➸ alligator: aggression, survival
➸ ant: teamwork, hardworking
➸ armadillo: active, boundaries, objectivity, protection
➸ bat: nocturnal, cleansing
➸ bear: adaptability, introspection, power, strength
➸ beaver: alterations, balance, builder, gatherer
➸ bee: development, diligence, consciousness
➸ bird: transition between life & death, freedom, mobility
➸ bobcat: fierce, intensity, loner
➸ buffalo: abundance, bravery, freedom, life, respect, sacredness
➸ bull: strength, warning
➸ butterfly: carefree, grace, metamorphosis, transformation
➸ camel: endurance, weary
➸ cat: grace, healing, independence
➸ cougar: courage, leadership
➸ cow: nurture, patience, stoicism
➸ coyote: adaptability, insight, playfulness
➸ crane: independence, solitude
➸ crocodile: fierceness, leadership
➸ crow: flexibility, majestic, perspective, warning
➸ deer: gentleness, kindness, love, peace, sensitivity
➸ dog: loyalty, protection
➸ dolphin: harmony, kindness, playfulness
➸ dove: gentle, purity
➸ dragon: nobility, wisdom
➸ dragonfly: carefree, change, illusion
➸ eagle: connection to creator, divinity
➸ eel: disguise, flexibility, strength
➸ elephant: long-life, self-preservation
➸ elk: agility, freedom, friendship, stamina, strength
➸ fox: cunning, deceit, intelligence, provider
➸ frog: cleansing, healing
➸ giraffe: mobility, watchfulness
➸ goat: stubbornness, vitality
➸ goose: communication, faith, travel
➸ gorilla: adaptability, strength
➸ grasshopper: faithfulness, luck
➸ grizzly bear: hunter
➸ hawk: courage, messenger, truth, wisdom
➸ hedgehog: curiosity, overcoming, protection, reliance
➸ hippo: protection, stability, strength, survival
➸ horse: loyalty, mobility, stamina, strength, wisdom
➸ hummingbird: connection, lightness, messenger, speed
➸ jaguar: ferocity, power, valor
➸ kangaroo: feisty, fun-loving
➸ koala: affection, amicability, compassion, faith, gentleness
➸ ladybug: fortune, innocence, love, resolution
➸ leopard: aggression, ferocity, speed
➸ lion: power, respect, strength
➸ lizard: agility, conservation
➸ manatee: peace, unassuming
➸ monkey: agility, observation, playfulness
➸ moose: headstrong, longevity, unstoppable
➸ orca: focus, power
➸ otter: efficiency, playfulness
➸ owl: connection, insight, intuition, patience, psychic vision, solitude, wisdom
➸ panda: gentle strength, luck, peace
➸ panther: astral travel, femininity, guardianship, power, rebirth
➸ peacock: immortality, pride, vanity
➸ pegasus: lightning
➸ phoenix: hope, prosperity, rebirth, renewal
➸ pig: abundance, intelligence / ignorance, stubbornness, uncleanliness
➸ quail: harmony, protectiveness
➸ rabbit: alertness, clever, lust, overcoming
➸ ram: achievement, new beginnings, sacrifice, teaching
➸ raven: cleverness, intelligence, mischievousness, wisdom
➸ roadrunner: agility, speed
➸ scorpion: defense, self-protection
�� shark: authority, curiosity, efficiency, guardianship, movement, observation, perception
➸ sheep: conformity, innocence, vulnerability
➸ snake: cunning, fertility, life, malice
➸ spider: balance, creativity, destiny, fate
➸ squirrel: adaptability, change, playfulness, resourcefulness, renewal
➸ swan: acceptable, beauty, grace
➸ tiger: awareness, courage, determination, ferocity, protection, strength
➸ turkey: abundance, blessing, connection, generosity
➸ turtle: longevity, protection
➸ unicorn: grace, purity, singularity, uniqueness
➸ whale: community, healing, strength, wisdom
➸ wolf: freedom, guidance, loyalty
➸ zebra: free-spirit, safety, strength, socialization
Any cool magic horse ideas? Have some cool player mounts.
Monsterhunt: The Equinox
One cannot truly said to have viewed the stars until one has visited the prairies at night, no tower, no mountain, no telescope will ever bring a wingless soul so close to the sky.
While keeping watch during their travels or up late at the local watering hole, one of the heroes bears witness to a shooting star. It's a beautiful moment, the perfect time to ask them what they wish for, quietly to themselves before rousing the rest of their party. As the heroes watch however, the star grows brighter and fiercer, its course indicating it's going to make a crash landing a few miles off. Whether the party chooses to investigate or not, they'll soon hear rumors of something that fell to the earth in a cascade of scintillating light, screaming all the while and terrifying the local homesteaders into their beds until it finally ceased at dawn.
It's the dry season, and while the wheat and tobacco crops thrive in the heat, the risk of wildfires has the townsfolk on edge. The local druid, a seasoned child of the plains knows just how to act in such a crisis, and introduces herself to the party early on as someone that should be sought out when disaster looms. Some time later when smoke starts rising from the far off fields, the party find themselves pressed into service digging ditches and building firebreaks only to discover that the encroaching flames flare an unearthly blue, rather than red. It's a race against time to contain the blaze while the druid summons up a deluge to smother the enrouching inferno.
Some idiot greenhorn found himself a magical silver pistol and thinks himself the next legendary gunslinger just because his piece can fire bolts of light farther than a long gun that can also pierce through metal plate and most walls. Taking it from him is going to require the party to be quick and clever, or just dumb enough to charge someone who can smite them from half a country mile away.
Careful eyes investigating the crashsite or the source of the fires reveals the hoofprints of an animal: oddly spaced in that it seems to weightlessly lift off the ground between it's far spanning strides, and obviously injured. Tracking this beast into the hinterlands, the party eventually comes face to face with a creature of sublime beauty and feral panic.
Setup: The equinox was the celestial steed of an angelic knight errant, striding through the astral sea on great, cosmic undertakings before mount and rider faced off against some great evil. Knocked to earth in the fighting, the noble beast is desperate to find a way back up into the heavens despite its injuries in order to search for its partner. Wounded and stranded as it is, the Equinox is little better than a panicked wild horse, and needs someone with a clam disposition in order to settle it, and give it long enough to heal. Even once the party finds a sanctuary where the Equinox can recover, their adventure is still not over: during the fall the steed's sadlebags and barding scattered celestial treasures all across the landscape, which will undoubtedly fall into the wrong hands and cause even more trouble.
The family who's land the Equinox crashed on managed to recover a good chunk of the beast's barding, though it was largely rendered into dented slag by the time they worked up the courage to explore the crater. Stashing it on their property, they're hesitant to tell anyone about what they've discovered, knowing they have a fortune on their hands despite having no clue as to what the material actually is. This barding could be reconstituted by a skilled smith into armor or arms for at least a few of the partymembers.
Hearing tell of a wonderous animal, an eccentric collector arrives some weeks after the party has moved on in an attempt to collect the beast for his menagerie. This does not go well, and the party is contacted by one of their allies about the hired thugs roaming the county looking for the horse while the unearthly animal in question has fled off into the deep wilderness.
The matter of the evil that smote down the steed and the ultimate fate of its rider is undecided, but serves as great forshadowing for an upcoming villain soon to descend on the campaign. Be sure to decide on the villain's weapon early, so you can describe the still healing battlescars inflicted upon the Equinox when the players first meet it.
The Rising Star
Rarity: Legendary, Weapon: Revolver (requires attunement)
+2 to attack and damage rolls, the weapon deals radiant damage instead of piercing damage. The range of this revolver is 150/600
Align: In place of an attack action, the bearer may empty a fully chambered Rising star for one blistering shot which doubles the weapon damage dice and treats all grades of cover as if they were one grade lower (totally negating half cover).
The rising star may only be reloaded in bright light.
The weapon may be used to deliver smite spells and class abilities.
The weapon's range increases to 300/1200,
All successful Align attacks with the Rising Star function as if the target had been struck by guiding bolt.
The weapon's range is 1200, you no longer suffer disadvantage for firing at long range.
Basic attacks with the guiding star are now treated as if they were the guiding bolt spell, save that attuned creature still treats them as ranged weapon attacks and adds all appropriate bonuses.
A while back I posted about the 90s Bernie Wrightson retrospective A Look Back and said that it was the only way from me to see anything from his Frankenstein illustrations when I was a kid. And then I was like, thank god it is back in print and y’all were like, Dude, the Dark Horse Frankenstein (2008) is totally out of print and goes for top dollar (you all said it just like that, with the date in the parentheses and everything). And then we all cursed god together.
Well, friends, I figured I would share the Dark Horse edition of Frankenstein with you, since it is so hard to come by. But I come bearing good news: in 2020, Gallery Books brought it back in print for not a small fortune. The bad news is that it is digest size, so Wrightson’s art is shrunk. This is sort of a travesty, but I was psyched to get some of these plates on trading cards back in the day, so while not the ideal presentation, something is generally better than nothing. Centipede Press keeps threatening to re-issue it, and if they do, you know it will be good, even if it is a kick in the wallet.
And I mean, jeeze, just look at these. Wrightson’s control over light is shocking to me, as is his use of negative space. The plates are so rich and deep, even the heavily white compositions like that snowy cemetery. Look at those regular white dots punctuating the background of that one lab illustration. Or how those swooping lines add both dreaminess and tense movement to the bed illustration. And all the details, endless books and vials and stuff. Maximalism at its finest. A true masterpiece.
Tumblr Exclusive: Forestborn
Do you like shapeshifters, epic quests, magic, dark forests, and obstinate princes? Well, have we got an exclusive excerpt for you!
Forestborn is an upcoming @torteen novel by debut author Elayne Audrey Becker. Becker graduated from Vassar College with a BA in classics and history. She is currently continuing her education at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland after time spent as an editor with a New York publisher. She grew up with a lake and woods as her backyard, spending long days outside and visiting national parks with her family.
Forestborn will be available at bookstores everywhere from August 31. Read the exclusive excerpt below, and thanks again to Elayne for sharing her inspiration moodboard with us!
Forestborn By Elayne Audrey Becker
I find her deep in the Old Forest, facedown in the dirt.
Sharp pain needles my palms where I’ve balled my fists so tight, the nails have carved half-moon marks into the skin. Snaking across the twig-strewn ground, gnarled roots press against my boots like a warning as I roll the young woman onto her back. Best to be sure.
No, she is certainly dead. Cold, stiff, and hungry like the rest; even with forest debris masking much of her shirt, the threadbare cotton dips in unmistakable rivulets across her bony frame. I swallow my disappointment and push her eyelids shut, wanting to spare her kin the sight of those empty, pointless eyes.
“Sorry,” I murmur, sitting back on my heels. “I’m guessing you didn’t deserve this.”
Around us, the trees lean inward and down with ominous uniformity, leaves and branches straining against their holds, drawn to the dead woman as if tethered by ropes. The sway, the humans call it. I ignore the prickling in my belly. They’ll straighten out soon enough when the magic leaves her body.
With a final nod, I push to my feet and wend my way back to the forest’s edge. It’s a close wood, with broad oaks in summer bloom crowding the grassy floor, their leafy canopy admitting shafts of sunlight that glitter like crystal chandeliers. All in all, too peaceful a setting for someone driven to madness to die alone. I breathe it in deep to savor the scent while I can, grateful that for whatever reason, these trees never seem drawn to the magic in my own blood. I’ve had enough of vengeful wilderness to last a lifetime.
“Well?” Seraline asks, her knuckles nearly white where they clutch the hem of her shirt.
I shake my head. “Dead.”
Her shoulders sink. Though Seraline is sturdy as iron when she’s in her aunt’s tannery, shaping leather into draft horses’ yokes, standing a determined two paces behind the tree line now, she seems shakeable as snow.
“Come on,” I say, nodding to the stony town just across the open fields. “You’re going to be late.” I don’t ask if she plans to examine the body for herself. Seraline may have insisted on coming as a show of support, but our friendship has many limits, her discomfort with the dead and dying the least of them.
After a brief hesitation, Seraline falls into step at my side, sweeping her seeing stick across the ground in broad strokes. “Poor thing.”
I nod, my jaw clenched tight.
This time of year, the late summer air hangs heavy even in the early morning, enough that the back of my neck is already slick with sweat. The barley fields remain mercifully empty as we pick our way through the dusty rows, but still I plow forward with my head down and shoulders bent, half from habit and half spurred by the hour. Seraline isn’t the only one who’s running behind.
“Will you not come with us?” she asks, her head tipping to the side as we near the town. “Aren’t you due back in Roanin, anyway?”
“I can’t,” I reply, making it sound like an apology. I’m not really sure why we still play this game when we both know it’s futile. “I have a few things to take care of first.”
“Today of all days,” she snorts.
“You know how it is.” In truth, I’d give my right arm to stay away from the capital today. But there’s no help for it.
“Her husband deserves to know,” Seraline adds after a while. “The two of them were inseparable.”
“He will know. The trail wasn’t hard to follow.”
Seraline is always trying to persuade me to talk to the deceased’s families. She believes I have a softer manner than many in uniform, and once she even called me heartless for refusing. That time hurt the most. But it isn’t my job to report any deaths I uncover to next of kin. Only to the king. And it’s not like she’s stepping up to volunteer, anyway.
Briarwend is a humble farming town that stretches all of three streets, a collection of squared off stone shops that deal in necessity rather than charm. Its weather-worn residents are the same. When I began seeking intel here four years ago, long days tending the surrounding fields made the people lazy and open over a couple of pints. Lately, they’re just hungry, poor soil and rising taxes leaving gaping holes that only tempers seem to fill.
Each night under dwindling lamplight and over stained, sticky tables, the pub dwellers deal out anger and judgment like tossing seeds across the earth. The battered forest walker I helped home last night is not the only magical person I’ve found bleeding on cobbled streets. The humans’ anger is growing fists.
Seraline’s family is fixing their horse’s harness to an old wooden cart when we reach their cottage home. Most others have long since departed.
“Where have you been?” her mother demands, tightening the leather straps. The roan mare stamps a hoof, ears flicking nervously in my presence. “We should have left hours ago!”
“Lela needed my help. And you’re not ready, anyway.” Seraline shrugs.
“Nor are you. Breakfast is gone, so you’ll just have to wait. Go get changed.” She studiously avoids my eye, as if I’m not even there.
Seraline bids me farewell with a light touch on the shoulder, which causes her little sister to quickly interlace two pairs of twisted fingers and pull them apart. The sign to ward off bad fortune.
“You shouldn’t indulge my sister,” the dreadful Arden says once she’s gone, stomping over and swiping a greasy hand across his forehead. By far the weakest sibling in this family of four. “Seraline is delicate. She can’t be tramping about the kingdom with the likes of you.”
Which is ironic, really, since he was eager enough to sidle close last year, when he thought empty flattery might earn him a kiss. That was before a too-often empty belly soured his tongue, before he learned who and what I was. And though I truly could not care less what this boy thinks, I’m dismayed to find my stomach still burns with anger and something close to shame. My gaze drops to his pant leg, which bears splotches of dried blood from the night before.
“Problem?” Arden sneers, white skin burned red from long days in the sun.
A slow tingling feeling bubbles up from my core, threads of numbness that tiptoe across my arms and legs. I force myself to breathe deeply, to beat the threads back. “I know it was you,” I mutter.
He traces his chapped lips with two fingers, beady eyes darting to his mother before he leans forward, his smile stiffening. “You know nothing,” he hisses.
“You forget I have certain resources at my disposal.” I raise a hand in front of his flaking face, where my nails have sharpened into claws. “And that I know where you live.”
I stare until a satisfying trace of fear tinges Arden’s expression before stomping away toward the town’s single inn, which is little more than a guesthouse with four creaking rooms. If Helos were here, he would tell me to not take the bait, that I’m better than that. What he never seems to understand is that I’m not better than anything at all.
