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The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

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@Eris Fawley
Kaegen was hiding alone. He was off in the study room, holding a book, staring at the page, and trying very, very hard to stay in control. It would pass, he knew it was about to pass, but that didn't make it any easier for him. He didn't know much about what he was, just the basics. He didn't have a grasp of what exactly would happen if he gave in, but he didn't like the implications. He didn't like the dreams, or the thoughts he associated with the dark places.

He was hiding, true, in the sense that he was all alone. But realistically, everyone knew where he was. They just avoided him. No one stayed where Kaegen was. No one even crossed his path. People took detours, the scenic route, anything that would prevent them from having to see the boy, anything to keep them far away. Some of them gave weak excuses, such as wanting to mix things up, or say hello to an old painting, or something along those lines.

Rooms darkened when Kaegen entered. Temperatures dropped. Shadows seemed to swirl and move and dance around him, and his eyes practically glowed with malice. You could feel him in a room before you saw him, feel his approach down the corridor. The terrifying aura did not match up with the boy himself, at least not for the most part, but it unmistakably originated from him.

He had a mess of a head of black, tangled hair, darker even than his faded, frayed robe. A large umbrella was strapped to his back, under a thrice-torn blue and black cape. Where the grey scarf was usually wrapped was nothing. Just a thin neck with ugly scar tissue that looked like it came from something's gigantic claws. His hands would twitch towards his neck now and then, feeling naked without his scarf. But he had lost it, had it taken. And now there was nothing.

His eyes scanned the pages, but they couldn't focus. He didn't feel right, or good, or okay. He wasn't himself without a scrap of fabric, and he hated it. He hated the weakness, it was so pathetic, and he knew it. But kaegen hated feeling pathetic, he despised the feeling with a passion and that passionate hate shone in the little rings of red set in his otherwise storm cloud greyish blue eyes. His fangs were unsheathed, and pressed hard against his lower jaw.

But he was not weak. He had to remind himself he was not weak. He was a predator, he was better than they were. He was stronger and smarter and better than anyone else in hogwarts. He had his own names, names he had given himself. He was a beacon of shades, he was a master of a castle with invisible walls. It didn't matter that he had lost a scarf because he was Kaegen Deathmote. Fens-Born, Shade-Beacon, Master of the invisible castle.

But even as he tried to drag himself up the slippery slope with overdoses of pride, he was dragged backwards by the horrible, little voice of logic. The voice of logic that pointed out how many times he had failed, how many times he had fallen short. There was small comfort in the little things. Those little things he knew were true.

He knew, for example, that they feared him.
Abilites: Unsettling Aura, Terrifying presence

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

Why would a star, a star ever be afraid of the dark?

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She went where people ran from. Where the hallways seemed colder and darker. That was where Eris lugged her small backpack. It had been a gift from her grandmother and was now shoved with a few essentials. Eris wasn't afraid of what could linger in the dark, rather she welcomed the creeping sensation of the shadows crawling and lingering on her skin, as if scanning her. She welcomed the fear, the way that it echoed in the pit of her stomach. All her instincts warned Eris to walk away, but she'd been swimming with sharks long enough to know that whoever was lurking in the study room was not an enemy.

The burn marks on her face did not flare up. There was nothing that Eris feared in the dark. Not when it was just a few days into the new term and all the children could not stop talking about the scary boy with the umbrella and how darkness and shadows trailed in his wake. Eris had laughed in their faces, the perfect image of a Gryffindor who felt no fear and was willing to face any adversary in her path. In truth, Eris was scarred. So much so, that sometimes she wondered if there would ever be a time where she didn't wake up in cold sweat, waiting and watching for someone to come out of the shadows and burn her. But, there were people who helped with that, who had stayed with her throughout the days of dissociation, who had waited for Eris to return back to herself, when the burns on her face no longer were all that Eris knew of herself.

But, if her suspicions were correct, and Eris had a feeling they were, then one of those precious friends was the current shadow-creature of Hogwarts. Eris had no idea when or why Kaegen had stopped talking to her, but she had let him slip away. It was impossible to understand the motives of the Fens born boy, but after a summer of pretending to be something she was not, Eris craved the companionship of the friend who she had run after on all fours, the one who had gifted her a scarf and not asked any prying questions about her messed-up family past.

Eris had been given many titles. Chaos born and first avenger were not bad titles to bare. When the darkness was so complete that Eris knew she was in the right area, she clung to the sides of the Study room. Gingerly setting down her backpack, deciding against casting lumos, Eris peered into the darkness. Something felt unsettling like a presence was lingering at the edge of her head and screaming to run away. Eris deemed that voice as self-preservation and steadily ignored it.

Seeing the boy who was the subject of her wanderings, Eris let out a gasp at the sight of fangs and a neck bare of a scarf. She took a deep breath, deciding that it made perfect sense that Kaegen was a vampire of some sorts. She then decided that she didn't care, and even as the dread settled in her stomach, self-preservation screaming to run away, Eris realized she did not fear Kaegen in the slightest.

Eris dropped to her knees and opened the backpack, pulling out the red scarf Kaegen had made for her, so many months ago. Pity. That was what she felt. Not fear, not alarm, but pity. Deep-rooted pity for the boy in front of her, one she had once called a friend. One she hoped to call a friend, once more.

Wordlessly, Eris slid the scarf over to Kaegen, looking at the tattered piece of fabric with a pensive expression. Finally, she opened her mouth to speak, remembering the strange way that Kaegen had once said things to her. "As payment for the gift and friendship that you gave me and the way that I was not there for you, I offer you back the scarf that you gave me." Eris flushed, feeling a bit silly. She then slid the backpack open, exposing the endless supply of candy inside of the bag. "I also brought snacks." Eris bit down on her tongue, resisting the urge to ask if Kaegen even wanted to eat human food anymore.

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

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Someone had breached the invisible walls. Someone was coming into the invisible castle that he had created out of hate and bile. For Kaegen, the walls were very much real. That boundary line of fear that most students dare not cross was as solid to him as a wall of stone. It was a wall, after all, just of a different sort. There were ways to circumvent stone, and there were ways to circumvent his walls of fear. Those who found those ways were few and far between, and usually threatening, in one way or another.

But he could handle it. He was someone, he was someone strong. It was a constantly repeated mantra that rushed through his head faster than his own lifeblood. spidery, thin, strong fingers, tipped with long, dirty claw like fingernails slowly closed the book he had been trying to focus on, and placed it back on the shelf. Control. His eyes closed only for a moment as he heart the footsteps get closer. He would be in control here, he would use logic and reason and be in control.

He tried to calm his heart in the seconds he had left, and failed. There were too many fears swirling around it for respite to ever be considered a possibility. With calm out the window, she switched gears, going straight for hate. Hatred, that cold fire that gave solid, vile purpose to all those who called upon it. He who hates has no need for friends, he who hates has no need for purpose, because the very act of hating is his purpose. So long as hate's oil does not boil over into anger, it is surprisingly stable, and so that is what he held on to.

The hate and loathing of whoever had just disturbed him. He wanted to be alone, he hated the lack of privacy in the classrooms, in the dining hall. The other children made him feel alo- no, not alone. They made him feel contempt. He was never lonely. He was strong. He was a fantastic monster, not a human, but a beast from the fens. Something that made sense. It was with those thoughts on his mind that he turned to face the approaching adversary with eyes that glowed and flared like an eclipse. But what he saw was no enemy.

What he saw was so much worse.

Her name failed him for a full 5 seconds, as she started to slide across a red scarf. His mind refused to register her existence, refused to accept that she was a thing. Kaegen's mind was far from healthy, it was twisted and dark, like a maze full of dead ends, made of thorns that clawed at you from the insurmountable walls. But it was very, very strong. It had been a matter of weeks for it to finish working on the project of erasing Eris Fawley from the Fen-boy's mind.

In the space of those weeks past the ball he had been a dismal wreck. He had missed classes, and found himself laying down on his bed, not caring who knew of his weakened state. The little girl had been his friend, his purpose, his world. And all it had taken was a few words, taken out of context and overheard, to shatter that world. So his mind had gotten rid of the shards, and found some other world to chase.

His mind had found hatred and clung to it with claw and thorn. His mind was so desperate to protect itself that it project an aura of fear strong enough to be likened to physical walls. But now that world was here. The shards that his mind had erased from existence were back in existence and they were holding a scarf that he had made. To say it was horrifying would be putting it lightly.

