"Clover and the Warden" is an AU thread written on December 14th, 2014.

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Clover Rose: Clover needed some time alone. She managed to convince Tree to watch Melira for a few hours while she went for a walk, making sure she brought a dagger with her.

She still missed Tezz terribly, and had no idea when he was coming back. As she walked, she would occasionally glance at her right arm, in its sling, and sigh deeply.

If only that accident hadn’t happened … he’d still be here.

The Warden: Another boring sweep of the village. Another scan of the lives that lay within. The Warden really didn’t understand why the blind one worried so much over everyone like a mother over her kittens. They’re fine on their own. Well, perhaps excusing that mad fellow that was banished. He needs some obvious assistance.

She tripped over a mind that felt odd and paused, returning to investigate. It was a young girl, another of those half-breeds, walking through the woods on her own. She hunkered down in the back of her mind, easing herself into the shadows, the fears, where she felt right at home. Her curiosity became too much to bear and she spoke softly to the white-cat.

Awfully dangerous to be walking out here alone.

Clover Rose: Clover froze, drawing her dagger and spinning around, looking for the source of the voice before realizing it was in her head. Although she didn’t recognize the voice, she got the feeling it wasn’t exactly friendly.

What do you want from me?

The Warden: Am I not allowed to inspect the kin of my old vessel? The gaping hole in her mind was alluring and the Warden crept closer, eyeing it thirstily. So many undiscovered secrets in this rebellion. She’d love to—

Oh. Oh, that’s who this was. How delightfully interesting.

Ah, but we are already well acquainted with each other, she said silkily. Aren’t we, Clover? She poured a memory into the girl’s mind: a blazing, white-hot set of stripes across her ribs, carved there by Treepelt’s hands.

Clover Rose: Clover drops her dagger, gasping as though it were happening all over again. She drops to her knees, whimpering. After a few moments, the pain passes enough for her to form coherent thoughts.

Warden. I’d say it’s a pleasure, but . . well.

The Warden: The Warden pouted mockingly. Not happy to see me? What a shame. It’s so difficult to find good company these days. I was so counting on you to be civil, white-cat.

While she spoke, she fed a stream of her essence into the place where Clover processed vision in her mind. Something hazy began forming in the distance, something leaning against a tree nonchalantly, inspecting her claws, seen only by Clover as the Warden manipulated her sight.

Perhaps if you had something more…solid to interact with. The Warden glanced up, shaggy hair obscuring her dark eyes.

Clover Rose: Clover looks up at the Warden, observing her form. She remains on her knees, although she grabs her dagger and sheathes it again. No point in attacking something that’s in her head.

"I must say Warden, this is the first time I’ve ever actually seen you."

She figures she might as well speak aloud now that she’s looking at the Warden, and there’s no one else around.

The Warden: Yes, well, I prefer to stay ambiguous, she said, waving a hand. Keep up an aura of mystery and whatnot. But I decided to come out of hiding for once…all because of you, little white-cat. The Warden began to circle her, hands behind her back, and double-tails swishing back and forth, back and forth in a smooth, mesmerizing pattern. You have something I’m interested in. Looking down at Clover, she slowly began to prod her mind once more. Or, should I say, it’s what you don’t have that I’m interested in.

Clover Rose: "I - I don’t know what you’re talking about." Clover’s voice shakes as she speaks, making it quite clear that she knows exactly what the Warden is talking about. She turns her head, watching as the Warden circles her. Her tail twitches occasionally, displaying her uneasiness.

The Warden: The Warden chuckled. Her form dissipated and she appeared on the other side of Clover, behind her back. Oh, little Clover. I know you’re not an imbecile. So let’s not act like one. Fair deal?'

She leaned closer. Now tell me what you know.

Clover Rose: "I . . I don’t know anything!" Clover cried out, shifting her position so she could look at the Warden. She is aware of her tail quivering, and she curls into herself a bit. She hopes the Warden believes her, because if she knew anything, she’d be spilling it in an attempt to not get hurt.

The Warden: The Warden narrowed her eyes.

You sound less like an imbecile and more like a liar, white-cat. Don’t toy with me. She tightened her hold on Clover’s mind. Or I’ll break inside.

Clover Rose: "I really don’t know!" Clover began scrambling a bit mentally, unsure what she could say to convince the Warden that she isn’t lying. She pressed her left hand to her head as she felt an uncomfortable pressure growing inside her mind.

