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Badar Consultant Agency
Co-Writer Blondemaverick*
Beta Reader HalenNikole
Beta Reader Heywood Williams
Co-Writer Z
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#51
1 - Entropic Spiral - 3C
Blondemaverick
Apr 3, 2018
2
4
25
17 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!NdMp4a7iqG5BMAu2sREPposted on PENANA

Present… copyright protection25PENANAqPIv4gRFqN

The vampire took a deep drag of the cigarette and coughed, putting the back of a hand to his mouth to keep the bile from rising up. He stared at the smoke in his other hand in a moment of surprise before he cleared his throat and tentatively took a shallower pull. This time, he exhaled slowly, closing his eyes. “That… Thank God.”copyright protection25PENANAld17C5iJnJ

He can feel the nicotine then, Woody surmised, crossing his arms as he sat back in his chair. If anything, that’s going to make it difficult for him to give up on blood, the werewolf thought jokingly, half-hoping he was seriously wrong. “That good, huh?”copyright protection25PENANAqtkc4PfwGU

“You have no id--Yeah,” Jude said, opening his eyes. “You can imagine it, can’t you?”copyright protection25PENANAl7J4COkttK

“I can imagine,” Woody said quietly. “I know why Black Heart was the way she was. I know vampires don’t need blood to survive. It’s an addiction, isn’t it?” He said it plainly, not intending to mean anything by it, but he saw Jude look away from him, his mood darkening substantially. “I’m not saying you’re like her,” he said quickly, his hands going to his knees as he leaned forward. “You’re nothing like her.”copyright protection25PENANAhPYjXAofkM

Jude’s face briefly morphed into a glare at the ceiling before he relaxed and said to Woody passed the filter of his cigarette, “You said it like a warning, Glenn. Like I could… devolve.”copyright protection25PENANAYLfjYj8ePP

“Jude, before… You’re one of the strongest people I know. Self control is your…” Woody trailed off, realizing he was stumbling over excuses. He took a deep breath and sat back again and said, “I’m worried you’re not yourself. I need to understand where you’re at so I can help you to get back to where you need to be.”copyright protection25PENANA8bXSfzGA3a

Jude gave him a sidelong look. “Can you just listen?”copyright protection25PENANAllZjEWT3ce

“All ears.”copyright protection25PENANAPb05uYoDde

The Holland boy took a deep drag before he pushed himself up to sit against the pillows. He crossed an arm to cup an elbow, then seemed to consider something before he simply clasped his hands in his lap. He then fitfully took the cigarette from his lips and put it out. He said, “They indoctrinated me with simple tasks at first. Running messages. Cleaning the compound. A couple weeks after Rich… I had enough rapport with them that they trusted me to clean up some of their messes.”copyright protection25PENANAtlpqdF0Uf3

“Messes?” Woody prompted after the vampire went quiet for a moment too long.copyright protection25PENANA4Ap4T40N7d

Jude met his eyes. “You know I don’t use other people in my spells. You know I don’t use animals or remains…” When Woody made a get on with it gesture, the kid let out a breath. “The blood magi in Mardenhar didn’t either, because in their eyes sacrificing something beyond you is less of a sacrifice--it holds less meaning, and so the magic is less effective. But you know… Blood magic is banned for a reason. American magi aren’t so ethical or scrupulous.”copyright protection25PENANA2Xo22S1qwe

“Your point?”copyright protection25PENANAFZz4pNJpHZ

“They were kind, Woody. They… Despite everything, they accepted me. They made me kill Rich because he could have exposed them and then all of them would have…” Jude bit his lip; closed his eyes again as he grimaced. “I’m defending them when I shouldn’t. They used their own family members in their experiments. They couldn’t be exposed to The Circle, but they also wanted their magic to be more efficient. Chicken blood wouldn’t have sufficed for the crazy shit they were trying to birth into the world. They needed human blood… Here’s the fucked up part: their families willingly sacrificed themselves. They saw it as an honor--to be a vital stepping stone towards finding and supporting the Red Magus.”copyright protection25PENANAtMzSQsXRf4

“That’s…” Woody began.copyright protection25PENANA4h1sk4llvR

“I know. I want to be angry, but when it was going on, it… It made perfect sense. When I say messes, I mean they made me clean up after rituals. Cut up bodies. Dispose of them… At first, I was just driving out and digging graves on the border of Canada. But the volume just kept increasing. Eventually we went all… Breaking Bad on them.” The mage shook his head. “Twenty-three adults… Six k-kids… Children, Glenn. I-I helped them kill children.”copyright protection25PENANAAaQafgXZGF