"R- r..real"

The shadows vanished, launching out and away from the boy along with the cold. His castle crumbled, the malevolent gleam from his eyes extinguished in an instant. All grace left his bones, as he stumbled backwards into a bookcase. The pile of books that had been left carelessly on top of the old array of shelves fell on top of his head, causing his hands to reach up and spasmodically swipe them away. His pupils flared out like a rapidly expanding ink puddle, stretching to the corners of his eyes and then elastically snapping back to their normal round circular shapes.

His hands sprung deep into his sleeves, clawing and scratching himself in a desperate attempt to feel some form of weaponry, some protection clenched tight.

It was only then, some time after she had said the words, that they were actually effectively heard. It was an apology. A world returned, an apology for it's absence. A scarf returned.

"You."

It was a hoarse, rasping croak of a voice crack that summed up the only word he could really formulate. He wanted to cry, or maybe scream, or maybe stab someone, or maybe just himself. He wanted to do something other than fall over backwards and crawl away quickly, ramming his head into the wall, which is what he ended up doing.

His head now hurt, he was backed up against a wall, and someone who very much should not exist was very clearly existing. A thousand thoughts were blasting through his head at the speed of the hogwarts express but none of them were at all comprehensible. His mind was going so fast that it was practically blank, the only reliable information entering his mind consisted of instincts. Lessons learned years ago, lessons that would never fade.

He needed a weapon.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

I'm not scared, even from the start

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It was worse than she thought. It wasn’t a boy sitting in darkness, it was as if the darkness was composed of the boy. Of her friend. The shadows didn’t just crawl around her now, Eris felt like she was composed of shadow herself, sinking away into the background of the scene in front of her. Running away wasn’t an option, there was no need to be a coward again. There was no way she could run away from a friend who needed aid, when she already had. Now Eris felt sick to her stomach, looking at the feral person in front of her. It wasn’t the type of feral that Kaegen had been at the start of their time at Hogwarts-- that had just been ignorance expressed through aggression. There had always been that spark of humanity, which had been worth fighting for. Worth enough to led to the two of them sitting by the lake, dancing in the shallows while the giant squid found itself baffled at the small feet of first years exploring in its lake.

Snacks forgotten, Eris was aware of her breath hitching in her throat, as she tried to shove down the repulsion that ripped through her body, as sharp and violent as the blade Kaegen had gifted her. Even now the blade’s presence was warm inside the dirty candy-stained left pocket of Eris’ robe. She made no attempt to divulge that fact though, her mind too busy racing with the awareness of the scene presented to her. This was something else entirely, as if Kaegen had been broken and all the good parts of him had vanished into the endless shroud of shadows encasing them in the forgotten corner of the study room. Even the books on the shelf seemed glum and depressed, as if they too had given up on being anything but mundane reminders that their lives were ticking by and that things were changing. New books were being added, old ones thrown away. New friends, old friends. All of them thrown away, just like the scattered and misplaced books of the study room. Eris wanted to rip apart at the shadows, to slap Kaegen, to scream at the world to bring back her friend. Yet, she didn’t move. In the shadows of the room, her eyes just stayed put upon the red scarf; the only thing shining brightly in the room.

Hope of forgiveness, hope that some spark could be lit in Kaegen again. Eris stood her ground, willing Kaegen to see that she was unafraid. Willing him to see that she wouldn’t run away again, not when she had been to hell and back again so many times and was unafraid of a few shadows. Eris had looked into shadows for long enough at the Fawley manor to know that nothing could hurt her, even when the phantom licks of flame scolded her enough to make Eris wake up in terror. But, pain was proof of being alive. A reminder that one had climbed out of pain and survived it. And, if Kaegen did hurt her, Eris felt like there was some justice in that.

She felt disgusted. Not at Kaegen, never at Kaegen. She couldn’t hate the person in front of her, not when she had once gotten past the barriers that he had built up. Eris knew the boy in front of her just as well as she knew herself, or even Adam. This was her fault, whatever darkness had grown in his gaze was her own fault. The distance between them had never been Kaegen’s fault. He would have gone to the ends of the earth for her, but Eris had done something or another to push him away. She had forgotten how it felt to be grounded, or to even speak to people. Eris had been too busy focusing on her own self pity, on her own fear of her title as a heiress, and her own fluttering feelings and possible crushes to even think of a world outside her own chaotic bubble. And, now it seemed she was paying the price for that.

The shadows vanished, and for a moment Eris felt a rush of elation, as if she had broken whatever spell had been cast upon her friend. “Real.” She echoed, confused about the words, but wanting to reassure anyways that she was real. Before she could state anything else, a pile of books fell on Kaegen’s head. Eris let out a yelp of shock, pulling out her wand to use magic to remove them from his head. Even as Kaegen batted them away, Eris aided in getting rid of the ones that cluttered and fell around him.

“Wingardium Leviosa!” One by one, Eris levitated the books away from Kaegen’s body, grateful for her grandfather’s endless lessons in magic. Gritting her teeth, Eris then put her wand away as the last book was set firmly down upon the ground by Kaegen. Silently thanking the cherry wood wand for it’s help, Eris assessed the room. The accomplishment of moving all the books with nothing more than her wand was a grand one, but the pride would come later. For now, nothing but stark shock filtered over Eris’ face. She had never seen Kaegen ever falter or fall backwards. Pocketing her wand in her right pocket, away from the knife that might have hurt it, Eris judged Kaegen’s face and the frantic way he had clawed at himself. Did he not have a weapon on him? That was a shock, and another first when it came to the half-wild boy. Considering the fact he didn’t have his scarf, Eris was starting to suspect that Kaegen was too much of a mess to even keep track of his things.

Eris sat down next to Kaegen, leaving him space, in case he wasn’t able to be close to her anymore. Wordless once again, she pulled the knife out of her left robe pocket and extended her hand to Kaegen, the hilt of the blade sparkling dully. Even though she was the threat, Eris still felt little fear. Whatever was bound to happen was bound to happen, and it was her fault if she ended up even more scarred.

Softly, voice echoing in the tentative silence, she started to speak. “I’m sorry. I forgot how to be a good friend, you see? I was too scared, too busy dealing with my own problems. I should have checked on you or realized that you were there for me. But I didn’t. I’m not going to do that again. I’m here. I’m real. I’m Eris Fawley. I used to be Chaos Born, First avenger.” She wasn’t sure if those titles were even hers to claim anymore, not from the wounded look in Kaegen’s gaze. “I am your friend. I always have been your friend.” Eris kept her eyes on Kaegen’s face, knife still extended towards him, in an offer.

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

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His fingernails had flecks of blood on them by the time they were able to find the handle of a knife. A knife that was flung moments later, hurled in the girl's general direction when she approached. It missed, flying clumsily off towards a corner of the room where it hit the wall hilt first and clattered to the ground.

It wasn't a thought out maneuver, and anyone who has ever thrown a knife with any sort of accuracy will tell you that it is not a matter of simple muscle memory. You need to know how far away your target is, in a rough estimation. And then you need to time your throw perfectly to that range. Most who throw a knife only have one or two ranges they can effectively throw from.

Kaegen had no time or headspace, no thoughts to spare for how far away his target was. He was working on instinct and reactions, just trying to make reality go away, make the reality of this girl who he had desperately tried to make not exist in his mind leave him and his life and not come back. She was pain, she was the unattainable goal. She was a god who you prayed to all your life in hopes of the smallest of miracles, only to be cast aside. The sun you yearned to look at with a naked eye, but could never possibly glimpse.

Kaegen needed solid goals, he needed goals he could work and fight towards, goals that, however lofty, he thought he could obtain. Kaegen did not have enough sanity left in his spidery frame to think clearly unless he had something to think clearly for. Kaegen's blood surged with vampiric chaos, his mind flowed with the brambles and thickets of false teachings and lies. He had little sleep, hardly any interaction with anyone who could be considered sane themselves, and no checks. He had nothing to keep himself under control other than his purpose.

Kaegen worked through everything with a sort of tunnel vision. If he wanted to get something done he would find a way to get it done. He had improvised his own spell at first year, he had created armor capable of blocking any curse he knew of, he had devised a bomb that had blown up a toilet, and ended in a fight that resulted in 4 students bleeding out and incapacitated, with him escaping out a window from high up. When he was working towards something tangible, when he thought things made sense, Kaegen was powerful. Cunning. It was this roundabout cunning and originality that had placed him in ravenclaw, after all.