@themountainarchives day 1!
Title: state of grace
Prompt(s): apologies, sex with feelings
Rating & Wordcount: Explicit - 9.6K
Warnings & Notes: explicit sexual content. huge thank you to @witcher-and-his-bard for being my beta <3
read on ao3!
It’s good, after the mountain.
Well, it’s not good — there’s a lot of misery and groveling and so much guilt that Geralt can barely breathe on good days, wakes up gasping for air on bad nights. There are empty roads and songless days and there’s just the sure rhythm of Roach’s hooves hitting the ground to keep him from going crazy; there are lackluster musicians in dingy taverns and blue-eyed stablehands and never enough ale to stop himself from chasing sudden wafts of jasmine and fresh bread, to turn his head at a luthier’s shop as the door springs open, to round the town just one more time, just in case.
It’s not good.
But then it is, somehow. Because it’s been raining in the whole of Temeria for weeks, drowning rats and humans alike in their murky-grey misery, and Geralt is tired — has been for months — and Roach has chewed through the leather of his left pauldron and there are drowners absolutely everywhere and there’s a grateful farmer and the offer of a (mostly) dry hayloft and then, there’s a bard.
And there is silence as he settles on a pack of hay, and Jaskier doesn’t meet his eyes, and his hair is longer and his eyes are bluer and there’s so much sorrow hanging in the air Geralt feels like his throat is closing around itself and the only thing he can bring himself to say is,
And Jaskier meets his gaze.
And Geralt’s world begins anew.
And Jaskier sighs and says,
There’s not much silence after that. Tears are shed and knuckles turn white and there are many questions, some to which Geralt has no answer, not yet — why and why then and did you mean it and you turned me away and if that’s truly what it is then I’ll stay gone.
And it’s the last thing that Geralt wants.
He says so.
He tells Jaskier about the silence, how he can’t stand it, now. How he still looks over his shoulder whenever he senses danger — a knee-jerk reaction, after traveling with an easily-distracted bard for years — and finds empty air where his bard should be. (My bard, he says, where my bard should be). How there are flowers on the path but no one to weave them into Roach’s mane anymore, how the sun still shines and the rain still falls and the snow still comes but there’s no one to marvel at them, no one to think up a sonnet on a humid afternoon. How Geralt’s bag is often overflowing, but he refuses to use the right pocket, where Jaskier’s quill and songbook would rest during their travel, because Jaskier called it his pocketful of music and now Geralt can’t bear to see it devoid of him.
How he misses him so much he can hardly stand, sometimes.
How he was angry and careless. How it was almost too easy, shoving the weight off his shoulders and placing it on somebody else. How it wasn’t true, not a word of it — how he’d regretted it as soon as it left his mouth, before he even saw the flash of hurt on Jaskier’s eyes. How he’d been scared, for the first time in a long time, to go back and apologize.
That baffles Jaskier. “As if,” he says, exasperated. “I would have forgiven you. Always.”
And the rain keeps falling over their heads, and Jaskier offers him a moldy apple and Geralt offers him hard jerky, and their bedrolls are almost touching, and Geralt knows their conversation isn’t over. He doesn’t think it will be for a long time.
“I’m heading to Kaer Morhen,” he tells him in the dark. Jaskier hums, curiosity guarded. “Come with me.”
And Jaskier says, “I’ll think about it.”
And it’s enough.
The road to Kaer Morhen is a long one.
Travelling alone, Geralt has managed to amass a small fortune, forgoing expensive supplies and sleeping in the woods, the comfort of an inn bed and a filling meal foreign to him, now. He haggles with a horse trader for an old but steady mare for Jaskier, even though the bard insists on walking.
“I will be just fine, Geralt,” he tells him, “Don’t worry about me.”
He’s thinner, now. The ever-present baby fat on his face is not there anymore, prickly stubble taking its place. There are bags under his eyes, more pronounced than they ever were, and there is something guarded in his eyes, searching.
“You need to be comfortable,” Geralt says, voice soft. I need you to be comfortable, he doesn’t say. “It’s a long journey ahead of us. A cold one.”
Jaskier seems to consider Geralt’s words, then heaves a sigh. “Socks.”
Confused, Geralt frowns. “Socks?”
“Her name,” Jaskier says, a small smile on his face. “She’s got socks on.”
She does, in fact — irregular splotches of white on each leg, clashing against the dark brown of her coat. She seems to like her name, and stomps on the ground with her hind hooves to prove it. Jaskier smooths a hand down her mane.
Geralt has missed him terribly.
“Okay,” he replies. “Nice to meet you, Socks.”
The mare snorts.
It’s quieter, now, too. Jaskier’s lute is securely fastened to his bag on his horse, but never does he take it out. His usual chatter and trying out lyrics have been replaced by idle humming, a constant rhythm as he looks at his hands, the road, the trees, the sky, and rarely, at Geralt, his blue eyes piercing through his skin.
He’s missed his voice. He’s missed hearing it first thing in the morning — a groggy, muffled-by-a-pillow good morning — and hearing it last thing at night — a soft whisper of a sleep well. His gentle lullabies and boisterous ballads, long and imaginative strings of curses whenever he’s dropped his pot of ink on his clothes, flourished words of praise whenever there’s a pint of ale waiting for him at his table.
Tender whispers of getting away for a while.
Geralt tries to fill the silence, sometimes, when they’ve gone too long without exchanging casual remarks about the weather, the townsfolk, the latest contract Geralt’s been on. He’s never been good at talking about himself, he knows, so he borrows his brothers’ stories, starts telling Jaskier about Eskel, about Lambert. The bard asks careful questions — never too many — and smiles and laughs at Geralt’s dramatization of Lambert drunk off White Gull.
It’s not much, Geralt knows.
“It’s good,” he says one afternoon, when the warmth of the sun has started to pull back its tendrils and a cold breeze settles in. “Travelling with you again.”
It catches Jaskier off-guard. “Oh,” he says, voice small. “It is.”
“I think… I think I never told you. That I enjoy your company.”
Jaskier rubs the back of his neck. “I don’t know, I mean— I thought you might.” His face does a complicated thing. “I wasn’t sure.”
Geralt looks at his hands, scarred and calloused. “I want to tell you. I want to be honest.” He looks at Jaskier. “I want to try.”
Jaskier holds his gaze, and says, “Okay.”
Geralt tightens his hands around Roach’s reins, his knuckles turning white. There’s so much he wants to say, but something about Jaskier’s profile in the last rays of sunlight holds him back.
“I will try,” he says instead.
Jaskier nods, and gently clicks his tongue at his mare.
The weather gets colder as they move through the roads of Aedirn.
“Your clothes,” Geralt tells him one night, after they’ve built a fire and their bedrolls have been rolled out across from each other. “We need to get you thicker ones.”
Jaskier chews on his jerky thoughtfully. “I think I could afford some fur-lined boots,” he says, squinting as if he’s visualizing how many coins fill his purse these days. “Maybe some gloves.”
“A cloak, too,” Geralt points out. “I know a good trader.”
Jaskier’s eyes are soft in the firelight, a darker shade of blue. “I appreciate you wanting to help, but I can buy my own clothes. I know you’ve got supplies to buy.”
Geralt clicks his tongue. “I want to.”
The fire cracks between them, and Jaskier reaches over and grabs the small wheel of cheese Geralt had taken out of his pack for them to share. His knife is quick and sharp as he slices a thin wedge and brings it up to his mouth.
“You don’t have to buy me things, you know,” he says, after a while. His voice feels distant, carefully blank. “You don’t have to waste your coin on me because you feel guilty.”
Geralt frowns. “I want—”
“I understand,” Jaskier says. “And under different circumstances, I’d have fewer objections to your kindness.” He cuts another slice. “But I think you’re groveling.”
Everything in Geralt wants to protest.
“You aren’t talking to me,” he says instead, his voice too tender and raw, like a fresh wound. “I don’t know what to do.”
“I’m talking to you right now,” Jaskier counters, but his fingers are rubbing against the leather of his boot.
Geralt says nothing.
“It’s hard,” Jaskier says after a beat, looking down at his lap. “I can’t help it. I know the words are there, somewhere inside me, and I want to say them, just like I did before. I just…”
Finally, Jaskier meets his gaze. “I don’t know how to be around you now.”
A twig snaps in the forest, and Geralt feels his heart sink into his stomach. Jaskier’s jaw is clenched hard, his brow furrowed and his blue eyes shining with anguish, the same one that coats the roof of Geralt’s mouth with its heavy scent.
“I don’t want you to grovel, to feel guilty, I—” Jaskier cuts himself off, frustrated. “I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know what is allowed, I don’t— I want to stay. I want it to go back to how it was, and I can’t… I just can’t. This is about me.”
“But it’s also about me.”
Jaskier sighs. “I do believe you,” he says. “When you said— when you said you were sorry. I believed you then.” He looks at the fire. “I guess… I guess part of me is still on that mountain.”
Geralt shifts in his seat, takes in a deep breath. It feels like a million needles are stabbing through his skin, taking in the dense grief that surrounds their campfire. He wants to take Jaskier into his arms, hold him tight against his ribs until all that’s left of him is chamomile and lavender, the scent of his joy, of his ease.
But he can’t.
“I know we’ve talked about this,” Jaskier says, “and I’m sure you want us to be done talking about this.”
Geralt shakes his head. “I want to talk about this.”
Jaskier lets out a startled laugh.
“Okay,” Geralt concedes with a twitch of his lips, “I don’t. But I know we have to. Both of us. I know we will have to talk about a lot of things.”
Jaskier nods, and wipes his nose with his sleeve.
“And I want to,” Geralt continues. “I want to make it right. And this is— I’m not… this is not a hardship. For me.” Jaskier tilts his head curiously. “I mean— it is. I mean—”
“Geralt,” Jaskier says around a laugh.
“No, I—” Geralt rubs a hand down his face, frustrated. “Talking is hard. For me.”
“I know, dear.”
“But talking about this…” Eskel would say it’s the way to a healthy relationship. And he’d be right. Ugh. “To you… Is important to me.”
Jaskier seems sheepish, all of a sudden, a light blush tinting his cheeks. “I feel overly dramatic, now that we’re talking about it. I think I liked it better when you only communicated in grunts.”
It makes Geralt laugh. “Yeah.”
Neither of them means it.
Slowly, as if stepping on broken glass barefoot, Jaskier moves over to where Geralt is sitting, half of a log empty. He sits down next to him, their knees touching. Geralt looks at him, unsure of what to do or say next, when Jaskier brings his arms around him and holds him tight against his chest. Geralt wraps his arms around Jaskier’s middle, resting his chin on his shoulder.
“Thank you,” Jaskier whispers in his ear, soft and sincere.
Geralt tightens his arms around him. “I’m really glad you’re here.”
Like this, his nose brushes the crook of Jaskier’s neck, right where oranges and jasmine and a hint of sweat meet. He lets it wash over him like a recurrent wave of salt and water. He closes his eyes and breathes in, and despite the familiarity of the gesture, it feels like it’s the first time.
They hold each other until the fire dies out.
They’re in a small Kaedweni town when someone asks the bard for a song.
It’s a small, small tavern they’re in, and it looks as though the entire village has gathered around the fire glowing in its hearth, the vicious winds whistling outside. Entire families are huddled together, sharing warmth and their meals, laughter and stories being passed around.
Jaskier is pleasantly full from their own meal, steaming stew and not-too-hard bread, his lips stained red from his cup of wine.
“You know,” he says, conversationally, a lazy smile on his mouth. “You haven’t told me what to expect at Kaer Morhen.”
Geralt shrugs. “There’s not much to tell. Witchers and horses and an old castle full of shit to fix.”
“Do they know I’m coming? Your family, I mean.”
“Geralt,” Jaskier says, leaning forward on his chair. “Do they know you’re bringing a total stranger to your sacred place of rest for the winter?”
“‘S hardly sacred,” Geralt deflects, but Jaskier’s gaze is firmly pinned on him and he has to relent. “They knew you would come, eventually. They don’t know it would be this winter, specifically. Besides,” he looks away from Jaskier’s face, “you’re not a total stranger.”
“What do you mean they knew, eventually? What does that—”
Jaskier’s question is interrupted by a small hand tugging on his sleeve.
“Well, hello there,” he says, his voice gone honey-soft as he turns to face the girl standing beside him. “How can I help you, dear?”
“Master Bard,” the small girl says, and it sounds like she’s got a whole speech prepared. “My family and I—” she points at a nearby table, where a man, a woman, and two other children are watching them expectantly “—were wondering if you could play a song for us all tonight, for you see, we haven’t heard a good song in so long, and my Papa tries, but his voice—”
“Nikola!” Her father calls.
She grins, the gap in her teeth endearingly sweet. “Lavender’s Blue ‘s my favorite song, and I ask my Ma for it every night, ‘cause her voice is softer and nicer and—”
She giggles, and Geralt can see Jaskier is trying very hard not to laugh himself. “Just— please, Master Bard? Please?”
“Well,” Jaskier replies, “How could I say no to such a heart-wrenching tale?”
Nikola’s eyes light up. “You will?” She skips across the room until she reaches her table, where her mother is hiding a grin and her father is pouting at his children, defeated. “Thank you, thank you!”
Jaskier looks at Geralt. “Guess I have a commitment.”
“Guess you do,” he says with a smirk.
He watches as Jaskier picks up his lute and heads toward the bar, surely asking for permission to perform for the evening. The barkeep seems surprised by the request but shakes his hand with enthusiasm, and takes a seat behind the bar to watch the show.
Jaskier chooses a spot near the fire and holds his lute to his chest. “Good evening, everyone,” he says, voice clear and bright, and bows. “I’m here at the behest of Princess Nikola, who has been so gracious as to offer me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at her banquet.”
Geralt looks over at Nikola’s table, and warmth spreads over his chest as he watches her laugh and politely wave at everyone while sitting on her throne — her father’s lap — as the patrons smile and applaud her reverently.
“She has requested her favorite song,” Jaskier says. “Without further ado, this is Lavender’s Blue.”
Geralt watches as he gently strums his lute, and then his low voice fills the room. Everyone has fallen quiet, even Nikola, entranced by Jaskier’s performance. His eyes squeeze shut when his voice gets higher, he smiles when the lyrics get too silly.
It tugs at Geralt’s heartstrings, his smile.
Jaskier had picked up his lute a few times, on the road. He’d mainly strummed a few simple, short chords over and over, the repetitive sounds comforting and familiar. Geralt had told him so. He’d hummed a few lyrics, old ones, from before he knew the Witcher; had serenaded Roach and Socks with silly, made-up poems about their beloved soulmates — Scorpion and Lambert’s eternally unnamed stallion — who waited for them at Kaer Morhen.
Hearing the soft cadence of his voice as he sings, Geralt could do forever. Listening for his heartbeat and watching his eyes light up whenever he reaches his favorite verse, the mischief of his smile when he changes chords, taking the public by surprise. The way his cheeks flush pink and his hair gets pushed back and it seems as though nothing could ever get between the chorus and the verse.
It will never fade from his mind, the look on Jaskier’s face as he’d unleashed his anger on him all those months ago. Part of him wants the guilt to stay, to force him to look into Jaskier’s eyes and see nothing but crystalline blue shining with unshed tears, too shocked to reply, too hurt to bite back.
He couldn’t forget it if he tried, anyway.
Part of him wants the memory to stay fresh, to lock against his ribs and press down, just so he’s aware of the second chance he’s been given. Just so his breath hitches whenever the bard gets close, just so warmth pools in his belly whenever Jaskier’s too tired to keep going and he starts falling asleep on top of his horse. Just so he cherishes him as he is meant to, just so he never forgets what a blessing it is, having him by his side.
It snaps him out of his reverie, Jaskier’s voice. He’s back, all rosy-cheeked and shedding his coat onto his chair. Geralt had insisted that he layer up for the weather, and it’s a sight, all the bulk of clothes he gets himself into.
