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The Voidling

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DM:

You aren't sure what wakes you the next morning.

It could be the feeling of being really, properly warm. It might be the fact that the surface you're laying on is softer than pretty much anything you've laid on in recent memory.

It might be the warm, golden light of mid-morning, shining through the crack in the curtains, where usually you'd be awake at first light.

Or it might be the little girl that you've curled yourself around in your sleep, keeping yourself between her and the door while making sure she got the majority of the pillow and blankets.

She's watching you, her green eyes wide and solemn, with the end of her tail in her mouth.

 

Bones:

He stares at her wordlessly, his eyes just as wide. Blinking in silence before hugging her closer for a moment.

 

DM:

She stiffens, then seems to remember that this is a nice thing, a kind touch, and melts into your arms, burying her face in your chest.

One tiny arm snakes over your waist, trying to return the hug as best she can.

"still here..."

 

Bones:

He nods his head. His voice soft. Softer than it's been in years.

"Still here."

 

DM:

There's a quiet sniffle from your chest, and she shudders a couple of times in your arms, but aside from that she makes no sound, and shows no inclination to move.

 

Bones:

His smile falls, and he rubs his hand along her back. Hesitantly. Timidly.

 

DM:

She presses her face into his chest harder, squeezing as tight as she can with the arm around his waist.

It's terrifying.

She's so tiny. So fragile. You could fit both of her wrists in one of yours, and you barely felt her weight after carrying her around for hours last night.

 

Bones:

He froze, his eyes beginning to water. His body curling up around her even more.

"I'm here. I'm... I'm here"

 

DM:

She nods. "Yes. Brother. Still here. Vial."

 

Bones:

He nods again. Giving her a small, shaky smile.

"We're okay... We're safe."

 

DM:

She peers up at you.

"Where?"

 

Bones:

He looks hesitant. And for a moment, minorly grumpy.

"A.... friend. A person who owed me a favor. A person who owed me a few favors... A person who owes me none."

 

DM:

She tilts her head to one side a little, but doesn't ask, seeming perfectly content to lay there in the warm bed and soft blankets in your arms

 

Bones:

He glances around the room, before his eyes settle back on her.

"Are you... hungry?"

 

DM:

She hesitates, then hides her face back in your chest, shaking her head silently.

 

Bones:

He nods in understanding. Wrapping the blankets a bit more tightly around them.

 

DM:

Tiny fingers clutch at your shirt, but aside from that, she doesn't move.

The two of you lay there for a long time, half drowsing in the unfamiliar warmth and comfort, half silently marveling at the other person in the bed.

Everything is calm, and dreamlike, and almost perfect.

A mood that's shattered with a soft tap at the bedroom door.

 

Bones:

His eyes flicked immediately towards the door, before back down at her. His body instinctively going rigid, before he fought it back down. They were safe here. For now.

 

DM:

"Bones?" Ruby's voice is soft as she cracks open the door and peeks carefully inside, "I've let you have a bit of a lie-in, but it's gone noon already..."

She catches sight of you, bundled up in the blankets and curled up around a smaller lump, and her face softens.

"I've brought you some food."

 

Bones:

He very slowly nods, his eyes glued to hers the entire time, before speaking in a low drone.

"... Thank you... We'll be up and about in a bit."

He glances back down at the bundle in his arms. Loosening the blanket cocoon around them ever so slightly.

 

DM:

Ruby nods, and sets a tray on the small table next to the door, then vanishes again, the door closing with a soft click.

 

Bones:

He glances over at the tray, before looking back down at Beaker, and seemingly thinking. Before slowly lifting her, and the blankets themselves up around them, doing his best to get a footing on the ground.

 

DM:

Beaker squeaks, and clings tighter to your shirt, staring up at you with wide eyes.

 

Bones:

He gives her a small smile, before slowly walking over to the tray, doing his best not to drop the blankets, or worse, trip.

 

DM:

The food on the tray is simple; two bowls of soup and a small loaf of bread with a little jar of butter, and two glasses, with a small pitcher of milk.

It's plain, simple food. The kind that you'd give to people of unknown stomach constitution.

Beaker tugs at your shirt carefully

 

Bones:

He looks back down at her, slowly taking a seat on the floor, his legs crossed with her in his lap.

 

DM:

"Bones?" she asks, her voice cautious, "Not Vial?"

 

Bones:

He stares, and slowly shakes his head.

"Not for a long time.... Was before. Not anymore. My choice. No one else's."

 

DM:

"Oh."

She leans back against your chest, pulling the blankets around more tightly and staring at the tray warily.

 

Bones:

He stared at the tray with equal caution. His memories of violent illness coming back with a vengeance.

"... We need to eat. At least a little bit, but... Can you?"

He stared at the food warily.

 

DM:

Beaker whimpers and shrinks back against you, shaking her head violently.

 

Bones:

He stares, glancing between the food and her.

"Do... do you know what you CAN eat? It... took me a while to figure out a few things myself"

 

DM:

Beaker shakes her head again. "Mommy makes me eat..."

more quietly, “hurts..."

 

Bones:

He stares. And slowly glances towards the soup.

"What... did she make you eat?"

 

DM:

She shrugs.

"Food."

 

Bones: Today at 8:04 AM

He frowned.

"Did anything... did anything hurt less? I... I can't let you starve Beaker. But I don't want you to get sick..."

 

DM:

She huddles in on herself. "Don't get mad? Promise?"

 

Bones:

He nods, slowly. Cautiously.

"I won't get mad at you Beaker. I promise.

 

DM:

"Sometimes stole food from garden. Sneaky quiet. Only hurt if it was too much, but Mommy would notice. Took little bits."

 

Bones:

He nods... and then froze. He saw what was in that garden.

"Do... you know what you took? Some of those plants... weren't food."

 

DM:

She shakes her head.

"Took what there was lots of..."

 

Bones:

He wracked his brain to remember, but was coming up blank. He swore quietly under his breath, then flinched.

"That... could be better. Some of those plants were... Well... some of those plants were what mommy used... in her potions."

Some of which were almost certainly a factor in whatever she had done to him in his youth.

 

DM:

Beaker flinches in your lap, and pulls the blankets tighter.

"Not hungry,"

Her voice is a whimper, barely whisper-loud, with the sound of tears being ruthlessly suppressed behind it.

 

Bones:

He stares at her, before nodding slowly.

"Alright... if you're sure. Just... please... tell me when you are?"

 

DM:

She doesn't move.

 

Bones:

He stares a bit longer, before letting his head drop.

