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Pasion Pasiva

--In Cold and Dark Waters

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

[In Continuation of the Spectator Thread]

[center][img]http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/550x/b9/13/73/b9137334fb2ec1955e76dba46f358945.jpg[/img][/center]

Of course she understood that she couldn’t actually do away with his life any more or less than he could with her own. They were after all of very similar origins, with her soul consisting of much the same magnitude just not yet having ascended. Of course her begins were mortal while his and his brothers could very well be the stuff of sheer infinity. Where they may have existed since before time, she had a very distinct moment of creation from which she would expand for eternity. Yes, she wholly understood that she could not truly undo him, and for that she was grateful, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t aware of how fond he was of this body and more importantly of the soul that slept peacefully deep within. And like it or not, admit it or not, she could do away with that soul with one foolish and uncontrolled moment of bloodlust. So, even as he attempted to comfort her it did very little—she still felt miserable, monstrous, and unlovely.

He was moving to stand and she quickly shifted to aid him, rolling up elegantly onto her knees as he took on a sitting position that afforded him the opportunity to spread his wide black wing over her. Suddenly she was trapped beneath and held close to his side. Like it or not there was no escaping the next words that came from his lips—the confession of what he would and could do for her, what he would sacrifice.

In that moment she wondered honestly who, if anyone, would give their life for her—not out of duty but rather out of love? Who would make such a foolish sacrifice for someone who was no better than a bloodthirsty horror? As if he heard her thoughts he reached out and cupped her face, holding her steady so that they could share a stare that made her body weak and uncomfortable as well as exhilarated. They had shared one or two kisses—mostly stolen, quick and full of muffled apologies. And here they were now, nearly nose to nose, with no one watching and no reason not to act on everything that told her deep inside to claim his mouth, to steal his breath, to allow him to taste the sweetness of his own blood as it lingered on her tongue.

But he kept a steady head for both of them and noted that he that medic had in fact recommended that he take a cold bath and then rest, in order to bring down the fever that was still affecting his body. Returning a tired smile she nodded her head, “Indeed—I am glad you were listening. Come, I’ll help you up.” And now that she had stolen his blood yet again she had his strength, and therefore easily drew him up with her strength so that he stood and rested against her side with one of his long arms draped around her small shoulders.

“I won’t have your brothers say that I didn’t take good care of you—I’ll take you to my room and there I can look after you properly.”

For a moment she considered taking the normal rout, knowing that her carriage waited just beyond the arena and would carry them both safely to KingsHill. But she didn’t want to deal with the curious and frightened looks—she didn’t want to expose her frail grasp on self control to the whispers and malicious tongues of those who had seen her thrown over the High Lord, feeding from his throat. Her stomach ached, twisted into knots and her eyes nearly welled up with tears. “Come—we’ll go through the shadows, it’s cool there, it will be good for you.”

Leading him into the corner of the private box, the place where the shadows were thickest they would walk together from one room into another and through a place of chilled emptiness. There was no air to breathe, there was no sense of space or time, it was very simply—empty—blissfully empty. But when they stepped through to their destination, he would find himself in a very different place. It was stark white with a massive dark mahogany tub very near to a magnificently tall wall made entirely of glass that overlooked the snowy tops of a winter forest, and beyond the red and white peaks of the Areder Mountains.

Gabriela was a minimalist at heart—enjoying few pieces of furniture, which were carefully selected for their elegance, their quality, and their overall adherence to the space of the room. This was her little private sanctuary here in Drakiss—her own bathing room.

There was a wrought iron bench with white cushions atop of it, here is where she deposited him, allowing him to sit and ease his dizzy head. “Get undress—I’ll go get some ice, not that you’ll need it with me around.” And she left him, walking away and moving with the slow and circular rhythm that followed her hips[/FONT] Edited by -Hopelessly HopeÆ’ul-

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Sending out a few prayers of thanks that his brothers were not here – had no idea he was here – Zenahriel allowed himself to be helped up and supported by the Queen, though he felt slightly embarrassed by it. It was one of the very few times he actually needed such aid, and he wasn’t used to it; he had always tended to himself, being the one to offer support, not take it. Fortunately, he was not too prideful, and so leaned against the Queen as she led him to one corner of the spectator’s box and into complete darkness.

Zenahriel had never in his life been lazy. He enjoyed walking and loved to fly, and so traveling through the shadows was something he often disregarded, but now he was reminded of how joyous it could be. It was not like walking or flying but gliding through delightfully chill waters, comfortably alone and solitary. It lasted too long and not long enough; he soon found himself in a pleasant, stark white room.

