forum Corruption Can Be So Beautiful (1-1 with Camie) (Private, Mature, *Dark*)
Started by @Serpentess health_and_safety language

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@Serpentess health_and_safety language

It was a regular day in Naskeni. Bustling streets, busy shops, hordes of various ‘civilized’ creatures going back and forth. However, for Quain, it was a rather boring day.

She’d already come out of her shop three times to dance and advertise her exotic trinkets. No customers, the same result in the past week. She was also starting to ponder if her most recent sacrifice had been unworthy of her beloved God of Decay. He hadn’t spoken to her in days.

Though, as if her dearest god had heard her thoughts, something interesting happened. She had just stepped out of her shop in preparation for her fourth dance when she saw a couple walk by. They were foreigners, and of a kind Quain hadn’t seen before.

Oh, she was such a fool to doubt her god! Damn her impatience!

Quickly, before the pair moved out of sight, Quain moved up to her little platform and started to announce her shop and the trinkets within. She cut her speech short though by calling out to the pair.

“You two there, are you in need of supplies on a long journey? Perhaps you’re visiting a friend or relative? Or even seeking advice from the esoteric? I have items, both magic and mundane, that can help you find anything you might need. Wish to see?”Quain called.

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There was no other way around saying it: Farah was royally pissed off. She didn’t know who’s job exactly hunting Burned Ones should have been, but it sure as hell wasn’t the headmistress of Alfea’s job. Neither was it the headmaster’s, but Saul trailed behind her anyway. They wove through the streets of the crowded, foreign city in search of the rogue Burned One they were after.

The chances of a Burned One making it through the gateway opening a third year was experimenting with were extremely low. Somehow, it had managed, and now Queen Luna had demanded Farah and Saul hunt down the creature to kill it and bring it back to the Otherworld so it could be disposed of. Since it was their student’s “project” and they were both “experienced” in fighting the creatures.

Long story short, Farah wasn’t happy about it. But the sooner they could finish their new “mission,” the sooner she could get back to her actual responsibilities of teaching.

A few times as they hurried through the bustle, their hands brushed. Whether it was intentional of not remained to be seen… until the pair had to squeeze through a tight throng of people one by one. Farah reached for his hand without thinking, and Saul took it naturally. Knowing his fairy didn’t like crowds, Saul squeezed her hand reassuringly. Farah squeezed it back, and a few seconds later, they were walking in the clear again. But neither of them wanted to let go.

Both of them were dutifully ignoring the shopkeepers all trying to sell their goods, but then, one of them stopped and specifically addressed the Otherworld couple. They looked over, and seeing the woman who was calling, Farah’s lip curled slightly. She was dressed so scarcely it made Farah shake her head. Saul glanced over and away within a second, not wanting to linger his gaze too long on the woman’s body.

While her offer might have been tempting to some, Farah knew they couldn’t slow down. The Burned One was their top priority. Not some half-dressed woman trying to make a small fortune off of their ignorance. “No,” the mind fairy replied shortly before pulling Saul away and not thinking twice about it.

Farah continued to lead Saul on the trail she’d picked up coming out of the gateway. A few more steps, and she tapped into her magic again to make sure that they were on track. “This way,” she murmured to him, guiding him, thankfully, toward a less crowded part of the huge city.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Quain noticed the woman’s lip curl, and easily deduced that it was Quain’s clothing that disgusted her. The woman was definitely a more modest type just from her clothes. Not that Quain cared. She loved her bedlah.

She also noted how attached the pair were. They easily seemed like partners in battle, but were they more bonded than that? Possibly. Which was a detail Quain wouldn’t easily forget, particularly since the man seemed wholly focused on the woman, even against Quain’s alluring body. Interesting…

The woman’s blatant refusal caught Quain off guard, but she quickly composed herself and gave a dramatically sad sigh.

“Oh well. Maybe next time, then?”she called cheerily.

She then did a quick dance with her hips, ending with a long shimmy, a hop, and a deep bow. Her eyes never left the pair though. There was something about them… something intriguing… Quain had to know.

Before the pair went fully out of sight, Quain hopped off her stage and locked the door to her shop. She grabbed a nearby ‘Closed’ sign and put it against the door, before heading off into the crowd.

