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It was cold -- truly cold. 


Her teeth were chattering and the muscles in her cheek were beginning to ache. She wasn’t strong enough to maintain any semblance of decorum, and so her arms were crossed with her hands cupping at each opposite biceps, rubbing in an attempt to ease the bitter bite of cold. In a grand gown of black silk and taffeta, she felt every chilling blow of wind, and her bare parts, her arms, her shoulders, her chest, and her back felt the pin-prick burn of falling sleet. But even the discomfort of the cold and the sloping mess that she dragged around her ankles on the heavily soaked hem of her dress did not stop her from moving forward through the ruined gallery -- the throne room of the sleeping king. 


Tonight, in this particular dream, she was human -- and so she suffered as humans suffered in the most extreme of circumstances. However, there was a memory of strength in her mind, of a time when these such things did not matter and in this dream she clung to that remembrance and somehow it gave her strength. 


This is not what you are, said the memory -- a distant and familiar voice -- the abyss once ran through your veins, that cold numbs you forever.


She carried on and moved forward but tonight she was alone. 


Tonight there was no Witch King and no phantom messenger. 


Alone, the newborn human woman stood upon the ruins of grandeur, of power, and of a love that should have changed the world. Of course, she couldn’t have known about the latter, but she suspected as much. What man, great or not, gives up on life other than for that? Having lost a proper place to warm their cock? 


Disgust crossed her face, even as her lips continued to tremble -- a light blue tint to them starting to spread from the corners.


There stood the throne, a massive formation borne upon a singular piece of metal. It was a hideous thing. All masculine and depraved, ugly and twisted -- unrefined, unpolished, utterly unnecessary like any and all forms of love that men were capable of feeling or showing. 


Slowly, she climbed the steps to the throne pulling along the mostly soaked through skirts of her gown, which pulled at her like black waves trying to suck her down and under a dark surface. 


“The world will not cease to exist for the love of a woman... but for the love that only a woman can bear.”




She stopped short of the throne and jolted out of her dream by the sudden and angry whistle of the train, which was perhaps denoting their arrival to their final destination. She shot up in bed, naked save for the empty wine glass that fell to her lap, atop the pooled fabric of her sheets. 


Gabriela felt as bad as she looked. Her long, and normally luxuriously soft hair, was a long net of knots and the dark shadows under her golden eyes spoke of her late night drinking and unfortunate early morning waking. 


“I have a shower running for you,” said her sharply dressed assistant. He looked upon her nakedness unflinching, and rather uninterested -- he didn’t swing that way after all.


“I want a bath,” she replied, grumpily.


“Well, bad girls who stay up to all hours of the night drinking and snorting cocaine with strange men in their rooms get showers -- cold showers. You need to sober up, little Missy.”


“Fuck you.”


“No thank you!” he replied in a sing-song-voice. 


And then she was alone with the sound of her bedroom door closing. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and then reached for the two empty bottles of wine -- one on each side of her, tucked into the sheets like lovers. But to her dismay, when she found them without a single drop of drink, she tossed them out of her bed with little to concern as to their fate. She really should have paid more attention, for the bottles fell against each other and one shattered apart -- and it just so happened that where that shattered bottle landed is exactly where she set her bare foot as she climbed out of bed.


She folded to the floor with a colorful flurry of obscenities, and then sat there, staring at her bleeding foot.


“Fuck me...”

Edited by Pasion Pasiva

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The smell of blood was so much more intense as a human, perhaps because it was so unpleasant. It did not stir her appetite, nor did it carry noticeable characteristics to give away secrets of the person bleeding. Instead, it smelled of rancid copper -- sharp and industrial, full of rust and wet earth. It only compounded her discomfort when she remembered, just at that moment, that once upon a time she feasted on blood, gorging herself on it like some overgrown leach. Images of rotting vegetation came to mind, of swamp, of decomposition mixing with clay.


She gagged violently. 


Somehow, through her bleeding and awful hangover, she managed to climb back up to her feet. A horrible decision, which she verbalized by way of even more colorful language when she set weight on her wounded foot only to realize that a shard of glass was encased in her flesh. Bleeding more profusely now, she half hopped, hobbled on her good foot while wobbling on the ball of her bleeding foot.


She collapsed onto the toilet of a very small bathroom. It was a luxury to have her own personal toilet closet on this train, but that didn’t mean the space itself was luxurious. Sure enough it was decorated with tasteful wallpaper, and the sink was an elegant porcelain affair, same as the throne itself, but it was all stuffed into the smallest space possible. The smell of her own breath and the horrendous odor of blood intensified, and her head swam in the disgusting concoction. 


“How fucking undignified…” she murmured to herself, softly, almost as if she were talking outside of herself -- a spirit no longer encased in flesh and bone -- staring down at what she had become.


She sat there nude, on top of an ice-cold toilet lid, and to the best of her abilities, she crossed her leg and pulled her wounded foot up to where she could examine the damage. It was a bloody mess, but the cut itself wasn’t terrible and thankfully there was a glint of light that gave away the location of the glass shard. Biting down hard on her bottom lip, Gabriela pinched what she could manage to grasp of the glass and pulled it out.


“Fuck, fuck, fuck...you fucking bitch…” she cured at the small, red-tinted piece of glass as it slid out of her flesh, slicing as it went along. Drops of blood, big and heavy, splattered onto the bathroom floor -- pretty white tile with a geometric design in gold metal.


Gabriela paused and regarded the blood, which continued to rain down.


It was a startlingly lovely shade of red. 


The awful sting of her cut brought her back to the here and now. It hurt far more than she could have imagined, more than she believed herself capable of handling. How did anyone deal with pain when it was this awful -- and therefore distracting. She could think of nothing else, save the deep and horrendous throb that pulsed from her wound and encased all the flesh of her foot -- even the toes, and ankle. And then, after fixating on the pain, she thought of Arthur, that, “...stupid piece of shit,” who had just up and abandoned her. He could have fixed this with his voodoo, but instead, he was of -- probably fucking around in another meaningless tournament. 


“He could have been here. He should have been here… taking care of me, fixing this fucking shit...this disgusting shit…” 


She sighed, frustrated with the man who was long gone now, with herself for being so terribly helpless, and with the way everything was going. Being human made everything harder. And as she sat there, feeling sorry for herself, bleeding her life away out of a wounded foot, she thought of Ryzerus, who had warned her of the consequences of not taking better care of her human body. If he was here, he’d laugh at her misfortune before stabbing her other foot. He’d probably reason that now that she had an airship it didn’t really matter if she could walk or not. 


What was she supposed to do? How was she supposed to take care of this…


She didn’t know about disinfecting wounds. She didn’t know about stopping the bleeding. She pulled a small hand towel down and wrapped it, rather sloppily, around her foot and tied it with a hideous knot. 


“That will have to do, at least until I get dressed…” 


After that she could get one of her fledglings to fix this, or find someone who could fix this. She’d tell her assistant, he would find a doctor, they would make her all better. But the scar… her stomach lurched upward into her throat and she dry heaved a few times. The thought of a scar was perhaps more disgusting to her than the smell of her blood and the remembrance of her mouth filled with the stuff. In that very moment she glanced at the counter, wondering if there was any lotion or perfume she might put on the wound that would help with scaring -- thank goodness her eyes fell upon her small, metallic cardholder and not the bottle of orange-blossom oil. 


There were a number of business cards there, but one in particular came to mind.




He had given her magical bandages for her hand back in the tournament, and after her reluctant acceptance of his help, he had gifted her with his card and a promise that he would be at her beck and call. 


“If only that were true…”

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“A man is only as reliable as his word. Intent is just as powerful as action; do not forget this, Èmhyr.”


                       Yes, Father..


       He never did allow Saul to forget that lesson. Among other sayings and lessons drilled and sometimes beaten into him, this stuck out when it came to dealing business and Bonds. There were other important B words, but we best save those for behind closed doors.  Or not, considering the one ringing the bell was Butt-naked. He wouldn’t know that upon the tug at his mind, as one should not expect such pleasures from Business. 


Where were we? Oh, Yeah!


       Saul had been working in the South.. or looking for work. Something about stepping it around the Continent seemed to push him further with each endeavor. How far would he go this time? Would he find anything or any work worth traveling for? Being a metaphorical ring away seemed to have its ups and downs. How would this call fare for the Black Mage? Time would tell as his consciousness was roused by the indirect call. Intent was as powerful as action, though.


       From the dark Of his mind came the scent, the sight, and the sound of Gabriela. Knowing the knack of his cards was enough to iron out why she would pop into his head, and he could not help but to grin at the prospect of good company. He had been at the club, though it seemed he had turned up when things began to unravel. Intoxicating fumes, an unnerved vampire, an all out evacuation — Wild was the only word for it.

       The dark eyed wizard roused from a night-long meditation in the lavish room he had treated himself to for once, opposed to the much more common inn room, tavern, or tent he “slept” in during his travels. One ought to treat themselves, correct? Wrong. At times like these he turned work calls away, but for new business and social prospects he made exceptions from time to time. Why on today, of all days — one that he would treat himself on —did he have to make an exception? 


      The wizard stood from a point of kneeling, sinew rippling beneath taut, tanned flesh. What could you want, Isabella.. he thought to himself. The Mage would not argue with work, much less someone who had managed to hold onto his card. Fickle things, they were; always prone to vanish or re-appear at the whiff of Saul coming to the mind of the beholder of the card.


      Scrying through the card with eyes closed, he worked to fix on her location. The who, Gabriela; moving but not.. private; blood presented to the vicinity piqued his interest more than anything. Saul found it in him to rally himself into more meaningful movement upon this exposure of information. In a matter of steps and open movements, he had pulled clothing through the air and onto his form. A fine blazer; his robes reassigned to a new state by Methods of Weaving and Reshaping. Not everything needed a 3/4 body length robe.. This morning was among those. Besides, the Mage was handy with dispelling contingencies ready to undo the image of the blazer and return to that of a Wizard's robe. A dark, snugly-fitting, maroon mock turtleneck was beneath the blazer. Inscriptions lie within the tag of the shirt, namely a Mending rune meant to facilitate rapid repair, should he be wounded. Black slim-fitting dress pants were worn at the waist,  opposed to his high-waist trousers of usual. These fell down to the ankle, but not low enough to drag or bother the bottom of his heel with contact. Drake-skin shoes cobbled to perfection resided on his feet. Saul would not need boots(he hoped), but being the overthinker he was, he took the time to pack his more common attire into his rucksack. Why ruin fine clothing if one did not have to?


      What was a warrior without his weapon? A sorry one. Saul was far from sorry for much in his life and it showed in his demeanor; mildly aloof but deep down a man of his word and of his people. He found a certain kindred quality with the mundane.. but it was something he had not felt in some time, at least not in abundance. Rare, precious encounters bequeathed such bliss upon him, but ultimately it did not persist -- or had not, yet. Would the man ever make a new committed connection beyond the Afflicktion he bore?


Time would tell.


      For now, all Saul knew from the initial call was: Gabriela was in need; she or someone was bleeding; she was on a train - or something that moved like one, at least. He wasted no time grabbing up his rucksack and outfitting himself with his long sword. In the spirit of good faith and not moving around like some vigilante in the dark ages, he resized the blade and a pair of scrolls as charms on a bracelet that dangled ever so carefully toward the earth. A pack worn across the waist and beneath the blazer was in charge of containing first aid items, a "wallet", and shrunken belts of reagents. If not pulled around, it would not have a presence if he were to be hugged or accosted - simply lost to the dark interior of his modified wizard robe. In truth, it was a construct of his magic and worked to his whims on how it would fit on his body.


      Rings and hoops - catalysts and potential reagents - were adorned and his hair was tied back as a circle conjoined by magical formulae and charged crystals began filling with a vantablack fluid. With the finishing touches now complete, light would radiate as sigils and staves connected in the dark ink-like mess on the floor that spilled from beneath his shoes. Molten Gold radiance was the result of the dark circuitry, and from there he was off to her. Where one was called, one would go.


And go he did.


      In what felt like a moment of drowning as the darkness on the floor swallowed him, bathing him in arcane energy the moment his vision became moot, Saul was displaced from the Prime Material and sent on his way to the vicinity of the calling card. This would deliver him into her train car, directly to her room. If she paid attention, the lighting grew dim for a blink before auto-correcting and the room would take a warmth like that of a room hit with morning sunshine. 


       Footstep after footstep carried him through the concise room to the doorway of isabela bathroom. The man presented himself in a calm demeanor, almost disappointed by the lacking action but ultimately happy to have company. Been a while since you've seen anyone naked, Saul. Keep your eyes up, his brain reminded. One mustn't sully the image of such beauty and Grace with unrequested gazing. For having clothes on, his form showed well through the outfit he wore. His physical condition was of utmost importance, right up there with his itch for Knowing and expanding in all the ways a mage might. The sight and scent of blood caused horripilation beneath his clothing. Fresh.. She smells delicious like whatever was in that bottle.. The man's mind went to work as he assessed the situation in the moments his brain stretched into minutes of observe and report. The crunch of glass and slick squelch of moisture under fine soles kept him present enough as he moved.


       Messy bed.. Broken glass- everywhere.. no attendants present but the scent is recent.. no company.. the scent of wine. Did she call me for help or to clean?


"You're bleeding, Isabella." He said redundantly. She was not going to die, as noted by the absence of her Help.


      It was a moment into finding her eyes with his own that he did realize she had no clothes on. Naked, too.. not that its reeeaaaallly a problem.. unless she thinks it is.. best not to stare. His eyes went up a bit at the thought, not wishing to look upon her, but his overall complexion had warmed just a bit. His blood ran hot like a Stallion's, which he did well to conceal by not looking her in the eyes. Inklings of passion permeated his mind, and he did his best to dissuade his mind from such a path. She was stunning, but he had made certain not to spoil anything for himself with peeping. It would be rude to diminish the virtue of a woman in such base ways.. 


       If she had had a moment to look, the Mage's eyes twinkled briefly with ambient radiance from the molten gold light found within the darkest depths of himself; that same darkness which flooded his irises and dared spill past the fluctuating limbal rings of his eyes. After an initial glance, she would be lucky to see much more color from his eyes unless she stared for a long while or caught him in the act of expressing magical intent. 


        Unfortunately, She would not have the time to stare - not yet, at least. Good thing too! What she would not detect by visual means was the pounding in his chest brought on by the presence of a naked woman. Excitement? A bout of shyness? Was he unfamiliar? Was the potential of attraction present, despite having only laid eyes on her twice in his time of knowing her? He would not speak on the conclusion. Instead, Saul turned the sink on as he awaited a response to his redundant statement, wetting a hand towel with warm water. He knelt, stressing the fabric of his pants with bulk and mass in the form of muscled legs and thighs. The Mage pulled the cross-body pack from around his back and to the front, rifling through it like a filing cabinet with a few fingers before pulling forth a scroll. More of a well folded mat, really. It at least seemed that way when he unrolled, unfolded, and uncovered a series of utensils against the counter space. The set looked incomplete, as he bore no thread for sewing wounds shut but had a suture. He bore medicinal salve whipped into being by his own hands, among bandages she would likely remember. 

"Mind if I take a look?" he asked, turning to look over his shoulder out of habit but halting so he would not ruin the abstinence brought on by a gentleman's approach. "You did call me to clean you up, right?" His tone was mild enough, although mildly teasing as he ruminated over what brought him here. Good thing I dressed down.. Saul found himself re-wetting the hand towel, making sure it would be warm when she was ready for him. Until she was ready, he would keep his back to her.


Edited by L E V I A T H A N

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She was making faces at her wounded foot. Her long, slender legs still sloppily crossed so that she could sit her bleeding foot on the top of her opposite thigh. A deep frown, which threatened the possible lines of wrinkles someday, marked her astoundingly lovely face. If she were to just turn her head, to look at herself in the mirror while wearing that expression, she would swear off the display for the sake of protecting her frail beauty.


Humanity had made her vain. 


Quite suddenly the pain in her foot was overshadowed by a stabbing sensation on the left side of her lower back. How in the world had she managed to hurt herself, and there of all places? She hissed out a breath and a dull fire rose from deep inside some place in her back, up into her stomach. It ended about mid chest, where the sharp pain turned into a dull ache. It was in that moment that she had the vaguest wonderment about when the last time she had a drink of water had been. 


She missed the crackle of electricity in the air -- that foul taste of magic -- just as she leaned to the left, toward her sink, and grabbed for a glass of water that had been left behind by her assistant. Like a woman, lost in the desert and offered her first drink in days, Gabriela gulped the water down in massive mouthfuls. A blessing, considering it would help with her atrocious morning breath just as Saul turned the corner to stand in the door frame. It took just about every ounce of self control not to spit her mouthful of water at him, and instead, to choke it back mid cry. 


“You’re bleeding, Isabella.”


Their eyes met, just for a moment, before his dark gaze shifted upward, perhaps an inch or two above her head. There had been a glint of gold there, animalistic-- like a predator caught in the darkness by it’s prey. It was sharp, but warm in color and then gone forever by his supposed sense of respect. But his sense of decorum fed into her sense of curiosity. And while he went above and beyond to shield her dignity she dove, head first, into her salacious appetites. Water trickled down her throat, a few wayward drops slipped past her lips and dripped from her chin just as her eyes traveled the length of his jaw, his throat, and down to his broad chest. 


She remembered him -- but not like this, not quite so well formed, not quite so defined.


He was different, but then again so was she.


When they first met she had been a newly turned human. The strange nature of her blood was surely still a wonder playing on his mind -- the fact that some twenty-something-year-old tasted, essentially, like a newborn babe. And her mind, at the time, had matched the oddity of her blood. She was fragile, and broke down into delicate pieces when presented with… a slaughtered swan. Did he remember that? How she had shattered a glass in her hand and cut her palm open. Then, she had fled like a complete maniac leaving behind a small circle of acquaintances who had been observing Arthur’s fight. Out of all those people, Saul and Saul alone, had been the one to follow behind her (at the cost of watching the fight’s ending) to ensure her safety.


She had been a damsel in every sense of the word -- the sort of creature that men ached to protect or perhaps to possess. 


That’s not who greeted him today, sitting on a porcelain throne, naked as the day she was born. 


Most would have been painfully vulnerable in this situation. She looked like a goddamn queen. 


“Insightful,” she replied softly while her golden eyes dipped lower, examining his midsection, and then further even, down to the taunt pull of his trousers across his thighs. 


Saul shifted to the sink and turned on the tap and she suddenly remembered that she was naked. But nudity had never bothered her -- oddly enough. Being forced out of her garments, that was something else. Being pressed into vulnerability when her garments were taken, it was like losing a shield. But this was different. Her nudity was her choice. Moments ago she had been alone, and he had come into her world -- why, she couldn’t begin to explain. But this was her territory and she would own it and exist in it however she pleased. And at this moment, it pleased her not to make a fuss regarding her lack of clothing. 


He glanced over his shoulder.


Her eyes were tracing the shape of his lower back, the curve of his buttocks.


“Mind if I take a look?”


She tilted her head at him, her expression strange -- like a pretty bird studying something new, something interesting.


“You did call me to clean you up, right?”


“Is that what happened?” she asked, leaning back until her bare shoulders touched the cold back of the toilet. She crossed her legs in a much neater fashion, one knee over the other, with her bleeding foot pointed at him. For a moment, when he turned the tap off, the only sound would be the slow drip of her blood hitting the tile floor. 


“Magic makes itself so much more apparent to me now…” it was a musing, soft words spoken mostly to herself as he fixed to mend her. 


“But yes -- yes, that is why I need you. I don’t want it to scar -- can you fix it? Can you make it so I don’t have a scar?”


Gone was that frazzled girl he met a few weeks ago. The woman who sat there, in front of him when he turned, was calm and significantly collected considering the sweet perfume of wine that clung to her skin. She sat there, leaning back with her balled up fists set on either side of her, gripping at the lid of the toilet. The round swells of her breasts exposed, with stiff, pink nipples nearly fading into the same pale color of her skin. They fitted her petite figure, unlike so many of the obscene curvaceous women of this planet. Lower, her flat stomach rose and fell steadily as she breathed past slightly spread lips. And further below that, the small private space between her thighs was cleverly hidden by the crossing of her legs. 


“Once upon a time, you did wonders for my hand -- can you do the same for my foot?”


Her mind turned to Arthur for a moment, just a passing thought. There was no sadness. There was, however, a touch of anger. He should have been here. He should have been taking care of her. Her work was important -- could she really be expected to keep up with this sort of thing? Keeping herself alive? Keeping herself safe from her own self? A slight blush rose between her breasts, and up her neck. To the untrained eye, it may have been misconstrued as embarrassment, but one look at the tight line of her pretty lips and the press of her brows would reveal her annoyance.


“It's hard to find good help, you know.”

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“But yes -- yes, that is why I need you. I don’t want it to scar -- can you fix it? Can you make it so I don’t have a scar?”


“Once upon a time, you did wonders for my hand -- can you do the same for my foot?”


"Of course I can." he said, almost arrogantly but speaking from the heart with confidence.


      Reel it in, Kass.. he reminded himself as he turned around. It seemed like she was comfortable, so he ought to be as well. Saul found himself taking a nice, hard look at her. Not for the sake of indulgence, but for the sake of Knowing her as she stood - or sat - before him. Perking tits and a slim physique that offered the eye everything and simultaneously nothing that she had to truly give. No frazzled youth sat before him, shaking and fragile. A newly minted attitude could be seen, heard, and felt. He grinned as he looked her in the eye again, listening to her speak on the hardships of good help. It was almost comical, but he refrained from laughing and kept it respectable. He could relate in these hardships for fulfilling relationships and profitable endeavors, but now was not the time to talk about it.


       The Black Mage removed his blazer and pulled his sleeves up the forearms as she adjusted to yield the wounded foot to him; best not to have extra materials making a mess as one worked. When he turned after turning the water off, he wrung the linen with powerful, calloused hands. In his turn, he managed to snag a few medicinal things and the needle for suturing her wound shut. A history of fixing and destroying seemed prevalent. War, Work, Wizard shit; it was all reliant on the individual being able to handle whatever was thrown at them.


"Let me take a look here.." he said outwardly, but moreso to himself than to her.


       The beefy beau took to squatting down before drawing her foot by the heel and achilles' tendon to him, keeping the bleeding extremity resting in that elevated palm of his. Her blood leaked and dripped to his hand, pooling in the process and slipping between his fingers. Those dark eyes that used to bleed with brilliance eyed her in an analytical fashion. The warm, dampened hand towel was taken across her delicate flesh.




       Even her toes were beautiful.. She was truly a queen in many regards-- minus the actual title.  Ah... what it would be like to bleed normally again. Saul hadn't lost much vitae in a good while; not that her blood loss was extreme, but it was certainly a bit of a mess. Her wound was not life threatening; she seemed to be holding up well enough, regarding her body's blood content matched to its loss. Not even a liter on the floor.. she will live. He noted this in his mind and kept it moving on his work at hand.


       With a hand full of foot and blood, his free hand brought the towel over it again before his own thumb ran over the wound. One might say he could see better with direct contact. Her biological age was something worth noting.. Considering she was all but a few months old- judging by her overall cellular youth, which was all normal aside from the history her genetic makeup lacked. Most people had almost a decade’s worth of cells yet to be restored, but hers were not even five years, or a year! He thought back to the evening he’d first encountered her.. The swan, the glass, the annoying cat.. You’re getting off track; mind your business. She was too interesting to let go of, mentally and physically it seemed.


         Back on track. Right.. Nothing too large or wide.. It was glass, after all; not some rough, jagged blade or sheet of metal. Saul carefully dabbed the wound again, occasionally looking for her eyes so she might not withhold a natural reaction from contact with the wound. He was no sadist, but it helped to know the depth of damage. Judging by the mild tremble and the signs of inflammation, the trauma had set in physically, at least. Nothing we have not fixed before.. No scar, though; that will take an extra hoop to jump through. 


       Immediately following the thought, his brain underwent a time of immense, vivid recollection. Eidetic memory was something the Host saw fit to embolden. Essentially, his brain was unable to go without recording everything witnessed for recordsake (and to the empowering of the Dark Host, no doubt!). The wizard would ruminate in all that he had learned, digested, and metabolized, seeking that which he needed; the right spell for the right girl. Molten inklings twinkled at the surface of those dark pools he called eyes, mentally primed for the situation with a spell or few at the ready.


       Within the passing of a breath, he would set the items down on the floor -- all but a single container of ointment. Saul used this in conjunction with spell work for healing, typically. He considered it a catalytic combination; herbs and reagents put into the salve-like substance proved to bear the propensity to reduce pain while inciting quicker restoration of tissue and connectivity. The salve helped by providing antiseptic properties, as well. Simply put, it made his job easier and it would bring immediate pain reduction, as well as reduce the blood flow and scarring following any incident. Even now, it worked to aid her wound and ease his impending work load in the passing moments, charged by his very touch. 


“I have nothing for the pain aside from this mixture I whip up myself; tell me: have you ever had stitches?” He questioned, his deep baritone resonating with her eardrums and the air in the room as it reverberated all around within the bathroom. It was a wonder he wasn’t a bard or shanty singing sod on a ship. To be completely honest, the man was lying. She wanted no scar, and he would see to it in the most painless way possible. This did not mean he could not have fun with her.


      By the time she’d answer, the Mage’s hand had pried the lid off with a pry of a finger, revealing the ointment to him. His thumb swiped into the substance before brushing it around and on her wound. He would not reveal the truth that he would not need medical utensils. They were nice to have, especially in the situations for himself. Sure, he healed fast enough, but reducing scar tissue and enhancing the restoration rate was important, as well. The Black Mage picked up the needle and pinched it, a small stone set in what would be the object’s eye. The incredibly small writing lit up faintly, filling the lines with light. No need for thread or the drag of it when you had a stone drawing arcane thread through wounds for you! Actually.. No need for the needle at all. All a facade to stress her, or at least test her mettle. It seemed, at least from outside eyes, that he was quite ready to slip through the sides of the split wound and draw it all closed.


“Are you ready, Isabella?” He’d look up with a rather straight face, hoping he at least seemed mildly convincing. Saul’s hand held the twinkling little needle near her foot, but ultimately minded the potential of flailing legs and kept the tool a safe distance. How would she respond to the promise of pain?



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Just over the crest of his shoulder, she saw the way his dark eyes settled on her. It was hard to tell just where they settled, but she could tell that he was taking careful measure of what was before him. She felt herself become half masterpiece and half slab of meat in the quiet and weighted measure of his regard. But then, in the blink of an eye, he was back to the task at hand. With a shrug of his shoulders he removed his coat, and began the methodical work of rolling up his sleeves over his tense and muscled forearms. And even with his impressive build, she found herself watching the movement of his wrists, which seemed delicate and full of grace -- not the fingers of a pianist, but certainly the dexterity of a cellist. 


“Let me take a look here…”


He crouched before her and her porcelain throne, and she adjusted to meet his seeking fingertips. Her foot seemed terribly small in the wide grasp of his hands and the sheer expanse of his open palms. With a gentle tug he pulled her to the edge of her seat, and caused her legs to fall open. For the sake of comfort, his and not her own, she dropped her hands between her thighs. She was subtle in the way she rested her hands over her smooth groin, not going so far as to cup or clutch. After all, she caught the color rising from the finely pressed collar of his shirt, up the back of his neck and toward his ears. There was no reason to be crude. 


Their eyes met once more -- the brilliant warmth of a summerset pierced the darkness of his stare. No, she was no frazzled youth and she was far from shaking and fragile. There was an impossible age in her stare, a sentiment that amplified the moment her eyes narrowed upon him as he brought the warm cloth against her wound.


At her wince, he looked back down to her foot. 


“Would you be careful!” came her rather unkind hiss -- pain had a way of sucking the grace right out of her. 


He strumbed the small cut with his thumb and the tiny piece of glass still embedded in her flesh danced a little deeper into the tender meat. Her jaw clenching was almost audible; she sucked in a breath. Her eyes were closed, her body slumped back in a far less flattering position as she lost whatever sense of propriety she had been clinging to. 


They shared another glance before he set back to work. Gabriela, who had rolled her head back and was looking at the ceiling now heard the soft sound of something being set down. 


“What’s that for?” she lifted her head enough to peer down at him from between the valley of her soft, round breasts.


“I have nothing for the pain aside from this mixture I whipped up myself; tell me: have you ever had stitches?”


By her expression, he’d have his answer.


Her brows pinched hard, her mouth pressed into a thin and very unhappy line. Her entire body came forward until she was just barely sitting on the toilet. She very well may have slipped off, or gotten right up, if it wasn’t for the fact that he was holding fast to her heel. 


“Stitches? Like -- a needle and thread?”


Saul wasn’t even paying attention to her. He was opening a little box, pulling out a container of ointment. He twisted the lid off and ran his thumb across the surface of the creamy concoction. And then he was on to her, dabbing the wound. The relief was almost instant. Like a burning piece of ice kissing her hurting skin until it numbed over. An involuntary sigh left her lips as she eased down a little. 


“Are you ready, Isabella?”


Those golden eyes glared down at him as he presented the small, glowing needle. 


“Absolutely not,” she said in response, while simultaneously pulling her foot right out of his hands. “No, no, no…Clearly, I’ll be needing the services of a more talented magician or wizard, or whatever the hell you people are. Get that thing away from me.”


Her bleeding foot came up. The rounded heel resting against the edge of the toilet seat as she hugged her bent knee close to her chest. 

“I thought you could just… you know…,” she threw her hand down in front of his face, doing some jazz-fingers, “...wiggle your fingers and say some hocus pocus and be done with it. Fuck, I am going to need a drink.”

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                                                                                            “Absolutely not,” she said in response, while simultaneously pulling her foot right out of his hands. “No, no, no…Clearly, I’ll be needing the services of a more talented magician or wizard, or whatever the hell you people are. Get that thing away from me.”

                                                                                                                                      Her bleeding foot came up. The rounded heel resting against the edge of the toilet seat as she hugged her bent knee close to her chest. 


       The Mage looked to her as she glared, inwardly amused. His stoic demeanor gave way to a mischievous grin. The immediate dismissal at the sight or sound of pain was enthralling to Saul, who knew too many levels of endurance. Nevertheless, just as he was hers to command, she was his to tend to.


                                                                                             “I thought you could just… you know…,” she threw her hand down in front of his face, doing some jazz-fingers, “...wiggle your fingers and say some hocus pocus and be done with it. Fuck, I am going to need a drink.”


       Èmhyr grinned at her response. The gleaming needle with the gem for an eye was dropped to the towel on the floor as he took her foot back into his bloodied hand, head shaking a bit at the jazzy digits wagging in his face. She truly was quite the character; no longer frazzled by the world, yet seemingly shaken by such trivial things as the mortal coil. It was as if… as if she had never had to deal with such inconveniences such as pain and self control. An observation the Mage took to heart as he was forcefully bombarded by reminded of the fact her biological age was interestingly young compared to bodies he’d encountered. The curiosity drove him up the wall, as curiosity always did. His mind piped up about curiosity killing cats, to which he ruminated on the benefits of Satisfaction.. something that would always ease the mind and scratch that itch. His conclusion was that Satisfaction would be met eventually regarding Isabella — likely in more ways than one. 


       The Black Mage had gone on a mental tangent; thankfully they never lasted long in the real world. While his mind could swim in the eternity between seconds, he knew better than to dive too Deep. As it stood, her blood was already driving him to more carnal intent, but he refrained for the sake of work. 


“You really think I would travel all the way here - onto a moving train, mind you - only to offer you stitches and salve?” The Ouread Lad laughed a bit before looking from her eyes to her feet… then foot, which he took up in his bloodied hand again. Her perfection was otherworldly, even if it was a far cry from what she might have been before (not that he’d know what he’s missing). 


       The wizened one crouching before her kept his little smirk as he looked at her foot. A blackened thumb pressed and released a small pulse to the undamaged portion of her foot as his eyes closed for a moment. More glass.. Reckless little woman. The man shook his head before that thumb lowered to rest over the wound but not touch it. With the slightest contact with the wound, the Ick went to work, actively fishing the glass and any impurities from within her foot. With a flick of his wrist, the glass that was in her foot was now painlessly strung on the floor, with nary an inkling of the dark substance he used to reach with precision into her wound. Non-invasive procedures were more appreciated, he had found over time. 


“There.. No more glass. Now, I need you to close your eyes and stay real still, Bella.” The sultry voice dripped with endearment as he spoke the little pet name. He smiled in earnest at his hand...foot..y...work(??) but ultimately refrained from celebration; there was still work to be done. 


       Once he had the words in his mind’s eye, he began whispering to himself as he stared at her foot. His time with contact and the icky probing he’d pulled off for that last piece of glass had served well to establish an idea of the severity of the wound. No tendons or bones were damaged. Flesh was always so tender to the world’s cruelties.. Or in this case a young woman’s recklessness.


       With no words spent, he would slowly move down and over the wound. The result was flesh restoring itself by his Will as he addressed the Eidos. Saul’s mind would ruminate as his mind rifled through the information flooding him as the world around him shared what it knew of the vicinity, as well as what it knew about her. Dark eyes closed in concentration. The information imparted upon him covered everything from details about the train to the glass bottle to the wound on her foot; what inflicted it; what her foot was like before the trauma. All of this coalesced into an - for lack of less complex terms - Undo, rather than outright healing and reducing the scar he himself would have created in simply speeding the regeneration up as many common spells did. This way, no scar would occur, relieving the amount of work needed. The wound would be swaddled in the warmth following his process, having faced no pain in the moment of mending. 


“There.. Almost like you didn’t step on glass to begin with.” His lips met the ball of her newly restored foot, bowing his head to his work before looking to her. “Stand up so we can test that foot.” It was a more passive command rather than a request. He may have said that he wished to test the foot, but truly he wished to memorize her figure and admire her anatomy. Works of art ought to be gazed upon, yes? With that said Saul stood to his full height, standing easily over six feet, and held a hand out to her in order to take hers, should she allow him to help her to her feet.


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“You really think I would travel all the way here - onto a moving train, mind you - only to offer you stitches and salve?”


He laughed a rich and hearty laugh, which oddly enough caused her blood to boil. She thought that, yes -- she really thought that -- because it’s exactly what he had presented. But regardless of her sudden ire, she was in no position to deny her need for his talents. So even though there was a touch of resistance in the long, sleek muscles of her thin legs as he pulled her bleeding foot back, she gave in and settled back on the edge of her seat. 


He watched her with his dark eyes, unusually bright with the mirth he had milked from her fear and in return, she settled a narrowed glare upon him. His ears would not be graced with the sound of her voice again, at least not until the job was done. It seemed that finding good help was indeed harder to find that she thought and being overly friendly was clearly costing her far more than she was willing to pay. Instead, she kept that grouchy glare on him as he smoothed his thumb across her wound, until they both heard that pin-prick gentle sound of a little shard of glass hitting the tile floor.


“There.. No more glass. Now, I need you to close your eyes and stay real still, Bella.”


Affection dripped from his voice -- utterly unfounded. 




She felt a stir in her stomach, a tightening of all her insides as she repeated, in her mind, the pet name she had just been given -- Bella, Bella, Bella… Isabella was not her given name. It was her mother’s name. A woman so vicious and cruel that she had sold her unborn daughter to an equally monstrous nephew of hers. Gabriela did not have a single good memory of her mother. There were no misty memories of motherly affection or tenderness. Isabella had always been a harsh, sharp, but elegant woman. That’s all that she remembered, besides the unbelievable wickedness. Isabella stood in her mind as a tall, impeccable, and perfect model of humanities perdition at the hands of vampyres. The woman had been so stunningly beautiful that she could make any person fall in love with her, but she chose terror and torment over the infliction of a sweet, albeit tragic, romantic death. She was not one to romance her supper, Gabriela had often heard her mother say. 


“There.. Almost like you didn’t step on glass to begin with.”


Gabriela returned from her reverie, blinking clarity into her golden eyes after that unexpected trip down memory lane. Had she closed her eyes as instructed? She didn’t even remember. The images of Isabella were so clear in her head that she wasn’t sure what, if anything, had crossed her field of vision in the last few seconds. But now he was there, taking up all of her world -- all of her attention. He was beaming up at her, fresh faced, with a scar touching his thin but sensual lips. She wondered about it, vaguely, before looking down at her foot, which was still in his hand. 


“Stand up so we can test that foot…”


“Alright,” she replied, passively -- as passively as his command.


She set both feet on the tile floor, stepping in her own puddle of blood, and stood up. Her hands fell to her sides, and she made no attempt to cover any part of herself as she stood there, wiggling her toes in the blood, but mostly just feeling how her once-wounded foot bore her weight. She felt a tenderness there, in the sole of her foot, but nothing painful.


Just a memory of pain. 


“It feels good,” she said to him, her voice growing soft and quiet. 


Her hair fell behind her, which had been loosely piled atop her head. It came down in rich waves down the length of her curved back, down the swell of her bottom, and past to brush along the back of her thighs as she began to step forward and away from Saul. She walked, gingerly on her newly-healed foot, out of the bathroom and back into her room. From behind, he’d see only the rounded edges of her small shoulders, her soft elbows as they swayed with her movements, and the back of her legs as she tiptoed over the glass and went back into the nest of messy sheets and pillows which was her bed. 


“Do you know what else would feel good?” she asked, tilting her head as she settled comfortably on a sea of endless satin and silk pillows, all of them cream colored or soft bone-white. She was a drop of color there, her skin a light-sunkissed tan as she leaned back, with one hand lazily draped over her belly, her naval peeking through her fingertips, and the other hand lost somewhere under her head and that thick mane of dark hair. 


“A foot rub…” she wiggled her toes at him enticingly, "...and a drink, a drink would feel really good right now -- on my lips. Pour me one? Your choice."

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       The Ouread Lad remained crouched when Gabriela Isabella stood, taking in her form with much admiration. He refrained from touching her out of respect and instead grabbed the piece of glass as she walked off. She was almost too precious to touch; like fine porcelain, one ought to handle it with care and mindfulness of any fragility. He was one for detail and preservation, whether it was tender flesh and emotions or defenses and information for himself and the realm.


“Alright,” she replied, passively -- as passively as his command.


       Something about the way his fair-skinned mistress moved enamored him. Almost as much as her blood did. Saul tapped the piece of glass on the ground, a hum wavering over the floor before glass flowed and dragged across the floor; the result was a freshly restored bottle. Best not have the same trauma happen twice.. His eyes followed the trail of blood that came from her wriggling toe action-- an action he had found alluring despite how macabre it may have been. Was it the blood? Her toes? Her disregard for the messes that came with these things?


“It feels good,” she said to him, her voice growing soft and quiet. 


"That's great to hea--" cut off, was the Mage, as Isabella piped up after climbing into bed.


       He had his fingers in her blood again, digesting the information borne to him through contact alone. The Stallion began suckling a fingertip clean as put the wine bottle to the pool of blood, wafting toward the bottle. He would watch as the sanguine substance filled what was once full of wine. Dark inklings wavered through the vitae of the woman.. but it was not unfamiliar, as others tended to be when he encountered such phenomena. Something about it triggered memories of war time.. things he had endured, things he had likened to the more unfavorable entanglements of his past. Regardless, there was no need for a mess or idle reflection in this place; playing doctor, maid, and soon to be bartender-masseuse, Saul directed his focus on her and not her blood (or so he terribly wished to achieve).


“Do you know what else would feel good?”


"What?" He'd respond in earnest inquiry, standing and stretching his powerful thighs.


      His poor slacks took the brunt of the flexion, to which he smoothed out the thigh region. A little touch was enough to know the pants were not in danger of loosening threadwork. Saul moved out of the freshened bathroom, tossing his blazer over his forearm. He let the bottle of blood hang by his side in his right hand as he took in the sight of her strung across the bed of creams and white. Acute senses took in everything from the wine she drank to the impressions of her sleep on the mattress.. among other things shown so openly. It felt more and more like a losing battle to keep business and pleasure separate. He could not tell if she simply did not care or if she sought to tempt him, but her questions following would continue to blur the line. 


                                                                                          “A foot rub…” she wiggled her toes at him enticingly, "...and a drink, a drink would feel really good right now -- on my lips. Pour me one? Your choice."


"A drink and a rub.. you sure know how to put a man to work."


      His tone was one of amusement, but in no way did he convey he wished to not follow through with her plans for him. Casting his robe-turned-blazer over the chair, he waved to the bathroom and allowed his accouterments to return to their resting place and for the kit to close itself. It was good fun, but he had feared that his humor at her cost was something less than enjoyable for her herself. For that, he would tend to her to his best ability. He began by closing his hands on the bottle of blood, beginning a fun little trick he enjoyed. Re-purposing, as he called it. Those strong and tanned hands would open back up to reveal a bowl and a pair of glassware dark like blood, as if crystallized somehow, that issued lovely red hues in the light afforded by the sun through a window(if no window, ignore but enjoy!). Setting them down, he moved to his coat and rummaged through the magical depths it bore. She wanted a drink, and - with all due respect - none of the fine drinks she bore would suit the palette well enough What would be found within was a bottle of brandy kept within a velvet bag. Pulling the bottle from the bag, he tugged the cork away and filled the glasses. 


"From the vines back home; Northern Ouread. Unless you'd prefer Wine or Sangrias to sipping?" He offered the glass as well as an alternative, should she find the brandy not to her liking. It tasted rich yet smooth, though not sickeningly sweet. Spices, along with touches of coffee, vanilla pod, and oaky nuances. Along with red wine and tequila, Saul enjoyed brandy. Shaking fruits was more pleasant than the products of grain in his mind and tongue’s opinion. 


       When she took the glass or had him set it down, he would click his heels together and step from the shoes as laces unbound themselves. He removed himself for moment and looked at his broad reflection in the mirror. From the scar, to his eyes.. Oh, how they had changed. Every twinkling inkling was an homage to his truest iris that now lay swaddled in darkness. Eldritch Afflicktions... Always an interesting existence, right? Saul could lie and say no, but truly it was an interesting existence -- to a mind addled by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and esoterica. It was an existence he was not sure would end.. and what then? Was he promised to the Host? Damned to an array of torment? He could not know, and would not dwell on it when possible. In an attempt to return to his duty, he pried his mock turtleneck off and prepared for the possibility of soiling the shirt. While he was a great cleaner, he preferred not to.


       With his shirt in tow, he shook his mind free of distraction and set his eyes upon the woman on the bed again. Saul took the crimson bowl full of water from the sink, setting it on the floor before him. A "come hither" motion was made to the chair with his blazer, and it did as any obedient inanimate object would do: reposition to catch his seating rear. A quiet connection between body and object was made as he found his seat and subsequently her feet. In the back of his mind, he traced the room for all it had in it, and then his eye cut a glance to the towel he'd been using for blood and dabbing. In a blink, it would be set across his thigh. He took a drink from his own glass and basked in the flavors and aroma of the distilled wine that was brandy. If not stopped by her for a different drink, his hands, calloused by experience and hard labor throughout his life, would take up her freshly mended foot. There was no rigid flesh to his touch - in fact, one might say he had a soft touch, despite remaining capable of immense grip and firmness if he so needed to call upon his strengths. 


"No sense in getting everything dirty, right?" He mused, referring to his shirt's removal and the towel on his lap.


       Hands met blood again; would it ever end? He hoped there was an end to the blood, for the sake of his sanity. Inwardly.. that icky stuff.. it seemed to revel in the mess.. It made it awfully hard to not enjoy the mess or the act he now committed his hands to. Warm up twists were given to the tender extremity that was Isabella's foot, with added pressure as he worked from ankle and heel to ball and toes. His eyes looked from her toes to her thighs; thighs to mons; mons to navel; and then those Dark things in his sockets rest on her breasts and face. A look of warmth befell him as the admiration welled up and prompted a time of relaxation. Despite giving her the massage, putting himself to work with a good drink and the graces that her flesh bore were hard to turn into a sour situation.


       The Black Mage would not keep his eyes up very long, though.. perhaps enough for her to peer into that dark churning mess to see the light in him once again, but eventually they would fall back to the blood. The blood he rubbed her feet in. Her blood. 


       He had to have it.. Don't. Arguing with his own mind was a feat that bore no fruit. Èmhyr wouldn't couldn't stop himself now as he lowered his head to her raised foot, suckling the blood from her middle three digits. His full lips were warm, like the slick muscle that lapped the vitae from her skin. The brandy served to benefit the flavor of her blood and flesh. He did this for a few moments, even daring to glance up at her with a slightly lidded gaze as he nourished his itch to Know and Taste. Everything about her laid out in earnest.. biologically, speaking. Even memories were shared in this way -- places she had been, things she had run from; nothing was defined or enough for him to Know her story in detail, but it was nice.. the taste of emotion, the passion and the trough-like downs she endured. The highs and lows.. it was finer than any wine, he had come to find.. Arcane synesthesia and a bloodmongering hunger drew many connections in his mind; senses, emotions, colors and tastes all ran amuck within him, unable to refrain from indulgence. A curious cat seemed nearly Satisfied.. but there was more to her he wished to Know.. and that took time. 


       The Mage worked his way to her end digits before he lifted his head and licked his lips. A relaxed breath followed as he worked into the musculature of her arch and the ball of her foot. One would think he had given a massage or two in his day. Inwardly, he cursed himself for his actions, for breaking his fast on that which flowed through the veins of other entities.. It had been months since he'd fed such an urge. She wasn't even magically inclined. Not that she had shown or that he was able to pick up on presently.. She did have interactions with interesting characters who are far more inclined. It was something he would keep in mind but not speak on for now. Now, he was quiet and ruminated on the taste of Her. His hands would proceed through the rest of the massage on her foot before moving to the other foot. Spreads, rubs, and squeezes were given to the digits as he worked on her.


     Should she stop him, he'd respond accordingly, otherwise he'd await her reaction to his work and transgressions. What must she think..? He pondered, but he would not apologize or feel sorry. One fell to their urges from time to time; it was trivial in comparison to the things she had been through -- Not that Saul would know what she had been through. A certain sadness, tethered to those dark inklings bound to her, told him she had a tattered story to tell some day.. Or today? Who knew? He did not but he wished to.

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From her nest of pillows and duvet covered comforters filled with goose features, she watched as the magician dipped his finger into the puddle of blood she had left behind. With passive interest, she witnessed the fluidity with which he commanded matter and reshaped it and moved it. She was one who swam in the waters of the abyss, therefore this was not a startling demonstration of power or skill. But there was something in the way he did it. She likened him, in her mind, to a musician playing the cords of his instrument. It was soothing.


There had been no short supply of handsome men in her life, but truly there was something unique about Saul. Maybe it was the simplicity of his power. Clearly there was potency in his magic, but his figure seemed a nearly perfect reflection for what resided within the mage. He was broad of shoulder, his limbs filled out with muscle, his stature breathlessly ample. Save for the scar across his lips, he appeared just a well-formed man. And although she had lost so many of her abilities, most notably the capacity to hear the beating of a heart from this far a distance, or to measure the quickness with which blood gushed through blood-vessels, there was still something to say for intuition. 


Saul was a simple man. 


Neither good nor bad. 


Neither wicked nor indigestibly-moral.


Was there any finer form of elegance than raw power both within and without?


“A drink and a rub.. You sure know how to put a man to work.”


He was amused, but she was saddened by the comment. He could not guess at the weight of his words. How many men had she put to work for the pleasure of her company -- for the maddening obsession of owning her? And then, the only one who had ever mattered… He was dead because of her. 


Without realizing it her jaw had clenched up and her golden gaze had turned harder than she ever intended it to be when studying the movements of this kindly wizard who had come to her rescue. He didn’t seem to notice, or perhaps he did not care for the petulant mood swings of this particular newborn creature that sat naked before him. It was better to soften her gaze and force back the pinch in the corner of her lips that would give way to agony. 


He was dead and she was responsible -- and all because she wanted a birthday party, all because she was mining for the support of people she ultimately just wanted to send to the void, all because she had lost their son and he was not enough to dull the ache in her mother’s heart.  The weight of that guilt, of all the mourning she had refused to put herself through, it all came forward, threatening to consume her in that moment. But she was stronger. She pushed it down and utterly refused its existence. 


Meanwhile, Saul continued with his display of magic. He turned the bottle of wine, which carried her blood, into two matching glasses. It was as macabre as it was disgusting, but a part of her couldn’t help but revel in the irony. Once upon a time she would have guarded against anyone so much as obtaining a single droplet of her black blood -- and now, well now she was no one. She was of no importance to anyone, she had no name, no fortune, and slowly but surely, she was beginning to fear that she had no purpose. Would that all her blood could be taken and ‘re-purposed’ -- would that she could be consumed and be made useful in some way. 


“From the vines back home; Northern Ouread. Unless you’d prefer wine or sangria for sipping?”


“This is fine,” she replied after accepting the glass from him and taking a moment to appreciate its sanguine color. 


She nearly asked if he could turn her into something as beautiful…instead, she drank down the spiced brandy and smiled at the burn that rolled down her throat like a fireball. When she looked to Saul again she found that he had moved himself away to a dresser and was busy undressing. A very amused smile touched her lips as she leaned back and relaxed a little more contentedly. 


“A drink and a show, aren’t I a lucky girl?”


“No sense in getting everything dirty, right?”


He was back, with the bloody hand towel he had used in the bathroom. During her life as a vampyre she had gone to such lengths to avoid blood, and now, during her very short existence as a human she seemed utterly surrounded by the stuff -- particularly her own.


“In that case, why not remove your trousers as well?” she tilted her head, and smiled sweetly at him as he plucked her newly-healed foot off the bed. 


He began to administer that same care and devotion to the firm pressing of his fingertips into the tender flesh of her foot -- that same care with which he played his magic. Gabriela’s eyes closed and her head rolled back into the pillows. Had she ever had a foot rub? It was divine! She sighed a little breath that sounded more like a kitten’s mew, before wiggling her way closer to him and giving him better access to her bloodied foot. He held her ankle, pressed the pads of his fingers into her heel, and rolled along the soft length of her sole. Maybe his eyes were turned up to her, but she didn’t see -- hers were closed and her enjoyment was nakedly apparent. 


At some point, through thin slivers of parted lids, she peered down at him. The hunger upon his face was undeniable -- she knew it too well. And then, as if to ensure that her thoughts were right, the mage lowered his head and hid the glint of black in his eyes. He opened his mouth and she felt the warm breath roll down the top of her toes. His warm tongue enveloped her toes, the sensation was odd, it felt completely wrong, but it still caused her stomach to burst with thousands of fluttering butterflies. She squirmed in response and grabbed fistfuls of the bed sheets upon which she lay. 


And then there was stillness, and she had to peek down at him again. He was upright once more, licking the red off his lips as he watched her -- obviously for a reaction. There was no hiding what her body felt, not like before. She was flushed, a warm blush running along the space between her breasts, and up her naked chest, caressing the length of her elegant throat.


He tasted on her a certain sadness -- but did he taste any of her ambition


Did he taste the madness….


Did he taste rage


No. She was just a newborn human, and her blood was extraordinarily ordinary. 


She was nothing special -- not to anyone, not anymore. 


Gabriela sat up and her hands went to his face. She doubted he would flinch, but in case he was worried about her intentions, she kept her hands open in as gentle of a display as possible. She wanted to touch him. She desperately wanted to touch someone -- what fortune that the man who had come to her was so gentle for she could not have given in to a brute. When her fingertips found his cheeks, she smoothed over them like a child might touch some strange, new, but magnificent beast -- lovingly, curiously, and with respectful wonder.


That is of course until her fingers curled around the edges of his ears and combed through his hair. Then her grip grew tight as she tangled her fingertips in the thick mane. A pull would bring him down, if he surrendered himself to such manipulations of course. Down, she would pull him down until he lay upon her, chest to chest, with her thighs spread and her legs wrapped around the back of his thighs. Her arms wrapped tightly around his thick neck and her pretty face buried against his throat.


A hug.


A tight and desperate embrace. 


It took just about every ounce of her self-respect not to ask him to hold her. 


This was going to be physical -- nothing more or less. She had nothing else to give. But there was a part of her that ached for what love had felt like, for what she had but never knew to appreciate. So she clung to him in a most curious way, which would surely make poor Saul very uncomfortable -- or maybe not, who knew?


There was a knock at the door and then the rattling of the knob as it was turned and the door was pushed open. A peckish sort of man thrust half of his body into the room before catching himself, with long, white slender fingers on the door frame. With blue eyes, full of mischief, he watched his mistress and this new gentleman -- hadn’t she just had dinner with another man the night before? And before that, hadn’t Arthur kept her company in her private chambers for nearly a week? He was grinning without even realizing it.


“Lady Isabella, we have arrived -- your carrier is waiting. We’re all waiting.”


“And you shall wait even longer if you interrupt me again!” yelled Isabella from under the large mage, before hurtling the empty glass at the man by the door. Lucky for everyone in the room she was a horrible aim, and the glass hit the wall quite a distance away from the door, where it shattered and fell to the floor. 


The man pouted, “...at least don’t wrinkle the outfit I left out for you!”


“Give me something else to throw at him,” Isabella demanded of Saul, but they would both hear the door close once again.

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       The fist of feather filled fineries and the blush of her fair flesh had brought forth fires of infatuation within the Mage when he went for her blood. Saul was soft eyed when looking upon her now, indulging in her presence and the way that she enjoyed what could have been less than appreciated by someone who was not Isabella. Perhaps it was her lonely heart, or perhaps it was carnal desires of flesh and shared company; he would not deny her if she sought to keep him company, for he had no one in the world, himself. Why deny someone time spent otherwise in solitude? Yes, it was nice: to have the time to oneself and to hone one's Craft. Even Sorcerers needed to get out of their heads.

       Speaking of heads, Bella had his in her palms now. Eyes once fixed now lidded with a haze of endearment. He allowed his guard to lower, rather than flinching. When her hands began to wander, Saul's eyes relaxed as he shared himself with her physically. His trust for her was largely warranted by the fact he admittedly had contingencies for all things that might come across him on his Path. Some call it strategic foresight, some called it Trauma. Her presence, however deep the rabbit hole of mystery went for Isabella, drew a softer side in the man's mind -- deeply, he hoped that she would not betray him in this moment. 

       Her pull was like a leap of faith for him; a dive into her embrace was on the precipice of happening, and then she had done it for him. Down, down he went. Like a flower, Saul was careful with her. A lion and a lamb, yet he had no intent of devouring her.. not like that, at least. Perhaps like that, though. A hand pushed into the layers of her bedding that resided above her head, to brace himself and show off that muscled physique of his. He probably had a hundred pounds on her, yet she blanketed her form with his own and met the heat of his core with her own. 


       As she tucked herself into him, though, it became an entirely different moment. This was not his first assumption of what would come out of the situation -- not that he expected acts of the flesh. More so, not many found comfort in him in this way. Again, he was more often alone than among others, especially since the being branded a Black Mage. 


       But this was nice.. So nice, in fact, that his body had almost immediately reciprocated the act of affection. She wanted to ask to be held, and yet it was all he could do in the moment. No need for words or redundancy. Fingertips traced her flesh from the waist to her shoulders and against her spine and neck to tuck her further into his crook. He drew his entire form onto the bed, knees folded and pressed against her. Trousers flexed against taut musculature, but gave where needed. Nestling his lap to her bottom and effectively pressing her into his chest, Discomfort had no place here.


       Like a fly, he was drowning in the pool he had fallen into that was this entanglement of arms and legs and compassion. Two needy hearts having it out with one another.. that is, until the door opened. Her lack of fear for the intrusion granted him a sense of sound mindedness, which he used to mentally spectate the back and forth to follow. 


       The immediate transition from calm to crashing glass and the cusp of conflict was swift. As her glass crashed into the wall, it reminded him that all was not sad with her. Rage, just as he tasted in the way that he tasted her sadness. Even his hands told tales of memories laid into her muscles. Tides of frustration and immense upseat; if he had to guess, even her dreams bore these flavors. Her palette was one of stacked hardships, but rendered a path she might persevere if followed. Her ambition, her will to live and to love.. it was everything she needed to smite those she wished and shine through like a star set in a clear sky.


“Give me something else to throw at him,” Isabella demanded of Saul, but they would both hear the door close once again.

"Good riddance." He whispered, laughing just a bit as he sat up on folded legs with her held against his frame. Fingertips graced her nape as he held her with relative ease. Once again, physical toils brought about a sense of enjoyment for him. "He has a point -- only the preserving your dress part.. On the subject, you had better keep the glass breaking to a minimum." His smiled brimmed in the morning light, just as the saturation of warmth issued his flesh a pleasant rosy touch to tanned hide.

"I hope you don't mind this, but.." Arms tightened around her again before he craned in and planted a warm kiss on her jawline, tender as her touch had been. His forehead met her own, though it was brief. 


       The air hummed with the affectionate gesture, sharing in his momentary delight as he treated her to such kindness.  Dear Èmhyr stood with her, now, and let a majority of her weight rest on his palm and forearm. A whole cheek took up a hand, but he dared not molest her beyond enjoying the plush mounds resting on and against him. No, he preferred to keep her from touching the ground. Wholesome was his goal to protect her delicate features. In his time of standing, he waved a free hand to the glass. Taken aback, it would seemingly rewind from conclusion of its breakage to the point it was still whole. After reconstruction, it was left to be supported by the ground. Once broken, now mended. Such was the Way, it seemed. 


       Saul carried her to the bathroom and the world seemed to bend to his will once more, issuing the bowl of water to find itself at the foot of the toilet. He took the time to wash her feet and ankles of blood once setting her on the throne she'd previously occupied. Blood he had lapped and suckled from tender flesh without warning.. Blood she had shed in her displeasure with a bottle's lacking content. Fingers found toes with the company of water as he pondered on why she drank and what her day had in store.. but it was not his business to pry at. 


"Perhaps the next time you Call, it will be something less business-oriented.. or not.. I will say, though: I've enjoyed our time. It is not often I get to drink with and take care of someone. Quite a fulfilling morning, if I do say so myself." The Mage spoke as he tended to her, occasionally glancing up to look her in the eyes as he worked away. Drying her feet off with a hand towel fished from the counter-side shelf, Saul sat the reddened-water-filled bowl on the counter behind them. A kiss was given to the top of each foot once dried and raised for inspection before he stood to his feet with a warm smile and an open hand awaiting her.

"If you don't mind.. I'd like to watch you get dressed." He left her to take that however she wished, but if she dug into the Why, it would be so: Watching Isabella in motion was like watching snow fall across the earth.. like rain striking water.. Soothing. For now, he waited on his feet for her to let him lead her to the dress where, if allowed, he would take a seat with another glass of brandy waiting for him so that he could watch her; pulling on his layers would be totally feasible from the comfort of the chair, he'd concluded. 


      Something about that woman... he thought, reflecting on where he stood with what he knew and felt.


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He had soft eyes -- familiar.


She lay under the canopy of his massive body, which was held up by a single pillar of an arm that had landed a little above her head. He was mindful of her, and she was fully aware. He didn’t crush her with his weight, didn’t seek to suffocate her with his presence. He was, in every way imaginable, different. And as he floated there, a few mere inches above her, with tension flexing the muscles in his arm, across his shoulder, and along the expanse of his wide chest, she drank in the sight of this colosseum monument erected for the glory of the male physique. His body was a literal wonderland of sensual pleasures, from sight, to sound -- his soft, steady breathing -- and even his scent, a gentle musk of sweat under the fresh smell of simple soap rubbed hard into his skin.


But it was his eyes. Black as night, and just as peaceful as a moonless night catching the rays of morning sun here and there, throwing it back at her like starlight.


She startled, but in a good way, when his touch landed on her naked hip. It was a soft intake of breath between slightly parted lips, almost like a hiss -- that sound before the kettle starts to whistle violently. Musical, content. His fingers drew up her side, and the sound changed to a giggle. It was girlish and sweet, everything that Gabriela had learned to not be. But then again, no one had ever touched her quite so gentle as to induce a tickle.


And then she was utterly enveloped in him. That one arm continued to support most of his weight, but the other had circled around her and behind. He pulled her into him. Like a puzzle-piece, she fit into his chest, and her slender legs spread wider to better wrap around his waist. It was an intimate embrace, but oddly not vulgar -- not obscene. 


Until she threw the glass and yelled at the man who had appeared at her door. 


“Good riddance,” said Saul, almost instantly easing the tension that had formed in Gabriela. He sat up, and she had no other choice but to follow suit, since she had made a seat out of the top of his thighs. Immediately her arms went around his neck -- for support, she told herself, but the reality was that the thought of him leaving her made her heart ache. 


“He has a point -- only the preserving your dress part.. On the subject, you had better keep the glass breaking to a minimum.” 


Saul laughed and the sound of it made her frown. It strung a cord in her heart -- her supposedly dead heart. Suddenly she was all full of suspicions and anger, and yet she could not release her hold of him. Luckily for the Black Queen, her frown, perhaps more so now as a human, was an endearing expression of powerless frustration. Her small frame made her exude helplessness, and what could be more endearing than a petite little thing struggling with displeasure? 


She was about to remind him that she could break as many glass objects as she wanted so long as she maintained in her possession a magician who could clean up the mess. Fortunately for them both, her rude little comment never had a chance to leave her supple lips.


“I hope you don’t mind this, but..” 


She felt his arms squeeze around her and pull her tighter to his chest. A little groan passed escaped from her lips just as he settled on her rounded jawline. He kissed her softly and her eyes closed in immediate response, as did her head tilt in utter surrender. The base desire was still there -- that automatic response to submit and offer her blood, but that was just half the truth in this particular situation. It was a delicious sort of need to feel his lips at her throat, a sort of curiosity of what his tongue might feel like licking up from her clavicle to her ear. She shuddered at the thought, both in delight and fear, until the press of his forehead against her own brought her back.


And then she was up in the air, mounted on one of his strong arms, her bottom supported by a wide open hand -- that did not pinch, squeeze, or otherwise molest. She clung to him all the more tightly, and watched, from over his shoulder as he cleaned up her mess, just as she was going to rudely suggest before. Instead, she sighed contentedly. 


She was set down on the edge of the counter, a cold and hard contrast to his warm and rough hand. But she did not complain, and did not seek the comfort of his arms again. Instead, she sat there, perched like a little bird, watching with her strangely warm eyes as he cleaned the blood off her foot. Moods, like the ever changing course of the sea, crossed her face as he began to speak. Sadness, which she did not attempt to hide and a hefty dose of disappointment.


“Perhaps the next time you call, it will be something less business-oriented.. Or not.. I will say, though: I’ve enjoyed our time. It is not often I get to drink with and take care of someone. Quite a fulfilling morning, if I do say so myself.”


A question lingered, but she did not dare ask it -- was he preparing to depart? Much to her disgust, her eyes misted at the thought. Who was this man to her that she should suffer for his absence? And yet, there was a crippling fear gripping at her heart at the mere thought of him leaving. She’d slit her wrists to get him back in here, and back to tending her -- and that certainly didn’t sound healthy. Her brows pinch in a frown. Not that her life was the picture of health, not by a longshot and not at the rate she was guzzling down alcohol. 


But still…


“If you don’t mind.. I’d like to watch you get dressed.” 


He was waiting for her, for an answer, for acknowledgement of his request.


Gabriela’s cheek warmed. She blushed, by far more deeply than ever before -- in her vampyric or human life. The color went from her high cheekbones down to her pointed chin, nearly making a heart shape upon her face. Best of all, the pink color dusted across the top of her breasts, and up the column of her throat. But she did not offer a word of reply and instead just set her small hand upon his, which was out waiting to aid her as she slipped off the counter and landed on her bare feet.  


Together, with her leading the way, they walked back into the room. He took his seat and picked up his drink, and she cut across to her dresser. 


“I am traveling again,” she said, her back turned to him.


She was a silhouette of soft, white skin behind a lush, long curtain of dark wavy hair. Her hair was a magnificent sight. It fell like a veil behind her, down her back, undulating like the sea past her hips, down to the middle of the back of her thighs. Not much of her nudity was visible in this way, but the outline was clear, the flashes of skin distinct and purposeful. 


From the neatly folded pile of clothing, which looked rather bulky -- at least, bulkier than might have been expected -- she pulled a pair of black panties. She stepped into these with relative ease, though she did nearly lose her balance (or appear to) once. Up past her ankles, her knees, and thighs, until the fine, satin fabric was smoothed over her bottom and the ribbon-bound waist was secured just under her bellybutton. It was a neatly fitted high-cut style, which would appear a little dated on her, save for the fact that they hugged her perfectly. She turned to give him a glimpse.


“I have to dress functionally...do you approve? Wait, you have to see what goes over them.”


She stretched out her arms, pushed out her left hip, and modeled the comfortable undergarments. But then, reached back for her pile of clothing and took an impossibly small pair of leather breeches. Skin-tight could not begin to describe the fit of her pants. And yet somehow, she managed to slip them up her slender legs without an issue. The material clung to her like a second skin, showing off the sleek figure, which was then promptly covered up by a rather loose-fitting white tunic-length blouse. She looked comfortable, versatile -- as if she were ready to go riding, and by the look of the soft-leather brown boots next to her bed, maybe that’s exactly what she was planning. 


Next came a heavy wool coat, which was exquisitely cut for her shape and form. She drew this coat over her arms and around her body, securing the pinched waist with a hidden button. But her attention had faltered away from getting dressed, and was pointedly settled on Saul.


“I am about to abandon my staff -- leave them stranded here,” she gave a little shrug as she pulled the massive mass of her hair from out of the collar of her coat. She didn’t appear like she meant to do anything with the mess of hair, but surely she did not plan to walk around with it loose and flying everywhere.


“That means,” she went on to say, as she walked over to her bed and took a seat, busing her hands with the task of pulling her boots on, “ -- that I am in desperate need of new help. How much would it cost me to have you stay by my side for the duration of my travels?”

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       The warmth of her flesh delighted those deep, dark eyes. With his clothing adjusted and donned with finesse, he made sure that he took his time watching her. Her flesh, whose creamy tan already drove him to more carnal thoughts, was emboldened from face down by the reaction. Surely she was not unfamiliar with physical interactions? Admiration, though.. Kindness? Had she had any of the two? Love? Care, at the very least? It brought thoughts to the surface that he had not expected to reflect upon.. Deeply, he hoped that she had not been through the worst of situations, but how was he to Know? To assume is to make an ass of you and me, or at least that is what wisecracks often told him… even when he was correct.


“I am traveling again,” she said, her back turned to him.


“Sounds like plenty of fun,” he started, but did not finish as he watched the dark tresses fall and flow with and around her form. 


      Stark contrasts to the eye were made as he moved from fleshy flashes and her graceful and vast waves, which were as thick as they were dark. Obscuring, Distracting.. Beautiful. Every glimpse was eaten up by his eyes, though he would not read too deeply into this. He couldn’t, right? Why would she treat me so well? He sewed doubt into his own yearnings, settling himself for the moment.. That is, until she turned back to him after drawing up her panties. 


       Gods… She was a sight to behold.


      The way she pulled the satin over her flawless flesh was enough to make him wet his lips with a sip of brandy, followed by his tongue. Breathe it out. He compelled himself, seeking to keep himself composed. Not a peep,  Stay focused. Focused on the subject she brought up.. Travelling.. Not on supple flesh; not on her toes and calves and thighs. Beyond her hips, he found her navel to be pleasantly accentuated by the high waist of the panties. A smile, not toothy or full of ill intent.. A smile of adoration crept upon his face as he drank in the moment unfolding. There was hardly, if ever, a time where he truly got to sit back and enjoy himself? Even if it was in the company of a stranger.. A stranger who had him intrigued. She might as well have left the hook in his cheek. Instead she just covered her own cheeks and kept him in the dark about what she looked like with all that hair tied up to expose her. Warmth found his own face as she struck a pose or few for him. Was it the alcohol, or were her glances softening him?


“I have to dress functionally...do you approve? Wait, you have to see what goes over them.”


      Her shift of attention from question to presentation kept him quiet. From hand to outstretched hand did his eyes wander. Then they went head to toe, going so far as to fixate on the bow below her navel. When she moved for the breeches, he sat back from the forward, elbows-on-his-thighs seated stance. He placed the now empty glass which bore brandy before on the desk closest to him. It was almost impressive that she dressed herself without issue; leather was not always so kind to him… it even needed a bit of persuasion at times.. Isabella needed no magical coercion or second pair of hands to handle her leather pants. Nor a hand with the rest of the gear.


