Devil’s in the Details

Thisis a short story in response to [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s commission in my Giraffe Sale: “More of that Rozen and Aviv”

Addergoole/Fae Apoc. After Devil Deals (LJ Link) and before Into the Woods (from Sugar Cat) and the subsequent events in Retirement and Retirement 2

Fish Gotta Swim explains what Aviv is up to.

One year, six months after Devil Deals

Aviv left Rozen to the terrified girl, a lovely sorrel brunette, careful not to let his disgust show on his face. “I’ll take the other one back to her home, and see you next year.”

“Pleasure doing business with you.” Of course it was. Rozen delighted in making people uncomfortable. Aviv picked up the unconscious blonde, last year’s victim, and, carefully working an invisibility, carried her home. He left her on her father’s doorstep – her father who had sold her to a monster for a year of peace – tucked in a blanket, and went home, almost holping Rozen would break their deal.

One year later

Three refugees that had come through his camp had mentioned Rozen’s name; one, a tiny girl with lightning in her eyes, had been escorted the whole way there by the giant man. The beast having kept his end of the bargain, Aviv travelled back to his protectorate to keep his end.

The villagers tended to come up with an excuse to send the girls into the woods when it came time to pay the tithe; since the rest of the year it was safe, kept so by Rozen himself, the girls didn’t seem to suspect anything. This year, one had brought her friend, however.

They could handle two girls. Aviv Worked his invisibility and ghosted out into the path, the trees moving eerily around them, the path seeming to close in from behind. He’d used this trick before, when humans were hunting down Ellehemaei in his territory. But these were innocent girls.

They screamed, all the rumors of beasts in the woods, monsters who eat little girls, coming back to them all at once. One of them tried to run, and smacked straight into Aviv. He wrapped a tentacle around her and held her fast.

The other one was holding her head with fingers that seemed to be elongating and splitting, looking more like tendrils or vines than fingers, while pools of ink spilled out of her pants legs. Behind her, Rozen laughed and picked her up.

“Looks like we trade,” he joked. “This one’s got to be yours.”

Aviv held the girl in his non-arms tighter as he watched Rozen, wondering if the beast was going to go for a deal. But the big man was shaking his head, even as he hauled the weakly-struggling girl across the clearing. His voice was solemn. “The girl I dropped off with you? She all right?”

“Ashni?” He nodded. “We got her settled in. Seems she’s pregnant.” He kept any question out of his voice. He didn’t want to know.

“Good. Here, you take your cousin-niece-granddaughter-whatever here home. I’ll keep an eye on her family. You have my word on that.”

Aviv exchanged girls, murmuring a quick Working to put them both to sleep. “Thank you.” Balancing the sleeping maybe-a-relative on his shoulder, he wrapped invisibility around them and headed for home.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/81020.html. You can comment here or there.

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19 thoughts on “Devil’s in the Details

  1. So which girl had the village intended for Rozen? Can you imagine Rozen explaining the Ellehemai facts of life to the parents of the girl who’s gone with Aviv? Though it might be kinder not to unless more of their children Change.

  2. So our girl for the first set of stories had a kid? I’m afraid I’m loosing track of Rozen’s kidnap victims… Typo: her father who had sold her to a monster for a year of peace – tucked in a blanket, and went home, almost holding Rozen would break their deal. Almost hoping Rozen would…

    • So our girl for the first set of stories had a kid? These stories are before that one. She is the … at least third or fourth girl he takes from that area. Not sure where you got a kid from her out of this one. Thanks for the typo catch!

      • Three refugees that had come through his camp had mentioned Rozen’s name; one, a tiny girl with lightning in her eyes, had been escorted the whole way there by the giant man. I assumed that the girl with the lightning eyes was the daughter of the one in the first set of stories. She and Rozen seemed to get along…

          • *grins* I tend to read into things. I figured if he had a daughter he was still worried about, it was probably a child of the woman who talked to him over the winter. But maybe they all do that?

          • I don’t know, she’s the only one I got a personality out of. The girl with the lightening eyes isn’t a daughter, she’s a lover.

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