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actress4him · 6 hours ago
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In Irons 4 - Punishment
(Prompt #3 for Summer of Whump)
If a little bit of this seems familiar, it’s because I mixed what was originally Whumpay Day 9 in. I liked that drabble, and it’s what started this whole series, but it didn’t work perfectly as is and was super short. This chapter, on the other hand, ended up being really long!
Taglist: @darthsutrich , @a-series-of-whumpy-events , @ladydani101
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Warnings: lady whumpee (male whumper), imprisonment, restraints, starvation, dehydration, brief mention of noncon touch, brief emeto mention, hallucinations
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. The sound of footsteps on the wooden steps wakes Adelaide from a restless, uncomfortable sleep. Lifting her head off the dirty floor, where she had finally resigned herself to settle when she couldn’t stay sitting up any longer, she blinks and squints at the figure coming into the brig. His face is obscured by the light from the lantern he’s holding. Adelaide quickly uses her manacled hands to shove herself upright, then decides even that’s not enough to make her feel safe and wobbles to her feet. 
The man comes closer, setting the lantern down just outside her cell so that she can finally make out his face. It’s Marshall. So far he’s never treated her unkindly, but that was before he knew her secret. Besides, he carries out the Captain’s orders, so he could very well be there to take her to her doom. 
For a moment they remain silent. He stares at her, as if trying to reconcile her outward appearance with the knowledge he now holds. Not that there’s much hiding it now, not with her shirt still gaping open. She hadn’t been able to twist her hands around to rebutton it.
“Thought you might need some food and water,” he says finally, holding out a flask and a sliver of bread between the bars of her cell.
She glances down at the offering, and back up at his face. “How...how long has it been?” She doesn’t bother to deepen her voice this time, but the way it rasps in her throat doesn’t sound the most feminine, anyway.
Marshall gives her a look that she might would call sympathetic if she didn’t know better. “About a day.”
Nodding slowly, she eyes the bread again, not sure if she should trust it. “And has the Captain reached a decision on what is to be done with me?”
“Not yet. I’ve mentioned to him that ‘twas Adams and me that brought you aboard, and that you probably continued the ruse for self-preservation.” He shrugs. “If you’re lucky it might sway him to be more lenient. Captain hates being lied to, though.”
He had...spoken up for her? That’s certainly unexpected. 
Adelaide runs her tongue over her dry bottom lip, listening to the water slosh in the flask as he speaks. He must notice, because he holds both it and the bread out once again. 
“Here, take this. You’re gonna need it. Captain...doesn’t exactly know I’m doing this, so don’t say anything to anyone about it.”
Finally she walks forward, still a bit unsteady on her feet but trying her best to hide it, and takes the food and water. She feels awkward, unsure what to do or say, but settles on nodding and whispering, “Thank you.”
Clearing his throat, Marshall steps back and nods once, as well. “Alright. Well. Just...just slide that flask over toward the stairs when you’re done with it, that way if anyone else comes down they won’t think it’s yours. I’ll pick it up whenever I come back.” Without waiting for a reply, he bends down, picks up the lantern, and turns to disappear back up the staircase.
He doesn’t end up coming down to see her again until her fate has been decided. Adelaide nibbles at the stale bread and makes the water last as long as she can, obediently disposing of the flask when it’s empty and sitting back down to wait some more in the endless silence and darkness. By her best guess, another day has passed when more footsteps traverse the stairs. But when Marshall returns, he brings another man with him, and that’s when she knows it’s time to really be afraid.
The bright sunlight is nearly blinding as she’s escorted up onto the deck, ankles free but wrists still bound. It’s a beautiful day, though. The sea is calm this afternoon. Gentle. The kind of sea that makes sailing easy, makes her feel like she’s out there for leisure, not being forced into laboring for filthy pirates.
Adelaide tries to enjoy it, even as Captain Payne sneers at her and orders the men to bring her toward the bow. There’s no telling if and when she’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful day like this again.