Woody was quiet for a very long time. He pressed his clasped hands to his mouth.copyright protection25PENANAY9rx2hZZ8f

“Glenn, I… I don’t expect you to understand,” Jude said at long last, but then he shook his head. “They knew you could sacrifice yourself, but… That was part of the reason it took me a month to even get some semblance of respect out of them. They thought I was fucking insane by using my own body to perform magic. They thought that I was doing it wrong; that the whole point of practicing blood magic is to circumvent the cost that other forms of magic usually have.”copyright protection25PENANA3dx5FR90dE

“Yeah, but other forms of magic don’t require you to kill people, Jude,” Woody said dryly.copyright protection25PENANASNPJX4ZV3F

The vampire shook his head again, going for his pack of cigarettes. He lit a smoke and inhaled, his hands shaking as he pushed them together in his lap. “I didn’t expect you to get it. They thought of themselves as pioneers--the only ones who dared spit in the face of the natural order. With blood magic, it’s…” He let out a breath and met Woody’s brown eyes. “Earth magic requires you to be in contact with the earth and it will only affect things that are influenced by that earth. You can make plants grow; make water bubble up from the surface. You can’t stop time with it. You can’t make the weather obey your command. With water magic, you command water. Fire magic is only for fire. Sex magic can be used to reveal sexual connections between people and places; can incite and cool arousal. With translation magic, you can move objects around a space so long as you know where you are and where you want to go, and you draw on the strings that hold the universe together. It takes hours to cast a teleportation spell. Hours. You know that. You were teleported by Lord Dae himself.”copyright protection25PENANAA1P2zRkzQt

“Well, Dae’s admittedly good at what he does. It only took half an hour for him to move all eight of us thirty miles into--”copyright protection25PENANAOUGm0leamr

Jude waved a hand at him, forestalling anything more from him. “That’s not my point,” he said slowly. “Blood magic isn’t like any of that. You know firsthand, blood magic can conjure fire, heal wounds, teleport, destroy, create, scry… tether and weave spells--and pull them apart into their components. Phenomenal cosmic power… at a price.”copyright protection25PENANAPffEYdIY8M

“At least you don’t have to contend with itty-bitty living space,” the werewolf grumbled, a little annoyed at having been interrupted earlier.copyright protection25PENANAEJOtLnl6Wc

Jude gave him a deadpan look and a raised eyebrow. “That is one thing I don’t have to contend with. You’re not wrong.” He took another drag off his smoke and said, “But my point still stands. Blood magic can be all powerful. So what do you think that does to a person with no ethical mores? No conscience? Just an ambitious desire to see the world be made immortal at the hands of some Great Sacrifice… Some kind of Champion of Magic?”copyright protection25PENANAzL7f77BliY

Woody frowned. They really did get under his skin. He gets more and more animated as he goes on, he thought, disquieted. “Jude… You’re not this Great Sacrifice. You’re not.”copyright protection25PENANAN7e3Mchvbp

They thought I was,” Jude said, his brow turning into a vicious V. He stared icy daggers into Woody’s gold irises. “Isn’t that all that matters now? Dae will be banking on that. He must.”copyright protection25PENANAiP96jVtE1p

Woody didn’t know. He didn’t like not knowing. He wrung his hands together, trying to keep the anger at bay, trying to focus on the smells of old menthol cigarettes and burning apples. He tried to form the perfect solution in his mouth; tried to wrap his tongue around the words like he didn’t have cotton in his cheeks; like he wasn’t clenching his jaw tight enough to crack bone.copyright protection25PENANARBbYRi6sEo

The werewolf finally let out a pent up breath. “I’m trying… not to…” He pulled his hands apart, looked down at his pale palms, turned them over to inspect the darker melanin there. I’m trying not to run back to Dareklind. I’m trying to understand. I’m fighting this need to break everything! You’re not turning into Black Heart. But I’m still ruined by her. For all my bravado, I’m trying to convince myself that you didn’t want anything that happened in that Circle. I’m trying to convince myself that we’ll get through this. Woody blinked. The wolf was at the edge of its cage, pressing its muzzle against the bars hard enough that its teeth scraped against the metal in a stupid grin, mocking him. What the hell am I trying to accomplish? He mentally reached out, felt the hot breath of the creature just there. The wolf licked his palm.copyright protection25PENANArswFvjSMO3

