• Mature • [Krom] Choices Not Mistakes

Elyna

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
Malcolm
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[Krom] Choices Not Mistakes

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71 Ashan 716
The journey from Zor River to the village of Krom had been utterly miserable for all, but especially Simon, and the now dizzy Malcolm. Inside the gates of Krom's barracks Simon was helped down from his horse by Nathan and Ronald, and limped into the infirmary. Malcolm followed the man in after dismissing his team and putting them on leave until the morning of the 73rd when they were to report back for duty, leaving them two nights and a full day to do whatever they pleased with, but hopefully rest.
In the infirmary, Malcolm was treated while he watched them clean Simon's wound and drain some of the infected fluid from the swollen tissue. The smell was out of this world and Ronald, who had refused to leave his friend's side, was forced to step outside to avoid throwing up. The doctor treating Malcolm cleaned his cuts and put four stitches above his left ear and nine under his left arm against the side of his chest. He inquired about the bruising and how excessive it was. "All part of the job," the captain replied.
"Well captain, you need some rest and a good meal. Keep those cuts clean and dry and have the stitches removed first thing upon arriving in Andaris."
"Thank you," Malcolm nodded before inquiring about Simon.
"He will heal but it might be best if he stays in Krom until he does," the doctor explained.
"Can I leave Ronald here to keep him company?"
"He's your man, Ser."

Malcolm had gone straight to the stables where he found Benjamin brushing one of the horses. The captain picked up a brush and stood on the other side of the horse, brushing loose hairs from the animal's Dar coat. "We will be short two men for the return trip home," Malcolm told his comrade, "Simon has to stay here until he is well enough to travel and I've assigned Ronald to stay with him."
Benjamin nodded slowly and Malcolm noticed the man had a far away look about him. "We should pick up another knight or two, I don't want to be taken by surprise on the road again or find ourselves outnumbered."
Malcolm brushed the horse's mane and neck, surprised by Benjamin's words. In the couple of arcs that the two of them had worked together, Benjamin had been the most difficult to convince when it came to recruiting new members into the team. "It might change the dynamic," The captain admitted.
"Returning home safe is more important to me," Benjamin said before leaving the stables. Malcolm could understand where the man was coming from with a new wife and a child on the way, anyone of them could have been in Simon's shoes and for some of the more than others, that feeling was finally sinking home.

The afternoon went by slowly and Malcolm spent the majority of it in bed, staring up at the ceiling of the room he had been assigned upon arrival. Most of the team would be staying in the barracks, either in tents or small rooms much like this one, with a single bed and window, a small chair and writing desk, and a couple of hooks to hang their gear up. It was nothing fancy but still ten times better than sleeping on the ground in the rain with little to keep them warm.
When he awoke some time later, the lamps were being lit and the barracks sounded a lot more lively as Knights and Skyriders alike returned from duty, and the sound of distant singing in the background started up. Nathan stopped by the captain's room and proposed that he join himself and Benjamin for a meal at the local tavern, explaining that Kathryn and the others would probably end up there for something to drink later. Malcolm agreed to meet them there and went to wash up and change into the shirt he had hung up to dry before drifting off to sleep. He looked at himself in the mirror and thought about the night before and his actions concerning the noble woman who was traveling with them.
Malcolm's dread was tenfold by the time he arrived at the tavern and noticed Elyna sitting with a few strangers, no doubt dragged out by some of her fellow Skyriders or nobles. He avoided eye contact, pointing his stare instead at the barkeep who he ordered a round of drinks from before joining Nathan and Benjamin at a table in the back. They remained there for a few hours, soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the live music, and shared in some friendly competition over a few rounds of cards or darts before Nathan and Ben decided to call it a night.
The captain remained to finish off his ale and couldn't help but look around to see if Elyna was still about. When he spotted her, he stared, made brave by his drink, and didn't take his eyes off of her until she had caught him. He looked into the bottom of his cup then and tried to make sense of whatever it was that nagged at him, not guilt as he probably should feel, but rejection, why had she walked away without so much as a look, or some kind of rebuttal? It was a few moments before he released that she too was alone which drove him to leave his table in order to join hers. When he sat down he didn't say anything but gave her this intense look, not one born out of anger, but confusion, he needed an explanation, or a solid no, leaving things unanswered like this just wasn't in his style.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 977
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Elyna hadn’t expected her sleep. But being on watch had been a welcome distraction from the constant spin of her thoughts and feelings. But, when she’d finally curled up to sleep beneath the trees, she’d fallen into a deeper sleep than she’d experienced in months and was surprised to be woken in the morning by the others collecting their gear. She’d hurried to prepare for the day and mounted up in time, with only a few aches from a night sleeping out in the rough. It was amazing, how the lift of pain affected her. She felt free, and comfortable in her own skin and then would be overcome with the shame of putting herself in that position, that Malcolm was carrying her own foolish burden.

