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Alistair
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62nd of Zi'da, Arc 716

"Alistair," the voice boomed through the scrying portal he'd established - a link between he and Damien, looking through a mirror that spanned across miles. The Lich, as overworked and underappreciated as he'd been in the past several months since Ali had gone, looked good. He looked even more well maintained than before the Venora had left, and he could see an enthusiastic energy in him that hadn't appeared in quite some time. Perhaps it was for his own reasons. Or perhaps he was proud. Of the man he'd helped Alistair become. Of the mage he'd shown himself to be.

They hadn't talked overly long in quite a while, but as of late things between them had only been positive. Perhaps in Alistair's loneliness, devoid of the company of both Duncan and Patrick alike, he'd found only a further appreciation for Father Damien beyond the Orm'del Sea.

His best friend, and mentor.

"Hey," the Venora spoke back, jovially, a smile growing among his lips. "How do you fare, Damien?" he asked.

"Busy," the Lich replied. "Ellasin's been focusing on the growth of the Rynmere Coven. Rharne hasn't showed much development despite Effren's best efforts, Etzos and Ne'haer's established bases are essentially at maximum capacity . . . it seems that most of the growth to be gained will come from the Northern Kingdom." He spoke truths Alistair already knew, as Rynmere was a rapidly developing nation with a growing propensity for radicalism and tension from within. This, of course, would always lead to higher Coven enrollment. He could only imagine the exertion of the current members at this point, after the climax of the civil war, in preparing for such a large growth in following.

"And you, Alistair?" Damien asked.

"Busy as well," the Venora replied. "But for a moment, I have some free time of my own. I shall be embarking for Viden, soon, but before that I want to return to Ne'haer for a time. I told you about Patrick, yes?" he asked. The Lich nodded. "I haven't seen him in several months. Apparently, though, he just arrived in Ne'haer, Vincent informs me. I want to see him."

"Why?" the Lich asked, seeking further elaboration. "I thought he was merely a temporary dalliance," he said, his lips curving to express his confusion.

"I hoped that was the case..." Alistair replied, "but I don't think so. I kind of miss him, strangely enough. I don't really find myself missing many people. You're one of the few, but we talk frequently enough through these little tears into another world. I've found myself actually longing for company, lately. The company of many people. My family. My friends. And . . . others, not quite fitting perfectly into either category. He's one of them." He sighed, as if saying such a thing were admitting defeat. Really, though, he did not wish to speak to Damien merely for the sake of moping about over the issue of tangible emotion. No - he wanted to discuss something deeper, of the same strain.

"Do you think mages can really obtain companionship, outside of just their studies?" he asked his instructor. "I've never met a powerful mage with a strong relationship, or a family... anything, really. Ellasin was married briefly, a long time ago, but she only speaks now of its failure. You've never had anyone, nor has Talia, Effren or Vincent. Raphael only plays with the concept of commitment, and Eliza scorns the very idea. Is such a thing even real for us mages? Or must we abandon mortal desires to pursue immortal ambitions?"
Last edited by Alistair on Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:13 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 621
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The answer, as if an enigma, did not appear to him in the depth of that conversation. Damien could only give him allegory, or things to think about, or the concept of detaching one's self from conclusions entirely. In truth, Father Damien knew not of love and magic. Alistair did not know, either. Mages were so very often those who couldn't fit in well with the rest of society. The more celebrated and loved someone was, the more they excelled in the limelight, the less likely they were to pursue the magical community that stirred eternally beneath the fabric of society.

Simply put, belonging with others often seemed to counteract harmony with the arcane arts. As he spent more and more time with Patrick in the days of yore - near the end of Vhalar - he'd come to realize that his commitment and passion for the world of the ethereal had been entirely replaced by his desire for what existed in the mortal frame. Love, sensuality, adoration and want; these things superceded spells and incantations.

Truthfully, though, he still longed for these things now that they'd been awakened within him. He longed for Patrick, internally and eternally, day and night. He missed him. Even just to see him would be a beautiful thing, for he had not lain his eyes on him for far too long. Alistair determined, without a doubt, that he would go to Patrick shortly after the man arrived in Ne'haer. And he was there - and due to their connection, Alistair could sense - generally - where he was in Ne'haer. He would come to see him now.

