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Thread: Since I've Already Been Gambling - 9/4 During the Dicing, Veronica's Room - Carson/Veronica [closed]

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    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    Since I've Already Been Gambling - 9/4 During the Dicing, Veronica's Room - Carson/Veronica [closed]

    If there was one thing that Kendrick had to give to De Angelis, it was that he kept his servants in line. The knight had moved throughout the keep relatively unchecked. Wherever he roamed, washer women averted their eyes and hands stepped out of his path. Including at this level, where nobody expected him to be. Granted, they would likely report his presence to Dastan eventually, but they certainly wouldn't disturb him in the middle of the grand dice game, which Carson had been happy to excuse himself from at the distaste of his host, given his comments about the Blackbanes.

    Placing an ear to the door, he heard no sound, and Carson gingerly pressed it open. The quarters were plain, and even though his intel on the matter said that the Peregrines had been reduced to so much servants, he still had to admit some surprise. Sleeping peacefully in her bed was the girl in question, Veronica. The only Peregrine that mattered. Why Dastan had left her alive, Carson would never fathom. The cousins, were one thing. But Veronica was a direct descendant of the former lord.

    Sitting in the chair at the small writing table, the Knight of Shade pulled the candle towards him, and with the billowing smoke of his lit tindertwig, and the pungent smell of sulfur that accompanied it, he lit the wick. There he sat observing her, his face a dance of shadows behind the flame's flicker.

    It always amazed Carson what the human body responded to as far as stimuli. The woman had slept through his entrance. The sulfur. Even the light. But the subtle shift in temperature from the lit candle. Only a degree or two, and she was starting to stir. Smiling, he pulled a small flask from his vest and sipped at it once, dropping it back to it's pocket as she rolled and attempted to focus her eyes.

    "Good evening, Veronica."

  2. #2
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    It was a dark dream she was having -- a familiar one, nonetheless, and almost seductively intimate -- but it kept her wrapped in her mind just long enough to miss the entrance of her midnight intruder. For a woman who used to sleep deeply, unhindered by any fanciful flights, repose now came with a price for Veronica Peregrine; and not easily won, at that; but it wasn't until the match was struck -- the slight burning smell in the air, the pinprick of light filtering through her closed eyelids -- did she shift beneath the thin sheets upon her bed.

    Veronica woke slowly, and then all at once, as Carson Kendrick took his place in her room -- the woman in question dreamily aware that she wasn't alone; and then, through slitted eyes, seeing the contours of a face through the darkness -- the Peregrine woman blinked her eyes open in full, cast across the room at someone seated in the only chair left for her. Immediately, and out of animal instinct, Veronica felt her heart thrust itself into her throat; her temples throbbed, and she considered, briefly, where she was and what she could do -- if this was a blade in the night, or something far worse.

    Being sold off, as Dastan had threatened, to whatever bidder might care.

    Good evening, Veronica.

    She lay like that, still curled on her side, her nightgown half-slipped off her shoulder as she watched him; his voice unfamiliar and unsettling, his face still half obscured with shadow. Veronica, growing used to feeling like an animal trapped in a corner, weighed and measured her cache of responses and reactions; having to decide, it seemed, within seconds what she would do. The silence lingered, and then --

    "Are you here to kill me, or just rape me?"

    Her words were clear and unencumbered by anything resembling fear; and after a moment, the Peregrine woman sat up straighter, moving with a slow, almost languid ease; still reclining, but pushing herself up on one elbow, propping herself against the mattress. In the relative darkness, her eyes were clear as they fell upon the shadowy face of the seated man. "I would scream, if I thought it would do any good. But I'll wager myself on your honesty," she concluded, her words dry, her expression inscrutable.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

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    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    "Are you here to kill me, or just rape me?"

    Kendrick considered the question for a long moment without responding. The fact was that he had done as much to women who were better than her. And while neither had occurred to him in this instance, he didn't necessarily want her to think that he wasn't capable of it. "Perhaps," he finally responded, his eyes looking over her curled up form. It had been an either/or question, he knew, but thought that his answer was suitably troubling. She wasn't unattractive, and he had certainly taken worse. Killing her however, would only benefit De Angelis, and that wasn't Kendrick's goal. He had grander plans. But he wasn't ruling out a little abuse. So there was no point in lying from the start.

    Taking another sip from the flask, Carson smiled. No wonder you have fallen this far, he thought. "Wager yourself on my honesty, Lady Peregrine, and rape won't be necessary. You'll be on my cock paying that debt before you can blink." But she was probably right. Screaming wasn't likely to do her any good. "But since my primary reason for being here is not carnal pleasure," he began, not bothering to rule anything out, "We'll set the notion aside for the time being."

    Carson let his fingers dance over the candle flame, allowing the yellow and orange light lick at his hand, leaving small trails of soot over it. "In reality, I am here because I believe you can be of use to me. In fact, I might be the last man on Tuneric who has use for you. But that's because I am a resourceful individual." He needed her to feel as though she had value. Even if her family's fall had left her bereft of that notion. "I can not rescue you from the fate that your father has sown for you. But, if you are complicit to my aims, I can offer you small amounts of revenge over time. And, I am willing to pay you for your part."
    Last edited by Rick; 04-14-2014 at 09:00 PM.

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    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Perhaps.

