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Sanctus Espiritus

 
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Gemethyst
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: Sanctus Espiritus Reply with quote

The thief lay in the midst of scattered dreams and fur throws as awareness crept back into her mind. Amethyst eyes blinked slowly as fingers of dawnlight crept slowly across the hardwood floor of her bedroom to climb with insidious and slow degree up the sides of her bed.

Gem considered what the fading images left as a taste in her mind and soul. Tall. Handsome. Lonely and yet never alone. Vadriel. She'd been dreaming of him.

It had been so long since she'd seen him. The arrival last summer of Dair McCrae had possibly sent him off on some retreat, or perhaps a mission of mercy for those that pulled at him and seemed sometimes to drive him.

She wanted to tell him of Nyx. She wanted to pull him out of whatever hole he had vanished into, to bring him life and warmth and pleasant company. To remind him that he was cared for. Mesteno might even like to see him.

A wry smile quirked her lips as she considered that. Possibly the Sadist would bolt himself into Sanctuary to avoid Vadriel, for all the thief could guess. No matter that things tended to stay the same, now and then they did change, at least for a time.

The elf sat up and rolled out of bed to put her plans in place. First to get hold of the Sadist to see if he knew where Vadriel might be reached. She found her cell phone in the thickly shadowed room, avoiding the light for the moment. A simple text was sent then.

"Where is Vadriel, chev?"
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first reply came later that day, laboured over until a pair of clumsy thumbs had overcome typographical errors and the hilarity of autocorrect alike.

Sat out upon the porch amidst a crowd, he'd actually been in conversation with Gem's son as he toiled over it, half-baked by the Spring sunshine and a head full of unrelated troubles. He left the city for studies, he'd written, which was as specific as he dared be at present. The term wasn't entirely correct, but would suffice. Can get in touch with him if you need him though. Are you ill??

Why else would she need Vadriel, after all?

It wasn't until a good half hour had passed, during which Mesteno's concerns about her welfare had been put to rest by his Godson and Shae, that the follow up message arrived.

Heard you're ok. Need him to see Nyx?
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, Mesteno never did seem to realize one might want Vadriel for more than his doctoring skills, and his ex-priest skills...well, no, Mesteno had been there that long ago year when the demon had...yes. Mesteno was very well aware of what Vadriel could do with a demonspawn.

The elf considered the message, still smiling ruefully that she had not given him more to work with. She texted again.

"I am fine, not ill. Bairn is fine, too. I don't think Vadriel is, though. Think he left town for a specific reason, and I think it's time he was pulled back home. Don't you? He should have a life. He should be happy. He should be loved. Please give me his number. Or tell him to call me? Or see me? Thank you, chev."
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The elf was not incorrect in her supposition. Vadriel had never made a secret of his introverted nature, and even those who'd come to call him friend never intruded unless necessity pressed them to the lacquer black of his imposing front door. Mesteno couldn't imagine why anyone would seek to draw him out if it wasn't for medical assistance.

When her text reached him, he stared at the display, head bowed in the middle of the alley. Vadriel, pulled back home? The necromancer spilled a sigh, and fought to find some way to phrase things that wouldn't sound like blundering excuses. In the end, the message he sent back was beautifully simple.

For you, of course.
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She read the text when it came, and when done she could only cradle the phone in her hands and close her eyes as her heart ached and swelled with feeling.

The years rolled back in her head and she wondered how she had ever managed to make a friend (and such a friend!) of the Sadist. She counted it a great boon and a blessing that had enriched her life. Indeed, it had saved her life on more than one occasion, and if she wasn't far wrong, in her messed up memory, he'd even saved her soul once, too.

The possible balm to the ache of her feelings was the knowledge that he too knew he had but to ask and she would do whatever he needed, whenever he needed it.

Finally, she texted back.

"Thank you, Chev. I will await in patience. Stay safe."
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The elf had settled on an armchair near the hearth, a cup of mango tea in one hand and an opened book in the other. She glanced at the waterclock now and then just to be sure the time was indeed nearing when she might see the tall dark one she had always felt such affection for.

Dressed in her usual leathers she was looking a bit too thin, as she had taken her dieting and working out over the top since the birth of her bairn, Nyx, though Benjamin was trying to stop that and fill her full of food. She was more like Mesteno in that regard at the moment, though. Food curled her lip.


It was mild beyond the stained glass windows of the little bookshop, and yet for an instant, there was a strange opacity to the panes. Ice clung resolutely to the glass, curling into the fern-like spirals children liked to attribute to Jack Frost's artistry, and a shadow fell long where the sun had been a moment before. The bell rang not a moment later, a cheery tinkle ill-suited for the man who ducked his head beneath the door frame, soundless as a spectre.

Vadriel de Guise had not been in the city for months, and this little refuge tucked away at its centre he'd never visited. He looked, not unsurprisingly, like a man displaced, a being torn from some gothic fairytale and grafted into the spring afternoon and the unsettling absence of sound characterizing his movements after the bell's ringing only exaggerated the issue. Yet, when he saw the silver haired elf tucked up by the hearth, he moved with surprising vigour, his great strides swallowing up the distance and his face transformed from one of unsettling statue-like passivity by a smile which said it all; Vadriel the giant, the abnormal, utterly gentle, and utterly adoring of her.

The tinkle-ring of that blasted bell on the Tome?s door was quite annoying to the elfess, not least because it had hurt her head so yesterday, due to that rather unfortunate drinking game and her over hasty use of whiskey which had left her with a hangover that morning. A near year of not drinking was not a good precursor for such a night!

However, annoying though the bell might be, a smile was born from the spelling of its sound in anticipation and hope that the long, tall drink of water who came in with it was indeed the one she awaited.

Her gaze settled on him like a heated blanket, warm and caring, from the top of his lovely, lush black curls on down the lean, strong body to see if he was as well as she hoped. Overall health taken in first, next she fastened her own eyes upon his, to seek if there be happiness and peace there in those normally lonely, sad eyes. She didn't expect such a thing, but she did hope for it.

