Tag Archive | character:reynard

In Which Reynard Gets a Bath

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Last posted about a year ago~

Reynard was swaying. He wasn’t sure when it had started, but he realized, as the woman’s — Elle’s — his owner’s hand landed on his shoulder that he had been leaning to one side, muttering.

“When’s the last time you ate?” She sounded angry. Reynard didn’t look up at her; if he had, he was pretty sure he’d have fallen over.

Don’t call her mistress. “I, uh. Sometime before the beatdown, I think. I don’t really remember much of it clearly.”

“Right. So we’ll clean you, and then we’ll feed you, and then we’ll worry about the rest. Can you stand?”

She seemed to ask him that a lot. Reynard considered the question. “Yes?” He levered himself slowly to his feet, surprised to find her arms under his shoulders pulling him up.

And holding him up, and pulling off what remained of his clothes. “Normally,” he offered, before he noticed his words were slurring, “Norm-uh-luh-lee, I’m very ex.. Happy to have a pretty woman taking my clothes off. Norm. Ally.”

“And now?” She slapped his hands away as he tried to help.

“Now, I think you’re taking ad. Taking advan…” He could not come up with a shorter form of the word.

He didn’t need to. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “You Belong to me.”

“Ah. Ah, well… yes. You have a very good point.” Reynard swallowed. “Yes, ma’am Elle. You can take ad — take me any way you want to, can’t you?”

“I can,” she agreed. “I don’t have to wait until you’re slurring your words and swaying on your feet, if what I want is you. Interesting, isn’t it?”

“Inter’sing?” That wasn’t the word he’d have normally used. “Terfy’ing?”

She chuckled. He was naked now — when had that happened? And she was moving him, nearly carrying him, towards the tub. “Interesting. I was never all that interested in having Kept, back in school. And I don’t recall you having any, either. But here we are, because you raided the wrong henhouse. Keep your head above water.”

“Keep my…” for a second, Reynard thought she was speaking metaphorically, and then her hands were off of him and he was slipping into the water.

Head above. Head above. He grabbed on to the sides of the tub and forced his shaking arms to hold him there. Head above water. RIght. He could do that.

A moment later, a warm presence slipped in behind him and arms wrapped around his shoulders. “There you go. There. Just relax against me, if you can.”

Reynard was following her order before he realized she was naked. Of course, he thought, it’s a tub. But that was a lot of wet, slick, naked skin — naked Keeper — pressed against him. The Bond liked contact. He remembered that from school. It liked touch. It liked praise. It hated screwing up, running into orders, disappointing your Keeper. He leaned against Elle and let her hold him up.

“I’m Kept,” he muttered groggily. “Shit.”

“Quite astute,” she murmured in his ear. “Stay awake for me, foxboy. Just until we get you clean, at least. Come on.”

The order pricked him into consciousness. “S’hard,” he complained. “There was a lot of, uh…”

“Yes. I think you were staying awake on adrenaline. Now that you’ve decided i’m not going to torture or kill you immediately, you’re crashing. That’s fine.” She lathered a washcloth and ran it over his chest. “Just stay awake long enough to not drown and we’ll be fine. I just want to make sure this is mostly dirt and not blood.”

“Some blood, probably. That big guy was big.” The orders were warring against Reynard’s body’s urges, but he knew about that. He pinched himself surreptitiously on his inner thigh and ran through a few complicated math problems in his head. Her hands were all over him, scrubbing at the dirt covering him, gentle when she found a wound under the filth. He was dirtier than he remembered – and less wounded, too. His memories were fuzzy, but he had clear images of the big guy swinging a broadsword at him.

Reynard was good at ducking – preternaturally good at it, even – but there wasn’t all that much one could do about a big block of muscle and rock swinging a giant blade at you at superman-like speeds. Dodge once of twice, sure, but eventually you were going to get hit. And hit again. And… “Ow.”

her fingers had found bruises he didn’t remember getting. “Oh, hrrm.” She craned her neck over his shoulder to look at his chest. Cleaned of all the dirt, the bruise was clear. “You must have really, really annoyed him.”

Reynard blinked his eyes until they would focus on the bruise. Across his chest, someone had left a mark in the exact shape of a hand.

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In Which Reynard Goes Back To School

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The hallway was a strange off-green that looked naggingly familiar to Reynard. When they passed the second display case, this one showing off a variety of long-dead cell phones, he began to understand where they were. When they passed a fire door, both doors wedged open with pieces of wood, he was certain.

“You took over an elementary school?” That explained the chalkboard…

“Actually, we buried it. It had survived the collapse almost entirely intact.”