He breathed in appreciation of the room. It was elegant, modernistic in a way, a simple yet graceful interior design he was not used to seeing. Gabriela’s artistic preferences were suddenly made clear by this room, and he found himself admiring her yet again. She herself, it appeared, was not a prideful creature who fancied herself surrounded by riches and nearly unattainable wealth.

He smiled as she left him on the bench, taking the time to orient himself and ease the dizziness sustained from blood loss and to enjoy for just a moment the view of the Areder Mountains. They reminded him of home – a bit too much of home. He sat for a moment, lost in thought as his eyes roamed over the snowy landscape, understanding why the queen might love this lonely, faraway sanctuary.

Finally, taking his time, he carefully removed his clothes, stripping down to his skin. He had never been an entirely warlike being, but it was clear then that he had suffered wounds that were much worse than what Gabriela and Israfel could ever do to him. Long, vicious scars lined his chest and back, with others on his shoulders and legs, as if he had been stabbed innumerable times. But he was well toned, muscled, perfectly so, and without his clothing, his physical perfection was made dreadfully clear.

Feeling a little more modest than usual he stepped into the mahogany tub, wings draped over the sides and waited for the Black Queen’s return, catching himself thinking as he waited of those lovely, swaying hips.

[I]“Don’t get too close to the Queen.”[/I]

[I]As if[/I], he though, smiling.

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

When she returned she was barefoot and her long hair, which fell well below her shapely bottom, had been taken out of its loose braid and left to hang in long elegant waves along her lithe figure. She was still wearing the enticing black dress that was made up of that fine black silken material that hung rather loosely about her form with the exception of the tightly cuffed forearms and wrists. In and of itself, the dress wasn’t much to look at—but what it lacked in design it made up for in allure, for the hem of the dress was rather indiscrete. Just a few short inches away from the apex of where her creamy white thighs met her groin, one false move or one low bend and all would be revealed. But the way Gabriela carried herself made it rather apparent that such an accident wasn’t likely to happen, there was far too much care in her movements, too much elegance in her poise.

Her announcement was made by the sound of a door opening and shutting. If he turned he would see that she was entering with two items cradled against her sides. In one arm was a bucket, which released a musical sound with every step she took—within it more than a hundred ice cubes sat waiting. In the other hand was a black stool, stolen from somewhere within her private rooms beyond.

“Now you better be a good patient,” she said as she came around the large tube, tilting her head and offering him a warm smile—the sort of smile that she didn’t often wear in public. It was tender, and soft, and sort of blurred away the tightly contained elegance and severity of her lovely features. In this light and with the cold of the snow beyond the glass, Gabriela appeared much younger—smaller even. With care she sat down her bucket first and then her stool, and turned to face him once again. She did not hide the way her golden eyes wandered his naked body, from the top of his head down the hard central line of his body—from his throat, his collar, his scar-ridden chest, down to his taught belly, and the most delightful trail of silken black hair that started just below his naval and lead down between his thighs. She admired this a moment longer than the rest of him, but then continued following the length of his thighs, the circle of his knees—his shins, his feet, and his wiggling toes. There, at his toes, she smiled again and turned those smoldering eyes on him.

“Don’t get too comfortable—we have to bring down that fever and the only way to do so is with an ice bath.” With this stated she reached over him, her body leaning somewhat over the tub, rising to the balls of her feet until she reached the silver knobs that controlled the flow of water. Giving him no warning she turned the knob and allowed a torrent of ice cold water to flow from the center faucet directly onto his belly and groin. Expecting a grumpy reaction a small hand was already at the center of his chest waiting to catch him and gently push him back down.

“Relax—Shh,” she leaned back, sat on the stool, her hand still resting on his chest. “You’ll feel much better once you cool off, and then we’ll get you into bed and you can rest.” Unconsciously, her fingers had began to stroke the broad surface of his chest, from nipple to nipple, greedily exploring the uneven texture of his tortured flesh.
[/FONT] Edited by -Hopelessly HopeÆ’ul-

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Turning at the sound of a door creaking and the clinking sound of ice, Zenahriel found himself staring rather indecently at the Queen. By the Gods, she was beautiful, even more so with that tender smile gracing her features, with that long hair loose and hanging, that small figure. All of this, in that silky dress that was nearly erotic in its short length and simplistic design. She appeared so young – indeed, almost child-like as so many seemed to think of her. But Zenahriel knew this was no child but a vampiric queen, his Black Peacock who could be so strong and savage and yet express gentleness and concern in the same breath. It made her all the more attractive, all the more mysterious.

He wanted to know more about her, this austere queen. Much more.