"... just don't starve... please..."

He spoke in a hoarse whisper, before slowly turning his attention to the food itself. Taking a small piece of bread off the loaf, before dipping it into the soup and eating it.

 

DM:

It's good. The bread is obviously fresh, with a good thick crust on it. The soup is equally inoffensive, mostly just lightly salted broth, with a few vegetables.

 

Bones:

He gives a small smile at the bread, tearing off another piece for himself. Pulling her closer against his chest in his lap.

 

DM:

Beaker watches you eat, and, tentatively, one hand sneaks out of the blankets, inching toward the loaf of bread.

(perception)

 

Bones:

(I was gonna say "Even if he noticed, he would pretend not to"... but then I rolled a 3)

 

DM:

She carefully pulls off a piece from exactly the same spot you've been taking yours from, and pulls it back, nibbling carefully at the tiny piece she'd managed to break free.

 

Bones:

He suppresses a smile, taking another piece, before taking a drink of the milk.

 

DM:

She nibbles on her bread, watching you, and, once the little piece is gone, reaches for the same glass you used and drinks some of it, putting it back in exactly the same place she'd gotten it from

You realize what's going on, about then. She's only eating what you eat. Drinking what you drink. And only after she's seen that nothing bad is happening to you.

It's heartbreaking in its implications.

 

Bones:

He stared. For a good while. Before slowly taking a spoonful of soup and eating it. Watching her out of the corner of his eye.

 

DM: Today at 8:55 AM

She waits for a little bit, fidgeting and glancing at you every so often.

A few minutes later, the hand sneaks out again, and breaks off more of the bread, dipping it into the same bowl you took the spoonful from.

(perception again, with advantage since you're paying attention this time)

 

Bones:

15

 

DM:

... You're pretty sure that her hands were both red last night...

but now, her left hand has a pale white splotch on the back of it, just below her pinky finger, stretching from her wrist nearly to the knuckle where finger meets hand

 

Bones:

His blood runs cold, and his eyes widen in shock. And dread.

 

DM:

She nibbles at the soup soaked bread, and, once that piece is gone, pulls her hand back into the blankets and cuddles back up against Bones.

All told, she's eaten maybe a full slice of bread, and two spoonfuls of soup, and a few sips of milk.

 

Bones:

He gave her a light squeeze with his free arm, before eating a bit more bread and soup. He left the butter alone, eyeing it cautiously. It was one of the few things that could never make up its mind if it wanted to make him sick or not. Most things were cut and dry. Eat it once, get sick, don't get sick, live and learn. Butter? Butter liked to mock him.

 

DM:

You have the chance to take your time, and Ruby must be psychic or something, because almost as soon as you're done eating, there's another tap at the door.

 

Bones:

He glances down at her one more time, shifting his body to face the door before clearing his throat.

"Come in."

 

DM:

The door swings open quietly, allowing Ruby to step inside, her eyes flitting around until they land on the two of you and the mostly full tray.

"Oh, are you still not done then?" She looks concerned, "I can come back later, but I thought you might like a look around while most of our lot are at lessons."

 

Bones:

He glanced back at the tray, before looking her in the eyes.

"No... we're done. Thank you... for the meal. It's been... It's been a while. Since I had something like that."

 

DM:

Her eyes flit from the mostly full bowls of soup, to your face, then down to where Beaker has burrowed further into the blankets on your lap, then back to your face.

"...If you're sure..." she says slowly, then blinks and claps her hand to her forehead with a sound that makes Beaker jump.

"Oh for the love of Farore, I completely forgot!" She steps over, scoops up the tray, and turns to leave. "Give me a moment, love, and I'll get you some things so you can have a proper bath. I'm sure you're all but itching to get clean, and Margrave'll have some clothes somewhere that'll work for the two of you."

 

Bones:

He blinked in surprise, before looking down at Beakers hair, and nodding absently.

"That sounds... nice."

 

DM:

Beaker goes rigid in your lap

 

Bones:

He glances down at her. Wrapping his other arm around her gently.

"Beaker... you okay?"

 

DM:

"Don't want a bath..." she whispers

 

Bones:

He blinks, and frowns slightly.

"Why not?"

 

DM:

" 's cold..."

 

Bones:

"... Sometimes. If you're desperate... or unlucky."

His frown deepened.

"But... I'm sure they'll heat up the water here. It... feels a lot better warm."

 

DM:

She whines a little, high pitched and deep in the back of her throat, but doesn't otherwise object as Ruby comes bustling back into the room with her arms full of fabric.

"Here we are. Towels, and clothes. I was right, Margrave had some things squirreled away that should fit the two of you. She knows you're here now, by the by, and she'd like to speak with you once you've had a chance to clean up."

That last part is addressed to Bones, as she waits for you to untangle yourselves from the blankets.

 

Bones:

He nods, a bit of his hesitance making a return in his gaze once again. They knew him now. They knew his name. After 2 years, they finally got something out of him.

"We'll... come speak with her, after we're done."

 

DM:

Ruby nods, and half turns away, "Come on, I'll show you where the bathroom is."

 

Bones:

He glances down at Beaker, slowly untangling his legs and beginning to stand up.

 

DM:

Beaker doesn't necessarily make it easy on you. She's not actively resisting, but she's really not helping.

You recognize what she's doing; making it just difficult enough on you that you might change your mind. Might give up. But not really struggling, not giving you any indication that she's resisting on purpose.

 

Bones:

He raised an eyebrow, and quirked a grin, before slowly picking her up in his arms.

 

DM:

She won't look at you, her eyes skittering around the room as her tail finds its way into her hands again and she starts twisting it.

 

Bones:

His grin slowly falls as he notices her tail. Stifling a sigh, he nods to Ruby again.

"Lead the way, we'll follow."

 

DM:

Ruby's gaze is concerned, but she nods and turns, leading you out of the room.

The path she leads you on is a little long, but it keeps you out of the main hallways of the manor. Now and then you can hear voices through the doors, or the walls, but they're always muffled; the only thing you can reliably pick up is that they sound young.

Still, even though you're taking the servant's halls, you end up at what you assume is your destination relatively quickly.

It's a room, larger than the bedroom you'd slept in, lined with marble. Along one wall are several carved stone spigots, higher than head height, with a small divot in the ground underneath each of them.

Three large, stone basins are sunk into the floor opposite the spigots, each with carved gems sunk into the stone about four inches below the rim.

One basin, deep enough that you think if you sat on the bench inside the water might come up to your chin, is made of black marble, with white and gold veins running through it.