“Buried?” Reynard looked around at the soft, indirect light that infused the place. “But the – the classroom we were in, there was a view.”

“It’s a really neat Working. One of my crew did it in a lot of the windows; it keeps it from feeling tight and claustrophobic down here.”

“You buried an entire school. And then you put in windows.” Reynard shook his head – carefully, because he could still feel the prick of hawthorn, even with all the vines gone. “And you went to school the same time I did?”

“We’re overachievers,” she answered lightly. “Burying the school was the easy part. Doing it so groundwater didn’t seep in everywhere was the hard part. We’re almost there, by the way.”

“Principal’s office? I know I’ve been a bad boy…”

“That’s tomorrow.” She smirked at him, the first playful expression he had seen on her face. It made her look far less severe; he found he liked it.

Of course, he reminded himself, she Owns you. Probably. She’s going to look attractive no matter what she does.

He cleared his throat. He had not been this far off his game in – in ever. “Tomorrow, Mistress?”

She chuckled at him, the laughter after the smirk sounding almost joyful. “Didn’t I say to call me Elle?”

Reynard nearly stumbled. “Shit. Shit, I’m sorry…” He considered dropping to his knees, but he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get back up. “I – I forgot.”

She tapped his nose lightly. “You’ll have to work on that. Tonight – tonight, let’s just get you cleaned up and into a bed before you fall over, all right?”

“All right. Okay.” He swallowed. His head was spinning. “That, uh, that sounds like a really good idea.”

“Right through here.” She took his arm, holding him up as much as guiding him, and steered Reynard into one of the classrooms.

Which had, he noticed quickly, been transformed. A giant bed, four-poster, covered in quilts, dominated the room. An old, chipped dresser was flanked by mismatched chairs.

One bed. Reynard wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or worried. He’d gone to Addergoole, where everyone assumed you slept with your Kept. After all, that was more than half of what Kept were for. But he’d also been out in the world, where some people had some funny ideas about Kept…

…or about slaves.

“Running water was easy.” Elle continued to move Reynard, so he continued to stumble forward. “Getting the water heater to work properly was a little harder. But hey, some of us just cheat.”

The bathroom was as much a mismatch as her bedroom. It had clearly been part of the school’s lavatory before. Now, a claw-foot tub sat between two old toilet partitions.

“Hot… hot water?” He wasn’t sure he dared dream. “I haven’t had a proper hot bath in…”

She let go of his arm. Slowly, Reynard sank to the floor. Idiotically, the words of the old pledge went through his head.

“I pledge allegiance… to the shower…. and to the mistress for which it stands…”

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In Which Reynard does not have a Collar

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The woman named Elle – who, it seemed, owned him now – was slowly cutting hawthorn off of Reynard.

His life had not gotten surreal so much as it had gone back to a weird sort of reality.

“You were taught by Professor Valerian?” he tried. “And…” he spoke slowly. “You remember me.”

“You were several years ahead of me. I’m not surprised you don’t remember me.” She patted the top of his head idly. There were no hawthorn branches there, at least. “You may have spent a lot of time in other henhouses, but you didn’t ever, as far as I know, directly poach.”

Poach. Very carefully, he tilted his head so he could look her in the face. “You were Kept.”

“Isn’t everyone?”

He didn’t shrug, because she’d asked him to hold still. “It would seem so.”

“Surely this can’t be your first time under the collar.” Snip, snip went her clippers. The metal brushed against his skin, and he tried not to shiver.

“I don’t seem to be wearing a collar yet, unless you count the hawthorn wrapped around my throat.”

She chuckled, as if amused by his hedging. “I’ll fix that soon enough.”

Sometimes inside Reynard chilled. “Where are we? I mean… mistress, if it pleases you, where are we?”

“I told you already.” Snip, snip went her clippers. Reynard tried to remember. Snip, Snip. Damnit, why hadn’t he been paying attention? Snip, snip. “New Buffalo. It’s-”

He swallowed. “Please tell me it’s where Buffalo was. The irony would be so thick. I might choke.”

“And why’s that?” She pulled ropes of thorny vine away from him, the needles pulling out of his skin with unpleasant pops.

Reynard coughed. Well, he belonged to her, however that worked. “I came from Buffalo. Well, Grand Island. And then I went back after school for a couple days. It was a mess, though. Almost nothing left standing.”

“It’s still a mess. But we’re rebuilding it slowly.” She pulled the last bits of hawthorn off of him. “Don’t attack me, don’t wander off, and don’t do any Workings without permission.” She ran gloved hands over Reynard’s chest and arms, pulling a shiver out of him. “We’ll have to clean all these wounds, but we can’t do that here. Can you stand?”

