Gifts & Greetings


Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2017, 05:04:36 PM »

”His studies are important.” Nyree allowed it. They were, too. But there was a curve to one side of her mouth and a knowing glint in her eyes. She wasn’t stupid. She had eyes and senses just like any other Blood. She smelled them on him sometimes, in ways that weren’t quite smelling. They made her more curious than resentful, since he never brought them back to the Waoud. And always they were from elsewhere. Outside their borders.

Even the ones from Nharkava itself.

One day she would figure out what they did that she didn’t. Or what they possessed that she lacked. Maybe she could convince Mooki to take her to the Berghi lands.

Nyree looked at his spoon, sitting idle on the table and frowned, and then up at the blue eyes watching her. Intent. Not on her, Nyree knew. It was the focus of a Warlord Prince weighing the needs of those he’d claimed as his own.

”I think he just misses you.” Nyree offered. She didn’t know anything exactly. It was all conjecture. She was sorry to have disturbed his meal. She tapped the table again. ”We all miss you when you leave. But you are Tama’s favorite uncle. So he probably misses you extra.” She shrugged and offered him an empty hand. ”It’s all guesses on my part. I don’t think there is any suffering on his part for you to worry about.” He needed to know they were all safe so he wouldn’t be distracted out in the wide world where dangers lurked.

Especially when he always charged straight toward them.

”He’s not a Warlord Prince, Enele. He’ll settle her his own way when the time is right.” Nyree picked at het abused food before dumping the squashed mess into her bowl. ”I don’t think he wants to use her like he has other girls. He wants more than a tumble in the hay barn from Io, I can tell.” She wasn’t telling secrets on Mooki. Not with Enele. At least she hoped not.

”You roam too far for that.” Her poor bees! Nyree laughed, not at all bothered that her enthusiasm had nearly strangled him. Licking her lips, Nyree slithered farther into her chair as he studied her. Fingers tucked her hair behind one ear and worried at her skirts. Focusing on a smudge on the hem of one, Nyree rounded her shoulders and busied her hands.

”Well that’s easy. Get a mare, then she’ll know your snarling makes her safe.” She glanced up at him, almost shy, but it was truth. ”It’s the males who get jumpy. Ladies have more sense.” Or so she thought. Nyree didn’t quite realize that not everyone woman felt the way she did. ”But I’ll talk to your fast horse if you need me to.” Bribe them to bring him home more often.

Offline Enele

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #31 on: October 17, 2017, 12:52:29 AM »
”They are…” Voice wistful Enele slumped against the back of the chair; his legs spreading out to dominate the space beneath the table. ”He’s almost a man.” Someday soon his nephew would move on to a bright future. Tama would just be the first to go. Without her son here Kiri would have little reason to stay. Perhaps before any of that Io would make her own family, with Mauki or some other gentle spirit. Either way that young man would have no reason to come around anymore… and maybe Nyree would be married and lost to him too. His stomach hurt to think of that so he pushed the thought away. What if one day he found himself quite alone?  All this time with so no real progress. And he still didn’t know what he wanted to show for his life at the end.

Had he waited too long to think of his personal happiness? The years had slipped by too quickly! Usually Enele did not think of such melancholy things. Maybe Nyree was right about him getting old. The clarity was to blame, he decided. There was time enough to fall in love, to marry. Children, probably not. Io might have a few boys he could teach to hunt- they’d need the lessons if Mauki was their father. Unless his hypothetical wife really wanted children of their own... Life had been hard enough for Tama as his nephew. A son would have it even worse, especially if he followed in Enele's caste. And a daughter- his lips twitched at the idea- he would make a female child of his own flesh and blood so miserable. No one would be able to look at her without him roaring! No, those were fancies and fantasies better left to more suited men.

”I miss you all too.” Or at least most of them. There were a few village pups he could do without. ”And of course I’m his favorite. I’m his only uncle.” Enele had never known Kiri’s man, or the man’s family. But he was sure that it would have come up by now. If there were relatives out there damn them to Hell for not checking in on such a delightful boy. They didn’t deserve to exist.

Would it surprise her, he thought while watching her pick at the mess she had made in her bowl, to know that he was rather knowledgeable about charming the distaff gender? While seemingly ironic it was really just good business sense. They lived in a world predominantly ruled by women. If he wanted contracts he had to understand them and understand how to please them. ”I'm sure he will but I would hate to see him miss his chance. Anyway, being serious about a girl is the whole point of staking a claim. It’s a public and permanent vow of interest. Even if she shirks away at first she’ll always know in the back of her heart he cares.” Picking his spoon back up he waved it in her direction, ”And you know you can sleep here if the boy needs his bed. A tumble is alright on occasion but rats live in that barn. It’s unsanitary.”

He joined her laughter when his windpipe was clear again. ”Not always.” Of course she had no way of knowing that. If he left again- when he left again- this evening it would be to hop over the border. Just a few hours away, really. She fidgeted under his gaze. What was she nervous about?