The edge of the ship and the water loom ever nearer, and she has half a mind to start struggling, to fight to get away from the rail, but she knows it would do her no good. She can’t even stop walking, the men on either side of her propelling her ever forward with their vice grips on her arms.
“There,” the Captain orders, pointing. “Make sure it’s good and tight.”
Suddenly she’s shoved back, away from the water. Her back collides with something hard. Before she can process what’s happening, Marshall and the other man are working together to wind rope round and round her torso, pinning her to what she’s realized is the frontmost mast of the ship.
So she’s not being thrown overboard. That doesn’t make her feel more than marginally better, not when she still doesn’t know what is being done to her.
The two men finish their job, tying the rope off in one of their expert knots, and Marshall produces a key to remove the shackles from her wrists. It’s a relief to have those gone, at least, though she wishes she could move her arms in order to massage the sore skin left behind. The rope is tight, just as ordered, only barely loose enough to not cut off her blood flow. The thick fabric of her coat keeping it from digging into her skin and rubbing it raw is the only thing making it bearable.
There’s nothing, however, to keep the Captain’s spittle from landing on her face when he leans in to sneer at her.
“You’ll learn quickly that I don’t tolerate deceit of any kind on my ship.” She’s smelled many foul things in her time aboard this ship, but his breath may win the top spot. “You’ll stay right here for three days. If you’re good and don’t put up a fuss, I might let Marshall give you some water once or twice.”
She won’t give him the satisfaction of speaking, but she does level a steady, defiant glare back at him. The punishment scares her. She can’t deny that. She’s already weak from the last two days in the cell with very little to eat and drink. But he won’t see her break.
He takes another step closer, and she refuses to flinch. “And if you think that seems brutal…” He chuckles darkly. “Try crossin’ me again. Then you’ll see brutal.”
She wants to protest that she didn’t cross him, it wasn’t him she was originally aiming to fool, and technically no one on this ship ever asked her if she was a female. Instead she presses her lips tighter together and keeps her gaze out on the horizon as he walks away.
The evening goes by slowly. Her face is quickly chapped by the ever present wind that she can hardly turn away from, her eyes dried out by the same. Her stomach rumbles with hunger. That small slice of bread is the only thing she’s eaten in two days, and while she’s had to get used to much sparser rations ever since coming onto the ship, this is far worse. 
Once the sun sinks below the horizon to her right, the temperature rapidly drops. The crew dwindles down to just the nighttime shift, leaving the ship in near silence. She can hear the slapping of the water against the hull. It gives her something to focus on, something other than the shivers that rack her body and the dryness of her lips. She even manages to be lulled into a kind of half-awake, unthinking state, though she doesn’t actually sleep until morning when the air starts to warm again. Then her sleep is fitful, frequently interrupted by the sounds of the morning crew going about their duties. 
If she thought the evening and night dragged on, the next day is much worse. Hunger gnaws at her stomach and her lips are even more chapped. Adelaide can feel herself growing weaker as time goes on, slumping further into the ropes, head lolling forward from time to time without her permission. It’s becoming harder, too, to distract herself from her misery. 
When Marshall appears in what must be the early afternoon, she nearly sobs with relief. The small flask he holds is quite possibly the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen. Without speaking, he unscrews the lid and holds it up to her lips, and glorious water washes across them and into her parched mouth. She doesn’t even care that it’s stale and luke-warm, it’s heavenly.
Marshall pulls the flask away after only a few seconds, and she’s so upset by the loss that she accidentally whines, though she quickly cuts off the embarrassing sound. He offers her a half-smile.
“Not too fast. We don’t want you vomiting it all back up.”
He’s right, that’s one of the most terrible things she can think of happening right now. Adelaide nods, regretting it when her head throbs, and keeps her eyes averted from his. He lifts the flask again, and she relishes every second she gets. All too soon, she’s having to turn her head to the side so that she can tip it further back, Marshall following the motion until the last drops are drained. 
Replacing the cap, he turns to leave as silently as he came. Before she fully knows what she’s doing, Adelaide calls out after him. “Stay!”
