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  • across the chessboard
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    welcome to across the chessboard! we're an alice in wonderland based site with an original plot and slight modern dystopian twist and canon characters from alice's adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass and what alice found there, both by lewis carroll. for a longer summary, please visit our information center here. if you have any questions, feel free to give an admin a shout in the cbox (it's to your left- just click the chatter button and it should pop open). again, welcome, and we hope you join us!

    it is currently summer 2015 in london.
    it is currently summer-ish in wonderland.

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    Wonderland wasn't always this way. There was a time when it mirrored medieval England, albeit with a few magical elements: a few quirks and eccentricities that made it truly unique. While all feared the Queen's mercurial temper and the fine blade of her Guillotine, all was well, until a little girl named Alice Liddell disturbed the status quo and sparked a revolution. The kingdom began to fall into decay as the taint of the modern world invaded. History is beginning to repeat itself and no one is happy. As the Queen of Hearts tangles in a battle of wits and riddles with the Cheshire Cat, the rest are starting to wonder ... is it true that the White Rabbit is bringing humans to Wonderland when they themselves are banned from going to London?

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ALIAS: Taylor
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QUOTE/LYRICS: I don't need you to save me I don't need you to cure me I don't need you and your antidote for I am my disease I don't need you to free me I don't need you to lead me through the light for I will always fall and rise again your venomous heroine cause I'm a survivor yeah I am a fighter
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TAYLOR

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Oct 6 2015, 06:24 PM
I hope you have an absolutely fantastic day! I love you dearly and I'm so very happy we're friends. I know things haven't been easy lately but I do hope everything is getting better and I'm always here for you <3 NOW YOU HAVE THE BESTEST OF BEST BIRTHDAYS OKAY?!




















May it be fantastic <3

Sep 15 2015, 12:24 AM



HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO FROM ALL OF US TO YOUUUUU



birthday pug is now a theme. You are gonna have a memorable birthday and we love you <3 I'm so glad you joined us, this place would not be the same without you! WHAT WOULD ACHILLES DO WITHOUT HIS LANCE. OR PIERRE HIS TERRY. Your feels and your writing pleases me beyond belief and I would chain you to the site if I thought for a second you dared leave us....AHEM. I MEAN.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY






he thinks it's his birthday but the candles are yours



Have some yummy cake <3 I wish you the merriest of birthdays!



Aug 22 2015, 04:28 PM
QUICK DISCLAIMER: everything here has nothing to do with Chess or anyone else's characters. It has zero truth to it, and it's basically an AU of the 'worst possible scenario' as I see it. If anyone else wants to add reaction posts with their characters, please make sure to get permission from the original creators!

[dohtml]<center><div class="ptem1" style="height: 600px"><div class="ptem2" style="height: 600px"><div class="ptem5" style="height: 510px">
<i><p>Some things I hold as absolute truths in this world: the sun will rise and set until the end of its lifespan, there is no life without purpose, and Lance will always be there whether I want him around or not. He's as permanent a fixture in life as the sun and the stars, more so than the Queens or the Cheshire, who is so capricious he is incapable of consistency. I treat him like dung on occasion, talk down to him, belittle his abilities. He takes it with feigned affront and doesn't bother acting offended for longer than a few minutes. </p>

<P>And so I find it strange, lying here, the taste of blood saturating my mouth, to realize my truths no longer hold power. Had I known it would come to this, there is much I would like to change, things I'd like to say and do that I was never strong enough to handle at the time. It's hard to say I have no regrets--but at the same time, I don't regret what led me to this exact place in time. I fear it would have come about eventually. </P>

<p>Terror. I haven't tasted its acrid flavor in so long, I forgot how vile it was. I believed I lived in such a state of fear before now, but I was wrong. I had no idea. </P></I>

----

<P>The day was like any other day. Bright sun, flowers blooming in the palace gardens. Jacqueline doing some royal thing or other, her king the same. Achilles had nothing extraordinary planned. Basic routine work, checking the outposts in the city. All in all, ordinary barely covered it. Things might have progressed in the same fashion all through the day but for a disturbance near the palace gates.

<P>Achilles was midway through the public walkway in the royal gardens when he heard the shouts. In a heartbeat he was off, pounding across the walkway and cutting through low bushes and hopping flower beds. Something happened, something was wrong. Or the cards made another damned bet and created a ruckus on duty. Either way, someone was going to suffer. No more than two minutes passed since the first cry by the time the massive gates reared up into view and overshadowed the disturbance. <p>

The gates rose high into the sky, imposing for all that they were open to the public. The graceful curves twined together and the wrought iron metal was painted a vivid blood red. Something about seeing them always put Achilles in mind of Queen Jaq. Beautiful, intricate detail with hidden hearts interwoven throughout the design. Unless you knew they were there, one might not see them. Cold and formidable, they beckoned awe and fear in their presence. And yet the gates were decoration, though their girth and height made for a troublesome obstacle when they closed. Except they never closed, but remained forever guarded. Beautiful but fragile in the grand scheme of things. And irrelevant. Most of the creatures, before the portals, could easily go over, under, or around the gates without ever having opened them. Little in the way of protection, they were a symbol of power and rank rather than a show of ability and strength. <i>Just like the Queen</i>, as Achilles always thought in their presence.