The elf rose to her feet, letting the book fall to the arm of her chair, the title on the spine showing it was a treatise on using dagger and sword or dagger and dagger as the best means to use the Florentine school of fighting. This to be surmised by the words "Florentine: Dagger-Dagger or Dagger-Sword? Picked out in crackled old gold leaf along the spine.

"Vadriel!" Her tones were as warm as her look, both hands held out to him.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reliably unchanging, he'd still the stature of a romanticised hero, broad of shoulder and straight of spine, an athlete's proportions he took pains to cover from the throat down. Perhaps the only striking change was the lack of Georgian era flare; there was no frock coat, none of the fine, crushed velvet. Instead he'd come clad as a man of modern times, with only the cut of his tailored suit to hint towards tastes of bygone years. Expensive, and of the most exquisite fabrics, he couldn't be faulted in appearance even if there was no shock of lace at cuff and collar. Unheard of for him to make changes, and yet who knew what had happened beyond the city limits?

He reached to clasp her hands (the gloves today were kidskin, supple and ink-dark) in both of his own, and bowed low enough to kiss the backs of her knuckles like a man reverent. The dark hair she looked for was as ever thick and curling, though a little of the length had been clipped away, barely long enough to bind if he chose to now.

"My dear friend," he murmured, as if she were a sight for those sore and violet eyes. "I did not realize until this moment quite how much I'd missed you."

Her little face, so mobile in its vast array of expressions, was alit with brilliant eyes, slightly pinkened cheeks in the usually pearl-pale face, and the heart-shaped mouth curved into a smile of absolute delight at the sight, sound, and feel of him. Gem?s fingers curled into his, gripping not too tightly, but like a fleeting hug, there and gone again. The kisses to the backs of her hands were observed with a melting heart and a softly murmured response.

"Vadriel, neither you nor your ever-caring (if maddeningly distant) Mesteno seem to realize how very well loved you are, and how very needful it is to have you around. At least for this elf's continued peace of mind and contented emotions." She paused a moment to relish what he had said to her...that she was apparently greatly missed. It pleased her enormously, though it also humbled her, for just as she was uncertain how she had lucked out at making so great a friend as Mesteno, so too did she feel the same way about her friendship with Vadriel.

Gem shook her head and then eyed the hovering serving lass for a moment. "Can I get you something to drink, Vadriel? And by the way, I do believe you could wear anything from an Armani suit to anything pre-byzantine."

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His thumbs skimmed her knuckles where his mouth had touched, as if to chase away the lingering coolness it left behind. Even through the kid gloves, the chill of him was tangible, though strangely, the air about them had not cooled as had always done so in the past.

"I'm never entirely absent," he told her, the resonant bass of his voice at odds with his body's eerie coolness. Like velvet rubbed the wrong way, and faultlessly cultured. "If you've need of me, I will always come, as I have today." It was a promise, though he needn't state it was so. His was a gentleman's word, and principles demanded he never fail to keep it.

Straightening, he let her hands slip from his, and followed her gaze towards the owner's granddaughter as she went about her business. "I suspect a whisky might be out of the question here," he admitted, "but something warm to hold might be pleasant, and very much appreciated." He'd a penchant for subtle fragrances, the finer things in life, from the beeswax candles in his manse to the expensive cigars he favoured. He didn't doubt she'd choose well. Her compliment saw him cast a doubtful look down at his attire, as if he were as of yet unsure of the ensemble. "I'd nothing else to wear, all my clothes being still at the manor. I was assured this would be acceptable by current standards though. You, as ever, are a dream made flesh to behold. Though..." He hesitated, and took her measure, "I dare say losing flesh more rapidly than is normal for a woman recovering from childbirth. There must be fat if the child is to feed," he reminded her, even his chastisement gentle. "Do not press yourself too hard." He knew why women did it, though he wouldn't embarrass her by saying so!

Her hands were had not chilled as much as they might have, due to the presence of her leathern half-gloves, but her fingers did feel the cool. She expected to see her breath in the air and didn't, and so that was a direction for questions, perhaps, after the greetings had been adequately evoked.

Gem's smile widened a little as she listened to what he might like to drink, and with a soft murmur to the Tomes lass had ordered a nice, rich, Irish breakfast tea for the man. Once her hands had been let go, she moved over to the bookshelf directly next to the couch and with a quick glance about, she pulled a bottle of already broached whiskey from behind a book. "Rei told me he keeps this here, as he meets others here frequently." Moving back to him, she gestured to a comfortable chair that would not swallow him, and then tucked the bottle neatly to one side of it where it would not be seen by the returning serving lass.

Retaking her chair, she smiled at his comments. "I know that you will come, and grateful I am for it. This time I did not ask it for myself but for your own sake.? She would let deeper explanation for that keep a moment, too. "In the meantime, you look exquisite, as per usual, and I love this new look you have adopted. You are so marvelously beautiful."

She said it almost wistfully, her grin openly admiring of him. "As far as being a bit too thin, I am just trying to find my balance. And then, too, food is not terribly appealing just now." She frowned for a moment. "I think I have damaged myself over the years here, Vadriel. This place seems to make women of all races far too fertile. I had to leave for a time to recover during the pregnancy, and then at the birthing...well. I felt Jack do something."

It occurred to her he would not know who that was. "Uh, Jack Scott. He is a Lord of Faerie. He and I...and then too, there is Benjamin and Lirenel..." Her hands described a circle and she flushed a deep rose, still not comfortable with saying she was in a circle. "Anyway, I think things would have gone ill had he not done his magic, for me and the bairn, little Nyx. Even now, I don't feel quite ...right. But that is not why I wanted you."

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He was not at all surprised she knew of a secret stash. The lass was a rogue, and her son doubtless followed in her footsteps to some degree. This was a deviance he could not disapprove of - he'd not had whiskey since his departure either, his vices abandoned temporarily but never wholly forgotten - and he settled into the chair with unstudied grace, dwarfing it only a little. Elbows upon padded arm rests, his fingers steepled patiently. He was far more interested in hearing her speak, and peculiarly seemed to suffer no distraction from his usual entourage. Not once had his eyes taken on that far-seeing vagueness, nor had his head tilted as if he gave ear to things unseen. Mysteries, surely, but all things in time.

