Relationships: Kraglin Obfonteri & Peter Quill
”there’s a lady called Alice Cooper who I like a lot. Kinda angry but, kinda like stuff we felt when we were kids, you know?”
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DCeased: Dead Planet #5
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Maybe I will draw this later but not now. I'm lazy...
Starscream: *tries to touch Ravage*
Soundwave: Do not. It's dirty.
Soundwave: I'm talking to the cat, not you.
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THE SIGH OF RELIEF I JUST BREATHED LET ME TELL YOU
Edit after finishing the chapter: guys. hey guys. where's choso. yuuta said exactly nothing about choso. someone please tell me I'm blind and he was sleeping peacefully in the background of a panel. GUYS WHERE'S CHOSO. WHERE THE FUCK IS CHOSO????
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Titans: Titans Together #2 - “The Bride of Blood” (2020)
written by Phil Hester
art by Scott Koblish & John Kalisz
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I wrote a thing y’all-
if you’re into Guardians and Ravagers and sassy ocs then this is for you so please go hype it up
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i was thinking about the idea of g1 nightlight, when she joins the cons, being made into a cassetticon for soundwave
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HE WAS BECOMING USED TO THE PECULIAR --- but this was a new moment of abnormality he was unfamiliar with . a blank canvas hangs over his expression , no reaction painted across it when laying golden ambers upon the other’s . his scent bore some similarity to the hanyou’s . . . . he can only presume that this was the ‘ SESSHOUMARU ’ he so distastefully mistook him for . admittedly , he wouldn’t fault him for it . upon first glance , they indeed looked too alike .
“ . . . i believe you are the sesshoumaru that the half - demon mentioned to me before . inuyasha , if i recall . ” / @tnsga sc .
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picture this: you're me. you're playing minecraft for the first time in months. you're on a survival world you started a while ago. as always, you're avoiding monsters at all costs. otherwise, it's been going good; you've sheared the sheep, harvested crops, even done a little exploring and gotten some pumpkins and sweet berries that you've now planted by your house. the sun is setting. you go to sleep planning to finish fencing in the pumpkin patch the next day. you wake up and look out the window to see an entire fucking raid milling around about by the chicken pen.
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back when we were kids, we swore we knew the future//kinda like how we felt when we were kids, you know?
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Loyalty (A Kraglin Origin Fic) Chapter 16: New Kid on the Block
Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve | Chapter Thirteen | Chapter Fourteen | Chapter Fifteen | Chapter Sixteen | Chapter Seventeen | Chapter Eighteen | Chapter Nineteen | Chapter Twenty | Chapter Twenty-One | Chapter Twenty-Two | Chapter Twenty-Three | Chapter Twenty-Four | Chapter Twenty-Five | Chapter Twenty-Six | Chapter Twenty-Seven | Chapter Twenty-Eight | Chapter Twenty-Nine | Epilogue
Rated M for language and violence.
"Aww, ain't that sweet," comes a mocking voice, and Kraglin's eyes pop open. He instantly shoves Peter away, and taking his pillow, socks it into Tullk's grinning face. The Ravager’s laughter is muffled through the fabric.
"Shut up. The kid was cold and I didn't wanna bother findin' a blanket," Kraglin huffs.
Peter has sat up by now, rubbing his eyes, and his shoulders droop. "You're real," he murmurs dejectedly, looking between the two of them.
"Hey now," Tullk says indignantly, tossing the pillow back to Kraglin. "We ain't that bad, are we?"
"You kidnapped me," Peter says flatly.
"Picked ya up," Kraglin corrects. "And c'mon. Yer on a pirate ship with real pirates. S' cool, right?"
"I guess," he says with a shrug.
"Come on," Kraglin says, getting to his feet. "Ya hungry?"
Peter shakes his head.
"Well, yer comin' with me to the mess anyway. Ya can leave the backpack here."
Peter hugs it tighter against his chest. "No way! You guys are gonna steal my stuff!"
"Why would we do that?"
"'Cause you're pirates?" the boy says, raising an eyebrow.
Tullk throws his head back and laughs. "Kid's gotta point."
"Okay, okay. Fine. Here." Bending down, Kraglin flips his sleeping mat over, revealing a locked hatch with a line of numbered dials on its lid. Everyone has one. Shielding it from view, he dials the combination and open it up. Inside are another pair of boots, some tools, a lockbox, and miscellaneous other items. "Would ya feel better if I locked it up with my stuff?"
Peter looks from his backpack to the hatch.
"C'mon, Pete. I don't got all day. I have work to do."
The boy opens the backpack and takes his Walkman out, then zips it up again and hesitantly hands it to Kraglin. "It'll be safe here," the mechanic promises, and tucks it safely with his belongings, then closes the hatch and spins the dials so it's locked again. He covers it with his mat, and gets to his feet again. "This way."
As they make their way towards the center of the ship where the Mess Hall is, the halls become continuously more crowded with Ravagers. Kraglin keeps a close eye on Peter in case he needs to pull him out of the way of Taserface, Zeede or Horuz, who is notably grouchy in the morning. As they enter a thick throng of Ravagers near the showers, he feels Peter slip a hand into his and hold on tightly.
Kraglin's heart skips a beat for a second, remembering when Vara used to do the same, and he glances down at the boy. His eyes are wide and frightened, looking in all directions. "C'mere, Pete. It's pretty crowded through here." He bends down and lifts Peter onto his back; the boy curls his arms around Kraglin’s neck. Kraglin hooks his arms under the boy's legs and hefts him up higher as he pushes his way through the crowd. “Ya secure back there?”
“Yeah,” he replies softly in his ear. “Thanks.”
Kraglin just shrugs. "Jus’ don't want ya gettin' lost or nothin'."
At last they reach the mess hall, and Kraglin puts Peter down just before they enter. Peter latches onto one of Kraglin’s belt loops as he gets a tray and stands in line.
"What is that?" Peter says, gaping at a green noodle-like mess that Kraglin ladles onto his tray.
"Worms," he says with a grin, and laughs at the boy's horrified face. He nudges him with an elbow. "Just kiddin'. It's some kinda grain or somethin'. Want some?" Peter shakes his head so vigorously that his hair whips from side to side. "Ya should eat somethin'. Ah, here. Ya might like this." He grabs a couple of small bowls of a sweet, bread-pudding like concoction and places them on his tray.
"Hey!" Erson, the cook, barks. "One per!"
"Mornin’ Erson,” Kraglin says, rolling his eyes. “Relax. One's for the kid," He jerks his head down. Erson leans over the counter, his tentacle-like fingers curling over the edge, and narrows his eyes. Peter shrinks against Kraglin's side. "Cap'n brought him on board," the mechanic explains. "Come on, Pete." He feels Peter's hand grasp his belt tighter as they move through the tables to sit next to Tullk, Oblo and Horuz. Horuz glares over the top of his steaming mug at them, but says nothing.
"Here, try this. It's kinda sweet." Kraglin says, placing one of the bowls and a spoon before Peter.
Peter looks at it dubiously for several minutes while Kraglin eats his grains and other food, then picks up the spoon and takes a minuscule amount onto it. He touches his tongue to it, preemptively scrunching up his face for a second, but then puts it in his mouth and swallows. He pauses, then goes back for more.
"What we got here?"
Peter drops the spoon into the bowl with a clatter and looks up. Kraglin follows his gaze. It's Brahl, one of their gunners. "Hey Brahl," Kraglin says firmly. "This is Peter."
Brahl leans towards Peter and takes a long draw of breath through his nostrils. “Don’t know, Obfonteri. Smells like a snack to me,” he says, teeth flashing.
Peter crushes himself against Kraglin, holding his Walkman protectively against his chest.
"Whatcha got there, boy?" He reaches for the device and before Kraglin can stop him, tears it out of the boy's hands. “Mine now!"
Peter's face turns red, and Kraglin is afraid he's going to start crying, but instead he stands up on the bench and screams, "Give that BACK!" and kicks Brahl hard in the shin. Brahl yelps, and seizes a handful of Peter's shirt, swinging the boy off the bench onto the floor, where he tumbles a few feet away.
"Pete!” Kraglin cries, leaping from his seat. “Brahl, ya jackass, leave him -" he stops mid-sentence, freezing in place.
Brahl has frozen too.
The Yaka arrow is spinning in front of his eyes, leaving red vapor trails in the air as it zips from side to side.
"Last I checked, ya had a job to do, and it wasn't pickin' on a small boy," a voice snarls. Brahl whirls and backs up several steps, still followed by the arrow.
Yondu stands there, currents running steadily along his implant. He holds out a hand. "Give it here." With a soft whistle, the arrow zips behind Brahl and pokes the back of his neck so he hurriedly approaches the Captain. He places the Walkman in Yondu's palm. The Captain draws it back safely against his side, then his other hand jabs out to snatch Brahl's collar. "Ya don't touch this boy again, ya hear me? Now get back to work."
"Yessir!" The moment Brahl is released, he darts out of the mess at top speed. Yondu looks around the room, arrow spinning above his shoulder. "That goes for all y’all!" he shouts. "If yer not eatin', then y'all should be workin'!"
Instantly, everyone goes back about their business. Yondu turns to Peter, who is now on his feet, with Kraglin standing behind him, hands on his shoulders. He releases the boy as Yondu strolls over and bends down slightly. The Captain takes Peter’s chin gently in his hand, and turns his face to the right and left, studying him. "Ya hurt, boy?"
"N-no," he says, eyes following the arrow.
"Good. Here." Yondu hands back the Walkman, and Peter hugs it to his chest, but keeps his gaze on the arrow.
"What is that thing?" he whispers in awe.
"My Yaka arrow," Yondu says with a slight smile. He gives a sharp whistle through his teeth, and the arrow flies about the room at top speed, zipping in and out and around the crew in line, sending trays and food flying as they jump aside in alarm. Half of the crew still eating ducks below their tables, peering over the edge to watch the weapon. The rest follow it with watchful eyes.
The arrow spears a muffin at the end of the food line, and glides it over to the Captain, who takes it off, brushing crumbs away from the tip, then whistles again so it holsters itself.
"Cool," Peter breathes, reaching out to touch it.
"Ah ah," Yondu says through a mouthful of muffin, hiding it behind his duster. "Not fer yer lil' fingers." Yondu seats himself at their table, and gestures to Peter's bowl. "Finish eatin', boy. Got lots to do today."
Peter and Kraglin resume their seats, and Peter reluctantly begins to eat again, his eyes on the Captain the whole time. "Like what?"
"Gotta get ya some Ravager leathers fer a start, go over the Code, show ya the ship." His head snaps up to Kraglin. "Ya found him a place to sleep?"
"Yeah, with me an' Tullk," Kraglin says.
Yondu nods and turns to Peter again. "Ya sleep good, boy?"
Peter shakes his head.
"No? Why not?"
He was taken from home, Kraglin thinks. Can't expect him to sleep good, at least not on his first night here.
"The floor was hard, and it was cold," Peter says. "And Kraglin snores."
"Wh-what! I do not!" Kraglin stammers angrily. Yondu roars with laughter.
Peter turns his face up to him. "Yeah, you do."
"Yeh do," Tullk says.
"Yup," Oblo says, taking a sip of his drink.
Horuz nods from behind his mug.
"Thanks a lot," Kraglin mumbles, feeling the tips of his ears and cheeks turning hot.
"Oh my god, are you choking?" Peter gasps, grasping his arm. His eyes are wide with concern.
"What?" Kraglin asks.
"Your - your cheeks are blue! That means you're not getting air!" He looks worriedly from Kraglin to Yondu. "Do something!"
Kraglin slaps a hand over his eyes as everyone laughs. "Relax, kid! I'm fine. Wouldn't be able to talk if I was chokin'. I have blue blood. Now if I turn real pale, that's probably bad. See, how yer blushin' now? Like yer red, I'm blue."
Sure enough, Peter’s face is pink from the Ravagers’ laughter. He crosses his arms. "M' not blushing."
"A'ight boy, that's 'nuff chitchat," Yondu says with a chuckle, getting to his feet and pulling on the kid's arm, "Come with me. Let's get ya some leathers and talk about yer role on the ship."