       Inklings of intent fed into the air as she worked her way around the room. A question? Request? Curiosity now drew his mind into full attention as her words seemed more and more geared toward something more than simply informing the Bondsmagi before her.  Saul turned his body and seat to keep his attention to her in the most direct way possible. The coat was nice; it added to the allure of weather-readiness while still maintaining a fashionable motif which further expressed her tastes. Even functionable looked good on her. Speaking of looks: Isabella had settled those golden pools on him. The Mage made sure to find her eyes for the sake of respect and to express he had been listening and not simply watching. 

“I am about to abandon my staff -- leave them stranded here,” 


               “That means,” she went on to say, as she walked over to her bed and took a seat, busing her hands with the task of pulling her boots on, “ -- that I am in desperate need of new help. How much would it cost me to have you stay by my side for the duration of my travels?”


“Travelling without your staff.. Interesting choice. Typically, I do not operate contracts of termed protection or servitude very often, so price is hard to say.. But you have me at your side. For now, I am willing to abide by some agreement.” With these words, he stood. As she sat, he rose. 


      Adjusting his blazer’s cuffs, he looked to her once again as her boots were pulled onto those dainty delicious feet. “To reiterate: I will stay with you for however long you need, pending you are truthful and do not omit or obfuscate.” He smiled at this simple request of honesty and truthfulness in its rawest form.. Something many fell prey to falling short on when in contracts or working with Saul. The Bondsmagi was no fool; without a tower, without a company.. He needed to keep his wits about him and reduce involuntary servitude or deception. He was no slave, and he would not be taken for a slackwit-- not that he thought she was or would do such things to him.

“Before we begin on numbers, though.. How long are we talking? And what is your goal?” His head tilted as his chest became framed by folded arms. His business face brought a slight furrow to his brow.. And something made his jaw look a bit more easy to notice. Full lips pressed to one another as he began to think and calculate.. What he would need, where they would be going, who they would meet… what he would Learn. Tantalizing theories trampled through the thaumaturge. He kept his focus, though. She would always have his attention, if he could help it.

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As Saul sat there admiring and feeling sorry for her -- wondering if she knew anything of kindness and fretting if she knew anything of love, he could not imagine the full extent of the horrors she had experienced in the name of those two very virtues. Armed with kindness in one hand and love in another she had been beaten and raped, brought low, and yet never broken, no -- never that. But how could he begin to know any of that? She was no mere woman, and sex was no mere instrument of humiliation or torture. She had been an immortal queen, the Black Queen of Orisia, a valuable possession to be owned.


Torment was only the beginning.


But that was politics and she did not begrudge the life she had lived -- not until it killed her child. 


But how was he to know any of that? All he saw was a delicate, beautiful human girl -- a precious thing, drunk and fragile. She was the epitome of damsel in distress, but surely he could see that the distress came from within. The question then became -- would he be able to realize the depth of her desolation? Would he come to the realization that that which molested her was not some horrible creature lurking in the shadows, but rather the shadows within, the memories, the very thing she had become? Poor Saul -- would the knowledge of this come too late?


“Traveling without your staff.. Interesting choice. Typically, I do not operate contracts of termed protection or servitude very often, so price is hard to say.. But you have me at your side. For now, I am willing to abide by some agreement.”


He stood, and she sat. 


To say his words struck a cord of disappointment was a devastating understatement. Gabriela struggled not to reach for something to throw at his head. There was a glow to the world and the alcohol was still burning strong in her veins. She settled instead for clenching her jaw -- tight. 


Why wasn’t he toppling over himself to agree to be at her side? Why wasn’t he madly in love? Why wasn’t he swearing loyalty -- pledging his allegiance, singing away his life in blood… Why hadn’t he taken her into his arms and plunged into her when he had the chance, when she gave him the chance? 


Because you were too damn weak, she thought with bitterness. 


She had clung to him like he was the last person on earth and like that somehow mattered. She simply didn’t have the luxury of revealing her loneliness to anyone, least of all a mercenary for hire. She dropped her head and concentrated on adjusting her boots while he fixed the cuffs of his blazer. 


“To reiterate: I will stay with you for however long you need, pending you are truthful and do not omit or obfuscate.”


She didn’t look up at him even though he sought her eyes.


“Before we begin on numbers, though.. How long are we talking? And what is your goal?”


Gabriela finished fixing her boots around the girth of her calves and stood up. He was quite taller than she was, but it hardly deterred her from walking right up to him -- hands on her hips. 


“First and foremost, if you are the hired help… well that hardly puts you in a position to make demands on personal matters. I’ll share what I am willing to share and withhold what I wish to withhold. My goals are my own, as they have ever been. After all, I am sure a man of your intellect can understand -- you are a relative stranger to me, Mr. Magician… why would I disclose my secrets to a man I barely know?”


She smiled and it stole from some of the harshness of her words, and then she reached up with her small, pale hands and she fixed the collar of his shirt. 


“I very much like when you sucked the blood off my toes...and I imagine I’ll like feeling your tongue on other parts of my body, if you decide to be my traveling companion and personal physician and guard -- but that won’t make us friends. That’s something to think about before you take me up on my offer.”


Ice cold, she smiled and rode the wave of intoxication that made it easy to bury her feelings of pain -- that little voice that whispered that she would never be loved, and would forever be alone. It didn’t matter, she wanted to be alone after all. 


“I’ll give you a moment. I have to go inform the staff…” 


With that, and of course a kiss to the cheek, Isabella departed from the private room and went looking for the people who had thus far risked life and limb for her so that she could fire them on the spot.

Edited by Pasion Pasiva

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                                                     “First and foremost, if you are the hired help… well that hardly puts you in a position to make demands on personal matters. I’ll share what I am willing to share and withhold what I wish to withhold. My goals are my own, as they haveever been. After all, I am sure a man of your intellect can understand -- you are a relative stranger to me, Mr. Magician… why would I disclose my secrets to a man I barely know?”


        Her presence alone was likely to intimidate lesser men.. when she walked up to him, though? Her grace eclipsed her disappointment and the obvious signs of contradiction she endured while focused on him. How could she not? He asked for something beyond a price between two strangers: Honesty and Knowledge. People paid handsomely for the prospect of having honest and objective information. The Truth was not something that came simply or quickly; Neither was Trust. Still, Saul sought much out of her despite their short time of familiarity. 


       Regardless of how her presence made him presently feel, which was that she warmed an otherwise cold existence -- even if it was an abrasive endeavor at times. She had his blade and his hands do with what she pleased, but that did not mean she would keep him in the dark. He remained physically unfazed in the face of being checked by the petite woman. Truth be told, he loved her firm demeanor, even if it occasionally seemed like a defense mechanism rather than her true temperament. He began to ponder until she began to speak again, though. A smirk crept into existence when she did, too.


                                                                     “I very much like when you sucked the blood off my toes...and I imagine I’ll like feeling your tongue on other parts of my body, if you decide to be my traveling companion and personal physician and guard -- but that won’t make us friends. That’s something to think about before you take me up on my offer.”

“I’ll give you a moment. I have to go inform the staff…”


       When she kissed his cheek, he let the smirk rest into a smile. Small but full of pleasure from the small touch of affection. Strangers, as they were, he felt the ick urging him to explore with her, to explore her.. His Id seemed fixated, and so too did his mind now. While his mind was perplexed by her biology, as the mention of blood so fondly reminded him, his more primitive and instinctive parts were wanting in the form of a hunger for affection and contact strung into being by their shared moments. Alternatively, instincts told him to rip her head off of her shoulders for her nerve... but again: He was enjoying this. Call him a masochist, but she was growing on him, somehow.. There was no room for true aggression or hostility between them, and Saul preferred to keep it that way. Like a songbird, she was to be cherished and not scorned. He had a feeling that she had had too many negative transgressions laid upon her plate for him to add to it and pile it on. 


      No, He would protect her. Èmhyr was raised better than to put hands on people without real warrant. They would have much to talk over, simply being because she spoke to him as if he were a golem or familiar: she bore no tact speaking to him about how things would be handled. If she had the idea he was the ever so easy to push around type, she was wrong. The Black Mage felt he bore more worth than that of a mundane mercenary, even moreso than the typical mage you'd run across. Spell and Blade, hand in hand; Extensive knowledge; Kindness, of all things; he had it all to offer, and yet she spoke to him as if projecting some degree of loneliness.


       It mattered not that. She was not in the room now. Another glass of brandy and he would do away with the bottle, resigning it to the blazer that was now fine black robing of the wizened variety. It bore no mantle, not like his Ouread colleague's -- but it was fine nonetheless. Visually, it was fresh. Hardly looking worn due to constant upkeep and a quick hand for Mending. Tailors were nice, too. Just another reason he needed coin.. You could not always trade services for knowledge or work, unfortunately.. just as you could not expect every detail to come forward with the simple beckon of a question or request. 


        Oh well.. Saul thought, finding his rucksack and opening it up. In a few movements -- certainly fewer than one would need to undress and redress -- he did just that. His second outfit, the one more fitting to the upcoming endeavors based off of her own outfitting, was one of a more travelled variety. A dark tunic in place of a mock turtle; high-waist leather trousers instead of slacks that flexed with his every motion.. these did that, but it was a bit nicer view -- that is, unless you are destined to meet his blade. Then they were just another fraction of a dark and dire shadow cleaving their life away. 


       Boots, black as ever, were his fine shoes' replacement. A few adjustments, belts and pouches, a baldric, and he was nearly put together all over again. He whirled his wrist and assured himself of his belongings, in charm-on-a-bracelet form, were all accounted for. The warmth of the brandy made it easier to smile as he pulled his rucksack on and clenched his fists before moving from the room on the train. 


"Let us see where she takes us." He said to himself, Dark Eyes peering through the hall as his nose told him where to go to find her. By means of her blood, she would never be alone without wanting to be if it was up to him. He would find her easily forever more, like some predator bent on feeding itself. With time, he was sure they would feed each other mutually in more than a few unexpected ways. This for that; Give and Take. These were things he understood aout the world rather well. You could not take without giving something, and you could not give without taking. Such was life.


And now his was tangled with hers. Where would they go from here?


He had to Know.

Edited by L E V I A T H A N

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