    The Peregrine woman bit the inside of her lower lip. She refused to shirk back against the sheets, regardless of the nature of this man's presence. She mentally chided herself for not waking when the door was opened to allow him inside; although it would have done her little good to even recognize it. Who would come and help her? What chance did she stand, physically, against this man? Veronica was not weak but she was certainly hollowed out from her own private hunger strike, and the look on his face -- however muted by the darkness -- suggested that whatever trick she might have up her sleeve would likely fail.

    Had Dastan kept true to his promise? Was she being traded off?

    The thought of that man curled Veronica's lip, and she suddenly hoped this mysterious visitor would attack. Let thoughts of Dastan fuel her vengeance. He might take her nonetheless; but he'd never be a pretty man again.

    Wager yourself on my honesty, Lady Peregrine, and rape won't be necessary. You'll be on my cock paying that debt before you can blink. But since my primary reason for being here is not carnal pleasure. We'll set the notion aside for the time being.

    Veronica's eyes never left this peculiar man's face, but she could not help but note as he rippled his fingers across the single, open flame -- their gaze caught tightly on one another, like circling beasts.

    In reality, I am here because I believe you can be of use to me. In fact, I might be the last man on Tuneric who has use for you. But that's because I am a resourceful individual. I can not rescue you from the fate that your father has sown for you. But, if you are complicit to my aims, I can offer you small amounts of revenge over time. And, I am willing to pay you for your part.

    Veronica lay still for several moments then, as though absorbing what he was saying; this strange man, stealing into her chambers in the middle of the night, playing coy with her -- and then offering up his help, like some clandestine knight, come to wager back her virtue. Even his offer was paltry, at the seams; his words cruel and base, factual nonetheless but hardly encouraging any kind of mutual comradery. Veronica sat up straighter on the bed, pulling the sheets up around her chest, her own hand pressed against the mattress as she stared back at him; and then the Peregrine woman let out a low, cat-like growl of laughter.

    "I salute your attempt at trickery, wraith. But let Destan De Angelis know he'll have to try harder to force my hand." She sneered. "Sending someone in at the dark of night, trying to get me to commit to open treason against the new lord of Welch Run, to voice it aloud." She moved to tuck her legs beneath her then, one long, bare arm lifting and pointing a damning finger at the man. "You are a riddler, and I have never cared for jesters."
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  5. #5
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    Kendrick smiled at the woman. A cruel and passionless thing. Nights in the field, moving under the cover of the pitch had honed his senses, and he was a man who knew how to ply his advantages. Pursing his lips, he very calmly exhaled, blowing the candle out.

    Darkness filled the room again, but he saw her. The bunched up form retreating, or potentially crouching, at the advance she knew would come. "I have no care for your betrayals, child. If Dastan De Angelis has not found cause to strangle you in your sleep already, than whatever will stays his hand is stronger than any words your pretty mouth can conjure. And as long as he has use of your living flesh, then so do I." Carson potentially had multiple uses for it, in fact. She feared as much. And Kendrick did so much enjoy the fear of a woman.

    Seeing that she had cleared him a spot, Carson stood and went to the bed, being sure to keep her beyond arm's reach. While he had the advantage in size, strength, and likely sight, she was quite paranoid. And paranoid people were wont to hide weapons. And he was far too smart to die on this night, at the hands of a girl who didn't have venom for him.

    "You may put on a front, if you think it suits you," he said, his voice low and calm, and even with a touch of false sympathy. "But since you abhor riddles, I will speak plain." He watched as he saw her eyes trying to focus on him, and smiled. "I will have you. Pinned beneath me and writhing. And you will scream. Whether in pain or pleasure, I can not say. Neither will I care, when the time comes. It may be tonight. It may be months from now. Perhaps years. But concerning yourself with it is pointless. Because you will live."

    Carson was not a religious man. He honestly never saw a point in allowing a higher being to sway his path. Not while he could control his own destiny. But when he did have cause to be thankful to the gods, he congratulated them on not making him a woman. They were fickle, and catty, and treacherous. He would face an army of swords, rather than a single woman with an hour to plot against him. That is why he preferred to move quickly, limiting their time to ready themselves. "But if you would prefer your life to be the one you had before I came through the door, then say so. There can be nobility in destitution as well as in prostitution. But opportunity only comes with one."

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    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    The moment Veronica's mysterious caller moved to blow out the candle, his lips pursing just moments before the chamber fell to darkness once more, the Peregrine woman considered bolting.

    It was just a few steps towards the door; and no one knew this castle better than Veronica. It was hers. If she could just make it to the door, she could run -- fast, still, faster than he probably expected -- and she would be gone. But she didn't want to run. She was tired of running; of having the play weak.

    In the end, though, he deprived her of the chance; and as the room plummeted to black around her once more, Veronica's heart seized in her throat, and she instinctively shrunk back against the headboard; trying to remember the layout of the contents on her nightside table, just within a straining fingers reach. What had she left there? Which of those objects was pointed enough to pierce; were any blunt enough to wound?

    Although she could barely see him, her eyes further blinded by having light and then having it ripped away, Veronica did not miss the sounds of his approaching feet; but as she sat up straighter near the headboard of the bed, her bare feet pushing against the mattress below her, one hand raising to reach towards the bedpost -- he paused, standing just beside her, staring down; blocking her way.

    You may put on a front, if you think it suits you. But since you abhor riddles, I will speak plain. I will have you. Pinned beneath me and writhing. And you will scream. Whether in pain or pleasure, I can not say. Neither will I care, when the time comes. It may be tonight. It may be months from now. Perhaps years. But concerning yourself with it is pointless. Because you will live.