The second one looks like the water would only come up to your chest, and the pale blue marble is shot through with mossy green and pale pinks.

The last is the shallowest, and doesn't even have a bench ringing the inside, since even sitting in it would have the water barely covering your lap. The marble for this one is pale grey, with ribbons of dark, glittering blue winding through it.

"Here we are," Ruby says, satisfied, and lays the bundle of fabrics on a bench near the door before pulling several bottles of glowing green liquid out of her apron pocket. "Now, will you need help with her? Or would you like to do it yourself?"

Beaker whimpers, her whole body going as tense as a bowstring.

 

Bones:

He stared at her. And let out a soft sigh.

"I think... I'll handle it on my own. It's best..."

He paused, briefly debating on going back on that, before the rest of his shoved it down.

"It's... for the best. We may... we may be in here for a bit."

He put a hand on Beakers head, patting her softly. Before mouthing to Ruby, his eyes darting towards Beaker meaningfully.

'Not fond of baths'

 

DM:

Ruby blinks, then her expression turns rueful. "All right then. I'll just leave these potions with you. Make sure you get a good amount on her feet, understand? There's soaps and shampoos and oils on the shelves. Use whatever you like. And make sure you take one yourself. I don't like the look of that hand."

 

Bones:

He stared at her, his eyes briefly flicking to the potions before returning. And there was something in his gaze, something knowing. Something that said 'I will not be following that order'. Before he nodded.

"Understood."

 

DM:

She hesitates a moment, then nods again and quietly leaves. The click of the door closing sounds almost like the 'snickt' of a guillotine.

 

Bones:

He let out a soft sigh. His eyes lingering on the potions a few seconds longer before slowly turning towards Beaker.

 

DM:

Did you put her down when you entered? Or are you still holding her?

 

Bones:

She'd still be in his arms

 

DM:

She's tipped her head down, hiding her face so that you can't see her, and she's still incredibly tense.

 

Bones:

He stares at her for a few seconds, before lettings out a soft breath. Giving her another light squeeze.

"Well... it's time."

 

DM:

She nods silently, still hiding her face from you.

 

Bones:

He slowly set her down, before moving to the middle basin.

"... Would you... like to take a bath, with me?"

He asked, hesitantly. Some might find the question weird. Some might give him judgmental looks. Those people could go fuck themselves. They didn't understand, so they had no right to judge.

 

DM:

She doesn't move

 

Bones: Today at 11:59 AM

He waited a few more seconds for a response before sighing sadly, beginning to fill the basin with water.

While he waits for the basin to fill. He idly begins dabbing small dots of the oils on his skin. Avoiding a few on scent alone

 

DM:

Warm water pours from each of the gems around the edge of the basin, quickly filling the air with steam. Still, with the size of the tub, you've got time to test the oils and things to see if anything would have a bad reaction with the two of you

How many are you testing?

there's a good thirty or forty bottles of oils, ranging from floral, to musky, to woodsy, to spiced

 

Bones:

He'd mostly be testing the floral ones.

 

DM:

There's quite a few of those, and several of them you recognize by scent as things you've had a bad reaction to before.

Roll constitution?

 

Bones:

9

 

DM:

Almost every floral oil you dab on the back of your hand gives you a bad reaction, from nearly instant blistering, to itching, to merely staining your paper-white skin odd colors. Out of the seventeen you test only two don't give you an immediate bad reaction, and the scent of one of those makes the back of your throat tingle warningly.

 

Bones:

He lets out an irritated hiss, before decidedly putting them all back. Taking note of the one that didn't set him off for future note. Not risking it. Not today.

He glanced over at the soap, partially in concern, partially in hope.

 

DM:

(The one that didn't have a bad reaction is labeled 'Moonflower')

There's liquid soaps and solid soaps, and even soap that looks like grains of sand. It's all incredibly decadent.

 

Bones:

He takes his chances with the solid soaps. He was all for flashy, normally. Not here. Not now.

 

DM:

Surprisingly enough, there's a bar that you recognize. It's cheap, incredibly so, but it's completely scentless and doesn't irritate your skin at all.

It's just odd to see it laying there, among all the other fancy, expensive stuff.

Likewise, when you look at the shampoos, you find the same kind that you usually; a pale green bottle full of already frothy pale cream liquid.

 

Bones:

He blinks, and grabs them both. Hoping against hope that the Void would be kind and not hurt her when he would be fine.

 

DM:

Beaker is still standing where you left her, still with her head down, hiding her face.

 

Bones:

He glanced over to her, his eyes softening, before slowly turning the water off.

 

DM:

The air is full of thick, billowing clouds of steam. It's warm, and humid, and the edges of everything are soft and blurred, but you can still see her shaking.

 

Bones:

He sighed, and came over, crouching down next to her.

"Beaker..."

He wrapped his arms around her, putting his head on her shoulder.

 

DM:

Now that you're touching her, you can feel the trembling wracking her tiny body, feel the tension in every muscle.

But she doesn't move when you drop your head onto her shoulder, just keeps breathing slow and deep and even.

 

Bones:

He rubbed her back gently.

"Beaker... I'm not mother. I'm not mommy, I... I'm not... I'm not going to go out of my way to make this horrible for you. I just..."

He trailed off, his eyes misting slightly.

 

DM:

"The lady said to put the potion on."

Her voice is dull. Emotionless.

 

Bones:

"And we are Not doing that."

He said resolutely.

"I'm willing to do a lot of things right now, as much as I hate to admit it."

He growls. Like pulling teeth, that sentence was.

"I'm doing things, because I have no better options. But there are things I'm not risking."

 

DM:

The trembling eases slightly.

"... can do that?"

 

Bones:

"Oh she won't like it. But a lot of people don't like what I do. If they want to stop me?"

For a brief moment, his grin took on a feral quality, before sobering back down.

"Well... They can certainly try"

 

DM:

The trembling eases more, then slows, and finally stops.

 

Bones:

He doesn't smile, but he tightens the hug for a moment, before slowly letting go.

"She's not going to be happy about it... but you're like me, aren't you... some medicine, actual medicine... doesn't feel right... does it?"

 

DM: Today at 1:12 PM

she shakes her head. "mommy was so mad..."

 

Bones:

He scowls.

"She was mad in a lot of ways Beaker. Mother was... insane. And we paid for it"

 

DM:

She doesn't say anything, but you catch her darting looks at the full tub, still gently steaming.