His conversation with Damien wrapped up, the man quickly gathered all of the necessary things for a sudden venture across vast distances. He turned and set the dial of his Rupturing device - the little scope he called his Sundial - aiming it for the Coven headquarters in Ne'haer. Ellasin was there, Patrick was there, mysteries and secrets were there; his heart called him to this place.

He said not even a word to the others, the members of the Coven who'd become involved with him professionally here in Rharne.

He'd be back soon, but for right now, he needed to be away. He needed to see his Hound once more, and he would.

Opening a portal into the distance, he walked through the darkness and into the light of the day. The sun still rose over the sky in Ne'haer, he noticed, his eyes flickering over the horizon as the rift in space tore open and then closed behind him. He appeared, in an empty corridor among the streets of the city, knowing exactly where Patrick was. He pursued that thread - the tether between them - and with every step closer he took, he knew that the other man would feel his coming more and more.

Last edited by Alistair on Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 482
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Patrick had never felt so rested in his entire life, or maybe he had but it had certainly been a while. Last night the serenity of sleep had been quite invigorating, compared to the nightmare that haunted him many nights before. Even so he wasn't foolish enough as to think it a stroke of luck, no the break from the recurring dream was owed to a much higher power. A deity he never expected to encounter but nonetheless, did with an interesting conversation along the way.

Jesnine. The name remained soft and warm like the pleasantness of dreams she promised, and somehow Patrick felt an unusual fondness to the woman even if she... weren't mortal like he were. Though she wasn't exactly Immortal either, at least not to his knowledge anyways. So much was uncertain out of the encounter, nonetheless it influenced Patrick in a manner he thought favorable. In his perspective she had given him a nights rest for... however long it was going to last, and for that he too would have to repay her one day. Maybe when she came to collect, he'd certainly have something of value to her.

Speaking of value though today had been nothing but an all out shopping spree, as the entertainer had spent much of his day exploring the market for things he'd need. He had heard a little bit about the surrounding territories near Ne'haer, and quite frankly he was well under equipped to even consider exploration. Why explore though? Because no sane person would remain indoors for the entirety of Zi'da, when Cylus would be the worse season to endure the cold period. Therefore Patrick had went out and started his day with buying essentials, things like a few weapons and of course some actual armor that could serve useful. Leather armor!

He'd garbed himself in the suit ever since he'd bought the damned thing, his attention focused on a feeling of familiarity closing in. Patrick had been in search of a place to buy exploration tools next, as well as a couple of other essential things he wanted. Now however he felt the presence of one he hadn't suspected to be here, one that he actually missed deep down and felt a sudden eagerness to see. It couldn't have been his imagination you see, as Patrick always felt the tangible connection that linked the two together.

Even now he felt that presence draw in close with each step, while Patrick's own slowed to an eventual halt after long. He stood there and waited, watched as faces within the street strode on by. Some looked at him oddly now that he had weaponry and armor on, but of course Patrick had to look like nothing more than a common mercenary out of his element. With good reason too; since he was new to Ne'haer. Still he ignored the occasional glance spared his way, until the one he knew approached him after a short while. "Alistair." He muttered with a smirk on his face as he looked upon the man, no doubt Patrick had to look different compared to last time they'd met.
word count: 545
"Freedom is everything."


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The man didn't appear the same as before. No - not quite the same at all. He appeared more confident, instantly, though Alistair wasn't sure truly if it was confidence or merely a sort of joy at being reunited with his companion. Even if he wasn't confident, he was surely more... put-together. Perhaps he hadn't drank in a while, sailing across the Orm'del Sea. The mage could not be sure. Ultimately, the difference was there in Patrick, and it was also - certainly - there in Alistair. The many trials since Patrick's departure had been rife with challenges, but also with a sense of purpose. He'd learned how to interact with the changes spawned within him this last arc - the emotions, good or ill. The guttural, barbaric feelings that formed within his - normally - unusually kempt mold.

