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Messages - Isidore Nazaire

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Thure Island / Re: On Second Thought
« on: August 19, 2019, 12:26:35 AM »
One thumb circling the smooth nail of the other he looked Salome in the eye. ”I wouldn’t know the difference. It’s the only existence I’ve ever had.” Cold did not feel an apt description to Isidore. Lonesome to a degree that he couldn’t even describe. Always left with this insatiable craving for connection that was rarely and only ever briefly sated. And exhausting from a lifetime of living on the edge. Until he was uncomfortable in his home and in his skin when things were too quiet. Boredom a nagging and persistent foe. He didn’t know anymore if it was the nature of his caste or the culmination of their culture.

”They try because every once in a while they win. It isn’t so much about ‘beating’ me as it is feeling equal to me.” In a fight they had no chance. Isidore could lay waste to dozens of their finest warriors. What his wife failed to see was the social competition he faced at every turn- the real blood sport of Paon. Where the strikes and blows needed no weapons. It amused him that Salome would say such a thing when her bed had been a ‘win’ for at least one man on one occasion. He would not be bragging of filling spaces denied Isidore again, however. For a while Isidore had expected Salome to come raging over the man’s disappearance. Did she have so many lovers now that the absence of one went unnoticed? She was not the only one that others used feel elevated, though. Mother Priestess was always happy to grant attention and favor to others simply to punish him.

A change of subject kept the mood from unraveling around the subject. Salome’s agreement very tentative as he denied that feeding the locket’s shield should be a factor in timing his visits. There was more going on in her mind as she sat there. He could see it in the tip of her chin and the far away look in her eye. Isidore was keen to know. To see for himself what questions she was mulling over. What it would take to give her consolation or peace or maybe even happiness. But he worried about what he would find. So he let the moment pass.

”He says their hearts are married. She’s an island born slave, though, so I’m not even sure they can be legally wed.” It sounded callous out loud. He had the proximity and position and money to make such a thing happen. If not at the very least to know what it would take to make it happen. But Tariq had assured him that help wouldn’t help. Ease would cheapen the act somehow. Isidore couldn’t pretend to understand, so he just stood ready. They could keep him out of their relationship if that's what they wanted. The baby, however, would be a different matter. No niece or nephew of his would suffer a moment of instability. ”I admire his drive to support them on his own merit, but it’s maddening to know they struggle when I have plenty to give.”

He had plenty to give to Salome too. Temptation, affection, and excuses to draw out their time together. The kiss must have been intended to distract him from the rejection because she did not entertain his implied offer to bring her home. Question left with no answer. Or perhaps the answer was not one she could tell him without stirring his temper. How could he know if an early morning was a lie to excuse herself off to a late night in the arms of someone else? It made him cling all the more. An ugly beast in his heart roaring to follow her back to see what there was to see. He had burned houses for less justifiable reasons.

”Eventually, when the food ran out and the servants went to bed.” He countered smoothly; a tip of his head in the direction of the doorway proving his point. Beyond the sounds of milling guests could be heard. ”They haven’t even noticed we’ve left the party yet.” Brushing his chin over her curls he breathed in her scent since she lingered against him so nicely. How long had it been since he had felt her flush to his chest? Their hearts beating the same frantic rhythm, or just drumming along leisurely while idling away a sunset. Would he feel it now if he held his breath and pulled her just a bit closer? Isidore didn’t try to find out. Not this time when it might open a maw of self pity he would fall into. Lips thinning at her further refusal he frowned at her remarks on Jin-ae.  ”She would be useful to you given her half a chance. A proper lady deserves a maid. I gifted you one with a mind for administration and accounting on top of her housekeeping skills. If you find her lacking then Eulalie or Rochelle would certainly put her to good work.”

What a backfired scheme that had been! Worthy and worthwhile gift twisted into a slap in the face to the both of them. Sure, there was a bit of an ulterior motive. Jin-ae had access to his money, which gave Salome access while saving face after he had denied her direct funds. If his wife became ill, or injured then he wanted someone there to let him know she needed help she would be too stubborn to ask for. It shouldn’t have surprised him that Salome immediately suspected the girl was a prying spy. A fact he knew she wouldn’t have been half as concerned with if there wasn’t something going on. Isidore had not spoken to Jin-ae since dropping her off, and he had no intention of asking what went on when he wasn’t around.

”If it’s privacy you’re worried about, well, I have ways around that too.” He told her with a snap of his fingers that rendered a sight shield tight around his body. Letting it melt away he leaned in as she started to pull free. Hands clinging as she stood. Slumping back against the seat he sighed heavily. Turning a face filled with disappointment up at her. ”I don’t get Winsol gifts.” He said rather stupidly. Too busy pouting to put two and two together. It was true, though. Isidore was a gift giver. Not a gift receiver. When prompted he always asked for donations. There was a widowers funds at the temple, a clinic for the poor, and needy children in the islands’ schools. An actual gift, though? Isidore almost wondered if she was lying to distract him from her exist. It made his eyes narrow slightly. A curious probe darting out at knee height to rifle through the waning stack of gifts on the floor.

Finding nothing he slowed it’s progress and fanned out to look farther through the room. While his body pulled its slack tight so that he could stand in easy grace. Returning the soft press of lips to cheek he reached for her hand but let it drop into his pocket instead. They were saying goodnight. ”I’m sure I’ll be pleased. Thank you.” It felt heavy and formal on his lips even though he had already made up his mind to make his next visit soon. From his cabinet he popped a small satchel of coins. The weight of it in his hand familiar. The curves that pressed into his fingers bringing back the memory of their last parting. Money and webs and hard words to have launched at his heart. ”For the Jewel Web. There’s a bit extra too so you can tip your boat crew.” A few extra coins went a long way to the poor. Maybe tomorrow they could surround themselves with the people they loved since the holiday had been spent in work.

In the house his probe settled in the branches of the Winsol tree. Judging the size and weight of the box it found with Salome’s psychic touch on the wrapping paper. An odd place to put it, and he couldn’t help wondering if she had hoped he wouldn’t find it at all. ”If it’s all the same to you I’ll stay out here while you see yourself out. They’ll remember I’m here if I pass through again.” Then he would have to put on a face other than the one he wore now. And he wasn’t much in the mood for smiling.

Thure Island / Re: On Second Thought
« on: August 17, 2019, 08:41:40 PM »
Mouth twitching between a frown and a grin Isidore gave her concern a gentle, dismissive click of the tongue. Then shrugged the weight of the dilemma off both shoulders at once. All it had taken was Salome’s mouth laying out the point to settled the whole thing in his chest. ”Yes. I admit that I have been churning that same truth around in my head all night. The fact is, I do a lot of dangerous things based on obligation and orders. Why not this one risk- just because it makes someone I care about happy? Just because your having it makes me happy?”