 

Bones: Today at 1:16 PM

He follows her gaze, before glancing back at her.

"You ready?"

 

DM:

she hesitates, then visibly steels herself, sticking her chin out and nodding once.

 

Bones:

He nods in return, before walking her closer to the basin.

"Arms up. Lets get you out of those shirts."

 

DM:

Obediently, she lifts her arms and lets you slide the top shirt off.

The belt that was holding the other shirt in place is a bit more difficult; it's tied on, rather than buckled, but eventually you get the damn thing off and strip her out of the bloodstained thing.

Underneath is exactly what you were afraid of. A motley patchwork of pale, white skin versus the deep rich red you can easily assume she was born with. Scars, here and there, indicative of different substances smeared or spread on her skin.

And almost everywhere you look old puncture marks and places where it looks like whole patches of skin had been carefully shaved off, only to be allowed to heal over.

The patterns are different.

the marks are the same.

and the ribs and hips standing out from thin, delicate, scarred skin are all too familiar.

 

Bones:

He stared. He couldn't help it. He stared at the mirror to his past that should never have been. A scowl on his face as he looks at one particularly vicious scar.

"She had... No right..."

He clamps his jaw shut and focuses on continuing.

 

DM:

roll insight

 

Bones:

16

 

DM:

There was a smaller towel, in among the things that Ruby brought with her, and you saw a basket of wooden bath toys over near the soaps, carved like animals and ships and shapes

 

Bones:

He stared at the toys for a moment, stripping off his shirt as he looked around the room. His upper scars meeting open air.

 

DM:

there's a small sound of startled recognition

 

Bones:

He blinked in surprise, his eyes darting back over to her.

 

DM:

"like me." She's touching a large, puckered looking circle just under her ribs on the left side.

you do, indeed, have a nearly identical scar there

 

Bones:

He glanced at his own scar, before nodding slowly.

"... Yea... like you. And you, like me."

There was no happiness in his voice, but a solemn understanding.

 

DM:

She nods slowly, a quiet, thoughtful look on her little face.

Somehow, after that the bath goes smoothly. She hisses a little bit when the warm water touches the scrapes and cuts on her feet, but she doesn't complain when you carefully wash the dirt and grime out of them.

Her hair takes the longest, but copious amounts of conditioner loosen up the knots enough that you can brush them out with your fingers, and you end up with a small pile of loose hair on the floor next to the basin.

The attention and care and gentle, (always gentle) scrubbing at her scalp has Beaker nearly falling asleep in the water, and after you rinse her off it's easier to help her out and wrap her in a towel to wait for you to bathe.

Luckily, so, so luckily, she doesn't seem to have a bad reaction to any of the soaps you chose, and by the time you finish she actually has fallen back asleep.



Bones:

He smiled at her sleeping bundled form. Slowly slipping his new trousers on, followed by his shirt. He left the provided undergarments in the pile. They never really felt right, no matter how soft the fabric was, no matter how good the fit. They always irritated his skin.



DM:

The trousers are higher quality than anything you've touched in your life, and the scarlet shirt catches against the calluses on your fingertips in a way that only the silk scarves you've occasionally stolen and sold has. The suspenders in the pile are almost an afterthought, and you're left looking at a small dark blue dress.

Does he wear the suspenders?

 

Bones:

I believe he at least tries them on. It depends on how they catch on his shoulder scar more than anything else.

 

DM:

hmmmm

fair

d20?

 

Bones:

17

 

DM:

They don't catch too badly, and they look damn fine in the full length mirror. Is the minor discomfort worth it?

 

Bones:

Aye. He can put up with far worse. Only way it'd really be a problem if it started making movement an issue.

 

DM:

Bones turns around from his minor bit of peacocking to see Beaker watching him from sleepy eyes.

"Pretty..."

 

Bones:

He smiled cockily, preening a tad bit more. Always nice to have a fan.

"I've done my best honestly. It's not always easy, but I think I make it work."



DM:

She smiles shyly, "Brother... Bones is pretty. Pretty color."

 

Bones:

He pauses. And his smile melts into something more modest.

"Yes, well... I suppose it is a nice color... Thank you Beaker."

He rubs the back of his head, before slowly picking up the dress.

"And it seems they wish to give this to you."

 

DM:

Beaker's eyes are wide as she stares at the dress. "For me?" she breathes, sitting up sharply

 

Bones:

He nodded, and gave her a small smile.

 

DM:

The girl practically scrambles out of her towel nest, ignoring her still dripping, knee length hair to stand in front of you with pleading eyes.

 

Bones:

He stared at her, eyes half lidded.

"Nope. Dry off first. Then dress."

 

DM:

Big green eyes get bigger, and her bottom lip sticks out just the tiniest little bit.

She's... she's actually pouting at you. She isn't just doing as she's told.

Still, the expression only lasts a moment before she's dragging a towel across her body, doing her best to dry off.

Her hair gives her a lot of trouble, though, and eventually she settles for wringing it out and rubbing a towel over it before looking back up at you hopefully

 

Bones:

He smiles, taking the towel from her and giving her hair one last drying. Gentle, but firm enough to get what was left.

"Alright. Now dress."

 

DM:

She wiggles in glee, then holds almost painfully still as you help her into the dress.

It's nothing particularly fancy, but the quality of the fabric is high, and the color is deep and rich, and even though it's the proper length, it's still very much too loose on her.

Still, once it's on Beaker is ecstatic, staring at herself in the mirror with wide happy eyes and a tiny, disbelieving smile.

"Am pretty..." she breathes

 

Bones:

He smiles, before it falters slightly. He walks up beside her, crouching down next to her with a small, melancholic grin.

"Yes, you are pretty Beaker... With, and without the dress. The dress doesn't make you pretty. You make the dress look pretty."

He smiled wider, running a hand through her hair.

 

DM:

Beaker hesitates, then shakes her head.

"No."

 

Bones:

He looks at her, somewhat sadly.

"No?"

 

DM:

She turns, and faces him full on, her chin jutting out again like she's trying to be brave.

"No. Not Beaker. Like brother."

She frowns, frustrated, and opens her mouth, then closes it again and, carefully tries again.

"My. Name. Is. Not. Beaker."

Speaking properly seems to cost her something; she seems to have to concentrate much harder to form proper sentences. "I. Want. To be. Like. You. With. My own. Name."

 

Bones:

He stared at her. Really, truly stared. And the widest, proudest grin slid across his face.

"Then my dear, you best get to thinking. Because that, is something only you can give yourself."