As Peter is led away, he looks back over his shoulder at Kraglin. The mechanic smiles at him reassuringly. "I'll see ya later, Pete. Be good fer the Cap'n."
Kraglin is working inside the sub-level hatches on the undersides of several M-ships when he hears some of his crew mates talking above him.
It's that pig-faced Ravager, Scromegog. "Ya see that little morsel walkin' 'round with the Cap'n today?” he says.
"Yeah," hisses a voice belonging to a Baluurian named Galagran. "Didn't think the Cap'n leaned that way. Not that I got any complaints."
"Yeah," Scromegog's brother, Veemong, chuckles. "Maybe he'll share. Wouldn’t mind nibblin’ on that."
Anger boils hot in Kraglin’s belly, the screwdriver shaking in his fist. If he wasn't trapped by the M-ship above him, he’d gut them all this instant. Talkin’ that way ‘bout a kid! His teeth grind down hard.
"Where does he sleep?" Galagran asks.
"Block D on level 15, I think. He was hanging around with Kraglin in the mess."
"Hey!" Zeede's voice rings out. "Get back to work, you three!"
"Slave driver," one of them says, and their voices are gone.
Kraglin finishes his jobs at top speed, but it's still late by the time he's all done. He grabs some blankets from storage before he heads to Block D, and to his relief, Peter is sitting with Tullk when he reaches their sleeping place, looking at something on the Ravager’s holopad. Peter is wearing new leather pants - he'll have to grow into them, and a matching jacket that actually fits pretty well. A pair of boots is set at the end of his mat.
"Hi Kraglin," he says, rubbing an eye. He looks worn out.
"Hey kid,” he greets him, trying to put the troubling thoughts out of his mind as he tousles the boy’s hair. “Ya doin' okay?"
He nods. "Yondu showed me around the ship s'more," he says with a big yawn, "Says I might get to go on special missions sometimes. He said I could help you with the ships tomorrow. Is that true?"
"If Cap'n says it is," Kraglin says, lying down. "If'n that's the case, ya better get some shuteye. I got a full schedule tomorrow. Oh, here. Gotcha some blankets." Kraglin shakes one of the less scratchy ones out and lays it over the top of the boy as he lies down.
"Thanks, Kraglin," Peter says with another yawn, pulling the blanket around his neck. "Too bad it can't block out your snoring," he says cheekily, opening one eye.
"Har har," Kraglin says rolling his eyes.
Peter smiles - actually smiles - then snuggles down onto the mat, and within moments, is fast asleep.
Kraglin wakes, but doesn't open his eyes. He has the distinct feeling that someone is standing over him. He keeps his breathing steady, doesn't move, doesn't open his eyes. There's a slight movement of someone brushing against his mat, and the unmistakable sound of breathing, close to his head.
Cautiously, he opens his eyes. It's Scromegog, and he's reaching for Peter's face. There’s some kind of rag in his hand. Faster than thought, Kraglin whips out the knife he keeps under his mat and presses the blade against the Ravager's throat. There's the sharp inhale of breath as Scromegog's eyes flick to his.
Kraglin rises into a sitting position, pushing the knife further against Scromegrog's fleshy neck as he does, forcing him to move backwards, away from the child. Kraglin moves fluidly, drawing his legs up, and slides so he's crouching in front of Peter. Scromegog finally backs up enough to escape the knife point, but Kraglin keeps it raised, keeping his eyes locked on the Ravager.
In the doorway, Galagran and Veemong draw back, watching the scene unfold.
Kraglin gets to his feet and quietly follows Scromegog to the doorway and stops there. "Don't ya ever let me catch any of ya near him again," Kraglin hisses with the most venom in his voice that he can muster. "If I do, I will cut yer fuckin’ balls off." They back up around the corner and disappear from sight.
Kraglin doesn't sleep the rest of the night, keeping his knife at the ready as he watches over Peter.
Kraglin has Peter cleaning inside the larger ships' landing gear when Yondu comes by. "Quill!" Yondu barks.
Kraglin lifts Peter down, and hides a yawn behind his arm. Yondu raises an eyebrow at him, then hands Peter a flame patch. "Forgot to give this to ya."
"What is it?"
"It's a Ravager flame." He moves his lapel aside to reveal his own flame, and Peter looks down at the patch in his hands, then back up. "Mine looks different."
"Yer a different generation. Kraglin's looks different than yers." Yondu pulls Kraglin's arm down to show off his patch, revealing another yawn that the mechanic was trying to hide. "Hell, boy. What's wrong with you today? The kid keepin' ya awake?"
"No sir," he says, biting back another yawn. "Didn't sleep."
"Dreams again?" Yondu asks, in a quieter voice, drawing a step closer.
Kraglin shakes his head.
Kraglin glances at Peter, then says, "Uh. Here Pete, see this? Why don'tcha unscrew that fer me, that'd be a big help."
Peter smiles a little, tucking the patch in his pocket, and takes the large screwdriver from him. While he's busy, Kraglin takes the Captain aside. "Cap'n, have ya ever looked into Scromegog, Veemong and Galagran's records?"
"Don't thinks so. Why?"
"Jus'...I heard 'em talkin yesterday. 'Bout Peter. And then last night, Scromegog came to try and take Pete outta the room. I stopped him."
Yondu's face darkens, and he scowls. "Take him outta the room? Why?"
"I think they...like kids," Kraglin says in a whisper, shifting uncomfortably on his feet. "I mean-"
"Stop, stop." Yondu hisses, glancing over Kraglin's shoulder to make sure Peter is occupied. "I'll look into it."
"Jus' keep the boy close. Don't let anyone touch him, that's an order."
"Don’t worry, sir. I’ll kill anybody that tries."
Later, nearing the end of Second Watch, Yondu approaches Kraglin in the mess. Peter is asleep at the table, head resting on his folded arms, one hand limply clutching a spoon. His forehead is smudged with engine oil, fingernails grubby.
Yondu’s eyes lock on the small form, and a ripple of anger goes through his face. “Ya were right," he growls low. "I checked their records, and each one was arrested at some point or another fer messin' with kids." A violent flash goes through his implant.
"What're ya gonna do?" Kraglin asks quietly.
"It's already done," he says with a glance at his arrow.
Kraglin nods solemnly. "Good, bastards deserved it."
"Damn right. I got patience fer a lot a' things. I'll grant a lot a’ second chances. But that? That kinda sick behavior deserves no mercy." Yondu stares down quietly at the sleeping boy for a few moments, before reaching down and lifting him carefully into his arms. Peter doesn’t wake fully, but limply circles his arms around Yondu's neck, resting his cheek against his shoulder with a sigh. Yondu pats the child's back softly, making sure the ever-present Walkman is secure in his grasp before following Kraglin to Block D.
Tagged: @pamcake21 @beenerdish @maeinthecorner @sylvanasthebansheequeen @cinnamon-and-mey @bookchic20
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Here are the Wilson Brothers spending some time together (much to Grant's annoyance). And there's Addie being a proud mama of her babies. Maybe for the next drawing I'll include Rose with Slade burning in the trash bin. Who knows?
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The fall of the light, the start of the endless night
// Large piece of backstory writing under the read more! Warning: It is graphic, and I dare say not for the faint of heart. Big TWs for violence, heavy gore, and slow death, take caution friends! To those of you who press on, hope you enjoy~
- Mod Nova
This was it. The final battle of an eternal war waged since the beginning of time- the blinding light, against the all consuming darkness. Eons of this ravaging dance echoing, revived in the essence of both parties, and wearing thin in their physical forms… One blow, is all it would take, for any of the three combatants. The twin vessels ascending to chase the light, and the Radiance perched at the very peak of her prison in dreams.
In the sea of darkness that tailed the young gods in their ascent, hundreds, thousands- no, millions of their fallen kin, their silvery white eyes all in a piercing glare towards the sun herself. A crowd of the most bold, or perhaps the most raging of all the dead slithered from the safety of the shadows, chasing the light aside their living siblings, so small, and yet- so horrifying. The very darkness she had always fought with, honed into such tiny, powerful creatures… Mere children, capable of rending apart their older kin that kept her prisoner, and assaulting her.
But even as the darkness closed in; the light refused to die. As injured as she was from their cold steel fury and scorching, wrathful magic- she could tell, they wouldn’t last long themselves. Cracked, shaking, void oozing from their shells despite their persistence- the goddess screamed in outrage and defiance.
“NO! Mere shadows will not overtake me! The void may hunger, but the pathetic Wyrm's spawn cannot compare to the burning light!!”
In their path, another barrage of scorching beams. They almost stumbled in their scramble to reach the Radiance, almost fell- but there was power to working in pairs. One would always catch the other, until so threateningly close, they split up- one lunging for the Radiance, yet barely coming short of reaching her.
“ANCIENT ENEMY, I DO NOT FEAR YOU! I WILL NOT BREAK, THE LIGHT WILL NOT BE CONSUMED!”
Shot after shot, taken at the tiny shadow. The child of darkness stumbled, exhausted no doubt; a chance to end one of them, once and for all in their weakness-! … But that was only one, struggling, trembling before the light’s might, trying and failing to pull themself up with their nail. The other- damn it all, the Wyrm’s wretched spawn took up their father’s scheming mind! There was only the time for a hastily fired blast of light, and her aim failed to strike true- unlike the twin vessel’s nail. Barely leaping past the attack, the child drove the weapon directly between the goddess’ eyes, earning a horrendous roar of rage and pain- the death knell. The mark of her sealed fate.
In an instant, the situation so dire shifted- no longer was this an agonizing game of chase. The Radiance had nowhere to run… The sea of darkness closed in, as both vessels suspended in the air on either side of the doomed light. Disgusting, cold tendrils of void lashed out from below, trapping the goddess’ wings- beginning to tug on her, trying to wrench her down into the Abyss. As the Hollow Knight rose from the swarm of shades to join the much smaller assailants, the Radiance writhed in her restraints; shrieking at her seal, her living prison with seething hate.
“YOU!! IMPURE, DESOLATE BEING, YOU DARE CONTINUE IN YOUR DEFIANCE?! EVEN IN DEATH, INTOLERABLE DARKNESS, YOU BLIGHT MY EXISTENCE!”
Though to blight, was now an understatement. Perhaps an act of opportunity, or one of sheer spiteful vengeance, the Hollow Knight reached for her- sinking his claws into her face, digging lithe fingers underneath immortal carapace. A roar of pain ripped from the Radiance’s throat as the shade proceeded to rend her face open, blinding light pouring from her inner godly core. An assault from above and below, already bad enough- but it escalated, as if her practical assassins had not already ravaged her enough. Another tendril suddenly whipped across her bleeding face, stinging and leaving a golden mark. Then another, from the opposite side- a pattern immediately repeated as the twins lashed at the prone goddess over, and over, and over.
Any other being, a beat-down would have been enough. But no- this wasn’t even CLOSE. Every strike from the twin shades, exhausted, agonized, and utterly furious, bearing down harder and harder. More and more frustration, and pain, infused into every blow- years of undeserved suffering, created in cruel and unusual manners, abandoned to the Abyss, slaughtered senselessly and repeatedly! Every part of the world against them for no reason, just innocent children, forced into a horrifying, desperate struggle for their lives, constantly being torn apart and yet, never allowed the sweet release of death. All of it was her, this massive, insane monstrosity of a goddess, cursing their kingdom, their family, forcing them all to exist and die for no good reason! To suffer and cry out with nothing to ever listen! ENOUGH! ENOUGH!! Finally, the Radiance’s voice was no longer alone, the seething shades screaming in wordless, raw emotion as they continued to bloody and ruin the goddess’s form in their wrath.
As the Radiance was mercilessly beaten down, beginning to be dragged down by the tendrils wrapped over her wings… One of the two even found it in themself to speak;
"You, you are the answer I have sought after all this time! You both sparked reason for and yet condemned our existence, and it is time you face retribution for it all!! You will not be forgotten, you will SUFFER, YOUR LIGHT WILL BE DEVOURED!"
