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Author Topic: Hermitage Interrupted  (Read 115 times)

Description: tag: Sloane; NSFW; Mature Rut type content.

Offline Lorcan Nivis

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Hermitage Interrupted
« on: Aug 12, 19, 01:26:41 PM »
Sloane had looked, well, incredible at the gathering of the various Dark Courts under the Dark Religion there at the Territory Palace.  He had been a little on edge, but he was acting as his Queen’s senses, and he felt that made her just a little bit safer while she was rubbing elbows with the literally rich and powerful.  He didn’t like the place, or most of the people.  Lorcan Nivis was an aristocrat, educated and wealthy, but he was a Nivis, and he had been raised to work.  He was more outdoorsman than noble, more predator than businessman, and not just because he was a Warlord Prince.  He was a lifelong hunter, tracker, and trapper.  He had skinned and eaten just about everything that could be skinned and eaten in Glacia, and a few in Rihland and Raej besides.  He did not care for wine, nor did he care for salt pork, and eels soaked in whatever sauce some chef had created.  Like his Queen, he preferred things to be more elegant, which was just a fancy word for ‘simple’.

His Queen had been on his mind since they had Bonded, but lately she seemed to have bought up more and more acreage in his thoughts.  She had smelled as good as she looked that night, and he’d be damned if he didn’t take some unearned pride in that.  He had done nothing to deserve Sloane as his Queen, she was not a prize to be won, she was HIS, but fate and Mother Night had joined them, not skill at arms nor trick nor charm.  He was proud for more than just her beauty, which she had in spades, but for her spirit, for her kindness, for her sense of justice.  Lorcan growled, startling Edgar and Runner both.  He had gone to the stables to give the two horses he knew best a brushing, and a bit of apple, and Marvy benefitted as well.  Lorcan had to get away from his Queen to take a few breaths to think.  Every time he breathed in the house, she was there.  It was becoming overwhelming.  Even the horses seemed uncomfortable, and he was masked, with animals that should be used to him now.

The horses...Lorcan put the brushes away, and walked out into the cold.

The Sapphire Warlord Prince looked up into the heavens, taking in the stars, remembering that mine--that enormous cavern of glittering light that Sloane had shown him, and he felt a tingle run down his spine.  Warmth spread in his chest, and he clenched his hands into tight fists that made his knuckles crackle from the strain.  Lorcan scowled.  He knew what was happening now.  He knew it all too well.  He circled around a corral and entered a barn that did not have animals in it.  He began to conjure what he needed, and once he was equipped, and his climbing furs and gear was in place, he walked back towards the house to face his Queen, the very same person what was unsettling him, affecting him so deeply he had almost missed it.  His desire to stay near to her was at war with his desire to keep her safe, and his more conscious need to do right by her.  He was her only bonded and--he realized that the presence of the others, the other Males were becoming an irritation.

The scents, mundane and psychic, seemed to great on him, like someone had stuff his shirt full of the dryest, scratchiest hay, and he could not get it out.  Lorcan growled low and dangerous, rolled his shoulders and walked into the house.  Lorcan found her unerringly.  He could open the Bond this close, and feel her, he could walk into that room and touch her--and then he would be lost.  Not for the first time, he wished he could Mark her, could sink his Craft into her and always know where she was, and how she was.  She was in that same room where they had shared that first meal, and when he walked in, the ladies attending her took one look at him, and left.  The guards did not vacate, but they slowly migrated to the edges of his awareness, as if he had a gravity that worked in reverse.  Lorcan managed a smile for Sloane, though it was a little strained.  ”I will be going into the mountains for a few days.  I--I won’t be available for three maybe four days.  Do not worry, I do not plan on any fights, or anything more dangerous than logging in an area of my family’s land that’s due for it.”

Offline Sloane Halston

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #1 on: Aug 12, 19, 01:33:04 PM »
“My Lady, will you be needing anything further?” The maid asked as she finished straightening the plush couch cushions and setting them to rights. The two had entered,, one with a tray of refreshments and assortment of snacks and set them near Sloane’s writing desk and the other to feed the hearth before the flames could grow lazy and thin.  Sloane shook her head, barely looking up from the pages before her, but she managed an easy smile reserved for the staff who knew her best and tended to her with such care. “No thank you Ladies, that will be all.” One of the women smirked, hiding her smile knowing their Queen had a way of using the term “lady or ladies” to flatter some of her staff. It worked.

“Actually, one thing, have the Steward see me before he leaves for the day.”  The women nodded, hands folded on their laps before them in silence. Sloane finished the letter she had been working on and skimmed over it before realizing that she wasn't alone. “You can go, have a good night.” 

The women had just begun to leave when the Warlord Prince entered without announcement. There was an uneasy feeling in the air, a sense of cautionary instinct that struck those he passed. Though the Warlord Prince paid them no mind, they felt this energy and were wise enough to see themselves away from it quickly. The guards grew tense, but none impeded his entry in any way, glancing at one another cautiously. Even Jeweled Blood could sense a predator.

It had been a Court day, which was to say Sloane had found herself traveling to and from Emmen in the span of a few hours. The Territory Court’s introduction of its new Queen preceded an uptick in negotiations throughout the region. Having been in attendance, she reaped the benefits on discussions regarding new trade routes across the Tulva River into Dhemlan ports. A wealthy merchant requested an audience and none of the days which she would find herself in Emmen were suitable. So the Steward commuted to her home in the eastern corner of the District after the meeting was concluded to expedite any paperwork and settle her schedule for the next month.  As inconvenient as the trip was, it gave her some time to check in on the rest of her Court returning home. 

Lorcan was there, a fact that she appreciated, even if he was spending as much of his time outside of the main house and on the grounds. She’d not yet changed from her trip finding the short floral silk dress as comfortable as a nightgown, her hair was loose and hung thick waves down her back. A simple silver pendant hung between her breasts.

Folding the letter, she glanced up at him as he came in and gave him her soft closed lip smile. Her eyes sprang back up curiously a moment later, taking note of furs that were too heavy for the indoors. He’d surprised her the day of the Territory Queen’s announcements by meeting her on the steps to the dining hall. She’d not expected him, but there he was, and the befuddled look on his face when he found himself with a sleeker and far more coiffed version of his Queen was its own reward.  The look on his face was charming.  This one, however, was confusing.