Jude was watching him. Woody looked up and said, “No matter what happened in that bloody Circle, I don’t blame you.” When the kid looked down at the cigarette in his hands, Woody leaned forward, his expression beseeching. “I mean it, kid. I know you.”copyright protection25PENANAc6TmcdhGRj

“Don’t call me kid,” Jude said, uncommitted. He took a drag off his smoke.copyright protection25PENANA6IUhHMANfe

“I just mean…” He ran a tired hand through his hair. “Fuck… I hate seeing you like this,” Woody whispered.copyright protection25PENANAbGGImc1fYQ

Jude glanced at him before looking at his exhausted roll. He snubbed it out and lit another.copyright protection25PENANAibWcx9pPPh

A silence grew between them, filled with smoke and indecision. The werewolf stared at the navy blue duvet on the bed, picking at the quilted stitching idly. The vampire stared at the cigarette burning down in his slim fingers; watched the paper flash into ember and then ash.copyright protection25PENANA9W04dHQNv5

Finally Jude said, “You’re all I have.” There was a conviction in his voice that hadn’t been there before--something rigid in his spine that reminded Woody of the controlled youth he’d met back in the winter of the Dareklind New Year. There was steel and ice in those words, a sort of comfortable immobility that proved that even if the sky fell down on them, at least those words were inalienable.copyright protection25PENANA1HMIp8UrnT

Jude’s face crumpled then as he said, “You reminded me… that I can still choose. I can still choose to be happy, contrary to everything this world has been trying to tell me my whole life.” He met the werewolf’s eyes. “I almost murdered you in the sepulcher. I almost murdered you because it would have been easy… I never want to feel like that again.”copyright protection25PENANAhG5eTCnisd

Woody reached out a hand, his dark brows furrowed together.copyright protection25PENANAAB9BFnjwaO

Jude looked down at his open palm, some kind of debate going on behind his eyes before he sandwiched his roll between his lips and took his friend’s hand. Woody’s fingers grasped his, squeezing reassuringly. Of all the tentative words and careful gestures, this one seemed to get through to the Holland boy. Jude’s pinched face relaxed slightly, but only enough that all the tears that had been welling in his eyes finally spilled over. “The fuck have I turned into?” he whispered.copyright protection25PENANABcvnVVwPmT

Woody put his other hand over the top of their clasped digits.copyright protection25PENANAJEAOStrgMU

Jude used his free hand to wipe at his face and take another drag off his chewed cig. “What’s this mean for BCA? I usually have all the answers… I can think things through. But everything I think of now… I get caught up in this… doubt. It’s crippled me. I don’t want to lose you. I--I'm scared I’ll..." He let out a weighted sigh. "You’re all I have.”copyright protection25PENANAtmvCYbZhIa

Woody’s frown only deepened. “I’m not going anywhere. I made you a promise.”copyright protection25PENANA5jmBHiwd7T

Jude’s gaze snapped up to his, his face filled with sudden guilt. “But I broke mine!”copyright protection25PENANA6RyHFqa7GW

Woody gave him a confused look, but then he sighed. He chewed the inside of his cheek for a moment before he said, “I know you read my mind. I’m not mad. You’ve earned the right after everything that’s happened.”copyright protection25PENANA1ajxMhIMzq

“No I haven’t,” Jude hissed. “If anything, I’ve lost that--”copyright protection25PENANAXEKkgrCNEK

“Jude,” the werewolf interrupted. “Accept my forgiveness. Just… accept it.”copyright protection25PENANAHLBfsgGDnm

The vampire shook his head; tried to pull his hand from the other. “I talked to it.”copyright protection25PENANAAowUWjcF6L

“Talked to it?”copyright protection25PENANA53qQoGh0tW

“To the wolf.”copyright protection25PENANAKaIlqbC6O0

“It doesn’t talk,” Woody said, his voice taking on a dangerous edge. “It doesn’t reason.”copyright protection25PENANAsppZjljv0q

“But it does,” Jude insisted. He stopped pulling away and instead squeezed Woody’s hand. The werewolf pulled away then, standing up from his chair to pace over to the window of the master bedroom. “It does!” Jude said again as Woody crossed his arms, staring out at the rain coming down on the lake through the semi-sheer, paisley, lace curtain. “Glenn… It’s you. It’s a part of you.”copyright protection25PENANAg6uGWSneTQ