But he was only competent if he had that glittering bauble that symbolized his entire existence. He needed a sun to revolve around or he would spin uselessly into space. This girl that was approaching him was a sun he failed to orbit, a goal he failed to achieve, she was a walking, talking reminder of how he wasn't good enough, how he was truly, utterly weak. He didn't want to be weak, he didn't want her to tear him down, or even worse, to be a beacon once more. To once again be the will'o'the wisp that would lead him into inevitable failure.

He would reject her and run, he would run away and never come back, he would keep her as far from him as he possibly could and never fall into the same trap again. How many years ago was it, two? Two years ago when she wouldn't choose him, there in the hospital room? Where he was forced to accept the fact that he was worse than her other friend? Was it still that first year, or was it the second, when she had looked at him with that horrible look of fear and disgust. It had been in a room full of people she had gathered. He remembered now, horribly, clearly.

She had been afraid of him then, afraid of a friend? No. He had been stupid, even after that. Weak. It had been blossomball by the time anything actually made sense. Why he was always following her, why she never came to him, why it was always the other way around. Until now. How long had it been since she had come to him like this, as a friend? Not since the beginning of his very first year at hogwarts. Not since his nightmare had begun.

Her friendship and happier days had marked the beginning of the twisted maze corridors, of the death witches and vile professors, of hard stones and battles fought. Of blindness and failure and the sure and complete knowledge that he could never be the best.

So yes, he had decided. He would run away, run away from hogwarts entirely. The amount of memories that were flooding back brought with them all too many emotions. Horrible, horrible emotions. Emotions he hated, emotions that felt like they melted his insides. He would leave everything that had anything to do with emotions or memory behind him and never come back. He would go to some other far off land, like france.

But even as he tried to force his body to steel itself and run, it didn't. It just faded. Frantic thoughts subsided into dull defeat. He couldn't handle all of this, or, for that matter, any of this. As hardened and calloused as he might be, he was still just a little boy. A frightened little boy with no friends in a terrifying, gigantic castle.

She was saying that she had forgotten how to be a good friend, that she was afraid. Afraid of what? He had followed her whenever he could, he had put everything on hold to make sure she didn't have to fear anything, how had he failed at that as well? It snapped the defeat away, giving rise to a spark. She was too busy dealing with her problems? He had been too busy dealing with her problems. To do hardly anything. Everything he did was to make sure she would have less problems, less threats, every waking thought had been about how to be strong enough to walk beside and help her. She hadn't even realized that he was there.

She hadn't realized that he was there? How had she not realized? He knew that this was an apology, he knew that she was saying that she wouldn't do it in the future, but his brain was screaming about how this meant that in the past, she hadn't realized he was there for her. He had already known this, he had heard it, he had seen it, he knew it was the truth. But to hear her say it made him want to scream. Every moment he could have spent with her, he did. Every moment he couldn't, he had been recording. Recording everything in a little book for her.

The controlled, frozen grease of hate spilled everywhere, and the flames of anger rose up like a wildfire.

"Everything."

It came out as a hoarse squeak. Not nearly as intimidating a roar as it was supposed to be. Just a high pitched voice crack that sounded like it was being dragged over glass shards. His eyes changed, dulling, becoming entirely, utterly, black. The soulless black of something very much not human. He twisted sharply towards her, with the singular goal of destroying. Of rending and tearing and obliterating until nothing was left to curse his thoughts.

It was then that he actually noticed the knife. His knife. She had kept it, all this time. She had kept his knife and his scarf. She had them even now. The black slowly crawled away out of his eyes as he stared dumbly at the knife. He knew what it meant. He knew on a fundamental level was giving up your weapon meant. He knew it more deeply than he knew anything else. It was a surrendering of power, it was an offering of that power. It was everything connected to that and so much more.

His tense arms fell limp, and he wrapped his arms around the little girl as tight as he possibly could. He would just stop thinking. If nothing he could think made any sense, if his emotions kept rising and falling this dramatically he would just stop thinking entirely, and hug. Grab a hold of this thing and make sure it was real. It said it was real, she said she was real, but he wasn't sure if he believed it yet.

"Sorry"

More family than his family, more home than his home. More a friend than anything else he had. She had even offered him a place in her home, before something had happened. He couldn't remember what. Maybe she had just forgotten, it wasn't something he would every know, more likely than not. He knew that even now this wouldn't last. He knew deep down that the wonderful feeling of having someone you could trust would never last. She would find someone else, someone better. She would become distracted, and drift away. He knew that. But the knowledge made it better, somehow. It removed the expectation that friends would always be there. If he expected her to drift away, then come back, then he wouldn't be as hurt when it happened.

It was only then that he started to cry, still holding on to his friend with all his might.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

I'm not running, running, running

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Nevermind. He did have a knife. Eris stared blankly at the whirling knife that was not even being flung in general vicinity of her face, watching it fall against the wall. It’s sound being the only thing that echoed in the room. The dull ring echoed in Eris’ ears, it's distraction from the eerie silence welcomed completely. There was a comfortable silence when with a friend, and then there was this silence. Every single part of the room and the silence felt charged, as if even the books were waiting for someone to speak. Eris nearly jumped from the sudden noise of the hilt slamming against the wall. Instead, Eris turned her gaze towards the knife and the wall, before her eyes returned back to staring at Kaegen. Eris’ head tilted to the side, as she tried to derive some sort of emotion from the swirling cesspool of darkness in Kaegen’s eyes. Gingerly tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear, eager for another visual distraction, Eris gazed down at the russet strands of her frizzy hair. She tried not to focus on the fact that she had found nothing there in Kaegen’s eyes-- no sort of emotion whatsoever. Eris resisted the urge to shiver; for even without Kaegen’s strange darkness in the room, it was still frigid. It wasn’t the cold that bothered her. What hurt the most was that she had forgotten how to read Kaegen’s emotions, or that he was so shut down that there was no visage of even the faintest emotion upon his face.

For the first time, Eris felt a sudden bout of fear course through her. Once the magical vampire powers were gone, there was nothing in the room but Kaegen. Nothing but the endless reminder that she had managed to forget about him, to forget about life outside of her grandfather’s laws and regulations. When had it all gone wrong? It must have been before her mother showed up and took control of the Bishop family house, but Eris felt like she could track every inconsistency in her life to that dreaded moment. She didn’t even like to think about that moment, and neither did her family. It often slipped from her mind, that dreaded reason that her grandfather had became even more strict, the reason why her grandmother would often sit and stare out the window of Luca’s bedroom with a sadness so profound that Eris couldn’t understand it. The reason why Morgan Bishop lived in her home with her daughter, making a permanent residency inside the second tower bedroom that Eris had always assumed was going to be Bella’s. But, Bella was never coming to live with them. Bella was gone for good, just like the happiness in Morgan Bishop’s eyes.

Eris wasn’t sure she would even know what happiness looked like anymore, not as she stared at Kaegen. Not as the past year played on her head on repeat. It used to be all fun and games. She remembered when Hogwarts was just a mythical castle, and she was a girl with magic. When everything had been that simple. She had felt like a character from a book, running around and learning spells. But, everything had gone to hell. In a burning inferno of pain and suffering, thus had been the way that Eris graduated her first year and Hogwarts. And in her second year, she had lost her way entirely. Eris hadn’t known what it meant to be even be human. She had spent all her time wandering around Hogwarts, searching for the answer to a question that would not and could not be found in the old mirrors and old passages of Hogwarts. Even after looking so long for herself, Eris had found nothing. Still, she clawed her way out of the pit of pain that was her life.

At some point, after staring into the shadows for so long, they start to stare back. At that point, it becomes unbearable to be so alone that even darkness talks and judges. So, Eris had pulled herself together, until her world flipped upside down again. Now she was out of that dark place, using her grandfather’s hatred as a clutch. As long as she had his anger driving her, she had something. His anger towards her was enough too, as it got her out of bed. It gave Eris something to rage against. Or something to fear, when she was in his nearby vicinity.

Everything. She didn’t know what Kaegen meant by everything, but had to agree with the broken way he was saying it. Everything was... well, enough to warrant that tone that scratched and hurt even to hear out loud, like chalk being dragged down a chalkboard. Her arm ached from holding the blade up for so long, as Eris went still. If she had thought his eyes were creepy before, it was nothing compared to the soulless pits of darkness that had replaced the semblance of humanity that speaking had dredged up. As he turned towards her, Eris held the knife like a lifeline, ignoring the faint tremble that started in her wrist, arching up throughout the extended arm. Before she could even do anything, the knife clattered out of Eris’ tight grasp, as Kaegen wrapped his arms around her slightly form. She moved the knife away quickly with a free hand to make sure that Kaegen didn’t impale himself upon it.

