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Pasion Pasiva

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About Pasion Pasiva

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    The Black Queen

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  1. Who would have thought that her beloved little halfling fae would come to her rescue? She wasn’t beyond standing up to the stranger that was trying to gain her attention -- ever since the incident at the strip club she had seen to taking better care of her needs. She drank blood daily from a seemingly endless supply that was produced by Winter, and she imagined by extension, from Dominic. She felt stronger and clearer headed, but that did little to change the particular aspects of her current condition. She had to be more careful, less daring, and altogether a more cautious individual -- and not for her own sake. Instinctively, a hand went to rest on her belly under the table. While the other remained captured by the warm and kindly grasp of Eluvie’s small hands. Gabriela smiled -- but the expression was pain filled. She didn’t want to show her disappointment that her quiet prayer and playful call had gone unanswered. Even using his black ribbon as a conduit for communication, which she couldn’t have been certain would work, the devil did not appear. Of course there was a chance it didn’t work -- but that seemed so much less likely than the painful and obvious truth. Roen did not come. And why would he? He’d chased her out of Patia. Why in the world would he answer the call of someone he no longer cared for? The answer was all but clear -- he wouldn’t. She was about to sink into that deep and ugly depression that had been looming over her like a personal rainy cloud. Yes -- she felt the powerful and alluring call of disappointment and hurt. It was so easy to slip into that dark and comfortable space that occupied her heart and made her feel like she was nothing but a void inside. It would have been so easy, but Eluvie sat across from her and her bright and pretty eyes, her expression, which conveyed an abundance of patience and compassion, kept Gabriela from sinking below the surface. “And where have you been, little fae?” She asked, as she swallowed back the tears that had been threatening to form and spill. She gently, but firmly, pulled her hand away from the young girl and dragged it under the table, pulling along with it the black ribbon she had smoothed out and placed before her. Clutching it into a fist, she rested that hand against her belly as well. She was secretly glad to see the halfling. Although they had spoken at length about what had happened a few nights ago -- the revelation of her pregnancy, the long and painful confession of who was the father, and finally the explanation of why she left Patia the way she did -- Gabriela was afraid the little one would leave. And while it was her right to leave, Gabriela couldn’t stand anymore abandonment. But would she ever say as much? It was unlikely, though her frailty was all but obvious.
  2. She lay there on her back, staring at the ceiling of this strange place. She didn’t have the slightest idea where she was, but she knew she was safe -- and for that reason she was grateful. So when he spoke to er she turned her head and regarded him with a more gentle look than someone who had committed the amount of violence he had just committed deserved. He was urging her to drink blood out of a bag, but only after ensuring her that it was lambs blood. A little frown touched her face. “How could you possibly know my dietary preferences?” She had no idea about that special nose of his and it’s uncanny ability to sniff out even the deepest and darkest secrets a body could hide. Still, she didn’t resist the offer and instead busied herself with sitting up as far as she could. Her hurt arm was still throbbing, but the bleeding had stopped the moment he plucked the wayward bullet out of her flesh. She hadn’t lost too much blood, but in her condition she couldn’t afford to lose any. When she was at last sitting up, she took the bag of blood from him and tore into a corner of the neatly sealed plastic. She drank it down greedily, but never took her eyes off the man. “Who are you?” she asked, but only after the pint-sized bag of blood was completely empty. The taste of animal’s blood was awful -- she felt herself rejected in a way she never had before. But the hunger was insistent, and so, devoid of any shame, she asked, “do you have any more?” She waited for the next bag of blood to be produced and again drank down the contents of it in a matter of seconds. Thankfully, was beginning to feel a little more like herself and less like the woozy weakling that had been bullied into a strip-club by a human -- granted, a large and rather muscular human man. “You appeared out of nowhere -- you helped me without question. I can’t begin to understand why you’d risk your life for a complete stranger, but I am so very grateful. I owe you my life.”
