#2037

here is your trident and here is your scepter

“Miss Draye,” the captain removed his hat politely as he approached the group of women clustered on deck, “I must ask you ladies to stay below for your own safety. The deck of a ship in battle is no place for a woman.” Victoria Draye, bravest and boldest of the young women traveling on the Valiant, pursed her lips and took a step forward to place herself between the captain and the girls.

“I truly appreciate your concern, Captain,” she offered, gesturing out to the ships gathered round their own like vultures, “but it seems you are vastly outnumbered with little hope of victory. We will not sit idly by and wait for our capture; we will succeed in defending our lives in combat or take them beyond the reach of our captors. Now,” she gestured impatiently with the hand not holding her pistol, “have you firearms for my companions or not?”

here is your charm to lure the men closer

“Be brave, my friends,” Victoria handed each girl a borrowed pistol, locking eyes with each for a second of camaraderie and comfort. Some took the proffered weapon stoically, others with much hesitance. She showed them how to load and fire, then pointed out to the circling ships trading cannon fire with the Valiant. “Remember, these are not normal privateers, and if this ship is taken we shall not be freed or ransomed. The fate that awaits us is much, much worse, and it is better to die defending ourselves than to be captured. Do you understand what must be done?” One by one, the girls nodded assent and readied their guns.

here is your kingdom of water and death

“Little girl, you had better set down that pistol or you’ll bleed all over that pretty dress,” The enemy captain, just moments ago congratulating himself on an easy prize, was quickly growing irritated by the young women clustered at the side of the Valiant’s deck. Each held a pistol to ward off the pirates, though clearly only the ringleader knew how to handle one. Still, none of his men would risk a possible lucky shot when they knew the ladies were their’s already.

“If you insist, then I suppose I must obey,” Victoria feigned regret as she carefully placed her pistol on the deck between them. As she rose, she stepped quickly backward to come in line with the other girls, scooping up a small cannonball as she went. Together, as if they had rehearsed it a hundred times, the girls moved back and sat upon the railing. Victoria climbed onto the railing itself, light as a gull. “We shall not be coming with you, though” she said, and before any of the men could move the girls had shot themselves, their bodies falling back into the cold water below. Victoria lifted her chin, stared down the captain, and stepped off into nothing.

here is your vengeance in immortal myth

James struggled to row the launch on his own, though he was still grateful the captain had loaned it without question. Most of the crew knew only bits and pieces of his mad quest, but he had had to tell the entire story to the captain in order to explain why he wanted to go alone. In the distance the ship’s lanterns bobbed and swayed, a comforting presence; besides the gleam of starlight, the tiny launch sat in darkness. James took a deep breath to steady his nerves, then called out softly, “Victoria? …Tori?”

here is your trident and here is your scepter
here is your charm to lure the men closer
here is your kingdom of water and death
here is your vengeance in immortal myth

The water around the launch began to foam and roil. James grasped the sides, searching for the source of the disturbance. Something approached, something from deep in the water…

“Jamey? My little Jamey James, is that you? My, how you’ve grown!”

James spun around. His sister rested her elbows on the edge of the launch, floating as calmly and prettily in the icy water as any sea creature. She looked just as he remembered, though her skin was a pale gray and her dark hair hung in wet strands. He thought something seemed… off… about her torso, too, as if it were much longer than it should be, and her pupils took up far too much of her eyes. Her teeth, too – were they always that sharp?

“Sis…” James let out the breath he had been holding as all around the boat girls rose smiling from the water, all lovely and strange as his sister. He wiped away sudden tears and took his sister’s cold, webbed hand in his own. “How I’ve missed you!”

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#2030

Daren’s hands clench white as he watches the dogfight taking place in the airspace above the military base. The tall windows of his office offer a prime view of the base’s landing strip and the incoming medical transport under fire from enemy aircraft. Despite the planes launched to repel the attack and guide the transport to a safe landing, the sluggish medic aircraft is clearly in trouble; dark smoke pours from one engine and its angle of approach is far too steep

“Colonel, med crews are ready to deploy when necessary,”

Daren doesn’t bother turning from the windows to acknowledge this report, only nods and continues to watch the battle taking place in his skies. When the door clicks shut, he slowly uncurls his shaking hands.