When he looks back over his shoulder at her, brow furrowed, she drops her voice to a near whisper, cutting her eyes away again. “Please? Can you...would you…? I…” Her chin drops down toward her chest. “I feel like I’m going to lose my mind.”
From the corner of her eye, she sees him lean to the side, probably looking over the rest of the ship, maybe even gauging the Captain’s position, before he steps back closer to her. He, too, speaks in a low voice. “I’m sorry. I cannot. Not without getting myself in trouble and you in even more trouble.”
With that, he’s gone, leaving her to the sun and the wind and her own thoughts again.
On the second night she manages to doze despite the chill in the air. The second day, however, is the most miserable thing she’s ever experienced in her young life. As they travel farther south the days had been growing ever warmer, but this is by far the warmest day yet. The sun bears down on them all, but while the men shed their coats - and some even their shirts - she has no such option. Her throat is impossibly dry, her lips crack painfully. Running her tongue across them does little to moisten them and leaves a bitter iron taste in her mouth. The brightness of the sun makes her head pound even harder than before, and from time to time strange colors dance in her vision.
She’d cry if she could, but her eyes feel as dry as the rest of her.
This time when Marshall approaches she can’t stop herself from begging, though her voice rasps horribly. “Please, please, I need...I...please…” It doesn’t even make any sense, but he garners the urgency, regardless, and brings the flask to her as quickly as possible. Calloused fingers slide under her chin, as if he’s unsure whether or not she can keep her head up on her own. She’s grateful. She’s unsure of just the same thing.
He forces her to take it slowly once again, and she squeezes her eyes shut in between gulps, trying to savor the water as much as trying to block out the sun’s rays. When the water is gone, though, and Marshall begins to screw the lid back on, she opens them, blearily, to look at him. His coat is missing and his shirt is unbuttoned. She’d blush if she had the energy.
“I don’t...I don’t think I can…”
He gives her that half-smile again. She thinks maybe it’s a sympathetic smile, but she’s really in no condition to judge such a thing. “It’s only one more day. You’ll make it.”
That night her mind is filled with nonsensical thoughts and imaginings of people she knows for certain aren’t there at the time. Her husband’s face morphs into the Captain’s and back again. Her parents stand to the side and tell her what a good match it is, Marshall tells her she’ll make it, all while the Captain gropes her and berates her for not having children and Charles pulls the rope around her tighter, tighter, until she can’t breathe and can’t feel her limbs. She’s not sure whether she’s awake or asleep for any of it, she just wants it to end.
The third day passes without her really being aware of it. One moment it’s nighttime, the next the sun is climbing up into the sky, burning at her skin once again, and the next she’s falling, ropes finally gone, body collapsing to the deck without anything to stop it.
“Permission to take her to her bunk and get her some food, sir?” she hears, barely, as if from a great distance away.
Perhaps the permission is granted, perhaps not. All she knows is that she’s picked up, hefted over a broad shoulder like a weightless sack of flour, and she groans with the change in position and altitude. Again, time passes without her knowing, and when she’s aware of the world again she’s lying in her hammock, in the blessed dimness of the bunk room, and Marshall is there, with another flask and a bowl of something that smells wonderful. 
“Hello there, Miss Gray.” His smile is a bit brighter this time. “You made it.”
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maegister · a day ago
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alright I’m formalizing that House Tilani has five homes (but ofc probably owns other properties)
the ancestral estate in Minrathous where Mae is most often found. it takes the shape of a massive swan suspended over the water by magic which can be lowered onto the water as desired. MASSIVE display of wealth.
one in Qarinus / Ventus where Mae spent most of her childhood and where Athanir spent his.
one on the — y’know the lakes in the area of Qarinus on the map? a home on one of those built to resemble Starkhaven, including constructed waterfalls. not an exact replica but something so close aesthetically that it would ease Sorcha’s expected home sickness. it was a wedding gift from Athanir.
one in the countryside near the Anderfels’ border perfect for rearing dracolisks. certainly the most functional home of the bunch. also the most modest although it’s still damn ostentatious. bought and renovated by Mae.
one in Starkhaven. due to their history as imperial governors of Starkhaven, House Tilani was for a long time unwelcome in the city, but that has changed in at least the past century. their magnificent home on Starkhaven’s upper tier is evidence of that.
