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A naive Black Jeweled witch has destroyed the Territory Court. From its ashes a new court is being constructed, one run by a manipulative killer. As the blood runs in the streets of Goth from open gang warfare, the Steward of Little Terreille begins a gambit to rebuild the Territory from the ground up and challenge the Star of Kaeleer.
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Author Topic: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb  (Read 187 times)

Description: Kelda (NSFW: Smut)

Offline Jonothan Harmaa

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a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« on: Nov 06, 18, 09:18:26 PM »
Something was itching in Jon's brain after he finished his meeting with the young Glacian woman who had visited him. Over and over he played it out in his mind and he was always left with a splinter that was burrowing into mind. He couldn't find a relief or a way to think his way out of it, so after a good ten hours of being bothered by it he decided to get up and get to the bottom of it.

Jon mostly let Kelda do her own thing. They'd come to an agreement, one that gave her a large berth to operate and he would not often ask her for much in return. She helped keep Draven in his right head and in return both of them gained a Gray Jeweled Warlord Prince to serve as muscle. Kelda had made clear she was going to work on the shadier end of things in Little Terreille, and Jon agreed to help support it and look the other way - as long as he got a cut of her proceeds. Since that agreement, he'd gotten wealthier and Kelda seemed to have something that kept her busy and focused - which was good, because she was a woman who could spell a lot of problems for him if she got it into her head to become a nuisance.

In reality, Kelda was someone that Jon saw as one of his strongest allies in part because of how dangerous and threatening she might be. She'd proven multiple times that she wasn't someone for him to distrust - quite the opposite in fact, but he'd made a habit of trying to keep her happy, as well. A give and take relationship, and for the last year and a half it had been an excellent one.

He knocked on her office door, sending a psychic thread to her along with the knock.

~Hey. Are you free? I want your take on something.~ It wasn't often that Jon sought out her counsel, and it didn't sound like a booty call.

Offline Kelda Voll

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #1 on: Nov 06, 18, 09:38:29 PM »
Kelda had been holding office hours more and more sparsely in the past few months. It'd been a gradual thing, but it didn't seem that anyone had noticed. It wasn't like Amerys required much of her (the little spaz was still terrified of anything with a snaketooth), and Jon only rarely approached her with requests. His demands were almost as rare as her own, in fact, an arrangement that had suited them both fine until recently. Kelda wasn't the sort who was often blown off, but neither was she the sort to make a mountain out of a molehill, typically. It wouldn't have been a big deal if Jon had lied to her about being in a meeting rather than speaking to her when she'd dropped by unannounced. People - Blood, especially - were moody creatures and Kelda didn't always feel like speaking to others herself. It was the fact that he'd never followed up with her afterwards that'd annoyed her. He hadn't merely been not in the mood to see her, he hadn't cared what she'd had to say. For a woman who rarely intruded on his time to say things in the first place, it was a distinction that left a mark.

She hadn't entirely convinced herself that Jon was beginning the process of cutting her out, but it'd nonetheless been a frequent thought since the "meeting" that'd kept him from answering her. It'd been present enough that she'd begun working out the beginnings of a game plan for a number of potential scenarios. Jon was a wily beast, and if he really meant to oust her she was going to have to be on her goddamned toes to see it coming.

Meghan had suggested that the constant fucking with the Twisted Kingdom was starting to make her paranoid, but what the fuck did Meghan O'Shea know? She hadn't known enough to keep herself from being turned into talking furniture, so Kelda figured it was fair to take that advice with a grain of salt.

Speaking of salt, Jon received no response to his psychic thread. Whether Kelda was responding to that or his physical knock on the door was hard to say, but either way her voice answered him with the universal, "Yeah?" of door-answerers everywhere. Entering the office, Jon would find her behind her desk, on her feet but bent over it and writing, as though putting the last strokes on a piece of paper before leaving. Her hair was smooth and straight, tucked back behind one ear, but brushing the desktop on the other side, where it hung long. Her clothes were tidy but not too sophisticated today, clearly indicative of no formal court appearance on the docket. A denim jacket roughed up the almost too-soft lines of a silk shift dress beneath it. Kelda's usual assortment of bangles and layered necklaces jingled and chimed quietly as she moved, but the only other noise in the office was that which Jon brought in with him.

"What do you need?" she asked, glancing up at him just briefly before finishing her pen stroke. She took the letter she'd been writing with her as she stood upright, blowing gently on the ink to dry it while she waited for Jon's query.

Offline Jonothan Harmaa

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #2 on: Nov 06, 18, 09:53:35 PM »
For a moment he was put off by how she'd answered him. Then again, it was Kelda, and she was prickly for a prickly Caste. Opening the door, he stepped inside and noticed she was already on her feet and getting ready to go. "Catching you at a bad time?" It was true she was rarely around - maybe it was the new big building or maybe she just didn't have much to do here compared to her own enterprises. He noticed she was looking like she was about to walk out, and he slowly closed it behind him, letting his hand dangle off the door as he lingered by it. Not quite blocking it, but definitely hanging by the exit.

"Hi, Kelda. Nice to see you too, Kelda." He said with joking pleasantry, a smirk forming on his face as he tried to diffuse whatever bad vibe seemed to be in the air. Maybe something had blown up. She was acting a little short with him, he wondered what...

