• Mature • A very particular set of skills

Malcolm

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

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Elyna
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Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:24 pm

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64th Vhalar 716
Returned to the house on the hill, Malcolm had then used one of his Mortalborn abilities to take away the pains of her pregnancy. Although grateful for the respite and relief his actions had only prompted her anger to surface.
They were on opposite sides of an enormous cavern with a bridge swinging precariously between. Ropes held together wooden planks and if they were to be re-united they’d both had to advance with caution. Yet it felt to the Skyrider, for every step they took towards one another, the wooden planks creaked and threatened to give way beneath, or fell away completely. Soon there wouldn’t be enough bridge left to risk a crossing. The next two days had passed in quiet. Malcolm’s ability had given him a nosebleed and she’d been alarmed at the strength of it. He’d fled to the barn though and she hadn’t followed. Elyna had been confronted again with a sense of loss. He was respecting her space and distance and it didn’t give her the feeling of relief she had expected. It felt as though another plank slipped away, unmarked and unnoticed.
He’d started work on the new bedroom as promised. Left to her own devices Elyna fed the horses in the paddock, taking care to only carry small amounts of feed back and forth from the barn. Her hawk was often perched on her shoulder and the chickens had a tendency to follow anyone who walked around in front of the house. She prepared meals for them both and hot drinks. Despite the snap of cold in the air the suns were bright and cast short shadows on the ground.
Ben and Malcolm’s crew had visited and she’d kept out of their way. Her own crew had visited briefly because she was no longer an active serviceperson of the Iron Hand. It was too close to the arrival of new life but they had wanted to wish her good health as they passed through.
She would have sworn that with every passing day the baby moved less. It seemed content though with an annoying habit of reacting or waking up whenever Malcolm spoke in earshot. She no longer needed to listen out for his footfalls because the moment he said something, the baby seemed to recognise his presence before she did.
Elyna had made fresh bread and it steamed gently as she withdrew it from the oven. Beyond the window it was a crisp, cool day and the shadows of night were spreading rapidly across the ground. She lit the candle on the table as the bread settled. She hadn’t seen Malcolm for a break or so and couldn’t help but wonder where he was. It was infuriating, having him so close and with nothing to say to him other than polite exchanges. As though they were strangers in different spheres, or different islands perhaps. She turned to the bread and cut it into thick slices. Then she paused before collecting a wooden platter and layering a few slices on one side. A knife dipped into butter was scrapped along the other edge and a wedge of cheese tucked beneath. She held it infront of her like a child bearing a gift and stepped out into the night. Dry leaves rustled in the distance. The trees keen to shed the weight of summer.
The young woman heard movement from the barn, the sound of knives scraping across a belt and she wrinkled her nose. She detested the way the noise was an assault on the senses. Did it matter though? Determined she set her shoulders back and set one hand beneath her bump to ease the weight as she approached and stepped through the large double doors and into the darker space. It smelt of sweet hay, straw and horse dust. Something she could happily inhale all evening. Since Ashan, the scent had always cast her back to the night she and Malcolm had first made, mad, passionate love and it hadn’t mattered that the straw tangled in their hair or scratched delicate lines on bare skin.
“Mal?” she squinted in the darkness as a tall figure stood up from a bale of hay and brushed dust from his breaches. Even in the dim light she could tell that the male was too slender to be Malcolm. He’d regained his weight from Ashan if not a little more. The young woman took a step back towards the door and kept her eyes fixed on the unwelcome visitor. It was his companion though, who approached from behind and wrapped an arm around her thoat.
Elyna’s scream split the night and set pigeons flocking from where they’d been roosting in the rafters.
Last edited by Elyna on Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Malcolm
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:01 am

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Malcolm's temper had been short this season, and he wondered if he had always been so quick to anger with Elyna. A hundred and thirteen days apart had put distance between them in which they had both found it difficult to reclaim ground, neither of them knowing what to say or do. Elyna needed space and time to better understand how she felt, and Malcolm was finding it tricky to give such to her when all he wanted to do was hold her.