As any humble gentleman would, he murmured quiet protestation for her compliment, but happily let it fall by the wayside (his modesty was not a false one) as she spoke of her body's struggling. "Your race is long lived. I have studied volumes in which members have raised one, perhaps two children within their entire lifespans. I can quite see why it has been taxing for you. Especially petite as you are." He stared at the circle her hands formed, and seemed to consider what she might be attempting to imply with the gesture. Surely the prudish Englishman would not approve! And yet here he showed naught more than simple acceptance - Vadriel was not judgmental. "Time heals a great many things," he told her stoically, "but sometimes a little assistance can be required. Do not ignore these symptoms of inappetance. You must look after yourself," he encouraged, his hand settling unobtrusively on the back of her forearm for the span of a breath. "Nyx," he added, with a slow forming smile. "Yes, he told me this was her name. I approve," he added.

Just listening to him was a charmed and charming experience. His voice was...well, if not velvet, it surely seemed so, the words neatly placed, never rushed, imparted with precision and yet with a gentleness that made her want to just wrap him up and hold on. What a very dear soul he was.

The thief listened for the words themselves and gave a slow nod, something relaxing in the line of her shoulders when he did not, indeed, judge her situation. She was happy in it for now, at least, and her daughter had an incredibly strong and incredibly diverse circle of love being bestowed upon her. She was watched, cared for, played with, and sincerely adored. Treasured even, in that circle, and she as her mother could not even dare to hope or ask for more. She tried to explain some of this to Vadriel, her words not at all measured and calm like his, but first blurted, then nearly whispered, then intense, and then finally stated in true content. A mix-match of tones that probably gave him an idea of how the circle thing had evolved for her, and indeed, how alien it was for her in the first place. That description was imparted haltingly and sometimes roughly, at times probably in Gemspeak; hopefully he got something of its intent.

His hand on her arm had made her smile and sigh in contentment. "It is true we elven women do not normally have three bairns in an eleven year period. I will try and do as you suggest, though I seem to have formed an anathema for food of late." Her smile became brilliant. "Yes, that name suits her. She has this adorable nimbus of black hair about her head which insists on standing straight up."

The elf had indeed noted the lack of bumps and knocked over things in the room about her. There was much she had much to ask, but was halted as the Tomes girl came and handed a steaming cup and saucer to Vadriel, the rich scent of the tea both hearty and intriguing, strong and yet a good flavor for all that. It might be very much enhanced by the whiskey! A tray of milk and sugar was deposited, too, and then the girl left.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The doctor thought it best to let her speak uninterrupted, rather than risk unsettling the flow of her words once they'd begun. With as little experience as he had to boast of (and Vadriel was never prone to boasting) he found the nature of her circle as fascinating as he did scandalous - such a thing would have been highly illicit in the realm and period of his birth - yet scandalous did not necessarily mean distasteful. His mind might have been considered avant-garde by his generation, for merely being happy for her contentment, and pleased for the child who had so many to care for it.

"Perhaps you should try varying what you eat. Dine on something entirely new, and make eating an adventure rather than a tedium." Only a suggestion, and he lapsed into silence as the serving girl stopped by to hand him the tea. He was faultlessly polite of course, and even his manner of handling cup and saucer were effortlessly graceful, albeit with the slow-moving, unhurried habits one might envision a recently woken statue having. "This is where we misbehave, I think?" It sounded almost inappropriate, until he arched a dark, winged brow towards the concealed bottle of whiskey! "Perhaps when next I visit, I will be introduced to your daughter. I've none of Mesteno's revulsion towards children," he reminded, setting down the tea so that they could see about lacing it with something a little stronger.

She smiled in sheer enjoyment at watching him and listening to him. It was such a pleasure to be with him again. Her nod came with a flicker of interest at the idea of trying new things and making it an adventure to eat. It was a good idea.

Her smile became a collusive grin as he spoke of misbehaving. Oh, Vadriel! If he only knew...how much more there was to misbehaving. But then again, he might already. He seemed...looser, somehow, than he used to be. More relaxed? She was not sure. Something was a bit different.

"Vadriel." After she tipped a bit of the booze into her own mango tea. "I so enjoy you. You...you are needed here." Her gaze was sincere and full, resting on his own violet eyes with an uncertainty of how to let him know how deeply he was cared for. "I am happier when I can be with you. Talk with you. Can you stay in Rhydin for some time? And I would love to introduce you to Nyx. And to Jack and Ben and Lir, as well, if you were of a mind." Shyly there, that last part.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The little elf might be surprised just how <I>well</I> the ex-priest could misbehave given the right... stimulation. Alas he'd been lacking in such for years, and it had been all too easy to fall back into the patterns of abstinence and avoidance. Relaxed, yes, he was that. There was none of the dusty neglect to his appearance, the polished paleness of his skin undisguised, and perhaps most startling of all for those who knew him, no darkened lenses to hide sensitive eyes. It was broad daylight, and the notoriously light-sensitive recluse was out in it with not a glimmer of discomfort.

With his tea appropriately doctored (he smiled, a beatific expression - he'd missed the whiskey!) he sat back to consider her request, and for the first time since his arrival there was some hint of a troubled look. "There are things I ought confess to, my dear. I know you have been told I have been studying, but the situation is not so simple. Study has only been a part of why I left, and to return now with my efforts as yet unfinished would potentially see me as I was before."

His hands engulfed the tea cup, such a dainty thing in his long fingers, and he blew the steam away softly to taste the aromatic brew. "At risk of sounding melodramatic, I was at my darkest point this last year or so. I've a heart, even if not a human one, and it was quite broken."

Gem had curled up in her chair, a little cat in her comfort requirements. The elf took slow sips, savoring the mingled flavors as she listened to him speak. It had occurred to her that he was oddly without his usual troope, and his tolerance for the light wholly different, but she had not quite gotten to the point of bringing it up. Never fear, though, being Gem she would!