It wasn't strange that he was notifying her of his plans, or even that he would be away for a few days, what was bizarre was how suddenly it had come up.  Lorcan just returned from another trip into the mountains not a day prior, and it felt as though he was either attached to her side or completely ripped from it. They’d come to an understanding, she would not probe him with questions on his comings and goings and he would not volunteer them unless she asked. His words were too specific.  Turning in her chair to face his direction she crossed her pale but toned legs. “Already? Is there a reason you're leaving so soon? I was hoping we could go for a hike in the morning.”


Offline Lorcan Nivis

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #2 on: Aug 13, 19, 02:22:42 PM »
Lorcan was aware of the narrow eyed glare he fixed on the guards. It was brief, only because he had known how he would feel about their presence, but it was there. It was the unfounded glare born of animal suspicion, of other Males being too close to his Queen, to near to his Territory, and Sloane was that. Lorcan was an outdoorsman, he considered the mountains his domain, and while he was spending significantly more time in Sloane’s home and around his Queen, he did not really consider the Halston Ranch to be his, even if he would protect it like it was. Sloane was another matter. She was his Territory, she was his and right now the presence of these other Un-Bonded men was an irritation that he expected, and could control, to some extent. Lorcan’s nature pushed them away, whether it was the glare, the set of his expression, or just their sense of him, they knew that a larger and more deadly beast was taking up the space.

Sloane’s hair was golden, and framed her lovely face. Once he stood still, and spoke to her, he had trouble finding a comfortable place to settle his eyes. Her lips did not help him. He looked into her eyes, but her shining blue gaze did not help him either. He wanted to walk across the room, lift her into his arms, and leave with her. He wanted to touch her hair, her cheek, her skin, but if he did that...no, he couldn’t do that. He growled softly, low, somewhere deep in his chest, but it wasn’t anger it was desire, no—that was too mild, it was hunger, primal and deep. She moved just a touch, and something caught the light, drawing his gaze to the silver pendant settled between the curves of her breasts, and he took a single involuntary step, before he lifted his gaze to her nose. Her nose was safe? Wasn’t it? Nothing about her is safe right now. She smiled at him.

Did you hear that?

No.

Yes, you did.

I won’t look.

Yes, you will.

There was the whisper of fabric as Sloane crossed her legs, and it drew his gaze as surely as a lodestone drew iron filings. Lorcan clenched his jaw, his legs tensing, and he took another step before his eyes returned to her nose. ”I—Yes, there’s a reason--”

Just then, the Blood Opal Steward arrived. A Prince of good breeding, and even good nature. Lorcan and he had not interacted too terribly often, the Steward was often too busy running the nuts and bolts of Sloane’s District, but they had met a time or two before. So, having only a brief experience with Lorcan, he did not see an issue with stepping into the moment between Queen and Bonded Warlord Prince. He had missed the nervousness of the guards. He had missed the absence of other female retainers and members of Court, and he had taken Lorcan’s presence as nothing too unusual. Warlord Prince’s were always on edge, and the mountain man was so rough and ready, it was sometimes hard to tell. The Steward had time to open his mouth and say, ”Pardon--” But that was it, Lorcan spun around so fast at the intrusion, that the Prince barely saw the motion before an arm completely arrested his motion mid-step, and sent him crashing swiftly to the floor hard on his back. The wind rushed from his lungs, and Lorcan was above him, his teeth bared, the stark white of them contrasting his dark beard.

”Get. Out.” Lorcan growled, and watched the Steward scrambled away on his back a bit, and then quickly stumbling to his feet. He spared a glance to Sloane, but then the Sapphire Warlord Prince fully settled his attention on the Steward, and the Blood Opal Prince scrambled out of view. Lorcan’s shoulders sagged just a little, though his body was still tense, and there was still a growl in a his voice. ”Sorry.” He turned halfway back to Sloane, as though he did not trust himself to fully look at her. ”It’s my time. I should go before I hurt someone.”

Offline Sloane Halston

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #3 on: Aug 13, 19, 02:33:50 PM »
He’d just walked in, but Lorcan’s behavior was growing more and more suspicious. For one thing, his jade eyes wouldn't settle on hers, a juxtaposition to his usual intense focus. They shifted erratically over her, everywhere but nowhere at once. The smile that crossed so plainly beneath the layer of his facial bush looked strained and uneasy at the edges. He was distracted and yet somehow had a heightened awareness of the room. This she could feel through his open senses. Lorcan had come into the habit of peeling away his defenses when near his Queen and welcoming her into the world. Her scent was the strongest of all, but it was only just above that of the two Jeweled Guards in the room.  He was aware of them, while trying to ignore their presence?

They had a long discussion about the folly of keeping secrets. She didn't like it, wouldn't accept it and he had agreed readily to be honest with her in all things. The male shifted, coming closer and stopping suddenly as though there was some invisible wall that he had to push against, or some tether keeping him back. His eyes moved to her legs and then back up to her face, but not her eyes, he didn't meet those. The explanation was at the tip of his tongue and if it wasn't she would coax it from him when the Steward slipped through the doors in a brand new grey suit and a sharp blue tie. Her attention diverted hesitantly for a moment to hand him the ledger and letters she had spent the better part of the day finishing when her bonded male spun around, arm extended and rendered the Steward helpless.

The air flared with Blood Opal Craft as his shields were brought up. She heard his body and that finely tailored suit hit the ground like a sack of potatoes and the air explode from his lungs. Uneasy the guards stepped forward to intervene but stopped midway as they saw the Queen move.

“Lorcan, stop!”  On her feet she had crossed the room before she realized how many steps she had taken. A hand grasped Lorcan’s shoulder, fingers digging firmly and yet she doubted he felt any of it beneath the layer of furs and tense muscle. “Stop.”  She didn't pull on the bond, for some reason those ropes felt slick, yet frayed and for a split second, she had feared she had lost grasp of them altogether. Darkness help her if she lost sight of their bond altogether. Yet there he was faintly beating in her spirit. “Stop, calm down, Go. Go.” Waving the Steward back she looked up at her male, leaning back as she gripped his shoulders, forcing his eyes to her.

Confusion and realization dawned clearly on her features all at once. It was as if the sun had come up in the middle of the night. “Oh.” Turning her head she looked to the guards and jutted her chin upward excusing them from the room. A decision they did not argue.

Immediately a thread went out as she looked over her bonded. He was on the edge, dangling from a precipice that he could not hold onto for much longer.

“Stern, do not let anyone into my rooms or these floors. Send the guards outdoors but do not block the egresses, and have Amandai look at Prince Jonesson.”

The Master of the Guard’s thread pushed through her own with concern. “Is everything alright Lady Halston? What happened?  Are you safe? I am on my-”

“I am. Lorcan is nearing his rutt. I will let you know if I need anything. Keep everyone away.”