    She hissed softly between her teeth, now knowing she needed no weapons other than her natural hands to ruin this man. All these men; these men, men that Veronica had seen everywhere these days in Welch Run -- men of perceived importance, of mentally repugnant beliefs that they were worth something, that simply because they had someone's repeated name and a piece of flesh dangling uselessly between their legs that they should be offered up the world; that it was theirs to dominate. That's what they all wanted, wasn't it? To feel powerful; to feel above her? Each of them, pandering to Dastan De Angelis, the worst of them all; arrogant, self-obsessed, motivated by a corrupt ideal of righteousness that they barely stayed true to. Even now, a King slept in the corridors of the Run; one of his vassals having slaughtered an entire family that pledged their allegiance to his name, and yet he did nothing to avenge their systematic slaughter.

    And they considered Veronica, of all people, to be the base of this lot!

    Veronica Peregrine was corrupt, that much was true. There was something dark, and foul in her soul, and she had known that for a long time; a terribly long time, and such a heavy thing for a young woman to carry. But at least she knew who she was, and did not fashion in her own mind illusions of verity, of grandeur; honesty with herself, she carried like a precious jewel.

    Dastan would be the first. She would taste his blood on her lips, like she had Lysander, when they ripped him apart.

    And then this man. She didn't know his name, but by the time he finished speaking, that much had been decided.

    But if you would prefer your life to be the one you had before I came through the door, then say so. There can be nobility in destitution as well as in prostitution. But opportunity only comes with one.

    Veronica took a low, shallow breath.

    "What do you want then, intruder? I have nothing to give you. I have no wealth, nor remaining strength to my surname. Of what use can we be to one another?" she said sharply, her back pressed against the headboard, one hand braced against the bedpost, the other pressed against her pillow. Veronica considered standing; but she didn't want to get closer to him, at least not in this darkness.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  7. #7
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    The girl had been longer coming to the question than he had anticipated. Whatever it was that Dastan had done to her, it left her with a suspicion that Carson had to admire. But in the end, Dastan was a lord. And that alone made him weak in the eyes of Kendrick. Being a lord was easy. Commanding armies from atop a hill. Ordering executions and kneeling at the feet of kings. Never was a lord his own man. Ever was he the marionette on a string.

    "What do I want," he asked her, his voice full of surprise. The question was a logical and expected one, but then again, so were the answers. The whole conversation was a waste of his time. "I want what all men want," Carson said as he moved closer to her. He had a measure of her now, and each inch she recoiled put her a mile deeper into his clutches. If she was going to strike him, she would have done so by now, and so Carson brazenly moved to sit right beside her, where even a whisper would be heard. "Power. Wealth. Respect."

    She had said that she didn't have the first two to give him. The third, he would beat into her if necessary. If she thought herself cowed by De Angelis cruelty, she had much to learn. She would discover the fear of what she could not see. If he wanted to destroy her, no amount of crawling or hanging onto the bedpost for dear life would help.

    But her resolve was there. The defiance in her tone pleased Carson, and he smiled, even if she couldn't see it. Reaching out, he walked his fingers up the blanket she had bunched at her feet. He touched her ankle, and his hand wandered up to her knee. "But from you?" He stopped himself as he felt her tense, wary that she might try to kick him. "From you, I want the only thing you have left." His voice dropped to a scandalous whisper, and his tone was one that filled the air with a desperate electricity. "I want the parts of you that make you a woman, Veronica."

    Carson could see the trepidation return, and he leaned back in anticipation of her strike. He silently hoped she wasn't so foolish. As he would not respond well to her attack. But before it came to blows he chuckled. "I want your spite. Your hate. Your lust for revenge." There was a beat, and he stopped to reconsider. "No, not revenge. Justice."

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    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    I want what all men want. Power. Wealth. Respect.

    He moved then, this mysterious figure, to sit beside her on the bed; something that jarred Veronica's senses but left the Peregrine woman wise enough not to move, her eyes narrowed in on him in the dark shadows. Her body became taut, a coil, waiting to strike -- but she remained reclined, unwilling to give this man another inch of her mattress, another carved-away notch in her strength. They were all so alike, weren't they? Murderous thieves, stealing away into the night, creeping up on her in shadows.

    Taking, because they had so little to give themselves.

    But from you? From you, I want the only thing you have left. I want the parts of you that make you a woman, Veronica.

    He reached out then and touched her, a surprisingly gentle brush of his fingertips against her exposed ankle -- and, surprised, Veronica felt her skin rise in gooseflesh and the taste of metal rise up inside her throat; moved to nausea almost instantly. It would have been better if he merely grabbed her with cold, angry fingers, for that Veronica could have understood: force, something she could fight against. But he crept his fingers slowly up her ankle and along her calf, and Veronica in turn drew herself up closer towards the headboard, her lip curling.

    She would rip out his throat before the next finger trailed along her knee...

    But then he stopped; and leaned back, and laughed -- a low, sinister sound.

    I want your spite. Your hate. Your lust for revenge. -- No, not revenge. Justice.

    Veronica watched him, this shadowed man, sitting so close to her now; her red lips parted, brow draw together in a mixture of confusion and wariness. His last word echoed in her head: justice.

    A moment passed, and then she pulled her legs closer to herself; unconsciously tucking them beneath the hem of her nightgown, considering.