As he related the last bit, her heart seemed to contract and shift within her, and a fierce protectiveness flooded her. Gem had learned, of course, when Dair came back and had overheard things between he and the Sadist what had gone on, or at least enough to know that something had happened and the nature of it. The pain he must have felt, and the very forthright and yet rather noble way he stated the condition of his heart made her suck in a breath, and it was with eyes wide with compassion and understanding that she gave him a slow nod.

"I had learned something of that. I cannot see what the dear idiot...I have never been able to see why there has not been a line of both men and women trying to beat down your door to get to you. Had you any interest in either wenches or...or even little elven thieves, I would have so been on that track years ago." She smiled at him. "Don't get me wrong, I am delighted with the relationship we have, and it provides me and I hope you with great pleasure and constancy of affection, but damn, Vadriel. You are an exquisitely hot man and you have an incredible number of marvelous traits. I cannot see how people can keep missing this. And Dair? He must have been a beggared blind man. That's all."

She paused and sipped again, distressed for Vadriel and it showed. "I hate that such a thing will keep you from us for a longer time. What is it that you study that might...help with that? Or perhaps not help, but what will you gain from what you study?" She was interested.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Such a tender hearted, yet fierce little woman Gem was. Vadriel had always been struck by the vehemence she spoke with when impassioned on a subject, and listening to her just then, he was very nearly dumbstruck.

"You are very kind to me, and to see what goodness you have been able to beneath my faults, you are observant indeed. But let us be blunt; I have never been socially adept, the dead have never let me enjoy another's love without interfering, and with all the good will in the world, it cannot be easy to be lover to a man who straddles the line between this realm and Sheol, who cannot give himself entirely."

The tea was yet too hot, so he settled for inhaling the scent of it, eyelids at half mast, and the shadow of his lash-line further darkening the bruised purple beneath them. Many changes, but a good night's sleep was likely not amongst them.

"It is trying for them to cope with my aversion, my physical disabilities with light and noise. None should tie themselves to such an anchor, not when they are young and vital, and yearn for living" Of course he would see it from their point of view. His scruples would never allow him to be selfish, or to think poorly of others when they suffered hardship because of him. "I don't blame Dair for not coming back to me, and in not seeking him out as soon as I was made to know of his return, I am equally at fault. He deserves happiness, and if he can find it elsewhere I would not deny him such." But it was plain the hurt lingered. The timbre of his voice had changed minutely, a little raw. Perhaps he loved him still, yet certainly he would not make that confession now.

"These things which make me so difficult to be with, I am trying to remedy them. I have...made progress in part. I was introduced to a man named Aurelian, stricken with the same curse, and he has been showing me what he can. We stay busy moving from town to town on the city's outskirts, finding places afflicted by famine battle or simple hardship. It forces me to be amongst the living, and at once assaulted by the newly dead in vast numbers. I cannot ignore one in favour of the other, not completely, but being amongst those I can save with healing, had shown me that I can focus on the living for hours at a time. They take precedence as their need is greatest. The dead can, and will always wait, so long as I have the strength to enforce it."


The man had not a clue how selfless and lovable he was. She let him speak of his reasons and his feelings, her heart again quickening with pain for the raw edge to his voice. This was not the norm for the usually reticent Vadriel. Gem felt honored to receive such confidences, and it made her love him more that he was so able to see another's side and put others first. It was his way.

The elf had no real memory of why he had been ex-communicated, but whoever had done so had been yet another fool in a long line of them in the Heretic's life, at least to her way of thinking. The elf listened and finally, shook her head in empathetic response. "Oh, Vay. We all have faults, some of them far, far worse than those you catalogue as insurmountable by those that might otherwise love you. Were I to list my own folk would run screaming and stay gone. Love is a gift, it isn't a thing that one takes up if it is convenient or easy. It is given, and not taken. I shall hope you find someone who gives to you as equally as you would give to them. Living with spirits about may be aggravating and difficult; I can only guess, but the balance of it is that you are the prize if one does so, and that, in my humble opinion, is a rare prize indeed."

She figured he'd heard enough praise for one day, though, so she let that go, despite having more she could have added. Instead, she considered the other information he had imparted, and gave a slow nod. "Aurelian. A good name. Is he a human? Is he a priest? Is he good to you?" The fierce elfess rearing her head again, there. "And I have noted that you seem less affected by the light. Also none of your spirits have come in to knock things over. I almost miss them." She looked around to see if they hovered at a distance or something. "Either way, I do hope you are able to learn and do what you need to enable you to gain more peace in your life's work." Amethyst eyes studied him with deep affection. "Though you need to be away, perhaps you could sometimes drop by and let me have the pleasure of your company, hmm?"

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was entirely likely he wouldn't have spoken a word of it to anyone but her, and the predictable red-haired wretch. Truly he was as private as ever, but he'd no doubt in her capacity to guard his secrets. "Perhaps he was misled, mistook gratitude for something more-- No. That is unfair of me. I do not feel he doubted himself whenever feelings came into question, there was a sincerity there that could not be feigned." There was self-reproach in him for his doubt, but he shook loose of it for now. There was time for melancholy later, and he did not wish to be maudlin in front of Gem. Something of the stiff upper lip was necessary at all times.

"Aurelian was a priest, yes. And he is quite human. His sin as not the same as mine, but his punishment was, and he's years far beyond my own. There is a whole sect of us, those ex-communicated by the church in the mundane realms we hail from, who have been accepted again by the Bishop Albrecht in the Basilica here in Rhy'Din city. Whilst he cannot overturn the official decisions given by the Vatican, he is the prime representative here at the centre of the Nexus, and there is a measure of...leniency granted to him given the obscurities of this place. But I digress. Amongst them there are those talented in preternatural ways, and one was able to offer an enchantment against the light. It is a form of shadow magic, but invisible to all others. As for my entourage, they are out there, waiting. They have simply come to understand I've a certain need for living companionship, now that I've greater skill in handling them." Improvement indeed. Not a complete fix, but time would see things better yet, he hoped. "I will come and see you, of course. Whenever I've the time to spare," he promised.

