Aftermath

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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They hadn't yet been in Rharne for three full trials and they had just finished walking home, back to their room at the Order of the Adunih from the Guard House having ... what exactly had they done, Faith wondered as he held the door open for her and she walked in. Had they caught the Strangler? They'd identified him, certainly and they'd led the guard to him. They'd stopped him, yes. But they had rather done it by getting caught by him. As they'd walked here, she'd pulled her scarf around herself, sinking into the warmth of the wool and leaning into Padraig's shoulder. Normally, they simply fell into walking arm in arm, but as they'd left the guard house he had wrapped his arm around her shoulder as she had wrapped hers around his waist. She couldn't say which one of them moved to do that first, or maybe they just moved together, but she was glad of it.

It was strange, really. All the way through the situation with the Strangler, Faith had been calm. She'd remained calm as he had wrapped his hand around her throat, thrown her against a wall and as the Lightning Knights had come in. As they'd questioned them and given them sweet tea to drink, Faith had realised that she was trembling. Just slightly, but she had been. Once they'd got to walking home together, though, she was full out shaking all over and she looked up at him with an ironic smile, "I'm sorry, I can't stop it. It's just the aftermath is all, it will pass soon." She didn't tell him how she knew that, because she didn't know it in all honesty, but in fact by the time they had got back to the room, it had mostly stopped.

Once they'd taken off their coats and other outside clothing, Faith spoke about as forcefully as she ever did. "I need to fuss over your face. It isn't too much fussing and I don't care if it is, that just means too much is exactly the right amount. Sit down there," she pointed to the low armchair and then, because she really wasn't ever likely to stop being who she was, she added, "please." Then, she knelt down on her heels in front of him, taking his chin in her hand and she examined his face. Her own expression was as deep a frown as she had ever worn or, more precisely, as deep as last time she had knelt in front of him examining his face for injury. It didn't even occur to her that he might want to do the same for her, the medic had checked her and she was fine.

But she checked him as thoroughly as the medic from the Lightning Knights had, if not moreso, the frown not leaving her face as she did. Then, she leant forward and kissed him, wrapping her arms around the back of his neck; she was very careful not to hurt him, but pulled herself against him as she gave in to the mass of emotion which she had held on to. For all that she wanted to say and knew she could not, she let the kiss tell him. When she pulled back from him, which was far from quickly, she realised that she was crying but she ignored it. They were tears of relief, she knew and she smiled at him, her hand moving to take his, gently pulling so that he came down on to the floor with her. There, at least, she could get as close to him as she could and she did just that, taking both of his hands and letting out a slow and ragged exhale.

"Padraig....." Faith looked at him and tried to form what she wanted to say to him, what she needed to ask, to understand. "I think you should know that I plan on growing old with you. I don't know what shape that will take, where we will be or what we will be doing. I don't care, I just know it is, and that is all I need. You and me is everything I need, and more." Faith's eyes did not leave his face as she asked, quite genuinely "But what the hell were you thinking?"
word count: 763
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

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Faith seemed to draw closer into him than she ever had before. At least in public. But then she was shaken and Padraig couldn't blame her. She'd been through an awful lot. So had he, in a sense, but not like her. He'd never known fear like that before. What he experienced when the strangler took hold of her and wrapped his hands round her throat. It was a different sort of dread than the norm in the way it combined with anger and protectiveness, and he might never let her out of his sight again.

"It will pass, yes," he'd agreed and wrapped his arm more snugly round her waste. "In the middle of it there's only survival on your mind. It's only after, when you've time to think, that the nerves creep in." At least it had been the case for him and he'd experienced a strange trembling in his right hand when the knights had handed him a cup of tea. He'd taken it for nerve strain after having punched what amounted to an immovable wall. But maybe it had been more than that.

But he knew that once they reached their room she wouldn't put up with any arguing about tending to his injuries, such as they were. The distraction would help her, Padraig thought. Something else to focus on besides what had happened. He'd indulge her then, even though they were just superficial. Still, as he took a seat and let her do what she would, he grinned a little. "I think it makes me look more roguish. Don't you?" He knew that she was alright physically. But then maybe the injuries she'd suffered were the ones that couldn't be seen.

But then she was kissing him, but crying and trembling against him, and all he could do then was hold her and wonder. For all that they'd come to know each other, a woman's emotions remained in large part a mystery to him. They defied any and all efforts to predict them. "You're safe now. It's over," he reassured her, even before she pulled back and took his hands in hers.

