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Futuristic The Wastes ( ellarose & Syntra )

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure
  3. Dystopian
  4. LGTBQ
  5. Magical
  6. Romance

ellarose

wanderer
Let her have them as a gift? Guinevere was almost tempted to laugh in the woman's face at the implication, although somehow the words themselves also left her fucking gobsmacked. Seriously? Was everyone in Camelot as delusional as this? Did they look at the state of the outside world, assume they all loved their wayward lives, and thought 'we'll leave the riffraff alone to enjoy the world's many wonders... as a gift.' (And by 'many wonders' she meant 'many fucking terrors'!) If this woman thought she was twisting her pride around her pretty little fingers by insisting she was incompetent, she had another thing coming. To survive the wastelands without the walls of Camelot around to protect her, she was going to have to learn damn quick that it took a hell of a lot of competence to get by in a world that's always, always, always trying to kill you. It wasn't Guinevere's problem if Morgan couldn't figure out how to pull her own weight in time. Plus... why did she jump to the conclusion that she loved swinging her sword around in the first place? (It didn't matter if it was true!) They just met. She shouldn't have known that! So was it a lucky guess or something? Whatever it was, it kind of freaked her out.

A nobody. At that point, Guinevere would have gladly shoved the arrogant woman to the ground had she not already been coughing up mouthfuls of blood. (Because again, she wasn't Bobster. Wouldn't kick someone who was down, the way he'd kicked her. The bastard.) The lady seemed to love talking herself in unproductive circles that had no useful message other than the fact that she was in love with her own voice and pride. And at that point, she'd seen plenty of people go out choking on their pride. Morgan could very easily just turn into another number to that count. In fact, she seemed determined to do just that. The obnoxious comebacks she gave in response to everything Guinevere said weren't getting them anywhere. They weren't answers, just an insistence on being unnecessarily difficult. At the end of the day, though? Spitting at a rare hand extended to her with mercy instead of finding the grace to take it was fucking stupid and ended with death more times than not.

And then Morgan proceeded to pass the fuck out, proving her point. They hadn't come to a real agreement yet thanks to her stubbornness. Guinevere didn't owe the woman a damned thing. Vaguely annoyed, she rolled her eyes and turned to leave her there in the wreckage she created. Just another number to the count. Should've played it smarter if she wanted to make it more than one night in the wastelands!

Guinevere only made it about sixteen steps forward before she turned on her heel to trudge those same sixteen steps back towards the passed out woman, groaning exasperatedly at the guilt weighing her heart down, down, down. (Why the fuck was she born with a heart that sucker-punched her every time she saw someone suffering again? Because sometimes, like right now for instance, it royally sucked.) With a grunt, she heaved the woman over her shoulder like a sack. Yep. Carrying Morgan's ungrateful ass on the back she'd fucking stabbed earlier! Geez. Why was she like this?

"This is fucking pointless and you know it." Guinevere scolded herself more so than actually talking to Morgan. Because she was the only one who could even hear at this point. "She'll be a drain on resources... won't even find it in her heart to say thanks. Nah. She'll find..." She heaved an exhausted breath, adjusting the bag of resources on her shoulder when it slipped slightly. This was a lot, okay? She had already been through the wringer herself-- kidnapped twice, possessed, stabbed in the back. And part of those issues were thanks to none other than miss fancy pants here. "Break your back for her and she'll find some way to fucking insult you over this one, too! Ungrateful, spoiled fucking... Camelot lady..."

***

By some miracle, Guinevere made it back to camp a few hours past daybreak. She waved off the swarms of questions and concern for the time being, making her way purposefully across camp. First thing's first.

"Hey. She's in bad shape. Won't try anything now, but watch her carefully, Em. She's been messing with some kind of dark magic." Guinevere advised as she left Morgan in Emily's tent for treatment. "I couldn't just... leave her out there. She's from Camelot and completely out of touch. Figured I'd at least give her the chance to get back on her feet." She scoffed, as if annoyed by her own bleeding heart. Which she was, for all intents and purposes. "When she wakes up, make it clear she's free to leave whenever the fuck she wants. But, uh, she's free to stay until she's feeling okay. If that's what she wants. Though fair warning, she'll probably insist it's not. 'Cause she's just as fucking ungrateful as you'd expect, coming from Camelot."

Guinevere was ambushed by Adrianne the second she slipped out, immediately swept up into her arms and then kissed all over. With a sigh of relief, mostly to have all that weight off her back and to be home again, her overtired body melted against the other woman's like butter.

"Fuck, Gwen. You're okay. I wouldn't have forgiven myself if something happened to you. What... what happened?" Adrianne set her back down on the ground, pushing blonde curls out of her face to examine it closely. She gently ran her thumb over the cut that Bob had left her with. "It was king douchebag, wasn't it? Did he do this to you?" Then she angled a suspicious glare at Emily's tent. "And who's the lady?"

"I'll explain later, Adri. It's been a night. For now... I need to pass the fuck out." Guinevere mumbled into her hair. After letting the rations slip from her shoulder, that's exactly what she did. She passed out, right there on the spot.

***

Morgan would later stir in a tent, thick with the scent of an assortment of different herbs and remedies. The sleeping bag she was lying on was not a comfortable bed by any means, but at least it wasn't the ground? The tent itself was considerably cleaner than the arrangements she'd been treated to in Brice's camp. While it's obviously not as pristine as the accommodations she might be used to in say, Camelot, it was only covered in the reasonable layer of grit that one would expect from any place in the wastelands. Either way, it was noticeable that whoever lived there was far more committed to cleanliness and hygiene than the absolute pigsty of a camp she'd trashed before. The inside was dark aside from the flickering of candlelight... and she could make out the shape of another woman sleeping on the other side of the tent.

"Oh! You're awake." Another woman, one sitting at her side perked up upon seeing one of her patient's eyes open. Fumbling about with this development, Emily reached around in the darkness for her supplies. "Thank goodness. Give me just a... just a minute here."

"Who the fuck are you?" Another voice said. A fourth woman in the tent? "And what did you do to--"

"Adrianne." Emily reprimanded, in that rarely sharp tone she only ever used in the healing tent. Sometimes a firm tone was necessary to keep the peace, especially when matters of panic and life or death arose. "She just woke up. Don't interrogate her. In fact, I think you should leave now."

"But Gwen--"

"You're on patrol soon. If Gwen wakes up, I'll make sure you're the first to know. Now go." Emily pointed towards the tent's flaps. Adrianne clearly couldn't argue this point any further, as she slumped her shoulders and begrudgingly did as the other woman said. But not without throwing a glare in Morgan's direction first. Once that was done, she sighed and prepared the rest of her materials. "Here, drink this. Your throat feels pretty sore, right? This should help."

"Sorry. You, ah, must be confused. Although we're confused too, to be honest." Emily spoke, twiddling her thumbs as she allowed Morgan the time to gather her bearings. "Gwen brought you into camp a few days ago. She wanted to give you a chance to get back up on your feet... said you were free to leave or stay." She hesitated. "Then she, ah, passed out before she could explain any further. At first I thought it was from exhaustion, but... we haven't been able to wake her since. I've only been able to gather that she's in some kind of... magically induced coma?" She bit her lip uncertainly. "So we have a lot of questions as to what happened that night. But I won't bombard you with them now. To start off, do you think you could tell me your name?"

"Mor..." And then? And then Guinevere of all people began mumbling in her sleep across the tent with creepily apt timing. "Morgan..."
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
Morgan dreamt. Wading through visions, older than time itself, the sorceress observed-- watched them unfurl, much like rose buds blossomed under the gentle rays of the summer sun. There was a lot of... everything, really. Blood, for starters. Blood mixed with the smell of smoke, rising high above the clouds, and screams, oh, those screams! Nothing she would have loved more than to open her eyes, but the scenery held her captive, wrapping steel shackles around her wrists. 'Watch, Morgan le Fey. You don't want the past to repeat itself, do you? Therefore, you cannot close your eyes before this. Every crime scene needs a witness.' ...a crime scene? What? There was a common thread unifying it all, she could feel that much, but it was thin, oh so thin! A spider's web, invisible against the sharpness of the sunlight.

"Who are you? What are you talking to me for?"

'That's for you to figure out, sorceress. You've always loved your riddles, haven't you?'

"Indeed, riddles," Morgan snorted. "This isn't a riddle, though! For something to be considered that, you ought to provide a clue. There has to be some basis for me to arrive to a conclusion, otherwise it's just... guessing. Blind associations."

'Aren't you a demanding one?' The sorceress couldn't see the creature, but somehow, she sensed the knowing smirk, as well as the hints of amusement. (Just, how careful did she have to be? Was the path she was walking fraught with danger, or was a safety net waiting beneath? Morgan couldn't tell, and that... why, that made it all the more interesting.) 'Just so you know, I have always held a queer affection for you. Similar to Guinevere, I would say. For that reason alone, I will give you your hint. When the moon climbs the sky again, sorceress, and its edges are bathed in blood, look eastward and you will see. Whether you will like it, though... oh, that is another question entirely. Heh.'

And, with that, Morgan opened her eyes. Where was she, again? This didn't look like her room, or any room that could be found within the walls of Camelot, even, and-- ah. Ah, alright. That made sense, she supposed, given that the castle had fallen apart like a house of cards. Always, the sorceress had claimed that that was exactly what it was, but she had meant it to be a metaphor! Not reality, with sharp claws and teeth. Not something she had to construct the remainder of her life around. So... is this Guinevere's camp, then? Morgan remembered the offer, though she also remembered being forced to plead for it-- to thank the woman crushing her face underneath her boot, essentially. To smile and nod, in a parallel eerily similar to her Camelot life. The issue with that, though? Camelot had perished, and along with it, Morgan's patience for nonsense had as well. No, no longer would she bend her knee when she'd rather raise her voice! This time, the sorceress would scream, till her vocal cords snapped. ...come to think of it, they were already dangerously close to that stage. Just, what had she been doing? Swallowing glass? With no small amount of suspicion, Morgan smelled the liquid the unknown woman handed her. Chamomile? Chamomile, yes, and many other herbs, potent enough to make your head spin. Could it be poison, perhaps? She flirted with the thought for a bit, but ultimately tossed it aside-- after all, it made no sense to waste resources on saving a patient's life only to attempt to murder her later. Arthur's sick mind could have come up with such a joke, but Arthur... Arthur was dead. Not by her hand, mind you. Why? Why hadn't Guinevere let her die, as promised? Why wasn't she sleeping under the ashes, where she rightfully belonged? It wasn't that the sorceress necessarily wanted it, but... it should have happened, no matter how you looked at it. Once your epilogue was written, it was disgraceful to stick around. Pathetic, like a dog begging for the scraps from your table.) "Thank you," Morgan mumbled before taking a sip.

Ah. Ah, so there had been consequences to their trip, and possibly lasting ones as well. Could Guinevere be imprisoned in a dream similar to the one from which she had just awakened? The dreadful woman could rot for all the sorceress cared, though she also had to admit that the topic was... fascinating. Something to wrap her mind around, in lieu of having yet another existential crisis. "Magically induced coma?" Morgan repeated, tilting her head aside. "Let me take a look. Oh, and my name is Morgan le Fey. The king's sister, for what that is worth. I'd wager that that isn't much, considering that only grave worms bow to him now." Resolutely, she stood up from her bed. Too resolutely, as it turned out, since her knees almost buckled under her weight-- surely, that was the reason, and not the way Guinevere moaned her name. (It, um, evoked a certain mental imagery, didn't it? Hot lips pressed against hers, hands wandering in forbidden places, and... oh, gods. Gods, gods, gods. Where had that emerged from? From which shameful pit?)

Morgan shook her head, perhaps hoping to get rid of the thoughts. (Spoiler alert: no, it didn't work. Not at all.) "I... don't understand what happened that night, either. Not fully. I can investigate, though." Guinevere's forehead was searing, like a thousand of burning suns, and when the sorceress opened her eyes again? Pitch black darkness was surrounding her, heavier than her own grief. Darkness deeper than ignorance, too, so nothing, nothing could be seen! ...nothing aside from Guinevere herself, of course. Guinevere, illuminated by a faint, ephemeral glow that seemed to be coming from within her very core. Also Guinevere who was tied to a funeral pyre, with a wreath of rotten leaves.

'Fire is a cruel way to die, child,' the voice from before whispered. 'But such is your fate, at least till you accept who you are. Your destiny.'

To her horror, Morgan realized that she couldn't move, either. What was...? Ah. Ah, she was tied to her own pyre as well! Of course. They were poised to watch each other's destruction, and that made her unbelievably sad, for reasons she was unable to fully grasp. (One word kept coming to her mind, unprompted. A cycle. And, really, weren't cycles meant to be broken? Shattered into a million pieces?) "Guinevere!" the sorceress shouted, not fully understanding what it was that she was doing. (Going mad, most likely. Already, her sanity had been hanging on a thread, and being sucked into her nemesis' nightmare couldn't have helped.) "Guinevere, are you just going to keep dying here, or will you finally do something about it? Your precious friends are waiting. You've enjoyed your beauty sleep for long enough now!"
 
