Dress up my Fears #James


Once upon a time, a lifetime ago, Jocasta had been the eldest daughter of one of the East's finest tailors. Extravagant clothing had been her passion - richly dyed cloth, supple leather belts, shimmering scarves… She had been fascinated, pestering her father with questions about how they were made, and frankly more interested in an apprenticeship than a husband. 

Except that said husband would have come with a wedding dress!

Now, those sparks of curiosity were deadened down to a blind, somewhat irrational need to steal fine gowns when she saw them… and the soul of the wearer while she was at it. 

But she had strayed too far, the night prior, in pursuit of a beautiful red dress. It had golden trim that glittered in the moonlight. Stalking behind the lady's carriage, Jocasta waited for her to fall asleep and then… once her work was done, found herself quite far away from her sisters. She had made most of the trip back, but soon the sun was rising, and with no caves in sight and unable to take shelter in anyone else's dwelling, Jocasta made a split-second decision. 

She curled up in the substantive shade behind a carniflower, under much of the brush it, itself, used as camouflage. It would play defense for her during the day - any humans close enough would fall into its trap and might provide a snack for her when she awoke. As an extra measure against an errant ray of sunshine, she draped the hard-won gown over her head and fell into a deathlike slumber. 

Tag James!



James had parted company with the young woman in red that he had met. Gather water from the unicorn springs and was returning to his men who waited in the safer regions of the woods when he found...her. His cursed child, as Francesca had called them so long ago. But they weren't they were a bane that his brother Phillip had placed upon his shoulders. One of twelve... eleven if one considered the consort was still alive, ten is you added that poor dear Polly was now truly dead without her head.

Curled under her heavy gown, near the base of a large carniflower in the brush. At first he thought it a carcass or slumbering animal, he was half right on both accounts. His armor felt warm, as Castille got closer with one hand gripping the hilt of his sword intent to behead this she-devil. The sun made the green metal glitter and his other half thirst for blood and the glory of destroying an enemy....

And then young Raphael's words came to mind, and the part of him that was still James latched onto them. Information. Malia had believed knowledge was power, and he believed it too. "Soon" he whispered to his other half to appease the Green Duke's lust for more physical activities. Cutting some of the brambles out of the way, he crouched down by the sleeping creature.

Odd, how she almost looked innocent like this, certainly beautiful in her own way. "Jocasta" he said her name quietly like a one trying to wake a lover. He knew her, James remembered the girls from his realm... actually he remembered all of the twelve. It was part of his burden. She was here because these woods are where they died and were reborn, something like himself.

"Jocasta....where are your sisters, why are you alone?" he shifted his bulk to keep the lowering sun from reflecting off the green metal of his armor and to keep the carniflower at a safe distance.




James: "Jocasta" 

If the Duke hadn't known better - or perhaps if her wings weren't quite so conspicuous - Joscasta would have passed for a dead body. Beautiful, sure, but pale enough to suggest gravity was pulling blood away from her face. She had no heartbeat, her chest did not rise or fall with breath, her skin was cold. She was dead during the day, and at the first call of her name, she didn't move. Not a twitch, not a blink, nothing… not until James' gentle prompting triggered the panic center of her brain that called Jocasta back from the reaper's chamber. 

So she had panic, but not clarity, and certainly not strength. Jocasta rolled over, struggled to stand - then, failing, to sit - and ended up just sprawling pathetically… 

James: "Jocasta....where are your sisters, why are you alone?" 

The first question, Jocasta completely missed in her obvious daze. The second, though, she answered in a groggy wistfulness that suggested she might well still believe she was dreaming. 

"I wanted the dress. Isn't it beautiful…?" Joscasta mumbled, barely coherent, but she gripped the fabric of the red gown lovingly. Its soft texture sent a vague smile of pleasure across her lips. And there was the subtle scent of blood - from the lady who had once worn it, now dead at Joscasta's hands - that brought her special delight. 

Squinting made her vision blurry as Jocasta looked up at the man who had roused her. She recognized him, when her vision managed to center on his face, and she frowned in confusion. "If you were a changeling, you'd let me sleep…" 

And as if intending to return to exactly that activity, Jocasta tugged the stolen red gown to her chest… and found it stuck. The hem had been caught in the carniflower's sticky saliva. She pulled harder, but it wouldn't come, even after the grunted "come on, please, no…" that she whined out in her efforts. Any more force - not that she had it - would tear the fabric and ruin the garment's loveliness. 

"I guess you're both traitors," Jocasta complained, like a petulant, overtired child, seeming to lump James in with the inanimate creature at her side as she reclined on the forest floor, spent.



She was drowsy, and James wasn't sure if it was the daylight since she was basically a vampire... Or whatever Succubus were related too. Or the Carniflower, who's toxic effects were starting to seep through the distance and his armor. James did not want to give himself over completely to the Green Duke as it had been in the past. It made them stronger and more vulnerable at the same time.

