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 Kuroshitsuji--- One Hell of a Housekeeper
 Posted: Oct 30 2014, 10:54 PM

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She couldn't remember a time before the hunger.
In Hell, she had nothing but time.
Time to think- of the hunger, mostly. It was all consuming, gnawing at her insides while they writhed and groaned in empty protest. Hard not to think about something that ate at her from within, that voiced it's own aggravations in impatient, snarling choruses, bubbling up from her own hollow stomach.
The between-time was the worst of it- those endless expanses of time after devouring a human soul and before being summoned. How was it that so much of it could pass in Hell, only for the world above to see several hundred years at best? How was it that every soul she consumed only seemed to feed the pain inside of her, rather than satiate the hunger?
Was that her fate, then? A never-ending hunger that allowed one sole purpose? Was she granted existence merely to be given a single, solitary reason for being?
These thoughts, the relentless questions and speculations, punctured the tormenting growls, though they never managed to drown them out. No wonder some went insane, dissolving into pathetic, gluttonous creatures, scavenging for souls and leaving chaos in their wake. In the end, she wondered if she could end up like them.
She wondered if there was an end.
For humans, death meant merely reaping. Heaven, Hell, their memories archived and packed away conveniently by those voyeuristic creatures.
For her kind, did death promise something else?
They could die and many did. All for their masters, the lives they were bound to protect if only so that they might devour them.
So why did they die for them?
Was it greed? Pride?
It couldn't have been loyalty- that was a human concept. Just one of many that separated them, for certainly her kind were incapable of the kind of weakness that humans possessed so fiercely.
But humans were capable of greed and pride, too, were they not? How many times had a human called out to her, forsaking their God for dreams of power, of riches and frivolous luxuries? How many wished for human comforts and vanities, so much so that they were willing to trade their souls, their chance at paradise?
Was it their greed that fueled her gluttony?
Could hungry souls quell hungrier bodies?
Was that why she didn't even try to resist, when the voices pierced through the monotony, the desolation, to interrupt her torment and draw her to the surface with promises of the souls their human bodies contained?
She liked their voices- so soft and weak, so easily broken. The human larynx could be crushed effortlessly, their vocal chords ripped apart like nothing.
This voice was just that; soft.
It was feminine, delicate, sweet and sharp.
And something else, too.
It burned just beneath the surface, yet far more intensely than the most desperate of those that had reached out to her.
Was it curiosity she felt, as her head lifted from the barren ground and tilted her pale face upwards? Her gaze turned towards the pitch black sky, dark fuchsia irises glowing bright in the darkness while lips of the same color drew back over curved, pointed teeth to form a grotesque sort of smile. If it was the human's duty to call, to cry out and summon, then it was hers to heed, to answer. To consume.
Elongated black fingernails reached to the sky, claws outstretched and grasping towards the only sound outside of herself. The darkness greeted her seeking fingertips by pulling away, opening up to reveal 'It'- The Gate, The Void, the only thing that stood between her world and theirs, between her and the voice… the human. The sight of it filled her vision and threatened to overwhelm, if only for a moment, because then it was gone and the darkness was falling, caving in on her. It surrounded her, and the shadows swallowed her up whole.
When the darkness faded, slipping off her skin as easily as though it were nothing more than the silk dress she wore, she was standing in a stone walled, candle-lit bedchamber. Sleek black feathers swirled around her and throughout the room, causing the flames to flicker in a desperate attempt to keep their lives. As they extinguished, one by one, the narrow slits of her pupils widened in the darkness to take in the sight before her.
The human, female and ever so small compared to her, resided by the crimson sigil, the bloodied pentacle that was the origin of her summoning. She inhaled the sickly copper scent and her nostrils were hit with a cacophony of equally enticing fragrances. Cinnamon at first, warm and inviting, as sharp as the daggers she wore as fingers. Then sweeter, thick and dripping of honeyed tones. And then... Instead of sweet or sharp, it was something else entirely. It was stronger, more refined than the others. Dark purple berries and fragrant, leafy flowers, wine and intoxication. The mixture of perfumes was enthralling, her stomach turning as it begged her to open her jaws and swallow the girl- crude, tasteless, efficient.
Disgraceful and so, so tempting.
A serpentine tail twitched back and forth in irritation as it trailed behind her, swatting away the feathers that fell upon it. Black stilettos clicked against the floor with every step, the only sound in the room, as she slunk forward, towards the frail creature.
Tempting, perhaps, but it was nothing in comparison to the pull of the summon, the promise of a contract. For the purpose she thought of so frequently, was that not it? To summon, to serve, to swallow them whole.

"You called to me?"
Her voice echoed around the room, curious and searching.
"You would abandon the light, child? What would you seek in the darkness?"
 Posted: Oct 31 2014, 05:27 PM

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‘I’m sorry.
Your parents are dead.’

A melody escaped from between pursed lips as an auburn-haired woman walked barefoot over the carpeted bedroom, not her own.

‘We’ll look after her.
We'll make sure she eats.’

The comb was sought among the many things scattered on the vanity, slim fingers eventually finding them. Food had been such a pathetic concern of her hosts, and despite their promise to the Queen, she was still not eating much. She had lost weight already, too much to be healthy.

It didn't concern her, though. She pulled the comb through her hair, waist-long, as she listened to the skittering footsteps of servants and nobles just outside her room. The food outside hadn't been touched and they muttered about it.

‘We’ll provide her a dowry, find her a good husband.
After such a tragedy, it’s the least I can do for my friend…
I can see that his daughter is taken care of.’

There was a knock on the door. Blue eyes shot towards the door as it was opened without permission. In walked the beautiful matron of the house, blonde and lithe. None would think she was almost fifty now. The wear of the ages was not on her face. “Ah, good, you are dressed down,” she looked worried, as if that might not be the case. “Please take care to rest early. Tomorrow we are hosting Lord Avon, and I would like you to meet him.”

The auburn-haired woman nodded simply, but it was not agreement. The other could not see otherwise, of course. She saw whatever she wanted, or that was the theory the young woman was working with. “All right. Good night,” she said pleasantly and then shut the door.

The comb was set down. This wouldn’t be the end of it.

‘You don’t need to fill her father’s place with some outsider, Your Grace.
I have more than one son.
My second could take it over, and….’

Slim and pale fingers began to tie her hair back into a braid for sleep, a habit, even though she did not intend to sleep just yet. She had to give off the appearance of it.

Ten minutes on the dot, after the woman of the house had checked in on her, a maid came by to find her under the covers. The lights were extinguished, the maid doing her best to remain quiet as she moved through the room so as not to disturb the woman in the bed.

‘…we don’t want to bring outsiders into this business. We don’t know who we can trust.’

An hour past before the woman in the bed stirred. The house was silent. She had timed this for a week. She couldn’t afford error, couldn’t afford to be caught.

‘We don’t need to bring in outsiders.’

Her own voice had not been heard, though. She was silenced at every turn.

So, she had to act in silence.

She left the safety of the covers without a glance under the bed for monsters. She knew where those resided, and it wasn’t under beds. The candle she lit and carried to the closet revealed it wasn’t in them, either. What was in them was the means to call forth the monster, though. Her host’s house had some strange items within, and she had stumbled upon Solomon’s Keys within. An examination had proved it not a poor forgery, not that most would know that.

The woman wasn’t like most, though.

She lit a few other candles about the room to give herself light. It was amusing how simple the ritual truly was, and she had a suspicion as to why. The ‘why’ made her cautious, and caused her to draw out salt from the closet and encircle her bed with it before proceeding with the summoning.

‘I know enough as it is.’

True, she had never encountered a demon, but there was enough talk among the Queen’s guilds as to how to deal with demons. There were notes in her family’s books from ages past, that talked of preparations (when one had that luxury). Salt seemed to be one of those things that could keep a demon away, and so salt was poured to protect the area the girl intended to be within.

With that done, she took the double-sided mirror from the closet, out. She set it some feet from the bed, and then walked back to where the end table was. She removed an athame, cut her arm open, and began to copy one of the keys, the sigil to summon the demon, onto both sides of the mirror in blood. That would supposedly open the passage so the demon could leave hell. ‘Should have found someone else.’ The thought slipped as she considered just how much blood she was losing.

Oh well.

