Chapter 1: Ashes & Wine
Mindfang had summoned another to enter the presence of herself and her kismesis, her lips curving into a mischievous and curious smirk, beginning to borderline onto a grin as though she was preparing to burst into a fit of laughter. Dualscar was far from pleased, his face contorted and his own lips drawl back into the beginnings of a snarl. He was tempted to ask his lower blooded partner what she found so amusing before his eyes flicked towards the door, noticing that their guest had entered. His eyes turned to slits, fists clenching, shaking in fury and wrath that he struggled to hold back.
In the doorway stood a woman. Exceedingly refined despite being a slave, holding her head high with a look of shame and defiance etched across her features. Her composure certainly didn’t suit the garments that she wore; a tattered, light grey dress which seemed all too large for her slim yet deliciously curvaceous frame. Mindfang’s eyes travelled from the slaves bare feet to the tip of her sharp horns, her tongue running over her dry lips before switching her gaze back to Dualscar with raised eyebrows.
“You don’t seem so smug anymore, my dear kismesis. Whatever could have troubled you to contort your expression into such a desirable look of revulsion?” The blue blood teased the sea dweller in all of the ways that made his blood boil, the high blood finding a growl rumble through his throat as one of Mindfang’s teal blooded shipmates began to release the slave from her shackles. This only made the blue blood release a small laugh, bringing her gloved fingers to her lips hold the tip of one finger between her teeth and pull the glove off with ease, flexing her slender digits before removing her other glove inattentively.
“How did you get hold of that one.” Dualscar’s voice was a deep rumble, his words leaving him in a somewhat slurred sentence amongst his wavy sounding accent. Mindfang rolled her eyes, grinning all the more. It was evident that he was attempting to disguise his anger behind his question, which she knew as well as he did that it wasn’t a question at all but was, in fact, an order to speak up like a lowly blue blood should to a sea dweller. He was always so confident that she couldn’t read his mind, but his posture and expressions had always betrayed him. This was clear as his face began to flush a healthy shade of purple from holding back his fury and clenching his teeth to silence himself and cease Mindfang’s evident amusement.
“Now, now, Dualscar dear. You needn’t get so worked up over a single slave.” She nodded the woman over, gracing her with a fanged smile, the fear that welled up in the other woman’s face only beginning to make her prettier. Dualscar scoffed, holding himself back from leaping at the pirate to release his fury, fuelled by his overwhelming black cravings, and making his mark upon her throat to teach her a lesson.
“ I purchased her yesterday an’ kept her securely in my hold when she wasn’t receivin’ a good beatin’. There is no possible way that your forces would have got through any o’ that to take her.” Anger began to bubble up once again in the pit of his stomach as the woman knelt before the pirate, her head being tilted up for the blue blood to get a better look at her features. She was afraid to cast her gaze to the side, yet terribly fearful of what the pirate may think if she saw the rare hue in her eyes as she had already been stripped of her sign. Instead, her eyes remained focused on Mindfang as she attempted to control her trembling.
“Why would a single slave matter to you so much? What is it about this certain slave that is causing you to become so hilariously worked up?”
“At least toss her into the light an’ attempt to see what vile hue will escape her filthy low blooded flesh. She was an important one. An’ I doubt you’d be pleased by her utter defiance an’ disrespect to the hemospectrum an’ laws put in place to ensure that our commands are followed without fail.” His voice had raised as he spat out the words, leaning closer to Mindfang, only to fall back as he saw her begin to take control of the slave; trembling, slender, uncertain hands raising to fumble with and unfasten the buttons which garnished the pirates jacket, almost lost within the actions.
“Oh, dearest Orphaner, being unable to figure out such things with ease is the entirety of the point. I wish to take my chances, gamble and wish for my luck to assist me in success. Have you not spent enough time in my company to realise that I enjoy this game of roulette not for what treasures I will fill gain at the end, but for the pleasure of the game and it’s subsequent outcomes? And as you know, the hemospectrum is nothing but a dull order of colours that ensures an order in terms of laws. I don’t play by the rules, and none of it matters all too much to me.” She grinned as Dualscar was silenced, glaring at the ground in bitter contempt, unable to find the words for a fitting response.