Jocasta was babbling in a barely coherent tone about her dress. James might have found it amusing, her being a tailor's daughter when she was alive, but he had no heart and this was a less than idea situation for amusements. "I am not a changeling, but I am changed.... answer my questions and I will let you rest" he replied, as he found himself having to lean on the scabbard of his sword to maintain his balance. Damnable plant. Even if his armor protected him now, as soon as it was dark this harpy would surely strip him of it and feed him to the Carniflower. Even if he wasn't physically in danger, one couldn't be sure about the mental effects that a Carniflower had with its toxins.

Jocasta's whining about her dress attracted his waning attention. His thoughts were straying from their purpose. "The Carniflower only does what it must. As I did and do, neither of us could disobey the King's order, Jocasta and you know that" James grunted out trying to focus on the task at hand.

"Tell me what I want to know, and I will let you rest.... I will find you the most exquisite gown, Jocasta. Inlaid with jewels, you would be grander than any lady. Tell us, who brought you and your sisters back". She had better tell him soon, because James Castile was faltering to the damnable Carniflower, and he couldn't trust the green devil not to just go and do whatever it pleased.



James: "I am not a changeling, but I am changed.... answer my questions and I will let you rest" "The Carniflower only does what it must. As I did and do, neither of us could disobey the King's order, Jocasta and you know that"

"So you are not a creature… but you wish the freedom from choice that we…" the descriptor was a challenge, showed in the time and the squirm Jocasta required to eek out, "Enjoy?" 

Equating himself with a Carniflower - the most passive of creatures - was telling… the Green Duke did not want to take ownership of his actions. He wanted to be told. He wanted to obey. Jocasta obeyed because her flesh was no longer her own… but on some level, that pained her. She wanted to be sewing dresses, but instead, she was stealing them… 

If the Green Duke was appealing to that mediocre mandate of "must," then he was far weaker than she, her sisters, and her queen had anticipated. Or, he wanted them to think he was.

James: "Tell me what I want to know, and I will let you rest.... I will find you the most exquisite gown, Jocasta. Inlaid with jewels, you would be grander than any lady. Tell us, who brought you and your sisters back".

Joscasta rolled over, onto her stomach, and seemed to force herself to focus on James' face even through the haze of her exhaustion. Propping herself up by an inch or two on her elbows, and covered in dirt, she snarled. 

"What question is this? You know the answer. My queen told you..." Jocasta's lips curled, unpleasantly, not too different from the false expressions that had so often graced the once-handsome Duke-to-be's face. "Why should you ask me, now?" Her eyes were blurry, but she looked deep. 

"That thing inside you is not one of us. It does not even wear green…." Even if it thought it did. 

Her fingers dug into the soil, brittle because of the carniflower, but she showed no discomfort as twigs and bark bit under her nails. 

"You ask me what I am, but do you even know what you are?"



James frowned at the vampiress and her critical view of him. He was tired of being judged by the living, and the not quite dead. Jocasta was a brainless slip of a girl when she was alive, and that hadn't changed with her death. She snarled and the Green Duke bristled to the challenge. Her queen..... Francesca, how did they fall so far from what they had been?

<"That thing inside you is not one of us. It does not even wear green…."   "You ask me what I am, but do you even know what you are?" >

"As if you do, Jocasta?" James replied standing, and coming to the decision that this was no place for the rabbit. "I'm sure he'll be more than happy to discuss it with you". Castille closed his eyes, and lifted his green helm to his head. It was rare these days when he let the wolf inside completely loose unsupervised... His eyes opened and glittered emerald green like dew on a new leaf.

The sword cleared its scabbard from his hip and cleaved the carniflower clean in half without a second thought. It might be a part of the enchanted forest's nature but the Green Duke ruled here and it would remain that way. "Insufferable weed" the armored figure hissed out, before turning the sticky blade and placing it under Jocasta's chin to tilt her head upward at him. "Bloodsucking whore" he greeted her in a pleased tone.

"How doth your garden grow, Jocasta?" the Duke asked in a far too gleeful tone, as he placed a metal shod foot heavily on her neck to pin her down. Gloved fingers wrapped around the fine bones of one of her wings. "Why it grows with sunlight doesn't it?" his arm arced upward and the Duke hacked away at her wing.

 "I hear that you won't die unless I cut off your head, let's find out".



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…"




The way she spoke, her mannerisms, all screamed of Francesca Rossi. The part of him that was James Castile felt something, perhaps some misguide guilt. But the Green Duke only felt an almost orgasmic sense of pleasure at the sound of Jocasta's scream as he hacked through her wing. Watching that haughty look of pride and her taunts faltering.

Jocasta: "You're so angry. No wonder you laid a red carpet in your land for the king of wolves…"

A twist smile could practically be seen through the green metal of the helm as the Duke narrowed his eyes and pinned the succubus' legs... and severed the delicate tendons of her ankles. "No running, no flying for you my pretty, pretty. Tell me where your sisters are hidden and I'll make it quick for all of you..."

The armored devil grabbed a branch and pulled it down to cut off the protective shade it had cast from the waning rays of the sun. "Otherwise burn... and be the red carpet to my land... my woods" he purred. There was only one wolf in the enchanted forest, and Marcus the Vile was not he.

tags for wrap