Thursday, April 22, 2010

Approaching part 50... and now...

Coming soon...

A new beginning, but it might not be what you think.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Forty Eight

          “What is going on?” I demanded to know from Dark, when his expression went from mean and angry to grim and resigned. He threw my repaired chain at me and said,

          “Put it on, we have to get you out of here.”

          I did what I was told and scrambled into the chain chest piece, cinching down straps and securing buckles, tightening down the rest of my armor while Elethor stood ready with my shield and mace, my cube in his hand. He looked so very tired and sad in that moment but whatever was coming was bad, something to be very afraid of and as I strapped my cube to my belt Dracia started uttering a long line of what could only be curses, screaming at Billy who only grew more visibly upset. He shouted back at her and she crossed her arms over her chest, the leather of her sword rig creaking menacingly. Dark yelled at them both while I settled my shield on my back and took my mace in hand.

          Elethor threw open the window and shoved me towards it. Voice low and urgent he said, “Glide keairrah, I’ll be right behind you. The Shadow Judges wait for no one.” I wrinkled my brow in confusion and did as I was bade, leaping from the window my wings stretching free once I was clear, and I spiraled cleanly and gracefully to the ground, Elethor landing beside me, and Billy beside him. I looked back up to his lofty window and watched Dark close it, drawing the heavy velvet curtains behind him.

          Elethor took my arm and steered me into the woods, his pace quick and his eyes sharp, Billy watching our backs. We wended through snow, knee deep in places and finally came out on top of a hill overlooking a low, low valley. Elethor kissed me fiercely and shoved me towards the edge, I opened my wings and spiraled carefully to the ground as I knew he intended landing softly and with as little sound as possible. He landed beside me and Billy not long after that and turning I could see we were at the mouth of a cave, which we quickly retreated back into. Once well back from the mouth Billy began speaking low and urgently to Elethor as if to try and convince him of something, but all Elethor would do was nod in an agitated manner, holding up his hand to stop the man’s speaking and pull me close.

          “She called the Shadow Court down upon us, my love. It is time for you to go.” He said, with no little sorrow to his tone. I kissed him, lingering and sweet and wrapped my arms around him, laying my head on his chest.

          “What will you do?” I asked, not unafraid. I didn’t know what this Shadow Court was that he spoke of, or why they should be so feared but it was obvious whatever they were… it was bad and that he was in no little danger. Because of me, I thought.

          “I will be fine, I will see you again, and if not there will be a letter for you as promised, exactly where we discussed.” He tipped my face up to look at him and smoothed his thumb along my cheek. “Go now, Sirona. I will see you again, and when I do my heart will be well.”

          “I love you.” I said, the tears starting to threaten.

          “… and I love you,” he said, his clear crystal eyes burning brighter than usual with trapped moisture of their own.

          I stepped back from him and said the spell of returning, that would take me back to the obelisk my soul was bound to, still feeling the slight tug in his direction. I closed my eyes and let my body flow into the aether and collect back on the other side. It was warm and bright in Elysea, and I was grateful. It made the tears staining my face dry faster as I made my way toward Ailsie’s.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Forty Seven

          Click… chink! “Damnit!” was what woke me; I drew in a deep breath and pushed myself up halfway before realizing Elethor was not beside me. I had been lying on my stomach and now I grabbed the sheet before twisting, my eyes trying to focus in the diffuse half-light that was Asmodae’s morning sun streaming through the windows. Elethor stood behind his desk flipping through a ledger, poised now mid-motion with his attention on me. It was Dark that had woken me. He sat in the chair before the now cold hearth, my chain hauberk over one of his large knees pliers fitting awkwardly in his large clawed hands as he tried to manipulate fresh links together and repair the damage done to it.

           I held the blankets and sheets to my chest and preserved my modesty the best I could but the large man was focused on the armor in his lap and not on me. Something for which, I was ever grateful. Elethor rounded his desk and came toward me, gliding across the many rugs with a boneless liquid grace that I remembered and had always envied. It made me smile and when I smiled it made him smile, his eyes crinkling at the corners and in that moment, to me he was beautiful.