Her gaze flickered back to the slave knelt in front of her between her legs, leaning up to unfasten the last of the buttons on the jacket. She seems anxious and continues to be fearful, and although she didn’t have complete control of her own body, her pause at the mention of blood colour not making much of a difference to Mindfang certainly didn’t go unnoticed by either one of the seafaring trolls. The pirate leaned back in her seat, arms hanging uselessly either side of the chair, half lidded eyes resting on the troll. She must have had at least a half decent life; all of her razor sharp teeth were still in tact behind her dull, dry lips. She felt the touch of her fingers against her bare stomach, brushing carefully and warily from her lower stomach and leaving gentle trails up to her ribs. She had wasted no time in revealing the grey-flushed-blue skin from beneath the tight petticoat.
Jealousy overwhelms Dualscar, wordlessly backing off into the shadows of the pirate’s cabin, taking his leave at the sight of the activities that had began to take place. As Mindfang turned to continue their conversation, she realised all too late that he had left, but it didn’t matter to her. She prayed that the indignation that she had gave him would blacken their bond and thus blacken their quadrant to even further depths of the darkness. It appears that the slave had relaxed but a little more at his apparent parting, her gaze flickering up at the blue blood’s eyes in curiosity. It appeared that she wasn’t all too sure about what she was doing, her hands were placed upon her chest now, pawing inquisitively at the mounds of flesh beneath her palms.
Mindfang let a soft gasp escape her lips, casting a glance at the horns placed amidst the unruly hair of her slave. Both so fascinatingly smooth and well kept, her left was hooked at the tip in a sharp point. Before she knew it, her hands raised to grasp the horns, thumbs stroking nonchalantly at the tips and down the length, not taking any notice of how the other troll had began to pant, nervousness and amateurism at being touched in such a way hung thick in the air around her. Pressure was added as Mindfang reached the base, rubbing harder and found herself unable to manipulate the slave anymore, all control being lost as she heard a soft moan and a name which had not been said aloud in sweeps reach her ears. She found herself breathing in the nostalgia that began to fill her, finding herself unable to let go of the other’s horns and didn’t mind when the slave had withdrawn her hands and gasped in shock in realisation of what she was doing. When the blue blood snapped out of her trance, she daren’t look at the slave’s face; just her horns.
“What did you say?”
“I beg your pardon mistress?” Her voice was uncertain, quiet and sweet. Another bout of nostalgia swept over the pirate, but she attempted to regain her focus.
“You spoke my name. A name in which I haven’t been referred to as in sweeps.” She began to feel vulnerable, certainly not a position that Mindfang was used to and would ever expect herself to be in.
“I don’t recall.”
“No, I’m not hard of hearing, dear.” Her teeth clenched, her throat closing up. She wasn’t sure what was coming over her. Perhaps a sudden fever.
“I never suggested as much.”
“That, I realise. But nobody has called me by the name that my lusus had given me in several sweeps. I go by the name Marquise Spinneret Mindfang and nothing more than my title or name which I would prefer to be referred to as.” She found that her words weren’t coming out as smoothly as usual, and she realised that she had began to add an aggressive edge to her tone, but it didn’t matter. She had never seen this woman in her entire life, yet she utters her name so casually at her very touch.
“My apologies if I have displeased you.” She nervously edged away from Mindfang’s touch, flinching and bracing herself as she did so in fear of being struck for her defiance. She watched the blue blooded troll get to her feet and stroll over to a crooked storage cupboard to begin her search for something, slouching further down and tensing hard with her eyes squeezed shut. She awaited the first strike of some sort of object upon her back as she heard Mindfang approach her. When nothing came but the sound of a dull pop, she cracked an eye open to see the pirate pulling a cork out of what appeared to be a bottle of wine. She watched with composed curiosity as the beverage flowed into two glasses, immediately taking note that it must have matured exceptionally well. Definitely matured for much longer than a dozen sweeps and a few perigees like the stuff that a typical blue blood could afford. She had an eye for these things.
“I hope that you like wine. I’d rather save the rum and whisky for special occasions.” It was only then that the slave noticed that the second glass was for herself as Mindfang held it out to her. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion for what she owed this pleasure before taking the glass in her trembling hands, getting to her feet to stand awkwardly. There had to be a catch as to why a high blood would show such kindness.
“I believe that we should become acquaintances. Get to know one another.” Mindfang’s words were genuine enough, but her smile held an almost devious look to it which made the slave feel a little weaker and under her thumb. Like there was nothing that she could possibly do within these circumstances and found that whether she felt inclined to answer the questions or not, it would likely be necessary. When asked her name, she took a quick sip of her wine, savoured the taste and took a deep breath before she could speak out confidently and clearly.
