For Jake

Jan. 4th, 2017 10:15 pm
bells_will_ring: (whut)
Erasmus cannot quite decide if this is a strange thing to do.

He'd thought about asking Noah or Blue but wasn't certain that he wanted to invite that scrutiny. They know his past, in detail, and he's embarrassed to admit that he does not know at all what is the custom. Jake is very handsome and he was kind to him and Erasmus is not so vain to think there are not many men in Darrow who have caught Jake's eye. He would like another friend, though, if nothing else and this is the only thing he can think to do.

He prepares some chocolates and pastries at home and uses a box from the cafe to carry them over to the building he thinks Jake works in. He's never been in such a place, a little afraid of the men with their weaponry and stern faces but he takes a deep breath and opens the door, quickly melting into a corner to avoid the bustle.

He creeps closer to what seems to be the main room and scans the faces until he sees first Jake's face and then his...well then.

That is a uniform he has not seen before. It is indeed quite handsome. He can feel himself staring dumbly but he was not quite ready for what that would look like.

For Blue

Dec. 30th, 2016 06:51 pm
bells_will_ring: (Default)
The work day at Un Chat Gris typically goes by quickly, more quickly than Erasmus would like given that he is generally the most satisfied when he is working. Today, however, it not a typical day. He'd managed to clean his face as best as he could, hoping the longer curls that he often pushes out of his face work to hide the damage. His co-workers have asked few questions after ascertaining that he was able to work, perhaps sensing his own reticence and agitation. In deference to the customers, he has worked largely behind the counter rather than clearing tables and tending directly to the guests. His favorite cat, a one eyed old grey tabby has hardly left his side which he is very grateful for.

Blue seems to be watching him the most, although she is clearly trying hard not to stare. He is used to being watched, used to his face attracting attention but not for the first time, he wishes it were not. He finds himself, bizarrely, hoping that he is never found desirable again although he knows it would not deter interest for those who can look past the lack of a pretty face.

At promptly three in the afternoon he finishes up the drink he was making and takes off his apron, hanging it carefully on his designated hook at waits, trying to muster up the courage to ask for the permission to leave that Blue always tells him is not necessary. He raises his good eye to catch her gaze, offering up what he hopes looks like a small smile rather than the grimace he suspects.

"It is the end of my shift, Blue."

For Damen

Dec. 15th, 2016 07:11 pm
bells_will_ring: (unhappy)
There have been a few suggestions to help stave off the unease Erasmus feels with returning daily to an empty home. The first, of finding a companion to live with him did not seem attainable. It would have to be someone he knew well enough to feel safe around and he wasn't sure his lack of understanding of most of the things in the home would make him a suitable living companion. He tries to watch the television but is easily overwhelmed by the images and stories and the introduction of a thousand things he doesn't understand. He's thought, perhaps, a pet. Perhaps a cat like the ones at work that need a good home. He thinks it might help, at least a little.

For now, he simply avoids the place. He splits his time between his work and the library, having realized it was the easiest resource for him to learn and indulge in the kind of poetry and literature he'd always loved but had been dissuaded from pursuing, it not being Prince Damianos's preference. At night, he wanders, taking in the sights of the city and as of late, the wondrous lights and biting cold. Some nights the distraction works and some nights it makes the press of loneliness even greater. Some nights he watches people move about, easy smiles and loving embraces and vices much like the ones he'd been forced into at Vere, but with willing participants. Down dark alleys he hears sounds he's very familiar with that lack the fear and pain he's associated with the acts.

All of these people, free to do what they want. They are free to have wants and desires. They are free and always have been. They've not had the very matter that makes them shaped into something else.

This night, he sits on a bench, until the crowds have cleared, watching a pair of lovers. Their touch is intimate and easy and reminds him of the stolen moments with Kallias, the longing they'd both felt. He wonders what would have happened if Kallias arrived in this place, if Erasmus could get past the betrayal. He wonders if either of them could truly believe they belonged to themselves enough to allow themselves private happiness. It angers him, suddenly and he pushes off the bench, striding towards home. It's such a foreign emotion and he's caught so off guard he doesn't hear anything until he's yanked into an alley, rough hand going over his mouth.