 

DM:

She stares at you for a second, then smiles, bright, and real, and happy before turning back to the mirror.

"okay."

 

Bones:

He smiled, glancing back towards the mirror, giving himself a spin, before finishing with a wide, cocksure grin.

 

DM:

She looks at you, then does her own spin and glances up at you again.

All of this has taken over an hour, and if what Ruby said earlier is true, then Margrave is waiting on you.

As much as you might not like it, the balance of the favour you're calling in doesn't match the weight of what they owe you. It's tilted in their favor, and not knowing what they want for all this 'kindness' is starting to chafe.

 

Bones:

His smile slowly fell, before he sighed. Time to bite the bullet, as he once heard some strange spellcaster say. Artifactor? Artificer? Maybe. Probably.

"I believe it's time... We need to speak to the lady of the house."

 

DM:

Your little sister looks up at you, and the smile fades away like mist under sunlight.

For a second it looks like she's going to reach for your hand, but she stills herself, and nods instead and follows you to the door.

 

Bones:

He glanced over to her, and offered her a token grin.

"Chin up... It could be worse." He forced himself to say.

" Out of all the nobles in this city, she's one of the..... odd ones. At the very least, she's not absolutely crazy like some of them"

His smile seemed strained.

 

DM:

"Okay."

Her face is solemn, and her tail is in her hands again, but at least she's not twisting it again. You didn't dare use the potions on the raw, chafed parts of her skin any more than you dared use them on her feet, or your own injured hand.

Instead, they lie in the pile of clothes and damp towels, still glimmering that pale, faintly glowing green.

No one is waiting for you outside the bathroom. Do you try to find someone to tell you where to go? Or do you just go looking?



Bones:

He paused, before making an impulse decision, and turning around briefly, grabbing one of the potions, leaving the bottle firmly closed.

He then paused to listen around, to see if he heard anyone nearby.

 

DM:

perception?

 

Bones:

12

 

DM:

You think you hear someone around the corner down the right hand side of the hall? Maybe?

 

Bones:

He quirked an eyebrow before deciding to wander off in that direction. He wouldn't wander too far though. If the Duchess had waited this long, she'd either send someone eventually, or she'd wait a bit longer. No skin off his nose.

 

DM:

Bones follows the sounds, with his sister trailing him cautiously, and, as you get closer, you start hearing someone talking to herself.

"... attacked me, ma'am! He's a dangerous criminal, we should call the guards immediately! ... no, that's too..."

They trail off for a moment, "I went to see if they needed anything, and they were snarling at each other like animals! He tried to attack me, and I barely managed to get the door shut in time!"

 

Bones:

He froze, his hand twitching beneath the bandages. He slowed, not turning the corner as he continued to listen in. Making a small shushing motion towards his sister.

 

DM:

The voice is retreating, like the person is walking away as they're figuring out whatever story they're about to tell.

"...could have been killed, ma'am! I swear I saw the little one gnawing on an actual bone!"

It sounds like this person is heading toward Margrave, or at least someone in charge, ready and willing to pour all kinds of poison in their ear about you and your sister.

 

Bones:

He grits his teeth. Before following at a distance. Keeping them just within earshot, if not sight. His hand clenched hard, his bandages fraying slightly from the strain.

 

DM:

You follow them easily, but Bea— your sister is having a hard time keeping up. It seems like they picked up the pace so they could sound appropriately out of breath whenever they get to where they're going.

 

Bones:

He makes a split second decision, and crouches briefly, his knees protesting at walking in such a weird position before twitching his head in a very particular motion. Though he doesn't say it aloud, the message is clear: On my back.

 

DM:

She is definitely related to you; she picks up on your meaning instantly and scrambles onto your back, clinging with surprising strength as you stand back up.

 

Bones:

His face screws into a scowl, and he picks up the pace, doing his best to keep his steps light and quick. Evading the guards for two years had given him more than enough practice with that. Three if you count the idiot thugs who roamed around from time to time. He often didn't, they were easier to put down for a bit than they were worth the effort of avoiding.

 

DM:

hmmmm

roll stealth

with advantage



Bones:

fuckin hell. 8-18. Thank you advantage.

 

DM:

yeah, you manage to ghost your way down the halls after this woman, hearing more and more of her rehearsal until she abruptly falls silent and her steps hurry faster.

It's barely five seconds after that that you hear her start to sob, and a few seconds later you hear her burst into a room.

"Ma'am, my lady, I'm so sorry, but it's just—"

a sob cuts her off, and you hear a new voice, raised in concern.

"Jessica? What's going on? What happened?"

 

Bones:

His face snaps into a full on scowl. A far darker edge tinting his glare as he comes closer to the door. Jessica. There's a name to remember.

 

DM:

"I was waiting outside to show the new ones to you," her voice is tremulous, and, to your ears, obviously fake, "And they were taking so long, I thought I'd check to make sure everything was okay..."

She breaks off into some more sobbing, and the other voice makes some soothing sounds,

 

Bones:

He approached slowly. His scowl deepening further as he listened in. Oh yeah. A name to remember indeed. The potion bottle in his off hand trembled slightly in his grip, before stilling as he forced his hand to freeze. before unclenching slowly. He stood just outside the door frame. His gaze peeking in at the scene within.

 

DM:

"he— he attacked me... tried to drag me into the room... I barely managed to avoid him, and the little one was just growling... it was acting like it was possessed."

There's a gasp (roll insight), "oh you poor thing, are you okay?"

 

Bones:

19

(All of these are without modifiers too... the dice are just being cruel or kind on a whim)

 

DM:

The other voice sounds distinctly sardonic. You get the impression that whoever that is isn't buying the shit Jessica is selling.

 

Bones:

His scowl slowly morphs into a grin, a very, very nasty grin, before silently walking in the room, closing the door without a click.

 

DM:

There's two dwarven women in the room, which looks like a generously appointed office. One of them, crying and disheveled in front of the desk, is who you assume to be 'Jessica'.

The other, blonde haired, blonde bearded, watching her with a faux concerned look on her face, is probably Duchess Margrave.

Margrave sees you come in and arches an eyebrow at you, then flicks her eyes to the spot on the wall directly behind Jessica and tips you a flicker of a wink.

"However did you escape, my dear?" She asks, her voice dripping with concern.

"I ran," Jessica sobs, "I ran as fast as I could, and I think I lost them in the halls, but they could be attacking the other children, I'm so sorry my lady,"

 

Bones:

His smile widens even further, and moves to the spot without a word, His eyes boring a hole in the back of Jessica's head.