And that was no empty threat, though how the Radiance would’ve wished it so, if she had known how all too literal that was about to be. For they were not done with her yet, even as the savage whipping stopped, since having made her face and mane a bloody mess, even ripping out clumps of her silky fur.
No, this was far, far from over.
Hazy… Dark.. So dark. Not even the trickles of light from her exposed core could illuminate the world around her, as weary, pale gold eyes fluttered open. There was… Nothing, it seemed. And yet, in this cold black expanse, the Radiance felt anything but alone. She could not see the countless in the wings, staring her down, but she could sense their unholy, unnatural presence. She could not find the two that put her here… But there was an unsettling chill creeping down her back- a feeling never experienced before, yet somehow, internally she could still find the words for. As if it were instinct, to know this situation, this sensation… To know that she felt like prey, that could not lay eyes on her looming predators.
Though exhausted, aching, beaten down- something told her to get up. To push herself off the floor, to run, to fly, somehow try to escape. A rising need, going, and going, the want to scream building in her throat- of terror, of want for help, ANYTHING. Yet no matter how these urges overwhelmed every thought and want…
Just a mere moment ago, she was hardly able to open her eyes- but now, they were wide, glimmering with dying light as a surge of panic sunk in. Every part of her was SCREAMING to move, to get away, to scream and shout and cry- mentally thrashing, like a wild beast in a cage-!
… And yet still, nothing happened. She didn’t move… She couldn’t move. Not held down, not pinned… But paralyzed. There was no toxin rushing through her veins, but there was fear. Primal fear, of the unrelenting darkness that surrounded her on all sides.
Chilling shocks ran through her body, causing her to shiver. A sudden wet, cold, goopy sort of sensation on her wingtips- as if being dipped in some sort of icy slime. But then it turned sharp, stinging, burning in the center of it, like a cut had been made. Followed soon, by a sickening, echoing crunch in the darkness- the first sound she’d heard in an immeasurable amount of time down here. It was so small, and brief, yet it felt like thunder roaring in her ears.
Then there was a pause. Silence, the cold retreating, whatever it was… Notably sticky, as it pried away, almost feeling as if it did not want to let go.
Because it didn’t. Even though there was not much to note at first, the texture wasn’t the best, not much to speak of in terms of energy yet… One bite would not sate them even under normal circumstances. If anything, only getting a brief taste to little satisfaction made them hungrier. The cold, wet sensation of little void tendrils creeping back up, before two much larger, eager bites were taken of the goddess’ wings. Another sickening crunch echoing out to pair with each one, followed by another brief pause- the shades didn’t move back again, but they needed a moment. Something changed… They’d each bitten deep enough to draw out orange, sickly blood. And for the first time, something new hit them- flavor.
The overwhelming sweetness would’ve easily sickened normal bugs- but to rather hollow creatures, being potent enough to make them actually detect a strong taste? That was enticing. Enticing, exciting- they wanted more. As if their exhaustion hadn’t already made them ravenous, the introduction to something new had them focused on nothing else but food. And food… There was plenty of.
The pauses stopped, as bite after voracious bite was ripped from the Radiance’s wings- and it didn’t take much longer for the situation to click. The pain, the cold, the sticky grasps, the gut wrenching noise, the worst possible fate known to bug kind was suddenly befalling her. Being eaten alive. Slowly, steadily, being able to feel the starving shades chewing through her wings, working their ways deeper, and deeper on either side.
The horrific paralysis only felt worse as time seemed to be slugging along. Adrenaline surged through her body, screaming more and more to do something, anything- shake the ravenous little monsters off, fight back, to scream and wail through sheer terror and pain. It almost felt like she was screaming, as her throat strained, and heavy, rough breaths were forced out of her lungs- but there was no sound. No sound but that of the gut wrenching chewing, her body being slowly torn apart.
Mouthful after mouthful, while nothing but sheer and utter disgusting horror to any onlookers, was delightful mess to the Radiance’s attackers. The massive moth’s blood was delicious and energizing- soon, also nicely joined by a distinctly salty taste as they got to the more meaty parts of her wings. Their seemingly endless hunger made them want to rush- consume more and more, as fast as possible. Yet… In this dark realm, with their greatest foe in a trembling, tasty heap before them, this was different than anything else they’d ever known. There was no danger. No urgency. No… Greater quest to rush to work on, this was it.
For once in their lives, they had all the time in the world. All the security they could ever want… And the best meal they’d ever had laying in front of them. There was no need to rush, and have such a moment end too quickly. They could slow down, savor it, enjoy this new concept of flavor that their typical diet of soul never provided.
Though, taking time to savor didn’t mean not consistently taking bites- there was an awful lot to chew through, and they still felt painfully hungry. Perfect really, all the more room for the dense bases, right where wings met fluff-covered chitin… And nerves. Lots, and lots of nerves.
In curiosity, other shades had begun to creep closer, but all of the vessels reeled back as the Radiance let out a shrill, agonized scream. Finally, she managed to move, heaving and wheezing as blood gushed from the sloppy, shredded remnants of her wings. She had no way to push herself up- but she couldn’t just lay there! She had to think fast, the reaching tendrils of those little monsters were already grasping for purchase in the open wounds. Losing any of what little protection she had was likely to only make it all worse… But she couldn’t competently move her legs with that armor on, not while she was in this shape. After a rough and hardly effective attempt to shake off the twins, the Radiance frantically kicked off the metal armor covering her legs- whether the resonating sound of it clattering to the floor would attract any further possible attention, or scare it off, she couldn’t tell.
But moving, sitting up, struggling to get to her feet- that would not save the dying light. The young, rapacious gods shrieked in anger at this meager defiance, lashing tendrils acting like whips geared at her legs. Or… One leg, rather. Young, but not inexperienced in dealing with things much, much larger than themselves- and if they could break just one, she’d be down for good, paralyzed or not. However, it seemed there was a hope- a hope that one good sharp kick might put an end to this, they had been just as weak as her!
Though unlike the Radiance, the vessels had been feeding. Renewed by the flesh and blood they had stolen already, while she was further weakened by it. Kicking out only let them catch hold of the struggling moth, yanking and twisting until the goddess lost her balance. Sinking their vile teeth into the delicate joints, rapidly rendering the limb useless. The searing pain ravaged her mind as the pair devoured her body, her vision swimming, though with the overwhelming darkness sight was already a lost cause. Her stomach twisted and turned, the pain and disgust at feeling and hearing them eating away at her beyond nauseating- a tad ironic, how the only thing keeping her from purging her system was her own lack of eating for the last century or so, while something else ate her alive.
How long had passed, now? Minutes? Hours? Maybe even days, it felt like the most miserable, disturbing eternity. Broken, defeated, once again all that broke the silence of the Abyss was the squelches, squishes, and crunches of godly flesh and carapace being consumed. Though for a moment, their meal had been interrupted- overall, the twins were still having the time of their lives, digging in deeper and deeper. They were bloody messes, only really pausing their feast to occasionally reach up with their claws and brush off a clump or two of matted, stained moth fluff.
Said fluff was… Quite a problem, actually. Almost her entire body was covered in it, and while wings, carapace, and flesh were all game- mouthfuls of fur didn’t sound nearly as appealing. In fact, the accidental bite into it here or there was getting quite agitating. The pair stopped a moment to go to each other, and perhaps plan a way around the obstacle keeping them from the sweet insides of their prey.
As disgusting, morbid and torturous as their feast was, there was still a hint of something softer, behind those egregious maws and soulless white eyes. Their voices now merely soft, gentle chimes as they communicated, trills and chips back and
forth- had any part of her numbing mind been able to focus on something other than the agony, it would’ve driven home a shameful point. At these years of struggling and brawling with the Pale King… And she was defeated, mauled, being actively devoured- not by the Wyrm. But by his spawn, mere children. Did he know what horrors he had created? Was the Wyrm aware of the power and hunger even such small vessels had?
… Maybe that’s why she had begun to sense the pale light in her domain of dreams. Maybe he was hiding, so he didn’t suffer this very same, twisted fate. Dull, hazy, drifting thoughts, the quiet and soft noises were a respite from the sounds of her flesh ripping and being consumed…
Though, the time to ponder anything was over. Another wave of searing pain left the Radiance’s mind spinning, ripping an incoherent scream of pain from her lungs. The gaping wounds where her wings had once been left openings for the pair, who were busy sinking their claws and tendrils in. Messily rasping away flesh with any grip they could get, and stuffing it into their mouths to feed their outrageous appetites. For a few moments, the scraping and ripping of flesh stopped, almost numbing cold taking over the wounds- yet despite the slight relief from the pain… Something still felt very, very wrong.
An icy, squirming sensation starting piercing into her body, not doing anything to remedy the nausea, the feeling like her gets were already twisting and writhing into knots. Everything was getting so hazy, and hard to process though… What that sensation meant didn’t even really click, until the pain spiked in an all new area- her abdomen. If her organs hadn’t been literally twisting around, now they were being twisted, ripped, rended away from each other to be consumed.
There were a few tremors that could be felt from within the goddess’ massive, increasingly hollow form… Muffled, weak sobs. Before absolute silence, and stillness. The blinding light inside her heart waned and weakened, to a barely illuminating glow- a spark, then extinguished as the ravenous maws of her killers snapped down around it. Brutalized in combat and absolutely savaged in the darkness, the ancient goddess would at long last dream no more.
Even with the Radiance’s overdue passing, the pair of shades would be taking their sweet time. A goddess did not need to be alive to give them energy, her very flesh and blood imbued with powerful essence. Still ripping, tearing, rasping away every morsel of divine flesh they could, from head to toe. They had no concept of time here- it could’ve taken hours for all they knew to strip her entirely, and there was no care. There was even the care to stop and drink the blood that had pooled in her empty carapace, so, so sweet and energizing… Not a drop wasted, save for what had miserably stained and matted her fur.
However long it took, after they were finally done- the twins finally felt content, and for good reason. The most amazing feast of their lives just thoroughly savored, their life-long purposes of destroying the light completed, their wounds and exhaustion long since mended and overcome with their massive meal of pure god essence. A success and reward long and painfully earned, their pleasure and pride expressed through chirps, trills and chimes, back and forth to each other.
With all said and done, the sated shades drifted over to their elder brother, snuggling up to the Hollow Knight. They were met with gratitude for slaying the Radiance, for the soon to come freedom once they made their way back to the temple to retrieve their shells… But as the pair passed out in the larger shade’s arms, undoubtedly ready to sleep off some of their meal- the appreciative look faded, to previously hidden horror.
While the sleeping twins were blissfully unaware, it did occur to the knight… It was taboo to eat other gods, and for good reason. Aside from the sheer brutality of what was just witnessed, there was worry for the inevitable consequences. Worry for what was to come, if their appetites had reached to the divine.
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Ravage: Sylvester of the Decepticons.
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And brother, brother, brother
It's getting harder
So take my hand and walk me through
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WonderCon@Home announces the winners of the 2021 Masquerade Costume Competition
Note that some winners are credited only by Tumblr accounts:
Best In Show: “Astra: Queen of the Frostborn”, a light-enhanced original design crafted by The Queen’s Armory.
Judges’ Choice: “Elphaba Act II Gown” from the Broadway musical Wicked, re-created in every detail by Shane Chandler (ShaneChandlerCostume).
Best Re-Creation: “The Ugly Stepsisters” A 2-person historical re-creation from Disney’s animated Cinderella, crafted by Devon Baker and Carrie-Lea Hoch (Komickrazi).
Best Original Design: “Cheshire Cat”, an original design inspired by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, designed and made by Nina London Cosplay.
Best Workmanship: “The Ur-Dragon” inspired by card art of the Magic: The Gathering game. Crafted by Kensadi Cosplay.
Best Presentation: “This Is Quarantine” a 2-person re-creation from The Nightmare Before Christmas, imitating famous paintings, crafted by Perditas Wardrobe.
Most Humorous: “The Infinity Gauntlet” An original design inspired by Avengers: Endgame, crafted by Adolfo “Ariel” Estandarte, (Ariel004).