            He climbed up onto the bed beside me and kissed me gently which did make Dark look up and say with a wicked grin, “Hey none of that now… Let me at least get Dracia in here,” which he promptly repeated in Asmodian for Elethor as my face burned red. Dark laughed a deep rich sound that filled the room even as the door opened and Dracia edged in with a full tray in her hands. She looked at Dark confused and said something, he replied and she looked over at us raising an eyebrow. She kicked the door closed and set the tray on the table near the windows.

            “Elethor…” I said face burning with shame at my exposed state.

            “Oh! Right… I’m sorry.” He kissed my temple and got up speaking to the other couple in the room. They both looked at him surprised and astonished, Dracia commented and Dark set his work aside getting up. He took her by the elbow and steered her out into the hall way, giving me a wink as he closed the door behind them. I didn’t think it was possible to turn any deeper of crimson, but that wink proved I could. Elethor smiled at me and brought me my freshly laundered and mended breeches and shirt. I scrambled out of bed and dressed quickly while he spoke.

             “I’m sorry, I didn’t think. We of Asmodae aren’t as modest as the Elysian’s apparently. Forgive me?” I may have thought he was sincere but he could not keep the grin from teasing at the corners of his mouth. I frowned, and in a mock-stern voice told him,

            “With that devilish grin of yours I wish I could be inclined to believe you but no… I don’t forgive you; you will have to ask Aion to do the forgiving.” I stuck my tongue out at him as he laughed at me and pulled on my greaves and boots. Eyeing my hauberk which was still somewhat in pieces by the chair Dark had occupied the same chair that had engulfed me the night previous but now seemed so diminutive after seeing his massive frame in it. Elethor went to the door and let them in when I was presentable, standing at his scrying mirror with a brush and my combs, setting my hair into place.

           “I liked you better before.” Dark said with clear disappointment followed by a sharp “Ow!” uttered simultaneously with a meaty smack. I turned to see him ducked to the side, Dracia with her arm out stretched, and scowling at him. “She doesn’t even know what I said!” he complained “What is she smacking me for!?” I raised an eyebrow at him and inclined my head as gracefully as I could towards her.

            “She’s a woman,” I said with a shrug, “and apparently she knows you well.” He laughed at me and she made to smack him again but this time he caught her arm mid swing and pulled her to him, crushing his mouth over hers in an almost brutal and demanding kiss. I looked to Elethor and as I looked back to them she was almost melting into his embrace and I couldn’t help but smile.

              “Are they always like this?” I asked my beloved as he poured me a glass of a rich dark juice from the pewter pitcher on the tray. He handed it to me as he said,

              “Nearly always, amazing isn’t it?” I hid my grin with the tankard and took a swallow. The clear love and devotion these two displayed was just that… amazing.

            The four of us breakfasted at the small table, and I could not help myself but to stare for almost the entire meal out the bank of windows, that had until now always been covered by thick, black velveteen drapes. The landscape outside looked crisp and cold but was absolutely breathtaking in its beauty.

           Elethor must have said my name, more than once because I startled when he laid his hand on my arm, waking from my own thoughts as if from a dream.

          “Sirona are you all right?” he asked me eyes gentle and worried. I smiled at him and laid my hand over his.

           “I’m fine, it’s just so beautiful here,” I commented, my eyes straying back to the serene snow capped mountains. “I just wish it were warmer.” I said with a mock shiver. He laughed and we returned to our meal.

           “I’ll have that armor fixed just inside the hour, in fact,” Dark said heaving himself to his feet, “I’ll finish it up now. Damned links are so small; I’m used to plate not this flimsy chain crap.” He sat down and started working with my Hauberk again and this time I went over to inspect his work. I knelt on the floor beside him and examined the links he had replaces, very impressed.

          “This is really good.” I said blinking up at him. He grinned in appreciation and Dracia made a comment, he replied and the room was quiet again… He worked on my chain, and Dracia sharpened her swords and I set about cleaning up from our meal while Elethor checked his figures in his ledger one last time. It was almost an idyllic morning for us all when the door to the chamber burst inward, opening wide to smack against the wall. Dark was just setting the last link in my chain and looked up with the meanest expression I had ever seen on a man while Dracia leapt from her seat, fading into seemingly nothing. Elethor’s jewel spun fiercely between his outstretched hands and I simply stood there, calmly my prayers fluttering against the roof of my mouth begging to be spoken aloud.