 

DM:

Margrave tuts, "Oh dear, that's unfortunate..."

Jessica looks up, her face confused. "Unfortunate? There's a pair of wild animals—"

"Right behind you." Margrave interrupts calmly.

Jessica stops. "What?"

 

Bones:

"I'm not sure what ya dropped back there on your run through the halls girly. Your Dignity, or your acting skills... then again, you seem to be missing a rather large helping of both." He drawled sardonically.

 

DM:

Jessica whirls around, sees you standing there, with your sister's face peeking over your shoulder, and goes almost as pale as you are.

"That's—! I mean—!" She whirls back to Margrave, "My lady I—!"

"Are dismissed." Margrave interrupts her again, still perfectly calm.

Jessica wilts. "Yes ma'am."

She turns to leave the room, and freezes when Margrave tuts again.

"Where are you going?"

"Back... to the kitchen, ma'am?"

Margrave smiles kindly. "No, you aren't. I'm afraid you misunderstood. You aren't dismissed from my presence, dear, you're fired. For an absolutely horrific display of racism among other things. Please return your key immediately, and remove yourself from my home."

Jessica goes pale again, then red with fury, "You can't do that!"

"On the contrary," Margrave informs her, "I should have done this a week ago. I only hired you as a favor to your father, and you've more than worn out your welcome. Key. Now."

Shaking with anger, Jessica pulls a small iron key out of her dress pocket, and all but flings it at Margrave, who simply reaches up and plucks it out of the air.

"Please see yourself out." Margrave says simply, and turns her attention away from the woman and onto you.



Bones:

He smiled, before briefly turning his attention to Jessica. Speaking in a faux cheery tone.

"One more thing, if you will give me the briefest moment of your time..."

He was, within an instant, looming over the stocky woman. His face twisted in a rictus scowl.

"I can handle a few jabs. I've dealt with a lot worse than whatever insult your sluggish little brain can come up with. You wouldn't be the first time I've been called an animal, and you certainly will not be the last. But I would just like to say. Just for the sake of fair warning... Call my sister an 'It' Again? And not only will I chase you down. I will catch you, and I will watch happily as you crawl back home on broken legs, and splintered wrists." He stared her in the eyes. Hate radiating off him in a wave.



DM:

You've seen the disgust in her eyes before, from many, many people, but somehow you still aren't expecting it when she rears back and spits at you before whirling around and storming towards the door.

(dex save)



Bones:

15

 

DM:

For a split second you almost dodge to the right, but the press of your sister's chin in your shoulder reminds you of her presence there, and you lean left instead, letting it fly over your shoulder.

 

Bones:

His scowl remains as he watches her leave, flipping her retreating form the bird.

"Ohhh... the gods most certainly favor that one. I see Grand things in her future." He muttered irritably



DM:

Margrave sighs heavily, suddenly looking tired.

"Come in, dear, please, and shut the door if you don't mind."



Bones:

He glances at her, before closing the door with surprising gentleness. Walking back over and taking a seat. Pulling a second chair up next to him for his sister.

 

DM:

"First of all, my sincerest apologies. Jessica was, as you heard, taken on as a favor. Her... attitude toward tieflings in particular was a surprise to me."

She sighs, then pulls herself together and smiles warmly at the two of you. "I'm glad you're finally here, my dear."

She turns her attention to your sister, who's sitting nervously at the edge of her chair and watching the dwarven woman with big, wary eyes. "And who's this you've brought to us?"

 

Bones: Today at 5:15 PM

He glanced to the side, before looking back at Margrave. Hesitance still very evident in his gaze. Still being forced down at every turn.

"This, Ma'am, is my younger sister. "



DM:

Margrave's eyebrows raise, "Well then... it's very nice to meet you, dear."

She shifts uncomfortably, and glances over at Bones, but says nothing.



Bones:

He attempts to smile, before it slowly dies a painful death. Putting his head in his hand, he lets out a deep sigh.

"I.... Have absolutely no idea where to start this conversation. I was honestly more comfortable being insulted. With that at the very least I understand where things stand."



DM:

Margrave looks at you, her eyes sad, but her face carefully neutral. "Perhaps it would help if I laid out the situation the way I understand it?"

 

Bones:

He slowly nods. his eyes peeking out between his fingers.

 

DM:

"Very well then." she clears her throat and laces her fingers together on the desk in front of her. "You have recently, through circumstances beyond your control, come into custody of your younger sister. Neither of you have any living relatives, and your situation is unsuitable for raising a child. You wish to leave her here, to have us raise her in your stead."

Your sister makes a small, panicked noise and looks at you with wide, betrayed eyes as Margrave forges on.

"Due to various... unfounded accusations, you yourself cannot stay here, since additional scrutiny from both the guard and the Old Houses would bring ruination to this house, leaving every child here homeless. Do I have that all correct?"

 

Bones:

He very deliberately does not look to his side, and nods.

 

DM:

Your sister makes a wounded, broken sound.

Margrave looks over at her and softens, her face going kind and sad, "My dear, don't worry. Your brother is making a hard choice for the best for you... I'm sure you'll like it here, if we manage to come to an agreement."

Your sister's eyes are boring into the side of your face.



Bones:

He stares at Margrave. And any remnant of his kind mood evaporates. There was no friendliness. There was no sarcastic jeer. His face went blank. and his eyes cold.

"I want you to be aware. That you were my first. And my last, choice. If I had any other option, We would not be speaking right now. If I had faith in my ability to keep her safe. We would not be speaking right now. If I had even a cold hovel in the Pit. We would not be speaking right now. I mean no offense to you. But you may take it as such if you wish. I have No. Better. Options."

His voice is a hiss, neither angry, nor hostile. Simply firm, and rough.

"And so I'm putting my faith in you. Because you seem to know what you're doing. Because you have the capabilities that I don't. Because, for some unfathomable reason. You. Seem. To. Care. I don't understand why, I do not comprehend what you get out of it. I don't understand why, alongside the normal guards hunting my neck these past two years, I've heard word of your staff asking around about me while on errands... But out of respect for what you have built here, I'm not going to question it. You can do. What I cannot.

His voice hitched on the final word, and his composure visibly wavers before falling back under control.



DM:

Margrave looks at you for a long, long moment, her steel grey eyes inscrutable, then she touches a bell on her desk, sits back, and waits.

Several long, silent minutes pass, with your sister silently trying to get your attention at your side, and Margrave watching you expressionlessly. It's almost a relief when someone taps briskly at the door.