If you look, if you really pay attention, you can see the cracks beginning to form. From the foundations to the intricate designs, tiny fissures cut their way through solid iron. Rust ate away at the tips of carefully rendered hearts and the lock itself was shattered beyond repair, though painted over again to hide its weaknesses. Right in the center, what looked like a crabbed hand better served in nightmare stories of children snatched away in the darkness, was once a beautiful, perfect heart with a keyhole the size of a man. No longer. and most didn't see the design while the gates held themselves open--hard to fit the pieces together. Yet there it was, for all to see. Something shattered the core of the gate and crippled the foundations. They were the source of the cracks. And yet they remained in ill repair, for whatever reason. Fear, maybe, of what the citizens would think. Because it was a design the Mad Queen erected and what Jacqueline destroyed. And Jacqueline feared it so, though she never spoke of it. Achilles believed she feared what that symbol represented. It was why the other hearts were contrived to hide in plain sight. Why cracks were painted over instead of fixed or the gates replaced. The end was inevitable, in a way, but so long as those gates remained, in whatever state, maybe so would the Queen herself. To replace them was to fully accept the mantle of her sister's place--and that throne still stank of madness, no matter how often it was scrubbed clean, bleached, or sprayed.
<p>
Some things would never wash away. And some fates were destined to repeat themselves over and over, an asylum patient throwing herself at the gates of her prison over and over in desperation to escape--but with nowhere to go and nowhere to run, not realizing the prison was her own body.
<p>
So yes, the gate reminded Achilles of Jacqueline. Perhaps too much. But as he always did, Achilles sloughed off the thought and feigned ignorance. If no one else planned to tell her of the shattered integrity of her power and her pride - her gate - he surely wouldn't.


<P>In the shadow of the looming palace walls, cards and guards gathered around something. At first all Achilles saw was a horse, a familiar one at that. And then he saw what hung in her saddle. The sight was so grotesque, so wrong, Achilles froze. His entire body went cold. This couldn't happen. This can't happen. <p>

Achilles ran to the horse and shoved the cards aside so hard a few of them hit the ground. He didn't notice as he wrenched people out of his path and took up the horse's reins. If Branwen hadn't grown used to Achilles in her master's life, she might have fought the way she'd fought the cards. But she stilled at his touch, pawing the ground in agitation. <b>"What the fuck are you people doing? Get a damn healer!"</b> The cards rushed to do his bidding, bashing into one another, tripping over their fallen comrades. Achilles swore. <P>

<b>"The roses. Get the roses! Do it now or I swear I'll rip your intestines out and tie them all together and hang you from the balustrades."</b> The words that fell from his lips barely registered. He spoke without hearing, without thinking. His whole being focused instead on Lance hanging from the saddle, stained red and ugly brown. What was once white cloth of some sort now dripped crimson and darkened the hem. Hands shaking, Achilles reached up and cut through the material hitching Lance to the horse..<p>

Lance lay lank in Achilles' arms, which was probably for the better. His body was ruined. Deep gouges riddled his torso and his legs and his arms had so many lacerations it was hard to tell what cut him to ribbons. Branwen nickered and butted Lance's foot but Achilles could no more console the horse than he could cure his best friend. A sticky lump of matted hair stuck up in crusty bunches, exposing the scalp and some bone. <p>

<i>Why did you go out alone?</i> Achilles ground his teeth and began the trek toward the palace as fast as he could without jostling his best friend. His only friend, really. The only person in both realms who would not only tolerate Achilles' bad attitude but indulge the red knight whenever the need arose. <i>You're weak, dammit. You can't protect yourself.</i> Achilles' chest hurt but he ignored his constricting ribcage in favor of anger. <p>

He had to be angry. If he allowed the anger to melt away he would be terrified, and the Red Knight did not allow terror to control him. It wasn't possible. If he allowed that to happen something inside him would die. Some last vestige of 'invulnerability' which allowed him to act and live as he did. But one of his cardinal rules, one of his Eternal Truths was in danger, and Lance still hadn't woken up. Achilles was nearly to the palace steps when cards poured out in a crooked line with Antoinette following close behind. Achilles picked up his pace and refused to let go of his best friend. <P>

The red rose directed him to a bench near the gardens and the red knight laid the white knight out flat, taking one of Lance's hands in his own. Cold as ice, and his pallor reflected the color of his rank. Too white but for the blood. Kneeling in the grass, armor creaking and strained, Achilles beheld his best friend. This fucking idiot who was in for a world of punishment and insults as soon as Antoinette was through. If he was still breathing, Achilles knew Lance would survive.<P>