Reynard hesitated. “May I move?” She’d thrown off the orders casually, way too casually for the force with which they’d hit him.

She nodded, hesitated, and nodded again. Reynard, watching her face, couldn’t guess what was going through her mind, so he worked instead on what she’d asked of him. “I think so? I think I can stand… mistress.” He shifted his weight, testing legs he couldn’t feel at the moment. He made it to his knees without wobbling, but with nothing to brace himself on, he wasn’t sure he could get further.

“Here.” She planted her feet firmly and offered him her hands. “I don’t know how long you’ve been in the box. There’s no shame in accepting help.”

Reynard swallowed a sudden lump of panic and took her arms. With her help, he levered himself to his feet. “Yes, mistress.”

“You know…” She slid her arm around his waist, steadying him. “I think you can call me Elle.”

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Introductions, a continuation of Reynard

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“My name is Elle.” The woman had the wire cutters far too close to parts of Reynard that he was very, very fond of. He could feel the cold metal against his skin, and was a bit too much of a coward to look at what she was doing. Not that he could move his head in that direction, anyway… “You are in New Buffalo. I suppose Joshua passed on the news to Addergoole East, and when you ran afoul of Lady Storm and her – mmm – her man – well, here you are.” The clippers moved, and Reynard’s left leg was suddenly free. “Please try not to move too much until I’m done. You’re all over hawthorn, and you could hurt yourself.”

Reynard held still. It had been, he thought, years – almost a decade – since he’d been Kept, but he thought the words had the feel of an order around the edges, even softened by please and try.

She had said several important things, if only the clippers and the shifting and prickling of the hawthorn wasn’t distracting him. “Elle?” he tried. “Is that -“

“That’s the name my father gave me. I can’t say he was the best at the whole thing.” The clippers moved upwards, over Reynard’s belly.

“Well, my father named me Fox.” He tried to shrug, and found he wasn’t really moving at all. Well, that might answer that. “And your Mentor…?” If she remembered him from Addergoole…

“Professor Valerian named me the Stone Gardener.” She patted his thigh with her leather-clad hands. “And I earned it, much like you earned your Name… Fox.”

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Her Verdict, a continuation of Reynard

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“And that’s how I ended up Belonging to a terrifying mass of muscle, ma’am.” Reynard did his best to make a bow, although the bonds of probably-hawthorn restricted his movement enough to make it only a twitch. “How I ended up Belonging to a -” he coughed. “Forgive me, ma’am, to a beautiful woman like yourself is another story.”

The woman studied him for a minute. She seemed neither be offended by the compliment nor complimented by it – for the life of him, Reynard couldn’t read a single emotion off of her face. He was out of practice working without magic.

“That is a very interesting story.” She spoke slowly. Shit, was she – differently abled? He’d never belonged to anyone slow before. “I even believe most of it.” She pursed her lips. “It definitely sounds like you.”

That again. And he couldn’t remember her at all. He coughed, and went for a completely non-committal “Ma’am?”

“It will do for now, at least.” She picked up a pair of wire cutters from her table of tools.

“Ma’am?” This time, Reynard knew his voice went high-pitched. The things you could do with wire cutters… “Ma’am, I…”

“Shhh. You belong to me, Reynard called Fox in the Henhouse. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not going to torture you.” He wasn’t entirely clear if the repetition was clarification or reassurance. He wasn’t reassured, either way.

“Ma’am?” This time it was a whisper. He didn’t have much choice.

She started clipping, far too near parts of him he was very fond of. “When I’ve got you out of this, we can talk living arrangements.”

Well, at least that meant he was probably going to live.

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Reynard’s Story in Reynard’s Words – a continuation for @Rix_scaedu

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This to Rix’s commission

Reynard loved telling stories. He had, in more than one town, earned his supper (and, more often than not, a place in a bed or three) telling tales – fairy tales, sometimes, tales of the days that had been, horror stories of the war.

He told them all the same, fiction and truth – he told them as prettily as possible, made them as engaging as he could, and embellished where he needed to to make the story flow.

He thought, perhaps, in this situation, he ought to keep the embellishment to a minimum. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t make the story interesting.

After all, he wanted this woman to like him, didn’t he?

    I’ve enjoyed it – my Name – truth be told (he continued), and everything that it entails. I’ve had fun being the innocent-looking one, the sweet boy, the harmless guy.

    And I’ve had fun in those moments where they find out that that is most definitely not the case. Quite a bit of fun, actually. I’ve even had fun – perhaps the most fun – running from the scene of the crime with my pants in one hand and my sword in the other.

    Ah, I’ve done that a few times.

