Dinner and...

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
Malcolm
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Steam peeled away from the murky water of the hot bath as Malcolm sat stewing over the day's events. Heath had been acting rather strangely but refused to mention whatever it was that had him down over the past few days, and the newest recruits to the team were clashing with some of the existing members. Kathryn didn't get along with Veronica and Keith was being a right pain in Benjamin's side. They had only been two breaks into their watch before Malcolm had lost his temper and sent them both home, explaining that if they couldn't work with his group, they would be put on the next boat to Krom the following morning. Veronica had seemed somewhat apologetic, but Keith was stubborn, a trait that had remained them all of Simon when he had first started, only in a less endearing way.
The captain scrubbed his arms clean before attacking his face with the hot cloth and rinsed his hair before sinking back to relax for a couple of minutes before it would be time to go. The water was the perfect temperature and twice he blinked awake after closing his eyes and almost falling asleep. Their patrol had been more like a punishment than a usual day at work, starting with arguments and ending with helping unload heavy barrels of grog from a tall ship that might have otherwise become stuck in the harbour if they hadn't managed to empty it out before the tide turned. Fortunately for the merchant of the boat, the captain had been in a good mood despite the day's bad beginning and all six of them had worked until the skin on their hands was rough and their limbs grew tired and sore.
Out of the bath, Malcolm dried quietly and stared at himself in the mirror as he tidied up his facial hair, shaving it right back so that his jawline was smooth, leaving only a light smattering of stubble upon his chin. He slicked his hair back and smiled, giddy with the thought of seeing Elyna. They had arranged to meet at Ye Olde Inn, and after pulling a long-sleeved, black tunic over his head and doing up his pants to put on his boots, Malcolm was ready to go. At the door he pulled on his cloak which had been washed after their long trip to and from Krom, and plucked a yellow rose from a shrub in the front garden.
Inside the Inn, Malcolm looked around for Elyna and not finding her there, scanned the tables for any other familiar faces. Let them talk, he thought then, not recognising anyone, but sure they wouldn't always have such good luck. He sat down at a table near the open fire and ordered two mugs of ale, sure that Elyna couldn't be far away. He put the rose down in the middle of the table and pointed his gaze towards the fire, watching and waiting.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 514
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Elyna
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It should have been an easy day because nothing happened. There were only the constant nerves and butterfly’s that made her loosen her grip on the sword, and distracted her enough to receive a whack on the arm. The bruise spread slowly on the underside of her wrist to her elbow. But nether the less she had trained, she returned to the library to continue her reading, she bathed and she’d pulled on the blue woollen dress she kept hidden beneath all the armour, weapons and more usual clothing. Ely had worried that it might be a little morbid, to wear something that Malcolms life’s blood had spilled over, but the stains had come out and surely he really hadn’t been paying that much attention? It wasn’t as though she had much choice of clothing either, clothes were expensive.

It was then that a moment of genius had struck and she’d changed rapidly into the dark green dress loaned to her by the Baroness Krom. After sleeping in the stables, Elyna had been reluctant to return it before it was cleaned. It was now fresh, and surely one outing wouldn’t hurt? She would package the dress the next day and send it back. It was only chance that she hadn’t done so already. She’d braided her hair back and away from her face, pinning it at the back so it was held off her neck.

The Skyrider hadn’t meant to be late but found her boots started dragging on the climb up to the Inn. Expectation coiled with anxiety. What if this was all just a big mistake? What was she thinking, going to meet him in public – what was he thinking, inviting her out? They would be seen and then what? What if they didn’t have anything to say to each other. By the time she opened the door and ducked inside, she was twisted in knots. What if he changed his mind?