Lance had to survive. Life wouldn't make sense if--but no. He must live. There was no other way. <p>

So much time passed - at least it seemed, though maybe five minutes bled away from the time Antoinette arrived - and Achilles grew steadily more panicked. He began shouting at the cards gathering too close, sending them off to notify the king and the queen, to get them somewhere safe just in case. But when he ran out of cards to order around, he could do nothing more. And that fact grated. A growl rumbled in his throat and his brows drew so taut his forehead ached. <P>

Lance wasn't looking better. His color hadn't returned, his breathing ever shallow. Antoinette looked up with such sorrow in her eyes. Her mouth opened and she spoke but it was all white noise. Achilles didn't hear a single word, not a one. Or maybe he blocked it out, refused to hear. Because she can't be saying the words <i>I'm so sorry</i>. She wasn't looking at Achilles with such pity and regret. Impossible. <p>

The red rose could heal, everyone knew that.<p>

Lance had to live.<p>

There was no other way for this to happen. Achilles refused outright to believe anything else could possibly happen. Lance would sit up and laugh and say <i>gotcha! Don't I look sexy in red? I told you it was my color!</I> It would happen. Achilles willed it to happen, glaring at his best friend with such intensity his hands shook. <i>Wake up, you bastard. Wake up. You have to wake up, Sir Douche. You </i>have<i> to.</i> Achilles' mouth moved. Were words coming out? Was he whispering or yelling? The rose flinched. Yelling. <p>

No. No, he'd wake up. Achilles gripped Lance's shoulders and shook him hard enough to hurt his own shoulders. Antoinette grabbed at Achilles and cried out, saying something. What was she saying?<P>

Doesn't matter. She was wrong. He wasn't--he isn't--he won't--no. She was wrong, that's all that mattered. Lance's chest still rose and fell. His lips trembled, cracked and bloodied. He had a black eye too, Achilles noticed. The swelling had considerably distorted once beautiful features. Was his nose swollen too? So hard to tell, with so many shattered pieces. But he would live. He had to live. <p>

Achilles screamed. He shouted, kicked at the empty air. Antoinette fled, lifting her skirts as she ran. The cards were nowhere to be found and no one else joined him there beside Lance. Beside his death bed. <p>

Achilles' face burned. Tears scalded his cheeks and he wept and Achilles didn't even know why he was crying. He hated Lance, that weak bastard. He hated that pompous idiot who couldn't even hold a sword, who claimed jousting was a sport and that *honor* mattered. And the constant touching, and the crying, and the needy attention-seeking behavior. And fuck, Achilles hated Lance. Hated him so much he wished he could hit something or kill the idiot himself. Lance deserved it. Lance, that son of a bitch.<p>

Lance, who swore to stay by the Queen's side forever. <b>"You're a lying son of a bitch,"</b> Achilles yelled, or whispered, he couldn't hear anything beyond the roar in his own ears. <b>"How can you abandon her like this? You weak, worthless waste of space."</b> Achilles collapsed beside the bench and pounded his fists into the earth. He ignored the pain and the blood. It mattered little in the grand scheme of things. Nothing mattered if Lance died. Even being the Red Knight, the Better Knight, mattered naught. <p>

<b>"You can't leave."</b> His forehead touched the earth and as he wept he tasted blood. He'd bitten his tongue somewhere along the lines. Dirt mixed with blood - was it even his? It was late summer and yet he felt frozen, like someone shoved him beneath a frozen lake and left him to drown. In a way someone had. Lance's breathing hitched but Achilles didn't hear. Not until broken fingers touched his hair, trying in vain to smooth the tangled curls. <p>

The roaring vanished. Had Antoinette succeeded? Achilles sat up so fast his back screeched a complaint. Lance gasped and his lashes fluttered but his weak fingers clung desperately to Achilles' curls. A whimper filled the garden. Lance choked on blood, tilted his head with a moan, and spit red. A lot of it. Achilles scooted close and wiped at Lance's mouth gently, with more tenderness than he'd shown anyone in his life save Guinevere. Cracked lips parted, pale and agonized. <P>

<b>"Shh, you shouldn't talk. Just...just lay there. You'll be fine. I swear it. You'll be fine."</b> Achilles was lying. He knew he was lying and refused to accept it. Some small gossamer of hope danced just out of Achilles reach and he raced after it desperately. <b>"Dammit,"</b> Achilles' voice cracked. He was scared. He could feel it, the terror rising. He tried to fight it but Lance looked so broken. So--fragile. He hated seeing this man, this ridiculous excuse of a knight, look so vulnerable. <p>