The Warden: Well, then. She cocked her head, leaning in close.

We’ll just have to find out, won’t we?

With a violent shove, the Warden overrode her defenses and dug through her memories, plunging herself into the dark abyss that was the child’s past.

What happened here? she snarled. What did you do?

Clover Rose: As the Warden forces her way into Clover’s mind, the half-breed starts screeching, as the Warden forcing her way into the empty part of her mind caused her a great deal of pain.

"I DON’T KNOW!" Clover screams the words, dropping her hand from her head and clenching it into a tight fist, digging her nails into her palm.

The Warden: Not good enough.

Farther and farther she forced herself inside, flipping through years and years of black space. It was starting to make her head spin, this empty hole, but she had to keep looking, because if it was him…if he had done it…

TELL ME WHO DID THIS!! she roared.

Clover Rose: Clover shook her head back and forth wordlessly, and her ears pressed themselves against her head. She had no clue who had removed her memories, and she wasn’t sure how much more of this she could bear.

Please stop . . Her thoughts feel . . off, somehow, as if her entire mind is splitting itself apart. She glanced down at her hand, realizing that her palm was bleeding.

The Warden: A final rummage revealed nothing of interest, and with a snort of disgust, she withdrew, dusting off her hands like she’d physically pried through the child’s brain. Figured. He wouldn’t be so sloppy as to leave behind evidence of his magic. The Warden still didn’t even know if it was him, or the result of some tragic accident in her past.

It appears you’re telling the truth, then. You remember nothing?

Clover Rose: Clover remained silent for several moments, breathing heavily as the pain finally eased. “No... not a thing.” She slowly uncurled her hand as she turned and looked at the Warden.

The Warden: She gritted her teeth. This is going nowhere. I should have known…I forgotten how impossible it is to talk to an amnesiac.

I would possess you to find out if you really are honest about this. She wrinkled her nose and sniffed. But I am under oath to keep me from doing any such thing.

Clover Rose: Clover scoffed and rolled her eyes, despite what had just happened. ”You? Agreeing to an oath? That doesn’t sound much like you.” She tilted her head, looking at the Warden curiously, as if wondering what had caused her to take such an oath.

The Warden: The Warden’s teeth snapped near her ear, the tusks coming dangerously close, even though it was merely a scare tactic since she couldn’t actually hurt Clover. 'Watch your tongue, child,' she hissed. Need I remind you of what just happened? Clover’s headache spiked for a moment before receding. She eyed Clover for a second longer and then slipped back to her thoughtful prowl, round and round the half-breed kneeling in the snow. If you must know, it was under…rather tight circumstances, and I’ve regretted making it ever since. Her long ears twitched.

You are not a threat to me, the Warden decided. I’ll let you be…this time.

Clover Rose: "This time … that suggests that there will be another time. Very well. One question . . who convinced you to take such an oath?" Clover looked at the Warden, keeping her expression neutral. It occurred to her that she really shouldn’t risk the Warden’s anger, as the demon could rip her mind apart quite easily.

The Warden: The Warden paused, hands still tucked behind her, and back facing Clover. The tails stopped their hypnotic swaying and she turned her head slowly to look over her shoulder, black eyes sparking with a rising temper.

You have the incredibly bad habit, she said conversationally, of pushing your luck with me, white-cat. I suggest you cease immediately. 

Clover Rose: Clover cringed under the Warden’s gaze, and looked away, not saying a word. She bit her lip as she stared down at the nail-shaped marks in her hand, not looking back up at the Warden.

The Warden: Much better. She flicked a hand upward. On your feet, now. You’re going to return to your little hiding place you rebels call a fortress and speak of this to no one. Understood?

Clover Rose: Clover’s gaze turned towards the Warden, and hardened into a glare. She wasn’t exactly pleased about being ordered around by a demon, especially this one. After a few long moments, Clover got to her feet, nodding.

"I’d rather you not speak to me again. But if you really must, make sure I’m not around my daughter, please." She considers this a simple enough request, although she doubts that the Warden would actually listen to her.

The Warden: That all depends on how you behave, now doesn’t it? She had a terrible grin curl across her face. You keep your mouth shut and I keep my distance from her. Simple as that.

Clover Rose: Clover stared at the Warden, the color draining from her face. She nods, tugging at her hair with her good hand.

"I understand."

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