“Fuck. Be careful.”

“Look at me.” Her hand rose to his bearded cheek, drawing his gaze back to her. “How soon do you feel it coming? Or are you there now?” she asked, gently releasing him. As long as he was looking at her, she could distract him from the commotion happening below their feet. Clearly, he was focusing on her, the symptom clearly written on the bruise her poor Steward would be wearing across his chest. He’d let it get this far until he felt as though he needed to remove himself from the situation. “Why didn't you come to me sooner? Why logging?” Was he planning on leaving and taking care of it himself? Considering his bloody history when it came to his ruts, she wasn't sure that was the best idea. This wasn't how she expected this day to go, but her concern now was for Lorcan. “Let me clear your mind. It will give you some peace for now. Okay?” 


Offline Lorcan Nivis

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #4 on: Aug 13, 19, 02:45:26 PM »
The Butcher of Heino they still called him, well, at least in Heino and other places. The story had spread around just a bit. It didn’t make him a legend, but every now and then, someone would call it out. For some it was a nefarious moniker, an exceedingly rakish name for an exceedingly dangerous man. He did not entirely like it. He used it to his advantage when and where he could, but those men that he had killed for doing their duty, they had family and friends. Blood Law stated that he was not to blame, but Blood Law didn’t really manage his own feelings on the matter, or the feelings of the brothers, husbands, fathers, and sons that he had kill or might one day kill because of what he was. Lorcan knew that the problem was him. His Uncle had spent his life warning him about the Rut, training him to recognize and deal with it, and while he knew the important people in his life didn’t think any less of him—that did not mean that he didn’t think a little less of himself. That had been years ago, and he had no thought about those feelings, or felt them, in quite some time.

He could not let himself hurt anyone on the Ranch. He could not risk his new—his new…

Home, you thick-skulled Lout. Home.

Leaving was the best option, and he had just proven that. He was simultaneously angry at the Steward, and feeling guilty about attacking him. If the man had been slow with shields, if Sloane had not been there. His Queen called for him to stop, and while he still had that much control, her words steeled his grip just a little more. She took hold of his shoulder and gripped it as hard as furs and dense muscle allowed. She dismissed the Steward, thankfully. ”I didn’t mean to.” The words were emphatic, but they sounded weak between his ears. The guards left, and he felt her communicating via threads. She knew. Sloane had figured it out before he had to be specific. He was grateful that she had, and now a little embarrassed. The Rut typically meant one thing. She commanded his attention, and Mother Night, the hand against his cheek guaranteed it. Lorcan balled his large hands into fists, to keep them off of her. ”It’s soon enough, Sloane.” His voice a growl, ”It creeps up like a horse-thief in the night.” He tried to smile, and failed, the expression more of a self-deprecating grimace.

”Sooner?” Now he did meet her eyes, his nostrils flaring. ”What should I have said if I came to you sooner? What should I have assumed?” Lorcan shook his head, ”I will protect you, even from myself.” Though it pained him to say that, to feel that. It was too much to ask of a Queen that was still figuring out their Bond. He had to be patient, had to let her come to him, not jump her in a desperate need to procreate, to make more Dark Jeweled Blood, to satisfy the instincts of the predators that they all were. ”Work. Necessary work. I can clear a whole field of logs in about a week. By then, it will have passed, and all my energy will have been put into my axe swing. No one dies. No one is harmed.” And no one is butchered for trying to defend the Queen of the District from the over-eager predations of her Bonded Killing Machine. Lorcan nodded at her request for permission, and he felt her Touch and Queen’s Craft flow through him, taking the sharpening edge down to something a bit more measured. He released a long, slow sigh, and closed his eyes to avoid falling into her gaze.

”Oh, Sloane, you should let me leave. I can’t ask this of you. It is too much.” His eyes flew open, and he let her see the heat behind his green gaze, the intensity of his focus, of his need. ”Of course, it is you, how could it not be?” Lorcan did not move away, but she could feel the tension in is body, feel the waves of aggression rolling off of him like he were an enormous bell whose ringing she could feel vibrating through her. Somewhere outside, the nearest stable of horses began to whicker and complain. Lorcan growled again, ”Let me go. I could not live with myself if I hurt you.”

Offline Sloane Halston

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #5 on: Aug 13, 19, 03:45:56 PM »
Sloane ignored his apology, focusing on him and making sure that he looked at her directly. He was lucid enough to be sorry for his actions and to dismiss himself before disappearing into some cabin for almost a week if not more. “Horse thieves have a way of creeping up on me.” She whispered, her bright green viridian eyes searching his. He was struggling to look at her and maintain his composure, but she knew that only she could reign him in enough to ease his misgivings. Instead, he snapped, even at her question. It was her fault, she could see how the words stung of accusation.

“You could have warned me. I could have made arrangements.” There was no stopping the rut, it was like trying to keep a wave back with a finger, it would wash over you and drag you into the sea.  What they could do was prepare for it. It didn't dawn on her to do so before.

Guilt and frustration were the uniting emotion, she sensed him battling instincts that were sure to win over. He needed to release it, he needed her.  Sloane didn't know how she would feel if he had decided to sequester himself in a Red Moon house. No, she did, it would bother her, she would be pissed. But, he needed help and he struggled with asking such a heavy burden of someone, especially her. 

“Shhh...give it a second, breathe, it's okay.” The Queen’s Touch was a balm, but the Emotional Healing Craft she laced into that elixer spread through the edges of his mind, dulling the desperation and turmoil that clung to his emotions like tar. It would return soon enough and she might not be able to clear it with as much clarity. The haze always returned until it consumed the male in a rut. It had been this way with Jacen, but she had not been his focus. For Lorcan, she was everything at that moment.

His plan had a few flaws and it did not guarantee his attention would be diverted. It all depended on how strong his focus was. Sloane did not pretend to be some expert on ruts, she’d, never experienced one. But she knew him and at his core, he was a good man who carried a great deal of guilt for the things he could not control.

“You can't run away from this.”

From me.

He didn't want to hurt her, and he could. Easily.

He wouldn't survive hurting anyone else, at least not unscathed. He hadn't come to her sooner because he wanted to protect her and her house. It boiled down to the fact that he didn't trust himself.

He was right not to.

“Shhh....hey.” she whispered, touching his face again as his hand clasped suddenly against it with intensity. Sloane considered the options, weighing the few that there were. Again, this wasn't what she had expected her day to be like, but these things had a manner of creeping up. He didn't need her for a few hours, but for days. Once more she felt impotent in their bond. It had been months and still, she felt that rift between them growing no bigger but no smaller either. Any attempt to force the matter only alarmed him further. Lorcan had been so patient, even to toward the things she refused to share with him but he could clearly feel.