With the help of her magic, she was able to keep track of the pair even after losing sight of them. Though, as they went into a quieter portion of the city, Quain kept to the crowds and shadows. She even vanished into an alley briefly to call on her dearest god for something to cover her bedlah. A moment later, she had a mundane grey cloak wrapped around her that hung to her calves. Much more modest, and much more subtle, as she continued to stalk the pair.

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Farah had to significantly fight the urge to roll her eyes at the woman's dramatic reaction, and she didn't indulge her with another response. The pair would not be coming back, so "next time" was out of the picture as far as Farah was concerned. And Saul seemed just as ready to pass the woman by.

But before they were completely out of sight, Farah felt something nagging at her conscious. Like there was a little loose thread on her clothes and someone got the urge to pull it enough that she would unravel a bit. The headmistress, despite herself, turned and looked over her shoulder once more at the woman. She made direct eye contact with the shopkeeper just as she was bowing, and a chill ran down the fairy's back. There was something not right about her. Farah had a bad feeling.

"Farah?" Saul asked, noticing the absentness in his partner for a moment.

She turned back to him quickly with a fleeting smile. "I'm fine," Farah remarked quietly. "Just staying aware." Her eyes lit up for a moment as she accessed her magic. Just seconds later, something caught her senses, and she whipped her head over to the entrance of a nearby alleyway. "There," she whispered.

Saul nodded in understanding and reached up for his blade. But Farah waved him off. "It's too open," she pointed out.

"Can't we lure it somewhere further away from here? Down the road less traveled?" The Specialist added the last part with a knowing wink, to which Farah rolled her eyes in response.

"I never should have told you I like poetry," she muttered while shaking her head.

"I would have figured it out," he countered with a light peck on her cheek.

Farah blushed lightly and began to approach the alley, continuously scanning the area around them for the Burned One they sought and anyone who might have been watching. But by the time they were only a few yards away from the entrance to the alley, she was so focused on the Burned One's presence that she wouldn't have noticed anyone who was watching them.

Once they were situated at the mouth of the alleyway, Farah motioned for Saul to draw his blade, which he did without hesitation. "Follow my lead," she whispered. "I'll go first." Farah spoke in a tone that left no room for argument, but of course, that meant Saul had to argue with her. He half-stepped in front of her as she started to move.

"Absolutely not!" he hissed. "I have the sword here. I'll go first."

Farah narrowed her eyes as she looked over her shoulder at him. "I'm not allowing you to go in that narrow alley first with the Burned One at the end of it."

"Then forgive me if I won't allow the same of you," Saul countered, reaching for her hand with his free one. He took it and brushed his thumb over her knuckles. "Farah…"

She relented after a moment. "Perhaps we can lure it somewhere else," she suggested.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Quain picked up on the woman’s annoyance, and wasn’t surprised when she was ignored by the pair. It was a typical occurrence in the Trading District.

Quain didn’t shy away as the woman met her eyes, instead flashing her a sweet, innocent smile. She knew the woman could sense something up, but Quain was a good actor. Her persistent stare was the only visible clue that something was wrong. But, Quain knew that this woman was a wary one, and that her instincts were strong. She couldn’t see anything wrong with Quain, but she could feel it. Quain would have to be careful of that.

As she followed the pair, she noticed they were talking, so she whispered a little spell to boost her hearing. Her beloved god seemed to go a step further though, and focused her hearing on the foreign pair only, so that Quain wouldn’t be fighting against any background noise. Which simplified things immensely. Quain was quick to whisper a little prayer of thanks to him for that.

She listened to the pair’s conversation closely, discovering that they were indeed closer than the average comrade-in-arms. She also found out that they were hunting something. What though?

She quickly ducked back into a group of people as the pair approached the alley they had targeted. She then found a hidden cubby in a nearby building where she had ample view of the pair without being seen.

Their mutual hesitation and need to protect each other was intriguing, but the man’s touch was even more so. They cared about each other, deeply. Then she heard the most valuable piece of information yet. ‘Farah’. The woman’s name. Good.

But, Quain still wanted to know what they were hunting. Could it be captured? Trained? Used against her enemies?

Quain had to take a deep breath to keep herself from getting too excited. She knew nothing of this thing the pair were hunting, so she had no clues as to its nature. Better to wait and watch. She could be patient, very patient.

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Saul visibly relaxed as she accepted his refusal. He couldn't stand how his fairy almost always put herself in harm's way to keep others safe. Whether it was him, Ben, or the students, Farah was a very self-sacrificing woman and far more reckless than people believed her to be. Most thought the headmistress of such a prestigious school would be more pragmatic and thoughtful. But Saul knew better. Farah was about as impulsive and hasty as someone in her position could be.