"Give me your money," a low voice snarls in his ear, fisting Erasmus's hair and shoving his face into the rough brick when he fails to answer. He cannot react, cannot speak and cannot think as he's back in the garden, rough hands bending him over, grabbing at him. Rank breath, heavy with Veretian wine against the bank of his neck blends with whatever this new man is saying and it's not until a sharp blow lands first on his cheek and then his mouth that he comes back to himself.

He slides down the wall, wanting badly to push the hands off of him as they fumble for his satchel, but he cannot. He cannot. He's too well trained. He cannot bring his body to obey his own command a gets a kick to the ribs for his lack of compliance. And then he is alone. His money is gone but he is not violated. He is hurt but he's alone and nothing else was wanted of him.

He pushes himself up, gingerly wrapping an arm around his ribs as he walks, forcing himself to hang on to the anger, forcing himself not to cry. It's unfair, it is not fair that he must live alone in this place with no Master and still not be able to command his own self. It is unfair and only one person can put any of this to rights.

A brief thought is given to how displeased Prince Laurent will be if he answers the door but he cannot bring himself to stop. He knocks on Damen's door, heedless of the late hour, needing to do something or say something that will make any of this alright.

For Noah

Nov. 10th, 2016 05:05 pm
bells_will_ring: (blackwhite curls)
He had very nearly been late for work.

The apothecary shop was not far from Un Chat Gris but it had taken some time for him to calm down enough to leave, he was so badly shaken. It seems so terribly obvious, now, between Prince Laurent's dressing down of him to Hild's revelation.

Damen was Damianos and had been from the start. He'd been Erasmus's intended Master when Erasmus had been defiled on the ship, when he'd shown the Prince his scars, when the Prince had watched Erasmus be taken in the garden and when Erasmus had slept night after night only a few feet away. The inappropriateness of it all, of Erasmus's ignorance was staggering and he has only a moment to wonder if he's hated before he must tie on his apron and serve with steady hands.

He cannot tell how obvious he is to his fellow workers, although he must seem subdued and they must have noticed his bright eyes. His shift ends and he finds himself waiting, staring over at Noah as he finishes up his own and wonders if he thinks Erasmus a fool. If Hild had known, perhaps Noah had as well. Perhaps he'd pitied Erasmus, offered friendship as one might a hapless and pitied creature. He finds that he must know, he must know and he must tell someone of his turmoil or it may very well overtake him once he finds himself back inside his dark, empty home.

It takes every ounce of shaky courage he has left to step up to Noah, eyes not quite able to meet his as he opens his mouth. "May I speak with you, once you are finished?"

For Damen

Nov. 7th, 2016 06:55 pm
bells_will_ring: (unhappy)
Erasmus's hands had been shaking by the end of his shift.

This is not the first time he's gone without sleep and it's certainly not the first time he's been unable to control his emotions. But this is uniquely difficult in a way he still cannot quite process.

Three days ago he'd been making strides. He'd found himself a job, a comfortable and effortless job that seemed to come along with companionship. He'd had a place to lay his head every night, finally able to truly rest knowing that Damen was watching over him. Two days ago he'd understood his folly, the place Damen truly held with the Prince Laurent and how inappropriate his intrusion had been. The Prince, to whom he owed so much, had remained silent for weeks at Erasmus's grating presence and Erasmus had thought it would be a debt he'd never repay. He'd left immediately but his mind still raced, trying to find a way to make it up to the Prince.

One day ago he learned that he depths of his ignorance were simply unfathomable and unforgivable.

This entire time. From the gardens of the Palace in Vere to the last night Erasmus had spent on Damen's couch, Damen had known who Erasmus was, what he was. His Master, the reason for his entire existence had known and watched Erasmus be reduced to filth on the ship and in that garden. He'd seen the scars, seen Erasmus falter and be laid low, seen Erasmus fail at everything he was trained to be and then offered him a place in his own home. The Prince, the Prince knew it all, knew who he was and said nothing.

Erasmus squeezes his eyes shut, tears burning hot down his face as he stumbles towards his too large, too silent home. His hands shake again as he wonders if Noah knew, if Noah knew and was too conflicted to say something. Perhaps they all knew.