    "If you want them, they are here for you in spades, vermin," Veronica finally said softly, her gaze icy as she contemplated the man before her. "But what do I get in return for this trade?" She paused, and then smiled; an uncomfortable, macabre gesture. "Your version of justice? And for whom might that be -- myself, or you?"

    What did he want?
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  9. #9
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    The intruder watched with calculated joy as the girl continued to slink away from him. The way she almost snarled at him while he pushed at the hem of her dress was truly terrifying. Whatever Dastan had done to cow the woman, Carson was left to wonder if he had enjoyed it near as much as Kendrick would have. Nobles were so vanilla when it came to doing the dirty things that needed to be done. No imagination. And this was why Veronica Peregrine was still useful. A job half done, can easily be undone.

    If you want them, they are here for you in spades, vermin.

    A soft, but persistent laugh began to escape the back of Carson's throat. It was an odd thing, and built from a low and quiet sound, gravelly in nature. Soon it rose to become a shrill cackle as Veronica continued her questioning.

    But what do I get in return for this trade? Your version of justice? And for whom might that be -- myself, or you?

    His right fist had already balled behind him, but it was Kendrick's left hand that flashed out and grabbed the girl by the throat, pinning her to the headboard she had seemingly been trying to escape into. He watched intently as her eyes bulged and stared at him, and could feel her muscles work as she tried to swallow despite his grip. "You weren't listening," he hissed. Her legs were kicking frantically now, but she had pulled them so far under her skirts that she couldn't make effective use of them. Her hands clawed at his, rather harshly, leaving streaks of pink and crimson as she broke his skin with her nails. Carson seemed oblivious.

    Turning on his prey, the knight placed a knee atop one of her thighs so as to stop the kicking as he pressed his face to hers. His breath was hot with brandy, but his cold blue eyes were still locked on hers. "You have no power or wealth, but you can and will still give me respect." Leaning past her face so that his lips were almost to her ear, he let his tongue flick at her lobe playfully. "I am a viper," he told her, his voice seeming to bring some of his anger under control. "I devour vermin as it pleases me. And I will teach you lessons that your tutors have not." And lessons that Dastan De Angelis obviously did not.
    Last edited by Rick; 04-28-2014 at 03:28 PM.

  10. #10
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    She couldn't tell if he was growling or laughing; the sound so caught in his throat. But in the next instant, Veronica didn't quite much care to find out the distinction -- as her mysterious visitor became, almost as expected, her assailant -- his hand striking out from the darkness to press against her throat, slamming Veronica's head back against the headboard.

    Instinctively, she winced, her tender head making rough contact with the woodgrain; her eyes shutting tight, her fingers moving to claw at his large hand pressed against her windpipe immediately. She wheezed, trying to breathe; and raked her fingernails against his skin, scouring lines along his flesh, blood pooling at her cat-like savagery. But he would not budge; and Veronica kicked out against him, her long legs jutting out from beneath her nightgown to struggle against him. Surely, someone would come now -- they might hate her, but Dastan wouldn't be pleased to know she had a visitor who was not paying into his own pocket.

    Surely, she wouldn't die like this. Not after everything.

    Not till she was finished.

    You weren't listening. You have no power or wealth, but you can and will still give me respect.

    He leaned in obscenely close, and now Veronica's eyes snapped open, her breathing vexed. The man leaned in, closer and closer, and Veronica tried to bite at him; but instead he ducked down his head towards her neck, the distinct feeling of his hot tongue flicking against her earlobe. Veronica groaned, snarling with what little breath she had; but he moved to pin her thighs down with one knee. All the Peregrine woman was left with was the space to jerk her torso, trying to wriggle free.

    I am a viper. I devour vermin as it pleases me. And I will teach you lessons that your tutors have not.

    Still her fingers raked at his hand, her breath rasping. "Then what -- do you fucking want --" she seethed, wheezing, her heart hammering in her ears. Veronica's pretty nose wrinkled, snarling at him. "Riddler --" she spat. Clearly, he was getting some sort of sick amusement out of this; but for what end? Wouldn't he have accosted her already, if that was the true goal? Why did these men think to treat her like some plaything?

    Once, it had been Veronica who held all the strings.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  11. #11
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    There was a small satisfaction on Kendrick's face has he pulled back from her ear. Veronica had not had the instinct to break her grip on his hands to claw at his face, and that he counted in his favor. But whatever else he might discover about Veronica Peregrine, she had a will to live. And that was enough for the moment. Carson relaxed his grip on the girl's neck, but still held her by adjusting his hold up to her jaw. "Better," he said at the change in moniker she had given him.

    Finally releasing her, Kendrick let Veronica catch her breath as he lifted the hem of her nightgown and wiped the blood from his hands. "That was unfortunate," he told her, serenity washing over him after a few moments. Taking the flask from his pocket, Carson poured a small amount on his skin to sterilize it, before using the hem of her dress to dry them again. The knight held out the container in her direction. "Drink?"

    Raising his hands to his neck and straightening his cravat, Kendrick cleared his throat and then straightened his hair. "As I was saying," he went on, as though nothing had happened. "I am willing to employ you. You will report to me on the goings on here in Welch Run, and I shall pay you. If I require more than information, you are welcome to object. In fact, I may well enjoy it more if you do."