The above winners will receive WonderCon@Home trophies, plus free attendee badges to WonderCon Anaheim 2022. Also, the Best in Show winner Astra: Queen of the Frostborn will receive $500 in cash from Frank and Son Collectible Show, of the City of Industry, California.
Each of the 3 judges had a costume they liked very much but did not win. Here then they are:
“Oscar François de Jarjayes from The Rose of Versailles”, a re-creation from a Japanese shōjo manga series, and crafted by Yugiri315.
“Elizabeth Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”, re-created by Emily G. (GeekyGirlFashions).
“End Game Ironman” re-created from Avengers: Endgame, crafted by Capt Cash.
WonderCon gives a big thank-you to the contestants for all their work, to the guest judges for their time and expertise, to the Foglio’s for being our Masters of Ceremonies, and to Frank and Son Collectible Show for their generous support of the event!
Meet your 2021 WonderCon@Home Masquerade Judges:
Jennifer May Nickel
"What makes the art of Costume Design so thrilling is the opportunity to help tell a story and bring characters to life."
Jennifer May Nickel is a Costume Designer for Television and Film. For television, Jennifer’s Costume Design credits include Neflix’s Cabin with Bert Kreischer and Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis, the CW’s Containment, Fox’s What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage, Syfy's TV movie Miami Magma, the History Channel’s Legend of the Superstition Mountains, TLC’s TV movie The Secret Santa and Nickelodeon’s The Massively Mixed-Up Middle School Mystery.
Classically trained in theatre, Jennifer holds an MFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon University and also studied in England at Oxford University (St. Edmund’s College: Myth and Ritual in Theatre). A proud member of the Costume Designers’ Guild Jennifer has won the Elizabeth Schrader Kimberly Costume Design Award, The Cecilia Cohen Award for Excellence in Theatre and The WCDAC Achievement Award.
Her more extensive bio can be found on IMDb.
Gigi “Fast Elk” Bannister
SFX Artist, Director, Producer, Actor, Director, Gigi "Fast Elk" Bannister (formerly Porter) has been in the film industry for over 35 years. Better known for her practical special effects and production work, Gigi is comfortable on both sides of the camera. She's appeared in over a dozen films and television shows, and is a popular guest at horror conventions, film festivals, workshops and seminars. For several years she has donated time at San Diego Comic-Cons to assist Masquerade contestants with their special effects make-up needs.
Gigi is credited as a Producer on Don Coscarelli and David Hartman's "Phantasm V: Ravager" (2016) and Steve King's "One For the Road" (2011) (Night Shift Anthology). As a character actor, she's appeared in "Bloody Bloody Bible Camp" (2011), "Carnies" (2009), in "Small Town Saturday Night" (2009) (with Chris Pine, John Hawkes, Reggie Bannister, and Perry Anzilotti), and again in Don Coscarelli's "Bubba Ho-Tep" (2002) (Bruce Campbell, Reggie Bannister and Ozzie Davis), and many more. She has produced and directed on numerous projects including dozens of live events, fundraisers and seminars, six independent feature films, and six shows for television.
More information on Gigi can be found on IMDb.
Costumer, make-up special effects artist, sculptor, and [MJ1] painter with 40+years with credits from Lucasfilm, Sony Pictures, Disney, and more, his costume fabrication work has been exhibited around the world in museums, film premieres and numerous conventions. His Bronze Armory studio is in the San Francisco Bay Area where he creates, lectures, and teaches. His newest exhibit of screen-accurate motion picture and television costume reproductions “The Batman Armory” will be re-opening soon at the San Francisco Cartoon Museum, requested by Warner Brothers to promote the new Batman encyclopedia: Batman: The Definitive History of the Dark Knight in Comics, Films and Beyond which Allan was technical advisor for. Formerly a top winner for many years in fan costuming at many conventions, including San Diego Comic-Con, he brings with him great insight from having learned and honed his costume skills as a contestant himself.
Additional information about Allan’s work can be found at https://thebronzearmory.com
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hey ~~ can I request a HC of the brother grinding against MC when have a wet dream or in the morning to appease their morning wood pretty please ? if you’re up for it, i wouldn’t mind seeing for the undatables too 👀👀
Obey Me! HC: Brothers + Undateables w/ Morning Wood
warnings: implied consent (where mc is asleep)
> Lucifer doesn't often have wet dreams because Lucifer doesn't often sleep. It's even rarer he gets to wake up beside of you the next morning.
> When he wakes up from a naughty dream to find you asleep right beside him, lingering images of you on your knees still in his mind, Lucifer wastes no time slipping a hand into your pajama bottoms and starting to rub on the sensitive bundle on nerves between your legs.
> While his intentions may seem nice, his actions are purely selfish, only prepping you as not to wake you in the process of taking you. Several minutes later, he's dipping a finger into you, after several more, another.
> By the time Lucifer has two fingers stuffed inside of you, your slickness was coating your inner thighs along with his hand, pooling beneath you on the sheets.
> Positioning himself above you, the demon pushes inside you, reveling in the soft moan that fell from your mouth as he bottoms out.
> Then he proceeds to fuck you awake, taking pleasure from your pathetic, shocked expression when you finally came to.
> Mammon has dirty dreams quite frequently, waking up from the throbbing tent in his pants whenever you two fall asleep cuddling, especially spooning.
> With your ass pressed against his hips, he slowly grinds forward, trying desperately to get the friction his cock so badly wants.
> When that isn't enough to satisfy him, Mammon leans forward and starts sucking and nipping at your neck. Your stirring doesn't stop him, a few groans sounding in his chest as if he wants you to wake up.
> If you do end up waking up, be ready for a couple rounds of morning sex. He'll be more than generous, doing anything you ask of him as long as you promise you'll take care of his little (big) problem.
> However, if his advances aren't enough to pull you from your sleep, Mammon will dejectedly excuse himself to the bathroom to take care of it himself.
> Honestly, this boy moans in his sleep often. He isn't much of a grinder but sometimes his lewd sounds make their way into your dreams, leaving your underwear soaked in the morning.
> This shy, little baby doesn't often have wet dreams but, when he does, he's an absolute mess. Shifting into demon form in the middle of the night, you wake up sometimes to find his tail winding up your leg.
> He practically acts out what's happening in his head, hips sporadically rutting against your thigh while pitifully moaning out your name.
> Levi highkey assaults your body - tail slithering higher up your thigh, horns rubbing against your shoulder, hips thrusting against your side.
> More often than not, his actions end up turning you on in turn. It's your decision whether you choose to wake him or not.
> Sometimes you do rouse him, whispering filthy things in his ears, teasing him about his hard on. A midnight quickie puts you both back to sleep.
> But, sometimes you don't wake him, instead deciding to palm him over his pajama bottoms or rubbing his horns the way you know drives him crazy. It's priceless the way the he gains consciousness right before he climaxes.
> Satan usually wakes up during sex dreams, rarely ever being able to finish from the dream alone. When you do happen to be asleep beside him, he doesn't hesitate in waking you up.
> The sun will barely be poking up when you're woken up by him shaking you, trying to hide any note of desperateness in his voice. Even so, he needs you, or else he would have left you asleep.
> First, he'll try to coax you into sucking him off, but if you're too tired, Satan will flip you onto you stomach and stretch you out with his fingers until he finally replaces it with his leaking length.
> Your muffled mewls are enough encouragement, pushing you further into the bed with each thrust of his hips.
> In all honesty, you don't have to do much work, squirming underneath him while he uses you to his heart's content.
> Diavolo forbid he wakes up horny in the morning, you won't be allowed to leave the bed all day.
> Asmo has wet dream the most frequently out of the brothers, suprise. He's loud and proud, not embarrassed a bit about it. His melodic moans are easier to sleep through than Levi's.
> You've heard of restless leg syndrome, but Asmo has restless hand syndrome. They roam your body as nimbly as they would had he been awake.
> When he wakes up with morning wood, he wakes you up with a shower of kisses, lips pressing all over your face and then wandering lower once your eyes flutter open.
> He thinks it's endearing how your body will sometimes give you away before you even come to. The hardening of your nipples make them targets for him, rolling them between his fingers.
> Like Lucifer, Asmo will sometimes fuck you awake when he's too impatient, but he always makes sure you're prepped so you won't wake up in pain.
> Even if he doesn't have a wet dream, you rarely get to leave the bed until he's ravaged you, at least, one time.
> It's also unusual for Beel to have wet dreams, most of his including food. However, when he does have the pleasure of dreaming about you - and sleeping beside you, at that - he usually waits until morning to do anything. Sleep is important for humans.
> But when morning rolls around, he's been yearning for you for hours, and his patience is wearing incredibly thin.
> As soon as you stir, eyes opening to focus on him - it's over. He's kissing you hungrily, desperately, as if he's trying to suck out the air from your lungs, and you're now busy for the next couple of hours.
> It's much worse whenever you have a wet dream and he wakes up next to you, the scent of your sweet arousal filling his nose. He takes it upon himself to dip underneath the blanket, spreading your legs to give you some relief.
> It's drives you near insane, waking up to find him in between your thighs, tongue lapping at your folds. He'd stay there forever if you didn't have class.
> Belphie has become a pro at handling wet dreams, used to waking up and rubbing one out before falling back asleep. But, with you now there... Well, he doesn't have to.
> He usually starts off by pathetically humping your thigh, not really caring whether his antics wake you up or not.
> Once he's a little less sleepy, he then starts purposefully trying to wake you up, panting heavily in your ear while begging you to ride him.
> Yes, that's right. He wakes you up and then asks you to bounce your pretty little ass on his dick.
> If you decline, he respects it but he's sure as hell bratty about it but it's only because he doesn't want to put in a lot of effort at the moment.
> But that vanishes as soon as you tell him that doesn't mean he can't have you in other ways.
> When Diavolo has wet dreams, you're woken up by a mix of something hard pressing into your ass and his low grunts as it gives him some desired pressure.
> He's actually a little flustered about it once you wake him up, apologizing for disturbing your slumber.
> And he's even more flustered when you offer to help relieve him. I mean, c'mon, he's practically tenting the entire comforter with how huge he is.
> Of course, he has to spend some time working on you, slowly stretching you out to minimize the pain while murmuring reassuring praise in your ear.
> Then, he more than makes up for rousing you, slamming you repeatedly into the bed for nearly an hour, bending you in a variety of positions until he's certain he's fucked you at every angle possible.
> Several times you're late for class but the teacher's never question you when you have a note from the Prince of Hell.
> Simeon actually has wet dreams often. It didn't start until he met you and now he can't stop them. Even worse, he doesn't want to.
> Since he must always be on his best behavior, the poor angel ends up repressing a lot of naughty thoughts that always seem to come back to him in his dreams.
> You can always tell when he has one because of the little gasps he makes, hips halphazardly rolling into the air.
> If you choose to wake him, Simeon is mortified, blushing and stuttering a mile a minute. He thinks he should have more control over himself.
> After a bit of reassuring, you two fall back asleep cuddling. Or... you stay awake while he asks for forgiveness on his knees. ;)
> Solomon has wet dreams almost as frequently as Asmo - horny, little bastard. And, like Lucifer, he chooses to indulge in his favorite toy should he wake up from one.
> As sadistic as he is, he still fingers you a bit so the first sensation you feel when you gain consciousness won't be pain.
> Buuuuuuut, that doesn't mean Solomon doesn't go further to take advantage of your defenseless state. More often than not, he binds you in some way or another.
> Then, he proceeds to fill you up, bottoming out as you writhe awake beneath him. He only smirks when you struggle against the restraints futiley.
> Solomon doesn't stop until he's satiated, feeling buzzed and ready to take on the day. Seriously, you're like a cup of coffee to him in the mornings.
> You better believe he's going to tease you about your limp the entire way to class.
> Barbatos has dirty dreams, but he usually doesn't act anything out, having extreme control both when conscious and when not.
> If he does have one, he waits until you're awake to take care of it. Time is not a bother to him and he has the most patience out of all the boys.