    I’ve run a few cons in my time, but, for the most part, my crimes have been of the more sensual nature – who am I to say no, if a lady or a gentleman wants me in their bed for the night or the week? The nights are cold, and the road is hard.

    So when I moved into that town – I don’t remember the name. It had a wall around it, but most towns do these days, don’t they? It had doors painted in wild colors and houses painted in grey. And it had the prettiest mayor I’ve ever seen, a dark-haired lady with warm brown skin and a laugh like you wouldn’t believe.

    She wasn’t married, and it wasn’t one of the Super Christian God Will Save Us From The Fairies places, so I didn’t see any problem with sliding into her henhouse, if you’ll forgive the metaphor. And that was actually going quite well for me for a while.

    And then there was this boy, the town cobbler. He had the big wide shoulders and the big strong hands… and he was quite a bit of fun with his shirt off, too.

    And he wasn’t married either, and, like I said, it wasn’t the most Christian town in the world, so I didn’t see any problem. And that was actually going pretty well for a while, too.

    And then there was this young lady, with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, and she was engaged, but he didn’t pay her much attention and she had plenty of love to go around.

    So that was about a month in, and then there was this gorgeous blonde woman who came to town in a wagon with about seven other people – a travelling caravan – and there, somewhere in there, I missed a step or someone threw a monkey wrench in my dance.

    One way or the other, the mayor found out about the blonde lady, and she found out about the cobbler, and he found out about the blue-eyed girl… and this peaceful little town was all over shouting and yelling.

    I like shouting and yelling, I admit it. I like the chaos – some say I thrive on it. It’s fun.

    (Here he ducked his head and smiled, hoping it was sweet and innocent.)

    And so everyone shouting was just as fun for me as all the love-making and bedroom games. Quite fun. And so I would talk to one and then talk to another, fueling the flames, and maybe I let them catch me in the middle of a delicate situation with the baker’s son. And it was all, let me tell you ma’am, far more fun than maybe ought to have been.

    So I kept it going and kept it going – and then this pretty – no this gorgeous thing, redheaded woman with, you know, the way you can’t tell with fae if they’re twenty or a thousand but she was solid iron under her freckles.

    And she said to me “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, but we can’t have this sort of nonsense right now.” That’s all she said. I mean, I asked questions, and I denied it, and I played innocent. I’m very good at playing innocent, ma’am.

    But that’s all she said to me. The rest was her guy. She stepped aside, and he…

    …ma’am, I’ve been beat down, and it was never like that. I’ve been punished, and it was never like that. I’ve gotten in fights, hell, when I had to, or when I felt just that chaotic.

    This guy destroyed me. And then he got me on my knees, and he gave me a choice.

He looked up at her and tried to swallow. “And that’s how I ended up Belonging to a terrifying mass of muscle, ma’am.”

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Reynard Spills his Story – a new story taking place in Fae Apoc/Addergoole ‘verse

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The woman – the woman it appeared Reynard might belong to – was staring at him. Her eyebrows were raised in clear doubt, and her expression was nothing he’d call a smile, no matter how generously he wanted to color the truth.

He shifted again. He knew that was a bad idea; every time he did it, another thorn pricked him. But he couldn’t help it. He’d never been all that good at sitting still.

“It’s not that exciting of a story.” It was a weak protest, in part because he was pressing against the orders and suggestions she’d put on him, in part because his brain was fogged and his thoughts were moving slower than molasses.

But it was a protest because of those things, too, and so he stalled for time while he tried to come up with a plausible coloring of events he barely remembered.

She gave him three heartbeats to believe he’d gotten a break. “At the moment, fox-boy, it is the most important story of your life, because it determines what happens next. Considering your current situation, I’d tell it carefully, concisely, and well if I were you.”

Was there a single woman who’d graduated Addergoole with a sense of humor?

Well, if he’d gone through Addergoole as a girl, he might not have, either. Reynard shrugged, despite the prickling of poison in his arms, and gifted his probably-Owner with the best smile he could muster up.

“Yes, ma’am. It was something like this…” He dropped his voice, and tried for the storytelling cadences he’d learned from his Mentor.

    Know, oh Mistress (he began), that I am not an evil man, not as aught but the book people would have you believe.

    (The woman leaned back, and something that could have been a smile crossed her lips.)

    But I was Named truly, and truly I lived up to my Name, ever since the day that the school released me…

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Reynard’s Story Unfolds – a new story taking place in Fae Apoc/Addergoole ‘verse

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Reynard’s brain felt as if it had been stuffed with cotton. His short-term memory – and, he was pretty sure, some of his long-term – was foggy, muddled, or just plain gone. And what he could remember – well, wasn’t the best set of memories.

