Night in the Fortress
We have very different reports right now. Schrieklich's force was not the Warden force. Many in the force that agreed to meet with the knights didn't even know that preliminary attacks occurred. Shrieklich is a Warden but his influence has created a third party in this division. Prisoners stated they had orders to acquire Robin rations, but no more than a week surplus. The same group had never harmed the Fate clan, or Arbiters. The rebelion has two parties. The cease fire was to discuss the topic of Shrieklich. The Death of Lord Klau was also discussed and a replacement would be trained soon but they haven't said who that would be yet. Being a Marshal I was required to attend along with several of the traitor Marshals as well. They were not the closest to me, but several of them would never turn on their own.
-Personal Note Marshal Verner-
Avisland: Robin Territory, The Festung.
Gold’s eyes closed as he embraced the pillow on face. The soft fabric was cool and the covers folded under the mattress perfectly. The invitation was more than welcome. He almost felt guilty that the night guard can’t enjoy this. But patience will reward them. If Diener hadn’t requested Gold’s absence for the night personally he might have kept up through it.
More work just needed to be done and an unknown enemy could strike anywhere. But it all became clear again.
They need to sleep too. They cannot fight us at every minute.
Just before Gold’s mind could slip away his door cracked open. Four bladed fingers peeled though the slit and push the door silently. The steps of a demon moved behind with poise and abhorrent purpose. But the light was the first warning and the first relief.
“Good, you’re not asleep. Forgive me. We need a moment.”
“I don’t know... Nadel. I used to ask Wren what Pavise liked.” Gold sat up. He was wearing a thing whit shirt and underwear. But didn’t look directly to her. Gold continued slower. “What would be something she’d find pretty, or useful, even just thoughtful.”
“I'm Nadel now.”
“She loved to eat Robin’s peaches. But never the peels, hand peeled, only in season.”
The Rabeness stepped inside. And took off her mask. And closed the brown door returning the white and grey room to black. The light was closed off and the Rabeness removed her blades. Her eye gave a glow in the dark. An unearthly and infernal gaze. Two red orbs sat across from him, like a foul temptress.
“Did you love me Gold?” She was tired. "I mean, you ever feel that way. Before I was marked…” The eyes stared intensely in the pitch dark. Two red orbs floated there with the door closed.
“Too often Nadel. Wren tried to kiss me when she was marked. It was revolting on so many levels. She knew about us. But she was twisted. It was a betrayal to your memory.”
“Sounds like she had a interesting feathering.”
“Then you kissed me in the Corvus Castrum. What’s real with Raben? What’s fake?” Gold planted his head down.
“Did you have that feeling that time at the Corvus Castrum? I can’t tell where I begin and where Raben ends. But I knew you, and still know you. You were unsure too weren’t you. But it wasn’t like Wren.”
“It as nothing like Wren. It was an embrace. I recognized you.” Gold answered.
“I bet that kiss… it consumed your thoughts.”
“My heart was torn out of my chest. I put myself though implanting after what happened. I willingly forced myself. Because it all went down. I lived in an empty house Nadel! I sat alone wondering why someone’s heart, so powerful, such a powerful heart. Why did your heart fail you? Why did such a strong heart in your chest kill the only woman worthy of it? A heart condition…” Gold groaned from soreness. His anger dissipated to grief and the loss.
“But you weren’t alone.” Nadel was feeling and seeing too far into Gold’s inner thoughts. His inner demons mingled with hers in a parade with no degree of subtlety.”
“I couldn’t comfort Wren either. Her best friend was dead and there was no funeral. And no one to comfort her. The poor Robin lost two friends in a single day. I just left because it hurt me. That’s why I stayed in Roost, Nadel, because I let my own selfishness get me. I abandoned Wren because being around her or even around her family struck me to the core. So I brought myself to protect them. I asked to be implanted into Roost. An artificial feathering.”
Nadel was quiet for a while. She couldn’t defend or justify her motives because there weren’t any. She just hung her head as her eyes vanished in the dark. Only they sprung up on Gold’s right and sat next to him.