> When you have wet dreams, sometimes he wakes you up, tied to the bed and naked, eyes glinting at you with a vibrator in hand.
> Then, he stuffs your dripping cunt with it, simultaneously thrusting his cock into your tight, little ass, chastizing you for being such a naughty human.
> Barbatos can take all the time in the world with you, resetting time if you ever run the risk of being late. Being fucked by a demon is no excuse to miss class.
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includes: diluc, kaeya, venti & razor !
not very fond of pda—diluc doesn't want to make the two of you a spectacle for others to witness.
...well he honestly just doesn't want to be seen by kaeya acting all lovey-dovey with you because he's sure his stupid brother wouldn't let the opportunity to tease him slip by so easily lmao
behind closed doors, however, is another matter altogether.
diluc is a very affectionate lover, often wrapping his arms around you into a hug whenever given the chance. he does it out of impulse, without any special reason to do it, despite being awkward with affection at the start of your relationship. he's come to enjoy it soon enough, so much that he even initiates a lot of it himself now.
he likes to keep you in his lap when he did work at home, looking over your shoulder to view his own paperwork while you read a book.
at times when the workload is worse than normal and he's burned out for the day, he likes to sleep while laying his head on your lap. he also appreciates how you run your hands through his hair, massaging his scalp lightly, and he dozes off so quick even though he only intended to nap for half an hour because of how calming it was. you didn't wake him up; you wanted to let him sleep before he'd throw himself to work yet again.
when he leaves for a job that'll have to take place outside mondstadt, it's always apparent how much he doesn't want to go. his last embrace before he leaves lasts a lot longer than his usual hugs, and his touch lingers, tracing along your arm before he returns his hands to his sides. before he actually leaves, though, he smooths your bangs over your head to give your forehead a loving peck.
meanwhile, diluc's actual kisses are slow, since he likes to take his time with you. he wants to savor each second he moves his lips against yours, wants to cherish the little moans you give, and wants to hear more, so he presses even harder, brings you even closer, and won't pull away until you're entirely breathless.
(adelinde had the misfortune of walking in on you several times now, and not once had diluc stopped kissing you in each of those encounters.)
no matter how much affection you give him, he'll be a touch-starved lover—make sure to satisfy him before it gets even worse, okay?
touchy. that's it. super touchy. will not go for a day without kissing you ten times.
sometimes, he tests your patience. he'll peck your lips, even though you asked for a real kiss, and he'd laugh, giving you another light peck as if it was any better.
other times, he's greedy. he'll caress your cheeks gently as he kisses you, a stark contrast to his rougher treatment to your mouth while you claw at his back. he bites on your bottom lip relentlessly, eager to slip his tongue inside your mouth as if planning to devour you whole. when he pulls away with a smirk, he swipes a thumb along your swollen lips, enjoying the view of your florid complexion.
he doesn't care if it's in private or not; he'll kiss you whenever he wants to. his coworkers from the knights of favonius are pretty much used to his shenanigans so they don't give much reactions, while diluc still sneers at him because he really didn't need to see his brother eating face with his significant other. (diluc doesn't fault you for it. in fact, he's nothing but sympathetic. he wonders how you can manage to deal with kaeya's shit for this long when it only takes him five seconds conversing with his brother to want to throw him out of a window.)
kaeya likes to keep his arm around your waist while you walk around; he fends off the men who'd dare to try to steal you for themselves, and he gets to hold you too. two birds with one stone. you feel safe in his arms, and he adores it when you cling to his side.
if he doesn't have his arm busy wrapped around you, then he must have his hand hold yours. he finds your hands quite adorable. they're significantly softer than his, free from the calluses you'd acquire from holding a sword, and he'd rather much let them stay that way; he truly wishes you'd never feel the need to defend yourself from danger with a weapon, because he'd sworn to protect you at all costs.
when he's doing patrols looking for troublemakers, he actively searches for your figure too. in the chance that you are around, he'd grab you away and slip into an alleyway, stealing a kiss for an ‘energy boost’ and would leave you wanting for more when he leaves.
no worries; he'd be glad to be of service when you both get home.
the handsiest guy ever. will not leave you alone.
prefers intertwining fingers with you than just holding your hand, always. it doesn't matter even if it's a little uncomfortable at times, he just wants to feel a little closer to you.
likes to pepper your face with kisses; to your forehead, to your eyelids, to your nose, to your cheeks. and after all is said and done, he kisses your lips—not just a light peck this time, but a real one that lasted longer than the others. you'd be caught off guard with warmth spreading to the tips of your ears, and he'll grin cheekily, eyes bright with triumph.
sneak attacks! be careful of this boy. you'll never know what you'll receive from him.
when he feels just a bit childish, he'll decide to go for a peck on the cheek. if he feels playful, he'd tickle your sides. if he feels a bit more loving, he'd embrace you from behind, whispering words of love into your ear. if he feels mischievous, he'd tap your shoulder, and when you obliviously turn to face him, you're met with a sudden kiss to the lips.
if he feels like being an absolute brat, he'd kiss your neck and blow hot air to your ear.
which, in turn, will cause you to release an embarrassing whimper that'll leave him laughing in days.
getting revenge on him is nearly impossible. he doesn't get flustered like you do, and it's too hard to rile him up. no matter what you do, he just laughs, tone light and airy, and he'd tell you it was a nice try.
vexed, you push him down to the nearest flat surface in retaliation without a verbal response. to your credit, he does seem a little surprised; his eyes widened a little, and his lips are parted agape.
without thinking, you clash your lips against his, cupping his jaw to a better angle before you remembered you were absolute shit at kissing and didn't know what to do next, so you hurriedly pull away in embarrassment, ashamed of your actions.
‘t-that one doesn't count!’ you'd reason. ‘let me try ag-’
you're cut off when he reels you back in by pushing the back of your head, chasing your lips, and it feels like something is different, this time.
it's... less innocent, more aggressive, with all the movement he's making. he's never been so direct before, all soft touches and gentle caresses prior, and he's-! poking his tongue inside and-?! ah, now he's grabbing your waist!
you could hardly keep up, left clutching on his arm for dear life, and it's not until he finishes sneaking a couple more extra kisses in when you finally get a chance to properly speak—not that any of your thoughts were relatively coherent.
‘v-venti?’ you stammer when he lets you go. he's less composed than earlier, with pink dusting the tips of his ears, and he can't look you in the eye. it's a strange look on him.
‘sorry...’ he drags a hand down his face. ‘i couldn't help myself, you were just too much...’
you stay still on your spot for a few minutes, basking in an awkward silence, until venti shyly asks if he can do that again.
(...so now you knew his weakness, but at what cost?)
prior to leaving his pack, he never really interacted with humans much, so naturally, forms of affection would be a foreign subject to him.
(pure wolf boi needs his headpats. please give him his headpats.)
he never received hugs?? when he felt cold, he would just huddle for warmth with the other wolves, but now that wasn't an option... the blanket you gave him feels odd, too.
so when you tried hugging him, he went oh. oh damn.
he finds out quickly that he likes it.
well, he likes it, but he doesn't know where to put his arms at first lmao.
he just focuses on the warm sensation spreading through his chest—his cheeks too, now that he thinks about it—and wow... you actually smell... really nice...
hesitantly, he loops his arms around your torso to return the hug. he buries his face into your neck, breathing in deeply, and sighs in satisfaction before relaxing in your hold.
since then, he hugs you at every given opportunity.
when it comes to hand holding, he feels a bit iffy about it. he does like holding your hand, no questions there, but he wonders why you would want to hold his.
his hands are rough and callused, numerous scars marring his flesh, so he's always reluctant to take off his gloves when you ask him to. he needs a lot of reassurance, so make sure you give your support to your lovely boyfriend! he needs it.
you really like playing with his hair! at first, it was tangled everywhere, but after you took the time to brush it, it turned out to be really soft and fluffy. your favorite past time is to tie his hair into a giant braid. razor doesn't really mind; he loves seeing you happy.
in the matter of kisses, razor is... horribly inexperienced. awkward pauses, clashing of teeth; name every fail and you probably would've experienced it at the beginning of your relationship.
he gets sad when he fails ;-; his head droops like a sad puppy and you want nothing more than to comfort him by peppering kisses all over his cheeks.
(he's not good with words, so all he has are actions—he wants to show how much he loves you, but he can't, so he gets sad over that.)
but when he does get it right, oh boy.
you are in for a ride.
when he becomes comfortable with kissing, he doesn't hesitate anymore; he goes straight for the kill. he'd easily slip his tongue inside, ravaging your mouth, and you would be left gasping, clawing at his back until he's satisfied.
he also becomes rather fond of marking you all over, so when he's had his fill of you, expect to see a lot of love bites around your neck.
but he'd never hurt you! he would bite a couple of times, sure, but none of them would leave wounds or whatever; he treats you with nothing but care. he'd even apologize if he got too aggressive, looking like an innocent kicked puppy once again like he wasn't the same person who kissed you until you felt like you'd die.
all in all, he's just a good boy who loves your touch! give him plenty of it and he'd be drunk with love~
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For a prompt, what if Wen Xu arrives to burn down the Cloud Recesses while everyone is studying there
Home Alone - ao3
“All right,” Wei Wuxian said, when Lan Qiren announced that the Cloud Recesses would be imminently under attack by Wen Xu and the Wen sect armies, the calm in his monotone voice belied by the wrinkle of concern in his forehead. “We’re going to make that bastard wish he’d never been born, right?”
He was speaking lightly, as he always did, trying to make those around him feel more comfortable, braver, less afraid – his was the language of confidence and arrogance, of never backing down, and he didn’t know how else to speak.
He didn’t mean anything in particular by it, or at least not more than he usually did.
He wasn’t expecting Lan Qiren to look at him and say, “If you have any ideas, now is the time to contribute them.”
“So what exactly do you do again?” Wei Wuxian asked, following the older Lan sect disciple around – at least, the man was dressed like a Lan sect disciple, and with a forehead ribbon suggesting that he shared blood with the main clan, too, but Wei Wuxian wasn’t so sure he really was one.
“I blow stuff up, usually,” Lan Yueheng said cheerfully.
That was why Wei Wuxian had doubts.
The man was practically skipping. There was no way he was a Lan.
“Shishu is an alchemist,” Lan Wangji said. His hands were folded behind his back, as always, and he looked tense as might be expected, what with an imminent attack on his home by a colossal army intent on ravaging and destroying everything in its path – but the way he looked at Lan Yueheng was unaccountably fond, as if he were someone he was close to. Wei Wuxian hadn’t known there was anyone other than Lan Qiren or Lan Xichen that Lan Wangji was close to. He was oddly jealous. “Not always successfully.”
“Hey, at blowing things up, I am the most successful!” Lan Yueheng grinned. A moment later, though, the grin faded, and he looked anxious. “Wangji, are you sure you won’t go with your brother?”
“Brother will protect the sect books,” Lan Wangji said solemnly. “I will stay here to defend the sect and the guest disciples.”
Wei Wuxian appreciated that, being one of said guest disciples.
Anyway, it made sense. Lan Qiren had seriously considered trying to send them away with Lan Xichen, saying that their lives were more important than some extra books – other Lan elders hadn’t necessarily agreed, judging by their expressions – but regretfully concluded that adding more people to Lan Xichen’s escape route would do nothing but reveal its existence, dooming all of them.
So they’d split up: Lan Xichen, heading out virtually alone with the most precious Lan sect books, and all the rest of them here to try to resist as much as they could – even Lan Wangji.
Lan Yueheng didn’t try to argue with Lan Wangji, only sighed, sounding as though he’d expected nothing less from him and had only felt the need to make a token protest before accepting it as inevitable. It seemed he really was close to Lan Wangji.
Yeah, Wei Wuxian was definitely jealous.
“All right, then,” Lan Yueheng said, shaking his head and resuming his cheer. “Blowing things up in self-defense plan it is! You’re both talented in music, right?”
“What does music have to do with explosions?” Wei Wuxian asked.
The answer, apparently, was a lot – at least when you were an experimental alchemist in a musically inclined sect and you’d developed a way to trigger explosions via certain combinations of musical notes.