He needs me.

You need him.

I can help him.

It’s not safe. He can't control...

He’s mine. He needs me.


His gaze threatened to consume her with its intensity. Barbarous, greedy but needful, in a way it was a vulnerability he had no choice in accepting. This was an assault on his mind and body that begged for release, a hunger that if unsated would unravel him completely. He stepped closer and she could feel the heat radiating from his tall, muscular frame. “If it's me, then let me help you. “ Mine. a faint voice echoed its appreciation at the farthest reaches of their bond. There were some things she could do. This was one of them.  Once he was more settled, and each breath filled the drum of his chest she gave him some room.  Unsure of what to expect her thoughts cycled through preparations, a few more threads were sent, first to Amandai for healing herbs and then to the kitchens and her Master of the Guard with the urgency the matter deserved. “I want to help, alright? You won't hurt me. I trust you. Let me.” Slowly her hand fell from his face still clasped within his own. “I will need some things, I'm having the staff make the arrangements now. Is there somewhere we can go? Someplace you feel safe? If not we can go to one of my other homes on the mountain.”


Offline Lorcan Nivis

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #6 on: Aug 14, 19, 03:40:21 PM »
Lorcan half-smiled at the reception of his small joke, but it was a brief thing, there and gone as quickly as it had appeared. He tilted his head slightly, ”It’s not always clear. It’s not governed by the moon’s cycle, or the stars. It just happens. I can usually tell when it’s starting, and it is starting.” It was a small explanation, but the best he could manage. In a small sense, it’s like the sneeze you don’t know is coming. It startles you and everyone around you. You can’t warn anyone about that. It just happens. The Rut just happens. It could be the Bond pulled it on earlier than he expected, it could simply be that it was his time. ”I have arrangements. I go far away.” He could feel her Craft moving through him, bolstering his restraint, but also realizing the depth of the concern. He was a Sapphire Warlord Prince, his Rut would last days, not just hours. It was starting, which mean he would have to be gone for a week or more, just to be safe.

He could not take his eyes off of her, not anymore. He’d fallen into his own trap. He had let her touch him, and now he was lost. Sloane had let her Craft flow through him, and now there was no walking away. What was she doing? She’s taking care of you. It’s just too dangerous. He was the Butcher of Heino, he should have risked her ire and simply left. ”It is not okay, Sloane. It is never okay.” Lorcan growled at her simple truth, not at her, but at the idea, at the thing he was grappling with. ”No, it can’t be ignored.” There was something more to that, and it drew him closer to her, as he breathed her in, felt the warmth of her body, his eyes taking in the whole of her, from her golden hair to the swell of her breasts, to the toned muscle of her legs. He shook his head slightly, as though she had said something, though she had not uttered the words out loud. ”I do not want to run from you. It is just safer.”

Lorcan closed his eyes and leaned into her hand when she cupped his face, and he held it there. He opened his eyes to gaze into hers, as though he might dive into everything she was. ”It is you. It is always you.” Lately that certainly seemed to be true. She was making an incredible offer, an extremely generous and even charitable decision. It kindled the fires of—more than desire—terrifying and unrelenting hunger. A beast stirred, and for once it was not violence that it was after. ”I do not trust myself.” Lorcan had not been with anyone he knew, truly knew, during his Rut in a very long time. Every time he was worried. It was either an early visit to a Red Moon House and an extended stay or a long retreat into the mountains. ”I will let you. I want to—I want you.” There he had said it, and it felt abrupt and awkward and utterly true and necessary all at the same time. Sloane held his hand now, ”I have a cabin, up in the mountains. A permanent hunting lodge, it is largely mine. I keep it stocked with provisions. It’s cozy. I had hoped to take you sometime to show you...” He took a deep breath, the sentence unfinished.

He shook his head, ”Your places will smell of others, your people. My place will smell of me, and then you. That is best.” Lorcan squeezed her hand gently, and then pulled her back to him, his free hand lifting her chin to capture he eyes once more. ”Are you sure, Sloane. I do not want you to be afraid of me, I can’t take that either. If you’re not sure, tell me no while I have the strength to run. This is your last chance to let me go.” She should let him go. He should run away now, knowing that he had kept her safe and whole, knowing that he would not come to his senses in the company of his cherished Queen battered and bruised on the altar of the Rut. The Butcher of Heino claimed that one, rumor has it it took a team of Healers to get her walking right. Lorcan’s entire frame was struggling to relax, to take in the offered comfort of both Touch and Emotional Craft. ”Please, say so now. Right now, before all of our choices are made for us.” Lorcan was not sure that even that desperate statement was true, already the desire to abscond with her was threatening to overcome his common sense. She was right, there were things she had to prepare, but he just wanted to leave there, with her. He doubted they could even ride, he would terrorize the horses.

Lorcan’s thumb traced the line of Sloane’s lower lip, and his eye widened before he dropped his hand and waited for her to change her mind, to do the pragmatic thing. Send me away.

Offline Sloane Halston

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #7 on: Aug 15, 19, 12:28:40 PM »
With his focus on her, she had more control.  Funny that word, “control” It was a fallacy, a sweet little lie told to oneself so that a sense of safety could take root. Sloane didn't feel in control, Lorcan couldn't even claim he did. All she could do was exercise a brief hold on his leash and even that was fleeting. The relationship between a Queen and her bonded was at its root an exchange of that word. It was relinquishing their health, safety or wellbeing to the other. There would be days where he carried the load of that burden and others where she relieved him of it. Now was one of those days where the onus was on her.

He moved closer drawn as if by gravity, his lungs expanding taking in her scent. She couldn't help but do the same, musky and intensely masculine. Now that she had his attention he could let the sounds and the smells of the house fade into the background. 

The words he used, specifically gave her pause. They mirrored the voice exactly. Either he had plucked them from her thoughts with Craft, or he was thinking the exact same thing. There were times when she felt she could hear him, or maybe, she so desperately wanted to feel something, anything in their bond that she just thought she did. “Then don't run. “

Safety be damned she could see his brow crease when she touched his face. Thin lines stretched across his brow, cheeks bunching toward his eyes in an agonized grimace but when he looked at her there was a need that called to her. This is something I can do for him. Which was enough to cement her decision. “It's normal.”  She wasn't sure who she was trying to reassure, him or herself. “We’ve just bonded, I should have expected it.”  Her hand caressed his cheek under the weight of his palm.