But then she took him completely by surprise. And that in itself, in a funny sort of way, was not surprising at all. He joined her on the floor, but was confounded and it showed in his expression. One minute she was expressing her desire for them to always be together, to be one. And then? What the hell was he thinking? "I don't understand Faith. What do you mean what was I thinking?" There were questions, especially when asked by a woman, to which there were no correct answers. And this one, sounded suspiciously like a trick question and better she clarify first.
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The gentle words of reassurance he spoke when he held her close caused her to look at him like he was having some kind of episode. Did he think she was crying because she was afraid for herself? Her expression spoke volumes as he moved to sit next to her on the floor. Men, Faith thought, were just complete mysteries. Padraig more than most, she was quite convinced. But she would not change him, so she would be forced to accept that she chose, wanted and needed an utter conundrum of a man. She quirked an eyebrow at him as he said he didn't understand what she was asking. Holding on to his hands, she smiled and shook her head. In the big scheme of things it didn't matter and, had she not been so emotional she would have pushed it down, put it away. But she was a whole mass of emotions and even looking down at their hands together, a technique which she had learnt from her earliest arcs to look at her hands and put her emotions into them, even that didn't work.

"Every bit of me that is calm and controlled wants to say it doesn't matter," Faith explained, examining their hands together with an intensity which told of her tumultuous emotions. "But it does. Padraig, I was not scared for myself for a trill. I just helplessly watched a killer pound your face. I recognise that you just watched him wrap his hand around my throat. So I imagine we are probably both feeling quite emotional." Her hands in his tightened and her voice was a whisper. "I am crying because I am relieved you are alright you lummox." She lifted her eyes from their hands and looked at him. Lummox was right, she thought and she realised that she couldn't recall ever insulting anyone before. It was a tear stained and slightly shaky one, but she smiled at that. "What do I mean? Before I answer that, when I tell you I plan on spending my life with you, some recognition wouldn't go amiss. Just a nod, I'm not hard to please. A shrug, if you must. A snorting sound would have hurt my feelings, so kudos there. Totally ignoring a declaration I couldn't have made if you hadn't just been pounded by a serial killer is nearly as bad as not saying thank you for a scarf. On a scale." He was probably suitably informed on that note and so she stopped. Ironically, she thought it was probably the clearest she had ever communicated to him. It was certainly the most assertive.

What did she mean when she asked what was he thinking? She'd asked him that once, what did he mean, when he'd said they were going to move forward. He deserved the same clarity of response that he'd given her. "When I asked what were you thinking, I meant two things. First, I meant what were you thinking hoping that I would just play along with the plan I didn't know you had? I could have messed it up and I wish you'd told me, Padraig." If he had, after all, she might not have been as worried about going into the house, but it wasn't until the Lightning Knight had mentioned it that Faith had realised what the wax and oil had been used for, for example. All of it would have been much easier if they'd planned it, all told.

However, then there was the other thing. Briefly, she dipped her head to their hands, but then her chin jutting forward told of the most unfamiliar emotion she was feeling; stubbornness. She lifted her head back to look at him. "And the other thing I meant was," pausing, she tried to make it make sense, to say it clearly. "You didn't need to pretend we were married. It didn't add to the story. If we were honeymooning in a different city that's the last time you buy a horse, surely? I meant, what were you thinking when you said that? Do you want that or think I do? Have you got doubts about my commitment? Or yours? Did it just pop in your head or was it because you were thinking about all the things that could go wrong and that's your worst nightmare? I mean, what were you even thinking about that for?" Faith stopped and looked at him wanting to see how the land was laying with this strange, contrary, complex man she loved so much.
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She'd called him a lummox for leaping in to defend her. And she was crying and trembling because she was happy or relieved. Padraig resolved now that he would never quite understand her. She was a puzzle, a mystery, and so were her emotions. And yet he couldn't fault her for it. Instead he loved her all the more.

"What else was I to do? Stand and watch while he snapped your neck in front of me?" he asked, folding her smaller hands in his. "I never expected him to move that fast. It was a mistake I'll keep regretting. But if I hadn't planned what I did, I wouldn't change it either. Besides," he added, smiling just a little in a poor attempt to lighten the mood for her. "I gave as good as I got, didn't I?"

They both knew that the strangler would have wanted to keep her for some time, not kill her for a while but to hold her and do it at his leisure. "Chances were he wouldn't have, had he not been cornered. But cornered animals can do unpredictable things and I couldn't chance it." And that was what the man was. An animal.