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ellarose

wanderer
"My friends...? No. My sisters..." Guinevere stirred quietly, though she never lifted her eyes. Even if she had, they wouldn't be seeing ahead. Instead they were tired, sorrowful, glassy, and transfixed as if she were gazing upon a scene that no one else could see. (The scent of smoke and rotted flesh mingled, she saw an earth and sky blotted out with shades of red. The strained cries of those whose lives hadn't been crushed from them yet. But they would, they would all... they would all fall. All but her.) Interlocked guilt and grief created such an unbearable weight pressing down on her that the only thing left to hold her upright anymore was the support of her own funeral pyre. "Morgan, too. They're all dead. Because of me." Tears fell from her eyes, then, and her expression twisted with anger. (Anger, yes... anger. Because she was infuriated with herself for crying at all. She didn't have the right. Why was she still here feeling sorry for herself when they were all gone?) "It's all my fault!"

The light beaming at Guinevere's core grew brighter and brighter. When she blinked her tears away, she could finally see across the way... and found herself staring into the green of Morgan's eyes like she was seeing a ghost. Gradually, the past began to fade at the edges. It seemed she was coming back to herself. But it was too late. The light at her center became so bright that it warped into white flames that devoured her and spread, spread, spread over to take Morgan as well and--

The flames devoured her body again. This time, though, she didn't reawaken on the funeral pyre. Instead, Guinevere found herself on the ground? She and Morgan were both there, actually. And they were on the street of a dusty old town she vaguely recognized?

"So? Did you like my song, Frankenstein?" A little girl's cheerful voice was the only spot of warmth in the dreary scenery. What the fuck? Guinevere looked around confusedly and eventually saw it. Her younger self, small, scrawny and dirty with her mane of wild blonde hair and a missing front tooth... climbing on a brilliant, glowing white stag like a jungle gym. "I made it up just for you!"

"Guinevere. My sweet, ill-fated queen." Then the stag spoke, with all the resigned patience of a parent who loved their child dearly but needed to be firm with them. "I have told you numerous times that my name is not Frankenstein."

"And I told you num... numer... sous?" Younger Guinevere had trouble saying the word and eventually gave up on it altogether. Then she bopped the stag lightly on the nose, wearing a shit-eating grin. "Lotsa times that I'm no queen! I'm just a nobody from the wastes."

"No, my child. Those who write you off as derelict know not what they are talking about." The stag argued. "For now, though, I must ask you to follow me. You are in grave danger and I will guide you--"

"Gwen! You dummy." Another mini 'Guinevere' appeared? Except her hair had noticeably seen a brush much more recently and was kept far more neatly. (Guinevere herself would know that this was not a copy of herself, but her twin sister.) The stag quickly vanished as not to be seen by her. "You can't just run off like that! What, are you talking to your imaginary friend again?"

"I told you, Jenny! Frankenstein is real. He... he's just shy. I think you scared him away." Little Guinevere stuck her chin out, pouting. But before they could argue? They both had a reason to be scared when they were suddenly surrounded by a group of pursuers in black cloaks. The twins huddled together and...

"Why... why are we seeing this?" The present Guinevere turned to Morgan, her brows furrowing. At least she had come back into herself by now. Although the memories she had of that (clearly imaginary) white stag were hazy, this moment was very much real. All too real. "Did you do something to me? Ah, shit."

There was no time to talk about it, though. Because the younger versions of Guinevere and Jennifer faded away and the black-cloaked figures turned on them instead. They morphed into these wolf-like, snarling monsters? Neither she or Morgan had weapons to fight with, either! "Shit. Shit, shit, shit!"
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
Morgan had always had a fairly healthy relationship with reality. Where others lied to her, reality didn’t-- you only had to open your eyes and look, really look, at what was happening in front of you. Everything always flowed from that. From… being open to possibilities, you know? From your default position being not ‘I am always right because I am me’ (ehm, hello, Arthur), but rather ‘I want to be right about this.’ A small difference, was it not? And yet also the only thing standing between you and being an absolute irredeemable moron, unable to see past your own nose. Your own perception was the one thing that could never betray you, the sorceress had learned. Or was it? Because what she was seeing now certainly did feel like a betrayal. A betrayal of the basic principles of… uh, everything that had ever made sense!

Magic, she thought, rather uselessly. Duh, of course. How could it be anything else? The deduction was about as brilliant as assuming that the water in your pot got hotter because you had, indeed, placed it on a burner! What kind of magic, though? How was it operating? Which principles it followed, for what reason, and what had triggered all of this? (According to common wisdom, magic was chaos itself. A force that was entirely unpredictable, much like a strange dog going through your trash. Would it bite your hand when you tried to pet it, or would it become your friend? The thing was, there were signals for that sort of thing. No dog was truly mad-- you only had yourself to blame if you misread what it was saying, because it had been shouting its truth into the world since the second it had received its voice. And, with magic? With magic, it was much the same. There was a pattern in there, dammit, and Morgan le Fey would learn to see it! …did it have something to do with the voice? The one who had promised her clues, and only presented her with more mysteries at the end? The knights of the round table… ah, indeed, she was familiar with the concept! One of Arthur’s many, many pet delusions, fed by Merlin’s whisperings. ‘Create your legacy, my king,’ he had said. ‘The immortal knights who will know that they owe everything to you, and act accordingly. Every rulers needs that kind of loyalty.’ Which, )

“Yes,” Morgan rolled her eyes, “capturing you in a vision absolutely was a part of my master plan. Through my infinite genius, I also decided to capture myself in there. I guess I wanted to, I don’t know, gloat? No, of course that I didn’t do anything to you, you moron! You’re unconscious. I woke up first, and then I had the bright idea to try and examine you. I suppose that means I fainted as well.” Why were they sharing that vision, though? That… was a good question, actually. One that might provide some actual answers, here in this sea of uncertainty. Think, Morgan. Think. What is it that you have in common with this woman? And why are those fragments so centered around past? “Have you… heard a suspicious voice? A voice offering you power?” If nothing else, it was an anomaly, and whenever one of those cropped up, investigating it wasn’t a bad idea.

“Hmmm,” that very voice chuckled in Guinevere’s head, “you might want to listen to the sorceress. That one has good instincts. Already, she’s recognizing the puzzle pieces. Can you see them as well, little one?”

And, perhaps Morgan’s instincts truly were good, because when monsters were spawned from the darkness, that wasn’t what she was seeing. Not really. Instead, her eyes were focused on the white stag, grazing on the grass somewhere on the horizon. “Don’t just stand there,” she reprimanded the other woman. “Run!” (…why was she helping her, again? Maybe because they were stuck in the same vision, and the host dying did carry some unfortunate implications; maybe because, if she was the key, then Guinevere was the lock; and maybe because… well. This wasn’t the same warrior from the wilds, was she? The woman was scared, and Morgan’s first impulse was to help. For whatever goddamned reason.)

Needless to say, run they did. Morgan didn’t know how far the stag was, or whether they had any chance of ever catching up-- the darkness was overwhelming, and didn’t allow for any depth of perception. (Sweat was running down her back, and her lungs… gods, her lungs! Unused to running, they burned, and the sorceress had no idea whether she could keep this up. Could you faint after you had fainted once already? Asking for, uh, herself.)

Thankfully, there was no opportunity for her to find out. The wolves were swallowed the nothingness surrounding them, and from it, two figures emerged. (Guinevere? Guinevere and Morgan? Reflections of them, perhaps, warped by the vision’s might.)

“My love,” the other Morgan asked, sending shivers down her current self’s spine, “my love, won’t you kiss me? I’ve been waiting for so, so long.” A faint smile appeared on the other Guinevere’s lips, so soft that Morgan would never have associated it with her in a million years, and leaned towards the sorceress. Her heart skipped a beat, either in anticipation or horror, and-- and then the scene froze. Huh.

“What is this?” the sorceress frowned. “Are we supposed to make it continue, or…?” Oh. Oh. The implications of that… “Dream on, Guinevere,” she said, determined to nip this nonsense in the bud. This situation was quickly spiraling out of control, and there wasn’t anything Morgan hated more than that. She and that vile woman... no, never. Not till hell froze over! “I don’t want to kiss you again.” …again. Had she really said again? Gods, gods, gods!
 

ellarose

wanderer
"No. It's a memory. Or I guess it could be... ugh. Whatever! Either way, you're in my head! How did you get in my head!? 'Cause I don't recall letting you in, lady." Guinevere stressed. Fine, maybe on some level it was a vision like Morgan said. But it was one rooted firmly in a reality she used to know, enough to have influences on her memory. (Because that stag that she always played with had to have been imaginary on some level, like Jen said. Ugh. This was all so confusing! Unconscious? Fainted? Captured in there with her? Like... what the hell was going on? And why did her mind insist on highlighting this moment in the first place? Childhood was a blur for her, fogged by the red haze of gore and trauma that no kid ought to be subjected to.) Oh well. At least the lady didn't have a single thing to say about it? In fact, she didn't react at all... whether that be a snide comment about what an unkempt child she was, her twin sister, their bastard pursuers or the vivid imaginary friend part. Instead she was going on about some voice offering her power? Whatever that fucking meant. Didn't observe anything at all related to the scene that played out right in front of them, though, so Guinevere was pretty sure the voice telling her the 'sorceress' was 'recognizing puzzle pieces' was full of shit.

The... voice. Right, okay. So there was a voice. A voice inside her head... that was also inside her head. Guinevere clutched at the sides of her head (inside her head), clawing her nails in as if trying to wrench it out by force. Fucking confusing! And now this version of herself in her head was getting a migraine. Didn't make a lick of sense. Thinking about it was not doing her any favors. "Shut up, shut up, shut up! Don't tell me what to do." This was more of Camelot's freaky magic nonsense, wasn't it? Morgan was playing with her the way a cat played with a mouse, probably leading her through the darkness to erase her soul. (...Erase her soul? What would she have to gain from that, though? Nah, that was stupid. Then again, what did anyone in Camelot have to gain from shoving swords into the chests of random women from the wastes? Morgan wasn't inclined to answer her, so hell if she knew... anything was possible at this point.)

Then they ran. Ran and ran and then came across a vision that was leagues worse than the first. (This was a vision for sure. Because none of her memories aligned with the moment they were staring at right now. Where their suspicious doubles were... leaning towards each other, with those gooey lovesick expressions on their faces. ) Guinevere's face scrunched up like a revolted child's hearing some overly romantic kissing scene in one of Tamara's stories. What the fuck was Morgan saying!? Make it continue? And then-- oh no, no, no! Dream on? Really!? The woman seriously has the audacity to storm into her mind and cut those judgmental eyes at her?

"Oh. Because I'm just some nobody from the wastes, right? Means I must dream day and night 'bout being lucky enough to suck face with Camelot royalty like some kinda apocalypse Cinderella." Guinevere spat out, rolling her eyes. "Don't fucking flatter yourself, lady! I already have a strong, beautiful girlfriend. And I'd never cheat on her. You hear me? Not even in some weird-ass dream world, 'cause I respect the hell out of her! I don't want your lips anywhere near my lips." She crossed her arms, keeping her stance firm as she glared at their vision selves. It wouldn't go away, though, no matter how hard she stared at it. "If anything, you brought this weird fantasy in with you!" Then, attempting to press down on her own horror, she smirked. "What. You always wanted a dangerous rebel from the wastes to sweep you off your feet or somethin'? Don't be shy... I mean, I understand the appeal. When my girlfriend kicks my ass I feel inclined to thank her for it." Powerful women. Ah. They were the best.

Then the rest of Morgan's words sank in, spearing through Guinevere's heart like sharp teeth. I don't want to kiss you again. Again? No, she must've misheard. Did she just say--

"Again? What the fuck do you mean, again?" Guinevere asked, the brazen smirk disappearing completely. (In the back of her mind, the memory nudged her briefly, the sensation of a soft kiss that fell over her when she'd lost consciousness. Don't tell her that was--) "What are you talking about!?" Flustered, she shoved past the vision versions of themselves, pushing them apart and effectively shattering them. (Somehow it pulled at her heartstrings... but she didn't want to examine that. No way!) She strode forward, pushing deeper into the darkness of her mind. "Never mind. You're not even real, are you? 'Cause we're in my head. We're in my head and this is obviously just a nightmare." She laughed, the sound somewhat hysteric. "I'm going to wake up later and none of this will matter!"

Guinevere squinted upon noticing the white stag again. It was hard to say how far away it was from where she was standing. "Frankenstein?"

"Child, this is not a nightmare. You must accept it." The voice in her head sighed. "And the legendary stag's name is not Frankenstein!"