Jon's eyes blinked quickly, as something dawned across his features - a realization several days late. "Aw, shit. I just remembered you'd came by the other day." And he'd gotten all wrapped up in another Black Widow. "Sorry." He said, genuine in his mien as he stepped forward to close the distance between the door and her desk. "I didn't mean to blow you off or leave you hanging. I've had a lot going on the last few days or so, and I forgot."

He gestured for the door. "You in a rush? I can go along and we can talk it in thread. It's Glacian stuff, and I need a second opinion." He was still Jon, after all, and genuine as he was in his apology he wasn't going to leave empty handed unless he absolutely had to.

Offline Kelda Voll

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #3 on: Nov 06, 18, 10:25:25 PM »
"A little busy, is all," she said, when he asked if it was a bad time. She left it open-ended on purpose. A charitable person might do that to make the first part of their response seem dismissive, as though 'a little busy' naturally wasn't enough to justify putting off the person approaching them. Kelda did it because she wasn't in the mood to be terribly accommodating. Besides, she knew Jon understood what it meant to be busy. If his need was significant enough he'd take up her time anyway. That was his prerogative as the Steward.

He followed that up with a tease, which won a slow turn of her eyes alone towards him, half-lidded and sarcastic somehow, even without the accompanying voice. She didn't respond aloud, but then she was still drying the letter at the moment. She saw the moment the realization hit him, and it was then that she looked down at the letter and folded it. She picked up an envelope from her desktop, tucked the letter inside and sealed it, then vanished it.

"Yeah, it's been a busy few days," she echoed, a dryness to her tone that said his apology hadn't won him as much as he might've hoped. "It's not a problem," she lied. It wasn't that it was a bad lie, really. It was just that they both knew each other too well for it to be wholly believable. But then, maybe it was just one of those days where nothing was going to make the Black Widow happy. It happened, sometimes.

"We can talk here," she told him, when he asked if he should walk with her. She didn't particularly want him in her head at the moment, if for no other reason than she was annoyed at him. In addition, despite the fact that she wasn't headed anywhere incendiary, she didn't necessarily want him to know where she was going.

"What's up?" she asked, her tone believably neutral. In spite of herself, she was genuinely curious. 'Glacia stuff' didn't come up very often these days, and neither did Jon's need for a 'second opinion'.

Offline Jonothan Harmaa

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #4 on: Nov 06, 18, 10:36:42 PM »
While Kelda's response might have been less warm and more neutral than one might have hoped, it wasn't Jon's first time dealing with Kelda Voll. He'd also had a lot of experience with annoying a number of Black Widows in his life and playing around their temperaments, so he upped his focus on this particular matter and swallowed his pride to make sure that things were smoothed over. Having shifted in the way he handled people a lot these last two years, Jon infused his bearing and words with a touch of Social Craft - because why not cheat? - and pulled out the seat across from her desk, making himself sit down as she indicated she'd rather talk here.

"Still, I feel bad. I'll have to make it up to you." Which could have meant any manner of things - it wasn't like Kelda couldn't name her price when she wanted, but the offer made it clear he would accommodate. Diplomacy had become more second-nature to him, and while he could certainly let out his demanding self when he wanted, in this instance it was better to let Kelda feel like the one on top.

"Do you remember Lorelai Ranta? Pretty well placed Priestess. She was in Salo, last I checked. Her daughter showed up at my office the other day with a letter from her." Jon said the words slowly, still working the matter out from memory as he divorced his knee-jerk emotional reaction to the matter. He placed his hand on his chin, scratching at his goatee with his thumb in thought. "Her light jeweled daughter. Pre Offering, just a Witch with a white, little skinny thing. She said that her mother took off her collar and sent her out of Glacia here to come find me."

He paused and looked up at Kelda, focused on her first impressions on what he said next. She had a good poker face, but she also tended to let her guard down just a little around him. "She says she's my daughter." Jon said slowly, then reclined more in his seat. The way he spoke and held himself made it clear he wasn't sold about that idea.

"She was here with a Landen out of Gold's Court. Schuyler Shepard. He's a musician or something, but he's always got one of Gold's people around him from her First Circle. He's important to her.

"What do you think?" He asked her as he slid his hands over his stomach, lacing his fingers together to keep them from straying somewhere else with suddenly nervous energy.


Offline Kelda Voll

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #5 on: Nov 06, 18, 11:02:31 PM »
Why not cheat? Because he was sitting in the office of a mildly paranoid, highly demanding Black Widow who wore the Sapphire and had the room webbed so thickly it was a wonder anyone could breathe in it without choking on silks. Jon extended his Craft to help his case and he'd know right away she'd noticed. Her eyes only narrowed a fraction of an inch, but he wouldn't miss it. Nor was he likely to miss the way she stopped moving completely, and held him with that narrowed stare as though deciding just how to make him sorry.

"Mm." Was all she said in response to his concession that he'd make it up to her. In truth, the fact that he sat down first went further as a gesture than the apology he may or may not have meant. Whether she'd ever admit it or not, Jon knew which strings to play with her, and it soothed her just slightly to be the one looming over him, even from the opposite side of the desk. She took a step back, folded her arms over her chest, and leaned against the wall while Jon began to explain why he'd come.

