Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Rigging the Game"

This poem came out of the December 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by ravan and the "spells" square in my Dark Fantasy Bingo card.  It has been selected in an audience poll as the free epic for the January 8, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $200 goal.

Title: "Rigging the Game"
Fandom: Original (Path of the Paladins)
Characters: Barzay, Bodil, Einar, Gorrein, Jasp
Pairings: Jasp and random female victims
Prompt: Spells
Medium: Poetry
Word Count: (if applicable) 172 lines, 991 words
Rating: R
Warnings: Murder, attempted murder, violence against women, malicious use of magic, graphic descriptions of sexualized violence, dehumanization, misogyny, voyeurism in a negative context, deceit, manipulation, etc. Warn ALL the things! However, that's what the bad guys are up to, and while the horrible actions are presented in detail, they are not presented as okay things to do.
Summary/Preview: (if applicable) Jasp stalks women for his own gratification. Sometimes this goes according to plan, other times not.

Rigging the Game

Bodil's lieutenant Jasp
waited for her dismissal
before seeking his room at the inn.
It was always hard to wait --
he was not a patient man --
but some things were worth waiting for.

Jasp had a girl in every town.
That was his rule:
one girl per town.
No more.
No less.

He collected his spell components:
black wax and mandrake root
and a length of flaxen rope.
Those weren't cheap,
but Jasp could afford a little luxury.

It was easy to get the last piece --
the kind of girls who serviced the sailors
were happy to part with a lock of hair
in exchange for a ducat or two
from a friendly mercenary.

Jasp unlaid the rope a little
and worked the golden hair
into the spiral of strands,
then tightened it back up.

He dripped the black wax
over the spot to seal it,
threw the mandrake root into the fire,
and prayed to Gorrein.

It was a simple prayer,
and always the same.
"Give her to me," he prayed,
"and I'll let you watch while I play with her.
Everything, My Lord, imagine it --
I'll let you watch it all."

It hadn't failed yet.

Then he only had to wrap the rope
around his hands
and wait.

She came to him,
fighting and flopping
like a fish on a long line,
and wasn't she a beauty too --

nice and fresh,
he liked them fresh,
they lasted longer that way.

Jasp reeled her in,
hand over hand, the rope
coiling along with his anticipation.

He took his time toying with her,
enjoying the play and the power,
imagining his god looking over his shoulder
and maybe licking His divine lips.

She kicked at the end of the rope
when he hoisted her up
with a quick loop over a rafter
and the twitch of it went right into him,
sweeter than any beer, oh sweet,
so that he spilled inside his breeches as she died.

When he wasn't murdering girls by night,
Jasp had other hobbies by day.
He liked to rig model yachts
and race them across ponds,
betting on the outcome.
He liked to make puppets
and pull their little strings,
making them dance like dying girls.

There was the mercenary work too, of course,
but it was slow in the winter, hardly enough
to count as a proper holiday celebration
for someone with Jasp's fine taste
in recreational activities.

He bought himself a jug of applejack
to keep him warm between towns,
and waited for the turning year
to bring something
more interesting.

They stopped in a city, and oh,
this  ought to be good --
there would be more women to choose from
and the neighbors would be used to yelling
so nobody would bother him.

Silk, he decided,
he would use silk this time
and find a really dirty  girl
so he could send her soul to the hells.

He imagined that it would make him
feel even closer to Gorrein,
almost like a god himself,
to have that kind of control.
It made Jasp quiver with anticipation.

Snow was drifting through the streets by the time
Jasp took his leave of the paladin of Gorrein
who managed the mercenaries.
"Don't be late for arms practice tomorrow,"
she said sternly as he bowed himself out.

Jasp found his dirty girl, all right,
out in the cold with hardly a stitch on
and a hearthfire spell to keep her warm.
Snowflakes fell on her fair skin
and melted as he watched,
sparkling like love-sweat.

He gave her two pence
for a kiss and a cuddle,
ran his fingers through her long hair
and walked away smiling.

Jasp did not notice
the shadow that followed him
through the chilly, glistening streets --
did not realize that his activities
had been attracting attention.

He went to his inn
and cast the spell
to call the whore to his side.

He played out the rope,
caught her with its black enchantment,
and toyed with her all the way home.

The thrill of the game excited him so
that he could not wait to open the gift
he had gotten for himself --
he strung her up at once
and humped against her hip.

Einar stepped out of the shadows
and swept his sword through the air,
cleaving the rope neatly in twain.

The girl flopped to the floor,
gasping her breath back.
Denied its promised prey,
the cursed rope turned on its maker.

The rigger choked,
clutching at his throat
as loop after loop of bruises
appeared on the pale untouched skin.

The rope did its grisly work,
drawing his dark soul
in and down
to the hells.

Einar sheathed his sword,
and with a paladin's power
cast a blessing about the room,
calling on the smith-god Barzay
to erase what evil had been done there.

With a silk handkerchief he gathered up
the remnants of the cursed rope.
Then he flung the whole filthy handful into the fire,
followed by a liberal amount of salt.
Black smoke billowed out of the hearth,
thick with the stench of brimstone.

Einar gathered up the half-conscious girl
and draped her over one broad shoulder.
With a brief glance for clear passage,
Einar slipped away into the night
with his precious package.

No alarm was raised;
Jasp had not been well liked
and would not be missed quickly.

The next morning,
Bodil grumbled over
her subordinate's tardiness
and went upstairs to kick him out
of whatever whore's bed he'd overslept in.

Instead of a whore,
she found a corpse
and no sign of a culprit.
Whatever trail there might have been
was stone cold under last night's heavy snow.

Bodil snarled
and kicked the corpse
with a black-booted foot.
Now she needed a new lieutenant,
and where could she find one
at this time of year?

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, horror, poem, poetry, reading, spirituality, writing
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