8th Achtus, 2718
VIENDA| MID MORNING
She was free.
Charity couldn’t hide the smile on her face, even if the world wasn’t any brighter than it had been before, in some small way she was free. The trial had been a joke, an utter disaster, but there were two things that had happened that the still-brunette woman clung to with a feverish desperation, two things that helped hold her sanity together.
One. She was no longer a D’Arthe.
Two. Damen couldn’t touch her.
She knew the trial had hurt Rhys, in more than just the fact that her father had got away with what could be considered a slap on the wrist, and it hurt her too, but for one gloriously happy moment she didn’t have to fear him. Taking the time to slip away from home, Charity let herself wander the streets in broad daylight, almost daring Damen to confront her. She didn’t cringe when she saw the Seventen uniform, instead she lifted her chin and continued with her business.
First stop, the bakery. The young woman hadn’t visited the actual bakers in seasons, and the smell was too tempting not to inhale. Spending far too long in the shop, Charity bought more things than herself and Rhys could possibly finish in the next day or two, leaving with a basket of goods and a warm grin. Her winter coat seemed almost unnecessary in the sun, even though snow still clung to the city like a great white blanket. Taking the scenic route back to the home she currently occupied with Rhys, his home really, the new Valentin ignored any whispers or curious looks. The trial had been public and it had been a hot topic, and to date people still gossiped. Seeing Charity out and about was just fuel, but frankly the blonde-come-brunette didn’t clocking care.
Next stop, the cellar door, to peruse their best selection of wines. It felt like forever since she’d enjoyed a good red, or even a brisk white, and the couple could do with something vibrant to perk their spirits. She chatted briefly with the owner, tasting samples as they were offered, before settling on a bottle of both a vintage red and a summer white. Why not? It’s not like they were frequent drinkers, and she really wanted to take a breath and just relax with the man.
That of course, brought her to the final step in her morning out. She stopped in at the closest restaurant, reserving a quiet table for two for much later in the evening. They would have baked goods for midday meal, maybe the bottle of white, head into the restaurant for dinner and polish off the red at home. Yes, that would make it a good day.
Making her way back home, Charity waved to the Hoxian from downstairs, the older woman waving back with a bright smile. It was close to mid morning, and the sun was still just as lovely as it had been first thing. Taking the keys Rhys had made for her, the pale creature moved to unlock the door, pausing when she realised it was already open. Her brow drew together slightly, and she pushed the door open warily, field collecting in readiness.
“Hello?” The petite pianist called out, noticing the house was dark, curtains still drawn.
“Rhys, are you home?” She asked loudly, stepping inside and placing her shopping on the floor. The place was very quiet, and a quick glance at the coat rack revealed that Rhys was in fact, not at home. The brunette removed her coat and shook her head. It had probably been the wick on his way out, perhaps he hadn’t shut the door properly. It made sense. Hopefully, Jynx hadn’t escaped whilst he was away. Hanging her coat and pushing the door shut, Charity picked up her shopping and moved to the kitchen. Putting away the wine and covering the baked goods with a cloth, she slipped off her heels and carried them to the bedroom, intending to put them away in the wardrobe under her hanging dresses.
The strange, yet familiar field hit her like a hot towel on a summer night, engulfing her body with the tingling sensations of Perceptive conversation. Her vision became dark at the edges, shoes dropping from her hands with a thump on the wood, and head tipping back as Sleep overwhelmed her. As the woman slipped into unconsciousness, a pair of firm hands scooped her up, catching her before she fell to knock anything over. It only lasted moments, but when she awoke, Charity found herself face down in the covers of the bed she shared with Rhys.
“…with that smug grin on his face. You know I could have done better for you. I could have been better for you.” A man’s voice was growling from the end of the bed, and as the galdor moved groggily to push herself up, a firm hand shoved her back down.
“Shit. I thought you’d be out for longer.” The pianist struggled to get up, twisting and kicking at the man. He grabbed her hair, holding her back down and using a free hand to shift her skirts so he could stand between her legs, rather than be kicked in the knees by her. Taking a deep breath, the galdor screamed, yelping in pain as he drew her head back and growled in her ear.
“Scream, go on. As loud as you like. No one’s going to hear you. This place is pretty sound proof once you lock it all up. I mean…the Quiet spell helps…but still.” Twisting to look back at the man, Charity grit her teeth.
“What did you do with Rhys? How did you get in here?” She asked in a strained voice, tears welling in her violet gaze. Benjamin chuckled, his free hand tugging at the buttons that closed her dress from the nape of her neck.
“Your husband? Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything to him. I want him to know just how pointless his little act of heroism was. You remember right? In Roalis? Thinking he could threaten me with his snaps and his uniform. Fucking ersehole.” Face down, her legs unable to draw up at this angle to give the man a solid kick, Charity began to panic. She had to calm down, and make a different move. The galdor took a deep breath, closing her eyes and drawing her field close, before sharply uttering the short syllables for Push. Benjamin grunted, knocked back against the wall as Charity scrambled to her feet and made a run for the door. He grabbed for her dress, tearing it away with a showering patter of buttons flying across the floor, but he didn’t catch her. Up the hallway, through the lounge, the woman had made it to the front door. She grabbed the handle, turning it and pulling the door open, when Benjamin’s arms wrapped around her in a bearhug. He spun her away and kicked the door shut, before dragging her kicking and screaming back to the bedroom.