All of the racing fears started slipping away when she saw him, perched by the fire place and she found herself pausing. Simply staring in appreciation. Still as handsome as any sin she could name, and worse, now she knew how it felt to spend the night in his arms. Customary heat started rising at the back of her neck and she walked forward with uncertain legs. Elyna held her hands behind her back so he couldn’t see them shaking and offered him a shy smile. Her gaze skimmed over the ale’s and the smile expanded, “I heard you were all shifting barrels,” it wasn’t quite hello, but it broke the ice. He must tired. Yet, here he was.
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Malcolm
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Malcolm looked up as Elyna approached, recognising the light pattern of her footfalls. He rose from his seat and took her hand, raising it to his lips before pulling out a chair for the woman to sit down. She looked lovely, pretty even with her hair done up like that, and Malcolm couldn't help but smile, had he seen that dress before? As he took up his own seat again, Malcolm looked across at the woman and ran his fingers through his hair, a sort of nervous twitch of his. "Hundreds," he laughed, "thousands," it may as well had been, he thought then, after all it had taken them the better part of the afternoon to move everything.

For a time he just looked at her then pushed the ale closer. "This is for you," he offered and picked up the rose to put down alongside the mug of ale. A small part of him was surprised that Elyna had shown up, but then, she was starting to surprise him more and more, in good ways most recently.

Sure he looked quite the fool, Malcolm did his best to lose the big goofy smile and sat back against the chair, taking on a more casual stance. It was rude to stare, he knew, but far too easy just to sit back and watch her talk, those eyes, that mouth, her hair and the soft tones of her skin under the glow of the firelight... He was doomed. The captain scratched his jaw and pinched the skin of his neck behind his fist, telling himself to snap out of it. Ale, that would help, he thought, and lifted up the mug to taste the brew. After setting it down again he started to feel that itching sensation that told him if he didn't start some kind of conversation soon, things might get awkward. As Malcolm hadn't really imaged that Elyna would show, the kinks in his plan were starting to show.
Malcolm picked up the menu then, which wasn't very vast or detailed, and peered at Elyna from over the top, and from the perk of his brow it was easy to tell he was smiling. "Stew, roast, ribs, or pie for the lady?" The man couldn't help but laugh, perhaps it would have been a better idea to make her a home cooked meal, but then he didn't want Elyna to think he was ashamed of his feelings for her, and so the tavern it was. "Did you end up taking that book out on loan?" He inquired and set down the menu, not particularly hungry, though that could have just been the nerves.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 458
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Elyna down, grateful that she could sit before her legs dropped out from beneath her. Damn those nerves. Why was she even anxious? In many ways they’d already skipped past several stages of intimacy. She’d shared food, drink, soap and time with him during their travel to Krom. She’d certainly shared a lot more of herself than was publicly acceptable the night that Simon had died. She’d reacted on instinct and look where it had gotten her. But here she was, uncertain. Maybe actions were just better than words, they were simpler. Would it be easier just to drag Malcolm away from the tavern all together so she didn’t have to talk to him. They could just be… But then…what happened next? She’d let her heart and her body rule her mind once before and it hadn’t ended well. The fall out had almost destroyed her and in many ways, she was coming to terms with the fact that she was still broken. Always teetering on the edge of the despair pits.

She realised that her thoughts had already made her distant and reached out, running her fingertips along the soft yellow petals with a slow smile. It was hard to remain in the past, when there was so much to look forward to in the future. Her gaze lifted and she curled her hand around the ale, but didn’t lift it. She hadn’t had anything stronger to drink since the night Simon had died. It had been a deliberate choice to keep the bad habits at bay. But surely one couldn’t hurt? She took a careful sip and enjoyed the taste. Besides, it could take some of the nerves away.

“I didn’t want to risk the wrath of the librarian,” she grinned suddenly and put the drink down. She wasn’t sure she could eat anything and put the list at the back of her mind. If she had to come up with an answer then she could pick any and be satisfied. But her stomach was too full with butterflies. Elyna shifted forward on her seat, resting her hands on the table.
“I went back today though, to finish some reading…” she nibbled on her lower lip and folded her arms on the table, “did you go back? Or was it barrels, barrels, barrels…why were you there?” She tilted her head a little to the side, “I’d be tempted to accuse you of following me,” she accused softly, teasing, “but I don’t think that’s the whole of it?”