“Col St. Anthony, may I have the pleasure of introducing you to our newest Chief Flight Surgeon?” Daren held back a sigh and prepared for his tenth introduction that night. This was why he avoided military social functions; he could barely stand talking to any of these people on base, let alone after hours. Managing something that approximated a smile closely enough, considering his rank, he turned to face the speaker and their guest. “Of course.”

“Col St. Anthony, this is Dr. Rosenquist. Dr. Rosenquist, this is our esteemed Colonel.”

“St. Anthony?” The doctor held out his hand, and while Daren shook it he waited for the inevitable comment about the battle that made him a household name. Instead, though, Dr. Rosenquist only grinned and said, “I have heard you’re vicious at chess. Perhaps I could bother you for a game some day?” The comment finally snagged Daren’s attention and for the first time he actually looked at the man who gripped his hand with firm confidence. There was a curious shrewdness and humor to the gray-blue eyes staring back at him, and despite his reticence he found himself answering, “Yes, please do.”

Tanim bites back another curse as the plane rocks and swings to one side, sending half the supplies in his kit out of arms’ reach. He can hear the yelling of the pilots and the terrified questions from the rest of his team, but he has no time to glance out a window to see if they’re all doomed or not. His entire attention must remain focused on the patient in front of him and the frustratingly delicate, life-saving surgery that could not wait until landing. For anyone else the lack of steady ground would be enough to stop them from even attempting such a risky procedure, but Tanim remains determined to work until either his patient stabilizes or the plane explodes. Considering how the bloody floor beneath his knees drops and shudders, tilts and sways, Tanim can’t honestly say which might happen first.

“Thank god,” Tanim lets out a long-held breath as his patient’s bleeding finally decreases to a manageable trickle. As he ties off the last suture, the surgeon spares a brief second to glance up and through the cockpit window, where the airstrip rushes up to meet their plummeting plane. He has only enough time to feel a thrill of fear before the two collide.

“Hello, Doctor,” Daren shut the office door behind Tanim and slid home the lock. “You weren’t followed?”

“No, the building’s dead this time of night,” Tanim shrugged out of his coat, tossing it casually over the back of a chair, and came up behind Daren. He slid one arm around the man’s waist, the other over his chest, and held him close. “Hello, sir,” he murmured, pressing his lips to his lover’s neck to feel the heartbeat quickening under Daren’s skin. “Shall we play a round or two, then?”

“I would like that very much,” Daren turned in Tanim’s arms and pulled his head down for a hard, hungry kiss. After this they did not speak at all, lost in the need for mouth against mouth, skin against skin, to forget for a time their location and the illicit nature of their relationship. These clandestine meetings were not even barely enough for either of them, but all they could steal and so they made do. It was something, at least.

Tanim’s first instinct upon regaining consciousness is to locate and identify the pain, but every part of him seems to pulse with the same excruciating agony that scrambles his bleary thoughts. Giving up on any sort of diagnosis, he focuses instead on lifting his heavy eyelids. Even this is a feat, though one he accomplishes after what feels like an eternity. He can’t seem to move his head yet, though, and all he can see is a white ceiling and a dark blur at his side. When the blur moves, he just manages to make out the uniform. He tries to clear his throat but fails and instead quietly croaks, “Daren?”

“Welcome back to the land of the living,” The blur shifts and suddenly Daren comes into focus, his mouth a thin smile that does nothing to hide the worry casting shadows under his eyes. He reaches out and carefully brushes a lock of hair off Tanim’s forehead, then returns to holding Tanim’s hand. “Thought maybe we’d lost you for good.”

“Me too,” Tanim glances around, trying both to avoid the uncharacteristic concern in Daren’s eyes and to hide the pain he knows is obvious in his. “This isn’t the base ICU,” he realizes. “Where am I?”

“I had you moved to a room closer to my quarters. More privacy here,” Daren’s reply sounds careless, even distracted, but Tanim knows him too well. There is something he doesn’t want to say, something that would explain the different pains starting to define themselves; the pain of broken bones, of burned and lacerated skin, struggling lungs and a concussed brain, and beneath it all a deep, endless ache the doctor fears to identify. Instead, he takes a labored breath and asks, “How bad is it?” When Daren turns his face away, mouth set in a grim line, Tanim has his answer.

For a moment neither speaks, letting the room’s machinery fill the grim silence between them. Finally, Daren picks up something from the table next to them and holds it up for Tanim to see: a chess piece. He manages the ghost of a smile. “Want to play a round?”