The most difficult part of it all was that she needed him, but she didn't need him for the same reasons he needed her. Their relationship, as it stood, was much akin to the frame of the new bedroom, they had a solid foundation and a history of working well together, but the walls had been stripped back to bare bones, and there was no ceiling to keep out the rain, leaving them open to the effects of the storm; rattled and shaken easily. Piece by piece Malcolm would work to restore trust, just as he worked to get the build finished long before the baby arrived.
Everything annoyed him. The smell of the straw that set off his sinuses, a persistent fly that kept buzzing around his head due to the light of the low burning oil lamp, and the chill in the air that made it difficult to sleep, often causing him to wake up stiff and sore as a result. The knight had been sitting in the barn after a long day of building and getting the measurements right for the wood panels that he would start putting up in the morning. It was there, as the shadow of the open double doors reached out slowly with the setting suns, that he wondered if he had done the right thing in surprising Elyna with the land and cottage in ymiden. Would she have been happier in the city, had he ever asked?
Fighting a chesty cough and sick of his own company, Malcolm put out the lamp and left the barn to climb the hill to the well and pull up some water for the horses. The first bucket came up full, and as Malcolm attached a second to the rope, he caught sight of the setting suns over the distant ocean and stood enjoying the view. There were few things in the word as beautiful as a sunset, but Malcolm could think of one. His gaze fell on the house and the low light that burned within. He gave a sigh and went back to his work, sending the second bucket down into the well in order to draw up more water.
With a heavy bucket held in each hand, the knight started his trip down the hill when a heart-stopping scream chased the birds from the trees surrounding him and saw him freeze. Was that Elyna? He didn't recognise the sound, had she ever screamed like that before? Malcolm dropped the buckets and raced one of the tumbling items to the bottom of the hill. The house was closest to him, and adrenaline saw him through the front door in record time. Was it the baby? Surly it was too soon! He pushed the chairs aside and checked the bathroom in case she had slipped, before running to the bedroom, and not finding the woman in either room, sprinted from the house to the barn, met by a sight he hadn't been prepared for.
A man stood with his arm around Elyna's neck, the other holding her left arm behind her back. His partner in crime had been closing in, but turned to face Malcolm with wicked laughter. He searched the man's belt and hands to find that he was clutching a dagger which the light or Malcolm's frantic senses played tricks on him, painting it red. "Ely," he stood ready to act, but too far from his weapons to rely on being able to snatch one up.
Malcolm couldn't be sure how many men made up the small party, or if it was just the pair they had to contend with, something they could easily handle between the two of them, even without weapons. Just as the thought crossed his mind, however, he was grabbed from behind, his right, dominate arm twisted behind his back as a thick arm made up of more fat than muscle clamped down around his neck. The tall, lean man between them approached quickly and raised his dagger, seeking out the soft belly of the mortalborn.
Malcolm's body lurched back as the cold blade burned hot, buried deep within his gut. A second heave saw the blade climb higher, as if seeking to puncture a lung, and the knight felt his muscles tighten and lose all of their strength as adrenaline bowed to shock and seemed to rush out of him with the withdrawal of the blade. He swung out to try and grab at the thin man, who laughed as he backed away in Elyna's direction. No! The mortalborn fought against his keeper, biting down on the arm of the man who had made the mistake of loosening his hold, and wrapped his hand about the faceless man's wrist, transferring the fate they had first granted him.
The overweight bandit behind him cried out and pulled his arm away to grip his belly, hopelessly trying to hold together the broken flesh that was put under great strain because of his weight. Malcolm tackled the thin man and wrestled with him for the knife. After a brief struggle, Malcolm emerged the victor and looked up at the remaining bandit while the fat man still rolled around on the floor behind him, suffering now from blood loss, it wouldn't be long.