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maegister · a day ago
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( enable my rambling // always accepting ) @skyaches​ WROTE: Talk to me about Mae and swans
INTERESTINGLY, SHE DOESN’T MUCH CARE about swans on a personal level. She doesn’t dislike them. They’re beautiful, graceful — but they’re not her favorite animal, y’know? She likes them but doesn’t love them and isn’t personally enthusiastic about them. She’s neutral about birds in general really.
          She does, however, care about House Tilani, and House Tilani is represented by a white swan on a blue field. Their ancestral estate in Minrathous is even shaped like one. She personally leans on the imagery every chance she gets, frequently incorporating feathers (especially swan feathers) into her wardrobe. There are swans all over her possessions, especially if others will see them. She even goes as far as to not only keep swans at most of her properties but to never eat them. Indeed, if one is served to her, she might take offense — or feign offense — despite roast swan being a common dish among the upper class. Certainly, she will decline to partake.
          Her reasons for leaning so heavily on Tilani imagery in every situation is layered, actually. Yes, this is common behavior for upper class families across Thedas, but there’s more to it with her. The moment she came out, all the Imperium declared she would be the ruin of House Tilani. They even considered removing Athanir from the Magisterium over it. But, though Athanir had a learning curve, he never once wavered in his love for his daughter and gave her his full support. In the years since she took his place in the Magisterium, they went from merely saying she would be the ruin of her House to saying she would be the ruin of the whole Imperium, that she was a symptom of the nation’s “degraded morals”, that she defiled all they held dear.
          Yet, House Tilani has never been as powerful or prosperous as it is under her care, and she is at the head of a movement that could very well save the Imperium. Clinging to this imagery is spiteful. She is rubbing it in the faces of her enemies that despite their repeated attempts to ruin her — attempts that included assassinating her husband — she thrives. House Tilani thrives. Most of all, she is rubbing it in their faces that her father loved her. He never disowned her; he never hid her away; he was never ashamed of her. He even fought for her — he, who was the kindest, gentles man alive who wouldn’t even defend himself. He supported her as his heir and apprentice despite it all, and she’ll be damned before anyone takes that from her.
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maegister · a day ago
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( enable my rambling // always accepting ) @skyaches​ WROTE: Is Mae the equivalent of a horse girl because so many of my rich friends are horse girls, it's even funnier if the answer is yes but with dracolisks
THE ANSWER IS ABSOLUTELY “YES but with dracolisks”. Of course House Tilani has used dracolisks to draw carriages and as mounts, but they weren’t deeply involved with them beyond that until Mae.
          Her mother, Sorcha, has never quite liked the beasts and preferred horse-drawn carriages, so it wasn’t until Mae was about six or seven that she finally met one. Her parents took her to the stables to begin riding lessons — had bought her a pony and everything — when she caught a glimpse of glittering scales and toddled over. Sorcha didn’t really want her near the dracolisk, but she was insistent, so Athanir (being weak for his kid) relented. She was absolutely in love.
          It was decided she shouldn’t ride a dracolisk until she was older and more experienced, however. Although they’re widespread among the Imperium’s upper classes, they were intended for use as cavalry mounts, and the majority of breeds retain that spirited nature and dauntless strength. That did not stop her from spending every spare moment around them, learning all she could, and training relentlessly until she’d convinced them she could handle one. She has been deeply in love with them ever since.
          All this having been said, she does not typically have them draw her carriage unless she is making a statement – and I, personally, would say this is always the case when one has dracolisks draw their carriage, despite what canon implies. It’s the equivalent of having your carriage drawn by war horses, after all. That is not their intended purpose; by using them for it regardless, one can only mean to intimidate or indicate they are out for blood.