The way she looked at him was the same in which he looked at her. Though he kept his expression carefully blank he was smiling brightly on the inside. He would never – could never – admit that he hoped she found him equally enticing despite the scars on his body. He wondered for a moment if he should have changed his appearance to better please his Queen, but it was too late for that. This was his natural look and, well, it seemed she was satisfied from the way her eyes traced his form.

He jerked in startled shock at the feeling of the icy water hitting his skin, nearly standing only to pushed back down by Gabriela’s hand. A tiny, elegant hand that began to stroke his chest, caressing the skin.

It was almost too much to bear.

Before she could move her hand away his own caught it, pressing it tightly down on his skin, relishing the feel of her touch. His other hand reached up to catch her around the small of her back, pulling her down with nonthreatening force, one wing folding over her, embracing her in shadow. If she could see how perfect she looked in the darkness of that wing, with all the lines chased away and silhouetted in the shafts of escaping light – why, she might scarcely know herself.

His hand curled in her silky black hair as he drew her face down, close to his. His breath soft against her lips, he whispered as though he had some terrible, terrible secret to bestow.

“Gabriela,” he breathed. “You – are beautiful.”

A pause. Then,

“Let me kiss you. Just once.”

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

Pleased that he was behaving so well she meant to turn away and reach for the bucket of ice cubes. But as she turned, looked away, he captured her hand and held it firm against his chest. Where she had so easily ignored the rhythm of his heart it was now beating loud as drums in her ears. She felt it quake, felt how it jolted and relaxed—fast and hard, under the pressure of her icy fingertips. And it caught her off guard, so much so, that when she turned to him in order to request an explanation she fell rather perfectly into the grasp of his well planned embrace. His other hand had lain in waiting and now reached up and snaked around her small form pressing to the center of her back and pulling her down over him.

Unwilling, or perhaps truly incapable, Gabriela offered no resistance for fear of further hurting her already weakened patient. Down she went, up on the tips of her toes, the back of her thighs straining with the stretch as she balanced herself on the edge of the elegant mahogany tube. Nearly chest to chest with him she found her breath had caught somewhere at the base of her throat, where it caused her lungs to strain. The quick rise and fall of her chest caused her black dress to fall forward, to drape open—revealing the firm soft valley of her white breasts and beyond the quaking muscles of her belly that kept her in balanced rather than allowing her to fall face first into his lap.

And there was no escaping it. She felt the shadow of a black wing land atop her, hiding her in darkness, preventing her from leaving. Truth be told, she didn’t want to leave—it was comfortable in this darkness, and sweetly familiar.

When he spoke his words she had finally mustered enough courage to look into his face. Nearly nose to nose with him, she took greater notice of his eyes—of the violent tempest that danced over the surface of his pupils and all across his irises. More so, she noticed the sublime darkness—the exquisite calm that was obviously present under all the torment of emotions.

[I]“Let me kiss you. Just once.”[/I]

The dull throb of her heart quickened. A touch of color, ever so faint, rose to her cheeks and lingered there for only a second or two before being washed away by the pristine moonlight glow. Her gaze, smoldering and flickering from point to point among his face—from his eyes down to his lips and then back up—seemed frightened.

“You’ve kissed me before—do you mean to ask if I want you to kiss me? If I grant you permission to kiss me?” These words were whispered, spoken soft so that the cool brush of her breath played along the sensitive surface of his mouth. “—Yes.”
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There was no sound but her voice, barely audible past the rush of cold water; he gazed at her calmly in silence as she spoke. Yes, he had kissed her before – in lust, in accident, without permission. It had been a mistake, a terrible falter in his normally astute and controlled character. This time was different – yes, he was asking for her explicit permission, hoping deeply for a favorable grant.

“Yes.”

He could have not hoped for a better answer.

Her molten gold eyes stared into the endless black depths of his. They seemed frightened, but there was longing in them too, an indescribable lust that filled his heart with sensations he could scarcely control. But control them he did as he cupped her face in both his hands. His wing pulled her close to him as he closed her eyes and so very gently met her lips with his.

All the emotions simmering deep within his soul were roused at the sensation of her lips against as he kissed her, softly yet passionately. So long suppressed and held in check with the restraint befitting a High Lord, his emotions now surged to the surface of his being, lighting his flesh on fire, his blood turned to steam. His body, at first relaxed, became tense as his hands curved over Gabriela’s slight form, drawing her closer in an intimate embrace.