A narrowing of her eyes said she didn't remember the Priestess in question, but she listened anyway. Her expression remained that tight, guarded thing until Jon dropped the word 'daughter'. Something in the Widow's face relaxed a little, and she seemed more genuinely plugged in to what he was saying, after that. She still held her tongue and didn't chime in, though. Not until he'd finished and she allowed a beat to process what he'd said. Another narrowed gaze and she shook her head. Her eyes wandered, though, while she continued to consider it.

"Why now?" she asked, in a tone that said it was too convenient, the timing. "With your family you were never a nobody; she had no reason to not benefit from granting you paternity if it was yours. And while it seems a little obvious for Gold's pet to be chaperoning her around, it's pretty fucking coincidental that she wound up with him when she was supposedly sent here to find you. You're not exactly under the radar these days."

Kelda pulled out the seat behind her desk and sat down, distracted enough now by the mystery Jon had presented that her anger wasn't holding her upright. She summoned a cigarette while she considered the matter further, lit it, and drew a deep breath through it.

"How old is she? Do the years even line up?"

Offline Jonothan Harmaa

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #6 on: Nov 06, 18, 11:16:37 PM »
Oops, he thought to himself as he noticed right away the reaction that came from his using his Craft. Dumb mistake, Jon. He rebuked himself quietly for the fact he'd gotten a touch sloppy there and had forgotten for a moment who he was fucking with here. Slipping up. Getting too comfortable. Living well had made him soft, he supposed.

Still, she hadn't tried to melt his brain, and if anything he might have just made her a touch angrier for the moment. The foundation was still there, though, and he could make it up to her in other ways. He'd regret it, he was sure, but it wasn't something that'd break what they'd built together.

At least... that's what he told himself.

As uncomfortable as the topic was, it was a welcome diversion from the tension that had settled in the room. Her summoning of a cigarette made him crave his own, but he wasn't about to conjure one after how she'd reacted. Best to lay off the Craft.

"That's my gut, too. I don't like it. She had a letter, supposedly written by Lorelai for me to explain it all. But I was pretty pissed off and so I didn't even bother with it - it might have been laced with a Craft trap or something, and if it was from Sif or any of the other ultra-dark fucks in Vaasa, I'd never know until it was too late. Yrian had told me she was pregnant, but I'm not taking the chance."

Jon exhaled, not wanting to even entertain the next part. He shook his head slowly. "But... it's possible, yeah. I messed around with her mother when I was like, sixteen or seventeen. And I don't remember if I even cared about contraceptive brews back then.

But that's why I figure I'd run it by you. You raised your kids, you know the politics of the female side of this better than me, so I'm trying to see if it's reasonable or if this is just a big trap. And for what gain, I'm not sure. A sleeper agent, maybe? Someone for Glacia to have close to the Territory Court? Seems like there'd be better levers to pull."

Offline Kelda Voll

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #7 on: Nov 07, 18, 10:29:35 AM »
"Oh, it's undoubtedly a trap," Kelda said dryly, a brow arching as she sat back in her chair some. "But that's true regardless of whether she's actually your kid or not. Glacia knows where you are by now, and suddenly a kid emerges?" She paused long enough to exhale, shaking her head while she did so.

"Timing's too convenient." She studied Jon, her cigarette held aloft between two fingers, elbow resting on her chair arm. Her tongue worked over her incisors while she considered the matter, considered him.

"I'd send someone to Vaasa," she said, after that moment of thought. "See what Lorelei's up to now. If she's not strung up somewhere for 'sacrilege' then you know something shady's going on. A Dark Jeweled Priestess assigned to Ivalo is going to be too visible for her Light Jeweled, collared kid to disappear without people noticing and raising hell. Have her trailed for a few days, see if you can figure out where her loyalties are. If she's still Sif's pet..." She shrugged, letting the thought finish itself.

"If she is a plant sent by Sif, you can't count all the ways she could fuck you up just by touching you. You wouldn't just be dealing with a Black Widow, but a fucking tri-caste with a Gray. That bitch could cook up some nasty shit if she was motivated. And, well... we all know you have her attention.

"What did you do with the kid?" she asked, after another brief pause. "If you can figure out how to bring me something of hers without touching it I can try and spin a web about it. If there are super Dark Widows involved my scrying may not turn up much, but it's worth a look." Pause. Smoke. Exhale. Her eyes narrowed curiously. "What happened to that Gray you were keeping in your pocket? She'd be better protected against traps set by Vaasa and would have a better chance of seeing what's in the kid's head without getting her brain melted." Kelda had never brought up Jon's Gray Black Widow before. Had he thought her unaware? Had he forgotten who'd overseen the security webs for the old seat, where so much of that "business" had been conducted?

Offline Jonothan Harmaa

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #8 on: Nov 07, 18, 12:11:25 PM »
Crossing one foot over the other at the ankle, Jon nodded along to Kelda's points about it being a trap. They echoed exactly his own thoughts of the matter, after all. They had both grown up in that world and maneuvered through it. Both had been good at it, too. So she had been the person who's opinion would be most valuable about this whole affair.