With the task done, she wrapped her arm quickly with one of the bed’s sheet. She spoke the chant even as she did that, not wanting to waste any time now that what was done, was done. The instructions said to repeat it, until it was answered, but she did not have to say the encantation more than twice.

When the demon arrived, the demon would find her sitting on the bed, arm wrapped, and simply in a white nightgown. There was no fear as the demon approached, the sound of those heels softened in the carpet. This was intentional, after all. Even if she had not known what to expect of the demon, she would not be scared.

‘For this life is not worth living as it is.’
That had been the deciding factor.

The options had already been weighed. Her soul’s price was found.

The demon was not what she expected in appearance, though. Even so, there was no questioning it, so she answered that echoing voice, and remained behind her salt line. “Yes, I called to you.” She affirmed aloud. “I am Marchioness Katharina Avira,” she introduced herself, but didn’t linger at that, did not ask for a name in return, “I seek aid in restoring my position in society, and in destroying those who took my family from me.” It was probably best to leave out that she had no idea who that was, give the demon the illusion that this situation could be resolved quickly. “The light offers no such aid.” Praying had never worked for her. ‘God works in mysterious ways’ reeked of bullshit.

God didn’t work at all.

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 Posted: Nov 2 2014, 03:22 AM

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The light offered no aid at all, as far as she was concerned. There was nothing the white-winged could give the girl that she could not. At least, not while the human remained on Earth. Heaven, well... she seemed intent on giving that up for eternity.
Fuschia irises flashed in the darkness as she drew closer, enough to see the crystalline line that circled the bed.
Her nostrils flared as they to pick out the sodium and chlorine that would have alerted her earlier, but the room was overrun with the smell of those dark berries. No matter. The salt was peace of mind, a security blanket. It was something for the humans to hide behind, to make them feel safe. As if she needed to touch them to inflict pain, to kill them.
But if a circle of salt would give the girl any comfort, who was she to refuse that?
Who was she to refuse revenge?
Greed and hunger were commonplace; the desperate seeking power, the lost seeking purpose. Revenge, when it came, was in the form of petty lover's quarrels, jilted comrades, jealous fools. Disputes that would have otherwise been settled by years alone that were handled in the underworld instead, and by none other than her kind. If that was what the human wished, she could give it easily enough.
Power came easily and it came quickly. A position in society could be created on a whim. It could be built up and destroyed in a single night. Revenge was something else. Just the thought was enough to make her stomach turn with excitement and she shifted to look at the figure on the bed, though she did not come any closer.

She echoed, hissing the end through her pointed teeth.
"Then... a proper form, I think..."
Her hands reach up, clawing off her current skin for something more fitting- a long-sleeved black dress that hung around her ankles, with crisp white buttons running up her bust that stopped just below her chin, and a white linen, lace-trimmed pinafore worn over it as an apron. Her black hair knotted into a bun at the base of her skull, several strands falling in the way of her eyes, which had lost their glowing purple for a dulled crimson. Narcissism kept her shoes high heeled, though buttons grew from the front and the heel shrunk modestly. Even without the pointed shoes, she was taller than the woman on the bed by a good deal, and grinned down at the human.
"A Lady's maid. House-keeper, as well, if you will."
Her voice was colder, somehow, though it was no longer displaced from her body. She did not wait for an answer. There was something more important, the contract not yet finished.
"I will accept your terms... see that you succeed, in your revenge. Will you accept mine?" Her eyebrow arched in a slender black line, creasing her pale forehead as she studied the human carefully.
"There is only one price I accept, one thing I seek in return. Say it, and I'm yours, Mistress."
Say it, and the Gates of Heaven closed to her forever.

"Will you accept my mark in exchange for your soul?"
The demon's palm was already burning as the decorated pentacle appeared, and she held it out, her black-nailed fingertips walking through the air as she gestured for the Marchioness to approach the salt line, her stomach flipping all the while in anticipation. Katharina's blood was already pungent and heavy in the air, and the proximity only made the sensation stronger. She wanted to reach out and tear the bloodied cloth from the girl's arm so that she might lick the wound clean, as shameful a desire as it was.
Instead, she balanced on her toes, rocking back and forth as close to the line as she could get, while her hand waved idly in the air in front of the girl. Her fingers unfolded to reveal the flower-like symbol, pentacle carved upside-down into the very middle of the design. She wanted to brand the girl badly enough that it hurt, which only fueled the desire to burn her seal into the soft human flesh in front of her.
 Posted: Nov 2 2014, 11:45 AM

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The vaguely humanoid figure spoke of a proper form, and the Marchioness canted her head. The process was quick, but clear. The skin the demon wore was removed for another one, human in appearance. ‘Except the eyes.’ No human had those eyes. They were unsettling, paired with the woman’s height.

It caused Katharina to smile. ‘Fitting.’ A doll of a maid was not something she would have wanted. She wanted someone who brought with her an air of superiority, and a look that suggested she knew exactly what she was doing. A maid could have many duties, particularly in a time such as this. ‘But how will I even explain it?’ Just as she bit her bottom lip in worry over the sudden appearance of a maid, though, the voice fit the body.


Logical and to the point. They could craft lies when this deal was set in stone. The demon had shown herself capable of blending into society, something that had been unexpected. Her mind had drawn up ideas of seeing the demon in silent and secret moments in an office, but now it seemed the demon would be ever-present. It was an interesting, but not disliked, change.

The hiss was pleasant to the ears, and disliked as well. Acoustically, it fit, but Katharina was almost positive it was mocking, too. Well, no matter. The demon could mock as it liked, so long as it did what was required of it.

She rose, let the sheet slip off her arm. The bleeding had slowed enough for her to go without it a few moments. It felt weak to walk to the demon with the wound covered, for some reason. She stepped to the edge of the salt circle. “I accept your terms,” she answered in kind, “I’ll accept your mark, and when this is over, my soul is yours.” Forfeit. The final sin, the only one that could not be forgiven, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Becoming aware of the proof of Heaven, and then turning her back on it.

What greater sin could there be?

The mark was on the palm of the demon's hand, a beautiful design, but there was little time for artistic appreciation. She supposed some demons would be vain and have their 'signatures' be gorgeous works of art. “Place your mark,” she didn’t quite know this part, but she acted with confidence anyway, in offering her unwounded arm out of the salt circle, her hand stretched out in the gesture for a handshake. She knew then if this demon was lying, she was done for. The demon could pull her out of the salt circle easily and just rip the soul from her body. Certainly, no guardian angel was going to help at that moment.

She had to hope it wouldn’t be so, that there was a reason demons made deals in the first place and didn’t just rip souls out on whims.
 Posted: Nov 4 2014, 07:04 PM

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The stained sheet slipped off of the human's arm as she rose, making the demon's nostrils flare as they filled with the intoxicating scent of blood and berries. She could hear the words, the acceptance of the contract, but her own mind was distracted by the beautiful red that discolored the pale human flesh. Few used their own blood, and she was glad this one did. Sacrifices were nothing if they were not valuable, and what was more valuable to a human than its very own life? And that, well... that was a price that this girl seemed more than willing to pay as she climbed off the bed and moved towards the demon.

Her red eyes watched each step, counting the imprints the girl's feet make in the carpet as she approached the salt line. As her arm stretched out and over the white crystals, the demon's eyes narrowed.

It would be simple, to take the offered hand and pull her from the protective circle.
It would be easy to kill the human, to tear her to shreds and devour her- but that would only be preemptive of her.

There was no entertainment in that, and certainly no purpose.

Still, she was not thrilled by the circle, or the idea of being separated by her soon-to-be Mistress by any barrier of sorts. As a smile strained the edges of her dark, painted lips, her hand wrapped around the woman's outstretched one, and she tugged the human over to her in a painstakingly gentle motion. Humans were exceedingly fragile creatures, and she wasn't about to break hers by simply trying to pull her across the line of table salt, which scattered as the Marchioness' feet were dragged through it.

Her shoes moved first, deftly jumping back from the stray crystals, as her other hand went out to balance the human's waist. Her own marked hand closed tighter around the human's and she forced them palm to palm once she was sure she had a steady grip on the girl.
The hiss of searing flesh was low and musical to her ears and steam began to billow out from under her hand as her seal was burned into her Mistress' palm. She could feel the reaction- the flesh jumping and the frantic pulsating of her heart that accompanied the pain- and it sent a shiver of delight down her spine.

