Title :: The Deeper Well
Rating :: FR18
Warning :: Femslash
Disclaimer :: Anita Blake and all related characters are copyright of Laurell K. Hamilton and Penguin House. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright Joss Whedon and ME. No infringement intended.
Note :: This story will be a series of ficlets. That will, at times, be told out of sequence because memories aren’t linear so neither will this series be. It will revolve around the life and times of Cygne Noir, Soif de Sang, Marmee Noir
and The Dragon and my version of how these four characters came to be and who they really are. All phrases and dialogue in French will be italicized and many thanks to the lovely Copper for providing me with assistance in this area.
Synopsis :: They awoke. In this tower beneath dirt, they awoke, and their children trembled. ~*~
~*~The white foam scattered, the water falling back, slipping around her ankles and sinking her further into the malleable sand as the surf raged. Her head inclined and she watched the dark waves shatter against themselves and the shore, creating those white arches of foam and vapor under moonlight.
Gray ocean struck at the rocks rising up through the beach, broke apart against their jagged surfaces. Stole fragments of them and smoothed their harden edges, melted the harshness with time and patience. Clouds hung low and heavy on the horizon, filled with rain to strengthen the waves and lightning, lightning that would arc upward and shear through the effervescent sky.
Through the misty din of the ocean an intimate and haunting sound saturated the darkness behind her—the flutter of wings.
Wings that clattered and struck, rolled and echoed as they grew in intensity and volume with each break of wave against shore. A wind pushed its way forward, through the heavy tendrils of her hair and lifted them, brought them up to brush against her face as the wings drew closer and the sky opened. Lightning rose to meet the clouds and leached the grayness from the ocean, filled it with the sparkle of white and blue as the wings reached her and she awoke.
Lashes fluttered, dark against pale cheeks as her body rolled, boneless, onto its back. Her arm shifted, slipping across her waist and smearing the powder covering her limp form. Green eyes opened, lethargic as they narrowed on the shadows draped across the ceiling above her and through the darkness she saw shallow movement. Ripples that fluttered and waved as they separated from the stone and floated downward, toward her.
Small hands tensed, fingers curling into the pile of furs covering the mattress, made of cotton and down, laid upon the floor. Nails caught against the smooth underside of the skins as she turned her head. Listened to the beat of paper thin wings as they drew nearer and the crackle of her hair as she shifted and stretched, limbs slipping free to rise above her head and her back lifted, arching off the bed before she wilted, rolling onto her side.
The waves of her hair tumbled forward, crowding her from shoulder to waist as she brought her chin down and gazed into the darkness surrounding her. She rose slowly at the waist, neck lulling to the side with the heavy weight of her hair as she righted herself and the first of the moths crowded against her smooth flesh. Soft wings and thin legs tangled in the snarled mass of her hair as more cascaded down to land against or near her as she lifted her hands in welcome.
Her head fell back, hair shifting and catching more as they came to greet and show their fervent devotion. The fine powder settled against her bare skin, falling from their moving wings to cover her in varying shades of color. The feather-light brush of antennae drew her head to the side and brown spotted wings clouded her vision. A hand rose and the moth’s palpable weight settled across her knuckles, wings spread wide for balance. She bent her elbow, shoulder rolling forward as she brought her face and delicate follower to center.
The hand turned and the moth’s narrow feet shifted with the movement, climbing between her thumb and forefinger to settle against her palm. The furs were pushed to the side, dislodging more of her devoted as she twisted toward the entrance of the chamber. Her hip rolled forward, knee rising up and over the edge of the mattress to put bare foot to stone.
Toes curling against the harsh surface as she stood, dragging her leg through the fur and fine powder to settle her other foot against the floor. Her first step was halting, jarring in its intensity and she paused, swayed in the darkness and moths before righting herself. Shadows leached forward, crowding her vision and she ignored the sharp and sudden scent of rain as the darkness swept in to pull her down, drag her back into death sleep.
A shudder wracked her slim frame and her head bowed, muscles tensing and her moths shuddered. Floating down to crowd her body and anchor her, hold her in the soft wind of their wings and the gentle tapping of their bodies. Moths were made of nothing and yet they were indurate and lasting, their weight held her steady, allowed her to push open the wooden door.
She cradled the brown one to her breast as she freed herself from the chamber and blinked against the amber light that filled a circular staircase that wound around the center of the tower. The door was left open, wide and hollow as the moths followed her down into the darker dwellings of this tower beneath dirt. Her free arm spread out, fingers tracing along the stone wall, stones her hands had helped to place before the world held meaning, before the world held language.