"Stay there or I'll break her neck!" the remaining bandit hissed, closing his hands around Elyna's neck, and making the mistake of freeing up her hands.
Malcolm smirked and spat out the bite of flesh he had taken from the dying man's arm, blood running down over his chin, wild eyes fixed on the man who had Elyna. Just try it, the mortalborn's look seemed to suggest. "Not if she breaks yours first," he warned, and slowly rose to his feet.
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Elyna
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:12 am

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“It’s not as if she’s the kind of woman we’re looking for, Ian” the man behind her grunted.
If Ely hadn’t been so furious, mostly with herself, she might have been offended that he found her so repulsive. Instead she sank sharp nails into his hand and grit her teeth as she realised he wore a pair of thick leather gloves. The thin man approached and she growled at him, “I swear to Pre if you touch me with that knife, I’ll take my justice and I’m going to skin you!”
“She’s still pretty,” the slender male watched her with dark eyes. Face thrown into shadows within the barn. Sunset had turned the sky red outside, and the unusual light slipped in through cracks in the wooden walls; providing the bandit with a menacing appearance that he didn’t deserve. They had caught her by surprise and she’d screamed. The arm wrapping around her throat had been too close to her treatment at Marcus’s hand and for a heart-stopping second she’d been afraid it was him. That thought had fled quickly and left her in ice-cold fury. How dare they frighten her!? Where was Mal? Fear whispered that maybe he was already dead in the straw and she struggled again. Where was he?! She heard the footsteps and hoped that her captors hadn’t.
“I’m going to warn you one last time,” she hissed in a breath as her arm was bent back and pain ricochet through her shoulder then down her spine. The baby was holding very still as though afraid to move. “I am a Skyrider; you’re going to come off worse in this fight!”
Ian spoke over her head, “we might get a better price two for one if we keep her intact.”
The barn door was pushed open and she saw the shock hit him. She heard her name pass his lips and gripped the arm that pulled tight against her throat once more, struggling to loosen it, and fighting to breathe as the man who detained her panicked at his arrival. She hadn’t known there was another man until he emerged from the horse stall. The Skyrider shouted a warning without breath,
He was caught. Held and Ian approached. She threw herself forward, arm outstretched as the blade slid into his stomach. How many times would she have to watch him die?! It wasn’t an experience she wanted to get accustomed to. She screamed for him. Elyna lost track of what happened next. Locked in strife with the young man she tried pulling at his gloves, twisting to one side and then the other. Her eyes fixed without deterrent on the Mortalborn as he defeated first one man and then the next.
Fingers closed around her throat, and she was threatened again. By the immortals she was sick of being strangled. Malcolm straightened and their eyes met. The desperate struggle ceased and calm returned. Long enough for her to kick back in a smoother motion and scrape the heavy heel of her boot down the man’s shin. He howled in pain and one arm dropped. It left her space to turn. She had slapped Malcolm, but it was a solid punch that she swung at the bandit. Feet fell into natural positions and with all the force of her weight the blow was delivered in a sweep. Hard enough to turn his face. She felt something crack beneath her fist but she didn’t give him time to recover. She lunged, closed her fingers around the hilt of his sword and drew back with the rusty piece of metal in her hand. No wonder he hadn’t bothered to draw it. It was coated with orange bumps and had the balance of a wooden broom. It was enough though and the woman didn’t hesitate to slide the weapon into his belly as he stood, eyes turning wide with shock. He looked down at the blade stuck through his body. He stumbled back and then he dropped with a huff of air to the hard dirt beneath.
Elyna spun again, if Malcolm had advanced toward her it only shortened her journey, as she threw herself at the man. With enough force to knock the wind from his lungs she wrapped arms around him, only for them to release him within a heartbeat. Shivering with shock all the hairs on her bare arms and on the back of her neck were raised. The front of his shirt was wet with blood and she grabbed at it in handfuls, seeking to pull it free from his pants, “get it off! Get it off!” She demanded, frantic. Was that the sound of hoofbeats on the road? She didn’t care. The woman wasn’t prepared to lose him. In an echo of other times she’d demanded and helped the rapid removal of his clothes, it seemed he couldn’t move fast enough for what she wanted and soft hands slid beneath the fabric before it could be parted. They sought the warm flesh beneath. Her breath came in frantic gasps. Slick with any blood he’d lost her hands slid over his skin in hasty exploration.