Then, as quickly as it had started, the seal transfer was completed and the burning ceased. She could still smell the burnt skin underneath the mix of other odors that filtered through the air, but there was nothing left to imprint. Sure enough, as she glanced down and released her hold enough so that she could turn over the human's hand, her own palm was bare and the mark that had decorated it moments before was visible on her Mistress, shining and bright against the reddened skin.

"Beautiful, Mistress." She whispered, before sinking to her knee and bowing her head. She could feel her own symbol on her chest as it glowed, now hidden below constricting buttons and gaudy lace frills. It ached with anticipation of an entirely separate breed from what her stomach knew; a desire to serve that could have outdone the desire to feed. It was hunger of a different kind.
"Now, Mistress," Her eyes flickered up to meet the Lady Avira's and her smile grew in full, "give me an order. You summoned me, for restoration and revenge." A delicious fact. She wondered, what did a soul taste like, once it had been satiated? Could humans souls know such a thing; could she? Her eyes glowed bright at the prospect.

"How might I be of service to you tonight, my lady?" Her head tilted slightly at the words as she let her eyes wander from the woman's face. No one summoned such a creature in the dead of night without reason, and the place itself smelled off. Even with the proximity of the human's wounded arm- something she would definitely need to tend to later- she could still sniff the underlying tones of something much sharper, something unlike any human. If her Mistress did live in such a place, she realized, the undertones would surely drive her madder than those that radiated from the human in front of her.
"I assume there is a reason, that you chose the dark of night to call to me?" Was it proper, for a maid to pry into her Mistress' personal affairs?
'Surely no more than it was to mark Lady Avira so viciously', she thought with a smirk.
 Posted: Nov 4 2014, 07:42 PM

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Katharina’s heart jumped into her throat the second she felt the pull. There was an immediate attempt to recoil and pull away, but the attempt was half-hearted. A second thought registered immediately after the instinct, a realization that the demon was not pulling her roughly.

If this was to feast, certainly the demon wouldn’t have left room for a struggle.

Still, it was unanticipated, and she stumbled out of the protective circle. A hand found her waist as she almost keeled forward and kept her up straight, while her extended hand found itself flat against the demon’s. “I—” but she cut herself off as the pain registered and her blue eyes widened at the sensation. The cut off was abrupt. She bit down on her own lip and shut her eyes, clenched her other hand into a fist to stave off a scream that wanted to break through. Her heart raced in a panic at more pain, flight instinct activated and ignored. Her entire body tensed, wishing for the order to run, to react, to do anything but stand there.

She couldn’t afford it, though. Couldn’t risk sound or flight. If her hosts saw this, it would all be over.

Still, her toes curled into the carpet as instead a moan managed to pass through tightly shut lips, all the voice she’d give to the pain as the mark burned through her skin and onto her soul.

It was quick, at least. The grip loosened and her eyes opened to observe the demon looking at the mark. She snatched her hand close to herself, holding it against her chest. The demon only bowed.

It asked for an order, and when her eyes met Katharina’s, she felt calmed. That look of hunger was familiar. For a moment, it seemed they truly shared the same desires. ‘Don’t get weak.’ Her mind snapped, and she straightened her posture. Her hand, however, remained up and close to her chest. The thumb of the other hand traced the outline of the burned marking.

She scowled at the demon for the act, for the obvious questions. She hid her joy at how enthused the demon seemed to be at the prospect of orders. Who liked orders? “Have you ever been summoned in the daylight?” It was a rhetorical question, of course. She didn’t need an answer. She didn't need to explain herself fully, either.

Just a little. The demon did need to understand the circumstances.

Katharina didn’t bother stepping back into the area protected by the salt. She was certain her feet had disrupted it so that it would be of no use, and besides, the contract was made. That ought to keep the demon...tame. “This is not my home, and I am a…guest,” it seemed the best word, “to the people who wish to replace me in the Queen’s favor. My family once held great esteem in Her Majesty’s court, and I want to hold my father’s position. I need to meet with the Queen, but I have been unable to arrange it. I have been watched daily and taken care of,” she sounded a touch disgusted with the inordinate amount of care the family was giving her.

They were well-intentioned, but a nuisance. Hindering. “You can act on my behalf. I need a meeting arranged with Her Majesty so that I have a chance to convince her to bestow my father’s position to me.”

Her arms crossed then, realizing no one in the castle would know who this demon was, or why she ought to be heard. A flustered sigh escaped, both at that thought and the feeling of the blood on her arm messing up the night gown even further. She felt the warm liquid now against her chest and all but cursed her own carelessness. She'd have to burn this gown now. “I could write you a letter, but my family’s signet ring is in my home.” And not here. Nothing of importance was here. She was cut off from everything. “Fetch that. My home is in Winchester, just off High street. It’s gated, and has over forty rooms” she offered the brief explanation, figuring it was enough to go on. There weren’t really houses as big as hers, though her house was ancient, built when Marquesses were feudal lords and held elaborate parties and had plenty of guests, “We’ll start there, and I can write to ensure you are admitted in to arrange things,” if a letter alone would have done it, she’d have been seen by Her Majesty already.

No, she needed the demon to do more than just deliver a letter. The letter would simply ensure that none doubted who sent the demon.

As she turned to walk towards the vanity and find paper to write upon, two things struck her. The first was that she didn’t know how to refer to the demon in the letter, and the second was that she didn’t want to get blood on the paper. “Wait.” She turned quickly back around, “I need to know what to refer to you as, and I need this wound properly bandaged. I do not have the materials here so I need you to get those, as well.” She would worry about the issue of the wound existing at all tomorrow, likely deal with it by wearing long sleeves, or gloves. She’d have to wear gloves from now on anyway. This symbol on her hand couldn’t be seen by anyone.
 Posted: Nov 6 2014, 05:50 PM

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The question caused her to smirk, though she knew better than to answer. Instead she listened dutifully to her instructions, never once moving a muscle, even to bat an eyelash. She watched from her kneeling position on the carpet as the woman folded her arms, in what she saw as an almost defensive gesture, and moved across the floor to the vanity. The red stain that spread farther across the flimsy nightgown was teasing her, taunting her. She could see it bloom and all but feel it's warmth.
Was it not enough to be surrounded by the smell of it?
The amount of blood itself was worrying, though; Humans really were such fragile creatures.
At the mention of tending to it, the ghost of a sigh escaped her lips and she arose from the floor. She crossed the room in three strides to stand beside her Mistress as her hand withdrew a small leather pouch from one of the two pockets on her apron skirt.
"Mistress, if I may." Without waiting for approval, she grasped her free hand around Katharina's wrist and tugged her injured arm from her chest in the same gentle guidance that she had used to pull her over the line of salt. With one motion, the fingers of her other hand ripped the bloodied sleeve of the nightgown clean from it's seam and away from her human's arm.
Her red eyes narrowed to inspect the wound in full and she resisted the temptation to lick her lips.
She had her orders, though, and would follow them. Temptation was for the weak.

"You may call me whatever you like, my Lady. that is for you to choose." She noted briefly as her gaze rose from the cut to meet her Mistress'. "I can care for this with what I already have. I need only supplies to clean it." Her grip on the woman's wrist lessened as her eyes looked over the room, landing on the small table with a water jug and bowl. Placing the pouch on top of the vanity beside her Mistress, she went over to pour the water into the metal bowl beside it.
Whatever servants had been put in place had done a poor job of replacing the water and it was cold, but they had managed to at least leave some folded towelettes.
"This will not do." She muttered under her breath, shaking her head as she picked up the bowl and concentrated on the liquid inside. Within moments, it began to bubble and steam rose from the heated water. Satisfied, she placed the bowl back down.
She dipped two of the hand towels into the water and let them soak. After another moment of waiting, she squeezed them both over the bowl, one by one, to wring out the excess water, before making her way back to her Mistress. Again, she did not wait for approval, merely took her hand and began to clean the blood from her arm and around the cut. With the area itself clean, she took care to gently lay the second towel over the wound and dab lightly with just her fingertips.
It took no time at all for both towels to become heavily stained red, but she simply lay the first over her shoulder and continued to clean the wound with the less-bloody of the two. It was painstakingly difficult to remind herself that humans could break under pressure, and the closeness of the blood only made it harder. Somehow, she managed to clean the wound without losing her head and she placed the second towel over the same shoulder as the first before leaning in to get a better look at the wound.
It was not as bad, without the excess of blood, but it was still deep, and more than was to her liking. She was right to have brought the pouch. Retrieving the leather from it's place on the vanity, she pulled the drawstring around it's neck open and withdrew a sharp, curved needle, clear thread already woven through the eye.