The elf sipped her tea as he spoke, a slow nod given to the thoughts on the Scot and his depth and sincerity of feeling. A smile graced her lips as he spoke of the priest at the Basilica. She had not known this and it delighted her. For Vadriel to have some measure of acceptance in the community, and indeed, others in like circumstances to be with encouraged her greatly for both his present and his future. "Ah, I see. I am so glad that you have been able to mix and blend with others of your particular skillset and mindset, Vadriel. It is more important than many people know."

Another sip, thoughtful elf thinking before speaking now. "I know Dair, at least a little. I have strongly affectionate feelings for him. He is a good man, I believe, though I think he is also conflicted about many things, and I think he lets that bother him more than he perhaps should. I think he has more than once cut off something good that he has had or been offered"...and yes, she thought of Jack there. "But I think in all that he is a man who loves if he says he loves. I imagine he is sorry he has lost you, at least on some level." She offered her observations as a hopeful panacea, to ease the man's own doubts and self-reproach.


"I have not spoken to him, nor seen him in years," he admitted, the words chasing a swallow of liquor-laced tea, "but the way you speak of him, I think he must he very much the same man I once knew. I am glad he has had you to rely upon, Gem. I hope that he is happier now, whomever he has, than he was before." There had been a woman, that much he'd known, but he'd refused to learn her name when the dead had come whispering, and put an end to the vigilance of the sentinels who'd told him of the man's return. It would have been wrong, even to passively be involved in the Scotsman's life, and he didn't want to suffer his own jealousy had he seen some new lover and begun to compare himself, be it woman or man. "These are things of the past though. I will not repeat my old mistakes, and I hope to be stronger, perhaps even to be useful when I return to the city full time. Tell me, would you desire a watcher for your Nyx? A companion spirit who could come to me should anyone attempt her harm when you and yours are at rest?" Jack, Ben, Lir... these were names he would have to remember.

Gem nodded slowly at Vadriel's answers. He said what she expected him to say, regarding Dair, though she did not feel she had been of any particular support to the man, sadly. She had not been here enough, and clearly things had gone south while she had been away, in that regard. It was best that Vay cut himself off; it is what Gem would have done. She smiled at his strength, for she could see it very clearly. He may not recognize it, but she felt he was an even stronger person than he had been when she had met him. The offer caused her to pause, though. "Ah. Well, I would have to broach that with Jack. He being a Lord of Faerie and himself in particular, he has certain"....she paused to consider her words. "Certain abilities that might make that a moot point, though I thank you most heartily for the offer."

The elf looked down for a moment at her hands which held her mug. "You could, though, do that for Jewel and for Rei. He is about much and works in dangerous ways. Jewel has been...taken by her father for the nonce, and I have limited access to her, considering the way time flies in each day." She looked up and smiled at him, sadness etched deeply in her pretty eyes. "I would consider it a boon if you were to do so, Vadriel. Thank you. "

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Of course," simple and unoffended; he ought to have known better where fae were involved. His interractions with them had been limited, but there were countless volumes in the neglected library he'd once haunted day and night, and fae were as frequent a mention as elves, kindred and elementals. "I intend no insult to Nyx's father. I'm sure the both of you have taken every precaution. But for Rei and for Jewel I would gladly assign watchers."

Vadriel was no empath, but he was keenly aware of the pain he saw, and his compassion was a boundless thing. "It seems yesterday I saw you wed," he murmured, sitting forward to set the cup back in its saucer, and reaching into the pocket of his suit jacket to retrieve the silver cigar case tucked away there. It wasn't long before he'd trimmed away the end of the cap, though manners saw him falter before lighting. "Have you an aversion to smoke? I seem to recall having seen you with a cigarillo to hand." Alternately he might offer her one if she seemed inclined, but as a doctor he never encouraged. "It is wrong of Ezekiel to keep your daughter from you. This... I would suggest you remedy at your earliest convenience. If he's a care for his own child, he will have the sense to realize the damage he causes her by denying you your maternal rights."

In answer to his query about the smoke, she pulled out her own case and plucked out a hand rolled cig to slip between her lips. The elf appreciated his compassion and his understanding. The memories he vocalized had her heart clenching again, though this time for her own pain. "It was two years ago last summer that we wed. Almost three years now."

She reached for a lighter in her pockets as she recalled that lovely day. Her face twisted a little and the sad look became anger that segued almost immediately into acceptance, even if it was of the temporary sort. "He does not deny all contact. Merely I must be there in his house with he and his new wife in order to see and cuddle my bairn. She is two now, and so adorable. So much of him is in her." Sadness again, and a wistfulness that would not ease, not ever. "He wanted to hurt me, and he found the way to do it. He is, at least, efficient in that." Dry, and oh so wry the words. "Time will come when things will change." There was a darkness in her that seldom saw the light of day, and it seemed to almost slither under the tones of her voice. Very quietly, very patiently.


He'd been about to offer her the flame from his own lighter, a match to the silver case he'd pulled the fat cigar from, but seeing her tend to it herself he sat back, and contemplated the sinister undertone. He'd no children, nothing to compare to her situation, but he understood it very well. He'd witnessed that same fervency in the women who protected their children in the warzones he'd visited with Aurelian. It was a primal thing, and woe be it to the man who thought to thwart a devoted mother.

"I don't doubt that they shall," he assured her. He needed no convincing, nothing more than that deliberately succinct sentence. "Tell me of your son," he encouraged. "Does his father attempt a reconciliation?" Does he ever speak of Cassiel? He'd not the same yearning for his first lover, not nearly the same intensity as he still suffered when his thoughts lingered too long on Dair, but he still wished him well. Somehow he could not imagine Kakabel offering any information freely though.
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vadriel had a marvelous ability to grasp a thing even when he had not personally suffered through it or been in such a situation. It was part of his incredible charm and ability to empathize. The thief smiled at him as a lazy curl of smoke rose up from the tip of her cigarette. A nod was all she vouchsafed to his certainty of the situation resolving.