Faith had more to say though and he smiled in spite of himself. Though there was also some surprise written into his expression. "I thought you knew. That you understood and that it went without saying. But it doesn't. And I don't say it enough, and you're right. I find it difficult to talk about feelings, emotional things." Was it because his was a mind geared to scientific things, facts and provable theories? Probably in part, but Padraig suspected he wasn't very different from most men that way.

But she deserved better. "So I can only say what I've felt all along. There's been no one else I've wanted to spend my life with but you, and won't be. Not before you, not now, not ever." Truer words were never spoken. He just guessed he ought to more often, now and again.

The next part however was tricky, and Padraig paused over his explanation for a trill or three before giving it a try. "I hoped you would play along, because while I had a plan...sort of, until that moment I wasn't exactly sure how it might play out. I mean, I knew what the oil and the beeswax was for. But the rest?" Well, that was where things had become complicated.

"You think it's my worst nightmare?" Far from it, except that he'd never before now, when she was asking, really considered it. But the way she was asking gave him further pause. Was it something she wanted, and hadn't told him before? He shook his head, trying to sort it all out. "The truth is that story came out of nowhere. Not from any deep seated desire, uncertainty or sense of dread. I happened because my mind was racing for a way to stall him. If I'd said nothing, we were outdoors, he was on his way out and he'd have walked right past us and left us behind."

"I needed a reason to keep him there until the guards arrived, and that story is what happened. We were together in front of him and I was thinking that I didn't want him to see you as a potential victim. To then, he'd chosen women who were alone, without husbands to watch over them. Women he might see as unattached and unmarried, like Catherine had been when he'd courted her. If he thought you were married?" he suggested then. "Then less likely he'd see you as an available prospect."

Of course it wasn't the way things had gone. Because again, cornered animals didn't act in a completely predictable way. "It was a foolish thing to do. But it was impulse, an effort to deflect his attention and nothing more. I haven't thought about marriage," he told her honestly. "It's a ceremonial concept, a contract that somehow needs the acknowledgment of others in order to be valid. I don't need anyone to acknowledge what we have in order for it to mean something."

"I am yours, you are mine, we are...us together," he added, and grinned a little at the awkwardness of what he'd just said. But it was true nonetheless. "I want no one else but you and I believe you when you say that it's only me for you and that its forever. Surely that's more valid than any contract or acknowledgment from others?" On the other hand, if it was what she wanted? He wanted nothing more than to make her happy. And so, "But is it what you want?" he asked, turning the tables because he needed to be sure. "An official, public acknowledgment of what we both knew to be true?"

If she'd asked him to all of a sudden reverse his feelings about children, it would be somewhat of a tall order. But this? If it was what she truly wanted? Well after all, no one needed to stay up through the night and comfort a squalling contract that wouldn't sleep, or clean up the carnage left behind because of a concept left unattended at two or three arcs old. And so far as he knew, a marriage contract had never thrown up its last meal all over anyone's new suit or important paperwork.
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When she told him that he should have responded in some way to her assurance of how long she was in this for, Faith saw the smile cross his face. Sometimes, she thought he wanted her to argue with him, just so he'd know she would. That she dismissed as a ludicious notion and not what he wanted at all. Why would he? She made her point as clearly as she believed she needed to and he answered her. After he had, she sat on the floor with him and felt herself almost rock physically. It was tricky to answer him, her voice was thick with emotion and, as much as she hated it, the tears which had ceased threatened again but in a very different way.

"I didn't know that, no." Leaning forward she kissed him before resting her forehead against his and whispering. "I'm sorry. I just wanted you to acknowledge that I'd said it. It's silly and needy. I don't want you to feel you have to say anything you find difficult." That he had said that, however, made a difference and quite an enormous one. Every relationship she had ever been part of had been transient and out of her control. She was so busy focusing on having choices and making them, sometimes she forgot that relationships were not temporary things where she was passed from one owner to another, loaned out or otherwise treated like a commodity until it was time for her to passed on again. These trials, at least, it was because she was so focused on their life together, but that was always right now. Small steps, she knew, but how he managed to remain patient was beyond her sometimes.