She had pushed herself during the journey, working hard to lighten the spirits of their companions before they thankfully arrived in Krom. The Skyrider had hidden, purposefully at the rear of the party but no sooner had she finished caring for Ember and brushing the horse down, was she summoned to the fort. A Baroness of Krom fussed over her, and insisted that she remain with them over night, instead of in the barracks. Elyna had protested, but hadn’t turned down the offer of a hot bath.

Clean, relaxed and warmed through she’d eaten with the other Nobles in a borrowed dress before being summoned back to the barracks. She has returned, apprehensive that now would be the time she was put on a Jacadon and sent speeding back to Andaris to face the music. Her relief grew when she recognised Drew and Emily, friends who had construed the summons as a way to rescue her from the Baroness. She had greeted them with smiles and warm embraces and accompanied them joyfully to the Tavern. They had, of course heard about the incident, but she hadn’t wanted to discuss it. Instead they’d shared stories of flying, travelling with Knights and how much more dangerous travelling on horseback seemed to prove for rogue Skyriders.

Elyna had found herself laughing with the two and had relaxed, until Malcolm and the others arrived. She’d exchanged waves with Ben and Nathan once they’d finally recognised her across the room, and chatted to Katheryn who joined their table a while before departing again. Emily had tried to ply her with the stronger liquor she would generally drink, but Elyna had declined, opting for herbal tea, spiced and laced with honey. Her head felt clearer than it had in years and she didn’t want to dull the sensation. She was accused of madness, witchcraft, pregnancy and finally of abducting their good friend Elyna, before they gave up their attempts and the evening progressed.

Elyna couldn’t remember the last time she had spent so long in their company. It had been at least a full cycle, if not two. Either way, it had been too long. Neither of the Skyriders had been gifted a free day and so they had reluctantly departed and she’d found herself alone.
Her hands curled around the latest warm mug and she inhaled the sweetened scent. Drew had left a tumbler of whiskey beside her, just in case she changed her mind and she smiled to herself. She had then made the mistake of looking across the room and meeting Malcolms gaze. She gulped in a breath and looked hurriedly at the empty chair across the table. The table her friends had abandoned her at was in an alcove beside the fire place. She stretched out her fingers and flexed them. Heat spread behind her ears and down her neck. Why was it so difficult to breathe? The room, a place of happiness, tall tales, dancing, singing and exchanging stories was suddenly stuffy, despite the fact that it was emptying as each break went by.

Malcolm sat down before her and she lifted her gaze, reluctant. She was pinned in place by his expression and the unasked question. She wet her lips carefully, heart in her throat. She should end this, now. There were a few choice phrases, a threat of reporting his actions, of sharing his secret would do the trick. She’d never have to follow through, but if she said anything in those directions she could imagine his expression. He would turn to stone. It would have been a wise course of action. A safer one, to put up barriers that he wouldn’t attempt to tackle. But she didn’t want to. She was relaxed, and tired of fighting herself about what she should and shouldn’t do.