People said often and unremorsefully that he had everything he wanted, that he only did what he wanted. But that wasn’t the truth. His life was a patchwork of cartwheels and bending over backwards to half please all that commanded him while only earning their scorn for falling short of the mark they expected. No matter how much he might drag his feet, pout, lament, start a damned rebellion even… when they called he always came. When they took aim, he was always the first arrow.

Which brought him around to her next point. ”Thure is mine in a way Rosnay will never be. The soil here has tasted my blood. You were safe in my house because you were closest to the people that need me most. People that would protect you in my stead. If for no reason other than that they couldn’t afford to have me in mourning.” Servants, slaves, and even Eulalie. All those that both benefited and suffered his turns of mood. There was a time when he might have been bothered that their loyalty was based on his strength, or money, or reputation. Now he was coming to realize that it was better placed there, in things that were less fickle than the human heart. Love was just unreliable. It couldn’t go hand in hand with loyalty.

”I can serve them without trusting them, and that is all anyone cares about. I was raised to be violence incarnat. People don’t trust me. They admire or fear or compete against me. Trust is a bridge and I’m not a carpenter. ” He told her simply. A slow blink punctuating his belief that the fact should be of no consequence. It was, but not to Salome or anyone other than Isidore. So it was easier to pretend that it was no matter at all. Unless he was screaming about it at Eulalie. The one person he had always hoped would understand. And probably the person that understood the least.

Still. He didn’t sigh or whine. He only leaned in to roll his shoulders at her argument that the safest place for the gift was her cabinet. It was. He couldn’t challenge that argument. Or make her wear it when she did not want to. Pouring his energy into explaining how touching it with her Green would benefit both the jewelry and its master. She seemed interested in that. He wondered if his coming less often played a part. Or if she was trying to quietly ask if that would be less reason for him to visit. ”No I wouldn’t have to come any less if you did that.” He sidestepped, eyes watchful and probes attentive as he tried to guess her mind now that reading it outright was harder.

Not as difficult, however, as thinking of her alone and defenseless. Just the world moontime set them both on a strange sort of edge. Turning from one another like schoolchildren. His hand spread open in his lap. Wishing he could have the answers to the worries he harbored in his heart. But Salome only gave him back the box. Agony striking like a serpent at his chest before it retreated behind the relief of understanding. He took his time setting the necklace just so. Then took his time admiring it in its rightful place. Her breathless made the muscles in his stomach fold in with hunger. Was it the tease of his touch or the drop of power he promised her that did it?

He didn’t waste time figuring it out. Plunging head on he tried compliments and temptation. Testing the waters of their shifting relationship the same way he did the sea. Direct and to the point. Her refusal followed suit. Direct and to the point. No. She had the things he offered. Smaller, less potent and luxurious. But she had gotten them for herself. ”I see.” Smiling down the bitter taste, Isidore turned back to his drink for a moment of composure. Not jealous, never that when the faces of who he should be jealous over were unknown. It was remorse. The only sort that he knew how to feel. Guilt that she had needed to seek those things out without his help. Dejection that she was content not to fall to his minor bribery.

”Tariq is too lazy for squawking.” Isidore laughed, glad for the excuse to gloss over her rebuff. ”He isn’t passed begging cannabis from big brother when he’s given all his away, though. Or trying to lecture me about marriage. Not that he seems in a much sturdier boat.” A slave girl that he had sold everything but his soul to ‘save’. He could have boxed the idiots ears. Why was asking for help or just telling someone what you needed such an impossible thing in Paon? His lips thinned because he knew the answer. It was a weakness. And the island was full of shark with sharp teeth that were ready to bite at any vulnerability.

”And if it were just a short jump on the Wind what would you spend those hours doing instead?” He asked conversationally. The question being half on his lips the only thing that kept them from turning them in towards her kiss. Taking it on the cheek instead he met her hands with his own greedy ones. Holding her there just a little longer while she looked as if all she wanted to do was escape. ”I’m glad.” He was. Even if that joy was marred by the circumstances. It could have been a perfect gift, instead of just the nail in a bridge he had to rebuild.

Tilting his head at her he shook his head in a flash of teeth. ”I’ll manage.” The Ebon-gray had always been both his darkest curse and brightest boon. And Salome knew nothing of the danger he lived his life by. He couldn’t even tell her about his greatest threats, or else they would threaten her too. So they were the secrets that burned his bridges instead. Forcing him to work twice as hard. ”I could take you back, if you wanted. No one here is going to notice I’m gone.” Rochelle, maybe, since she always seemed to know where he was. ”I’d rather, really, a few more minutes with you.” It was Winsol after all and she had almost cared about him once.

Thure Island / Re: On Second Thought
« on: August 07, 2019, 02:03:15 AM »
Shoulders sagging under her words Isidore regretfully agreed. ”Nothing is like it was before.” Nor, his tone implied, would it ever be again. Not for either of them. She had given up on loving him, and he had given up on making her happy. Both would have to tread barefoot over the shards of their broken trust in one another to meet in the middle. He knew that, and held the knowledge close to his heart. A shield to keep him from underestimating the sharpness of Salome’s vengeance or the depth of her disappointment. ”That’s alright though. We don’t have to go back, we can always go forward.”

Find new paths. New places. New ways of being. That was part of being a raider, an adventurer, and a businessman too. None of which Isidore did poorly. Maybe, just maybe, there was hope for them yet. Or none at all. Despite his guard being high and his expectations low he let little compass become the pendulum that might swing in either direction. A stepping stone or an impossible hurdle. The anxiety of waiting to find out leaving a hard stone at the bottom of his stomach.

”I disagree.” He told her with an edge of worry tainted by veiled glee. It was good to have an excuse to subtly hint at how dangerous living alone- away from his sphere of protection- really was. There was no passing up the opportunity. ”You’re the real prize, Salome. If someone wanted to manipulate me, they wouldn’t be looking for keepsakes. They would take you. Which was an impossibility while you lived on Thure. With that no longer the case- well.” Who could say? Did she safeguard her house? Lock her damn doors at night? Tariq had walked right up and found her in the hammock for Darkness’ sake.

She had shrewd sense, though. Mind honing in on the weakest link in the chain. Recommending its severance before it could make them more vulnerable. ”Under normal circumstances, I would agree. If he were an islander, he would be dead already. I couldn’t trust anyone here, though. And killing a mainlander famous for both his work with Dark Jewels and discretion, would raise more questions and pose more risk. He can’t tell anyone anything relevant about me. He’s better than dead, he’s unreachable while still being available if I need such work in future.” If he went around killing the small pool of people he could depend on to do such sensitive work then there would be none left when he needed.

Not that he ever planned to take so much as another chip off his Ebon-Gray. There had been thirteen shards splintered from the face when it was set in his necklace. Twelve speckled the sides of his Sapphire ring. The last stowed away in his cabinet to keep from unbalancing his jewelry. Until it found its purpose in a gift.