The move to Rei as a subject was a much easier one, and she smiled in delighted motherly love. "He is a fine, fine son. He has grown much, and changed a lot." She was quiet for a moment. "He was sadly lured away by that little snip of a Drow, Mica, and something bad happened there. He was gone for a long time, but he did come back. I think Mica is dead. I don't know for sure. But he has been learning to grow and love here. He was...involved with Salvador, Mesteno's brother." She knew he would know who that was, oh yes. "It did not end well, alas." Sadness for her son's pain slipped over her face like a dark cloud, but passed on again. "He has been recovering since the split. He does well, I think, considering. As painful as young love is. As any love is."

The elf inhaled and then let out a plume of smoke and watched it curl to the ceiling. Above which were the stars. Which brought them to Kabe. "I think Kabe tried. I think he thought it would be a simple matter of saying "Oh, hey, it wasn't my fault, any of it, so yeah, let's be cool, okay?" Only naturally Rei didn't see it that way. He held my grievances and my side of the story up and that seems to have ended the reconciliation attempts. I've told Rei to leave me out of it. Completely. Kabe has no love for me, none at all. No sense in adding me to the mix."

She looked away, those bald facts still capable of slicing a long hidden part of her heart. "I think Rei is planning to try again. I fully support him in his hopes. A boy should have a father." She paused again and then went on. "When I first saw him here last year, after so very long..." Her hand fluttered in distressed swoops. "I thought..ohhh..he is back..my heart wanted to explode...and then...he mocked me. He laughed. So. I slapped him hard enough to rock his world, I think. And that was the end of what he wanted to say to me." Did some regret taint her voice there? Yes. But she wasn't going to say that. And of course, no mention of Cassiel was made. Probably it would be too painful for Kabe. Or, as Vay considered, it was not like Kabe to offer things freely, indeed.

"I've heard naught but praise about Rei from our mutual friend. Evidently he's quite the student." And naturally, the scholar approved. Curlicues drifted silver-grey from the cigar, and slipped from the corners of the doctor's pale mouth, rolling lazily over his tongue. "He's young yet, and though age does not discriminate over heartbreak, I suspect there's a resilience that comes with youth, the capacity to bounce back bravely."

The doctor had been creeping out of his mid-twenties when he'd met Gem a dozen years before, but he appeared as peculiarly ageless as he sat there conversing with her as he had back then. The nacre of his skin had not faded with excursions in the light, the polished marble quality immutable - he might have been twenty-eight, or he might have been in his mid-thirties. Either way, he'd had none of this resilience he attributed to youth. He'd been knocked hard by both failed loves, and it was questionable as to whether he'd the courage to try again.

"He'll be better equipped to choose in the future, all the wiser for his errors. Someone new will come along, for him. As for his father..." Vadriel drew more of the smoke into his mouth, and offered a languid shake of his head. "I do not generally condone violence, but I confess I might have stood in approval over your actions. My memories of Kakabel are not fond ones, and Rei's caution in accepting him now is a sign of wisdom. Have Kakabel prove his intentions with more than half-hearted attempts and hollow words. He should earn your son's approval, not simply expect it. And remember, a girl needs her mother as much as a boy needs his father." He'd not forgotten mention of Jewel and Ezekiel's foolish conditions.
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gem smiled at the comments about Kabe, a nod coming in agreement for them, though she doubted Kabe would see it that way. "I am not going to get in the middle of it. I told him to stop talking about me and to stop defending me. If Rei wants something with his...rather patrician father...I think he will have to learn to just deal with Kabe's...opinions. He isn't one to change them, be they right or wrong. "

A flicker of pain again swept her mobile face as Vadriel mentioned Ezekiel. "Indeed, she does. And so it is that things will change. I do not rush that fence, though. I plan. Carefully." Again, there was that sinister undertone to her voice that went oddly with the Gem most people saw and thought they knew.

"And yes, my boy is strong. He will recover from his hurt with Salvador, and he will find something that works for him, whatever that may be." The cig was sucked on rather fiercely then.


"You could sing Kakabel's praises and he would still assume Rei's caution entirely as a result of your opinions, and no fault of his own. I never understood the readiness of the others to accept him back, nor the call which summoned him away again." Rare disapproval. Vadriel forgave masochistically, and yet Kakabel had never been the recipient of that same leniency. "Should you require assistance when the time comes for your plan to see fruition, call on me if I may be of service," he murmured, the anthracite ends of his hair licking over his collar as he tipped his head into the chair's back.

It mattered not how he lounged. He never appeared less than perfect of posture, the line of his brows drawn into an eloquent little knot above the bridge of his nose. New arrivals did not tempt his attention from current company, but it required adjustment. For the first time that afternoon, a glassy vagueness settled over the doctor's somber eyes, and his expression smoothed out into mask-like serenity. A heartbeat, two, and focus returned, though he looked mildly disappointed at the unintended lapse.

The elfess gave a nod to the Heretic, the words regarding Kabe very similar to her own thoughts on the matter. Sadness welled up in her soul, but it was a long time back and too much water under the bridge. She was not alone, and he would not have cared if she had been so, she was sure. The elf could not have trusted it again even if he had, not after that first time.

"Well, you know. From General of the Armies of God to Fallen, and then back up to not so Fallen...and then offered that first job again. How could I compete with that.?" Her eyes slid over to the arrival of Helena, and her voice instinctively lowered. It wouldn't do to spill private emotions and such. "He wanted it so very much, Vadriel. How could I deny him that?" She had given him her heart, she had given, even, her wings when the time came, despite the literal agony of doing so, and despite the eternity of loss it thrust her into.

The elf lifted a hand to wave it to Cane when she saw him arrive as well. Then her attention went right back to Vadriel. She noted his lapse, if he must call it that, such as it was, and she smiled when he came back to control. "Oh, that was well done. Really, it was." He might see it as a lapse, but she saw it as a successful attempt at control.