Guinevere ignored the voice and ran towards the stag. At the same time, however? The ground gradually began to tremble and crumble all around them, the pieces falling away into a dark abyss down below. "Fuck. Come on!" It was catching up with them, inspiring her to grab Morgan's wrist and move faster to outrun it. (Geez. Why was she grabbing the lady's wrist when she was obviously just a figment of her imagination? Ugh... whatever! She just didn't want to watch her die, okay? Even in a dream, it'd be unpleasant.)
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
For the record, Morgan did not think that. Definitely not. There were limits to human presumptuousness, and she, uh, didn't necessarily believe that the savages from the wastes were all eager to rip her satin dress apart. She didn't not think that, either-- it was mostly that the sorceress's thoughts rarely revolved around those people in general. That made it hard for her to spin such ridiculous fantasies, you see? Morgan le Fey only wasted her mental energy on the important things, and grand plans. On deciphering the mysteries of magic, pulsating through the ancient heart of the earth. Pfft, of course that such low pursuits couldn't possibly hold her interest! ...and yet, when the phrase 'dangerous rebel' left her lips? (Her shockingly plump lips, to add insult to injury?) Morgan's entirely personality disintegrated, melting in the scorching heat of her cheeks. Ah, gods. Why was it so difficult to meet the other woman's eyes? Averting her gaze was an admission of guilt-- an implicit 'you are right, but I don't want to say it.' Silence was, too. Quick, the sorceress chided herself. Say something before she gets the wrong idea! "A-ah. No. I wasn't imagining that. I think. I mean, I believe I would have noticed had that been the case." I think? I think?! Hardly the resolute rejection Morgan was going for here, that much was certain. Great job, her inner critic smirked. While you're at it, you could also compose a poem celebrating her beauty, and propose to her under the moonlight.

But, hey, embarrassment wasn't eternal! Theoretically speaking, the window of time during which you felt bad for your own actions was actually rather narrow. Time healed all wounds. The brain, being the supercomputer it was, worked tirelessly to process any trauma-- indeed, if the gods were good, Morgan would forget about this incident in a day or two. This, too, would pass. Or, you know, it would have passed, had her own subconsciousness wasn't actively sabotaging her! "I only did that once," Morgan raised her hands in the air defensively, figuring there was no point to lying. Not anymore, at the very least. "And it wasn't even me per se. I..." Well, I what? 'The ghost of the dog that ate my homework made me do it?' It wasn't that far from the truth, mind you, but the sorceress didn't really believe that that would go over well. (The classic excuses from the ages long past did surprisingly little to help you in this day and age, it turned out. Come to think of it, Morgan doubted that they'd ever worked.) "Magic," she blurted out. "It compelled me to kiss you. Didn't you ever wonder why you woke up with no stab wound? That was what healed you. My kiss. I cannot fathom what kind of interaction caused it, but yes. Something definitely did." And, no matter how you looked at it, it seemed that the vision was asking them to re-create that moment. Was that why she had been dragged into it? To serve as Guinevere's... what, even? Kissing doll? Preposterous! Not more preposterous than the woman's theory, though. Also not more preposterous than the excitement that prickled at her skin at the idea of that, but, uh. Let's not focus on it, okay?

"Well, maybe you are my nightmare!" Morgan accused her, feeling indignant. "Have you ever wondered about that? I wouldn't be shocked at all, because the gods made you in the image of everything I hate. You should be thankful that they even allowed you to taste my lips! For you will never, ever... eek!" Eek. Well, one thing was obvious-- so far, this had been one of her less dignified days. Still, how else was she supposed to react? It was hard to think in complete sentences when wild, rugged rebels from the wastes were treating you as if you were a dog on their leash.

"No!" the sorceress protested. "Running... won't help. I see that now." Because, despite the very superficial similarities, this wasn't the real world-- the fight or flight response was what worked there, and so your instincts didn't see any other options. The thing was, what instincts pointed you towards wasn't always the right choice. Not necessarily. "The stag said you should accept it. Why don't you, then? Clearly, you are... struggling with something. Some part of yourself. This is why we are trapped here, you fool!" And, as if her words were some sort of spell, the stag poofed into existence right next to them. Of course. So, so close it was, but somehow just outside of their reach!

"Indeed," the voice chuckled. "You are struggling mightily. Why do you refuse to be who you have to be, child? Be yourself. Do what Guinevere would do, and not what reason dictates. Free of any expectations, what does your heart ask of you?" ...Morgan for sure hoped that Guinevere would grasp the answer to that soon. And, you know why? Not only was the abyss encroaching ever closer, the same way a deadly illness claimed the body, but they were also running towards the edge of a cliff!
 

ellarose

wanderer
"So... let me get this straight. You stabbed me and then kissed me to 'heal me'? Even if I believed that was true," Which, duh, Guinevere did not believe that for even a second! That kind of thing only happened in fairytales. Kisses were wonderful, yes, but even a kiss from even the prettiest girl wouldn't fix shit in this fucked world. (Maybe with the exception of a bad night. Kisses were a nice escape in that sense. But they were only just that. A short-lived escape from their shit reality that had to end eventually.) "That's seriously messed up! You still stabbed me. Did you think healing me afterwards would make me forget about that or something? I'm not gonna to fall over myself to do what you say just 'cause you saved me from the danger you put me in in the first place. What, is that how you recruit people into your weird-ass Camelot magic club or something?" Yeah, yeah. She might've been dumb as a rock living out in the wastelands, but even she could sniff out just how manipulative that was. If this whole speech was supposed to endear her to Morgan, it was doing the exact opposite.

Guinevere groaned impatiently as the lady made them stop. Ugh, why!? This nightmare was really becoming such a pain in her--

"Fucking hell! If you want to kiss me so bad, all this nagging's not the ticket darling." Guinevere seethed, snapping her hand into the shape of a mouth that opened and closed like an obnoxious puppet to mock the woman's endless explanations. Then she plants her hands on her hips instead. "Here's a tip. Insults are a fast fucking way to get punched in the mouth out in the wastes. You'd better learn that lesson before you meet someone scummier than me, lady. M'kay?" And no, she wasn't going to punch the woman in the mouth herself to teach her that lesson. Because she wasn't that sort of person. Even if this Morgan wasn't real and just a part of a bizarre as fuck dream.

"Oh, is that right? Maybe I'm struggling with the fact that there's an annoying as fuck lady in my brain tryin' to tell me what to do! Ever considered that?" Guinevere scowled when the woman insinuated that she was struggling with something. Pfft. Struggling. What the fuck was she trying to say!? Then the nightmare proceeded to get even worse when the stag reappeared and started agreeing with the lady, spouting even more complete and utter bullshit as far as she was concerned. Why does she refuse to be who she has to be? Who was the stag-- let alone anyone but her-- to say who she had to be?

"Fuck off! You sound just like king douchebag. Telling me I'm supposed to marry him because of fate or some shit? Well, you know what I think of fate?" Guinevre spat at the ground. Yep. That was her answer, as eloquent as any words that could have ever been spoken. The thing was, she was listening to herself, wasn't she? Guinevere was doing exactly what Guinevere would do, instead of listening to these incessant voices in her head trying to steer her towards whatever conclusion they had come to. The conclusion that said she and Morgan needed to kiss, apparently? (The worst part was that... maybe deep, deep down there was a small part of her that leaned towards that option.) But she had a girlfriend. Maybe this was some kind of magic, testing how loyal of a partner she was? This woman could have been making a catastrophically terrible attempt to seduce her over to her side... with all her secret, hidden goals involving magic swords and death tornadoes. Ugh. But it sounded so stupid. This whole thing was stupid!

"Alright. You wanna to know what my heart's telling me?" Guinevere smirked, her hazel eyes sparkling dangerously. "It's telling me to get away from the nerds tryin' to tell me what to do." Heh. This was just a nightmare, right? So without even an ounce of fear or hesitation, she jumped right into the abyss.
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
"Child? Child, no! You must not!" Wise as the voice supposedly was, however, it seemed that it hadn't grasped one fundamental truth about Guinevere-- namely, that you did not forbid things to her. Not if you didn't want her to do that very thing three seconds later, at least. "Oh, gods," Morgan, who somehow understood that principle instinctively, rolled her eyes. "Why don't you just hand her the self-destruct button? Might be more convenient than what you just did. Certainly more effective, if that is what you were going for."

But, oh, the abyss didn't wait for her to deliver one of her signature smartass comments. It embraced Guinevere, in the same way a mother might embrace her long-lost child, and... well, the reality dissolved. Time itself did, too. Her memories floating around her, mere fragments of something greater-- her and Jen; her and her old man; her and Morgan, strangely enough. Not the Morgan who was looking at her as if she was a disgusting worm that she had discovered in her salad, but one who was eyeing her with infinite fondness, warm enough to awaken a corpse. (It seemed that she wanted to say something, too. Something important. She opened her mouth, opened it and moved her lips, but no, no sound would come out! Panicked, the sorceress's hands went to her own throat... and then she proceeded to crumble to dust, as if that single touch was enough to break her. Oh well. What was that supposed to mean? Some sort of metaphor for Camelot's fragility? Everything seemed to be a damn metaphor with these magic-wielding fucks, as Guinevere herself would probably say.)

So, the thing about chaos? It never lasted forever. The puzzle pieces may have been caught up in a tornado, but the laws of probability dictated that, sooner or later, they would form a picture-- not necessarily something you might like, but definitely something coherent. Perhaps it was just the brain that saw meaning in that which was inherently meaningless? In the tiles randomly thrown, and accidentally creating a pattern? Nonetheless, Guinevere was about to witness that phenomenon. (In all its cruel, cruel glory.)

When she opened her eyes, she found herself surrounded by the grey stone of Camelot. How, though?! Hadn't it fallen apart, back when Arthur had died a coward's death? Well, speaking of that... for a corpse, the king douchebag actually seemed pretty lively. Way too lively, considering he wasn't rotting in the ground. "My lady!" he gave her a bright, obnoxious smile. "I was wondering when you would wake up. I mean, it is improper to sleep for such a long time, but considering the occasion... I decided to let it slide." Let it slide? What occasion?! (That she wasn't tied up this time was a small solace, it seemed. The bed in which she'd awakened was kind of comfortable, actually-- the pillow was filled with actual feathers, the blanket properly heavy. A dignified resting spot for a queen, in other words. Except... except, for some reason, Guinevere still couldn't move?! No matter how much she focused, how much she internally screamed, her muscles wouldn't respond. Even moving her eyelid felt like an impossible task, akin to lifting the whole planet with her finger. Just, what was going on?)

"Ah," Arthur's smile widened, "you're wondering about that. Indeed, I suppose I should explain more about the gift my friend Merlin has given you. After all, how else would you be able to appreciate it?" With casualness that was downright infuriating, he... pinched her goddamn cheek. Okay, that crossed the line so many times it wasn't even funny! If this was a joke, then nobody was fucking laughing. "You see," that annoying, boyish grin of his somehow grew even more, "we have decided that you are far too fragile to bear the burden of choice. Therefore, you've been deprived of it. Forever. Now you get to be the beloved queen, without any kind of responsibility to taint your bliss. Do you realize how lucky you are? I would accept your position in a heartbeat! Alas," he sighed, "some of us actually need to rule. I suppose that your happiness will have to do. Now, what kind of dress would you like to wear? On the morn of our wedding, I suppose you should have a say. I know how important this day is for a woman."

"See, child," the voice said, its sorrow deeper than an ocean, "in the end, this always happens. It seems that the thread of fate is sturdier than I thought it to be. Why did you have to resist so? Haven't you paid enough to break the cycle? And then you just... throw it all away, like one might discard old clothes. Have you changed your mind, perhaps? Did you want this?"
 

ellarose

wanderer
Guinevere couldn't recall a time she'd ever rested in a bed this comfortable. Let alone in an actual bed at all. (Or could she? It felt familiar on a level she wasn't inclined to investigate. Maybe because of all the strange nightmares she'd been having lately, which featured a room very much like this one...) Unfortunately, that was where the luxurious 'comforts' in this scenario ended as a new reality unfolded before her eyes. Arthur. The bastard. Why was he here? She tried to open her mouth to curse him out and only succeed in parting her lips slightly... and in the end, no sound came out. Nothing but a weak little sigh. Shit. She couldn't move, let alone speak. To the point that even blinking was-- 'What's happening to me? Why can't I...?' 'The horror of her situation quickly sunk in when Arthur pinched her cheek and it actually hurt. (Um. Shit! Wasn't that the telltale test of figuring out whether you were dreaming or not? Or was that a myth spread by comic books and old films?) Doing anything at all was an impossibility, but she felt it, just as certainly as she could feel the pounding of her frantic heart. So what? She'd cut his proposal down with a no and now he'd gone and put her in a situation where she couldn't even speak to refuse his advances? Because... what if she was awake, waking from that nightmare to find herself in a reality that had somehow found a way to be even worse? Was her escape from the burning cellar just an elaborate dream? Fuck, fuck, fuck... what if she never actually made it back to camp and this was really--!?

"Nn..." Guinevere tried to say 'no', because that was the shortest way she could think to say 'fuck you' in this situation (even though it was useless, like all of this, because king douchebag himself didn't comprehend the meaning of the word) but she could barely shape her lips to pronounce the 'o'. With all the strength she could summon, all she had to show for it was that meagre sound and the twitch of her fingers. She might have shaken her head minutely, too, but that might have just been in her imagination. The memory of a simple gesture she clearly took for granted when she still possessed the ability to move her own fucking body. She wasn't fucking fragile. She wasn't. But they made her that way to suit their own narrative. They... they really went and turned her into a human doll. Who were these sick fucks? And what was he saying, on the morn of their wedding? "Nn--"

"Shhh, shhh. I know, my love." Arthur waved her off (despite not knowing shit) and proceeded to choose a dress for her. Because despite implying she'd get to decide, the bastard had already incapacitated her to the point where she couldn't even if she wanted to. Which, no? She fucking didn't! If her outrage could have broken her free of this spell by sheer force alone, she'd have done it by now. However, the world wasn't nearly that merciful. No... she felt so much and was left to endure it all as it burned her up from the inside out.

