James: "As if you do, Jocasta?" "I'm sure he'll be more than happy to discuss it with you""Insufferable weed" "Bloodsucking whore"
The way that Jocasta's reacted - watching James as he put his helm back on and cut down the carniflower, the feeling of that sticky steel blade at her throat - was peculiar and quite telling. The tilt of her head, the heaving of her chest as she lifted her chin, the way she sucked in and hissed out her breath… she seemed to do it just to satisfy the Duke's expectation that she would. It was exaggerated, performative… strangely, familiar.
And her words came out with exactly the same rhythm and cadence that Francesca's would have: "I am not a whore. Whores do it for money. I do it for fun." So close, in fact, that it sounded an intentional taunt.
James: "How doth your garden grow, Jocasta?" "Why it grows with sunlight doesn't it?" "I hear that you won't die unless I cut off your head, let's find out".
The scream Jocasta let out of her throat made the trees shudder. She convulsed, her hands reaching to apply pressure to the seeping wound where her wing used to be. The energy - indeed, even the energy from her attacker gleaned from her scream - helped, but not enough. It hurt like hell… and how would she get back to her sisters without the gift of flight?
Knowing she was already dead, the Duke's threat didn't land. Pain mattered, but not life. Jocasta gritted her teeth as her bravado fell away and her lips pulled back savagely: "You're so angry. No wonder you laid a red carpet in your land for the king of wolves…"