, as though the land -and I, by extension- were no more than garbage!"

Iago winced very slightly upon hearing the woman’s voice break. He did not immediately comment, though could think of both a diplomatic response and a rather more intimate one. Instead he kept his touch and presence near in silent assurance that she would not be alone and that he supported her nigh every move. When the sorcerer-ambassador finally decided to speak, Elektra had continued raging at the Count:

"I won't have it, Fersen. I demand respect and consideration and will be damned before I yield to the others!

"If you refuse to help me, then fine, stay there. ... And don't break that!"


In the half-Carakleinian’s mind, Elektra could not be blamed for her outburst. From what she had told him in confidence, Iago’s semi-fellow Alranians had treated her quite poorly by Posol’s encouragement. A few times, Iago had even seen the lower wrungs of mistreatment for himself. Respect and consideration were trifling favors that could be given even if they weren’t wholeheartedly meant. By the Gods, Iago had to do the same unto Baron Yorick every day whilst in his company. Iago started when Elektra closed and flung her parasol into Fersen’s arms, although had all he could do not to outwardly show his amusement at the sight. Had he been younger and less experienced the task would have been more difficult... yet despite those years Iago did crack a very small smirk.

That was, before he noticed Elektra heading straight for the crowd of those deemed less than sane. Given the state of some of the more severely restrained, they were quite possibly a danger to others as well as themselves. Dark eyes glanced in the direction of the ambassador at his comment regarding the parasol. Amusing as it was Iago barely even stopped to chortle lightly before taking off after the young woman. “My Lady, Elektra, please wait! If you must approach this lot, at least do so under my guard,” Iago called after her, hastening his pace through the snow in order to catch up to her surprisingly lengthy strides.

----------------

Stephen fought relentlessly with the remaining strap, finding it a bit pointless for him to start walking around pulling the other inmates with him with only one arm freed. Besides that, it had only been a partial freedom. Regardless of how one sliced it, the closed sleeve would mean he couldn’t fully throttle the necks of those that put him in here. But... he could use the now-broken straps or extra length of cloth from his sleeves... The man jerked when he felt someone behind him grab onto the strap binding him and thought for sure they had gone on the offensive. However, as the strap seemed to loosen he didn’t bother struggling and instead played lookout from his current vantage point without looking too conspicuous. He wasn’t about to warn them just how dangerous he could be... Stephen wasn’t quite crazed to the point of stupidity – he wanted out! Whomever his attempted rescuer was, they were risking both their lives for this.

A deranged sensation far exceeding joy caused the azure orbs to brighten upon feeling the other strap come free. Sighing with relief he finally lowered his arm out of its formerly-awkward position. He was free! With absolutely no hesitation he lifted one arm over his head, with care to avoid the mask, and stretched. Now Stephen had a reasonable width in which he could cause potential damage to any that tried to subdue him. The mask would have to wait, he supposed.

Suddenly, the same person that had freed him seemed to be rebelling against their chains. Because his hands were bound in a straitjacket his were not quite so restricted. He was forced to back up as the woman behind him reached upward. What was she doing? Several assumptions came to mind, each one a lesser degree of innocence as the last, and all of them hardly likely. At least Stephen was at a somewhat better position than those behind her, as the other prisoners on the chain were pulled to allow Rowan some more slack in reaching her goal. For a very brief moment he wondered just what that goal was... If only the orderlies had seen fit to chain him upon the line facing the ‘wrong’ way! However, when he felt her fingers hook onto the top strap of the mask around his head everything became clear. Stephen grunted in pain when she pulled, the spikes lining his cheek and upper lip digging further into his skin. A measure of discomfort on his scalp told him she’d also gotten a bit of hair in her attempts.

“Hey, You!! STOP!”

They’d been spotted! Regardless of it, though, she had been successful and for a brief moment Stephen considered finding a way of repaying the woman for her kindness. The spikes that had been driven into his face were not quite so irritating now that they were partially away from his skin. Some of the puncture wounds could be seen: raised dots of flesh oozing little droplets of blood, with a few that appeared slightly infected from the amount of time the mask had been worn.

Stephen jerked as the woman was all but ripped away from him, and flailed when a similar set of strong hands roughened by combat laid themselves upon him. Come Hell or high water, Stephen was determined to never be bound in a straitjacket again! Desperate for a diversion, and a woman’s shout of pain only serving to fuel his violent fire further, Stephen struck out at the rather massive man ahead of him. When the inmate’s pair of beady, murderous eyes set themselves upon him, the mortician immediately named the guard as the source of pain with little more than a hand gesture. Seeing the oaf take the bait Stephen sighed in relief, but knew his work was far from done.