Farah set herself rigidly and glanced down the alleyway. She couldn't see the Burned One from where she stood, but as she opened up her magic, she felt its presence clearly. It was vile and wicked and suffocating. She swallowed heavily and called her magic back.

"I'm not sure how we can lure it somewhere else," Farah admitted. "I think the alley is a dead end."

The Specialist frowned. "There has to be some way. Can't you teleport it?"

"I'd rather not," she countered. "I'd have to get too close. And I've never teleported something that was unwilling before."

Saul cleared his throat and gripped his sword's hilt a bit tighter. Clearly, the words had a… deeper meaning for the pair. "I'm not sure what other choice we have," he replied. "I don't want you getting close to it."

Farah narrowed her eyes slightly. "I can handle my own, Saul," she replied shortly. But after a moment, she shook her head. "Perhaps the alley opens up?" the fairy suggested. "Or we'll just have to figure out a way to face it here with what we have."

Before Saul could reply, a strangled roar came from the dark end of the alley. The Burned One. Immediately, both of them turned their attention to it, and in the blink of an eye, Farah side-stepped Saul and was heading toward the danger.

"Farah!" the Specialist exclaimed, rushing after her. He wasn't about to let his fairy face the Burned One alone.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Quain continued to watch the pair, becoming more and more intrigued. Farah was definitely a kindhearted soul, and Saul appeared to be her devoted protector. Interesting…

She overheard their strategizing, and couldn’t help a chuckle. Not many alleys in Naskeni were dead ends, excluding the alleys against the massive dividing walls of the city. So, the alleys that were dead ends had quite a reputation. This alley was one of those, and it was called Entrails Alley. Firstly, it was on the way toward the armory near the gate of the city, which was heavily guarded. Secondly, the alley widened near the end, which made it a popular place for butchering, both animals and people. Thirdly, it was a former ritual site for cultists, before the city guards caught on to it some years back. Quain knew all of this, because she used to participate in some of those cult rituals as a young teenager.

A strange roar burst from the alley and Quain gasped in awe. She sent forth her magic to sense what was in that alley, what this ‘Burned One’ was. The vile wickedness, the scorched hide, the infection… Oh, it was so, so wondrous! She had to see it!

As Farah went into the alley, Quain emerged and stalked toward the entrance. People on the streets were moving away from the alley, giving it a wide berth since they didn’t know what was going on. A stone giant nearby was even encouraging the ‘smaller folk’ to vacate the area. While chaos descended on the street as mild panic set in, Quain crept closer and closer until she was entering the alley.

She kept her pace slow and steady, sticking to the shadows. Her cloak, and some divine influence, made her blend into the darkness that much more.

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"Farah!" Saul called out again, but Farah was too focused on the Burned One at the end of the alleyway to pay attention to anything Saul was saying. He could have gotten down on one knee and professed his undying love for her, and she wouldn't have noticed until the Burned One had been taken care of.

As she grew closer the the end of the alley, she made note of how it opened up at the end into a wider area. That meant two things. First, the Burned One wouldn't be able to get around them and escape. Second, Farah knew now that she had to be extra careful, for both her sake and Saul's.

Fighting in closer proximity to a Burned One was a death sentence for most. Their claws were laced with venom, and scratches from them were lethal. The unguent Zanbaq was a momentary relief from the venom's effects, but it could only do so much. To permanently rid someone of a Burned One's infection, the Burned One who scratched them had to be killed.

With every step, the rancid stench of the Burned One drowned out Farah's senses. She stepped into the clearing at the end of the alley, Saul dead on her heels with his blade ready. The creature turned to her and charged. With a flick of her wrist, Farah sent the beast flying backward and slamming into the wall. She glanced over her shoulder at Saul.

"Flank it," she ordered. "I'll go right, you go left."

Wordlessly, the pair split up. They each went their separate directions as Farah had said and stayed along the outer edge of the wall. The Burned One slowly recovered from the blast, and as it did, Saul swung his sword around a bit to attract the creature's attention. This was a plan carefully devised by the two after years of fighting these monsters. Saul would distract it for Farah to call her magic. She would incinerate it, and after she did, Saul would pierce its chest with his blade, just for good measure.