  3. She is more voluptuous than I envisioned her.
  4. Traveling across Terrenus had been an eye opening experience. The continent was so large and diverse in fauna, flora, and ever changing landscapes that from day to day she felt like she was moving across a brand new world. Hand in hand with all of this diversity came the great many peoples of the land. Different species, races within those species, magical and unmagical, beautifully ordinary and tragically extraordinary -- but then there was another set of categories she had only ever heard of. Natural and unnatural. It was quite an unpleasant surprise when she found out which of the two types of peoples she fell into. How anyone could consider her unnatural, or anyone else in her family, was gut wrenchingly painful and she had spent a good two hours crying about it on Eluvie’s shoulder, like a small child who had been called ugly. The very idea that her existence went against all that was good, right, and natural in the world felt like one of the worst insults that she had ever been given. It was nothing personal -- just every part of herself that she could not change. But perhaps what made her overly sensitive to the unfair categorization was the unborn child growing inside of her. If she was considered unnatural what would a world like Terrenus ever think of the strange little halfling she was carrying? It wasn’t fair that he or she was labeled such an ugly thing without ever having been asked to be born. And it went against everything that was logical! How could this child even exist if it wasn’t for nature’s blessing? Someway, somehow, nature had seen fit to join her blood with his, and to create from that union something wholly unique. That was beautiful -- not unnatural. But she quickly learned that it didn’t matter what she thought, who she was, or how she behaved or the ideals she had long ago adopted. She was viewed as a scourge to the country of Terrenus, her and the rest of her kind. And even though some semblance of tolerance was preached, it only in theory and hardly ever in practice. It was a sort of -- don’t ask, don’t tell -- kind of thing. Vampires lived in Terrenus, they encountered many of them, but they lived secret lives. She did hear about a singular city that was ruled and populated by vampires, but her travels did not take her in that direction. And then of course there was Patia, a beautifully dark and gloomy city that was ruled by a spade-tailed devil. Surely you couldn’t get much more unnatural than that. However, she knew that Roen and the vampiric leader of Tia were exceptions to the rule and not at all a common or even well-taken or accepted occurrence. It was a sobering experience seeing how vampires were treated, along with the rest of the unsavory peoples that had all been lumped together under one unpleasant banner. And it was a painful lesson in humility, for it wasn’t all that long ago when she had held many of the same views about her own kind. She loathed the gluttony and bloodlust of her peers and distant cousins, and despised their frequent affairs with all that had to do with the macrob. She saw vampires as a whole as dark and ugly creatures, horribly predictable, suffering from terrible fashion sense, and most often than not, afflicted with agonizingly boring personalities. And yet, seeing other people -- non vampire -- people, talk about her own kind in such a disparaging way made her angry. This wasn’t the world she wanted for her son or daughter, and even though her home was back on the gloriously warm and beautiful shores of Orisia, were true tolerance was practiced, she knew that she could no longer keep herself isolated. The world was not as large as she imagined it to be, or rather, as large as she wanted it to be. Her indifference to the plight of what unnaturals suffered here on Terrenus was no longer acceptable. How could she live her life out in the open when she knew that there were others who were forced into secrecy and were at constant risk of violence and even death? Seeing it all first hand had done something profound to her. Perhaps Roen had thought himself kind to hide her from the ugly truths of the country where his dreary little city resided. He spoke very little of politics with her, and she had always just imagined it was because he couldn’t stand her idealism -- but now she had to wonder. Was he trying to protect her, either from the emotional trauma of knowing what nearly everyone in this country thought of her and her kind, or from a more real threat. She couldn’t know, and she didn’t want to guess, because whatever the answer was, the very fact that he had all but shoved her