He wanted her, needed her to be his consenting target and his relief. Her eyes searched his, growing resolute but thoughtful. I will take care of you. He agreed, not that she believed it would be an argument she would lose, but she wanted him to understand it had been her choice and not a fate he just thrust upon her.

“To show me the stars...”  she completed his sentence and smiled, nodding softly. It made sense why he would choose a place that was solely his. It was somewhere he knew no one would come creeping upon which meant he could work through the Rut as safely as possible.  Pulled into him she took in a deep breath. Sloane did not make a regular habit of touching him just because, she also didn't keep her distance. Their relationship was new and with him constantly coming and going as he liked along with her inability to connect, she had not thought to seek out physical comfort too often. When he did seek it out, she found that she could relax even if it was only for a minute or two. This didn't feel like that, the purpose was different and they had not connected sexually, at least she hadn't despite how attractive she found him. Part of her distance was an excuse to figure things out.

She would have to put a rush on that.

“I'm not afraid of you. “ She blinked from her thoughts as if challenged and squeezed his shoulder. Strong, warm, real. Hers. He wouldn't hurt her, not on purpose. There he was giving her a way out, one last, pleading sweep toward the door. She had a chance to go, only one,  but she knew that once she confirmed her decision, there would be no getting out of it. His gaze lowered to the parted petals of her mouth, his thumb, calloused but not abrasive. Then his hand fell away, releasing her and she found that she wanted it back.

“No. I won't.” Tucking a ribbon of flaxen hair behind her ear. “I'm going with you. Let me collect some things and we can leave and get settled in your cabin. I'm staying with you.”

Minutes had passed and a thread from just beyond her chamber doors alerted her that the preparations were complete. Threads were exchanged between Stern, Prince Jonesson and herself with condensed instructions as well as a warning that no guards were to come remotely close to the Nivis hunting lodge. This disturbed Stern, but that is why Protocol reigned and matters such as Lorcan’s Rut were handled with kid gloves.

  Holding a hand out she motioned for him to stay where he was. The Emotional Healing could only smooth the rough edges for now.  Opening the door she found a bundle of items and no one in sight.  Sloane didn't have to look through the large basket or the twin packs that lingered with Lady Amandai and Katerina’s perfumes. Only women had touched the bags, good. Vanishing them quickly, she gathered the heavy coat by the door. A thick burgundy wool drape with a sable collar. 

That wasn't enough for Lorcan who quickly stated his expectations and what she needed to wear and followed her into her private chambers with barely a look around. Trousers, a heavy coat, gloves and he would supply any gear that they would need. Once she was suitably dressed, he seemed to relax a bit more, and it didn't escape her notice that there was far less of her flesh to focus on. A cloud of anticipation hung heavily between them, neither was really sure what to expect. “I'm ready, we should go.”

Offline Lorcan Nivis

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #8 on: Aug 15, 19, 01:04:17 PM »
Control was an illusion when he was like this, Lorcan knew.  It was not like his anger or his need to violently make his opinions on certain matters clear.  He knew how to dance on the Killing Edge, and he knew that it was there waiting, and that he had to let it loose from time to time.  It was like a full bladder, you could ignore for a very long time, but if you wait too long, you’ll just be pissing yourself.  Better to let it go when the urge came, when it was necessary and called for.  Better to make clear to the other predators who you were, and what you were, rather than keep that too contained.  The Rut was different, it was an uncontrollable fire, it was a mindless, undirected need, with one focus and one purpose.  Even in the grip of his Coldest Rage, Lorcan was never mindless; brutal, violent, direct—final, but never mindless.
 
The Rut turned him into something else, and he was not sure that he liked who he became at all.  He did not want Sloane to think less of him.  He did not want to see fear in her eyes the next time he came to see her.  That idea alone made his belly tumble as though he were rolling ass over tea kettle down the side of a mountain.  It worried him, but Sloane was eating away at his worries with her reassurances.  She was whittling away at his concerns like so much soft wood with every pass of her Queen’s Touch, every ripple of her Craft, and every feather light touch of her soft skin.  His need was slowly carving away at his concerns, and soon all that would be left would be his desire and his need.  Lorcan gave Sloane every opportunity to deny this, to let him go, to save him from her, or was it her from him?  He no longer knew anymore.  Everything had seemed so simply just moments ago.
 
”I will not run.  I do not want to.”  Lorcan let go a ragged sigh, filled with a tumble of emotions, none of which he wanted.  ”There’s nothing normal about it.  Just because we know about it, doesn’t make it normal.”  The words held a touch of bitterness, but that fled his voice quickly.  ”It’s no one’s fault, Sloane, it just is.”  She still touched his cheek, and he turned his head slightly, taking her scent from her wrist.  Just don’t be afraid of me after.  Please, Mother Night.  Take anything else, but let her still be just my Sloane.  He smiled slightly, ”My stars, like I told you about.”  The smile vanished  under the weight of everything this Rut was going to mean for them.  It would, by no stretch, make a complicated Bond any less complicated.  It would change even that, and the Bond was still so very new, and so very real for Lorcan.  Sloane claimed she was not afraid of him, and for the briefest instant, he looked so terribly, incredibly moved by that simple statement.  Caught between tears and hunger, he simply swallowed, and growled, ”Good.”
 
Lorcan nodded when she told him there was no turning back for her  that she would be with him.  Sloane was his now and something changed in his perspective.  It was a slow and subtle shift, it was his instincts, his Territoriality, it was the predator recognizing that he had what was his, and it was time to go back to his lair with her.  He waited for her to gather her things, waited for her to declare that she was ready, and then he dressed her properly for their journey, for the short hike they would have to make to his lodge.  It was easier to look at her once she was swaddled up properly.  It was all Nivis furs and leathers, the best that could be bought, and perfectly tailored to her.  Lorcan had measured her somehow, and the gear was supple and warm.  He took her hand then and led her out of the house, he pushed his presence ahead of him like a battering ram, warning people to move and stay clear.  Lorcan took her out into the light snow, and for a time all they did was walk in silence, and then he gathered her close against his chest, and looked skyward.  They were drawn up into the Winds for a time, moving so swiftly across the land that it became difficult to think in seconds or minutes or hours.  One moment they were somewhere on her vast estate, the next they were on the side of the mountain at the edge of her District.
 