    Standing, Carson moved back to the table and pulled a small bag of coins from his jacket, tossing it on the table from a high enough distance so that Veronica could gauge the contents. "I encourage you to spend it only on necessities. If De Angelis should suspect you, we will both likely find ourselves in trouble, judging by your will to live. You obviously must come to fear me more than you fear him, if I'm to keep you from talking."

    As though he had reached a conclusion about how he would intimidate her, Kendrick removed his jacket and hung it on the back of the chair. His belt was next, and he coiled it before setting it on the table. Turning back, he began to remove his cuff links. "Tell me Lady Peregrine. How much punishment will it take to convince you that crossing me would be folly? How much pleasure must I extract before you realize that I am the scariest of the monsters in your nightmares?"

  12. #12
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Somehow, he had been appeased -- however briefly -- and just as quickly as this phantom man wrapped his long fingers around her throat, he released her. Veronica felt herself slide down further along the headboard as his tight grip retreated from her delicate skin, and the Peregrine woman took a few deep, gasping breaths; her dark eyes watering but never leaving his skulking form. She didn't bother trying to run, or lash out at him now; it was clear he wouldn't let her escape this room without a scar or two.

    It was hard for her, learning how to play weak.

    That was unfortunate. Drink?

    He offered up to her a flask, but Veronica did nothing in reaction but pull her head back; one slender, milky-white hand moving to her bruised throat; her nose wrinkling in contempt.

    As I was saying, I am willing to employ you. You will report to me on the goings on here in Welch Run, and I shall pay you. If I require more than information, you are welcome to object. In fact, I may well enjoy it more if you do.

    He stepped up, and away; and then the man lifted something from his pocket -- a small sachet -- but Veronica did not watch it arc through the air, instead intent on focusing on her attacker, still wondering who he was, and what exact game was being played here.

    It was only when it hit the bedside table with a resounding thunk did her eyes flick over to it; the jostling noise making it clear the amount of coin it contained.

    Veronica had never wanted for money in all her life, but after her conversation with Dastan, just the sound of the coins rubbing together almost made her mouth water, an unexpected reaction; a warmth running along her legs, a more powerful lust than she had remembered.

    It meant freedom.

    I encourage you to spend it only on necessities. If De Angelis should suspect you, we will both likely find ourselves in trouble, judging by your will to live. You obviously must come to fear me more than you fear him, if I'm to keep you from talking.

    He moved further away, then; and although Veronica could hear the removal of his jacket, and the click of his belt unclasping as he pulled it through the loops in his pants, she was struck by how little fear she actually felt in that moment; her eyes fixed on the small sack of coins on the table. Thinking.

    Tell me Lady Peregrine. How much punishment will it take to convince you that crossing me would be folly? How much pleasure must I extract before you realize that I am the scariest of the monsters in your nightmares?

    "You can fashion yourself whatever you want to be, stranger." The words rolled off of her tongue with a peculiar ease; a breathless quality to them that did not suggest derision but merely disinterest, her eyes still focused on the bedside table, as though looking away might make what he had left her, disappear. Something seemed to grow behind her dark orbs. "Monster or savior, whatever suits you best." Veronica still sat on her bed, her legs curled beneath her, but now her arms moved to hug her torso in almost a shiver of warmth; and there was a vacant quality to her dark eyes.

    She was plotting.

    A moment of silence lingered; and then, abruptly, her gaze flicked back to his looming form in the darkness of her chamber. "I will believe whatever you want me to believe, if it please you. I'm even suddenly willing to forget this unfortunate introduction. It is my best quality, riddler -- telling people what they want to hear." She leaned forward then, her arms unfolding, her hands moving to press against the mattress; and suddenly Veronica was on her knees in her nightgown atop her bed, an almost ravenous look to her expression.

    "Tell me exactly what it is you are looking for within this household, and I will find it. But give me reason to believe you won't betray me in return. A steady supply of coin will do me no good if Dastan De Angelis relieves me of my head," she said lightly, her words twisted with a touch of dark humor; a gentle slip into something familiar.

    Just for this moment, she was not afraid.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  13. #13
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    He knew she wouldn't try to flee. There was no point in it, not once it occurred to her that she might have the chance to barter with him. As such, when he tossed his cuff links on the table, he stopped to look at her. She was perched now, like a cat on her haunches, waiting for the opportunity to pounce. But not at him. Turning, he followed her eyes to the small purse of coins, an odd smile on his face. Kendrick was not often disarmed, but he was unsure now that he had started down the right track.

    "Interesting," he said, ceasing his undressing. His sleeves still hung open, and his his shirt remained untucked, but as he approached her, he made no further effort in the display of disrobing. Standing before her, he reached down and touched the bottom of her chin. Lifting it so that her eyes met his. "You can't be controlled by violence," he said. "I mean, you can, but it doesn't need to come to that." Normally, it was men who needed to be bought. Women had higher standards, placed more value on their person. De Angelis had made a grave mistake in keeping the woman cowed. He could have made a fortune as a pimp.

    "Telling people what they want to hear is a valuable skill, Lady Peregrine. Except that those in the know will see you as the liar you are. As I see you now," he added. But Carson knew, as he knew Veronica must, that she had won the pass, if not the tilt. She had convinced him that violence would not suit his goals anymore than it did hers. But just because he was willing to concede that a thorough thrashing was not needed, didn't mean he trusted her regardless.