"Lorelei's dead." He said quietly, lifting one laced hand away from its cage to rub a finger along his lower lip in thought. "At least, that's what the kid said. Took ill from something that Healers couldn't fix. That stuff happens sometimes, but it made me think poison or something, too. Someone could have snatched her up afterward and without a Dark Jeweled matron watching over her, would be really easy to rewrite her brain. I'm no Black Widow, but seen what they can do if they're motivated." He turned a focused look to Kelda, a soft acknowledging nod accompanying to her expertise and what she'd done with Draven. "Granted.." A slow smile came behind his finger, a teasing show of teeth. "No-one's quite as good as you, but Sif would have the whole Coven to pull from if she wanted to do something big."

Lowering his hand, he returned his attention to Sieran herself and the question about what he did with her. "Sent her away for now. I can track her down now that I know about her pretty easy and.." Suddenly she was asking about Shyloh and he paused at that.

For a moment, just a moment, he was quiet and a slow smile grew on his face. "She's around, still. So, that's a good call. You keeping track of me, Kelda? I'm touched." He touched his chest, his smile blooming to a teasing grin. "I didn't know you cared."

Offline Kelda Voll

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #9 on: Nov 07, 18, 05:56:15 PM »
Lorelei's dead, Jon said, and Kelda immediately narrowed her eyes and tightened her mouth, and her head shook dismissively.

"Mm, no," she intoned, and though she paused after to hear the rest of his explanation, the news that it was some kind of mysterious illness that'd killed the woman had her shaking her head again even while Jon was still speaking. "It's shady," she said. "Find a Priestess you trust, but one you don't care about losing in case the girl's got traps in her fucking blood or something. Have her do the ritual. It's the only way I'd believe the kid with all those coincidences right there in a row like that. And between you and me, I'm not sure I'd even bank on the Priestess' work a hundred percent. Who knows what the fuck someone like Sif could've planned out as contingencies. You don't have to be a master mind healer to rewrite someone's brain. Skill in that regard's only really important if you don't want to eventually kill the person you're working on. If they're a throwaway, you could bluff your way through some pretty complex shit with enough raw Craft. You wouldn't care if their mind would be soup six months down the road."

She drew on her cigarette again, eyes narrowed while she watched the warlord before her. She watched him smile at her, watched him tease her about keeping tabs on him. She snorted softly when he claimed to be touched. "I bet you are." He was a charming son of a bitch, and just because she'd been aware of the movement of his Craft a moment ago didn't mean she'd taken the pains to shield against it. She wondered if that'd been a mistake now, because it felt more tempting than she thought it should've been to release that knot of tension in the back of her mind where he was concerned. It'd been a stupid fucking mistake, right? He'd just gotten busy with something else and her ask had just slipped his mind.

But she'd wanted his take on something, too, and he hadn't shown up for her. She'd had to handle it on her own. Funny how he remembered her well enough when it was him that needed something, wasn't it?

Undecided about how tightly to hold that little grudge, she glanced away and shrugged.

"I care about knowing when other spiders are around. Not everyone's as polite about respecting the space of others as I am," she said, with a dry tone that might have been laughable, considering she'd just almost-admitted to having spied on his guests.

"Kids are a pain in the ass, Jon," she said quietly, returning to the topic at hand while she studied her cigarette. "And if you really want one, you're young enough to go make one. Don't get your fucking head blown off because you wanna believe in a pretty lie. I wouldn't trust anything that came out of Glacia even if Mother Night herself showed up in person and tied on a bow for me." She inhaled, exhaled, seemed to consider whether to add her following thought.

"You gotta consider that even if she could actually be your kid, she still coulda been sent by Sif. I wouldn't put it past her."

Offline Jonothan Harmaa

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #10 on: Nov 08, 18, 06:50:08 PM »
A Priestess he trusted, yet not one he cared about losing... Jon thought that over in his head and found it to be an awfully short list. But there was one...

All of Kelda's warnings were just the same points Jon had run through his head about this whole situation. It felt off and was just like everything that went on during the Silent Civil War that made Glacia a knife-fight in the dark to live through. The fact that Sieran could very well just be a throwaway weapon was all-too-common there.

Suddenly that realization bothered him. What if she really is your daughter? A treasonous voice whispered into his mind. What if you're the reason her mother's dead, and she's now just a weapon Sif sent to kill you? What if you caused this? And that gnawed, and burrowed, and bothered him more than the idea that Sieran had lied. It bothered him more that she might have been telling the truth.

Jon's eyes had moved away from Kelda in thought, distracted by that voice, and he brushed at his mouth with the tips of his fingers. "Yeah. I know. I know all that. I did dirty work for Sif before, I know how she operates. Isyviel wasn't much better, either." He was saying, but he didn't look up just then. He was focused on that voice, that slithering serpent that spoke in his head and reminded him of the bodies he'd left buried in Glacia, and the ones he'd dug fresh in Little Terreille.

What was one more?

"Kelda." He said slowly, his eyes didn't lift up for a moment. "What if she really is telling the truth?" He lifted his eyes up to look at the Black Widow that had come from the same world as he did. They operated in the same sphere now: One that didn't care about crime or doing actions that were a little shady to get the job done. Draven, the Court, the Gangs, a litany of sins, and yet...