“So, did you know that Teacher Lan was scary?” Wei Wuxian asked Jiang Cheng, who’d finally returned from helping get all the elderly and children and civilians to evacuate – and refusing to join them, of course, even though he was entitled to go in order to preserve his life, being the heir of a sect and all that, completely typical Jiang Cheng – and was now pacing around, eager for a fight.
“Just because he punished you a few times doesn’t make him scary,” Jiang Cheng said.
“No, it doesn’t,” Wei Wuxian agreed. “You know what does make him scary? Playing music that makes his opponents try to cut their own necks.”
“Apparently he gets really upset when you mess with his students,” Wei Wuxian said wisely.
Unlike Jiang Cheng, he’d had time to adjust to the concept of Lan Qiren being terrifying: they were on the fifth wave of scouts, and this set wasn’t doing any better than the first four, not even when they’d realized it would be better if they stopped their ears with wax before approaching.
That’d only made Lan Qiren shift tactics – and songs.
Some of which had an even wider area of impact.
“Wei Wuxian,” Jiang Cheng said, looking at him suspiciously. “What did you do?”
“I convinced Teacher Lan that guerrilla warfare that destroyed as much of the enemy as possible would be more effective than just trying to defend the sect’s territory, since that was clearly a lost cause,” Wei Wuxian said promptly. “He agreed, but said that he could only do so much since he wasn’t a very good sword fighter. And then I asked him if he knew anything else that could be used as an attack and he said ‘no’ and then he said ‘well, I suppose’ and then he listed off a few things that – according to him – aren’t meant to be used in warfare but, and this is a direct quote, ‘could be put to a destructive use if one so wished it’.”
“And we now ‘so wish it’?”
“Yup. Oh, and watch out for anything that has a Lan sect cloud with a three-looped circle carved into the side of it, and I do mean anything– those explode.”
“Of course they do.”
“Hey! For once it has nothing to do with me!”
“I thought you said he said he was bad at swordfighting,” Jiang Cheng said suspiciously.
Wei Wuxian held out his hands helplessly in a ‘don’t look at me’ gesture, trying to defend himself from a sharp and pointy elbow to the side while also not pulling his eyes away from the ongoing battlefield for even a single moment.
“Shufu considers himself to be of average skill at the sword,” Lan Wangji said in the peaceable tone of someone who had been taught the basics of swordfighting by the person in question. The basics of really awesome swordfighting. “His real strength is in music, as you’ve seen.”
“I get that, really, I do, his music is terrifying,” Wei Wuxian said, and meant it completely. Between the two, he’d rather go up against Lan Qiren with a sword, where he’d at least be able to make a decent showing of himself before getting chopped to bits by the man’s fluid and almost seemingly delicate style that was nevertheless highly effective at skewering Wen sect disciples left and right; it would be better than with music, where he might as well just cut his own throat or strangle himself with guqin strings now to save Lan Qiren’s fingers the trouble. “But Jiang Cheng’s still right, okay – why in the world does he consider that to be ‘average’? Who is he comparing himself to?”
Lan Wangji considered the question for a long moment, then finally said: “A statistical outlier.”
“I wish we had aerial attacks we could use against the Wen sect’s swords,” Wei Wuxian said wistfully, and next to him Jiang Cheng nodded with a sight of longing – it was so frustrating seeing more and more Wen sect soldiers arriving in groups, like flocks of birds that started to fill the skies because they couldn’t be so easily shot down. “But if we try anything, they’ll just shield against us.”
“Teacher Lan said we can’t use spiritual energy against them, since we’d lose,” Jiang Cheng said, and as much as they all regretted it, Lan Qiren was probably right: they might be better trained than the Wen sect soldiers, might be better cultivators and stronger in spiritual energy individually, but they were young and immature, and at a serious numerical disadvantage.
It would be far too easy for the flying cultivators to stop their flying just long enough to set up a defensive array, block whatever spiritual attack they sent out, and then keep going to find and stab them before they’d even recovered from the energy expenditure.
“I didn’t mean spiritual energy,” Wei Wuxian grumbled. “I just meant, you know, like the explosives we’ve laid in all over the ground – something like that. If we could attach those to something…”
“I don’t think we have anything that flies anyway,” Lan Yueheng said regretfully.
“You have lanterns, don’t you?” Nie Huaisang said, and everyone turned to look at him. “Fill them with something that explodes when disturbed and send them floating into the air. Better yet, write ‘peace’ on the side of them to make it look like you’re making some sort of meaningful gesture designed to shame them. The Wen sect won’t be able to resist kicking them aside as an insult, and that’ll trigger them.”
They all stared at him.
“We have a lot of defenses set up against invasion, at home,” he said. “And not always the budget to pay for anything fancy, so we’ve come up with some slightly more unorthodox ideas, too.”
“It’s a really good idea,” Wei Wuxian said, suddenly focused on the hitherto ignored Nie Huaisang. Clearly he’d made a tactical error, thinking of himself as the only person who knew how to get up to tricks. “Do you have any other ideas like that?”
Nie Huaisang smiled.
“Teacher Lan, I have an idea,” Wei Wuxian said, inserting himself briefly into the clearing near the Lan sect gate where Lan Qiren was sitting to rest in preparation for the Wen sect’s next attack. “But you’re going to hate it.”
“You may proceed,” Lan Qiren said, not looking up.
“Wait,” Wei Wuxian said, blinking. “Really? You’re not even going to ask what it is? Or why you’d hate it so much?”
“There is no time for that,” Lan Qiren said, and finally spared him a glance. He looked tired. “Things will get worse very soon.”
“But we’re winning!”
“No,” Lan Qiren said, shaking out his fingers – even despite occasionally alternating to using the sword when necessary, he’d played his guqin to the point of drawing blood and breaking nails, and was continuing despite everyone pleading with him to stop and swap out for someone else for a while. He’d said that there was no one else on his level, and he was probably right, but still, surely, just for a little… “We are surviving. Do not mistake the two.”
“Okay, so,” Wei Wuxian said, rubbing his hands together. “Resentful energy –”
“No,” Lan Wangji said.
“Thanks,” Wei Wuxian said to Jin Zixuan, who’d probably just saved his life by stabbing a Wen sect cultivator in the back right before the man had been able to stop Wei Wuxian from activating another series of explosions. “I guess I owe you one?”
“Don’t mention it,” Jin Zixuan said. “How else can I help?”
“I don’t know,” Wei Wuxian said, scratching his head and thinking about Nie Huaisang as precedent. There wasn’t time for schoolyard rivalries right now. “Do you have anything really unexpected that could be used to hurt people? Be creative – they’re guarded against all the usual defenses, so the weirder the better, anything goes. I won’t judge.”
Jin Zixuan thought about it. “I’m pretty sure I have a drug that puts people to sleep?”
“…why do you have something like that?”
Jin Zixuna grimaced. “My father gave it to me along with another one that he said not to use in excess, though I don’t actually know what that one does because that was about when my mom ran in and started throwing things at him. I can’t throw it away because it was a gift from my father, but I put it as deep into my bags as I could so that I’d never have to see or touch it. Ever.”
Wei Wuxian’s nose wrinkled. He’d never before felt pity for Jin Zixuan, but having to put up with Jin Guangshan on a regular basis was pretty bad – much less owing him filial piety.
No wonder Jin Zixuan was so twitchy all the time.
“Okay, so one sleep drug and one…uh…”
“Enhancement. Presumably. Can we throw it at the other side? Maybe turn it into incense and make smoke-bombs or something?”
“You know what,” Wei Wuxian said. “Why not? If nothing else, it’d be distracting, right?”
“This doesn’t feel honorable,” Jiang Cheng said, watching the fun. They’d raided the Lan sect’s medicine cabinets and kitchens for other noxious and irritating substances that might make for good smoke-bombs – Jiang Cheng himself had even located a whole patch of something not unlike poison ivy that had been quickly repurposed for the cause. “Strictly speaking.”
“Honor’s overrated,” Wei Wuxian said. “Making the Wen bastards pay for attacking Lan Zhan’s home is what’s important.”
Lan Wangji didn’t smile, exactly, but Wei Wuxian took his expression as a win regardless.
It turned out that music could also make plants grow really fast.
According to Lan Qiren, the spell ruined the plants’ nutritional value and made them basically useless.
Useless if your goal was eating them, anyway.
(First they could grow under their enemies’ feet and attack them, roots and vines twining around them to strangle them, and then they could be used up in the smoke-bombs – two for the price of one!)
“Are you sure about not doing the whole resentful energy thing?”
“Wei Wuxian,” Jiang Cheng said. “No.”
“Hey, Wei-xiong, do you have or can you create any more papermen?” Jin Zixuan asked.
“Yes, sure, plenty,” Wei Wuxian said. He’d like to say that he’d known he’d one day need such a skill, and that that was why he’d learned the trick so thoroughly, but that was a complete lie. “Why?”
“Nie-xiong, Jiang-xiong and I are going to use them to make a shadow-play to lure a bunch of Wen sect cultivators into another plant-and-explosives trap.”
“…that’s amazing, Jin-xiong,” Wei Wuxian said, marveling. “How do you even think of that?”
“Even I get into trouble sometimes,” Jin Zixuan said, and was startled into an unexpected smile when Jiang Cheng punched his shoulder approvingly.
Wei Wuxian was actually having a pretty good time with it all right up until the main force of the Wen sect decided to ignore all their traps and charge straight towards the classroom they’d fallen back to using as a headquarters, and then suddenly he wasn’t having a good time at all.
“Run,” Lan Qiren said, and put down his guqin, drawing his sword once more.
“But we can fight!” Jiang Cheng argued.
“If you don’t come out, I’m going to make him pay,” Wen Xu called.
His fingers were knotted in Lan Qiren’s hair, pulling their teacher’s head back to show how his face was covered in blood, how it was seeping out through his mouth and nose, how one of his eyes was badly bruised and swollen from having been beaten down by sheer force of numbers.
Lan Qiren had made them pay dearly for their efforts to bring him down –
But there were just so many of them.
“How dare he,” Jiang Cheng hissed. “He was once one of Teacher Lan’s students, too!”
Wei Wuxian was holding Lan Wangji back, but only barely; his fingers were starting to go numb from the sheer effort of it. If Jin Zixuan and Jiang Cheng weren’t there to help him hold him down, Lan Wangji would have already given away their position, rushing out to make some futile gesture in his overwhelming rage. Wei Wuxian was focusing with all his being on how much he had to stop Lan Wangji from doing something like that, because if he wasn’t, if he let himself think about anything else for even a single moment, he’d have also run out there, sword drawn, without so much as a care – he hadn’t realized he’d be so angry over it, so furious, so betrayed and horrified by Wen Xu’s cruelty.
Prior to today, he wouldn’t have said he even liked Lan Qiren!
“My students are not so foolish as to fall for so obvious a scheme as that,” Lan Qiren said, his tone as monotonous as it ever was during his lectures – for the briefest moment, Wei Wuxian felt that he was dreaming, that he had merely dreamt everything that had happened: surely it was still yesterday, with Lan Qiren standing tall, safe and healthy, at the front of the classroom, lecturing about one of the Lan sect rules…which one had it been? Shoulder the weight of morality? Have a strong will and anything can be achieved? Be mighty, and others will die for you?
Do not break faith?
Somehow, despite everything that had happened, Lan Qiren’s eyes curved ever so slightly.
“Present company excluded, of course.”
Wen Xu threw him down to the ground, mouth twisting and teeth gnashing with offended anger.
“Beat him,” he ordered his men. “Make it hurt. I want him screaming – let’s see how his precious students like that. Or maybe it’s just that they don’t care?”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji said, eyes red with unshed tears and barely swallowed rage. “Tell me your idea about resentful energy.”
“Perhaps,” Lan Qiren said, then paused briefly to cough up some blood. His voice, when he resumed speaking, was hoarse. “Perhaps I should have reviewed your idea more closely when you first proposed it.”