”If you prefer.” Some of the wind filling his sails died away. But the seedling hope in his chest dug its tender roots in deeper. Keep it vanished. Keep it. She was not trying to give it back. Just trying to hide it away. Would she take it out when she was lonely to see if he was near or far? Or would it stay there, purposefully forgotten? Looking up from the dance of her fingers across the delicate gold he met her eyes with a measure of surprise. ”It would make the masking shield last longer. Would use up a nice bit of that Green too. It’s less a strain while it’s building back up. Takes less from us. That’s why they recommend draining them during moontimes.” Just the word made his skin prickle. How did she lock her doors then? When she was weakest and most vulnerable?

Tongue tracing his lip he looked away again. Hoping the frazzle of dark energy such thoughts put in his veins went unnoticed. Salome was as likely to turn the attentiveness against him as she was to revel in its being hers. He didn’t know anymore what to anticipate in their dealings. Only that each meeting felt like being put on trial. He was guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty. But she had known that before they were married. It wasn’t fair to condemn his nature and station. Things he hadn’t changed from one month to the next, and couldn’t change now just to have her back.

Which she angled towards him. Isidore too stunned to find the box pressed back into his hand for the words to make sense right away. Mind reeling a mile high before he could blink back to reality. Lungs screaming for air and wild relief washing up his spine. It made his hands tingle with a strange numbness. Sliding closer he breathed across her shoulders. Fingertips brushing her neck as he pinned a few loose curls up out of the way. Careful as he laid the chain straight on her collarbones before he swept it back to clasp at the very base of her neck. Stroking the spot with his thumb he hummed, ”Next lesson, I’ll teach you how to tap into it. In case of an emergency.” A one shot shield that could protect her for either a long time, or through a very strong attack. Useful either way. The shard would take longer to replenish afterward, but he doubted she would be using it very often anyway.

Even if she took it out every time she was lonely. Rumor held that Isidore was not the only ‘scholar’ giving his wife lessons.

”Beautiful as ever. You look as lovely with it on as I imagined.” He told her softly. It was only a half lie. He had imagined her with much less clothes on. And by much less he meant none. The necklace, though, sat precisely where he had planned. Even with her beating heart. ”You could come upstairs. See for yourself.” Into their room. Unchanged since her leaving. Even the long discarded paint tiles sat patiently awaiting her return. Salvaged from the trash bin, but never touched again. Not since he had told her about Tait. Another small disappointment in his life that he couldn’t speak about. It was a good thing he had a few good alternatives to feelings his feelings. ”There are cigarettes up there.” He tempted, smile roguish as he peered towards the house but didn’t find the man he was looking for. ”Like the one my brother gave you.”

Thure Island / Re: On Second Thought
« on: August 05, 2019, 04:33:04 PM »
A mien of disappointment permeated the air around Salome as she took his arm. Isidore looked hard against the fogged glass of her psyche for hints. Was she upset he had asked her over, or upset that there had been no gift yet? Both, he decided, since it was unlikely to be neither. There was no sincerity in her polite replies. No spark of naughty laughter left in the dark eyes that had tickled his spine not so very long ago. It tore him in two. Half wishing that walking away would make her whole again, and the other half wishing he could pick her up and shake her until the screaming turned back into laughter.

None of those things would work, he knew. Tempting as they might be. All he could do was keep on the path of slow healing. Mending the bridges between them board by board until there was enough to cross safely. Another risk the necklace prickled at. What if it was too much? The gift, the responsibility, the likely rejection? He could be ruining the small headway he had made in getting her here tonight. Settling on the settee he made the attempt anyway. Picking his words the same way he picked his raiders- by the least likely to stab him in the back if they were the wrong choice. They left something hanging in the air though. And Salome latched to the weight of it.

”Isn’t really the sort of gift I would give most people. If it’s really something you are even going to want.” He answered too quickly. Voice charged with an undercurrent of his mixed emotions. Strained by biting need for her to prove him wrong and love the gift. And crackling with the bitterness that he should have to want his own wife to want a reminder of him. He felt her small movements as she accepted the box. Glass to his lips he pretended to sip but held his breath instead. Reading her with the subtlest of probes instead of his eyes. There were too many possibilities in an expression. You could lie with your words and your face. It was impossible to lie  with an emotion.

There was a long silence as the hinge creaked open. Necklace exposed. She was overwhelmingly unimpressed. ”You’re welcome.” He answered reflexively. Eyes drawn towards the curls in her hair and the shadow they left on her cheekbone. Gaze carefully directed down to the locket. He watched her nimble fingers flick the piece open. Probes gripped hard he followed the reaction he felt up to her face. There was no discrepancy between the surprise his eyes and probes both read. It felt like someone sucked all the air out of his lungs. A thousand moments forced into a few swift seconds. Surprise was not acceptance, gratitude, or rejection. It was just a state of being while you caught your bearing. Which Isidore wanted very much to do, but could not. Not until he knew what she thought.

”Yes.” He admitted to the double edged sword of a question. Licking his lips with a suddenly dry tongue he pulled his attention back down to his hands. They had latched together, fingers woven tight until his knuckles went pale. A rock of power that rested in the space made by his parted knees. ”When it was made you were living at home. You were hurting. I wanted to show you that my love wasn’t lessened by the change in our dynamics. I wanted you to have something I wouldn’t trust anyone else in the world to have.”

She didn’t say no to the necklace. Just to the offer to shower her in more gifts, or gifts more suited to ease and luxury. He didn’t know if it was more troubling or less. It was definitely more confusing. Back straightening he pressed his fingertips to the knots in his stomach. The fabric of his shirt clinging in their wake. Face tipping towards her he nodded at the next question too. ”You were at home before, so I knew you were safe even when I was gone. Having it was such a small risk to you then. That isn’t true anymore- and I’m afraid to put a target on you. But… it’s a piece of me. In a very literal sense. It would hurt me for you not to want it.” Even if the wanting was out of greed. Or to have some part of him to hold for blackmail. Those were games that Eulalie had honed him to participate in. They promised a future between them even if it wasn’t the one he had pictured.

”You, the jeweler, and I are the only people that know. If you do want to keep it then a masking shield would keep the Jewel shard hidden.” That would keep her safe when she went back to her beach house. And give him more reason to visit. Reforming the shield every few weeks to keep it strong. ”I’ll come around between craft lesson to freshen it up. You can syphone some of your Green into it too. It’s good practice for learning to be precise with it.” It would keep her from starving to death too.

Thure Island / On Second Thought
« on: August 03, 2019, 01:27:35 AM »
Fingers twitching the lid shut Isidore sighed at the padded giftbox before he tucked it back into his pocket. Half the morning had been wasted doing the same. Then bits and pieces of the afternoon as he made his holiday rounds. Box stared at pensively before he snapped it shut. Over and over again. He was not usually an indecisive man, which made his hesitation all the more frustrating. Was it more foolish to give the gift or to pretend it didn’t exist? After the risk of sharing a Jewel shard, and the expensive of having the necklace crafted he couldn’t justify not giving her the present. Hell it was Winsol for Darkness’ sake. He had to give his wife something. Yet. Still. But. There was a nagging voice- one that sounded very much like his mother- in the back of his head. Ready every time he was determined to pull Salome aside. Eager to convince him that it was a trifling trinket likely to get them into trouble rather than enchant or enamor her.