“Not…not that I would mind-” she hastened to add after a pause, “uh…well you just…You seem to show up at the right time,” she felt her cheeks heating up and pressed the back of her hand to the left. This was terrible. Yes, he did always show up to save her. Save her from being dragged into an alleyway and being found dead the next day. Save her from her own misery, save her from poisoned arrows and save her from drowning in guilt and grief. She hoped that he wouldn’t take the wrong idea from her words. It had worried her, that he would think that their passionate encounter had been reactive. Well, it had, but it had been more than a simple impulse. The Skyrider didn’t have any regrets. She pulled in a breath and sat up, scrambling for something to say that wouldn't make the situation any more embarrassing.

“Mal, I’m glad…” she lowered her voice and dropped both hands to her lap, twisting them together, “I’m glad that you found me…in the stables,” it was the closest she’d come to saying anything about what had happened. It was unavoidable.
What else could she say? That she hadn’t wanted the night to end? That she was glad he hadn’t given up all interest in her. That he was the best person she had ever met? That she’d been so excited to see him all day that her feet hadn’t touched the ground?

“You’re a good man Mal,” she finished lamely.
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Malcolm
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Their run in at the library the previous day came up and sure enough Elyna asked as to his reasons for being there and it was then Malcolm realised that he hadn't told the noble woman about his other passion, though he was sure she would be able to connect the dots as soon as he elaborated. The captain seemed to visibly relax, his shoulders dropping a little, fingers drummed against the table top lightly before he spoke. "I lecture for their advanced history class," the man turned his lips in and bit down lightly, trying to stop a smile as it appeared Elyna hadn't guessed. "I specialise in Rynmere's history of course but I also quite enjoy the beginnings of Western Idalos, you caught me in a middle of a spot or research, or rather, I found you."

Malcolm enjoyed the chance to sit back and let Elyna talk for once, often finding it difficult to get the woman to open up. What she had to say was very flattering and somewhat endearing. Of course the captain didn't really like to talk about himself, or let others offer too much praise. Malcolm raised the ale to his lips again and drank back the rich tasting brew, flattered but not quite sure how to accept such kind words, other than to add dumbly, how highly he thought of her in return.
The place started filling out and though Malcolm didn't recognise anyone, the sudden rise in the noise level of the old Inn became a distraction. A band was setting up in the corner with three or four men set to play the hang drums as background music for the elaborately dressed belly dancer he might have expected to see in the tavern, but not so much here. Enthralled by the atmosphere, Malcolm let it suck him in for a moment, watching the events unfold as he reached out and found Elyna's hand across the table blindly. He gave her a light squeeze before turning to face the woman again, wearing a warm, yet shy, almost unsure smile. The lull in their conversation wasn't as stressful as he dreaded it might be, and with another sip of the ale to make him brave, Malcolm leaned close across the narrow table and spoke gently into the woman's ear. "We could go for a walk if you prefer, or get a room upstairs and eat in?"
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 420
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Elyna
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Elyna realised that she wasn’t surprised to hear about Malcolm teaching for the University. It made sense, surely he would have a good grasp of history given his…well his being alive for longer. She realised that she was frowning then. So many questions, how old was he exactly? Her fingertips tingled. She believed that he was Mortalborn, she had no reason not to, but there was still a lot to understand. His abilities were terrifying, if only for the suffering they could inflict upon him. Elyna felt another pang of protectiveness towards him again, no matter how ridiculous it was.

“You can tell me more about it,” she suggested. History was not her strong suit, very few academic arts were.

He accepted her rather hopeless compliment and she offered a small smile in response and found some of the tension easing. He hadn’t simply started laughing, or asking questions. She was safe.

Until he lent forward and made his proposition. She felt as if all the blood left her hands and her brain, dropping away and leaving her dizzy. Yes. It was a single clear thought and as he was so close she couldn’t help herself, she turned her face against his, her nose nudging against his cheek. It wasn’t a good idea, it was a terrible idea. But she couldn’t deny the deep longing to fulfill the fantasy's that had been plaguing her since they’d arrived in Krom, and if she was being entirely honest with herself, before they’d even set out.