As if on their own accord his hands drifted up and down her body, feeling with delight her perfectly structured form beneath the folds of that short dress, sliding down the waterfall of her smooth hair, running over her slender shoulders and curved waist. It was clear in his gentle touch and blazing eyes; against all sense and caution, he wanted her. He murmured the truth of this against her lips, for there was no denying it any further, and it was in his voice too, a deep, severe love, of a kind of that she had, perhaps, never experienced before. Edited by The Hummingbird

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

Frightened, yes—but for once—not over what someone meant to do to her but rather for what she felt in her heart she might do to them. Attraction and lust had always been games of power for Gabriela, and even when she lost, often times she won by knowing how much to give and how much to refuse. But it was different with Gabriela, in that the men who seemed to obsess over her were far from interested only in the delights that her body could offer. There was something profound and alluring that lived within her eyes, which bewitched and captivated both gentle and violent beast alike. And the real mystery of this quiet, serious, and often times severe woman was the fact that no one knew if she was aware of this power she wielded—or if, much like her namesake implied, she was unaware or perhaps uncertain of her own value. After all, it was one thing to be sought out when she wore the Black Crown of Orisia, but a much more different thing to be wanted and pursued if she had no title, riches, name—or blood. For even that was a source of conflict for Gabriela, the fact that people romanticized what she was and openly sought out to be changed thinking it a wonderful thing to live forever, beautiful and young.

She was so jaded—but did the world know that? Did the world care?

[i]Zenahriel did[/i]. And it stirred within her something akin to trust—so near to it in fact that it frightened her more than any opposition, threat of death, or even loss of freedom. With a gasp, a shaking cool breath that eased right into his open and waiting mouth, Gabriela realized that she believed him—that in her heart and in her gut—she believed him.

He did not say he loved her—but she knew he did.

It made her giddy. She laughed—a short and nervous sound that was born and died on the surface of his tender lips, even as he murmured sweet nothings. It was a meek and edgy sound, unlike any sound she had ever made or allowed herself to make, for it was hopeful and light and it sounded like it was born somewhere deep in her belly rather than in her prideful chest.

“The world is not prepared for this,” she said simply, her lips still pressed to his. Her eyes had opened, and the gold in them now met the swirling black vortex of his. The sight of them was familiar and comforting—so like the cool black waters of her beloved abyss. But even as she spoke, even as she voiced her doubts, already she was climbing over the edge of the tub, first one leg, then the other, until her white silken thighs came down to rest on either side of his hips, effectively straddling him as the icy cold water continued to rise around them. Meanwhile his own hands explored the delicate curves of her body—the soft indentation of her narrow waist, the shape of her shoulders, the texture of her black hair as it was caught in a fist then combed through his fingers.

Settling against his chest, pressing so that she could feel the quick rise and fall of his breathing, the tension in his belly and thighs, she pulled back from his mouth only long enough to examine his face. “No one can know,” she pinched her brows in a frown and then added softly, “we’ll get in trouble.” And she wasn’t certain who she meant—Zent and his jealousy and the ever present threat of the Great North, or Zenahriel’s own siblings whom she was certain would look unfavorably upon such a union. Still, as she searched his face for understanding, her tiny voice and the look of tension in her lovely face truly framed her as the child-queen that so many referred to her as. [/FONT]

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Deep within the recesses of a mind not his, Zenahriel recalled the memories of a feeling such as this. A deep, passionate emotion that threatened to devour thoughts of anything else – a powerful feeling that transcended any other. Nothing mattered other than this, nothing and no one but the single, beautiful being who called this moving sensation within him. It had been years – no, an eternity –since he had felt anything like it. Yet for all that passage of time had stolen he remembered it clearly. It was much more even than love – it was a mighty devotion that had kept his body alive, away from the abyss of death that had sought time and again to seize him and the form he had taken.

Zacharias was a human man who had loved for love’s sake. He had tied himself to a woman he admired for all that she was and was not, expecting nothing more of her than the person she had been born as. She had no riches, no dowry to obtain, nothing to give but her own alluring appearance and her equally attractive mind and strong will.

Zenahriel was a celestial being created of pure power who had never understood their attachment, but used it to his advantage. He understood it only as a strength that gave his body an indomitable will to survive, and so, out of the many bodies given to him to choose from, he had picked Zacharias, healing him from the horrendous injuries he had suffered and raising him up with promises of safety and security for the woman and child he could no longer protect. Now they were long dead, and Zacharias had gone to sleep, dreaming of the time when his emotions were more than just sweet, fond memories.

Now that sleeping presence stirred as Zenahriel’s heart stirred, all for this woman whose blood was not crimson but black, a woman who was admired and respected and feared. A woman desired most for her crown and her power. For her kingdom. For her body.

It was a beautiful body. Smooth and slight and perfectly formed, framed by that veil of black, black hair and set alight by those golden eyes. She was slender yet had all the curves a woman could want, blessed with a graceful strength no other being even dreamed of. He sighed in unmatched pleasure as she climbed over the tub, settling her hands and legs against him, easing the fever that even now had begun to fade within the rising, cold waters. He kissed her again, suddenly unable to stop, pressing his lips firmly against hers as he whispered it again – [I]I want you[/I].