It wasn't the plan or the lack of the same that was important though. It was the next bit, the rest that he spoke of. Faith sat on the floor, her hands in his and their knees touching as they sat together and she listened to what he had to say. It was about protecting her? People would think, or more precisely, the Strangler would think that she was out of bounds if she was married? It made sense, because he was after women like Catherine, single and available. Had he stopped there she'd have been perfectly content with his answer. That was why he'd said it, that was what he was thinking. It was enough. But enough wasn't enough for her Padraig and Faith listened to all of what he said. Every word of it.

He ended it with a question and it was a difficult one. She was sure of the answer, she had not a single doubt about the answer, but answering it in a way that didn't upset or offend or give the wrong idea was the trick here. So, as he had done before, she took some trills to answer. When she did, she breathed in and made sure that she looked at him, her eyes locked with his and not dropping to her hands or the floor or anything else. "I love you. People say those words too much and they don't begin to mean what I feel. But for want of better, they will have to do. As Vri is the Immortal of love and in his name, I love you. Only you and always you, for me. All the words, Padraig and a thousand more." Faith looked down then for a moment and she considered. She could just give him the surface answer, the one he wanted to hear. Or she could give him the truth and there was not a contest nor would there ever be.

"There are two answers to that question, Padraig. Or there are two reasons why the answer is no, it is not what I want nor will it ever be." The idea of marriage frankly horrified her but she didn't think she needed to say that exactly. It was hard to put a positive spin on it, really, as an opinion.

"Papers and contracts? They mean ownership. I don't want them and I don't want that." Her papers had passed from one person to another, a contract to buy her, to own her. "If you need commitment from me, then lets go to a temple and make our promises to each other. Alone. If you want it, lets do it here, kneeling on the floor and it will mean more to me than standing in front of other people. They don't know us or what we feel. They can't. I'll swear to the Immortals and make my commitment to you, either of those is fine. But no papers, Padraig. No contracts or people watching." Those things were all just too much as an idea and she wanted none of it. Yet equally? "But if it was what you wanted, I would do it if that was the only reason I say no. But it is not the only reason, it's just one out of two, and not the main one." Not even the real one, she considered. That might be closer to the truth.

"The first time you said you loved me, you told me that you'd come to care for me much different than you would for family. I don't know what that means, I don't know if that's true for me." Even speaking it upset her and Faith took her hands out of his, opting to sit with her knees pulled up to her chin, wrapping her arms around her legs. She didn't stop looking at him, though, instead she just allowed herself to say it. No matter what, he deserved the absolute truth after all. "I don't want to get married or have children. I don't know how to be someone's wife or mother. I have no frame of reference, no knowledge at all and I can't be in a family." Faith's silver eyes were deeply emotional, but she sounded surprisingly calm. "I have never had anyone care about my well being as a child. When you fell and hurt yourself, were ill and needed someone to sit up nights with you, when nightmares woke you screaming was your grandfather there for you? Each of those was a beating at best, a whipping at worst or a hundred other punishments in between." In the Eastern Territories, for a moment, she had thought that maybe she could one trial, maybe, think about having children, but she knew in the cold light of the trial that it wasn't happening. "I'm yours. But all I am is all I can give you and I can't be your wife any more than I can be someone's mother. I don't have it, Padraig. I only have this, right here" She didn't ask him if it was enough because she knew it was. If things changed, one trial, then they did and Faith would be delighted with that, but she didn't see it happening. "Short answer. No. That isn't what I want. I just want what we have here, right now. Nothing more."
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It wasn’t often that Aelig found himself in Rharne, so set in his ways that sometimes, even now, the present slipped his mind. Watching the people fascinated him, as did the manipulations and illusions that he could create… watching a mortal’s life shatter around him fascinated him so. Such to the degree that he had forgotten the slave he had once met. He had forgotten what he had done to her, and he had forgotten the suffering of those who loved her.

A mere twinkle of a thought had flittered into his head just that morning, whilst he was watching a couple in Rhakros. And in that moment, he was reminded, and the corners of the lips on the façade he had taken on that day had curled up, causing the most grotesque smile to grace his features. And, in that moment, he had stood, and walked away from his present occupations.

Travel through Emea was a delightful thing, fading from one realm and into another, only to reappear across an entire ocean, now in the western continent of Idalos. He did not know why Faith was here; he had kept a lazy eye on her only in the beginning, until he had grown bored of waiting… and then he had left for other amusements, until the perfect time to return. He knew that she was now free of Tristan Venora. But nothing more. His gift to her, however, provided him with the knowledge of where to find her, thus his arrival into Rharne was easy.