Guinevere hated to admit she was relieved to hear the voice, but on some level she was. Because... that meant this shitshow wasn't real. This was just some nightmare designed to break her. And though every facet of it was infuriating and horrible, horrible, horrible-- nightmares never lasted forever. It was something she'd escape from when she woke up. So there was a light at the end of this depressing tunnel. Even so, the fact that this scene existed in any capacity caused rage to dilute that relief. "Why are you showing me this?" She lashed out, "Of course I don't fucking want this! Make it stop!"

"Child, I know it is difficult. But you must not avert your eyes from the risks. You need to understand if you do not forge a harmonious relationship with--"

"The risks!? What risks? I already refused this bastard's proposal. And in case no one's told you yet, Camelot's already fucking dust."
Guinevere closed her eyes. Or it should have been dust. The line between reality and fantasy was becoming thinner and thinner ever since she woke up in that cellar. Okay. Maybe if she focused on something else, she'd be somewhere else when she opened her eyes again?

"...Refused?"

Guinevere didn't get the chance to solidify the fact that, yes, she had refused Arthur when she opened her eyes and actually found herself somewhere else. Just like she'd hoped, right? But unfortunately, little about her situation had changed. Staring ahead at a large set of cathedral doors, she was wearing a wedding dress and sitting motionlessly in a wheelchair decorated with white flowers. Music played beyond them and her stomach sank. More of this shit!? A fucking wedding to top it all off? But then the vision became weirder when she heard voices behind her. She still struggled to move, to the point that she couldn't turn her head to see who was there.

"Come now, lady Morgan. Your brother expects you to walk his lovely bride down the aisle. There she is, see?" An anxious woman's voice rang out. Lady Morgan? Brother!? What? "Please hurry. We're already late as is and if we make him wait for any longer..." The implication was clear, isn't it? If they made Arthur wait, made an embarrassment of him in front of his guests, his wrath would be great. But it went unspoken that the maid knew better than to imply that the king was anything other that good and kind with her own words.
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
When Morgan opened her eyes, her shock was no smaller than that of Gwen’s. Camelot? But how? How come that it is still standing? (Of course, the most logical interpretation would be that it had all been a dream. Dreams, after all, were the reflections of your innermost self-- of your fears, aspirations, and, yes, even wishes. Perhaps especially those. And, really, wouldn’t it be oh so convenient if Arthur just dropped dead? If his heart stopped beating, and worms ate his rotting corpse? Everything, everything about this screamed wish-fulfillment! …aside from those parts that didn’t. Which, you know, happened to be almost everything else. Why, pray tell, would she have asked for a stranger to steal her kill? To enjoy the taste of crushing defeat? Well, perhaps I’m just being a responsible addict, the sorceress thought sarcastically. At this point, true success would have been such a shock to my organism that it probably would have killed me.)

“Lady Morgan?” The maid that entered her chambers wasn’t a familiar face, which meant they must have hired her recently. Half a woman and half a child, she toyed with the hem of her dress, and looked everywhere but in her eyes. Ah, naturally! Morgan had seen those mannerisms, time and time again-- ‘please, don’t turn me into a frog,’ they said. ‘I’ll do anything.’ (Translation of that, courtesy of Mogan’s experiences: ‘Anything, as long as it doesn’t involve actually respecting you. Just, giving respect to women? Eww.’) “Your brother, the king, has been looking for you. You are to wear your best dress and come to the great hall. His highness recommends the one that you have inherited from your queen mother.” From… their mother? The backless one? What was this, some meeting of a witch-burning congress? Arthur had always insisted on her looking representative, but to make her show off her scars… well, that was certainly new. A daring choice, if he wanted to stress just how happy the royal family was. (What was he planning to say to all those lords and ladies? That his sister had some unusual hobbies, and to please, please not judge her? The potential for comedy was staggering here, to the point that Morgan didn’t even have the energy to feel insulted. Not truly.)

“But of course,” she gave the girl her brightest smile. (Anyone who was even slightly familiar with Morgan would have interpreted it as a warning signal-- as the snarl of a wolf, shortly before it bit. Thankfully, the girl’s cluelessness protected her.) “I shall be more than happy to look my very best for your esteemed company. Will you give me a few moments?”

Morgan was just brushing her long, copper hair to shiny perfection when yet another storm of knock, knock, knock broke against her door. “Are you ready now, lady Morgan? Please, it is urgent.” What’s the commotion for? Does my brother need assistance with tying his royal shoelaces? But, as always, the answer turned out to be… hmm, much more concerning. Also much more disgusting, which was an area in which Arthur always managed to top himself somehow. (Whenever Morgan thought that he had finally found the rock bottom? Her brother grabbed the metaphorical shovel and dug even deeper, right into the earth’s core.) Guinevere, the sorceress thought, a little uselessly. Duh, of course that it was her! Guinevere, stuffed into a wedding dress. Guinevere, with all the agency of a vegetable. Her muscles had turned to stone, it seemed-- she could see the tension, the desperate attempts to move, and yet, yet her body refused to listen. Like a dolled-up statue, the warrior of the wastes just… sat. What had the bastard done to her?! (Now, don’t get her wrong. Morgan still had about a thousand of bones to pick with this woman, and oh, did she intend to pay special attention to every single one of them! But marriage to Arthur? To someone who would treat her like a living incubator for his precious DNA material? Nobody deserved that. Nobody, and especially not Guinevere Leodegrance who had claimed to have a girlfriend. Indeed, maybe the sorceress saw herself in her. Well, not her true self, but the reflection of what might have been-- you know, had she been someone who knew how to relate to other people, and not… Morgan.)

“What is it, sister?” Somehow, Arthur always knew how to pick the most annoying tone of voice in his big, big repertoire of annoying sounds. In a way, Morgan supposed, that was a talent as well. “Admiring the beauty of my bride? I was surprised by that as well. For someone I found in the wastes, she is rather easy to look at.” Found in the wastes. Found in the wastes, as if she was a lost puppy, or maybe a pretty brochure! A tidal wave of anger surged in her chest, and in that instant, the sorceress saw red.

“Not really. I have just been wondering, my dearest Arthur,” Morgan grabbed the handles of her wheelchair, “how a man becomes so desperate. Are you not at all ashamed? I know, I know, it is naïve of me to expect that you know emotion, but I thought that even you would be too embarrassed to collect unwilling women. Optimism is a cruel mistress.” The lords and ladies had been whispering to each other before, fluttering with excitement, but that statement? Oh, it was more than enough to send them into a horrified silence. In fact, Morgan might have thrown a grenade among their midst, and it would have caused lesser devastation.

“What?” Arthur’s eyes widened. “How dare you accuse me of such a crime? Is this what I get for the mercy I’ve shown you? Lady Guinevere is just sick, and to use her state in such a way is an insult both to me and her.”

“Truly?” Morgan lifted the corners of her lips in a small smile. “I suppose that we may ask her, then-- considering that she’s about to make a miraculous recovery. Rise and walk, Guinevere Leodegrance!” No, her words didn’t have such power within them. You know what did, though? The spirits all around them, whom the sorceress prompted to cut Guinevere’s bindings.
 

ellarose

wanderer
Guinevere couldn't avert her eyes even if she wanted to when Morgan's gaze met her own. Though her movement might have been stunted, her emotions certainly weren't. Rage and embarrassment warred for dominance in her chest and built themselves into full fledged mortification. I don't want her to see me like this. The thoughts swirled out of control, like a maelstrom held in an inescapable prison. Make it stop. (Rather easy to look at, he says. Grappling with all of these things that she couldn't say, she wondered if this was what those creepy, haunted dolls in those old movies and horror stories felt, sitting on antique shelves for decades with their thoughts before somebody finally picked it up and brought it back to life. When their anger burned everything in them away to the point that all that remained was the desire for vengeance and bloodshed. Oh. If she could only move again, she'd deliver it for sure. Deliver it with a wrath befitting of a fearsome reaper. And then they'd see who was easy on the eyes.) There was so much she had to say. So much she had to ask. But she couldn't. Was this the fate that Morgan (and her brother, apparently) had in mind for her? Morgan was well-acquainted with her pride. They way she'd held onto her own while walking the line between life and death made that perfectly clear. She was a know-it-all, bossy, a total nag. But despite all their feuding, she despaired that the woman could so callously tear the pride away from... well, from anyone. From her. Without saying it with words, the lady had already acknowledged herself that a fate like this was worse than death. (But she was just a nobody from the wastes, right? Morgan had said it herself. So perhaps she didn't matter the same way. Less than dirt beneath her feet, she wasn't even human in her eyes.) Guinevere dealt with a lot in the wastes, met a lot of scum... but it seemed that the most disgusting monsters lived within Camelot's walls after all.

Ugh. My dearest Arthur, blah, blah, bl-- wait. Did Morgan just call Arthur desperate? Shouldn't he be ashamed, embarrassed to collect unwilling women? If Guinevere could move, she would have turned her head to look at the other woman, who had since moved behind her and out of her line of sight, specifically to see the expression on her face as she said these things. Her words might have sounded silken, like that pretty dress she wore, but they also contained poison. From her perspective, though, they were a cold bucket of water dousing the flames anger she'd built up towards the other woman. So she wasn't aligned with Arthur? Well... at the very least, she wasn't on this particular subject. The relief at this realization untied something unbearably tight in Guinevere's chest, allowing her breath steadily again. (...Good. But why was she in the cellar that night, then? What were her goals for being there?) They could puzzle that out later, though. King douchebag looked like he'd been slapped by Morgan's words, his expression so goddamn hilarious that she would've laughed if she could. Oh how the mighty fall.

Lady Guinevere is just sick. What the fuck was Arthur on about!? If anything, he was the sick fuck in this situation, not her. Guinevere couldn't move, but Morgan sure could. 'Fry his brains, Morgan. I know you can.' She encouraged the lady with her thoughts, some part of her hoping the woman could hear them like the voice of a mischievous little devil on her shoulder. 'Summon another fucking blood tornado!'

Morgan floored her when she instead took the best possible course of action in this scenario, when she went as far as to set her free from those magical chains holding her back.

"A fucking miracle indeed." Guinevere put on her impression of a Camelot voice, which was intentionally snobbier than needed specifically to mock Arthur and his values. Of course, the immersion might have been completely obliterated by her foul language... but who the fuck cared? She could move again! She flexed her fingers in and out, working the feeling back into them before she stood on her own two feet. Briefly, she flicked her gaze at Morgan. Rather than say anything, she offered her a meaningfully solemn nod of respect.

"Lady... Lady Guinevere! Do sit back down, you are still so delicate after your procedure. I shall send for Merlin right away and--"

"I'd say no, but I don't think you understand the meaning of that word." Guinevere growled, advancing towards him. Sure, she didn't have a sword on her and she was stuck in this frilly wedding dress... but she still had her trusty fists. Always came through for her in a fucking pinch. "It's just two letters, dumbass! Not that hard." Then she smirked. "But don't worry. I have a special way of teaching pigs like you what it means."

And with that? Guinevere clocked Arthur square in the face. Satisfyingly, he stumbled into a vase (which shattered and spilled more roses) and landed unceremoniously on the floor. Blood streamed in a river from his nose and he just laid there, too shocked for words.

"Not so fragile and delicate now, huh? Fuck you!" Guinevere lashed out, throwing her fists down as she unleashed everything she'd been forced to keep inside. She raised her voice loud enough that everyone in Camelot could hear it. So if this bastard tried anything like that again, they'd know what a fucking fraud he was. (Strangely enough, a wind began to whip around them and lift the delicate, gold waves of her hair.) "'Too fragile to bear the burden of choice?' You're so full of shit, you sick fucking bastard! Mark my words. I'm never marrying you. Never!"

As if Guinevere's words had triggered some slumbering, ancient thing, the magicked winds picked up speed and Camelot itself began to tremble around them. Again.
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
Well, well, well. Not so confident anymore, are you? Morgan thought, watching all the color drain from her little brother’s face. Arthur, say hello to the consequences of your own actions! Consequences of Arthur’s actions, meet our beloved king. You’ve been missing from his life for a while, but I am sure that he is more than ready to embrace you now. He wasn’t, of course, but from time to time, the stars aligned so beautifully that there was no other choice but to do so. The crown had shielded Arthur from most of those instances, just as it had shielded him from everything else. The beautiful thing about Guinevere Leodegrance, though? That this very much didn’t apply to her. Along with all the other conventions, she had ripped this one to shreds. “Enjoy, my lady,” Morgan curtsied sarcastically. “I am certain that you know what to do.” (The look of acknowledgment the other woman gave her? That, uh, didn’t affect her at all. There wasn’t a twinge of excitement in her stomach, nor did her heart beat like a hammer in her chest. She and Guinevere were enemies! That her eyes twinkled prettily when she was about to kick Arthur’s sorry ass wasn’t an argument to change that.)