“I know you slept on a bed for two. I know you light candles at your home, you can’t stand the electric lights. You’re almost never there because you travel for Roost. But I watched you once. I told myself, we’ll have a wedding after I spring though the door and we embrace as long-lost lovers. I almost woke you up in the night to tell you I was alive.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“I was too dangerous. It was my comrade that night. He dove and tackled me to the ground to sedate me. I was covered in blood. I had killed a Roostman trying to seize power. He needed to disappear.”
Nadel’s breathing tensed up. As the moment of crying was repressed. “All you’d know of Pavise would be a psychopath barely under control.” Nadel had tears down her eyes and they poured down as she sat beside Gold on the bed.
The tears were a bio-luminescent red that smeared on her face in the light-less bedroom. Gold was startled.
“I didn’t honestly, I didn’t know for sure about my feelings for you. Feelings, ah…” He winced as he embraced her. His body was wracked with soreness from combat. I know we’ve always had feelings. The real question was resolve. Will we put our lives in one? And I would still say, yes Nadel. And I always will. Only now we’ve known suffering. We won’t have another choice Nadel. I gave my heart to Pavise and she never really left. You still have it Nadel.” Gold sat up.
She leaned low to the bed by Gold’s shoulder. Her black feathered arms set themselves around Gold. She leaned in the darkness. This was no mere embrace of lips. She pressed her face near his. Her feathers around her chin and the side of her face were soft on Gold. She was warm but the moment was drawn into an eternity. Black and gold hands were held. Lips moved together but she was gone. Like a specter on a haunt, it lingered just enough.
“Patience Goldfuast and sleep well. We can settle when we have peace. We’ll know this moment again. Please forgive me for this, I had to pick the lock on your door. My claws broke it. I guess you’ll just need a body guard tomorrow night. And would you look at that. Diener has placed me on patrol of your hallway.” Nadel said as she grinned and slipped out with her claws back on her hands, surrounded with a midnight of feathers from the sides of her cheeks down behind her back to her ankles. The only bare spots on her body were the face, palms, and feet.
But Nadel had done it again. First over the course of years, now only over mere minutes. Lust and passion were derailed for grief and regret. Gold held back tears, a habit built over countless moments of disgrace and sorrow. But it was sorrow he was alive to feel. He always remembered that after every battle.
On an opposite area of the fortress, Gold and Nadel spoke in Darkness.
On my side of the castle, I had awoken as I allowed myself to drink water and eat. I managed to keep it down after what I’d seen that day.
Stark was going for a night shift outside my hall and he showed me to a small room after Mafic and Felsic gave me a hug. Stark was a nice Roostman. And Felsic and Mafic worried over me their entire day. Ever since the betrayal.
A bed took up most of the space. It was likely too big for me alone, but I was still grateful for the space. A closet had enough space to hang up my armor and helmet. They wanted all Raben operatives to take off their helmets.
A bathroom used up at least a third of my area in a separate closed room. I was incredibly thankful. My hair was in a warm draft. The controlled temperature was a luxury after moving through the mountains.
His eye patch was out for the world. I take a good look around before setting my pack in the bathroom for a shower. The first in days. My hair was thrashed. Combat, cold, flying in the wind, and pure time had taken my hair and sowed mittens with it.
I had a coat hanger holding my cloak, armor, and my other clothes was folded. The armor had blood stains and I had it removed and in a bag. Boots by the door, socks were soaked in a soap with most of my gear and washing, and I was in the water finally.
I striped down. I detached everything but my talon. The four blades glistened. A giddy and silly light with steam from the shower. But this wasn't goofy sparkles, this was honed steel. A murderous splendor.
With my blade in the water and my body in steam I didn’t feel exposed with the new feathers. It was like extra covering. I had way more feathers than both of my parents combined. I had thick layers on my wrists and the top of my hand. Soft feathers on the sides of my chest and back. My Back in particular had small feathers but longer ones grew on my face by my ears.
One large bathing room with all toiletries. was just what I needed too. A toilet and sink to one side had the driest area. No walls or hangers to divide anything off besides a lock on the bathroom door. A white and tan gold pattern kept the light reflective and illuminating the room which bothered my new eyes to no end. I squinted to see in the shower.
