Author Topic: Settling  (Read 4552 times)

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Offline The Cedar Witch

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Settling
« on: August 05, 2019, 12:36:47 PM »
Astrid was apprehensive.  She’d spent the majority of the weekend fixing things back at the property at 13 Broomfield Crossing, even going so far as to spend the night in a sleeping bag on the floor in the living room.  Tonight, instead of walking back to the Parlor, she’d taken an Uber to save her sore feet.

What started as a simple house cleanse turned into a deep cleaning, then one simple repair led to another, and she found herself spending more time at the house than at her room at the Parlor.  She was beginning to feel pretty guilty about not seeing Sabrina really since they’d taken care of the thing in the basement.  Then there was the issue of the spectral hound.  She should’ve put the creature to rest, but every time she thought of working up the courage to start, she ended up playing fetch with it instead. 

She began to envision the house with more improvements, a fresh coat of paint, bountiful garden beds, and working forge in the backyard.  It was easy to see the house filled with her things--it was just begging to be made into a home

And maybe, just maybe she was ready to do that.

As soon as Astrid stepped out of the car she lingered at the edge of the street with a lit cigarette between her lips.  She wasn't entirely sure how to go about approaching the topic.  She certainly didn't want to just up and leave without warning, even though she didn't technically have to tell anyone anything.  Besides, she did genuinely miss Sabrina, even though she'd been so distracted with the house and teaching classes lately.  There was a healthy twinge of guilt there, that she'd come back to tell the other witch that she was thinking about leaving.  It just felt wrong--maybe she should put it off a little more and see if Sabrina wanted to hang out somewhere for some leisure instead?

She'd probably see through that anyway.

Astrid finished the cigarette and adjusted the messenger bag over her shoulder before making the treck up the driveway.  There was a serious expression on her face as she walked through the familiar doors, intent on finding Sabrina.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Settling
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 02:26:53 AM »
When she entered, the young  woman behind the desk looked up from her phone briefly. "Sabs's lookin' f'r you," she drawled, snapping her gum behind scarlet lips. Her bleach-blonde hair wreathed her pointed face in a kinky cloud, dark eyes looking Astrid up and down frankly. She was the very picture of wanton carelessness, leaned back in her rolling chair with her heeled cowboy boots up on the marble countertop, the hand not holding her phone loose at her side.

Billie was a recent hire, meant to take pressure off Tansy; her customer service skills left something to be desired.

"Ballroom, I think."

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Settling
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 02:42:44 AM »
She hooked her thumbs into the front pockets of her dark wash jeans, giving the unfamiliar face at the desk a quick glance.  Must've been gone longer than she thought--or not paying attention to what was going on when she was here.  The lack of pep that she'd grown accustomed to expecting from Tansy left something to be desired, but it was a tiny blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things.

"Uh, thanks."  Astrid shuffled over in the direction of the Ballroom, feeling a bit of nervousness stirring in the pit of her stomach.  Was it possible that Sabrina already knew what she wanted to talk about?  Or was this about something else? 

Taking a shallow breath, she pushed open the door to the ballroom and headed inside the room she hadn't yet explored.  Her appreciative gaze was drawn to the stained glass windows, lingering on the artistic renderings of ancient deities.  It was something she wanted to spend more time examining, maybe sketching, but there were other things to do. 

Hopefully, she'd get the chance to before she moved out.  Would she be allowed to come back to visit?  Of course, she would--that was a silly thought.

"Hey," she offered a shy smile, eyes resting on Sabrina as she moved through the Ballroom.  "You wanted to see me?"  Which was a stupid thing to say because Astrid was the one that had been wanting to see her, and not saying that felt somewhat disingenuous. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Settling
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2019, 03:22:44 AM »
"Astrid!" Sabrina's voice filled the rom as she smiled broadly at her guest from behind the bar against the eastern wall, "Yes! Please, sit--" She gestured toward the row of red velvet-upholstered barstools lining the bar, "There's something I'd like to ask you. Well," she tipped her head, "Two things, actually."

As Astrid drew closer, she would see a black stone knife resting on the bar counter in front of Sabrina, as well as a notebook and a clear quartz crystal sphere in a silver housing. The tall witch was dressed in her usual fashion -- a long dress in a fabric that draped nicely; navy with dusting of faint silver stairs around the collar. Her hair was wound into a messy bun, secured with a long silver pin. "I haven't seen you around, much," she said, as Astrid made herself comfortable. "Are things going well at the house?" 

The cleansing had been heavy on Astrid's mind, the last time they'd parted.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Settling
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2019, 03:32:27 AM »
Sabrina's smile had a calming effect on Astrid, and she couldn't help but mirror it as she went to the bar.  Her mind was so fixed on what she wanted to talk to Sabrina about that she missed the object on the counter at first, doubly so considering the conversation seemed to begin there.

"Very--actually I wanted to talk to you about that."  A twinge of guilt cut through the smile, then her eyes fell on the blackened knife. 

Thief!  Defiler!  Murderer!  A flash of red snapped over her sight as she did a double-take at the blade.  "Where--where did you get that?"  Her voice was strained as her head clamored with images, instructions, and lamentations.  She'd never personally seen it before, but the pressure to acknowledge the object as familiar--intimately so--overwhelmed her.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Settling
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2019, 03:39:15 AM »
Sabrina immediately recognized the distracted, half-there look on the other witch's face as she looked at the knife, and her brows shot up. "It's called the Selenite Athame," she told her, "An ancestor of my mother's stole it a long time ago and passed it down through generations, but it's only recently...come back into my possession.