He knew now that he was worth the companionship of someone like Patrick, who had a talent for bringing out the goodness that laid within Alistair . . . almost to a fault; he often didn't know what to do with the empathy and adoration he'd found.

Seeing him again, in the sunlight washing through the fabrics and blinds, brought it all back. The love, the compassion . . . the curiosity of his condition; the need to ensure he was well. He equally wanted to hug him and check for his heart rate. It was a confusing mix, especially as Alistair's doctoral instincts had only ever spawned when gold nels or particular gains were offered as his reward.

"Patrick," he finally said, opening his arms wide and moving in for an affectionate hug. He held Patrick so tightly that he half expected to squeeze the life out of him, but with the man's muscular frame and strong constitution he knew he'd be more than fine. He just wanted to have him there, again, in his arms. No matter what they were meeting as, right now - friends, lovers, or a combination of the two.

"I missed you dearly," he whispered as his head rested atop the burly man's shoulder. Pulling himself back slightly to meet the other man eye-to-eye, he smiled faintly and kissed him very openly, their lips pressed softly against one another.

He hardly noticed some of the most blaring things about Patrick; the scar atop his eye, the unusually pleasant smell, or perhaps the energy in his demeanor that he'd not ever seen so precisely. He was just happy to be here. To be in pleasant company. It'd been a long time of merely, proverbially, dusting off Effren's musty boots.

"How have you been? Are you okay? Did the voyage treat you well?" he asked, almost frantically, concerned for the wellbeing of the man. He'd have to do an examination of his current health, later - if the drunkard would ever allow it.
Last edited by Alistair on Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 482
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The sudden greeting with open arms led to the two sharing a warm and comforting hug, the feel of affection stirred an unusual feeling deep within the pit of Patrick's stomach. Almost like he'd swallowed living butterflies whole, and they now fluttered within his gut. The feeling was something he didn't associate with often, mainly due to the fact he never felt himself close to anyone. Least not in this way, not in a long time anyhow.

With the mention of being missed so well and a soft kiss planted at his lips, the drunkard nearly swooned closer to Alistair once their mouths parted. Fates be damned if Patrick hadn't gone long enough without touching a woman, which of course had been remedied not long after his arrival, but to feel this deep stir of arousal within the affection; it drove him wild to think such a thing had been left behind in Rharne. Yet here it was now, right back in his arms thanks to Alistair. "You too." Patrick finally added after a moment to catch his breath followed, he couldn't help but chuckle once the noble started to ask questions further.

"I'm doin' fine mate, gettin' by well enough." He responded as he reflected upon their last encounter, last he recalled he'd asked Alistair to avoid his place for a few trials. Then of course things happened and all in one go he left for Ne'haer, although he couldn't quite tell if Alistair caught wind of that or not at the time. Apparently so however if the man was here now, only four days after arrival and the noble picked him out of the crowd like it was nothing. Of course the tether between them likely gave the unfair advantage, nevertheless it felt good to finally have a familiar face here; amidst all the unknown that surrounded Patrick.

"The trip was long and a bit hectic, never knew how bad sea sickness was until I got it." He mused with a short laugh as his lips cracked a hearty grin, though his eyes developed a more sincere look into Alistair's. "Wendell was here, I pretty much left him and Rei to catch up on their own. Been by myself ever since, just keepin' warm and learnin' 'bout the city. Doin' a bit o' shoppin' too actually." He used a hand in a flourish before his chest to hint at the armor and weaponry; a crossbow rested underneath the backpack, along with the buckler strapped over the bag, and of course his broadsword rested at his hip.

Right now though Patrick found the idea of shopping now seemed less important, due to the fact that Alistair was here in his arms now. "But enough 'bout that! When did ya get here? How long are ya gonna be around?"
word count: 487
"Freedom is everything."


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Alistair was a bit perplexed, particularly by something Patrick said among his words. He... left Wendell and Rei to catch up on their own, apparently? That was interesting; it caused for the mage to raise a brow. Wasn't the reason for Patrick's coming here, all for the purpose of spending time with Wendell and Rei?