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Malcolm
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:59 am

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Elyna took his breath away. She was magnificent to watch, her speed and precision, even with a body that fought to throw her off balance, she was able to deal a death blow that would leave no question in either of their minds that they were safe now. Malcolm couldn't decide which one of them had closed the distance first, but she was in his arms for a split-second before backing up to claw at his shirt, untucking it to move smooth fingers through slick, wet blood. The wound was gone, the man was safe.
There was a sound like rolling thunder in the distance that saw the man still and stand as quiet as a mouse. Malcolm's eyes shifted out of focus as he listened intently in the darkness and realised it wasn't thunder but the beating of hooves against the road growing stronger and louder as they approached the house. The knight acted quickly, taking his longsword from its sheath beside his bed in the straw to cross the barn and guide Elyna back into the corner, his body shielding hers.
A new wave of adrenaline coursed through the man's body. He knew running was not an option, Elyna wasn't getting anywhere fast in her state, and so, what ever came in through the double doors of the barn, they would have to face head on. Why had he been so selfish? Elyna had been safer in the city behind the high walls of the Burhan estate, with anything and everything she could want for. Doctors, midwives, food, fresh water, friends, and her family. Out here she had nothing but her independence and a man she no longer wanted anything to do with, sleeping in the barn.
"Not a sound," he breathed as the horses pulled up outside and circled on the stone-chip of a makeshift drive.
Malcolm closed his hands around the hilt of his blade tightly and licked his dry lips. He could make out the footfalls of at least three individuals and felt his heart beat hard as they drew their weapons, stalking towards the barn.
Every muscle in his body was wound tightly, like a snake ready to strike. Malcolm lifted his blade, a silent assassin that cut through the dim light as it was raised above his head, ready to deliver swift justice.
"Malcolm?" A familiar voice called.
Malcolm sunk to down on one knee and stab the earth with his blade, using it to keep him propped up, as if all his strength had fled him, shock making itself at home in his old bones. "Ben," he finally acknowledged the man, and wide-eyed, Benjamin looked over the aftermath of what appeared to have been a messy struggle.
Ben helped the man to his feet and pulled him into a hard embrace, his hand slapped against the mortalborn's back. Ronald and Kathryn ran into the barn close behind him and Kathryn helped Elyna away from the dark corner into the fading light where Ronald put his arms around her. "You're okay," he said in a soft tone of voice while Kathryn made sure the bandits were dead, sticking her dagger into the backs of their necks.
Ben lit the oil lamp and hung it up, frozen momentarily to the spot as he realised how much blood Malcolm was covered in. It had soaked his shirt and the right leg of his pants down to the knee. "Mal!" He pulled the man's shirt off and felt over the man's belly, feeling for a wound.
Malcolm pointed breathlessly at the big man Kathryn was standing over. "Him," he managed. "The guy bled like a pig." His eyes found Elyna's and and he reached for her hand.
"We chased them from the forest and found their horses at the end of your drive. Are you both okay?" Ben looked as white as a ghost.
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:33 am

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There was something about him that set a poison in her blood. Adrenaline coursed through her veins but she knew it wasn’t fear that kept her heart beating wildly. She had forgotten the sensation of his skin beneath her fingers. Satisfied that he wasn’t injured her movements had slowed. It was the scent of him. There was probably something wrong with her but the smell of Malcolm combined with straw and hay made her fingertips tingle and her chest feel too tight, for reasons that had nothing to do with the baby. Or everything to do with it, if she thought about it too long. Elyna seemed to sway in the dark and lashes brushed the underside of his chin as she closed her eyes. He turned to stone before her. Immobile before spurred into action he took her by the wrist and pulled her towards the corner.