White edged wings brushed her fingers and green eyes dipped, watched the wings of the moth she held rise up and fall in time with the temperate beat of its heart. Her free hand left stone to draw a light knuckle over the fine hairs covering its thorax as she made careful progress down the wide steps. A shimmer of yellow drew her gaze and she watched two separate from the swarm and dance with one another.
They bobbed and dipped, thin wings spreading as they spiraled and her lips curved. Mouth spreading into a feral smile and her head inclined as another, louder heartbeat filled the space above her. She paused, body falling silent and still as footsteps hurried down the shallow steps toward her. Hunger twisted in her stomach and her mouth dried, body sinking deeper into stillness as she awaited the warmth moving swiftly down and around.
Louder sounds reached her, a familiar language, but the words held little meaning as she turned her head to the side and the moths rose, fluttering upward as to not crowd her movements. The steps faltered and terror tightened her intruder’s breath, sputtered their heart as they backpedaled and fell. Striking the steps beneath them with hip and elbow and tearing the thick flesh covering their palms as they attempted to catch themselves.
Blood welled to the surface and the pain in her stomach sharpened as she turned, metallic silver slipping along the edge of her irises to lighten them. Pale the color and fill them with an iridescent light as they narrowed on the young man sprawled across the steps above her. More words spilled from his mouth, soft and filled with prayer until his eyes met hers and a blankness filled his gaze and mind and his fear sputtered before falling away.
She held that fragile mind as she made her way slowly upward, one bare foot before the other as his gaze upon her filled with adoration and wonder. Her mouth opened, baring white teeth and cuspated canines, a rattle spilled from the depths of her throat. The harsh sound of bone striking wood brought his fear crawling back, tightening the beat of his heart as she sank deeper within his mind until she felt the barest brush of fur and found the scent of sand.
Fur she knew, fur she could control and with his next breath she pushed the hard edge of her hunger and need into him. His spine bowed, back arching against the steps as feather, fur and scale slipped inside his mind and through his body. Pulled a ragged breath from his mouth and corded the muscles in his shoulders and chest, brought their definition to the surface through the soft material that covered his frame.
Her power slid inside and spread from heart to groin as the warmth she offered, she took, spiked and her delicate hands caught his shoulder and chin. Drew them apart before she struck, white teeth sinking into flesh and the copper rush of warmth struck her tongue. She slid over his prone form, bare thighs cradling his chest as she removed her fangs and drew at the shallow wound.
The moths scattered, free to shadow the stairwell as they beat against the shallow bowls of light anchored to the walls. A few slipped between glass and stone to strike at the brilliant light that drew them, that became the death of them and those death-flutters drew her attention. She pulled back, lips leaving his warm flesh with an audible pop as the suction broke and she wiped at her mouth with the back of her hand, smearing the blood across her chin.
The metallic light faded from her gaze as she released the leopard and he slumped against the steps, throat raw, heart sluggish and his mouth curved in a sated smile. She dipped, tongue catching the few drops of blood that had speckled his cheek before her own heart tightened and released in her chest.
It slipped into a steady beat as she rose and turned, stepping over the slumped form of her prey before once again resuming her steady progression down. The moths returned to her, one by one, as she followed the shallow steps and her brown spotted friend came to nestle in the curve where shoulder met neck. The white edges marking her flushed skin as its wings fluttered open and she continued her way down until the air grew moist and damp and another wooden door stood before her.
Pale fingers splayed across the aged wood, traced over and down the knots and lines before wrapping around a brass ring and tugging. The down swung open and she stepped back, narrowly avoiding its edge as it arched toward the stone wall and connected with a resolute crash. Her head inclined, eyes narrowing on the shower of dust that shook free and rained down and around her before her gaze shifted, locked on the dark entry.
A crimson stained mouth stretched, lips curving inward as she moved forward, one delicate step at a time and entered the shadowed room. The moths surrounding her scattered, floating toward the ceiling and the devoted at her shoulder shuddered before following the others upward with its bobbing grace. Her gaze locked on the mound of furs in the center of the room and she shifted, stepping forward and towards the bed and its occupant that lay beneath them.