out the gates of his city meant that he no longer cared for her emotional or physical well being. She had to turn her mind away from these thoughts less they undo her resolve. If she grew weak now, if she gave in to the emotional turmoil that came with thinking about the last time they were together -- she would get up and leave. She couldn’t afford to leave -- not without talking to him first. Nervously she reached up and set her fingertips on the edge of the table. She was sitting in a small booth, which was neatly tucked away in one of the dark corners of the bar’s interior. There was a hanging glass lamp that swung ever so gently every time the main door open and shut, which just so happened to be quite frequently as the establishment began to fill up with it’s night patrons. She kept an eye on the lamp and admired the dragonfly design of the delicately cut and fitted glass pieces. Deep and vibrant colors were brought to life by a large yellow bulb of electric light that offered a constant and soothing hum. She had to resist the temptation to reach up and give the lamp a little push. Reluctantly her eyes left the stained glass and turned to the room at large. She peered at the bar and behind it at the man serving drinks, and then to the neatly spaced seats that were all taken up by a variety of people -- men and women. There was a vampire here, somewhere, and even a witch by the herbal-earthy smell that hung in the air, touched with just a lick of weak magic, but mostly the place was filled with humans. “I did the equivalent of sending out a dozen bottled messages to you -- I hope one of them reached Patia,” she said aloud to the empty space across from here. On her travels she had met so many people. Most of them were kind and warm, nearly all of them wanted to help her. They said she looked sad, and when they learned about her pregnancy, because she wasn’t shy about the fact -- they earnestly asked if there was anything they could do. Most of the time, when people offer to help a complete stranger they aren’t really expecting the other person to accept. Spurned by her mounting fear of the unknown (the unknown being the child in her belly) and now her growing concern for the unnatural population of Terrenus, she had cast a wide net with every single offer for help that came her way. To every man or woman who had the thought to offer the deposed Black Queen of Orisia help, she made a single plea: “If you travel near, or around, or within Patia -- try to get a message to the Crimson King. Tell him that Gabriela needs his help.” That was all -- that was it. She didn’t offer more than those few words. Not a place to find her, not a time to meet, and certainly not the reason for her desperation. Most of those who heard and took her strange plea to heart could guess at the importance of the message. It wasn’t hard to figure out what the Crimson King of Patia meant to Gabriela. Being pregnant made everything easier and harder. Her emotions, which she usually kept so neatly tucked against her breast, were now being worn on her sleeves. She visibly grew upset when she spoke of Roen -- her cheeks flushed, her eyes grew moist, but then her gaze became distant as if she were remembering something, and even though it looked like she might cry, her despair did not come from anger. It was a sweet sadness she wore when she asked that her message be delivered. Of course she could have just put an end to all of this and gone back to Patia. But every time she even considered that, and she did consider it quite a few times, she couldn’t help but remember how earnestly Roen had told her that he wanted her gone. No -- Patia felt like burnt and salted land. She couldn’t go back there, not after the way he had dismissed her. But she needed him, and carrying around this precious, tiny life made her pride and ego distant and nearly unrecognizable memories. There was no room to be proud when she had to ensure her security long enough to overthrow Lucis in the most peaceful way possible. She couldn’t sacrifice one of her children for the other. But if she wanted this baby to survive, she needed to get herself back on the Orisian Throne. That was her deal with the Oath Keeper. “I hope you hear me and I hope you come,” she spoke again, and this time it caused a bystander, a man sipping on a tall glass of golden-colored beer, to look at her. He had heard her, a faint whisper of her voice and he had seen her lips move, but there was no one sitting with her. The stranger eyed her up and down, from the crown of her golden head down to her booted feet under the table that were crossed neatly, one knee over the other. He paid particular