“Your show is over,” he points out, looking at Nikola’s table, where she’s tucked into the crook of her mother’s neck, dozing. “It was a good one.”
“It was.” Jaskier offers him a soft smile. “Thank you.”
They sit in comfortable silence, a passing barmaid offering to top off Jaskier’s cup, but he politely declines. “I’m ready to pass out on a comfortable mattress any second now.”
Geralt hums his agreement.
“We were talking about something, before,” Jaskier says, eyes narrowed as if he’s trying to summon their conversation. He yawns. “Something important.”
“Tomorrow,” Geralt tells him, grabbing his discarded coat and motioning for their room. “We can keep talking tomorrow.”
Jaskier gives him a lazy, tired smile. One of his favorites.
“How much longer, Geralt?”
“Same as my previous answer, when you asked the same question ten minutes ago.”
“We must’ve moved closer in those ten minutes, surely!”
“Sure. One week, two days, and twenty-two hours away.”
“Aha! I knew it. I can almost smell the Blue Mountains.”
“Mountains don’t smell like anything.”
“How would you know? You may be the Witcher between the both of us, but me— I’m very good at these things, Geralt. Some would say it’s a gift.”
“Is that an agreement hum? Or is it a there’s-no-polite-thing-to-come-out-of-my-mouth-right-now-so-I’ll-just-hum-to-acknowledge-you’ve-said-something-Jaskier-hum?”
“It’s a hmm.”
“We have to sing a song.”
“We don’t have to.”
“Geralt! What is traveling with a friend without a good ol’ traveling song to lift the spirits, to lighten the burden of being, what was it, eight years away from our destination?”
“Peaceful, that’s what it is.”
“Well, peace if overrated, if you ask me.”
“So, any ideas? Or should I just try out some tunes, see how we feel? I know you know some songs, what with having been around for the debut of, uh, many of them.”
“Are you calling me old?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, young thing, you! Anyway— Mi mi mi, la da di, la da doo—”
“—just trying out my voice, Geralt! Can’t damage the money-maker, going raw. Now, we could start with a simple one. Here, follow my lead—”
“—and a-one, and a-two, and a-one, two, three, four—”
Kaer Morhen is cold, and drafty, and there are holes on the exterior walls that weren’t there last winter, but, ultimately, it is home.
And Geralt wouldn’t have it any other way.
They arrive early, snow barely covering the imposing peaks of the mountains that surround them from every direction, the Killer perilous and deceiving as usual, but no more so with the added danger of accumulating snow and the looming threat of an avalanche. So, without any major setbacks, they walk into the keep sore, and exhausted, and famished enough to eat a bear, but all their limbs are still attached to their bodies as they’re supposed to be, and all their blood is still inside their veins as it’s supposed to be, and their horses are worn-out and hungry, but overall, they’re happy to be home.
Vesemir is the first one to greet them.
It goes over well, even if the Witcher shoots Geralt a mystified glance, and even if Jaskier bows at the same time the old Witcher offers his hand for him to shake, and even if Jaskier calls him sir three times in the same sentence while shaking his hand profusely. There���s an amused look in Vesemir’s eyes that only Geralt can discern, and his voice is a deep but cheerful rumble when he claps the bard in the back — making him choke on his own breath, momentarily — and announces that the library books will finally see some real talent, after so many years.
And then they take their horses into their stables, and each of them spends a good five minutes in their respective stalls, murmuring praise and thank yous at the brave steeds that brought them home safe and sound. Something in Geralt’s chest grows tight when he sees Jaskier emerge from Socks’ new stall, covered in straw and mud, his eyes shining.
And then they move inside, away from the biting cold of the afternoon, and they’re sat at the kitchen table and stuffed full of Vesemir’s stew. They’re ravenous, after subsisting on nothing more than what was absolutely necessary, even when Geralt insisted on Jaskier spending a little more on food for himself. Jaskier had refused, had assured Geralt that he could do with lighter meals if it meant they’d be able to meet every supply on Geralt’s list.
You don’t need to sacrifice yourself, Jask.
It’s no sacrifice. Besides… you do the same for me. Always have.
So, after a filling three bowls and a long loaf of bread sliced in two, Geralt shows Jaskier to his room.
“They’re so… big,” Jaskier says, his arms around himself as they walk into the now fire-warm room.
Geralt sets Jaskier’s pack on the bed. “They were made for sharing.”
And it sounds softer than it should.
They’ve shared in the past. Countless times: cheap, single-bed rooms at dingy inns, freezing autumn nights out on the open road. Always as a means to an end, though; always practical. Many times had Geralt pressed his warm hands on Jaskier’s cold skin, rubbing some heat into it so he would eventually fall asleep — many times had Jaskier curled up into a ball so Geralt could have a side of the small, rickety bed.
Just for a good night’s sleep. Just so they could wake well-rested, prepared for another day of slicing monsters in half and walking the Continent with a silver tongue and reputation-building songs.
They’ve shared in the past, but not when faced with spacious beds and comfortable furs and multiple pillows. Not when the nights are long and they can each sleep at their own pace, wake unbothered and untangled from the other’s limbs. Not when there’s no plausible excuse in sight.
But Geralt looks at Jaskier, and Jaskier looks at Geralt, and they’re both holding a question in their eyes, and Geralt says, “We could share.”
And Jaskier says, “We don’t have to.”
Giving Geralt an easy way out.
But Geralt doesn’t take it.
“We don’t have to,” he echoes, his thumb rubbing at the handle of Jaskier’s bag, the one that’s laying on top of the thick furs, on top of the spacious bed. “But I would like to.”
And Jaskier’s eyes soften in the firelight.
Geralt leads him into his room — their room — where the fire is already burning pleasantly, painting the walls amber and blurring the hard edges of themselves as they get ready for bed. They get into their nightclothes, a routine so familiar and deeply set inside their bones that they barely even think about it anymore — Jaskier in his soft, worn breeches and a thin chemise that Geralt knows will end up being discarded in the middle of the night; Geralt in his own pair of sleep trousers and nothing else, his scars catching on the gentle light.
They climb into Geralt’s bed, leaving a respectable amount of empty space between them. Exhaustion tugs at Jaskier’s features, his eyes half-closed and his cheeks pink where sleep is already dragging him under. There’s a half-moon scar nicked on the soft skin of his nose, right at the tip, the souvenir of a very sharp branch hanging low in the forest. Geralt wants to press his lips against it.
“Goodnight,” he whispers instead.
Jaskier’s face scrunches up as he tries to keep his eyes open.
Geralt wants too much.
“G’night,” Jaskier tells him in a sleepy whisper. “Thank you.”
Geralt frowns, shifting his arm so he can take a better look at Jaskier. “What for?”
But Jaskier has already drifted off.
Eskel is the first to arrive, along with the first snow of the season. He shrugs snow off his coat, hangs it over the back of a chair, and raises an eyebrow at the sight of a heard-of yet unfamiliar bard dozing under a pile of blankets on a chair by the fire. He looks at Geralt.
“Uh, Wolf?” He says.
So Geralt does.
They hit it off immediately, Eskel and the bard. Of course they do — Eskel is polite and makes good conversation where Geralt is taciturn and tactless; there’s a wide variety of topics he’s well-versed in, from poetry stanzas to political affairs. Sometimes, Geralt catches the look of bewonderment in Jaskier’s face when one of his throw-away comments gets an actual, well-thought answer from Eskel.
Geralt is not jealous, of course.
But he is wanting.
A week later, when Geralt’s out mucking the stables, Lambert arrives.
He can tell from the look on his face that he’s pissed off. He normally is, to be fair, but usually, Aiden’s by his side to eat some of that energy up. This time Geralt can feel the raw ire rolling off him in waves to know it’s not just the trek up the mountain that’s got him so worked up.
“Hey, kid,” he says in greeting. “Wha—”
“Drinks first,” Lambert says gruffly, not even pausing to properly greet him, dragging his feet inside.
Geralt hums, used to Lambert’s moods, and follows him inside. Eskel and Jaskier are sitting by the fire, carving and writing, respectively, and they look up as they see them walk inside.
“Lambert,” Eskel says, affection clear in his voice. He stands to greet him. “It’s good to have you back.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a delight,” he replies, but still allows Eskel to draw him into a hug. “Good to be back, I guess.”
Jaskier is on his feet as well. “Hi, I’m—”
“Yeah, I know,” Lambert cuts him off, turning his back to Jaskier’s outstretched hand and reaching for the bottle of ale. “You’re the bard. Congratulations. Yet another stray Vesemir has no problem taking in. Fantastic.”
Geralt’s blood boils. “Lambert—”
“Save the lecture, Geralt.” Lambert necks the glass. “You may be able to bat your pretty eyes around and have everything handed to you, but some of us have earned our place in the keep. Excuse me for not clinging to your bard like he’s my lost-long brother, but he’s not. He’s a human in a fortress that’s been made only for Witchers, or so I’ve been told.”
“You know it’s not my fault Vesemir still hasn’t come around to you bringing Aiden,” Geralt says, his jaw set. “But Jaskier is my guest.”
“Proving my point once again,” Lambert says around a mirthless laugh, and drowns another glass of ale.
Geralt steps closer, his hands balled into fists. His face is carefully blank. “I want him here,” he says, voice hard. “Either be fine with it, or go.”
“Geralt,” Eskel cuts in, making him turn.
Jaskier isn’t there anymore.
Sparing one last look at Lambert, Geralt heads to their room. Earlier, he would’ve found Jaskier in the halls, trying to find the right way to the east wing, but after being in the keep for almost four weeks, the bard could be easily hiding anywhere.
His heart is beating inside of their room. Geralt knocks on the door.
“Jask,” he says gently, pushing the door open. “What are you doing?”
He’s sitting in the middle of the bed — their bed, Geralt’s mind provides uselessly — looking smaller than Geralt’s ever seen him, his winter clothes weighing him down. His bag lies open next to him, some of his clothes hastily thrown inside, some of them messily strewn on the bed.
He looks too soft in the firelight, too vulnerable.
“You told me to come here,” he says, voice rough, almost angry.
Geralt moves closer. “I did.”
Jaskier looks down at his lap. “You said— you said they knew.”
“They did, Jask—” Geralt sighs. He’s gonna throttle Lambert if he’s the reason his bard smells like rotten fruit. “What Lambert said— it’s not about you at all.”
“I don’t… I told you I didn’t want to be an intruder.”
“And I didn’t come here to make anyone feel uncomfortable, I just—” Jaskier runs a hand through his hair. “Fuck, I just wish I’d known. I never would’ve come in the first place.”
Geralt sits down beside him. “But I want you here.”
Jaskier stands. “Do you, Geralt? I mean— both of your brothers were surprised to see me, let alone Vesemir.” He laughs, but it’s a joyless sound. “Have you ever even told them about me? Do I make it into your stories? Am I— Was I ever more than just a footnote, an afterthought?”
All words leave Geralt’s mouth.
Jaskier looks miserable, hurt written all over his face. “I keep trying to tell myself— I keep trying to wrap my head around the idea that you could actually want me in your life.”
“But I do,” comes Geralt’s voice, broken.
“And I don’t want to bring it up, because it’s not fair to you,” he says. “But I just wonder, sometimes— did I just make it all up in my head? All those years? Did I just dream the entire time that you did like me enough, enough to talk about me when I’m not there? Just, please—” his voice breaks, and Jaskier looks at him, crystal blue eyes shattered. “Please tell me you didn’t just bring me here because you felt guilty— that you didn’t bring me here out of pity.”
“I didn’t, Jask— I promise,” Geralt tells him, and it sounds like a prayer. Please believe me. “Would you come sit with me?”
Jaskier looks unsure, and so, so tired.
He does. Sits on the edge of the bed, his arms wrapped around himself, his hair falling in his eyes.
Geralt moves closer, reaches for him, his hand meeting his elbow. Jaskier stiffens under his touch, but doesn’t move away.
“Nineteen years ago,” Geralt starts, his voice barely above a whisper, “Roach and I came up for the winter.”
Jaskier is looking at him, his expression weary. “My brothers and Vesemir were already here,” Geralt continues. “I was late, had barely made the pass. Usually, I start heading north before the leaves start falling.”
“We were in Kerack, for Princess Julka’s betrothal,” Jaskier says quietly. “She wanted an autumn wedding.”
“I told them I had run into a friend, when they asked what had taken me so long. I thought that would’ve made them leave me alone. I was wrong.” Geralt smiles. “They know I don’t have any friends.”
Jaskier’s lips curl into a small smile.
“So they pestered me with questions. Too many. Too complicated. I couldn’t answer all of them. So I told them what I did know— that I’d met a bard in Posada, full of made-up songs and spreading inaccurate information about monsters.”
“Ass,” Jaskier teases, and elbows him in the ribs.
Geralt snorts. “I told them about you. About your relentlessness, your lack of self-preservation. Your insatiable curiosity. Your trusting nature—” He clicks his tongue. “Too-trusting nature.”
“Hey,” Jaskier protests.
“Trusted a Witcher.”
Jaskier looks at him. “And I would again.”
There’s something fierce in his eyes. Something daring. But there’s a soft smile on his lips, too.
Geralt’s hand reaches for him.
“They’ve known about you for decades,” Geralt says. “Even when I couldn’t call you a friend. Even when I pushed you away.”
“Geralt.” Jaskier’s eyes are soft now, too.
“I’m sorry,” he says, sincere and raw. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I should have shown you how much I cared. It scared the shit out of me.”
Jaskier’s hand is warm in his. The ever-burning hearth washes him with gentle light, his face flushed golden. He’s looking away.
“I brought you here,” Geralt says, “not out of pity, or guilt.”
He thinks of months of stillness and open roads and empty skies.
“Jas, I— I couldn’t stand the quiet.”
He thinks of lonely nights and consumed fires and too-cold beds.
“I brought you here,” he says again, willing Jaskier to look into his eyes. “Because I can’t bear to be without you.”*
He thinks of pale skin and wood-brown curls and ocean blue eyes.
“I brought you here,” he whispers, softer than a lullaby, “because I love you.”
And Jaskier meets his gaze.
And his pale skin is tinted gold now and his wood-brown curls are a tangled mess and his ocean blue eyes are shiny from the cold and something else and he’s here, sitting on Geralt’s bed, their hands entwined, and there’s nothing Geralt wants more than to press his lips against Jaskier’s and kiss him like he’s meant to — but he wants to do it right.
So he holds Jaskier’s hand and watches him watch him, and then Jaskier’s face splits into a grin, a little thin, a little shy.
Geralt gives him a grin of his own. “I do.”
Their knees are touching.
“I love you too,” Jaskier tells him. “From the moment I met you, I think.”
Geralt lifts an eyebrow quizzically. “I punched you in the gut.”
“Yeah,” Jaskier laughs, one calloused hand resting at Geralt’s nape. “Yeah.”
Ocean blue against a yellow-pink sky. That’s the shade of Jaskier’s eyes, before he closes them and leans in.
It’s softer than Geralt could have imagined. Jaskier’s lips are plush and giving under his, their mouths finding an easy rhythm — and it shouldn’t surprise Geralt, because it’s in everything they do, that easy feeling of correspondence. His hands make their way to Jaskier’s shoulders, his neck, his chest, anywhere and everywhere they can reach. His fingers tug gently at the little baby curls at the back of Jaskier’s neck.
It makes him laugh, break the kiss and rest his forehead against Geralt’s just to laugh. Geralt loves him too much.
They’re wandering things, their kisses. Slow and lasting and honey-sweet, deep and light. Somewhere in between nipping at Geralt’s jaw, Jaskier crawls into his lap. Geralt’s arms circle his middle, his hands rucking up his shirt and brushing the warm skin underneath.
And he wants this — he wants to allow himself to want this, because it’s good and familiar and it’s been coming for a long time, because Jaskier wants him too. But he wants to do it right, wants to be sure, and, more than anything, he wants to give Jaskier the choice he deserves to have.