No-one thought of themselves as the villain of their own story.

"Does that change anything?" He asked slowly. "If she can prove it - do I just ignore that and pretend it's not there? Chalk it up to one more thing to hate Sif for and move on?" He had considered for a moment of using a personal example - one he'd know about of Kelda's past - but had rethought it. He wasn't here to try and hurt Kelda to make a point, and as tough of a bitch Kelda Voll was, he also knew there were certain buttons that he could press to get to her.

This wasn't the time for something like that - and the realization he thought of her that way told him he already knew what Kelda was gonna say:

She would say it couldn't change a damn thing.

Offline Kelda Voll

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #11 on: Nov 09, 18, 10:53:40 AM »
Kelda, Jon said, and despite how calling her by name would've normally brought her eyes to him, it didn't this time. Jon's gaze was slow to lift as well, but even when it did, Kelda's eyes were still downcast, pointed towards the slowly-burning cigarette in her hand. That alone was an answer, wasn't it? He looked to her for a response, and whatever it was, she didn't seem to want to give it to him. There was a long moment of silence there on the Widow's part while Jon considered aloud what his options might be. When he fell quiet again, Kelda continued in that pause for a few more heartbeats, then winced gently, as though her mind was still working on it and she hadn't liked her conclusions. She smoked, exhaled, and relented finally to toss the cigarette case that was suddenly in her palm over towards Jon's side of the desk.

"To be clear, I don't believe she's yours," she said, finally, turning to face the desk more fully from where she'd been relaxed to one side. She braced her weight on her elbows and focused intently on the warlord. "But let's pretend for a minute that she is. What does that mean, at the end of the day? You've never met her before now, never spent a minute of time with her - or her mother, for that matter - in the past twenty years. She'd be tied to you by biology, but nothing else. It's not like you raised the girl or like she has any reason to like or trust you. If she disappeared today your life wouldn't be diminished any more than it is already, now that the thought's in your head. The smart thing to do would be to send her packing. If she's really your kid, she'll figure out how to survive just fine."

She paused long enough to take a drag of her cigarette, eyes narrowing on Jon again while she did so. She exhaled to one side and sat back in her chair with a small huff.

"But... kids are tough. The smart thing is almost never the thing that feels right," she mused, shaking her head again while dropping her eyes thoughtfully to her hands. Her tone was resigned, the voice of someone who'd had to make those choices before in her own life. Jon was wise to not broach that topic, as it was still a brittle one despite the Widow's bluster. Didn't mean it didn't cross her mind, though.

"If you can't stand to send her packing, then put her up somewhere. You've got the money. Don't touch her. Don't go see her and let yourself get attached to the idea of her. Just get her off the street and set her up to be taken care of. Be straight with her, tell her you've got alot of powerful people who don't like you and would jump at the chance to create this kind of setup, so you have to be careful. Let her make a life here, and leave her alone. You'll get some peace of mind knowing that if you do have a kid out there she's not starving, and she'll get the help she might need. In six months or a year, if her brain's not soup, you can re-evaluate your options. There's nothing saying you gotta open hearth and home to her right this second, even if you don't kick her out."

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #12 on: Nov 09, 18, 11:42:28 AM »
Jon had felt himself change a lot since he'd left Glacia a couple years ago. Time and distance away from the politics of the Silent Civil War and his own poisonous relationship with Maarika had adjusted his perspective on a number of things. Or maybe... it was more that his relationship with Hayden had changed him in the same ways it had changed her. He'd hardened her and she'd softened him. Or maybe softened was the wrong way to look at it.

Maybe she just made him see the world how everyone else saw it, a little.

It was no longer just a cold cost-benefit analysis for every endeavor. It wasn't just doing the math of whether someone was more beneficial alive or dead. Now considerations took in extra factors. It wasn't that Jon felt that he suddenly couldn't do math, the math just now was more trigonometry than simple algebra.

This was one of those tough problems and one that because it sat in the realm of theory more than fact it was harder to do the math on it. Kelda's points were sound and logical and even accounted for some of the X-Factors that one had to fill in themselves. It was one of the reasons that he trusted her, even though she was a dangerous and powerful woman - one he'd be in trouble with if he crossed.

X-Factors.

He didn't respond away from her points. Instead he thought it all over and considered her advice. He found himself agreeing with most of it, and it wasn't like he was in a rush. He wanted to live, and if Sieran was for real then she'd be alive and safe and he could talk to her later. He realized that thought somehow sapped a lot of his sudden anxiety over the matter, and it felt strange that he'd even been anxious about it in the first place. Little Terreille really had changed him.

"There's not a lot of people I would come to about this, Kel." He said slowly, watching her. "We're not ones for feelings.." He lifted his hands up slowly in surrender and a smile came easily to him. "And I'm not going to get sappy on you. But I appreciate it. Your advice and your being here. You help keep me sharp."

He sat forward slowly, setting his hands to his knees and his smile slowly faded away like frost that had been splashed with hot breath. "You had come looking for my advice and I let you down. I'm sorry for that. Is it something you're still tinkering with? I'd like to return the favor." It would have been easy to pour more Social Craft into the words and try and make himself sound more convincing, more genuine. But suddenly that felt very hollow for the moment, so he knocked it off and let it lay as it was. Who he was in truth felt more right. Maybe not smart.