<i>"Sir Halden..."</i> Lance tried, words ending in a cough. Achilles held his free hand and his other hand cupped Lance's cheek, keeping the blood from staining white lips. <i>"I'm so glad....to see you..."</i> He started to smile and Achilles cried out, expression cracking. <i>"One last--time."</i> Lance squeezed his eyes shut tight, mouth puckered into a grimace. Achilles shook all over. The scent of blood mingled with that of the roses. Dirt clung to his lower lip and his tongue stung from where he punctured the muscle in rage. <p>

<b>"It's not the last time,"</b> Achilles whispered. He knew his voice would crack if he spoke any louder. <b>"You'll be fine, and I'll kick your ass from here to the tulgey wood for making me worry like this."</b> <P>

Lance laughed weakly, eyelids fluttering and gazing upward. <I>"Don't be silly. I'm not--"</i> Out of nowhere Lance tried to sit up, crying out in pain as he did. Achilles forced him - as gently as possible - to lay back down and stay there. <b>"Stop moving, you're in shit shape. But you'll be fine."</b><p>

<i>"Achilles, forget about me--"</i> Lance moaned and clutched his head, releasing his hold on Achilles' curls. Achilles knelt closer and dropped the anger that filled him when Lance tried to move, instead petting Lance's cheek and hair - where he wasn't bleeding profusely. Lance relaxed only a little. <I>"Listen,"</i> he whispered. <p>

<b>"If this is some fucked up last wishes bullshit you can stop right there--"</b><P>

<i>"Please."</i> Lance stared up at him, big, stupid, blue eyes wet and bright. <i>"It's about the Queen."</i> Achilles stilled, heart hammering in his chest. <I>"Judas--the Cheshire. He's done something. He's--I don't know, I tried to stop him. I tried so hard, Achilles. I fought him, I swear. But he--he threw me off Branwen. He ate my lance, tore it to shreds. He's so frightening, I--"</i> Tears bled down his eyes, drawing pink rivers down his chalk-white, dirtied face. Achilles bent and pressed his lips to Lance's forehead.<p>

<B>"Shh, I know you did. You fought well, I believe in you. I bet you put up a helluva fight."</b> Achilles breathed. Lance's broken laughter shook his dented chest. Metal jutted out from his ribs. Metal? His--fuck, his armor. he'd been wearing armor, of course he had been. And all that was left...<P>

<i>"I didn't tell him anything--he asked and--and he--he did things. But I made it through. I didn't say anything."</I> Lance was crying furiously now and Achilles fought to wipe them away.<P>

<I>"Judas, he,"</i> Lance seized, convulsing, and Achilles' heart stopped. Paralyzed, unable to do anything as Lance trembled and thrashed, eyes lifted and baring blood stained white sclera. Achilles thought this was it--but before he could scream, Lance ceased his shaking. Short heaving breaths, and he stilled once more. <i>"He's done something terrible."</i> Lance closed his eyes. <P>

<b>"Please don't go,"</b> Achilles begged as he'd never begged in his life: with sincerity, heart in his eyes, so much sorrow written all over his face. <b>"Not yet. Not...not ever. Dammit Lance, you can't."</b><p>

Lance's eyes fluttered and he tried to smile. <i>"I can't promise anything. I'm sorry."</i> He forced his eyes open half-mast, staring up at Achilles with all the love Achilles had refused to acknowledge for centuries. <i>"Judas has found a way to harness all the power of Wonderland. He drained everything dry. The tulgey wood, the caterpillar's forest. The people. Everything."</i> Lance coughed, caught his breath and pressed on in a wavering, faint voice. <i>"He took it all. And he's coming. He's coming, Achilles, and I couldn't stop it. I'm so sorry."</i> Lance's voice broke. <p>

<i>"I failed you. I failed the Queen. You were right, you were always right. I'm second best. I'm weak, a coward. I can't do anything right."</i><P>

Achilles wiped furiously at the blood stained tear tracks and shook his head.<b>"Don't be an idiot, the only reason I said those things is because you're the best damn knight this world - or any world - has ever seen. Don't you dare belittle yourself. You fought the Cheshire and you're <i>alive</i>, Lance. You're breathing. You escaped."</b> And Lance laughed, a hollow sound.
<p>
<i>"I didn't escape. He bested me, he left me to die slowly, painfully. He tied me to Branwen and sent us home. I'm a warning of what's to come. A message for the Queen."</i> His mouth tightened to a thin line. <i>"He says to bow down and swear fealty to him, or everyone will die. Everyone."</i> <p>

Achilles gaped in horror. No. The Cheshire couldn't have. If it was Judas, if Judas had done something, it was over. The whole reason this "war" hadn't ended already was because Judas enjoyed the cat and mouse, the chess game. If he'd gotten serious, they were all fucked. <b>"There must be something. I have to do--"</b> Lance gripped his arm and Achilles looked down.