He was fairly certain the woman sitting in front of him wouldn’t take any of that for an answer. What was more, although she hadn’t given him a direct order, he could feel the pressure of the bond on him.

That was strange. But he wouldn’t get any answers until he gave her what she wanted. If then.

He cleared his throat, and found that that too hurt.

“I was – I was…I guess I was being a ‘fox in the henhouse.’ If you remember my name, you know I’m not…” He was being kind of pitiful. He swallowed against the pain and tried again. “I was having fun. Seducing a double handful of pretty people.” The memory brought a nostalgic smile to his lips. “Balancing as many secrets as I could and getting as many of them in bed with me at once at the same time. I was having a blast.”

He risked a look at her face, and was a bit relieved to find that she was smirking at him.

“I remember that about you.”

“I – I’m glad?” He wished he could remember her.

“Not a bad thing, being remembered. Go on.”

And now that, that was an order. Reynard swallowed again. “Turns out I was somewhere someone else was making a home and she, she didn’t like what I was doing. Called me out, her and her beast.” He twitched his hands to make a gesture, only then remembering he was bound. “Fuck, ow! Big guy.” He smirked sideways. “Did it right and fair, too. Next thing I know I’m on my knees and this gorgeous redhead is whispering in my ear, you can be mine or you can be his.” He shrugged.

“Next thing I know, I wake up here with your knife pointing at me.”

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And a Bit More Reynard – a new story taking place in Fae Apoc/Addergoole ‘verse

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Reynard had, in his past, been in sticky situations. He’d earned his Name fairly – if humorously – and being caught in unfortunate circumstances had been a large part of earning that Name.

But he had not been, as far as he knew, in any situation quite as as uncomfortable, quite as strange, as this one. He tested his bonds again; the prick of thorns into his wrists reminded him quickly why he wasn’t doing that.

“They Named me Fox in the Henhouse.” He picked every word carefully – not as weapons, the way he did when he was on a hunt, but as shields. “My Mentor did.”

“VanderLinden.” The woman smirked at him. Reynard didn’t like that smile. “I remember how you earned it.”

He swallowed. “Ah?” He wiggled again, and, again, remembered why he wasn’t doing that.

She flicked her hand to the side, dismissing the train of thought. “So, how did you end up in a crate on my doorstep?”

“Ah.” He twitched again. “I…” He swallowed quietly. There had been a town, and some pretty girls, some pretty boys, and then…

Reynard shook his head, trying to clear it. “I pissed off the wrong people.”

“I guessed that.” She pulled a letter out of her pocket and read. “‘This statue is making a mess of my garden, but I know you go for this sort of thing.’ And then on the inside package, ‘there’s a fox making trouble in all my henhouses; do you have a fox coop?'”

“I wasn’t…” He swallowed. “I didn’t think I was making that much trouble…. Oh!” The memory forced its way to the front of his mind. “Damn. Ow.”

The woman slid into a chair and leaned her chin in her hands. “I’m listening.”

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A little more Reynard – a new story taking place in Fae Apoc/Addergoole ‘verse

Introduction here

Reynard swallowed hard. “Ah…?”

The woman ignored his question, as was her right. “What’s your name?” She was pulling a pair of leather gloves from her back pocket and sliding them on. He found her fingers facinating. Of course, she currently held his life in them. That was understandably interesting.

Reynard knew this answer. “Whatever you wish it to be, mistress.”

She made a noise like a laugh, and he found himself looking to her face. It wasn’t beautiful, he thought, but she still took his breath away. Pointed chin, high cheekbones, and a mass of dark hair, all of it framing the most sardonic smile Reynard had ever seen. “Somebody taught you your lines. Was it recently, before they put you in the box? Or was it back before?”

Box? He tried to look around, and found that, while moving his head was surprisingly painful, it was, in actuality, possible.

He saw a room, bare of almost everything except a big chalkboard and three big windows – the view was of a wheatfield, and behind that a stone wall. He saw the woman, and a small table, full of tools that made his heart drop out of his chest. And he saw the remains of a crate, if his guess was any good, most of it to the left of him.

Box? He looked up at the woman, whose expression suggested that, while she was waiting patiently, she wasn’t going to be patient about things much longer.

She wanted his name. And she wanted to know who had trained him.

“I pay attention, mistress.” With luck, that would be enough. “And, ah, they called me Reynard, when I was free.”

“Reynard.” She took one of his ears – fox ears, of course, or his name would have simply been ridiculous, and his Name as well. “I remember you. They called you Fox in the Henhouse.”

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