    Taking another step into her, he stood with her chin propped at his waist, almost touching the button of his pants. "But you are willing to risk your head," he told her with a smile. "If the coin is right." Rubbing his chin, Kendrick kept the awkward proximity. With his free hand, Carson placed a finger on her shoulder, feeling a rising heat on her skin where before there had only been cold and clammy. He did not trust her at all. And she had less for him.

    Pushing the fabric of her gown, Carson watched as it slid off her shoulder and down a few inches to rest on her upper arm. "You needn't concern yourself about my intentions, Veronica. If I wanted you dead, I'd have split the purse between the guards outside the door, and they would have whistled a happy tune as I abused you at will. But that would have been a poor return on my investment. And I do not part with my coin easily. I like my agents to work a little harder to earn their rewards." There was a thick innuendo laced in his words, and Carson did not attempt to hide it. "You are the one in this room who needs to prove her worth. The one who needs to know who the master is, and how to please him. Once I believe that you grasp the principle, then I will give you your task. And another, larger, payment." Bringing his hands back to fold across his chest, Carson glared into her twisted gaze. "Make me believe, Veronica."

  14. #14
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    The man stalled in his progress; intrigued, it seemed -- she had caught his attention, for once, in an honest fashion -- and he moved across the room to slide a finger beneath her chin, to lift her face up to look at him. Her skin crawled at his touch, but Veronica did not bother to move, his fingers deft and undemanding; and the Peregrine woman looked up at him in the dark, one eyebrow raising incredulously on her forehead.

    You are the one in this room who needs to prove her worth. The one who needs to know who the master is, and how to please him. Once I believe that you grasp the principle, then I will give you your task. And another, larger, payment. Make me believe, Veronica.

    His right hand moved to her shoulder and gently, slowly, slid the fabric strap of her nightgown down along her arm; exposing her collarbone and skin to the cooling night air. But no shiver arose along her flesh; and Veronica found her red lips widening, widening -- until they cracked open with a laugh, clear and loud; before the Peregrine woman let herself fall back among her sheets, her former fear evaporated like mist, her small frame convulsing in amusement.

    They were truly all the same. It was as if Dastan De Angelis were standing in her room once more, stripped down to his breeches, barking his commands as if she would listen.

    Only then, Veronica had put up a fight. This time, she knew how to get her way. The former trappings that had held her back were disappearing; and the darkness, curled in her breast, was inviting.

    "Oh, dear, phantom man -- I don't need to prove to you a thing. I'm doing you a favor, for your meager recompense. Without you, or even by your hand, I'll just die -- and death isn't something I'm entirely afraid of anymore. No, what I fear is losing my chance at revenge -- so we can either work together, or apart. It really means little to me, although it has come to my attention we might come to something... mutually beneficial. But I certainly feel no need to make you believe. I think you can tell, enough, on your own, that I am more than capable."

    From where she lay among her plush pillows, Veronica tilted herself up on one elbow; her reddish hair falling over one shoulder in a sweep. She stared at him a moment longer; before letting her left hand trail along her upper thigh, the delicates pads of her fingers tracing along the soft skin there till they hitched on the hem of her nightgown; tugging it slowly up, one inch, and then another.

    "Perhaps it is you who should convince me," she purred then. "After all, you've not even given me your name. This is feeling particularly... unfair."

    -----
    @Carson Kendrick
    Last edited by Veronica Peregrine; 05-26-2014 at 08:38 PM.
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  15. #15
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    Instinct caused him to turn his hand over and raise it. He had discovered through the years that the surest way to stall a woman's laughter was to rattler her teeth until her amusement faded. But she rolled away, wisely, and in his next breath, Kendrick had found his calm once more. Resolved that he was wasting his time, Carson turned and began to gather his items from the table. Deciding he would leave the coin, he began to replace his cuff links when she began to finally speak. Turning to regard her, he paused in what he was doing. She was a child, and he had to keep that in mind. Children were brazen and fearless, and too often thought they knew too well. It was not his job to educate her. If he wanted a protege, he would find one who was not imprisoned.

    "There is no working apart, Lady Peregrine. I have not gotten this far in life by leaving myself vulnerable. If I walk out that door without reaching an accord, then you can rest assured that the next person who enters is the harbinger of death." Carson had not come to Veronica's room without a plan for covering his tracks. All of his resources indicated that any number of people in Riverwatch would have motive to see her strangled. Bribes would hardly be necessary, but Kendrick was always smart enough to purchase insurance. "I commend you for your resolve and lack of fear in death. But courage is for the living."

    Contemplating the jacket, he let it lay for the moment. Instead, he turned and rested his bottom on the edge of the table, folding his arms across his chest. "I knew Alexander," he said, a small amount of mock in his voice. "He was a confident man. Charismatic, true. But too reliant on such to carry him. Too often he overplayed his hand. He couldn't see the knife in his back until he was already bleeding out." She was his daughter. Veronica too was bluffing when she didn't have the coin to cover her bets. But she was young.

    The pragmatist in him worked the room. Carson survived by measuring all the possibilities. If Veronica were desperate, she would have already been on her back with her legs wrapped around him. But she was more than that. She was ambitious. Hungry. She would give him what he wanted, as long as she could convince herself that it was not for naught. "You want control," he said, his smirk concealed by the darkness between them. "You will learn that control is an illusion, Veronica." Alexander learned the hard way. "And you will learn that revenge, true revenge, comes only through a loss of control."