Maybe it would. Maybe she would hate it, or find some way to turn it into an insult. She was so damned good at being bitter.

The promise to come to Winsol at their home had not been abandoned, however. And all the gifts had been dolled out. Marks for the slaves and two days free from work. More personal gifts for the long time servants. A kitchen full of flowers for the housekeeper. The Jewel Web for Tariq and his woman. A fine weaving frame for his mother’s new hobby. Dresses for Tait. Rare silks and a hand carved desk for Eulalie. There was only Salome left. Only Salome, and he had nothing except the necklace to give. Unless he toured her through the warehouse to pick as she chose. Nothing there was as personal as this, though, and Isidore suspected that was the root of his dilemma. He had never given anything quite so personal to anyone.

Long body taking the shape of the doorway out to the terrace he watched the merrymaking in the parlor. Laughter in the center where a long table delighted family and friends with sweets and wine. Dinnerware cleared away when the meal was done. Dessert served in the form of pastries and candies that were easy to steal away to dark corners with. That was where his brother hid, turned into a human shield by his woman’s blossoming pregnancy. Hovering at her arm and making talk with the servants rather than the guests. Isidore didn’t mind, or care really, except to shoot smirking envy at their subtle joy each time Tariq’s hand found the roundness that marked the growing child at her center.

Weaving his Sapphire through the small collection of bodies he found the one he sought. A gentle probe leading her attention to where he stood across the room. He thought she was trying to avoid her mother, who was looking disgustingly bossomly with his own. With a curl of his finger he beckoned her to join him out on the wide balcony of the second floor. No one else had made their way outside yet. The sunset had thrown a harsh glare over the water, but it was fading now. And Isidore’s Sapphire more than enough to throw up a gauzy shield to keep it from blinding them. ”Enjoying the holiday?” He asked, offering her his arm at the doorway. His clothes were new, pressed and airy for the warmth of a humid evening. A striking silver and red that matched the traditional holiday decorations. ”I’m glad you decided to come.”

Weighing his words he stopped them at a chaise that was tucked against the balcony railing. Before they had even sat down a witch swept out with a tray of drinks. A small table to hold  them materializing from some corner of the space. She didn’t say a word or stay beyond Isidore’s one worded thanks. Offering one of the chilled wine tumblers to Salome he fondled the box in his pocket with the other hand. ”I had a gift made for you, a while ago. Before you… made your Offering.” He started, fingers tracing the leather bound box as he did. Eyes on his knees he tried to keep from pursing his lips or wrinkling his brow while he explained. ”At the time it seemed like a good idea. I want to give it to you now, if you’ll have it. I can take you down to the warehouse after, you can have anything you like out of there too, since this isn’t really-”

Much. But it was. It was just a necklace. In a dark green box with gold embellishment and satin lining. A locket, the size of a large coin, delicately on a fine golden chain. Slipping it from his pocket to her hand he brushed his thumb across his nose. Turning to sip slowly from one of the drinks rather than watch her open the gift. There was no space to set a picture. On opening the locket became a compass that glowed white around the dark letters that marked the cardinal directions. A tiny fleck of Ebon-gray sat on the hand of the compass. Which did not point north. Instead spinning to point judgmentally at Isidore as he avoided her eyes. ”The glow fades the farther away I get. I’m sorry, it seems silly now. You don’t even have to take it,” His Ebon-gray. Just a sliver, a speck, but enough to track him down. Maybe enough make him vulnerable. Rubbing the back of his head to keep from snatching it back out of her hands he nodded over the railing to the building next door. ”There’s plenty of silks in there. A fine Dhemalense carpet too. Or you can just order something from the jeweler or the tailor or whatever. Tell them to put it on my tab.”


Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 29, 2019, 05:08:05 PM »
”There are still things I would rather die than do.” He told her sharply. Brief daydreams of reconciliation popped in a few short words. Not just a monster, one with no integrity. ”Besides, Eulalie isn’t stupid. She would have had me simply kill the girl. No mess, no fuss, no risk.” People were too short sighted and gossip hungry to think things through. Why raise a thousand questions when there could have been only one with a simple answer? Self disgust soured his expression. A look that returned as his promises to do whatever it took to make her content became another argument.

One step forward, two steps back. Salome was a dance that Isidore had vowed to keep pace with. Vowed in front of nearly everyone he knew and dozens that he did not know. ”Does it matter what I do? Everything is always the opposite of what you want. Even when I’m trying to do exactly what you ask.” When she had all of his attention she used it to punish him for all the moments she could not have it to herself. Crying that he was too distant then pushing him away at every turn.

He could feel her doing the same thing at that very moment. Closing off against his touch. Ugly words to shield her tender feelings. ”In case I forgot? You’re the one that walked out.” Hand falling back to his side he relived the first few days of her leaving. Worry broken up by hurt as the realization that she was not coming back set in. Days stretching to weeks without contact. Distance between them fed by pain instead of healed by time. Too late now to try anything other than giving her space and freedom. That had been what she yelled at him for, the lesson he was supposed to learn by her leaving. Her life, her Jewel to get when she pleased, she would do as she wanted no matter how he felt about any of it.

Stepping back from her slapping hand he put them both back into his pockets again. Defeat a subtle slump in his shoulders and tension along his brow. He had gone into marriage expecting nothing. Been fooled by Salome’s exuberance. All the acceptance he had thought found in her warm embrace a lie. Fitting, he supposed, since that was another accusation she wanted him to bow under. What choice did I have? I tried to find middle ground, to talk things out. There was never any compromise with you! If you can’t have your way then you’re completely unhappy.”

Taking a breath he shook his head, ”Which is what I included you in. Since it seems to have been beneath your notice. My happiness. My thoughts. My dreams for the future. When and where I chose to spend the handful of free hours I managed to work into a day.” For what? The only satisfaction either had found involved his spear. Rumor held she was all full up on spears these days. Any other husband would have wanted to raze the island. Isidore could. Chose to stay back instead. Let her find herself or whatever the fuck it was she was doing out here. Other than starving to death. Agreeing to let him come around  to ‘try’. A promise he would have to hold himself too now even as he saw with fresh perspective that she would never really love him. Or want him. She wanted the bits and pieces that brought her fortune and glory. Running from the hard parts of loving him.

At least she had made an attempt. That was more than he got from most people. The fire in their words died out. End of the visit near enough to cut his heart on. Wife trembling in the doorway as the mood deescalated. ”You don’t know the half of it.” He said bitterly. Babies. He could have made a thousand but he was careful. Never planted potent seed where it might root a place he did not wish it would root. Never risked binding himself to women that did not deserve the right to give him children. Voice bitter he shook his head. ”You wove a web for a eunuch’s son today. Yet here I am with two wives and a silent house.”