"Forgive me, my Lady, this might sting a bit." There was no remorse face as she pierced the pointed tip through the bottom of the wound and pulled it through to the end of the thread. Still, no point to cause her more suffering- the burn on her hand was quite enough for tonight- and she quickened her pace so that it took mere seconds to see the wound up completely. She'd have liked to see a human doctor even attempt to match her speed.
The thought had the smirk returning, if only to the corners of her lips, and she used the edge of one of her canines to sever the thread easily. Returning the needle to the leather pouch, she pocketed both as her eyes appraised the handiwork.
"Now, my Lady, you really must be careful. This should minimize the scarring, but it will not matter if you tear the sutures. I shall retrieve some bandages along with your ring." While she spoke, she crossed to the window and flung it open, inviting the night air into the room. "Is there anything else you would like me to... 'Fetch', Mistress?"
Like a mere dog. A grin accompanied the though as she placed her heel on the window sill, shoulder against one of the open panes of glass. "Gloves, perhaps?" She asked, red eyes flickering to where the woman shielded her palm from view.
 Posted: Nov 6 2014, 10:29 PM

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Katharina was not able to forbid the demon from her ‘if I may’ actions. Her wrist was taken before a protest could form, and the sleeve taken in an instant. An exclamation caught itself in her throat as she lifted her eyes from the action to the demon, fury burning in them, but she held her tongue when she saw the demon’s expression. Intent, focused.

She could wait a minute, but no more.

In that minute, she forced her mind to ponder a name. Immediately her parents’ names came to mind, but that was…improper. Her servants still lived, even if they were inaccessible and seemed in the hands of Eloa and her husband, Soren. So their names wouldn’t do. Various names of noblewomen flitted through her head as she turned to watch the demon heat her water. ‘What can’t you do?’ Well, that was for her to find out?

Perhaps she’d get used to this ‘ordering’ and seeing results. Human servants were limited. Despite the form this demon held, it was evident they didn’t play by human limitations. ‘Latin. Latin words.’ She had learned Latin. Was there a good name in Latin?

Of course that would stir an amusing thought, something both fitting and not fitting at once. She couldn’t hide the smile, but she didn’t voice her thoughts just then, in case a more…fitting name came to mind.

The demon returned with the towels and tried to soak up the blood. Katharina lost a bit of color as she realized exactly how much she was losing, watching the white turn red. She hadn’t meant to cut that deep. Was she going to bleed out before she got anywhere? Katharina noticed none of the demon’s struggles in her renewed worry over her own life. However, the demon didn’t seem worried, or else hid it well. She went about the duty of cleaning the wound in silence, and so Katharina asked no stupid questions, voiced no worries.

Cleaned, it looked better. Still, she frowned, “Damn athame,” she cursed under her breath, figuring it had been a bit too sharp. The demon had turned back to her pouch, and Katharina looked up as an apology started to escape, “What are you—” she took a step back to withdraw, but her wrist was still in the demon’s grip.

The puncture cut her off and she bit down tight to prevent an outcry from surprise.

It was stitched in seconds, but that didn’t mend the anger that remained when Katharina drew her arm back the second it was released, the second the demon finished her examination, “ASK!” It was a hissed whisper. She wanted to shout it. She would be grateful later, perhaps. Right now she was just upset.

To the window walked the demon, and Katharina rubbed her thumb over the closed wound. ‘Careful.’ As if this was typical. She took in a deep breath as she carried on so casually, tried to calm herself. The night air was comfortable, and it pulled a smile to her lips as the demon asked about other things. She liked the term fetch.

It cemented a new first name in her mind.

She liked irony. The demon had the gall to smile, too. “Yes,” she answered, “You can fetch me some gloves, Gabrielle Clements.” She had thought to call her ‘Clementia’ at first, ‘mercy’, but thought this suited better.

Gabriel, the messenger of God.

The ‘go fetch’ angel.

The smile became wicked. The demon would just have to deal with this name. “Go on then, Gabrielle.” She would not laugh. She would not laugh until the demon was gone and she could write the letter the demon would deliver…like a good messenger.
 Posted: Nov 14 2014, 04:11 AM

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'Gabrielle Clements'.
The grin didn't falter from her lips, but she could feel her eyes narrow.
The messenger angel. God's 'dog'.
It certainly made her feel like one. Did that make her new Mistress akin to a god? Suddenly, she wished she had not made it such a point to make the stitches as quick. A bit more pain wouldn't have been such a bad thing.

"Of course, my Lady."
She said, placing the palm of her right hand over her chest, just above where her own marking lay burning underneath her clothing. With a deep bow of her head, she pulled herself up completely onto the window ledge and made a motion to step off, before hesitating.

"Oh, and my Lady, if I might make one... small request of you." She turned and raised her head slightly so that she could look up at the Marchioness again, while her body rocked back and forth over the sill.
"Please, do close this window after me. I would hate for you to catch your death of cold."
Without waiting for her answer, she bowed again to the human and she allowed herself to fall backwards, out of the window, disappearing from the Lady Avira's view.

She tumbled through the air and landed silently in the grass below, narrowly missing the shrubbery.Well, Earth's gravity was definitely something that would take some getting used to. Better work on that.
Running was something else entirely- it was nice to move, even on human legs. Each step propelled her further, faster, imperceptible to the human eye and still too slow for her liking. The clothes, the body, all restricted her movements to blurs. Invisibility would have been preferred; nothingness over the blackened shadow that flitted through the streets of Winchester until it came to rest underneath the perfect iron "T" of a sign-

There were several homes, but none as big as the centermost gated. Her human made no exaggeration; the home towered over the others and boasted far more than forty windows, though all are dark. Before she could move to the gate out front, something rustled under her skirt. An amused look flitted across her face, following one of understanding, as she lifted the hem of her dressing up to her calves.
"I was wondering where you'd gotten to. " She mused, reaching a taloned hand down to where the snake was uncoiling it's massive black body from her left leg. "Apologies, for the sudden change. I suppose you heard the orders?" The serpent responded by wrapping itself up her outstretched arm, tail flicking rapidly.

Again, she all but disappeared, vaulting herself over the gate. She landed silently outside of the front doors, reptile now draped over her shoulders, squeezing it's way round her neck. Clawed fingernails picked at the lock until the door swung open, and she stepped inside.
If the outside of the mansionesque manor had been impressive, it was nothing compared to the innard. Magnificent golds and reds of the entrance hall were shrouded in the darkness, with a long carpet stretching out in front of them. It ended at the foot of a gilded staircase; the likes of which spiraled to the upper levels in two distinct branches, which split off from each other directly under a fine oil painting of a man and woman.
It was the staircase she went to, taking note of the upkeep of the place as her heels gave muffled clatters against the carpeting. While the servants had done their jobs as well as was expected of humans, she could see the dust that hid under cabinets and the discolor that blemished the wallpaper around the portrait's frame edge. All easy fixes for a demon, and despite the task at hand, she found herself taking mental notes of all that needed to be done as she ascended the staircase.
When it branched off, she chose the left, pausing to examine the couple in the painting. Her Mistress had said to ask- maybe she would, of the image, and more.

She ended up in another darkened hallway and found herself facing several doors on either side of her. The Lady Avira had of course not been bothered to relay much more instruction, but she found it irksome that she was now expected to search every room until she found the ring. No use to dwell on that, though- no good wasting time.
The first two rooms held nothing of importance, mirrors of each other seated across the hall with equally emptied desks and shelves who's books were merely decoration. When the third door opened to reveal a Billards Room, she did not even entertain the idea of entering. Each room that needed inspecting equated to more time spent with an incomplete task. Not to mention... Human servants needed sleep, but for a household of this size, she was not sure how long she had before they would need to wake and begin their daily tasks.
She left the fourth room, another study- how many did the house need, really?- and the snake lowered itself to the ground with a thud almost immediately upon her exit. Unhindered by it's size, the creature slithered off down the hall at an alarming rate, quickly disappearing around the corner. If the sudden abandonment fazed her, it didn't show. Her features remained stoic with only her red eyes moving in their sockets as she went back to the final room of the first hallway.