#2022

So I was digging around my old Tumblr posts and stumbled across something of which I inexplicably have no memory. It was tagged #dreams, so I suppose it was inspired by a dream I had, but even that is drawing a huge blank. Anyway, I was clearly amused by the idea of Mage as Haytham Kenway’s (Grand Master of the Templar Order’s Colonial Rite, duh) daughter and I can’t believe I didn’t do anything more with it. This doesn’t really count as writing, but it needs to be immortalized somewhere.

[Mild Assassins Creed spoilers below]

Just imagine!

Mage as Haytham Kenway’s legitimate daughter, which would basically make her Templar royalty.
Mage wrecking shit up during the Revolutionary War.
Mage killing Assassins for Fun and Profit.
Mage being the child Haytham is super proud of, though even the Templars are a little scared of her.
Mage saying “May the Mother of Understanding guide us” just to piss off the crusty old Templar dudes.
Mage with a British accent??
Mage breaking like every lady’s etiquette rule of the time, much to the offense of almost everyone except for Haytham.
Mage being on the side of the Templars during the Seven Years’ War, yet also highly amused whenever the Assassins accidentally destroy another city.
Mage as captain of the Jolly Roger, fighting alongside Shay on the open sea.
Mage and Shay not really getting along, but playing nice around Dad.
Mage defeating Connor in battle to avenge her father’s death.
Mage becoming Grand Master in Haytham’s place because the other colonial Templars are all useless or dead.
Mage and Haytham father/daughter bonding time: interrogating people and then killing them when they’ve given you all the useful information they know.
Mage in Georgian/Industrial Revolution era clothing, but all black and piratey. Possibly even some sort of hook hand that doubles as a hidden blade?
Mage in Haytham’s kickass cape.
Mage hearing about Haytham shooting Achilles in the knee and being like “my dad is such a softy :)”.
Mage being such a daddy’s girl, but it’s totally understandable because her dad is HAYTHAM MOTHERFUCKING KENYWAY.

#2016

All I remember from the dream is your silver-white hair smooth as silk, the weight of your unseen presence in the room, and the way your clothes clung to your hunched frame as you sat stubbornly smoking in the rain, refusing sympathy, and in this way it was like every other dream, the fleeting recollection of his hand on your face, the dissociation in your black eyes, the desire to remain there on the edge of the drop as long as you are there together, as long as we are there together.

#2010

I dream.

Satan and Lucifer.
Hannibal and Will.
Tanim and Daren.

There is a connection here, one I am almost afraid to explore. These names feel like skins to be taken on and off, or perhaps fine-crafted person suits, while whatever wears them remains the same beneath. I dream of cathedrals turned prisons for wounded rebel angels. I dream of the way things should have gone, of the teacup come back together, only to find it the longing of a comatose mind. I dream of anger and desire and hurt. Of blood and blades and fire; of Heaven and Hell and the long, long fall between.

I do not fear the truth, but I do fear what the truth means – for my understanding of the world and my role within it, and for those to whom I have sworn myself. What do these names mean to you? What are you beneath them? I want to know. I think I’m ready to know.

I guess we’ll see.

#2005

Her family exiled her.
Her friends betrayed her.
The ocean embraced her.

She glides through the frigid water with ease, all shark-smile mouth and long, pale limbs that seem to shift as they sway, maybe arms and legs one moment, maybe tentacles the next, maybe both. The waves whisper to her as they break against the moonlit shore and she replies with a bubbling giggle and a fluid gesture toward land. All around her sinuous body she feels the water respond, heaving and fluctuating as the waves gain momentum until their roaring breakers bury the beach and smash against the road beyond.

She surfaces, looks for her next target. Grins.

The lighthouse.

She is small and yet her tentacled limbs seem endless as they snake through the water and wrap themselves around the weathered tower. Fluid muscles tense and tug; old brick groans and cracks beneath the force. Then with a thunderous grinding the entire structure splinters and collapses, falling outwards into the water in a shower of stone and dust. She gleefully rides the resulting tidal wave as it overtakes the beach, then the road, and smashes into the little town beyond. She then rides the wave as it sucks back out to sea, weaving between thrashing bodies and tumbling debris.

#2000

I
am
searching
searching
searching
in my dreaming
in my waking
every day every night seeking hunting l o n g i n g
for something
anything
the thing
that will cease this awful impulse
make me whole, let me rest
but I just keep
searching
searching
searching