The sloped tips of her nails trailed through the thick, coarse hairs in varying shades of grey and white before she caught the edge and tugged the wolf-skin from the pile, tossing it behind her. Dark hair was revealed, waves of it spread across another layer of honey colored fur and her hand rose, pushed the tangled mass of it aside and gazed down at peace-filled face. Sooty lashes rested easily against high cheeks and she reached out, fingertips tracing down a narrow nose, skipped over a shallow indent to run her thumb underneath the fullness of her bottom lip.
Gentle fingers came to rest against her jaw as she toyed with the soft, supple bit of flesh before she knelt, dipped the face cradled in her hand back with a tightening of her fingers. Her tongue brushed the roof of her mouth, eased its way forward to touch the back of her teeth before she flattened it and drew it back against her incisors. Blood filled her mouth, fast and warm and she eased her way forward, over the form of her slumbering counterpart and pressed her pale mouth against full lips.
Pink tongue slipping inside a dry mouth and her blood followed, spilled in to coat teeth and tongue with its warmth and as her tongue thrust forward, so did her power and the face beneath her hands tensed. Spine bowing off the bed of furs and hands found her shoulders, rolled them as the mouth surrounding her tongue concaved, sucked painfully at the tender bit of muscle and nerves. A purring growl freed itself from the back of her throat and her lover pulled back, mouth stained and eyes burning with a familiar black flame before she threw back her head and laughed.
The sound of it wrapped her in a sticky heat that melted against her skin, inside her mouth and coated her throat. She swallowed it down, welcomed the sweet flavor of lust as her hands rose from the wolf furs surrounding them to cage the curved hips above her and the laughter slipped into softly uttered words that, again, held little meaning to her tired mind, but she understood, remembered the taste of them, the adoration and hunger that shadowed them.
Hands wound through her hair and tugged, pulled her head back and anchored it as her lover’s full mouth was pressed against her own, her power sweeping through her body. She caught the narrow shoulders above her own as her mouth opened wider, welcomed the frantic thrust of a tongue as the power pouring into her, through her shuddered.
It pulled back, slipping away as the tide sweeps back and without warning, without preamble the heat, lust and love crashed against her perception, shattered it and her will as the walls between them crumbled. Rock and sand falling around their bodies, beating them down and into one another until nothing but sweat, tears and joy remained. They were one. They were rejoined and the reconnection left them panting and intertwined on the bed of furs and cotton with a gentle hand tracing her brow and brown eyes watching her breathe—she breathed.
Laughter sparked against her flesh and a rumbling cry escaped her lips and dark brows sloped with the sound, pulling together as a hand rose to trace her throat. Brush aside the mass of her hair and cage it, her lover’s thumb lifting to sweep along her jaw.
“Ma Cygne Noir.
” She knew these words, her title, one of many, and she turned with the sound of them. Gazed up at her lover and felt her confusion, an ache in her core that twisted her mouth downward and she answered with a snarl and her lover shook her head.
She leaned forward, dark, nearly pitch-colored hair falling around her shoulders as she laid a gentle, chaste kiss against an abused mouth and they melded together, sank into the furs and one another. Attempted to wake her memory, her voice with desperate touches and heated murmurs, and chase away the need for beasts. ~*~
Terror had coated his servant’s throat, tightened Balthasar’s words and turned his rich voice into a countertenor as he explained that the Sisters, the guardians of the Sweet Dark had awoken and the Traveler had once again, in his long life, known fear. It had been complete and all consuming for the space of three of his servant’s rapid heartbeats before he’d simply left his sanctuary and acquired one of his line guarding the oldest among them.
The hands of his newest vessel stretched, spread wide as he pushed himself from the group of children frantic with fear and unsure of their next move with their masters so far away. He ignored their excited shouts as they called his vessel’s name and pushed open the door that lead to the staircase winding into the deeper recesses of the tower. His mouth turned downward as he began a slow glide down the steps and simply knew that if Belle Morte’s invidious actions toward the mother of them all had caused this then he might very well aid the Sisters in her destruction.
He was the last among the Council that remembered a time when the Sisters and the Sweet Mother had walked the earth. When the Sweet Mother had still awoken every few centuries and toiled with her children, taught them the limits of their abilities. He still held the phantom memories of the heavy weight of her laughter, the scent of jasmines and the fire of her hair and within her eyes. His steps slowed and faltered at the sight of the opened entry to Cygne Noir
’s chamber and of one of Belle’s pets curled against the stone steps a few feet away, his gaze hooded as he stared upward, at nothing, and smiled.