And it was a fine body to want, but he knew, that this form was not all she was. And though he feared to admit it to himself, he loved her for much more than just her physical beauty.

[I]“Do not get too close to our Black Queen.”[/I]

It was too late. It had been too late since the day he saw her, wrapped in the shadows of the Cold Mountains, walking with the grace and assurance only she possessed.

“No one can know. We’ll get in trouble.”

She was right, too right. And yet,

“I don’t care.” He breathed in sharply as she settled against his chest, his entire body aflame with desire. He ran his hands again, over her body, kneading the flesh of her back, running his fingers up and down the length of her spine over the slick silk over her dress. He slid his touch over her shoulders and then down over her waist, feeling the curves and shapeliness of her thighs. “I don’t care what anyone says, or thinks, or knows.” Was he not High Lord? Could he not have anything, anyone he w anted? Could he not have this one desire he so coveted? And even if not, were they not alone, up here in the wintry forest?

“Gabriela,” he breathed her name like a blessing, and spoke the words he so feared, “I love you. Not your crown, not your kingdom. You. Just you.”

His hand slid up, this time underneath her dress, his hands stopping just short of her breasts. He paused there, uncertain, and murmured the word, a terrible, terrible question. “No?”

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

Firm thumbs pressed into the flesh below her breasts feeling the shape of the ribs below the white skin. To this touch, she reached by shuddering and sitting up so as to put some distance between their chests. The heat from his fingertips felt like daggers—slipped through her ribs and having stopped short of piercing her heart. And as she sat there, atop of him, floating in the icy waters, she was overwhelmed by her unabashed desire to be fully and completely pierced. There would have been no greater joy and no better way to die than to feel him open her chest and take hold of her throbbing heart for she was so dizzy with emotion that she was certain her heart would have been better served if it was put out of its misery. But of course death did not come, and never would it come at the hands of this man who could not as much as look at her meanly—unlike ever other.

Time slowed as she felt soaked material of the black dress cling to her. It settled under the weight of water and pasted along her breasts, her shoulders, and just below his hands, along the smooth shape of her belly. Just past the line of water—the material floated like the banners of a flag in the wind. She took notice of this, and of the way his hair spread around him in drenched black tendrils. It clung to his throat, to his chest, and wrapped like slender snakes around his arms.

His confession of love was unneeded but now that it was heard it struck her with horror. A silent love—she could give him that. But would he expect to hear the words repeated? Could she do such a thing? Atop of him, Gabriela withered in anguish before tilting her head back and setting her hands upon his chest—steadying herself on the wide expanse of his hard chiseled chest. Golden eyes glared at the ceiling—for she could not turn that glare on him. It was not his fault that she was incapable of love—it was not his fault that he had fallen in love with a monster that hid behind the guise of a damsel. Twice now she had nearly taken his life and never had he as much as lifted a hand against her.

She wanted him—just as badly, if not more so, than he wanted her. Loneliness struck deep at her and gnawed at her resilience during every single second of her existence. These past few months, after Roen’s betrayal, she had felt herself stumble into such a deep and dismal depression that all she wanted was to sleep. Tonight, however, she felt stirred, alive, and happy.

But happiness was not for her. Corvin had been right all along even though she had tried her best to ignore him. With the weight of a nation on her shoulders there was no place for personal sentiment. She was a mother—not a lover. Never could she play that part. Never could she be that thing…

She wanted to cry.

“No,” she said breathlessly. “No-no-no-no,” and then she was climbing out of the tub, standing in a pool of dripping water that surrounded her feet and began to frost over—quickly crystallizing. But she didn’t as much as tremble—even as mist slipped past her half parted lips.

Black blood. Royal Blood. Monster’s Blood. It touched her cheeks, but was quickly wiped away with the back of her hand.

“Love my people, love my country, love me a loyal subject would a good and noble Queen. But do not love me as a man would a woman. There’s none of that in me. I am incapable of love.” She said this with such conviction, such emotionless severity that she was certain Zenahriel would be struck speechless. Turning back she glanced at him, “you still need to rest—can you get out of the tub alone? You can have my bed, I’ll take one of the guest rooms.”
[/FONT]

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[I]“No.” [/I]

The word struck him like a slap as he pulled away, retreating even as she retreated climbing out of the tub to leave him soaking there alone. Shocked, struck speechless indeed, he stared at her as she wiped away black, bloody tears and declared the impossibility of human love within her. He stared as she proposed he love her in all ways but one, and that she was unable of returning that seething passion he felt so much for her. That whatever she [I]might[/I] want, she [I]could not[/I] return the compassion he felt so fervently.