Snapped from the moment of reverie she pressed herself against the wood and wished it felt more solid. Wished she had a weapon. There was no point collecting the sword from the man she’d killed. It was probably more dangerous to the wielder than anyone else. She hardly dared to breathe as they waited. Together, they would see what the fates were prepared to deliver them. Malcolm stood so close that his back pressed against her belly. The baby kicked and she looked to the heavens. Seeing only the roof of the barn of the barn before she looked to the window above the hayloft. The sky was painted with blood. One hand curled around his upper arm and the other rested beneath the bump. She tried to steady her racing heart and silently promised their child that everything would be alright.
Hoofbeats, footsteps and the sound of drawn weapons. Benjamin broached the silence and it was as though strength was sapped from the man before her and he sagged. Helped around the hay bale by Kathryn, Elyna was swept into Roland’s embrace. It felt good to be wrapped up in strong arms and she found herself clinging to him. Cheeks wet with tears and she cursed herself. Why was she crying? What was it about pregnancy that made her so prone to outbursts? Why crying?! Cheeks rapidly rubbed with a rough sleave she withdrew from the Knight with an attempted smile, “they didn’t believe I was a Skyrider,” she pushed her hair back and away from her forehead, “I’m pregnant, not brain dead! It’s not like I’ve forgotten nine arcs of training!” The action left a smear of blood across the pale skin, lit with the mark of the Immortal. Roland’s eyes turned wide as he studied the mark, they’d all noticed it before now but had stopped asking questions.
“We’re just glad your safe,” he squeezed the tops of her arms before joining in with Ben, “we thought-” he looked between the Captain and his pregnant Wife. There was no use explaining what they’d thought. They’d been afraid they were too late. That they’d driven a fox into a rabbit warren.
Hand caught, Elyna turned to Malcolm once more. The moment had passed and his hand felt strange in hers, “we’re alright,” she scanned the Mortalborn’s expression. Wondering what went on behind those green eyes. Looking back to Benjamin she nodded again, more resolute, “we’re all okay. Ben, I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see anyone in my life,” she admitted. It seemed from the way that Malcolm had dropped with relief that he felt the same way. She squeezed his hand.
She let out the breath she’d been holding in and gathered herself. It was starting to feel as though she would be pregnant forever. What now? Elyna wet dry lips and looked between the group. She guessed the usual thing was to clean up and dispose of the bodies. The Skyrider was aware she was little use to them and released Malcolm’s hand, “are any of you injured? I’m happy to take a look,” her gaze fell on the large man and the small pond of blood that was spreading across the compacted dirt.
“I made bread…we’ve got stew,” she offered. They always had stew. She was sick of it.
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Malcolm
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:02 am

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They had come so close to an end that realising he didn't have to fight anymore had been such a relief that it had taken the strength from his legs and thrown him to his knees. It was moments like these that made him realise how deeply he loved, and how much he was willing to give up for that love. Malcolm would take on three to one for Elyna, or three hundred to one if it meant saving her. She had taken his hand, an empty gesture, and squeezed it not to reassure herself, but him. They were alive, the guard dog had done his duty for the master of the house.
Ronald would never say no to food and was the first to march back to the cottage. Kathryn was kinder and waited to accompany Elyna. "You go, we've got this," Benjamin assured the ladies, and pat Malcolm on the back.
Once they were out of sight Benjamin searched the bodies for what he called a knight's bread and butter, weapons, jewellery, or gold that could be kept or sold for extra pocket money. He pulled a silver chain from the thin man, Ian, and slipped it into his pocket. "Need a dagger?" He smiled across at Malcolm as they bent to lift the man and drag him outside.
"I don't feel that dagger would bring me any luck," Malcolm admitted. "It's already seen my insides once tonight."