The demon was halfway through the second hallway, mostly made up of bedrooms and a nursery, when the snake returned. Noiselessly, it glided over the room's threshold and came to rest at her feet. There was a small gleam of something gold as the serpent's jaw unhinged and fell open, revealing two perfectly curved fangs, and something plopped down onto the carpet below.
She was already kneeling, fingers grasping at the gold ring. "Well done." The praise was little more than a hiss as she plucked it from the dyed wool and stood, running the pads of her fingertips over the raised insignia. The other hand went to her side to stroke the scales of the snake's neck. The snake hissed it's acknowledgement, but made no motion to climb back up her offered limb. Rather, with another harsh flick of it's tail, the serpent turned from the demon and essed from the room just as quickly and quietly as it had entered.
Already in a wing of bedrooms, retrieving the gloves was far less tricky of a task. It took no time to locate several pairs- two, white and silky, almost identical save for their lengths, one black with buttons running up the modest wrist covering, and one of the riding variety, made of brown leather. Careful to fold them without creasing too much, she tucked all four into her apron pockets and vanished down the hallway.

It was to her dismay that she was met with no resistance in leaving. Another thing that would certainly have to change; the relaxed security was simply ill-fitting for one who would seek the Queen's favor. No, the Avira household needed to be more than just secure, it needed to be fully efficient and with competent servants, ones worthy of her Mistress.
Another note, added to the mental checklist- 'Ask about hiring new help.
As she exited from the entrance hall, the demon wondered if the current servants would even notice the unlocked door. How long would it take for them to notice the missing items? Would they?

These were the only thoughts she entertained as she made her way back. It was easy enough, having made the trip once already. Once was enough- it took almost half the time to make the return trip to her Lady's current residence. The sun was just rising, peeking it's way above the horizon and casting an orange glow on the grounds as she came upon the manor.
She didn't bother to slow her speed as she catapulted herself up to the window, grasping it by the edges of her fingertips. It took one more motion to hoist herself up and land, balancing on her left knee and right fingertips while those of her left hand went to open the window once more. Again, it swung open, grazing the side of her shoulder, and she jumped inside of the room. No sooner had her feet touched the carpet than she was sinking back down into a kneeling position, hand up over her chest once more.
"My Lady, please forgive the delay." Her apology means nothing, existing only for appearances sake. But appearances mean everything for the two now, do they not?
"I do hope you did not wait up for my return." She said, voice hinting her amusement as she eyed the woman on the bed. Rising to her feet, she withdrew the items from her pockets as she made her way over the bed, noting the presence of the broken salt circle. Absently, she wondered if she would be the one expected to clean the wretched crystals up.
With the ring in one hand and the pairs of gloves stacked neatly in the other, she offers both outstretched, palms up. "Your ring, and gloves, my Lady. Would you like my assistance in putting them on?" She made sure to ask, head tilting to the side as she watches her human's expression curiously.
 Posted: Nov 14 2014, 04:54 PM

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It was all in the way those eyes narrowed that told Katharina her demon had gotten the message. Her own wicked grin didn’t waver, even as the demon bowed and accepted it all. What sort of life was it, she wondered, to serve all the whims of another? It must be how demons perfected the art of haste—no one could enjoy this for too long. ‘And victory is sweet.’ How painful would it be to lose her soul?

Gabrielle would likely make it more painful than necessary. Just as well. Motherly advice was given, and Katharina canted her head at it. A shrug of her shoulders confirmed the action would be taken—she had no qualms with shutting it. It had been shut before.

She made quite the exit, bowing and falling. Katharina chuckled to herself as she went to the window and pulled it shut once more. ‘How long will you take?’ She’d have to wait and see. The demon had arrived here quickly, but she had known where to go—the pull of the summon gave all the direction.

‘No matter.’

The demon wouldn’t be back until the task was done, and she must have understood there was a time limit. So, Katharina walked to her vanity and retrieved the paper she needed from within its drawers, as well as an ink well and pen. She lit a small candle for light on the vanity. She began to write.

Your Grace, Queen Alexandrina Victoria,

The hand that pens this is the hand of Katharina Avira, sole heir to the Avira name, daughter of Damian Avira who died in service to you. The hand that delivers this is my servant, and my guard, Gabrielle Clements. You may entrust her with anything.

I have been unable to reach you myself, as the good family of Synnove have taken my care to inordinate levels and thought not to stress me with the work of my family. I understand they feel the need to fill the void left behind, but I would request an audience with you discuss my own capabilities. My father knew he was not to have a male heir given how my mother’s pregnancy with me went. He has taught me to take over. Certainly in his time, he spoke with you of this.

You know, my Queen, what a woman is capable of. Give me your consideration and I will not fail you.

I wait to hear from you.

Yours in Faith,
Marchioness Katharina Avira

It was difficult to pen her father’s name, to write of him in the past tense. She had not expected it to be so, but she found her mind drift the moment she started to write of him. She had to wipe at her eyes to keep the stains of tear drops from reaching the paper.
She was successful. Not a drop to persuade the Queen she was unfit. 'Wax.' She would need to steal that. She knew where it was.

Quietly, she folded the paper and set it in a drawer, before moving to the door and pulling it open. She glanced down the halls, darker than night with no windows except at the far end, and all the lights extinguished. 'Just as well.' She knew the path to take, and so she exited her own room and walked out on tiptoes.

She was quiet the entire walk to the office, but there were still servants awake. The sight of a light causes her to look around, and then dart behind the nearest pedestal.

‘Please just pass.’

The light filled the hallway and cast shadows. Her own mixed with that of the pedestal. The servant really doesn’t expect anything, and so she goes ignored as the servant passes by. She holds her breath and remains still until the light is dim, and then darted to the door of the office. She pulled it open and didn’t shut it fully, to avoid the sound of it shutting. The servant might still hear.

There is no light, but Katharina has seen the wax fetched from the top drawer, so she walks to it and feels around until her hand finds what she is looking for. She withdraws it, as well as a spoon, and brings it closer so her eyes can discern that she has, in fact, grabbed the right box of sealing wax. On confirmation, she opens it and takes just enough to melt for a seal, then replaces it.

The return trip had no issues. She was able to shut her door and then walk to where her candle still glowed. She laid the wax near it. She’d heat it when it was time. It was pointless to do so now. ‘And you’re not back yet.’

Katharina does consider staying up, but the need to pretend is stronger, just in case her host shows up, or a servant. So, she disrobes to put on a different white gown, putting the bloody one aside and making a note to deal with it, before moving into her bed and laying down. She isn’t able to fall asleep, of course. Her thoughts are too busy, and her worry over the demon’s timing too prevalent to allow for sleep.

So, when the window is opened, she hears it. She sits up immediately and looks towards it, finding her demon returned.

The sun was rising. She could hear the servants just outside her room starting to stir. Katharina’s eyes narrow in a glare, thinking the demon delayed on purpose. She needed the meeting with the Queen today!

So, she speaks no words of forgiveness, simply moves so her legs are over the bed’s edge before the demon arrives. She might have stood then, but the demon was in front of her too soon.

The demon’s query annoyed. “You’d be too slow,” she noted as she took the gloves, and the rings. Three sets were put aside. The white set, reaching to her elbows, was the one chosen. She’d take up black before seeing the Queen, though. This is to hide the stitches more than anything.

She rises once they are on, and then walks over to the vanity. It’s easier to see in the orange glow of dawn. “You’ll have to be quicker on your delivery of this, and quicker in getting a response.” Katharina notes as she goes to the vanity and relights her candle. The sealing wax is placed in a spoon over the fire to heat it. “I wish not to humor the meeting I have this morning with Lord Avon.” Or else the deal would be sealed, and she’d be engaged. “I have to keep my sovereignty.” Her own name, her own rights to the estate—everything. “So,” the wax didn’t need much heat. This family understood haste, if nothing else. She let the melted wax slide onto the paper at the fold, and then pressed her ring’s seal into it.

It was old, a circle that held her family’s emblem in it, an elaborate ‘A’ protected on either side by winged sphinxes, raised up on their hind legs in the fashion of lions. The sphinx had been chosen early, for her family held and protected plenty of secrets.