Lorcan led her along a clear trail to the lodge.  It would have been difficult for horses, passable for a good mule or donkey, perhaps.  It was tricky on foot, but someone had laid in a guide rope, and there was Craft in place to keep the worst parts from being too slippery or iced over.  The lodge was empty, as he expected, and as he pushed open the front door, laying his hand in a particular place to undo the Security Web his sister had put in place years ago.  The lodge burst into cozy life, a fire blossomed in the hearth that was clearly both for cooking and for keeping warm.  The furnishings were simple and handmade, cut from timbers that still had bark on them in some cases, but so deeply cushioned by pillows and furs that they looked inviting.  It was one large open room,  with a farm table that could seat six, surrounded by cabinetry and two deep sinks.  Opposite that was a large bed, also laden with pillows, blankets and furs.  It smelled of Lorcan, with older far fainter scents, and wisps of Craft, as though a Hearth spells lingered to keep the place fairly clean.
 
He closed and secured the door behind them, and for a long moment, he just looked at her as though he could not believe they were finally there, finally alone.  Lorcan vanished his gloves, and his coat, and then stepped towards Sloane.  Slowly, almost reverently, he lowered her hood, and undid the toggles of her coat.  He ran his hands beneath the fur and leather, and gently eased it off of her shoulders, where it vanished before hitting the polished golden hardwood floor and throw rugs.  Silently, unless made to stop, he removed layer by layer of the gear he’d had made for her, until she was standing there in that same dress he’d found her in.  Lorcan met her eyes now, he had no problem doing so, and whatever hesitation he’d shown in her home was gone.  He drank her in, one of his hands unconsciously settling against his own beating heart.  ”Here we are.”  He murmured.

Offline Sloane Halston

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #9 on: Aug 15, 19, 02:35:21 PM »
don’t be afraid of me...Please

The same six words raced through her mind. Over and over, replaying like the whispers of some memory crystal in her ear. They clung to the back of her thoughts like sticky sap, refusing to dislodge themselves. Try as she might to shake them, she just couldn't. Sloane had fallen silent and searched for some proof that he had spoken them.

don’t be afraid of me...Please

How could she reassure him when he hadn't said a thing. All she could do was tell him that she was not afraid and she meant it, with every fiber of her being. The bond was not what she had hoped for, it certainly couldn't be for him. She was weak, broken even, but he was hers and he would not harm her, she didn't fear him.

But she knew that a rut was its own beast as much as Blood society liked to look the other way, its rampages could be devastating. Sloane promised Lorcan in that moment that there would be no repeat of the events of Heino. His name would not be tarnished further, she would make sure of it. Once she was made suitable for travel they left the estate. Lord Stern was wise enough to ensure the guards gave them a wide berth, barely any could be seen.

The coat, pants and furs he provided fit perfectly. Instantly recognizing their make, she did not question where he got them or why they fit so perfectly. He’d looked almost insulted at her choice for a coat. They left the estate and then he was everywhere, all around, his purposeful strides taking them away. There was a claim in the way he held her hand, and for the first time she did not feel as though she was in charge, or holding the leash, nor did she feel collared. They walked for some time before finding the path of a wind and before she could ask for the direction he swept her up in her arms, crushing her to his chest and vanished into its ether.


When they landed, shakily and without a landing pad she looked around. It took a few seconds to get a clear idea of where she was, but not how much time had elapsed. She was seeing her District from a different angle, in a place where the rocks beneath her feet recognized her as its own, but it had not received her Gift. “How much further?”  She had asked as he led her down the path until they found a lead that would take them up the steep crags leading to the lodge. All at once she was grateful for the reinforced boots. A part of her wished they had a chance to admire the sights, only that was not the reason for the day trip.

It still made her feel out of sorts to have her day, Darkness, the next several days flipped on their head this way. At some point she became a creature of habit and schedules so as nervous as she felt, she also saw it as an opportunity...to.....there was pretty much only copious amounts of sex to look forward to. She wasn't a prude, that cherry was plucked long ago, but this was different, this was utilitarian, but t was also Lorcan and she had so much to lose.

don’t be afraid of me...Please

Taking in a deep breath they completed the hike up to the quaint cabin. He’d barely said a word, his countenance shifted from desperate need to a determined focus. Having consented, he had been of many of his concerns, except for maybe that one.

Sloane lingered close to the door, her gloved hands rubbing life into her fingers. He led her in and the lodge opened it to him. Where she expected to see a ramshackle hovel decorated with rams horns and cured furs, she found a rather quaint cabin. The table was rustic, but beautifully polished. The bed stood out like a beacon and she felt a knot roll around in her stomach. This was, so his, where he slept, where he prepared his stew and rested between hunts. It smelled like him. It was pleasant.

The hood slipped from her golden hair. She turned slowly just as his hands moved to her collar, so slowly that she found herself able to count the breaths in the time it took to pinch the toggles of her coat free. He slipped it from her shoulders, his eyes surveying her skin undisguised. Next came the sweater, up over her ribs and arms, vanishing each in turn. When he moved close her breath hitched, his fingers pulling the strings of her trousers and slipping them down, past the swell of her hips and thighs. The dress she wore before was short enough to have been tucked into them.  Shaking her hair back she met his eyes, unsure how soon he expected to start and finding herself momentarily unprepared. This was a different man than the one who had reached out to her with such need, hungry still, he was patient enough to enjoy his prize. For now.


She exhaled, the sight of him holding his chest and staring at her as if she were everything shook loose a tender smile. That look alone captured her long enough to reassure her she was doing the right thing. “Here we are.”  she agreed. It was difficult to pull her eyes from him. None of this was meant to be romantic, but somehow that small gesture made its beginning unforgettable.  Her eyes strayed to the corners of his mouth, his square jaw hidden beneath the soft whiskers of his beard. Lorcan was wild, but there was no doubt he was an attractive man. His coat was vanished along with his gloves, leaving only the rough leathers he wore beneath. She’d admired them in the past, they fit his torso perfectly, adding just a bit of bulk to his already muscular frame. She’d only had the briefest of glances of him as he slept that first night at the estate. His shirtless figure slung over the bed, beautifully. The tattoo on his back called for her fingers to trace, but she let him rest.  Stepping closer, she undid the buckle of his vest with a tink of the metal. Carefully she relieved him of it, taking her time to free him from the restraint, feeling his breath hold taught within his ribs. Once it was done, she peeled back the layer, his shirt pressed to his skin just beneath. She vanished the vest only after his powerful shoulders rolled it free. He rumbled as she knew he would, and she smiled, paying his kindness with her own. Her eyes traced a line down his chest, drawn to the subtle dip of the fabric and all the small valleys it smoothed against his warm skin. If he she continued to touch him he would lose the restraint she had gifted him with. She was curious to know when he would, but they were on his time table now.