Except Jaskier’s sucking a bruise into his neck at the moment, and it makes it a bit difficult to think coherently.
“Jask,” he murmurs, and Jaskier makes a questioning sound, still at his throat. “Jask.”
“What is it?” He replies, pressing small kisses to Geralt’s jaw.
Geralt’s willpower has never been stronger. “We don’t— we don’t have to… right now.” Jaskier pulls back to look at him. “Ever— if you don’t want to.”
Jaskier rocks lightly against him, and there’s a breathless expression of pure desire on his face that Geralt can’t tear his gaze from.
“I want to,” he says, simple and honest. “Always have.”
And Geralt is weak for him, after all. Always has been.
He rolls his hips against Jaskier’s and swallows his answering moan, his hands now gripping the back of Jaskier’s thighs as he pushes him against the bed. He’s as gentle as he can be, settling Jaskier on his back and climbing on top of him on all fours, his medallion dangling from his neck as Jaskier pulls him down again into an open-mouthed kiss that steals the breath from his lungs.
“Fuck,” he exhales when he feels Jaskier’s cock rutting up against his stomach, a hard, hot line against the soft linen of his shirt, and that’s when it occurs to him that they’re wearing far too much clothing. His fingers travel down to the edge of Jaskier’s chemise, pulling it up his chest.
“G’ralt,” Jaskier murmurs against his mouth, smiling, and says something else Geralt doesn’t quite catch.
“I said,” Jaskier tells him, a smile on his mouth and his shirt bunched around his neck, “that if you want my shirt to come off, you’ll need to stop kissing me.”
Geralt groans, embarrassed in his eagerness, and hides his face in the crook of Jaskier’s neck. “Sorry. Didn’t want to.”
With laughter like clear bells, Jaskier sits up, divesting himself of his shirt, and taking Geralt’s with him too. It gives him pause.
“You’ve seen them before,” Geralt whispers.
Jaskier is looking at his scars.
“I know,” he says, long fingers following the line of his sternum, right where the claws of a bruxa had been buried. There’s something like reverence in his gaze, and it makes Geralt shiver. “But never like this.”
Geralt agrees with a quiet hum, his hands reaching out for Jaskier, too, as if the mere thought of not touching him would strike him down like a bolt of lightning. He isn’t sure that it wouldn’t.
His chest hair is soft, his skin warm under his touch. Geralt can feel his heartbeat under his palm.
He pushes him back down again.
Jaskier kisses him more sweetly, this time. Not pulled back, not subdued, no — there’s a sense of ease in it, of newness and a slow-going feeling not of oxygen being breathed into his lungs, but love, as if with every pass of his tongue Jaskier was giving Geralt something to hang onto, tethering him to this moment.
It’s an overwhelming thought, and, for once, Geralt lets it wash over him.
His hands roam over Jaskier’s body, unhurried, his fingertips brushing over the waistband of Jaskier’s pants. He smiles into Jaskier’s mouth as the bard not-so-subtly wiggles his hips up into his grasp.
They’re pretty much naked after that.
“Look at you,” Jaskier whispers, looking up at Geralt with a heavy-lidded gaze. He runs his fingers down Geralt’s leg, dangerously close to his cock. It makes him sigh. “So beautiful, so big.”
It makes Geralt’s ears burn, all the easy praise. “You’re one to talk.”
He means it — he doesn’t know where to look, where to start. His broad shoulders and narrow waist, the defined muscles of his arms and the soft swell of his belly, the never-ending trail of hair like a map of his favorite features. The mouth-watering sight of his cock, heavy against his stomach, the soft blush of his cheeks.
The way he looks splayed under Geralt’s body, hot and hard and lust-drunk.
Geralt follows the line of his lip with his thumb. “What do you want?”
Jaskier sucks it in.
“Jask,” he breathes, ocean blue looking up at him, coy. “What do you want?”
“Anything,” Jaskier says around his thumb. “Everything. Whatever you want.”
Something tugs at Geralt’s chest.
“Jask,” he says softly, pulling his hand back and abandoning his spot on Jaskier’s lap to lay on the other side of the bed next to him. “That’s not how we’re doing this. Not anymore.”
The words seem to fall on Jaskier like a bucketful of ice, the rosy blush of his cheeks a dark red belonging to shame, now. Geralt’s half-sure he’ll turn away from him, being pulled out of the hazy illusion of want and need melting into one.
“But I do,” Jaskier says, an echo of Geralt’s earlier plea. He’s looking somewhere behind Geralt’s shoulder. “Whatever you want, I want too.”
But that’s what it’s been like for twenty years, isn’t it? Geralt deciding and Jaskier making haste to follow, afraid he would be left behind if he thought of objecting. Because he never did, not really — his complaints were empty, half-hearted threats that would never come to fruition, because his companionship had never once been cherished, let alone encouraged, and Geralt’s hands wouldn’t have trembled in the slightest, pointing him in the opposite direction.
His voice hadn’t wavered as he’d cast him away on that mountain.
“I love you,” Geralt tells him. His voice doesn’t waver now, either. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“It’s too late for that, anyway. The pass will be closed.”
Geralt’s hand frames Jaskier’s face, his voice soft, his eyes warm. “Jas.”
He looks at Geralt, and it’s a fragile thing. Too vulnerable. “I know.”
Geralt closes the distance between them and kisses him. Jaskier kisses him back, moving into his space and molding his body against Geralt’s, where he belongs.
“Then tell me,” Geralt says when they part, his voice a suggestive rumble. “What do you want?”
Jaskier’s eyes are dark when he says plainly, “I want to rim you.”
And Geralt’s soul leaves his body as he groans against Jaskier’s mouth, a fierce kiss tearing at his strings and reducing him to a puddle of want and need pressed against the soft mattress, pinned beneath Jaskier’s body. The bard’s hands wander down his chest, his light touch making Geralt jerk when it reaches his cock.
Jaskier strokes him slowly, purposefully, his touch branding. He presses small kisses against Geralt’s throat as his hand moves up, his thumb sliding over the slit, gathering the pre-come that sits at the tip, then down again, his sure rhythm maddening and unfaltering. Geralt pushes his hips up into his touch, only to have a hand pressed against his stomach.
Jaskier smiles. “Okay, then.”
He pulls back and Geralt swallows down the frustrated whine that threatens to break free, instead allowing Jaskier’s hands to guide him onto his front, his head pillowed on his arms, his hard and leaking cock pressed against the mattress. Jaskier brings his knees up, and a cold shudder runs down the spine at the thought of what he must look like, presenting.
“Gods,” Jaskier says, pressing lingering kisses to Geralt’s tailbone. “Fuck— I’ve wanted you for so long.”
“You have me.”
Jaskier’s arousal spikes and Geralt’s senses are filled with the warm scent of his need. It’s intoxicating.
“I wanna eat you up,” Jaskier whispers, blowing cool air onto his skin. “Would you like that?”
Geralt pushes his hips back in answer.
His hands are warm and gentle as he rakes his nails through the hair on Geralt’s thighs, mindless little circles going up, up, up until Jaskier spreads his cheeks with both hands and pulls, and then anything Geralt was about to think next is lost to the feeling of Jaskier’s tongue pressing against his hole.
“Fuck,” he breathes, his fingers clawing at the sheets as Jaskier licks a thick stripe up, from his balls to this hole. “Fuck— Jask.”
Jaskier hums into him, alternating between circling Geralt’s hole with his tongue and giving him tiny kitten licks, pressing fluttering kisses to the furl of muscle — alternating between making Geralt gasp and groan into the crook of his elbow.
“So beautiful,” Jaskier says, voice low, biting at the soft skin of Geralt’s ass. “So tight.”
Whatever he was about to say turns into a moan as Jaskier’s tongue fucks into him, shallow little thrusts that make him shake, his knees threatening to give out under him. Tentatively, he pushes his hips back into Jaskier’s mouth, and there’s an encouraging groan from Jaskier that makes him buck harder against him, against that warm heat.
“You’re gonna— fuck— gonna make me come.”
“Good,” Jaskier murmurs into him.
He feels tight heat coiling low on his gut, and he groans every time the heel of the hand holding him at his stomach grazes over his cock, pre-come making a mess of the blanket beneath him. Jaskier licks him harder, faster, and it’s the press of a finger alongside his tongue that snaps the last thread of sanity Geralt was holding onto, and he falls into his orgasm.
Jaskier’s hands are gentle on his skin as they roll him over on the bed, away from the mess he’s made of the sheets underneath him.
“Too fucking beautiful,” he hears him say. “So good for me.”
Geralt mumbles something unintelligible into the pillow.
“Can’t expect eloquence from me,” Geralt says, rolling around to squint up at him. “When you’ve made my brain leak out of my ears.”
“Mmm,” Jaskier agrees. “Come here, Witcher.”
He does, slots himself in the perfect space between Jaskier’s arms and against his chest, and receives a lazy kiss for his effort. He can taste himself in it, and something bright and hot ignites in his chest.
His hands wander down Jaskier’s chest of their own volition, reaching the bard’s hard, leaking cock. Jaskier tenses, holds his breath before exhaling a drawn-out groan as Geralt’s hand starts stroking him in earnest.
“Fuck, fuck— dearest,” Jaskier gasps, his nose tickling Geralt’s nape. “You need to— ah— stop that, or this will be over way too soon. And I— I want you to fuck me.”
Geralt’s spent cock is half-hard, already. It twitches.
“Fuck, Jask,” Geralt groans, his forehead pressed against Jaskier’s. “Yes.”
He pulls his hand away and Jaskier whines at the loss of friction, but his pupils are blown when he looks at Geralt, pointing his finger to his pack, where his oil has stayed since they arrived at Kaer Morhen. Where it has stayed since they met up again on that rainy afternoon in Temeria, actually — Jaskier hadn’t strayed from Geralt’s sight since then, hadn’t run out after supper, muttering lazy excuses and coming back kissed and bitten and smelling of sweet satisfaction, of someone else.
Geralt’s breath hitches at the realization. “Jask…”
“You haven’t…” He starts, but when he turns around, he has to stop dead in his tracks — Jaskier is lying on his bed, naked and warm and happy, a sultry look in his eyes and a finger reaching behind his balls, lightly pressing against his hole.
It’s too much.
Crossing over to the bed in quick strides, Geralt kisses him fiercely, all teeth and tongue and far too messy for it to be romantic like it should be, but fuck — something about Jaskier sets every single nerve in Geralt’s body on fire, makes him feel like he’s being struck by lightning every second that passes, because whenever he’s not kissing him something in his mind screams we’re wasting time, and that just won’t do.
He pours oil over his fingers (and the bed, too, because Jaskier is biting his lower lip and there’s only so much a Witcher can control at once) and gently moves them down to his hole. Jaskier whimpers into his mouth, small and muffled, and Geralt needs to hear him properly, needs only the cadence of Jaskier’s voice filling their room, needs to know what pretty sounds his bard can make.
He pushes a finger in.
“Fuck, you’re tight,” Geralt says, admiring the way Jaskier clenches around him, gasping, hole pink and glistening. “Does that feel good?”
Jaskier nods feverishly. There’s a flush high on his face, down his throat, his hair disheveled and matted with sweat. Then, Geralt remembers.
“You haven’t done this in a while,” he says, unaccusing, and it’s not a question.
Jaskier looks at him through half-lidded eyes. “N-no— I haven’t.”
Geralt adds a second finger, stretching him carefully, and presses a kiss to his knee. “Why?”
“Only wanted you.”
Geralt groans and bends down to kiss Jaskier again, more tenderly, this time. He presses light kisses against the bard’s mouth, his jaw, his cheeks, his nose, while his fingers move in long, thorough motions.
“More,” Jaskier pleads against his lips. “Please.”
Geralt gives him more. Three fingers in, Jaskier’s chest is heaving, tiny moans escaping his lips unbidden, his hole pulsating around him. His cock is leaking steadily onto his stomach, the tip red and swollen.
“Do you wanna come?”
Jaskier shakes his head. “Not yet.”
Geralt hums and keeps going, trying to avoid Jaskier’s prostate at his request. He takes his fingers beautifully, like he was made for it, to take and take and take, hungry and desperate— and Geralt is not gonna last long either, following that train of thought.
“Yeah.” Jaskier widens his legs. “Fuck me, please.”
Geralt nods and fumbles for the oil, lost in the sheets, and groans, frustrated, when he can’t find it. Jaskier joins him in the search with a giggle, and they throw pillows on the floor and shake the blankets off, a sense of necessity coursing through their veins.
In all the urgent tossing and turning, the vial reappears, only to be accidentally flinged into the hearth.
The flames lick it up with greed.
And Jaskier doubles over in laughter.
“Of course,” he manages, clutching his ribs as he shakes, laughing, “of course that would happen to us.”
Geralt glares at the fire, but Jaskier is lying on his bed, naked and warm and happy, his face split into a blinding grin, tears rolling down his face, and somehow the mood isn’t spoiled and he doesn’t care about the oil anymore — he just shakes his head with incommensurable fondness and rummages through his own bag for a vial, throwing it at Jaskier’s still-laughing form.
“Rude!” Jaskier exclaims. “Bad Witcher.”
“The worst,” Geralt says with a smirk, and pulls Jaskier into a kiss, feeling his smile against his own lips.
Finally, finally, he pours oil over his cock. “How do you want me?”
“I wanna ride you.”
Jaskier smiles, pushing Geralt back onto the bed. “That’s the idea, yes.”
“Brat,” says Geralt, laughing, and smacks Jaskier’s ass lightly.
Jaskier straddles his hips and slowly, slowly, he lowers himself on Geralt’s cock. It’s a sight — everything about him is a sight — but this, this Geralt wants to commit to memory: the sweaty flush of Jaskier’s chest, the way his thighs are flexing, his abdomen contracting, his face contorted into an expression of deep, raw pleasure as Geralt’s cock breaches him.
“Ah, ah, ah,” gets punched out of him, until he buries himself to the hilt.
Geralt twitches inside him, his hands settled on Jaskier’s hips. Being inside him is… indescribable. It feels right, like nothing ever has, like this is where he belongs — like everything else is unimportant, compared to this, to Jaskier’s moans as Geralt’s cock stretches him even further, reaching deeper even when Jaskier starts to move, and Geralt can’t do anything but hold onto him and try his hardest not to buck into his tight heat.
Because it is tight — warm and snug as Jaskier lifts himself up and falls back down, setting a rhythm that is slow and punishing and mind-blowingly good, ripping broken groans from Geralt’s throat.
“Fuck,” he says, because all words have left his brain the moment Jaskier touched him first.
Jaskier grins and picks up the pace, his cock bouncing against his stomach. “You feel so good, love, so big— fuck, I want you like this forever.”
Geralt whines, his fingertips digging into the soft skin of Jaskier’s lovehandles, and he fucks up into him, hard. Jaskier gasps, his own pace growing quicker, sloppier, as he plants his palms on Geralt’s chest to give himself more leverage. They meet each other in each thrust, and Geralt doesn’t know where to look — at Jaskier’s face, contorted with pleasure and flushed with exertion, at the spot where his own cock disappears into the warm clutch of Jaskier’s body, filling him up — once he begins fucking him in earnest.
“Geralt,” Jaskier gasps, and he’s said his name a hundred times over, affectionate and fond and angry and disappointed and drunk and in love, but this time it sounds right, like he’s claiming him for himself, like it’s the only word he’s ever known, like he wants to keep him, and Geralt’s heart beats with the knowledge that he would give up his name if it meant Jaskier would keep it safe.
He wraps one hand around the crook of Jaskier’s elbow, holding him there.
“Fuck, fu— there, fuck,” he moans, his hips moving in tight circles as Geralt’s cock nails his prostate with every thrust. “Geralt.”
“Yes, yes— come on, Jask.”
Jaskier’s mouth hangs open as he comes.
Geralt kisses it shut.