Eris left out an omph upon the impact, clearly not expecting the hug. She hadn’t been hugged for a long time and didn’t even remember what it felt like. Eris was still for a moment, before her arms hesitantly wrapped around Kaegen in turn. For a long moment, she just pressed her face against the robes of her friend, not even bothering to feel disgust over the fact that his robes were shredded and more wrinkled than her endless supply of neatly pressed new robes. She had never cared that Kaegen was always dirty, nor did she care about the state of his robes.

A choked laugh bubbled up in her throat, as Kaegen hugged her even tighter. Not even complaining about the fact that it hurt a little bit, Eris gingerly rubbed Kaegen’s back, having seen adults doing that to try and comfort someone who was crying. She felt a little sheepish but tried everything in her power to be supportive and helpful. “Hey, no. It’s okay. I’m sorry.” She nudged his shoulder, shaking her head lightly, mustering up a faint smile.

“I like your new vibes. The eyes and the fangs? They’re very cool.”
Last edited by Eris Fawley on 3rd September 2019, 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

It felt good, the hug. And it served a valuable purpose. That purpose being to calm him down, and steer him on the right track. Or at least let him explore his mind, just a little bit. Enough to reevaluate what he was. Who was he now, was the first question he asked, while still wrapping his arms tightly around his friend. He was Kaegen Deathmote, Fens-Born, Shade-Beacon, Master of the invisible castle. He was considering changing invisible to something more accurate, but that didn't matter. It was a name he had given himself after he had lost his old one. It would work just fine.

The next question he had to ask was the nature of his goal. What was his purpose here, what was he working towards? Certainly not the book anymore, there was no point. There was also no point to protect his friend. He was beginning to wonder how strong she actually was, and besides all that, she wouldn't be with him for long. She was wonderful, fantastic, safe. A warm comfort, and a pillar of fiery purpose. But unreliable, fading. She had better things to do, and he knew it.

So what, then was he supposed to do? Nothing? His brain refused to work towards nothing, it had to think about something, it had to work towards something that required thought. He wasn't stable enough to slow down long enough to question himself, and he knew it. So it was back to hate, then. Hate would do fine. It kept him occupied, it gave him some meager semblance of drive and purpose. Hate's cold fire had carried him this far, it would have to carry him farther still.

So that was it, then. That was who he was. That was his name and his purpose. It was all he needed to calm himself, to think clearly and let go of his friend. It hadn't taken him long. Maybe half a minute of tears and emotional wreckage before he was back. Kaegen's mind worked fast, usually faster than it should. Bonfires of wrath put out in an instant, a torrent of bloody tears quenched in only a minute.

He slowly pulled away from the little girl, rubbing away the blood with the back of his hands, so he wouldn't accidentally scratch himself. It was a little habit he had gotten used to. He cleared his throat, in an attempt to regain some semblance of a normal human voice, as challenging as that usually was. She complimented him on his vibes, by which he assumed she meant his castle, his fangs and eyes. He wasn't sure if he liked them, himself. They were more or less just pieces of him, nothing special.

"I think it happens when you're less human. Well, less like... them."

He breathed in deeply, through his nose, and then blinked. It had just been a means to calm himself down, but it soon became clear that something was wrong with his friend. He breathed in again, this time shorter, and sharp. It was a sniff, he was smelling for something, and couldn't find it. Eris used to smell of chaos. Of the city of chaos, of the dark fog that was coughed from the muggle magic chariots. Now she smelled of a clean bathroom and laundry.

"You've changed."

In terms of which smell was better, the clean bathroom smell was objectively nicer. But it wasn't really like his friend at all. She didn't smell of this, of order. She never did, and he had assumed she never would. But here she was. Different. New. And all he could do was blink, and try very hard to remain calm. His fangs still hadn't slid away, but he was only very dimly aware of this.

A spidery hand reached for the knife that had fallen to the ground. He picked it up, and looked it over. Yes, that was her knife. The knife he had given her. To protect her, because she didn't have anything, no weapons to keep herself safe. He couldn't help feeling a little bit scared that eris was fading on more than one level. Maybe it was more than just fading from him, maybe she was fading from herself.

He passed the dagger back to her, carefully.

"You clearly need this a lot more than I do."

There was worry somewhere hidden, back in the dark stormy grey of his eyes. Worry for a friend that seemed almost to be dying, to be becoming something not herself. He reached into his robe with his free hand, finding the little piece of charcoal, and breaking off a bit, smearing it on his finger before reaching across the little gap between them, and smudging her nose with a little bit of black.

"Better."

He didn't mean it was fixed, far from it. Just that it was better than it used to be. She always used to be like that, with smudges and scratches and marks. It was as much a part of her as her chaotic smell was. Fading, washed away. He silently wondered if the same was happening to him. He would have to check, read back into his book. There was a page in there on himself, a page on how to kill Kaegen Deathmote, written for the one person he trusted with that knowledge. He would burn that page later tonight, but not until after he made sure that he was still the same person as the boy he written about, all that time ago.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

I ain't never terrified, I ain't never petrified
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Blood. His tears were bloody. Eris watched Kaegen wipe the tears away, letting out a little laugh at the sight of the bloody tears. She muffled it with a cough though, shaking her head once. How strange it was, to have a friend who was a vampire. Or whatever he was. Together, they made two sides of the same strange coin. A vampire and a shapeshifter. Even in a magical world, Eris knew the likelihood of the two of them was rare, and the two of them being friends even rarer. It was an amusing prospect, really. That even in a world full of so many things, Eris would always find the things that fit right with her personality. The strange, weird, and the ones who were always going to struggle. Just like her. It felt right in a sense, like a little secret that she could keep to herself and cherish, even on the coldest nights when everything seemed to be going wrong and the wind was achingly loud outside the windows of the Gryffindor tower.

“Do you want to be less human?” Eris quirked her head to the side. Metamorphmagus magic adjusting to her thoughts, Eris willed her own features to change, to look more feral and less prim and proper. Eyes growing darker, more like the darkened ones that Kaegen had sprouted minutes ago, hair turning a dark shade of purple, Eris grinned at Kaegen for a minute, before the changes vanished away and she was the same redheaded girl. “If you feel lonely, I can show that I’m not.. Like them either.” As if to confirm she was different, Eris’ hair changed shades between red and muted gold. “But, there’s nothing wrong with not being like normal people. Even if you’re..” She choked on the words, thinking. Eris wasn’t sure what Kaegen was. Being a metamorphmagus was so easy to explain, as everyone knew what they were. Whatever Kaegen was.. Eris was stumped.

He reminded her of a vampire, and not the gross Twilight kind. With the fangs, strange shadows, and everything else that added to the general aura of creepiness, it was clear he was some kind of vampire. But, vampires couldn’t be wizards. Eris knew that much. The words half-breed flashed across her mind, but Eris shoved those words down and into the forgotten corner of her mind that was reserved for her grandfather’s hateful words. Half breed didn’t sound like a nice label. It sounded just as bad as mudblood or muggleborn sounded when her grandad screamed those words out loud.


“A vampire or something. But, that’s just a label. No matter what, you’re Kaegen. My friend.” Even though he had relinquished hold on her, Eris squeezed Kaegen’s hand once, bridging the gap between the two of them to do so. Eris then let her hand fall back to her side once more, taking note of the claw-like nails that Kaegen sported. Despite herself, Eris actually admired those nails, even as dirty as they were. Those would be fun, if someone annoyed her. To have nails so long she didn’t need to punch, but could just scratch and scream. She fell silent for a long moment, lost in thoughts of having nails so long that she wouldn’t need to carry a dagger around with her. Of having protection that she could use at any minute, without having to grab for a wand or feel helpless for a minute or two while rummaging around for anything to protect herself with. Or.. having to be dragged away from a masked figure because she was unable to fight them herself.

At his words about her changing, Eris rubbed at her neck. Suddenly looking away from Kaegen, aware of the nice new robes and the fancy shoes peeking out from under the folds of fabric, something crumbled in her face. Rare anguish that Eris tried to shove together. But, it leaked out. First, through her appearance. The scars from the burns reared up again, as if they had always been on her face but had been hidden by magic or makeup. Eris’ red hair looked dull and lacklustre, as she sighed once. Even the sound of sighing was grief stricken, as Eris stared intently at the ground.

