It was summer, the air heavy and pregnant with langorous possibilities, as the little changeling walked towards the forest. Droning bees and demifae chased each other through nodding banks of flowers; it made her smile, as little else did, as she slipped between branches into the cooler, shadowed expanses beyond the fields. She had needed the excuse of escape from Court machinations, and seized the opportunity to state a territory to patrol. With several members of the Queen's Raven Guard mysteriously missing, every hand was needed on patrols; each of the Unseelie, from the most imperious Sídhe noble to the lowest Boggart, were now required to roam the lands, and keep them safe from the encroaching human forces.
So far it had been an uneventful wander; and in all truth, she expected little but the chance to stretch her legs, breathe in forest air, before returning to what now passed for home, without her Raven, with her land changing around her. But that was when she caught a hint of...something...drifting on the afternoonwind. It was more than an impression, less than an actual scent, though her mind related it to her in those terms. She breathed in deeply, identifying something that might be woodsmoke, something else bitter and acrid, laced with a familiar copper-sweetness and...iron? Iron in the Unseelie trees?
As suddenly as she had captured it, it seemed to pull back, and unthinking, she moved to find it. Her short legs ran, her mind trying to follow the elusive, disturbing collection of almost-scents until she reached a dark clearing with small lithon stones, worn to little more than rounded protrusions through mossy soil from age. As if it had been waiting for just this moment, the nearly palpable taste of blood pooled on her tongue, copper-rich, iron-rich, and for a moment, she clung to one of the stones, overcome. She missed the first unfurling of pheromone-laced psychic tendrils reaching for her, wrapping her mind, holding--if only briefly--her body in place on the mossy ground.
She heard a dark chuckle, and felt a darker presence still, touch the outer barriers of her mind. She struggled to open her eyes, swallowing, trying to concentrate through the sudden blood haze.
"Sídhe," the dark voice said, sardonically amused. "You still have that childlike curiosity that got you last. So amusing, still, but let me have the other. Let me have Lilit."
When the rift occurred, that pulled the Winter Court closer to the humans, there had been new predators released into the woods. No Unseelie put any faith in demons of the 'One True', and yet...She, among others, was captured and her spirit thinned to make room for a succubus named Lilit. On the same eve, or close before, one of the humans had been tortured with the same ritual, and bound to a demon named Enigma. And though they seemed to be on vastly opposing sides...still, their deviances and manipulations wreaked havoc on the Court and its citizenry.
It was Enigma who spoke with her now. She should have recognized it far sooner. Conflicting energies surged within her, but she kept herself under control...for at least a few more moments.
"You understand," she sent, "I am not in a place where I can leave easily, just yet. Did you wish her in flesh, against yours, or..." Her voice trailed off, and the voice that continued was full of lilting, off-balance bells, sardonic amusement, the dark thread of Lilit's energy snaking through the air.
"Or would talking be enough, then?" Lilit asked.
Enigma pursued that dark thread of her energy, the serpentine surge drawing him forward like a moth to a flame.
"Mmm, well, I am getting what I want. Perhaps not now. But I will have what's mine, Lilit."
Sensation: slide of demonic claws over her inner thigh, the scent of her own blood rising as her flesh opened like a flower. She hissed, a whipcord thread of anger lashing out, winding around him, before withdrawing.
"What's yours? And what would that be, exactly?"
Images: flesh pierced by razor claws, blood running over silver-pale skin. Scent of the changeling's fur on fire, the brand that burned it still held to her form. Sigils carved into the flesh of the demoness' stomach as she arched beneath Enigma.
"You are mine, Lilit. You and the little Sídhe both. Her Raven will soon be taken care of...permanently."
She snarled at that.
"Burn...me. You would burn me? I am inured to pain, I've even taught the little shifter to appreciate it, but there is iron in your vision. I smell it. That would wound her beyond measure." Lilit cocked her head to the side, sneering. "And...permanently? As if you can kill one of the Raven Guard."
Dark laughter cascaded through her mind, the impression of Enigma, at some distance, shaking his head.
"Oh, we know of her...issues with iron. We have other ways to mark what is ours. And again, Lilit, you make assumptions. 'Kill' was not used in our statement."
"It's been time and more than time, but you forget--the Raven claimed me, to keep me from your hands. How do you plan to overturn his binding upon me?"
It was Enigma's turn to sneer, now. "His binding?" He laughed, razor-edged and ripping. "There is no binding on you. Only your lost hope of what is gone. And how we do things is ours to know. Only the wolf's son who holds me will pay for your...'unbinding'."
Lilit's scarlet eyes stared across the leagues, measuring Enigma where he sat in obsidian dark. "You'd make another pay the price that should be yours? Tch. Typical."
Enigma just smiled. "Oh, but we are one. His loyalty to me is undying, even beyond that contraption your little fae gave him. Think what you will, but make no mistake, you will be ours fully."
She growled, the sound chill enough to ice over the stone her body rested against. "You cannot bind me without consent. Think me a fool? That has ever been the first rule, here and there. Mortal, demon, fae, spirit alone, or spirit in flesh--you can capture, you can contain, mayhap you can even kill. But bind, fully, to your service and side? It will not happen lest I agree."
Sensation: Liquid touch of his blood across her lips before withdrawing, more of his seductive tendrils wreathing around her. The changeling child she nested within arched, gasping, before Lilit reasserted her control. Even so, she felt his lips spread in a grin, noting her reaction.
"You think we know not these things? You want as we want, you seek what we seek. We are as one. You have already begun to feel the power of our blood, coursing through your veins. Even manifesting in the little shifter, yes? What was barely tangible before, in this new form, now visible down your spine. Tell me you will not agree, for more power fed to you. Tell me you did not like the markings we have already made on the body you hold."
Lilit's attention wandered briefly, remembering, and there was a brief surge in her own pheromones, as the tendrils he spoke of unfurled on her back, lashed the air. It was a brief moment of distraction, soon suppressed, but he noticed.
"Yesss," he nearly moaned. "That answer is more than enough."
Lilit's focus returned as she tossed her head, the shifter's blood-red locks shifting to her own glossy ink ones. "You'll still have to convince me. Simply because I like how you treat me, like how you feed me...oh, that is far removed from service, and you know that better than anyone."
A sharp growl at her final words circled the grove. She smiled to hear it.
"So be it," he spat, "but this is not so hard, we think."
Her lips quirked, amusement laced with more of her scent, circling around body of Enigma's host, far away.
"Ah, but you do so like challenges," she purred.
Enigma sent amusement, a brief, almost-caress of his claws down her cheek. "Yess, this we do. And our plan is already in motion. Soon, you will understand."
With shocking suddenness, the demons both departed, all scents, all impressions vanished save for the rich trace of his blood. to linger on the still air. Emilly was left shaking in the clearing, wondering what would happen next.
(Continued in part two.)