It’s always astonishing to me how utterly patient he is. All of the restraint I was taught has been slipping away, day by day, because of his tolerant amusement, his gentle affection, his obvious enjoyment of the places I take him and the games I think of to play.
Warbands, I imagine, do not teach one to play. In truth, neither did the Kurosawa family- my training did not include playing chase, hide and go seek, tickling until the other cries for mercy, gasping between laughs. I think he and I are drawing more out of each other. I know that he is doing such to me.
His paws are ticklish. His nose is cool when he nuzzles my neck. His fur is warm and soft, and his body heavy when he curls about me as we settle to sleep. Even when I puff breath into his eyes to watch him blink, my Agorix rumbles that low, purring laugh and tightens his grip about me.
I miss nothing we have left behind. He is my family.
A trail of discarded armour and dented floorboards lead to the hearth, where a ripped corset lay atop an overturned chair and the glittering remnants of a wine glass caught the firelight. From there the trail continued, littered with torn silk and scorched leather, to the bed.
He had only thought to take a walk with her through town, to enjoy the night air and perhaps find a Separatist or two willing to serve as a diversion, before they returned home.
'Really though,' Noel thought with a frown, as he threaded his fingers through Capricia's, 'I ought to have known better than to expect a quiet evening.'
Fallen Angels assaulting civilians, a possessed arrow thief, his fiancée’s blood on the cobblestones, grave soil golems seeking flesh. Even now the memory caused his blood to run cold. Skin. They wanted skin. Her skin.
His gaze swept up from the purpling oval above the curve of her hip to the pink crescent moon on her shoulder, one pallid, calloused hand tracing the path of those lupine eyes.
She let him bruise her, encouraged him to bite her, laughed as he tore away what stood between her skin and his. But only because he asked, and not until she agreed.
He let her bite him, encouraged her to bloody his back and shoulders with scratches, laughed when she burned through anything that separated his body from hers. But only because she agreed, and only after he asked.
She did not belong to him any more than he belonged to her, and when he took from her it was never more than what was offered, never more than what was offered in return; because they were equals. And so he would not curb her freedom in order to keep her safe, would not hurt her in the name of protecting her; instead he would fight beside her as he fought for her, would make the world safer for her, with her.
When her breath was not tickling his chest, when her leg - still half-clad in a slouched stocking - was not draped across his waist, with her ankle just within his reach.
Much, much later.
At the first soft hiss, she halted. Beside her, Atropos paused, aquamarine eyes blinking in unison as the shade wound gentle tendrils about her forearm. Lachesis laid a hand to the shade’s amorphous form, turning her hazy eyes down and about the narrow wooden dock that hugged her small hut.
It was glossy black, inky in shade and with luminous eyes of pale peridot. Ears lifted once, swung towards her and then folded back as the small feline crouched, baring canines in another hiss. One paw lifted, brushed gleaming claws across the stained wood, and the cat waited, watching her.
Lachesis went ashen beneath her golden tan, and her lips compressed into a thin, greyish line. A glaze of milky white rose over her hazy blue irises, and she swayed on her feet. Atropos, ever attentive, wound more tendrils about its’ mistress and drew her back into the cool softness of its’ gossamer form. Silence hung, punctuated with the occasional ambient sound of Godslost Swamp, but neither the shade, the witch nor the cat added to those quiet noises. Atropos turned its’ six blinking eyes down to the cat, and the cat regarded the shade without expression.
One slow breath was indrawn. The thickly lashed eyes of the witch cleared, silver flecks in her irises shining vividly, and Lachesis focused her gaze once more on the cat.
“Tell her the bargain is remembered.”
Long fingers splayed across the heap of silk, toyed with the glistening folds and the fingertips pressed together, testing the fabric with a sensuous movement. As the Nightingale regarded the gleaming material, lifted it, let it drape over her hand and fall in a shining swathe to the floor, she smiled ever so slightly to herself.
It was not in her nature to question her situation too deeply. Saville Labonne Takagi, the Nightingale, was not a speculative individual. She was instinctual, self-centered and wholly insouciant about anything which was not related to her appearance. Even the knowledge that the Kurosawa family had, indeed, slain her and that Radaj Kendrix- strange that a man who had fairly slavered for her death would be the only one to want her- was responsible for her current state of being did not… particularly touch her. Nor did she give thought to the man she had once married. Ryu Takagi, the Dragon of the Nightenveil family, had been the instrument of her creation and for that alone she could despise him.
For other reasons, she had arranged to leave him.
Now… She was picking through the various bolts of silk that Akane Tachibana, a serving girl who was of the Kurosawa bloodline albeit unacknowledged, had brought. There were numerous shades which would suit her pale skin, garnet hair and vivid, acidic green eyes well, but Saville had always preferred black. It was the black that she toyed with, draping across the lavish curves of her nude form, as she considered the entirety of what had been said to her.
You are now like me in form, and if it were not for my genius, you would still be dead. Unmourned. Unloved.
The Nightingale did not delude herself with the amusing thought that Radaj had turned the Kurosawa family’s rituals and his own extensive research to her ‘retrieval’ out of any feelings of ‘love.’ A soft laugh escaped her glistening crimson lips as she tossed a few locks of hair out of her eyes. Love… She’d had so very many words proclaiming such emotions spoken to her, time and again. Men who had sought to woo her, to lure her into lowering the prices once demanded for her time, for the privilege of caressing her flawless skin. Oh, they had spoken of love. Ryu had spoken of love. The sylvari, her ‘little leaf,’ had called her his ‘Dearheart’ repeatedly. Yes, Saville knew precisely what love meant. It was a weakness which others either sought to create or suffered from, and Radaj’s eyes held none of that when he looked on her.
Perhaps it was merely her own continual expectations that told her it was lust she read in the mesmer’s eyes. The Nightingale’s arrogance was fully encompassing and unbreakable; everyone lusted for her and she knew it. After all, that was what had always been valued about her. That was, perhaps, the only real value she had.
Even as the thought rose to her mind, the Nightingale felt no dismay. Any real sense of self-worth had been taken from her, stripped away throughout the years of being trained as a courtesan by the man who had purchased her from Divinity Reach’s orphanage. What little she had sought to reclaim as her own, Ryu had violently taken from her with the first rape he had forced upon her. And the second. The third. Saville’s velvety lips compressed slightly as she met her own glittering gaze in the room’s gilt-framed mirror.
Had she not seen him in the Mists, sensed Ryu’s soul drifting through in passing, the memories might have created more than a mere flare of anger, a distant glow of annoyance. He had taken her, used her for his own purposes, twisted her to his desires and when he had found that such a hold could not last forever, had resorted to using that ridiculous claim of love in an attempt to keep her inexorably bound to him. Death was a small price to pay to be well rid of that.
No sigh escaped her, nor did her eyes well with any tears as Saville drew her slender fingers through the weight of her garnet hair. The Nightingale was unfamiliar with the idea of second chances, but recognizing an opportunity? That, ah… That she had been well taught in, and this was one she certainly had no wish to let slip away. Radaj Kendrix was still under an amusing delusion, believing he had loved his dead wife and that her loss could only be made worthwhile by rebuilding the Kurosawa family as he saw fit. It was a delusion that Saville could use even as Radaj used her, and one she was not going to belabor herself with curing him of.
Lips twisted upwards in a smile as utterly enticing as a simple expression could be, soul twisted into a thing nearly unrecognizable, mind and heart twisted into mangled echoes of what she could once have been, the Nightingale adjusted the drape of black silk once more and stroked her hands over the glorious curves of her breasts.
Radaj Kendrix had recalled her from death, given her a form which would remain flawless for eternity and claimed to offer her more than she’d ever dreamed possible. Saville, discarding her former names as easily as she did the black silk, laughed throatily to herself as she gathered up a length of deep violet silk, so gossamer as to be translucent. Kendrix she would be, bearing her ‘maker’s’ surname as she had borne others, and wouldn’t it be charming to see how long it took before he was satisfying her own cravings under the belief that he was sating his own?
not certain of the artist name here.