The skyrider inhaled the scent that rose from his neck and her eyes closed a little, lashes moving against his cheek, “Mal…I don’t think either of us are hungry,” she admitted beneath her breath.
Last edited by Elyna on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 306
Malcolm
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Had it just gotten hotter in here? Malcolm wondered, two fingers hooked over the collar of his tunic with Elyna's response. He felt her long dark lashes brush against his cheek, sending little shockwaves of intense, sharp sensation to all the right places. Malcolm dragged the tip of his nose across the woman's cheek and pressed his lips to her lobe, nose brushed against the shell of her ear as he gave his reply. "Speak for yourself, I suddenly feel very... hungry," he smirked and caught the soft lobe of her ear between his teeth gently. "Come on," the captain encouraged, dragging Elyna to her feet to have her match ahead of him, one of his hands planted on her hip, the other pressed against her side lightly as they made their way to the stairs.

Malcolm was all smiles and happily inquiring about a room when he heard a familiar voice sing out the word, "captain!"

He turned away from Elyna, praying the title wasn't one put to use for him, and felt the air escape his lungs as if he had been punched in the gut, all the pleasurable little sensations pulsing about his form, raced away with it. "Heath," he had done his best not to sound surprised or guilty, but felt he had failed at both, "Ben, what brings the two of you here?"
"Best lamb pie in all of Rynmere!" Benjamin bellowed, wearing a large toothy grin that subsided suddenly as he spotted Elyna.
Heath, none the wiser, took a flagon of cider he had ordered from the bar and closed the distance between them. "Care for a game of poker?"
Benjamin bit down on his lower lip, looking fit to burst, "I think he is ten steps ahead of you, Heath."
Malcolm felt his neck and cheeks burn, was this really happening, right now! "What, no, I mean... what?"
Benjamin doubled over, laughing so hard he almost spilled his drink, "your face!" He gasped and grasped his sides.
Heath just stared, "Lady Elyna..."
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 350
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She was gone and had to remind herself very firmly and carefully that they were in an Inn and not in an abandoned stable block, well except for horses. The tension twisting her insides was painful in its intensity and she reminded herself again, that they were in an Inn. Pulled to her feet she kept close to Malcolm as they crossed the room. It was strange and a little unsettling to stand beside him as he arranged lodgings for the night. She couldn’t look at the man behind the counter and so twisted, her side pressed against the Captains as she scanned the stairs and the rest of the bar, seemingly interested in anything else, other than what Malcolm was talking about.

Then the familiar voice rang out and she turned, half hidden behind him and let out a slow uneven breath. Her cheeks were already flushed pink and she lifted her head in time to see Ben nearly crying with laughter. Why, why would the ground never open beneath her feet. She glanced up at Malcolm. Should she step away and put a formal distance between them. Her hand was twisted around his arm and Benjamin looked as though he’d won a lottery. Heath though, was harder to read. But they’d been caught. They could try and style it out and pretend that they were here for any reason other than the truth. Was it worth it?

“We…” there was nothing she could say and she looked between the group again, “I…”

Malcolm had his career to think of and Elyna hoped she still had a reputation worth saving. Then there was the obvious, Malcolms wife. She let out a slow breath and let her hand fall back to her side, against her natural instinct to cling onto him and bury her face in his shoulder.

Nope. Still nothing. There were no words.

The world was like a cooking pot, boiling and bubbling over. Elyna turned and did what came naturally, she fled. Face on fire she dodged through the crowds with surprising speed and accuracy, born from years of practise. She was good at running away..
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Their card game was quiet while all around them the Inn was alive with noise, chatter, music, and dance. They had gone through a whole flagon before either steward found the courage to ask. "So... Lady Burhan?" Heath finally piped up and was offered a reassuring side glance from Benjamin who looked as if he might start sniggering all over again.
"Drop it," Malcolm shrugged, "nothing happened."
"But something was going to happen," Heath pressed the subject and found a nerve.
The captain gave him a long, hard look. "Heath, I told you, nothing happened."
Benjamin smirked, "isn't she half your age?"
"Ben!" Malcolm snapped, "can we just finish this game," he waved his cards, "isn't that why you're here?"
After some pause Heath spoke up again. "How old are you anyway, and how old is your wife?"
"I don't see why that is of any concern to you."
"Forty-two," Benjamin guessed.
"Really?" Heath looked at him, "I thought he was younger."