If even Kaegen knew that she changed, if she was no longer the person that he wanted to be friends with, what was she? How could she expect anyone else to even talk to her? “I didn’t want to change.” Eris answered, the raw honesty taking her aback. “I don’t want to change.” She amended, sharing that deep secret that would damn her in the eyes of her grandfather. “I don’t care about being a pureblood. I want to be myself.” She whispered the words, as if someone would jump down from the ceiling and attack her just for uttering the treasonous truth out loud.

Eris wordlessly took the dagger, sliding it back into the left pocket of her robe. Feeling the familiar presence, as welcome as icecream on a hot summer day, Eris exhaled another breath and tried to pull herself together. She was toeing a dangerous line, but something about being around an old friend who wasn’t going to judge her for all that occured over the summer reassured Eris in a way that nothing else could-- not even the endless supply of pudding that she often gorged herself on in the Great Hall.

The charcoal being rubbed on her face broke the dam holding Eris back from her emotions.The faint imprint of uncleanness, the reminder that she loved the pleasant ache of her body hurting after climbing a tree. The reminder of the laughter that only tracking muddy bootprints inside could fulfill. And, then the vivid image of Quidditch, of how it felt to soar above the sky. How that had been taken from her, like everything else that she wanted. Not even a speck of dirt had been allowed to land on Eris, and yet, here she sat. With charcoal on her nose.

Eyes widening, she let out a noise that might have been one of shock, before letting out a yell and slamming her fist into the nearest bookshelf. The echo from it was loud, but was the least of her worries. The bruise that was going to form on her fist wasn’t a worry for Eris either, as she slammed and pounded on everything in the nearby area, her words choked sobs of a sentence. She cried and slammed until she could hardly breathe, the sudden unloading of emotions too much for her to handle.

“I- hate it so much- I hate being kept inside and made to sit still while people take care of me!-” Eris paused, sinking into a seated position once more, as she struggled to control her breathing. “I hate the fact that I wasn’t allowed outside because- because they caught me climbing into Rhea’s bedroom.” She admitted, sore hands still bundled up into fists.

“I just- I’m sorry-” Eris let out a gasp, vainly trying to compose herself. “Crap.” She finally muttered, resting her head on top of her knees to soothe her haggard breathing and choked crying. Although, she did feel better. At this point, not only was there charcoal on her face, but dust from the books being thrown around was also on her face. Papercuts lined her fingers, along with the impeccable beginnings of bruises on her fists. But it felt better. Like a faint glimpse of the girl who she had once been, back when her name was Eris Elcan and she was unafraid of anything.

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

He saw her features change, but it was different for her, he knew. Or at least it sure did look that way. Most of the time, when she changed, it was to reflect what she felt inside. A bit like sewing your heart to your shirt, or whatever that saying was. It was different, to be sure, but it was also the same. To Kaegen, he did not see the oddness of it anymore, rather he just saw it as the next step. People got red in the face when they got angry, so did Eris. She just got more red.

She wouldn't really change much, just enough to reflect what she was feeling. And maybe enough to exercise a little bit of control over that reflection. Could other people not do that to a lesser extent? He was different because he had the claws and teeth of a wild animal, he was different because he had created a tangible wall made of his hatred. If anything, this ability of hers, wouldn't it make her more human? More relatable, more expressive?

And did it change her, really? Kaegen wasn't convinced.

"I don't think they have a word for the kind of people they are. Full of broken promises and exposed lies. I don't think they're real. Not really. And I think... I think I'm part monster. Only part human. Maybe vampire, or something. And I'm... not lonely."

Humans feared monsters, didn't they? So it seemed appropriate for him to be called one. He rather liked monsters, as a general rule. They were strong, as a general rule. It took many, many humans to kill a single monster. They were something other. And they were something that didn't need something else. They were independent, they were far from lonely. They had themselves, maybe an extra pair of arms to give themselves a hug, or something.

"Your power doesn't look a lot like any of mine, does it?"

It was different. It was human, but it was different. It was something a bit beyond human, although he wasn't sure if that was a good thing. But it was a part of her, so he would accept it as a good thing, as something that served someone good, at the very least. He could live with this reality, the possibility that a friend of his was more human than the humans he already despised was a mixed bag of curses and blessings.

The hand squeeze felt nice, as did the reassurance that whatever he was, he would be her friend. He had heard that from her before, he knew. It wouldn't last longer than a few months, at most. But that didn't matter to him. It was nice to hear it, nice to feel her warm skin. Someone else to talk to, someone to let in to his castle. Maybe just for visits, but visits were nice.

He saw scars appear on her face. He knew those scars. He could practically feel them seared into his own heart. They were reminders of one of the many, many times he had failed. Reminders of the time his friend was attacked, and he was nowhere to be seen. He bit his lip, hard enough to draw blood, hard enough to give him enough pain to have something to focus on. He had just gotten back in control, and he refused to be dragged aside by emotions yet again. That was something for humans, something for screaming monkeys without logic or reason. Not for him, not for someone like him.

Her voice gave him something else to focus on, and so his mind switched to that. To what she was saying. He noticed the dull hair, and tried desperately to try and find an emotion that was dull. He found nothing except maybe tired. Maybe she needed sleep or something. She was saying that she didn't want to change, though. Saying that she didn't want her blood to be pure, that she wanted to be herself. He didn't know what pure blood looked like, not really. He knew that some families had it, and some didn't. He didn't know why. Did they use soap to clean their blood, or something? Was that why his friend smelled like soap and order? Because her blood had been cleaned?

"Well, that's stupid. If you don't want to change, then don't. No one can make you change. It doesn't work that way. That's what the knife is for."

People could kill you, or torture you, or make you wish you were dead, draining every shimmer of light from your life, but they couldn't really change you. Change of self was something that everyone had free agency in, it was something that no one could take away. He had changed goals twice that he could remember, and no one did that for him.

When eris first slammed into the book case, Kaegen flinched back, thinking a second later that maybe he should stay and comfort her. He realized half a second later that he had no inkling of an idea how to do that, so he decided instead to just back away, and wait it out. He knew what it felt like to have anger, and recognized this emotion much more readily than he had whatever dull emotion she had been feeling earlier. He wondered why until she was done, until she finally told him what was wrong.

She just wanted to go outside? Who was keeping her inside, anyway? There was no one here, or at least no one that dared stop him. He could set up his walls once more, he could just walk them both outside, he could fix something. Kaegen appreciated the sight of a battered friend more than he thought he rightly should. He didn't like to see his friend hurt, but he also wanted to remember eris as a girl who was hurt, but not for any bad reason, just because she went on adventures.

Her blood was a problem though, Kaegen knew. He would have to be extremely careful, he would have to take deep breaths through his mouth, and think rationally. He was too tired, too haggard and worn down to put up much of a fight, and he knew it. It had been so long since he had even eaten anything red, much less blood. At least it wasn't very much. Just a few papercuts. He would be fine. Even as he thought this, his pupils began to move about, no longer rigid circles, but amorphous masses that tried to stretch out across his eyes.

Still, he tore his eyes away from her hands, hard, and scooted back towards her.

"The strong take care of each other. You know that as well as I do, just go outside. Who can stop you? Why would you be caught? You catch criminals, you catch people who break your laws."

It smelled coppery and sweet and perfect. It smelled better than anything he knew of. It smelled of a lack of hunger. He tried to smell something else instead, but he didn't want to be reminded of eris' new smell. The order that had replaced that bit of chaos. Blood and dust wouldn't change that, and he knew it. So he focused instead on the smell of the old study room. Or at least he tried to. He tried, and he failed. But managed to press on speaking regardless, only sounding a bit distracted, absent. Not quite as focused as he usually was.

"Go outside, and kill anyone who stops you. If you die, then that's the end of your story, but at least it's the end of your story. Not the story written for you by someone who hates the outdoors. The outdoors is nice."

He hated blood. He hated how wonderful it was. Kaegen closed his eyes, and thought of eris, of eris' mysterious law giver who hated outside. He thought of the many ways he could kill the shadowy figure, and how good that would be. It helped, it gave him something.

And sometimes, something is all you need.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

I got eyes like marbles, if I cry they sparkle

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“There’s nothing wrong with being part monster. I think we’re all part monster, in our own ways. You just show it differently than the rest of us do. To be honest, I think it’s better to have actual fangs and the traits of a monster instead of the personality of one.” Eris answered, thinking idly of the monstrous traits of the humans in her life. She imagined those claws of Kaegen’s then, and a shield of her own shadows to protect herself. Maybe looking like a monster could prevent Eris from actually becoming one. In theory, to look scary was to be scary, but Eris felt fear around Kaegen very rarely. However, in the presence of the prim and proper adults in the pureblood world, with their glittering gowns and sardonic smiles, Eris did feel like she was with monsters. Like she was trapped in a court of thorns and roses, but everyone was more focused on the petals of the roses than the thorns digging deeper and deeper into their skin.