attention to the shape of her thighs, which were currently being hugged by a pair of tight breeches, and then up to the pinch of her waist, which was only visible because her black blouse was neatly tucked in. He could tell she was petite, and although half of her face was shrouded by shadows, he could also tell that she was very pretty. “Hey,” he said, but he was too far away for her to notice that he was talking to her. Meanwhile, Gabriela had untied and wrapped the black ribbon that adorned her right wrist. She fingered the jeweled piece of fabric for a moment before setting it down on the table and smoothing it from tip to tip until it was stretched out. The light from the lamp, bright and yellow, struck the small rubies that had been neatly sewn into the fabric so that it glittered and sparkled. Fondly, she stroked the ribbon. “I know I need your name to summon you -- but I don’t know it. Not your true name,” she swallowed and tried to keep her voice from breaking. “Roen,” she whispered at last, “Roen -- if you can hear me, I need to speak with you.” She felt a flood of shame cascade over her. This was probably the stupidest thing she had ever done. She couldn’t possibly summon Roen using his sword-turned-hairtie and by miserably whispering his name over and over again. She was ready to get up and go because she felt ridiculous -- and because a small part of her was afraid it had worked and that he would actually show up. And just as she departed this… “Hello.” Gabriela jolted and looked up with big, wide eyes -- golden and beautiful. She looked guilty. It took her a moment to realize the person standing at the side of her table, and effectively boxing her in, was not Roen -- as she had expected -- but rather a man. He was in his forties, his hair was salt and pepper colored, and his eyes were a solid gray-blue. He was handsome in a weathered sort of way. “Hello -- hi,” he repeated. “A pretty girl like you shouldn’t be talking to herself.” “I wasn’t,” she said stupidly. The shame she had felt just moments ago grew exponentially the longer the stranger stared down at her with his semi-drunken eyes. “Can I sit with you?” he asked curiously while pointing across the booth to the empty bench. “I am waiting for someone,” Gabriela answered, but not before plucking the black ribbon off the table and stuffing it down between her thighs. “But thank you…”
  5. Description: Neighboring the Platiado Planes is the Foothill Forest of Orisia. The forest itself is a thick, colorful, almost jungle-like, area. This chunk of land has been the talk of the Brita people for some time now. It's been said that the forest crawls with clans of pygmy people. The Brita people acknowledge that these people could be their ancestors that simply never evolved or revolutionized with the times. It is currently unknown if these people are kind or mean, for they have detached themselves from civilization, as they never leave the Forest. The large forest is easy to get lost in without a guide, for many unknown deaths have occurred here without answer. History: More to come. Climate: The Foothill Forest has been known for its common rains. With a thick canopy from the trees, the inside temperatures and humidity causes a raising in temperature compared to it's outside neighbor. Roughly 85 degrees with 90% humidity. The constant sound of running water is also noted. Travel: With no visible paths trekking through the Foothills can be quite dangerous. Many travelers have been lost to the lush greenery. It is highly recommended to travel with a guide. Places of Interest: 1. Treetop Terrace - The many homes of the pygmy people are found within the high tree tops of the Foothill Forest. These primitive individuals are rather cleaver in disguising and camouflaging their property from any outsiders. It's been said that the pygmy people swing from branch to branch, only to disappear in the high tree tops. 2. The Large Tree - The name has been kept rather simple, because it is undisputed the largest tree in the entire Foothill Forest. Some say that the roots stretch throughout the entire forest, to give birth to the many other trees that keep the Foothill Forest closed in. It is here that many people believe that the art of la'ruta is practiced with the common folk; however, this is only rumored and the true origins of the peoples power are unknown. 3. Swampy River - A swampy grassy river cuts through the Foothill Forest. However, the river itself does little to divide the differences on either side of the Forest. The swampy river is twenty feet deep on average. No aquatic life has been spotted in this empty and silent, almost eerie, river.