The nobleman, concerned and equally curious, decided to be frank and ask. "Are you not invited to their catch-up session?" he questioned, bluntly. While the concern might have come off as offensive to some, it was an important query to Alistair... because, essentially, the answer determined whether or not Alistair would have his beloved Patrick all to himself; something he'd been wanting for quite some time. A whole season in passing.

"My first long voyage was to Etzos, from Rynmere. I experienced sea-sickness in that period, as well. And I'll tell you now, don't believe that flummery nonsense they say about getting over it; I still haven't, " he spoke, with a silly grin.

"I can tell you've been perusing the markets, though," the man nodded his head, looking up and down at Patrick in his finely-crafted gear, complete with weapons and all the like. He looked so much more proper than before, back in Rharne. What was a goofy barkeep became, in this span of a moment, a gallant Knight-Errant, ready to fight off some deranged beast. Alistair wondered for what purpose Patrick had begun to pursue the martial arts -- but that question could come later, and he already had some ideas as to why.

Stepping back a little to provide Patrick with some personal space, the man placed his arms behind his back. "I arrived just now -- not a break ago. As for why I came?" he smiled slightly. Almost shyly. "Well... I came for you, Patrick. So, I'll be around so long as you want me to be here. I just - couldn't feel comfortable not seeing you in so long. Especially considering when I returned to your home, days later like you suggested, it was trashed and you were gone. I even found remnants of blood by the bedside. I needed to know you were safe - that you hadn't been sold into slavery by some brute. I know you like sex, but probably not the kind where you're strapped to a bed for twenty hours a day, blindfolded, and romped by strangers. I think about things like this. I worry. The world is a dangerous place."

Truthfully, he felt like a sort of sap for imagining all of these things... but it was natural, considering Patrick was one of the few emotional attachments he held. It wasn't as easy as simply saying goodbye and expecting to see him once again - Alistair thought about it. Often. He thought about his wellbeing.

"Regardless," he began, returning to a more poised demeanor, "I'm happy to see you well. If you're lonely from Wendell and Rei's apparent exclusion, would you like to stay with me instead? We can rent a room together. Like old times," he said, flashing a bright smile. Such a thought sounded serene.
Last edited by Alistair on Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:10 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 538
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With the inquiry that Alistair made regarding Wendell and Rei; Patrick's grin lessened a little bit with an aversion of his eyes, a signal which would've suggested the topic somewhat a sore spot for him. "Yeah about that. Rei's in love with Wendell period, so rather than just be third party t' that; I figured it best t' just cut myself short and leave 'em be." The reason proved valid enough to believe, as he no longer didn't want to remain some back up partner for either of the two. Friendship was nice and all but for whatever reason, Patrick felt that they were limited in time due to his tendencies. After all who wants a miserable brooding drunk for a friend?

Certainly not Patrick. No he had honestly gotten quite enough of feeling mopey, which led him to decide on making a change for the better. Ne'haer was a fresh new place to start after all, so why not start with a new and interesting approach. "I believe ya there," He chuckled with eyes softly honed on Alistair once more, "Rei taught me t' eat ginger root when sea sickness settles in. Helps calm the stomach afterwards." The remembrance of the lesson made him smile a little more, as he certainly still felt fondness over the two even after his own departure.

Seeing Alistair though in his own happy demeanor sort of surprised Patrick however, he used to be a little quieter when it came to displaying emotion. Now though? Alistair appeared to be completely filled by them, and the occasion while welcomed certainly intrigued Patrick at heart. To hear that the noble in fact came here not long ago in search of Patrick? Why the very idea both humbled and flattered the drunkard, as he'd certainly grown accustomed to the idea of being alone. Unwanted. Maybe it was due to the fact he thought of himself that way, but personally it just was how Patrick saw things. "Oh. Oh shit." He closed his eyes for a moment as the memory hit him, while Alistair mentioned the trashed apartment and stains of blood.

