• Graded • A day in the sun

Malcolm

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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Wed May 04, 2016 6:06 pm

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113 Ashan 716
They called them butterflies, but if they were butterflies then they had steel-edged wings, Elyna decided. Either way, her stomach was filled with them as she knocked on the now familiar door to Malcolm’s house. Or rather, she rephrased her thoughts quickly. It was the house he had shared with Vanessa. It wasn’t always going to be his house. The Skyrider didn’t know what to do with her hands, so she looped them behind her back as she retreated a step, listening for sounds from the inside.

She had finally returned to her rooms in the barracks a few trials before and accepted the dreaded light duties. However, her particular nightmare of paperwork and arithmetic had been ended after a day and she’d been re-assigned to the stables at the lodge. Something she was far happier with. Elyna could only assume that Malcolm had been as busy as she, finding his way back to ordinary life. It had only been a short time, but she had missed him. His absence had been a constant irritation, there had been times she’d wanted to turn and talk to him, times when her imagination and memory had left her breathless and times when she would have traded anything, just to be sat quietly beside him. The young woman gulped, aware of the danger her feelings provoked. But when the worries came, she reminded herself that he was a good man, he was not Yoreth. So here she was, she had a plan.

The Skyrider had pinned her hair up once more, braiding it along the side of her face and lifting it away from her neck. It was a warm day with a strong sun and there was nothing quite like feeling it kiss her bare shoulders. She wore the green skirts and the bodice of the dress over a fresh shirt that scooped beneath her shoulders. It was happily, too hot to be completely covered up and as she waited, she shifted her weight from foot to foot with restless energy. Those butterflies again. They weren’t giving in. What did she have to be nervous of anyway? There was nothing left to hide from the Captain; he knew her past and her fears for the future. Large portions of the past few days had been spent outside and she felt revived by the fresh-air, though still dizzy at times. She knew though, that the threat of sunshine had already darkened the freckles on her nose and returned colour to her cheeks. She was no longer a ghost, but returning to herself.

Elyna lifted her hand and knocked again, before she danced back of the steps, eager to not seem too…eager.
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Malcolm
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Fri May 06, 2016 4:23 am

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In two trials he would be leaving for Krom where he would stay with Vanessa and her extended family for a few trials while everything was sorted out. Though the idea was somewhat unsettling after his recent dalliance, seeing Marcus and Vaughn, his sons, would make it all worthwhile. Upstairs he was still packing, folding away the last of his belongings into a travel bag, his hair was still wet from this morning's bath and the deep V of his shirt was damp, having pulled it on without drying himself properly after washing. The bed was still made up, he would need to sleep in it tonight and tomorrow before he left on the 115th of Ashan, but everything else had been put away, ready for the move.
Less and less he had been thinking about his old life, but that was the way it had to be for a mortalborn, as one chapter ended, another began, and Malcolm was forced to think about the future and whether or not he would be able to stay in Andaris, or even Rynmere. It seemed for the most part he had made his mind up, a few more years in the city wouldn't hurt and that's why he was happy with his latest investment, a surprise for Elyna, a promise kept. The house here could be rented out for a bit of extra income and if Elyna approved, she would be more than welcome to join him on the plot of land and small one bedroom, wooden house he had managed to purchase at quite short notice. He had plans to tell her so that when he returned from Krom next season, it would be there waiting for them.
There came an unexpected knock at the door and Malcolm tucked his shirt into his pants and pulled on his boots before heading downstairs. As he moved through the living space, Malcolm looked out the kitchen window to see if he could spot anyone and opened the door cautiously to catch a glimpse of the noble woman. The captain's face lit up and he summoned her inside quickly so that he could shut out the world and kiss the Skyrider, her bare shoulders still warm under his hands where the sun had already touched them this morning.
"I didn't expect to see you today," Malcolm beamed and slicked his hair back with his fingers, hoping it wasn't too much of a mess, "you look," he paused and took a step back to look at her, gaze fixed on the green bodice for a spell before he returned it to admire Elyna's face, "beautiful," he then admitted. The captain was used to seeing Elyna in pants, armour, and leather tabards, not pretty dresses.
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Fri May 06, 2016 7:42 am

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The sight of the mortalborn was enough to send any coherent thoughts spinning away. Elyna stepped into the shadow of the house and was swept up in his kiss once more. How could he keep doing this? Keep leaving her feeling dizzy by the time she was released, she leant back against the door for support with eyes dark from desire. Now she was behind the closed door, it would be tempting just to forgo her plans and to pull the captain back into an embrace. She reached up and smoothed her fingertips over the exposed skin of his chest, eyes adjusting to the slightly dimmer light, an embarrassed streak of pink heating her cheeks, “thank you,” she murmured. So tempting.

The Skyrider struggled to take hold of her own power of will and shook herself, straightening, “you’re not on the roster today or tonight,” she told him, though she was fairly certain he knew his own work patterns, “and nor am I,” she hastened to add, “so…” she wet suddenly dry lips “I’m kidnapping you.” Elyna was still nervous and she put her arms behind her back again, a habit from when she worked. It stopped her fussing with her hair and she hoped it made her seem more confident.

She moved away from the door, enough so that she could open it again and gesture to the glorious sunshine outside and raised a brow in question. He could always say no, and he’d have every right to. She suspected he was travelling in the next few trials and would have affairs to set straight. But she wanted this, trials without him had been desolate and a small voice circled at the back of her mind, that she wanted him to remember her when he was back with his wife. The Skyrider wanted to be remembered as a beautiful woman, someone who’d shared his bed, who made him laugh…not the foolish skyrider who was injured at every opportunity. Not someone who made stupid mistakes that ruled her life, not someone weak and recovering from poison.

“I have plans,” she promised. Confident that she had his attention the Skyrider returned outside to the brilliant sunshine. She waited for Malcolm to collect anything he might need, but as soon as the door was shut behind him, she back away, smiling and walked backwards down the street, arms still behind her back. Before she could fall over her own feet, she spun to lead the way, his longer strides easily catching her up and she let her hands swing at her sides, face tilted skyward towards the warmth, "it's a beautiful day," she commented and glanced sidelong. She wondered what he was thinking and with the occasionally glance in his direction, tried to study his expression and gleam anything from it.

It was a reasonable walk through the city to the outskirts and the smell of the fair caught them first. Sweet cinnamon and hot sugar, corn, butter, the shouts of laughter and amusement. As they approached the flapping banner that pronounce 'The Flying Dragon,' Elyna looked once more at Malcolm, trying to gauge if this was acceptable, or if it was a huge mistake?

"See...plans..." she gestured to the arena with a shy smile.
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Fri May 06, 2016 1:04 pm

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Plans? Malcolm was happy to oblige, following Elyna out of the house without taking anything but his belt and coin to strap on as they walked down the road. It was late enough in the season to go without his usual cloak or overcoat, but roaming the streets in little more than a shirt and a pair of trousers made him feel somewhat bare. By the time they had reached the outskirts of the city, Malcolm decided to fold his sleeves up to sit just below his elbows and fixed his hair again, combing it back behind his ears with his fingers; it was probably time he trimmed it, something Vanessa used to do and would likely insist upon during his visit to Krom.
Beyond the city walls, and senses assaulted by the sweet and enticing smells of the fair, Malcolm put an arm around Elyna and pulled her against his side playfully before bunting her aside again with his hip; she always knew how to cheer him up and make him feel young again, but something told him this day was more for her amusement. The captain followed Elyna into the crowd and together they walked side by side along the lane of stalls set up to sell food and goods. They didn't have to go far before Malcolm spotted a dagger throwing challenge.
"Good morning, Ser, can I interest you in trying to win a prize for the lovely lady?"
Malcolm looked across at Elyna and smiled before asking the young man, "how much?"
"Three copper for four throws, Ser."
The captain dug around in his pocket and pulled out the right change, setting it down in the man's hand. "I'll take four throws," he nodded, "any rules?"
"Feet must remain behind the line at all times," the attendant said before handing the daggers over.

Malcolm turned the first dagger in his hand and could tell without studying it too closely that the weight wasn't distributed very evenly. He took aim and threw the dagger, watching as it veered left and became lodged in the backboard. Malcolm had used throwing knives for many arcs and was quite sure he could make the shot if he just mastered how to work with the poor quality blades.
"That was close," the teenager chimed, making sure he stayed out of the firing line.
"Just warming up," the captain grinned and took his second throw, aiming a little further right than he had with the first shot, but instead of veering left, this dagger went far right, a frustrating attempt. "Do you want to try?" He turned to Elyna, holding out one of the two remaining blades.
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Fri May 06, 2016 10:04 pm

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Relieved that Malcolm didn’t look completely horrified at accompanying her to the fair, Elyna rolled her shoulders back, smiling as she slipped through the bustling crowd. It was an art form really, being able to move between clusters of people walking in various directs at odd speeds, dodging children who dashed past her knees and not tripping over anything. Not even the small, stray dog that yapped at her then darted away, vanishing into the masses. Her childhood had been spent in Burhan, where there simply weren’t crowds of people to negotiate. Since moving to Andaris though, to become a Squire the noblewoman had quickly learnt to adapt and the ways to make it through without injury. A gentle touch to the shoulder here, an apology or ‘excuse me’ there and generally folk were obliging, mainly menfolk to be fair, but still she passed without much fuss.

She hovered as Malcolm accepted the challenge, struggling to hide a smile behind her hand, chuckling as the man missed the first two throws; “I havn’t much experiencing with knives,” she admitted but approached when the blade was offered. She first sized up the teenager who was manning the booth, unkempt orange hair grew from his head in angles. He looked honest enough but the knife when it settled into her grip was off. Her brows raised before she laughed and spun the blade, passing it back to Malcolm, “if you manage to hit anything with these knives…well I’d be prepared to wager you won’t,” but such bets would be dangerous, “perhaps you’ll simply win my eternal respect,” she grinned.

Behind the dragger throw was an archery set up. She watched the arrows whistling off in every direction and chuckled again. As a child, the fair had seemed magical, the prospect of having the skill to throw a knife into a target had been a dream. Standing so close to the Mortalborn, Elyna hooked two fingers into his belt and ran her thumb over the warm leather, before releasing him again. Tucking her hands behind her back as the game continued.

It was then she saw it. The young woman in an exotic costume approached. Although Elyna couldn’t help but think, the woman would be grateful for the sun, her eyes were fixed instead on the two small serpents, one curled about each arm; in two separate shades of green, grass snakes. As though turned to Jacadon stone, the Skyrider stood motionless, rooted to the spot. The woman made her way through a crowd that parted before her, pausing to run a pair of eyes, as green as the snakes over Elyna and her companion, she offered a wide smile and Ely retreated, only able to offer a small squeak of protest as the was approached by a group of children, clamouring to stroke the snakes, filled with endless, excited questions.

“M-Mal…” the words barely made a sound, “there’s-s-s….snake,” but what could he do about it? She was supposed to be a Skyrider, she was supposed to be brave.
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Tue May 10, 2016 9:38 am

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Elyna took the knife only to hand it back moments later, deciding this sort of thing was best left to the captain. “Eternal respect?” He smiled. “I’ll take that.”

This throw was a lot less serious than the last two and Malcolm decided to leave the mathematics out of the equation. He heaved the dagger in the direction of the target, and as luck would have it, managed to land a successful hit. Malcolm was almost as shocked by his successful throw as the boy working the game. The young man jumped up, speechless, and blinked, moving back out of the way for the captain to make his final throw before he went to collect a prize. Malcolm opted for the small wooden carving of a dragon and turned to offer it to Elyna when he noticed the Skyrider all but cowering in the corner at the sight of two grass snakes headed their way.
“Would you like to hold?” The colourfully dressed woman inquired, holding out one of the snakes to Malcolm who readily accepted having either overlooked or just not remembered the noble woman’s fear.

The snake’s heavy tail daggled in mid-air as it fought to wrap itself about the knight’s arm, and like a parent trying to entice a child nearer to him, Malcolm held out Elyna’s prize to her, hoping to draw her closer so that she too could see the snake, perhaps from more trustworthy hands than that of the strange, circus woman.
“Come on,” he encouraged. “How about a little competition, I’ll buy another four dagger throws, if you manage to hit the target with either of your two throws you don’t have to hold the snake, but if with the remaining two throws I hit the target, you at least have to pet him,” Malcolm grinned.
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Tue May 10, 2016 10:48 am

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Elyna watched, horrified and open mouthed as the woman approached. It was as though her feet were blocks of stone, dug deep into the ground. She couldn’t move; and then Malcolm accepted one. The green serpent twisted around his bare arm and she shuddered. The Skyrider could make out the carved dragon on his hand, but it was blurry and out of focus, her gaze fixed on the movement of the animal. She wanted to cry, it wasn’t a reaction she had much control over, it just happened. Fear closed her throat and she edged along the railing to keep as much distance between herself and the two creatures.

Slowly though, some of the fog of panic cleared and the challenge was issued. She gulped, she’d never been one to back away from a challenge. Elyna looked up into Malcolms’ face, searching his green eyes and nodded, unable to refuse him. Collecting up the first dagger, she hesitated, all of her senses screaming that she shouldn’t turn her back on the snakes. What if they sprung at her? What if it dropped to the floor and was underneath her feet? Her grip tightened on the blade, but she knew that in the battle of Elyna vs serpent, the serpent would win. She’d be paralysed with fear.

In her dilemma she shuffled uneasily, trying to turn and keep the snakes in sight, fortunately the circus woman and her definite lack of appropriate clothing circled far enough away to try and entice more spectators. There was only the snake intent on curling around Malcolm to keep a strict eye on.

Finally finding her voice, Elyna muttered beneath her breath, “I can’t help but feel I have the worse of this arrangement…” But she wouldn’t be a coward. Without much thought to spare the knife throw she drew her hand back and let the blade fly. When it stuck immediately in the target; Elyna stood, shocked. She looked back at Malcolm with delight, only to have the emotion immediately quelled and turned back. This time she settled her feet, collected the knife and threw it just as fast. Again, it thumped into the target and a grin broke over her expression.

“Maybe I’m in the wrong profession…” The Skyrider collected a small wooden sword, no bigger than her forearm from the very aggravated young man and continued to edge around the stall, away from Malcolm and his new green friend. She didn’t flee though, she waited, and eyes still fixed on the creature, waiting for it to strike. Perhaps she would try and touch the animal. Maybe.
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Tue May 10, 2016 1:10 pm

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Malcolm must have looked a sight, eyes wide with shock and sheer amazement at the woman’s attempts with the daggers, both successful at that. She must have caught onto some trick he had missed, the man thought and threw the wooden dragon in Elyna’s direction in order to take up the remaining pair of blades; he only needed one hand free to throw after all.
With the garden snake still wrapped about his left arm, Malcolm took up one of the blades and watched the target before raising the dagger to shoulder height only to send it flying. When the hit landed he couldn’t help but laugh and turn to Elyna, offering a look that said ‘you know you are holding this snake right?’.
For his second throw, Malcolm was still laughing off the first shot and aimed right, feeling an odd weight on the left side of the blade. When he released the dagger it curved slightly and slammed into the target. The boy running the show looked very disgruntled and picked up the daggers quickly, trading them out for another batch. The captain moved closer to Elyna, wearing a smug little, self-satisfied grin on his face, and opened his arms as if to summon her into a hug.
“Come on, just pet it, I promise it won’t bite.”
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Tue May 10, 2016 1:45 pm

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Elyna caught the dragon and cupped it in her hands, running her thumbs over the crude carving. But she smiled, she liked it and she quickly slid it into the pouch hanging from her belt. It could have been anything, and she would have loved it because Malcolm had given it to her. She shot him a look as if to suggest she could twist his words into a far cruder meaning before she held her tongue.

“But we both hit,” she protested. Although she did take a small, reluctant step forward, edging around to his side, still determined to put as much distance between herself and the serpent, “surely I get to just run away now?” She stood behind his right shoulder, hands turned numb with fear with tremors passing through her fingers. Essentially she was hiding behind him. The Skyrider gulped, she’d won the terms of their bet fair and square, so why was she still playing along? She could still walk away with dignity; but he’d made it another challenge. She would have rested her chin on his shoulder, but he was too tall. The young woman peered around his arm at the snake that was now curled happily around the Captain. She ground her teeth together, searching his face once more for clemency before she extended a hand, “I don’t like you very much, right now Mal,” she breathed, half playful beneath her breath.

Her hand dropped before she reached the snake, because the animal chose that moment to turn at look at her. Elyna let out a squeak of fright and returned to hiding behind Malcolm, keeping him between herself and the creature. Her heart thudded in her chest, and her legs felt weak, but not in a good way. Forgetting where they were she curled her fingers around his belt and reached out once more, barely managed to brush the soft skin of the snakes tail and then withdrew, “okay, I did it, I’m alive…you’re alive…” she gulped, eyes still fixed on the animal. It’s owner was circling and Elyna retreated another step so she could watch both snakes at once.

“We can go now? Right...?” she pulled the small wooden sword out of her belt and offered it to Malcolm in turn, his prize.
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Tue May 10, 2016 4:57 pm

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Malcolm returned the snake to the scantily clad woman and congratulated Elyna with a proud look, he knew the bitter taste fear left in the mouth, after all, he had invoked so much of it in his time. Testing people's boundaries was something the captain was quite fond of and Elyna did nought but surprise him yet again; just something else to love about her. The couple went on their way, touring the vast fairgrounds and looking at all the strange and wonderful sights brought to them by both man and beast alike. They had played a few more target games, watched an aerial acrobatics show, fed a two headed duck, and let an old woman read their fortunes; Malcolm's had been very dark and foreboding with the promise of a great many trials yet to face, while Elyna had been showered with whispers of good fortune and true love, the kind of things most girls wanted to hear, even if they didn't always like to admit it.
The morning had flown by and after a midday show had ended, the afternoon too seemed to race by, a wonderful day topped off with a small bag of sweets on the way out the gates, toffees Malcolm toyed with refusing to share, only to give them up during the walk back to the city. He had managed to forget about his pending travels to Krom, his duty as a knight, father, and nobleman, losing himself instead to the welcomed distraction Elyna had provided. She too seemed another person this day, with her pretty dress and neatly styled hair, a humbling fear of snakes, and a shared sense of adventure that only enticed the man to want to learn, see, and do more along side the woman he still wasn't sure he should be seen with at such ease in public.
Back within the city walls Malcolm kept a respectable distance as it was difficult to tell which of the many knights or city guard on patrol knew or would recognise either of them, even out of uniform. It was dusk by the time they made it back to midtown. The sky was a wash of pink, mauve, and a deep shade of blue that grew darker and darker as the sun set beyond the shore. The dread of the inevitable goodbye he supposed they would have to go through once they made it to up the street he lived on weighed his steps and as the lamp-lights were lit and the city prepared to sleep, Malcolm started to drag his feet, blaming it on the climb they had made between here and low-town. They were almost beyond the business district and getting close to home when Elyna stopped him outside the inn, the same place they had visited for a shared meal earlier on in the season only to forego that in favour of much more basic desires, to then be rudely interrupted by two of the men from his unit.
Hesitantly he followed the Skyrider inside, wondering what she had planned and what the mischievous little twinkle in her eye meant. Malcolm stopped at the bar, prepared to order them a couple of drinks and an evening meal, only to be summoned by the coy arch of a dark brow and crooked finger. Room service in that case? A bottle of Venora wine accompanied them to one of the rooms upstairs, the neck of the bottle choked in the man's grasp, wine that wouldn't even make it to a glass before meeting their lips, the kisses that followed made all the more sweeter for its presence. Malcolm couldn't remember the last time he had undressed so quickly, like an excited teenager, delving into the unknown of promised passions. The love they made was passionate and fiery, then slow and knowing, as desire quenched, waned and gave way to threatened sleep, long dreamy looks, and whispered pillow talk.
Malcolm doubted the day could have been any better until there was a knock at the door, that saw him rise from the bed stark and tease to answer the door as he was to a bout of infectious laughter and pleading on Elyna's behalf that he should not. The captain snatched up a sheet and wrapped it about his hips in order to answer, opening the door just a crack to find that it was only one of the kitchen staff with a small platter of fruits, salted crackers, breads, and an assortment of cheeses that he had requested down at the bar. Hurriedly accepted, Malcolm then closed the door and set the platter down on the bedside table, letting no more than a grape pass his lips before returning them to the lady, as if invigorated by the act of getting up to his feet, which caused his blood to stir again.
"Thank you for today," he smiled and kissed the Skyrider's bare shoulder before rolling onto his back, "I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and the time spent with you."
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