<P><I>"There is nothing we can do. It's over."</i> Lance shook his head. His lip trembled, from fear or the chill who knew. <i>"Take--take Jacqueline to the portal and run. She can unlock it just this once. You have to save her, Achilles. Save her because I can't."</i><p>

Achilles' eyes swam and Lance's face blurred. He rubbed angrily at his face and when he blinked away the tears, Lance's eyes were closed. His chest had stopped moving. Crying out, Achilles pulled him close, heedless of the blood. <b>"No! No, you can't leave! You can't--fuck, god dammit, fucking shit you can't leave me."</b> His throat scraped raw and his heart stopped and fuck there was <i>so much left to say</i>. <p>

<b>"Don't leave me, not like this. I love you, I can't live without you. Not for the Queen, not for anyone. You're the only one who stayed by my side. The only one who cared. The only one who--the only person I cared about, not out of loyalty or guilt, but true love. Because you're Lance Chevalier. You're the White Knight, the pompous, vain fool who prances around in heavy armor and brags about nothing. You're--you're my best friend. Please come back."</b>

<P>But Lance grew colder under Achilles' fingers. So cold, and it was as if something drained away. The body--Lance's body. It was nothing more than a hollow shell now. Nothing more. Empty. Worthless. It would do no good, it would never breathe or live or laugh or cry again. Trembling, throat aching with sobs, Achilles bent over Lance's body and kissed him. It was soft and lingering and then he sat up. Lance's eyes had closed in death, and he lay in repose. But he didn't look as though he slept.<p>

He looked broken and empty and <i>dead</i>. He was gone. And there was only one thing left to do. Achilles rose, numb, and folded Lance's hands over his chest. He stood there, looking over his best friend. His only friend. <b>"I will avenge you, Lance Chevalier. Sir Chevalier, the proud and brilliant White Knight. The first knight in the service of Queen Jacqueline Monroe. The best knight to ever live. Goodbye, my friend."</b> Achilles bowed to the lifeless hulk that was his best friend, bowed low enough to touch the ground, and then turned and began to walk away. <p>

<i>You will be avenged.</i><P>

Branwen stood where Achilles left her, clattering her hooves on the stone and tossing her head. She could tell something was wrong, he was sure. But Achilles ignored the pain and the heartache and gripped her reins. <b>"Quiet, Branwen. We leave to avenge your master."</b> She stared at him, doleful eyes wide and confused. He patted her nose and threw himself into the saddle four guards remained at the gate, as they were expected to at all times. He snapped his fingers and they stood at attention. <b>"Judas is coming to kill the Queen. Run to her now and tell her to leave through the portal. Do this as though your life depends on it. If the Queen falls, so does Wonderland."</b> He smacked Branwen's flanks and took off without looking back. They raced madly down the winding path, around the cityscape.<p>

Achilles couldn't tolerate other people right then. Maybe not ever. They flew across the land at such speed foam built up around the saddle and down Branwen's neck. She must have sensed the urgency; she didn't slow or hesitate, not for a single hoofbeat. Lance had been right. She was a grand mare and he told her so in whispered praise. <I>Your master would be so proud</i>. By the time they reached the edge of the Tulgey Wood, afternoon light spilled across the land, swallowed up by the foreboding forest. Grand, twisted trees creaked up in monstrous displays of malice. Thorns grew as thick and long as Achilles' forearm, deadly sharp and tipped with poison. The cat's lair. The nightmare creature. Achilles slid off Branwen's back and patted her wet, heaving nose. He pressed his face to her cheek and sighed. This was it. <p>

<b>"Run while you can, fair maiden."</b> He patted her neck and sent her flying back toward the palace with a sign Lance used to use. Strange, how many he'd picked up over the years without realizing. He watched her running up the low hills, disappearing from view only to re-emerge seconds later. He didn't believe she'd escape Judas' reach. But for Lance, Achilles made sure she would be as far from the bloodbath as he could manage. Without thought or hesitation, Achilles stepped into the nightmare's haven. <p>

Achilles didn't think for a second he'd fooled or surprised the feline. No way in all the realms was Judas too busy or bored to notice the red knight crashing through his forest, heavy boots crushing any broken branches in his way. There was no true path anymore. Judas twisted this once beautiful place into a ghastly shadow of its former glory; the only paths which remained led one into certain death. The Red Knight needed no path; he knew exactly where he ventured. <P>

No more than half an hour into his trek through the forest, Achilles found somewhat of a clearing. No more than ten meters of space between the growth of trees, the canopy above thinned just enough to let pale light shed upon the shadows. He stopped there, staring upward. <b>"Judas, you bastard. I know you're watching me."</b> He called out loud enough to silence the few birds willing to rest in the branches above. <b>"Come out, your games don't amuse me."</b><p>

Something slinked through the trees ahead. A dark figure, a silhouette of danger. Of power. Achilles tasted the sharp ozone that came with an excess of Muchness. Any Wonderlander would have tasted it, having once lived in a world saturated with the stuff. Achilles hadn't realized how deprived they had truly been until he felt the magic wash over him in eddies, which could be no more than a taste of what Judas soaked up when he drained everyone and everything in the realm. <p>