But life was more than just math.

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #13 on: Nov 10, 18, 01:35:37 PM »
It was hard to take Jon's words at face value. He knew he'd fucked up, and he'd made it clear. If he'd gone so far as to apologize outright, there was no telling what he was capable of orchestrating behind the scenes to attempt to get back into Kelda's good graces. He'd already proven by his attempt at Crafting his way back in that he didn't feel the need to do it the old fashioned way. So while his confession of trust and appreciation sounded nice, the Black Widow remained inwardly wary.

That's not to say she didn't believe him at all, or that she thought for certain she knew what was going through Jon's mind when he said those words. It was possible he meant every word and was being entirely sincere. Kelda just didn't forget with whom she was speaking. Jon was a top notch con man, and Kelda wasn't foolish enough to think she couldn't be worked like any other mark, if he decided that was the best play. He'd ignored the cigarette case she'd offered him, which either meant he was focused or didn't want to extend that trust at the moment, she figured. Unfortunately, it was hard to know which, just then. Didn't stop Kelda from burning through her own cigarette a little more, her expression thoughtful in a way that betrayed how she was considering more than just the obvious, here. When Jon asked if he could still help her out, she licked her lips, then shook her head while and dropped her eyes to watch as she pressed the spent cigarette into the ash tray on her desk.

"It's handled," she murmured. A wry note that followed turned up one corner of her mouth while her eyes returned to him. "Don't worry. I'll send you a bill."

She leaned forward on her folded arms again, and narrowed her eyes at Jon with a deliberately speculative expression.

"But tell me this... What were you doing the other day, when you wouldn't see me? I was at Shelly's desk when I asked you, and had already confirmed with her that your schedule was clear. Which is fine, in itself," she said, pausing to shrug dismissively. "You don't feel like taking a meeting, that's your prerogative. Not an issue. But it's not like you to 'forget' to follow up later. Was somethin' goin' on, or is this just the new normal?"

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #14 on: Nov 11, 18, 12:03:54 PM »
When Kelda smirked, just a touch at the suggestion she'd just bill him for his inconsideration, Jon's lips slowly peeled back into a smile. "Fair enough." She moved forward then, leaning closer to him - a desk was between them but the distance was closed just a little as she pressed onto what had happened to make it so that Kelda couldn't see him that day.

It had been a whirlwind of things that had happened since that afternoon and for a moment Jon had tried to think it all over and organize it in a way that made sense. Jon was no Prince, so he didn't quite have the mind that Breck or Roland did when it came to keeping things straight. While he kept his house in order, as of late he could get wrapped up in a certain task and forget about others until some spark of recollection made him realize there was something he had to go do or task left undone or meeting he'd had to organize. Shelly helped a great deal in making sure he was on task, but he didn't tell his secretary about all of his work.

Maybe he should and just pay her more. Something to think about.

"Hopefully not the new normal. A lot's been going on lately. That morning I had just finished helping to get rid of Eydis Winters out of Courtland. I was going through candidates to replace her before Marchesa could do it - since I wanted to undercut her power in the Territory. The new leader of the Coven was in my office and had gotten in through the guards." That still rankled him, even after he'd 'handled' it.

"She wasn't a stranger, though. Sapphire Black Widow - Kasidhe Sheane. I've known her since she was a kid. We got to talking, she whammied me, I got mad, I fucked her." Jon gave a slow shrug and a sigh as he leaned back and looked to the floor in thought, recognizing who he was talking to about this matter and the fact that Kelda was keeping tabs on him told her as much of his predilection with Black Widows.

Plus, personal experience.

He shrugged slowly as he looked askance for a moment, then back to her. "We were starting to get into it when you came by. It lasted a while, longer than I expected. I had a lot of stress I wanted to burn off, I guess. Afterward I kind of forgot because my brain had been mush for a bit. And then Maarika showed up, and then it was another day of that, and y'know.." He sighed and lifted his hands up helplessly. "It's been a busy couple weeks. A lot of work, a lot of play. Still trying to run the Territory, and then this bit happened.

So. In summary, I'm sorry I blew you off. I'll try not to let it happen again."

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #15 on: Nov 11, 18, 12:41:42 PM »
Kelda listened as Jon began to explain, her mind already flicking through whether or not she wanted to advise him to hire some more help or not. It wasn't really her business, but if he'd legitimately forgotten to catch up with her because there was so much going on, then to her it was a sign he needed a better way of handling his shit. The demands of the Territory were only going to get heavier the longer they played this game, after all. But Jon was a proud man, and he'd already bent his pride a little by coming here and asking for Kelda's help and apologizing for his oversight. The Widow considered that this might not be the moment to press the topic.

But the revelation that the new Coven leader had inserted herself into Jon's office uninvited caused Kelda to pause all the little motions she'd been making, and a brow arched.

"She's lucky you're such a nice guy," she murmured, extending her hand to telekinetically summon her offered cigarette case back into her palm. She took her time about opening it up, withdrawing another cigarette, closing it, and letting it fall to the desk before her. More than the fact that Jon was a warlord and not a Warlord Prince who might've ripped apart someone who'd invaded his space like that, Kelda was thinking about the security webs around his office. Kelda didn't have the same setup here that she'd had at the old seat. She hadn't been involved in the construction of Tarn Nataniel at all, and though she'd offered to construct some 'security webs' for Jon that would've mutilated trespassers (much like the ones she'd added to her own office), it had ultimately been decided that such measures would be a bit extreme. Had Jon been more willing to be severe, this 'Kasidhe Sheane' would've had a much worse day, Kelda thought.

She lit her cigarette and pulled from it while Jon explained that he knew the woman. That brow arched again at Jon's confession that the Black Widow had 'whammied' him, though her expression shifted at the news that he'd gotten mad and fucked the woman. Kelda gave a soft little snort of amusement and shook her head.

"One of these days, your predilection for fucking your problems away is gonna bite you in the ass," she murmured, though she seemed more amused by his story than sincerely chiding him. "Does that mean she's gonna play ball?" she asked, looking back over at him. "I'd heard that someone had climbed into that seat after Abigail disappeared, but haven't really looked into her yet."

Jon summarized the rest of why he'd failed to follow up, and Kelda watched him as he spoke. It was her turn then, to extend her Craft towards him without announcing it, trying with subtle care to determine whether he was trying to deceive her or not. Everything about him smacked of honesty at the moment, which was an odd look for Jon. It reminded her of when he'd first come to her to proposition her about joining the Territory court here. He seemed even less guarded here than he'd been then, but if what he was saying was true, it had indeed been a tumultuous couple of days for him. Was he going soft, or was it that his Queen had visited him? Kelda had never seem him quite this way, but she'd never heard him talk about his wife, either.

He apologized again, and she waved her hand, dismissing the matter.

"I'm not here to bust your balls, Jon. I just want to know where your head's at. If you say you're good..." she shrugged. Sat back in her seat, watching him. "Then you're good. Just felt like it was worth an ask. I've got alot riding on you keeping your shit together, you know," she said, though a ghost of humor in her tone made it seem more like a tease than a real moment of doubt.

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #16 on: Nov 11, 18, 12:58:54 PM »
Kelda once again drew a cigarette out and offered it, this time on her desk. He'd been distracted before and focused on his own thoughts, but now with it there he reached out slowly and took it in hand, offering a nod of thanks and then conjuring just a touch of Craft to light it. "Damn right she is." He murmured, and then remembering himself a little, his eyes narrowed just a touch and he scanned the cigarette with his Craft.

Then he placed it to his lips after finding it was clear of anything he could detect and took a drag.

Didn't even stop to think it could be a trap. He condemned himself in that moment, and it gnawed on him some. The thought that Kasidhe had gotten in and he'd not torn her head off. He wasn't a Warlord Prince, true, but it was a dangerous thing to have allowed. Einar had attacked him (and Kelda) while they were in his room at the old house. Tarn Nataniel was a great deal more secured, but if Kasidhe had been able to get in regardless of the guards...

"Probably will, yeah." He said in an exhale, and if he was answering about his penchant for Black Widows possibly backfiring or Kasidhe playing ball, well, the answer worked for both. "I told her that her position only mattered if the Court wanted her there. Made it pretty clear she has to cooperate with me to get what she wants. She was mentioning to me that some Black Widows working out of The Bricks were giving her a hard time. She wasn't outright looking for my help, but it sounded like she wanted advice."

Jon took a slow drag and shrugged. "If you're feeling generous, could be an opportunity for you to build a bridge. If you give a shit what the Coven here thinks. She's young still. Worth the investment, I think." He leaned back into his seat, his expression becoming a bit less pleasant. "After some education."

Kelda waved off his apology, and he considered her again for a moment. He remembered how low he was when he though Maarika was dead and Kelda had given him something to help steal the pain away. She wasn't a saint, but she was someone he'd found he could rely on. She'd been a consistent and proven ally to him. They sat together in an office that they had, in many ways, built together.

She was relying on him. Hayden was, too. The Territory as a whole needed him to keep his head on straight.

And somewhere, a Queen that loved him wanted him to succeed.

"Yeah. I know. I've got it together, Kelda. Sometimes you need to stub your toe to remind you to watch where you step." He took a slow drag and then sat up more fully. Resolve coursed through him and strengthened his bones.

"When you get a chance, I think I'd like you to hit my office with those Webs you offered. Better safe than sorry."

Behind the cigarette, his eyes met hers and he slowly grinned behind the smoke. "Add it to the bill."

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #17 on: Nov 11, 18, 01:31:10 PM »
"Oh yeah?" she said, in response to the thought that the new Coven leader had been looking for his input. "And what advice did the wise old Steward give her?" she asked, her mouth slanting into a half smile. Jon suggested Kelda might take the opportunity to reach out to the new girl and Kelda shrugged.

"Noted. I'll look into it," she said, not bothering to commit just yet. It wasn't that she cared if Jon knew that the Bricks Widows who'd been butting heads with the new Coven were Kelda's girls. It was more that she hadn't yet decided if that was going to be an issue yet or not. She'd do a little more research on this Kasidhe and make up her mind before she involved Jon. "Any relation to the kid?" she asked, meaning Hayden. Cause that could be problematic for Kelda, if things went a certain way.