          Billy stood in the doorway disheveled a stricken look upon his face and called out to Elethor, everyone relaxed imperceptibly as the words began to pour from his mouth… I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew in the deepest recess of my heart that whatever it was, it was not going to be good.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some new changes, some small changes...

... and a little hint of news.

So I am sure anyone that hasn't noticed will by the time you're finished reading this that a small change has been made to the face of the My Sirona blogsite.  If you look to the right, you will see a selection of YouTube videos.  These videos are called machinima and were done by my good friend Dracia (Assassin - Lvl 50 - Ariel server.)

Stay tuned both in the Aion official forums and here for something very special that Dracia is hard at work on featuring the My Sirona cast of characters and Aion sub-universe.  I promise, it will be worth it.

Until then, fly high Daevas!


Forty Six

           I listened to the storm outside Elethor’s window in the otherwise quiet dark of his chambers. A fire burned within the hearth and made the occasional pop or crack as the wood gave way to the flames. The sound the rain made as it lashed against the windowpane and cascaded down the drain pipes and gutters was almost soothing and echoed against the stone walls. I lay nude beneath the blankets and sheets, my head on his shoulder, the fingers of my left hand curling idly in the hair behind his ear and the rest of my arm lay draped across his chest. He caressed my body beneath the sheets with a gentle clawed hand his other resting where my ribs curved inward, just above my hip. I had slung one of my legs over his, and we lay there in his bed just wanting to be as close to each other as we possibly could. Neither of us spoke, there was no need at this moment in time.

           I had cried and cried against his chest, and he had let me, murmuring softly into my hair that he loved me and to let it out, not once asking me to stop. Finally his patience, when it came to our situation, ran out and he roughly grabbed my chin forcing my eyes to meet his as he vowed to me,

           “I do not care if I have to move heaven or earth or do battle with Aion himself I promise you one day this pain will be a thing of the past and that we will be together. I love you Sirona, and if this is the last night I am to have you in my arms for some time, I am going to make it memorable for the both of us.”

           He had crushed his mouth over mine then and I had relented, melting into his embrace and allowing him to whatever he wished. Now we lay comfortably, the sounds of the storm and the warmth of the fire comforting us, even if the thoughts that kept us awake were anything but. He looked down at me, the sharp movement of his chin catching the vision at the corner of my eye causing me to look up quickly in return. He smiled at me and kissed my forehead gently.

          “I don’t want to leave.” I said, memorizing the every curve and line of his handsome face.

          “I do not want you to go.” He held me tighter for a moment before relaxing his hold on me back to a gentling thing. I laid my head back down on his chest, my neck beginning to ache from the extreme angle and stared over our legs toward the fire watching the golden light dance over the shadowy furniture in the chamber.

           “The fifth day of every month?” I asked, needing assurance that we’d at least see one another or maintain contact in some way.

          “If I am not there, or you are not, I promise you there will be a letter beneath the rock I showed you, I promise you. I may be losing you again keairrah, but I will not lose you like I did before, never again, I swear it.” I held to him a little tighter than before and made a promise to him.

          “You won’t lose me Elethor, I promise. I also promise that if I cannot make it, there will be a letter for you, just as you showed me. I don’t like that we must live like this…” my voice broke, the tears cracking it in two and welling hot and immediate in my eyes. He smoothed his hand down my arm that crossed his chest, his other hand making soothing circles against my back and we fell silent, listening to the storm and the fire.

          “I would live like this forever if it was required, but I tell you now without you I don’t really live at all, just when you are here.” He kissed the top of my head and murmured a gentle sleep spell, I knew the cant and intonation of the words, hearing them before and knowing what they meant, but never before had I heard anything uttered with such loving care. It was slow acting, and as I drifted off the sound of the rain in the drainpipe and the crackling cheer of the fire was almost as calming as his touch. I was safe…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Forty Five

          I tried to wrench out of the hold on me but to no avail, the persons fingers digging into my upper arms like adamantium bands. I turned my tearstained face to see the woman Elethor had introduced as Dracia had a firm grip on me and she was shaking her head solemn. I turned back to Elethor who stood in the center of the room, and the circle his Legion had made. The woman I now could clearly see was a Chanter had squared off his opposite, staff out in a combat ready stance. I blinked bewildered as I had seen her before, her face twisted with fury and deep hatred; she was the woman from the road… Her white hair crackled with power and floated out from her head and the curve of her horns like spider silk. I looked back to my beloved; his eyes aglow, a deep bloody red and he spoke just passed me to Dracia and Dark both, though I could not understand. I looked back to Dark who had the grace to explain briefly.