“You little witch! Now look what you’ve done!!”

Stephen glared in the direction of the voice, and noticed the woman on the ground. She had risked her own life, such as it was for the asylum-bound, in hopes he would find a way to go free. Despite his alleged lack of sanity, the mortician was not devoid of lucidity. Morals, on the other hand... that was precisely what had him frozen to the spot. On the one hand he could save himself and forget the woman. Elektra was mere yards away, after all... this was his chance! Yet his rescuer of sorts was rather easy on the eyes, and could be of use to him later. To some ways of thinking, he owed a life-debt to the woman now. If Stephen spun his tale just right, or insisted adamantly enough, surely Elektra would consent to two releases instead of just one?

Azure orbs connected with nearly-matching sapphire ones... heard the familiar call of ‘Cousin’ from the Duchess that was laced with an uncertainty that was almost foreign to him. Had it really been that long since he’d last heard the melody of his cousin’s voice? Stephen’s eyes darted from Elektra to the helpless woman on the ground. “Khariza!” he called; it was the only word that came to mind other than her name that would solidify his identity. After all, what alleged Alranian would know that word let alone its true meaning?

”Please help me, Cousin!” Stephen pleaded in fluent Caraklei before draping the excess of his sleeve around the neck of the nearest guard and pulling with all his might. He had strangled one of Elektra’s nursemaids in this manner for her when she was still more or less a child, during the very beginning of a slew of “odd” deaths within the castle walls of her former home. Although strangulation was strangulation, Stephen had always twisted the material a certain way. This time, though hastily executed, had been no different. Stephen pulled the guard away from Rowan, hoping to draw the second away to rescue the squirming man in his clutches.

Stephen got his wish, wincing as the guard wielding a staff saw fit to strike him in the ribs. Yet he didn’t let go; the pain was both a blessing and a curse. Only with his freedom or Elektra’s word would he let go. Not further pain or threat of being beaten to death would be incentive enough for him to forsake his freedom.

--------------

Iago couldn’t help but wonder what precisely had sparked Elektra’s hasty response to rush off so foolishly into a cluster of lunatics. Although bound and chained there was still a potential for danger. Knowing he would not catch up to her in time, the sorcerer cast his best protection magicks in the form of a translucent smoky-gray shield within the space between the crowd and the sorceress. Elektra’s anger had left her blind to the danger Iago clearly saw. He only hoped he would reach her before one of the insane beat him to it. The sense of foreboding cut through Iago much in the way a pendulum was set to descend upon its victim: torturously slow in its pace to creep ever forward, leaving one anticipating that blade and dreading it all at once. Only his presence at her side would alleviate the sensation.

His feelings of dread increased tenfold when he noticed one of the ‘criminals’ that was struggling against their bonds finally freed one of his arms. Despite the danger Iago ignored it, concentrating all effort on reaching the Duchess. All threats would pass once he was at Elektra’s side, where he could protect her and assist the guards in incapacitating any that were desperate enough to try and escape.

It was quite intriguing, in Iago’s mind, how asylums seemed to work. They were as secure as any dungeon, yet allowed for their residents relatively much more freedoms than that of a prison cell. If some criminals knew all they had to do was claim insanity or mental disturbance and they could avoid the noose... the buildings would likely be far more inhabited than the prisons. Despite the fair amount of mistreatment that still went on within the walls, their chance of escape or being released after an alleged breakthrough of a “cure” were significantly higher in an asylum. Upon finally approaching Elektra’s side, though only after heaving a sigh of relief, Iago scanned the crowd in the same path she observed. What precisely did she seek amidst the lot?

Criminals attempting to circumvent the justice system? The whole lot of them could be applied, for all they knew.

A possible informant not completely out of his mind? Another vain hope there, in Iago’s opinion. Though perhaps it wasn’t quite as unreasonable as he deemed, for were there not those folk labeled traitorous and insane when they were in fact of sound mind and spoke the truth instead of scandal? Often placed in such institutions by those in power to prevent scandals from getting into the mainstream of public gossip? Iago was fairly certain he himself had a man put away under assumption of insanity, when in all honesty the man spoke the truth. However, gazing at one lunatic after another, the sorcerer doubted Elektra would find a suitably lucid prisoner.