“My king,” someone gasped in the background, but, upon realizing that nobody was coming to the rescue, promptly shut up. Typical. (That was the problem with handing out titles based on their ability to flatter you, wasn’t it? My king this, my king that-- truly, had their tongues had been swords, Arthur’s knights would have been nigh unbeatable. True colossi among mere mortals, sowing fear into their enemies’ hearts! Of course, tongues were tongues and swords were swords. Cowards remained cowards, too, and nobody, not a single living soul, actually took any action to help their rightful ruler. How… delightfully ironic. Heh.) “Morgan,” Arthur’s eyes widened. “Morgan, help me. I don’t know what you wanted to prove with that little stunt of yours,” he crawled backwards, trying to evade Guinevere’s wrath, “but you’re right. I won’t… won’t force you to marry Urien anymore. This is what you wanted, isn’t it? Now, be a good sister and help me subdue her. I will overlook this instance of insubordination, because blood… blood is thicker than water, Morgan. You must understand that.” Hmm, did she? Morgan didn’t really think he was in the position to use words such as ‘must,’ but she couldn’t deny that the king knew better than a stupid, sinful sorceress.

“That is true enough,” she nodded, and watched the relief wash all over him. Poor, idiotic Arthur. Why does this feel like kicking a puppy? It was also a puppy that had bitten her multiple times, though, and so Morgan found it hard to feel any actual sympathy. Oh no, not anymore. Certain dogs just had to be put to sleep, you know? And severing the thread of his life had been long, long, long overdue. “I mean, from the structural standpoint, it has to be. Water is just two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, while blood contains many other elements. Hemoglobin, salts, various proteins-- a lot and more, Arthur. I doubt you’d even recognize half the words. Regardless,” she smiled, “I fail to see how that relates to the topic at hand. Namely, to the fact that you’re an unrepentant bastard.”

“What?!” The recognition did spark in his eyes, Morgan could see that plainly, but recognizing something and accepting it could be two very different things. Oh well! That he chose to lie to himself till the very end wasn’t her problem, no matter how you tried to spin it.

“Don’t worry, dearest brother.” The tell-tale fluorescent energy surrounded her hands, making them flicker in and out of existence. The air around her hissed as well, as if to warn anyone stupid enough to get in her way. “It’s not like anyone will actually miss you.” Arthur opened his mouth, no doubt to deliver yet another inane comment, but he never managed it. Restricting the blood flow at the right places was all it took, you see? Limp like a ragdoll, the former king collapsed upon the feet of his throne. And, ah, did the victory taste sweet! ...for the whole, what, three seconds? "Not again," Morgan groaned. "What is this castle even made of, Arthur's fragile ego?" As if the situation wasn't bizarre enough, sweet music began to play, forcing her to... uh, grab Guinevere's hand. (Don't question it. It just made sense.)

The lords and ladies faded into the crowd, their features suddenly non-descript-- a faceless mass, their individuality drained. (More than anything else, they now resembled the background of a picture. It was a detailed background to be sure, but the actual focus? Oh, the actual focus lay somewhere else. On them, for one, but also on the ghostly silhouettes that melted out of the shadows, as numerous as water droplets in the rain.)

"Too soon!" one of them complained. "Too many routes not taken. You haven't even danced together yet, if memory serves well. How are you supposed to connect without the dance lessons?"

"Connect?" Morgan raised her eyebrow, appropriately mortified. (She tried to yank her hand back, too, but... ah, it just wouldn't let go! What was this? A magical link, established when she'd cut her bindings? Every good deed was to be punished, it seemed.) "I don't think I'm in need of being connected to someone, thank you very much. Release us, or I'll find a way to erase you all from existence!" A thunderous laughter filled her ears, and no, that wasn't the reaction she'd been hoping for.

"Forgive me if I don't quake in my boots, Morgan. It is our responsibility to ensure that you understand each other at least a little bit by the time the lesson ends, so make the best of this opportunity. Now dance, dance, dance away!" ...and Camelot, in case you were still interested, kept crumbling. Duh. The perfect stage for a dance, as anyone with a shred of common sense would surely agree!
 
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ellarose

wanderer
Guinevere wasn't totally sure why Morgan was prattling on with her scientific lists about blood and water-- but knowing her as the lady who'd once resorted to stabbing her in the back and summoning a death tornado, she at least understood that she was probably going someplace murder-y with it. If freeing her wasn't enough to tip her off as it was, she could see plain as day that their 'sibling bond' wasn't particularly tight after Arthur opened his mouth and essentially built his own coffin with his words. Forcing her to marry someone? Forgiving her for her insubordination, as if she were some underling and not his own sister? (...Jenny liked to act like a queen, it was true. As kids they'd even played castle, with Guinevere chaotically acting the parts of both the dragon and the loyal knight while her twin sister lazed on a throne she'd created with cardboard boxes and dried out markers. But even she knew that talking like a pompous asshole to this degree would prompt her to kick her ass.) Whatever family dynamic these two had was fucked up just looking from the outside in. There wasn't a shred of humanity in that so-called king, was there? To the point that he'd take control of his sister's future without her say. Gross. Needless to say, the bastard got what was coming to him as Morgan went with her murder-y route as expected and struck him down with her magic.

Was the castle made of Arthur's fragile ego? Pffft! Rather than react to their peril, Guinevere snorted (and how could she not!?) because that was fucking hilarious! Who would've known the prissy lady had a sense of humor buried under that high and mighty exterior of hers? She breathed a husky laugh, not even fully registering that Morgan had grabbed onto her hand, and gradually fell into a spell of full-blown laughter until her stomach hurt. Oof. That was a good one, okay? Those who refused to laugh when life delivered something funny on a silver platter were doing it all wrong! Something told her that not enough people laughed at king douchebag's expense either, so it was about fucking time that she righted the balance of the universe or whatever. The bastard was only human, just like the rest of them. Everyone could see that plain as day as he bled on the floor-- red instead of a royal fucking blue.

Guinevere wasn't sure whether the voice was trying to continue this cycle of jokes by spouting some nonsense about dance lessons, but that was about the time that she caught her breath and collected her expression into something furrowed and serious again. The faceless fancy people in particular changed the atmosphere in a way she couldn't ignore. As in it was fucking creepy!

"Dance lessons?" Guinevere scoffed at the very same time that Morgan said "Connect?" and snapped her eyes down to their intwined hands. Their hands which were apparently glued together by this nightmare world! "I don't dance unless it's on the battlefield, asshole! Why don't you come out here and fight me instead!?" Heh. Apparently for all their differences, both she and the lady were both itching for a brawl instead of a dance. Hell yeah! (Couldn't the voice just decide they were bonding over their shared desire to kick their ass and call it a day? But nah. That'd be too easy. Nothing in this world could be that fucking easy.)

"Ah, Guinevere. You cannot lie to us, child. You love to dance, always have." As it spoke, different fragments of moments captured in time appeared hazily in the grand ballroom that was groaning and forming itself around them. Many contained images of girls who looked a lot like her-- just a bit off-- dancing barefoot in the grass at different stages of her childhood to adulthood, with twigs and flowers in her hair. Sometimes she was joined in a circle by other women, others she was all by herself or surrounded by an audience of animals. Each memory pinched at her heart, harder and harder and then... Oh. Then there were some she recognized as her own, displaying herself dancing around the campfire with her girls. Heat rose to her cheeks at the breach of privacy. "See? It is in your nature, no matter which version of the world you come into. However, you never knew the steps of the dances you were expected to participate in when you arrived in Camelot. Morgan was always your teacher. Always. And so she will teach you now, to right what is wrong."

Always? What the fuck!? Guinevere opened her mouth to protest again, but the scenes vanished and began to create new ones.

"Uh. Well, that depends on your definition of dancing." A new vision appeared. In it, Guinevere saw a near-perfect copy of herself. Well, an impostor version of herself who had blue eyes instead of hazel. Wearing a dress, floundering like a fish out of water. Her double knit her brows and brought her hands to the sides of her head as she panicked. "Oh. Oh, this is going to be so bad."

"Don't worry. It'll be-- fine. If you pay attention now, that is." Another voice spoke, standing across the room from vision Guinevere. Morgan had a counterpart in that universe as well. "The dance isn't all that complicated. You just have to become familiar enough with the steps to not be nervous."

"Um, so..." Guinevere, the real one, scratched her cheek with her unoccupied hand as their counterparts came together and the image froze. The music playing swelled even louder as well. She sighed exasperatedly. There were no exits-- just big, gothic windows and archways. And the disembodied voice had apparently left them to their own devices with no other explanation other than to dance. "No abyss to jump into this time, eh? Damn." Actually, jumping into that abyss had been an abysmally bad idea considering it led her to Arthur's fucking bed. "Ugh. So what, I guess we have to copy them to get the hell out of here?" Like that other one. Except that other one was basically attempting to shove their heads together to get them to kiss after they'd only just met. "I guess... Adri won't care if it's just dancing."
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
Guinevere... Guinevere laughed. Immediately, Morgan's inner scanner went into overdrive-- smoke was practically rising from it as it worked on figuring out what it was about her words, exactly, that had turned her into the target of mockery. (Had she misspoken? Was there some innuendo she hadn't noticed, undermining the gravity of her little speech? Gods! But the sorceress couldn't find it, couldn't, couldn't, couldn't, and-- ah. Ah, she was laughing with her. With her, not at her. The realization hit her like a ton of bricks, and Morgan genuinely didn't know what to do with it. It was, um, nice? Kind of? A pleasant change from having to dodge the metaphorical rotten tomatoes, that was for sure. Of course, not that Morgan actually cared! Unlike Arthur, she wasn't addicted to collecting validation from anyone stupid enough to give it... even if it was said with such full, luscious lips. The same lips that she'd kissed, too. Ah. Look, the sorceress was just making an innocent observation, okay?! No point in pretending that they weren't nice, given the... uh, niceness. Wow, I really am turning into a rhetoric master over here. Careful, or my words alone will lead some poor nation to war.)

"Excuse me?" Morgan raised her eyebrow, thankful for the opportunity not to, you know, think about lips and how nice they could be. (Totally normal topics, by the way. Certainly nothing that would point to any kind of conclusion!) "I don't remember being hired as a teacher. Even if I was, she couldn't afford me. What would she pay me with, pretty stones she picked up in the wastes? I'm sorry, but my rates are much higher than that." Because, as every emotionally healthy adult knew, burying emotions under insults was the surefire way to conquer them! Now, Morgan wasn't actually having any feelings, but being extra combative just in case always paid off in the end. ...well, almost always.

"Hmm," one of the sorceress's doppelgangers smirked, in a terrifying yet somehow dreadfully familiar way, "I don't think that any kind of payment will be necessary. I mean, you're itching to dance with her, aren't you? If you think I can't see the way you're shaking, then you're mistaken. I am you, Morgan. Your quirks are my quirks."

"I'm not shaking!" Morgan protested, shaking quite visibly in the process. "A-and if I am, it's because I'm cold. Yes. Cold! You can't draw conclusions from basic physiological reactions. Or, I suppose, you can, if you want to out yourself as a total fraud."

To Morgan's infinite misfortune, however, it seemed that this wasn't one of those situations during which she could just let her mouth run on autopilot, and hope it would bail her out of trouble. The spirits, whoever they were, demanded a dance. And, you know what happened when spirits demanded something? They got it. One way or another. Ugh! (That they hadn't broadcasted personal moments from her life was a small solace, she supposed. If nothing else, her dignity had survived this intact... if you didn't count the fake Morgan's spiel.) "No abyss," the sorceress deadpanned. "Sure, because you've had such good experiences with those. What, are you hoping to wake up in an active volcano next time? It would have been better than Arthur's bed, I grant you." Deciding not to fight her fate, Morgan put her free hand around Guinevere's waist. "Don't worry," she gave her a cheeky (???) grin. "I won't tell her that your honor has been soiled. This can be our little secret." Again, what? (Morgan... probably just enjoyed the way the other woman kept overreacting, really. Wasn't it hilarious, the way she kept using the word girlfriend as a shield? By the gods, they were stuck in some bizarre nightmare, and Guinevere still cared about that! About some... some stupid Adrienne.)

"I shall lead," Morgan announced. "Normally, that is the man's part, but I think we can both agree that no men are needed here." Or at most places, to be honest. "I will have you know that I love my shoes more than I love my life, so if anything happens to them, I will never forgive you. Understood? Now, stop being so stiff. Relax. Count the steps. Just focus on the rhythm, and it will be fine. Don't you need to be pretty coordinated to wave that sword of yours around?" And, weirdly enough, it turned out that when Morgan focused on explaining something, the sharp edge disappeared from her tone. Instead, she sounded almost gentle-- steel versus silk difference, really. (Her hand on Guinevere's back? Oh, it was gentle, too. Gentle but steady, pushing her into the direction where she needed to be.)