Eyes widening Enele shook his head slowly. What could he say? ”I, uh… I don’t think the horse would see it that way. Snarling scares most people, and animals twice as much. Even if the one snarling is trying to protect them.” It flattered him that she felt safe even when he was at his worst. But it was foolish and dangerous thinking. He was just as capable of hurting her as any other male. More likely too since he was around her so often. More worrisome still was that he had set this horrible example, leaving her in danger of bad intentions. Men that would see the curves of her hips and sensual lips without noting the childlike wonder or dirt smudged toes… ”Males are drawn to your caste, Bee. All of us. And the same things that make us good at protecting make us dangerous. I’m your friend but I still hurt you even though I didn’t want too. Other males won’t have the same…” He hesitated, licking his lips with eyes that roamed the room while he chose the right phrase, ”emotional attachment. Strangers could hurt you and not even feel guilty for it after.”

Just yesterday he had hit a woman for bucking his escort. He wouldn’t tell Nyree the story, not today. And he didn't feel that bad for it either. He could have killed the healer if his aim had been even a little off. In the end it worked out in his favor, she seemed to have forgiven him. Still. He had kissed the bruises his blast had left. He was dangerous. He was a predator. They all were.

Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2017, 06:09:25 AM »

Nyree didn't understand how Tama was nearly a man but she was still a child. She broke away a piece of crust and let it crumble between her fingertips. Perhaps it had to do with her gender, since Mooki too seemed to garner a measure of respect she did not. Freedoms she expected.  Nyree had never been much alone, even before her Caste had become known, so she was mostly used to the constant escorting. She hardly noticed anymore.

"All the more reason for him to like you." A soft, teasing smile. "Maybe the only reason." But there was warm, pink pleasure on his cheeks. She was glad he missed them back. The village didn't seem quite whole when he was gone, even if he was gone more often than he was home. It just didn't have the same feel to it. The people may have been more relaxed, but Nyree felt the imbalance his absence created.

"If he misses, he'll know better for next time." So she'd heard her father say time and time again when drilling Mooki with the spear. She found the analogy apt when applied to this situation as well. She chortled to herself, too much time spent with her wayward brother and his friends not to realize the pun she'd made, she was half tempted to share it with Enele when he distracted her.

"Me here?" Eyes wide she blinked at him. Here. Her. Sleeping in his house. It took her a moment to remember why Mooki would require his bed without her presence. It wasn't as if they shared one, just a room. Privacy. Where would she sleep here? No where would be safe. "I think it would be better if he came here with Io." Io had a room. That should be enough privacy if he'd found a barn fitting. And Enele wasn't always about.

Surely she could pass a night alone without being abducted or murdered.

"Find a smarter horse." She blew hair from her face, a sharp glance directed at him. "I know my Caste, Enele." She'd lived with it many years. And she knew it chased males away just as often as it drew them. Or was that just her? She used her Yellow to nudge his spoon into his palm. "And you didn't hurt me." Her body stirred at the memory. The blossoming sensation that had spread through her when he'd dug nail and tooth into her flesh. "So no more guilt, okay?"

Emotional attachment he said. Friend he said. Nyree wanted to shake him.

"Besides, I think it is a little late in the day for lessons in males."
She quirked an eyebrow at him. "My training has been complete for some time you know." As complete as it would ever be, even though there were still things she had not mastered. Some of which she doubted she ever would. But that was okay, because the Craft she loved best she continued to grow stronger in.

Offline Enele

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2017, 10:14:37 AM »
”Hmff,” Enele made a sound halfway between amused and offended, ”May be so. I’ll have to take him with us to Hauhake. Show him how much fun I can be.” And someday he would. Just not this year. Not when he was escorting Nyree. They had never traveled together or slept in the same space. By way of general conversation he knew she slept badly sometimes. And he knew too that she was afraid of the dark. Better not to have his nephew around with so much unknown. If he was startled from his sleep there was no way to know how he would react… It had nothing to do with wanting to be alone with her for the trip. That was just a happy coincidence.

Rolling his shoulder up towards his chin Enele looked at her with lazy eyes. Girls were supposed to be more interested in romantic affairs. She sounded more like she wanted to drop the subject. Fine by him. Though he would honestly be a tiny bit disappointed if Mauki missed his chance. Not sentimentally or sympathy. It would just mean he had put up with the pups constant hovering for no good reason.

”Why not?” He took a bite, watching the irises of her eyes grow thicker as her pupils dilated in surprise. Lips twitching against a premature laugh he waited only a heartbeat to finish, ”You’re always sneaking in anyhow. My bed is there and empty. Use it.” It would be just another happy coincidence if his pillow smelled like her hair when he came home. ”Then you’d be alone at night. And that only works if he’s bringing home Io. If she takes a while to get comfortable he might want someone else’s company in the meantime.” He pointed out while jerking his head in a dismissive no. Alone. At night. It was definitely better for Nyree to come here.

Then it was her turn to huff and mewl since she didn’t know how to really hiss or snarl. He did his best to look scolded but there were smirks tugging at the edges of his pout. ”I know you do. I don’t mean to lecture you, but I worry.” Taking up the spoon she shoved his way Enele dutifully took a bite, hoping a little appeasement might make her more eager to listen. Instead a bubble of her other hunger popped against his consciousness. Flushing like a puppy he studied his bowl in thoughtful silence for a minute that felt like an hour. Waiting patiently for the thickness in his throat to pass so he could speak with a normal voice. Chewing his bottom lip he leaned forward over the table, a timid sort of reluctance slowing down his words, ”I’m… glad. Or…” With a sigh he drummed his fingers impatiently over the table. Of course he was glad she liked it, because he was disgusting. He couldn’t tell her his heart beat faster at the idea. Disgusting not deplorable. ”Good it didn’t hurt. Good. But I wouldn’t feel guilty even if it did. And that’s the point I’m worried you’re missing.” Let her boo and hiss at him if she needed.