“One may refer to me as The Dolorosa.”
The two trolls were silent for a few awkward moments, neither woman prepared to ease the tension. Mindfang had heard the name of the woman before her on her travels and it had taken her those few moments to remember several pieces of information from the stories that she had become familiar with from the lowblooded tradesmen on land.
“You seem rather deep in thought, Mistress. Excuse me if I have broken your concentration.” Mindfang looked up at woman in front of her, eyebrows raising as the slave had looked away, far from apologetically but with a faint look of amusement behind her features. This turned the pirates lips up into a small smirk; alright, the lady could be fairly sassy and wasn’t afraid to break a few rules. If this is the reason why her dear kismesis wished to keep such a strong hold on the slave, for at least a means to vent his perpetual wrath and thirst for persecution, then the pirate felt no need to punish her even for such a small thing like speaking without being permitted. Surely that would anger Dualscar.
“Really, you needn’t call me Mistress. After all, I may not see any use in you being a slave. You’re quite the charming woman, has anyone ever informed you of this?” The blueblood tilted her head to the side, gazing at the woman through half-closed eyes and the beginnings of a lopsided grin. Dolorosa stared back evenly, although she furrowed her eyebrows before she allowed herself to respond to such an unexpected compliment.
“To be entirely truthful I cannot say that I’ve let anyone approach me in such a way in that I may receive compliments revolving entirely around my person.” And now she frowned. “You truly worry me, especially now that you bestow compliments on one below you on the hemospectrum. May I suggest that you cease, or at least lessen your pace in which you drink your wine?”
Mindfang found herself grinning wider; little did the woman know, the blueblood knew enough about her to pick up that her statement may have been a test of the pirates loyalty to the hemospectrum as well as loyalty and pride regarding her caste. If her dear Dolorosa wished to test her indirectly, then Mindfang would be sure to avoid supplying her with the knowledge that she so desired concerning her opinions.
“You see, my dear, despite my exploits and the treasure that I have gathered along my journey, I still have yet to find the one treasure that outshines any possible piece of gold.” Mindfang’s response did nothing but create a look of bewilderment upon Dolorosa’s face, and upon realising that the pirate wasn’t about to continue, she found herself needing to ask for an explanation instead of hoping that the blueblood would ease her curiosity and take pity on her. In a platonic sense at least.
“May I ask where this is going M-...Highblood?” A warm sense of amusement and satisfaction filled the blueblood; entertained by how ashamed her dear Dolorosa seemed to look by simply uttering those words and speaking up at a troll in such a way. As if she had broken a code of honour of some sort.
“The one thing that I have never managed to retain a solid grip on would be...A certain red investment, if you will.” She was amused further by the look of shock that quickly contorted her new treasures’ face. It appeared that the pity wasn’t about to be kept at the platonic level like she had hoped.
“...I think that I may understand where this is going.”
“Marvellous. In that case there needn’t be any particular need for me to swallow my pride to utter words and an explanation that I don’t wish to. Surely you can understand that.” Mindfang was wading through treacherous waters, taking pleasure in the look of disgust and anger that shone in the other’s amber depths as she caught onto the subtle undertones of her statement, allowing her to realise that the blueblood was well aware that Dolorosa was ashamed of her current position. But she would take pity on the poor woman for now; it wouldn’t be sensible to stir up too many negative feelings all at once.
“You see, I understand that my kismesis had purchased you after what could more or less be considered quite the tragic event in your life.” Mindfang found herself grinning. She didn’t mean to make herself sound quite so sarcastic and dramatic, but the other had cast her gaze to the ground and gave a small nod.
“Yet a life spent with you would be no better than one spent with him.” Dolorosa spat her words that were laced with bitter resentment and venom. The pirate found herself inwardly questioning whether this had anything to do with serving those higher than her on the hemospectrum or general hard feelings for the abuse that she had, and may continue to endure.
“That’s laughable.” The blueblood didn’t even attempt to hide the annoyance in her tone. “Don’t you think I would do anything to make that sea dwelling scum seethe with hatred and indignation? I am aware that treating you awfully would only please him if those were to be his own very intentions. At least I wouldn’t resort to harming you like he would do within an instant if he saw fit.”
“Your soul has become so black, Mindfang. You may not remember who you once were, but I do.” Dolorosa’s reaction sparked confusion in the blueblood, and the pirate remained silent, lips parted slightly before she ran her tongue over them. She attempted to speak evenly.