“I didn’t thank you,” she released her drink and folded her arms on the table before her, as her gaze dropped, “for what you did,” the Skyrider pulled in a short breath, “I heard you needed stitches.” It was hard not to look up at him with rebuke. She hadn’t wanted him to hurt, had never imagined that pain could be taken so easily. It couldn’t be without a cost, surely? Why had he…she wet her lips again. It wasn’t gratitude she felt towards him. Her chest constricted again, “I’ll get you killed,” she gave up trying to fight herself, “no matter how hard it is…the world will find a way.”
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His features softened, it seemed the man wasn't expecting any level of kindness from the woman, nor the thanks she gave him for taking her pain the night before. Part of him knew his actions had left and axe hanging over his head and if it were to drop, it would be on Elyna's command. The word's that followed were just as troubling as the first time that the noble woman had brought them up, back at his home in Andaris when she had come to visit after the incident in the alleyway. What had the world taken from her, he wondered, that had caused her to act and speak the way she did, from behind the wall he swore he saw glimpses of the real Elyna through every now and then.
Malcolm spotted a glass with two fingers of whiskey in it beside the woman and took it up, pouring it back before he set the vessel down and endured the delicious burn of the strong liquor as it went down his throat and seeming straight to his head. It probably hadn't been a good idea to mix with the ale he had been drinking all evening, but the captain was quite fond of his ability to hold his drink down. What had he come to say, or had it only been to listen? Now Malcolm was unsure, but as Elyna had started with thanks, he opted to offer an apology. "My actions last night were inappropriate," he leaned forward and lowered his voice as he spoke, "but I do not regret them," not for a second he thought, especially the kiss, the one he was sure she had returned if only briefly before hurrying away without a word, the same kiss that just the thought of caused a stirring in his loins now and forced him to break eye contact with the woman.

The fingers of his left hand closed into a fist upon the table and his jaw tightened as he tried to make sense of what she kept telling him. Was she cursed, did she really believe that? Or was she trying to say that she felt something too? He couldn't look at her anymore without experiencing a longing he thought he had long grown out of. Cheeks the colour of a peach, eyes that warmed the soul, and her mouth... He would walk across broken glass and through pits of burning coals to kiss that mouth again.
Malcolm closed his eyes, swallowed the words lined up on his tongue and got to his feet. "Goodnight, lady Elyna," he said, forcing himself to look her in the eye before taking his leave to return to the barracks.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 464
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[Krom] Choices Not Mistakes

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The skyrider couldn’t help but be more than a little amused that he had drained the drink on the table and tilted her head forward as she listened to him. He was apologising? Elyna felt as though the hold world was rushing away, slipping out of her reach as she sat back, detached from herself once more. She watched his struggle and remained silent, cursing herself for the fear that rendered her unable to speak, or move or so much as offer him a friendly smile. He didn’t regret his actions, and she didn’t regret her response. She also didn’t regret walking away.

Good night, Lady Elyna. It sounded so final. This would be the end. She would accompany the group of Knights back to Andaris, if she didn’t fly back first. She didn’t want to abandon her friends to a dangerous journey though. But how would she manage? How could she live and work beside him with only polite and business-like conversation to pass between them? Torture.

As he stood, she reached out reflexively to catch his hand as it moved across the table-top. She felt as though all the world were falling in on her, crushing her and she couldn’t breathe, “Mal-” Everything else had faded into a foggy background, in descript, blurry. There was only the, dark haired man who stood, towering over, as handsome as any sin she could name.

The thread of music managed to slide through her consciousness and she stood up quickly, releasing his hand as though burnt, “dance with me,” she said without thinking it through. She glanced over her shoulder, it was busy enough in the tavern, but she also didn’t see anyone she recognised.
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Words spoken out of pity the man was sure, but it had taken courage to reach for his hand like that, Malcolm knew he wasn't the most approachable of people. He was away from home, and worse yet, in the region his wife held tile of baroness to, standing a foot away from the woman who had claimed headspace and ruled his dreams the night before. He had a man in the infirmary, a thumping pain in his head, and a journey back to Andaris to think about, dancing now wouldn't only be inappropriate, but completely inconsiderate of the man. "No thank you, my lady," he had thought to add perhaps another time, but something told him the opportunity wasn't likely to present itself again.
As Malcolm left the tavern and a wave of cold air hit him, he found himself wondering what in the world had just happened, he had gone seeking answers and found only more questions. The man turned on his heels to go back into the tavern, only to turn again, fighting himself in a sense. Wisdom got the better of him and saw him walk all the way back to the barracks, so focused on getting back to his room that he almost walked straight by Ronald and Kathryn, the two of them sat outside the infirmary sobbing like children. "Ron?" Malcolm stopped dead in his tracks and looked up to the entrance of the tent to find Nathan and Benjamin just leaving.
"Captain," Benjamin said sternly.