          “He’s asked us to keep you out of harm’s way while he… deals with the situation.”

          I felt my eyes widen as I turned back to Elethor in time for the woman to raise her voice loud and clear, a shockwave emanating from her staff, flying towards Elethor at an incredible rate. I screamed and struggled in the restraining hold Dracia had on me, lurching forward in her grasp. She wouldn’t let go and so I fought against her. She grumbled something through gritted teeth and a metal clad arm crossed my chest and pulled me away locking me solidly back against Dark’s plate chest, my feet kicking feebly above the stone floor.

           The spell she had used clashed against Elethor’s mage shields, the sound reverberating through the hall and setting my teeth on edge. His rich voice called out clearly words only understood by his fellow sorcerers versed in the arcane and the woman’s body twisted and transformed, her body stretching and lengthening, skin smoothing then roughening into the bark of a tree. I continued to struggle as he stalked around the tree, his voice low and dangerous yet still loud and clear to all of those gathered in the hall, though I knew not what he said.

          He spoke to all assembled there, looking at each face as he stalked around the woman in tree form, his voice angry and his expression sharp and I held still, hoping that the big Gladiator would relax his grip, but also very aware he was too smart for that. Elethor continued to address his people for what seemed like forever, turning back to the tree when it started to shift, plying a sleep spell to the woman as she changed back to normal. She stood there comatose as he finished speaking and he waited for her to wake up. I shouted for him not to let her, but he had some sort of point to prove because when she did she came awake hissing and spitting, swinging her staff in an arch that would surely strike him. I dare not close my eyes but at any moment I expected to hear the crunch of bone as her staff met his body, but it never happened.

          Elethor blinked out of existence, one moment there then just gone, vanished and the next he was several meters away, behind where he just stood. It was an awesome display of power and stilled me in my renewed struggle against Dark to break free and go to his aide. The Elethor I remembered from all those many years ago had been shy about his displays of power… well maybe shy isn’t the correct word, controlled would be more accurate. Zenton had always been the quick one to display his prowess. I blinked as the chanter stumbled, her staff swinging through air where my Elethor had once stood, her entire body twisting with the blow to a degree it looked painful and I felt sick, knowing what kind of damage it should have done had he still been in the direct path of her rage.

          He began to cast a complex spell, his voice sharp and every syllable of the language of the arcane dripping with concentration. The Chanter swung her staff again, but before the words finished leaving her lips the most terrifying and awful thing happened. The shadows of the room began to draw together, slipping along the floor and gathering beneath Elethor’s boots, before twisting and rising up behind his back. The inky blackness continued to rise and twist on itself, writhing into the most awful creature I had ever seen, looming high behind him arching forward and I was so very afraid, not for the woman, but for Elethor… The creature of shadow arched forward and for a mere second it seemed as if it were about to devour him whole, I screamed and bucked against the orichalcum clad arm that bound me as the creature arched higher behind Elethor before twisting and curving in on its self to smash down into the woman he fought, driving her up off her feet and into the stone floor.

          She lay there prone, unconscious, for now and Elethor spun, holding his arms wide and shouted to the assembled people of his legion before turning to me, his face schooled into a grim mask of stone, only the barest flinching around his eyes telling me what his display of power had cost him. He let his arms drop to his side, and looked passed me to Dark speaking a few solemn words to his friend. He held his arms out to me as the Gladiator let me go… I sobbed as my feet touched the floor and I ran to him, locking my arms around his shoulders, squeezing him tightly to my chest as the tears leaked down my face. His arms found their way around my waist and he hugged me, hands smoothing up my back even as he whispered soothingly in my ear. We did not dally, even before he could draw away from me enough to move he was steering us for the door, his people parting as he moved us passed them, Dark and Dracia falling in behind us, guarding our backs.

          “Aion’s light, what was that Elethor? What did you call? I was so afraid for you, what did you do?” I asked as he ushered us quickly through the halls of his legion’s house to his quarters. We reached his door within moments, his mouth set in a grim line as he moved us purposefully into his chambers, refusing to answer the myriad of questions I threw at him. He turned to his friends who remained in the hall and a short exchange commenced between them. Dark nodded, Dracia echoing the movement with a graceful inclination of her chin. Elethor shut the door, the last I saw of the two was Dracia slipping into her surroundings like a well worn cloak, turning invisible and seemingly taking up post outside the door while her beloved Dark strode down the hall, the long reach of his legs devouring in long strides the distance between us and his intended destination.

          The door shut and Elethor latched it, locking us inside before leaning forward heavily against the thick wood for a moment. I stood still and waited for a fraction of a moment to pass when he turned, strode to me and took me by the arms, his crystal eyes intense with worry as he looked me over, his voice strained with barely suppressed panic.

          “Are you hurt?” he asked me, “Are you injured in any way?” he ran his hands up and down my arms and across my shoulders, checking my collarbones for breaks before smoothing his hands down my ribs and hips. So intent was he with finding injury or imperfection with my body he missed the bewildered look on my face, he was about to run his hands lower, checking my legs when I stopped him with my own hands gently on either side of his face, making him look at me. I couldn’t help it, my face twisted with tears I couldn’t stop as I looked at the scorch marks and tears in his robes over his chest and shoulder where he had taken the strike intended for me… and where I could not heal him. His flesh was whole beneath the gape in the material, his skin smooth and perfect where it had been charred and bleeding before and I knew in that moment, that I could not stay here any longer than I all ready had. That it was too dangerous for him and that my being here would get him hurt or worse… that it would cause me to lose him forever.

           I crumbled then, collapsing into one of the wingback chairs before his fireplace, wrapping my arms around myself and I let myself give in to the helpless anguish I felt, allowing it to issue forth in a bitter heartbroken wail, the shards of which tumbled from me with my uncontrollable sobbing. He knelt by me and gathered me into his arms, resting my head on his chest and rocked me with a grim certainty as he made soothing noises into my hair, he did not ask me what was wrong, because he knew as well as I what it was that tortured me now, he knew it as well as I did… and I think he felt it too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Forty Four

          “Hey you two, storm is supposed to blow in tonight, you might want to pack it in and come inside for now.” I blinked up at Elethor and turned to see Dark striding across the practice courts a lithe woman in leather gliding silently beside him. Her skin was a dusky amethyst and her outfit showed a lot of it, her hair was long and straight and was back from her face, leaving her horns to curve wicked and severe to frame a lovely, no gorgeous face. Her legs were long and kept stride with the large Gladiator easily. It was plain to see, even from this distance she was both limber and lethal, the two swords crossed at her back marking her out as an assassin if anyone looking at her was too thick to realize it by the way she moved.

          She stalked forward with liquid grace and circled me and Elethor, the look in her eyes decidedly unfriendly. She spoke in Asmodian to both Dark and Elethor and they answered her questions both of them a little stiff and uncertain, Elethor’s arms resting lightly about me ready for anything it seemed. She reached out with her clawed fingers at me and I remained steady she touched my hair of all things and the touch was light, she smoothed her claws through it and finally retreated to Dark’s side, leaning into him as she spoke. Both men looked surprised at her actions and as Dark’s large arms encircled the woman drawing her back against his chest Elethor made the introductions.

         “This is Dracia,” he said motioning to the woman in Dark’s arms. He then spoke to her and motioned towards me. She gave Elethor a dirty look and made a retort. Dark tightened his arms around her and bowed low over her, laying a kiss against the side of her neck, speaking low and insistent, with his lips hidden by the fall of her hair. She watched me as he spoke, her expression hard and angry but something he said changed her expression. It softened somehow and she looked passed me at Elethor and when she looked back at me she pursed her lips and inclined her head once.

          “What just happened?” I asked my lover. He turned me in his embrace to look at him and his eyes held a gentle pain that made my heart wrench in my chest with the desire to smooth that look away. In a flicker the look disappeared and was safely hidden behind the aristocratic mask he had always worn in the time before the cataclysm. Such a familiar look on his new face that the sudden ache in my chest eased and I went up on the tips of my toes to kiss him softly, a quick, almost chaste touch of lips. He smiled as I let myself down and steered me toward the indoors as the first distant peal of thunder rumbled through the atmosphere and the faintest warning of a breeze picked up.

          We walked down a long hallway, Dark and Dracia just ahead of us and descended a flight of stairs. As we reached the bottom was when I first heard it. It was the beautiful mournful melody that only a violin could make and it echoed through the stone hallway crashing softly into my wine-soaked senses and carrying me away on a gentle sea of memory…

           “Dance with me Sirona.” I looked up at Zenton from my seated position and smiled softly. He never asked for anything our proud friend, he always demanded and my night had not gone well and wasn’t about to get better and it was time for me to make a stand.

          “No thank you Zenton.” I said softly, my own brows beginning to knit together as his expression began to cloud over. I was not in the mood to deal with his arrogance. I rubbed gently at the wine stain in the skirt of my dress with a napkin and wished whole heartedly that I had never come to the annual academy ball. Claire and Evensong had both gone off with fine young gentleman and I had been content to sit alone and watch the dancers swirl around the floor. I was awkward and I knew it and so I never danced at these things. I was used to simple dances at festivals with other hard working farm folk. Not to the elegant and poised angelic frippery that paraded passed me here.

           Zenton tried again to get me up to dance with him and I snapped at him. His expression went dark as pitch and he stalked off and as my eyes followed his back through the crowd I began to turn red because here came Elethor, perfectly pressed and polished in his fine black suit. I bowed my head and continued scrubbing at the wine spot in the skirt of my dress my frustration blossoming in the form of tears in my eyes. I didn’t know how to dance like them, I didn’t speak like them, all cultured and well educated and I wasn’t bold like Claire who didn’t care what anyone thought. My self-machinations were interrupted with a gentle finger under my chin as Elethor tipped my face up so he could see me. He sighed and knelt before me pulling a handkerchief from his breast pocket and wiping gently at my eyes.

           “Zenton do this?” he asked gently. I shook my head and sniffed. “Then what’s wrong?” he asked.

            “I don’t know why I became a Daeva Elethor. I’m not like any of you, I’m not rich or smart or graceful.” He stopped me with a finger to my lips.

            “Who dumped wine in your lap?” he asked, and I told him. He snorted. “That jackass,” he muttered. “I’ll deal with him later. Did he say why?” he asked then and I nodded.

          “I stepped on him.” I whispered. “I embarrassed him, but he dragged me out on the dance floor and I tried to tell him I didn’t know how to dance but he wasn’t going to take no for an answer and then I was out there and I…” he planted his palm across my mouth to shut me up, his blue eyes sparkling with barely suppressed laughter.

          “You don’t know how to dance?” he asked. I felt the blush creep up my face, the heat spreading up my neck and across my cheeks all the way up to my hairline and I nodded, humiliated. He straightened and stood, hauling me to my feet. “Then it is time to teach you.”

            I tried to protest but wished ardently not to make a scene as he towed me through the tables and chairs to the sweeping expanse of dance floor as the violin began its mournful song. I swallowed my heartbeat back in my chest and stood stiffly as he drew me close, placing his lips beside my ear to murmur to me,

           “Relax, good… close your eyes and move with me, good now follow my lead, just like mace practice.”

            I closed my eyes and as he stepped back I stepped forward until naturally we just flowed with the rest of the dancers around us, as a raindrop merged with a sea, allowing the current to take us…

           When I opened my eyes again the Elethor of now held me close, his eyes gently searching my face as he half smiled and half worried. It was so silent you could hear if a mouse was present and I stepped back a little to look around us. We were in a meeting hall, all of the tables and benches pushed off to the walls, the podium at the back of the stage where several daeva stood with their instruments. Elethor’s Legion circled us, those that had been dancing had stopped to stare and I felt suddenly and acutely exposed… What had I done?

          Dark spoke loud and clear, diverting the attention of Elethor’s legion who wore a mix of expressions ranging from curiosity, to shock and some even further down the line with an open seething hatred. Elethor put his lips against my ear and spoke low and fast, translating what Dark was saying.

          “I believe Dark is correct, he is telling them that you have obviously had too much wine and when we reached the bottom of the stair and you heard the music you were simply entranced…” nervous laughter twittered through the gathering in the room, “he said that Elysian music must be awful and if your reaction is anything to go by perhaps we should play our songs at the next fortress siege if we wish to succeed.” I bowed my head and bit my lip, my chest tightening with fear as the silence thickened and cooled.