    Watching as she hiked up her hem teasingly, Kendrick chuckled. "I knew what you were capable of before I crossed the threshold. That is how I operate. But even after I am spent, redressed, and out the door, you will still have no idea what I am capable of," he stated pointedly. If she was plotting betrayal, she would be dead in moments. Her neck, beautifully pale, was slender and would snap all too easily if she acted out.

    Moving back to the bed, he began to unbutton his shirt. "My name," he hissed as he came to stand once again before her, "you will have when you are ready to cry it out in ecstasy."
    Last edited by Rick; 05-26-2014 at 10:36 PM.

  16. #16
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    While the faint smile on Veronica's mouth dampened slightly as this serpent dared to speak of her father so plainly, in her very room -- the Peregrine woman nonetheless refused to react, as she knew he would want her to. He could say all he wanted about Veronica; she had grown used to it, even before the fall of her family name, for the words on the lips of those she considered lesser never bothered her... but to speak of her father? In the very halls he raised her, within which he was murdered so unjustly?

    The axe to his neck now became the pins in his eyes. But all in due time.

    She had come too far in this personal change to allow one remark about her fallen father let her slip up. He might have thought it would be a chink in her armor; but it was just another nail in his own coffin.

    You want control. You will learn that control is an illusion, Veronica. And you will learn that revenge, true revenge, comes only through a loss of control. I knew what you were capable of before I crossed the threshold. That is how I operate. But even after I am spent, redressed, and out the door, you will still have no idea what I am capable.

    Veronica watched as he abandoned his former post by the table and suddenly, it seemed, decided to rejoin her; his shadowy figure returning to the side of her bed, looming down over her in the darkness. Her eyes were more adjusted now, but he still looked like nothing but a spectre; the kind of thing one might read about in a dark fairytale. It was a good thing Veronica knew better.

    There were no knights. Only the demons were real.

    The Peregrine woman gave her unexpected visitor a wry look, one that would be lost in the darkness; the soft pads of her fingers still stroking, almost lovingly, the soft skin along her thigh. "I don't care or need to know what you are capable of. You've already caught my attention. Be pleased enough with that." She laughed then, softly, almost warmly; and made a small tsking noise with her tongue, a patronizing gesture. "All you boys are the same. Crying out for attention when you already have it."

    My name, you will have when you are ready to cry it out in ecstasy.

    To the sound of his unbuttoning tunic, Veronica sunk further into the plush sheets atop her bed, letting her arm fall out beneath her and rise, instead, to rake luxuriantly through her long hair. She closed her eyes, her mouth parted and amused. He had warned her against it, but Veronica had never felt so in control, as in those moments. "Oh, I doubt we'd want that. Think of all the trouble you'd get in if I were crying out at all..." she murmured.

    -----
    @Carson Kendrick
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  17. #17
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    Carson had stopped at the edge of the bed, his fingers pausing at what they did as she spoke. His expression, stoic and determined, didn't alter throughout the exchange. But when she had finished, his direction had been swayed. The hands that were unfastening the buttons down his shirt, slowly crept back up, closing the fabric as they went. As he turned on his heel, he pulled the cuff links from his pocket and placed them swiftly into his sleeves. "You are as foolish as you are petulant, Veronica." Lifting his belt from the table, Kendrick glanced about the room with a frown. "When I first entered, I didn't think it suited you," he said with a sigh. Carson Kendrick hated being wrong.

    As he fed the leather straps through the loops in his pants, he turned to look at her half-lying on the bed. "The last thing I want is attention. And I am certainly never pleased to have it." She obviously confused attention with respect, which is likely how she wound up in this predicament in the first place. But Kendrick was already covered in enough scratches that he wasn't interested in replaying the previous attempt to teach her, and so he simply lifted his jacket off the back of the chair. "I had high hopes for this meeting, Veronica. It was my belief that you might accept that I could help you, on my terms. I thought you might submit to my will without me having to rely on brutality."

    Pulling the jacket around his shoulders, he reached in the direction of the small purse, but decided to leave it where it lay. He would let her have it, knowing that every time she paid from it, that she was handling blood money. That whatever the sum of the coins inside, that was the price she had earned for the selling out of her family. "I assure you, I won't make the same mistake with Aloise," he said, only then was a faint hint of anger in his voice.


    @Veronica Peregrine
    Last edited by Carson Kendrick; 05-28-2014 at 02:03 PM.

  18. #18
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    With her eyes still closed, Veronica did not see her mysterious intruder's hesitation; and then his sudden change of tune, his fingers moving to refasten the buttons of his tunic, a backwards motion of everything he had enacted before; returning to the chair, reaching for his jacket. Even his words, she mostly ignored, trying to make herself calm down without showing it -- but then the last seemed to catch her attention.

    I had high hopes for this meeting, Veronica. It was my belief that you might accept that I could help you, on my terms. I thought you might submit to my will without me having to rely on brutality.

    Only then did one dark eye open, and then the other; Veronica moving as if from sleep once more, rising up on one elbow to stare at him. He had moved across the room, his hands extended towards the small purse of money on her bedside table, and Veronica felt a flash of anger; and yet even in the darkness of her chamber, the Peregrine woman could see the cold, sinister look on the man's face, warped now; far more cruel than his words before.

    I assure you, I won't make the same mistake with Aloise.

    At the sound of her cousin's name -- Aloise -- Veronica's stomach curdled, and she felt the immediate impulse to vomit; but she tried her best to retain her composure, even if a sweat broke out within her palms. The Peregrine woman did not move then, abruptly cowed.