The Specialist's eyes were narrowed and his stance was set and ready, but the Burned One swung its head to look at Farah. She was the one who had attacked it. She would be the one it would attack first. So it snarled and lunged at her instead of Saul.

Farah's eyes widened, and she backtracked fast to get away from it… without realizing how close to the wall she was. Her back slammed against the bricks, and before she could process the creature's inhuman speed, it slashed across her abdomen.

The fairy gasped and recoiled in pain as the infection immediately flamed through her body. She hardly heard Saul scream her name as she slid down the wall to sit on the dirty ground, but the Burned One did. It was enough to send the creature charging to the other side of the area, ready to extract its violence on the Specialist too.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Quain continued to follow the pair, quickening her pace slightly to close the distance. As the stench grew, so did Quain’s excitement. She reveled in putrid things, and this creature certainly fit.

She stopped at the edge of the current battleground, watching in sheer fascination. The creature was nothing less than mesmerizing. So skeletal, so aged, so beautiful. Sure, the foreigners had brilliant synchronization, but the Burned One held Quain’s attention. It was a holy being, to be worshipped, not killed.

It amused her to see the pair’s tactic fail, and she barely held back a squeal of delight at seeing Farah wounded. Oh, Quain could smell the infection! Marvelous!

However, she abruptly felt an urge to help Farah, to heal her. Quain immediately questioned it, until she felt a cold chill caressing her neck, like a sharp piece of ice brushing against her, or like the touch of a ghostly being. It was him. Him! Her beloved! She almost melted at the knowledge, but a gentle coo, a simple noise, encouraged her otherwise. He sensed something, something about Farah. He craved that something.

Quain wasn’t one to leave her god wanting. So, she strode boldly out of the shadows, straight for Farah. A faint cloud of fog followed her, holding her shoulder. Because of that, the Burned One would see Quain as kin, not an enemy. It would not harm her while he was there. Saul was not protected though. Saul did not matter. He was only human.

Quain kneeled next to Farah and held up her hands, softly praying for a spell of healing. It was granted. Yellow green light flowed from Quain’s fingers to Farah’s wound. It was tainted magic. Healing spells in Narsenshard were normally a bright gold, this was soft and almost sickly. But, no one needed to know that. And, with his hand still on her shoulder, no one, not even Farah, would be able to sense that knowledge swirling in Quain’s mind.

Quain’s healing spell seeped into Farah’s skin and the wound started to seal, but instead of a gentle warm feeling, the sensation of the spell was an itching, clawing pain, like thousands of infectious needles stabbing Farah at once. At the same time, a faint fogginess crept into her mind, muddling her thoughts.

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Saul bared his teeth and held his sword tightly. He would kill the Burned One quickly and make sure his fairy would be alright.

Farah, on the other hand, was quickly succumbing to the infection. Beads of sweat were forming around the edge of her face, and she was panting heavily for breath.

Suddenly, she saw a blur of movement coming toward her. It couldn’t be Saul already. No, if the Burned One was dead, she would already be recovering. Farah turned her head slightly to see who it was. Her eyes settled on Quain’s face and widened with recognition.

“You,” she hissed. The woman said nothing to her and only began what Farah assumed was a prayer. “Get away from me,” the fairy demanded, but her voice was weakening as her body was.

Just as quickly as the Burned One had scratched her, Farah felt the wound begin to seal. She looked back at the woman’s face with astonishment. “How—” she began, but the scraping, stabbing pain suddenly overwhelmed her. Healing shouldn’t hurt like this. Something wasn’t right.

Farah writhed and cried out, struggling to do much more than breathe at the moment. But she still felt something slip into her mind. She tapped immediately into her magic, her eye color changing in the process, and tried to push away the intruding presence.

“Get out of my head,” she demanded raggedly, closing her eyes and gritting her teeth tightly a second later.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Quain was unfazed by Farah’s condition, and continued to approach. She briefly met Farah’s eyes when the woman recognized her, but otherwise said nothing. She completely ignored Farah’s demand.

Quain didn’t interrupt her spell to answer Farah, though when she started to writhe Quain easily held her down with one hand. Quain was not a naturally strong woman. She was lithe and delicate. But, this, her grip on Farah, was nothing but pure strength. The cold hand on Quain’s shoulder grew much colder, much tighter, and she secretly savored it.