There were so many who were more monstrous and evil that Kaegen could even fathom being, although he insisted upon seeing himself as a monster. Shadows and fangs could not be as repulsive as the screams of angry adults, or the rage of parents who were absent. Ignorance and fear did not make a person a monster, nor did the worry that one was evil. To think you were a monster made you less of one. People like Jane Rowle thought they weren’t evil, assumed that despite their hatred and lack of redeeming qualities, they could still hold onto the slim chance that there was goodness in the rotted expanse of their hearts. That was truly monstrous, the way that people were able to preen and gloat, strutting around like they were innately fabulous, just for breathing air and exhaling toxicity right back out into the world.

Eris did not fear monsters. She did not fear the dark, nor werewolves like other children might. What she really dreaded and feared were humans, themselves. She feared the fact that there were people willing to burn children to a crisp. Eris feared the rage of her grandfather, how it burned and burned, unrelentless as a storm. It scared her more than whatever boogy man could lurk under the queen sized bed in her tower. When she hid under her red covers at night, nose pressed against the silk of the maroon blankets, Eris wasn’t hiding from clowns, or anything of the like. She hid from the screams of her father and the words that often echoed throughout the halls, even so high up in her tower. She hid from the fact he didn’t want Eris as a daughter, and the other haunting truths that echoed throughout the hallways of the Fawley Manor.

Eris frowned at Kaegen’s words, shrugging her shoulders. “I could make my powers like yours.” She didn’t, though. Instead, Eris peered into the darkness with her usual chocolate coloured brown eyes, tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear. Sometimes she hated the way she looked, but even changing her appearance couldn’t hide the fact that Eris had been born as a Fawley, as the small freak of the family. And nothing could erase that permanent stain. The permanent stain that was her life was forever echoing, even when Eris changed her hair or face. “I wish it was that easy. What I want doesn’t happen. Because I live with my granddad, he makes the rules. And, if I don’t obey the rules, he yells at me.” She didn’t add that he threatened them, that list of people she cared about. The ones whose names sounded like acid in his mouth, as he spat their names out. Mudblood, halfblood, freak, abomination. Titles meant everything to him, as if a list of words could determine your fate and worth.

But titles meant nothing to her. Rage did. Feeling alive did. And so, she brought her fists down over and over again, slamming them into the ground. Once she was done, sitting on the ground, Eris wondered why people always stated that cool stone aided in calming them down. Even the chill of the slab of rock she was seated on did absolutely nothing, as Eris put her face in her hands and sighed. She was too busy trying to calm her own breathing to note the way Kaegen eyed the blood with a hungry expression. Vaguely aware that Kaegen had once again moved back towards her, Eris looked up at his words. She still didn’t process the way his eyes had changed again, as Eris sighed deeply and shook her head.

“I can’t just break the rules. It’s a different world, Kaegen. Purebloods are different than normal people. They have a whole way of doing things that I don’t understand. Breaking the rules isn’t something you can even think about doing. It’s like.. It’s like living in a medieval world. It’s like being a Princess or something. Everyone is watching me, and if I make one wrong move, it’ll be my head on a chopping block.”

Eris pressed her hands into the black fabric of her robes, stopping the small flow of blood leaking from her raw knuckles. Wincing once at the abrasion of the fabric cutting into raw skin, Eris bit down to keep from hissing at the contact. Wordlessly, she rested her head on Kaegen’s shoulder, still not knowing that she could be in some kind of danger.

Eris was silent for a moment longer, before pulling away to shake her head. “It’s a different story now. It feels like someone took my story and burned it. Now I’m just living in a stranger’s life.” What was life without a good story? Eris had always thought her life was like a story, but now it felt like she was just watching the world from far away. Enclosed in a book, while someone else did everything for her and then tried to pawn it off as Eris. Sometimes, nothing was all you had.

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

The two friends had very different understandings of what a monster was. Kaegen saw a monster as something that people feared. He directly connected the fear of monsters with the monsters themselves. If you feared something, then that something was probably a monster. A monster was a feared, predatory beast, it was a creature that could cause harm, it was a creature people knew could cause harm. When he called himself part monster, it was not a darker mindset labeling himself something wretched, but rather an acknowledgement of his own power.

He was proud to be a monster, proud to be something strong enough to inspire fear in others. He was proud to be different, and it was maybe just a little bit because he wanted to have a good reason for his lack of friends. He didn't see that as the reason, and it certainly didn't make up the entire reason, but it was a secret sore spot. Especially since Eris had drifted off. Kaegen wasn't evil, not really. He was dangerous, sure. But not evil. He was sliding down the slippery slope of darkness, moving a few feet farther down every day, but he had yet to actually plunge into the waters. You could only hate for so long until it started to consume you.

Eris said that she could make her powers like his, but Kaegen had his doubts. She didn't smell anything like him, she didn't act anything like him. She had always been different, and now she was even more different. She was still her, but she wasn't completely her. Kaegen mulled that over, trying to decipher more or less what he was thinking, trying to distill it into a form he could understand.

"Really? Your powers don't seem very similar to mine"

Kaegen looked down at his dull claws, felt the gaps in his gums with his tongue. They were very much a part of him, he couldn't change that. Did shifting your outer appearance match up? He wasn't even entirely convinced that was what his friend was doing. Simple illusions might also be the culprit behind her mysterious power, he didn't know, and didn't care. Hers was a useful gift, no matter how you sliced it.

Kaegens eyes went dark, then normal, then dark again, pupils rapidly convulsing. He could feel his breath getting caught in his throat. His fingers kept tensing until his fingernails dug too deep for him to bear, and even then, he didn't stop squeezing, he just didn't apply any extra pressure after that. He didn't move, but simply stared with wild eyes that danced and screamed. He could feel a tear welling up, red and angry. One of his clenched hands furiously scratched at his neck before snapping back down to his side.

He was in shock, disoriented, off balance. When he opened his mouth to speak, he didn't do much more than breathe the words, as if saying them out loud would make them somehow worse, as if saying them quietly might make them untrue, might get rid of the horrible truth that had eaten it's way into Kaegen's heart and mind, which were both in the process of shattering.

"You... lost."

His friend, Eris. Eris had lost, she had failed. So that was what had happened. They had been friends, then she had gotten too good for him, and moved up. And now she had been defeated, and was back. Back to his level. The little girl had been like a god for such a long time, he hated this realization for existing, and he hated his brain for realizing it.

She was trapped, yelled at, bossed around. If she didn't obey, she would die. Head on the chopping block. She was a servant, a slave to others. No longer wild, no longer free. Her story had ended, someone had taken it from her.

"I tried so hard, so hard to make my story equal to yours. And now..."

The little boy started to shake, started to lose control. He couldn't handle it, couldn't focus on anything, couldn't direct his mind.

"For behold there are only two sorts of beasts in this world, Kaegen. For behold there are only two of anything that matters, for behold one eats and the other is eaten. That is the law the unknown has given us, and it is the law we follow"

An old lesson, recited by a boy who was regretting having ever remembered it.

"If you couldn't make it, then how could I?"

Kaegen let himself fall limp, he had placed too much stock in stories, in who was free. He thought too highly of the dynamics usually exclusive to nature, dynamics that man had long ago risen above. He saw what he saw, and heard what he heard, and gave up. If Eris Fawley couldn't make it, why did he think himself capable? If his friend, if the person he used to see as an inferno of warmth and safety and power and personality, couldn't keep her own story, then there was no way he could keep his own.

It was then that his eyes were completely covered in black. He was hungry, starved. And he was going to feed. It was the hunger that was in control, Kaegen had given up, left the wheel alone and empty. Unopposed. The room suddenly froze, the lights flickered a panicked warning as twisting, curling, churning shadows started to grow longer, started to move towards the little ravenclaw boy. His body stiffened, his mouth opened wide, fangs extended.

And then he lunged.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

I'm behind the trigger, what if I am the target?