“It’s just a fucking wolf, Holland.”copyright protection25PENANAbD1TZr4BxT

“Don’t you fucking Holland me,” the vampire growled, throwing the blanket back. He stomped over to the walk-in-closet and threw the door open. It banged against the stopper set in the wall with a polite thunk! and he flicked the light on before striding in. Calling out to Woody, he said, “I bare my fucking soul to you and you… Well, I just want you to know, I accept you too. All of you, Stupid. The wolf is part of you whether you accept it or not. At least it knows what it is.”copyright protection25PENANAB0j1ZCmj8m

“Hunger!” Woody barked at him, the hairs on the back of his neck raising slightly. He took a deep breath and ran both hands along his scalp, trying to calm the quickening of his pulse, the anger just boiling at the surface; a violent yearning. “That’s all it is… It is just hunger incarnate. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t feel. It just consumes. That’s all it wants. That’s all it is! I bet you talked to it. What did it fucking say? I can take a wild fucking guess. Would you tell me if I was right?”copyright protection25PENANAJpte6p6tEZ

Jude pulled a pair of black slacks on over his boxer briefs and sneered at him from the doorway of the closet. “It only knows one word, but it communicates in other ways, ar-tard.”copyright protection25PENANAkPDlJCNOek

“What a fucking--Oh, so you can mind read it’s non-verbal cues now?”copyright protection25PENANAIQl1RlEdEM

“Yes! Yes I can!”copyright protection25PENANAAoc3CjtJM7

“Then what the fuck is it saying right now? Go ahead. Read my mind.”copyright protection25PENANAI7XmtGYgud

Jude leaned against the doorway, his eyes narrowing. “There’s a full moon in three days. That’s why you’re so aggressive. That’s why you’re so damned worried.”copyright protection25PENANABc3WeUhS8W

All the blood fell out of the werewolf’s face. He turned inward and regarded the wolf at the edge of its cage, mocking him with its teeth bared. Fucking traitor, he told it. The wolf snorted, drawing away from the edge and retreating back into the enclosure. In the darkness of the cell, he noticed him then: Jude standing in the center of the cage. The wolf circled around the pale man protectively, eyeing Woody with a smug sort of satisfaction.copyright protection25PENANAFIkSMXbfGX

It is hungry, Jude said in Woody’s mind. But hunger is more than consumption. It’s desire.copyright protection25PENANAnp5kLy1KOw

Then what does it desire, Oh Wise and All Knowing Wolf Whisperer? Woody demanded. He tried to hide it, but the words still came out feeling half-anguished, half-jealous.copyright protection25PENANAXpJ0mXVEQ3

“What do you want?” Jude asked out loud.copyright protection25PENANAAvMVnzSzPz

Woody shook his head. “That is not--”copyright protection25PENANAxcZCxKazvY

“It is the same thing! It’s you. It wants what you want.”copyright protection25PENANA5soOtLMppC

“I DIDN’T WANT TO KILL YOU!” Woody shouted, his voice shaking the walls.copyright protection25PENANAtZ8fUwPN5E

Jude flinched like he'd been struck, but then his body went rigid. He waited until Woody noticed that he’d pounded a fist into the bedside table, crushing it down into itself like a disposed milk carton. The werewolf pulled his splintered fist from the wreckage, his body shaking. He grunted in a sort of affirmation. Deep breaths, Sherwood. Deep breaths… Then he let out a groan of pain as it finally registered. He clutched his hand close to his chest and slowly let out another one of those settling exhales.copyright protection25PENANAnCRmeo7oYD

If Woody hadn’t had such keen hearing, he may have missed Jude’s quiet words as the vampire whispered, “I… know you didn’t want to kill me. But you wanted me. To the wolf, it’s the same thing… because you haven’t learned to control it. You haven’t embraced it.”copyright protection25PENANAn35MSzxFYW

Woody, overcome with pain and shame, shook his head. “No… No, I can’t!” Images snapped in front of his mind’s eye. He tried to stop them, but the memory was right there, angry as a neglected wound.copyright protection25PENANAhrWqHRWxF2

“Pack!” his mother had barked, shoving his backpack at him from across the room.copyright protection25PENANAb2E2pTrwip

He’d looked down at the bag, his heart still pounding in his ears, his tongue still swollen in the back of his throat. “I can’t.”copyright protection25PENANA9GtfslP00O