His movements slow down until there’s only tiny rolls of his hips that match Jaskier’s, still on top of him, riding the aftermath of his orgasm. He kisses Geralt almost lazily, licking into his mouth and slumping forward on his chest.
“That,” he says, out of breath and fucked-out, “was…”
Geralt quirks up a curious eyebrow at him.
“Have I actually rendered you speechless? Was this all it took?”
“Ass.” Jaskier smacks his head lightly. “I’m just looking for a better word than ‘everything’, but I don’t think I’ll find it.”
“Yeah,” Jaskier says, licking his lips and pushing Geralt’s hair back, away from his forehead. He presses a kiss there. “That— what you— what we did was… everything.”
Geralt’’s heart jumps in his chest. Of course it does.
“And,” Jaskier adds, “if you would be so kind as to roll me onto my back, since my limbs have severed ties with me at the moment, I’d like to finish what we started.”
“What do you—”
Jaskier clenches around Geralt’s still-hard cock.
Geralt flips them over easily.
“Jask,” he murmurs against his jaw, his cock sliding home. “Okay?”
“Fuck yes,” Jaskier murmurs back, licking a stripe up Geralt’s earshell. “Come on, Witcher. Wanna feel you come inside me.”
It doesn’t take long. How could it — when Jaskier’s right there, beautiful and warm and his, whispering filthy praise into his ear as he ruts forward and into him, deep and deep and deep, until he comes with a stuttered roll of his hips and Jaskier’s name on his lips, like a prayer.
Like a kiss.
Jaskier’s chest is warm when Geralt settles himself against it, over the soft thud-thud-thud of his heart. There are gentle fingers carding through his hair, a pleasant chill running down his spine. Jaskier is humming under his breath, almost an afterthought. Like this, Geralt can’t see his face, but the fire is painting his legs bronze gold and there’s a scar on his navel, the white edges thin and almost faded.
He presses his lips to it.
Jaskier links their ankles together, his fingers combing Geralt’s hair. He finds the knots and easily, painlessly breaks them up, lets the silver strands fan over his own chest. The room is quiet, the fire sizzling from time to time. The scent of sex and love sits pleasant on Geralt’s nose, the sound of the wind howling outside grounding him.
“Ever since we came here,” Jaskier says into the golden room, “I’ve had the same dream.”
Geralt hums, curious.
Jaskier’s fingers curl around a loose strand of hair. “We are at the top of a hill, you and me. You put your head in my lap.”
“Mm.” Jaskier’s fingers run a line down his nose. “Roach is somewhere, nearby. We are watching the clouds pass by. There is nothing for us to do except… except just being there.”
Geralt turns his head, looking into wave-colored eyes.
Jaskier takes his face in his hands.
Thanks for the prompt! Here's one for you (whatever characters/fandom are appealing to you)
“Don’t ask me that…”
Joe/Nicky because I'm predictable feat a modern au where Joe is a psychic and Nicky is a chef
this is born from the weird mix of watching the Bear and Maggie at the same time
The restaurant has long since closed, and Joe sits at the bar, twirling his half-empty glass in his hands idly, mind distracted as his friends close up for the night.
Across from him, Andy is cleaning out the taps, wiping them clean for the night and she sighs heavily before setting down her rag and leaning against the counter, looking at Joe and placing her hand on his own.
"Your thoughts are louder than your ice clinking against the glass Joe," Andy says and Joe sets down his glass and glances at Andy, apologetic. She pats his hand before going to get down the bottle of vodka and two shot glasses, filling them both.
"Spill," Andy says and she gives Joe the shot. He accepts it and clinks the glass against her own before throwing it back, grimacing. Andy in turn laughs loudly.
Hopefully not too loud, Joe didn't really want the reason for his thoughts being so loud to walk through the door and ask questions Joe doesn't want to ask.
"Relax, Nicky is going over the new menu with Nile, they're in their own world if anything it will take both of us to drag them out of there," Andy explains and Joe relaxes just a little.
"Nicky keeps asking about my vision of him," Joe says and Andy hums, encouraging him to continue. She's been his friend since Joe was a teenager and she was skeptical at first about his abilities, but she came around after Joe's vision had rescued her horse.
"It wasn't a bad one though, you would have told him if it was," Andy says and Joe sighs because that's just it. Nicky had believed Joe when he explained that he was a psychic, he didn't even ask for proof or even a fortune telling for himself. He had just taken Joe's word.
They became friends slowly. Nicky was working on relaunching his family's restaurant after a tragedy, and Joe was starting his own business. They had similar friends and Joe had recommended Andy to bartend after she had retired from horse competitions.
He had a few visions of Nicky in the restaurant. He had seen Nile come in before they ever met her, and he has seen the fire that had taken out half the kitchen, and Nicky collapsing during a stressful service.
But then Joe had a different vision of Nicky.
He had a vision of himself with Nicky. Happy, married, with two kids and a dog and a house. The whole domestic scene had Joe reeling because he wanted it so bad he ached.
"I've never had a vision of myself before," Joe stresses to Andy after telling her the vision of his supposed future with Nicky. "And Nicky is-"
"In a relationship with his job?" Andy sums up and Joe grimaces. Nicky was a good man and he was very passionate about what he did, but he often left his personal life behind on the figurative back burner so he can work on his actual back burner. "Talk to him Joe," Andy says firm but not unkind.
"I can't-" Joe starts and there's a noise from the entrance to the bar and Joe startles to see Nicky there, looking at the two of them with wide eyes. Andy's eyes dart between the two of them, and she squeezes Joe's hand gently before moving away to give them space.
"What did you see in your vision Joe?" Nicky asks, voice quiet as he looks at Joe with his wide eyes that Joe can never quite guess what color they are. They go from a stormy grey to the calm colors of the sea in the morning, and right now Joe can't make out what color they are, just that their intensity is directed straight at Joe.
"Don't ask me that..." Joe says, meeting Nicky's intense stare with his own. He knows Nicky to be stubborn, this restaurant would have failed if he wasn't, but Joe can be just as stubborn. "You said you didn't want to know about visions with you in it."
"But what about if it's us?" Nicky stresses, stepping forward and Joe finds that he's at a loss for words.
He never saw this coming.
Tears of Themis: Ancient China Event SSR Translations
Xia Yan/Luke Pearce [Dreamland Drama]: Today, I will make sure you understand what this wandering knight with a silver-saddled horse is made of!
The warrior walks forward, his scent lingering and sleeves fluttering. The warmth of home can only be found by each others’ sides - “I had a dream where we sat facing each other, like we are now. You wore a red veil...”
*Note 1: The “silver-saddled horse” is a reference to the poem 少年行 “Journey of the Youth” by Li Bai. It describes a bold young man’s carefree journey.
*Note 2: The second line contains a reference to the poem 侠客行 “Journey of the Knight” by Li Bai. The poem describes knights in a fairly admiring way - someone who strives to help the troubled and cares not for fame and fortune.
Zuo Ran/Artem Wing [Vine-tangled Wilderness]: As long as you do not leave the Mansion of the Xiezhi… not a single soul shall know the truth.
A beautiful man, with clear eyes and a fair forehead. Inseparable forever after learning about each other - “I... will not let you leave. I will have you stay by my side, forever.”
*Note: Both his title and the second of his lines above reference to the anonymously-written Chinese poem 野有蔓草 (which is exactly the name of his card). It describes of a sudden, simplistic encounter between a man and a woman in the fields.
Mo Yi/Vyn Richter [Glorious Union]: To me, your existence is like a singular star in an eternal night. But I would rather see that single instant of light and bear the thousands and thousands of years of darkness thereafter.
On the lush peach trees, flowers bloom vividly. Silhouettes in a dream entangle together - “I will fulfill any wish as long as it is yours, so don’t be afraid, alright?”
*Note: The second line’s references to the peach blossoms come from an anonymously-written poem called 桃夭, which writes of a young lady’s happy married future. The name of the card also consists of characters in the poem - with 灼华于归 being the name of the card, the adjectives 灼 and 华 translated as “Glorious” here, while 于归, translated roughly as “Union” here, more accurately refers to a soon-to-be bride.
Lu Jinghe/Marius von Hagen [Painting Studio Spring]: Stay behind with me. From now on, you will gradually lose all your memories of the mortal world... until only I remain in your world.
The dimming lights far away cast a faint light on a long-sought partner - “What if I said that I liked you, and wanted to spend my whole life with you?”
*Note: My understanding on this subject is rather tenuous, but it seems that what’s been translated to “Painting Studio Spring” (画堂春) is a form of rhythm or music to which poems are composed, and is involved in the composition of many poems.
Okay, wow, never in my life did I think a music video involving giving Satan a lap dance would delve into a conversation about gay rights ( and how gay men are portrayed in media ), but Lil Nas X broke the world with MONTERO, so here I am. We’ve got three things here that I think are important - Internet culture, religion, sexuality. These are the things that I think people are getting too uptight over/not upset enough over, and I wanna rant for a bit, so bear with me on this one.
First, I LOVED MONTERO. I’m a whore for religious imagery/theming/etc. being used in media, and as a former Christian and an openly gay woman, it makes me very happy to see it used in a spiteful manner. MONTERO was gorgeous - sexual, unapologetic, and so clearly pulling straight from Biblical stories. The religion used commonly against us ( here in the US, at least, because I know other religions can be just as oppressive, if not worse, and Christianity isn’t the dominant religion everywhere ) being used in a way that’s expressive of our lives is beautiful. The very clear message of “Oh, I’m going to hell? That’s okay,” is perfect - for so many LGBT people in this country, we’ve been told that we’re condemned to eternal punishment because of something we can’t help. LNX took that in stride and made it art, with MONTERO and the video. I am in full support of it and will be throwing it on my horny playlist.
But here’s why I think this is so important - MONTERO’s release has exposed, in my opinion, where the real issues lie in Western culture. WAP did this too, a little - both of these songs, and their accompanying videos, were criticized using children. “Children watch you”, “how could you expose kids to this”, etc. were complaints hurled at Cardi B and LNX over their music. And in LNX’s case, people used his previous success with Old Town Road - I saw one tweet saying Old Town Road is “every kid’s anthem”, and that their children love Old Town Road. Which is problematic - how can you complain about MONTERO, but allow your child to listen to a song with lyrics such as “Lean all in my bladder”, “Cheated on my baby, you can go and ask her”, “Bull riding and boobies” - Old Town Road is not a child-friendly song by any means, but LNX didn’t include naked breasts, or ( as far as I’m aware ) market the song in a way that showcased those lyrics. So parents let their children enjoy their funny horse song, never looking into the words their kids were hearing daily. But with MONTERO, because they saw at a glance that it was an issue, they assumed this meant the previously “child-friendly” artist LNX, the man behind the funny horse song, was suddenly trying to indoctrinate their children. When in reality, LNX has never catered to kids. He’s always been open about his music and himself, and it’s entirely the parents’ faults for not better monitoring what media their children take in. It is never the responsibility of the creator to change their content for an audience they didn’t want. MONTERO, and WAP, both exposed just how internet culture has allowed parents an excuse to be lazy, hands-off pieces of shit, and demonize creators further.
MONTERO also exposed how homophobia continues to follow us, in how many comments there were calling LNX predatory, claiming he was indoctrinating children and pushing agendas - and, with Kaitlin Bennet’s actual racist comments, now he’s being slandered. ( if you didn’t see that beef, TLDR: Kaitlin asked “do you still see your dad?” w/ blatant intent to hurt, LNX replied with “yeah and I’ll fuck yours”, to which Kaitlin accused him of threatening to rape her father and several small, conservative ‘journalists’ ran with it ). I don’t like throwing around the word homophobia, but this isn’t new - gay men have been called predatory for a long time and demonized for even small gestures like holding hands. And now, an openly gay man made a video celebrating his sexuality ( which isn’t a new topic: look at any music video from the early 2000s for more examples of people expressing sexuality ) and given fuel to these idiots to continue pushing their narrative of “gay man predator, gay man bad”. Fortunately, it’s a lot less than it would’ve been thirty years ago. But the fact that it still happens on this scale, enough that journalists pick it up as a story, and governors, Candace Owens and other prominent homophobic conservative figures jump on the bandwagon....it’s sad. A man celebrating his sexuality shouldn’t be demonized the way it is, and MONTERO is doing an amazing job at spitting in people’s faces.
Cutting myself short here, I think MONTERO was a gift. It’s a work of art in many ways, but the social response it generated is also a blessing in that it shows what we need to prioritize - which is self responsibility. No one is forcing you to watch the gay man give Satan a lap dance, nor are they forcing you to buy his shoes. No one will ever force you into that - you, a consenting adult/teenager, willingly watched it. You’re reading this now of your own choice. If your child is watching MONTERO, you should blame yourself if you’re mad - why didn’t you monitor them better? Teach them to avoid things they don’t recognize online? You failed as a parent to protect your child from what you deem harmful. That isn’t anyone’s fault except your own as their active guardian.
Sex, talking about sex, grinding, lap dances....those aren’t new to music videos. They’ve been happening for decades, actually - early 90’s and 2000’s videos had a lot, and I think some 80’s had them. MONTERO didn’t invent NSFW music videos, the only difference is it’s gay and dared to use religious imagery ( which also isn’t new, but that’s another rant I don’t want to get into ). For once, I actually agree with the masses - this outrage was mostly fueled by homophobia and dumb Christians. And to any Christians reading this ( that didn’t get offended, because if you got genuinely upset by this drama, fuck you ); you’re cool.
Anyways, yeah. I think MONTERO was awesome, LNX killed it as always, and I hate conservatives. Goodnight.
just read your unplanned pregnancy hcs and first of wow second could you maybe write a continuation to them like maybe during the pregnancy or once the baby (or babies they could have twins) are born. Albedo's had me appdiisodhs like i need answers and i need some closure lmao
sorry this has taken so long anon, been a crazy couple of weeks lol. part 2 to this
diluc's is kinda short bc his ended on a happy note (o´∀`o)
before reading: reader is written as afab and goes by they/them pronouns but feel free to change it to whatever you want in your head, pregnancy, babies
he adjusted the best he could when you decided to keep the baby
neither of you were expecting a child anytime soon but like you said before, maybe it was a sign
and with diluc's status in mondstadt, no one even batted an eye wrong in his direction
in fact, you were showered daily with gifts or food from the townspeople of mondstadt (there was a rumor that some thought you were bearing an heir to the invisible throne of mondstadt)
in the rare occasion someone said something negative about the pregnancy, usually someone drunk at the tavern, diluc was quick to shut them down
After you gave birth to your babies (yes, you had twins), you thought the overwhelming support from the people of Mondstadt would stop. Instead, it only increased.
When you and Diluc entered the city, each holding a baby, you were always crowded right away. Elderly woman would knit your babies clothes and the young teenagers offered babysitting services. It should have been overwhelming but since your pregnancy was unexpected (having twins was even more unexpected) the extra help was greatly appreciated.
Woodworkers built you cribs for free and shop owners happily donated extra stock for your children.
After a long day in Mondstadt, that was supposed to be a quick trip, Diluc collapsed on the couch. He had both babies in his arms, cuddling them to this chest, while you carried multiple bags full of goods.
"People are so generous," You huffed out, putting the bags down and falling back next to Diluc, "Almost too generous."
He laughed tiredly and readjusted himself so you could snuggle into his side. "It's better than them being hateful, right?"
You nodded in agreement, "Much better."
he was right about no one crossing him during your pregnancy
when you went for walks around liyue around, people turned their heads and paid no attention to you
to zhongli, that was delightful - no one cared
to you, it was uncomfortable
you had mortal friends in liyue who had gotten pregnant after marriage and they were praised from strangers on the streets and given free food or wisdom from elders
but not you
You were almost to term when Zhongli wanted to take you out to dinner at the Liyue Pavilion. Childe had given him a hefty check as a Christmas gift and Zhongli wanted to spend it on you and your unborn baby.