"Come in, Ruby." Margrave's voice is still the same calm tone as before, and sure enough, the door swings open to reveal Ruby, standing there and looking concerned.

"Ma'am?"

"Please take the little one next door and keep her entertained for the next little bit. Young master Bones and I have some things to discuss."

Your sister's breathing audibly hitches.



Bones:

For the briefest second, he glances at her. His crimson eyes cold, and hard.

"Please. Go with her. We'll speak again when we're done.... I promise."

 

DM:

She shrinks back and away from you, her green eyes wide and scared and hurt, but slides silently off the chair and walks over to stand in front of Ruby.

Ruby glances between the three of you, then sighs, "Yes ma'am."

And leads the little girl out of the room.



Bones: He watches the door close. Before slowly turning his neck to face her again. His hard façade visibly cracking as she leaves his sight.

"... Say your piece. I can take it. And Void knows I've got it coming." he says, in a breathy sigh.



DM:

Margrave looks sad, and tired. "That right there. That is why I tried so hard to 'get' you, as you put it. You look at an open hand, and see only a threat. Only the ways in which it might hurt you. I never wanted another child to have to live like that..."

"You may have no better options, and I am honestly, truly sorry for that. As well, I am more sorry than I have words to explain that I cannot take you in, now that you've come to see the need. This whole situation is infuriating, but I cannot go against the Morentaine-Belaccqua. My house is too new. My situation too tenuous, and my actions too... unseemly. Too many of my fellow nobles think that nobles should care for nobles, and let commoners fall where they may. It's a disgusting line of thought, but all too popular..."



Bones:

He sneered, his smile filled with venom and hate.

"The nobles, and the commoners are two sides of the same bloody coin. Sinners and saints. Vipers and snakes. You don't have to have noble blood, to be a snake in this city. Highborn or lowborn, a monster is a monster. The nobles don't have a monopoly on cruelty."

He growled, memories of his past coming back once more, before he forced them back down with a scowl.



DM:

"Fair enough..." She pauses, then sighs, massaging her temples. "In your own words, then. What do you want?"



Bones:

He stared at her, and sighed.

"I want her safe. I want her raised in a home where she can be more than a tool to be used and discarded. I want her to live her life as she sees fit. I... I..."

His voice cracks, and his scowl deepens as his eyes begin to mist.

"I want to be there for her, every step of the way... I want to have her live a life free from the pain we carry. I want to be there for her, when she's happy. When she's sad. When she's angry and hungry and tired.... I... I didn't even know she was there. I just wanted to put an end to things. I needed to put an end to things. And then... she was there. She had been, for six. Fucking. Years. ... And so I did what I had to do. And I brought her here. Where she could be safe. Where she could have a chance... at a happy life. Where she didn't have to end up like me."

"But I'm not allowed to raise her. I cannot keep her safe. I cannot give her the happy life that she deserves. Because if I took her with me, sometime, somewhere, somebody would hurt her. maybe on its own. Maybe to get to me. And I. Won't. Allow. That."



DM:

"You realize we aren't a boarding house," Margrave says carefully, "Typically we only take in children who have no family. I may be a noble, but my income is managed carefully to ensure that all the children in my care have all of their needs met."



Bones:

He freezes. And turns to her. Genuine fear in his eyes.

... I can do... what I can, to help. I don't... I don't need much to survive. I can make some coin... or... or gather food, or supplies... I don't... we don't eat much, she and I, We eat... we eat a lot less than most. And we survive. We survive."



DM:

Margrave leans back at your vehemence, her eyes going wide, "Light, child, peace! PEACE! Calm down! We aren't in such dire straits that I need to take money from you to feed my children. What I meant was...well, there have been people, in the past, who have attempted to pawn unwanted children off on me to raise. It... did not end well. For anyone involved. It's part of why my reputation is so... unsavory.

"Since then it's been easier to simply refuse those whose families bring them."

She hesitates. "I believe you're acquainted with one House that tried to do so in the past."

 

Bones:

He pauses and raises an eye. His mind still flooded with barely suppressed panic.

"I beg your pardon?... The bastards who want my head on a plate?"

 

DM:

She nods.



Bones:

He stares. He stares hard. And then his bandages begin to strain. Loudly.

"You're telling me. That they've been trying to hunt me down... for two. Void. Damned. Years.... over a kid, that they didn't even wish to keep?"



DM:

She shrugs helplessly, "I believe it is more that you were a convenient scapegoat when the child vanished. Being able to point at you as the culprit and raise hue and cry kept the guard from too closely looking more close to home as to the cause."

 

Bones:

He stilled. And his bandages snapped.

"I. Hate. This. City."

 

DM:

"Sentient nastiness is not confined to one city." She says tiredly, and looks down at your hand. "Did Ruby not make healing potions available?"

 

Bones:

"She did. We didn't take them."

 

DM:

She looks alarmed, "Dear boy, whyever not?!"

 

Bones:

He stared at her. Long and hard. Before picking up the potion he brought with him. Popping open the top. And pouring a single drop directly onto his wound.



DM:

(How do you want this to work?)

 

Bones:

(Bones... is going to make a very brutal point. So not crippling. Not life threatening. But very painful, and not fun to look at.)

 

DM:

The cuts on your hand bubble like you just poured acid on them, acrid smoke hissing out of the wounds as you grit your teeth against the pain, and Margrave stares at your hand in horror.

"Light! She yelps, and quick as a flash is around her desk, gripping your wrist firmly in one hand and pouring the glass of water from her desk over the cuts, washing away the potion and ignoring the mess it's making of the carpet.

"What in the world!?"

 

Bones:

He grits his teeth, fresh blood dripping from his palm.

"Nobles don't have a monopoly on cruelty in this city. Our Mother was a commoner, with ambition, and intelligence. And she took her alchemy deadly seriously. All else... were tools to be used, and discarded."

 

DM:

Margrave's face is like stone, and her grip on your wrist is like iron as she pulls you out of your seat and around her desk, slamming open a drawer and pulling out a roll of bandages before starting to re-wrap your hand.

"I would have believed you if you said," She says grimly. "There was no call to mutilate yourself."

 

Bones:

"You would have believed me. But you wouldn't have understood. Not fully. Not to the severity you need to. Not enough to weigh the risks properly, should the worst come to pass, and she gets hurt."

 

DM:

Margrave's face goes even harder and she, reluctantly, nods. Conceding your point.

"This happens with all healing potions?"

 

Bones:

He nods slowly. Before pausing and shaking his head.