Benjamin threw the body down without warning and the weight of the lifeless form almost took Malcolm with it. "Where, are you okay, show me?"
"Show you?" Malcolm raised his voice and walked into the barn to point out the fat man. "There?"
"What?"
"Watch," Malcolm said as he lifted the dagger and cut Benjamin's upper arm.
The man hissed and lurched backwards. "What in the world has gotten into you!"
"Malcolm threw the blade down and summoned the man forwards before taking his hand, and the wound was gone. "Just like that, but in the reverse," Malcolm told him.
It was then Benjamin saw the cut in the mirrored location on Malcolm's arm and he threw his hand up to cover his mouth, shocked and speechless.
"Don't look at me like that."
"Like what?"
"Like I'm some kind of monster!"
"Well are you?" Benjamin had to ask.
"No, Ben... My father is..."
"A monster?"
"An immortal," Malcolm lowered his voice.
Benjamin held his hands against his temple, struggling to take it all in. "I... you... you're bleeding! We should wrap that." The captain got something from one of the packs on his horse and wrapped Malcolm's wound. "You are an immortal?"
"No," he felt a light knot form in the centre of his brow. "My father's an immortal, I'm just a man."
"I'm just a man," Benjamin laughed. "You're something else."
"Half immortal, they call us mortalborns... some of us have abilities."
Benjamin was taking the news fairly well, but Malcolm didn't trust the look on his friend's face, a look he had never seen Ben make before. Benjamin took one of the fat man's legs and Malcolm helped him drag the man from the barn. "Do you have any other... powers?"
It was just like a mortal to use that word Malcolm thought. "Give me your hand," the knight encouraged.
Benjamin was hesitant, but did as he was asked.
Malcolm took the captain's hand and looked him in the eye. "My name is Malcolm, we've been friends for a long time, we trust each other with our deepest, darkest secrets, and sometimes we tease each other. I once told you my father was an immortal and you almost believed me, but you know me better than that," Malcolm frowned as he released the man's hand.
Benjamin bent down to pick up the last guy. "Your arm, did you cut it?" He asked as if he had only just noticed the bandages.
"Yeah, this guy," Malcolm kicked the bandit in the side and helped Benjamin carry him outside. "Do you want something to eat?"
"Elyna baked some bread, I always miss out on her bread," Benjamin smiled.
"Come on then, lets go get a piece before Ronald eats it all."
The pair went to the house leaving the bodies on the drive for the group to take with them once it was time to go. Benjamin let himself in, the place having become a bit of a second home to him and the crew. Malcolm lingered at the door and removed his boots before finally venturing inside. He was too wound up to eat, still coming down from the high, or perhaps, scratching at the walls of the pit he had one against found himself in. His despair was silent, and yet in his lifeless eyes it seem to dwell, screaming, longing to be recognised.
They were able to laugh the close call off, most of them anyway. Malcolm had not joined in on the lighthearted banter, instead focused on eating his stew and enjoying the warmth of the fire while it lasted. He would be in the barn again tonight and had an early start in the morning if he wanted to make the most of shorter hours of daylight.
After dinner he put some water on to boil and started running a bath which the crew took as their cue to leave. Kathryn and Ronald both hugged Elyna and thanked her for the meal. Kathryn asked if she could feel the woman's stomach, rather than assuming like most of the people that passed Elyna in the street, and waited to feel a kick. "He must be asleep," she had smiled. "Soon I'll be able to hold you, little one," the dark haired knight had grinned and picked up the weapon she had left at the door.
Malcolm had waved them off and taken the second cauldron of hot water from the fireplace to pour into the bath. He didn't say anything to Elyna, he didn't know what to say to her, instead retreating to the bathroom with a candle on a small, bronze stand. The man pushed the door to then without clicking it shut. Malcolm undress slowly, folding his clothes in a way that would insure that no blood ended up on the floor. He set them down out of the way and stepped into the bath, too hot to sit in, legs coloured pink on account of the heat. Twenty seconds of cold water from the tap made it bearable and he lowered himself into the steaming bath, the water turned red with his own blood.