Sweat and pine needles washed away from me but I managed to wash away the blood. But I felt like the violence didn't clean out with anything.
In a way, that’s the only thing I can’t clean off, I’m going to have to just live with it. I didn’t know the blood leaked under my claws though. My black feathers beneath the talon glove were padded down with blood and the Rabeness’s blood flowed down the shower drain off my claws. Now I saw it; the beauty and foulness of my talon glove. The design and metal were gorgeous and flawless, I understood the dark and the horror that the creator intended.
These claws were built to do exactly what I did with them. Tribe Bedded was very artistic when aided by the Macaw tribe and the Bramble tribe.
The care and detail a Robin used to surgically repair an organ is the level of attention required and expected for the blade makers. I caught a new detail too. Four groves along the blade allowing a restraint to come loose. The fluid blood flowed from the new area as well and crusted blood broke off and melted down in the water flow. But the blades extended forward and clicked tightly to the glove’s finger tips. As I bent each joint of the knives they adjusted and the edges shifted.
I squirmed my hand out of the blade and threw it down on the floor. But something in me lingered after my mark. I want to use these again… As sick as the thought was.
I placed the blades back on my hand and other another switch at my wrist allowed them to fold under into sheaths. I tightened them down and ran a cleaner through my hair. No matter how much water hit me, I didn't feel too wet. I had to coat my self in strong soaps to clear the oils from the feathers.
At the end of the shower, I found my bag from Raben. The oil slicked back the black feathers after the soap. After an even coating, my feathers dried in a few minutes and I wiped off the last part with cloth. My arms were fresh, warm, and soft.
I redressed in nightwear provided for me. They gave me two top pieces, two bottom pieces, with a soft pair of pants and a tank top as well as a pin and a few hair pieces. After a few folds and a quick motion, my black hair was out of my face for the night after I removed it from a towel wrap.
I found the mirror again. The wide red eyes had bags and I start shuddering. The black feathers at my collarbone were like a gown. But going down, they flowed from my arms down my rip cage on my sides and then to the sides of my legs ending at the backs of my calf on each leg.
I’d always been sleek but I saw my real form. Muscle lines had me above the waist, but my legs were built up. The running to made me sore, but I'd covered miles. I’m was not scrappy, or over muscled as to look odd or feel too sluggish. I felt light on my feet and much more capable. After cleaning my teeth with a paste I settled into a night of dead fiends and Raben scout snipers. What I destroyed lived in my dreams now. I suppose that’s a good thing. Because I destroyed them again before I woke. Everyone was safe when I woke.
Only Trish and Volker weren’t there to guild me through these events. It was mom with her soft hands. She didn't last very long though.
I snapped awake in a sweat. My tank top was stained with my own sweat, or maybe the feather oil. I might have put too much on. The warmth was not blood either. But floating in the middle of my room, a pair of wide red eyes, large and focused, staring at my own. Red streaks moved down them like tears but they clung to a cheek that wasn’t there in the dark. Blood was dripping from the eyes.
I wasted no moment, any traitor stupid enough to wake me up had this coming. I hunched my feet back. The eyes had lowered like they’re crouched. They just stared back with all the attention in the world.
My talon never left my arm after the shower for this exact reason. I sprang. An eagle upon a mouse and arrow to a target. The eyes expanded at me until the blur of speed shattered them into flakes and pieces. A great clatter and shatter echoed out.
I heard footsteps and voices scrambling outside my door.
“Verloren!” A woman screamed. My door was broken down and she turned my light on. The hall outside was dark now. The light in my own room had my eyes useless when it was flicked on. Whatever my attacker did next would be unavoidable. I tried to pull my hand free but it was pinned. I was trapped. It’s what it wanted. It had me.
Only nothing comes from the eyes. I’m not struck or stabbed. I finally cracked an eye for a glimpse but saw broken glass around the floor. My hand plunged into a mirror. And the only thing keeping the glass out of my arm was the metal protectors built into the glove.
I had lunged out and plunged my hand into the wall out of fear. The blades were so sharp they locked in deep. And the intruding orbs were my own eyes. A neon light had trickled down my cheeks.