"And yes, I shall very likely take you up on that offer regarding my...little treasure." She sipped her tea again and found it mostly gone.

"Regarding Mesteno and his Godson, Rei is very determined to learn the language, and I think...I think he wants to spend more time with Mesteno. Maybe bond a little." She smiled over at Cane and wehn she saw Benjamin her heart lifted within her.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So adorable! Benjamin was all light, lithe steps, elegant in dusty gray and denim with a few wraps of summertime green linen around his chest and shoulder. The better to tote around about eight pounds of cute, a denim baby bag off of his other shoulder.

His smile was lighter than air as he turned to bump his way into the tea shop. "Cheers," he called, heading for the counter. "Cheers!? The actor greeted those who had come into the Tomes. Then a wave to the shop girl. "Pot of blueberry and white tea. And goodies."



"There are some who obey more readily than others," he confessed, and of course harshly critical despite the readiness with which she chose to compliment his little victory. His enduring patience had limits after all. How strange that the two he'd spare none for were Kakabel and himself.

"Your sacrifices were honourable, and I cannot fault you for them. I would have followed the same course entirely. Cassiel would have had me believe his brother was not at fault, but I could not forgive him even at his urgings." Not that Kakabel would have cared in the slightest. They'd always been readily dismissive of one another, even before Gem's involvement. "Rei's choice of role-model is not what I would have expected," he admitted, somewhat wryly. "You've no concern he might develop undesirable habits?" It was possible he teased, and yet humour came so rarely to that deep, bass voice, it was difficult to identify.

With Gem offering greetings to the oddly bitten man across the room, Vadriel inclined his head behind the scrim of cigar smoke, a congenial greeting from the violet eyed doctor.


Ben humorously pointed to Nyx. Showing her off? He was. So sue him. Right! Showing off Nyx. Getting Tea. He's there.


The stranger toting the child could only result in one reasonable action. Vadriel extinguished his cigar immediately, and waved the remnant smoke towards the nearest open window.

Of course Vadriel would think of that. Gem, too, had put her cigarette out when she saw the Englishman. Her smile lit her face upon sight of him and the bairn, both. "Benjamin! Oh, bring my babe over to me noooow, please?", pathetically eager to have her child in her arms.

Her bright face turned to the Doctor across from her in his own arm chair. "Vadriel, this is Benjamin Piers. I mentioned him." Her face flushed again, an odd sort of shyness there, after their conversation about her circle. "Ben, come and meet a very dear friend of mine. This is Vadriel de Guise. He is a doctor among many things. He has saved my life more than once."

She smiled at them both, but her eyes were glued to the little speck of head that bobbed along with Ben, with its shining nimbus of fine black hair standing straight up. "Nyx...oh, Nyx!"


Ben smiled as he picked up his tea, and nodding politely to Vadriel, headed towards Gem and the man. "We decided to come looking for you," he noted, amused.


"I am so glad you did, Ben!" The elf rose up to take her bairn from the front of Benjamin, and then tucked her into her arms as she sank back down on her armchair, nuzzling and cooing to the little Nyx. Nyx squealed with a high pitched delight at being so clever as to have discovered her mother.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The quiet little tea shop had begun to fill rather rapidly, but the numbers could not contend with the sea of refugee tents he'd tended lately. Where once he'd have succumbed to pressure from the great unseen and permitted the entourage to ferry him back to solitude, he resisted. Instead, he watched with exhausted, but undeniably gentle eyes as Benjamin approached with Gem's newborn.

"Benjamin. I've heard much about you, Jack and Lirinel. A pleasure to meet you." He was on his feet of course, a great, looming tower of a man prone to dwarfing his seats. And an Englishman to boot. Not many of those about that he'd ever come across. The greeting was abruptly cut short however. He'd every intention of being introduced to Nyx, suffering none of some of the arrivals debilitating baby-allergies.

?Kiss me, Ben,? the elf asked.

He sputtered a laugh and unwrapped Nyx even as Gem took her. A smile up to Vadriel - he was not a big man by any means. "Lovely to meet you, I hope..." A flush of cheeks and laugh, he bowed, then leaned over to give -give!- a kiss to Gem. "Pardon, Vadriel, but you know, can't deny a lady's wishes." Cheeky grin despite the flushed skin.

As more folk came in, she smiled at them, Cris, Sal out there somewhere, and the stranger Oz, and then Shae, too, with warm friendliness, but did not take her attention off the group at the hearth. The elf smiled up at Ben as he complied with her request. Demand. Yes. "Ben, have a seat or sit here? " She nudged the arm of her armchair. A glance was given over to the very congested area of the door and she gave a little snerk of laughter.

If Vadriel thought anything of Gem demanding kisses, it was difficult to discern. He was too busy observing the dark little head of hair as the child exchanged hands. "Just as you described her," softly, amidst all the noise, as if he was loathe to startle her unintentionally. If adults were off-put by him, why not a child?

Ben easily curled himself to a seat beside Gem, thumping the baby bag to the floor, as if he was used to lugging one around. Then finally rescued his tea.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gem leaned against Ben's side as she cuddled her demanding bairn, and setting the child up so that she could face Vadriel, she smiled at the Doctor. "Meet Nyx, if you please."

The child, barely three weeks old, wobbled her head and one fist came up to the side of her mouth, which had her hunting for it with her lips, but her eyes, great, enormous black eyes, so dark the pupil blended with iris, fixed upon Vadriel. And stayed there. Fixedly.



With the others arranging themselves comfortably, Vadriel folded back down into the seat he'd been occupying, studying Nyx as she, in turn, studied him. Perhaps he'd expected tears - certainly he could imagine there would be some if he requested to be allowed to hold the child (he'd none of the elf's warmth or softness to spare). "She's as lovely as you described her to me. And so very different from Rei and Jewel," he remarked. Vadriel, smiling. A rarity, and utterly transforming.

The elf took in that smile of Vadriel?s and it eased something in her. She so very much wanted him to be happy and at peace. "Yes, she is, isn't she? Very different, they all three are, my bairns." She smiled at her babe, and then nodded to Sal who had come in, as well.