"Honestly I would've preferred the idea of being strapped t' a bed and romped. Don't get me wrong I mean, I like my personal freedom but that sounds fun in its own way." He mused with a meager laugh to follow, with a nervous scratch behind his head. "No what really happened was that I'd been attacked. Nearly took a knife to the heart too, had I not redirected the blade by mere luck." He explained with a flash of his palm to Alistair, right between the middle and ring finger existed a scar; from where the blade cut in the moment he caught Kar's own hand. With the invitation to share a room with Alistair, Patrick wasted no time in answering the question.

"Granted I've personally been alone ever since I got here, I'd sodding love t' have somebody t' share a room with." He responded eagerly with much lighthearted enthusiasm.
word count: 526
"Freedom is everything."


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He felt quite strange for feeling this way, but, ultimately Alistair felt relieved to know that Patrick had decided to seek another route than simply following the footsteps of Rei and Wendell, and searching for a crevice with which to wedge himself into their relationship. It wasn't something that suited the Hound, not at all - he was too exquisite to live as a wallflower behind the backs of two starcrossed lovers. He deserved far better.

"Good," Alistair nodded. "There are people -- lovers -- out there who will give you far more of themselves than those occupied by their affections for another." He nodded at his words, knowing this to be true. Unfairly, he'd given Patrick the same sort of secondary credence due to the lingering presence of Duncan, and in a way... Alistair had received the same from Patrick, when they'd first met. The mage walked in the shadow of Wendell and Rei, accepting his position - too - as a secondary option, for if the two did not give the love Patrick sought.

But that was the past, and it was none of their faults. It was how the human worked. At least they were here now, he could only think.

Hearing that Patrick would've preferred being strapped and 'romped' atop an overused bed didn't surprise Alistair at all. The Sotrosei rolled his eyes, holding back laughter at the barkeep's ridiculous claims. "Ah yes, and when the husky Lotharro with a zweihander in his trousers comes at you with no lubrication, I'm sure you'll be telling me exactly the same thing," he replied, a chuckle escaping his lips. That was shortly silenced, when he'd learned Patrick had almost died. Did he anticipate such a thing? This attack? Was that why he had Alistair leave?

If so, he could only question -- why? Alistair wasn't shy to the idea of defending his lover. If the assailant had been faced with a master mage, the outcome would have been far different. He... wanted to scold Patrick for not informing him of the situation . . . that wasn't a good idea, he determined; they'd only just seen one another after so long. There was no need for bickering.

He sighed. "Well... I'm just glad you're alive," he replied, nodding his head slightly. "I like the scar, though. It's sexy."

Beckoning for the Hound to follow him around the market area, Alistair decided to continue their conversation en route to the inn. Though he gestured for Patrick to lead him to the place he'd been staying, as that would by far be a more appropriate option.

"Patrick, I want to be frank," he said, glancing at the man with the corner of his eye as they walked side-by-side. "It's been some time, and a lot has changed. I've changed, certainly. And by my evaluations, so have you. I can already see a strength in you that didn't exist before. A decisiveness, yet living alongside that lightheartedness that I loved. You've become a great man." He stopped in his steps, eyes seeking to catch the gaze of his companion.

"So I have to ask..." he began, "what room do I have in the life of this changed man? When we were in Rharne, it was so... benign. It was all about us -- lovers from different worlds. I truly did come to love you, Patrick, in the midst of those surreal days. I knew that I wasn't quite as much to you as... Wendell and Rei, but... I wanted to love you regardless. Even if it meant chasing in their shadows. And now - we're back together. The pull I have for you is just as strong as it ever was. They're not in the equation anymore. So, what am I now? What are we, both of us?"

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To hear his companion talk such nonsense nearly brought a blush out of Patrick, a blush of all things, as the drunk believed that Alistair gave him too much credit. Sure there lived others out there that he could potentially love, but in all sincerity Patrick never felt himself capable of such a thing. Maybe once upon a time in his ancient history but now; well that certainly fell far out of range of the question. Nobody could love a drunken and hopeless wanderer, not when he owed no real loyalty to anyone at all.