For Hild

Oct. 31st, 2016 05:36 pm
bells_will_ring: (Default)
The work at the Cat Cafe, it turns out, is incredibly simple compared to the work Erasmus has been training for all his life. To be expected to simply take down requests and fulfill them with little need for anticipating needs is work that he enjoys, wishing only there was more opportunity for him to customize his services to each of the patrons but even that is wildly improved. The work is safe and it does not hurt and he is allowed to spend time with the animals.

The gentleness and the kindness that he finds at work is nearly disquieting, to be honest and he tries to fill the hours in between with gaining knowledge of the city, determined to figure out how to successfully live alone, rather than flounder his way through as he's done since leaving. The humiliation of learning who Damen has become to The Prince has simply been too much to bear, despite Damen's protestations.

He can now earn his own coin and prepare simple meals so his thoughts turn to those things that had always been provided by his trainers. Modern healing is simply beyond him but a shop catches his eyes during his daily wanderings. Some of the things look familiar, herbs and powders and the like and he finds himself opening the door, calling upon all of his hard earned bravery to seek out assistance with whomever he might find inside.

For Damen

Oct. 4th, 2016 04:15 pm
bells_will_ring: (Default)
The first glimpse that Erasmus had of a man other than his teachers or fellow slaves was of a palace guard. He had been tall and strong and so commanding that Erasmus had thought he’d been one of the Masters from the Palace, perhaps even Prince Damianos himself.

“A Master?” his caretaker Pylaeus had scoffed, kindly, “That was a soldier of your retinue, sent to protect your litter. He is to your Master as a single droplet to the great storm that comes from the ocean and splits open the sky.”

Erasmus imagines that even as he was struck down, Prince Damianos had been glorious and strong and Erasmus himself unworthy. He would have been unworthy even before Kallias’s betrayal, his lie about their kiss that doomed Erasmus to this new life. He is tainted goods and as Damen said, being sent to Vere was a punishment. Being forced into a cage, being sullied as far as a slave can be sullied, being burned and beaten, it was all a punishment for allowing himself to become dirty and unworthy of his fallen Prince. Whatever this latest torture is, is all part of the same. It is now his life.

He does not struggle, as he is led towards court by the young, beautiful boy it is rumored is kept by the Prince Regent himself. He’s told only that he is to ‘perform’ for court and he tries to calm his wildly beating heart as he half-listens to the cheers and gasps of the crowd from whatever feat is happening just outside. He may be tainted goods, but he is still a slave of Akielos and will act as such. He is a slave and this slave lives to serve in whatever capacity he is told, regardless of who or what their Master may be. It is not his place, to question or judge a Master, he is only a slave, he is only a slave…

He repeats this to himself, concentrating on his breathing as the door is thrown open, a commanding voice ordering the room cleared. A flash of bright, blonde hair is enough to send him prostrate, trembling at the attention of the Prince, whose beauty is so unlike what Erasmus had expected from a Master, but no less striking.

“Rise and listen carefully,” Prince Laurent orders, speaking to him with a directness that Erasmus does not deserve. To be singled out like this by royalty is astonishing and he forces himself to pay attention.
“I will not say more but if you can face what is about to happen to you with bravery, something good may happen. Call upon your training and steel yourself.”

Erasmus does not understand, stares at the Prince’s retreating back with wonder for several minutes until he is yanked forward by his leash into the performance arena. He rights himself only to see flames, flames all around him whirling casually on the ends of some sort of torturous pole and eyes all around him, trained on him as he stumbles, legs betraying him as he goes to his knees. They are going to burn him, again. They are going to ruin the other leg.

He must be brave, he thinks, tears clouding his vision as his fear of what fresh torture this will be nearly wipes out his perfect training and the Prince’s own command. He is a slave and this slave lives to serve, he lives to serve, he lives…

His breath catches as his vision clears, wide, hazel eyes blinking at what surrounds him.
He has gone mad. People swarm around him, in strange costume, grass underneath his knees. Towering structures of stone rise around him and all manner of terrors surround him. This is not Vere and he has gone mad.

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