Monday, 12 March 2012


“You know I love you at your worst” he had replied with a roguish glint of his bright blue eyes and had reached for her hand, softly kissing the back of it and then pressing individual fingers against the full of his lips whilst those eyes held hers impishly. Yet she could tell before he even explained that he had things on his mind, things to tell her, advice to seek. She had smiled warmly in return at his thoughtful tenderness and pulled him deeper into the gardens so that they may sit hopefully undisturbed and comfortable whilst they spoke.

Sliding lazily into a hidden hammock she beckoned for him to join her, letting him sink down beside her and pull her close. He had looked down at her adoringly in that moment and brushed her hair from her face, speaking softly so that they might remain undiscovered. For a while they spoke on happy things, how amidst all the chaos that seemed to forever surround them they still had much to be thankful for but after a time their conversation swung around to his own news.

"You recall when we were at the docks and Crim came over...wanted to speak with me?" he began then paused a moment and continued "Well he had a request of me. Crim is forming a tribe of his own, a group for beast folk you could say; lycans primarily and creatures of a similar nature. He once tried to be a part of the Wilds but their goals and outlook on life and order are too different from his own though both strive to protect the natural land. Crim’s goals are more specific however and he wished me to join with him in his cause. So I decided to join with him and his mate Kirrin." he looked at her again figuring she may have questions and he did not want to bombard her with too much from the start.

She had opened her eyes when he began to speak, having been languishing with them closed in happy respite. She listened carefully and when he paused she took the opportunity to gain some clarity to his words "and what are his goals and outlook on life?" she asked not having had much to do with him or indeed knew little of the huge man rumour told her was an un-cursed but born lycan.

He had hesitated just a bit, intending to tell her but he was unsure how she would react as one issue was on a certain racial prejudice. He spoke carefully and yet casually, tying to make sure things did not sound bad at least in tone; un-accusing. "Well, like my people his views on the laws of life are fairly similar. He wishes to keep a natural balance, the way it was intended to be. And to preserve the forest as well. He wants to ensure that certain people are aware of where their place should be. And he is on a crusade against the ill use of magic. In particular the magic school is a target, Trendor namely, as he abuses it and takes energy from places that are not rightfully his. He manipulates it in unnatural ways."

She turned to him a little more as she became absorbed in words. "Well you know my views on magic. I would not perhaps label Trendor as one capable of great evil anymore but magic breeds the worst in people, encourages them to believe indeed unnatural things of themselves and leads them down a dark path..." she trailed off realising she was frowning and sighed looking back to him, seemingly she was satisfied and in agreement with someone wishing to prohibit its unnatural use, especially after her own suffering at its hands.

He had shrugged a bit, his thoughts deep for a moment and then he mused out loud "Many people seem to think of Trendor as a good person yet I have avoided him and still faced his wrath, all because he does not like what I am because of jealous feelings he holds toward you. If he is capable of that, capable of threatening my life all because I did not wish to chat with him then who knows what he is indeed capable of turning into. I have seen his darker, hot tempered side and I do not agree. This would not be the first threat he has cast on me with a magic wielding hand. He knows the power he possesses and he flaunts it in secret." he brushed a finger to her lips suddenly and kissed her. "Crim feels that lycanthropy is a gift, he encourages me to accept it as such. He says he believes that Lycans were created to protect the natural world, to upholds its ancient ways and keep the land cleansed of impurities, unnatural things... but that also includes things like drow, demons and undead" he looked at her concerned as he spoke the final word, ‘undead’.

She had been a little by surprise by his kiss but put it down to a sudden possessive urge due to his feelings on Trendor. She completely understood how he felt and in many ways she agreed with him, the elven mage's vanity when it came to his power was both his strength and weakness, he was undoubtedly powerful and yet his ego made him underestimate his opponents at times, as he had done with Alastair. She smirked slightly at this holding a secretive pride in him for his defeat of her past lover and yet it was the softer side of Trendor that she knew he held deep down that made her believe it would take much to make him drown in complete darkness. Still, she reasoned, he had delved in shadows before and possibly could do again, all depending on the prize. She listened carefully to his explanation of Crim and somehow his words did not come as a great surprise even if they did unsettle her against her will. "Of course he would see it as a gift otherwise he undermines his own existence" she began "and cleansing the lands of...such things" she said carefully "well it is the tradition of his...your kind, a true vampire would agree with the reverse effect” she sighed heavily “and how conveniently both forget how similar the races can be" she remarked somewhat bitterly.

He sighed slightly, he figured this would be something she would take offense to and he understood her reason and did not blame her "There are some rules however. If it can breed naturally and if it has a heartbeat then it is alive. They asked me about you and I told them you were half human. Crim has no issues with our being together, his mate Kirrin was even more understanding. You could be a part of it, if you wanted." This caused her to sit up a little "He has 'no issues' with us being together?" she repeated in mock appreciation "well I am so glad we have his approval" she spat and then sighed with a sudden frustration, in truth it was the natural breeding comment that had stung her, he knew how much she wanted a child of her own more than anything. "I am sorry" she said more softly her eyes looking for his "just I am so sick of having to prove that we can be together, explain why we should be accepted, we need no one’s approval or authority to be in love" she lay back looking to the sky again and let her mind tick over, calming down as quickly as she flared up "what do you mean, a part of it" she asked carefully.

He sat quietly as she ranted, feeling somehow responsible, scolded. He stared at his feet and finally spoke softly as if trying to avoid her anger "I just meant to say he accepts what you are holds no ill feelings because you are half vampire" and to her next question he seemed reluctant to talk further but he would answer. "...and I meant be a part of the tribe, Crim’s tribe, of beast folk" still looking toward his toes as he felt somehow he had stepped out of line with all of this. She looked confused and ran one hand through her hair sweeping it from her neck "you mean he would accept me...because I am only half vampire and if I came to his side I would be aiding him in the hunting of my family?" she asked, there was a hesitancy to her question, no outright dismissal but more a sad realisation that this is what the world had come to. She looked over him, her expression softening. In a way this came as little surprise after all she knew his feelings and had accepted to an extent that he would slay any vampires that crossed his path whether her family or not and in a way why should it matter if another did too? It was Alastair’s path that had been the hardest to accept and yet she felt she had reached a place where she had found peace with it, though it was one thing to talk hypothetically and another to put it into practice. She thought for a long moment "does he offer this as a way to ensure your support, would he be as accepting of me without you?" she asked quietly

"I would not expect you to be a part of any of this Blaze. I am not suggesting you hunt anyone, neither is Crim. I am only telling you this so that you know, while I explore this path you will not have to be a stranger, you would not need to keep a distance" He closed his eyes frustrated and unable to answer her questions with certainty. "I do not know if he would accept you without me, I... I honestly didn’t think of it" he frowned as his hopes came crashing down, too eager to find a group that understood him. He had failed to think over some critical questions. He sat up a bit brushing his hood away and ran a hand through his hair and rubbing his temples.

She sat up with him suddenly feeling guilty and wrapped her arms around him, her eyes full of regret "Forgive me...if this is what you want of course I will support you" she sighed and lowered her voice "I know how much you need to find people that understand you. You know how I feel about the Thal. Whilst they may have offered you a wealth of understanding to start with in my opinion they manipulate and use you when it suits them and fail to stand by you when it matters and the wilds in general, well seems there are heavy burdens along the seams" she tipped her head up so she could look at him properly "I know what it feels like to be in demand by so many and yet feel you belong nowhere"

He had looked at her with soft eyes, not mad just lost and maybe a bit overwhelmed. Her words were so true and it made him exhale dramatically as if her understanding helped a weight lift from him, perhaps also because she confirmed something he too felt but was unsure of. "They are all my friends, family even. They brought me out of a dark place" he began to confirm, his own voice low and saddened "but I feel while they have helped me, unknowingly they have forced me to change too much of who I am. I feel lost to my people, to my moon goddess. To the elf I was before I was sent away. I have been asked to tolerate much, to let certain issues roll off my shoulders all to please them and to prove I could be better. With the exception of Murron I think they take me for granted. I am sure they do not mean to, but it is obvious their lives have different goals then mine, different concerns and priorities. I am just a shadow that sweeps in to protect them then leaves. I don’t think I told you, but a few weeks back I was told my kin had come, moon elder with a soldier. I was scared! Of what they would think of me when they saw what I had become, what I had learned to tolerate, how I changed despite my lycan blood. I searched for a day looking for them. When finally I found them I was only disappointed to find they were dark elves, not my kin, though ignorance of others got my hopes up. And since then I’ve been thinking on how I am loosing myself, how I just need to accept both bloods as well."