"What do you See?" she asked, watching Astrid intently.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Settling
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2019, 04:01:53 AM »
"Betrayal.  Treachery.  Death."  The voice was layered with something not quite her own, and Astrid squeezed her eyes shut to maintain a kind of control of the flow of information.  Most of it was too outlandish to be believed but she knew well enough to set aside doubt with what she had seen.  Since the tattoos on her back, the Visions came crashing with more intensity than ever before.  It was a huge upgrade that was like going from controlling a bike to an airplane.  Or a space ship, if the subject was urgent enough.

Whatever the metaphor, it was an entirely new world to be Seen and it left the witch wondering if she'd bitten off more than she could chew.

She soared between worlds, weaving between threads of time, looking farther and farther.  "It was meant for an Elvish queen."  With hauntingly ethereal beauty, Astrid caught a distorted glimpse of the woman as she soared on, fighting against the current of time.  "A powerful sorceress, too trusting and kind for her own good." 

Why did she always get wrapped up in this shit when she was too tired to keep up?  After spending the entire day at the house, fatigue pulled at the edges of her mind. 

A final push granted her clarity--a stocky man covered in soot, hand balled around the handle of a glowing hammer, hammer swinging down onto the Master Anvil, the contact producing a clear crystal tone that reverberated through her skull. "This was forged by Kraai hands," she released the tension and allowed the current to bring her back to the present, "My ancestor."  She exhaled and opened her eyes. 

"We thought this was a legend--a myth."  The awe was plain in her voice as she looked back at Sabrina.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Settling
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2019, 04:25:44 AM »
So that was what had felt so oddly familiar about it.

Sabrina made a thoughtful sound and stroked her chin. She’d lived in this city too long to be shocked by much. “A tangled web we weave, hmm?” She chuckled, then, and waved a hand, “Well, Elven queen or no, that makes it a thousand times more your birthright than mine, doesn’t it?”

Astrid’s hands could likely do a world more with the knife than hers, and Sabrina had made herself so much more without it.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Settling
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2019, 04:36:42 AM »
Astrid shook her head.  "No more mine than yours,"  she answered thoughtfully.  Ancestor or not, it was never considered a possession of the family.  It may have been brought to Kraai to craft, but it by no means belonged to him.

"Tainted, though."  She frowned, eyes tracing the crude leather wrapped handle.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Settling
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2019, 04:51:18 AM »
“Said the Maker to the Thief.” Sabrina’s smile remained, and the words carried the tenor of a jest.   She nodded, though, in response to Astrid’s assertion. “By blood and ill intent. Do you think you can cleanse it?”

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Settling
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2019, 05:01:17 AM »
She smiled at the joke but didn't change her position on the matter. 

Could she cleanse the blade?  The Sight rushed through her hearing with the excitement of fulfilling an honor-bound duty.

Angel's Kiss
Yes, do it. yesyesyesyes.
 

"Probably," Astrid admitted after a slight twitch, "It will take a while, though.  I might have to write home for some components."  Have to jot that down somewhere.  She removed the messenger bag from her shoulder and placed it on the stool beside her to fetch a small notebook and pen. 

"Which reminds me,"  she laughed lightly, "About the house."  After retrieving the pen and notebook, she leaned back and rolled her shoulders, stretching.  Astrid hesitated before continuing, using the excuse of scribbling down a reminder-to-self to delay the inevitable conversation.

"I think...I think I'd like to stay there. "  She exhaled, bracing for a negative reaction. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Settling
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2019, 05:14:09 AM »
With all the time she’d been spending there, Sabrina shouldn’t have been surprised — she knew better than anybody what it was to pour oneself into a place. But it somehow stung, nonetheless. She’d miss the other woman’s presence.

But her smile was wide as she spoke. “Of course you do. And you should. Take the knife home, Astrid, for as long as you’d like. It’s doing no one any good as it is.”
 

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Settling
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2019, 05:23:42 AM »
Astrid beamed, feeling equally joyous as she did guilty.

"It--It's not far!" She stammered, placing the pen on top of the notebook in front of her.  "And I don't mean to stay away from here--I know I've been...occupied and not really around but I promise I'm not avoiding you,"  She laughed briskly.  "And, like, I'd like to help if you ever need it.  Or just to visit, hang out or something--if you ever have the time."  Her voice quieted and her smile turned shy.  She couldn't quite meet the other witch's eye, and it fell again to the Selenite Athame. 

The knife, right.  Her hand closed carefully along the leather-wrapped handle, a zing of familiarity passing through it into her hand, up her arm, firing through her elbow, and ending with a piercing ringing in her ear.  She jumped, a bit startled, but carefully placed it into her bag.

"Uh--what was the second thing you wanted to talk about?"  She was eager to change the subject, feeling suddenly awkward.  She'd been doing a lot of that lately.  Being awkward.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Settling
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2019, 05:47:25 AM »
Sabrina laughed as Astrid stumbled through her litany of excuses and justifications, “Well, I’d be glad of your help -- I’m stretched too thin, running the District and the Parlor. I need someone to take over the tattoo business; would you consider apprenticing for me?”

Sabrina had never taken on an apprentice. She knew what she offered was heavy, and valuable, but she could think of no one better suited to the task.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Settling
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2019, 05:53:45 AM »
It took her a minute to recover from the shock of the offer.  She never dreamed she'd hear those words. 

"You're serious?"  Her incredulous stare dissolved into something resembling a blush,  "I don't know how I could live up to your work but I'd be honored to apprentice."  The idea that she might've been filling up her free time with another project was far from her mind.  Besides, she'd make it work. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente