A nod of assent from Cay’s scarf-wrapped head sent the assassin off around the side of the cottage and thru the meandering copse of trees and fence posts that traced the periphery of the necropolis. Nyx paused only briefly when, halfway between the cottage and the old mausoleum that had been his favored sanctuary and hidey-hole since finding his way to Drasnia, he heard the sounds of conversation carried on the air. He crouched in the shadow of the sprawling yew that he had made use of so many times before and, like all those other times, swept the graveyard with his senses… Not all of the words in that conversation were plucked from the currents but the tone of it was casual and, underneath it were the distinct scrape and thud of spades turning earth… Gravediggers, Nyx surmised even before his hawk-like gaze picked out the elf and halfling laborers some distance away. Not for Cay’s legionnaire, quite yet, I wouldn’t think, he smirked, They’ve likely not even found that pile of stinking meat, yes?
His gaze ticked from where the pair toiled amongst the gravemarkers to the cottage where he had left Cay, gauging the distance between the two points…
Concerned are you?
No… Cayrimsa is capable…
I meant in regards to the witch knowing where you hide.
Yellow eyes swept from the gravediggers, lingered on the cottage for a moment, and then panned past the gnarled trunk of the yew to where the mausoleum loomed on the other side of the fence… No…
…One shadow separated from another beneath the arms of the yew tree and whispered along and over the decaying fence that hemmed the necropolis in. It melded with the penumbra behind the crypt for only an instant as it sought out and shifted a couple of the stones in the slowly crumbling wall of the thing, then, with the way clear, it slithered through the hole.
Once inside, Nyx quickly shrugged back his cloak and set to sliding the marbled lid of the sarcophagus that dominated the tiny interior aside enough to gain access to the contents. The remains that had once occupied the casket were gone, of course – anything of value stripped from the corpse and sold or traded, the bones and any bits of mummified flesh that had clung to them burned in a cook fire years ago – now, the “sanctified final resting place” of whomever the round-ear might have been was little more than a repository for the mith’ganni assassin’s gear… and a safebox for a goodly portion of the coin Nyx had received as payment for his services since arriving in Drasnia. The small purse that he had received last night as an advance on this most recent assignment was tossed into the tomb to join the others that were nestled in one dark corner and, as it clanked against its brothers, Nyx’s eyes swept over the array of other accoutrements that he had stored within.
The inner voice was chuckling again as the elf drew forth a smallish pack with a narrow quiver of black-shafted arrows attached and set it atop the cloak. Considering where your mind has been these last hours, you should be glad that the witch didn’t insist on coming with you, it leered, What would she have thought or said should you have invited her in and she found your ‘home’ to be a murky tomb? Found the ‘chest’ where you stored your things to have once been a cask meant to contain the remains of a long-dead round-ear? Oh, she certainly would have found you worthy of her love, then, wouldn’t she?
“It is no worse than the tumbledown structure in which she lives,” Nyx murmured in reply, scowling as his eyes were forced to regard the gloomy interior of the mausoleum, “Safer, even… more secure…” He unstrapped the kukri from his thigh and lay it beside the pack, “Besides, she didn’t insist. She won’t see. Why do you continue to taunt me over it?”
Only to ensure that you see the reality, my disciple, the voice answered as the assassin removed a brace of three daggers from where they had been lashed inside his coat and tossed them into the casket, She dwells among the living and you among the dead, Shyndyn. Her people live – and as long as humans keep their elven body-slaves and concubines – will continue to live. Your people, on the other hand, are dying and have been doing so since long before she was even born… and you, Nyx, are perhaps even deader than even those of your clan who were slaughtered in the grasses of Shanurdir all those decades ago, hmm? The living don’t love the dead, boy… after a time, they don’t even remember them…
“Not true,” Nyx muttered, the kukri at the small of his back was unfastened and relegated to the coffin, “I remember…” the crystalline portrait of Lyssa called to him from the tiny pouch on his belt, “nor shall I ever forget.”
Are you not forgetting, now? Forgetting your Lyssa? Losing her in the thoughts you entertain for that loathsome, sardine scented slitch of a peredhil who awaits you outside?
That particular reproach caused Nyx’s fingers to falter as they began lashing the remaining kukri to his pack. Scowling and narrowed eyes sliding sidelong towards the long-sealed door of the mausoleum as he considered the validity of his god’s accusation, the mith’ganni came as near to self-loathing as he could ever recall and, he was certain, that his heart had stopped for an instant. Was Prien right? Was he forgetting? Or, worse – perhaps particularly worse for the deity whom he followed – was he remembering?
Mind to the task at hand, Prien’s voice snapped, diverting Nyx’s mind once more, you cannot afford to be distracted by tripe such as this!
Still scowling, still brooding, Nyx finished the task of securing his favored blade to the pack before filing the pack itself with a neatly rolled coil of black, silken rope and a sturdy iron hook. Prien’s voice was silent as his mith’ganni acolyte slung the pack and cinched it into place with a few practiced tugs of its straps. Remained that way as the assassin hauled a short, curving bow from the casket and took care to drape it from the pack so as to make sure it would go unnoticed but still accessible beneath the raven-colored cloak. When, after donning that cloak and sliding the lid of the sarcophagus back into place, Nyx turned and made to slip back through the hole in the mausoleum’s wall, though, an almost angry Executioner felt the need to remind the Twilighter of his true place… his only place…
Forgetting something else, point ear?
Nyx made no reply other than to orient himself westward, sink to one knee, and bow his head low. . “And so from the maelstrom the Executioner doth call,” the Twilight Elf murmured into the gravedust beneath him, “Dark nights herald dark days in which the chosen must fall. Death for each one hath Prien ordained, thus, with their blood shall my own blade be stained.”
Better, the voice intoned, Now go. Work.
Moments later, the shadow that no one had seen fly from the worn walls of a tiny mausoleum melded into those that yet lingered around the caretaker’s cottage and watched silently as the gravediggers, having completed their chore, passed by on their way back to wherever it was they went…
“Come on, Nyx…”
“Losing your patience with me already, Cay,” Nyx smiled from within his cowl as he emerged from beside the cottage and drew up beside her, “shall we go?”
Posted on 2009-11-26 at 17:37:08.
Edited on 2018-11-19 at 14:59:45 by Eol Fefalas
“Losing your patience with me already, Cay,” Nyx smiled from within his cowl as he emerged from beside the cottage and drew up beside her, “shall we go?”
An amber glare speed his way, naked without the brim of the hat to veil it, “That comment supposes that I had patience with you at one time. I lost my patience with your kind decades ago Nyx. But yes I am ready.” A delicate brow raised as she stopped glaring long enough to actually look at him. “Got enough stuff there?”
She barely listens to his response about being ‘prepared’ as she pulls herself off the column and almost self consciously adjusts the dress before starting away from the cemetery. Surprisingly enough she even takes the lead, if he raises a brow at this she pretends not to notice.
Drasnia has pulled out of its slumber now. The dark creatures that rule the night have disappeared into their lairs, leaving way for those who hide their villainy in finely tailored dress and between the lines of ledger entries. The scavengers picking at the scraps are always present, however, scrambling between the cracks of both worlds, sliding fingers into pockets while uttering prayers to Naxir for diamonds.
These two were more likely to belong to the dark than to the light, but their prey had tempted them out from the shadows and now they walked along the roads in daylight. Under them the ground changed from mud to gravel and as they neared their final destination into heavy cobblestones. Brothels and taverns gave way to the palatial columns of state buildings, the high fences of private estates and the impressive façade of storefronts. Nobility brushed past with a cursory look over the tips of their noses before hurrying on. Servants pushed through the throngs with apologies when nothing was even amiss. Peddlers and merchants pawned their very souls to make a sale. The sweet smells of meat and bread curled around the strange couple as they walked.
Cay appeared to give it all little notice. The smells teased her stomach, which groaned at the memory of the refused orange. At no point did she stop to grab something though. Instead she seemed completely intent on where she was headed, or would have if it were not for the fidgeting. The scarf tied around her ears was checked and checked again to make sure it was in place; the tresses of her hair were smoothed over her shoulder then flung over it onto her back, only to have the process repeated; a seam on her left side was felt several times as the threads had worn thin there and seemed to threaten bursting; skirts patted down and the pockets checked; the high collar of her bodice fingered even as the elven symbols embroidered their soured her face.
She could feel the entire street looking at her, including the yellow eyes just to her left. She also knew that dressed like this she could easily be mistaken for a full blooded elf, whichever parent had bestowed the elven half of her blood had indeed passed on many of their physical traits to her. Only a second look at her, something she was certain most here would not do, would reveal the more rounded attributes that spoke of her human background. It seemed to consume her thoughts.
So greatly that at first she did not notice the human child who darted out from his mother’s skirts and into her path. The small boy collided with her legs and would have perished under her boots if the surprise had not made her take a step back.
“Oh! So sorry Miss!” The tiny voice attached to the green orbs staring up at Cay muttered and scurried back towards his mother.
“Sasha!” his mother squealed as her hand tightened around the boys wrist. “Oh Sasha dear! Tell mommy you are okay! You can’t go running off like that Sasha!” she had bent down to bring her concerned face closer to her son’s.
“I’m alright Mommy… I ran into that lady. But I’m alright.”
“Lady?” Still gripping her son’s wrist the woman stood up and finally looked up on Cay.
The two women took a moment to look each other over. The human stood a few inches shorter than Cay and had put great work into her appearance; a complicated hairdo pulled her black hair from a cupid shaped face that was heavily painted, layers of fine attire in brilliant colors curved and pushed her body into a shape she felt was most pleasing. Her round blue eyes took in the sight of the taller woman, her dress was old and thin showing off not the curves that were created by it, but the curves that were there naturally, her face bore no makeup unless one counted the blossoming bloom under her eye and the pink caused by the swollen lip, her ears and her hair were largely hidden by a scarf and she had a strange smell about her. Yet the human knew somewhere deep down that she could not hold a candle to the woman whom her son had just bumped into.
“Lady?” she repeated once her examination was done. “Sasha… that is no lady. That is an elf. An elf who nearly trampled my son due to her inability to watch where she was going! Vile creatures the lot of them! Don’t you ever apologize to an elf Sasha, they should apologize to you.”
The hand not holding onto her son’s wrist propped itself on the hip her skirts had created for her and she stared at Cay expectantly.
Grumbles that had started as hunger now churned into a pit of lava that boiled deep in Cayrimsa’s stomach. Her injured hand curled into a tight fist and she tried to focus on the pain, the woman kept staring at her though.
I’m not an elf you damned human! Not an elf! the voice screamed through her head over and over.
Than what are you Cay? the other voice whispered teasingly.
“I won’t apologize for something that is your son’s fault…” she grimaced through a wall of teeth.
“You won’t!? You insolent point eared hussy! My son did nothing wrong, it was you who tried to walk right over him. You could have nearly killed him! Apologize to my son or I’ll drag your low-born slant eyes back to your master and let him whip you in front of your tree hugging whore of a mother, that is if she can even be found, likely she is too busy spreading herself for some dwarven scum near the docks!”
The lava boiling down in her gut suddenly ruptured, the violent sparks flitting across the amber of her eyes. “Master!? I’m a free woman and not an elf. I will not apologize. As for my mother, you should ask your husband, for humans can be found buried inside an elf more often than dwarves can. Perhaps that is because under all of those dresses and makeup you are nothing but a shapeless hag who is incapable of bringing a man to arousal!”
Cay took a step closer and stared down at the woman. The mother pulled her son closer to her skirts and held her ground for the moment but fear was starting to edge in those dark blue eyes.
Around them the thong had paused and was watching, not that Cay had noticed.
Posted on 2009-11-27 at 22:54:28.
Edited on 2018-11-19 at 15:01:05 by Eol Fefalas
“…I lost my patience with your kind decades ago, Nyx.”
As I’ve been trying to tell you, the voice murmured, As she has repeatedly told you. Will not love you… Cannot love you… a faint chuckle, Cannot, twould seem, stand the very thought of you…
“Got enough stuff there,” asked Cay, arching a brow at him before turning and striding off without awaiting his reply.
“Only that which may be needed,” he smirked, pulling his cloak around him as he set off behind her, “and I have sacrificed more than half of my blades for the weight… not all of us are able to fling crockery with a twitch of our fingers, woman.”
Does not even hear you…
Work, Shyndyn… Just work…
As they progressed from the cemetery and into the Imperial Quarter, the mith’ganni made sure that he stayed a couple of steps behind and just to the left of the suitably attired sorceress. Should any round-ear manage to pick out his race from within the depths of his cowl as he and Cay worked their way through the richly cobbled streets of Drasnia’s cradle of nobility, Nyx could simply profess to be a slave of the woman he now shadowed at an appropriate distance. The dress was almost certainly out of fashion with what women of the Empire kept to these days and definitely not in the state of repair that the privileged breeders would likely have a contingent of servants to maintain but, dressed the way she was, Cayrimsa could definitely pass for a gypsy seer from Bilhemore East who regularly drifted through Port Drasnia…
As if she could pretend to be anything other than angry…
…Those women were far from nobility but they did owe a large portion of the wealth they had to the Braudian nobles who so eagerly sought their counsel on matters ranging from love and lust to political aspirations and bargains with spirits. As such, these Bilhemorite gypsies were neither an all together uncommon sight in the upper-class districts of Drasnia nor was it uncommon for them to be accompanied by a slave or two…
That game she might play… would likely enjoy, as well, I would think, to have you as her dog… though, she would just as likely enjoy watching all these stinking short-lives descend on you like the ravenous wolves they are… smile while they strung you up with your own rope and…
Nyx’s gaze broke from its scrutiny of the streets ahead and the people that had begun to fill them and regarded Cay for a long moment when he heard her stomach growl. Regretting tossing that orange into the bay, yes, he smirked in the depths of his cowl and, at the same time, found himself thinking, I would get her something to eat were it a servant’s place to pick and choose for his Mistress…
Mistress is it, now?
Yes, Nyx grumbled in reply, forcing his eyes from their overlong study of the sunlight in Cay’s hair, It has to be in order for us to maintain appearances amongst these edanea…
You still assume she is even concerned with those appearances, mith’ganni, or that she’ll even lower herself to play along with anything born of your mind.
Cay will play along should it come to that, Nyx answered confidently; She is impetuous but still professional. At the very least, she would not chance her status in the paching Hellkites by failing an assignment for no other than riding herself of me…
Cay’s had stopped and, playing his part by maintaining a respectful distance from his Mistress, so did Nyx. Making sure to stay true to the role, he bowed his head and regarded his feet as was the custom for an attending slave in such circumstances. He hadn’t truly noticed what had caused her sudden halt, though…
Not for that reason, perhaps, but this looks interesting…
“…You insolent point eared hussy! My son did nothing wrong, it was you who tried to walk right over him. You could have nearly killed him! Apologize to my son or I’ll drag your low-born slant eyes back to your master and let him whip you in front of your tree hugging whore of a mother, that is if she can even be found, likely she is too busy spreading herself for some dwarven scum near the docks!”
…A spark of hot hatred ignited in the base of his skull as he heard the words and felt the tone of the human woman’s words. Nyx’s narrowing eyes lifted a bit, fixing on Cayrimsa, the breeder woman, and the little, monkey-faced brat who clung to her ample skirts. In all of that, Nyx knew, Cay would take being called a point-ear as the most offensive bit and, judging from the way her face was contorted in a grimace of pure rage, would certainly be goaded into lashing out…
I don’t think she is going to play your game, Nyx, the voice snickered, and, I’d wager, if you continue to play it, she’ll get the both of you killed…
“Master!? I’m a free woman and not an elf. I will not apologize,” Cayrimsa snarled in response…
She is doing well, Nyx thought, Whether she realizes it or not. Cay’s indignant reaction might be expected of a fortune-teller summoned to one of the sprawling estates hereabout and the last bit of her retort to the breeder-woman almost drew a smile from the assassin.
“…As for my mother, you should ask your husband, for humans can be found buried inside an elf more often than dwarves can. Perhaps that is because under all of those dresses and makeup you are nothing but a shapeless hag who is incapable of bringing a man to arousal!”
Prien’s condescending laughter rang in Nyx’s head, though, when, instead of turn from her and storm away in annoyance as a Bilhemorite gypsy might have, Cay advanced on the woman. Is it not just as I said, the voice harped, Leave her now, Nyx… the guards will have her by the time you’ve reached Bolstoii’s and…
“Naa rashwe?” Nyx asked as he suddenly strode forward.
One alabaster hand slithered from beneath his cloak and rested gently but very briefly on Cay’s shoulder, the other moved beneath the raven-colored cloak and sought out the hilt of a blade. His eyes regarded Cay first as he interposed himself between her and the human; the unspoken message in them flashing a mix of warning and, perhaps, irritation. “You should continue on to your appointment, arwen en amin,” he suggested to the witch, his tone respectful and humble, “Lord Styopa has been known to withhold fees should his daughter’s reading not be made on time, yes? If this gentlelady requires recompense for some slight that only my negligence could have caused, I shall meet it out so my Mistress is not tardy for her appointment, yes?”
Cautionary and annoyed undertones aside, Nyx’s glare, without a doubt, suggested to Cay that she go… Now!… and get to the job at hand, before he finally released her gaze and turned his on the human woman and her skirt-climbing progeny.
The mith’ganni’s eyes glinted wickedly as they slithered over the slitch and her runt and a vicious smile gleamed from within the dark of the hood that shadowed his pale face. “And you, m’lady,” he hissed at the human after a moment long enough for Cay to have bristled at his intrusion and, then, deigning to play the role he had just thrust upon her for the sake of her assignment, turn her eyes, at least, back in the direction of the Bolstoii’s, “have greatly insulted, my Mistress. While she is as beautiful – may she forgive me for saying so – as any of the women of my kind that I have ever seen, she most assuredly is not an elf. It was a great affront to my Mistress for you to have accused her of being… how is it you say?... a low-born slant-eye.
As for the boy… My Mistress would never kill such a precious child…”
It was the human woman’s turn to look indignant… how dare an elf reprimand her?! She opened her mouth to either deliver a further tongue-lashing to either the horse-f***ing mith’ganni bodyguard or his now retreating “Mistress” but a slender, ashen, and very-cold finger pressed to her lips and pinned them to her teeth. Her eyes went wide in disgust and disbelief when it occurred to her that, not only had the elf spoken above his station but had also committed the crime of laying his filthy hands on her…
“Shhh,” Nyx whispered, leaning closer in to the woman – Cayrimsa’s footsteps now all but whispered away in his hearing – as the kukri slid from beneath his cloak, “Being the point-eared piece of gutter-trash that I am, though, m’lady, I will kill your teat-sucking spawn… I shall even allow you to watch before I cut your thread, as well, yes?”
The crimson of anger drained from the woman’s face, then, and as the mith’ganni’s blade spun in its first terrible arc, was perhaps even paler than that of the elf that had just decapitated her son…
Nyx wondered if Cay was yet close enough to hear the choir of screams that had begun to swell in the streets… Hopefully, she was already at the Bolstoii manse and long forgotten in the minds of those that had witnessed and would be lucky enough to survive this…
Posted on 2009-11-29 at 05:48:45.
Edited on 2018-11-19 at 15:03:45 by Eol Fefalas
A northern wind had picked up as the day faded into evening. The soft purples of sunset draped across the world and made even a cemetery nestled within the dank bowels of this god forsaken city appear beautiful. Against the angular skyline created by the houses of the dead an angel perched upon the corner of a stone casket, tonight a guardian of those buried here. The casket itself had been set above the earth but one corner had begun to sink down into the soft ground below it which caused it to jut crookedly upwards. No doubt the contents had slid to toward the earth and now huddled at the bottom in the dark simply awaiting the passage of time that would someday return them to the state at which they had begun.
Against the purple shroud of sunset the angel’s eyes burned with amber fire as they watched the inky shadows around her. So far the only thing that had moved was the bit of paper smelling of greasy meat that dervished around her feet. A single thought was fueling the twin fires of her eyes, why did he do it?
Her argument with the human woman had been foolish to say the very least. Cay had been hungry, tired and distracted and the woman became an easy target for her to lash out at, and she had done just that despite the fact that it was unwise. That is until Nyx stepped in. The gentle touch of his fingers against her shoulder and then his eyes looking into hers had brought her back to reality.
She could not remember the exact words that he had spoken. She did remember that he had fallen into an act she had seen before, pretending to be a mere slave and in doing so had provided her with an escape. Part of the reason she could remember so few of his actual words was because she had been so transfixed with his eyes at the time.
Those golden almonds had stared into her and what she found there made her knees feel like they were made of water. On their surface swam annoyance and warning which she had expected to find, honestly it was what she deserved to find. Louder than that, however, was a plea. He was asking her to leave, almost begging her to leave for her own sake.
Truly it made no sense. He should have left her there to be consumed by her own irrational hatred and let the cards play out from there. Or perhaps even pulled her off, bowing apologies to the human woman and publicly embarrassing Cay as he promised to chastise her for her stupidity, once again bring her to her knees in some dark alley while berating her. Instead he had supported her and gave her cover to escape from the disaster she had just begun unscathed.
For a moment she had stood there looking into his eyes confused with the knowledge she was being given. When he finally ripped his eyes away her decision had been made. Throwing her nose to the sky she forced her watery knees to begin taking her away from the scene. The last thing she heard with any clarity from it was Nyx.
While she is as beautiful – may she forgive me for saying so – as any of the women of my kind that I have ever seen, she most assuredly is not an elf.
By the time she had reached the little gate that opened to an alleyway between the Bolstoii manse and its nearest neighbor the screams had begun. She never looked back.
It had been nearly two decades since she had last been to the Bolstoii manse, but things were still relatively as she remembered. A loose brick in the wall around the estate provided enough of a foothold to get her over the wall and a few bales of hay on the other side padded her fall. The screams in the street had continued while she found her way from the hay bales to the upper story of the stables.
There were several small windows hidden behind old crates and decaying furniture on this level. From one of the corner windows provided her with a view of the main street and the front yard of the estate. The roof of the neighboring estate blocked out the area of the road where she had encountered the woman and her child. The roof was not large enough to block out the crowd that was forming there, however, and the mass of guards that were desperately trying to regain control of the situation.
No where amongst them did she notice the flutter of Nyx’s onyx cloak and she found herself hoping that meant he had escaped. Out of the corner of her eye she did notice movement in the yard. A tight triangle of people were gathered there. Cay watched as the tall elf who made up the point of the triangle called a guard out of the crowd and conversed with him. The other two points were conversing with each other. One was Styopa, even older Cay recognized the broad expanse of his shoulders and the dark sheen of his hair. The woman he spoke to wore a blue dress and had a familial look to her face, she was too young to be his wife, and logic suggested that the girl was Kharinya. Kharinya seemed upset about whatever her father was saying to her.
From this distance Cayrimsa could not hear the conversation going on below, but it ended after a few minutes with the girl turning red and storming back into the house. Styopa consulted with the tall elven man and the guard before heading out into the street while the elf stiffly followed the girl back into the house.
Several hours passed before Cay caught sight of Kharinya again. The time moved slowly for her. Minutes passed between dancing particles of hay caught in band of light from the window. Constellations sparkled in the sun and then fell to the floor like lost dreams. Inside the barn it was quiet save for the noises coming from the horses below her. Outside the barn was another issue entirely.
The whole city was tense. Guards stalked the streets in numbers that were certainly not typical for this time of day. They stopped nearly any elf who had the misfortune of being out, they were questioned and sometimes searched. Cay watched as one, not Nyx she knew by the gait, who had thrown a black cloak over his shoulders to keep the cold out was overwhelmed by three of Drasnia’s finest and drug into an alley. Long after the guards had returned to their patrols the elf had not crawled back out. Her fingers brushed against the blossom on her cheek, and the pit that formed in her stomach was not due to hunger.
In dust constellations continued to sparkle in the sun. Teu’kelytha drifted into sight, the sheen of the merciful blade glittered in her eyes before burying itself in shadows. The sight of it once again filled her mouth with the earthy sweetness of elven blood. The memory she had been trying to avoid rushed back before she could hold it at bay.
Kill him the voice had commanded over the screams.
She shook her head and looked over at her work. Sidhion writhed upon the grass. Starlight had turned his naked frame a bluish white color that contrasted so beautifully with the blackness of his blood as it seeped through his fingers. She imagined that it looked just as black as it dripped down her own chin and onto the milky curves of her own bare body. The blood was seeping from the side of his head, where a few moments ago one of his graceful ears had been. Her eyes searched the grass looking for the ear but she couldn’t make it out of the shadows, likely because it too was covered in the black ichors.
Kill him… the voice repeated as she pulled her eyes off her victim and into the velvety darkness above.
“I’m not a murderer…” she whispered back to it.
He deserves it for what he has done. Kill him. Stop his weak screaming and cut off the pleas for mercy that come from him. Sever his thread, Cay…
Her eyes had closed and in them she saw herself rising up and walking over to Sidhion. He would scream louder as he saw her approach, eyes wide as saucers and reflecting the Threadcutter’s Axe at her. It would not be quick, she would revel in his pain and his death. Baring down upon him as her teeth tore into his throat. Another rush of elven blood accosting her senses as it coursed over her tongue, down her throat and splashed across her delicate skin. His delicate fingers would pull at her uselessly as his screams turned into gargles. As the blood slowed she would rise only to fall upon fresh flesh ripping open another wound and bringing forth the black warmth that awaited her. She would take from him what he had offered, ecstasy, but not as he intended. The final elixir of life would drain from him and with it she could feel Prien caress her, her body shivering as she screamed. When her own scream faded into quiet echoes she would rise and look down at her first kill, only the whispers of her new found lover and God could be heard against the silence of the night. A silence that surrounded her completely.
Her eyes opened and she looked up into the sky, “And what if I enjoy those screams? What if I wish for him to suffer? To remember forever what I have done to him?”
Cayrimsa! I have ordered you to Kill Him! the voice grew louder and more insistent as she defied it.
“No!” She screamed at the stars before rising and moving over toward the huddled elf. A kick into his ribs brought Sidhion’s eyes up to Cay’s.
“I am not your kind, nor shall I ever be and never again shall I be confused about where I belong, and who I belong with. Thank you for making it so clear.”
The voice in her head stilled, but the screams continued. They followed her as she got dressed under the watchful eyes of Uelaereene and walked away from the life she had had, and toward the cities of men.
Lost in memories she had not noticed that below her a carriage had pulled into the stables, led by two fine horses and a young man. While it had escaped her attention it had not escaped her target’s attention.
“Aelion!” The girl’s voice brought her back to the now and Cay slid herself toward the edge of the platform she was on so she could peer down at what was transpiring below.
Kiki had disappeared into the arms of a plainly dressed elven boy and the two were sharing a rather amorous kiss. Cay rolled her eyes.
They are in love, but you wouldn’t know anything about that would you Cay? her elven half teased.
A rather familiar snarl was all the reply it got.
The kiss finally ended and with a giggled sigh conversation continued. “Oh… Aelion, I’ve so missed you.”
“And I you, my kitten.”
Oh please… is this to be my punishment? Listening to these two coo over each other?
“I was worried. Coming in the guards stopped me. I heard about what happened… raced the horses back here as quickly as I could to make sure you were alright…” Aelion had continued, reaching out a hand to touch Kiki’s cheek.
“I’m fine. It was awful though. Just up the street. That poor woman and her child. They don’t even know what provoked it. Some crazed point ear…” a pause to bite her lip and lower her eyes, “I’m sorry Aelion… you know I don’t mean that. It was just so shocking! They say the murderer has eyes like yours… another horse elf. And so soon after Lady Olsta’s death too. It’s been terrible Aelion!” Rather dramatically she wailed this and buried her head against her lover elf.
Aelion paused for a moment but then wrapped his arms fully around her. “shhh… it’s alright kitten. I promise, I’m here now. And what is this about Lady Olsta’s death?”
Kiki’s ample form hitched with her breaths, “Did you know her? Oh… it was so tragic! Choked during dinner two nights ago… she’s to be buried tomorrow. And those poor children… Senator Olsta is simply beside himself. Although I imagine that with what happened this afternoon he’s found something to focus on again… I’ve been over at the manse helping with the preparations. Father said it was best that a Bolstoii be present.”
Slowly Aelion nodded and ran his fingers through her hair. “Hmm… that does sound terrible. Kitten?” his voice changed some as he moved on to another subject, “Kitten did you manage to get those manifests?”
Above them Cay perked up some and leaned forward to make sure she catches whatever is being said now.
“Oh Aelion!” Kiki wailed again. “I tried! I swear to you I did. I was headed to the office when I found out about Lady Olsta! I had to go immediately of course, those poor children! And… oh… Aelion please forgive me but I completely forgot about it yesterday. I was at the florist arranging for the flowers all day, it was a mess, simply a mess! And of course I decided to get in the order for my mother’s birthday gala next week while I was there, at least we will have a week to sort out the mess for that instead of two days. They kept putting daisies in the arrangements. Daisies! At a funeral! Can you believe it!? They had to redo half of them to put in orchids instead. Orchids are so much more appropriate for funerals. But… at any rate. I tried this morning too, but then… then those murders! Oh! Aelion I did try! You have to believe me. But father refused to let me out of the house, for my own safety! I would have tried to sneak out, but he told Corr. You know I’m no good sneaking around Corr. I didn’t dare risk it. So I’ve been here all day. Just waiting for you. I’m so sorry Aelion. I know you were counting on me I do… please forgive me!”
By the time Kharinya was done expressing her own incompetence through this dramatic plea Cay was dreadfully bored, and surprisingly it looked like Aelion might be as well. He sighed and patted her back.
“It’s alright kitten. Tomorrow? Do you think you can get them tomorrow? And the guest list for your mother’s birthday as well.”
“I promise. Tomorrow… I’ll get them tomorrow. I am sorry I don’t have them already. I hope it isn’t… it isn’t too much of a problem for you.” She had raised her head and looked at Aelion through her tears.
“I… no… just… I have to have them tomorrow. Anything going in or out of Avenon… I need those manifests.”
“I promise.” She nodded to him.
“Alright…” He kissed her again and when he pulled back she was smiling again. “I should go find your father, let him examine the horse I found.”
“Oh… he’s out. Been out all day. I think this whole murder business has got him tied up.” A sly smile slipped over her, “so… we have some time…”
A laugh escaped from Aelion and he pulled her closer. “hmmm… seems you have missed me.” He leaned in and whispered something in her ear and with a giggle she nodded her agreement to it. The two then disappeared from sight as they walked together under the platform that Cay was secreted on.
With the knowledge she had just gleaned she prepared to slip out of the stable, but was stopped when she realized that the two had not left. Instead Kharinya’s giggles could be heard just below Cay’s feet. Wide eyed she stopped in her tracks and a look of disgust washed over her as the giggles turned into quiet moans.
Oh Dear! Punishment indeed! Wasn’t it bad enough I had to watch them kiss? Must I listen to…this!
Your only jealous love. They say elves make wonderful lovers…
“Aelion…” Kharinya’s voice whispered from below.
Ugghhh… this just isn’t worth it! she curled her hand into a fist again, perhaps the pain would take her away.
Take you away to where Cay? Where do you go for solace? You have nowhere to go. And it really only bothers you because you are jealous. You could have had that…
No! It wasn’t like that. Sidhion was not going to love me, he was going to rape me.
Liar. You went out with him into that field willingly, you let it go so far and then you got scared. He was drinking… he made a move… you never said no… you never gave him a chance to pull back on his own accord… you bit his ear off.
He wasn’t going to stop… she responded less confidently.
To her left she noticed that the outside wall of the stable had begun to shake rhythmically. Her eyes closed to the noises below.
You never gave him the chance. And besides… I wasn’t talking about Sidhion. That is ancient history. If he ever could have loved you that chance was destroyed…
“ehhhh” the noise actually fell from her lips and she could take it no more. From the urgent shaking of the wall and the grunts and moans coming from below she figured the two were well occupied and made for her escape from the stable. On her way out she caught a glimpse of the two. Human and elven flesh pressed warmly against each other in a bed of hay.
That’s how you came to be isn’t it sweet Cay? Some forbidden tryst a few feet from a pile of manure. Likely should have that symbol you brand into others emblazoned on your own skin…
Just let me be! Just… let… me be…
On the street she did her best to avoid the trolling guards.
Where are you going Cay?
Dmitrova. I have a report to give don’t I?
Come now… you can’t be serious. You’re going to betray Nyx?
I owe him nothing.
Her eyes drifted back to where they had last parted. An elven woman crouched on her knees there; a bucket beside her and a heavy brush in her hands, the suds that trailed behind the brush were pink. It would be ages before the cobblestones gave up the blood they had soaked up.
You owe him a great deal Cay… that elven voice whispered.
The truth of that whisper had guided her to the cemetery, and now she waited. The north wind blew through the angel’s dress, but the goose bumps that crawled over her skin were due to the thoughts that wracked her soul.
Posted on 2009-11-30 at 19:38:48.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:13:37 by Eol Fefalas
The way that Vadim Dmitrova squinted against the sunlight that filtered in through the windows of his parlor as he entered made it obvious that the tavern-proprietor/information-broker/underworld kingpin was unaccustomed to accepting visitors or doing business before noon. That the squinting only served to etch the scowl of annoyance even deeper into his features made it more than obvious that he was not at all happy at having been roused from his bed before noon to attend either. And the fact that Dmitrova had made Toscani wait whilst he sent servants to fetch two of his advisors before making his appearance made it abundantly clear that he was expecting business of the worst sort...
“What is this all about, Captain,” Dmitrova demanded as he finally strode into the chamber with his men in tow, “We’ve done business for long enough for you to be aware of my schedule, have we not? I dislike being even gently roused before noon, let alone being ordered to entertain guests… ”
“And you know how I dislike to be kept waiting, Vadim,” Erik Toscani glowered, fingering the hilt of his sword as the Hellkite Lord situated himself in a high-backed chair behind an ornately carved desk of some exotic hardwood that he would have difficulty in naming, “and loathe being spoken to as if I am beneath you.
The purpose of my visit is not to remind you of our respective positions but I will happily remind you if necessary. I’m sure the Syndicate would waste no time in finding a replacement for you, should you be arrested and tried for the crimes you have committed... perhaps even a replacement not so deluded by his presumed status as to pay respect where it is deserved!”
Toscani’s rebuke churned a current of anger and, had the man not been the Captain of the Imperial guard and, thereby, the chief law enforcement officer in Drasnia, Dmitrova would have likely had the man tossed out or worse. As it stood, though, Toscani was right…
The Hellkite Syndicate, unlike organizations such as the Nightcloaks and Sea Snakes, held a secret modicum of respect where the Imperial government and nobility were concerned and were viewed as an almost necessary evil which could just as often be found working for the Empire as trying to skirt it’s laws. If a noble wanted an assassination done, they came to the Syndicate with the contract; if the Empire could not bully some idealistic rabble-rouser or rebel into submission the Hellkites were employed to make him disappear; and, in exchange for these “legitimate services” a blind-eye was turned to the more underhanded dealings of the organization. Even though Vadim headed one of the largest chapters of the Syndicate in the Empire, his power wasn’t such that, if Toscani arrested him, any of the others would bemoan or even protest his loss. The intricacies of the relationship between the Empire and the Hellkites made it far from profitable to bicker over a single warm body that could be easily and effectively replaced following a short war of succession that would boil up within the Syndicate before the noose was cinched on Dmitrova’s neck.
“Heh,” Dmitrova smiled a placating smile, lifting his hands in a similar gesture before rubbing them against his eyes, “Forgive me, Erik. I know that you would not be here were it not of the utmost importance, of course. I’m still groggy, still tired, and your untimely arrival having pulled me away from the wenches who made me so has…” He offered a vaguely sheepish smile and a shrug rather than give voice to the words ‘pissed me off.
“What is it, then, that brings the Captain of the Guard himself to my abode at this early hour?”
Toscani rolled his eyes but seemed to accept Dmitrova’s apology and a bit of the offense he had taken with the other man waned from his expression. He eyed the weasel-faced man who stood to the left of Vadim and then the porcine visage of the blond-haired easterner who flanked the right before finally moving to stand behind rather than sit in the chair in which the crimelord’s guests were typically expected to occupy. “One of my men was found murdered this morning along the River’s Mouth Market. There were no witnesses, though a fruit-seller did mention that my legionnaire had rousted a grass-eating point-ear from in front of his stall not long before,” he said flatly, watching as Dmitrova’s eyes ticked incredulously to the weasel and the weasel offered a scant nod of certification. The market was understood to be part of the border between territories of the Hellkites and the wharf-side stretches that had been ceded to the Sea Snakes; the exchange between Dmitrova and his man, just then, was enough to tell Toscani that Vadim hadn’t sanctioned Negodiev’s killing.
“Furthermore,” the Guard Captain continued only after Dmitrova’s gaze returned to him, “not three hours ago, “Lady Evines and her youngest son were both beheaded and laid open in the middle of Processional Way…”
Dmitrova’s eyes went wide at that. A killing on the main thoroughfare of the Imperial Quarter was unheard of even on the darkest, most moonless of nights in Drasnia let alone in the light of day… and for the victims to have been a noblewoman and her young child?! Even Dmitrova’s typically stoic advisors looked shocked; neither had even the faintest of nods with which to answer their leader’s questioning glances.
“We have numerous, reputable witnesses to those murders,” Toscani said, still watching Dmitrova and his men for even the faintest sign of there foreknowledge of the event, “some of them, too, suffered serious injuries as the crazed, yellow-eyed bunny-humper who is reported to have committed the atrocity, made his escape…”
Dmitrova’s lips were drawn in a tight line beneath his neatly combed mustaches as, resting his elbows on the desk; he leaned forward, sighed softly, and rubbed at his temples before lifting his gaze to Toscani. “Surely, Captain,” the crimelord intoned, “you do not think that any of my people had anything to do with either of these?”
Toscani shrugged, evoking a faint squeak and clatter from his elaborately worked cuirass, as he moved away from the chair behind which he had been standing and peered out the drapery hung window. “You do have the habit of employing those of questionable stock, Dmitrova,” he said matter-of-factly, lifting a hand to stay any protest that the other man may be inclined to make before it could be spoken, “but, you also tend to maintain apt control of them… So, no, Vadim, for both our sakes, I should hope that our investigations will not lead back to you.” The Guard Captain turned from the window and, again, after his eyes flicked between the two men flanking him, fixed Dmitrova with a meaningful look; “I also know, even if your people are not involved, these sorts of things rarely escape your attention and that you often are able to glean information in their regard quicker even than my own investigators. My purpose here is to ascertain that you’ll not withhold any such information should it be discovered.”
“Of course not, Erik,” Dmitrova assured, adjusting the deep violet lapels of his heavy robe as he rose from his seat and came around the desk, “Should I gain any details, I’ll most assuredly send a messenger to you within minutes of my learning them.”
“Good,” Toscani nodded, taking up his helmet and cradling it under his arm as, flanked by the Hellkite Lord, he made for the parlor door, “There is blood running in my streets, Dmitrova, spilled, apparently, by some mad, slant-eyed, piece of dung, and I’ll have little tolerance with the Syndicate or any others should it continue…”
“Of course, of course,” Vadim replied, hauling the door open and beckoning an awaiting servant to escort the Captain out, “Such things are bad for my business, as well, I assure you. I’ll set men on the situation before I have dressed.”
“See that you do.”
Dmitrova bent at the waist in a shallow bow of acquiescence and, as the slave ushered Toscani along the corridor, shut the door and turned a querulous eye on DiLucci and Czegel…
“Shyndyn,” they chorused without hesitation.
His scowl articulated both anger and, even though the name had also come to his mind at Toscani’s first mention of a yellow-eyed elf, refutation. “You know this for a fact,” he demanded of his lieutenants as he stomped back toward the desk…
“No sir,” the weasel faced DiLucci answered, “but what other could be so brazen?”
“He and C-C-Cayrimsa are supp-p-p-posed to be working in the Imperial Q-q-quarter, as well,” Czegel added, his jowls flapping as he stammered over the words.
“Working surveillance,” Vadim snapped, banging a fist on the desktop, “not wetwork! Those two are no longer freelancers that we can deny connection to should they fail their tasks! They’re full members and, as such, should know better than to operate outside the constraints of their assignments!”
“To the witch, that membership may mean something, Vadim,” DiLucci snorted, “but to the mith’ganni?” He shrugged his narrow shoulders and pursed his lips.
“Yes, I know… It means as much to him as the ‘paltry advances,’” Dmitrova waved a dismissive hand and reached for the bottle of wine that occupied a spot on one of the room’s bookshelves, “He told me as much when they returned with Thanald’s head.”
“A task from which he was never intended to return, if I may add,” DiLucci murmured.
“You may not,” Dmitrova grumbled before tipping the bottle and taking a swallow. “Loyalty aside, Nyx has always been a consummate professional. Even when he was but a freelancer, I could expect that arrogant son-of-a-bitch to do the jobs he was given cleanly and quietly…”
Czegel’s fleshy cheeks wobbled even before he stammered out his own interjection; “N-n-nyx was d-d-d-angerous and unstable, even then sir, as Lucio a-a-and I b-b-both tried to tell you, and he’s be-b-b-ecome even more so, since…”
“Which is why I pair him with another, so often, Anatoli!” Another exacerbated pull from the bottle found Dmitrova flopping back down into his chair and staring out the window on the opposite wall. “What news from he and Cayrimsa,” he asked after a moment.
“None, sir. Though we expect a report from them by tonight.”
“And from their shadows?”
“L-l-ost them not l-l-long after they left the Hydra’s B-b-reath, I’m af-f-fraid. B-both Enlo and Styer said th-th-that they witnessed a disag-g-greement between the two b-b-ut know little else.”
“Unacceptable,” Dmitrova shook his head and took one more draught from the wine bottle before setting it aside on his desk, “Find them. I want eyes on the both of them before their report is due…”
“Yes sir,” the advisors responded in unison, both of them breaking their positions and heading for the exit. They were already murmuring among themselves, coordinating their efforts before those efforts were undertaken, their strides emoting their purpose, but both men’s jaws clamped tightly shut and they stopped cold in their tracks when their Captain added another task to their list.
“…And fetch me Tselika.”
“A-a-a-re you sure that will be n-ne-necessary, Captain?”
“A-a-re you sure it won’t, Toli,” Vadim mocked, his irritation already eating away at his usual patience with the man’s speech impediment, “I am not! Send for her immediately. I want her at the Hydra’s Breath before supper!”
DiLucci smiled faintly, exchanging a look with his tubby compatriot before nodding to Dmitrova. “It will be done, sir,” he said, bowing in concert with Czegel, “She will be briefed and awaiting your arrival.” Without another word, the lieutenants turned and, falling back into their murmurings, disappeared from the room.
“Bah,” Dmitrova fumed, snatching up the wine bottle again and pouring a healthy bit of it down his throat… It wasn’t as sweet as it was supposed to be, he noticed, and left a taste of vinegar in his mouth… much like Shyndyn…
“BAAAAAAAGH!!!” As the Hellkite Captain exploded from his seat in a rage, he hurled his precious bottle across the room and, knowing that he couldn’t flip the desk over, took some comfort in angrily sweeping everything from it’s gold-inlayed top before storming out of the parlor.
Posted on 2009-12-01 at 15:59:30.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:15:56 by Eol Fefalas
Dusk found Nyx in a livery near Drasnia’s eastern wall where the waters of the Reyal spewed into the city after having voyaged across half the continent from its source in the northern mountains. He had found a place to tend his wounds and, finally, rest for a moment in one of the stalls after the grooms who tended the place had stalled the animals they boarded and the blacksmiths and leatherworkers who shared the space had damped their forges and set aside their tack and harness work for the evening. Now, hidden from sight by the placid, gray mare that had easily been convinced to keep quiet, Nyx reclined in the straw-piled corner of the stall and exhaled softly and allowed his eyes to close for a long moment. As his muscles relaxed, a slow, self-satisfied smile spread across his lips and he laughed as the cuts, scrapes, and bruises he had acquired itched for attention now that the adrenaline had started to ebb from them.
“Oh, how these humans managed to build an Empire out of nothing but their sheer numbers, I shall never understand,” he whispered to the mare as he finally sat up and allowed his eyes to open, “when half a legion of the Emperor’s troops and a handful of Dmitrova’s incompetent ‘shadows’ cannot rein in a single, moon-eyed point-ear, yes?” He thumbed a fresh trickle of blood from his lip and tongued the wound from which it emanated – a small split inside his mouth acquired when, as he sprinted away from one pursuing guardsman, Nyx rounded a corner into an alleyway where he ran into another and took the brunt of a startled swinging of a spear-butt across the face. The blow had set his ears to ringing and rattled his teeth, of course, but other than that and the cut where his lip had been smashed into his teeth, it had been a wholly ineffectual strike. Nyx had allowed the momentum of the blow to spin him around and, grabbing the haft of the spear as he went, wrenched the thing upwards and surged forward, driving the spear’s point into the soldier’s shoulder and trampling the bumbling round-ear to the refuse-littered cobbles before releasing the weapon. His other pursuer had stopped to aid his fallen brother, of course, and that had been all the time Nyx had needed to ghost deeper into the alley and, from there, find his way to the rooftops.
The horse nickered a bit as the mith’ganni licked the blood from his thumb and spit it into the hay between his legs.
“Amin sinta,” Nyx snickered, flicking a glance at the dappled mare before rolling a hip forward and gently probing a finger past a blood-sopped tear in the leg of his trousers and into the now throbbing stab-wound in his thigh, “it amazes me that they ever learned to tame horses let alone entire nations.” He winced as the finger slipped easily into the wound and gauged its depth, then chuckled again as he withdrew it and, as before, licked the ichor from his finger and spit it into the strawpile. “The worst injury they could inflict all day was given me by fat, clumsy noble. More dumb luck than skill, though, if the round-eared pig had not thought to pull that ridiculous ornament of a knife before he fell on his face out of fear I might have escaped with no more than a limp-wristed slap…”
The horse looked at him, snorted, and then tossed her mane before dipping her head to her trough.
“Uma,” Nyx whispered back, fishing in his belt pouch for a needle and a selection of herbs, “amin nae ascar; but they brought it on themselves – that round-eared slitch could have simply let her spawn’s apology stand as it was, no?… and the amada with the pig sticker could have simply screamed, wet his pants, and stepped aside like the rest… He wanted to lose that arm, I suppose …”
The assassin shrugged, plucked long hair from his own mane, threaded it through the needle’s tiny eye, and then glanced up at the horse. “Besides… there were… circumstances…” An almost warm smile danced on his pale lips just then and he realized that, since this morning, this was the first time he’d had to think about Cay. When he had last seen her, she had walked away from him and the sharp-tongued human as he had hoped she would, and then the slaughter had started…. He wondered if she had managed to get to the Bolstoii estate unmolested from there… if she had managed to get an eye on their mark and glean any information from her, if so… if she had returned to the Hydra’s Breath to make a report and what Dmitrova might have said to her… or done to her…
The mare nickered again.
Nyx’s moon-yellow eyes blinked and saw the horse again. He offered an almost sheepish smile and a fractional nod; “Right.”
He uncapped his waterskin, poured a swallow into his mouth, and then placed a neatly-rolled bundle of herbs on his tongue. He chewed the bundle for a while as he ripped the tear in his pants wider and irrigated the puncture wound. After recapping the skin, he quickly spit out half of the chewed-to-a-pulp herbs, packed the stuff into the wound, and then set to sewing it shut with the needle and hair-thread. Several minutes later, his mind humming softly and his muscles warm and loose as effects from the herb mixture he had been chewing, Nyx had stitched an effective, if far from expert, line of sutures where the cut had been. He doused the now closed injury with another tip of his waterskin, extracted the pasty remains of the herbs from his mouth and smeared them over the stitches.
“No need in getting completely stoned, yes,” he grinned and winked at the horse as he packed away his kit and got to his feet, “I still have some way to go before I reach the… my home… and safety enough to relax.”
The mith’ganni, wincing slightly at the first few tugs of the sutures, padded towards the mare and gently caught her head as she swung it around to regard him. “Thank you for your hospitality, mellonamin,” he murmured, cradling her muzzle in one arm as the other hand gently stroked her neck, “I have a sense that I’ll not be long for Drasnia after this… Perhaps you’ll do me a courtesy again and allow me to steal you when I leave, yes?” He chuckled softly, then, and touched his forehead affectionately to the creatures face; “Aa’ menealle nauva calen ar’ malta.”
With that, Nyx slipped quietly (although, perhaps, due to the herbs and the still tugging stitches, not quite as gracefully as he would normally) from the stable and then the livery and melted into the shadows of Drasnia’s benighted streets. Time to leave Drasnia, then? the inner-voice that was his own asked as Nyx moved south and west along the river.
I have little choice after what I have done, today, he answered. The Legion will be relentless in its hunt of me as, I imagine, will Vadim… His hawks weren’t as numerous as the legionnaires this afternoon but they are looking, too… Yes… Drasnia is best left behind… been here too long anyway…
You have made a habit of leaving things behind, today, yes? Leave Cay behind to finish a job that you should be getting paid for… Leave behind Drasnia… Leave behind your god…
Nyx smirked and, adjusting his course to avoid a loose knot of patrolling soldiers he had spied ahead, realized that, other than Cayrimsa, there was another thing he hadn’t thought about nor – somewhat thankfully – heard from since this morning’s chaos on the Processional… As loud as the screaming and yelling of the humans had been to his ears, the screaming and yelling that Prien had done was louder in his mind...
What have you done, Prien bellowed as soon as the boy’s head bounced from the cobbles at his feet.
Given them what they want, Nyx snarled in reply, the kukri whipping up and out to carve the human slitch’s jaw from her face – additional penance for her transgression of haranguing Cay – before taking her head, as well, a reason to hate and fear! He kicked the woman’s body hatefully away as it toppled towards him and, before the over-soft lump of human flesh landed atop its own head, he was already charging down Processional Way in the opposite direction he had sent Cay. The humans and even those few “domesticated” elves, dwarves, and Halflings that attended them, were quick to either run or faint out of his way and just as quick to trample one another over in order to do so.
I didn’t call for those threads to be severed, Prien raged loudly enough for Nyx to wince against its volume, I didn’t order you to reap those souls!!!
I did not do it for you, did I, then? the mith’ganni snapped back as he leaped over a screeching pile of gold and silks and quivering meat hung from human bones.
You sever the threads that I choose, elf! You reap the souls that I want…
“You there! Stop!!!” The over-polished breast plates of the Legionnaires gleamed in the morning sun as they spotted him and pounded up the street towards him, spears readied or swords drawn.
Skidding to a stop for an instant, Nyx squinted against the flare that had caught him in one eye and turned to see another Imperial Patrol already coming from the other end of the street… Perhaps I no longer care what you want, Nyx sniped at his deity as he sprinted back in the direction he had come, knowing that he could beat even a running legionnaire from either patrol to the narrow side street he had decided not to take a second ago.
What has my devotion gotten me, O’ Executioner? Nyx spat, Nothing from you except torment and mockery!
WHAT?!?! Prien screeched. You impudent little point-ear! I made you what you are! You belong to ME!!!
Nyx gained the side street and lost no speed as he diverted down its path. Behind him the shouts of the soldiers were now swelling above the screams and wails of the citizenry. I made me what I am, he argued, the epithet having started to fan the flames of his own anger, You did nothing but set me on the path to what I was to be and then demand I collect your sacrifices!
“Here! Here!!! Guard!!! I have him!!! S-s-stop you… you… filthy point-ear!!!”
Where the fat, dandy of a noble had come from and what he thought he was going to do with that jewel-encrusted stickpin of a knife, Nyx couldn’t be sure… but there he was, all rouge-cheeked and dyed-wigged and frilly-robbed, not seven paces away with what looked like one of those impractical ceremonial affairs that were used at Naxir’s Temple clutched at the end of one waggling arm. The sight didn’t slow the assassin, of course, and, had he not been in the midst of a heated discussion with his god or attempting to lose the pursuing soldiers, Nyx very well may have heaved a sigh and bowled the man over… instead, he hefted his blood-soaked blade, made a horrible face and howled…
The man squeaked and paled and fell forward just before Nyx would have plowed into him, the tiny dagger found purchase in the fabric of the assassin’s pants and was pressed into the meat of his thigh by opposing momentums.
Nyx growled as he brought the kukri down and took the man’s arm off just below the elbow, dislodging both the blade from his leg and the man’s weight from his progress.
And I belong to no one, Lord Prien, the elf decided, just then, spitting on the roly-poly, squealing little pig of a man before picking up his pace again, Not these paching round-ears and not you…
It wasn’t exactly easy to run with the stab wound in his leg, at first, but run he did, and after running for several hours, Nyx didn’t even feel the wound… nor did he hear anything more from Prien…
“Yes,” Nyx realized, his voice scarcely a whisper to his own ears as the cemetery came into view at last, “I suppose I have left behind my god…”
And what else, the inner voice queried as the mith’ganni crept closer, moon-hued eyes slowly scanning the familiar landscape of the necropolis, what else will you leave behind with this new found habit?
The Twilight Elf’s brow knitted in confusion as he slipped past the caretaker’s cottage. Nothing, he answered after a while of considering the question.
No? The voice sounded as if it didn’t quite believe that response; Nothing?
Nyx, now crouched beneath the arms of the old, familiar yew tree, scowled again… reconsidering the query as he performed one final sweep of the cemetery before committing to continuing on. It was then that he noticed a statue in the graveyard was either out of place or had been recently added to a tomb which, he knew, hadn’t been tended let alone visited in all the years he had been in Drasnia. Another of Vadim’s paching shadows, he surmised, They’ve finally ferreted out my hiding spot, then. He forgot the question posed by his own mind as he reached back and unslung his bow. He was in no mood for any sort of fight; best to end this one without risking being seen, at all.
Creeping from beneath the yew and through the fence that separated it from the cemetery, Nyx set an arrow to the bowstring and whispered between the graves to set up his shot. He had the silhouette sighted in and was in the process of drawing the string back to his cheek when it occurred to him how familiar was the shape of that silhouette…
Nothing at all?
She turned and faced him as he rose up from behind the tombstone, the arrow still pulled back and pointed at her heart. “So,” Cayrimsa said, stepping down from her perch on the old stone casket and taking a step towards him, “I see you’re still alive…”
Nyx blinked, his eyes darting suspiciously around the graveyard for a moment before fixing back on her, and the bow creaked as he drew the arrow farther back. “What are you doing here, Cayrimsa?”
The witch, still in that purple dress, stopped her advance and raised her palms. “Relax,” she said, “If I had malicious intentions you would already be on the ground... I am alone... no need to be so jumpy. Besides I think you have proven before that you can subdue me if you wish to.”
Nyx smiled wickedly… or was it warmly… as he lowered the arrow and let go the tension on the bow string. “Very well,” he responded, his gaze breaking from her again, just long enough to complete a quick scan of the graves between where they stood and the mausoleum… he tipped his head in the direction of that slowly crumbling edifice, “follow me, then.”
He returned the arrow and bow to their places as he guided her to the rear of the crypt but said nothing. Nor did he speak as he set about sliding the stones away from the heretofore secret entrance to the thing. Once the last stone was out of the way, though, Nyx gestured to the hole in the wall… “After you, arwenamin,” he winked, “that way you can be sure I’ll not try and take your head as you crawl in behind me, yes?”
Posted on 2009-12-01 at 22:21:55.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:25:06 by Eol Fefalas
“Very well,” he responded, his gaze breaking from her again, just long enough to complete a quick scan of the graves between where they stood and the mausoleum… he tipped his head in the direction of that slowly crumbling edifice, “follow me, then.”
Palms still in the air she took a moment to really look him over. His, apparent, willingness to trust her so quickly was not expected and it shifted the suspicion into her court. She had watched him approach her, yellow eyes glowing in the growing dark as he aimed an arrow at her heart. As usual her face betrayed little, but her slow controlled breathing revealed much more, not only about her, but also about him. The events of the day clung to him still, the sweat, blood, tainted water, hay and manure. His gait was slightly off and a tear in his pants suggested the cause. While she had spent the day lounging in a barn he had been running around the city in a fight for his very life. Slowly she lowered her hands and followed him.
He returned the arrow and bow to their places as he guided her to the rear of the crypt but said nothing. Nor did he speak as he set about sliding the stones away from the heretofore secret entrance to the thing. Once the last stone was out of the way, though, Nyx gestured to the hole in the wall… “After you, arwenamin,” he winked as she turned her gaze on him fully, “that way you can be sure I’ll not try and take your head as you crawl in behind me, yes?”
Crouching down she let a small wry smile tug at the corner of her lips, “Taking heads seems to be something you are rather skilled at it would seem.” Then she disappeared into the crypt.
Rising she blinked a few times as her pupils adjusted to the low light. It was a small stone box that she had come out into. A tomb.
Had you expected that he had cleaned it out and put in a decent parlor? I’d imagine he doesn’t have guests often. And is it that much worse than your hovel? You live above a pile of rotting fish, this place at least smells better.
She gave a slight nod to that truism as she stepped further into the room and away from the hole where he would be coming from shortly. To her right was the massive sarcophagus that had held the prior occupant. Human no doubt, for elves would not allow their kind to be interred above ground, and the markings that were not so dulled with age that she could determine them were to Naxir. To the left granite pillars rose out of the floor a few feet before ending in ornate platforms, a bit of broken pottery on the floor suggested they had once supported possessions of the dead. A sturdy iron door that had been installed to keep out vagrants and thieves (a noble but futile attempt) had not been opened since the day of the funeral no doubt, the thin stained glass windows that flanked it had darkened with grime and no longer held the beauty they once had, nothing did in death. Nyx had obviously been living here though. A black mark and ashes on the tile floor suggested a controlled fire, the sarcophagus’s lid had been jarred open and the years of dust that should coat everything was disturbed. It was cold and still in this room, and it fit Nyx perfectly.
Behind her she heard a scuffle and watched as Nyx crawled out of the hole and pulled himself up.
“Well… welcome. Not quite as spacious as your place, yes? The previous occupant did leave it in immaculate condition, though...” he flashed another grin at her before shoving the lid off the sarcophagus. A grating noise filled the space.
What am I doing here?
The smile was not returned to him, instead she raised a delicate brow toward him and took a few steps back until she rested against one of the stone pillars. Things were not going as she had expected them to. Not that she truly knew what she expected would happen. Her decision to wait for him in the cemetery had been rather impulsive and was guided by a voice in her head she rarely listened to. Suspicion, anger, annoyance, or even a strict business professionalism was more what she had expected. These casual comments, grins and even a loose wink she had not expected.
Maybe he fell and hit his head… or maybe he’s simply trying to warm you into a sense of trust and will pounce and kill you as soon as you turn your back.
Silently she watched as he began to pull weapons out of the shadows of his garb. Only when he spoke again did she realize that she should have said something in this space.
“So… what of the Bolstoii girl?” there was almost a laugh in his voice.
Business… yes there is business at hand, best get your mind on that
“Kharinya, Kiki to her friends, kitten to her lover. She’s probably around seventeen or eighteen years old, on the fleshy side, she has high taste in clothing and from what I can gather she spoiled rotten and lacking in intelligence. Apparently she has been trying to gather cargo manifests for shipments in and out of Avenon, although she’s been rather unsuccessful. The wife of a senator died recently, the official story is she chocked during dinner, rumors say poison, she was helping the family with that. Today she was obviously restricted due to the security concerns her father had. She is also working to get a list of guests attending her mother’s birthday party sometime next week. All of this information she is relaying to her lover. A full blooded elven slave belonging to her father; the stable boy. I think he knows something about the death of the senator’s wife by his reaction to the news, he had been out of town until today. They have difficulties getting around someone named Corr in the household, probably another elven slave.” She goes over her findings with the business tone she had expected him to have been using.
“You are wanted by… everyone. Guards are in force, and I’d imagine that they are not the only web that the Empire has set out to find you. Staying in Drasnia could be difficult for you. I’ve been at the Bolstoii manse most of the day, came directly here afterwards…” She paused here.
Ask him… ask him why he did it. Why did he risk his life to kill those people and provide you with an escape when you were acting so foolishly? Ask him!
That twitch in her lips again as the voice rang through her head. Instead she took a breath and spoke the next sentence just slow enough for him to catch that the words she said were not said by accident.
“What do you think we should do now?”
That simple one-syllable, two letter word. In normal conversations it is said without pause or hesitation and is often overlooked. Between the two of them, however, it carries a weight that seems to actually press down on Cay as she settles a bit more onto the pillar behind her once it is said.
Posted on 2009-12-02 at 16:33:49.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:26:32 by Eol Fefalas
We, is it? Hmmm... and after all that work, too...
“Taking heads seems to be something you are rather skilled at it would seem,” Cay offered, a wry smile playing on her lips as she crouched down and made to wriggle her way into the crypt.
Nyx grinned, leaning almost casually against the cool stone wall as he watched her, and offered a shrug. “I have had lots of practice,” he murmured, “and heads are usually right at eye-level, yes? Not difficult targets…” The effects of the herbs he had chewed earlier – carried through his system rather quickly during his swift and stealthy transit from the livery – washed over him in an almost-too-soothing wave; his eyes drifted shut for just a second and he chuckled softly at his own joke. When the muffled staccato scraping of her boots against the stone floor of the interior reached through the buzzing in his ears, his eyes opened and traced a lazy circuit around the shadow-draped graveyard before sinking towards the ground and slipping through the entrance behind her.
You’ve never let anyone inside here, his mind reminded him almost languidly, What will she…What will you say?
Had not considered it, I suppose…
“Well,” Nyx said, his eyes finding her as he came to his feet inside the tiny place, “welcome. Not quite as spacious as your place, yes? The previous occupant did leave it in immaculate condition, though...” Again, Nyx couldn’t help bet let an amused smile play on his lips though he did manage to suppress another chuckle. His hands settled on the lid of the sarcophagus as, rather than respond with words or a smile, Cay simply lifted a brow and backed a few steps towards one of the pedestals on the opposite side of the room…
Is she nervous? he wondered, the smile waning but not completely disappearing, as he shoved the casket’s lid aside, Unusual for her…
Would you not be, that inner voice returned, Was it not just yesterday that you demonstrated how quickly you could take her down and have a blade to her? Now, for whatever reason, here she is… alone with you… in a space considerably tighter than that alleyway… and how many did you kill today?
His head bobbed once at that reasoning and, as he unfastened his cloak and laid it atop the coffin, Nyx cast a sidelong glance at Cay. Though she was trying not to, the half-elf looked uncomfortable and uncertain… Thinks that she has gone farther than she meant to, yes? That you may have her death planned, as well… He unslung the bow, gaze traveling back to the interior of the sarcophagus as he placed the weapon amongst the other items therein… Or, mayhaps, she is a bit taken aback by your… mood… that bundle has warmed you quite nicely, has it not?… Another nod of his head as, with an expert tug on the lanyards which bound the kukri’s sheathe to his pack, the weapon came loose and joined it’s brother in the casket… Something to which she is more accustomed rather than quips, hmmm?
“So,” Nyx almost snickered, wincing a bit as the act of loosening the pack straps annoyed a bruised rib, “what of the Bolstoii girl?” He didn’t bother unloading the pack after it slid from his shoulders – he’d likely be filling it to capacity soon, anyway – and relegated it to the makeshift storage chest.
“Kharinya,” Cay began almost instantly, the matter-of-fact tone in her voice testifying that detouring the conversation towards the job had helped assuage at least a bit of the uncertainty that her body language expressed, “KiKi to her friends, kitten to her lover. She’s probably around seventeen or eighteen years old, on the fleshy side…”
The assassin continued the process of removing and stowing his gear as she relayed her findings to him. He nodded on occasion as some detail or revelation she had gleaned; other times, his expression went thoughtful when his humming mind caught hold of some small bit and twirled it in a dance of possibilities and, still other pieces of her to the point report brought him close to a chuckle.
“…. I think he knows something about the death of the senator’s wife by his reaction to the news,” Cay said of Kharinya’s surely-secret-elven lover, “he had been out of town until today. They have difficulties getting around someone named Corr in the household, probably another elven slave.”
“Likely,” Nyx murmured, finally drawing the ebon dagger, sheath and all, free of his belt. He went contemplative again and started to tap the ruby-set pommel of the weapon against his chin as he sorted the wealth of information that Cay had gathered… the first tap, even through the tingling, herb-induced numbness, reminded him of the split and bruise on his lip and he flinched just a bit. His tongue started forward to massage the wound …
“You are wanted by…”
…Nyx’s tongue stalled on the wound, flattening a tiny bubble of blood that had welled forth, and his now somewhat curious gaze slid towards Cay again, eyebrows raising a bit before he tossed his last weapon (save the bone and wire garrote ‘bracelet’ he always wore) into the sarcophagus.
“…everyone,” she approximated, as he offered a vague smile and slid the coffin’s lid back into place, “Guards are in force, and I’d imagine that they are not the only web that the Empire has set out to find you. Staying in Drasnia could be difficult for you. I’ve been at the Bolstoii manse most of the day, came directly here afterwards…”
One black brow spiked a bit higher at that last and something a little less vague crept into his smile as Nyx lifted himself sluggishly up to sit atop the now closed casket. Amin sinta, were the first words to offer themselves up as a response as his eyes glittered and took her in at leisure; Why directly here and not to Vadim? were the next. He got the chance to voice either, though, as her next words obliterated both from his thoughts for the moment.
“What do you think we should do now?”
We? Nyx blinked… What do I think? …and blinked once more… Is this the same Cayrimsa I know?
He did allow himself a chuckle, then, thumbing away a thin rivulet of blood that rolled over his lip, and his eyes almost sparkled as he looked, first, at her and then at the smear of crimson on his thumb. “We,” he repeated the word, half a chuckle and half a whisper, and his eyes flickered back in her direction… You have yet to understand exactly what I did today, don’t you? And why I did it?… He gave a slow, almost disbelieving shake of the head as he unfastened the top few clasps on his padded coat, letting it fall open to reveal the deep violet-dyed fabric of the soft tunic he wore beneath. Leaning forward, resting his forearms on his knees, and clasping his slender fingers together, he examined the part of the floor framed by the positioning of his own limbs and repeated the word again, just as softly, smiling all the while.
“Aiya, lisse’Cayrimsa,” Nyx sighed after a moment, “free you from the nightmare and you invite it right back to you, yes?”
The mith’ganni lifted his head and turned it to regard the… beautiful… witch, then, and smiled softly… Just say it… before leaning back to rest his shoulders against the wall behind him. Still smiling, he brushed his mane from his shoulders and drew in a long, deliberate breath before turning his eyes toward the dark ceiling of the mausoleum and letting them close while deliberated what he was going to say. After a long moment, those moon-hued eyes fluttered open and blinked at the ceiling as he blew a warm breath into the chill air of the place.
“What I did on The Processional, today,” Nyx began after a moment longer, his eyes still trained on the ceiling, “I did because it… because you needed an escape from the moment to be able to finish the job, yes? Before it began I knew that it would make staying in Drasnia difficult… make remaining a Hellkite all but impossible…for me…”
His head rolled against the wall behind him, tilting his eyes in her direction again. “For me, being a Hellkite is not important and there is but, perhaps, one real reason for me to care about remaining in Drasnia after this,” his smile broadened enough for him to once again be reminded to the injury to his lip and his tongue danced over it before he continued, “For you, though, Cayrimsa Etellenya, Drasnia and, for whatever reason, your place in the Hellkites seem of more importance…”
The Twilight Elf grinned, folded his arms, and blinked, very slowly, one time, wondering if what he was saying made sense. As he had allowed himself to relax, more and more had the mixture of herbs that still coursed through his bloodstream served their purpose. His wounds still nagged but they didn’t ‘hurt’ and, though, he didn’t care for the occasional swimming of his head, he found himself starting to succumb to the warmth of relaxing muscles and sink into the almost musical drone in his head.
“So,” Nyx continued after a moment of thought, “what happened today was done in such a way that you can deny a part in any of it, melamin… Seeing as you are here, now, though, and not at the Hydra’s Breath as I had anticipated… I suppose what we do next is up to you, is it not?”
“Hmmm,” he murmured, closing his eyes and letting his head loll back a bit as a delicious wave of numbness rippled over him… “You’ve not been to see Vadim, yet, I presume,” he said, still wrapped in the tingling warmth, “No… you’d likely not go and see him looking as lovely as you do now…”
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 01:08:03.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:28:33 by Eol Fefalas
Cay was feeling warm as well, despite the coolness of the stone box they were held in. Unlike, Nyx, her warmth was not the effect of herbs but of his words on her. Since she had arrived at the cemetery her eyes had been smoldering. When he chuckled and picked up that two letter word she had dropped the twin embers flared up, by the time he had gotten to the word ‘melamin’ the fires had risen to the roaring crackles of funeral pyres. Her skin was flushed and warm to the touch and as always the rise and fall of her breast with her breathing gave away the emotions that she managed to almost hide on her face.
When it seemed that he had finished she got back to her feet fully.
“Nyx Shyndyn…” she began by pointing a finger at him as she stepped closer and narrowed those burning eyes on his own. If he was wondering where the Cay he knew and loved had gone she was back now, “let’s start off with this: I am not your melamin.
“I am also not so slow as to be unaware of what you did for me today. I screwed up” the admission brought a twist to her features, “and you covered my arse. Which is why I am here and not sitting in Dmitrova’s office explaining how yesterday afternoon you got me confused with a horse and tried to have me by force in an alley, getting in a few good hits…” and she touched the blossom on her cheek, “before I managed to kick you off at which point you ran off with your tail between your legs like the yellow-slant-eyed elf that you are and that I haven’t seen you since. That I’d like to skin you myself if you were responsible for the massacre down town because it certainly didn’t make my job any easier, with Kharinya holed up in her bedroom most of the day.
“Or, perhaps, why I was not stalking out your little crypt here with half the Imperial Guard at my back. I could be a real hero if I went to the street right now and started screaming ‘Murderer’ at the top of my lungs…” her hand, not her voice, rose to the air to elaborate this point as she spoke.
“I’ve” the finger pointed to her own chest now, “got a lot of choices here Nyx, and don’t think that I don’t know it. I also know that I wouldn’t have any of them if it wasn’t for what you did. I know damn well what you did for me…”
I’m just still trying to figure out why you did it for me
“And I’m not ungrateful for it either, which is why I’m here. Dmitrova would sell me to a butcher if the price was right. Yes I want to be a Hellkite, but very few people have stuck out their necks for me Nyx… You said earlier that this is a business partnership we’ve been forced into. When the moment came you acted like a partner to me… you backed me up… and now I’m offering that in return.
“So I’m only going to say this once… and since you seem to be a bit slow tonight, I’m going to say it in your guttural tongue.” She leaned a bit closer to him and with the bite still in her voice and her jaw fixed tightly in its socket she spoke, “Lle mema amin tu?”
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 15:43:39.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:29:34 by Eol Fefalas
The sound of his name spoken by her voice brought his eyes open, again, and his head tipped in her direction. He couldn’t help but smile that razors-edge smile when he was met with her pointing finger and dour expression… There you are. Not so timid anymore, yes?… He managed to focus on the tip of her finger first and let his gaze drift along her arm to her shoulder and up her neck to get to that familiar, fire-eyed, glare.
“…let’s start off with this: I am not your melamin…”
A black brow spiked lazily at that first rebuke and Nyx blinked… “Did I say that?”
You did, the inner-voice drolled.
The other brow rose to match the height of the other.
“I am also not so slow as to be unaware of what you did for me today,” Cay continued, “I screwed up and you covered my arse…”
That admission brought what must have been an uncomfortable twist to Cay’s visage, then, and Nyx rolled his eyes and lifted a hand in a gesture intended to stifle any further ‘thanks’ or spare her any further uncomfortable confessions. He grinned wickedly, though, as she went on with the ‘report’ she would have been giving Vadim had she gone there already. The way she tied in the events that Dmitrova’s ‘shadows’ likely had observed into the rest would have been more than convincing… I should never try to take you by, force, he mumbled inwardly, unsure that the words or the thought itself might have escaped to her ears, Well, were I trying to kill you, perhaps… but not for that…
“…you ran off with your tail between your legs like the yellow-slant-eyed elf that you are…”
That comment caused his smile to slither in the direction of a sneer and his own eyes hardened a bit, now, but there was little reaction otherwise… Yes, yes… filthy-point ear… horse-paching grass eater… I grow weary of it… I am, perhaps, no more elf than you are these days, am I Cayrimsa? I have not hewn away the physical evidence but do you think my own people would have me back after what I have become? Do you believe that I have limited my marks to only those with round ears?...
It is but a ruse she weaves for Dmitrova’s sake.
Nyx’s gaze remained on Cay’s face as she continued on and he offered no reaction than an occasional blink and that same, lazy wave of don’t do that when she admitted what his earlier escapades had done for her. For the duration, his expression remained flatly impassive until…
… you backed me up… and now I’m offering that in return.”
At this, his eyebrows raised a bit in what might have been interest or surprise.
“So I’m only going to say this once… and since you seem to be a bit slow tonight, I’m going to say it in your guttural tongue.”
Here, he chuckled softly and offered a faint nod.
When Cay leaned closer to him, eyes flashing and jaw clenched tight, he thought he might have felt his heartbeat quicken…
“Lle mema amin tu?” she asked, the biting edge still on her voice.
Nyx’s hooded eyes widened a bit and he smiled as the question registered. Did he want her help? There were things he found he wanted just then… found he wanted to reach out his hand and brush fingers across the witch’s unbruised cheek and, perhaps, he wanted to kiss her again, softly this time… instead of acting on these wants, though, he rocked forward and slid off the sarcophagus, making a noise that was half-laughter and half-a-snort. “And what do you propose to help me with, nwalmaer,” he asked past a wince that a tugging in his thigh had induced as he turned towards her, “escaping the city?
I have those designs already, Cay, down to the horse that I shall take when I go.”
Not that you have designs on where you might go thereafter, though, yes? What city in the Empire will not have legionnaires or Hellkites or bounty hunters hot for your head? What clan on the plains in Shanurdir would have you should you be fortunate enough to escape that far?
“Perhaps,” Nyx smiled, his voice staying level, “your offer is to turn the suspicion from me to some other, then, yes? Get me out of the Empire’s scrutiny and restore me to a kinder light where the Hellkites are concerned… so that Vadim could torture you by assigning us to work together, again?”
He paused, his eyes dipping to regard the scorch-marked floor for a moment before lifting to fix to hers once more; “Is that what you want, Cayrimsa?”
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 18:06:32.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:31:19 by Eol Fefalas
As his eyes fixed on hers she turned her head and let the bonfires light up the darkened stain glass.
It’s a good question Cay, what do you want, what are you doing here?
She sighed a moment and curled her hand into a fist again, working to dig her fingers into the maw there so that the pain would spark more intensely. If he was watching the knuckles on her hand turn white and next to the scorch mark he had been looking at a drop of her tainted blood hits the tile.
Work with Nyx again? Is that it? Or is it more?
Over the sound of Nyx breathing she could hear the way the stable barn had been shuddering earlier in the day, it was oddly connected with the pain that rove up her arm. She had made a fist then too, desperately trying not to focus on the lustful activities that went on below her.
Why did you try so hard to block out that foolish human girl and her elven lover?
The fires flashed for a moment.
They say the murderer has eyes like yours… another horse elf. Kiki’s voice repeated in her head.
Before she could stop herself her head snapped back toward Nyx and a slight smile played over her lips.
“Aelion… He is not a full blooded Mith’ganni from what I could tell, but he has your eyes. Technically he did not arrive in town for several hours after the murders… but who would believe him anyway? He’s a slave, and with some digging they would find not only who he is sleeping with, but perhaps more… well behaving slaves don’t need their lovers to get the cargo manifests to Avenon now do they?” She licks her lips a moment. “Who knows what I might have heard the two of them talk about in the barn? Say he admits to his love his crime…” She is actually smiling now as the fires dance behind her eyes, and leans closer to Nyx in her excitement, “admits that he poisoned Lady Olsta, too, and that the wench on the street asked him something on his way back… suggested to him that she had seen him around the Olsta house the night of the poisoning… so he acted out rashly… killed the mother and the child to keep them quiet… finally came back to get Kiki to help him escape… I can tell all of this to Dmitrova. And keep the nugget about Avenon to ourselves until we can learn what the little human-loving-elf wanted with the information…”
She was doing it again using pronouns that she would not have perhaps even a few hours ago. It also was not a direct answer to his question, instead it was a possible solution to what she might have given as an answer.
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 18:50:38.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:37:46 by Eol Fefalas
It was the second time today that he had offered Cayrimsa a means of being free of him... If she would give him nothing, Nyx had decided, he would give her at least that much…
Nyx waited in silence for a long while… reading her actions when she turned her eyes to smolder in their contemplation of the grime-washed stained glass… there was indecision… perhaps confusion… and torment… Always torment, yes?… in what he saw in that moment. With a glance at her face, he noted a familiar fire in her amber eyes (but, he thought, he glimpsed another, not so familiar one burning along side it) and her firm-set jaw worked subtly as she debated with herself whatever thoughts were playing in her head. When his glance dropped it found her hand, clenched white-knuckle tight, and a drop of her blood falling from the fist to spatter silently on the floor near his feet. His breathing and hers had been the only sounds to pass through the still air of the crypt and, again, he watched her fingers curl and dig into her palm once more.
Is it truly such a difficult decision, Cay, he kept the question to himself, You despise me and all my kind, yes? Have you not told me so on countless occasions? What is there to consider, then?
When Nyx lifted his eyes from their consideration of the rose-petal bloom of her blood on his floor he was prepared to end her debate for her by telling her that there was nothing she could do to help him and that she should just go, give her manufactured report to Dmitrova, and be done with him as she wished to be. As he drew in the breath to drive those words, though, her head snapped back – the locks of her less than contained hair brushing across his face in the act… rainwater… – and she was smiling.
“Aelion,” she said as suddenly as she had turned to look at him, “He is not a full blooded Mith’ganni from what I could tell, but he has your eyes. Technically he did not arrive in town for several hours after the murders…”
Yellow eyes blinked rapidly in the murk of the crypt and, with thanks due to the buzzing state of his mind and sore condition of his body, he shuffled just a step backwards in the shock of it all. Manke tanya tuula?! He was quick to steady his body but not quite so his eyes, which continued to blink in the brunt of Cay’s sudden… and excited?… plot to implicate Styopa Bolstoii’s own stable boy (and forbidden dabbler in his daughter’s skirts) in not just the murders that Nyx had committed but, also, one that she had deduced that the half-twiligher had done.
“…well behaving slaves don’t need their lovers to get the cargo manifests to Avenon now do they?”
The words Nyx had thought to say were all but gone when he watched the tip of her tongue flick across her lips. He imagined that he wouldn’t have had the chance to speak them even if he could recall them because she was talking again before she had finished wetting her lips. His own smile, he felt, was somehow attached to hers at this point and, as Cay’s smile grew wider, so did his. And, in the instant after that, she leaned in and was suddenly so very close to him… his eyes were as bright as hers, now, and he imagined, so was his excitement – be it of a different sort than hers, perhaps – and it was evidenced by his inability, at first, to keep his hand from lifting to touch that cheek, now and by the fact that his tongue sought to moisten his own lips as he watched hers…
“Don’t you ever touch me again…”
Though his heart pounded and protested, Nyx did stop himself, his fingers stopping a hairsbreadth from the skin of her face, his head ticking as he forced it to stop it’s tilting in preparation to taste her lips... His smile persisted, though, and he drew in a long, deep breath to steel himself against the effects of not just the herbs. “You are a wicked paching slitch, Cayrimsa Etellenya,” he managed to say after a moment, “I am very impressed…”
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 21:03:21.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:39:09 by Eol Fefalas
As she schemed his moonlit eyes had become lost in her own, both wrapped up in the sudden excitement that tingled through the air. No matter how much she denied she too felt how close he was, but her mind was working too hard on the plan formulating across her synapses even as she spoke to really pay too much attention to what he did with his tongue and with his fingers.
Finally she stopped talking and waited for his response to her plan. He was close enough that when he drew in a deep breath she could almost feel the air pull from her own lips and into his, which gave her a slight jolt.
“You are a wicked paching slitch, Cayrimsa Etellenya,” he managed to say after a moment, “I am very impressed…”
A look of pride flitted through the amber fires and she just barely lifted her chin further into the air with it. That slight change in her position closed the breadth between the tips of his fingers and her cheek. A dangerous flash of light crackled through the pride that only a moment ago had taken over her features.
Without a single moment’s hesitation her left hand had risen and clamped over his wrist tearing it from her face and twisting it down between them even as she uttered a soft whisper and a jolt of tingling power ran up and down his arm.
“Not your melamin!” she hissed through her teeth. “No matter how impressed with me I am not your melamin and for your sake I’d hope you’d remember that. The last, and the only time an elf has ever been foolish enough to try and have me… I bit off his ear…” the last bit is snarled at Nyx and she twists his hand further as another jolt shocks through his arm. “I swear I can find more interesting parts to remove from you…”
“Working with you is one thing… lle sarigrien… is something else.”
Posted on 2009-12-04 at 03:02:03.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:40:26 by Eol Fefalas
There was an undeniable spark that surged through Nyx when, with a pleased look in her eye, Cayrimsa’s chin lifted a fraction and closed the space between the tips of his fingers and the skin of her cheek. He knew in that same beating of his heart, though, that it had been a mistake to not have withdrawn that hand when he first realized its position and an error of even greater measure when he stupidly allowed himself to languish in the contact for even the fraction of a second that he had. Before those realizations had translated between mind and body, though, the prideful fires that lit Cay’s eyes flickered towards resentment, her hand closed tightly on his wrist, and as she wrenched it hatefully away, a spark of a different sort shot through the mith’ganni.
The effects of the herbs and of her proximity were lost as the witch’s spell sent a painful electric jolt through him. His eyes went wide and his knees buckled a bit, both in response to the jolt itself and to the sudden awareness to each and every wound he had incurred during the course of this past day. Instinctually, his free hand shot to the handle of one of the punching daggers that secreted themselves as a part of his belt buckle… the next moment would find the blade free and slammed upwards into and through the witch’s chin…
“Not your melamin!”
…In the act of reaching for the dagger, Nyx’s fingers had touched the symbol of Prien which was the belt’s clasp and he thought he heard a mocking laughter somewhere behind the painful haze and herbal buzz in his mind… and then those words from her… He winced, not so much from the pains rendered by her spell or his wounds, and let his fingers fall away from the weapon…
“No matter how impressed with me I am not your melamin and, for your sake, I’d hope you’d remember that. The last, and the only time an elf has ever been foolish enough to try and have me… I bit off his ear…” the witch snarled, twisting his hand further and sending another jolt through his arm. “I swear I can find more interesting parts to remove from you…”
Nyx gritted his teeth in the wake of that last shock and, rather than allow it to buckle his knees as the first had, he instead drew himself up and forced himself to glare defiantly into her eyes…
“…Working with you is one thing… lle sarigrien… is something else.”
“Lle sarigrien,” he growled through clenched teeth, “are you completely mad?!?
As if you had not thought…
“Get your hands off of me, woman,” he hissed, wrenching his arm from her grasp and stepping away from her as his other hand went to massage the lingering sting at his wrist. “Lle sarigrien, indeed,” he murmured, climbing atop the sarcophagus again…
Lle kamelaya, eh? the voice tittered.
Now narrowed yellow eyes slid towards Cayrimsa after Nyx had situated himself and sucked the blood from his still bleeding lip; took her in quietly as he considered what had just happened… what she had said… what she had always made known…
“You should go, now,” he sighed, the tone of his voice attesting to nothing other than the fact that he was, perhaps, exhausted, “make your report to Dmitrova…”
The mith’ganni regarded her for a moment longer, the whisper of a smile played on his lips for less than that, and he finally allowed his eyes to close once more; his head rocking back to rest against the wall, his arms wrapping around his aching ribs, and his legs drawing in closer to his body, the tug in his thigh evoking a faint grimace. “Amin anta est,” he added, “I shall find you in the morning, yes?”
Posted on 2009-12-04 at 14:21:12.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:41:40 by Eol Fefalas
“Lle sarigrien,” he growled through clenched teeth, “are you completely mad?!?
You know Cay that is a very valid question he poses. Are you mad? Completely and utterly mad? You of course realize that you are the only one who keeps bringing up such things, don’t you?
The fire in her eyes flickered when he growled at her and her grip loosened just slightly on his wrist. For a brief moment the tip of her finger presses against the vein running along the inside of his wrist. The quickened pulse of his elven blood pumping through his body consumes her senses. It speaks of raw emotion, of pain, regret and anger… and passion. Pounding through his body and then through their touch up into hers, paralleling the pulse that her own heart is now throbbing out.
“Get your hands off of me, woman,” he hissed, and the pulse that she had just found was wrenched from her. The sudden breaking stills the blood flow in her veins for a moment and she takes in a sharp breath. The elf vanishes from sight while she retrains her heart to beat on its own again.
“Lle sarigrien, indeed,” he murmured at her right and she turned toward the voice.
On the tomb he perched, another statue in this necropolis. Under his narrowed gaze she watched for a moment as he rubbed at his wrist. His fingers were pale and thin, yet strong. The moons around his fingernails were dark with blood and dirt. Scratches screamed out in pink against the whites of his knuckles. Her eyes followed the trail of his fingers up his arm and across his body, noting the way he favored the one leg in his crouch. Like his hands the rest of his body bore the wounds he had incurred during the day. There was a tenseness to his pose, however, and she knew he was still prepared to fight if he must. That he would fight to death if it was required of him.
Not like any others of his kind you have seen is he Cay?
They are all the same… a weak pitiful race that feeds off the scraps of the Imperial table.
Those eyes stayed fixed on her still, they did not waiver but eventually softened slightly as he sighed.
“You should go, now, make your report to Dmitrova…”
The mith’ganni regarded her for a moment longer, the whisper of a smile played on his lips for less than that, and he finally allowed his eyes to close once more; his head rocking back to rest against the wall, his arms wrapping around his aching ribs, and his legs drawing in closer to his body, the tug in his thigh evoking a faint grimace. “Amin anta est,” he added, “I shall find you in the morning, yes?”
He was still close enough for her to reach over and touch him again. Part of her wanted to, her fingers twitched momentarily as they remembered the feel of his pulse moving beneath them. She wondered if it had slowed as his breathing had slowed down. She wondered if it would spike again if she touched him, if her mere touch would stir the heavy palpations of his heart, if his eyes would open and how he would look upon her then.
If he would look upon you as Sidhion looked upon you?
Why is it so hard Cay?
With a sigh she turned from the main object of her own personal torment and crouched down to crawl out of the hole. On her way out she whispered, “Quel kaima.”
The North wind whipped against her as soon as she was outside. Icy fingers ran through her hair and down her body. With a shudder she glanced back into the dark hole at her feet.
Why are you out here when you could be stirring that heartbeat? The fire that burns in him would keep you so very warm…
Dragging the stone he had moved earlier over the hole, leaving enough room on the one side for his hand to get a grip and thus not trap him inside, she began to respond to the voice in her head Fires burn…
Whatever else she had in mind was cut short by a soft whisper that drifted from the tomb.
"And for what it's worth, nwalmaer... that is a thing I should never take uninvited... from anyone..."
Her eyes closed, she touched her cheek, not the one with rose blossom on it, but the one that his fingers had graced, it was still warm as if the fire that burned within him had left a shadow of itself upon her skin. Without thinking she clenched her fist and let the pain sharpen her senses so she could stand and walk out of the cemetery.
Posted on 2009-12-04 at 16:55:58.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 10:42:26 by Eol Fefalas