“I am incapable of love.” She spoke with such vehement assuredness, such indifference that for a moment he could almost believe her. But those tears he had glimpsed, even for just an instant, spoke otherwise. Those tears and all the ways she had treated him, with violence and gentleness in turn. No, she was capable of love – and of much, much more.

Just like that, all the passion and emotion of that moment in the tub was gone. She stood, steam wafting from her cold skin as if spirits floated around her, austere and composed as she always was. Again, like so many other times, he was not looking at Gabriela but the Black Queen of Orisia.

How tired he was of the latter!

His hands gripped the sides of the tub, unsure of what else to do, out of habit already acting to obey her unspoken commands. But then he remembered words spoken to him, deep in the Cold Mountains where few had ever ventured, by kindred closer to him than flesh and blood could dictate.

[I]Ryzerus took hold of his arm, spinning him around and backhanding him hard across the face. Zenahriel stumbled backward, staring in disbelief at his elder brother. [/I]


[I]“Look at you,” Ryzerus snarled. “I strike you and even now you do nothing. What’s wrong with you? Why do you always ask permission, beg and plead for things easily within your reach?”[/I]

[I]“Aletheiar is my leader,” Zenahriel said, tensely, calmly.[/I]

[I]“So?” Ryzerus reached out,, seized Zenahriel by the shoulders and locked golden eyes on his. “There’s something you need to understand. You are High Lord of Genesaris., avatar of Darkness. No one commands you. No one! You do not beg or plead or ask for anything, from anyone. Ever! When you want something, don’t ask for it. Take it!” [/I]


[I]Take it.[/I]

Zenahriel stood up from the tub, the water trying to pull him down like a dozen restraining hands. He stepped out of the tub, one hand raised. Darkness rose around him and the water sloughed away like oil, sliding from his skin in a white mist until he was dry. The look on his face was no longer shocked silence but a grim, angry determination.

He stepped forward, slowly at first, then faster, his wings spreading to block Gabriela from retreating in any other direction but back, through a doorway where a bed lay, simple and unadorned in the center of the stark white space parallel to the bathing room.

It was sudden then, and unexpected – his actions almost violent as he suddenly took hold of her tiny shoulders and flung her into the bed in a flash of black. In a heartbeat he was on top of her, wings and hands straddling her small form. Fever and all things forgotten, his face leaned down close to hers, their lips almost touching as he whispered in the deep, commanding voice of a High Lord,

“Don’t lie to me.”

He crossed a hand over her shoulders. Should Gabriela try to rise she would find herself suddenly restrained by strength greater than any imaginable by any mortal man or vampire.

“Don’t lie to me,” he repeated, his voice almost dangerous, almost deadly. “You [I]are[/I] capable of love, and I [I]will[/I] love you as a man would a woman.” He leaned closer, closer still until their lips brushed together, his breathing hot, burning against her icy air.

“You do not command me, O’ Queen of Orisia, my Black Peacock

“Moments ago, weren’t you ready to give yourself to me, as I was ready to give myself to you? I will leave you if you wish it. But I know that is not what you truly wish. And know this; I will [I]not[/I] take your bed, not unless you are there as well.”

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

What happened to her wounded Crow? Where was his broken wing and his gentle disposition? Was it perhaps lost—finally tossed aside because she had worn his patience thin, like the melting surface of a frozen lake? Now she had fallen through the water and there was a rough and violent current below. She did not recognize the tug and pull of this river because it was unlike the peaceful still waters of the abyss. But was he not derived of the same place as she? Was he then, very simple, another face of the same exact coin?

The questions left her numb—mostly because there was no answer and by the look of his face and the tension that had mounted between them, there would be no chance to speak and ask all the many curiosities that had entered her mind. Instead, she was coerced back, not with fear but with a sharp realization that she did not fully comprehend what was happening. Black wings were spread wide effectively preventing her escape, and yet she did not feel trapped. Even as he walked forward and she walked back, bumping into the side of the door, feeling behind her with blind hands to ensure there was nothing else she could fall over. They did not stop this dance until the back of her thighs brushed against the giving surface of a bed. Only then did she become aware of her bedroom—of how white and empty it was and how much it reflected the sort of reality she tried to make for herself.

It was a prison. It was beautiful—but it was also empty, clean, cold.

Gripped by the shoulders she was pushed back and forced onto the bed where he was quick to follow. But unlike the last time this happened she did not struggle. Instead she lay flat, with her small hands curled into loose fists on either side of her head where her wrists were shackled by his wider grip. Black wings were cast all around her, and the whiteness stillness of her room was cast into darkness. Here she glowed for him, a soft hue of silver moonlight. Here, before his eyes, she lay wet and cold but with a touch of color to her cheeks and lips that had been a gift granted by his own blood.