“Possibly,” Wei Wuxian said, offering up some cloth to help wipe away the blood. Lan Wangji was busy bandaging his uncle’s injuries up, while Jiang Cheng, Jin Zixuan, and Nie Huaisang hovered by the door, only barely pretending to be keeping a lookout the way they were supposed to. “In my defense, I didn’t quite expect…that.”
Everyone politely did not ask him to elaborate.
The effects had been…well, it turned out using resentful energy the way Wei Wuxian had thought was possible, to say the least, and also that they’d taken down an awful lot of Wen sect soldiers in their defensive efforts.
“You will all have been affected by the resentful energy you used to summon the corpses,” Lan Qiren said. “Although the method you devised appears to avoid the most immediate consequences, which – let me remind you – include qi deviation and death in some instances, there is always the possibility that it has left traces of resentful energy within your meridians. If it is allowed to build up, it will escalate into a backlash that would rip your body and soul to pieces. There are spells and songs that can help clear your spirits and ease the effects.”
“Nie Huaisang has been playing some of them for us, since he can’t fight,” Lan Wangji said. “Nie sect ones – they’re…uh, not especially calming, more of a cleanse-by-force thing, but they seem to be working.”
Jiang Cheng nodded. “We’ll listen to any others that you’d like, Teacher Lan,” he said, anxious, and the rest of them nodded. “Just say which ones. If there’s any array or anything – or if you want us to write an essay about why using resentful energy is dangerous and wrong –”
Even Wei Wuxian nodded at that – even Nie Huaisang nodded, and he hated essays more than anything.
Lan Qiren huffed lightly. “Now you’re all so obedient.”
They all bowed their heads.
“…you did a good job,” Lan Qiren finally said, and they all looked up to stare at him. “You rescued me and repelled the Wen sect, however temporarily. Even though you used demonic cultivation, which is forbidden, you did not purposefully disturb graves, and you can make recompense to the spirits later. It was well done, and I thank you for it.”
He noticed that they were gaping and frowned at them.
“What have I taught you?” he scolded, and he sounded enough like he normally did that Wei Wuxian had the sudden urge to burst into totally inexplicable tears. “The preservation of human life is the priority, always. Why is this a surprise?”
“Shufu is right,” Lan Wangji said, and there was something of peace and calm in his eyes, the foundation of his world steady and unfaltering – he was almost glowing with it, satisfied and happy, and he was so utterly beautiful in Wei Wuxian’s eyes that it was almost blinding. “We acknowledge Teacher’s words.”
“We acknowledge Teacher’s words,” everyone else quickly agreed.
Lan Qiren shook his head, nodding in appreciation. “What is your next step now?” he asked. “The Wen sect was only repulsed, not defeated. They will not be gone long – they are already regrouping outside our gate, and this time they will be prepared for the effects of your demonic cultivation. In the end, they still have the advantage of numbers.”
“I don’t think we got as far as that in our plan,” Wei Wuxian said, rubbing the back of his head.
His thinking had mostly stopped at get Teacher Lan back and make them pay. He was pretty sure the same was true for Lan Wangji, and probably all the rest of the, too.
“Maybe you didn’t,” Nie Huaisang said with a sniff, and damnit, Wei Wuxian really needed to stop underestimating him just because he was a bad cultivator and a bit empty-headed. “I, on the other hand, sent a message back to my da-ge way back when this first started, and he should be here very soon with an army of his own.”
There were those in the Jiang sect that liked to mock the Nie sect as being unduly paranoid, always preparing for war and speaking grimly of its inevitability, always training their disciples and soldiers as if each one of them would need to fight five or ten of the enemy at once.
If Wei Wuxian ever met any of those people ever again, he was going to punch them in the face.
“Just be sure to get your sect ready when you get back,” Nie Mingjue advised them all grimly when it was all done and Wen Xu’s head was stuck on a pike at the entrance to the Cloud Recesses as a warning. The Nie sect’s forces were smaller than the Wen sect’s invasion force, but their people were better trained; even after flying all the way from Qinghe, they’d come down on the remaining invasion force like a hammer. “This isn’t over, not by a long shot.”
“We understand. There is still war to come.”
“Not just war, but uneven and unbalanced war, and not in our favor,” Nie Mingjue said heavily. “Understand that even with this loss, the forces of all the cultivation world put together can’t match up to the armies under Wen Ruohan’s command.”
“Actually,” Lan Qiren said, and gave all of his students a pointed look, probably on account of the fact that they all still owed him the essay they'd promised to write, “I think you’ll find that there’s something more that we can add…”
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The Letter Game (in full)
Many have asked to read last week’s letter game in a slightly simpler format. So here it is, for everyone’s enjoyment in plain text, under the cut. The action takes place between Chain of Gold and Chain of Iron. Read on . . .
To all and sundry—
The leaves are changing, and with them the season. It grows colder in London by the day, and even without the pestilence that recently ravaged us, even without demons breathing down our necks, cold with chill—now is the time for all good Shadowhunters to come to one another’s aid, and support one another in that most hallowed Nephilim tradition: song and dance.
So, a Musicale! The Townsends are pleased to invite the Enclave, in toto, to our West End home this Friday’s eve. Refreshments will of course be served, but the entertainment will be provided by you, our esteemed guests and friends. We would be so honored if you would help us welcome the coming of winter by bringing your most excellent capers and ballads, to keep us warm.
Grahame and Millie Townsend
2: Lucie » Cordelia
Cordelia, my sister, the very twin of my own heart,
Can you believe the Townsends’ invitation? How pretentious can one be, I ask you! It took all four Herondales an hour of discussion to conclude that “Friday’s eve” meant simply Friday evening rather than the eve before Friday (that is, Thursday). And is the demons or our necks that are meant to be cold with chill? “Cold with chill!” As a writer of words—no, even only as a reader of words—I am offended.
I digress, however. I write to ask whether you will be attending, as that will be significant to my own decision of whether to go. I asked James, and he was unenthused but “supposed” that “we must.” So I wish to let you know that if you don’t fancy attending, I believe James could be easily convinced. But, as unpleasant a night as it promises, I fear he may be correct that “we must.” You and he, after all, must do the social rounds as a betrothed pair, and I—well, I can hardly sit alone in my bedroom all night while all my friends witness Catherine Townsend’s cold-blooded murder of “O mio babbino caro.”
So whatever your preference, I will be amenable. We can put on our frills and watch the most foolish of our set warble and prance, and at least we will have each other’s company and champagne. Or, if you’d prefer, tea and draughts in the Institute parlour. I am yours to command, my warrior-sister.
(I have realized only at this moment that perhaps you not only wish to attend but to perform yourself; if that is the case, I retract all previous mentions of warbling in favor of my unconditional enthusiastic support. I will even accompany you, if you wish, but I am not very good at the spinnet so please, something fairly slow would be best.)
Yours ever across the still waters of time and space,
3: Ariadne » Anna
Dear Miss Lightwood,
I expect that you will have received the same invitation to the Townsends’ Musicale that the rest of the Enclave has. I write with the question of whether it’s your intention to attend, and to say that I hope that you will, and that I hope to see you there.
It’s not your sort of party, of course—dull, bourgeois, and stuffy, I imagine you’d say—but since as the daughter of the Inquisitor I am rarely able to appear at the more lively gatherings that you prefer, I do plan to attend myself, much as I would rather be elsewhere. (At one of those lively gatherings, perhaps?) Catherine will have my head if I am not there to keep her mother out of her hair, for one thing, and for another…well, I wish to see you.
I have it on fairly good authority that your brother and his roisterous band, or whatever they call themselves, are planning to be there. So I also write to implore you to come so that a cooler head will be present and any explosions, or implosions, or indeed bedlam of any kind, will be, if not prevented, at least more easily contained and cleaned up after.
For the event I am thinking of a dress I have, in a deep ruby color, with a rather striking neckline. I am no great judge of my own appearance, but I do know your taste and I daresay you will find it flatters me. For your part, I hope you will wear those pinstriped trousers you have. You have not worn them in an age, and I miss them, or rather, I miss how elegantly you wear them.
In short, I hope to see you there.
I know it is not your habit to keep letters from admirers, but rather to use them to kindle your fireplace. Perhaps that will be the destiny of this note as well, but I believe not. I come to you not as an admirer, after all, but as a friend, and one who wishes you all the best things in the world—
4: Anna » Matthew
Matthew, I have instructed the courier bringing you this note to evaluate your sobriety and, if it is found wanting, to slap you across the face twice. Straighten up and pay attention, you debauched fool. It’s still breakfast-time. And this is important.
Are you going to the Townsends’ musicale?
Let me rephrase: if you know what’s good for you, you will be going to the Townsends’ musicale.
I hope to enjoy your company there, of course, as my friend and companion. But also, to be frank, I will need the support. My night was free and so I told them I would be there, but I wasn’t thinking, and now I’ve received a note from one A.B., letting me know in no uncertain terms that she will definitely be attending as well. It will be a large gathering, no doubt, and most of our time will be spent watching Thoby Baybrook chase after the juggling-balls he keeps dropping during his performance, rather than close-quarters socializing. But—and I trust in your confidence on this matter—I find I flutter with nerves. Imagine. I never flutter!
I hope I can count on you. I am not usually in the business of begging favors. However, this is an unusual situation. Matthew: she will be wearing the burgundy dress.
5: Ariadne » Matthew
To Matthew Fairchild—
All right, I’ve sent the letter. Against my better judgment, I should add. It seems more likely to drive her away than to attract her, to be honest, but you have her confidence in ways that I no longer do. If you think she is more likely to be there as a result, I will trust in your plan.
I am fully aware that under most circumstances neither she nor you would be found as such a dreary party as an Enclave-wide musicale. (Nor would I, but as the daughter of the, et cetera et cetera, I hardly need to tell you.) So let this note serve as, not a threat, but a promise: if you even think about ditching the party for one of your Downworlder orgies, or whatever your usual scene, and you leave me and her to awkward politesse over stale canapes without showing up yourself…I will follow you to the ends of the Earth and your life will be forfeit. Forfeit, Fairchild. I daresay I can best you in a duel three times out of four, but also be assured I am very good with a dagger in the dark.
I look forward to enjoying this merry entry in the social season with you. I will see you there.
6: Matthew » Cordelia
No, that won’t do at all. There are already other C’s. Christopher, for instance. Also Caiaphas, a werewolf from whom I sometimes purchase wine. (He has an excellent nose, you see.)
Cordelia Carstairs, you need not worry about the Townsends’ party. First, none of Our Lot are planning to perform at all, but merely hang back and watch the festivities while imbibing and filling seats. You certainly shouldn’t worry that you’ll be asked to dance as you did at the Ruelle. This will not be the Ruelle. It will be far more insipid.
I’m sure J is focused entirely on your responsibilities as an engaged couple to make the rounds and be seen by the whey-faced provincials of the Enclave. He is correct, as always, the bastard, but he worries too much. Rest assured that we Thieves will be concocting a plan in which we are able to (1) have a good time at the most boring gathering of the season and (2) not miss cake. (I don’t know if you have had cake at the Townsends’. They are a tedious family, but their cook is some kind of confection-obsessed elf who performs great conjurings with spun sugar and buttercream.) (Yes, he really is an elf, I think. Or Catherine was having me on. His ears are fairly pointed, in any event.)
I do not particularly anticipate this musicale with great pleasure, but I do, of course, anticipate the opportunity to spend time in your presence with great relish. Truly, my parabatai could not have picked a more suitable bride with whom to be mutually bored to tears at parties for years to come. I suggest that for this one you bring a flask to tuck into your reticule. If you don’t, worry not; I will bring two. At least two.
I remain, as always, yours sincerely, etc etc,
7: James » Thieves
CONFIDENTIAL—DO NOT DISTRIBUTE—ON PAIN OF TORTURE—THIS MEANS YOU
Merriest of Thieves,
After extensive discussion, we’ve reached consensus (or as close as we will come) on our plan for Having Fun At the Townsends’ Musicale Even Though It Is a Musicale Hosted By the Townsends. (A variety of alternate names were proposed, but all have been vetoed by the plan’s organizer, that is, myself. Please do not continue to send proposed names, Matthew.)