    What had she done?

    She had no desire to let this man see that mention of her youngest cousin mattered even a trifle to her; but it did. Dealing with this night intruder was one thing, for Veronica alone. She had come to almost expect this, now. The shame and scourge of having to hold Lysander's dead body and feel the length of Dastan De Angelis inside her had stripped Veronica of her former notions of pride and strength; she was forming something new, on the other side, the wake of the new world. But Aloise, little, Aloise, whose life had come crumbling down around her, whose goodness was something Veronica didn't understand but recognized --

    Abruptly, Veronica rose up upon her bed, her milky skin sliding across the sheets, and suddenly she was on the floor, both bare feet planted firmly on the threadbare rug. She felt weak at the knees, and nauseous, but she kept a steely expression on her grim-lipped face. " -- What do you mean by that? What are you saying?" Veronica's words were soft, just above a whisper, but decidedly demanding; insistent, almost.

    She felt the urge to scream, rising up in her gullet, halted before it could escape.

    -----
    @Carson Kendrick
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

  19. #19
    House Kendrick Carson Kendrick's Avatar  

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    Carson had already taken one step towards the door when he sensed her striding away from the bed. Pausing, Kendrick knew he couldn't be sure she didn't have a dagger. He had allowed her free of his grasp, and if she had kept a weapon beneath her pillow, she could have easily retrieved it. For now, there was a sufficient distance between them for him to consider it safe. "What do I mean," he echoed, his voice suddenly casual and calm. He was adjusting his cravat, as though he were preparing for a dinner party. Years of bolting in the shadows had taught him how to dress perfectly in the dark, and though his appearance now was masked by shadows, he was sure he cut a handsome figure.

    His shrug was evident, now that they had time to adjust both of their sets of eyes. "You have taught me a valuable lesson, Veronica. And I am a quick study. That alone was worth the sum of coins on the table." Taking another two steps toward the exit, Carson rested his hand on the knob. "Apparently you are far too worldly for my needs," he said, a soft sigh highlighting his disappointment. "Why, with what you presume to know, and all your sureties about me, you obviously can't be made to heed me. For you, my intentions are what you dream them to be, rather than what I tell you they are."

    Smiling, Kendrick knew that if she wouldn't comply, and comply in a manner that meant he was the master, then he could find one who would. "But Aloise...sweet innocent Aloise, she still has nightmares I'll wager. She would be willing to do whatever was asked of her, just to keep the horrors from being revisited on her family. She would beg to assist me in response to my hulking form descending on her. And I will do what I must to reinforce her fears, even at the cost of her maidenhead." It would be unpleasant business, setting upon a girl that young. But she would have a healthy respect for Kendrick. More so than her willful older cousin. "I am sure she will be comforted when she learns of how haughty you had been when in her place. Or perhaps she will be sick, knowing that it was your foolish tongue that set me upon her."

    Offering another shrug of ignorance, Kendrick began to turn the knob slowly. "And I'll wager she'll comply for half the coin. Just on the hopes she'll never have to feel me between her thighs again."


    @Veronica Peregrine
    Last edited by Carson Kendrick; 05-28-2014 at 09:18 PM.

  20. #20
    House Peregrine Veronica Peregrine's Avatar  
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    With each word, Veronica felt sicker; this situation, unexpected and unwarranted, was far more out of control than expected. Now she wished he had just taken her and left; at least this thought about Aloise would be far from his mind, and out of her hands. Clean, for once. But now Veronica knew of it, and it would lick at her mind with a dark tongue. He was trapping her.

    She was always being trapped. And, like a feral animal, Veronica would find a way to claw free.

    And I'll wager she'll comply for half the coin. Just on the hopes she'll never have to feel me between her thighs again.

    It was this last statement that tipped the scales. Veronica's left hand shot out and she buried her fingernails into the fabric at his forearm, wrenching herself towards the spectre, standing partway through her room. She moved so quickly she bumped herself into him, Veronica's smaller frame dwarfed by the man whose face loomed over her. "Don't --" she seethed, her teeth gritted, a burning sensation behind her eyes. She felt the bile rise up in her throat, but she choked it back down. She wished to sink her teeth into his skin; to punish him, for what he was forcing her to do. For what had become of them. "Don't."

    The Peregrine woman felt her tongue thicken. How had this happened? Dealing with this man alone was acceptable; terrible, alarming, but something she could handle. There was very little, Veronica had found, especially of late, that she could not find a way to temper. She was stiffened, she was strong.

    But this monster --

    "Promise me, you'll leave her be. Promise me you won't even think of her." She knew he wanted her to beg. And it was nauseating to even do so; but whatever worked, she would try. Veronica didn't even dare mention Delphia; the powers that be could only protect the rest of them for so long. Her vice-like grip softened, and the Peregrine woman slid her hand over his arm; her right hand, moving to press her palm flat against his chest. It was like Dastan, all over again. She slid closer to him then, her eyes lifted, a metallic taste on her tongue; she was biting the side of her cheek so hard, it was bleeding. "And we'll keep this however you want. Our -- little arrangement." She didn't even bother masking her voice with the husky tones that captured the attention of so many other men, so easily.

    Now, she was actually willing to tell him whatever he needed to hear.

    -----
    @Carson Kendrick
    "I cheated myself, like I knew I would; I told you I was trouble -- you know that I'm no good."

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