”Think you know a lot about us, do you?” The warning in his voice was an accident. He opened his barriers until she could feel his thoughts but not quite hear them. So she could feel the anger the question stirred in him was not directed at her. It was reserved for the males. All of them. A world full of them just waiting to put their grubby, vile fingers were they didn’t belong. ”Done a lot training I suppose?”

Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2017, 05:05:06 PM »

"I don't sneak in!" Not often anyway. Someone was almost always home to open the door for her. Though she often crept into Enele's room, usually to borrow something of his. Most of the time she brought whatever it was back. A shirt. A blanket. A knife once when her shears were being sharpened. Occasionally she left small gifts. A potted plant that inevitably died, or came close to before she rescued it. Honey, more often than not. Gleaming amber jars of it.

Sometimes rocks in his boots because it amused her.

"I like my bed though." Nyree pulled at her sleeve. She wasn't sure when she'd last spent a night alone. How dark was his room? Would anyone care if she burned lanterns all night long? Her toes curled over each other. Nyree wasn't sure she'd like it. It was one thing, the idea of being alone in her house where she could leave the fire burning all night long. Where she was comfortable. It was her home. She disturbed no one if she had nightmares.

"Mooki can just have them in the barn then. Or a field." There was no chance of embarrassment in her house. And she wasn't sure if she could sleep in Enele's bed, surrounded by all the things that smelled like him. But he was shaking his head. Too much the Warlord Prince to let her get away with being alone. Nyree frowned. What say did he get anyway?

However, Nyree didn't argue. She didn't agree, but she didn't argue either. She would simply do as she pleased when he left and never mention it again. No need for a fight or a lie that way.

Especially not with him leaning over the table that way. Scowling at his bowl and then bending his attention toward her. Nyree didn't move, watching him instead of reacting to his nearness. Or the careful way he was picking his words now that he was done trying not to laugh at her. Liar. Lecturing was exactly what he was doing. But again she did not argue, too caught up watching him form the words. Something in his manner drew her to attend them. To attend him, like mother to a flame.

Pay attention, it said.

"If you wouldn't feel guilty for hurting me, why does it matter if a stranger does or not?" Her head tilted, puzzling over his words. Nyree knew it was important, this thing he was saying, but she didn't understand. None of them felt guilt. Was the pain different then? The motivation? Was he just trying to exert control or protect her while he was away? Which was which?

Did it matter?

Nyree supposed not. Especially when he was trying to drown her in his anger. His warning didn't frighten her, his anger didn't either. Certainly her skin prickled and she recognized the danger, but she wasn't afraid. Maybe she was too confused to be afraid, the meaning lost on her. At least the one below the surface of the words. Eyebrows furrowed, Nyree frowned.

"Yes?" She answered hesitantly. She tried doing the math in her head. How many years had she spent apprenticing in the Kotis? Not to mention all the years before that, tutored in Craft and Queen's Craft when another could be had to teach her. But four, really. Four years she'd dedicated to nothing but a Queen's Craft. Nyree counted them softly to herself. "One, two, three, four." From sixteen to twenty, when they'd finally given up. Neither her Offering or the loss of her virginity had done much to change who she was.

That didn't explain why he was so angry though.

"I live with a male, Enele. Mooki may not wear Jewels, but he counts. And..." She paused. Enele hadn't been there for that. Gone so long he'd missed Kye's coming and his leaving. "Plus I deal with you. I'd call that plenty of knowledge." She didn't want to talk about Kye.

Offline Enele

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2017, 10:04:04 PM »
Enele cocked an eyebrow up, ”Just like you never lie to me, right?” She might have been telling the truth. Even if she was let into the house, which was one hundred percent likely between Tama and Io, she was still sneaking. Sneaking in his room. Sneaking things in. Sneaking off with his things. Laying in his bed. Eyes glittering he rumbled with amusement. Oh he knew, about at least half of it he was sure.

His pillow told him the truth. That first time had been surprising. Laying down after a long trip home, aware but not quite alert enough to know what the scent tickling his senses was. Pleased by the smell, and himself. Then catching the same scent at the breakfast table when Mauki and Nyree joined them and realizing with a belly full of squirming guilt she was the source.

The source of so many subtle parts and pieces of his life and being.

And so innocent of the way she murdered him slowly. Staring at him like a puzzled bird. Mouth twitching he let a growl slip before biting it down. Losing his temper would not help. On the table his hands clenched until his knuckles turned white.  ”I wouldn’t feel guilty but I still don’t want you hurt.” Keeping the hiss from his throat was impossible. He tried. A little.

Then those brows knitted together over those burnt honey eyes. And he really was dying. It felt like all the air slipped out of the room. His head buzzed. Anger? Jealousy? Lack of oxygen? Who could tell? ”Four.” The word slipped by his lips thin as air. It was ridiculous. He had killed more men than that for thinking to touch Kiri. He would break these too. Four. Dammit. What was she getting into when he was away?! Somehow the number seemed tenfold in relation to Nyree. ”four.” He said it again more forcefully because he had to swallow down a lump in his throat.
He was done eating. So he threw his mostly empty bowl away. Right at a wall.

She was talking more. Words he could barely make out over the roar in his ears. ”No. No one counts! Don’t count them!” He shook the table until his abandoned spoon rattled. Then paced away with his hands running over the stubs of his hair. It was definitely jealousy. And now she’d know. More mixed signals to twist her with and feel terrible for.

Turning his back to her Enele leaned against the counter while he wrangled is temper. If she didn’t understand now she never would. He would just have to adjust. To mold around Nyree so she never had to change. But really? Four?!

Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2017, 11:57:43 PM »

”I don’t.” She answered softly. Sometimes she didn’t tell him things, half kept secrets that did no harm to not be spoken of. Occasionally she skirted the truth. Or twisted the rules. But she never outright lied. Not to Enele, especially. Not to anyone, really, but never to him. His trust was too important. And too fickle.

His growl drew her attention to his throat. As if she could see it vibrating there. Rattling up from his chest to slip past his lips. Nyree’s tongue traced the backs of her teeth. His hissing brought her eyes back up, focusing on him. Pay attention. She tried. Finding the edges and fitting them together. Carefully she laid her hands on the table, fingers spread and palms flat so he could see they were empty.

”Then it’s intent. The difference.” Lack of guilt or not, she still had faith in him. Still believed it would never matter because he would never hurt her. ”I’m careful,” she whispered to him. To the Warlord Prince who needed to know these things. To control these things. ”And always with escort.” She just happened to have trained hers to be more fun than most. Sharing company with Mooki was rarely a chore. Even if sometimes she felt she saw no one else ever.

Sometimes she was lonely.

But there was no time to dwell on that. Nyree could feel his control slipping. Like bees, she felt his anger rise along the edges of her senses. A humming. Carefully she sealed all her barriers, retreating behind them. Not out of fear, but to keep from adding fuel to the fire. She’d done this. Created this outrage. The rough voice, the growing storm of emotion. Instead of calming she unsettled. Instead of inspiring she repulsed.

Maybe Kye had been right.

”Yes four.” Did he not remember? Perhaps he didn’t. It wasn’t an important thing for him. What was her training in his life’s history. He’d been a man grown with his own life. She doubted her absence had meant much to anyone outside her family. Four years beneath the watchful eye of the Kotis. Four years of failure. Nyree jumped when his bowl shattered against the wall. Slid from her seat when he began shaking the table, half certain he would throw that too.

She’d done this, and she couldn’t stop it.

He had been right, Nyree thought in agony.

”I’m sorry. I won’t.” Nyree pulled at her hair, combing it over one shoulder. She stood otherwise still in the middle of the kitchen, watching Enele. Shame swallowed her up and spat her back out. Carefully she tasted the air. Tested it. Cracking open her outer most barrier to brush against his. She didn’t understand and she couldn’t right it without understanding. The air was acrid with his emotions.

It took her a while. Minutes, probably. Slow Nyree, a voice taunted. The puzzle came together slowly. Not all of it. Nyree thought she played more at understanding him than actually doing so. He had a whole other life she’d never even seen. How could she even fathom all of Enele? This, however, made just enough sense to be conflicting.

”Four years, Enele.” She didn’t know why it should matter to him. It wasn’t as if he wanted the duty. Count them. Count who? It chafed enough that Nyree didn’t want to admit it. She had no choice in her chastity. Maybe she’d wasted too much time waiting for Enele to come home. Or maybe... she knew Mooki never expected it of her. It was in the way he spoke and how he acted. But she thought maybe the other males reacted to it. Shying away or outright fleeing any advances on her part.

If they even came near enough for such things.

Maybe for Enele it was the draw of her Caste. Enough to be possessive. But not enough to actually want her.

”Just years, Enele. With the kotis, in case you forgot.” Nyree picked up her bowl and emptied it into the trash. The bowl itself she slipped into the sink. She didn’t know how to soothe him without exposing herself to more hurt and humiliation. Such a child she couldn’t get a man into bed. She’d just prove him right and drive him farther away. Kid, he called her. Good kid. Good dog. Good Nyree.

”I think I’ll tend the plants, until Mooki comes.” She was no good for him. Nyree had one skill and she could not use it in this house or with this man. Maybe one day she would marry a tree and have done with it. Or become one. That would have been a blessing. To grow from the earth, feed from the sky. She was so tired of driving away the ones she wanted to stay. ”They may feel trapped in their pots, still.” Nyree crept toward the door, vanish his bowl and mess as she went by it.

Offline Enele

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2017, 02:37:17 PM »
How could she ever be careful enough? Especially when she was so naive! Nyree was a bubbling well of goodness, kind to everyone she met. Enele couldn’t even imagine what sort of horrible thing it would take to make her not like someone. Darkness’s damnation he had killed her and she stilled adored him! Still trusted him with that incredible second chance at life… No that was unfair. He had never told her that detail. Too afraid it would be the final straw. That she might do the sensible thing, never see him again. She had every right and reason. He had done plenty in the years since to make everyone else in his life keep him at arm’s length!

She just kept running towards him everytime he came home.

He couldn’t even turn his mind to her idea of an escort. Mauki was dedicated, no question. If Nyree were ever really in danger, though, the young man was defenseless against a jewel. He needed just as much protection as Nyree, so that she wouldn’t be hurt and changed by losing him. Anyone else… didn’t count.

A witch in Glacia had caught him between the ribs with a dagger once. Hearing Nyree say the number, so nonchalantly, had the same chest constricting effect. The same sharp pain. His anger was like boiling water. Rolling and through and over itself. Absolutely aware that he was being unfair and ridiculous. Unable to stop. To find that elusive control that so often left him floundering in a sea of rage and self-doubt. He wasn’t even upset at Nyree. The rage was all at himself, and four nameless faceless men he couldn’t rip limb from limb.

”I don’t want you to be sorry!” He roared now, provoked by the nervous way she worried her hair. Horrified by the stress he was reaping on her small shoulders. Turned back into the sapling, bending against his emotional tempest. Gentle tendrils playing along barriers he had forgotten to close. His own were too unrefined to be anything less than blunt. They darted for her brazenly spilling out his frustration and jealousy- bitter, heavy jealousy- and the shame he felt for being jealous at all. A thousand smaller emotions confusing the mix. Staining his kitchen with the stench of things he knew he had no right to feel.

Years. The beating in his heart slowed to something more humanlike. Back still turned to her so he didn’t have to face the mess he was making. Embarrassment slowly becoming more pungent than his envy. ”Of course she meant years.” He said loudly to himself. Why would Nyree take his words at anything less than face value? That was a game other women played at. She was rarely so abrasive. He had been gone too often. Forgotten the small things that made her so precious.

Pinching the bridge of his nose while he trembled as his temper and tension abandoned him again. Now there was just the hurt left in his wake. She might bend like a young tree against a storm but that didn’t mean her roots didn’t ache. Or that her leaves were spared. Or something else about trees. Enele was no poet. In fact at the moment he just felt like an idiot. Too stupid to even answer until she tried to leave.

Not yet!

He should have let her go. Run away from him like a sensible girl. Instead he flinched towards her, hands catching at her elbow. It was stupid to touch her, unfair to them both. His thumbs stroked the smooth skin at the back of her arms anyway. He had knew queens needed petting sometimes, the same way he had to be petted. ”Sorry, sorry, sorry.” He whispered while he tried to pull her closer. To tuck her against his chest. He felt raw, tired, and utterly drained. Finally safe. Safe to pet her back for all the pettings he had forced between them while snarling that he had been made to need them. He was too sore to need anything from her, so maybe he could give a little back. Not that he was any good at petting… He hadn’t really had any practice. She spoke of her plants and it reminded him of something his mother had said once. ”They won’t feel trapped. Flowers know the secret to being happy.” He whispered again so he wouldn’t yell in her ears. Ducking down to rest his forehead against her crown while his hands still clasped awkwardly on her upper arms.

Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2017, 05:17:34 PM »

Nyree sighed. The barest hint of frustration. There was no pleasing him. She was not to count them. But not to be sorry for counting them like she was no supposed to. These elusive thems that had dared encroach on his territory. Imaginary men using what he wouldn't. Nyree swayed on her feet as he buffeted her, venting all his emotions into the opening she'd left in her barriers.

She did not retreat or close herself off. Nyree accepted them with the same passivity she regarded the wall with. Body rocking as if she were swaying to a slow tune. Nyree let him rage until he'd washed all the emotions out of his wounds. It cleared his mind some, she thought, as he stopped to actually listen to her words. The blistering heat of his temper cooled and quit scorching her barriers.

"It's what you asked." She reminded him without looking. Nyree didn't think it would help anyone if she looked. She was never sure what Enele would see in her face to spark one of his reactions. Rarely was it ever anything pleasant. Often he snarled, and oftener still he just left. And she was not sure she could keep her composure if she faced him. If he looked anything like he felt, the urge to comfort would be too great. And they had rules, they did. Or at least Enele had rules.

No touching.

So she retreated, closing her barriers and making for the doorway. Distance would help. And Nyree knew she'd find relief if she could just bury her toes in the grass. Sink her power deep into the land. If she could be anything other than this woman trapped in this house with this man. A flower, a leaf, a broken blade of grass. Anything but what she was. Adrift and storm tossed. The land was easy. It took, Nyree gave, and everyone was able to enjoy the fruits of her labor, whether they knew it or not.

But he would not let her go, hand at her elbow, stilling her not-flight. Thumb stroking her arm. Nyree shivered, goosebumps pitting her flesh. Silently she let him pull her close, tuck her against his chest. She didn't mind in the least, forgetting all about running away into the ground. Nyree rubbed her face against the warm fabric of his shirt and breathed him in. Wild, wild Enele.

"Apology accepted." She took full advantage, slipping her arms around him and holding him so tightly her nose hurt from being pressed against his sternum. She didn't even know what he was apologizing for. One last nuzzle before she turned her face away, resting more comfortably with her ear and cheek against the beating of his heart. Comfort, his face in her hair, hands at her arms.

That was fine. Nyree could hold on tight enough for both of them.

"Maybe we can convince them to whisper it to us. Later." A sweet saying. Certainly not his own. She smiled and let him bear her full weight. He was strong enough for it, even as quiet and worn out as he was. Nyree thought she'd need to feed him again, fingers curling into his shirt as she fought the urge to pet. It was her turn. And he hadn't invited her to.

Plus it was all of never that Nyree got to be so close. Enele so rarely showed her any physical affection. Usually he would pat her like a child, or praise her like a dog. This was different, and nice. She missed having another person to ground herself with, instead of just the land.

"Want to share my lemon bars with me, and see if the plants will talk?" She didn't want to let go, but Nyree was afraid of the warm comfort turning into fire. Already she wished his shirt away. She wanted closer. She wanted more. But today had seen enough pushing. She'd protect them both from her desire, and feed his withered stores. Plus sweets always helped her feel better.

Offline Enele

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2017, 11:56:12 PM »
Mistake after mistake she always forgave whatever asinine or insane thing he did. Did she know he was trying to shelter her from the things and people that wanted her to change? Or was it the blind attraction of a queen to a warlord prince- a female to the strongest male around, even? He would care about the details later. Right now he wanted to breathe her in. If you went to the lake late at night when the mist rolled on shore there was a smell, the same sweet earthy scent of an open meadow after rain. That was how Nyree always smelled.

To Enele there were two types of queens. Queens that were good with people, and queens that were good with land. Both were important, impressive, all those nice I words he couldn’t think of while he felt this quiet and still. Nyree was special, though. She was both, and only because she didn’t seem to know it.

Like a neglected kitten looking for affection she dipped in against his chest. Nestling in tight while her arms slinked around his waist. Her hard little nose poked at him but she seemed to be enjoying herself so he stayed silent. These were her pets, for her to have however she wanted. Well, maybe not. He would have, then and there if she had turned her face up to him. Kissed her, bedded her, given her whatever she needed.

He couldn’t say so, though. Not while there was finally this hard won peace between their raging desires.

Smiling into her hair Enele rolled his thumbs in slower circles unaware that he was holding her up at all, it felt as if she had just shifted her weight. He could feel the muscle and bone below that thin layer of softness. Her honey layer. He could feel those little fingers curling against his clothes too. They made him wondered what was on her mind. ”If anyone could coax it out of them it would be you.” Gentle Nyree who could borrow from bees without bothering them and convince dirt to bloom.

His mother had been a quiet wallflower, nothing like Nyree, but they had sweetness in common. And forgiveness. Hell’s Fire they both forgave men that hardly deserved their goodness. Maybe Nyree would be gone from him too soon, just like mother. She had told him the secret, though, before she was killed. For now he would let her try to entice the blossoms to tell. He liked the idea that the flowers might whisper it to her first. Maybe that was how his mother had learned it too.

”Mhm,” He sighed heavily, no more ready to let go than she was. It would be nice, though, to sit outside while she tended her plants. He could lay in the grass and feel her feed the earth. Revel in sharing the same tartness of sugar sweetened citrus with the girl he liked best.

Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #40 on: October 20, 2017, 08:19:16 AM »

It was easy to forget the shattering bowl or the shaking table. The way he'd raged, his jealousies eating away at her barriers. All his rough and angry emotions trying to worm their way into her mind. The yelling. The possessiveness she would have appreciated if he'd been more willing to do this. Such a simple thing. He didn't even have to move, just stand still. Still and quiet, so she could absorb his smell, his warmth, the way his muscles played over his bones when he breathed.

Nyree didn't need him to be like this always, even. Enele wouldn't have been Enele if he didn't rage and batter and shout. And it was the whole she adored. She liked that he wasn't soft. Not to the touch, either physical or psychic. His fingers were calloused, his tongue sharp and his threads felt like a battering ram. But here he was, a solid wall she could count on to hold her up and keep her safe.

The circling thumbs were just a perk. A soft touch that made her sleepy and restless all at once. Nyree rubbed her cheek against his chest, a noncommittal sound whooshing past her lips at his praise. Maybe she could, and if he was good - or bad or maybe wickedly good - she would share it with him too. Her hands opened over his back, clinging a little tighter, trying to touch as much of him as she could before he grew tired of it.

But her hands were small and his back broad like his shoulders.

He agreed but Nyree hesitated.

"One more minute." She mumbled against his chest. A time limit, just like he'd given her. She understood its purpose better now. One more minute, or forever. That or until her control slipped and she tried testing his boundaries one more time. Still hopeful that one day he'd see her as more than a wayward child. Maybe a little more hopeful now that she knew just how much he disliked the idea of other men in her bed.

Nyree would take his jealousy and hold on tight to it. Jealousy was not disgust. Which meant she was beddable.

One more minute. Nyree rolled her forehead against him, breathed him in until her lungs were fit to burst with that wild, far flung smell he had, and then let go. Half a step back and she tilted her face up to him, eyes searching his face, body so relaxed every movement felt like an effort. She wanted to run her hand over the stubble on his cheek, but instead she brushed her palm against his and then retreated.

"Come on then." Out she lead him, sinking into the grass near the garden she'd made him. Nyree patted the ground beside her, scooting close to him and calling in what was left of the lemon bars. She held the box out to him, selecting one for herself and wiggling deeper into her seat. Half of her already gone, sunk deep into the earth, swarming the pots and the plants nestled there in.

A tart bite, and then she followed herself down, her Yellow unpooling, spilling into the ground around them and rising up over the planters to trickle into the earth there. It seeped farther out. Into Kiri and Io's gardens. wrapping around the roots of the trees that sheltered Enele's house.

She nearly missed her mouth with the second bite, eyes heavy lidded and unseeing. The world existed upside down. She could feel the divots they made in the ground. The way the soil worked against the foundation of the house, pressing in and trying to reclaim it. How the weight of the pots killed the grass she'd stacked them on. Nyree twitched. More would grow.

Nothing ever really died in nature.

She brushed faintly against Enele's barriers, curious if she could take him down with her, show him what their village looked like from inside the underlying root system.

Offline Enele

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #41 on: October 20, 2017, 10:00:45 PM »
Deep, slow breaths so he could enjoy drowning in her scent. Nose pressed to her scalp where the natural oils were strong and her messy curls could tickle his lips. If only he could be this calm all of the time. Trust his hands to stay put and his heart not to quicken. Keep that stirring in his trousers down. He might never let go.

But that was not Enele. Not usually. For, because, and despite Nyree. Amazing infuriating obliviously sassy girl that she was. Most of the time he could barely stand the temptation of being this close to her. Even now when every fiber in him had been wrung dry his mouth still itched to test how easily her earlobe would fit between his teeth. It made him nuzzle down to breath against her ear even if he couldn’t give in to the indulgence of tasting her skin again. She would probably make pretty noises. He souldn’t think about that now, though.

Quiet moments of absolute clarity when he was too afraid to even think. What might he realize with her pressed to him so perfectly? How would his excuses taste if he bent down right now to draw his teeth over her neck? As if she knew what he was thinking her fingers fanned out against his back, pulling herself in closer. Want, want, want. There was a reason to say no. He was sure of that. Sure he would remember it later and rage at this calm self for touching just a little bit more- just his palms dragging up and down to sooth the nerves Nyree let him fray.

Just in time she set the finish line. Gave him something other than the warmth of her body, particularly the swell of her breast against him, to focus on. Another minute then he could let go. Would have to let go. His fingers twitched on her arms, wanting to grasp tighter in protest. He sighed, neither agreeing or disagreeing. Just existing for her benefit. They ticked by too fast, those sixty seconds. Before he was ready she was nuzzling deeper into him then pulling away in the same breath. He looked down at those brown eyes, his own forced half closed so he could not focus sharply on that pert mouth. She was staring. He meant to smile, instead he licked his lips as they pulled into a haughty smirk. Not a hungry prowling madman but interested in her… lemon bars, all the same.

Outside his mind sharpened again. They did not walk far from the front door. She led and he followed more closely than a leashed dog. As if their hands were still linked. Then with all the grace of a wild Waoud boy he sprawled in the grass, arms behind his head in the place she had patted. The sun had dropped low enough to be gently warm as it washed over them. He only spent time in the grass when he was with Nyree. Tall trees, high bridges, and cliffs of every type were more his speed. Anything that made his blood run hot and his body shiver with exhaustion.

Taking one of the sweets from her box Enele watched as she sank into the dirt. Her roots taking hold and the budding stalks beside her doing their slow dance. In a sleepy sort of trance she spilled over like liquid sunshine, washing across the land. He could have traced her progress with his Rose, but he was too intent with watching the creature to worry over the craft. They teased that she was a queen of trees and bees. But he really all the land was Nyree’s and they were blessed she liked their patch best.

It was a pleasant surprise to feel her Yellow tickling around his barriers. Loose as ever they flung open like the petals of a flower, eager for her touch. He reached back with his own with all the precision he could muster. Rather than the force of a torrential downpour racing over the land it brushed her more akin to snow that fell softly in the night to lay heavily against every hill and valley. Connecting was like holding hands- without the touching. Unless you went too deep. Then it was like kissing, or even sex. But Nyree was almost always sealed tight, he had only ever weighed against her barriers. He wanted to see though, and waited for her to decide how best to share.

"Go on, I'm listening." He softly encouraged.

Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2017, 12:16:48 PM »

Nyree smiled to herself as Enele sprawled out beside her. Hands behind his head, face to the sun. She liked the way he looked, framed by green grass. vanishing the package once he'd chosen, Nyree settled close to his hip. Touching but not touching. She would have liked to drape herself over him and sleep with the buzz of bees in her ears, but this was also nice. And rare.

So she slipped into her power instead.

His barriers opened at her touch, and Nyree shivered. Nervous energy accelerated her heartbeat and vibrated up her spine. It had been a long time since she'd shared a link like this. Probably not since her training, when she'd followed another Queen into the land, or down the length of a leash.

This was different, so very, very different. Enele was no Queen. He felt distinctly male. He was distinctly male. He grabbed onto her, physic tendrils encircling her like his hands had her arms. Nyree hummed low in her throat, crushing the lemon bar in her hand. She nearly fled from the contact, but instead she fed more power into her Yellow and steadied herself beneath his onslaught.

Then she had to figure out how to take him with her. She'd never been the guide. Nyree had always followed the path of anothers power. Hesitating, Nyree worried she wouldn't be able to do it, that it couldn't be done. A Warlord Prince was not a Queen, the land was not his responsibility, not like this anyway. What if she lost him? Trapped him in a place he couldn't escape from?

But the land was kind. Here especially. The Waoud always sang soft songs to Nyree. Even when the rains pummeled the earth and the trees lost all their leaves. A deep breath. She slid just inside Enele's first barrier, trembling at the contact. Returned the connection, grasping at him as he had her, a soft sound escaping her lips.

Down and out. A tangle of roots, large and small. A twisting maze that was the network, the lifeblood of all the Waoud. Nyree knew it extended past their village and outward into all of Nharkava, but she'd never gone that far. Grass and flowers and small plants close to the surface. Small pockets of warmth. Worms. The dens of small animals. The deep, gnarled roots of trees, all speaking to each other. Upward.