Our esteemed colleague Christopher has, it seems, been working in his spare time on a new method of rapidly sending written messages without the use of couriers. Instead, messages are sent with a combination of runes (so bring your steles) and a propellant of Christopher’s own invention. I’m told that the technique is not yet flawless, but Mr Lightwood reports that it is ready to be shown and tested, and what better place than a party at which missing the main entertainment would be not disappointing, but rather a great relief.
Down a corridor from the Townsends’ main parlour is a small games room. I say games room, but in truth it is empty of games, and nobody ever uses it. It is windowless and a bit close, but mostly empty of furnishings and a suitable location for a scientific demonstration. Even better, the corridor itself departs the parlour with a dog-leg, and once one has passed around the corner, one is invisible to the notice of the other partygoers. (See attached floor plan of the first storey of the house; thanks to TL for his freehand drafting skills.)
This plan assumes that none of you are planning to perform in the musicale itself; if this is not the case, then MF wishes me to remind you both of your loyalties and to the overall philistine-like qualities of most of the guests.
Surely this will provide sufficient entertainment to get us all through the evening.
The party is only one days away, so if there are any questions about this plan, please hiss them to me sotto voce tomorrow night while Millie Townsend is performing her murder ballads.
Courage, half a league, half a league onward, and so on,
PS: For those whose main draw to this party is Morgaint’s famous Victoria sponge, Christopher assures me that we should be done well in time for dessert. (I should add a warning that it should not be referred to as a Victoria sponge within earshot of Morgaint, as he will lecture you at length about the recipe’s preceding Victoria by centuries, the history of confection in pre-Roman Britain, and so on. He is very temperamental, even for a faerie.)
8: Thomas » Alastair
Dear Mr Carstairs—
We have not spoken in many weeks, presumably as a result of the unfortunate circumstances under which we last met. Nevertheless, I write this evening to extend my wishes for your family’s continued health and good fortune.
As I’m sure you know, this Friday marks an Enclave-wide social event at the home of the Mr and Mrs Townsend. I know that your sister will be in attendance, with her fiancé. The Lightwoods—Eugenia, Anna, Christopher, and myself—are also planning to be there. And, of course, we expect the family of our esteemed Consul, including both of her sons, to make an appearance.
Shall we expect to see you there? I ask merely because if so, I will not be attending. I understand that as your family will be there you have every right to attend, so I am happy to be the one who bows out of the evening.
Mr T. Lightwood
9: Alastair » Thomas
I am amazed and impressed by the effrontery of you writing to me to ask whether I will be attending an event only to them tell me that if I attend, you will not. No doubt you are feeling aggrieved about the last time we met. Well, so am I. Jests and pranks from our schoolboy years are hardly a good enough reason for the kind of public humiliation I suffered, both from Matthew Fairchild’s rude outburst and your own. The very thought of attending a party with the likes of you sends me into a mixture of, on the one hand, paroxysms of helpless laughter, and on the other, a thumping headache of barely contained fury that I
[letter discarded, not sent]
Thank you for your kind letter. I am, of course, aware of the upcoming affair at the home of the Townsends, through the usual means of receiving my own request to attend. It would seem to me obvious that I had no need of being informed about the party as though I would otherwise be ignorant of it. Unlike some of the London Shadowhunter families, the Townsends have only ever been courteous to the Carstairs family, and the implication that I wouldn’t have received exactly the same invitation that you did is exactly the kind of nonsense that
[letter discarded, not sent]
I won’t be attending the Townsends’ musicale, as I am already committed to a preferable previous engagement cleaning out the pigeon cages in the Regent’s Park Zoo.
Thank you for thinking of me.
Receipt of your letter is hereby acknowledged.
I don’t know why you would write to me at all, but please do not write back to try to explain.
[letter discarded, not sent]
I do want to apologize, I have tried to apologize, but every time I come near you a wall of your friends prevents me from doing so. You can hardly hold it against me that I have not apologized when you will not allow me to do so. Yes, I know what I did rises far above the level of a jest or a prank. But one must be allowed to make amends somehow, for otherwise what is there? Hopelessness? Not I suppose that you care much what I feel. Just because you are beloved of your friends, and ridiculously tolerably handsome, you think —
[Letter discarded, not sent]
10: Cordelia » James
Do you need rescuing? Everyone is in the games room for Christopher’s demonstration, even Thomas, who has spent most of the evening hiding from my brother. You on the other hand have been waylaid in the corner with Mrs Whatshername. I tried to get close enough to intervene but was swept away myself by Mr Townsend, who wanted to tell me about his travels in the Levant when he was a younger man. Could not tell if he was confused about my family’s origins or he simply assumed anyone would be fascinated by his tales of camels and pyramids. Anyway, M suggests he could interrupt and scold you for ignoring your betrothed. Lucie says you are ignoring your betrothed, but don’t listen to her, I know you are far too polite to interrupt a member of the older set. (If you yourself remember, please remind me of her name when you come.)
Come as soon as you can. Do not allow Mrs Whatshername to follow you.
11: Christopher » Thieves
To: James, Lucie, Matthew, Thomas, Cordelia, Anna, Ariadne
In an ideal world, I would have been able to send you this note through this very technique I am demonstrating tonight, but it does make a fairly loud bang, and I thought that would likely give the game away. Though I wish to not allow social proprieties to impede the progress of science, I have been reminded by several of you that discretion can be the better part of valor. Although I admit I can’t think of any personal examples where that would be the case.
In the games room I have piled a supply of protective spectacles, which I suggest you wear. There is no danger of damage to your eyes, but there may be some very bright flashes. In addition, the propellant which I will be using to send the message is an experimental mixture, similar to those I have tried in the past but not exactly the same. There is a very very small chance that inhalation of its fumes may cause some temporary effects to the mind, so I recommend that you hold a handkerchief over your nose and mouth during the demonstration. To be clear, I don’t think that any of these effects would have any negative impact on our ability to return to the party and attend the musical performances afterwards. At worst, it may make those performances seem more enjoyable than they would otherwise.
12: James » Townsends
Dear Mr and Mrs Townsend,
On behalf of myself, my family, my fiancée, and my fellows, I wished to extend sincerest apologies for departing your lovely gathering without saying proper goodbyes. Your musicale was, as all would have expected, a smashing success, with performances across the board demonstrating the falsehood of the common claim that the Nephilim are unable to produce works of art. Surely your daughter Catherine’s rendition of Puccini’s famous aria could stand alongside the finest professionals to be found in the Royal Albert Hall.
As you discovered along with the rest of the guests, Christopher Lightwood wished to use the opportunity of having us all present to demonstrate the state of his newest invention. I’m told that when it is completed, it will utterly revolutionize the way that Shadowhunters are able to communicate with one another, obviating the need for the runners, couriers, and use of the mundane Royal Mail to send messages to one another. Instead we will have a fully self-contained rune-based method. Surely anyone would agree that such a development would be well worth whatever growing pains the process of invention and experimentation might create.
As you also discovered, Mr Lightwood’s demonstration took an unexpected turn, with a good amount of his customized propellant being released into your games room and corridors. Luckily, it was a mild evening, and open windows as well as the vigorous fanning of the doors by Thomas Lightwood and Ariadne Bridgestock quickly dispersed the gasses.
That said, neither I nor my companions are able to account for an interval of roughly ninety minutes between the end of the demonstration and our departure from your house. To that end, it seems that we were sadly lacking in good manners by failing to thank you for your warm hospitality at the time. Again, please accept our deepest apologies, and our thanks for that hospitality, even if it has been delivered discourteously late.
13: Matthew » James
Good Lord, what was in that stuff of Christopher’s? Do you know if there will be any lasting effects? I hesitate to ask Kit, he seems too dismayed.
Also, I am trying to find out to whom exactly I owe an apology for specific behaviors that might have happened after the demonstration. I seem to have lost more than an hour from my memory, as well as my waistcoat and a garnet ring of which I was quite fond. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.
14: Lucie » James
I have been expecting to hear from Matthew, but as it has been most of a day and I haven’t yet, can you please let him know that I will make myself available to be apologized to during teatime, either tomorrow or the next day. Please also tell him that I will be sending along a bill for the costs of cleaning arrack out of the skirt of my dress. For such a prodigious consumer of spirits, you would think he would have learned not to slosh them around so much when he talks. I suppose Christopher’s propellant takes some of the blame, but honestly, Shadowhunters are trained in agility and dexterity and even under the influence of one of Christopher’s experiments he should be able to, at very least, not slosh so.
15: Cordelia » Anna
The last hour or so of the party was something of a blur for all of us, I think. But I feel confident in assuring you that both you and Ariadne acted with all due propriety, and that at no point did you “make an ass of yourself,” as you put it, either out among all the guests or in the games room.
Also, when next you speak to Ariadne, please compliment her on her lovely dress. It suited her quite well! I wondered if you were responsible for finding it for her? You do have such an excellent eye for what colors and cuts will flatter.
Anyway, do not worry. I have made some private inquiries, and nobody took note of any unusual behavior on the part of either yourself or Miss Bridgestock. (In fact, Rosamund seemed to be under the impression that you were shamelessly flirting with her. I can confirm that you were not and that Rosamund simply has an odd way about her.)
Are we still on for tea Wednesday? Let me know if not and otherwise I will see you then.
16: Townsends » Everybody
For the attention of:
On behalf of not just our own family, but the parental generation of the Enclave more generally, we wish to communicate our displeasure with your behavior at our soirée on Friday’s eve. You are all adults or near-enough, under Nephilim Law, and so you should be held to account as any adults would be. And you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Given the influence had by many of your families, and the small size of the London Enclave, we cannot bar you from all of our future events. If only we could. We will, however, be more careful in future about shutting off access to rooms in our house that are not intended for use by party guests.
Rather than taking the time to craft individual complaints, we hereby itemize the most obvious of our grievances, so that you may all have your behavior exposed to one another. Certainly none of you deserve to have your actions kept private.
Alastair: We were glad to see you eventually arrive, though there is a wide difference between “fashionably late” and the hour you appeared. (Just in time for the desserts, we note.) Also, the song you performed was highly inappropriate for the ladies present, especially the unmarried ones, such as our daughter, and also your own sister.
Lucie: While we have always supported your hobby of writing down entertaining tales, and we understand that the storyteller’s art does involve artistic creativity, your ongoing, strident, melodramatic narration of the events following the Christopher Lightwood Incident was not appreciated by us or, especially, Mrs Rosewain, who you referred to throughout as “Mrs Whatshername.”
James: Your interruption of the cake serving to declare your undying devotion to your true love was a gallant gesture. It might, however, have gone over better had you not pledged your troth to a portrait in oils of our ancestral matriarch, Frideswide Townsend. Your taste is admirable, of course, and she was considered a great beauty. It is unfortunate for your affections that she passed away in the late sixteenth century.
Anna: We would thank you to come by and pick up your brother from our house at some point. He has been muttering to himself, fiddling with a pencil and paper, and threatening “another test, much improved.” Please retrieve him post-haste.
Thomas: We don’t know how you made the acquaintance of that vampire who attempted to accompany all of the performers on his dulcimer, but he is not welcome back to our house, and if we see him again, neither are you.
Matthew: Whatever was in that bottle you were plying to my mother, we only found her this morning, napping on our roof. When we woke her she said it was of a greenish color and asked for more of it. We would be obliged if you could bring another bottle by, at your convenience.
Cordelia: Your demonstration of the supernatural sharpness of your sword was very impressive, even if it was not in the spirit of the kinds of performance we expected for a musicale. It is, however, not all that surprising that it was able to cut through our drapes, a dining-room chair, or the sponge cake. We spoke to your brother, and he suggested that we should feel free to send an invoice for replacement costs to the Herondale family, since soon enough you will be their trouble, and not his.
In short, you have all behaved abominably, and are, each and every one of you, embarrassments to your various hallowed family names.
We hope you will join us the Thursday after next, for boating and luncheon in Hyde Park.
Mr and Mrs Graham Townsend
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