Quain ignored Farah’s outburst, still focusing on her spell. The tainted magic was working wonderfully, though Quain sensed something off about the wound, a connection to the Burned One. Unfortunately, it would have to die for the wound to fully heal. But, Quain was sure the Burned One would find a welcoming home in the afterlife, the home in which her beloved ruled.

The presence in Farah’s mind solidied quickly, blocking her attempts to push it out, feeding on her pain and weakness. It built itself a fortress in her mind, then it surprisingly settled. As if it was waiting for something. But, there was a notable hint of intrigue radiating off of the fortress.

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Farah frowned as she was ignored. Quite honestly, she wasn’t used to it, especially being the headmistress. It seemed like everyone needed to talk to her or required her attention for one thing or another. But as the woman’s eyes again met hers, Farah saw something in them. Something swirling in her irises, darkening her gaze. The fairy knew there was something not right about this woman. The presence surrounding her, as faint as Farah felt it, only confirmed her suspicions.

She gasped at the strength the woman had when pushing her back down. From what Farah could tell, she was a smaller woman with not a lot of muscle. The hold she had on the fairy was not matching up with her appearance. Again, Farah suspected there was something else at play here.

The presence in her mind was a strong one, and though Farah was powerful, as powerful as mind fairies came, she couldn’t rid herself of it. She felt it’s patience and intrigue at the same time, and despite herself, she probed back at it. What — or who, if it wasn’t the woman beside her — was it?

Meanwhile, Saul slashed at the Burned One without pause. He connected with the creature’s arm, causing it to roar in pain. With it distracted, Saul drew his blade back and ran it clean through the Burned One’s chest. The monster snarled loudly, but the Specialist twisted his blade and ripped it upward until the Burned One collapsed to the ground in a dead heap.

Finally, Saul could tend to Farah and make sure she wasn’t truly hurt. He looked over at her and was shocked at what he saw. Seeing a mysterious woman kneeling by his fairy and holding her down made his protective side flare up. He pointed his blade at the woman and approached at a swift pace. “Get your hands off of her,” he snarled.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Quain was aware that Farah had seen something in her gaze. A subtle green tint in the whites of her eyes. It always happened when her beloved god touched her, in any way.

She was also aware that her unnatural strength was yet another sign that something else was going on. But, she diligently continued to cast her spell, the wound almost fully healed. As soon as the Burned One fell dead, it sealed completely, only a barely visible grey scar remaining.

She sat back and immediately went into prayer, thanking her beloved for his help. A squeeze to her shoulder was his only response. Not surprising, given his focus on Farah.

Inside Farah’s mind, he waited, watching. When she prodded at him, her curiosity getting the better of her, he stepped forward. The fortress seemed to open a bit, and a haze fell over her mind again, but it wasn’t as hostile as the first one. It was a wave hello, in a twisted sort of way.

I felt your presence the moment you stepped foot in this world, Farah. Such power. Such beauty. I had to meet you…

The fortress opened further and he came into view. Farah could now see him standing above her, his clawed hand holding onto Quain. His body was currently made of fog, but there was definite substance to it. His eyes, completely white except for his shining red pupils, bored into her with interest.

I am Falbahaddon. A god of this world. And, you… are Farah Dowling, a woman of almost god-like power…

He leaned down, hand reaching for her, but he abruptly stopped at the sound of Saul. He turned his head to glare at Saul, though the man wouldn’t see it. Then, with barely a thought, Falbahaddon made Saul’s sword rapidly rust, until it disintegrated into ash on the ground.

As he did so, Falbahaddon unconsciously tightened his grip on the still praying Quain, which caused her to gasp. Though, she wasn’t in pain. Quite the opposite actually.

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Farah waited a moment after instigating contact with whoever was in her mind. It was an odd feeling, sharing her mental space with someone else. Normally, it was the other way around, if someone desired to let her in their mind at all.

As the haze fell over her mind again, Farah’s body responded. She relaxed, her eyes glazed over, and her expression went slack. The twisted hello made her wary, as did everything else about this situation. For once in her life, she decided to be cautious before being hasty

The voice that reached her ears was oddly echoey. It was also far too sinister for her liking. Even though it’s words were praising and promising, Farah originally shied away from it.

When she could see the owner of the voice, her eyes widened. It was the god’s own eyes that chilled Farah to the core. The red and white was terrifying to look at, so she forced her gaze away. Her will and pain tolerance were strong.

“What do you want from me?” she asked coldly. Her eyes caught a glimpse of motion as he reached for her, and she leaned away. But she looked up right away when she heard Saul’s voice. Her Specialist.