  6. I meant to ask if that was the case! I will make corrections. Thanks for featuring me!
  7. Lucis held the white rose with all the tenderness that a newly made father might hold his newly born son. It was delicate and frail, he realized as he examined the white petals that were already bruising from the rough treatment of nearly being sat on and then rescued. He felt that their relationship reflected the poor state in which the rose found itself, and it seemed that she agreed. “And I know that you’re only here to end it all for us, to close up the past event in our lives and move on.” “I could never simply end things or close up the events of our lives -- those things happened, and the things we felt can never be unfelt, nor would I wish them to be unfelt. You made me very happy when I was very unhappy, and for that I owe you so much. Unfortunately, as you’ve already guessed, all of that affection and care simply does not translate to love.” He too stood up and gently set the white rose down. Holding the flower felt too much like mourning, and he didn’t want to feel that way -- not when he was standing so close to the woman whom he had given life to, whom had in turn given life to him. “The love that I have for you is pure and strong, and it will prevent me from holding you back and keeping you here, even though that’s what I wish I could do. You are my friend, one of the very best, and it hurts me deeply to know that you wish to leave. But I understand your reasons, and I won’t stand in your way. You’ve served Orisia better than most, I suppose this is the least that we all owe you -- a chance to go and find your happiness.” He was a massive man. He towered over her, and yet he still managed to look perfectly vulnerable with his sad golden eyes peering down at her. It took everything in him to resist the urge to pull her into his chest and hold her tight until all the hurt and disatisfaction was gone, and she could again be his friend. But he knew better. She had to leave him, and he had to hope that someday she would come back.
  8. “There’s been much on my mind,” he replied calmly, but he was troubled and it was obvious. The brightness of his smile and it’s honesty seemed to diminish as she toyed with the fabric of her dress and he looked away over the perfectly trimmed hedges, the manicured gardens, to sloping hill upon which they sat on the top of, down, down toward the sparkling waters of the great Lake Atitlan. The troubles that assailed him were of a dark variety, and the desire to unburden his soul became nearly unbearable at that moment. Everything he had done seemed justifiable for the greater good, and because he had never even imagined the possibility of feeling this way for anyone. But now here he was, sitting next to a woman he barely knew but who had somehow inspired in him a weakness for confession. “I should hide my face from the sun,” he said suddenly -- bitterly. “A creature such as myself shouldn’t be allowed to bask in it’s glory.” He didn’t look at her. He knew that the dark edge of his voice was going to trouble her, and he felt instantly guilty for souring the mood. He had to rush to salvage this meeting. He couldn’t be sure how much time he had left with her -- how long her patience would last with him, and so he wanted to make every moment count. Again his golden eyes turned to her and took in the sight of her lovely face, her unique and beautiful eyes, and that candy-colored hair that he reached out to touch. “You look like a dream,” he whispered, but the words were not a simple compliment. There was a childlike wonder to his voice as he brushed back a strand of her strawberry colored hair. “Like a princess I would have imagined up when I was a little boy, back when I played at knights and dragons -- and all that foolishness.” He stood up and after smoothing his trousers back down over his knees, he extended a hand to her. “Come for a walk with me. These gardens are beautiful when they’re all lit up at night, but it hardly compares to the glory of seeing the multiple blooms in the daylight. We’re lucky to live in such a warm place, we have flowers all year round. Tell me about your home. What’s it like there...Tell me about your family...Tell me about you. My mother knew someone from your lands, a woman whom she always spoke highly of. Did you know her? Are you kindred? I don’t know much about their relationship. My mother had accomplished much by the time I made my way to the island.”
  9. “Magic will be tricky in these parts,” she replied. “Because it was a Magestorm and the power of the High Lords that changed the undead into the flowers, and along with the influence of La’Ruta -- things are a little wonky in there.” She regarded the man with care as he packed up his things. It was a wonder how he seemed to save the last of his odd little stew, as if he beieved they’d be back before sunset and he would have it for supper. Elisa shook her head and turned away. She had been busy preparing the small hankerchiefs they would wear over their mouths and noses. “The apothecaries in the castle were able to figure out a concotion that put up a resistance to the stench of the poppies. Oddly enough it’s just a simple mixture of jasmine oil, dried rosmary, and crushed mint. These pieces of cloth have been soaked in the stuff for days, we just put them on our face and pray they don’t fall off.” She handed him one -- whether he took it or not was his problem. She tied her own around her face and soon looked like a bandin about to commit some robbery. Her nose scrunched up at the strong smell before she turned and began to trek into the forest. “The mixture isn’t foolproof, it will still make you a bit sleepy. You have to push past that.” No sooner had she issued the warning than they came upon a vivid flower bed of crimson poppies. Elisa stopped a good distance away and waited for her companion to catch up. “There they are -- those are the little suckers we’re going to try to avoid, but the closer we get to La Cierra the harder it will become.”