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“That’s because they take whatever shape I want.” Eris answered, shrugging her shoulders. She had spent a lot of time learning how to control her powers. It had started simple, with just changing her hair over and over again. Pink and blue, green and pink. Over and over again, whatever colors fit whatever outfit she was using best. Then it was facial features, and so forth. Eris’ magic took on whatever form she wanted. It was a conscious thing. There was no definitive way that her powers looked. Eris didn’t even know what her powers were like, because everytime she used her metamorphmagus abilities, they came out differently. Perhaps she could have powers like Kaegen, if she willed herself to look like him. At least she’d have the fangs and the nails.

Lost. You lost. The words echoed in Eris’ head like a chant, as her cheeks turned scarlet from indignation, as Eris shut her eyes tightly, suddenly afraid of the look in Kaegen’s eyes. It wasn’t the usual one of darkness, it was rage. Pure rage. Eris raised an eyebrow, forcing her eyes open at his next words.

“Equal to mine? I don’t- I don’t think that’s a good idea?” Eris blinked, confusion showing on her face. “Everyone has issues and stories of their own-” She muttered, sliding away from Kaegen, who was shaking like a rabid animal.

Then he was saying random words, a statement Eris didn’t even understand or agree with.”That’s not exactly true. There’s a lot of different-” She trailed off, rubbing at her her neck awkwardly. His words echoed in her head, burning in shame. Something kept her from yelling, the sense that something was wrong. Even when he was shrouded in darkness, Eirs had not been afraid. But, now, there was a tingling sensation of worry in the air. And, being someone who had got her ass handed to her so many times, Eris trusted that sense of worry.

Everything froze, and it wasn’t like before. It wasn’t just the silence of sad shadows that Eris knew too well. There was something heated in the darkness, in the discontent. Eris raised an eyebrow, preparing herself. Hand digging into her pocket, readying herself to use magic, Eris held one hand tightly on her wand. The other hand in the air. He lunged, and she slapped Kaegen’s face with all her limited strength, pain spiralling through Eris’ already hurt hand. She groaned, preparing to roll away from the attack, if he did not halt.

Did..did he just have the nerve to insult her feelings that Eris refused to share with anyone, and then show willingness to attack her, straight-up? Whatever was going on with Kaegen, it wasn’t fair. To attack her for trying, to assume Eris was weak because she was broken. Perhaps Eris was just not understanding of his mind, but she was past thinking. Eris had made herself vulnerable and gotten ridiculed for it. And, Kaegen was lunging at her. Eris took a deep breath, and then decided against even bothering to take another calming breath at all.

The redhead readied herself, and even under the circumstances, an exasperated groan slipped from Eris’ lips. “HAVE YOU NEVER READ A BOOK?” Eris roared loudly, hoping to silence the blood rushing to her face and the roaring in her ears, as she stared at Kaegen, rage heating her cheeks to a crimson colour. “WE ARE THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, FOR THE LOVE OF EVERY SINGLE GOD IN THE GREEK PANTHEON.” Her family was very into Greek mythology, and it sounded cooler to mention a million gods, instead of just one. “Nobody has made it yet! We’re going through goddamn craptastic struggles, and I don’t need you to attack me or get into some depressive bullshit spiral! I didn’t lose anything! Because I’m breaking the goddamn rules, aren’t I?” Eris snapped again, “I’m talking to you, I’m cursing, I’m clearly NOT prim and proper with my hands all bruised up. It’s little goddamn fricking steps, so if you’re able to get your head out of your arse and not kill me, things would be A LOT better for the both of us.” Eris realized she had said goddamn a lot, decided nothing of it, and kept talking.

Sure, she felt doomed and terrible. But in the heat of being accused of feeling that way, Eris would adamantly deny it; deny her own pathetic-ness. There was not going to be a heartfelt sob fest, clearly. So, she screwed her face up into a scowl and barreled forward, no longer trusting her judgement, but going forward on pure emotion, letting her mouth shape and form whatever words rose up, quickly and untamable.

“While I said I couldn’t break the rules, it doesn’t mean that I won’t. Did I not just say that I had to follow my grandad’s rules when I was in his house? Is Hogwarts his house? No. It freaking isn’t.” Eris retorted, before shaking her head. “ I was TRYING TO EXPLAIN MY EMOTIONS AND THOUGHTS. I feel hopeless, but that doesn’t mean that I am. I just don’t have a plan. Yet, okay. And, besides. I move out in a few years.” Even though she doubted her own words, Eris kept speaking, kept rationalizing and trying to set Kaegen at ease. Mostly because he was using his own fangs against her. Suddenly, her own words made sense. Yes. Why was she so nervous of her grandfather, when she was at Hogwarts and he was at home?

“Anyways, back onto the story thing. Every single book, story, movie, or whatever the hell kind of entertainment you have in the Fens.. they all have a part where the hero is struggling. There’s always a moment of defeat, where it feels like the villain will win. But, they’re villains. They don’t win.” She spoke with rising conviction, not for herself, but for the endless books and novels that had carried Eris through the harrowing childhood that had been so difficult. That conviction slipping into her tone, making Eris’ words carry, her whole posture righting herself, as if she had been just waiting to bring up this point, her grin grew.

“And, why the hell are you asking me about how you could make it? Of course you can make it. You’re Kaegen Deathmote, the boy who the whole school fears. The one and only person capable of scaring me, when you’re lunging at me with your goddamn fangs. You’re stronger than you think. Even if I don’t make it, you’ll be able to. Don’t tie yourself down to me, Kaegen. Friends can be strong without their friends. Besides, I’m going to make it. I’m going to be an auror and get far away from all the stupidity of my family. If it gets bad, all I have to do is change my face. I’m a freaking metamorphmagus.”

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

He had lost, for the first time in his life Kaegen had truly lost his drive. Kaegen wasn't widely known as a Dhampir, oddly enough. His terrifying nature went a bit beyond that, enough to make most view him as simply a monster, something that couldn't be explained as easily as "Half-Vampire". He hadn't tasted blood in so, so long. But he had retained his mind, he had kept hold of his sanity by virtue of ridiculous tunnelvision, dogged determination that shattered the expectations of what a 13 year old should realistically be able to do. Determination and goal gone, there was nothing keeping him in check, not really.

Words were not going to reach the little boy, who was feeling like the inside of a deep, dark hole. He felt like life had won, life had finally triumphed over Kaegen Deathmote, and life was laughing. It was mocking him, pocking fun at his limp frame, that was in reality launching itself at his friend. Kaegen wasn't even really aware of this, he was too absorbed with the feeling of all consuming hollowness. It was cold, a cold he didn't like. But for some reason, he didn't seem to be able to do anything about it.

He had fought all his life, done battle with things that shouldn't exist, fought things that didn't exist, and on rare occasions even fought monsters that were very real. Kaegen didn't know what peace felt like, could count how many times he had felt safe in his life on his digits, easily. Without even coming close to the toes. Even when he was beaten by something stronger, he had never really given up, his mind had always moved forward, always plotted onwards to the next encounter. Now it didn't. It had stopped.

If his friend hadn't reacted the way she did, the story would have played out very differently, and so much worse. It would have played out with a prolonged fight, with a scuffle, with shed blood. But the slap was stinging, it sent the boy reeling, and the shock of what had happened pulled him out of defeat enough to think, to realize. To look at his shocked friend, and realize that he had just been slapped. Why had his friend hit him, what had he done?

It took him a second after that, of dumbfounded staring his friend in the face, to realize what exactly had happened. Or at least for him to piece together what probably happened. He had always known he could slip, but it hadn't been on the forefront of his mind. The possibility that he could lose control existed, to be sure, but it wasn't a possibility he had explored much. He had lost, he had given up, and then he was gone.

When Eris started to shout at him, he tried to listen, he tried to care, to understand. But his heart wasn't in it, his ears registered the words but didn't know what to do with them. He didn't care about the words, he just wanted to stop existing, to be gone, to find that hole and slip inside. He heard her tell him that she hadn't lost, that she was breaking the rules, but he didn't believe her. Her hands were bruised and her hair was dusty because she had been hitting things, not because of who she was. She smelled so very, very different. She smelled not of chaos and avenging, of city streets and little scrapes, but of soap and laundry. Of house elves and stuffy pure bloods.

Your smell didn't just change. It changed when you did. When you changed your lifestyle, who you were. That may not have been entirely true, but it was what Kaegen believed. And even though Eris was still at least a little bit herself, she was still clearly very, very different. She was someone else, she had lost something of herself.