His sword suddenly disintegrated, and Saul looked between Farah, who would never leave him unarmed, and the other woman, who was muttering something under her breath. He didn’t know who had made his sword disintegrate, but he didn’t care.

Instead, Saul locked eyes with Farah and curled his fingers into fists. The fairy knew what that meant, and she quickly shook her head.

“Saul,” she hissed. “Run.

Her eyes pleaded with him to listen, but instead, the Specialist determinedly set his stance. “Not without you,” was all he said, narrowing his eyes at Quain since he still couldn’t see the god.

Farah shook her head. “If you ever loved me, you will run,” she begged.

At that, Saul hesitated. He loved Farah more than life, but he didn’t want to leave her. He couldn’t. Not with this strange woman who didn’t look threatening, but Saul knew better.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Falbahaddon studied Farah’s every reaction, savoring her fear. Though, he couldn’t help grinning cruelly when she met his eyes, his long, jagged fangs showing clearly. When she looked away and questioned him, he chuckled.

Falbahaddon started to answer her when Saul interrupted. His glare sharpened as Saul made a fist and looked at Quain. He whipped his head back toward Farah as she spoke, then watched the interaction. But, Falbahaddon would not allow anyone to threaten his prize, his future bride.

The cobblestone beneath Saul turned to a foul-smelling mud that swallowed his feet, immobilizing him. Falbahaddon then let go of Quain and stalked toward the man, fully intending to, quite literally, bite his head off. He was close, only a couple feet away from Saul, when a lovely voice called to him.


Falbahaddon whipped around to face Quain, his expression bewildered. She looked at him and giggled.


Falbahaddon’s eyes narrowed in thought, then a cruel snicker escaped him. He then turned to Farah and headed toward her. Reaching down with a clawed hand, he grabbed Farah’s wrist and lifted her to her feet. Biting cold swallowed Farah’s wrist, leaving a hand-shaped patch of frostnip.

However, that wasn’t the only thing that happened when he touched her. A deep and strange connection formed. A bond. A claim on her soul. There was nowhere on Narsenshard that Farah could hide from him now.

You are mine now!

Falbahaddon grinned wide, then let her go. He faded away, the mud holding Saul’s feet becoming regular soil. Falbahaddon’s presence didn’t entirely leave though. He was still watching.

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Farah shuddered at the sound of the god’s chuckle. It was foul and vile, just like everything else about him. Though his form had yet to take a true physical shape instead of just fog, his eyes had been enough for the fairy to determine his wicked body. But the way Falbahaddon laughed made her realize that everything she was doing was feeding into his enjoyment. So, she swallowed her emotions and forced herself to remain as impassive as she could.

Saul was just about to take a step — to run or to fight, Farah wasn’t entirely sure — but before he could, the god’s magic manipulated the ground to keep him from whatever he was planning. The Specialist struggled to wrench himself free, but it was in vain.

Farah watched in horror as the god headed for Saul. She tried to get up, but the woman’s arm was still pinning her down with her unnaturally strong grip. Farah knew now that it had to be Falbahaddon’s doing. But that didn’t stop her from fighting against it until Quain called out to the god. And he listened to her, surprised as he was by her speaking up.

Farah didn’t know what the woman meant by ‘love,’ but for now, she didn’t care. Whatever she meant by it, it stopped Falbahaddon from outright murdering Saul.

His snicker made Farah stiffen, even more so as he suddenly headed for her. She narrowed her eyes into a sharp glare as he approached, but Falbahaddon clearly paid her no mind as he snatched her wrist and pulled her up.

The shock of how cold his grip was made Farah yelp, and instinctively, she tried to wrench her hand away. “Let go,” she snapped, her voice unwavering and hard for how terrified she felt. His touch was so cold that her hand and arm began trembling.

When the bond snapped into place between them, Farah felt it. It made her sick, as did his words afterward. She didn’t want to be his at all. If she was anyone’s… she was Saul’s. And that wouldn’t ever change.

Thankfully, the god faded away and released both of them — his grip on Farah and the mud keeping Saul in place. Immediately, they ran to each other.

Saul took his fairy in his arms and urgently looked over her face for any sign of pain. “What just happened? Are you alright?” he asked.

“We need to go,” Farah said quickly. She didn’t care for Quain, the fairy just knew they needed to leave before anything more happened with Falbahaddon.