Trunks rising. Branches spreading. Leaves catching sun and rain.

A bird landing. A squirrel jumping. A slinking fox. Enele's warm weight pressing down as she brought them carefully back to themselves.

Everything all together. Nothing alone.

Nyree smiled and licked her palm clean.

"Still here?"

Offline Enele

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2017, 10:22:23 AM »
Too rare, maybe, Enele thought with his nice clear brain. If he could have frozen the moment forever he very well might have. Lived here under the sunshine with Nyree’s warmth pressed lightly to his hip. There but not too there. Clothes maintaining the integrity of his most important rule. It was enough to keep him from feeling her tremble physically, but he could see it. Smiled as it worked up her spine making her hips wiggle, midriff sway, then shoulders twitch.

He tried to ease back as the link formed between them and he tasted her apprehension. Was he too much? That had always been his warning. That he was too much, too coarse, too Enele for soft, sweet Nyree. She was not a timid girl, he had always appreciated her willingness to explore and take risks. They had that in common. So her hesitance made him uneasy- his stomach felt both empty and knotted all at once. Clenching tight against his hollow knots as he felt her want to reject the connection. To turn and run... The Rose was more than enough to guard her Webs, so he strung a shield there until she calmed. Just in case. He didn’t even know if it would work. He’d never had to do anything like it before.

Physically and psychically Enele fought the urge to wiggle. Waiting nice and still. Breathing slow and low down into his chest while she caught her bearings. Being as unobtrusive as he could- which was harder than it sounds. There was an itch to see, to delve a little deeper. To press sharp on the barrier beneath him until she yielded more of herself. All of herself. His hands fidgeted with the thin rope necklace he kept his Rose on.

More uncertainty from the lady. More rare patience from Enele. Connected as they were he did not have to make a thread. He just pushed the thought at her. Do you want to stop? It would be alright if she had changed her mind; he would understand if she was afraid. He had always told her that she should be. Always been confused that she wasn’t when everyone else was. She did not break their link though, or push him from her barriers. She still wanted to show him something. Tentative with the link he drew her back towards his own barriers. This was there they needed to be. It was a safer place, too. Used to the touch of others.

Nyree was more welcome than most, there was little in those first few levels she did not already know. Keeping his deeper barriers closed was more of a problem. Not letting her drop down into thoughts and memories that would make them both uneasy. They pulsed with want though. Eager for what they recognized as intimacy, as pleasure. In the solid world his skin felt too tight again. His breaths long but shallow.

Even here in his barriers she was nervous. As the link strengthened it was Enele’s turn to shiver, her little noise working like a fingernail brushing his spine. Pivoting to see what she saw he settled against his own barriers. Relaxed and firm despite her flittering nervousness.

They were like water soaking into the earth. Blind to himself for a short while but open to so much more. Because he was Blood the connection to the land was always there. Stronger than for many since Nharkavan was less modern than many places. Being from the Waoud specifically, where trees were tall and cherished, only solidified that connection. Love and understand the natural world as he did this was still all new. Stronger and deeper than his connection could ever hope to be. Nyree was one with the soil and plants. How could a wild queenling not be in this beautiful place? Seeing it in a way so few could? She really was queen of the trees.

Too soon they were back. Stowed away behind their barriers again. She had worried for nothing. And he smirked at her as his eyes possessed his sight again.

He didn’t agree about the alone part, though. His barriers ached with missing her already.

”Mhmmm” He answered leisurely, uncrossing his ankles so he could bend his knees, scooting down so his chest was closer to her instead of his hip. ”Maybe next I’ll show you how being a warlord prince feels…” He flashed his teeth in a roguish smile.

Offline Nyree

Re: Gifts & Greetings
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2017, 12:13:54 PM »

Nyree was thankful for his shield, his Rose protecting her inner webs, which sang at the contact. It reminded Nyree of her virgin's night. The shield had been blue then, a soft Summer-sky like a cloudless day. Less familiar, a little more refined. She liked the Rose shield better, the way Enele drew her into his barriers. She felt the pull to go deeper, to know all of him, but Nyree knew to go deeper was to not go out.

She'd spend the day exploring Enele instead of sharing the land with him like she'd wanted.

Disengaging was harder than she expected. But there was some relief being alone within her barriers again too. Nyree looked down at him, catching the smirk that slid across his face and smiled in response. She'd done it, and not lost him along the way, in fact he was as much Enele as ever. She turned as he slid closer, laying her thigh along his side, her own hip in the curve of his waist.

"Oh?" Nyree laughed at the idea. "Does that include pouncing on and biting things?" She teased. Violence didn't much appeal to her, though that very part of Enele's nature did. Nyree appreciated his snarling, and enjoyed his hot, untamed temper. But the same didn't rise up in answer within her. "I don't think I'd make a very good Warlord Prince." She played with the loose end of his shirt. It wasn't touching, his shirt wasn't his skin, laying in the grass away from his body.

"The land is easy, since we're all part of it anyway." Nyree licked her lips, wondering if he'd meant... that, again. Gooseflesh rippled across her skin at the thought, but she was too drowsy to pursue it. Too comfortable, Enele's heat against her leg, a part of her still half sunk into the ground. It was rare she wasn't feeding some part of herself to the land, or listening to its whispered secrets.

Another part still curious about what lay beyond his most inner barriers. All of her unwilling to open her own.


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