Tipping his face up to the sun he nodded at her dismissal. ”Remember what I said about eating more meat. Poultry and fish for muscle. Pork and veal for padding. Little meals between the small ones.” Maybe in a week he would try visiting again. Give her a few ways to practice with her craft so the Green could be a tool instead of a leech. ”Before then. You said I could try.” He reminded before turning to walk down the garden path and catch the Wind home. Smoke blurring his vision so that he didn’t have to stare at his walls.

Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 28, 2019, 07:52:36 PM »
Shutting his eyes slowly Isidore tried to breath calm into his body. Eulalie and Vrai and the spare did it all the time. All he tasted was air that bristled with Nazaire temper. Salome, for all she had given up on him, was Nazaire down to the bone. Know it or not. Everything was his fault- and it was- but she wanted him to be sorry for the way he lived, the way he was. Things that had not changed between their brief courtship and marriage. If she wanted him to be sorry for that then they had been doomed before they started. ”Of course I do silent fine. I have to. No matter who I’m with there’s half of me I have to hide. I have to suck it up and shut up every single day. When I’ve a hard day I can’t tell anyone what happened, I’m not allowed to be hurt or emotional, when I hear an ugly thing about me in the streets I can’t blemish the raider persona by correcting it, when my wife looks me in the eye to ask if I broke a woman and fathered her rape-child I’ve been ordered take the blame.”

Of course this was all his fault! He said too much, demanded too much, gave too little, didn’t say enough. No matter what he did he was failing the relationships he wanted most to succeed. Every word he said, she twisted it until it was so sharp she could impale herself on it while he watched in horror. His offer to make home whatever she wanted it to be broken over the rocks of her laughter. ”That’s not what I said.” He told her breathlessly. Air caught in a pocket of his lungs and throat he was sure had not existed before. Hard lumps that pounded with his pulse. ”No one has to be a puppet, you don’t have to pretend.”

He would find a way to be, or make her believe he was, whatever she wanted. But he could see it in her face. The rejection waiting on her tip of her tongue before he had even answered her accusations. Face tipping deeper into her hair he grimaced against the shake of her head. Numbness of emotion spreading out into his limbs. Hands and feet heavy, limbs tingling at their joints. Eyes far away while she closed him back up in his shirt. Which felt too tight when it clung to the opium induced sweat along his skin. ”I am you husband.”

Just not good at it apparently. Thumb rubbing over the impression his button had caused he blinked salt from his eyes before it could collect along their rims. Forcing it down through his nose with a hard swallow. A thousand hurts between them that he would never mend. A litany of reasons on Salome’s lips for not coming back- but at least she called it home. That was all the spark of hope in his chest needed to stay alive. ”What do you think would happen if I didn’t answer when Mother Priestess calls? If I didn’t keep the secrets she told me to keep? What do you think the punishment would be for staying back to stay with you, or telling you what she would kill you for knowing? I’ve always put you first, sometimes that just means putting other people first so that you can be safe. I guess being included and appreciated was what I expected from you, I shouldn’t have assumed that would be all you needed too.”

Perhaps Salome was just as spoiled, greedy, and petty as he had always thought. This was something she had to do without him. Wanted to do without him. He couldn’t really understand, try as he might, because even the things he did purely for his own pleasure were for the benefit of other people. To make the life he trudged through for them more bearable. ”I will then. And you can come home for Winsol. For the day at the very least. I’ll pay you even if you want- Tariq’s woman is having a baby. An uncle can gift a web.” Flashing her his best smile he offered a weak, ”Eleven gold marks.”

Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 27, 2019, 01:50:15 PM »
Instinct called his fingers to stroke over Salome’s nervous ones. ”I do.” Mouth parting he had to stop himself from telling the story. The more she knew, the more she was in danger. Shoulders slumping he realized the details would only make her hate him more anyway. He could never have imagined what happened to Georgette was even possible. A freak accident if ever he had seen one. Or maybe he was just terrible at imagining up consequences. Because he had surely never imagined Salome would turn down money- not even out of spite. Yet here they were. Hissing over a bag of coins.

After his pressing she gave in. Money grudgingly accepted, which laid the hackles of his temper back down. Breathing through his nose he pulled on his power, ready to throw them into the trip back to Rosnay when she told him what he had been hoping to hear. ”Good. Then I don’t have to come back here.” Finances in place to see them through, a healer on retainer. The eunuch would handle the rest when the old woman wasn’t well enough. Isidore hated the aura around the place. And he was glad to put them at the back of his mind.

Salome on the fore once more. She usually was these days. Not that she had wandered far from his thoughts since she shot him that first shy smirk. His. They had agreed. Or so he thought. Pretty, greedy little wife unprepared for life with or the love of a warlord prince. Shields lax he chucked them onto the Wind to silence his mind. The concentration needed to arrive safely a good distraction from the detached sensation he had with his body.

He was not sorry for the abruptness either. Not when it made Salome cling to him for balance while she caught her balance. And her stomach. A stifled belch working in her throat and the color drained from her face. When she got her feet back under herself he tried to let her go. Since gone was what she wanted. But his hands and mouth had other plans. Clinging with soft words that he had to mask behind hard ones. Angry or not Salome was cunning. His mother more cunning. Eulalie ten times as much. They would all lap it up and turn it into a weapon.

So he scolded instead. Eye flinching as she covered herself as if he had stripped her rather than given advice rudely. Turning on his heel to face her again he flashed his teeth in a pained smile that stretched his lips too far across his teeth. ”How? How do I stop looking? Stop caring? Tell me and I’ll do it. Tell me how you just walk away without a word because my life would be a lot easier if I could.” Fingers prodding at the center of his chest again he spoke with fluid gestures of his hands and eyebrows drawn so tight together they met over the bridge of his nose. Salome’s fussing at the door seemingly drowned out by his tirade.

Deflating he stepped forward to block the blow from the door with his forearm. At nearly a foot taller he could bend his head over hers and skim his lips over her curls without touching her body. ”Come home,” His voice lilted, but he would never call it begging. Imploring maybe, for her own good of course. ”come home and I’ll show you how to use it and how to feed it. I can't stop being what I am and I can't promise to give you everything you hoped for but I can pretend to be whatever way you want. I can even make you believe it if you need me to.” Nothing had changed and there was so little that could be changed. Life overfilled with obligations he had agreed on before ever knowing Salome with her spirit and temper and daydreams of greatness. There was only so much left over. He couldn’t blame her for needing more than secrets and a warm body. But that didn't stop him from wanting. And he was good at putting on a show, good at Compulsion too; he could fake what needed faking until she was happy. "Tell me what you need, let me try at least.

Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 26, 2019, 06:30:18 PM »
Craft snuffed the heat from the pipe so that Isidore could vanish it to his cabinet. Fingers going seamlessly from the pipe’s neck to his own. Tracing the skin where his open collar brushed at budding stubble. With a slow blink he looked at Salome from head to foot. She was one to talk. ”Since the third or fourth time I went to the mainland.” Sixteen? Seventeen? He couldn’t remember the pointless details anymore. He remembered the feeling the first time sharply, though.