  10. Thank you! One small correction -- La'Ruta has been dormant for 500 years, not a thousand or thousands of years. <3
  11. Pasion Pasiva-Today at 12:27 AM -claps happily- she's very...wary of that dress i'll have you know KING-Today at 12:28 AM Oh, I know. You conveyed that quite well. Pasion Pasiva-Today at 12:28 AM she's like "the fuck? bondage gear..." KING-Today at 12:28 AM Tell her to take up her issue with her author. Pasion Pasiva-Today at 12:28 AM >_> It was my fault! KING-Today at 12:28 AM <_< ^ Pasion Pasiva-Today at 12:28 AM I LIKE MAKING HER UNCOMFORTABLE SHUT YOUR FACE and love me -cries- KING-Today at 12:28 AM LOL. -Shuts face and loves you.- Pasion Pasiva-Today at 12:28 AM don't judge me v_v
  12. The door to the eerily padded VIP room was kicked in, but before she could see anyone, she noticed the dense fog that rushed before any figure. Then of course there was the pain. Turning away from the grisly sight of the bald man being torn limb from limb, she focused on the sharp and hot pain that was radiating from her arm up into her shoulder and down into the very tips of her fingers. Her left arm had been shot, and she could see dark blood, nearly black in color, gushing through the fingers of her right hand, which were tightly clasped over the wound. Dizzy from the sight, the pain, and the sudden aroma of human blood which filled the small space, she finally looked up. He was a shadow of a man and he moved so quickly and so violently that she wasn’t certain if it was reality or a dream. The dense fog that was quickly filling up the crowded space clung to his figure and embraced him like a second skin. Soon there wasn’t much to see, but the sounds of agony -- akin to a wounded animal squealing as the life was torn from it -- filled her with dread. It didn’t matter that that same man was the one who just moments ago took aim at her with a gun and tried to blow her brains out. The sound of torture tormented her just the same. “Witness.. Your torment.. And that of another.” The sound of flesh being rendered from bone, and bone breaking, and sockets being pulled apart was a hundred times worse without the visual. It gave wings to her imagination, which was aided by the colorful screams of the dying man. She felt splatters of blood across her face and tilted away as if to hide from the reality of what was happening not ten feet away from her. All the while she clung to her wounded arm and felt as her flesh tried and tried again to close around the embedded bullet. But the wound refused close when foreign material remained stuck inside, and so blood continued to pour, until the sleeve of her shirt was soaked in it. The smell of her blood cut through everything. It was crisp and clean, sweet and powerful. It was stronger than the disgusting mixture of disease, of filth, and of vice. It was infinitely more attractive than the smell of human blood. “Well well ~ My Dearest.. Come we must go..” She half expected to see Roen -- she hoped to see Roen. It wasn’t the fiend who stood over her, a dark knight in bloodied armor, instead it was a complete stranger. She noted his black skin and frowned with confusion as he reached down to pluck her off the floor. She grimaced as he forced her right hand to let go of her wounded arm so that it could go around his neck. Up they went, and he supported nearly all of her weight, but she left a trail of blood behind. It dripped and dropped from her fingertips as they rushed from the nearly abandoned strip club and out into the street. “I see you are not yourself, nor are you alone in this moment in time..” He knew about the pregnancy. The thought disturbed her deeply, but not enough to seek her freedom. He was taking her away from the site of a vicious crime. She didn’t want any connection to it, regardless of how innocent she was -- she highly doubted anyone would believe her. The baldman had been so viciously killed. “Welcome to my home at Last Chance… I am Marichi.. Ronin guard of a long since deceased Royal family. Who might you be..? And how about some sugar for the savior?” He had set her down and she now stood on her own two feet, though it was a wonder how long it might last. Her knees felt wobbly and the blood that was steadily dripping off her fingers was leaving a small puddle at her side that was growing larger and larger. “I am...Gabriela...DuGrace…” she sighed, and closed her eyes, it was very hard to concentrate. “From Orisia -- I am the Queen.” This information was offered up like a sacrifice. She could only hope that it would mean something. “The bullet,” she explained, tilting her body so that he could better see the wound in her arm, “It’s still inside -- I am losing too much blood.”