The Immortal of Illusion walked slowly, entering into the Order of Adunih, where his countenance and power left him seeming insignificant to all he passed, until he was travelling alone down a corridor, which would lead him to his quarry. In this corridor, he used the opportunity to morph from the physique he had been maintaining into one of a guard - the guard who had once escorted the slave Faith to meet King Cassander of Rynmere. He did not know if he would be recognised by the girl, or even by her companion. But he was as yet unwilling to reveal his true form to the girl.

As he neared his destination, he tapped into his power over the girl, examining her situation. He wondered whether now was the opportune time… but as he slowed, the thin door allowed him to overhear the most recent utterances, though they were hushed, and he had to strain slightly. The male voice… he tried to place it… something about him. Yes. The tutor. There were feelings there too. During Vhalar, Aelig had noticed them. He found himself pleased at, with no administration on his part, how well these puppets had danced for him.

The same sneer appeared on his features once more. And he waited, listening.
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Sorry, folks. This is too good an opportunity to pass up.
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She hadn't known. And how could she, he realized in retrospect, when before him, before the two of them, she'd never been given reason to know it before. Padraig knew what she'd been through. Faith probably hadn't told him the half of it, but he knew enough that he should have realized, and said more often what she needed to hear. "It's not silly and it's not needy," he reassured her. "And I should say it more often. So often in fact, that you eventually grow tired of hearing it and say enough already."

His question though, turned back on her, had unintended consequences. It was the tricky nature of dealing with emotions which were as new to him as they must be to her. Padraig could tell by the way her expression changed before she spoke again, the pause, the changed tension in her body and her hands in his. He wished a little that he hadn't asked. But then he believed that he'd needed to.

Two reasons. But in either case, the answer was no, she didn't want to marry. He suspected that part of the reason for the hesitation was that she worried she'd upset him with her answer. Padraig wasn't concerned about that. But if he'd thought more about it before, he'd have realized what one of them was before he'd asked. Papers and contracts meant ownership. To her, they did. And to him too in a sense. They meant that there was some sort of official mandate in place that said you will, you must. And that was different from want, or need or desire. Even when those things aligned.

"I didn't realize," he admitted. "But I should have. If I'd thought, I would have." But he didn't need that, not at all he told her. A ceremony even of two with no others present. They'd only be saying to each other what they'd said already. Making the same commitments that were already made. And to be honest, he'd feel a little silly doing it.

Of course when he'd told her that he loved her in a different way than family, well in retrospect Padraig realized he'd probably used the wrong word, which might've caused some confusion. "What I meant then, and now, is that I love you every bit as much as I might family, but also more." Romantically speaking, that was, since there'd be none of that had they been related. But saying so outright seemed awkward at best.

Whichever the case, she'd had a lousy childhood and he wished he could make it up to her somehow. "I guess he was." His grandfather, Padraig meant. Gruff as the man had been, he'd been there and had cared in his own way. "We can call this whatever you want, Faith. It's you and me, just us one for the other and one with the other. It doesn't matter what you call it. Right here, right now. Just this. It's all I need and it's more than enough," he reassured her.
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All she had managed with her mini outburst was to make him feel bad and that hadn't been what she intended, not at all. It was just a small bump in the road, though, and they'd travelled such a long and rocky one already that they both knew it wasn't important. "I will never grow tired of anything about you. Ever. Say it or don't, it doesn't matter because we live it. They are just insecurities is all. Links in the chains and they are falling away, one by one. Fading like my scars." Faith genuinely believed the words she said and she hoped he recognised and understood that.

He understood her reasoning on the papers and contracts and Faith thought that maybe he felt the same way.There was something more important that she had to say though, and she looked at him levelly as she said it. "Padraig, stop it. Stop apologising for not being able to read my thoughts and please, please stop apologising for not thinking about me being a slave. That's what you're doing and I'm glad you don't think about it. It isn't me any more and I'm sorry for every hangover of it there is. We'll lose them all eventually, I promise you."

