Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Silk and Steel

And here’s Vraxi straight after his encounter with Spyro. This one’s quite introspective (though purely emotive not graphic) so, again, if you find these things upsetting you’ll want to skip this one. The next one is fine though πŸ™‚ xx

 

 

It took a little over an hour of walking the darkening cobbled streets, keeping to the gunnels and snickets, sometimes even taking to the rooftops for a while, before Vraxi felt he could face anybody.

To say he had never felt so utterly desolated and worthless would be a lie. He had sat with these demons more times than he cared to count. But he had made it the purpose of almost every moment of his life to try and forget, to push those feelings away, to mask and ignore and gloss over the fact that he was not a person that anyone could ever love, like or desire.

He never expected any of those things from anyone, least of all from Mendicci, not even from Xander (although he dared to hope that perhaps, one day, his friend might come to understand how much he genuinely cared about him). But in the space of one short afternoon, Mendicci had completely dismantled the emotional scaffolding that Vraxi kept carefully in place to try and stop himself sliding into despair. He’d let Vraxi see himself the way he saw him – as nothing but a convenient piece of pretty flesh that was only worth his attention if it was doing exactly as it was told. In Mendicci’s eyes, Vraxi only existed to please him, he had no other worth or purpose and his own feelings, emotions, desires, were so insignificant that even Vraxi himself would not be permitted to acknowledge them.

Vraxi sat on the gutter rail, his legs hanging over the edge of the rooftop and swallowed hard. None of this was new. It had just been a while since he had been forced to remember how very powerless and alone he was. And how trapped. His entire livelihood was entrenched in Silk and Steel, he lived and worked and thrived and survived and had his liberty (despite his many misadventures) because they allowed it. There was no more to say about the matter.

He touched two fingers to the bite mark at his neck and winced. A whore’s mark. Had Spyro known what that would mean to a boy who was born in a brothel? Of course he had.

β€œEnough.” he said out loud. β€œYou are becoming tedious Vraxanthrin, and if there is one thing nobody should ever be able to accuse you of, it is being tedious.” It took a momentous effort then to fight down the voices which screamed that tedious was exactly what Spyro Mendicci found him, probably Ros and Agathri and Xander and Edmund and everyone else as well.

β€œI will, not, hear you.” he whispered, swallowing it all down and standing up to stretch his arms and legs. Stretching always made him feel a little better. He spread his arms out and turned a full circle then skipped a silly little dance across the slates and forced himself to laugh. β€œCome on, enough,” he told himself again, clapping his hands together before swinging lightly down onto an outhouse roof and then into the next street. β€œLet us go and find some diversion or other, Xander is bound to be abroad somewhere, perhaps we can persuade him to a game of chance? Or if not,” he reasoned, turning onto the bright lit mainstreet and feeling the voices begin to fade amid the cacophony of lights and sounds and smells that filled the city night, β€œat least we may find some amusement or distraction in the form of something or someone.”

To say that he felt better as he pushed open the door of The Cross Keys and began weaving his way towards the familiar hunched figure that could only be Xander Dumarle, would have been a lie.

But then it would have been equally untrue to say that anybody looking at him would have guessed he wasn’t anything but on top of the world, as usual.

4 responses

  1. Aw…poor Vraxi…I love him. You’ve written his inner world so wonderfully, I can feel his self-doubt and sense of worthlessness as if twas my own. He’s a seething snake pit of insecurities suppressed beneath a sunny disposition and masked with mischief.

    But he had made it the purpose of almost every moment of his life to try and forget, to push those feelings away, to mask and ignore and gloss over the fact that he was not a person that anyone could ever love, like or desire.
    πŸ’”
    Oh this is heartrending…as poignant as tis perfectly expressed.

    But in the space of one short afternoon, Mendicci had completely dismantled the emotional scaffolding that Vraxi kept carefully in place to try and stop himself sliding into despair…
    He touched two fingers to the bite mark at his neck and winced. A whore’s mark. Had Spyro known what that would mean to a boy who was born in a brothel? Of course he had.

    πŸ’”
    The brutal truth, so beautifully expressed. No matter how painstakingly you construct some form of self-protection to spackle over your cracks, its so horrifyingly easy to clawed them aside with a single gesture, look or word.

    How I love this world and its characters, you are marvel. So much emotional depth secreted amidst their mischief and skullduggery. Tis magnificent. Thank you so much, as always, my scrumptious.❀️ πŸ₯°β€οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

    May 8, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    • Penny Blake

      Oh thankyou to the moon and back my angel – you’ve summed him up better than I can myself! Aw yes he’s having a very bad day, bless his heart, I feel like such a meanie, but you’re right it is horrifying how simple it is for someone to shatter your defenses… and Spyro is the sort of git who takes time to learn what peoples ‘buttons’ are. Oh I’m so glad you’re still enjoying it and thankyou so much for all your lovely words as always they mean the world – I think I’m pretty close to finishing now πŸ˜€ Tentacles crossed! XD xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      May 12, 2020 at 11:57 am

      • Yay! You’ve done a wonderful job..and so super swift too! I adore it, its every bit as brilliant as your scrumptious self. πŸ₯° Poor Vraxi πŸ˜” …those who delight in the dark art of button pressing are the most chilling of all methinks 😧😈 Tentacles crossed as tight as tight can be XD πŸ’œ xxxxxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        May 12, 2020 at 6:28 pm

      • Penny Blake

        Definately agree with you there – although Spyro has enough buttons of his own, perhaps he ought to watch his step πŸ˜‰ XD xxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        May 14, 2020 at 10:21 am

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