“Well, you can’t stay here! You said  'No,' you fool. They will come for you, Koa!” she had growled, pulling her six-shot out of the nightstand, checking the rounds to make sure they were still flush and unrusted. She had looked up then, her black eyes wild and intense. “Glenn!” She had gripped the front of his hoodie and pulled him forward, tipping his already tall frame toward her. A gunshot ruined his hearing as she fired her gun over his back, using his bowed frame for support as she unloaded the rest of the gun.copyright protection25PENANAWigSIYKFvp

He had turned then. He remembered his father standing in the doorway of the trailer, already fully transformed by the full moon. Woody had smelled the blood, the fury, the lust. He had felt his mother’s fingers dig into the meat of his upper arm.copyright protection25PENANAHGrmJQgbnz

He had looked back at her as his father’s hackles rose. “I can’t.”copyright protection25PENANABxf4NIqDIr

“Don’t!” She had pushed him aside, but he was already letting go. She had seen it in his eyes; a conviction all his own. Tsumi Sherwood only groaned in resignation, and she too gave in to the wolf within.copyright protection25PENANArEJHxsGh8b

Woody closed his eyes as the last image hovered there: the three of them tearing each other apart, and then… the rest of the pack intervening…copyright protection25PENANAHPS8cCZtNn

He opened his eyes, sought out Jude’s blue gaze. “I can’t,” he said softly.copyright protection25PENANA2oUhsIZTlH

The vampire was insistent, but he sensed he was treading on thin ice. He reached out a hand, but let it fall when Woody didn’t move. He said, “I made a decision when I was in the Crimson Circle. I vowed that I would do everything in my power to help you. You’re all I have. You’re the only thing that…” Jude shook his head then and took his time selecting a shirt. As he buttoned up a black blouse, he said, “I’m done being a victim. I’m done being at the mercy of every faction’s skewed ideals. We’re going to write our own rules from now on.”copyright protection25PENANAkMm3uUwacE

What got us in this mess in the first place then? Was it your insecurity? Mine? Your curiosity? My curiosity? Why did you want the help of The Circle, Jude? You still haven’t told me. You haven’t told me everything. “You can’t be thinking about revenge,” Woody hissed through his teeth, burying his questions underneath his pragmatism, “Jaeborn wants that. He’s counting on it. You know that. He’s made you into this.”copyright protection25PENANAmTte2GQ19D

“No, not revenge,” Jude assured him with a wan smile. “The both of us are done with revenge. We’re full of fulfilled vengeance. No… This isn’t personal.” He came over to Woody and took his curled fist from him. “I need time to think…” The vampire bit into his thumb and wiped the thin trickle of blood over Woody’s hand. The werewolf opened his palm with little effort as Jude grimaced and looked down at his now broken hand. It took a hefty few minutes for the mage’s hand to heal, warning them both that he was running low on his life-granting blood.copyright protection25PENANApb2jtv2son

“L-Likewise,” Woody said, swallowing uneasily. The vampire was looking more gaunt as they stood. The heat that had emanated from him before was all but gone. “Jude…”copyright protection25PENANAaIaxMFriPE

“We should heal your foot while I have the strength to,” he said numbly, bending down.copyright protection25PENANAWcxqqz6gBg

“One day you won’t have to sacrifice yourself for me,” Woody said suddenly.copyright protection25PENANAU0sXkWsnoQ

Jude looked up, a finger sliding from his mouth as he smiled, the gums of his teeth black. “One day,” he agreed, but he didn’t sound convinced. “But not today.”copyright protection25PENANAKzzV6lAyDq

Woody sat down in the chair and proffered his swollen foot. “This is going to hurt you.”copyright protection25PENANAczCKZ2k6jV

“No…” Jude whispered, as he rolled off the other’s sock. “Not anymore.”copyright protection25PENANAneWQbhMDEb

54.80.208.105

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Comments ( 4 )

Mikha'il - gosh dang that was so intense that i had to reread it sever times
2 months agoreply

Blondemaverick - I had to rewrite this scene a few times. I feel like it's full of too many twists and turns. One minute, Jude's vulnerable, the next, Woody's breaking down, the next minute, Jude's begging... then Woody's resigned... I don't know. I have mixed feeling about this one. Does it flow okay?
2 months agoreply

Mikha'il - @Blondemaverick, i think it flows well! arguments happens all at once, so weighing in both of their personalities and relationship/dependency theyve developed with each other, it didnt weird me out or anything with how fast it went.
2 months agoreply

Blondemaverick - @Mikha'il, Excellent. I was really worried for this part, because they're both at such a delicate point in their lives/relationship, that anything could make it break... but luckily, it doesn't. Glad that turmoil comes across :)
2 months agoreply

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