Then she leaned more against Ben. "Do you have a blanket I can put over a shoulder, Ben?" What? Did that mean? Oh yes. Might want to reverse stampede out the door, peoples, as Gem was quite prepared to nurse her child right there and then. But at least under a blanket!

Nyx would indeed have cried at being handed to Vadriel, at least for the moment, because that child knew what mamas were for, and now she had one in her clutches, she wasn't going to be happy with anything less than the full Sm?rg?sbord!


"Of course.? He simply shook out the wrap and draped it over Gem's jubblies and bebe head without comment.

Gem gave a smile to Shae who had entered, with a nod, and then settled the covered babe with deft fingers under said blanket. In a very short time there was quiet and peace over by the fireplace. The elf leaned back and sighed relief. "Benjamin is an actor, Vadriel. Ben, Vay is a Doctor." Trying to get the conversational ball rolling.

"I've never played a doctor," Ben noted humorously, "Maybe more likely you've treated an actor."

And Vadriel? Had seen Gem sans clothes before, and despite his prudish nature was a doctor. He was not off-put by a nursing mother, and with all so conveniently disguised as it was via well-placed towel, did not follow the example of others and vacate the area. Settling back now that the babe was too obscured to view, his gentle attention drifted back to Benjamin at Gem's subtle direction.

"On occasion. The term 'break a leg' seems to result in an unusual number of actual broken legs here in Rhy'Din," he commented, reaching for his tea again. It was only lukewarm, but that was still a good deal warmer than Vadriel. "Do you act upon the stage, or before the cameras?"

"I know, that's about how I got into acting." Wide eyes in a doleful face, though his eyes were bright and laughing, "I blame my sister, she said in boca lupis, or whatever it is. 'In the mouth of the wolf'." Pause. "Only it was a rattlesnake." Then the bright smile returned, "Cameras, I play the bad tempered and ambiguously natured shaman mage Sterling in a night time soap opera. It's a lot of fun."

The elf smiled at the two men wither her near the fire, listening as they interacted. Was it silly of her to hope they would get along? She did, so it didn't really matter if it was silly or not. Silver brows rose at the tale of the rattlesnake. Gods!

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had Gem forgotten that the doctor was socially stunted? His conversational skills were deplorable. Yet he tried, stallingly, to recall the motions of such a thing intended for nothing more than getting acquainted. He had far better luck when he could simply discuss a body's failings with a suffering patient. "You are not harassed by a crowd of obsessive fans? I can only imagine they would be worse here than elsewhere."

Oh, no worries, she hasn?t forgotten that at all. Gem is an old hand at making folk learn to talk to others.


"Here, no. The production company doesn't allow mention of where we are. But some places, it's pretty insane. I usually wear a pretty distinct costume and makeup for the character, so, most times I can blend in," he admitted, once more flushing with the wry grin. For a yardbird, he could be pretty modest, whether or not that made sense.

The elf stared at Ben. After their conversation the night before, she thought he'd have something to say there. But perhaps it was better not to, considering!!! She smiled at him, then, and leaned in to kiss his arm. Reachable in her current position.

"It's Rhy'Din," he reminded, not unkindly. "There are those amongst its residents who might find it all too simple to find you despite attempts to keep such facts private. Though if your Jack has the same safeguards for his circle as he has for little Nyx, I understand why you need not worry." He imagined a Fae Lord had some interesting tricks at his disposal.

Gem nodded at Vadriel's words, smiling fondly as she set the baby up to burp her. "I think that between us all, we have some pretty good safeguards for each other and for Nyx." Her eyes smiled up at Ben.

He kept some cards close to his chest. "We've all learned a few tricks to it here and there," he agreed with a flashing grin, "Mainly Lirenel teaches me to keep my house quiet. I've learned a lot. And still more to learn." A cheerful tone to his voice, he did love to learn after all. Probably more than that. He chuckled to Gem and leaned to kiss her nose.

Nose kissed, with the infant was dozing, she was suddenly very tired. Gem was ready to get out of public and have some alone time and maybe some juice. She was thirsty. "Vadriel, I have loved this. Thank you so much for coming when Mesteno let you know I wanted to see you. You have my cell number now? If not, let me type it in? I think I need to head home."

Lirinel was another name Gem has mentioned to him that afternoon, and Vadriel hummed soft approval over the precautions. He'd not want to see Nyx snatched away as Rei had been. "I've no phone," he confessed, and this time it was his turn to sound wry. "Word reached me via other methods. Suffice it to say, I shall know if I'm needed, and will be about as promised. Aurelian will be expecting me back," he added, rising from his seat, but reaching for Gem's hand to offer a squeeze from his own. "Be well my friend. Benjamin, guard them well." As if the actor would do anything but!

"Ben, will you please take me home?" She smiled up at the actor, and then flushed at interrupting Vadriel, and gave him her gamine grin, before letting him take her hand.

He rolled back to his feet easily, then reached down to help Gem and Nyx up. "Always," he chuckled, "It's lovely to meet you, Vadriel." He smiled, but there was steel to it. "I shall." Simply.


She smiled at the words from the doctor and then leaning in she brushed her hand down his arm, all she would press upon him in a physical farewell. "I shall look for you again, then, and that soon, if you can possibly bear it." Her voice was soft and loving as she watched the tall, lean fellow. "Stay safe yourself, and ...remember you are one hell of a man."

With that, the doctor parted ways with them, avoiding the crowd who'd been earlier wedged in the door and fast swallowed up by the Rhy'Din eve.

"Oh dear..." Ben murmured as he noted the crowd was still crowdy, and knew some had Babophobia. So, he slid an arm around Gem and walked her for the back of the building. They soon vanished into a fog, and were gone.

Gem watched Vadriel go, that wistful look on her face undeniable, but then she curled an arm into Ben's and followed him.


Lirenel saw the doctor leave as he loitered in the shadows of the rooftops. When Benjamin and Gem vanished into their fog, he stepped back as well... and was gone.
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