They would not lose that status now. Katharina turned and offered the letter to Gabrielle. “Go immediately and return to the front door with the Queen’s response. That will be enough reason for me to leave this household without seeing Lord Avon.” A Queen’s summons wouldn’t be ignored. “You will find the palace in Westminister, right off Constitution Hill road,” it really wasn’t hard to miss, “Do not sneak in, but do not let this go into any hand but the Queen’s. Harm no one, but use whatever methods that do not cause harm, that may be required. Do not leave without a response.”

Difficult, perhaps, but necessary. Sneaking in and causing injury were not things that one seeking a meeting with the Queen on cordial terms would do, but if the demon needed to hypnotize others or utilize persuasion, bribery, or what have you, then Katharina was all for it. “Be back before morning tea. All right?” Not really a question. It would be all right. It would be done.
 Posted: Dec 8 2014, 02:43 AM

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Gabrielle takes the letter from Lady Avira's hand and glances down at the seal, running the very tip of her thumb down the body of one of the sphinxes. Less intricate than her own marking of choice, it is still far from inconspicuous. Though she knows it inappropriate to ask, she can't help wonder how familiar her new mistress is with the legend of the lionesque beasts. It seems fitting, in an ironic sort of way, that she should have ended up in servitude to a house with the most ravenous of beasts adorning its crest. She is a beast, after all, and she is starving.

"As you wish, my Lady." She says, bowing her head as she places her free hand over her chest. So, her mistress wishes her quicker- that she could do. Speed, on it's own, is not that difficult to achieve. It is when efficiency comes into play that speed falters and falls to the wayside. But if her mistress wants her to be both… well, she can do that, too. She is a demon, after all. It would have been a disgrace to make such sacrifices in terms of speed or efficiency, when she should excel at both. Anything less than exceptional is out of the question. Anything less than exceptional is undeserving of the end.
With nothing left to say and much to prove, she swivels on one heel towards the window once more. Her body vaults through the open window without hesitation, the single push propelling her through the room and out into the night air. It is only after she clears the windowsill that she releases the explosion of sleek, black feathers. They flurry around her, swirling through the air at unnatural paces, before she vanishes, leaving them to scatter midair and fall to the earth.
It is not vanishing though, not really. True, to human eyes, she has disappeared. But human eyes can be deceived, as many can. The feathers serve as distractions, simple illusionary magic tricks specifically meant to deceive. Her movements are fast, but not fast enough to truly disappear. Instead she blurs, darting in and out of the sunlight as she springs from roof to roof, through tree tops and branches, over walls and between alleyways. Even with the greater distance, it takes her less time to reach Westminister. She supposes that is thanks to her Mistress' orders, at least in part.

If she is only as good as the orders she's given, it is the orders that make her next task that much harder as she approaches Constitution Hill, eyeing the palace that stretches for much of the street. With the gate closed and flanked by several members of the Royal Guard, her options of getting inside are that much slimmer. Certainly her Mistress didn't think of that when she told her not to sneak…
What a pain. She sighs, exhaling softly through her nostrils, and places one of her hands on the high stone wall that separates the Palace from the rest of Westminister. Hoisting herself up, her other hand smacks down against the top of the wall. She uses the momentum to vault herself over the barrier and lands unseen in the garden below.
The grounds are much larger than any she's seen in a long time. Intimidating though it is, however, the size of the place is not what unsettles her. Any other palace, any other place, she would have expected soldiers, and a plethora at that, crawling from the woodwork to stop the intruder. She continues to note the absence of any sort of guard inside the walled-off grounds as she makes her way to one of the lower windows around the far left side. Unhindered, she's able to pry the glass open and climb inside.
It rattles in its frame as she shuts the window behind her, echoing off of the walls and down the long corridor that she's entered. Without waiting for silence, she takes off, careful to keep her movements paced- lest she run the risk of sneaking. Down the hall, she follows the deep purple carpet as it leads her from the far wing of the house towards the center, where she assumes the location of the Queen's main room to be.


The deep male voice rings out from the corridor behind her.
She pauses as the presence appears farther down the hallway. In all of her years, few have been able to creep up on her this well, and she would hazard a guess it is only because he chose to make himself known to her. The thought unnerves her, but not as much as scent that accompanies his presence. It's unmistakable-the smell.
Not quite the same as the undertones that had perforated her Mistress' chamber, it is far from the pungent fumes that seeped from the soul of her Mistress. Lavender and lilies, ivory bars of soap and crisp, clean bedsheets; no human should smell this way. She wrinkles her nose at both smell and realization as she braces herself for what's to come.
As quickly as the presence reveals itself, it disappears, if only for a split second. There is the rush of air against the exposed skin on the nape of her neck, and the presence reappears directly behind her, joined by a thin blade of cold, silvery steel. Current predicament aside, she can appreciate the dexterity it takes to hold the blade completely still against her neck.
"These are private quarters. A creature like you has no business sneaking around." The male voice notes sternly. Perhaps it is less than appropriate to be impressed by his observation, but she can't help the shiver that runs down her spine. Surely, she should have expected no less from those chosen to guard the humans' queen.
"Au contraire, I had express orders not to sneak. Besides, if I was 'sneaking', you wouldn't know it." She chances the wink over her shoulder. Her other eye goes to the blade at her neck immediately, appraising everything from the quality of steel to his stance. It is only last that she takes in the figure- an even sterner faced man with stark white hair, combed straight back, and brilliant blue eyes. He wears a white and gray suit, save for the sky-blue tie that matches his eyes, and the hands that hold his sword are covered by crisp white gloves, much like the ones she'd offered to her mistress.
His eyes narrow at her accusation and he turns the blade over in his hands, pressing it against her neck in full. "Do you mock me, creature?
She laughs as a small sliver of blood trickles down her exposed neck. "If that is how you hear it, yes." He lets a small growl, his upper lip twitching back over his teeth, as he glares at her. She sneers back, lips stretching almost grotesquely over her own teeth, revealing the dulled points of her canines. "Will you give me the death penalty for it?" She asks, arching an eyebrow as she presses her neck back against his blade.
Animalistic, both stand rigid, bared teeth and raised hackles, hair on end. The tension itself is palpable. Two predators, each waiting, watching, tempting the other to strike first. They remain frozen, teetering on the edge of attack as they weigh their desires to rip the other's throat out. There is, in truth, nothing she wants more than to tear the one behind her to bits. How satisfying it would be, to feel it's life drain through her fingers. How long since she's killed? Too long.
She has her orders, though. 'Harm no one'. As if it is that easy. He certainly doesn't make it so.
As if reading her mind, she feels his blade lift as he draws his sword away from her by several inches. "You say you have your orders?" He asks after a moment's deliberation.
"Yes." She offers no further elaboration. When he realizes she doesn't plan to, his brow furrows deeply, creating lines in his otherwise porcelain skin.
"As it turns out, I have my own as well…" He waits, eyeing her impatiently. Rather than rise to the bait, she watches him silently, waiting. "Well? What are your orders?" He all but demands. She considers this for a moment further, eyeing him with a somewhat bemused expression.
"I have a letter for the Queen." She says finally. "It is rather important." She adds.
Whatever he was expecting, she can tell it isn't this. He is quick to recover, however, and wipes his face of expression. "I see, well, I have my own orders to follow."
"Yes, so you've said." She mutters, laughing, and he gives her an indignant look.
"I must deliver you to Her Majesty." He says without a trace of humor.
"Yes, I imagine so." She says. Again, she chuckles as she steps forward, gesturing to the hallway in front of them. "Lead the way." With a gruff noise, he sheathes his sword and grabs her forearm with his free hand, guiding her with surprising care towards the door.