Taking in a calming breath of her own, she glanced over her shoulder, then back to him, then back to the table as she took a dainty step towards it, turning fully. “This table... it's beautiful. I haven't seen one like this.” two fingers skimmed the varnished surface appreciatively. “Your cabin is very nice. It's cozy, as you said.” She conjured the basket and bags on its bench and looked around the room and up into the pinewood rafters. “How often do you come here?”  she asked, glancing over her shoulder at him. It was warming in the cabin, but she could still feel the cold mountain air against her skin. The chill would linger for a bit while her bones drank in the warmth of the fire  Extending her arm she reached for him, beckoning him to take her hand. “Do you need me to stay close?”


Offline Lorcan Nivis

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #10 on: Aug 15, 19, 03:12:42 PM »
If there was a kindness amidst the Rut as Lorcan saw it, it was the fugue state that it induced. It was the fact that when it was over, all that remained were the consequences. He could only remember scraps, bits and pieces of what happened while he was in the grip of it. After Heino, he did not grasp the totality of his Rut-induced actions until after the fact. Men had died because they had attempted to do their jobs, to protect their Female against a predator that proved to have larger teeth than they did. Lorcan couldn’t even remember the fight, not really. His body bore the signs of a fight. Bruises, healing cuts, new scars, but none of that had mattered. For days he had claimed a Dark Jeweled aristo woman, a married woman. Blood Law held that the Warlord Prince was blameless, but there was blame, and there was guilt. Lorcan had managed to avoid that since.

Here he was with his Queen, with Sloane. She was like gravity. He was a homing pigeon, and Sloane was home. He would inevitable return to her, find her, protect her. He had been patient since that experience in the cavern, patient every day in between then and now. Sloane had accepted him, and he had accepted her, but he was much further along the path than she was. He would have to wait for her to come to him, and he would have to be there to meet her. Being by her side, being near to her was better than not being near to her. Every time he had left for aboveboard or under the table work, he had to force himself to focus, knowing that on the other side of necessary tasks, was his return to the Halston Ranch and to Sloane. There was and had been distance, but that did not seem to be the case now. Lorcan wanted to remember this, wanted to recall this time where it was just him and just her, and they could be together, Bonded Male and Queen, the mountain and the gentle snow that blanketed it.

He wanted to remember her just as she was. He hoped that he would. For once, he didn’t want to forget.

Lorcan stood back, and watched her shake out her golden hair. He could not have thought of anyone else if he tried. She smiled at him, and echoed the quiet words that had slipped almost unbidden from him. He smiled softly back, adding nothing. The moment was like a droplet of water sliding down a long icicle and hanging pendulous from the point taking forever to fall. He didn’t want to say or do anything that would cause that drop to fall and be lost in the snow and ice. Sloane looked at him, and it seemed to him that she was looking with different eyes, and then she stepped towards him and that droplet of water began to swell with new memory, new details that Lorcan was desperate to recall, to burn into his mind as permanently as the Nivis marked was burned into Sloane’s gear. His Queen removed layers of his clothing, running her hands over him just as he had her, before vanishing one article and then the next. He took a deep breath under her touch, his muscled chest swelling beneath her palms.

Sloane stepped away then, regarding him for a moment, the deep breath she took doing things to the way the fabric of her dress fell across her chest. The silver caught his eye briefly, but it was just an adornment to what his eyes took in. ”It is roughly made. I made it.” He gestured over his shoulder, ”Bear broke the last one.” He watched her move, watched her absorb the décor of the lodge, such as it was, rustic and simple. ”I’ve always liked it. I essentially lived here as often as I could, really.” Before the words were completed to her question, he had moved closer and taken her hand. ”Yes.” Was his simple answer, untarnished by confusion or uncertainty. It was always better when she was close, and it seemed to him that he would always need her to be. Lorcan squeezed her hand gently, and gestured. The cabinets opened, and revealed a stocked kitchen, likely with spelled spaces to preserve perishables. He then gestured at the hearth, and a cast iron door set into the rock beside it. ”I can even make bread. Not fancy, but fresh bread doesn’t need to be.”

He turned towards her, his hand rising to cup her cheek as he had done back at the Ranch, and once again his thumb traced her lower lip. He should have something to remember. Lorcan took a breath, and then he took a chance. He leaned down slowly, giving her time to—he didn’t know—push him away? She had already agreed to a great deal more, he didn’t know why he was still hesitant. Because she is precious, because she is your one and only Queen, regardless of all other things that might happen. Lorcan kissed her, soft but sincere, testing the waters before his arms slid around her and drew her into the hollow of his body.

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #11 on: Aug 19, 19, 10:04:03 AM »
Perhaps it was nerves that made her ramble, which was generally not in her character, or maybe it was the lodging cabin and the significance behind the location. He had immediately known where to take her and if she was being honest, it was not what she had expected. Sloane considered her tastes simple and comfortable, but she’d seen a weathered and drafty perch sitting on the edge of the mountain and not a place that felt like home. “Bear? Get a lot of visits from them?”  she gave him a skeptical smile, one that crept across the corner of her mouth and paused in question. “You did? I may ask you to make me one.” Of course he did. If anyone could survive in the untamed wilds and build himself some creature comforts it was Lorcan.  Impressed, she listened, taking slow steps around the room so she could take it in. It would have been nice to visit under different circumstances, but even so, she could appreciate the craftsmanship albeit briefly.

His hand enveloped hers, sapping the chill away almost immediately within their calloused but gentle hold. She looked around one more time, taking it all in, letting the walls speak and regale her with stories of Nivis family dinners and long stormy nights when the wind howled against the roof and the firelight shivered in the hearth. She could see him here, clearly, oiling his leathers, sitting at the table with muddied boots, looming over his meal like he sometimes did. He was painted in every corner of the room, even the one her eyes openly avoided. The bed looked comfortable, but she did not move toward it right away. When the rut wound itself around his mind, strangling all but one thought like some hungry snake they would see to it.

Well stocked with provisions, the cabinets were also organized. Her eyes darted to the small cast iron built into the fireplace when he called attention to it and said nothing her enigmatic smile didn't already say. The walls hadn't lied, this was a home away from home tucked away in such a remote place that one wouldn't even bother to look.