She pulled him close her heart aching with empathy for him "Then you must do what you feel is right to find yourself" she hushed "and I will be here for you whatever you decide" she pressed her lips to his temple "I love you whichever side of you I am confronted with, you know that" she whispered close to his ear "I just want you to be whole again, to be happy." He smiled and touched her face, but it was a pained smile. He shook his head "I cannot keep doing this to you" he confessed and looking guilty "I ask too much of you...way too much. You wished you could have a simple life and here I am complicating it, asking for you to give more when already you have given up so much for me." his voice changed to something more serious "Tell me what you want in an ideal life, without the Thal, or Crims tribe...if I was to leave that behind, tell me what you want and you shall have it." he sounded sincere, determined even. No more selfishness.

But she shook her head and smiled "Alastair...if I was unhappy I would not be here, this, us..." she gestured between them "it is about give and take, as all relationships are, especially one that had so much to overcome in the first place" she replied holding his gaze "I believe there is no ideal life with the way things are, the evil that hangs over the earth" she sighed but seemed more assured as she spoke on "All I want is to love you, to have you love me in return, to be together and...well one day find some way to have a family of our own" she smiled shyly but did not want to dwell on that too much, too afraid to get her hopes up. "If we left Karamoon we would still be searching for the things we long for to find self contentment, so why not stay and find them here?"

He nodded, understanding. "If it is about give and take then I have taken too much and given little back, let me give you something back" he urged "I know you say you only want my love, and you know you have that, but there must be something more you think on, something you wish you had, a different circumstance. I could forget all of this, put aside my ego and let the world figure out how to handle the darkness, I really shouldn’t have forced you accept more than that. I can turn a blind eye and deaf ear to your family, keep to our cave." he shrugged "who knows maybe open some business, an honest one?" She reached up and traced a finger over his cheek and for a moment she looked sad "The things that I want, well for the most part they are unachievable, or it is too late" she tried to smile "I do not want you to try and be something that will end up making you resentful may say now that you could turn your back on things, but I know you, your instincts, your drives, they will seek them again. Can these people, Crim, can he offer you fulfilment? Can he help you find the acceptance of all of you? The man you are now and the man you were once before, for both of them I love and would want to be fulfilled...that would make me truly happy"

He answered softly quietly, as he saw they were about to be disturbed "I’m not sure if he can but I know I feel a kinship with him and all I thought to do was see if what he offered truly was what I wanted. Besides that one factor it all seemed promising" he admitted.

As Murron approached them with a message for Alastair she withdrew into herself for a moment, temporarily locking the conversation away, but not too deeply as for the rest of the day questions, fears and intrigue bubbled up inside her. She found it hard to concentrate and ironically events that came to pass that day only made her brood on it more. He was right when he said she had given up much, changed things to be with him, but never had she felt it too much. To her it had all seemed so natural. They were in ways so different and yet in others so alike and she could never imagine being without him, to do so hurt her to her core.

For now it seemed straight forward enough, some gauntlets perhaps to overcome when it came to ties of blood. Her loyalty to her family diminished by the day as they moved further into the shadows she had fought so hard to escape. And yet the question of magic gnawed away at her, so much so that as she lay submerged by the waterfall later that day she imagined she felt it coiling within her, reminding her that there was more than her half cursed nature for Crim and his tribe to resent in her. Hugging herself she had turned her head towards the Mage Guild, imposing in the fading evening light. She imagined him within its walls, the great mage and Alastair’s latest enemy. He knew of her secret too.

As the curious blindfolded figure of Bink approached for the second day running, carefully trying to pick his way through the reeds she found that once again she imagined she stood before a crossroads. But this time there were no clear paths and no gut instinct to follow, as every path she knew could fork off just out of sight and take things in a whole new direction. And how many of these paths would end in more sacrifice? With a feeling of resolve tinted with fear she somehow knew she would soon find out.

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