She saw his face when he thought about his childhood and hers. She hated that it hurt him so much, she hated that he felt so powerless to do what he wanted to. If only he understood, she thought and she prayed to Vri that this man might understand her love for him and to Famula that he would understand the difference he had made to her soul, her very core of being. He loved her more than family? She did not understand it, but she understood what it meant. "Only me, for you. Only you, for me. I know. I don't doubt that, Padraig, not for a trill." He was right, they could call it what they liked it was them and that was enough for them both. It was like, in that moment, a weight lifted from her shoulders as she realised that. Other people could call her his wife, his lover, whatever they wanted. What mattered was the two of them and what they felt. Uncurling, she moved forward and wrapped her arms around the back of his neck as she pulled herself close against him. "Just this." She kissed him softly, "Just us." she kissed him again, but with increasing passion, mumbling quietly as she pulled herself closer still, "More than enough."

It seemed, all told, that she quite agreed.
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It was sweet, in its own way, what the Immortal was listening in on. It was a very intimate moment and, in all of his observations of the world, this was one of the few that he had never witnessed. They spoke of love, and they spoke of family. Faith, bless her, was so ignorant in her understanding of the world. A spark of empathy welled up inside the Immortal; he could appreciate the stunted emotional growth of the little waif.

Once again, he was pleased with his choice to do what he did. His affinity for the ex-slave grew ever so slightly. Perhaps this interest in her would not die so quickly as it did with every other mortal he had ever encountered. Resting his forehead against the wooden doorframe, the Immortal continued his secret eavesdropping. Padraig’s response was just as important for him to hear as Faith’s was.

It was sickening. Cute was not something Aelig typically enjoyed. Despite the internal turmoil that Faith was currently experiencing, Aelig was also keenly aware that, above all else, she was happy. She was content, now that she had been granted her freedom, to live a mundane life with this man. In each other’s arms, no doubt.

Faith’s words became softer, until he could barely hear them anymore. They were pausing frequently, and Aelig was not quite sure why. Making his decision, the door was no barrier to the Immortal of Illusion: he passed through it effortlessly. Eyes adjusting to the change in light in the room, he saw that he had entered to witness the soft butterfly kisses of Faith upon Padraig’s lips. Intrigued by the display of affection, he merely watched, and neither of the pair noticed his presence, so captivated as they were by their own touch. “How touching,” he murmured, voice soft and low.

The warm and comforting embrace of two who love and respect each other so unconditionally.” He took a few steps closer, rounding the room until he could see them both face on. Aelig enjoyed playing with the lives of mortals, but he had never had the patience for suspense. Some of his siblings found immense joy in watching their target squirm under their gaze, or even forcing a human to beg for the information an Immortal would hold back. Whilst he could appreciate the desirability of such an outcome... Aelig's own preference was to put his quarries out of their misery faster. There was something so much more beautiful about watching the aftermath of someone who knew something, compared to someone who waited in suspense.

Though addressing the pair, the pale grey orbs of his façade watched only Faith. “I wonder whether than unconditional love will spread to a third?” His gaze, which had been piercing Faith’s own, released her and drifted lazily down her form, until they rested on her lower torso. “I wonder if that absolute will extend to Tristan’s child?
word count: 511
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Padraig
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Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:22 pm
Race: Mortal Born
Renown: 939
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"I'll stop apologizing if you will," he told her with a smile, but in all seriousness. In fact they could talk the whole night through but they'd go round in circles and end up each time, just where they were now. In each other's arms. It was nice that way, the destination was also the desired one. But also exhausting, the getting there.

So there were no complaints from him when she opted for an embrace and a lingering kiss full of promise instead. Was it nighttime or the middle of the trial? It didn't matter at all. Any time was a good time. But before he could consider the location and how they might improve on it, they had company. With the sound of another's voice, Padraig pulled back with a start, and then leaped to his feet. Something told him this was no ordinary visitor, what with passing through locked doors and all.

But there was more than that, that struck him as not right, and though he wasn't wearing his weapon he glanced that way briefly all the same. What was it with these Immortals thinking they could just drop in on a whim of their own making? Without thinking, he'd positioned himself in front of Faith, between her and their visitor.

What he said though struck Padraig out of the blue. Like a bolt that brought with it both anger and absolute disbelief at once, even as he glanced back towards Faith with an unspoken question. He didn't need her to answer it though. He was more familiar than he'd like to be by now, with the tendency of Immortals to play with illusions and lies, and toy with the lives of mortals. To the extent that he'd come to trust none of them at all.

It was impossible, after all. They'd been months together, months since Tristan, and she'd been taking the herbs faithfully. They'd have prevented a pregnancy, and also eliminated an existing one. It wasn't that he didn't want to believe it, or wouldn't. He simply didn't. "It's impossible. You're lying, and you're not welcome here," he said flatly.
word count: 386
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