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Bone to the Ire and the Marrow

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You snapped your fingers. You didn’t even really think it would work, you were in the heat of a particularly nasty fight with Ianthe and you’d found your hands moving of their own accord, pursuing their own little fantasy. You snapped your fingers and you didn’t think it would work, but it did. Ianthe’s arm, the one you’d made for her, dissolved. It dematerialized, it rapidly ground itself into a powder. It poofed. The Saint of Patience’s golden casing sloughed off like a gaudy snakeskin and flopped onto the floor.

Ianthe scoffed. “Ha ha,” she said, “cute party trick.”

You didn’t budge.

Ianthe said, with a little more force, “ha ha, Nonagesimus, that was funny, I’ll give it to you. You win this round. Put it back.”

You quirked an eyebrow. You were taken by surprise yourself, but something old and sinewy had begun to unravel inside you. You could take the Reverend Daughter out of Drearburh, but in a pinch she could still be counted on to scope out every angle of unfair advantage.

“I will not put it back.”

“This is stupid,” Ianthe raised her meat hand and you felt a little mass of tissue beginning to fill the base of your trachea.

You shot back your own threat, quickly: “No replacement.”

The tissue dissolved. You did not allow yourself to imagine where it was going, plus your mind was racing, just a little bit, with the giddiness of what you could do with this leverage. What could you do with this leverage? What could you possibly want from Ianthe Tridentarius, short of her leaving you alone for the rest of eternity?

You approached Ianthe, slowly, coolly. She stood her ground but she wore an expression you might have almost described as nervous. You stopped right in front of her, looked up into her washed-out, almost-nervous face and told her, “beg for it.”

Ianthe smiled — and it was definitely nervously now. “Come on, Nonagesimus,” she started, but you weren’t letting her deflect, weren’t letting her test you now.

“Beg for it,” you repeated, “or what will you have to say to Augustine? Or to the Emperor? That you lost your bracchial privileges due to a staggering lack of self-control when it comes to your sister lyctor’s personal space? That you couldn’t keep your hands off me, and so I had to drastically reduce the number of hands you possess? I could go on, Tridentarius, but none of these are sounding like particularly credible explanations.”

Just a hint of splotchy color rose into her face, like you’d thrown wine on her cheeks.

“Do I need to reach for the numerical cliche and ask you a third time?”

To her credit, she did not draw out negotiations any further. She fixed you with an acid glare and sank to floor. With one hand, she clasped the knob of your knee, and with the other — there was no other, she remembered, as she tried to reach for your chin to complete the supplication. Instead, she placed her head under yours, sliding the cool ridge of her temple against your lower jaw. This hid her face from you when she said, “Harrow, please.”

You were never hungry for much, but right now you were starving to catch those mottled, scummy eyes with yours. “I can’t understand you from down there, Ianthe.”

The hand at your knee trembled. She raised her face to yours and she was incandescent. She said again, through gritted teeth, “Harrow. Please.

You dropped to the floor too and pushed her onto her back. This was a delicacy you had not been afforded the first time this happened and you must have smiled because Ianthe looked like she wanted to spit in your face.

“Do you want another gag?” you asked, and with little empathy. To condescend again was a joy.

“I’d rather choke on your vicious little tongue,” she replied. So you gave the lady what she asked for. The sound that Ianthe made into your mouth you could not begin to decode. It was sharp and reedy and accompanied by a jolt of her hips, an attempt to get her remaining fingers into your hair. You pressed one hand at the base of her right arm and pressed a knee between her thighs. You pulled your mouth away from hers and got to work.

When the first spire of bone pierced through the meat of Ianthe’s arm, she cried out. Her face pinched closed again and her body flopped against you. On her way back down, she ground into your knee and let out a throaty yell, while you coaxed compact bone into its place. Ianthe’s mouth was frothing out invective but her marrow was flowing so eagerly into the medullary cavity you’d carved out for it. You worked with your hands at a bit of a distance from the scaffolding of her, but Ianthe was rutting and thrashing under you and eventually your finger slipped, just a little, and grazed over a creamy stretch of periosteum. Ianthe keened. She must have been oversensitive — it hadn’t been so long since the last time you’d done this. She came right then and there, which at the very least meant you had a slightly mellower body to work with. Ianthe cupped the crest of your hip with her left hand as you capped off the delicate extremities of her right one. Your tunnel vision subsided and you took in her face for the first time. Her brows were furrowed and she was dripping with sweat. The flush high on her cheeks was more nearly purple than her eyes. You could see tears spangling her lashes and naked fury in her gaze, but you could also see relief, and she was smiling a satisfied banqueter’s smile, with far too many of her teeth.

You scuffled the sheer fabrics of her dress aside and you curled two fingers into her. She cried out again — you were starting to appreciate Ianthe oversensitive — and twisted the skeletal claws of her right hand again made new into your hair, all bone this time, no gilded plate. It was for the nakedness of bone alone that you consented to have your head dragged between Ianthe’s thighs, where you nipped at her bloodless skin until it bloomed and you fucked her until her commentary went from “fuck you, Nonagesimus” to “fuck, Nonagesimus” to “fuck, Harrow.” She unravelled again with squeaks and shudders and sobs and you rocked back on your heels to watch.

It was then that the fact of Ianthe Tridentarius, damp with sweat and panting, her nerves singing from the very bone magic she so loved to disparage, hit your body. It was then that the fact of Ianthe Tridentarius in the very same position mere weeks ago hit your body. You shook off your Canaanite robe and lowered yourself back down over her. You knocked your forehead against hers and you asked, “how are you going to thank me this time?”