So eli and I wrote a fanfic with a couple of our own characters. I don't mind if you get confused.
Anji huddled against the large marble doors, eyes red and puffy from crying. Rain poured from the sky, thunder rumbling somewhere far away. She pulled her knees closer to her chest, fresh tears pouring down her faces as sobs shuddered through her body.
The King put a hand to the cold marble and it melted away at her touch. She had known of the man’s death, of course: a man who had once been a close friend of hers. She had not seen or spoke to him in years, afraid of what he would see, but she did not mourn him less for that.
Brynna bent low, gathering her Castle up in her arms to take her inside, out of the rain. The doors reasserted themselves, solid and imposing, behind her, as she carried the smaller woman in, the hallway reshaping itself as she walked. “Auren.”
Auren curled up tighter, shaking her head at the King.
At last, Brynna settled in a small alcove, lit but not too brightly, and curled up on the spongy marble, Auren in her lap. She stroked the Castle’s forehead, demanding nothing, offering warmth.
Anji didn’t move for hours, eventually falling asleep on the new bed.
When the Castle woke, there was a bone china cup filled with clear, sparkling water, and a matching bowl filled with oatmeal, sitting on an ivory shelf within her reach.
The woman stared at the food, fresh tears welling in her eyes as she rolled over, ignoring the offering. Brynna rubbed her Castle’s back gently, as the bowl of oatmeal silently vanished and was replaced by a plate stacked with slices of spiced toast with cheese.
Auren closed her eyes, mutely throwing an arm over her eyes. The light in the alcove dimmed in response.
The castle only stirred to shift positions as her stomach grew increasingly tight, forcing her to have to concentrate harder to find the sweet release that unconsciousness held.
“Please eat,” Brynna said softly on the tenth day, when her Castle’s hunger was too much for her to bear. The food still sat on the shelf, as fresh as on the day she created it.
Anji shifted, looking at the King dolefully.
The older woman reached out, taking the cup of water in one hand and a slice of toast in the other, gently bringing first one, then the other, to Auren’s lips.
The Castle ate reluctantly, but obeyed her King, stopping only when Brynna stopped forcing food to her mouth.
When her Castle stopped, the plate vanished, leaving the cup of water, newly filled, on the shelf. Brynna hugged her charge lightly, and patted her on the head.
Anji relaxed, beginning to sob again, burying her head in Brynna’s shoulder. The King held her to herself, strong hands holding the Castle steady.
-some time later-
Brynna led the girl into the new room, with bright artificial light seeming to warm its marble walls. An ornate silver washstand stood in the corner; much of the room was taken up by an ivory-lined four-poster bed whose embroidered silk sheets and pillowcases looked rich, warm, and, above all, comfortable. “You can sleep here,” she said softly. “Or as you like. I made it for you.”
Auren looked up at the King, something uncertain in her eyes. She padded over to the bed, sliding neatly into it and closing her eyes. Brynna stood at the door for a few minutes, watching the woman with concern. At last, satisfied that Auren was safe, she turned away, leaving the door open.
Auren started awake, mildly panicky for a moment until she remembered where she was. She frowned, missing the feel of someone around her, and began searching the rooms of the palace for someone, anyone to be there.
She quietly opened a small side door to reveal a room, unadorned and plain. A small marble bed occupied most of the space, with the King asleep upon it. Auren smiled, and stepped towards the bed, taking care not to wake up the woman as she curled up by her feet to sleep.
Brynna woke, something in the back of her mind out of place. Brief probing found her her Castle, at her feet on the mattress.
“Oh, Auren,” she whispered, gathering the woman up in her arms to hold her carefully, as a thick blanket formed on top of them.
When Auren awoke, she was warm, arms loosely cradling her. She looked up, smiling slightly as she saw the King, pupils dilating as she kissed her lightly.
Brynna pulled away first, shaking her head. “Not like this, Auren,” she said sadly, and kissed the top of the Castle’s head.
Auren’s voice whimpered for a moment, the unused chords making her tone more pitiful than she meant. She shook her head, and moved closer to the King, curling herself around the other.
“It’s all right,” the King murmured in her ear. “It’s all right to feel, Auren.”
Auren shivered, and kissed the woman again, eyes pulling closed.
Brynna shuddered as she ended the kiss again, the motion making her stomach roll. “No,” she said, gentle but firm. “You are more than what the magic makes of you, Auren. He wouldn’t want you to lose yourself like that.” Her voice wavered. “And neither would I.”
Auren broke eye contact with the King, curling in on herself as she earned mistaken displeasure. Glancing up at the King, she began to slide to the bottom of the bed once more.
Brynna tugged lightly on her arm. “I’m sorry, Auren. It’s okay, honey. I’ll take care of you.”
Auren looked up at the King, eyes filled with trust. “Love?”