Iago’s ears rebelled against a man that sang dreadfully off-key. As he scanned the newcomers he found several that murmured nonstop to themselves or appeared to be trying to avoid some invisible touch or evil they felt were after them. The lone soul dressed as a gigantic chicken quite frankly alarmed Iago to the point of him wanting to urge Elektra a bit further down the line and away from this individual... just in case. But he stood his ground, not certain if he could even budge Elektra from her spot to begin with. If the Giant Chicken tried anything, Iago was there regardless to prevent or reverse to the best of his abilities anything that might be done.

“Let us return to safer ground...” Iago appealed in a hushed tone when he assumed Elektra had finished her investigation, now focusing his gaze on the escape attempt in progress. A woman in standard restraints assisting a man bound heavily in chains and straps of both cloth and leather... The sorcerer found this most peculiar. And, what’s more, Elektra’s eyes seemed fixed on the bound man’s own orbs. So concerned for her safety was Iago that he failed to notice the similar hue of eye color between stranger and the eyes he was quickly getting used to seeing at the end of each night and beginning of each day.

"C-Cousin?"

“Khariza!”


Now even more confused, the sorcerer broke his gaze from the man to almost stare in bafflement at Elekra. The Duchess, and this strange man... related? Perhaps someone had placed him there due to a power struggle... although in Iago’s opinion the man hailing Elektra by such a familiar term looked very much like trouble. Perhaps even Iago’s own particular brand of necromantic trouble, though that seemed iffy. To his recollection, she had never before mentioned a necromancer in her family. This was all very strange indeed.

”Please help me, Cousin!”

Although a simple sentence, it was indeed spoken in the language of Caraklein and with the comfort of someone who had either grown up speaking it or had spoken it for a great count of years. So, this man – who was now attempting to strangle one of the guards that brought him here – was claiming to be Elektra’s cousin? This was... odd. At least the man had spoken in a language that could have made his claim plausible, but Iago was less than convinced. Given the mentality of the man’s fellows, what reason had the sorcerer to believe such a thing?

“How can we be certain this man... obviously branded a lunatic... is indeed your cousin?” the sorcerer murmured his doubts to the woman at his side. He didn’t bother to assist the choking guard, for it was the guard’s fault for letting his defenses slip in the first place. That and Iago’s sole duty at this moment was to protect Elektra, and he would not be parted from his task even if his own life were in danger. Whether it was truly an act of duty or an act of love, or perhaps a bit of both... was it certain or uncertain?

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PostSubject: Re: Azazel's Frozen Beach   Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:22 pm

The threat of blackness loomed within Rowan’s vision as the strikes from the guards refused to relent. In her morbid head, she welcomed death as a means to end her pitiful life of suffering, still she begged for mercy to the Gods to spare her the pain and humiliating end. With each strike, Rowan could see herself in the past; a weak, pale, pitiful waif cowering from the blows she would receive from her father on a daily basis. It was as if time were reversing itself and slowing down all at once. She could see plainly as if she were staring her childhood self directly in the eyes, the look of both fear and longing that lurked within them. She remembered fearing yet loving her father deeply, and longed for a loving word or touch from him. Yet nothing. Bitterness and resentment was all she received. And now, she received it once more. With each sting of the guards staffs, the fear and pain she felt deepened, until it exploded inside her with a *crack*.

At that moment, Rowan was yanked back to reality with a sharp, stabbing pain in her chest and realized the guards had managed to crack a rib. By now her shrieks of agony had rendered her throat nearly hoarse as she pitifully attempted to scramble away, a mere reaction for she knew she would not escape. Even when the attacks suddenly stopped Rowan did not move and lay in a broken heap upon the ground, heaving and whimpering, unmoving out of fear as well as the stabbing pain in her chest. The commotion, however, did not escape her ears. She could hear struggling and shouting along with the clanging of chains and was certain the other patients were near rioting at the chaos that preceded. But it was a certain voice that she tuned into that seemed to rekindle the tiniest spark of hope with her core.


“Khariza!.... Please help me, Cousin!”

It was the masked man. The tone in his voice seemed almost desperate. The sound of struggle that stemmed from the direction in which she heard his voice made it clear he still fought for his freedom. If the Duchess was indeed his cousin, she prayed she would put a halt to the madness and allow for his freedom. Rowan soon felt the tug of the loss of consciousness and she fought not to succumb to it. She had to know if the man lived to see freedom. Delirious with pain and exhaustion, Rowan attempted to drag and lift herself to all fours, but the stabbing of the broken rib caused her to collapse once again and she remained still, yet awake. Closing her eyes, she let her mind retreat into itself and all became deathly silent. The quiet she created for herself seemed to embrace her in the way her mother held her as a child, comforting and full of love, and she felt a sense of peace. Perhaps this is what it is like to die….

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