            I was just about to let out the breath I’d been holding, grateful that it was okay when the calm shattered as someone’s rage boiled over. It started with a deafening crack as the butt of a staff connected with the stone floor; a woman’s voice rang out clear and strong in a single word of power unknown to me. Elethor’s arms opened, releasing me and he shoved me behind him turning and taking the blow intended for me square in the chest. I was knocked to the floor with him, his legion all stepping back towards the walls, creating a ring around us. Elethor lay stunned; the wind knocked out of him, the woman responsible for the blow standing over us screaming, eyes blazing with fury. I crawled toward Elethor, panic rising in my throat, tears borne of fear slipping from my lashes I started my prayer hands glowing and covered the painful wound in his upper shoulder and chest with light and released the healing energy into his body…

            It did nothing. I sobbed panic rising in my chest and tried again reciting the prayer perfectly and released the healing light into his body but again nothing happened. Strong hands gripped my upper arms and tried to pull me back but I shouted and tried yet again to heal the injury… to no avail. Finally the hands gripped down with no argument and pulled me backwards I struggled against their grip to get back to his side even as one of his legion’s clerics approached and did what I could not. Elethor sat up the look on his face bitter and angry, his eyes aglow with the fierce light of his power and he rounded on the woman, her staff out and ready to do battle…

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Forty Three

          I raised my hands out of the heated pool and cupped his face between them, leaning in for a kiss that was the barest whisper of a touch of my lips to his. His hands stayed on my back below the water line and gently kneaded the tight muscles in my lower back. I traced his lower lip with damp fingertips and for a moment could hardly believe this was real. He made a wry twist of his lips and murmured,

          “It is still so new isn’t it?”

          I nodded gently and bowed my forehead to his, closed my eyes and just relaxed listening to the gentle lap and fall of water around us and the soft murmur of conversation from the other pool. I was so still for so long I became slightly entranced, allowing my mind to let go, and slip into a light meditative state. Elethor was simply content to hold me and enjoy the moment as much as I but finally in a gentle, almost wistful tone he said,

          “Head back, keairrah,” his hands splayed low on my back and hips to allow me to arch back into the water with some grace. I bent backwards and dipped my hair in the pool as he had instructed, managing to get it all without fully submerging sitting up again, the tendrils of hair sticking to my neck and tickling my shoulders longer now that it was straight and wet. He smiled and held out a hand and with a flick of his wrist the bottle he wished left the neatly stacked platter at the pools edge and levitated to him. I quirked an eyebrow at the display of power which he had never been apt to perform before the cataclysm that I could remember. He smiled rakishly at me.

          “I would not let you go for a trifle such as this, not now and not ever.” I smoothed my hands up his shoulders where they rested, touched by his words and allowed them to come up the sides of his neck before burying them in the hair at the back of his neck, where his mane began and crushed my lips over his in a demanding kiss. He returned the kiss patiently drawing away slightly then a bit more insistently. He pulled one of my hands away from the side of his neck and laid a gentle plant of lips against the skin of the inside of my wrist where my pulse fluttered.

          I closed my eyes and let myself go in that small feeling for a moment when the smell of moon flowers brought me back to the water and the man and what it was exactly we were supposed to be doing there. Elethor poured a small amount of the liquid from the vial into the palm of his opposite hand and pressed the crystal into my free one. I capped it for him and held the bottle careful not to drop it. He rubbed the soap between his hands and reached out to work it into my hair, his hands returning to my back to support me so I could bend back once again to rinse the strands clean. I returned to a vertical position a little dizzy from the awkward position I had held. His lips curved appreciatively as his crystalline eyes roamed over me and I smiled back. He took the bottle of expensive soap from my hands and waved it back to its place on the platter. We rested in each other’s embrace for several moments when a woman cleared her throat behind me. I jumped and Elethor’s arms tightened around me reassuringly.

          She asked him something and I molded myself to him, hiding my front against his modestly, laying my head on his shoulder as he stroked my back both in and out of the water reassuringly. He answered the woman and I could hear the note of relief in his tone, the timbre of his voice controlled and as soothing as his hand on my back as he made his lengthy reply. I heard the soft click of her claws on the stone as she retreated and realized after several moments that they had all gone, and we were alone in the chambers with simply the sound of tinkling water against stone.