Heart drummed slow and hard in chest as he went over the events. It could have all ended tonight. What if Elyna hadn't screamed? What if he had been to late? The mortalborn leaned back in the bath and closed his eyes, if he felt this flustered by the whole experience, he could only imagine how Elyna felt... "Ely," Malcolm called, "are you all right?"
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Elyna
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:41 am

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The Skyrider was used to the way they group lingered. The five of them had shared more meals around the small table than she could count anymore. The light hearted laughter was a relief to the endless silence that stretched between herself and Malcolm. Habits grew easier with use and she no longer knew the ease of sharing her mind with him. Discussing plans or teasing him with words or actions. The other’s respected their Warden but they didn’t know him as she did. She watched him from the corner of her eye as he hunched focused on the hot meal and the warmth as though he was the stray her Mother so rudely called him. He reminded her a stray dog, waiting to be cast back into the cold. Hoping not to draw attention to himself by either words or actions. Horror replaced fear and the comfort found in the small crowd turned to impatience for them to leave.
Elyna hugged Kathryn, a woman she both respected and admired and waved the party away from the door. Another close call. What if it had been two nights before when Malcolm had weakened himself with his ability? He had regained the strength he’d give her, but what if? He’d slunk into the bathroom, as though afraid he’d be dismissed before he had a chance to wash himself. The young woman pushed the front door closed and locked it with a trembling hand.
Head bowed against the frame she listened to his movements. Water splashing, sloshing in the tub. With the bathroom door ajar she heard the gentle rustle of clothes against skin. The slow and considered steps and then more running water. Perhaps she should have been more frightened of the men who had come and all the what if’s that were willing to spring to mind. However for the first time since his return, all her attention was focused elsewhere. Forced beyond the walls of her own mind. If Malcolm had been anyone else. She closed her eyes and tried to remember how to breathe. They wouldn’t be here. They’d both have been dead a long time ago.
Summoned to the bathroom the Skyrider clenched and unclenched her fist against the wood before pushing away from it. Skirts collected she made to go into the room before shock caught her off guard. The water was crimson, as though he’d filled the bath with blood. She recoiled, rapid steps returning her to the kitchen where a roll of clean bandages were collected. It was when she returned that she slowed again. He’d been covered in blood but the injury had passed. It was hard to swallow her panic but she kept her eyes fixed on the window and drew up the stool. With her back to his toes she sat down. The bandages held useless in her fingers.
Alone with the Warden, she felt as though all the words in the world fled. The young woman lifted her gaze to his. She touched her tongue to her lips and inhaled deeply.
“Each trial, I am grateful that you are who you are Malcolm,” she told him. Voice soft and sincere she refused to look away, “things…are hard,” and it was possibly the understatement of the arc, “but I don’t know how to exist without you. I don’t know how to breathe.”
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Malcolm
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:17 am

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The colour of the water had caused Elyna such alarm that she had fled the room in a hurry only to later return with bandages. The man didn't know if he needed them, the cut on his right arm was only shallow, but seeping blood slowly. He felt around on the floor of the tub for the soap he had dropped and washed his face and chest, finding it difficult to hold Elyna’s gaze for any longer than might have been polite with the average person.
Elyna explained that she was grateful that he was who he was, and Malcolm found himself pondering what that might mean exactly. A mortalborn? Stupidly loyal? Or just flawed like everyone else? Hard to breathe, he had experienced the same around her, and not just on account of the chest pain he had been feeling lately. The knight smiled, only for a moment, a smile so brief its existence had been questionable. Perhaps then she knew, just how impossible life was far from her. Had she read his letter, or was that too tucked away bid never to see the light of day again?