Malcolm pushed by them both to go into the tent, closely followed the two stewards to find Simon on a stretcher being lifted by two young Knights. "Captain Krom," the doctor approached him.
Malcolm's face dropped at the sight of Simon's limp arm and blackened fingertips hanging over the side of the stretcher out from under the blanket that covered him. "It was poison, Ser, there was little we could do," the doctor announced.
The captain caught his breath and felt his chest tighten as his pulse plunged and then sped up all of the sudden. "He's dead?" The man managed as he felt Benjamin's hand close around his upper right arm.
"I'm sorry for your loss," the doctor said then, "we will need to treat anyone else from your unit who was struck by arrow or blade."
Malcolm leaned forward, his breaths coming in short, sharp gasps, "Where's Heath!" He cried.
"No one has seen him since we got here, Ser, I think he went straight to bed," Nathan admitted.
"Find him!" The captain commanded and the pair left the tent quickly.
"Captain," the doctor said, "sit down, our herbalist is on her way here as we speak."
"No," the man waved, dismissing the order, "Heath," he said breathlessly.

Kathryn and Ronald hurried into the tent and helped Malcolm over to a nearby bench seat. "We will find him, Ser, please stay here, the herbalist will be here soon to treat you," Ronald explained.
"What about Elyna?" Kathryn piped up, she had only just seen the woman, "wasn't she struck? She might need treatment."
"No," Malcolm shook his head, no wonder he had been so flustered and confused he thought, it wasn't like him to take long afternoon naps either. "She wasn't hit, not by any of the bandits..."

Not half a break later the men carried Heath into the tent. "He's burning up!" Benjamin told the doctor.
"Heath!" Malcolm got to his feet and went to the man's side, guilt stricken, he hadn't even thought to pay the man a visit to see how he was doing before the tavern, nothing he had done tonight was usual for the man.

Malcolm held his comrade's hand and squeezed as the herbalist, who had just finished treating him, ground something up and mixed it with a strong smelling liquid to try and get down the knight's throat. "Sit him up," the captain asked of Benjamin and took the small wooden cup from the herbalist.

Nathan helped hold the man's mouth open while Malcolm poured the green liquid down his friend's throat. He held his hand over Heath's mouth then to stop him from coughing the concoction up and then made him comfortable, pulling up a chair to stay at his side.
"I've found Elyna!" Kathryn exclaimed as she burst into the tent with the woman behind her, the noble met by the gaze of half a dozen sets of eyes before they fell on Heath again.
"My lady, I am doctor Grove and this is my assistant herbalist, Emma, can we ask you a few questions?"
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 797
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He left and her heart sank through her bones and into the floor at her feet. Somewhere along the way she had made a misstep and now he was gone. Too late, the realisation that she wanted something more, had come; and she was too late. Elyna sank back in her chair and found herself wondering how much she had missed, over the last few years when ruled by fear. How much pain had she inflicted on her own heart and on the people around her? She tilted her head back, closing her eyes as she let his rejection in turn, sting and sink in. What else could she expect? It was for the best anyway, wasn’t it?

Elyna had remained, numb, until Katheryn burst through the door. Her stomach twisted with agony and she’d followed the woman, running with skirts hitched over her ankles as she raced to the infirmary, stumbling through door, breathless. Tears stung her eyes as she searched the expression of the friends she had made. Benjamin was the most distant with her, and she’d respected that. But Simon, Ronald and Katheryn, she felt she’d connected with. Simon was dead. She sought out Malcolm’s gaze and found herself longing, not for the first time that things were simpler and that she could wrap herself in his embrace.
It was then she straightened and finally realised that the more than patient Dr Grove was asking her questions. She retreated suddenly. Had she been hit? Yes – her mind raced. The other’s hadn’t seen her hit, they’d seen her wounded. It was different. There was no way she could explain the vanishing wounds, not without revealing Malcolm’s secret. She wouldn’t do that. Not in a thousand years. As Dr Grove tried to lead her away to be examined she yanked her arm back and retreated again, “no…NO- I-I” She couldn’t look at the Captain, “I had a scratch to my head – I caught it on a tree as we were giving chase, it has healed.”

Katheryn interjected “you were bleeding Elyna,”

“With your leave, My Lady, I think it’s best that we inspect it?”