“That wasn’t very nice.” He said with a sneer, before throwing the brunette down on the hardwood floor, panting and pushed auburn curls away from his face.
“Truth be told, Diaxio sent me to rough you up when you were wandering around like some moon-struck idiot. A friendly reminder that you’ve got a clocking job to do. But then I saw the house was empty and frankly it was just too easy to get in. Imagine how ironic it would be to have you in his bed?” Charity began to pull her field together again, mind clutching at spells she could use in defence. Grasping at the monite for Terror, she began to cast in a panic, feeling the aching ringing in her teeth as the mona protested her sloppy work. The air around them hung heavily, and Benjamin seemed for a moment as though he would be overcome by the spell, eyes widening and hands slapping at his arms. But the focus wasn’t there, and with a sudden turning of the tide, the ringing in her teeth became a painful roar in both of their ears. The two galdori cringed in pain as Charity’s spell fell apart, brailing with a sour tone and a rush of nothingness as the mona escaped the area. The taller man swore, staggering under the lack of presence in his field, glaring at the woman where she recovered on the floor. A small trickle of blood escaped their ears, the pressure of the failed spell having a minimal physical impact.
“You dumb piece of—” He didn’t finish the rest of his sentence, grabbing at the pianist to lift her off the ground and shove her onto the bed. Charity scratched at his arms, sobbing angrily and trying to get away from his grasp as the taller galdor grabbed at her dress with both hands and ripped the fine fabric apart. His hands shifted to wrap around her throat, squeezing hard, face red with effort and frustration. The woman struggled, hitting him hard across the face and trying to knee him where it hurt, but the taller man simply climbed over her legs to straddle her hips. Lights swam before her eyes, and she clawed at his hands, kicking desperately and field wavering.
“Ben. Please!” She wheezed, pleading for her life. Benjamin’s green gaze looked over her face, and in a moment of mercy he let her go. Charity gasped for air, coughing and pushing him away even as he sat back to remove his belt and loosen his pants.
“I just…you and I would have been so good together. You know? Really good. Your father would have even been happy with the union. Maybe.” He rambled in an oddly tearful voice, shoving the remains of her dress aside and reaching for the fine lace of her undergarments. The brunette sat up and slapped him violently, shoving the auburn haired bastard as hard as she could. Grabbing at her hands as he slipped a knee between her thighs, Benjamin growled, intent to finish what he’d started in the alley behind the theatre. Charity screamed again, thrashing and kicking wildly, calling for Rhys even though she knew he couldn’t hear her. The taller man leaned down, trying to kiss her lips even as he fumbled to bring them together.
It happened so fast, neither one of them were prepared.
A sound, a growling hissing yowl peeled from the side of the bed, before the one eyed osta launched himself at Benjamin's face, biting and scratching the strange man in his territory. The auburn haired galdor screamed, grabbing at the furious bundle of fur, giving Charity an opening to writhe and kick her way free. She stumbled on the tatters of her dress, letting it fall to the floor as she ran from the bedroom. Instead of making for the doorway, she fled to the kitchen, drawing the largest knife she could find from the drawers. She turned just as Benjamin made it to the doorway, face bleeding and Jynx currently missing. He stopped, holding his hands up with a laugh.
“Come on now, you wouldn’t.” The self-sure man said with a tilt of his head, taking a step closer. Charity swiped at him with the knife, breathing hard and shaking.
“I would! I will! Get out.” She growled, violet eyes wild and teeth grit. Benjamin stopped, watching the knife with another cocky smile.
“Just—” The pianist moved forward, swinging the blade and catching him on the hand. The taller man swore, backing up out of the kitchen and tripping over the leg of a chair. As he landed with a thump, Charity screamed at him.
“Out!” Scrambling to his feet, the man ran for her door, tugging it open and fleeing down the stairs two at a time. He would be seen, no doubt. Would alarms be raised? Maybe. For the moment, Charity didn’t care. She grasped the knife handle tightly, staring at the half open door and breathing heavily. Time ticked over for a few moments, and she didn’t move. From the bedroom, a questioning chirrup broke her daze, and she dropped the knife with a sob. Turning, she welcomed Jynx to her, the slightly worse for wear osta crawling into her lap as the galdor sunk to the floor and wept into his coat.
“Miss? Miss you okay? You—oh!” The Hoxian noodle house owner called softly from the open doorway, entering as soon as she saw the woman on the floor. Charity couldn’t speak, she could barely breathe, huddled over the one eyed creature and crying her eyes out. Kneeling beside the woman, the Hoxian soothed her quietly, waiting with the galdor till Rhys could return.