The restaurant was packed for a weeknight and Zhongli left for a moment to use the restroom. You sat at the table, absentmindedly rubbing your belly and shoveling noodles into your mouth.
"Isn't that the town whore?"
The words made you freeze. You heard the voices behind you and refrained from spinning around and glaring at the young women.
"It is! I heard this is the third time she's gotten knocked up and her boyfriend wouldn't let her kill it this time!"
"Boyfriend? She's not even married? I would be so ashamed to have her as my daughter - her poor family."
You stopped eating then. The women giggled and their voices faltered away. Your hand stopped rubbing your belly and laid there, your other hand clenching your chopsticks.
You didn't even realize you were crying until Zhongli came back to the table and alerted you.
"Oh, um, hormones," You lied, dropping your chopsticks to roughly push away your tears. Your sniffled and looked up, dabbing at the corners of your eyes to try and stop the tears. "I'm really not hungry anymore. I'll meet you outside, okay?"
You struggled to stand up and once you did, you waddled outside of the restaurant. You tried to pull your cardigan over your belly but since you were so far along, there was no way to hide it. It felt like the world was caving in on you. People could be so cruel.
Suddenly, you felt two arms wrap around you, pulling you into warmth. You smelled Zhongli's scent and clutched onto his shirt, letting even more tears fall.
"A worker told me what happened after you rushed out," He whispered into your ear, "I'm sorry."
"Why are you apologizing?" You sniffled.
"I wasn't there to protect you from them."
You looked up at Zhongli and he wiped away your tears. "Can we go on a vacation?"
When you said vacation, you didn't mean a week away to the beach. Honestly, you didn't feel safe in Liyue and you certainly didn't want to raise a baby in a city this strict.
"Of course we can," Zhongli said, immediately knowing what you meant, "Have you even been to Mondstadt?"
the minute you returned home on that eventful day, albedo began packing your bags
he knew what the knights were capable of and frankly, he didn't fully trust them right now
you were on the road by night and within two weeks (horses and carriages did wonders to help you), you had safely arrived in fontaine
you stayed in the country for your entire pregnancy and when your son turned a year old, the three of you started your journey back to mondstadt
When you stepped inside the gates of Mondstadt, you swore you could hear every hushed whisper rush into your head. Albedo stood firmly by your side, his hand on the small of your back as he urged you to continue walking towards the headquarters.
Your son wiggled in your arms but you didn't put him down. Until you knew exactly what was going to happen with the Knights, you weren't going to let your son out of your sight.
Fortunately, both Kaeya and Jean were doing paperwork in her office when Albedo knocked. He walked in first and they jumped up, extremely concerned with his absence.
You hesitantly walked in after Albedo and your coworkers stared for a moment.
"Wow," Kaeya said, "You did have the baby."
"We did," You confirm.
There's an awkward silence. No one knows what to say since the last encounter with each other ended so horribly. Jean is the one to finally speak up, "I think we owe you two an apology."
Kaeya nods in agreement. "After you two left, we realized we may have been too harsh on you both. We are getting to that age, after all."
Albedo glances at you from behind his shoulder and you smile softly to him. He turns back to Kaeya and Jean, "We'd like our positions back in the Knights of Favonius."
"You never lost them," Kaeya cheekily says. Albedo nods his head again, not wanting to say the wrong thing. You step forward and rub your son's back, getting his attention. You introduce him and Kaeya bends down towards the baby, "Why, hello there."
Your boyfriend cautiously watches from a distance as his friend dotes on his son. Eventually, Jean comes over to meet the child too.
If you thought about the situation hard enough, you still got upset. But seeing Kaeya and Jean love on your son instead of exiling him made you feel a lot better. Of course, you wished it didn't go down the way it did but the past was the past.
And as Albedo reached out to squeeze your free hand, you knew he felt the same way.
BnHA 326: What’s up Kids, It’s Me, Your Old Pal Stain
Previously on BnHA: Ochako shamed the U.A. Clown Mob into letting Deku go back inside his own fucking school by giving them an hour-long speech about how not to be humongous dickheads. Kouta and Gigantic Fox Lady saved the manga by being the only ones brave enough to give Deku a hug. Shouto was all “man, all this togetherness sure does remind me of that promise you made that we would handle Touya together which you immediately bailed on, doesn’t it, Dad.” Aizawa was all, “for the one and a half people out there who thought that my losing an eye and a leg might actually make me less sexy, I’m very happy to prove you wrong.” All Might was all, “[standing outside the U.A. fortress alone in the rain talking to someone or something??].” Like seriously, what was up with that though.
Today on BnHA: All Might is all “here I am in Kamino having a belated mid-life crisis because Deku abandoned me and I’m a terrible mentor and everything sucks and I hate myself.” Stain is all, “don’t make me come over there and give you a ten page speech about why you’re still the goat while menacingly holding you at swordpoint the entire time” because idk if you knew this guys, but Stain is pretty crazy actually. Anyway so he does that, and then All Might gets all emotional, and then the lady from chapter 92 shows up and gives All Might’s statue an encouraging pep talk, and then Horikoshi is all “and it even stopped raining lol can you believe this shit I’m not even a little bit subtle,” and he really isn’t. But I still got emotional anyway, because seeing people reassure All Might that everything he’s struggled for his entire life hasn’t been in vain just got to me okay. Horikoshi knows I am weak to the All Might feels and he just goes for the jugular every time, that bastard.
lmao. “in the neverending downpour, All Might is...” yeah, thank you, glad we’re getting right to that then
“All Might is driving 95 mph in his busted ass car in the pouring rain, is what he’s doing.” huh
so basically a day or two after his adopted child refused to accept the handmade bento that he packed with love, my man is out here acting like he’s got nothing to live for anymore. this sure bodes well for certain prophecies on which the clock is still ominously ticking down
his fucking face though omg. is it weird that I’m kind of hoping more people ambush him just because I think it’d be funny to see them get their asses kicked like the last bunch
(ETA: or maybe he will just stand there openly not giving a fuck and basically daring them to stab him!! get it together please All Might.)
side note, “anti-hero supporters” is such a strange way of saying “people who hate heroes”, which I’m assuming is what they actually wanted to say?? this makes it sound like it’s a group that really loves antiheroes. “these Hannibal stans have been a real menace lately. time to go deal with them”
ha ha ha, fucking ouch
are you really gonna do it Horikoshi you bastard. are you really going to let that be the final encounter between the two characters whose relationship you once described as the vertical axis of the entire fucking story. are you really gonna?? huh??
you’re telling me you were driving 112 mph and you still didn’t get there in time. you’re losing your touch old man. lol Todo’s ice is almost fully melted already, how late were you
(ETA: so apparently this is taking place after the end of chapter 325, meaning he went to U.A., hung out for a bit, saw the kids come back with his bedraggled half-dead protégé in tow, watched as they shamed the civilians into some long-overdue character development, and then was all “welp, time to go argue with the hero-hating faction or something because I’m feeling useless.” and Edge just let him go, just like that. though to be fair I have to imagine it’s pretty hard to say no to All Fucking Might.)
also belated lol at the fact that the kids were all “yeahhhhhhh we are definitely not gonna touch that thing, let’s just leave it here, he doesn’t need it anyway.” probably the right call to make since they couldn’t get a hazmat team on such short notice
fuck. ha ha ha fucking ouch part two
All Might please put that thing down before you get gangrene. also yeah, you dropped the ball, good for you to acknowledge it. nobody’s perfect and you did your best. but yeah you could have handled a lot of things completely differently. but I still love you
is Horikoshi really putting this flashback here. are you serious. what kind of fucking sadist
look, I swear I’m not one of those people that runs up and down the street shouting “DEATH FLAG!!” at every third panel lol. but this shit screamed Death Flag when we originally got it, and it’s screaming DEATH FLAG!!! even more now. like with the capital letters and exclamation marks and all. and that’s just a fact. I don’t like it but that’s how it is
“DID YOU READ THE SIGN??!” Horikoshi asks while zooming in maniacally because he thinks we’re blind or something. lol what
-- though actually, it only just occurred to me that this sign is actually written in English. I never really paid attention up until now and had been assuming it was written in Japanese and translated by the scanlators, but the writing here is clearly part of the original image. anyway so maybe that’s why he’s zooming in?? just to make sure everybody pays attention lol
okay fuck this
see, this is the whole problem right here. once again All Might is all on his own. Deku’s self-destructive angst spiral was fortunately brought to a grinding halt because he actually has support from his friends and family and teachers and classmates. but All Might never had that same kind of support, and it’s made all the difference between the two of them, and not in a good way. Katsuki wasn’t wrong when he said All Might and Deku were both cut from the same cloth. but now when it’s All Might’s turn to go all “I WALK A LONELY ROAD~~” once again, there’s nobody in sight
just, after forty plus years of him carrying this torch, I just wish someone would finally come along to let him know he doesn’t have to. all those things that he wanted to say to Deku are also things that he needs and deserves to hear himself. Aizawa was making a little progress there, but now he’s got his sad zombie cloud boyfriend situation to deal with, and we can’t expect him and his perfect hair to solve all our problems. someone else has gotta step up
oh my god
“you rang?” never mind I take it all back sob
omg why am I laughing. shit
this man truly has the best PR game in the series. we were truly convinced he was gonna suddenly become a good guy and defend All Might against the other villains or some nonsense. as if this wasn’t the same man who decided on a whim that Iida Tensei deserved to be paralyzed, and that his fifteen-year-old brother deserved to die for daring to be upset about it
lol even All Might is all “I genuinely never saw this coming” lmao
just want to say, for the record, I have always harbored a very sensible hatred toward Stain. feeling very vindicated right now. good job Past Me
ffffwefjslkg. ghsdlkg. dsfkkkslkjldwkjrg
STAIN: heard you talking shit old man
ME: smh that’s what I thought you’d say you dumb fucking Stain
STAIN: how dare you talk about All Might that way
(ETA: in hindsight I have no idea how I didn’t clue in sooner that he didn’t recognize him -- or, well, ~didn’t recognize~ him, to be more accurate lol. I think it was the whole “is that a slight against the heroes?” thing that threw me. Viz’s translation makes it much clearer that he’s offended on behalf of All Might specifically, not heroes in general. anyways.)
sob. so All Might is all “yeah I don’t blame you for not recognizing me in this sweet leather jacket”
good thing he still knows how to do this party trick
A+ reflexes on Stain’s part presumably pulling the sword back a few inches to keep this dumbass from impaling himself with his whole pufferfish routine. can you imagine if that was the gruesome death Nighteye foresaw. and he was just too embarrassed to say anything
lol anyways guess I was wrong about Stain everyone
way to fucking go, Past Me. you really biffed this one
Stain sure is one wacky rollercoaster ride
oh fuck me lol I forgot how much I did not miss this
(ETA: “this here is the sacred ground where All Might gave up the last of his power and turned into a shriveled old man!! please ignore the part where I admit to knowing all about that, and yet pretend not to recognize said man when he’s standing two feet in front of me.”)
Past Me, I know we’ve had our ups and downs these past ninety seconds, but I’m really starting to think you were on to something. this dude has always been kind of insufferable. always acting like his high horse is a fucking giraffe when it’s actually a Shetland pony
dammit now he’s got All Might going off on a depressed monologue
oh my god my heart
why the fuck does that hit so hard. he became a hero because he couldn’t bear to just sit back and let bad things happen to people who didn’t deserve it. I mean that’s basically the same as every hero ever, right? so why does it still hit so fucking hard every single time though. what is it about seeing someone so determined to stand up for other people and fight on their behalf. it just never loses its impact no matter how many times I see that determination mirrored in so many of my favorite characters
“I wanted to make the world a better place.” omg. but you did, though. like seriously, I feel like people are always dogging on him for not being 100% perfect, and fandom really doesn’t give him enough credit for everything he still managed to accomplish. this man came of age at a time when Japan was by all accounts a total shitshow, and singlehandedly managed to bring about an era of peace that lasted for four fucking decades. can you imagine having peace for that long?? that’s longer than I’ve been alive. shit
and he gave people hope. he inspired them and protected them and made them feel safe. and no, he couldn’t save everyone, because he’s only one fucking dude (and also because the whole time AFO was also out there desperately working to undermine him so that he could keep preaching his narrative of “heroes are bad actually”). but you know what he did do, is inspire multiple new generations of heroes who, if they can all manage to work together, will finally be able to accomplish everything he never could
so yeah. forty years of peace, and inspired the “that’s how we all became the greatest heroes” generation -- that’s a fucking win in my book. talk about having a net positive impact on the world. lol anyways now I’m all fired up and ready to fight anyone who tries to talk any shit about you, All Might
“but what if I talk shit about myself” okay listen up All Might I’m gonna need you to try just a little bit harder to work with me here okay. please calm down and stop blaming yourself for every single bad thing that’s ever happened in the world. do you remember that time Bakugou was blaming himself for Kamino, and you gave him a hug and told him it wasn’t his fault, and that he was only a boy, and that even though he was strong, even strong people can struggle with the burdens they place on themselves, and that you were sorry for not seeing that earlier? do you remember all of that? that’s what I want someone to tell you too, dammit. anyway please stop breaking my heart please and thanks
are you dead All Might
I don’t even have the slightest idea what’s happening lol
oh snap did he grab him so they could hide??
hold the fucking phone. don’t tell me this person in the background with the umbrella is here to actually do something decent??
oh my godddd
and here come the feels. oh boy. okay don’t mind me, I’m just gonna sit here sobbing over this fictional lady and her simple act of kindness in this weekly shounen manga that I care about way too much
FUCKING DAMMIT AND HERE’S A SECOND HELPING
DON’T MIND ME, I’M JUST GETTING DISPROPORTIONATELY EMOTIONAL OVER THIS WOMAN’S DETERMINATION TO HONOR A MAN WHO SACRIFICED EVERYTHING TO SAVE HER AND COUNTLESS OTHERS. I’M JUST HAVING SOME FEELS OVER HERE ABOUT HER HEARTFELT, DOESN’T-EVEN-KNOW-ANYONE-ELSE-IS-WATCHING FEELINGS OF GRATITUDE THAT COMPELLED HER TO COME OUT HERE AND MAKE THIS SMALL BUT POWERFUL GESTURE. I’M JUST OUT HERE GETTING ALL PROFOUNDLY WORKED UP ABOUT STATUE MAINTENANCE AND THE HUMAN RACE. NEVER MIND. JUST IGNORE ME AND CARRY ON
holy shit. I was not even remotely prepared. you can’t just do that to me. you can’t just leave all these death flags on my lawn and then suddenly shift gears to show me the best of humanity in a chapter where I was expecting the worst. that fucks a person up lol
OH ARE WE STILL GOING
my heart. you see that, All Might. your legacy is so much more powerful and meaningful than you think
...has. has Stain actually been giving All Might a pep talk this entire time
I give up lol. this dude is a fucking enigma
it may just be a metaphor panel, but I’ll take it lol. I missed them. nice to see the traffic light trio front and off-center. I know the whole “this is the story of how we all became the greatest heroes” thing had left some questioning whether certain characters would continue to play a central role in the narrative, and hopefully this will help to ease those concerns just a bit
anyway, so idk if it’s getting a bit chilly down there in hell, but damned if Stain didn’t just give an actual decent fucking speech
I have to say, earlier when I was whining about All Might not having a support squad, I really was not expecting Stain to be the one to come over and pat his head and reassure him that he made the world a better place
-- okay LISTEN
YOU CAN’T JUST COME INTO MY HOUSE AND HIT ME WITH THOSE ALL MIGHT TEARS AGAIN GODDAMMIT THIS ISN’T FAIR. my god. first 317 and now this
holy fucking shit
“I’m just gonna pretend like I haven’t been stalking him for two days and didn’t see the entire Deku bentogate thing go down, and then I’ll give him the whole big speech that I rehearsed, and then I’ll turn around and be all ‘BUT IF YOU’RE A TRUE HERO’, and then I’ll toss him the super-secret AFO wifi password that I stole from Tartarus. god I’m such a badass. fucking give myself chills”
so basically what you’re telling me is that this whole time my “what’s up kids” characterization of Stain from this shitpost has actually been 100% accurate. just want to make sure I’m understanding this right. okay then
“and then I’ll dramatically spin around and be all NOW COME KILL ME BITCH”
it must be so much fun to write Stain. drawing this coked-out maniac who talks like a chatbot that was trained to speak by reading Alan Moore monologues. that must be a trip
anyway so All Might is still crying, the awesome lady from chapter 92 is admiring her handiwork totally oblivious to the batshit insanity going on fifty meters to her right, and it’s finally stopped raining lol
“THE RAIN WAS A METAPHOR YOU SEE” yes, yes, we got it lol. thanks for that Horikoshi. don’t think we needed any help putting the pieces together on that one but I appreciate the effort
so that’s the end! and as I mentioned in another post, I had the count off by one chapter, but next week should be cliffhanger week! so break out your U.A. Traitor bingo cards, friends and fiends. either that or something else happens that I’m completely not expecting at all. which, based on my success rate with Stain predictions, I’d say is more than likely lol
mmm but anyway, so now that the Hug Deku 2021 campaign has finally come to an end, what’s it gonna take to get a hug for my struggling bento-preparing jacket-rocking world-weary death-flag-waving husband who is the worthiest man to ever live and deserves the fucking world, goddammit
i. The Land That I Love
Summary: You have descended from a merciful and kind line of lords and ladies, and you've managed to befriend the blacksmith brothers just up the road.
