Tag Archive | dysmas

Chapter 70: Arnbjörg

Sunday, May 20, 2001

“So are we gonna do it?”  Arnbjörg was shifting her weight from the balls of her feet to her heels and back again.  “I mean.  I know Leo went a little…” She considered the room and forced a little bit of tact to come out of her mouth. “Well, he was having some trouble with blackouts when he was here?”

Zita looked at her pointedly. “I don’t know. Are you going to do it?” Her tone was too pleasant to be real.

Arnbjörg looked straight back at Zita. “Should we?”

“Eight months ago, sure. Now?” Zita shrugged.

Arnbjörg considered that answer, looked at Zita again, and decided it was a yes.  Continue reading

Chapter 64: Cynara

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

“Hey Dysmas.”

Cya had learned that when Aviv did that, it seemed to mean he was buying her and Leo a little private time.  Cya looked at what she was cooking and moved things to the slow cooker.  It could sit indefinitely that way, and she could think about more important things than food, like her friends.

“I was wondering if I could borrow Cynara for a bit.”

Wait, what?  She continued moving through the paces of putting the food in the cooker, but she had to struggle to keep her ears from pointing right at Aviv.  Even if nobody could see her ears, they were still a dead giveaway.

“Borrow her?  What do you want her for?” Dysmas sounded – he sounded bored.  She struggled with the stab of indignation and hurt.  She bored him, did she?  He didn’t even really care what someone else wanted with her. Continue reading

Chapter 60: Cynara

Monday, April 9, 2001

It had been a crazy idea.

Of course it had been a crazy idea: it had been Leo’s, and he hadn’t been sane since –

since, well, Eriko.  But Leo had had an idea, and Cya had gone along with it just because it was Leo wanting to do something.

And because if it succeeded, she would find a way to be clear of this place if she had to cut it out of her mind with a scalpel, and then she could do the same for her friends, and THEN she could find a way to fix what had been done to Leo if she had to practice on every since insane person in America first. Continue reading

Chapter 56: Cynara

Friday, March 23, 2001

Leo was back.

No.  No, someone in Leo’s body was back.

Someone with Leo’s hair and Leo’s sparks and Leo’s little spikes of antlers was in the suite.  He Belonged to Aviv, now, because — as Cya understood it, as Zita had explained — Sheba had passed him on to Lydia, because Sheba had never intended to Keep him, just to get him away from Eriko.  

Lydia’s boyfriend had been Kept with Aviv, which was generally understood to be something like a bond. And from what she’d heard — it was amazing what people would say around you if you closed down enough that they forgot you were a person — about why Lydia… why she gave him to Aviv, Cya got the feeling that Leo had no intention of ever being a good Kept again. Except, looking at him, she wasn’t always sure that he had any volition left for intention Continue reading

Chapter 52: Cynara

Friday, March 9, 2001

There was this moment when they parted way after classes that Cya tried not to think about anymore.

She gave Howard a nice hug and smiled warmly at Zita, gave Leo a smile that he managed to respond to, and very slowly turned towards their – towards Dysmas’ suite.

She could hear them talking for a few minutes.  She didn’t so much track the conversation as she held on to the sound of their words.  She could feel it almost like a touch. Continue reading

Chapter 40: Cynara

Monday, January 15, 2001

Something had to change, and it had to change before she lost control of her emotions.

Cya was not taking combat classes.  She hadn’t asked.  She wasn’t with a Mentor who taught combat.  She wasn’t the sort of girl one thought about when one thought about violence and such things.

She had come to school knowing three ways to kill someone if she had to and had come up with two more already in the course of her Workings.  She would have to be quick, and clever, and would have to put all of her power into it, but she was fairly certain she knew where the mental processes were that controlled breathing.

Unlike that bitch Eriko, who did it accidentally with an order.  What a stupid, ridiculous, hateful bitc…

Cya put her smile on a little more carefully.  She couldn’t kill Eriko.  Killing someone could, she heard, get you expelled, and if she got expelled, then that would leave Howard to try to look after Leo and Zita on his own.  

And Leo… Leo needed more looking after than one person could handle.  Eriko didn’t seem to care anymore, if she ever had. Cya wouldn’t trust her with a pet rock, much less with a person.

Dysmas was in a good mood, the way he always was after he’d fed. “I was thinking…”   Cya began, trying to sound casual rather than cautious. “Maybe we could do some sort of, mmm, Kept club?  Just an afternoon out once in a while, get some fresh air, practice cooking?  Zita has a lot of good recipes, and I know Lily and Leofric can’t really boil water without help, but if we managed to give them some help…”

Adding Lily in was a gamble.  She barely talked to the girl – almost nobody did; if anyone was angrier than Arnbjorg, it was Lily – but Zita and Howard had managed to make friends with her, and what they said – or didn’t say – was nearly as worrisome as what Cya saw with Leo.

On the other hand, not adding in Lily made it the crew, and the problem was, their Keepers were pretty sure – even Howard’s Keeper, who generally seemed like a decent sort for a mind-raping monster – that first-year students in general and Kept for definite could not have crews.

It didn’t seem to matter.  Dysmas frowned down at her.  “You know Eriko doesn’t want Leofric spending time without her.  That kendo thing is too much, if you ask me.”

“I know,” she ducked her head in apology.  “But he is still a person, too, who might be able to use a little breathing room?  Maybe he’d be better…” stop getting himself punished so badly, “if he had a little room?  And learning to cook better really behooves all of us…?”

She’d said the wrong thing.  She knew it as soon as she finished the sentence, even without looking at Dysmas’ face.  His body language had changed.  The way his hand was on her had changed.

“There’s plenty of time for all of you to be people next year.”  It didn’t quite sound like a quote, but it definitely had the feeling of something someone had said to him before.  “Leofric will survive this year just fine without any ‘room’, just like any Kept, and you do just fine at doing the cooking for this crew.”  In a voice that was almost gentle, he added, “I wouldn’t worry too much about breathing room, if I were you.  Wiggle room just gives you more room to hurt yourself.  Look at Leofric – Eriko gave him too much room, and look where he ended up.”

Cya felt sick and numb inside, but there was nothing to be done to argue with that tone.  She’d tried to do something to give them all a little space and it had failed.  If she was quick and careful, it might not backfire horribly on all of them.  “Of course.”  She looked up at him through a fringe of hair with a small smile, one that bordered on coy.  Bordered on was important.  Dysmas wasn’t stupid.  If he was, everything would probably be a lot easier. “You know everything here better than I do.  I’m still learning.”

She really was still learning.  She’d learned she couldn’t say anything about being a person – about any Kept being a person.  That was a little new, but it did not surprise her.  “Thank you for explaining,” she added.  “Sometimes I can be impulsive…”

That, that was very close to a lie, so she let herself look guilty for the fib and let him think she was guilty about the so-called impulsiveness.  She certainly had a lot of impulsive urges, right?  Like the one where she strolled up behind Eriko and…

No, no.  She let her guilty look slide into a blank smile.  She could not kill Eriko.  Not now.

Don’t ever commit something you know is a crime unless you have your escape route planned and are fairly certain your can cover your tracks.  Always know the local laws as well as you can manage, so you don’t accidentally commit a crime.

Her father’s lessons might have been punctuated a few too many times by the exceptions – “well, pumpkin, I knew it was a crime but I knew they’d never prove it was me, see?  And we did have a back door and three escape routes, right?  Just have to wait a few years before we go back there…” but she’d certainly learned a lot.

And right now she was ignoring a very important one of his lessons. Pay attention to the problem in front of you.  The other problems can wait.

Luckily, Dysmas hadn’t really noticed much.  “You can’t go around being impulsive while you’re mine.  Then you do stupid things like try to Know the mind of nothingness, and look where that gets you, mmm?  Just be a good girl and do what I tell you do, and you’ll be fine.”

If she was a good girl, maybe it wouldn’t make her teeth set so much when he said things like that.  She smiled at her, what she thought of as her cops-and-truant-officers smile.  “What do good girls do?”

“Well, sweet thing,” his hand settled on the back of his neck.  “You know most of it already.  They look pretty for their masters – which you’re fairly good at – and they don’t argue with people where it would  cause a problem.  They take care of the household troubles and they don’t talk back.  Leofric is not very good at being a good Kept, but you can see all the things not to do from looking at him.”

Don’t fall in love with your Keeper, check.  Don’t be Kept by a miserable bitch, check.  “Yes sir.”  She gave him her best good-girl look.  “You know I want to be a good girl for you.”

“I know you do.”  His hand in her hair felt nice.  She tried to ignore the part where it also felt like he was holding her in place.  “And you’re very good at it, my adorable angel.”

She could be a blank little angel for a year.  She smiled a little more and let the feeling fill her.

Chapter 36: Cynara

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

“How do you get out of here?”  

Luke and Professor Reid had shown Cya the doors, but they’d done something to fog her memory.  She could see them — but she hadn’t been able to get back to the doors, no matter how many times she tried.  She knew they were there. They’d told her she needed an upperclassmen with her.  For safety.  She took that as for not running away.  

So now she was lying next to Dysmas, a thin trickle of blood running down the side of her neck, fishing for the answer she needed. He was in the best mood during these times, and when he fed on her – more than he ought to, Dr. Caitrin said, but still not enough, not enough to keep him from feeding on other girls, bringing them into his bed right past her while Aviv played Go and chess with her like neither of them could see what was going on – Cya found she was in a good mood, too.  Inquisitive, but brave enough to test out questions and mellow enough to not mind when he treated her like a silly child.  It was the perfect time to ask him about the doors.  To see if he would help her find them again. Continue reading

Chapter 25: Leofric

Monday, November 20, 2000

Leofric sat off to the side, paying just enough attention to know if Eriko was saying something to him and otherwise ignoring the three upperclassmen. He’d finished all of his homework for the night but he kept his notebook open anyway; if he looked like he was busy with school stuff, Eriko was less likely to give him something to do – something he would, inevitably, screw up.

Cynara was cleaning up after dinner, as she usually did, and Dysmas was mostly ignoring her, as he usually did. Sometimes Leo wondered why Dysmas was even Keeping her in the first place; he certainly didn’t have any problem bringing home other girls. And that was something Leo didn’t have any orders against being annoyed about – especially since the last time that’d happened, Cynara had spent the whole time sitting out in the suite, trying not to look sad.  Not even collapsing in the halls had been enough to make Dysmas to care about her.

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Chapter 20: Cynara

Wednesday, October 25, 2000

“Ugh.”  The lights flickered out with a crackle.  “Leofric!”

Eriko’s expression needed no light.  Cynara could see the tired twist of her face already, the exasperated way she looked when she dealt with her boyfriend.  She could see Leo’s cringing apology too, the way his shoulders would shrug forward and he’d try to make himself smaller.  It made Cynara want to hug him; it made her want to punch Eriko.

“It wasn’t me,” Leo protested weakly. Continue reading

Chapter 17: Leofric

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Eriko was busy doing her homework. For anything else, it would’ve been a bad time — it was a bad time, if he was being honest, but it was almost impossible to find a good time when it was just the two of them. And Leofric really wanted this to be a private conversation.

Leofric had chosen a spot on the floor that was clearly visible from her desk (but not in the way; he didn’t want to be in the way, she didn’t like that) and knelt there. He didn’t want to interrupt her; he couldn’t interrupt her, even if he wanted to, not since that one time he had and she’d ordered him not to. So instead, he settled into his spot and waited.
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