"Technically, yes. I have something that I take. It doesn't trigger a reaction, and it heals roughly just as well.. perhaps even better... but..." He trails off.

 

DM:

"But?" She ties the bandages in place, tweaking the knot to make sure it'll hold firm before releasing your wrist.

 

Bones:

He stays silent for a few moments, before sighing.

"But I don't know if she could take it... I have no idea if it would work for her, and even if it did... It is extremely unfriendly to ones stomach. I call it the Bitter Tincture. It is... potent. Both in healing... and in flavor."

 

DM:

Margrave hums absently, mulling that over. "I see..."

 

Bones:

He stares at her. Seeming to be considering something.

"I have... a bottle of it. I left it back our room, for emergencies."

 

DM:

Margrave glances at you sharply, then sighs and gestures you back to your seat.

"We'll keep her. Raise her, care for her, teach her."

Her eyes are on your face, searching for something.

 

Bones:

He stares back. Burying his remaining pain deep, deep down, getting a feel on his new bandages.

 

DM:

Whatever she's looking for, she doesn't see it, and her shoulders sag a little before she shakes herself.

"Very well. I'll see you out, then."

 

Bones:

He nods, and goes to stand up. His joints audibly creaking beneath his clothes. Before he stops. And he stares at the wall.

".... I never wanted to do this. You know...I know what I said... I meant... what I said. Any other option, and I would have taken it. Not out of spite for you. I still don't... understand what you're doing, with all these kids. and what you wanted with me. But... I don't hate you for it. You're doing what you feel is right... it's admirable, in this fucked up mess of a world... But... It hurts. You know? She's... fuck. "

His legs wobbled. and he slowly sat back down. His eyes, those cold, crimson orbs he'd held throughout the entire conversation, begin to mist.

"She's only six years old. I left... I left that house when I was seven. Ten years ago. She didn't... she didn't deserve that. She didn't deserve to be put through that...."

His voice wavered, and cracked.

"I came back to put an end to things... to put the final chapter of who I was to rest. To let a naive child, who only wanted to help, die peacefully, after so many years of pain. And yet... When I got there. I found her. Staring up at me from an open door. I had been replaced. And someone else had to suffer in my stead. For years.... I went back. To put the final tie to that old life to rest... And instead I found... I found something precious. Some tie, far greater than whatever she had been to me... And yet. It hurts. It hurts so badly."

Slowly, but surely, drop, by drop, the tears of a child long dead fell to the floor.

"I know pain. I learned it, year by year. Scar by scar... and yet... it hurts. I just ... I just want to be there for her. To keep her safe. But... I don't know how. She isn't... she isn't me. She's strong, but fragile. Damaged, but beautiful. I want to care for her... but I... I want to... so badly… Why? Why does it hurt so badly?"

 

DM:

You don't hear Margrave move. You don't notice her coming around the desk.

The first indication you have of her responding at all is a hand, soft and gentle, landing on your hunched back and carefully stroking down the knobs of your spine.

"Because despite how badly the world has treated you, you still have a heart."

Her words are barely more than a whisper, and she kneels next to the chair, looking up into your face with understanding writ large in her eyes.

"You have a heart, my dear, and it is beautiful."

 

Bones:

He doesn't respond. But his eyes. Something breaks, and the tears start to pour.

 

DM:

Margrave's face crumples, and she reaches out to you, drawing you close and crooning wordlessly as you weep.

 

Bones:

He sits there. tears pouring from his eyes in silence. There was no sobbing. There was no moaning. There was simply a river. Dammed up for years, until it could hold no more.

 

DM:

Margrave holds you through all of it, crooning and rocking and stroking your back. It doesn't matter if you don't hold on to her. It doesn't matter that you make no sound. All that matters to her is that you're in pain, and she is there.

This isn't something she can fix, but she hopes, desperately hopes, that her presence can at least ease some of the awful, soul crushing pain.

That's all she ever hopes to be able to do, for all of her children.

 

Bones:

It lasted forever. It was over in a flash. Eventually, with eyes bloodshot, and his shirt tearstained and drenched, he began to sit straighter. He didn't speak, his tears still flowing, slowing but not stopping, but he began to breath. Slow, and even.

 

DM:

Margrave lets you go, silently handing you a handkerchief before retreating around her desk and busying herself to give you as much privacy as she can.

 

Bones:

He sits there in silence, for a solid ten minutes. Slowly drying his eyes, though it never truly seemed to stop. Before he spoke, in a low, croaking voice. A voice that sounded far, far younger than he looked.

"I only just met her... I don't want to let her go..."

 

DM:

"Then don't." Margrave's voice is soft, but firm. Unyielding as she looks directly into your bloodshot eyes.

 

Bones:

He stared at her. Eyes of fire, drowned in sorrow staring into steel. Before nodding slightly. Nearly imperceptibly.

 

DM:

"You'll come visit every chance you get." She says firmly, picking up a thin metal rod and dipping it into an inkwell and starting to write, "Occasionally we'll ask you to do some small task or the other. You'll be able to refuse any request, but you must accept at least one per month for the duration that she stays with us. We will ensure that she is fed, clothed, housed, educated, and, should she desire it, placed in an apprenticeship in a trade of her choice.

Under no circumstances are you to bring drugs or other illegal substances into this house. Do not bring the attention of the guard here. Do not draw attention to your relation here.

Above all," she pins you in place, her grey eyes steely, "be discreet."

She finishes her writing with a small jab, then passes the paper over to you. On it is written out all of the terms she just outlined to you.

"Is this acceptable?"

 

Bones:

He stares at the paper, before gesturing for the rod.

"I agree, on one condition."

His eyes stare into hers. And the man he has become glowers hatefully. It's not aimed at her. It seems aimed at something beyond.

"If I can't do it myself... I want a promise. If something hurts these kids... If someone. Hurts. Her."

His voice croaks out. An image of Jessica appearing in his mind, before being replaced with countless other faces, bodies, names.

"If someone makes that final mistake. I want them to pay."

 

DM:

Margrave stares directly into your eyes, and for a moment, the briefest possible moment, her eyes light up with eldritch purple fire.

"You have my word."

 

Bones:

He stares. And he smiles. To some, it would be a beautiful smile. A grin happier than any had ever seen. To others... to others it would have been a nightmare. Madness behind the eyes. Malice behind the smile. The sad heart of a boy long dead. Surrounded by a cage of bones, and poison. A cage to harm threats.... A cage... To protect... what is left.

"Then we have a deal."