Word Count: 1.1K
Warnings: Fluff and Backstory
A/N: Hello my dear readers! This is the first chapter of my newest series! I do hope you enjoy it, and please let me know what you think so far! -Birch<3
Next: Spring Awakening
There wasn’t anything inherently special about you living a life as a lady. You weren’t any special or glorified princess who was always whisking herself off into the arms of her prince, or running to some meeting in place of the queen.
You were a fair and kind lady from the land of Liberio, a small region in the country of Marley. You and your family lived in the hilly but beautiful mountainside, where streams and meadows were found aplenty.
In the summers, the grasses would grow tall and rich in color, the trees would bear the tastiest fruit from around the country. The water in the creeks stayed cool in the heat of the day, while people worked hard in the fields and shops to earn their keep of the serene land.
You were no princess, but you indeed came from the lands of Prince Zeke and his father, King Grisha. The way you were raised could compete with that of a princess, though, as your family held you in the highest regard, training you as a lady ever since you were little.
The foundation of your morals was based around kindness and the idea of giving, rather than taking. You were no layperson, but you grew up with a kindness in your heart and empathy in your words for those less fortunate than yourself.
That was the beauty of your family, based on the ideals of goodwill and respect for all types of people. Even throughout Liberio you were known to all people; from the shop workers who helped maintain the region or even the market stalls for people selling their produce, they knew you to be lovely.
While you were not a princess, the prince was searching for one to be his wife, although you paid no heed to such matters. It seemed to be the talk in town every day, what new and interesting princess the Prince of Marley managed to catch the attention of.
The town you lived in always raved about the news from the castle, as life in the countryside could be rather quiet sometimes, and as faithful servants to His Royal Highness, the least they could do was gossip.
You found this rather boring though, and spent much of your time talking to your two best friends, Marcel and Porco Galliard, the brothers from the blacksmithing shop just down the road from your house.
The pair of brothers could come off rough sometimes, with strong exteriors from their years of lifting heavy metals and tending to their farm. But you had known the brothers when you all were just kids, at ages where friends were anyone who wanted to play with you.
You spent many days traversing back and forth between your estate and the Galliard farm, carrying pails of your favorite rocks to share, and even bringing over small cakes and canteens of water when the days were too warm to play.
Ever since the beginning though, the younger brother, Porco, had taken a liking to you. The young boy had a tough time making friends, as he was usually glued to his more outgoing brother’s side.
But that never phased you, and you would talk and ramble to him for hours, making him endure long lectures over your favorite flowers in the summer, your favorite colors in the winter, and how you just wanted to go ride your horse in the spring.
You were the only person other than Marcel or his family that could get Porco to talk, and from there a friendship bloomed.
Over the years, Porco would teach you things from his forging lessons with his father, starting out with little trinkets you would place in your windowsill or on your dresser. They weren’t anything ever too fancy coming from the young teenage boy, but it always made you so happy that he continued to improve to impress you.
It wasn’t just you who gained things from the budding friendship, though, as you would test out all sorts of new recipes on Porco and Marcel. You had started off small, with things like cookies and cakes, things that could be easily shared and enjoyed.
This bond of sharing and kindness was the basis of what made you and Porco work so well together. He had someone who was interested in his craftsmanship and would treat him after long days covered in ash and soot, and you would gain beautiful collectibles and lovely conversations from the Galliard brother.
The two of you became so intertwined over the years that when you turned 16, Porco made you a necklace in his free time from his smithery. He spent many late nights banging out the perfect, intricate, letter “P” into a pendant for you, crafting his own chain so you could wear it around your neck.
It was that afternoon when he clasped the pendant around your neck that you got your first kiss. You had thanked him in the warm glow of the golden summer sun, reached up on your toes, and pressed a sweet kiss to his cheek.
His neck and ears burned red from the embarrassment of it, but before he could say anything, you had leaned back up onto your tiptoes and pecked his pouty pink lips. After that moment, Porco swore to himself to never lose you.
Whenever you turned 18, Porco and you were out for a ride, taking your horses through a small stream in the middle of a cool autumnal season. The way you looked, with your hair shining in the sunlight and a graceful smile on your lips, Porco couldn’t help the words he blurted out to you.
He had promised you that one day he would make you the most elegant ring, spending his whole life savings to get the finest jewels to accentuate the band, and he would get them just for you.
You had giggled at his bold confession, and with your own cheeks burning with nerves, you had claimed you would read him the best stories, cook him the most intricate meals, and take him out riding every chance that you’d get.
There was no mistaking that you and Porco were head over heels for each other, and that nothing could ever come between the love the two of you shared for each other. Your love was too deep to be broken, so interconnectedly woven that no outside force could ever break what years of friendship had made.
Tag list: @xxdragonwriterxx @tejxswini @mysterystarz @mortedeveles @vs-redemption @kal0psi-a @gin-no-g @starstruckkittensweets @kitacharm @shirari @animated-moon @mitzwinchester @elitparadox @yumeyooa @angels-main @sukosie
[ peace treaty - kiribaku ]
AN: this is a fantasy au piece, enjoy! :)
CW: yandere, dubcon, arranged marriage, stalking, coercion, dragon/animal anatomy, fantasy au, afab terms, predator/prey dynamics, size difference, facesitting
“A mate, huh?” Katsuki chuckled as he stroked his companion’s horns, looking into the horizon thoughtfully.
“Think about it! We need hatchlings to lead the future generations of the Bakugo clan.” Eijirou pleaded with his mate. “Don't you ever miss the company of a woman? I know I do.”
Adding a woman to their pack would certainly bring its advantages. It would undoubtedly strengthen their positions as clan rulers if they were to have a wife and children to carry on both men’s legacy.
“Fine,” Katsuki conceded. “Let’s go find a mate then.”
The pair returned to their respective forms, wolf and dragon, as they began their hunt through the wild countryside for their new mate. Days of running down the mountainous forests away from their clan, they settled on resting at the edge of the woods, looking at a clearing just over a shimmering river that separated the two territories. Beyond the meadow was a small fortress surrounded by the community that they presumably controlled—a perfect place to start their search after some well-needed sleep.
Katsuki was the first to awaken from his slumber at the sound of a woman’s voice. And a heavenly voice it was, signing an alluring melody. Peaking his head over the bushes, the young prince saw the enchanting woman bathing alone in the stream. The other man had awoken as well, just as equally entranced by the naked dancing woman.
“A vixen...” Katsuki murmured, twisting to look at his mate. It was clear to both men that she was the mate they were looking for. Independent, vexing, sweet. She was perfect.
“Let’s snatch her up now while she’s distracted, ” Eijirou grumbled impatiently, eager to take her back to their den at once.
“Patience, Ei. I want her too, but now is not the moment to strike. Let's watch her a bit more; she needs to be more than a pretty face, you know that.”
Katsuki did not doubt that she wasn’t their perfect match, but he is a predator to her before he’s a man to her at this moment.
The blissfully unaware maiden that you were, you went on with bathing peacefully in the warm, summer day. Your attendants had followed you from the castle, watching from afar as they knew you valued your time alone in the stream. After some time, one of them called for you back to the castle for supper. Dried and dressed, the group of you departed from the meadow by horse as the sunset.
“So, she’s a princess, Katsuki.” Eijirou’s tail trashed with excitement. “If we marry her, we’ll get this territory too! Oh, I wonder if she likes to travel..” The red-haired man went off on a tangent about his many fantasies for you while the blonde thought deeply. This was almost too perfect; he had just the plan to corner and ensnare their lovely little prey.
The men stayed at the edge of their territory, for the time being, glad to notice that you had returned to the riverbank almost daily. Sometimes you took your handmaidens; sometimes, you came alone while they trailed back.
They learned that you liked to flip through many a book while basking in the sunlight. A library would be a perfect wedding present for you-they intended to spoil you thoroughly with the dragon’s hoard.
Five days had proven to be enough time for the men to watch you and returned to their clan to make the necessary preparations for your place as their lovely spoiled mate.
A fortnight later, a letter from the young prince arrived at your doorstep, addressed to your father, the king.
“An alliance? With the barbarian tribe, that’s unheard of, father. Are you sure it’s not some trick?” You doubted, finding it difficult to understand his request. The barbarian clan was...mysterious, to say the least. Living up in the mountains beyond the river, they were a solitary bunch who were ruthless and never exhibited mercy towards their foes. Not much was know about them because they simply never made alliances or held diplomacy with other clans or kingdoms.
“Perhaps they wish to make allies with the next closest kingdom, my dear.” Your father spoke quietly, his voice wavering as he avoided your eyes. “You’ll go up the mountains to discuss the terms with young Bakugo. An older gentleman like me is not suited for those kinds of traveling conditions.”
Nodding solemnly, preparations were made for your immediate departure. All of your belongings were brought to your carriage, something that struck you as rather odd. Although father did say something about the uncertainty of the amount of time you would spend with the barbarians for the sake of discussion.
With that in mind, you set off into the forest just as the sunset.
The journey had taken nearly five days through the rain and snow, your small carriage trudging up the mountainside to the den of the barbarians. As your carriage came to a stop, two men helped you out and down, both possessing a tenderness that didn’t seem possible for them. The blond was bare-chested, even in the snow! He stood at about six feet and had a body that seemed the gods themselves sculpted it.
“Welcome to my clan, your majesty.”
His smirk was wolf-like, eyes bearing down on you like a predator who has caught his unwitting prey. “Come, let’s get you inside to warmth and comfort. I'm sure you’ve had a long journey. Eijirou here will help with your belongings and join us after you rest.”
The prince held out his arm for you to take as the red-head beside you gave a toothy grin before setting off to work. He...he was something more than a man, he had to be! Standing at well over six and a half feet, he was much more muscular than the blonde; Eijirou airs about him more than human. It was inexplicable.
Katsuki gave a gentle tug to your arm before ushering you to the massive tent that stood in the middle of the community of barbarians who looked onto you with glowing pride. What an odd bunch of people, but you couldn't very well judge them now, could you? They simply had a different culture, another way of life.
The tent seemed larger than life on the inside and was impossibly warm. It had had a large bed adorned with piles of pelts and furs near a roaring fireplace. Many bookshelves lined the walls, as well as prized kills and weaponry were displayed. Katsuki led you to a table near the warmth of the fire. How-
“Magic, princess. I am fortunate enough to possess it, as well as many of my clansmen.” Katsuki boasted, clearly prideful of his abilities. He could only hope it impressed you, which it certainly did. “It keeps us warm up here in the dead of winter, which is soon approaching. It protects us, provides for us, all of which it will do for you too.”
Your smile could hardly be contained as you gazed upon the handsome man with wonder. For you, too? Would this he be so kind as to lend you its strength while you struck a deal with them? The barbarians were indeed nothing like the fairytales you had heard about them.
“I thank you for your hospitality, Sir Bakugo. I am truly humbled to be here with you.”
“Call me Katsuki, little one. We should grow familiar with each other before our wedding.”
His wolfish smirk grew wider as he saw the look on your face. Ah, he so loved that look of feeble innocence and confusion on your expression.
“Oh, did your father not tell you?” he chuckled, taking a sip from his cup. “This is an alliance through our union. Suppose you’ll have us, of course. Otherwise, we might have to resort to other means down the mountain.”
Us? Oh, he means-
“Ei, don’t be shy and stand in the doorway. Come greet your bride properly.”
Thundering footsteps came from behind your seated form as Eijirou towered over your much smaller frame.
“Please, tell me you agree to us, my love. We've waited so long for your arrival, won't you let us have you?” A scarred but gentle hand enveloped yours as the dragon shifter kissed it tenderly. “There’s no need to be frightened; we intend to treat you like our queen and spoil you rotten with all the world’s riches. Grant us your blessing.”
How could you deny them? Your kingdom was in danger, yet these men, they lulled you into such a state of comfort and safety. Perhaps it was the magic at work?
“Please, may I think on it?” Your heart battered against your ribcage with fear and excitement. Two men, both for husbands. What a strange culture indeed.
“Only if you let us have you tonight. Give us a chance to prove our worth as not only husbands but as men to you.”
Blood rushed to your face, heating your cheeks as you felt aflame with shame, and to your horror, arousal. They are seasoned men. Indeed they’ll treat you as gently as they have been the whole time?
“O-Only if you are gentle with me. I am...inexperienced.”
That was all the approval they needed. Eijirou, still behind you, swept you up in his arms and onto the bed. Wanting to show some display of his true strength, he ripped your gown clean off your body. Whimpering, your hand flew to grip his forearm fearfully. “Gentle, please, gentle.”
Eijirou shushed you softly, placing a sweet kiss on your trembling lips, hands beginning to wander to down your sides and to your sex. Stroking your clit in small circles, the men relished in your little whines and moans.
“I think I should give you a taste, huh? I haven't eaten all day.” He purred as he dipped down to press kisses to your lips before diving in with his hot tongue, lapping your clit.
Katsuki’s searing kiss swallowed wanton moans and cries. Eijriou’s hands kept your squirming hips firmly in place, positioning you to sit on his face while the blond continued to lay passionate kisses on your lips, neck, and chest.
Teeth sunk into your neck as the prince wasted no time in marking up his newfound territory. Your cries heightened in pitch as you gripped red hair, calling out Eijirou’s name as you came from his overwhelming sucking and slurping of your juices.
“N-no more! Please, that's enough!” Whining, you began to shake when his tongue barely came to half after your cries. Panting and writhing, you peeled off his tongue and laid on the furs next to Katsuki.
“I think that’s enough for this evening; poor thing is already exhausted.” Katsuki chuckled as he dabbed the sweat off your brow and cleaned in between your legs.
“We’ll build up your stamina and be sure to stretch you gently daily.” Eijirou quipped as he took his place next to your side. Up close, you could see how different he really was. Red iridescent scales trailed on his sideburns and h
shoulders. Absentmindedly, you stroke them and wondered if there were more.
“After all, it’s customary to lose your virginity on the wedding night, so need to rush you in right now. Have you made your decision, given Ei’s stellar performance?”
Letting sleep overtake you, your head nodded gently as he rested on Eijirou’s shoulder. The hunt was over and the men could not be more happy with their choice.
I wanted to ask if you could please do a part 2 for the scenerio: your contract has come to an end angst post where sebastian and the reader have returned to the manner and have agreed to get married. On the day of their human/demonic wedding, the Trancy servants show up and wreck the marriage while Claude steals sebastian's darling away from him. Thank you!!
Oh wow this is gonna be intense. For those of you who haven’t read the part 1 of this scenario tap here. There’s a cut because it’s long
Mine Forever. Sebastian x reader
Soft nuzzling against your cheek wakes your senses from sleep. You feel someone wrap their arms around you and a pleasant, familiar scent invades your nose
“Hmmm… morning Sebastian” you groggily say as your eyes struggle to adapt to the brightness in the room
When they finally do you find Sebastian lazily looking at you, holding you close against his partially naked body. His eyes are so soft that for a moment you forget yourself and giggle like a little girl, hiding your blushing face against his warm chest
“What’s the matter kitty? Did I make you blush? I’m not sorry” he coos in your ear before placing several kisses all over your naked shoulders, sharp teeth teasing to bite every now and then
“Shush Sebastian. You don’t have to be so smug about it” you say with a playful smile on your face
He lets out an amused chuckle and buries his nose in your hair, taking a sharp inhale
“Are you ready for tonight?”
The question sends your heart beating like the wings of a frightened bird. Tonight’s your wedding. Your wedding to a demon, the very same one you had contracted your soul for so many years
You’re nervous. You’ve never been married before, and have absolutely never witnessed a demon’s wedding. Sebastian had insisted in making it a normal, human wedding, saying it made no difference to him, but you were curious and went the other way around. And here you were, probably more scared than ever
“Yes” you lie
But your tone doesn’t get past him. Sebastian gives you a reassuring smile
“It’s not as different as you think it is my dear, besides, I promised you it would be fun and to your liking didn’t I?”
His honeyed words seep into your ears and chase your fears away. After all, Sebastian has never before disappointed you
“Now, I would love to spend the whole day in here with you but I must get going, there’s still a few more arrangements that need to be done and besides, tradition demands we meet only until midnight”
Your demon lover says before placing a final kiss on your forehead and lifting himself from the bed
Snow white sheets fall off him, revealing the pleasant sight of his naked body to your eyes
“Sebby…” you say in the sultriest voice you can manage “Are you leaving your wife-to-be unsatisfied?”
Your words catch his attention. He turns his gaze to you and provocatively you remove some of the bed sheets from, exposing your lovely naked figure
Sebastian tenses, and for a moment it seems like he’s about to give into the tempting offer but instead just covers your naked body again
“No. We must wait until after the ceremony my darling. I’m afraid this time you will have to do without me” he says after playfully pinching your nose
“Ah! I didn’t know demons were so chaste!” You say pretending to be upset
Sebastian laughs, in a pleasant and happy tone you’ve seldom heard before
“Don’t worry kitten. It’s tomorrow morning what you should be worrying about. I promise, you won’t be able to get up from bed for at least a couple weeks” he teasingly says before leaving the room and you made a blushing mess
A sigh escapes your lips. Still nervous about what lies ahead, you get up from bed and summon your maids to help you dress for what you’ll be wearing before your wedding takes place
The night air is crisp and aromatic. With each passing minute your fingers grow colder and colder with both excitement and fear
You haven’t seen Sebastian all day, though he did send a gift for you with one of the servants. It’s a medium sized black sandalwood box, with runes you can’t understand engraved on top of it
You retire to the privacy of your bedroom to open it. The box in itself is quite aromatic, and the moment you open it, the scent of freshly cut wild flowers invades you
There’s a crown of small black roses inside, with droplets of blood red rubies scattered among the delicate blossoms. The ornament holds beauty unlike anything else you’ve ever seen
Under the crown there’s a letter, and the moment you open it you recognize Sebastian’s elegant handwriting
“My darling, we don’t use bridal veils over here, instead it’s these black rose crowns, they’re very real, in case you’re wondering. These flowers are very special to our kind, since they only bloom once every two hundred years and they live only for a whole night
Wear it proudly over your beautiful hair. I have also sent a couple of maids to help you with your dress and everything else you might need
A carriage will take you to our appointed place in two hours
I’m so very much looking forward to seeing you
With great devotion, Sebastian
Ah, I almost forgot. The runes engraved over the box read your name”
You blush like a virgin at the letter. You can barely believe this is happening. Only a second later, there’s knocking on your door
Upon opening it, you find a couple of young girls whom immediately bow before you and say something about being at your service. These must be the maids Sebastian spoke of
You let them in, and one of them pushes inside a large wooden box
“Your dress, my Lady” the youngest says, as she opens the box and the other pulls out a cascade of scarlet red fabric which quickly unravels itself into a marvelous dress
You hold a gasp. Your fingers slide over the unrealistically smooth red fabric. It was much, much more beautiful than you had imagined it to be
Sebastian had told you that the color for both bride and groom to wear was red, and although you were a little skeptical at first, you had zero doubts now
The maids proceeded to bathe you in perfumed waters, and took their time into fitting you into your dress, which hugged your shape perfectly in all the right places and then proceeded to make your hair
By the time it was all done it was almost midnight. One of the girls brought you a mirror for you to admire yourself in. Gods. Is that really me on the reflection? You thought. It was a godly look, the dress, your hair, everything
You wondered how Sebastian would be looking like tonight
The maids carefully arranged the final detail: the black rose crown. It was lovely, everything looked just too perfect for words
The carriage arrived just on time. The sight of it was rather majestic. Pulled by six coal black horses, the vehicle stopped before you and one of the girls helped you in
It wasn’t long before the carriage came to a halt, and another maid assisted you in finding your place before the official ceremony began. She asked you to wait on a balcony from which you could see the guests arriving
You recognized most of them as your friends and very few others whom you had no idea who they were
Sebastian’s acquaintances you assumed, though he did mention he didn’t have any family worth bringing over
Someone in the crowd caught your eye. Blonde hair, noisy laughter, purple clothes… Alois Trancy. Hmm. Distant relative that you were hoping he didn’t show up
Yet you were surprised by the number of people he brought with him. A silver haired woman, three young boys that looked very much alike and a stoic man dressed in buttler’s garb
The stranger seemed to sense your fleeting gaze and looked up. All this way up you could feel the intensity of his eyes, which were gold, rich gold
A sense of fear suddenly overcame you and you quickly dragged yourself away from the balcony. Why were you so suddenly scared of a random stranger?
You had no answer, other than his stare had been too invasive for your liking. He’d looked like he had wanted to ferociously take you or … god, you had no words really, only that you were hoping to not see much of him again
The sound of soft violins reaches your ears and your heart skips several beats. It’s almost time
A while later someone comes to fetch you, and this time, you’re more than glad to see that it’s a familiar face
“Undertaker!” You say, immediately recognizing that shaggy old hat and white hair
“Well why’d you think I’d miss your wedding day dearie? You’ve stirred quite the uproar everywhere with such scandalous husband” he says before bursting into a fit of giggles. He means it in a nice way though
“Come on now, your groom’s waiting for you, you don’t want to keep him waiting any longer do you?” Undertaker says as he leads the way out
All you can heart is your heart thumping like mad. There’s so many emotions in you at this moment that you can’t even describe what you’re feeling
Undertaker leads you to a black carpet set on the outside. There’s blazing flames on either side, lighting all the way up the altar where you cath a brief glimpse of Sebastian’s familiar silhouette
There’s soft sounds of people going in awe as you walk. Hushes whispers saying how lovely you look and how fortunate you and your husband to be are
Midway across your walk you unconsciously look to your left, and for a brief instant you see him. Trancy’s butler, staring at you with his molten gold eyes. Another wave of unexplained fear, but you can’t bear yourself to get distracted now
The walk to the altar comes to an end, and now you’re face to face to your husband to be
He’s striking, and for a moment you wonder of it’s possible for anyone to look so hauntingly beautiful. His head is also adorned with a black rose crown very much like yours
His black and white clothes have been replaced with wine colored ones, his tailcoat accentuates his figure in all the right places
He leans towards you and his eyes stare into your soul, and there’s nothing but pure devotion in them
You’re marrying the prince of hell, and you couldn’t be happier
“You look absolutely stunning my love” he whispers, and one of his hands takes yours. He gives it a reassuring squeeze
A beautiful woman in black robes steps before you and you quickly remember what Sebastian told you about the ceremony. Unlike traditional human weddings, demon weddings are always officiated by women, by a priestess, and instead of exchanging rings, two cups filled with blood are given to each of the lovers
You remembered being squeamish about drinking blood, but Sebastian had said that you need only take the smallest of sips for the ritual to be declared complete, and besides, that you wouldn’t be drinking human blood
The priestess lifted the cups in her hands and blessed the union between the two of you. She placed a kiss on both yours and Sebastian’s forehead, before handing you the sacred vessels
The liquid was thick and dark. It would only be a tiny sip, you told yourself. Mirroring Sebastian, you lifted your cup to your lips right as the priestess declared you wife and husband, but before you could even touch the brim of the cup, something or someone knocked it off your hand
There were no words to describe what followed. The fires that lit the place suddenly died out, leaving the entire place at the mercy of the dim light of the waning moon
Your eyes took too long to adjust to the newfound darkness. Confused screaming filled your ears, and before you could make your way to Sebastian’s voice amidst the ruckus, you felt a pair of arms and hands rudely handling you
An angry sound left your mouth as you tried to free yourself. You know that whoever had grabbed you wasn’t Sebastian since he was still calling out but for some reason couldn’t get to you
“Let me go! Who the fuck do you think you are?!” You said as you twisted and writhed in anger
But more hands and arms got to you, and in the pale moonlight, you saw three identical faces peering at you with gleaming pink eyes. They were the servants that had come along with that Trancy boy
What?! What is even going on?!
You fought against them. You really did. You heard the fine silk of your dress tear as you battled to no avail against the three demons that were dragging you away from the crowd and from Sebastian
You called out your lover’s name as loud as you could until your throat went sore. He answered. Somewhere in the distance, but still couldn’t get to you
Another set of softer, nimbler hands stuffed a ball of silk into your mouth to keep you quiet. You gagged, as the object got too deep into your mouth
“Shh Lady, you’ll be in better hands very soon” it was a female voice, and looking up, you saw it was yet another demon, a white haired woman in purple maid’s dress
They carried you away. Away from Sebastian, and little by little, you realized that your perfect dream had been shattered
You kept struggling, refusing to give up without a good fight, but humans are no match for demons, and your captors held you down almost effortlessly
“Let her go! That’s enough or you’ll hurt her beyond recovery!”
Another voice called out. Your eyes were stinging with tears at this point, and upon realizing Sebastian was nowhere in sight, those tears finally escaped
A figure stepped out of the dark. Was that?
The butler from the Trancy manor crouched till he was eye level with you. His golden irises had been replaced with the familiar pink reptilian orbs Sebastian displayed when he was excited or infuriated. This man, was another demon
The others held you a little less rough, Claude, as you remembered his name, touched your tear stained cheeks with one of his hands and removed the gag from your mouth
“What is happening you bastard?! What do you want? Where’s Sebastian?!” You instantly lash out at him, and to your dismay, Claude only laughs
“That coward doesn’t deserve to be called a demon. He chose to make you his pet instead of slaughtering you like he swore he would… a demon who does not fulfill his contract is no demon, but a lowly human instead
And that’s fine by me. If Sebastian is sending down the drain such… exquisiteness, then I’ll be taking that sweet morsel for myself, since he’s so loathe to eat it”
Claude said, and as he spoke he got disgustingly close to you, going as far as tracing your lower lip with his finger. That gave you an idea
Your teeth snapped around his finger, faster than anything the demon could have anticipated. He pulled his hand back with an angry growl, which was soon replaced by a sly smirk
“Huh, I’ve never been biten by a human before
You must be quite the wildcat in bed… ah, I think I’m starting to understand why Sebastian wanted you as his pet, in fact, I may even give that a thought myself, now that you’re in my hands”
You were about to spit more curses, but you were gagged again. Disrespectfully, Claude picked you up from the ground and slumped you over his shoulder, holding you in an iron grip you couldn’t run away from
He said something your screams and whimpering didn’t let you hear. You thrashed around some more, feeling the beautiful skirt of your red dress starting to come apart
A wave of bitterness clouded your mind. You couldn’t fight it back, not anymore
All the rage, fear and frustration that had powered your resistance burst forth in the form of tears and grievous moans
You were scared, so scared. Especially because Sebastian never did show up. What if the other demons had killed him? The thought alone felt like the stab of a freezing blade through your heart
If Sebastian was dead, who would come for you?
The thick smoke took too long to dissipate. What minutes ago seemed gleeful merrymaking now looked more like a battleground
Sebastian groaned as he bent down to pick the black flower crown. It was the one belonging to Y/n
He clenched his teeth and sank his nails into his palms until they bled
They’d stolen his bride from him. They’d taken his darling away, and he had been insufficient in keeping her safe
It was Claude. Always had a bad feeling about him but never had any evidence to prove his suspicions. Yet now in all likelihood he was running his filthy hands all over his beloved’s body
Sebastian felt his human skin melt away and fall off him in pieces. Until there was nothing left of the almost kind creature you’d fallen in love with and only a dark, undefined monster remained
Nobody steals you from him and goes unharmed
Or, if you feel like something a bit more possessive, Raymond de Merville and "You are mine to own, do you understand?"
Fandom: Pilgrimage (2017)
Pairings: Raymond de Merville x Fem!Reader (arranged)
Warnings: Arranged marriage, misogyny, abuse
Summary: You are to be married to Raymond de Merville, but you are terrified of the man. So you try and run away.
Comments/Notes: Please let me know if you'd like to be added to any of my tag lists, or removed. Anyone who does not interact (by likes, reblogs, comments, messages etc) will be automatically taken off my lists after a couple of months.
You didn't care if the marriage was a good match between your family and the de Mervilles. Raymond terrified you. "You are mine to own. Do you understand?" Those words made your gut wrench and your heart hammer. That had been his answer when you tried to discuss a way of getting out of the marriage.
You watched Raymond grope the serving girls regularly, and he even took a few of them to his bed. There was no way that being married would calm Raymond; he would still have his way with whoever he wanted. You were just his means to provide an heir to his family's title and fortunes. A legitimate way, at least.
Then you reminded yourself that you were also considerably younger than him, so fifteen years younger. War and brutality had knocked any kindness and love out of him. It had left behind a greedy, selfish and barbaric man.
No one understood your pain. Not even your mother. She kept her head down and only told you the same thing that your father did: it is a good match.
One night, when the moon was high in the sky, and you could bear it no longer. The wedding was to take place in a week's time. And there you would be signed away to an animal of a man, who right now was probably fucking one of the maids and filling himself with alcohol to drown out the nightmares of war.
There was still a spark of hope left inside you, a hope that you would find love. Maybe a man from one of the neighbouring villages would find you, sweep you off your feet and worship you. It was still possibly. Wasn't it? A child's hope, but hope nonetheless.
You got out of bed and began packing; two strips of clothing, a dagger, and some food from the larder. The thought of leaving home and venturing into a new world was terrifying, but also exciting. Being the youngest of your parents' children meant that they wanted you off their hands. An unmarried child was a disappointment. With you gone, why would they care? Your memory would disappear and you could make new ones with someone who actually cared.
It was quite cold, teetering onto the edge of autumn. The summer heat had gone a week or two ago, leaving behind a mild air which had a very slight biting chill in the dead of night.
You didn't even look back as you walked, heading down the main path which lead from the town. Knowing that you were leaving your husband-to-be excited you. No more danger. No more standing on the edge of a precipice in which you would fall into darkness.
An hour, maybe two, passed.
The path was winding, beginning to disappear into a thicket of trees. The moonlight disappeared behind the denseness of woodland. And, then, surprisingly, you heard horse's hooves. They were steady, but coming closer.
In a panic, you raced off to your left, leaving the path and heading straight into the trees. The hooves were still coming closer, and then you heard something which made a chill race down your spine; a terrifying voice. It turned your blood to ice.
"I know you are out here! You cannot run from me."
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