And if they did, what would they find? Nothing. Nothing at all, she’d spent a good break of time trying to find evidence of any of her healing wounds and found none. They were gone. They would find nothing, literally nothing. Elyna straightened and tilted her chin up, fingers smoothed down her skirts so that they fit correctly against her hips and she did what she never did, she pulled on her noble heritage and looked the Doctor dead in the eye with an expression that did not broke argument.

“I do not give you leave, sir,” she stated clearly and twisted her arm so break his hold once more. He visibly retreated from her, glancing at his assistant and then to Malcolm for back up.

“Do you think I’m an idiot?” she took a step forward and the Doctor retreated once more. He was used to dealing with pain, loss, anger but she’d caught him by surprise. It wasn’t a Knight or a Skyrider before him, it was the noble woman of house Burhan, but she answered her question before he could respond.

“You think I would want to risk my life? You think I want to die? I’m telling you that there is nothing for you to inspect and therefore there is nothing for you to inspect. Thank you for your assistance in this difficult time. Is there anything you can recommend for my colleagues? Is there anything we need to do for Heath?” her voice cracked at the end, but she had won their battle.

The Doctor and his assistant gave up their questions and she turned back to the group. Scanning the shocked and distraught faces. She couldn’t look at Malcolm and so she left, letting the door slam behind her as she swept through in an impression of noble elegance her mother would have been proud to see.

It did however mean, there was no comfort for the heart breaking loss of Simon. Once she was out of sight from the group she made a detour away from the barracks and the fort itself, to the stables. In the borrowed dress she found Ember and wrapped her arms around the horse’s neck. Yes, the group would think she was strange, and unfeeling and that she hadn’t given a second thought to the death of her companion. She felt the severing of their friendship as keenly as Simon’s death and she wept without mercy into the horse’s mane. Had it been her fault? Had it gotten infected because she hadn’t caught him in time? Was there something more she could have done? Anything…?

She cried and Ember lent against her, softly huffing and shifting her feet, uncomfortable at her Mistress’s distress. But she clung to the horse as the grief took hold and started pulling out all the threads of darkness, she’d so tentatively started believing were healed. She was going to drown in her own pain and she didn’t know any other way out.
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"They have done all they can for Heath, Elyna, he will be all right after some rest," Nathan of all people tried to assure the whirlwind of a woman that was Elyna Burhan.

The group watched the exchange between the doctor and the noble woman and grew quiet as she took her leave. Kathryn looked the most upset and teetered near the door, looking as if she might go after the girl. "Let her be," Malcolm offered, "I'll make sure she is all right in the morning before we leave."
The group muttered collectively but is was Benjamin who spoke up first. "We ride for Andaris tomorrow?"
"Yes, Ben, I want you to arrange for one of the Skyriders to take Simon home for us, we also need to recruit two Knights, can I trust you to do this?"
"Yes, Ser," the man nodded and went on his way to see that the captain's wishes were met.
"Ronald go with him and make sure there is room on that Jacadon for you."
Ronald hesitated, he didn't want to abandon his unit and leave them short a man for the ride home, but appreciated how much respect Malcolm was showing him in offering for him to fly home with the body of his childhood friend, a man that had been closer than a brother to him. "Thank you, Ser," Ronald bowed before following Benjamin out.
"The rest of you try to get some sleep, we have a long four days ahead of us."

Those that lingered took a shot of the herbalist's medicine just in case and made their way back to the barracks to turn in for the night while Malcolm stayed behind. He sat at Heath's side until the man stirred two breaks later and opened his eyes to find the captain there. Malcolm smiled and closed his hand against the man's arm. "You're all right," he said, "their arrows were poisoned... We lost Simon."
Heath's features contorted, his pain evident. "I'm sorry."
Malcolm got the man some water and helped him sit up to drink it. "Get some rest, we head home at first light."
Heath drank, nodded, and lay down again. "Is Ron all right?"
"He's holding it together for now."