[i]”Don’t lie to me.[/i]

Those words resonated within her.

[i]”You do not command me…”[/i]

And then a voice broke through—and Zenahriel would hear it, for surely he was well versed with the abyss and not just darkness, and would therefore recognize the chilling sound. And they weren’t words so much as clicks and hums, the sounds of the Darkness.

[i]What are you afraid of? [/i]

The intensity of her golden eyes—the hard glare she had set on Zenahriel since he had climbed atop of her suddenly faltered. With great reluctance she loosened the hold on her perfect control and the first thing to show her doubt was her expression, which went from fierce and server elegance to a more tender bewilderment.

[i]You think someone will care—no one will. No one will even know. He can set you free.[/i]

“But—” she was silenced with a kiss, to which she responded by lifting her head off the bed to deepen the motion. Her head tilted, her lips parted, and the tip of her tongue ran the length of his bottom lip before an implosion of sorts gripped her chest so hard that she thought her lungs would collapse. When she pulled away she was breathing hard and trembling. Below him her body arched, her hips pressing up into his, though they could not hope to move him. However, that was far from what she was trying to do. Instead she rose again, as far as his hold on her would allow, only to claim his lips. And when at last he did release her, immediately her hands sought his face, pulling it down to her. But rather than taste his mouth again she pushed his face down to her neck, and then further below to her collar, shaking as her fingers tried to roll the soaked dress up her thighs and hips.[/FONT]

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[I]What are you afraid of?[/I]

The wordless voice slid through the air, cold and comforting, the sounds of the deepest shadows. Indeed, what was she afraid of? There was nothing to fear, nothing to beware. The voice continued speaking, whispering the truth, tantalizing and tempting. Her worry was understandable, but in the end it was senseless; no one would know, no one would care, and yes – he would set her free.

He saw her austere gaze break, falling into bewilderment – so much like a child blamed for a crime she had not known she committed. It made him smile as he kissed her, and knew as she tilted her head to return the kiss that she was his.

He exhaled, deeply, sharply as her body leaned up into his. He removed his arm from its restraining hold, sliding his hands along her body. She seized hold of his head and pushed it below her neck. There he breathed in her scent, clean and cold. He ran his tongue along her flesh and kissed her there deeply. His hands, pausing only minutely, eased below her dress and slid upward then, gliding over her breasts and down her back, seizing the edges of the dress stuck to her thighs.

She was right. The world was not prepared for this. And if anyone knew, the consequences would be dire. But they were alone here, blissfully, blessedly alone. No one knew. No would ever know, none but them.

One last time he kissed her, his voice an intoxicated whisper, filled with desire.

“Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you,” he said, as he drew the dress up around her waist.

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

Both hands fell away and came to rest atop of a pile of disturbed white sheets. There, grappling for support, she held onto fistfuls of silken material as a burning tongue pierced her flesh and drew a line from her collar down to the swell of her breast. With a shudder, born from the intoxicating sensation of his heat, she dropped her head back into the pillows and felt it tilt back. Misted eyes, half closed, peered at the pristine white headboard that stretched before her as his words—spoken between kisses—reached her ears.

[I]“I won’t hurt you.”[/I]

Those golden eyes closed in the midst of ecstasy.

“I know you won’t,” she answered while her back arched to meet his fingers. His knuckles bit into the tender flesh of her thighs as he tugged her dress up the short distance to her belly. One hand reached up, traveled the length of his arm—feeling the tense muscle below the scared skin. Around his shoulder, her fingers curled and pulled, again bringing him down so that they were pressed chest to chest.

[I]But I may hurt you,[/I] she thought.

And then it was all ice and fire and she felt herself melt, come back together, melt again, and finally end in a puddle of sharp and profound sensations. Together they rolled, from one side of the bed to the other, with her straddling him—or him leaving a trail of kisses down the elegant curve of her naked back, her bottom, and the back of her thighs. And so the rest of the night was spent, with even a few of the early hours of the morning. Until sleep claimed them both and left them entangled in white sheets, exhausted limbs, and an embrace that no one would ever know of.

When her eyes opened it was late afternoon. She sat up slowly, and only after carefully moving his arms from its place across her chest. He was on his side, with his face hidden among pillows and his wings tucked neatly against his back. Eyeing him she felt herself shudder with a mixture of exhilaration and regret. With care she pulled the covers up and hid him from the chill of the bedroom as she left his side.