“Farah—” Saul tried to protest, but she wasted no time in pulling him toward the alleyway that lead back to the crowded city streets.

“I’ll explain on the way,” she supplied shortly. “We have to get out of here. Now.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Falbahaddon’s grin grew wider at her shudder, and somehow, his teeth grew longer. It seemed impossible that such fangs could fit in his mouth, but they did. When Farah hid her emotions, Falbahaddon laughed.

You cannot hide from me. And, if I truly needed your fear, I would make you feel fear.

Falbahaddon watched in glee as Saul struggled. He’d never break free, not unless Falbahaddon wanted him to. And, he was of half a mind to let Saul rot into nothing more than bone before releasing him.

But, Quain’s interruption, and her suggestion, had Falbahaddon changing his mind. Quain had been referencing Farah’s words. ‘If you ever loved me…’ And, Saul did obviously love Farah. He wouldn’t have hesitated otherwise. So, Quain’s subtle suggestion was to use their emotional attachment against them. Claim Farah, so that she would never truly be Saul’s. And, watch their relationship decay as Falbahaddon’s influence turned Farah into something much darker than Saul could handle. Then, Farah would be his, and Saul would lose his mind, and be a much more delightful little pet/meal.

Which was why Falbahaddon turned to Farah. He ignored her protests and his grip was too strong for her to escape, but he didn’t intend to hold her long. He just needed to touch her. Just a touch, just a handprint, a mark that would physically heal but would seep into her soul and taint it for eternity.

Her thoughts made Falbahaddon grin again. He couldn’t help a last poke at her before he left.

Soon, you will see differently.

Quain, who had straightened into a proper praying pose when Falbahaddon had picked up Farah, turned as the couple ran to each other. A sly smile was on her face, and she unconsciously rubbed the handprint her beloved had left on her shoulder. She loved the marks he left.

She continued to watch the pair as Farah almost dragged Saul away. She knew the name ‘Saul’ now, as Falbahaddon had just left it as a little present in her mind. So, as Farah and Saul fled, Quain just stayed kneeling. What more need be done when the seed of corruption had already been left?

Besides, as the pair left, another presence re-emerged. His cold claws trailed her skin, his ethereal hands completely ignoring her clothes. A delighted moan escaped her and Quain sat up straighter, inviting more of his touch. Falbahaddon took that invitation, a soft rattling rumble echoing close to Quain’s ear as his claws caressed her. His voice, so gentle now, whispered praises in her ear, among other things.

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Farah's eyes narrowed. Her eyes caught on his fangs, and she inhaled slowly. They appeared… longer than when she'd just looked at him. But she couldn't tell if it was real or just her fear playing tricks on her.

You can't make me feel anything, she fired back. She was a powerful fairy of the mind. It was just as easy for her to control her own emotions as it was for her to sense others.

Neither the fairy nor her Specialist understood how much of a manipulative, wicked plan the pair was setting in motion. Saul was completely unaware of even Falbahaddon's presence while Farah was far too focused on Saul's safety.

Despite his grip being too strong and cold enough to basically numb her entire arm, Farah still fought. It was ingrained in her to fight. She'd fought all her life. Why stop now? The sight of his handprint lingering on her skin made Farah begin to breath heavily. It made her think of things that didn't need to be coming up in her mind right now. She quickly shut out the thoughts so Falbahaddon had no chance of seeing them.

The fairy recoiled from him at his grin. "I won't," she hissed, half to the god and half a promise to herself.

But once Falbahaddon had disappeared and they were both free, Farah didn't hesitate to take Saul's hand and lead him from the alley. Once they were back in the main part of the city, they stepped off to the side so they could speak privately.

"What happened back there?" Saul demanded. "Why do you have a handprint on your arm?"

Farah was still trying to catch her breath, but at his questions, she looked up at him with wide eyes. Realization dawned in her mind. "You didn't see him," she whispered. "Of course not…"

Saul was immediately more confused. "Who, Farah? See who?"

Slowly, Farah backtracked and explained all that had happened. With each sentence, Saul grew more furious. He only calmed down when Farah settled her hand on his arm. "Saul," she murmured. "He can track me. You need to leave. Go back through a gateway. It's the only way to keep you-"

But Saul stepped forward and kissed her gently. It succeeded in cutting her off, and he drew back a second later.

"Let's make one thing clear. I am not leaving you, Farah," he promised her. "It's alright. Everything will be alright. We will get through this. Together, like always."