The ghosts swirled around them, locked in a tight embrace, and to Morgan... uh, to Morgan, that didn't seem right. Waltz wasn't supposed to be this intimate! It was to be classy and elegant and easy on the eyes, not the source of public embarrassment. No, they weren't going to do it like that. Sure, Guinevere hadn't murdered her feet yet, but that didn't mean anything! That she was sort of enjoying it was also an entirely automatic response, and one that wouldn't make her disregard the rules. They were--

--at the mercy of the gods, it seemed. Totally and absolutely. It must have had to do something with the fact that Camelot was falling apart, because, the moment they finally found their rhythm? The floor collapsed under their weight, making them land... in the stables. Alright, why not. Guinevere was, uh, much less modestly dressed? Or rather, the dress that she was wearing was torn in half, as if someone had been trying to strip her of it. Oh. Oh, gods. Why did she have to be so... um, what was the word? Shapely? Just, hellooo, Morgan would like to be able to think! (With her brain shutting off, that was kind of difficult.) "Is this your idea of sweeping me off my feet?" the sorceress blurted out, unable to stop her cheeks from coloring red. "I, um, thought you had a girlfriend."

"Continue dancing," the voice recommended. "It's for your own good. You've skipped all the steps, so we're bringing you back to the beginning. This is how you got to know each other!" And, to top it off? Of course that one of the ghosts had to push her closer towards Guinevere, towards her exposed skin, towards--
 

ellarose

wanderer
"Uh, what? Why the fuck would I carry stones around with me?" Guinevere rolled her eyes. (It shouldn't bruise her pride, the way Morgan says that 'she' couldn't possibly afford her... and, uh, it doesn't! Pfft. It wasn't like she wanted her and her stupid dance lessons, anyway. Her? Camelot was dust and their fancy dances don't mean shit in the grand scheme of things.) So she didn't care. She really, really didn't. Regardless of the fact that she couldn't help but kick at the ground bitterly, mocking the woman's haughty tone under her breath. A nobody from the wastes. That's all she was in this woman's eyes, eh? Not like she even cared what the Camelot lady thought of her. "Guess carrying your ass across the wastes to make sure you weren't eaten by beasts wasn't enough for you, huh?" Yeah. 'Cause what was saving her life compared to frilly dresses and sparkly coins, anyway? Hadn't the lady put together the fact that she wasn't, you know, dead? That Guinevere wasn't so incompetent that she'd just let her die out there, like she'd so rudely implied before? Well, whatever! Her priorities were there on the table and even if they were totally batshit she just had to accept that was how those spoiled Camelot people lived.

Guinevere lifted a skeptic eyebrow when Morgan began to argue with herself. Did she even want to examine what her quirks meant, or what it meant that she was shaking? Probably shouldn't. The less she thought about this lady the better.

"It doesn't have to be a secret. It's just a fucking dance." Guinevere solidified, narrowing her eyes at Morgan's suggestions. (And no, her cheeks weren't turning that rosy shade of pink because she was flustered. Nah! She was just hot, the same exact way the lady was cold.) Still. A 'secret' implied she'd have something to hide. And she loved her girlfriend enough not to use this weird dream world as an excuse to get away with two-timing her or some shit like that. Sure that was probably the sort of policy the likes of Arthur lived but, but she obviously wasn't Arthur. Even still, she complied with Morgan's instructions when they were given and followed her lead without comment. It wasn't like she had a choice in the matter.

Morgan went on to say that she loved her shoes more than her own life and Guinevere resisted the temptation to roll her eyes a second time. Well, that explained a lot, didn't it? Unfortunately, she'd be the least of the lady's worries now that she was living out in the wastes instead of in her pretty little castle. If they weren't stolen by a thug, they'd still get dirty without question... and even the most comfortable shoes left blisters after you walked in them for long enough.

"Shoes are unnecessary. The ground here is smooth and flat. In shoes I am clumsy and inelegant. They hurt my feet more than the earth ever could... crushing my toes and blistering my ankles." Apparently another version of Guinevere thought to comment on the subject of shoes before the present Guinevere could supply her own thoughts. And let it be known that she did not think shoes a whole were unnecessary! It was important to find a good pair to protect her feet and keep them warm out in the wastelands.

"Most impressive, queen Guinevere. Yes, I can see why you'd have no need of shoes-- no rocks or twigs could possibly hurt your feet." One of Morgan's continued. Pffft. What, did the past Guinevere have feet made of steel or something?

Guinevere sighed, paying attention to her steps instead of the ghosts swirling all around them. None of this made any fucking sense. The sooner they got this over with and escaped this weird dream, the be--

Instead of rewarding them for dancing by waking them up, the ground fell and pushed them into a brand new setting altogether. The wedding dress Guinevere had been forced into was gone and replaced with... what was this? Another dress? Except she definitely wasn't wearing it right. It was twisted all weird at her hips and the old fashioned, lacy underclothes she had on were plainly visible. And listen, she'd changed and bathed in front of countless other women before, so there was nothing strange about this! Except somehow there was. She wasn't even naked and this felt scandalous. Particularly because the implications made it seem like they had run off to the stables to, uh, get it on.

"A-after everything that just happened, you really think I did this!? Like hell I--" Guinevere might have said more, if Morgan hadn't stumbled into her. Their bodies smashed together. Their faces smashed together. Their lips, too and...

Guinevere's thoughts fizzled out entirely. Either her head was going blank or the entire world was. (Maybe it was both, considering this was a dream inside her own head and everything.) Morgan's lips were soft and heart-wrenchingly familiar. It was warmth, safety, passion and just as a tornado of butterflies woke up in her stomach, she opened her eyes to find herself not in the stables, but in a bed. Again. It seemed like it was the same bed as before... and yet everything was blue now. The duvet, the curtains, everything. As an added bonus, she could move this time. And she was in bed next to Morgan.

"Now talk."
The voice demanded. "It is necessary that you talk." Yeah, well. For all their talk of 'skipping steps', it certainly seemed like they were skipping a shitton of them!

"...Why is this happening!?" Guinevere hissed, pushing away automatically. (What came over her just then? What was wrong with her!? After everything she'd said about respecting Adrianne, too, and only seconds later she fucking-- ugh. It'd be so easy to accuse the lady of being some kind of seductress, with the visceral affect the touch of her lips had on her. But there was no erasing the fact that she played her own role by allowing herself lean into it for a second there. There was no excuse.) "These are some weird, magical mind games. Aren't they? Are-- are you lot in Camelot so goddamned bored that you play with random women from the wastes for fun?"
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
Alright. Alright, alright, alright. Let's recapitulate this using logic, shall we? And since Morgan le Fey tended to excel at logic, this shouldn't be all too difficult. Point number one: All of this was a weird, magic-induced dream. Magic induced coma, if that Emily woman was to be believed. While there most likely was some sort of message buried under the layers and layers of nonsense, the core of it was hidden under all that symbolism. Point number two: In this dreamlike state, they had little control over their own actions. While Morgan didn't know Guinevere all that well, she didn't seem the type to dress herself scandalously, and she had given little indication that she would like to woo her so far. Obviously, the voice must have picked her attire for her! So, extraordinary as it was, it also meant nothing. Point number three: Guinevere was still Guinevere. You know, the nightmare from the wastes? The one who had stolen Arthur's life from her-- snatched it away, just like the shameless scavenger she was. Certainly, a kiss from someone as vile as her wasn't to be enjoyed! (And, in truth, Morgan hated it. Hated it more than anything in her life so far, which happened to be just a long, long string of things to be hated. That it caused her to tremble? Instant hatred. How she leaned in automatically, and parted her lips? Disgusting. The moan that escaped from them, betraying to the world that she wanted more, more and more? Absurd. Logic-defying. Humiliating. The way it made her feel, like a balloon full of helium that was about to burst, made her want to cry, and scream, and everything in between, and-- uh. When had she crawled in Guinevere's bed? Had they... done anything? After all, it wasn't hard to fill in the blanks. Not with this context. In all the novels she'd ever read, starting with a kiss and ending up with a bed meant... gods, gods, gods!)

Self-consciously, Morgan dragged the blanket closer to her body. (She was dressed. Dressed. That, as the analytical part of her mind supplied, didn't mean naked. So, maybe this wasn't so bad? Except that, from what she had managed to glimpse so far, she was wearing a sleeping robe, which, uh. That didn't exactly rule out any suspicious activities, as the sorceress was very well aware. In fact, allowing Guinevere to see her in such a casual attire was almost worse than being naked! More intimate, somehow. Trusting, in this 'I don't mind you seeing me let my guard down,' manner.)

"I don't know!" Morgan finally snapped. If there were any words in this world that she hated, it had to be those three, in that exact order, but there was no way around it. She, the wise Morgan le Fey, did not know. Didn't, didn't, didn't! (Somehow, admitting to that was liberating, too. Kind of like discovering that the necklace you had been wearing throughout all of your life was too tight, and that ripping it off made it that much more easier to breathe.) "Indeed, I kidnapped you and concocted this entire scenario just to amuse myself. I love being forced to kiss people that I would rather see strangled. What, are you not having fun?" The insult shot past her lips almost instinctively, and, strangely enough... well, the sorceress did regret it. Sort of. It wasn't that she actually cared about this strange woman's feelings, but maybe, maybe she also felt that she'd gone a little too far. Strangled? If her memory served right, the sorceress had actually stabbed her, and Guinevere's only response had been to rescue her. To risk her life for her and haul her into her camp. Her, a total stranger-- a total violent stranger, with dark magic at her fingertips. What did it say about her, that she still went for the nuclear option? Nothing good, Morgan imagined. Perhaps the phrase 'Arthur's sister' carried a greater meaning within it than she'd ever cared to admit. The sorceress was still within her rights to dislike her, but to indirectly threaten her with death...?

"No, that was wrong of me," she said, looking anywhere but at Guinevere herself. "Strangling may have been too much. Freezing to death would be a much more pleasant alternative. Did you know that it feels just like falling asleep? So, it's a good option for those who... um, enjoy sleep. I guess." Ehm, ehm. What?! Was that supposed to be an apology, or another not-so-thinly veiled insult? It seemed that Morgan's brain couldn't decide and somehow went for both. A bold choice, to be sure. "Anyway," the sorceress put her hand in her hair, "the voice is telling us to talk. I don't know why it seems so fixated on us, but I would wager that there is some... strange energy attached to us. Something that needs resolving." Talking she could do, alright. All her life, Morgan had talked with the Camelot vipers, and it never once meant that they had become friends. So, when it came to this? The sorceress figured she was reasonably safe. A conversation, a conversation... And, really, perhaps they could have had a nice discussion! 'Could have' was the important part here, though. Because, when her mind dredged up the memory of Arthur, burning away in that fire? Once again, white-hot anger exploded in her chest.

"Tell me, do you habitually stick your nose where it doesn't belong, or do you do it just to spite me specifically?" Morgan tilted her head aside. "Also, is your girlfriend made up? Because I cannot imagine anyone wanting to kiss you willingly."

The mirror on the wall flickered in what was most likely disapproval, and cracked. From its depths, an obsidian portal emerged-- a writhing mass of dark tentacles, hissing and sparking from time to time. Whoops. That, um, probably meant the voice didn't like her topic? "I said talk," the spirit complained. "Spewing poison doesn't count."
 

ellarose

wanderer
"Pleasant? Oh, right. Guess you've never had to spend a long fucking winter out in the wastelands." Guinevere seethed, the furthest thing from freezing in that moment. It was also worth noting that it wasn't possible to freeze in a room like this. Dressed in a soft robe, lying between the soft mattress and blankets, tucked safely away in a room illuminated by the soft, orange glow of a crackling fireplace. It was soft in all the places the wastelands were razor sharp. Warm where they were bitterly cold. (What was that, anyway? A softened threat to boot? Implying that freezing to death would be a 'peaceful alternative' to strangulation didn't make the implications any better! Didn't make it any less of a death threat.They hardly knew each other and yet this woman, who was no doubt born with a silver spoon in her mouth, claimed to hate her enough to want her dead. Why?) "Let me guess. You've only ever read about it in some book." She bunched the blanket in her fists and glared at them. Normally she wasn't one to make hasty assumptions... but when it came to this woman, who was apparently the king of Camelot's sister? That told her enough. "Bet you never had to bury a friend who couldn't last the winter, either. I don't know if you're mocking me or whatever... but don't try to tell me that it's pleasant." Don't get her wrong, she had different gripes with every season in the wastes. But winter was by far the worst of them. Someone who lived with all the luxuries in this room just couldn't grasp that. Did this woman blame her for the collapse of Camelot or something? Because something went wrong with whatever fucked up experiment they'd roped her into? Was that the reason why she wanted her dead? To lose such a cozy room... she guessed she could empathize with that on some level. This was the kind of room plenty of folks would kill for.

Naturally, Morgan continued to speak and her words did nothing but fan the flames under Guinevere's skin. It was all so ridiculous she didn't know where to fucking start.

"I was minding my own fucking business in my own fucking camp when that fucking dipshit Arthur appeared and got me tangled up in this magical... Camelot boogaloo! Not to mention that we're in my head! Seems to me like your nose is in my business." Guinevere accused, sitting up and immediately crossing her arms over her chest when her robe slipped and revealed, uh... No! That wasn't important! She had some points to make, damn it! "And why would I lie about that? Of course she's-- no. You know what? I don't need to defend myself! She's real and you can meet her yourself if we ever make it out of this place."

Then of course the mysterious voice (the conductor of her nightmare, apparently) had to chime in, too. 'I said talk.' Guinevere mocked it with a nasally voice in her head. In her head inside her head? Ugh. As always, that train of thought only led her down a disastrous, headache-inducing track. Couldn't this just end already? They already danced. They even kissed and apparently that wasn't strong enough to break this spell. Maybe if Adrianne, her very real girlfriend (who also loved kissing her, by the way!) was present, then...

"I don't know what you were expecting. She already threatened to kill me in three different ways!" Guinevere argued with the voice. With the tentacle... thing. Um. Maybe if she just ignored it it would go away? That was better than examining her fear surrounding that unknown entity in the room. (Because what the fuck!?) Anyway, that wasn't even including the 'poison' in her words and the other instances before they'd met again in this weird dream. "Friendship... relationships... whatever you're expecting to happen here, it can't be forced. That's just gonna make us resent it more." That sounded wise, right? Like the kind of message they might've put in one of those ancient fortune cookies. It was sort of inspired by recent events, though. Because if she and this lady had anything in common, it was that they at least agreed that women shouldn't be handled like helpless little dolls.

"You must talk. It is imperative." The voice insisted, the tentacles... hissing? Were tentacles supposed to hiss? Wasn't that snakes?

"Fuck." Guinevere sighed and turned to Morgan, then, crawling across the bed so that she was covering her from the mirror's view. She leaned close, kept her voice low as not to let it hear. If it was all-knowing and all-hearing, though? Then her efforts were fucking pointless. But all this talk of death was beginning to give her something of an idea. "Looks like this asshole's gonna hold us hostage till we play nice. Unless..."

"You obviously want me dead. So why don't you own it and kill me now?" Guinevere lifted her chin, staring Morgan right in the eye. "This is a dream, right? If I die, then maybe we'll wake up." She was working with the pieces she had to work with, all right? There was a way out of this. They just had to get creative. And considering the voice encouraged kisses and lying in bed and shit... "Just wrap your hands around my neck... make it look nice and intimate. They won't even realize what happened 'till it's too late."
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
'Bet you never had to bury a friend who couldn't last the winter, either.' And, no, she hadn't. Want to know the perfect life hack for never, ever having to do that? Not having any friends. Still, Morgan didn't think that that was the verbal punch she needed it to be, and so she shoved the thought deep, deep beneath the metaphorical rug. "Yes, that's exactly it. All my life, my biggest worry was whether to pick a pink or blue dress in the morning. That, and wondering whether too many sweets won't give me a stomach ache. Tell me, Guinevere, why do you bother asking me questions at all? Because, obviously, you have always known best. The spirits have blessed you with the gift of clairvoyance." Which, no, it didn't bother her! If it pleased her, Guinevere could think that she had spent her entire existence twiddling her thumbs-- her opinions did not equal to reality, regardless of how loudly she shouted them into the world. (Camelot had been its own hell, too. Food wasn't the only form of sustenance, you see? And Morgan, too, had been starved. Starved for something real, for a connection, for... honestly, the sorceress didn't know. For a thing that she was and wasn't familiar with, always eluding her grasp.)

"Of course she's real," Morgan smirked. "That nobody has ever seen you and her in the same room at the same time is a coincidence, I'm sure. I hope you've at least invested in a good wig? You see, it would be rather obvious if it looked too cheap." And, in case you cared about her motivations for taking it this far, they... didn't actually exist. Right. The sorceress was just bored, and taking a swing at Guinevere's stupid, made-up girlfriend seemed like the easiest way to get under her skin. What, jealous? Pfft, her? Morgan le Fey? There was no reason for her to get all bothered because a savage from the wastes had found someone as desperate as herself, and entered what had to be the most desperate relationship of all time. (Look, Morgan had read about love. A lot, even! She could see when people weren't compatible, and, um, those two definitely weren't. For reasons. Very, very justified reasons! It wasn't her fault that you were far too uneducated to comprehend them-- you see, those explanations revolved around, uh, advanced quantum physics and astrology. Yes. Not suspicious at all. Carry on, ladies and gentlemen!)

"I cannot believe that I am about to say this, but I agree. You cannot force two people to get along. In fact, you've given me several reasons to stay away." One of them being the fact that Guinevere's lips felt heartbreakingly good against hers, and Morgan valued her dignity far too much to fall for that trap. Still, she didn't have to admit to that! Especially given how pleased she had looked while spinning that ridiculous story about a dashing gangster from the wastes. Gods, the whole affair was so stupid that--

The sorceress blinked. She did so once, twice, and then she shook her head, as if to readjust her understanding of reality. "Choke you?" she whispered. "I... suppose that might work. That ought to sever the thread." The suggestion sounded reasonable, and so the only surprising thing about it should have been the fact Guinevere had come up with it first. Should have, but it wasn't. You know what else shocked her, though? The tidal wave of revulsion that rose in her chest, threatening to drown her in bile. No. No. You can't do that to her! Not to her. Not to Gwen. Which, what? Where had that nickname come from?! (The woman meant nothing from her. Nothing. The mice who had lived in Camelot had had more in common with her, and had been better behaved, too. Had she forgotten already how Guinevere had crushed her dreams? How she had claimed Arthur's last breath? This was the perfect revenge. Time to feast. Justice, delivered cold. ...why, then, did it feel so wrong? As if she herself was choking?) Morgan gulped, and wrapped her fingers around her pale throat. "I..." I, what? The sorceress didn't know, but she did recognize that, ridiculously enough, tears were sparkling in her eyes. Ugh! "I didn't want it. Not like this." It took all of her willpower to increase the pressure, though in the end, she did. Guinevere's lips turned blue, the same lips that she'd kissed so fervently, in this life and all those that had come before it, and--

(A vision. A knight seated behind a round table, all alone, holding a sword in one hand and a fisherman's net in the other. "Come. Come visit me, at the bottom of the lake where I dwell. The fake queen and her harlot, aren't you? I invite you to challenge me, where the blood moon meets the horizon.")

And, when the vision dispersed? Morgan opened her eyes, oh so slowly. Still, still she could feel the wetness on her cheeks, but also the strong arms that were holding her. (Strong arms that felt like home, too.) "Gwen," she practically sniffled. "Gwen, I'm so sorry."

A nice, intimate scene, wasn't it? Except that, naturally, they weren't alone. "Hey, hey, hey, what the fuck?"
 
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ellarose

wanderer
Guinevere swallowed when Morgan put her hands around her throat and immediately regretted it. She'd gone and asked for this, hadn't she? With a smirk, no less. So she didn't have the right to show fear now. This was her choice. But then she'd swallowed, like an idiot, knowing the other woman could feel it when she held her like that. She couldn't speak, but even if she could have spoken she wouldn't have known what to say. Didn't want it like this? And was she... crying? Yes, those were tears spilling down her face. It should have only bothered her because this Morgan le Fey was a total stranger. (And a stranger who struck her as the sort to be, you know, adverse to crying and all of that!) There was no need for someone who had once stabbed her and claimed unflinchingly to want her dead-- multiple times now-- to outright cry over strangling her now. But instead it bothered her for another reason. Dramatic as it sounded, a sharpened arrow of agony pierced through her own heart through to see such a sorrowful expression on the other woman's face. (It was a shadow, a little flicker of other heartbroken, green-eyed faces she recognized from the past. There was a starless night, the two of them surreptitious in their cloaks and standing beneath the shadows of a stony archway. She'd pressed a vial into her hand and sent her off with a kiss to seek the Lady of the Lake... the last time she had seen her in that lifetime. And when she spoke--) 'Don't cry, my love.' The words surfaced in Guinevere's fading mind-- and it was probably a blessing in disguise that the breath was slowly being crushed from her windpipe, because she was sure her birdbrained self, struck dumb by unknown magics, might have spoken them otherwise. (She knew this, because she wanted to. To gently brush the tears from her soft cheeks, to tell her that she'd asked this of her and that everything would be all right. To treat her like a lover might, because she loved, loved, loved--) Arthur was dead, unlocking the doors of their respective cages, roles and constructs. They were free to fly like birds, to do so together, and for once their ending didn't have to be so... so very tragic. (Or was it fate's cruel design to take this from them, too? Without the boundaries of their narrative, what were they? So after everything... were they destined to unravel this way? No, no, no--)

Loved--? Guinevere's lips turned blue and she was mercilessly torn apart from those incoherent thoughts and plunged into darkness.

Guinevere wasn't sure if she was still Guinevere by the time she saw the vision with the knight and the round table. But she sure was someone and that someone was at least capable of hearing-- especially when the world challenge was spoken, lighting a spark in her. Lake, challenge, blood moon. It sounded like a scene from a fairytale... but what hadn't lately? She had a magic sword living in her chest. Was it possible that she could duel this chump for answers about the sword? About his false king's sinister plans for her? However, she was not meant to be an active participant in this vision. Because then she woke up.

Guinevere awoke gasping and coughing, immediately bringing the heels of her palms to her eyes to staunch the flow of any tears. The unyielding nightmares she'd been having lately forged this habit in her, it was a new survival instinct. Don't dehydrate yourself, dumbass. However, after the fact, it was hard to say whether those were her own tears or if they were Morgan's tears, having fallen on her face from their close proximity. Before she could even process what was happening, though, they were swiftly yanked apart. "Wait. Mor..." She mumbled incoherently, reaching out... and when she did, she grabbed onto the closest person she could for support and looked up to see Adrianne's face.

Adrianne. As in her very real, in the flesh girlfriend. That struck Guinevere free of her dream-laden haze like an electric shock.

"Gwen. Look at me. Are you okay?" Adrianne's brows furrowed over her warm brown eyes. Before Guinevere could manage to form a proper answer for her, the woman shot an accusing glare at Emily. "How the fuck did this happen? Did you just let princess over there stroll over here and cuddle her in her sleep?"

"Morgan only went over there to check on her. Or at least I think so?" Emily said, uncertain and slightly panicked. "I-- I'm sorry! But this is magic like I've never seen before. I was concerned I might get drawn in there along with them if I tried to touch them. The energy flow around them was... well, I got the sense that I shouldn't interfere."

"That doesn't make any fucking sense!" Adrianne puffed out in that way that always reminded Guinevere of a baby dragon. Unless they were alone, her concern always had a way of manifesting itself in frustration. Frustration was bolder, less vulnerable than fear. Than softness. "Fuck. Come on, Gwen. We ought to go back to our tent. You can tell me what happened and I'll make sure nobody..."

"Nah. Must be my turn to take patrol by now, right?" Guinevere argued, sticking out her chin. Going back to another tent after that would make her restless as hell. "I'm fine. I've rested long enough." And she desperately needed a chance to clear her fucking head.

"Gwen." Adrianne and Emily both groaned in unison at that one. What? What!?

"Last time you 'took patrol', you disappeared and scared us all shitless." Adrianne stressed. "You haven't even told us what happened yet. You're not taking patrol unless I go with you."

"Sure." Guinevere agreed cooly. Geez. Better to agree than waste their time arguing. She sighed and glanced between Emily and Adrianne. "Leave us alone for a minute. You can wait for me by our post, Adrianne."

"...Okay, sure. Shout out if you need anything." Emily nodded and ducked out graciously. Adrianne stuck around to glare at them for a moment longer before sighing, nodding, and begrudgingly doing the same.

"I..." Guinevere wasn't sure where she was going with this, actually. She looked at Morgan and dared herself not to flinch away after... whatever the hell they just experienced. "I'm going on patrol. You've prolly gathered that we're in my camp by now. I brought you here 'cause I wasn't gonna let you die out there. Not like that." Exhaling with so much force that her entire body deflated, she glanced down at her hands. Not like this, Morgan had said. Some strange trance must have come over her as well, right? All of that... it was a fluke. A spell that weird voice put on them, maybe, to confuse their emotions and make them 'bond'. "I get how you feel about me, okay? But there are lots of good women in this camp. And kids. Let me reaffirm that we're not holding you prisoner here... so there's no need to summon another death tornado." That was when she gathered the courage to look her in the eye again. "If you've decided to stay by the time I return from my post, I'll take that as your answer. Okay? Then we can discuss that vision and whatever the hell we're supposed to do next."
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
Better than anyone else, Morgan le Fey knew that the ways of magic were unpredictable. Don’t get her wrong, the patterns were there-- except, you see, they were the patterns of clouds, of the grass swaying in the wind, and of the birds migrating southward. Too big for the mind to comprehend, in other words. At least in their full context. You could dedicate yourself to understanding them, yes, but that was a lesson in humility. Because, the second you were convinced that there was nothing more for you to learn? The gods slapped you across the face with a development so staggering that you found yourself reeling for weeks. The newest instance of that, Morgan supposed, was… uh, waking up in Guinevere’s arms. Waking up there and feeling warm and safe and protected, and all those things she had never really known. (What was she supposed to say, even? All the words deserted her as she lay in a stranger’s embrace, and knew to be home for the first time in her life. Gulp. Damn.) “Guinevere,” the sorceress whispered, not at all sure how she was going to finish that sentence. “Guinevere, I…”

Then someone else spoke, though, and the spell was shattered to a million pieces. Oh, thank the gods! Morgan must have been… um, tired. Confused, too. Exhaustion caused you to fall into this trance-like state all the time, and everyone who claimed otherwise was just woefully uneducated on the matters of the mind. Feeling safe? Pfft! (More than likely, this was just a foolish wish of hers, manifesting itself into reality. Trying to rewrite it, really. ‘This woman hasn’t been trying to kill you for about five seconds,’ it said. ‘Considering your past experiences, this must mean that she is a friend.’ Ah, if only the world followed that logic! …it didn’t, though. As far as she could tell, the logic it followed could be summarized as ‘destroy Morgan le Fey at all costs.’) Hurriedly, with her cheeks still burning, the sorceress rose from their bed. A princess? No, Morgan may not have understood the dynamics of Guinevere’s merry pack of bandits, but she could, in fact, tell when someone disliked her. That was the default mode in all of her interactions. What was more, the woman wasn’t even attempting to hide it behind the veneer of civility. Well, well, well. That could only mean that she didn’t have to do that, either! And since the best defense was offence... good luck, nameless yokel from the wastes.

“To you, mademoiselle,” she gave the offender a cold, hard stare, “I am the queen. That's what happens when your brother is the king, and you his sole heiress. Therefore, you may call me Your Highness. I hope that you don’t mind? I am just allergic to having my name soiled by someone whose pronunciation is this terrible.” Morgan inspected her nails, seemingly above even looking the woman in her eyes. She did so for a few long, long seconds-- you know, to emphasize just how much she disrespected her time. (Was this level of vitriol warranted? No, most likely, but something about this bandit just irked her. Call it a sorceress’s intuition, if you would! And, no, it had nothing at all to do with just how possessive she acted around Guinevere, or the way it made her want to scream. There was a monster in her belly, gnawing at her entrails, and… and that was a totally normal reaction to your enemy having a significant other, Morgan was sure. Nothing to see here. Aaargh!) “But if you can help it, I’d prefer not to be addressed by you at all. I connect much better with those who do not view the art of conversation as something to be handled with a bludgeon.”

Shots were fired, quick words exchanged, and, before Morgan was even remotely ready, she found herself alone with Guinevere. (…how rude. Not the woman’s demeanor, but the fact that her words were actually reasonable. Had she addressed her with the same attitude as the wench from earlier, it would have been easy to paint her as a villain-- a one-dimensional shadowy figure, rubbing her hands whenever she wasn’t looking. A schemer, pulling the strings from the darkness. Right now, though? Right now, Guinevere seemed like someone way in over her head, treading the water before it inevitably swallowed her.) “No death tornadoes in the near future,” the sorceress promised, her lips curling up in what seemed to be the smallest of smiles. “Look, I…” What? ‘I’m thankful for what you did?’ On some level, it was true, but admitting so was like wrapping a noose around her own neck. What was it that happened to those that showed weakness, hmm? A hint: no, they did not receive a shiny trophy! …not unless you considered a knife to be shiny enough, the sorceress supposed. “Forget it,” she sighed. “I will say that I am interested in those visions, and what they might mean. But I don’t know if I am ready to--”

Craaaash!

The sound was loud enough to rival a cannon ball, and Morgan practically jumped. “What was that?”

That mystery, if nothing else, was solved easily enough. Both women rushed outside of the tent, their previous conversation forgotten, and… ah. Ah, there it was.

Heading towards the camp was a metallic monstrosity, made of broken bones and barbed wire. A chimaera-- multiple animals disemboweled and put back together, by someone who did not understand how either of them worked. Electricity was sparkling all over its battered body, with each movement of those grotesque, stunted limbs, and inevitably, Morgan’s eyes were drawn to the creature’s soft center. Is that a woman? A woman dressed in white, seemingly growing out of the monster. Sticking like a sore thumb, too. She’s the sun, and around her, everything revolves. Like a galaxy of its own.

“Shit,” someone, who she later found out was called Erica, cursed. “Shit, that’s Betty!”

“That Betty of yours,” Morgan said, the concern in her eyes morphing into steel, “is dead. And if my hypothesis is right, that thing is feeding on her. Guinevere! Can you draw its attention?”
 

ellarose

wanderer
Guinevere set her jaw and steeled herself, automatically surveying the monster and the damage done to camp. That crashing they'd heard was once a tent. But seeing as Erica and Betty were outside, there shouldn't have been anyone present inside of it to get crushed. That didn't mean that everyone was unscathed, though. Betty. Shit. The grotesque sight was a flash of red, a firm yanking at her heartstrings... but she severed those threads as soon as the incessant pulling became extreme. No. Now wasn't the time. Friends lost would be mourned and respectfully mourned later. And from what she could see, that was no longer Betty. Not their friend. Not anymore. Just the shell she left behind, an empty corpse without a soul. Losing oneself to grief often begot more loss. Grief was a distraction and many had paid for taking the time to grieve on sight with their lives. She'd seen it time and time again. Mothers who lost their children, children who lost their mothers, lovers who lost lovers. Some willfully threw their lives away, seeing the people closest from them torn from their arms after they'd fought like hell to get by. As the leader, she had to set the precedent when reality came for them snarling, with its teeth bared. Prioritize the fight, the safety of everyone present. Set an example for the kids, teach them that this was how they survived. The universe was indifferent to their tears... but receptive to their sharpened weapons.

It occurred to Guinevere for the briefest of moments how viscerally off-putting it was. For a woman from Camelot of all places to react so calmly when confronted with an unexpected beast from the wastes. Just who in the world was she? Someone who lived such a sheltered life naturally should have had some kind of reaction to the destruction the people outside the castle walls dealt with on a day to day basis, right? But this woman just... she stared at it like a cockroach she was preparing to smack with a shoe, or maybe like that smudge of earwax on her favorite dress. Was it sheer arrogance? It might've been, because she spoke about the beast as if beast hunting was a casual thing she did on the weekends. That and she started making demands. It grated on Guinevere for reasons that she didn't have time to investigate fully. Because that monster had picked a fight with her camp. It had taken one of her own. There was a routine to these battles that Morgan le Fey wasn't privy to, carved into her with every scar on her skin, every dent and nick on her blade. They couldn't just charge the monster like reckless cannon balls. From the perspective of someone who had to look out for everyone, the picture was much larger than thrashing one horrible beast.

"Stand down your highness." Guinevere suggested cooly, catching her sword when Adrianne helpfully tossed it over to her. Her gang knew how to handle emergencies, and that could be seen plainly throughout the camp without her having to give a single order. Emily rounded up the kids and discreetly took them out of the monster's range of sight. The others, who kept their weapons within reach at all times, were armed and ready. The only who weren't was Erica, whose screams grew more anguished. 'No! We need to get her out of there. There's still a chance she might be--' Guinevere tuned it out on instinct to hold onto her sanity, the sound like a blade screeching over stone. Fi held Erica back to prevent her from charging the monster directly. The two thrashed and her screams continued, agonizing, agonizing, agonizing-- attracting the monster and causing it to writhe towards them. Towards camp. Fuck.

"Get it the fuck together, Erica!" Guinevere's voice rose above all the commotion like thunder, commanding everyone's attention at once. Those who might've been slouching before were certainly standing upright now, as if afraid to get caught slacking. There was time to mourn later. Time for gentleness later. Right now they had to fucking focus before their camp was torn through. "Steer it east! Away from camp. Then secure the bastard's legs. Move!" The women didn't need to be told twice. They boldly attracted the monster's attention, shouting insults and lobbing stones at it to get it to turn and clamber away from their tents. Their resources, which might as well have been human lives themselves for how crucial they were for survival.

"Guess those rumors in town were real after all. Fuck. That stomach's obviously the weak point. But Betty--" Adrianne shook her head, unsheathing her own sword. "How are we gonna take it out, Gwen? If there's even a chance that she's still alive in there..."

"We'll get closer. Watch the patterns." Guinevere mused, her brow knitting with focus. The beast hissed, the metallic limbs clicking and cracking as the barbs around the legs grew longer. The other women were undeterred and fought like hell to secure each of the mangled limbs to the ground. "I'm thinkin' we should try and cut her free once it's secure." She ran her fingers back through her hair and tied it back into a ponytail to keep it out of her face. She strode across camp to pull on a spare pair of gloves. "Careful not to touch it with your bare hands. We still don't know how she got absorbed in there."

"Worst comes to worst, we might have to..." Adrianne sighed. She didn't have to say it. Betty was woven in at the heart of the monster's weak point.

"We'll do what we have to do." Guinevere mentally prepared herself the second she laid eyes on the thing. Always expect the worst in these situations. The women had pinned three of the several legs into the ground now. "You go on ahead. I'll be right behind you." Adrianne pressed a kiss to her forehead, angled a glare at Morgan, and then ran to join the fight.

"You said it's feeding on her." Guinevere rerouted their conversation. What? She hadn't brushed off Morgan's suggestion earlier purely out of animosity and pride. And as important as it was for a leader to hold onto her pride, sometimes there were a great many things in the world that were more important than that. Namely the lives of her girls... and one of their lives was already stolen. They just couldn't dive right into the fight and sacrifice everything they had in the process. If there was something Morgan knew about this new brand of beast that she didn't, though, she needed to fucking listen. "Explain and explain fast."
 

Syntra

Baba Yaga
Ehm. So, had Morgan's spirit somehow left her body? Had she been talking in her ghostly form, and thus bypassing Guinevere's ears entirely? Because she could swear that she had worthwhile information to share, and that was the only reason why the woman would ignore her like that. (Well... aside from her just being stupid. That, and also the world following all the general trends. It was a persistent pattern, wasn't it? Morgan le Fey spoke, but her words were drowned by the wind, drowned by the sea. Drowned by all those who should have listened, just because they didn't like what she had to say. Burn the witch, right? This was the metaphorical version of that, wrapped in false kindness-- burying ideas in a coffin, instead of her cold body. Oh well. It wasn't like she was hurt, or anything silly like that. For all the sorceress cared, Guinevere might go fling herself off a cliff! ...what was it like, to have friends this faithful? To have any friends at all? Morgan knew it no more than she knew what flying was like, or breathing underwater. Camelot, the nest of vipers that it had been, had taught her to watch her step. To watch her step, and to never, ever allow any of them anywhere near her skin. Not exactly conducive for forging bonds, eh? Very conducive for survival, though.)

No! she shook her head. If you want to throw yourself a pity party, you can do so later. You know, with the smallest violin in the world and everything. Boo hoo, some savages don't like you. So what? If Guinevere refused to see her worth, Morgan didn't have to crawl to her, nor did she have to compete for her attention. Why would she do that? To convince her of... what, exactly? The sorceress had nothing to prove. Nothing! And, just like all the people who had nothing to prove, she decided to take the monster down single-handedly, just to make a point. You know, an extremely rational decision. (The corpse was the weak point, that much was obvious. How was it connected to the source, though? The thread could have been thin or thick, full of knots or straightforward, and severing it... well, that could lead to consequences of its own. Ever tried to disrupt an electrical circuit, hm? Morgan hadn't, either, but she had read about it, and that was almost as good as the real thing. Indeed, not following all those little rules could end up with you getting more than you bargained for! ...and the rules were shrouded in darkness, written in a foreign language. Oh, gods.)

"Explain? Me?" the sorceress raised her eyebrow when Guinevere realized that she was, in fact, still there. (Marvelous observation skills, by the way. Truly, Morgan could see why she had become the leader! Did her skills include being able to count to five, perhaps? That was anyone's guess, because it was just as likely that such a staggering display of intellect would only serve to make others feel insecure.) "I thought I was supposed to stand down. After all, I wouldn't want to violate your orders, leader. Don't worry, though! I know exactly where my place is. Would you like me to maybe polish your boots later? Since that's all I'm apparently good for." Morgan le Fey, and childish? No, never. A woman who she didn't at all care about wouldn't bring her down to such a level! The sorceress wasn't bothered, much like the sun rose every day even when people failed to worship it.

Just like so many times before, Morgan emptied her mind. Guinevere, the sounds of the steel being drawn, even the monster wailing in something suspiciously similar to pain-- all of it had been turned into background noise, into something to be ignored. Just the rustling of the leaves, crunching underneath her shoes. 'Come home,' she encouraged the spirits. 'Don't you see? I'm Morgan le Fey, and I have come for you. I know what it's like to be alone. Won't you join me? Together, we can be more than a sum of our parts.' And, indeed, the spirits flocked to her-- both small and large, weak and powerful. There were voices, so many of them, and it felt like her head would burst, burst, burst! (The cup, she felt, was about to overflow. It was dripping already, and the scariest part? Morgan didn't know what was-- whether it was the power coursing through her veins, or some parts of herself. It also might have been the blood pouring down her chin, but hey! The price she'd known about, and a thousand times, she'd paid it. No reason to whine about it now. Galaxies exploded behind her eyelids, both those that did and didn't exist, and--)

Promptly, the sorceress fainted. The strangest thing about it, though? Betty opened her eyes at the same time, and they definitely weren't hers. The emerald green belonged to Morgan, as well as the cocky, self-assured smirk. The monster itself proceeded to collapse in a heap of limbs, its body contorted into unnatural angles, and... and then its own tail began to whip Betty, as if trying to get rid of her. Uh oh. That bruises began to bloom all over Morgan's own body for sure had to be a coincidence, right? Nothing to be concerned about!
 

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