Nothing like now. His Ebon-gray had forced him to go to much greater lengths for the same euphoria as that first hit. A dab on his tongue from the lips of a whore. Mind opening to a sense of relief he hadn’t even known existed before that moment. A trick of his mind that he had been trying to catch one more time for years. This high, it was a shadow of that feeling. Not even a shadow. The blurry edges of the thing that made the shadow. Unseen lines.

Salome took his hand to trudge through the sand a safe distance from the house before reaching to the Winds. Her body slowed by his words until she was shaking his arm. ”Sure. Georgie hasn’t been keeping it a secret. Just no one believes her.” His fingers held hers greedily as she clung. More shocking than her accusation was the coiling desperation those clinging fingers rose in his chest. Sick with himself he pulled her back to walking. Purposefully ignoring all the emotions that roiled passed her barriers as the information sank in.

”I’ve more.” He mumbled, itching to get home to finish the high before it fully faded. His lips felt heavy and his mind pleasantly empty. Thoughts dashing across as she spoke but not lingering. Face tipping away from her traveling eyes he distracted them both with the satchel of marks. Gold, as he had promised, with two or three extra thrown in because he really had expected her to haggle.

He had not expected her to scale his soul or refuse the reward after doing the work. Eyebrows lifting he listened to her complaints. Dragging his gaze down her body while he did. Thinking about her Jewels. And wondering about the baby’s Jewels. Did it look like it’s father? Would people figure it out? Would they blame Vrai, or would they do as Eulie did and lay all the blame on Isidore? Licking his lips he gave an unsteady laugh at her complaints. ”You’re ridiculous. Take the fucking marks, Salome, they’ve got nothing to do with the father. I offered to support them financially, so I bought the baby a Jewel Web. You saw the state of that girl. If the baby was going to be a floater I needed to know so I could make arrangements to buy it and there was not way Eulalie would let me have a bargain when she could wring me dry.” Jewel inadequate children sold off for the benefit of the temple. Not the family. 

Pressing the marks between their palms he gave her a sharp look. No. He was not ready. He could not be ready for any of these women that pulled him in a thousand directions. Sighing he wrapped them in shields and tossed them along the Red Wind until they were at her front door again. Hand hanging onto hers a second longer. ”I am sorry, Salome, that you couldn’t have everything you wanted from me.” Head tilting his tone changed. Sharper and colder. Face stitching together in annoyance, ”And stop wearing your Green when you’re not using it, you’re going to kill yourself. More meat and bread, less fruit or whatever the hell you’re eating. It isn’t enough, I can see your ribs.”

Scolding done he turned to leave. A lump in his chest right in the spot where his emotions used to come from. He wouldn't call it a heart. Monsters didn't have those.

Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 26, 2019, 02:47:34 AM »

The accusation hurt too much for the addendum to sting. It was frightening. To be cut so deeply he couldn’t find reaction. Anger didn’t rise in his chest or guilt in his stomach. Nothing. He felt nothing. As if he had been severed from his own existence. ”I see.” Finally. For once. Isidore understood. What he was, what he wanted to be, neither would ever matter. He could not outrun the sum of other people’s expectations.

And his own wife, who he had lead through that vulnerable moment thought him capable of shattering a virgin.

All Isidore could do was blink at Salome. Gutted so thoroughly he felt the words rattling around in his empty chest and stomach. No anger. No denial. No offense. Nothing rose at the salt she poured into the wound. Not on accident. He felt frighteningly calm. Severed from his own emotions which were a storm tide beating on a shore he couldn’t reach. Washing away the hopes he had clung to. Not just for his relationship with his wife, but with everyone he knew. ”I see.” He said finally. Voice a whisper before he decided it was not safe for him to be in the house.

And he did see. Finally for the first time. Existence reframed by this seemingly small revelation. None of the good points mattered. Generosity, kindness, understanding, compassion. At the end of the day he was Isidore Nazaire, a violent raider who murdered and pillaged on the orders of the lady they adored. His slaves were well cared for, but they were slaves. Who cared how many schools he funded with his blood money? He was a warlord prince, capable of everyone’s darkest nightmares.

While Salome went to the house to work he stewed on the words. Not on accident. It shouldn’t have shocked him, that Salome thought him capable of such actual evil. But it did. It shocked him to his very core because he had been stupid enough to let himself grow an affection for her. A gift from Eulalie. Was that not all it should have taken for him to question any feelings that blossomed? He had wanted so badly…

Finger sparking a fire to life he lit bowl of a small black pipe. It looked more like a strange musical instrument than something to smoke from. The brown gum he was burning off was not tobacco, though, so there was nothing normal about the scene at all. Least of all the man himself. Opening his button down shirt he sat with his shoes off under a tall palm tree. Loafers full of sand from the breeze and eyes going crossed when he took a long drag from the mouthpiece. It smelled like burning incense, the smoke trail long and white as it poured from his nose. When Salome finally came out he took one last hit from the pipe. This time he did not feel more alive. Just less concerned with- well everything.

”The boy will tell the father.” He told her quietly, holding out his hand for her to take. ”I’ll take you back so you can do your shopping and I can go home to stare at my own walls.” It wasn’t fair. He didn’t even feel bitter at being so horribly accused. Something was very wrong inside of him though. Something didn’t fit the way it had before. Closing his eyes he pushed the thoughts back down. It didn’t matter. He didn’t want to be sad, and there was no one to pity him anyway. ”Your marks,” A satin satchel with the ten pieces of gold appeared in his free hand, held out for her to take. Eyes tracing her throat and wondering that she had removed both of her Jewels after all that fuss over his complimenting one.

Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 25, 2019, 07:13:41 PM »
”Should I be surprised?” Isidore’s eyebrows lifted high. ”Perhaps you’re projecting. I was only complimenting my wife.” He told her calmly, the hands tucked in his pockets pressing into fists. If he was surprised it was not his fault. Why wear a Jewel that she wasn’t using? One that was eating her alive by the looks of her cheekbones. Pert breasts laying flat over hollow ribs. He could have helped her if she were home. Stopped it from sapping her dry while she learned to control the damn thing.

But if he knew how to get her to come home none of this would have been necessary. ”So I’m not allowed to be curious about the place my wife chooses over the home I provide?” Challenge turned his voice low and his eyebrows too. Was she really going to pick a fight? Jin-ae was one of the brightest people he had ever met. So willing to learn. He would have been happy to keep her to himself, to see how far the willingness to please brought them. ”If I wanted her do you think for a minute I wouldn’t have her? She’s a well of talent that I gifted you as a peace offering.”

Temper rattled Isidore tried to swallow it down. Keep hold of the reins. It had been a very long and trying year. The next, he hoped, would be better. There was a backup plan already in place, in case she didn’t want to see him. A reason to force time together. One step at a time, just as he had planned it out on the way there. Focus turned back to the present he tempted her with work instead. Ready to pay ten times what a Jewel Web was worth to have it from Salome’s hand. After a second to hide her surprise she agreed.