Malcolm wanted to reach out and take the woman’s hand with every fibre of his being, but it scared him to think that he might be met with the same emptiness he had experienced in the barn. He didn't want to know that feeling, or grow too accustomed to its presence, like the same suffocating silences that filled the room whenever it was shared by just the two of them. Had he ever felt such dejection? The mortalborn tipped his head back and let the water soak through his hair and over his face, listening as if he were trapped below the ocean tide. When he resurfaced, Malcolm squeezed the water from his hair and sat up, ready to get up and dry off so that he could get out of her way.
Claiming a nearby towel off the floor beside the bath, he dried his right arm and kept it above the water before looking to Elyna. “Will you wrap this for me? I don't want the straw to get in it and dirty the wound.”
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Elyna
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:31 pm
Race: Naerikk
Profession: Official Troublemaker
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:39 am

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It was the flicker of a smile that saw her heart lurching uncomfortably. It had passed so quickly. Sat beside him it felt as though he was far away. The young woman didn’t know how to bridge the gap between them but she wanted to try at least. The quiet dragged, broken only by the soft lap of water against the tub and the pounding of her heart in her ears. His skin lit with the orange glow of candle light. He didn’t say anything to her admission and Elyna was cast adrift. Left wondering if he wanted her to leave.
He lent back to wash his hair and she cringed. Wondering if it would just end up coated in his own blood. He emerged with a splash of water and she let out the breath she’d been holding, mirroring his actions and the movements of his lungs without realising. Hands folded together she blinked, startled as he spoke and stared at him. It took her a moment to understand what he’d said. Brows lifted in surprise before they furrowed.
“Of course,” it was a murmur. She laid gentle hands on his arm and checked it was definitely dry. Satisfied she unfurled the fresh linen and started to wrap it around the wound. Firm but not too tight she wanted to stem the flow of blood. The opposite arm than the one she’d wrapped earlier in the season. It would have been funny, if it wasn’t so damned tragic. How had he hurt his arm anyway? In the struggle with the thin man?
Her work complete the woman inhaled through her nose. Her eyes focused on the clean bandage and the darker skin that surrounded it, “you’re sleeping in the straw?” she asked without looking up. Gentle hands smoothed down the length of his arm, careful not to hurt him. They slid over the bunched muscles beneath the surface. Thumbs on either side of the appendage they moved in slow circles and massaged the skin. “I thought…you’d be sleeping in the hayloft, in one of the beds,” apparently she was wrong. The tentative touch crept down over his forearm instead. The fingers of both hands curled under his palm. She lifted his hand, but bowed to meet it. Lips pressed a feather light kiss to rough skin. It was then that she looked up at him. Eyes hot and heavy with tears. “Stay inside tonight. Please, this is your home.”
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Malcolm
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Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:05 am

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As Elyna's fingers soothed and massaged his tired muscles, her touch igniting a strange electric feeling to pulse in his middle, a flash to warm energy that passed as quickly as it had been felt. Her fingers went down over the length of his arm and took his hand, the rough skin tamed momentarily by the hot water. With his arm wrapped, he was free to stand up, and did so, holding the towel across his hips as he rose up out of the water, long and lean, the beads of water on his skin drawing pathways to his feet as he stepped out and buried a hand to pull the plug.
“It's kind of you to offer,” he closed his hand against her chin and bowed to kiss the top of her head from where he stood behind her. “But I'll be okay.” The pad of his thumb ran over her cheek and brushed her lower lip before he withdrew, drying his limbs on the way out of the small room.
Malcolm stood in front of the fireplace with the towel wrapped around his middle, feet at least a foot apart as he let the heat from the fireplace dry him. It hadn't been wise to wet his hair perhaps, knowing he had the cold of the barn to return to, but now that he knew he could find a bed in the loft, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.
“Promise me you'll lock the door?” He asked, concerned and all too aware of how vulnerable they were out here, so soon after the civil war the city was still struggling to recover from. “And don't answer it for anyone,” Malcolm cautioned. “Keep your sword by the bed and blow out all the candles.”
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