"You're too kind Al." He remarked just before the joke about the Lotharro had been made, while it did make him laugh Patrick thought back to one such individual. Gorroc. He was one of those Lotharro people if Patrick wasn't mistaken, and while it was actually Rei he assaulted... it still created a very unpleasant experience for Patrick. Enough to where the man never thought of sex for a while, until the arrival in Ne'haer reminded him just how lonely he'd really been at sea. Even then he felt slightly awkward at first, but naturally it didn't take long for his driven need to stir that desire. How sailors could live abroad the sea would always amaze him, even more so how they could go so long without a woman's delicious touch.

Regardless of that however Patrick's lack of capacity for honesty with Alistair surfaced, as the one of two lingering rewards from his assault made that clear. Needless to say when he expected a scolding of a sort, he found Alistair had once again surprised him. Glad he was just alive? Yes most certainly, and with a compliment to add as well. "That makes too o' us." He mused as he couldn't help but grin, knowing that Alistair would probably like the other one on his shoulder as well. He wanted Patrick to lead on while they returned back to the inn, an action the drunk didn't hesitate to perform while the two strolled onward.

Then of course came more about observations made, changes that both of them had undergone. To some extent Alistair was right about it all, they both had noticeable changes about them. However Patrick softly scoffed at the mention of him being a great man, he could hardly even consider himself good at best. "I'm nothin' shy o' normal Al, just have my own sense o' direction t' follow is all. Nothin' so great about that." He added with a wry smile shot to the noble, a shrug added to indicate his own personal feelings on the matter. The next subject in question of course proved a better challenge, as it posed great weight in the disposition between the two of them.

Knowing Alistair he wanted Patrick as an actual partner, an sort of commitment between them that defines couples. Truth be told Patrick had been so caught up in his desire for both Rei and Wendell; nothing else at the time really seemed to matter that much. Now though? Now he was his own man once more, a free agent able to subject himself to whatever he fancied. Whimsical he may be Patrick always found freedom in the things he did, so what did that mean for the both of them now that he found his sense of freedom once more? While he gave a few good hums of contemplation, Patrick mostly remained silent for a few minutes. The answer proved a lot more complicated than he realized.

He wanted Alistair yes, but did they really have a chance? Did their feelings for each other indicate something more? Of course. So what exactly held him back?

"I think you overestimate me honestly Alistair." He sighed with sincere eyes focused on the man. "Though could declare love and loyalty t' ya, I don't think y' and I have the same ideals on that." Naturally the answer posed more riddle than explanation, therefore he wasted no effort in trying to elaborate. "Think 'bout it; you're not just any regular man. You're a nobleman destined for greatness, to be made Duke in this other world I've never been t'. Not only that but the power in your possession also signifies this, as you're no doubt someone who's destined fer great things."

Patrick then pointed to himself using a simple thumb. "Me? I ain't never been but a low class boy, barely scrapin' by in this world. Only thing I'm destined for is whatever I make o' it, which isn't much since I only know the vices o' freedom." He stared ahead briefly for location purposes, and then continued after he remembered where to go next for their destination. "My point is that I can't decide where ya stand, as that's entirely your call t' make. Personally I don't know what t' expect between us, only that I can love and enjoy the time we do share; before Fates decide to tear us apart once more." He summarized with a contemplative expression, his eyes shot back to Alistair to see how the noble took all of that.
word count: 884
"Freedom is everything."


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As his partner spoke, he nodded. He understood Patrick's perspective - uncertainty. And, as the man had expressed before, a fear or intimidation as the result of Alistair's higher station in life. There was a lot to worry about . . . a lot to fear. He'd likely never be a public lover - but always an oasis of serenity, in Alistair's peripheral, for him to turn to when the days of Dukedom utterly annihilated his patience and poise. Was that the life he wanted to live? Was it the life Alistair wanted?

In all possibility, Alistair wouldn't become Duke, but in equal likelihood he would. Was he willing to sacrifice his inheritance for conceptual things; things like love? Commitment? And - there were other things in the picture, too. Like Duncan. Now that he understood romantic connections far more, he also understood the dishonesty of his failure to admit his bond with Duncan to Patrick, and vice-versa. It had become a hidden love triangle, veiled by worlds of distance. The prerogative of a Rupturer of Alistair's skill.