She had always been greedy. And Isidore had always been willing to pay for what he wanted. Including his own wife’s time. He wouldn’t be the center of her attention for those hours, but they would be hours while he was near. Hours they might chat through. Hours where he would know where she was and that she was safe. Smiling at her he  tossed a laugh over his shoulder towards the road. ”You should have haggled, I would have given more.”

With a nod gave the answer she should have expected. ”Right now.” His arm moved from his pocket to spread out as if he would wrap her up and haul her away right then. Of course Salome wasn’t carrying her work supplies. Sucking his lips he nodded his head. Careful not to look anywhere but at Salome as he followed her into the house. Thankfully a quick probe told him that Jin-ae was not inside. They were alone. In a house quiet except for the small noises of Salome gathering what needed gathered and changing her dress. That and his appreciative sighs for her nude body.

It worried him to the core. All the wholesome padding he had gripped around her hips and strong thighs gone. Leaving taut muscle over bone in its wake. She was still beautiful. Still fragrant too. Leaning against a wall he watched without shame. Then opened the door to let her out when she was finished. Hands clasped together, then bodies pulled close as he reached for the Sapphire Wind. Turning an afternoon’s boat ride into a few awkward moments of clinging. They were quiet on the journey. Minds both busy working.

Salome spoke first. About the weather. Looking up at the scattered clouds he shrugged. ”Wind blows from the west when it’s not stormy. So there’s just more air hitting here than there.” He offered up as an explanation. Hand strong on her shoulder while she regained her equilibrium. ”Are you alright?” He asked watching her for imbalance as she peeled away from his hold.

They both looked towards the house. A baby’s wailing crossing the short distance. Soothing sounds from Georgette’s eunuch promising that a fresh diaper was on the way. Isidore opened his mouth to speak, some arbitrary attempt to keep the conversation going. Instead he found himself gaping Salome. All the pieces of his heart shattering to powder in a single question. ”I-” Didn’t know what to say. Yes. He had caused it without meaning to. Head shaking in disbelief he admitted, ”I can’t believe you think I would ever. I mean, I knew you were angry at me but this? Even if I had done it on accident you really think so lowly of me as to wonder if I would come here and force my presence on her afterward?”

It was shocking to hear. Even if he knew most of Paon thought he was a beautiful monster. Rubbing his lips with a palm he gave her his shoulder. ”I’ll be out here when you’re finished.” He didn’t want to go in anymore. Let them do the thing. Ideas and schemes to convince Salome home for the holiday fell from his head. Or his chest perhaps. Both pounded with a hollowness that he found frightening.

Corlay Island / Re: Nothing Quite Like Momma's Cooking
« on: June 24, 2019, 08:45:29 PM »
”Oh?” Isidore’s answer was cut off by a kiss. Nipping at her lip before it escaped he smiled at her teasing grin. Hands lingering on soft curves and tight planes as they roamed. ”If it’s school you want to I promise to be a quick study.” He teased half-heartedly.

Mood even more somber once they were piled into the chair. He liked the soothing weight of having her in his lap. Especially when she fit her fingers through his thick hair. Eyes drifting closed he sighed around the story building in his chest. Fingers dipping into her skin as he admitted his wife was not only making him look the fool- but feel it too. ”What sort of man would I be if I didn’t try to solve my problems on my own first?.” He asked, pulling her close to kiss her cheek.

You didn’t ask one lover for advice with another, anyway. But sometimes a boy had to ask his mother for her perspective as a woman. So far he and Angeline had managed to keep the various facets of their relationships from causing conflict between them. And he was out of ideas. She was sure to inspire a few. ”Honestly, I didn’t think it would get this far. I hoped she would come around when her funds got tight. Then is seemed like she was determined so I figured she needed time. Now… I’m not so sure. I don’t know what to do.”

Describing how the breach in his marriage had come to be was harder to do. Leaning on an elbow he looked his mother over, in a way no son should. Hand curling around her ribs so that he quite nearly touched her breast. ”She left for a lot of reasons, truthfully. She wanted to be my only wife- but I had already brought Tait home. What was I supposed to do? Break all my promises to one woman when I had made none to the other? Eulalie ordered me not to speak of it until after the wedding. Salome never asked if I had, or intended to take any war bride. It upset her when she found out.”

A sentiment he could understand. Jealousy was not ripe in his heart the way it was for many warlord princes. He knew the feeling, nonetheless, and wanted what was his to be only his. When it was not, he forgave, as long as it wasn’t thrown in his face. Ignoring the handful of lovers his wife, mother, and cousin took. ”Then she started to complain that I couldn’t tell her the things I do for Eulie. They had some sort of spat that neither would discuss with me.” slumping he came to the end, ”I came home from a raid and she had gone to have her Offering. It hurt my feelings! I didn't lose my temper, I tried to stay polite… She was angry that I was hurt. It was ridiculous. Next day she left the house and just never came back.”

They had not spoken in months. Only a brief moment together when he had left Jin-ae at the beach house to make sure the money never got too tight for Salome to feed herself. ”It’s infuriating and frustrating. Why do women have to be so difficult? Hm?” He asked, stealing in for another kiss.

Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 24, 2019, 07:34:48 PM »
The direction of Isidore’s body followed Salome as she left the doorway. Back turned to the door itself when it closed. As she brushed by he leaned in so that the fabric of their clothing brushed. Senses tingling with emotions he could not read through her barriers anymore. Glass fogged by a Green she wore but could not wield. It’s power nothing more than a latent impression on her psyche and fingers.

She did not take his arm right away. Some part of Isidore shrank at the minor slight. How could so much trust and desire have turned to dust so fast? Even if it had only been his body, reputation, money, or power she was lusting after! Those things were all still there. Still as affluent as ever. Why was he less for having secrets she must have known someone so close to Mother Priestess would keep. Why was he so easy to hate? A stronger, surer part of Isidore stirred too. Taking to the challenge with a fresh edge of passion. If he could pull a stranger from the mainland and tame her body for his use, then he why not Salome’s heart?

This was his Darkness’ given wife. He could win her back. Somehow, someway. Or else make her regret not loving him enough.

”Was?” Isidore asked with a small grin, eyebrows puckering together. He was offering to come along, not trying to stop her from going. Ome sounded very much like she wanted to dismiss the idea of going. Yet she took his arm. The same resting over his own, but different. All her joy sapped out and his body hard in defense. Hers, and his own. Caste battling with ego. To protect the woman he had taken for his own, and to defend the actions she judged him on so harshly that separation seemed the only solution. Hand tightening on his arm Salome brought them down the steps in a rush. Only to turn on him, making his compliments into insults.

Frowning he looked down at her. Throat working to swallow a sigh. ”I implied nothing remotely of the sort.” This was a bad idea after all. Steeling his heart for more hurts Isidore put away daydreams of an easy reunion. Time had not been what she needed. A fight was. Emotion suppressed instead of expressed. Boiling over on him now that the source of her feelings was present. Fine. He traced a mostly healed split in his lip. They all wanted to fight him. And fuck him. Not a single one wanted to love him.