Brynna closed her eyes, her arms going rigid for a moment around the Castle. “I love you, Auren,” she admitted, barely audible. “But we aren’t ready for this.” She fought down the nausea her words brought on.
The Castle nodded to herself for a moment, and slid back into Brynna’s arms. Pulling as close as she could manage, Auren closed her eyes. “Love.”
Anji sighed, glancing plaintively at the marble doors. With a soft, hesistant motion, she began pawing, seeking a seam where the door met the wall.
Brynna shuddered, and the doors did with her, opening to let the Castle out. “Be well, Auren,” she whispered, standing at the far end of the room.
Auren whimpered, and moved toward the King, unable to see her liege as she held out her hand. The King came forward slowly, to kneel beside the girl. “You aren’t a prisoner, Auren,” she said softly. “But I am. I will be here for you, when you want to return.”
Auren looked pleadingly at the woman. “Please... come...?” she said haltingly.
Brynna hugged Auren around the shoulder, leaning her head on hers, eyes closed to hide how much it meant just to hear the Castle’s voice again. “I can’t,” she said, shamefaced. “I’m a danger out there. I will be with you, watching over you, to keep you safe.”
Auren frowned. “Who… Who keeps y-you safe?”
“The marble walls here protect me from outside, Auren. I’ll be safe inside.”
“Don’t wanna go without you.”
“Do you want me to stay?” Auren looked up at her King with worried eyes, quickly breaking eye contact. “Can I stay and be yours?”
“You are my Castle,” Brynna said distantly, ignoring the shooting pain her words brought on. “I am your King. I will still be here when you return, Auren. We don’t belong to one another yet.”
“Yes, my lady.” Auren bowed her head, and walked out of the palace, hesitantly exploring the outside. The doors remained open behind her, leaving the Castle a way in, and the King retreated ever deeper into her palace, away from the doors, marble walls rising up behind her.
Auren knocked on the doors of the palace, quietly composing herself. They swung open slowly, and the woman held back a moment’s panic as she walked through them.
Hidden behind walls, Brynna felt her Castle’s return, her heart beating in a cold tattoo against her chest. “Brynna?” Auren called, exploring the blank marble walls. “My lady?”
The first wall melted away, the King’s panic rising.
Auren walked in, a small smile growing on her face. “Hello, my King. I’ve been away. I missed you.”
The second wall crumbled, as Brynna made her way to one of the thrones on her hidden dais.
Auren walked before the dais, stopping to kneel before the throne, head bent. “And, I’ve come to present myself and see if I can be found worthy of your Kingship.”
Brynna shuddered at the gesture, turning away slightly to motion to the empty throne. “This one’s for you.”
Auren stood, and looked at the throne for a moment. It trembled and shrank, straight cut marble becoming living wood. The smell of lavender filled the air, and Auren smiled. “With the niceties out of the way, hello, my Brynna. How are you?”
“I’ve missed you,” the King said quietly, instinctively curling toward the woman at the sound of her name. “It’s a comfort to have you back, Auren.”
“Missed me as your Castle?” Auren slid closer, and knelt by the throne with her head in Brynna’s lap. “Or as your Auren?”
“I missed my friend.”
“Right here.” Auren promised, pulling the King into a hug, long and wordless.
“Do you want to talk?” Brynna asked, meeting Auren’s eyes as an afterthought. “About him? I know we haven’t much need for words, but… sometimes it helps to speak them. To cope.”
Auren met her friend’s eyes, and broke away. “It wouldn’t like me to.” She sighed, and added, “Some days I wake up not even remembering his name. Or what he looked like, or smelled like.”
“Maybe if we keep generating the memory, it will keep it whole?” The King looked away. “It’s hard to forget that infuriating smile, like he was waiting for you to get the joke.”
Auren smiled at the memory. “And he’d always hold me, even when I didn’t need it.”
“He said he liked to fade into the background, but then you’d notice the look in his eye that said he was still watching everybody else.”
“He never ate black beans.” Auren laughed. “He’d eat everything except for those. I don’t know why.”
“He’d sooner cut his thumb off than be discourteous, no matter how rude someone acted to him.”
“The only person that ever took better care of me than him was… you.”
Brynna shook her head fondly. “I doubt I come close,” she said softly.
Auren smiled softly, and leaned in to kiss the King, eyes slipping closed. Brynna reacted to the kiss instinctively, drawing closer to the Castle. When it ended, she met Auren’s eyes with a serious expression. “Are you sure, Auren,” she asked, “that you want this?”
Auren bit her lip, and looked up at the King. “I love you.”
Brynna sighed deeply, leaning forward again. “I have loved you for… a very long time, Auren mine.”
Auren trembled, and leaned closer, shushing her with a kiss. When she pulled away, she said, “You don’t have to wait any longer.” She smiled, and leaned close again. “Let’s stop worrying for a bit.”
The King smiled, holding her Castle close. “That sounds like a good plan to me.”
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.
AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.