But worse than all of that was the fact that she had been trying to ask for support. For someone to listen to her feelings, and he had fallen apart. That became clear very fast, and it hurt. Like a dagger piercing his middle. He actively winced, and although the bit about the villains didn't make sense, because if that was true there wouldn't be any villains, and the bit about the arse didn't make any sense, because heads couldn't fit up there, unless they were really small heads, he was still lucid enough to receive a second stabbing, this time in the form of his friend saying how strong he was.

She was making him out to be great, but there he lay, stunned, standing on shaky legs, hands hanging limp, as he struggled to keep a hold of anything, and found himself utterly unable. Kaegen was too much of a crumbling ruin to do much of anything without something firm to hold on to, without a solid grasp on a goal, or a person, or anything. She thought he was great and powerful and he had just proved her wrong. On so many levels.

"I can't. I don't want to. I've lost, I'm done. And please, just, cover up that blood. I don't want to fight it. I clearly can't."

His hand slid up to touch his cheek, where he's been slapped. He could still smell the blood, and the shock was wearing off. He just had to think about something else, but why? For the sake of hate?

Kaegen could only run so far, fight so much. He was only human, and he was done.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

Image
Eris did her best to dab the blood coating her hands off, eventually just jamming her hands into her pockets. She wasn’t really angry anymore, just confused. Everything about Kaegen was strange, but Eris had thought that she’d learned how to navigate through his strange mannerisms. For a moment, it had seemed like she had been able to get through to him. But, Kaegen was a vampire. He was changed from their friendship in their first year, and something she had said had shattered him. Maybe their year apart had done to Kaegen what it had done to Eris. Turned the other friend into something of a martyr, of a person to think wistfully about. Nothing more than that, really. When you hardly spoke to someone, it was hard to remember anything besides what you liked most about them. Or, if you had a negative connotation with them, then all you could remember what was so terribly bad about them, just as Eris had done with Ami.

So, as Eris stared at Kaegen, gears in her mind trying to work together to handle the terrible circumstance she had found herself in, she frowned and went silent. Eris wasn’t the smartest when she was excited. Certainly, she was smart. Smart enough, at least. She was able to think and figure things out, but that was only when her emotions did not get in the way. She thought with her heart, not her head. And so, any thought would often fade away, in lue of anger and rambling. It was something that Eris was well versed in. But, now she actually had to think. The situation had turned away from one that Eris could even attempt to just ramble her way through. As the white-hot nagging of anger vanished away from Eris’ brain, there was nothing left to keep her going. All she had now were her wits and fast-thinking. Both of which were ideal skills that would help with the-

“No.” Eris blurted out, and then it was suddenly apparent that she was not going to use her brain. Nevermind. Impulsivity won out against reason, a typical fight that reason often lost. Again. But, she didn’t have to think about traditionally smart options to aid in whatever was going on. For a girl of 13, Eris had seen enough of the cruelties of the world to be considered wise. Or at least, wise in her own mildly egotistical eyes. Sighing and sliding to a seated position again, the forming bruises on her hands aching in protest as Eris put both hands against the ground to lower herself back onto the cold stone of the room. She kept her distance from Kaegen, making it apparent that he was more than welcome to come closer if he wanted by patting the ground by her side and shrugging once.

His words made just as little sense as her words had meant to him. But, unlike Kaegen, she wasn’t drowning in of self-doubt. Her own statements having been made, however brashly and inaptly, Eris was now focused upon her saddened friend. Eris herself had felt down and low her own fair share of times. Her whole second year had been spent moping and wandering around, unhappily distracting herself by acting like a manic. It was just shocking to see Kaegen, who always seemed so above mortal emotions like self-doubt to be sad. Eris had always seen him as her rock, as that impenetrable force of steadiness and support. Although, he was a bit less firm than a rock. Although Kaegen would never want to be known as such, and Eris would never state her feelings to him, but Eris had always seen him as a person to turn towards for comfort. However strange his advice would be, it felt nice to be appreciated. Which, was why this whole moment stung so much. It didn’t feel all that great to have Kaegen unable to be there for it. But, it was also a realization that Eris should have been there for him. And she was trying to be there for him now, however shoddy her own advice and words were. She wasn’t able to make a conversation better by randomly gifting a red knitted scarf.

So, instead of professing friendship through a scarf, Eris kept on speaking. “No.” She repeated, tone more severe this time. “You are Kaegen Deathmote. Fens born scarf wielder. You are the friend of Eris. You are not Kaegen Deathmote, He who gave up.” Eris stated promptly, “You are not lost. You are not done. You can do whatever you want. You do not want to give up, really. You are not a coward. Do you remember in our first year, when we stopped talking for a long time because I was hurt? I had lost then, just as I have now. But, I got over it. And, so did you.”Eris shrugged her shoulders, thinking for a moment. The fact he couldn’t handle himself around her blood scared Eris. Wasn’t that a vampire thing? Needing blood so you didn’t lose control?

“If you need blood, why don’t you ask the house elves to like.. Give you the blood from the steak and stuff? They have a kitchen. I saw it on the map.” Eris didn’t really know how someone could get blood from food. But, she’d heard vaguely about how some people liked their steak bloody. So, that meant there was blood from steak. And, if anyone had it, it would be the house-elves in the kitchen that existed somewhere in the basements. Eris hadn’t bothered to explore the kitchens. It was a fricking Kitchen. What would she even do in one? She couldn’t cook. Nor could most evil people. She hardly expected to find an evil madman cooking steak in the kitchen, with an apron and everything. That just seemed laughably stupid.

Eris’s hands crinkled upon the singular wrapper in her robe pocket, aware that it was a stark change from the usual handful of sweets that could be found in the dark chasm of Eris’s pockets. But, as her hands enclosed upon the wrapper, Eris also had another idea. “Or those blood lollipops they sell in Honeydukes. I thought they were a gag gift for annoying family members, but maybe that can work too. Dunno.” She didn't have much more to add to the conversation, lasping off into silence as she kept absently playing with the wrapper to distract herself.

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

Kaegen knew very few things, and even those things he did think he knew were rather hazy. Take, for example, Eris. Kaegen knew logically that he shouldn't put his faith in her, or trust her, based on the fact that she had entirely forgotten about him for so long he had forgotten she existed. That was all well and good, however she was still his friend. There wasn't much he could do, his heart had firmly made up it's mind that Eris was a friend and logic simply wasn't going to get in the way of that.

When Eris said no, Kaegen simply stopped. He accepted that that was it, that was a no, and so he was done. If Grandfather told him to stop crying, then he did, he had to. Kaegen was used to following orders, following orders and hiding made up most of his early life, trying to navigate twisted rules and tests set out by a house elf that did not hold the little boy's best interests anywhere close to his heart.

But for all that, Kaegen hated following orders, going with the flow, accepting things. He was good at it, it came naturally, but that was also part of the reason why he rejected it so readily. He knew it was there, that it was a part of him, and he hated it. But it was hard to be repulsed by a friend, hard to jerk away towards what he wanted to do and scream and shout about. He had been told no, and the matter was over. There was nothing more to be said there.

He would accept that Eris knew what she was talking about, that she knew he wasn't lost. He would accept that he was supposed to be strong, and he would move on. His hands clenched as the wiped furiously at his face. No, he was done, that was all he was going to do he was done. Maybe his friend knew what he was supposed to do, what he was supposed to follow, or believe. But even if she didn't, it was clear weakness wasn't going to be appreciated. He respected that.

Something in him still wanted to scream, or cry, he wasn't sure which, but he was good at suppressing things, and it probably wouldn't bother him again. Or at least it wouldn't if he had any sort of a solid grip on himself, which he clearly did not.

"Right. I can be strong, I am strong. But why?"

He regretted asking the question almost as he was saying it, pressing his mouth closed to a thin line, and stand up sharply. His pupils still danced with an inhuman, amorphous hunger, but it was no longer consuming him. Now it was just a threat, a reminder of what it could do at a moment's notice.

"If you feed a wolf, it gets stronger. I don't like it, I don't like the hunger, or the b- well, the... right. Making it stronger doesn't... what should I do?"

He was only in part referring to how much he wanted to taste blood, blood of something living, blood of something that could scream. He was also very much talking about himself in general, his life, his goals that constantly fell apart before his eyes. He was talking about so many things that he barely knew he was referring to. His hands unclenched and fell loose by his side. He was very clearly trying to be strong, and was partially successful, as evidenced by the very slight tremor, the nervous, tired twitch that showed itself now and then in his eye and finger. The way his lips were pressed together in a tight little rigid line, and how his tired eyes were wide.

He needed something. Help, advice, anything his little friend could give him. Just so long as it was something.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice