separation anxiety

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Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
separation anxiety
« on: October 07, 2018, 07:26:19 AM »


There were too many rumors for him not to go. Sister deposited on the Isle and locked up tighter than Mother Night's asshole. "Be good." Lorivar hissed at her before leaving. Curses and threats rained down on Aleksander's head as he went. There would be Hell to pay if anything happened to Abbian while he was gone. Punishments worse than anything Witch could have dreamed up.

Lor moved in and out of the Winds. Sweeping through villages and farmland. Good ear turned toward the people. He stopped to drink in taverns, Opal on his chest and Red tucked away. If they did not recognize his face, and did not fear his Jewels, they talked freer. Less complaints and more honest news. It was a nice break from the whining. Even if didn't like what he heard.

Three damn days it took him. A Wind straight there would have taken hours, but Lor liked to be prepared. He needed to be prepared. Especially when dealing with Ilithian. Otherwise his mind would turn to foggy dreams and he'd ended up signing more of his riches away. Silver tongued enchantress. He didn't know why she needed to make her roost with an entire territory between them. View of the Keep his ass.

Mud broke from his boots when he landed. Stepping off a wide window sill and into the Eyrie proper. Probes swept down the halls, hunting for all the people he was familiar with, and chasing those he wasn't. Mother Night, why did she have to shuffle so many bodies? One day she was going to get murdered by inviting the wrong sort into her house, and Lor would be forced to laugh over her grave.

Shaking his wings out, the warlord hunted down his queen.

"What are you doing, Ilithian?" Lor asked, shoulder pressed into the sharp edge of a corner as he leaned around it. Foolish girl. Well, woman now. No longer the gawky filly he'd pulled from an overturned cart. He supposed she hadn't been for a long time, it was just easier to think of her that way, than remember she'd turned into a woman and left him and Undavi to their fate.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 01:37:31 PM »

Knees tucked up into a sweater Ilithian perched on the top of her desk. A bundle of fresh letters filling her lap. Toes wiggling in her socks as she rested her feet on the desk chair. It was a chilly morning despite the season. Night air made the stone cold, and a midnight thunderstorm had left a fog behind. When the sun was at its peak it would hit this side of the mountain and warm the eyrie. For now Ilithian made do with her wool socks and a warming spell.

She worked her way through the letters. Some important, some not. Thank yous, inquiries, a thousand complaints. Allex could have sorted them, would have if she allowed it. But Ilithian had too many private, personal, vital correspondances to risk letting someone else filter through her letters.

So she sorted them herself. A mess of them straight into the wide low bin beside the desk. Some escaping to flutter along the floor. Those that needed attention or replying to were stacked into a tidy pile by her side. A thick letter from Lillian, one from Florian, a copy of a trade agreement she had recently signed with Raej… Then at the very end was a pretty envelope.

It had gold filigree writing etched along the top. Her name spelled out in such a lovely script she couldn’t resist opening it first. A black card with more gold writing spilled out. ”An invitation!” She squealed, knees freeing themselves from her long sweater so they could bounce. How wonderful! And from Shalador, no less. Her mother’s people were half Shaladorian!

Going would mean traveling, though, and a need for a small procession. Her own escort. As if he knew her mind was turning to him Lori arrived. She had been to preoccupied with the letter to notice until he was in the eyrie. Probes seeking her out. Sweeping her entire house from one end to the other. Smirking she rolled her eyes and pressed her knees tight together. Too late for getting properly dressed now.

”Reading mail. What are you doing? I wasn’t expecting a visit.” But surprises were the best. Scooting the chair out with her toe she tipped her head towards it. ”You’ve popped in just in time we just got the most marvelous invitation!”

Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 03:31:45 PM »

Groaning, Lorivar passed a hand down his face. Trying to wipe away the curve of her knees, and the way her long woolen socks bunched against her calves. Didn’t she have maids that were supposed to make sure she was dressed once she was up? Pushing away from the door edge, Lor strolled into the room.

”Reading the mail.” He mimicked in a sing song. His wing swept the top of her head as he passed, falling into the chair with a grunt and a creek. Ankle on his knee, Lor scooped up some of the fallen missives from the floor. ”Maybe I was expecting the invitation.” He teased her, envelopes shuffling through his hands. A few he tossed over his shoulder into the waste basket where they had been meant to go.

Others he stuck back on her desk.

”Where are your clothes, Ilithian?” Cupping an ankle, Lor drew his heel to his knee, since she’d been using his seat as a foot rest anyway. Good boy that he was, Lor leaned back, arms behind his head and eyes going straight to her face, never once lingering on her thighs to check the length of her sweater, or if anything was beneath it. ”Did you give them all away to the poor?” She would too. Crazy woman.

Lor scratched his head, wondering how best to being the conversation up with her. And away from frivolous invitations. He was curious though, who it was from. What province or district could be putting out marvelous invitations? Some of his people were still sharing homes with their livestock in the winter. Sighing, Lor ran his tongue over his teeth.

”So. What’s this I hear about Witch living in your house, you sneaky shit?” The very idea was terrifying enough to freeze his balls.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 07:47:07 PM »

Nose wrinkling up with the force of her grin Ilithian rolled her near-gold eyes at his teasing. Hair rumpled from a mess of curls into a nest of curls. It made her smile. And her heart ache just a little. Brotherly playfulness from a man that made her knees feel made of shifting sand. ”What’s wrong, Lori? Jealous? No one writing you any love letters?”

Catching the invitation at one corner she tapped it across her lips with a grin. Watching him pick through her discarded letters. One might have even been a love letter, unless the stranger that had penned it honestly meant putting a spear through her. Either way Ilithian had no time for such nonsense. Or any of Lor’s silliness. She wanted him to read the invitation, not add to her pile of replies.

Lor slid his hand around her ankle. The sensation muffled by her colorful socks but making her toes wiggle anyway. Sand castles knees pressed harder together as he relaxed in the chair. Looking every bit the cocky young warrior outsiders feared. She liked it. Cheeks rosy with giggles. ”I have clothes on! Enough to sit around in my room in at least.”

The poor. Now there was an idea. She hadn’t thought to barter for made items, just fabric. Donations of gently used clothes were worth less, which meant she could get more of them. In her scheming Ilithian’s eyes had drifted towards the ceiling, but his sigh brought her back down to reality. ”What’s wrong?” She scooted closer to the edge of the desk. Too far for stroking his arms or hair but it was plenty close for plying calming craft on his worries.

”Oh. That.” Ilithian pouted at his name calling. Using the foot on his knee she pushed away again. Back onto the desk to flip through her envelopes a silent moment. When she thought he’d suffered her silence enough she shook her head, ”She is not Witch. People are just being paranoid.” A flippant gesture sent a few envelops tumbling, unopened, from her hand. Eyebrows dipping and rising while she rambled. ”Of course Ebenar running his filthy mouth doesn’t help. He decided she must be Witch, and he’ll tell anyone that listens. She’s just a queenling, Lori. Not even made her Offering yet. A queenling that happens to have a Red birthright.”

There were plenty of people with Red birthrights. Or… well. There were some! Some people with Red birthrights that never made a Black Descent. ”Anyway, I don’t see how her coming here makes me sneaky, or a shit. You overgrown bat carcase.”

Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2018, 09:04:57 PM »

Raggamuffin queen. Her curls and cheerfulness were deceiving. Lor knew that, and still fell for it every time. They’d been friends a long time. Close friends. And then they’d been nothing for a long time too. Lorivar was still trying to reconcile the girl he’d known to the territory queen he now served. Friends again.

”Lor, please, Ilithian.” Head and shoulders rolling in agony. His teeth flashed though, one letter going up in a wisp of smoke as if drifted toward the waste basket. ”A few more of those and you can rightly boast to having caught every heart in the territory.” He didn’t like it. Young, beautiful, and captivating, there was a danger in it that worried him.

She wouldn’t hear any of it, however, so Lor didn’t speak it. She’d probably take it all as compliments and skip along as she always did. And he’d probably mean at least have that way, he had to admit as her toes settled on his knee.

”With the door unlocked so that anyone can wander in.” Like he had. Lor cupped the heel of her foot so that it didn’t slide from his leg. Watching as she wandered off to explore her own thoughts. He’d seen the look before, eyes turning toward another point while she schemed. Because Ilithian usually schemed when it appeared she was day dreaming.

”None of that now,” He laughed, trying to wave the faint, fuzzy warmth from his psyche. Lor didn’t raise shields or barriers against her, however. He never had bucked the leash. Especially not Ilithian’s. ”Yes that!” He groaned as she pushed away from him, toes nearly turning his chair. Ilithian pouted, and Lor waited, lips drawn tight in frustration. When she was done punishing him, she continued.

None of what she had to saw made Lor feel any better. Envelops snatched from the air, the tight slash of his mouth pulled down into a frown.

”Just a queenling.” She had never set foot on the Isle. Lorivar would have known. Foot hitting the ground, he dragged both her feet to his knees, staunchly ignoring the knees they were attached to. ”With a Red birthright. Wonderful. Who the fuck is Ebenar?” He sounded like someone who needed his mouth sewn shut. Or his tongue pulled out. They had to be the pair he’d been hearing about.

”The rumors are wild, Ilithian. And the people unsettled.” Witch was not a fond or far memory for many. Fingers circling her calves, Lor did not yank her from the desk the way he wanted. Instead he shook her legs and kept his eyes up. ”Because you’re always a shit, and you didn’t tell me, which also makes you sneaky.” He laughed, unhurt by her insult. He’d heard worse. From her even! She’d been an awful, willful girl.

”I don’t like it.” He complained. He didn’t want another Witch, even an Eyrien one. He wasn’t ready, and if he was honest, Lorivar didn’t think he ever would be. ”Where did these two even come from?” And how soon would they be gone?

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2018, 10:59:19 AM »

Smile widening Ilithian gave him a small shrug, ”But that’s what everyone calls you.” And she didn’t want to be just anyone, her tone suggested. Lashes batting at him sweetly. Turning up in an airy, if dismissive laugh. ”I wish. For every one like that, I get a two like this.” She sighed, dropping a page of stubby script into the wastebasket. Another glorious detailing of all the ways she was unfit to rule. Most of them revolving around the same physical attribute the love letter was concerned with.

Askavi would learn. The men were slow to change. All Eyriens were. But she would fight them as hard as she fought Dhemlan. Harder even, since it was for their own benefit. To return the balance Mother Night had intended. Upset to such an extent that The Darkness had seen fit to foul their most sacred ideals to teach them better. And made all the world suffer in the crossfire.

”No one wanders in,” She laughed, then pursed her lips at him, ”no one other than you anyway. Everyone else is quite respectful.” Who would try to stop Lorivar though? Few could, but he was as skilled at smoothing tempers as Ilithian was at smothering them.

With only a few letters left her lap was empty. She tucked her elbows against her thighs, pushing the thick sweater down into the crease between them. Eyes remaining bright and round while the rest of her face transitioned from thoughtful to concerned. Lor’s hands flapped at the air as if her calming spell were a bad smell he could be rid of. Ilithian reigned the craft in with a meek smirk at his cheerful laugh. He had such a nice smile, she was glad he wasn’t a gloomy male. But then she had to  yank her craft back completely as part of her cold shouldering. Ruffling through the letters he had placed back on her desk she left one or two in compromise but the rest turned back down to the trash with a sniff.

”Yes!” Basically a child! Socially sheltered in a way Ilithian had yet to encounter. And she had met young Eyriens that had lived half their lives hidden in bleak caves and wine cellars. Crossing her ankles she let him pull her feet closer. Huffing in annoyance at the thin veil of blame in his question. ”Ebenar. The Ebenar. Witch’s man. The Ebon-gray.” They had all heard of him even if they hadn’t seen his face.

Ilithian liked to think everyone was worth saving. Giving a second chance. When it came to this particular male her stomach turned, though. Not an ounce of trust for him. Or his queenling, though she was naive enough that Ilithian forgave her for existing in tandem with Ebenar. ”I know. I know they are. He dragged her across the damn territory before bringing her here."

Why did he make it sound like her fault? Knees rattling and sweater tucked deeper she scowled mightily at him, ”I am not a shit! Or sneaky. It’s your own fault you’re not around for easy chatting.” Not that Ilithian was one to share her troubles. Or concerns. And they did worry her. Which was why she had let them stay instead of sending them off.

She wished she could climb into his lap. Sob about it a while. But weakness wasn’t something she could afford. Not even with the man she trusted most. They were vultures, the lot of them, and they’d pick her bones clean then expect her to thank them for lightening her load. Instead she resorted to temper. ”You think I do? You think I’ve gone through all this trouble, worked this hard to have some little chit from Mother Night knows where flap in and claim she’s Darkness sent?” It made a lump in her chest. Painful and heavy. She had always expected someone else to take the helm, to rise up once she’d got the ball rolling. But the years had gone on and somehow she had become the rallying point. And grown attached to the idea of being the one that molded her territory’s future. ”If people believe her they’ll want me to step down. Either for her to step up, or they’ll kill us both- her for a birthright she didn’t choose and me for housing the potential. But I can’t turn her out. Ebenar stays too, they’re bound one way or another. She has to be trained. I have to keep him from turning her into a puppet, and Witch or not she is a queen- she has work to do.”

There was no pretty outcome that she could see. Other than rushing the girl to her Offering. Pray it would be the Ebon-gray and the girl would agree to train a century or two before eyeing the territory seat. Then maybe Ilithian would have time to solve one or two of Askavi’s worst dilemmas. ”I don’t know where they come from. He’s been off doing Mother Night knows what since Witch fell. And she was tucked away in some secret coven apparently.” It sounded ridiculous. Ilithian rubbed her face. Ready for a change in topic.

”Here. Our invitation.” Holding out the black card she sent a thread down to the kitchen. ”And when did you last eat?”

Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2018, 11:43:29 AM »

”Because it’s my name,” he bitched. Lori! Lori was a woman’s name! Lor wiped his smile away with the back of his hand. She was impossible. Wonderfully impossible. The other letters vanished before joining the waste of paper in the basket. It seemed Lorivar had a few new friends to visit later. ”Maybe they just like it rough. Some men do.” Lor glanced at her from beneath heavy lids. Or did she know that already, with all these males coming in and out of her Eyrie?

”I’m respectful!” Lor defended, watching her elbows crease her sweater. It wrinkled between her thighs and drew tight at the neck. Eyes rolling, he looked away, head tipping back so he could study the ceiling instead. He still watched her though, over the sharp points of his cheek bones. Sniffing at him and throwing away the things he thought were important. Punishing him for being too cheeky.

He wondered if she had been punishing him before, too. When she’d left Undavi and Isle to go off and do who knew what. Leaving Lor to try and keep the peace among the milling males and frightened queens. He didn’t like the idea, and so put it away. There were more current crises to worry about that childhood pains.

”Hardly with that Red and as much tit as I hear she’s got!” Hands squeezing her calves. Not to hurt, but to anchor. Himself. Ilithian. Muscle firm under his palms. She wasn’t weak! Never that. ”Him?” Lor’s teeth flashed, and he would have stood if Ilithian’s feet hadn’t been planted firmly in his lap. Him! Witch sucking son of bat. ”You let him come here? Ilithian, I don’t care what he wears, there are enough of us left to put that traitorous coward down.” He’d snap his Red in his own teeth for the pleasure.

His chest vibrated, outrage rumbling deep in his heart. Glad Ilithian seemed to be taking it a little seriously. But he wasn’t ready. Not to face another Witch or even the possibility of one. Or to have two such so close to her. Askavi needed Ilithian. She was as wild as they all should have been. A good heart and head, even if she was as scheming as any Dhemlan.

”I’m a thread away!” He snapped at her. He couldn’t be here with her always, not if he was going to rule his province. He’d fought long and hard for Undavi and Isle. He loved his land and his people as much as he loved Ilithian. So split in two he had to remain to feel at least a little whole. ”Of a damn letter. You’ve got plenty from everywhere else!” Jealousy talking, Lor knew it was. Jackasses sniffing up her skirts in every direction for good or ill.

Temper ripened, Ilithian met him on the playing field. No calming craft for him now that he’d upset her. She slapped him down with all the worries she should have shared with him the moment they had crossed her pretty little head. Huffing he stroked her calved and shrank in his chair.

”No one but a fool would pick her over you, Ilithian.” A mad fool. Even if the girl was Witch. And whatever she was, she’d been hiding while everyone else had done the work of bringing Askavi back from the brink. Rocking forward, Lor let his wings spread. ”No one is going to kill you,” he promised with deadly calm, hands sliding up the rest in the crease of her knees. ”Not over her or anything else.” He wasn’t that far away. Never that far. Groaning, he stood up, dragging the chair under her feet as he dodged away from the nearness.

”Fine.” Maybe he would stay until they were gone. He’d have half a dozen warlord princes and queens trying to take over his province if he did. But that was better than leaving Ilithian to house so much trouble without him there to protect her. Or die with her, if it came to that. ”We’ll think of something.” Like slipping a knife between Ebenar’s ribs while he slept, and maybe the girl’s too. Frustrated, he set the pile of papers in the waste basket on fire.

”What invitation?” Lor took it reflexively, pacing around the room as he read it. Not much to read, but the walking helped. ”Shalador?” His gut clenched, and the fire in the bin rose before caving in on itself. Nothing left to feed on. ”You can’t mean to go?” He stopped, invitation crumbling in his hand as he fisted them against his hips. ”Before I left, you mad woman. Quit changing subjects. You aren’t really considering this are you?”

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 01:48:15 AM »

”I’ve heard.” Ilithian blinked at him with wide eyes. Not sure what to make of his words. Or the lazy way he waited for her reaction. Sleepy eyes that didn’t look sleepy at all. Should she flush or pale? Her body couldn’t decide and flickered between both. Red stained cheeks on blanched skin. When Lor spoke he could make almost anything sound good. But her mind screamed warnings. Stomach aching- not in that pleasant way boys brought on sometimes. In a twisty, sick sort of jab.

She knew all about men that liked it rough. They had taunted her and Lillian with threats of such men. There were women all over Askavi who were bedded with them. Not because they liked it rough too, but because that was the way to control them. Rough men that could sever them from their Darkness given power.

Did Lor like it rough?

She wanted to believe them all incapable. All of the wonderful men that made her laugh and feel safe. But she knew better. Every single one of them thought they knew better than Ilithian. It was easy to forgive them for wanting the best for her. But she worried. What wouldn’t they be convinced to do if they thought it in her best interest?

”What do her tits have to do with anything?” Ilithian frowned. And why were people talking about them? Her own were pressed flatter to her body by her arms. Leg flexing under his hands. Warm and strong. Contact made her calming craft more potent. A queen’s touch worked much more subtly. She leaned in closer. Ready to shoulder more of the blame Lor laid on her head. Sorry it upset him; it upset her too. But she didn’t have the option to bitch and complain. Ilithian was a queen, she had to actually do something. Make decisions.

Licking her lip she shook her head at his suggestion, ”Yes I let him come here. Do you want a man like that roaming the territory? If Glorian has proper training she can learn to help him control himself. Leash him, as you all like to phrase it.” Ilithain hated the metaphor. Leashes needed collars and collars were a lot like nooses. She prefered free-range boyos. There because they wanted to be there. Behaved because if they weren’t then she wouldn’t tolerate their presence.

”I wouldn’t have let him come here if I didn’t trust you to put him down should it become necessary.” She soothed. There were so few, though, she couldn’t even entertain the idea. ”Let’s just give it time. See what happens.” They were Eyrien, and the warrior in Ilithian hated to wait when action was so much faster a resolution. It had to be done, though, or they would kill themselves off and give Dhemlan an easy victory.

Lor was angry now too. A bit of truth in his whining. ”You’re a province away. And busy with it. Just like I’m busy here, Lor.” He would come if she called. If she asked. If she needed. A thread or a letter was all it would take. But then she would have to listen to this. To argue and fret when she just wanted to share his chair. Tuck her toes against his calves instead of having him squeeze hers. She caught his wrists. Fingers tight but still inches from touching.

”If it happens, it happens. I’ll just have to get as much done as I can in the meantime.” She wasn’t afraid to die. As long as she left Askavi a better place she would go gladly to her rest when Mother Night called. She couldn’t say that to Lor though. It would only upset him more. So she tangled her fingers in his hair and edged to the very end of the desk. Ready to climb down just as he stood up to abandon her.

Staring at her ankles she shrugged her shoulder, ”I’ve already thought about it. I’m going to train her, teach her how to do a heavy handed blood bonding and set her on the Lake district.” Ebenar had ties to Dhemlan. She didn’t think he would try to stop the soldiers that wanted to leave by ferry. And the land there needed a strong queen’s craft. ”I figure between border fighting, organizing Dhemlan troops trying to retreat, and dealing with the farmers that need to get the irrigation system going again they’ll be too busy to cause any trouble this century.”

Startled she jumped away from the sudden fire. Eyebrows puckering at his mounting temper. It was definitely time to talk of nicer things. She slipped down from the desk once he’d taken the envelope. Padding to the heavy wooden armoire across the room. Hands knitted together and splayed across the back of her sweater as she went. ”Yes Shalador!” She echoed in excitement, missing his distress.

Until his question sent her spinning. ”Why wouldn’t I go?” With her back to him she could reach into the standing closet for clothes. ”When was that? And I will not. You’ll just have to keep up.” She shook out a long tunic with an open back, tossing it towards her bed along with a pair of sleek red leather pants. ”I’m changing. Close your eyes.”

Her sweater hung up in her hair when she tried to wriggle free of it. With a curse she pulled it free and stuffed on the next outfit. Taking her time with each sleeve and pant leg so that she could prepare an argument. Manipulation seemed the best tactic. ”If you can’t be away that long I can take Briar- or Eremiar as an escort instead. Lillian will come, once I ask, and she’ll have that cousin of hers, or Peitar. Probably both and the dog to boot. We’ll manage without the mighty Lord of Undavi if we must.”

Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2018, 06:19:18 AM »

”Never mind about her tits,” Lor grumbled, eyes shifting away. He did not like the way she looked at him, even if she leaned closer. Maybe Abbian was right and he spent too much time with men and not enough with the polite company of women. Maybe it was that she said she knew some men like it rough, and then looked at him in a way that made Lor want to wrap his hands around a couple of necks. Possibly his own, even.

”I’d like him dead.” He told her candidly, holding her a little closer. Hadn’t thought of the little bastard in a century. Easy to forget when they had so many troubles in their faces. ”Who is going to train him not to be a conniving, cowardly dog?” And how could any of them trust some girl from no where to keep him in check? Lor was sure they needed gutting. Wanted Ilithian to ask him to do it so badly he nearly buried his face in her lap and begged for the order.

”I guess we all have plenty of that.” Time. Plenty of time for it all to go wrong again. She was so fucking reasonable. Lorivar sniffed the air, probably turning his brain to mush again with her damned queen craft. All the little fledglings on the Isle were beating the boyos to death with it. It was part of why kept his visits short. Lor didn’t have time for that shit. Not with Ilithian wearing permanent holes in his will and changing his damn mind so often he never knew which way he’d stood to begin with.

”Don’t say that!” He rasped, standing swiftly. Pulling at the hands on his wrist, the fingers in his hair. Fleeing all the petting he usually enjoyed. All because Ilithian could so easily dismiss her death. As if she were expendable. ”You promised I got to die first.” He reminded her. A million years ago when neither of them had finished growing and were each egging the other on to jump from high places. No wings until the very last second. Each trying to out last the other.

”A district?” Fucking Hell. Snapping his wings shut, Lor lifted them high behind his head. ”And blood bonds. Ilithian please. Don’t give her the means to tie unsuspecting men to her like that.” The land around the lake was a mess. Lorivar wouldn’t fight he on that. He was also right by that crazy, Dhemlan hating bastard. The blind one. Peitar. Lor was sure he could use that to his advantage when things went south.

”Fine, fine, fine.” He grumbled at her logic, as if he had any say in what she did anyway. Pulling at his bad ear, Lor turned to track Ilithian’s movements. Sweater pooling almost at her knees. Where did she even get a thing so damn big? Excitement rippling from her. Shalador! Of course she wanted to go. She had people there, if he remembered right.

”Because it’s in Shalador, and you run a territory here, in Askavi.” He reminded her. He watched her dig in her wardrobe, eyes burning holes through her sweater. ”When I left.” He repeated, knowing what she was about. She wanted to stuff his mouth with food so he couldn’t use it to talk. Lor would let her, and then ply her so many threads she ended up in knots. Huffing, Lor turned his back on her, wings wide like curtains, arms folded over his chest in annoyance.

It was her cursing, he told himself, that made him peek. One wing dipping low so he could glance over it and make sure she was alright. Drink in the long curve of her spine as it dipped between her wings. No assassins or hurts in sight. He even stopped, very politely, before reaching the shadow between her thighs, hidden by her ass. Rubbing his lips, Lor turned back to staring at the wall. It was just relief pulling his stomach tight.

”Who is Briar?” Lor asked, teeth bared at the wall. Eremiar was that mute thing she’d dragged up from the Keep’s dungeon, he knew. Someone with sense had sent for him when she’d pulled that stunt. Lor hadn’t been able to talk her out of that one either. Especially with the old man attached to one of her apprentices. Briar he didn’t think he’d met yet.

”Why would Peitar being going somewhere with Lillian?” Lor asked, turning in his surprise. Lillian, the little half Dhemlan waif. Lor could remember still the way she had quivered on her knees, facing execution before Ilithian had yanked down the back of her dress and exposed the... wings there. Lor was very sure that had been the moment he’d fallen hopelessly in awe. Not with Lillian, the girl rarely managed to inspire much at all and never awe, but with Ilithian. Hell cat that she was, determined to drive him crazy.

”If you’re going, I’m going. It’s my right as First Escort.” He reminded her. And he would fight for it if he had to. Looking her over, Lor wished for the sweater back. Her knees didn’t look half so good in those red pants. They did match his Jewel though, which made him grin. ”Miss me so much you’re dying your clothes to match, I see.”

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2018, 12:03:00 PM »

”Oh Lorivar,” Ilithian crossed her empty arms over her chest. Eyes rolling. He took everything so personally! ”I won’t go down without one hell of a fight.” That was a promise she could keep. Too stubborn for anything less. They wouldn’t be rid of her that easily when she had struggled so hard to get where she was. Lashes batting at him again she caught her tongue between smiling teeth. Then bounced her eyebrows at Lor. ”You can still die first, though. Since you’re older. And as hard headed as a lutrani with a stolen coin.”

It was fun to remember their days on the isle. Memories that made her smile and hum. Even in the midst of war their lives had been so much simpler then. A child compared to Lor who had already been mostly a man. She had brought the little boy out in him then, ready for adventure and play. Now she just drove him crazy, not entirely on purpose.

”She exists Lor! I didn’t create her. Do you have a better suggestion of what to do with them?” She argued. Wings flaring when his tucked in. Defensive of her decisions. If she could make use of them while making them feel useful instead of used then why not? ”Mother Night gave her the means, Lor. Not me. Blood blonds don’t last forever. They’re not as strong a natural bond, either, and plenty of heartbound males leave their queens when they feel mistreated. She isn’t going to grow some sick collection of forced pets just because I teach her to use her gifts.”

Not while Ilithian had a breath of life left in her. Not her people, never again.

”I know that. Don’t be ridiculous, Lori. I’m not moving to Shalador. Just a few days away. If we want to bring in trade we need to make friends.” They both turned away from another while she stripped. Ilithian’s skin prickling as the air hit her. Coffee and pastries promised from her favorite kitchen witch along the distaff thread.

The soft ruffle of Lor’s wings made her flush, goosebumps rising on her arms and thighs. She wasn’t shy! She had stripped in front of men she barely knew. Warriors who looked, or smirked, or smirked at her looking when they all shed mud ruined clothes after long fights. But this was Lor and everything was different when it came to him.

Thankfully that didn’t lessen the effectiveness of her trickery. Blouse twitched into place she smiled at the floor when she bent to pull her pants on. ”Briar is Eremiar’s son. He’s been court hopping for a few years, trying to find a place to fit in. Not very trusting of queens, poor lamb… I think he was afraid to come here at first. But once I freed Eremiar he couldn’t resist.” With a few bounces to get everything into its proper place she turned around again. ”He’s not here now, though. Glorian made him uncomfortable so he’s gone to stay at Tali’s place. He has history with the sister.”

The inn was in Lor’s province. She was surprised he didn’t already know about Briar. Unless he was slipping. Or lying. Trying to gauge her familiarity with yet another dark jeweled male she’d let into the eyrie. You would think she was letting foxes into a hen house with the way her triangle groaned when she took in another lost soul. As if they hadn’t all been in the same state when she met them.

”Because Lillian is a queen, and she can go wherever she wants with whoever she wants?” Ilithian bit her bottom lip. Oops. She hadn’t consulted him over that decision either. Once Lillian and Peitar were game to give it a shot she had moved her mind on to other problems. ”And she’s staying there. In his district.” With a pop her lip broke free, lifting in an apologetic smile.

Her arms raised too. Light feet closing the space between them in a blink. ”I always miss you!” She promised, wrapping him in a hug. Her chin settling on his left shoulder. It was her favorite spot. Plus I look good in red. Better than you even.” Pecking his cheek with a kiss she ruffled his hair with her palms.

”I’m glad you’ll come. I wouldn’t enjoy dancing with anyone else half as much as I’ll enjoy it with you.” She twirled away as the maid knocked on the door, socks slick on the floor. The tray handed over with none of the fuss the other hearth witches gave her. Ilithian thanked the girl and slid over to the low group of pillows piled on the floor in lieu of a bulky sofa. ”Tell me about Undavi. How are things?”

Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2018, 12:37:53 PM »

”Not that much older,” he complained to himself. But his blood was thicker, just like his head. Eyrien all the way back to beginning, unlike Ilithian who had some short-lived Shaladorian slipped in there to thin hers. Lor didn’t hold it against her, just the difference in years they would keep. Hopefully nothing too drastic. Or better yet, that he would die before ever having to count them.

”I didn’t say you did! And I think she should go the same way as him.” Lor didn’t care if Ilithian didn’t like his honesty, it was all he would give her. She wouldn’t trust him if he didn’t, and he couldn’t blame her for that. She needed people she could trust at her back, and he’d always been and always would be one of those. Even if he had to speak such vulgar thoughts out loud.

”Yes, because they can. Either they’re strong enough or in service to queens who will let them. What if she proves to be neither of those? Even if she isn’t Witch, only Ebenar will wear a Jewel to match and he....” His knuckles cracked along his right hand, fist clenched so tight it ached. ”He still looks down on the rest of us. He never learned anything from her destruction.” Thousands of lives just in one battle. It had taken three years for Lor to walk right again. Three years of slow, agonizing healing just to keep his leg.

Fuck him.

Doing his best to contain his own temper so Ilithian didn’t charge him and wrap him up in enough craft to calm a realm, Lor scuffed the floor with the toe of his boot. Pulled the lobe of his bad ear. Scratched his chin. Adjusted his cock and belt while he was there. Peeked at his queen like a fledgling first learning what a woman was.

”I thought we already were friends.” Shalador had some claim to Ilithian, they should have been keen to share good will and trade goods with it. Lor rubbed his crooked thumbnail and stared at the ceiling. At the desk. At the floor. Tried to look under his own wing but the angle wasn’t right. ”Lucky him. Just the sort of father every boy dreams of.” Overgrown menace. Lor didn’t like the silence or the strange way he tried to shove thoughts through barriers. But whatever, it wasn’t his problem to deal with except on occasion.

”I think we all have history with a sister or two.” Or actual sisters, which was even worse. Lor wondered what his own had gotten up to in his absence. Probably dead already. Chewing a piece of dried skin from his lips, Lor tipped his good ear toward Ilithian to hear her better. Not to look over his shoulder again. ”You’re joking. Lillian is staying with Peitar?” He had to see this for himself. Terrified little Lillian with a bunch of raider rabble. ”Anyone tell him who her father was?” Lor snickered, and seeing that Ilithian was done putting on her too tight pants, he turned around to more easily talk to her.

”Do you?” He raised his eyebrows in mock surprise, arms folding her dancing body close. Wings too, circling her until she was shrouded against his body. He didn’t even mind that her chin dug into his shoulder biting into the place between the bones. She felt strong and healthy in his arms, which was good. Meant she was eating and getting exercise. ”What?” Lor cocked his head, then chased her temple with a kiss before letting her go. ”You know I can’t hear shit from that side, Ili.” Wretched woman.

A tray was delivered. Sneaky vixen sending threads down to her womenfolk while he was distracted. Lor didn’t wait for an invitation, he’d be grey and dead by then, stalking across the room to join in the pile of pillows. She had strange ideas about what was comfortable.

”A mess as usual. Whiney males, giggling females. We’ve got some pirates now too, it seems, harassing my fisher folk.” He’d find them later and blow them up. But later. Lor hated the water. All that rocking made his stomach sick. ”Heard you had to come pet my biggest whiner recently. You didn’t even stop in to say hello either.” Lor pouted before stealing a bite of Ilithian’s pastry just as she was about too. ”S’good.” He mumbled around it with a smirk.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2018, 09:27:29 PM »

”Say what you really mean, Lorivar. You think we should kill her.” Ilithian said the words he hinted at. Stomach clenching and blood cold. At the opinion, and worse, at Lorivar being the one that thought it. A staunch reminder of why she could love them to the moon and back but never really trust them. ”Kill an innocent girl who hasn’t done anything I wouldn’t expect a young queen to do… just because she might pose a problem, or a threat. Because she’s a queen. I’ve heard that story before. Maybe you shouldn’t have stopped the caravan if that’s what you really feel.” Why had they? Why her? For what? To rip her up with his stupidity now. She wanted to wish they hadn’t saved her at all, but there was Lillian. A good, innocent queenling that would have been punished for Ilithian’s bravado.

Stomping her foot Ilithian spread her arms and wings wide. Tone more stern than was natural. It didn’t sound like her own voice. She didn’t like the way it bounced back at her from the walls. Watery almost, as if she were going to cry. ”You just said there were men left that could bring Ebenar down. They can bring her down too. Don’t hate her for what Ebenar did. I know he’s a shit. I know I can’t trust him. But in the end he left Witch to the fate she had reaped. He didn’t protect her, when he could have tried. He could have made all the difference but he let the resistance through instead.”

He was a coward. And that was why preoccupying him with Glorian would work. ”Ebenar isn’t here to stir trouble. If he were, he wouldn’t have shown himself before striking. He’s not like you, brave and valiant. He’s a spider.” They didn’t have to be friends. No one had to like Ebenar. They just had to leave him to his piece of Askavi. Under the right queen he could be a great boon to the territory. She would just have to work hard to make Glorian the right queen.

The girl was still young and petty enough to want to learn how to make them all love her.

”We are friends. But if they’ve invited us, they’ve invited other places too. This will be a wonderful opportunity to show the world we’re not barbarian cave people.” They weren’t quite civilized by some standards but they were worth trading with. This could open a lot of opportunities. Queens did remarkable things when they put their minds together. She was excited to attend. Especially with Lorivar to tuck against if things got hairy. ”He’s a very sad sort of man. I think they’re a lot alike.”

Poor Briar. Ilthian shivered off the mental image she had stumbled on by accident. His very first night in the eyrie when bed dreams had drawn her to his door. Terrible. Mother Night had truly turned away from Askavi in those dark days.

”Just one or two sisters? Prefer only children do you, Lori?” She teased. He was too handsome to sleep alone at night. Ilithian wasn’t stupid. She knew he cut a trail of hopeful women in his wake. And she tried hard not to be one of them. It wouldn’t do to want what she wouldn’t go through with having. Lorivar was her favorite, the most trusted, her dearest friend. If she couldn’t trust him then… she would just hope Cyprian outlived her so she could wear a web forever.

Anxiety turning to a glint of mischief she shook her head at Lor’s back. ”No! He doesn’t need to know. They’ll be here another day or two while they get to know the important things about one another. So they can work together. Her father shouldn’t make any difference.” Peitar would rage if he knew! Rage and refuse to take Lillian back with him. And Ilithian needed Peitar to stop slipping the leash. Which meant someone else would have to hold it. Shaking out her hair she wrapped her wings in tight so Lorivar could give her a proper hug. ”I do.”

Even though he made her crazy. That was fine. She had ways of returning the harrassment. She laughed into his neck before sweeping off for the food delivery. ”I know you can’t, makes you easier to talk to.” He couldn’t shoot her down if she only told her secret thoughts to his dead ear.

Crossing her legs on the pillow pile she added several sugar cubes into her coffee cup. Listening to him with a raised eyebrow. ”Pirates?” By nature Eyriens weren’t prone to seafaring. Not when they had wings for transport. She trusted Lor to see them run off. But stored the news at the back of her mind just in case. ”Yes. He had the nerve to send for me! I was so insulted. I’m trying to set an example here and he thinks a territory queen should be at the beck and call of a district ruler. Ridiculous.”  Ili brought an apple pastry to her mouth but her lips found Lor’s cheek instead. Thieving boyo swooping in on her bite. She giggled at him. The terrible shit. ”I went because it was for his sister. Though when I got there he was the one that needed setting straight. She just needed something to do with herself. I had her with me on the way back so I couldn’t stop.” Frail queen’s had a hard time on the Winds. And she wasn’t going to stop off in a male run court with a woman who had been spear broken.

Before he could steal another bite she stuffed her pastry into her mouth. A low hum of appreciation nearly making her choke it back up. She chewed vigorously with muffled laughs. ”Very good.” She agreed once she’d had a minute to wash it down with coffee.

”We’ll have to figure out who to leave behind while we’re in Shalador. Any ideas? Florian is ready to come home for a few weeks, I could ask her to keep my throne warm.” It was Undavi she really worried about. It was rich in resources and their enemies would be happy to take advantage of Lor’s absence. ”We could send Erylian. I don’t like her uncle, he’s very traditionalist. But with Eremiar there I think it should be fine.”

Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 04:17:14 AM »

She railed at him. Lor turned his cheek to her but not his eyes. Let her anger run down the channel between his shoulder blades and pool at the base of his spine. This too was part of being honest. Saying things that made her angry and doubtful. Turning suspicions on him that made Lor croak.

”It is not the same.” He growled to keep from whimpering. They were not the same. Two different queens. One of them trustworthy and the other... Lor didn’t know. Stupider than his sister if she went running about with a dog like Ebenar. Ilithian did not agree, however, raising Lor’s wings with her defense of the coward too. ”You know best, lady.” Lor told her, voice dull with suppressed emotion. He did not agree, but he did not wished to fight her.

The wind taken from his wings at being likened to men who murdered innocent queens for no good reason. He had reason, and highly doubted this girl to be quite so innocent.

”We are cave dwelling barbarians, Ilithian.” Cities carved into mountains. Children raised in crypts and wells and any other dark, hidden place desperate parents could find for them. Squabbling over the bones of a territory. ”Oh boohoo,” Lor whispered to himself, eyes rolling where she could not see. A sad sort of man. More like a sympathy garnering snake.

”What can I say, brothers are fussy.” A hint of a smile. Just a glimpse of the rake he sometimes was. Only when Ilithian was not looking. Or much of anyone else either. Lor liked to keep that sort of thing private. It was better for his reputation, and that of the women he slept with. Biting his crooked nail, Lor cackled. ”Shouldn’t and will not are two very different things. You’ve really stepped in it this time Ilithian.”

And into him. Tucked close. Tucked tight. Lor could almost forgive her for accusing him of being a monster. Sniffing her mop of wild curls before she danced away from him. She never did stay close nearly long enough.

”That’s not very nice.” He complained, following her. A quick probe chasing the kitchen witch down the hall, for fun mostly. But it was also good to know who was bringing trays to his lady and manning her kitchens. ”Yes pirates!” He mimicked, a soft gagging noise for the amount of sugar she dropped into her cup. ”Well you went. Not the best example.” He teased.

He would have to try it. Maybe one night he would lay out under a full moon and writhe until she came. He did have a very good howl, and his mother had said he was sweet looking when he cried. In fact, her funeral had been the last time he had cried. Casting the memory away, Lor leaned in to get a kiss from Ili. And half her pastry. He rumbled at her laughter. As pleased by it as the very good food.

”Where did you take her?” Lor questioned as he chewed. He was used to queens being dropped off in his province, but less used to them being taken away again. A school of sorts, on the safety of Isle. Lor had less say over their protection once they left. It felt like people napping, really. ”Ili!” Lor laughed, eyes wide. He put his hand behind her back and propped himself up on his arm. That way he was close in case she choked to death trying to eat half a pastry in one bite.

She didn’t though. Humming and giggling as she chewed. ”You have a big mouth.” He told her, picking through the pastries and trying not to lick crumbs from her face. Picking one up, Lor put it back down and sat up straight again. His arms fell loose over his knees, body angled toward her.

”Florian is a good choice. But what’s this about putting your apprentice and her hulking Red Warlord Prince on my province seat?” She was still after it! Even now after all these years! Lor huffed and reached out to over turn her plate of pastries. ”I’ll manage my own province, thank you very much Lady Ilithian.” She had left it! It was his now! ”I have people of my own, you know. You keep your apprentice and your hands off my lands.” She had enough out of him and Undavi already!

Trade agreements. Duty demands. Flitting in and out as she pleased. Shifting queens around in the school without a word! Lor poured himself a cup of coffee, black like an adult, and stuck his wing in her face for good measure.

Ilithian

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Queen
  • Played By: Jones

    Territory Queen
    Askavi Terreille
    53 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2018, 09:37:39 AM »

Time had made Lorivar forget. There was no use in fighting. He wouldn’t see things any way other than his own. But Ilithian knew. It was not different. She had been the unknown queen when they first met. He had stood by while his war party nearly murdered Lillian without any provocation. Simply for looking more Dhemlanese than Eyrien. It was the same. Maybe things would never change. Maybe Eyrien women would have to guard their Jewels and virginity until the end of time. Praying for the right males to do right by them.

She couldn't think of it anymore. Not while he was there to watch. So she saved it all up for later. When her room would be empty and she could scream into her pillow instead of his beloved face.

”They don’t have to know that. And besides, my cave is quite fancy.” As nice as any of the Dhemlan style houses they had built along the border. Nicer, even, since the eyries were open to the sunshine and fresh air. Never growing dusty or musty. It amused her that Lor sounded almost pleased to admit as much.

Lip chewed and imagination reined in before it went wild Ilithian shrugged. ”I wouldn’t know. No brothers or sisters for me, in any sort of context.” She didn’t want to talk about who Lor put in his bed. Or who minded and didn’t mind. Discussing Lillian and Peitar was highly preferable. She wrinkled her nose and staunchly denied his commentary. ”Have not! Lillian is a great queen. She can take care of herself. Peitar is blind anyway, so they can stay here a few days. Get nice and bonded before anyone has a chance to tell him anything stupid.”