With little pomp and luster, a thin man stepped from the treeline and strode forward, fingers stuffed into the front of his black vest. The red shirt beneath glowed as dangerously as those red slitted eyes. He looked such a slight man, this human guise. Achilles always believed that had been done on purpose; he didn't need a massive, beastly human shape. He was the most dangerous creature in wonderland. <b>"Why do you stand there in that ridiculous get-up? We all know that's not the real you. You were never affected the way everyone else was. Or do you just like showing off?"</b><p>

The Cheshire smiled, and his mouth stretched almost too wide. Like an animation from the human world. Like his old smile. <b>"What's the point of all this? You bastard, smiling out of your damned human face, as if we don't know what you are!"</b> Achilles took a step forward but he stilled when Judas' lips parted and his teeth yawned open like the gaping maw of a black hole or a demon. <p>

<i>"Oh? Pray tell, what am I?"</I> Such a perfectly empty voice. No malice, no rich tenor. Just a pale voice to fit with his pale features and unassuming shell. Achilles ground his teeth and he slid his sword from its scabbard with a hiss of metal. <p>

<b>"A monster. A beast."</b> Achilles spat on the ground, seething with rage. <b>"You murdered Lance. No, you tortured him. Tore him to shreds. What did you do with his armor, rip it like paper and toss it aside? Nevermind, I don't care. You're going to pay for what you've done to him."</b> His voice wavered but he held his ground, though sheer terror welled up inside him. Judas was no one to be fucked with. No one to seek revenge from. Even as he'd promised that empty shell that once held Lance's heart he'd seek vengeance, Achilles never thought he'd do any good. <p>

Achilles had made it known from the very first time the Cheshire raged after Alice's death, to anyone that spoke the name: Judas was to be feared and Achilles was not fool enough to believe he could last five seconds if Judas ever put any real effort into a fight or took true offense. But this was about Lance. The brave knight who suffered any abuse, survived the amusement of the Cheshire. Who had just enough information for Achilles to send Jacqueline as far away from their land as he could. Maybe with both of her Knight's sacrifices she could disappear in the human world, loathe though she was to it. And maybe then she and the king could reconcile. She could live a happy life with love and maybe even children, far away from the dangers of their world. <p>

It was this hope that kept Achilles strong. The only purpose he had left in the face of certain death. And he would distract Judas as long as he possibly could. Though a full minute was so much more than Achilles could wish for. <b>"Is that all you're going to do? Stand there smiling, you smug bastard? I came here to kill you!"</b> Even the words fell from his mouth with the desperation of a lie. He never had control of his own features. But Cheshire stood there smiling ever wider, fingers tucked away, hips jutted out just a little as if he was entertained enough to let Achilles take another breath. <p>

But Achilles was no master of words. He had no hope to use words alone to distract. That he found something at all to say, standing so close to this massive well of power, was astounding. <b>"You'll regret this day, Judas. I vow it to be so!"</b> He lifted his sword and charged forward, crying out in agony of everything. This was all he had left to do. This alone, and there would be no more need of his existence. <p>

One second Judas stood there smiling, unblinking, and the next he vanished. Just as the sword cut through thin air where Judas once stood, Achilles twisted on his heel. He whirled in a circle, both hands to the hilt, blade held out defensively. There! Achilles launched again, whipping his sword with all his strength. Thin air. <p>

<b>"Damn you! Stop cowering and face me!"</b> Achilles screamed and his throat felt raw, vocal chords weak. He might lose his voice in the end. <i>Good, then he'll never hear me scream.</i> Achilles chased the Cheshire all across the small clearing, between trees, and once he got his sword stuck in the base of a gnarled tree. He swore and ripped it from the bark. <b>"This is what you do, oh great and powerful Cheshire? Here I thought you could swat me away as though I were no more than a gnat."</b> Achilles' chest heaved and sweat poured off him in buckets, soaking his underclothes beneath the armor. His arms trembled and he clutched the hilt too tightly, fear undoing all of his constant training, sweat making his grip precarious. <p>

Achilles swayed where he stood, breathing heavily. <B>"You don't have to weaken me to beat me. Stop playing games and kill me already."</b> <p>

A split second after his words died away, Judas stood before him, eyes blood-red, both hands gripping the edges of the sword. Achilles stood paralyzed as the Cheshire leaned close, chin tilted upward so their eyes met. <i>"Why would I ever kill you, Achilles, when playing with you is so much more fun?"</i> Sword blade in hand, Judas threw Achilles bodily into the tree five yards behind him. Achilles hit the trunk with such ferocity the breath drove from his lungs. He choked and gagged, a pile of metal and flesh atop the twisted roots. <I>"No, killing you now would be no fun at all. But there are other things I might do."</I> <p>