He leads her to a large room, decorated in golds and silvers. There were three exceptions she noted to this; the bloodred flowers that stood in several vases around the room, the heavy black curtains that draped the high standing windows, and the large throne-like chair that boasted plush black cushions. Atop these sat a surprisingly small female figure, dressed completely in black. More startling than the ominous black dress that seems to engulf the petite body is the heavy black veil that falls in front of the figure's face. It hangs around her head completely, attached to a large (gaudy) black hat adorned with several of the roses, black feathers. and a black ribbon tied into a bow.
As they approach, he stops suddenly, placing a hand over his chest. "My Queen." He bows, dipping so low she wonders if he will tip over completely. Her own hand goes over her chest, and she bows her head forward slightly.
"Your Majesty."
He shoots her a look as though she is unworthy to even address the Queen (and she supposes, in his mind, she isn't) and she resists the urge to laugh aloud at his obvious irritation. Gabrielle watches him cross the room to the Queen and lean in to whisper something in her ear. It's an annoyance to say the least that the veil hides the Queen's true face, for numerous reasons. But from the way her second guard continues to glance over at her from his place at the Queen's right shoulder, she can assume what they're discussing. Or rather, who they're discussing.

When the first guard straightens back up and moves aside to take his place at her left side, she shifts her attention back to the Queen who seems to be considering her.
"My friend tells me you have a letter for me?" The Queen's arm shifts as she extends her hand out in front of Gabrielle expectantly. Without hesitation, she fishes her Mistress' letter out from the pocket of her apron and hands it over with a flourish. The Queen takes it just as certainly and breaks the seal open with her thumb, taking the letter out and beginning to read it.
The silence in the room is staggering with only one of four in it breathing all the while the Queen goes over the letter. Gabrielle's not sure how many times she's read it before she sets it down in her lap slowly, paper crinkling between her frail fingers.
"I see... The Queen whispers, more to herself than anyone else. "Peter. This will not do. She says a bit louder, perking back up as she looks to the man at her left side. "Fetch me a letter of summons right away. It has come to my attention we should entertain a meeting with the Lady Avira."
The guard nods rightaway, bowing before he goes to retrieve a piece of parchment and ink pot from the desk to the side of the room. Again, they wait, before he returns with a newly-written request and a wax candle. She watches as the Queen signs her name at the bottom of the page before he hands the candle over and the Queen drips the wax down onto the folded letter below. When it is done, she hands the candle back and presses the ring finger of her other hand down on the fresh wax. It seals the royal emblem into the dark red wax just as her Mistress had with her own ring, and when the Queen hands it over, she runs her fingers down the seal again, admiring the over-simplified coat of arms.
"For your Mistress."
She nods, bowing again. "Thank you, Your Majesty." She says before turning on the spot and walking towards the door, her heels clicking dully against the long, gold-colored carpet. She's only managed to take several steps before the female voice speaks up behind her once more, though, this time unexpectedly.

"How did you know my guards would not kill you for trespassing here?"
The question catches her by surprise. It flashes across her face- eyebrows arched, eyes wide, mouth open- in an embarrassing gesture of astonishment. She should have figured as much. For the second time in rapid succession, she's found herself caught off-guard solely because she underestimated the other. A mistake she would do well to correct as quickly as possible.
"May I speak freely, your Majesty?" She asks, turning to look back over her shoulder at the shrouded figure.
A small smile begins to creep it's way across her lips. "It is simple… You're all the same. No matter where one goes, those who claim the meaningless title of 'royalty' are forever the same. You could say you're very predictable, Your Majesty."
"Oh? How so?" The veil crinkles to conform to the shape of a woman's face as the brim of the hat inclines towards the floor. Still, Gabrielle cannot make out the expression that hides behind the black curtain. But she can see the guards that flank the Queen, and both are clearly aggravated by her assumption. The smile widens to a sneer as she bares her teeth at the two guards, her gaze never faltering from the dark-veiled figure between them.
"Vanity, Your Majesty. It is the age old sin of pride that your kind fall accustomed to, that leaves your curiosity unchecked. You would not order your guards to kill those of us who would trespass into your chambers, because you wish to see those of us who would kill you with your own eyes."
At this, the guards tense up immediately as though readying for attack. In her peripheral vision she watches their knees bend, hands jerking up to their belted hips, gripping at their swords in near perfect unison. It is the one on the left, her 'captor', who goes to unsheathe his blade first. Quick to draw, the Queen is quicker. She raises her left hand out, palm parallel to the wall, and he freezes, knuckles turning white around the hilt of his sword.
"Do correct me if I am mistaken, but does this mean you would, in your own words, kill me?" The Queen asks, a trace of amusement behind her words.
"Do not take this the wrong way, Your Majesty, but if I wanted you dead, you would be long deceased." She answers truthfully. The guards react visibly, both clearly irate with her and frustrated at their inability to draw their swords. But the Queen laughs loudly, veil swaying as she shakes her head back and forth.
"Is that so? It is certainly impressive that you think so." Amusement drips from her voice, though Gabrielle has said nothing but the truth. Humans are such strange things sometimes. "I think it is time for you to be getting back to your Mistress. One of you, show her to the door." The Queen says, gesturing to the two men at her side.
"Thank you for the offer, Your Majesty, but I can escort myself out." She says, bowing once more before turning to leave without so much as a second glance at the guards.

"Oh, and, Gabrielle, one more thing…"
She pauses, though she keeps her back to the Queen.
"Do watch over the Marchioness Avira. These are unsightly times indeed. Someone should be looking out for her..."
She's unsure if the words hold meanings hidden to her, but nods nonetheless. "Goodbye, Your Majesty."
"Oh… I'm sure we'll be seeing each other soon. Goodbye, for now, Gabrielle."
There is an unmistakable taunt in the Queen's words. Careful to keep her composure, she shoots a smile over her shoulder before storming from the room, allowing the door to slam loudly behind her.

"Your Majesty…" The guard begins once the door shuts, but again, she holds up her hand to him.
"Peter… if you find her trespassing again, kill her."
He is quick to recover from the look of shock that flickers across his face. "Yes, of course, my Queen." He says, taking her outheld hand in his and kissing it as he bows deeply before her.


With the Queen's letter tucked neatly into her apron pocket, exactly where the Lady Avira's had been, and her way back now clearly mapped out in her head, she sets off running the moment she reaches the main entrance of the palace. Sprinting out into the early morning, it takes her next to no time at all to reach her Mistress' current lodgings once again. The third visit in very little time, she hopes it will be one of the last times as she remembers her Mistress' order and walks up to the front door, taking the letter from her pocket as approaches.
After several rasping knocks on the door, a servant opens it a sliver with a rather gruff expression on their face. "Who's-?"
Before they have time to blurt the rest of their confused sentence, she waves the letter right in front of their eyes, seal carefully displayed. "Ahem- I have a message from the Queen. A summons for the Lady Avira." She says loudly, her voice echoing past the servant and into the room behind her. "Will you fetch her for me?" While she can't see the rest of the room save for what little is visible above the blonde girl's head, the girl continues to cast nervous glances to her left, which tells Gabrielle she's not alone. Arching an eyebrow, she folds her arms across her chest, making sure the letter is still clearly displayed in her fist. "Shall I wait for you to fetch her for me?" Gabrielle asks again, allowing her irritation to seep into her voice.
 Posted: Dec 8 2014, 03:21 PM

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Doubt was what Katharina felt for every human, and so it was a difficult sensation to shake away in thinking of her demon. Gabrielle left her, quick to get on with the order, but even so, worry remained. It would not let her sleep, so Gabrielle did not even attempt to return to bed. Instead, she found clothing to wear, a dark blue and white gown that would be appropriate both to meet a suitor in as well as the Queen. The boots are black, to match the gloves she’d later adorn for meeting the Queen. Those she hides away in a drawer, and then glances at the bloody, white gown she’d discarded. ‘What to do?’ Burning it would be the best way to hide the evidence, but starting a fire here wouldn’t do.

She’d have to deal with it later. She folded it up nicely, and then hid it between the mattress and the bed’s frame itself.

Lady Katharina turned from that to pin her hair up and prepare the rest of herself, and managed it just as there was a knock on the door, and then it opened. “Oh, you are awake,” usually she was still in bed, her form of protest. “The Lady Synnove wishes to have your company this morning,” breakfast time, of course. Katharina had a feeling it would last beyond breakfast, as the woman would hold her hostage until Lord Avon arrived for tea. “Will you be joining her?”

‘Do I have a say?’ Unnecessary question. Of course she didn’t. “Of course. Is she in the dining room already?”

“Ah, no miss,”

‘I am a Marchioness.’

“she’s in the lounge. She is taking breakfast there.”

“Then I shall go meet her there.”

“Very good. Is there anything you would like to have?”

She should eat. She needed to eat. “Jasmine tea and some fruit scone, please.” She wasn’t all that hungry. She was too worried to have much an appetite.