She nodded, and Saul leaned in, cupping her face, to gently press his lips to hers again. Farah accepted the movement and slid her hands up his back. But just as Saul was about to break away, a sudden surge of aggressiveness overcame Farah. She dug her fingers into his back and kissed him fiercely. Her tongue pushed between his lips and swept through his mouth hungrily. Her entire body seemed to have somehow been under new management for a moment.

Startled, Saul pulled away. Farah chased his lips and caught them again. He tried again, and she repeated her pursuit until he used his hands on her face to hold her back. "Farah?" he asked worriedly. "Where is this coming from?"

Farah blinked quickly and drew back from him. An embarrassed blush flamed across her face, especially as she saw how other passersby were looking at them. Specifically her. She shook her head, completely dumbstruck. "I… I don't know. I have no idea."

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Falbahaddon didn’t mention it, but his fangs were real. And much longer than they already appeared. And, much more gross. With his form currently made of fog, most of his features were bland or distorted. Eventually, he’d show himself as he truly was, and eagerly awaited her inevitable reaction.

We shall see…

Her insistence to fight intrigued Falbahaddon, and he immediately peeked at her memories as they surfaced, discovering some lovely details before Farah shut them way. It wouldn’t stop Falbahaddon, but he decided to let her ‘win’ this round.

You will. I promise you that.

Falbahaddon was aware of the entire conversation between Farah and Saul, but part of his attention was solely on Quain. He savored touching her skin, leaving his marks on her. And, he knew she loved receiving them. She was so willing. He couldn’t get enough.

A detail in the foreign couple’s conversation caught his attention, and Falbahaddon had a cruel idea. He moved around to Quain’s front and lifted her chin. He gave her a gentle, praising kiss. Quain moaned into his kiss, savoring it.

Then, Falbahaddon gave her a harsh, fiery kiss, claiming Quain’s mouth as his. As he did so, he projected his desire to Farah. Which turned into her aggressive kisses. It confused Saul, but Quain was all for it. Which only inspired Falbahaddon more. So, he sent a memory, an image of this moment, of him kissing Quain, to Farah.

I can make you feel whatever I want you to feel, Farah.

Afterward, Falbahaddon lifted away from his kiss, looking at Quain with a mixture of appreciation and admiration. Quain smiled back so seductively that it nearly snapped Falbahaddon’s composure. Nearly.

“You are such an inspiration, my darling,”he purred aloud.

“As are you,”Quain replied reverently, moving to kiss him. Falbahaddon eagerly let her.

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The mystery and wickedness of the god only made Farah more firmly set that she would not fall or bow before him in any capacity. She and Saul would leave now that the Burned One was dead. They could make a gateway back to the Otherworld, far from this world and city. They could be together. Be happy.

Farah was still reeling from the way she’d just kissed Saul when a memory flooded her vision. It made her sick, along with the words that accompanied it.

“No,” she gasped quietly.

Saul reached for her as the memory dissolved from her view. “Are you okay, Farah?” he asked worriedly.

The mind fairy quickly stumbled back from him. “You… You need to get away from me, Saul,” she whispered. “Just go. If you leave now, you can make it back to the gateway within the hour.”

But much to Farah’s dismay, he was already shaking his head. “No,” he argued. “How many times do I have to say it? We’re a team, and we can figure this out together.”

“He’s controlling me,” Farah explained softly. “The god. He… He can make me do things… feel things. You need to leave before you get hurt.”

Again, Saul remained firm. “No, Farah.”

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Falbahaddon watched the pair through Farah’s eyes and thoughts, enjoying the entire moment. Their need to protect each other was quaint, and would be their doom. And, even if they left the world, he would still be with her.

He turned his attention back to Quain, giving her another kiss before moving to whisper in her ear. He hesitated though when she tilted her head and moaned in his ear.

“Dear Quain, you know me too well. I promise I shall give you a present later. For now, keep watch over the pair. Cultivate the seed that has been planted. Her power is something of great use to us,”Falbahaddon cooed.

Quain snickered at his comment, then turned to kiss him as a way of accepting her task. Falbahaddon gave a rattling rumble before pulling away and fading.

Quain was reluctant to move for a long moment, but finally got up and calmly walked toward the alley’s exit, searching for Farah and Saul. She had ideas on how to keep the pair close. And, she knew Falbahaddon would approve.