Blonde hair brushed the collar of his shirt as he turned, inclined his head with the sound of echoing foot falls as the other children of the Council found the courage to follow him. He ignored them and stepped forward, past the open door to gaze around the darkened chamber before blue eyes rose upward, swept over a ceiling empty of moths and knew, with utter certainty, that Balthasar had spoken truths. His shoulder sagged before he turned, continued his way deeper and tried to recall a time when the Sisters hadn’t awoken at the same time.
Perhaps only Cygne Noir
would grace them with her presence, perhaps only Padma, the Master of Beasts, had to fear this reunion of maker and child. A slow, malicious smile spread his vessel’s full lips as the Traveler allowed himself a small moment of petty retribution toward the most insolent and least powerful among them before finishing the last few steps leading to the entrance of the chamber that housed Soif de Sang
He hesitated at the darkened entrance, all noise muffled by the magics that contained the power within that room inside. The magics that kept the Sisters and the Sweet Mother from being sought after by human hunters with power-hungry witches and no earthly clue as to how to destroy something that seemed as infinite as them and the same magics kept him just beyond the static-filled edge between stairs and darkness. He felt the children move closer to him, their curiosity and fear leading them, rather then the instincts telling them to flee and shook his head.
At least he had a purpose here, a role to play, one that Mr. Oliver was no longer able to perform and the Traveler stepped over the barrier containing the Sisters—both had awoken, this he knew—and staggered, falling to his knees. The cooper scent of blood was sweet on the air, muddling his thoughts as he turned his head. The white of his vessel’s eyes slipped away, covered by pale blue fire as he gazed at the bed, the intertwined heap that was the Sisters.
The sight of the them tightened his hands, balled them into fists as the glow of their bodies brought an answering light to his vessel’s flesh and the lust permeating the room speared through the Traveler and, not for the first time in the eons of his existence, he felt his body long for the touch of a female form. His eyes closed, head shaking slowly from side to side as he fought the taste of warm skin against his tongue and pushed himself to his feet. His will pushed outward, thrust away the power saturating the room and he shuddered, unprepared to completely fight the lust tightening his body.
He had forgotten.
He had forgotten the taste of them, the scent of their skin, the warmth of Cygne Noir
’s touch and the peace that could be found in Soif de Sang
’s arms, however short and surely followed by death. He had forgotten the swell of their hips and the curved lines of their backs and that they were not sisters, but the children, the first
children of the Sweet Mother. Children that had not awoken in nearly three hundred years, children that were spoiled and powerful and set in their way—ways that he was breaking by simply being there, in their chamber with them as they broke from their trepesthia and turned to him.
The Traveler stumbled back a step, moving away from the bed as the pair within the furs took notice of his presence and the lust saturating them all simply vanished, left behind a cold void and hollowness to the room. He blinked, his will finally solidifying as the glow from his skin faded and he gazed at the two nestled together, wary to meet their gazes as hundreds of moths fluttered down from the ceiling.
Their oddly solid bodies beat against his vessel as he remained still and motionless before the Sisters and their silent scrutiny before Soif de Sang
eased her way forward. The dark mass of her hair trailed behind her as she slipped from their shared bed and closed the space between herself and the Traveler. His gaze dipped, took in the casual sway of hips before offering her a quiet smile, which told her, better then any words, that he was unimpressed.
A delicately arched brow rose in question and her head inclined, the snarled curls spilling over her shoulder as her gaze chased the Traveler’s and fear spiked in the pit of his stomach as he continued to study the narrowed bridge of her nose. Her crimson stained mouth spread into her own slow smile before she spoke, voice paper-thin, but still heavy enough to wrap around his chest, warm his cold flesh as she asked of their Oliver in perfectly accented French.
His eyes closed, breath falling past his lips with a sigh before he braced himself and met Soif de Sang
’s nearly black gaze, braced himself for her anger and told her the truth, as he knew it, of Mr. Oliver’s demise at the hands of one of Belle’s once favored. An outraged cry drew him back and he staggered, her rage a palpable thing as she turned to Cygne Noir
, red-tinted tears glistening on the curve of her cheeks.
Their gazes met, locked and the air thickened, their anger burning through the room and the magics containing them, containing all they were, shattered and the Traveler crumpled beneath their combined essence, his world swallowed by bursts of phantom light and sound and faintly he heard the screams of the younger vampires. Their terror, the destruction of their minds echoed through this tower beneath dirt as the Sisters grieved and raged and the Traveler remembered that even the oldest among them was still so very mortal and achingly human at times. ~*~