Feeling the tension in her hand she stopped mid-step and looked up at Lorcan thoughtfully. She told herself it was normal to be unsure, not of him, but of what was to come. She would enjoy herself as much as she could, how could she not. Chest tightening at the thought, she felt his palm brush her cheek and jaw. Inhaling softly, her mouth closed, his finger dragged beneath the swell of her bottom lip only slightly moistened. If she could feel his gaze it would be feather-light, she could mark its path by the sensations it drew up from her flesh. He leaned down, her eyes lifting to his nose, then down to his mouth her lashes swept the tops of her cheeks. It felt like an eternity when he descended, and while she knew it was for her benefit, she could not help but watch his lips part with lazy fascination. Sloane tipped her head back ever so slightly, then down until they were perfectly aligned. His breath was not sweet, but warm and fresh. Her lungs filled with the scent of him.

I'm not afraid of him. I could never be...He is mine.


The bristles of his beard brushed her face first before his lips found their courage and pressed to hers. The air felt so suddenly thin as he pulled her up into his elevation. Sloane reached higher, fingers sinking into the small hairs behind his neck, his skin was so warm, his body so solid and real. The bond felt faint still and she allowed herself for a split second to hope they would emerge from this with a new grip on it, if only for the sake of this one moment, if only she allowed herself to feel it.

Capturing his bottom lip gently, his hand pressed firmly to the center of her spine, the thin silk of her dress was in itself not a barrier. The taste of him, the scent of him...Darkness. His senses were open and she was pushed into a heightened perception of him. Lorcan encompassed her space, a comforting and at the same time terrifying presence, not because he had ever made her fear for her safety, but because he represented a new beginning. She had to start all over again, to trust and engage with a bonded who was not at all the one she knew. He didn't fit the mold that she recognized so wasn't sure how to make room. She had to relinquish control on that bond or watch it slip through her fingers. Worrying would not change the outcome.

They were together now. Her worries were hundreds of miles down the mountain, why should she let them track her into this sanctuary?  Once she had relinquished the fallacy of control she allowed herself to simply be, and relax against his body. The tension eased in her mind and she kissed him tentatively exploring his lips and the way she molded so perfectly into his broad chest. When he parted the kiss to look at her she opened her eyes and turned toward the touch of his fingertips. “A part of me says that it hopes if you remember anything, it's this.” He wouldn't, but she would not soon forget for both of them.

Offline Lorcan Nivis

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Re: Hermitage Interrupted
« Reply #12 on: Aug 19, 19, 01:54:53 PM »
Lorcan shook his head slightly, his eyes on hers. ”Not anymore. The place hadn’t been used in a bit when I came along. It was just a convenient cave for him, until I came along.” There was a wide pelt on the floor in front of the floor that he glanced at, and shrugged very mildly. He nodded, his expression warm as he regarded her, but he did not share her good humored smile. ”I can do that. It is just a table and chairs, few things more basic.” He watched Sloane admire what amounted to his personal space, if not his home. His home had shifted to her ranch in his mind, in his heart. Lorcan was pleased that she seemed to appreciate its simplicity, and the comforts that it did offer. After a climb or a long trip of checking traps and hunting, this place was paradise at the end of the road, or close enough to it.

He kept the place stocked, and he had brought his sister and others there to spell the cabinets and other things, so that he could have pragmatic comforts. Lorcan never brought packages there, but it served as a personal touchstone, a retreat where he could prepare for those journeys in absolute privacy. He had hidden storage under the floorboards, which were wide and polished. Everything there spoke of who Lorcan was, and what it was he did, but it also put on display the things that he appreciated. Survival meant being organized, pragmatic, and logical, and that showed there in the lodge, but Lorcan also adored the outdoors, the mountains, and loved the mountains for all of that environments stark beauty and often hidden places that only a few, like him and like his Queen, had ever seen. It felt personal, as though they belonged to him, and perhaps through Sloane, they did.

Mother Night, give me this.

Sloane did not tremble or flinch away, she met his eyes for a moment, and lowered her gaze to his own lips, and that was really all the sign he needed. They met in a kiss that she must have long suspected was coming. The world contracted still more, which Lorcan had not thought possible, contracted and narrowed until the world was his Queen. He kissed her and the Beast within him stirred against the Queen’s Craft that still flowed through him. How often had he thought of this? When wasn’t he thinking of this? Since he had escorted her to the Territory Court gathering of Dark Jeweled fanatics and greedy hearts, he had seen her in another light. Sloane was unmistakably beautiful, in a land full of beauty, but that night she had surprised even him. It was all he could do not to keep her constantly shielded, or to take her out of a place that was obviously so uncontrollable and dangerous, he had not understood those urges entirely then. He did now. She filled his senses, which were also enhancing her senses, and she was not shy—she kissed him back, and it pulled at something in him, let the beast nos the cage open, and take her in.

When the kiss broke, he breathed a long sigh, as if she were a balm to a terrible wound that only she could soothe. ”I hope so too.” Lorcan’s voice was soft, low, intimate. There was only the two of them, but she doubted that anyone standing at arm’s length would have heard him. The words echoed in a way, through his senses connected to hers. Lorcan didn’t move, he held her close, his hands kept from her skin by such thin fabric that the warmth of his touch burned against her flesh, or it was her that burned beneath his hands. ”Fresh water comes in from the sink. It’s drawn from a snow melt cistern my Uncle and I designed.” He turned a bit, one arms around her waist, drawing her against his side, and he gestured. The bearskin rug slid aside on its own, and a panel popped up from the floor and slid to one side. The space in front of the hearth opened to reveal a large stone tub. ”Fill it with water. Throw the red stone into the marked corner. The water will heat up immediately.” Everything slid back into place, ”The cabinet beside the couch has salts and bath items, good for muscle aches and the like.” It was a sign of both his concern, and his awareness of what was to come, and how much the idea still troubled him, even if it would not delay him.

Then he took her hand in his and led her slowly across the room. The blankets and furs shifted welcome them to the large bed, and he turned to her before he sat upon it, holding both of her hands. ”I am alright, for now, but...” He growled as his words trailed off, and he shook his head. He took one of her hands and examined it, his calloused fingers tracing each of her fingers, and then across the place on her palm where she made her sacrifices. Very slowly, very deliberately, he loosened the silk dress she wore. ”I would rather that this didn’t begin so—so desperately. Even if—even if these moments will be stolen from me.” Lorcan slowly drew the dress up, taking care not to tangle up the amulet she wore, and by the time her vision was clear of black silk, she saw that he was as nude as she now was. He slid back into the bed, his back nearly against the wall it was tucked against, and opened his arms. ”I’d like to hold you for awhile, if that’s alright, for as long as I can.”

Lorcan hoped that between his honest desire to share with his and her Craft, that he could deny the Rut for just a few hours longer, perhaps as long as a day or more.  Surrender would come, but he would struggle with it if it meant collecting these stolen moments.

 

 

anything