”Why would I stay here if you’re not?” He raised his arms away from his sides in question. Letting them fall with a heavy thud against his hips. ”I didn’t come to stare at the walls. I came to see you, to try and talking. But here you are running off again.” It was infuriating. Taking a step towards her Isidore breathed down at her wild curls. Her eyes were deep in her sockets. Cheeks going gaunt. She was still not taking care of herself. Perhaps she could not afford to.

Thumb crossing the tip of his nose he sniffed. ”Ten gold marks for a Jewel Web. Mother Priestess’ former apprentice gave birth at the turn of the seasons.”

Rosnay Island / Re: Heartless
« on: June 24, 2019, 12:43:56 AM »
Change did not frighten Isidore. It was a balm that let him self-soothe years of pride wounded by rejection. Be too busy to care, his father had told him when he was little. Isidore found it was the only good advise the man had ever given him. Keeping busy let him focus on only the problems he was face to face with. So he lived by no set schedule or routine. Did not make himself predictable in anything other than personality. To do so was to give those that hated him half the puzzle pieces on how to see him dead anyway. So it was unplanned, this short excursion. Decided on at the very last minute before boredom could set in.

The lonesomeness he was used to already.

Why not? It would be fun to tease Vrai with the web, since no one in the cottage had refused his planning one to be made. Why not Salome to weave it? He had given her time and space as others had counseled. If she had not heard his flat excuses to save face then she had truly become a recluse. Otherwise she had and then chose not to take any great efforts to contradict his claims. That meant something either way. She needed pulling out of her little beach hut for fresh air and uplifting- or she might be amenable to seeing him. Of course, that hardly mattered, he came prepared with an excuse anyway.

Breathing deeply through his nose Isidore rapped on the door. It felt like a very ridiculous thing to do. There was little chance she had not felt his presence soon after he landed from the Summer-sky Wind. And he cast a look around as if he were worried someone would see. Knocking could be excused as an attempt to surprise her, but what would he say if she reacted badly on answering? Thankfully there was no one around.

Doubly thankful that she actually opened the door. Then didn’t shut it in his face. No. She only stood shivering in her sandals. Heavy eyelids giving a small twitch. ”Ome,” He greeted with a smile, as if they had never been apart. There was an ache in his chest and stomach that nearly convinced him this was all a big mistake. Months of silence for her to stand there looking at him expectantly. Not with the same anxious energy she had brimmed with on their first meeting. Or their wedding night. This was tainted energy that had soured along the edges.

”I need a reason to see my wife?” He asked her softly with tipped together brows. Hands in his pockets he looked over her shoulder into the house. Probes subtle on the Ebon-gray to see that Jin-ae was alive and whole inside. It was clean, what portion he glimpsed around the pouf of her hair. Turning a shoulder towards the path he offered her his arm. ”Are you stepping out? I would very much like to come along.”

Nothing in his manner suggested that refusing was a good idea. Isidore had held a building tension in his heart for months. Now it calcified up his spine, making his shoulders too straight and his gestures too sharp. "You look lovely, by the way. Wearing your Green, I notice. I had imagined you'd get it set in gold, though, to compliment your complexion. Not that this doesn't suit." She liked the best of everything. He could have given her that. Eyes turning towards the house he tried another steadying breath.

Corlay Island / Re: Nothing Quite Like Momma's Cooking
« on: June 18, 2019, 07:19:08 PM »
Smoothing his thumbs over her cheeks Isidore held her face between his palms. Sighing down at the face she made. Judgmental brow curved up at him in question. He stroked a thumb over that too. ”You’re not old,” He hissed in the same corrective tone before framing his frequent absences in a better light. One she could bask in rather than squint at in suspicion. He didn’t want her upset, but more importantly he couldn’t afford for her to be upset. It would not bring Angeline down very far to speak of his slave birth and ruin him. Her rise would be impacted but who could say how much or for how long? After all, his father had been tolerated, not respected. People-Eulalie especially- would believe Angeline without blaming her involvement.

Anything to see him down. So he needed his mother’s love. Whatever forms it came in. She was the shield he had hidden behind as a boy, and now she had the same leverage. His most dangerous secret entrusted to her care.

Leaning into her leaning he gave a short, contented sigh as the way her hands sat on his spine. It dampened some of his irritation. For the moment at least. Let him make small talk instead of whine. ”Lessons going well then, I presume?” He flashed a return smile down on her upturned face. As lovely as always. Old woman. He could shake her silly. Even if he was technically plotting to make her a grandmother in a year or less.

”Good,” He crooned at her, guiding them both back to share his favorite of her sitting room chairs. ”What’s wrong with my mood?” He challenged with a sharp smile. Hands gliding down to her hips to pull her onto his thighs. Once she filled his lap he angled his body to recline them both. Tugging her knees open so she would sit with one on either side of his hips. Fingers roaming as he thought, and frowned, and sighed.

”Everyone’s talking about it, I’m sure you’ve already heard.” Pulse on the patterns of society so she could use them to her advantage. People often credited Gregoire for his son’s astute business skills and talent with people. They were wrong. All he’d taught his son was how to be a weapon. ”Salome left and I don’t know what to tell people. Or how to make her come home.” He fumed, holding her tight as a kite string. Tethering him to his control. Because this was the one place he had never had to pretend to be anything he was not. The violence. The sleepy boredom. The arrogant business. All tropes he fed to others out of necessity. Here he could scream his troubles without frightening the person that listened. Then bury those same problems in her bosom just as he had when he was a boy.

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Welcome to Witchlight

We are an AU Black Jewels RPG that is continuously expanding the world lore to truly make it our own. Come join us and play in our sandbox!

Open since 2017, we have 9 unique races, from birds to wolf-shifters. Feel free to drop into our Discord, lurk our wanted ads, and see if Witchlight is the fantasy site you should always have been looking for.

We have an RPG Rating of:



The seasons will change on 4/19.

Recent Topics

Afternoon Snack [cw] by Pella Labeau
[July 11, 2020, 07:07:13 AM]

Thread Completion by dergon
[July 09, 2020, 04:36:12 PM]

Red-eye, Koa by The Darkness
[July 09, 2020, 04:23:37 PM]

Transactions by The Darkness
[July 08, 2020, 05:53:49 PM]

Nissi by The Darkness
[July 08, 2020, 05:52:15 PM]


Guest Friendly Discord
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Wanted Spotlight

The Fellowship
Companions | Open Jewels | Kaeleer

Rumor Mill


Witchlight is loosely based upon the Black Jewels Series by Anne Bishop though it has been adapted and expanded by our members. All lore, characters, and writing belongs to the members. Site graphics & custom codes were created by the staff. A special thanks to Wolf & Katarina for all their help with the planning of Witchlight and the writing of the base lore.

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