Achilles barely pulled a short gasp through his ragged throat before Judas dragged him off the ground by his throat, ripping away the armor with no more than two fingers. He tore through metal as though it were butter. <i>So that's what he did,</i> Achilles groaned. The armor at his back dug in sharply before falling to the ground. <i>"You might enjoy this. Watching a true master of his craft."</i> Judas laughed and Achilles shuddered. He'd begged for death already--he'd pried at Judas in hopes of setting him off and gaining a fast, painful death rather than a long and drawn out torment. <P>

Of course Judas saw right through him. Laughter rang through the forest, a scathing sound. And as the sun steadily traveled through the sky toward the horizon, the forest filled with much more than laughter. Horrible cries tore from Achilles' lungs, and it took so much longer than he'd ever believed for his voice to fail him. The agony continued in slight increments, ceaseless and patient. <p>

Hours passed and Achilles lay sprawled in the dirt, cheek rucked against the sticky earth. Judas stood above him, not a single fleck of blood anywhere on his person. Judas' features wavered as Achilles stared, but that was more from the blows to the head and his inevitable concussions than the beast himself. Though his entire being radiated agony, his nerves screaming a symphony of pain, swimming in a pool of his own blood, there shone in his eyes pride. <p>

Achilles had been a coward to try to get a rise out of Judas and die quickly. But now Jacqueline will have had hours to escape. She could be on a boat out of England right now. Or a plane. Or hidden away in some secret place no one would ever find. His life didn't matter anymore--he'd done all he could to protect Jacqueline, even to the end. <p>

<b>"Do what you like, Judas. Kill me, torture me some more,"</b> He coughed hard, spittle and blood dripping from his mouth. <b>"Doesn't matter. You'll never win, not really."</b> <i>Not so long as Jacqueline breathes free air. <p>

"Oh?"</i> Judas stilled, hands outstretched before him as though in the midst of something. <i>"What makes you say that?"</I> Achilles laughed, a bitter sound. <p>

<b>"You'll find out."</b> <p>

Judas smiled. It spread like a sickness, overtaking the lower half of his face, and Achilles couldn't stop the whimper of fear that escaped. <i>"You couldn't possibly be speaking of that silly woman you pay homage to."</i> Judas lifted both hands to the sky and something--appeared. It wasn't as though the mass slithered in or rose slowly from the shadows; Achilles never for a second saw movement of its arrival. It was simply there, as though it had always been. <p>

Tangled vines, riddled with thorns the length of fingers and thin as needles. Achilles flinched at the sight. <i>"I was saving this little surprise until later but I think you've earned it. And we've had so much fun already, why not add a little more?"</i> The vines undulated and Achilles steeled himself for the thorns. But they never came. Instead, they began to fall. Beneath their grip, Jacqueline's face came into view. Achilles cried out and tried to move, but there were too many broken pieces--he could do nothing as she thrashed and screamed. <p>

<i>"Achilles--"</i> Jaq's voice screeched, so unlike how she usually sounded. <p>

<i>"Ah, ah. You no longer have a voice in this game."</i> Judas waggled his index finger as though reprimanding a toddler and the vines curled around Jacqueline's throat, suffocating her. Achilles screamed and struggled. Thin streaks of blood dribbled from countless cuts along her face. Achilles couldn't bear to imagine how much worse it was, but he couldn't look away. <p>

He'd failed. <p>

No matter what he'd done, what he'd said or how he'd suffered, Achilles had failed his Queen. His very reason for existing was only feet away, trapped, and he had nothing left to give. Great, ugly sobs wracked his chest and his wounds rebelled. Broken bones jostled, numbness giving way to excruciating pain. But none of it mattered. He failed her. He failed Lance. He'd failed them all. <p>

<i>"Oh, look at that. It seems I've finally broken you. Oh, well. Guess we have no need of her any longer."</i> He snapped his fingers and the vines cinched tight. There was a terribly soft crack. Jacqueline's mouth lay open and her eyes bulged, face blood red from asphyxiation. But it was the broken neck that took her from this life once and for all. Achilles watched in horror as the vines receded and her broken body hit the dirt. She was covered in shallow wounds, and a few of the larger thorns pulled from her abdomen with difficulty. But there was nothing left of her. Nothing at all. <p>

Achilles wept openly, stinking in his own congealing blood and shattered body. Why? Why was he alive? Why must he watch all of this? <B>"Kill me, I beg you."</b> He whispered, his vocal chords so strained from his screams the words hurt nearly as much as the deep slash down his chest. Judas laughed and shook his head. <i>"You're already dead, are you not? Everything you lived for has perished. There's nothing left. You are worth less than the amusement I find at your suffering. Good day, Achilles. I do hope you've had a splendid time."</i> He turned and began to stroll away, raising a single hand in farewell. <p>

<i>"Let's do this again someday, shall we? Maybe in your next life."</i> He left as mundanely as he'd come. And he'd caused so much suffering without ever assuming his true shape. That was such a blow by itself, that he had no need to put on airs or even try. Achilles had never been worth his real power. Not more than a sliver of it was necessary to destroy everything he love and cherished. <p>

<i><p>Some things I hold as absolute truths in this world: the sun will rise and set until the end of its time, there is no life without purpose, and Lance will always be there whether I want him around or not.