The captain left the infirmary and walked towards the barracks already feeling a lot better for whatever had been in Emma's powerful mix of strong smelling and rather bad tasting herbs. The way Elyna had reacted, the clothes she wore, and the people she had been seated with at the bar all led the man to believe that she would probably travel by air back to the city which meant he would have an extra horse to drag home. The captain hadn't intended to stop by at the stables but something took him that way, wanting to make sure his own horse would be ready for the journey come morning.
Malcolm lifted all four of the gelding's hooves and got him a big bucket of water and some feed before he went to find the bay Elyna had traveled in on. He spotted the animal at the end of the stable and when he approached, noticed the noble woman asleep in the fresh straw that lined the mare's stall. Quietly he went in and crouched down to put his arms under the Skyrider, a sudden nip to his shoulder stopping him and he looked up at the protective mare and squinted, had she just bitten him? He pushed the animal back with his right hand against her shoulder and tried again, this time successful.
"You can't sleep here," he said quietly to the woman when he thought he saw her eyes blink open. "You can have my room, I'll find a bunk somewhere."
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 651
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The Skyrider didn’t remember falling asleep in the warm straw, she’d cried herself into exhaustion and must have sagged at one point, sitting before eventually she’d curled up, one arm over her face. It had been a fitful, uneasy sleep, her eyes burnt and her throat was hoarse and cracked. She woke quickly when she was picked up, and panicked, eyes flying open and she twisted on instinct and landed shocked in front of him, straightening quickly. She would have been amazed if he couldn’t hear her heartbeat pounding against her chest. Her breath came quick and she stood, staring at him in shock. Then, before he could say or do anything she shook her head quickly and stepped forward. She didn’t give the captain an opportunity to retreat as she took hold of his shirt and moved in against him. He was too tall, so she balanced on her toes, sliding one arm around his neck and pulled him down.

Elyna didn’t think, she refused to. Instead she pressed against him in a kiss that was feverish in it’s heat and determination.
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He had frightened her, something the man hadn't anticipated and as Elyna twisted out of his hold, and worried that he would drop her, Malcolm put his arms around the woman, making his inevitable collapse all the more achievable as she dragged him down onto the bed of straw, an outstretched hand finding the warm, dry material as his knees met the ground either side of the woman's legs. Her mouth was hot on his own before he even had time to fathom what was going on, but through all his mental confusion his mortal body reacted on his behalf, reciprocating the kiss.
Malcolm felt his form melt against the noble woman's, but couldn't be sure of the placement of his hands, one buried in the straw while the other caressed Elyna's cheek, side, and finally found her hand, stitching their fingers together blindly so that he could fold her arm up above her head. He hadn't been wrong, surly this was proof of that? The Skyrider felt something too and had willingly yielded to desire. Then it struck him, what if this was just more pain, her guilt over the loss of Simon, or about the past she refused to speak of, but warned him against delving into instead.
Tired of overthinking it all, the captain silenced the nagging voice in his head and submitted to the kiss, letting everything else go, his pain, his concerns, his guilt, and lost himself for a few long seconds. Coaxed into exploration, the man stroked his tongue against Elyna's and was gone, how could he break the kiss now? It was their combined halt for breath that saw the heated embrace cease, and in those few, fleeting seconds of clarity the man searched the eyes the colour of burnt cinnamon staring back at him, and satisfied that his lungs were sated for a time, he bowed to meet Elyna's lips again, forever bound by his choices.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 340
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[Krom] Choices Not Mistakes

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For all she was aware of the world around her, Elyna could have been falling through the sky. She was flying, as though constantly falling as she became tangled up with Malcolm. How had it come to this? It felt as inevitable as the rising Sun and the movement of the cycles. She couldn’t fathom how he’d managed to sneak in and under her defenses and claim her thoughts and desires so completely. But there was nowhere else she would choose to be. Her skin tingled, losing blood and she blinked as the kiss broke, her arm pinned back above her head. She scanned his beautiful eyes and wondered if she wasn’t so much as flying as floating in the sea.

She wasn’t going to think about everything that had happened, or what was going to come when they day dawned fresh the next morning. She hadn’t been drinking and so the choices were her own and the responsibility along with them. Yet, there was no way she could convince herself to stop now. It was the next break for air that she bit on her lip and searched his gaze, drowning. He'd made her want more than she'd allowed herself for years. Malcolm seemed to hesitate and she shook her head again, “don’t,” she murmured and lent up enough to trail soft kisses down the line of his jaw, “don’t you dare stop now.” Don't think, don't worry. She had made her decision and no matter what came of it, she would live with the consequences.

Ye olde fade to black
word count: 281
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