Malcolm sighed.
"Is everything all right, Malcolm, with your wife?" Benjamin inquired.
The captain closed his eyes. "Fine."
"Fine? What is she, twenty, thirty arcs older than you?"
"Heath," Benjamin scolded, even he knew when enough was enough.
Malcolm stood up quickly and threw his cards down on the table. "Vanessa left me," he told them and excused himself for the night, the look on their dumb, shocked faces enough to tell him that he had overstepped and said too much. People often thought they wanted the truth to chew on like a delicious after dinner mint, only to find that it didn't always taste right on the tongue.

It was a long walk to the barracks in the lower district of the city, and Malcolm was glad he had kept his cloak with him tonight, the air crisp with a cold little bite to it. When he arrived at the barracks it took him a moment to find his bearings in the lamplight, but once on the right track he navigated the maze of corridors to Elyna's wing and knocked on the door to her room. No reply merely demanded a second knock and then a third until he was reduced to talking to her through the door. "Elyna, will you let me in?"

This soon saw one of her neighbouring wing-mates appear from the room next door and she folded her arms, giving Malcolm the once over with her scrutinising gaze. "She isn't back yet, she left a break or two ago, said she was going to dinner."
"Thank you," Malcolm scratched the back of his head, "sorry for disrupting your rest."
The girl shrugged. "Who are you?"
"A fool," he offered a half smile before departing.

Where would she have gone? Malcolm stopped in at the Blacksmith Arms Tavern on his way home, just to make sure Elyna wasn't there, drinking alone or drowning her sorrows. Satisfied that she must be somewhere else, perhaps with a friend or comrade, he continued on up the road and turned into the mid-district where most of the city businesses and housing could be found.
Not far from home, the captain noticed someone walking through the shadows in the opposite direction, and he stopped in the middle of the cobblestone street, watching the familiar outline of this particular figure. It wasn't until he recognised the sound of her stride that he spoke up. "Ely?" He took the liberty of shortening her name as she did for him, something his rather formal partnering with Vanessa had never allowed, were darling was the only alternative used in place of Malcolm.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 619
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The Skyrider had fled, through the winding streets, sprinting until she finally settled to an easier rhythm. There was something comforting in the ability to simply run, alone with her thoughts as they slowly cleared and the panic left. She cursed her skirts though and then herself for choosing to wear them instead of breaches. She did turn back, once, considering her decision to flee rather than face the music. She felt guilty for leaving Malcolm to face them alone.

Finally, she went to the only inevitable place. His house. Elyna wandered the streets near to it, keeping to the shadows and reluctant to draw attention to herself, reluctant to leave though. She wanted to apologies for her behavior. But also, she needed answers to some of her questions. If Ben and Heath hadn’t been there, then it would have been a very different night. She shut her eyes and tried to block out the imaging’s which threatened to take over. Then what? She couldn’t seem to stay away from him, and she couldn’t seem to control herself when she was near him. But where did that leave them? What happened next?

Maybe it had been a good thing that their heels had been cooled so dramatically. Before they could make any more mistakes, or bad decisions. It was growing cold with the passing breaks and finally Elyna turned to leave, setting out from the shadows she’d wrapped around herself. Noticing that someone was stood ahead she changed her route to circle him at a safe distance, only to stop when Malcolm called her name. Startled she looked up, but then she was at his house, she had sought him out. She should be pleased to see him, yet she turned on her heel again as though to walk back in the opposite direction.

The Skyrider managed three steps on the cobbled ground before she spun again to face him.

“I don’t know what to do,” she admitted and lifted her arms, hopeless. She closed the distance between them, so she didn’t have to shout in the streets.

“I can’t seem to get you out of my head and this…this is just impossible. You’re-” Married, Mortalborn, my commanding officer. The words held on the tip of tongue.

She clenched her fingers into fists, “you make me feel that it could be so easy. But it’s not true Malcolm, this…whatever this is. It can’t. We can’t.”

It had been an evening that had started with so much hope. But it had been a fragile dream and easily broken.
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