“I do not recall us meeting before this moment.”
“Perhaps not in this lifetime. My apologies, I appeared to forget that my little one’s words never reached those of high blood. “ There was another awkward silence; so thick that the only sound that remained was the faint patter of crewmen’s feet on the deck of the ship and the waves crashing against the sturdy wood of their vessel.
“How you have misjudged me completely.”
“I do not quite see how this is the case whatsoever to be entirely honest.”
“You speak of your little one. The Sufferer, correct? No, I know his stories. Occasionally I would overhear lowblood’s retelling his tales to boost their morale during their pitiful labour. Occasionally I would listen. For you see, I am not as oblivious and ignorant as you seem to believe. You could even say that, to an extent, I held a small amount of respect and support for his actions.”
Mindfang’s sudden explanation stunned Dolorosa. It couldn’t possibly be true; a highblood supporting the words that were spoken to gain support to return Alternia to the peaceful civilisation that they once knew.
“Blood colour doesn’t make a troll.” Mindfang set down her now half-empty glass of wine that she had casually been sipping during the several brief hinders in their discussion. “It doesn’t mean anything. It simply gives others reasons to act on how they wish to behave and use it as an excuse for their actions. Others more or less twist the laws to fit with their own sadistic natures.”
“I never expected a blue blood to say such things.”
“Treasures and material possessions don’t bring about one’s happiness. I’m not your typical highblood who received everything that she wanted in life.” Mindfang couldn’t hold back her annoyance; she had vowed to leave her past behind her.
“No. Look at Dualscar. That rich wine that pumps through his vessels is one of the finest that Alternia has to offer. Yet he has never known true happiness and never gained those things that he wished for the most.”
Silence filled the room once more, Dolorosa daring to step forward and sit beside Mindfang wordlessly, her beverage remaining in her tremulous hands. Mindfang didn’t mind the other sitting beside her. In fact, she found herself moving closer, inches away from the troll.
“Why would you possibly place so much faith in a boy whom practically game from nowhere? A mutant, if I may say without you taking offence. After all, I hear that his blood was an astounding shade of crimson that was lower than the rustblooded trolls. Your companions and yourself put your lives on the line for an unusual wriggler. Why?”
“You must have heard that one such as myself had her ways to find such a child and, yes, I nurtured him since he was a grub.” Dolorosa gazed ahead, her eyes full of reminiscence and heartache, yet a small amount of joy at the fond memory.
“Yes...He had visions unlike any other troll or the most powerful of psionic’s. I knew that he was telling the truth, no child could create such stories under a sheltered life that he was given away from those who may have judged him for his unusual traits.”
Dolorosa turned back to Mindfang, no evident emotions left upon her face as she pushed them all aside to remain strong in her remembrance.
“He informed us that change will happen, in due time. Certainly not in our lifetime’s, but those of our descendents. They will be the one to make the change, so he says, but the messages were never clear enough for him to understand how.”
“It seems like things will get interesting once we all reach our demise. How disappointing.” Dolorosa let a small laugh escape her lips at the blueblood’s comment. There was a brief silence, and the lower blooded troll found herself tensing at the touch of the pirate’s fingers upon her cheek, brushing away the stray locks of unruly, raven hair.
“I could quite easily slip you away from Dualscar’s grasp, you know.”
“I’m not sure whether that is a statement or something that you wish to do. After all, the deed has been done.”
“Perhaps I mean...Both? Indeed it is a statement, as I have already done it, but I would like to slip you away and keep you to myself.” Mindfang couldn’t hold back a giggle, which further unnerved Dolorosa. “You’re quite beautiful. Your mannerisms are charming, and you seem to have many an exciting tale to tell.”
Dolorosa began to blush, instantly turning her head away in hopes that the pirate wouldn’t see the colour that began to spread across her cheeks.
“You’re charming yourself in a daring sort of way.”
“Jadeblooded, hmm?” Mindfang smirked at the compliment, but seemed all too interested in catching that blush. “You must me just as daring to push aside your duties in the brooding caverns.”
When Dolorosa didn’t respond, she tensed harder as she felt the lips of the pirate brush across her cheek softly. She couldn’t quite find the strength to move away in fear of punishment, but at the same time she found herself wanting to lean into that comforting touch.
“You kissed my cheek.”
“Isn’t that unusual for you to do? Perhaps you’ve had your fill of wine for tonight.”