The servant took the order, and the Marchioness left her room in order to meet the Lady Synnove. Katharina knew the route to the lounge by now, and was there quicker than the Lady expected. Her husband still remained, not yet out to tend to this duties. ‘I’d swear you were related.’ There was a decent chance Lord Matthew Synnove was related to the Lady Marianne Synnove, but it was not a close relation if so. They looked like they might be siblings with their perfect blonde hair, and soft features.

Even so, Marianne looked pleased when her eyes fell upon Katharina, “You are up early,” she smiled and stepped away from her husband to meet Katharina part-way into the room. “Are you feeling better?”

“Yes,” Katharina answered, “Thank you,” and then she acknowledged Matthew, “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” he spoke more stiffly than usual, “Well, I’ll leave you two to be,” he said, managing something of a smile for his wife’s sake, before exiting the lounge.

Marianne placed a hand on Katharina’s back and escorted her towards some of the plush chairs, then motioned for her to sit. Katharina did so, “Did you rest well?”

“Yes,” she gave a nod, managed a weak, confessional smile, “though I was a bit anxious,” she didn’t need to say why, for Marianne filled that in herself.

“Oh, don’t worry!” She said brightly, “Lord Avon is a kind man, and he will like you. He’s handsome, to boot.”

Somehow, the Marchioness managed not to roll her eyes. It was a difficult task, “I’m sure you’ve looked into him very well, and I thank you for all the kindness you’ve spared towards me. It….” She averted her eyes down, as if seeking difficult words. “It means a lot.”

Marianne took a seat at her side then, took one of Katharina’s hands, “Your father was as a brother to me. I could not leave you to endure this cold world alone,” she said, and Katharina looked up with appropriately faked humility and gratitude.

“Thank you,” was said again, and before it could get too much to bear, the servant entered the room with the tea and the food. Lady Synnove smiled to the servant, who placed the items before them on the short table, bowed, and left them.

Marianne looked disappointed with Katharina’s meal. “Is that all you wish to eat?” She hadn’t been eating well in the first place, a constant frustration. “You really ought to have more. I can call the servant back and you can—”

“This is all I desire,” she said, “You cannot force someone who hasn’t eaten to gorge themselves. It would do more ill than good.” She didn’t even pick up the scone, and debated if she actually wanted it now that it was here. It was so…dry. Just the looks of it were repulsive right then, and it didn’t look like it had much fruit in it at all. ‘Maybe if I drench it in tea.’ At least then it wouldn’t be dry.

She sipped the tea. “I’m well,” she told Marianne before any more pressure could be applied. “Tell me about Lord Avon,” to steer the topic elsewhere.

Marianne seemed pleased to distraction by this topic, so she didn’t even comment as the scone continued to go uneaten. She spoke of Lord Avon himself, of his family, his wealth, his history, his home—he was further out. He was lower ranking. He was less wealthy. He was less in many respects to the Marchioness, but still Marianne found ways to talk him, such as suggesting how well he’d manage all of her father’s affairs, sans his position under the Queen.

It must have been an hour of such nonsense chatter when they were interrupted by a blonde servant girl. “Um, excuse me,” she bowed promptly. Her anxious demeanor worried Marianne, who rose.

“What is the matter?”

“There is a woman here to see Lady Avira,” the servant reported, still bowed, “She has a letter from the Queen.” A beat passed, “A summons,” clarified.

“Ah, well I should not keep Her Majesty waiting,” the Marchioness rose and set her empty cup of tea aside. The scone went ignored as she walked away from the lounge set-up.

“But-but why would she be summoning you?”

“Perhaps it is something to do with my father. They were friends. I’ve found it strange I have not seen her earlier.”

“Well,” the woman looked a bit flustered, “Let me get my things, and I will join you.”

“That would be inappropriate,” Katharina noted. Before Marianne could express her confusion, she explained, “Someone has to be here when Lord Avon arrives. Do tell him I’m terribly sorry. I’m sure he’ll understand, though.”

Marianne’s smile was strained, “I suppose you are correct,” she agreed, “Well, be safe then.”

Katharina bowed her head, then turned and walked by the maid, who returned to explain the individual who had come. Katharina took a turn to the room she was allowed use of, and exchanged the white gloves for the black. Then, she walked immediately towards the entrance, where she heard a voice asking, “And just who are you? The Queen has never sent you before to deliver her messages.” It was the second son, the son meant to inherit the Marchioness’s place.

“She’s mine,” Katharina answered as she entered the room. He turned his steely, purple eyes on her. He had sent the maid along. “Her name is Gabrielle Clements.”

“I have never seen her before.”

“No, you wouldn’t have,” though she didn’t explain why, the smile on her lips suggested that was part of the point, part of the purpose. Nobles like the Avira had their hands deep into worlds not meant to be seen. “If you’ll excuse us, Philip, I’d hate to have to explain I was delayed by you.” She’d enjoy it, actually.

Philip stepped away from the door, and Gabrielle exited the house, “How are you even getting there?” Philip asked. He didn’t see a carriage anywhere.

“Never you mind,” though Katharina noticed immediately there was no carriage pulled up. She should have mentioned it. Oh well. “I shall return as soon as I can, give my regards to Lord Avon,” and with that, the Marchioness shot Gabrielle a look and walked on. When Philip was out of earshot, for he still hadn’t shut the door, she asked, “How am I getting to the Queen?” Let’s see how quick the demon could figure out the issue on her own.
 Posted: Dec 10 2014, 09:25 PM

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The nervous girl retreats behind the doorway. After some shuffling, her flushed face reappears and she nods anxiously. "Right away, miss."

"What have I told you about answering the door?" The man appears over the blonde girl's head, purple eyes narrowed as he peers out over the threshold. The girl stumbles as he shoulders past her and pulls the door farther open.
“And just who are you? The Queen has never sent you before to deliver her messages.”

It's tempting to offer a reply to the man, but her Mistress beats her to it as she comes into view behind him. She turns her attention from him and bows to the Marchioness, eyes never leaving her face. Her lips draw into a thin line as she listens to the brief exchange, watching the two humans intently. It's only after her Mistress looks her way that she straightens up. Without so much as a backward glance to the human male, she follows her down the steps dutifully.

“How am I getting to the Queen?”

The question stops her in her tracks. Hesitating, she gives the woman before her a doubtful look. When the man had posed the question, she'd assumed he was slow. Her Mistress, on the other hand… She frowns, brows knitting together as she considers the woman in front of her. Slow would be the wrong word, but she still isn't quite sure what to make of the human.

"Forgive me, my Lady, I thought it rather obvious…" She begins, watching the Marchioness closely. Taking several steps forward, she approaches her slowly. When she is but an inch away, she pauses again.
"…It will be most efficient for me to carry you, as you'll find I can run quite faster than most of your human inventions." She says. "Ah! You can even read your letter on the way." She adds quickly, offering the letter that remains clutched in her hand as she holds out her arms to the woman. "Shall we be off?"
 Posted: Dec 13 2014, 10:36 PM

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Much as the demon was considering whether or not Katharina was ‘slow’, Katharina was considering the same thing when the demon provided her answer as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Katharina snatches the letter from her hand, but she does not smile. She does not show that she is impressed with the demon’s thoughts on the matter, but says instead, “How do I explain to the Queen that I arrived at an inhuman speed, Gabrielle?” Never mind how Gabrielle delivered the letter at an inhuman speed, as a solo traveler that could be explained away with a really fast horse. “Her Majesty knows where I am located. To arrive too soon would draw suspicion.” The fact she had to explain this was irritating.

Well, perhaps it was to be expected with a demon. They didn’t know human norms.

Katharina let a sigh part her lips. “No, I suppose finding a carriage ought to take up enough time to explain how I got the letter so quickly, as well.” The Queen wouldn’t know when, exactly, Gabrielle arrived. This extra time in acquiring a carriage would make everything seem more natural, and the demon did her duty. She got Gabrielle out of the manor before Lord Avon arrived. Now they’d fill up some time to make it all seem more natural by the time they returned to the Queen.

It was almost enough to make Katharina pleased with the demon’s error.


Katharina turned on her heel and started to walk on, “Come along. We’ll rent a carriage for the trip.” Since going to her own manor was too far of a walk.
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