          Moving on, she does breed dracolisks. This is more of a personal interest rather than a cornerstone of House Tilani’s interests. Still, she’s provided mounts for Tevinter’s cavalry on occasion, and her stables are the envy of the Imperium. She is a formidable rider herself and would be terrible to face on horseback. She has never been part of the military nor has she had any desire to be, but she prides herself on her mastery of staff-less magic and could stand with Thedas’ finest mounted combatants. She lacks only battle experience (which she is not eager to acquire, although she wouldn’t shirk from it if necessary). Though she typically favors small throwing knives, her lethal aim has lent itself well to mastery of the bow, and this is the weapon she favors from horseback — or, well, dracoliskback?
          “What does she do with this skill?” you ask. Revels in it, mostly. Again, she’s not a soldier nor does she have any desire to be. She’s also not a hunter, although she has partaken in hunts. It’s more skill she prides herself on having, particularly as it sets her apart from other Magisters.
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maegister · 2 days ago
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speaking in terms of my thoughts on the Lucerni — and this is something I will write about in detail at some point — they were ostensibly formed in response to the Venatori. it began with Mae and her allies opposing the cult in the Imperium during DA:I, and when she got Dorian on board, they were able to become an established political faction. naming the Venatori their enemies gives them a foothold despite the unpopularity of their platform and members, and they vault off of that to root out corruption in general, for the Venatori are symptomatic of widespread issues already in existence. they’re largely concerned with gross misuse of magic and personal ambition that threatens the stability of the Imperium — and really overall are concerned with facing the fact that it is on the brink and pulling it back. abuse of the lower classes also enters this, and sometime after Trespasser, that includes abolition of slavery.
I will note, however, that there is a strong possibility for corruption, as there always is. right now, the Lucerni are the good guys, the reformers, the ones fighting for right. however, if they become too powerful and too self-righteous, you could end up with parallels to real world witch hunts and red scares.
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Tarsi for the OC asks!
10. What lie do they most frequently remember telling? Does it haunt them?
F) What do you feel when you think of your OC (pride, excitement, frustration, etc)?
10. …You had to pick the almost silent character didn’t you?
So, Tarsi doesn’t tell a lot of lies. But he does strongly remember the last major lie he told. Earlier on the day of the raid on the South Pole, he told his parents he was going to help out some of the elders in the village. He was actually going on a secret hunting expedition with some of the other boys in the village. By the time they saw the black snow and turned back, it was too late to help anything. Both his parents were killed in the raid
So, the last thing he told his parents was a lie.
I don’t know if it haunts him per se, it might have at some point earlier on, but overall he’s a lot more conciseness of what he says because of it.
F) My emotional status with Tarsi is usually something like bemused. My OCs are very much my wild cards, Tarsi especially. Because he doesn’t talk a lot it’s harder to connect with him than some of the others. He started out as Videk’s sidekick (it took so many scenes he was in before I got a single word out of him) but he’s slowly developed into his own person with a backstory and will of his own.
Whenever there is a moment for him to say something, it’s a few words that can sometimes change the course of a scene. He’s a really fun exploration for me into the concept of less is more.
Needless to say, there’s a lot going on in his head that we never get to hear.
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ziander · 2 days ago
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I sent off some Polaroids bought by one of you today and holy crap do I love you people 🥺🥺
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ilikeballgaggedgirls · 2 days ago
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Looks like she is tying to ask something….
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ilikeballgaggedgirls · 3 days ago
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ilikeballgaggedgirls · 3 days ago
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ilikeballgaggedgirls · 3 days ago
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ilikeballgaggedgirls · 3 days ago
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ilikeballgaggedgirls · 3 days ago
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iwannafknkms · 6 days ago
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i don't understand people who can torture animals for fun. and i hate those people so much that i just wanna take them and cut them up from crotch to throat. god they dont deserve to live and i truly want every person like that to die. torture each other worthless fucks instead of innocent animals. my heart truly breaks and i feel sick
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