  13. It's your turn to post!

  14. For someone who took the flavor and knowledge of her blood with such pleasure, it was a wonder to her how he seemed so utterly devoid of understanding when it came to the intricacies of her body, mind, and soul. He didn’t have to say what he thought -- she felt it just as clearly as he should have felt her the reasons behind her many strange actions. What he considered reckless, selfish, and unbecoming behaviour hardly ever stemmed from a place of true self interest. Even her deep love for the devil had hardly ever taken her down a path where the two might have enjoyed a happily ever after, which really was the biggest evidence to her lack of selflessness. Had she been anyone else, or more precisely, the person he made her out to be, then she and Roen might have been together years ago. She knew he wasn’t the right choice for her, and most certainly he wasn’t the right choice for Orisia, and so she resisted his advances, his constant chasing, his violence when he didn’t get exactly what he wanted. The one thing Raphael should have understood was that Gabriela fought against her own desires with nearly all of her strength, and that was the simple reason why she wasn’t already married to the devil. She would give just about anything for him to understand the depth of her love -- not for Roen, not for herself, not for pleasure, or anything else that might have actually made her pitiful life worth living. It was her love for Orisia, hard as it was to believe, and for her children -- hard as that was to believe -- that kept her strong against the many temptations that came with all that Roen had promised her once upon a time. This was the closest she had ever come to relenting. The child in her womb -- that tiny, delicate flicker of life -- was proof of how close she had come to losing herself to every wicked promise made by the fiend. And oddly enough, it was that same child that saved her from turning right around and crawling back to Patia to beg the devil for his help, for his protection, and for his love. When it was all that she wanted in the loneliest of moments, when she had found out about her pregnancy, she had managed to resist. There was no guarantee that Roen would react the same way that Raphael had. There was no way to guarantee the child’s safety if ever he was seen as a threat to whatever legitimate ties he had with other women, to other children. The devil had all but shoved her out of the Red City when she was at her most vulnerable, what were the chances he wouldn’t outright throttle the life out of her once he learned the truth, I will protect you. And our child... Raphael squeezed her hand, and she looked at him. “I am really not who you think I am,” she said gently -- almost timidly. Her big golden eyes were half lined, and her sweet expression of suffering was hardened as she frowned at him. “I was trying to do the right thing. I’ve only ever tried to do the right thing.” They shared a moment of silence before Raphael crawled into bed with her. She didn’t have to scoot over, there was more than enough room upon the enormous bed even with her lying at the center of it. When he stretched out at her side she turned into his open arm and curled into his body. She had to do this slowly and delicately so as to keep from pulling out the small tube that had been fitted into her vein. “You should rest. By tomorrow night, you’ll be nourished enough for traveling. We leave then.” She blinked at the words, and the certainty behind them. There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to leave with her tomorrow, and for once in her life she settled her trust in that seemingly unshakable certainty. Her eyes closed, as if following the command -- which had been so politely masked as a suggestion. The touches he delivered were welcome, though she still felt strange lying in bed next to him, having human blood pumped into her veins from a sterile IV one crimson drop at a time. She wanted to ask him if he had been following her for long, if he too had fallen for the strange tale of her death, and why he was still bothering with her at all -- but the answers to those questions seemed pointless in light of the sea of affection he was giving her. Could it be real? “I’ll be here when you wake.” “I have people here,” she said quietly, after a long pause during which she had probably dozed off. She woke with a little gasp. “Friends -- they’ve traveled with me this far from Patia, and they were prepared to go even farther. I can’t leave them here without word of what’s happened.” She turned her head up and looked at him. “If I don’t come back tonight they’ll be terribly worried. I have to return to them.” She was already moving to stand, drowsy and weak as she was.