Or else Ili would wring their necks. She wouldn’t stand for it. Her friend had struggled and suffered more than her fair share. They all had, but she wouldn’t let people make Lillian feel unwelcome after all they had survived. She had earned her place in Askavi. She was as much an Eyrien queen as Ilithian.

Who had worked hard to earn her place too, which made his cutting assessment of her example setting sting double. She shrugged with a tight lipped sneer, still resentful even if she’d forgiven the warlord prince. ”An awful example. But he said she was going to kill herself. So of course I had to go. Turns out he was the one that needed a talking to. But by then it was too late. I’d already played the fool. You should really teach your men to just ask for a petting if that’s what they need.” It might even have been true, the broken queen had been miserable. Just a few short weeks had shown a good deal of improvement to her mood. ”She’s here. Relaxing and recovering. I’ll give her back, don’t worry.” Eyes twinkling she tried not to giggle at his subtle concern. Like all males Lorivar was a possessive shithead. Even over people he had no idea existed. If they lived in his province they were his people.

She couldn’t fuss. Ilithian was the same way. On a much broader scope. No boundaries to rope in her idea of her who was and was not hers. If they were winged, they were Eyrien and counted as her people. If they lived in Askavi, they were her people. If they needed her to keep them safe, they were her people. Race, lifespan, jewels, caste… none of that mattered to her.

Mouth too full to complain with words Ilithian whined at Lorivar. Giving his shoulder a small shove so that he wouldn’t move too far away. When she finally got her food down she stuck her tongue at him. ”And you’ve got a big head but I’m polite enough not to comment.” The cheek on that boy!

His playfulness shifted to something more serious, though. Pivoting towards her with a very handsome scowl. She smirked at him, one eyebrow raised while she waited to hear what he would fuss about now. Then she laughed. Which made him dump her plate of sweets. Swarming him with craft she leaned in rather than pick another argument. ”Oh Lori! Stop being silly.”

Undavi was hers because Lorivar was hers. She didn’t have to rule it herself. His suspicion made her heart sore, but Ili was more concerned with settling his temper. ”I’m was only trying to help! They’re good people, if you have someone you can trust then fine!”

”Lorivar!” She sputtered his name and beat her own wings at the one he shoved at her head. ”Like it or not they’re my lands too! That’s how a territory works.” Keep her hands off! The nerve. She gave his shoulder another shove. Harder this time because it wasn’t teasing anymore. ”You could just say no thanks instead of behaving like a spoiled rotten toddler.”

He was impossible! Always assuming the worst. It was a good thing, this invitation to Shalador. She could show him how other territories worked. That a province ruler and a territory queen should be working together instead of worrying the other wanted them out of the way.

Lorivar

    Opal to Red
  • Warlord
  • Played By: dergon

    Ruler of Undavi & Isle
    Askavi Terreille
    9 Posts    0 marks
Re: separation anxiety
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2018, 07:17:44 AM »

”None?” Lor teased, eyes sweeping her from sock clad toes to riotous curls. He was sure there were plenty of brothers quite charmed. Some sisters too. And a whole lot of jealous in between. While he never heard whispers of lovers or spats, Ilithian was surrounded by dedicated people. Men and woman willing to die for her secrets. Close enough to be more without anyone realizing there was a difference.

”What are you planning on doing?” Lor laughed. ”Tie them together with twine and hope it sticks?” He couldn’t picture it. But he also didn’t agree that Lillian was a great queen. A good one, and a nice girl, but she wasn’t a great queen. She had no sparkle and inspired little in the way of confidence or devotion. It would be a mess. Though hopefully not one so bad Lor had to comfort her over it rather than tease her.

”That one is too old teach. Especially with queens undoing all my hard work.” He teased without mercy. Mostly he left the warlord prince to his own devices. He did good work, and suffered the bulk of the queen menace on Isle. Lor visited what Ilithian dubbed a school as little as possible. ”Not to me, please!  But you can return her to her brother.” He had enough sister to deal with. And way too much queen.

Ilithian was just his sort, however. She drove him mad with all her scheming, but she was the right kind of queen for Askavi. And Lor. If she were better behaved he would have been bored. More lofty and he would have been resentful. Ilithian dazzled, and then turned you into a useless, happy puppy before letting you go. Wicked, awful woman. Lor didn’t know why he kept coming back for more.

Probably the pastries. He roared, laughter too loud for the room.

”No else has ever complained of it!” Maybe the other, but Lor would not make such crude jokes in front of any woman, much less this one. There was a line, thin and blurry, but it existed. She had gone to war with them same as any man. Stood breathless and blood soaked with the rest after battle. Stripped to bathe and spoken of horrors as if they didn’t leave wounds on the soul just as they did.

But she was their queen. His queen. So Lor kept his overblown opinions about his cock, and what others thought of it, to himself. And wished she would do the same with her hands. All of them. Rushing in on him with her body and craft, trying to lay flat his hackles again.

”How many years did you spend warring me over my own borders? Silly she says!” But his temper dulled under her craft. Lor kicked beneath the mellowing blanket. Body stiffening and jaw set. He would not be coddled! ”Of course I have someone I trust!” Half a dozen someones and none of them her, not in this. She had tried to take Undavi from him before, Lor would not let her sneak in now.

Ilithian fought him. Wings snapping at his. Hands digging into his shoulders as she shoved at him. Lor’s snarl vibrated with laughter. Wings and hands working in tandem to torment her. So he could herd her closer, body swaying as she pushed at him, her own annoyance flaring to match his. ”You’re the toddler, baby queen!” He caught the back of her knee with his hand again. Leather strange against his skin as he yanked. He just needed her over his thighs. Or his knees, but he didn’t want to bruise her ribs.

A few good swats on the ass ought to teach her better. Feisty bitch. They had done themselves no favors when they had shown her how to defend herself. Lor only half succeeded. Hand palming her thigh before finding what he was looking for. The leather made the slap sting his palm, accentuating the sound so that his ears popped, and his spear stirred. Fuck. Teeth bared Lor did the only thing he could think of. He pinched her, hard, in ribs, sure his growing hardness couldn’t survive and proper show of temper from his queen.

 

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