Nude, she walked across the floor, to the massive glass wall that revealed panoramic views of the Areder Mountains. Drawn to the masculine outline that awaited, Darkness stood leaning against the glass—nothing more than a shadow.

[B][I]“You have a message.”[/I][/B]

At her feet a small parchment fell.

[B][I]“The Devil requests your presence.”[/I][/B]

Covered by nothing more than a veil of long black hair, Gabriela stood looking down at the note, her head tilted to the side. Without bending to retrieve the note, she read the words that had been scribbled on the paper and felt—nothing. Not anger, not annoyance, not even pain.

[B][I]You’re free.[/I][/B]

[I]Free. [/I]
[/FONT]

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Wonderfully exhausted, Zenahriel slept dreaming dreams he had never dreamt before. Never before had he experienced such pleasure, nor could he ever be happier than he was when he woke at last in the bed of his beloved queen.

Drowsily content, he wondered if she had gone, caught suddenly in guilt and repentance that had come too late. But no, there she was, standing before the great shadow, reading a letter dropped on the stark white floor.

Letters sent to royalty were hardly ever bearers of good and grand news, and Zenahriel did not need to think hard on who the letter might be from. Distantly, he thought he should feel anger in the form of jealousy. Instead, he felt only a nearly smug satisfaction.

She was no longer the Devil’s. She was his. He smiled to himself as he looked at her beautiful form, dressed boldly in nothing but air. He took a moment to admire her, what and who he had caught, before moving.

Silently, he slid out of bed, stroking back his dark hair over his shoulders as he stepped carefully to stand at Gabriela’s side. There he unfolded one long wing and wrapped it around her along with one arm, giving her an affectionate, gentle, loving squeeze.

“My Queen,” he whispered into her ear. The term was no longer so much as a label now as it was a term of endearment. His eyes quickly scanned the letter before he kissed her on the cheek – unsatisfied with that, he tilted her head upwards for a real kiss before deftly plucking the letter up and crumpling it between his fingers.

“You’re not worried about our Crimson King, are you?”

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[FONT=Garamond][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

Only a tiny tilt of her head revealed that she was aware of his movements. But he was not the sort of person to inspire any sort of suspicion, so rather than turn to face him; she once again lowered her gaze and focused her eyes on the curl of every letter. Darkness appeared as always—a dark and ominous male figure without any relevant features. Still, his massive head turned as if he were following the movements of the winged creature that so gracefully stepped out of bed and all but glided across polished white floors to stand there—besides his daughter. Curiously, the black figure tilted its head now, in a very birdlike fashion as an empty face continued to study the couple.

“Good Evening.” Was all he said, and his words were just as chilled and unnatural as they had been the night before. Clearly it was not the sound that flesh and blood would make, but tools that perfectly replicated the actions of breathing, blowing, and creating sound. Still—it sounded utterly strange and almost frightening. But Darkness was not an unfamiliar force to either of them, and so there was no need to fear—he posed no threat to anyone whom earned his daughter’s love. He also didn’t move to exit, which most might have found strange, but he was convinced that it would do little to bother or disturb the good High Lord. After all, even Zenahriel was among the beloved of Tenebre, even if he did not recognize or understand it.

Gabriela smiled weakly when she felt the warmth of his wing settle against her shoulder, tucking her close to his side. They stood there, gloriously nude and absolutely perfect—even with all the imperfection of battle scars that crisscrossed his chest, arms, and legs. He kissed her cheek, and then tilted her face upward to claim her lips, and she offered no resistance but neither did she seem very enthused.

The root of the problem of course was the same piece of parchment, which he had so delicately plucked from the ground and crumpled in his fist. But to this, and to his question, Gabriela sighed and hung her shoulders. “I am always worried about that Devil,” she said with a near pout, “he finds every which way to burrow himself into my life—he won’t leave me alone.” The tenderness of their shared moment seemed to disappear as she grew tense and angry, “he’s a child—a spoiled and angry child with god only knows how much power, and that’s the only thing that’s keeping me from ripping his throat out!” [I]That and of course the fact that he had bested her in each and every instance of violence they had shared, but that was neither here nor there.[/I] “I know nothing about Terrenus other than Genesaris is only just managing to maintain a truce. I feel trapped,” she said casting her glare out the window, “like I have to play his games in order to maintain some semblance of peace, for I will not be the excuse that either continent needs to tear open the gates of hell.”

Reaching for his hand she retrieved the crumpled message and held it up to the glass. “It seems I’ll be traveling to Paradise City,” her small shoulders slumped, and the exaggerated rise and fall of her perfectly firm handful sized breasts revealed her utter exhaustion at the mere thought. “Apparently, his [I]Grace [/I]wishes to show me something…”
[/FONT]

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