He knew, fully, that he had been dishonest. In a way, he deceived Patrick by omission. But in many other ways - like in expressing who he was, what he enjoyed, his love for magic and wisdom... even his role in the Duchy, which was a dangerous thing to reveal...

Well, these things were known to Patrick. Alistair had been upfront, and so too had his companion. They were close from the moment they met, and it was even before the Hound had corralled him into bed that he laid eyes on him in a way only Patrick had known.

Their bond was special. It was sensual, it was caring, it was filled with depth. Was it love? He thought it was. But it was always difficult for him - he did not understand the concept in the same way. For him, it was just an instinct. A want to be near someone. A draw to their scent, to their voice. To their warmth.

"Perhaps I do overestimate you..." he began, nearly shutting his eyes. The man paused in his place, seating himself on a bench he'd nearly trotted past. The inn wasn't even out of earshot from here, but before they retired to their room together, he wanted to resolve this discussion of their futures in life. "But, I don't think so. At least for me, you're a special sort of thing. Like a an embroidered silk, or an age old vintage; you're something precious, few in number and high in commodity. You're something I am drawn to in a way that does not fully make sense. It's like you were made just for me. I don't mean in the literal sense - but in you, I see a multitude of things represented. Freedom, as you so said it. I once described my love, and my emotions, as quiet. Patient. Yet in your company, I'm full of these things; I don't know what to do with it all. I want to hug you, I want to worry, I want affirmation. I want to learn, but about someone rather than something. It's a curious thing."

He sounded like he was rambling, he knew; but... this was how he saw it. When he was together with Patrick, he could only try to be honest, even if it meant embarrassment. And that was another way in which the Hound was special.

"I don't need to own you, Patrick. I don't need to put a ring on your finger and call you mine, if that's not what you want. I know you value your freedom," he explained. "I don't need you to love me, either. That's fine. I've lived all my life in the absence of such thoughts, and shall I remain without them, I will likely be as happy then as I am now. What I need from you - at this moment - is honesty. An answer to a singular question..." he looked to his eyes, with an empty face.

"What do you want? What is your "ideal", Patrick? You claim it contradicts mine - but you don't know what I feel." The nobleman rose from his position and stood at his feet, stepping closer to the man of Rharne.

"I feel very little most of the time. It's amazing how sporadic my heart can be. While you were gone, and I was left alone in Rharne... I experienced something horrific; an Immortal marking me as their prey. Claws down my flesh. Glass shoved into my back. Blood oozing from my skin. Yet in all that, I felt nothing. Not even in the realization of who I was dealing with - a creature vastly beyond my own level - did I experience the same sort of exasperation as you mortals might. You act as if I've built an ideal for myself -- a path to my future. An idea of what a proper 'love' should be. But that is not the case, Mister Barnell. In truth, I scarcely have ideals at all." He looked down.

It was almost shameful to admit such a thing, but not long ago, he had learned of just what he was. The Revelation had done that; it had shown Alistair that in his earnest, he was nothing but an empty canvass. But he didn't want to be that. He wanted to paint onto that white screen - to add depth, and color, and flavor. And... brilliance. He wanted to be more than the nothing that he was.

"I really..." he took a breath, "believe that you're special. I can't talk like this with anyone... no one else. I can't feel like this with them, either. It's only with you."

He looked down. It was more than "almost shameful" - it was shameful. To admit that he was an emotional cripple. That he couldn't feel anything for anyone. That Patrick was his one cure. It sounded desperate, didn't it? He could only feel that it did. He deigned to be smart, to be clever - to cover it up.

But as he looked up to Patrick, cracked a fake smirk and tried to fabricate his words, he couldn't. It was a lie. He didn't want to lie, and pretend that the answer Patrick gave him wasn't all that important. It was important. And it needed to be heard. So, he lowered his head once more, and waited. For the man to make sense out of even a single thing that he said, in all of his confused ramblings, and all of those words he formed to try and cover for the fact that - really - he wanted Patrick to be his.
Last edited by Alistair on Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1140
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