“I recall informing you that I hold an interest in the flushed quadrant.” Mindfang’s grin widened at Dolorosa’s surprise and how she began to grasp at her dress in a relatively flustered manner. “I would be lying if I told you that I don’t wish to get to know you better and see where things lead us.”
Dolorosa looked back at Mindfang, her gaze lingering on the pirate’s unusual 7-pupiled eye for a moment, before inspecting the rest of her features closely. She seemed rather genuine; her face didn’t betray any deeper feelings at all or give any indication that she was lying. The jadeblood sighed, closing her eyes and looked down at her lap.
“Well we have plenty of time I suppose. What is it that you wish to know?”
She instantly regretted her words upon uttering them, since there would be no escape from answering any of the questions that Mindfang may ask. She tried to ease this sudden panic with the thoughts that she had misjudged the blueblood earlier, and perhaps she shouldn’t expect lewd questions to flow from her lips. She glanced back at Mindfang to see her leaning closer to Dolorosa, curiosity etched upon her face, pouting a little as she thought of what she’d like to know first.
“You told me that I don’t know who I once was. How would you know? Perhaps you could inform me.”
Dolorosa remained silent as she attempted to collect her thoughts to speak them in a way that Mindfang would understand and possibly believe her. Of course, the pirate had no reasons to doubt her but the jadeblood inwardly admitted that the tale would seem a little farfetched.
“My little one spoke of a game that we played, and inevitably failed due to our once extraordinarily peaceful natures disrupting the strengths that we could have harnessed throughout the session. We were in a team of twelve; all of us much younger than we are now. Both you and I took part in this game and we would all play as equals, blood caste’s meant nothing. I am aware that it was you. You’re quite the notorious criminal, and my little one instantly recognised your face upon posters that advertised the necessity of your capture, claiming that you were the Thief of Light in our session.”
Dolorosa laughed, slouching forward a little, not even daring to look at Mindfang in case she was met with a look of disbelief. Perhaps she would think that she had lost her mind with such a story.
“He also informed me that you always seemed to have a strange attraction to me in his dreams and visions. Often fawning over me from afar. “ She didn’t hold back a small giggle, deciding to loosen the tension as much as she could, relief flooding through her as Mindfang also gave a small laugh, disregarding that final comment.
“It’s no wonder the highblood’s didn’t like the sound of your tales. Trolls, once peaceful? Coming together as equals? That would virtually be unheard of and becoming a reality would indeed be out of the question.”
“We never expected highblooded trolls to follow us in our uprising, but the lowblood’s, the majority of the population, were willing to assist in spreading the word. All we may do now is wait for our descendants to make a change.”
“I don’t see how trolls who may hatch sweeps from now may make a significant difference.” Mindfang held her tongue for a moment at her thought, remembering the troll that had appeared in her familiar gambligant advantage.
“Except for maybe one troll that I know of who will control all sorts of beasts. He would create the most difference, I should think. And I have my own reliable sources which don’t pertain to grubs that come from nowhere.”
Mindfang cast Dolorosa a mischievous grin, taking pleasure in the look of bewilderment that followed, along with a small scowl that she was given from her comment. She knew that the jadeblood would hope for answers almost instantly without asking for them, but the blueblood thought that it would be more interesting to disregard the look etched across the other’s face.
The pirate stood up, taking a pure white cue ball out of pocket, tossing it up in the air and catching it flawlessly before turning back to her guest, still unwilling to inform her of these “sources” despite the answer being literally in the palm of the pirate’s hand.
“Of course, these sources could also inform me as to whether your story is true. Which is why there’s no need to call you out about foolish lies or skitter off into daydreams of such whimsical beliefs of magical games. I may simply ask and receive my answer.”
The pirate strolled back and forth across the cabin, aware that the other’s eyes seemed to be permanently fixated on her. A few moments passed, and Dolorosa found herself sighing at the thought that Mindfang was going to be difficult and not provide her with answers. But before she knew it, a hand was being held out to her, ready to pull her up from her seat.
“Come. Let’s look out at the ocean and perhaps talk a little more. Feel priviledged for this offer, my lady, as it isn’t often that I’m willing to tolerate another’s presence for this long.”
Mindfang smiled; a smile that was shockingly genuine and Dolorosa could do nothing but take the hand offered to her, allowing the pirate to lead the way to the ship’s deck.
Too much talking and not enough action in this one, I know. Hopefully I've got the majority of that done with and the story can really get under way. c8 I'll try and update again soon!