<P>And so I find it strange, lying here, the taste of blood saturating my mouth, to realize my truths no longer hold power. Had I known it would come to this, there is much I would like to change, things I'd like to say and do that I was never strong enough to handle at the time. It's hard to say I have no regrets--but at the same time, I don't regret what led me to this exact place in time. I fear it would have come about eventually. </P>

<p>Terror. I haven't tasted its acrid flavor in so long, I forgot how vile it was. I believed I lived in such a state of fear before now, but I was wrong. I had no idea. </P>

<p>My Eternal Truths are dead. My world cannot exist without them, and so I cannot exist. But the damning question I find myself pondering as the ants begin to crawl into my wounds, the forest unimpressed by my sacrifices - which were all for naught, in the end - is why? <p>

Why would he do this, go through all this trouble? And then I realize the real Eternal Truth I never gave voice to, never allowed myself to consider. Because it makes everything else worthless. <p>

That Eternal Truth? Nothing in this world or the next ever really matters. None of it. All the pain and suffering, all my hard work, all of Lance's stupid jousting and Jacqueline's silly game with the Cheshire. None of it mattered. They're all dead but for the Cheshire and all we've achieved, all we strived for, did exactly nothing in the end. <p>

Now I lay here in my own demise and I wonder if I shouldn't have died that first time Dearest Mother tried to kill me. Maybe that would have saved the world the trouble of my existence. Clearly, I was unnecessary in the end. Life had never been worth living; I was dead from the day I was born and I never knew. Now I do, for what little good it does me. <p>

This is it. This is the end. And it was all meaningless. </i><p>
</div><center><div class="ptem4"></div><div class="ptem3">You'll never have a chance to try again, it's the same sound, same sting the same collapse of everything. It's the same slice, same blade the same lie same old vein. I'm a mistake such a disgrace, Perfectly flawed perfectly incomplete like cracks in the glass and faded photographs</div></center></div></div></center>[/dohtml]
Jul 20 2015, 03:53 AM
[dohtml]<center><div style="width:450px;">Bro shared this personality test with me earlier today and I could not resist throwing Achilles - and a few of my other lovely characters - into it. I thought it would be fun to share the link and see how everyone else fares!<p>

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<div style="width:450px; font-size:22px; color:#820303;"><P>
THE PERSONALITY TEST
<p><P>
</div><div style="width:450px; font-size:16px;">
<P>Achilles:: ISTJ
<p>"The Logistician"

<p>83% Introverted 100% Observant 96% Thinking 11% Judging Assertive 43%<p>
Variant: Assertive. Role: Sentinel

<p><p></div><div style="width:450px; text-align:justify;">
The ISTJ personality type is thought to be the most abundant, making up around 13% of the population. Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty make ISTJs a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies and military. People with the ISTJ personality type enjoy taking responsibility for their actions, and take pride in the work they do – when working towards a goal, ISTJs hold back none of their time and energy completing each relevant task with accuracy and patience.
<p>
ISTJs don't make many assumptions, preferring instead to analyze their surroundings, check their facts and arrive at practical courses of action. ISTJ personalities are no-nonsense, and when they've made a decision, they will relay the facts necessary to achieve their goal, expecting others to grasp the situation immediately and take action. ISTJs have little tolerance for indecisiveness, but lose patience even more quickly if their chosen course is challenged with impractical theories, especially if they ignore key details – if challenges becomes time-consuming debates, ISTJs can become noticeably angry as deadlines tick nearer.<P><P>


Hit the nail right on the head, didn't it?<p><p><p></div>



<div style="width:450px; text-align:center; font-size:16px;"><p><p><b>Pierre:: ENTP</b><p>
"The Debater"<p>
<i>Debater 100% Extroverted, 100% Intuitive, 10% Thinking, 94% Prospecting, 38% Assertive<p>
Variant: Assertive. Role: Analyst</i><p></div>
<div style="width:450px; text-align:justify;"><p>

The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil's advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don't do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it's fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.<p>

Playing the devil's advocate helps people with the ENTP personality type to not only develop a better sense of others' reasoning, but a better understanding of opposing ideas – since ENTPs are the ones arguing them. This tactic shouldn't be confused with the sort of mutual understanding Diplomats (NF) seek – ENTPs, like all Analyst (NT) personality types, are on a constant quest for knowledge, and what better way to gain it than to attack and defend an idea, from every angle, from every side?

Accurate up until it said "wit" and "knowledge". For Pierre's purposes let's substitute these with "foolishness" and "absolute idiocy".

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