          “She will bring you something to wear and we will get out,” He mouthed against my ear, voice low and soothing yet still intense. “…though if I had it my way, I would take you again here and now.” I shivered in his embrace though not with cold and he laughed. He cradled me in his arms until she returned, another short and pleasant exchange between the two and she was gone again and he helped me out of the pool, wrapping me in a thick absorbent bath sheet, taking another for himself. The woman had brought a dress; the match to the white one Elethor had given me the last time I was here, though that one remained back in Elysea.

          I slipped into it and turned around. Elethor nodded appreciatively, and finished buckling the clasp at his throat on his tunic. He held out his hand to me and I took it, and he pressed my combs into my palm, I fixed my hair the way I liked it and we left the bath chamber together, my arm linked with his, hand lightly resting upon his wrist. He covered my hand with his and we moved up the hall, I shivered and this time it was with the chill that pervaded the air and he stopped in his tracks, unfastening his cloak and clasping it around my shoulders. He murmured slightly and tapped the edge of the material three times and I was warmer, just like that.

         I wrapped my arms around his and we continued on, though I did not know where it was he led us. It was soon apparent when we stepped into a wide open practice room for the martial arts where it was we were going, the room was open to the elements and a wide veranda for flight training beyond, and set with fine china and silver cutlery was a small table for two, lit beautifully with candles and waiting for us were two glasses of a rich ruby hued wine. I stopped and stared for a moment at the scene so perfectly set and turned bewildered eyes upon Elethor, who smiled gently at me. He leaned down so carefully and kissed me then, and with that kiss he told me so much more than he ever could with words that he loved me.

         He drew back and pulled out one of the chairs for me, I wrapped myself in his cloak and took the proffered seat as he tucked it beneath me, edging me close to the table. He sat opposite me and we were quiet for several moments, he spoke first.

          “What I would not give for you to stay with me.” He sipped at his wine and I cast my eyes at the pristine white table cloth.

          “I wish more than anything that I could.” I said in answer.

          “This frustrates me to no end.” He said with such vehemence. I looked at him sharply, and studied his face, his forehead marred by the deep lines of a frightening scowl.

          “I am going to have to go back.” I said softly, and with no little heartbreak.

          “Must you?” he asked “Could you not just stay here with me?” his voice faltered and I did not mock him, instead I took a breath and spoke the painful truth.

          “…and what my love? Remain hidden? Wait until the adaptations took hold of me, always watching, always fearing your Shadow Judges appearance? Always wondering as you leave for this battle or that battle if it will be the last and that you would never return to me?” I bowed my head and my lip trembled betraying the strong emotion I felt. “I could not bear it; I would go mad with the need to do something.” He came round the table and knelt before me and took my hands in his, letting them rest in my lap.

          “It’s a foolish notion, I know, but what would you have me do? I cannot bear this distance, not knowing if you are safe, or if you hurt and knowing I am powerless to save you the pain.” He kissed my fingers; head bowed his face hidden from me.

          “Keep faith. It is all I would have you do. Aion has a plan for us, I know not what he wills but we must keep our faith and know that some day we will be together.” He looked at me sharply searching my eyes and what he saw must have been enough, because he rose with a last gentle squeeze of my fingers and retook his seat.

          A little shugo appeared and our conversation halted for the time being as he set out a meal for us from a small silver cart he had brought with him. It looked like a lovely and flavorful pasta that steamed gently in the crisp outdoor air, and when the Shugo had gone and it was just me and my beloved again I realized I was famished. We ate and drank our wine and spoke softly of memories that spanned so far back in time they were vaguely hazy for the both of us, we laughed and at some points fell silent in tribute to the friends we had lost and I failed to notice when the twilight of the Asmodian day faded into deepest night with only the dwindling candles on the table left to push back the dark. Elethor watched me by the light of the flickering candles as we fell into a comfortable silence.

           He rose and came to me, holding out a hand and as I placed my hand in it and rose to my feet he led me to the railing to look out over the grounds of his holding. It was amazing, the lights that emanated from the flora and fauna were bright and surreal and so amazingly beautiful in hues of deep blue, purple and pink. I stared; stunned by the twinkling lights of the tiny sparkle bugs wafting lazily from plant to plant. I looked at Elethor who only had eyes for me, and the question… is it always like this? died on my lips before I could speak it. He leaned down so carefully and kissed me and my heart seized in my chest and I swallowed hard and kissed him back and in that moment it too everything in me not to say. Yes, I will stay with you.