"Yeah?" she asked, waiting for confirmation before nodding about adding the webs to his office. She had to consider it for a few seconds, actually, because the kind of work she'd have to put into an office the size of Jon's wasn't negligible and she was a busy woman these days. Even sitting here with Jon was making her late for another appointment, but getting a bead on him again was a higher priority at the moment. Had it been anyone else who'd asked her, she'd have blown them off and recommended a commercial outfit who'd do the same sort of work. It meant something that Jon had asked, however, especially after she'd let slip that she'd basically bugged the last office of his she'd secured. She was no longer in a position that made her believe she needed to keep tabs on him; he'd proven reliable over the last couple of years. But he likely didn't know that, and he'd asked anyway.

"I've been working on something," she said, pausing to take another drag of her cigarette. "A way to bring unconnected security webs together to a single point for charging. I've been wanting to work it out for my own place, but it occurs to me that if it proves to be tenable on a much larger scale, and if you could wrangle the kid into cooperating, we could use her Jewels to power the webs everywhere in the building, maybe. She still looking for ways to burn off excess energy?" 

His invitation that she add it to the bill caused her to mirror his grin. She leaned back, rocking the desk chair just a little while she studied him, that satisfied look on her face.

"Racking up quite the tab, Harmaa," she warned him, though it was little more than flirting at this point. Probably. "Hope you've got a plan for paying the piper, eventually."

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #18 on: Nov 11, 18, 01:47:52 PM »
"My advice was 'settle your own house' if she wanted me to respect her ability to lead the Coven. If she needed me to handle her business, then it would cost her. I'm too busy to be doing other people's work pro-bono. It doesn't matter how cute you are, or how long I've known you." Jon shrugged as he took a drag and exhaled smoke. "And I'm not old yet." He added on with a smile in response to her own.

She asked if Kasidhe and Hayden were related and Jon gave a shake of his head. "Naw. Only by distant relation, I think. I'm starting to collect Sheanes, it seems. First Hayden, then Davos, now Kasidhe. Though she wasn't using that last name when I met her. It's her Mom's. I wondered if she'd decided to because of Hayden, but it didn't seem to be the case." He took a quick drag. "There's going to be more of them here, soon. Hayden and Davos are heading to Scelt to try and bring them over here. Way I hear their Black Widows aren't popular. So if you're looking for someone to take under your wing anytime soon I might have a few laying around for ya." Jon grinned slowly behind his cigarette. "Probably better that you're watching them over me. I have a problem, it seems."

She proposed something that, to Jon's uneducated mind, sounded pretty big and pretty useful. He didn't have to think on it long. "Sounds pretty impressive. I think it's not an unfair ask of her, and some of the Coven, to help make the Territory Court safer. And might be better for everyone to give her something useful to focus on rather than trying to test my patience."

That smile he flashed at that point lingered at her warning. "Mm. Maybe not a plan, plan.." And whether it was the flirting or the mention of burning off energy, Jon slowly got to his feet. A master of Seduction Craft, he would send out a couple tendrils to slowly snake along Kelda's body as he floated the cigarette to her ashtray. His eyes locked with hers as he started to slowly walked toward her.

"But maybe a couple ideas on how to start." His voice came in a low rumble as he rounded the desk and made his way over to her. Unless she moved away he would place a hand on her knee, his fingertips ballooning the effects of his Craft, and he slowly began to sink down to his knees as he pulled her out from behind her desk.

"You're going to tell me if you're in a rush." The smile broadened, an eyebrow raised as he tugged her back toward him. "If not, I can take my time."

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #19 on: Nov 11, 18, 02:21:28 PM »
Kelda was listening with an expression of thoughtfulness until Jon took the bait and asserted that he wasn't old. A smirk sliced across the Widow's lips in response, though she didn't comment aloud. The humor bled away a little, replaced by sober consideration, when Jon told her about the incoming Sheanes.

"That right?" she mused softly, clearly giving some thought to the matter. "Wouldn't mind looking through them. I could use a second, these days." Another one, she meant, though there seemed little merit in bringing that up just now. The matter of the Sheanes seemed to give her something to chew on, evidenced by how that distraction seemed to last for a beat despite Jon's shift in his seat. It wasn't until he was fully standing that she shifted her gaze towards him to watch him as he began to move.

She wasn't entirely distracted, though, which was clear when she commented. "Not the Coven. Not until I've figured them out a little more. Besides, it'll take me some time to figure out how to scale the thing to something this size. Let me handle it for now, and if I need more hands I'll let you know." She smoked again, and then the eyes watching him move towards her narrowed as the other thing he'd said sank in. "Trouble in paradise?" she asked, wondering if the nearly sickeningly co-dependent yet somehow still platonic (as far as she knew) relationship between Jon and Hayden had hit some rough road.

She wasn't about to push the matter, though, because Jon gave her something else to focus on in short order. The first brush of his Craft escaped her notice, written off as the internal response to seeing  him approach and knowing what he likely meant to do. Kelda hadn't been following her own advice, and had let herself go longer than usual without burning off energy of her own. Granted, she'd been busy and not focused on that sort of thing, but Jon sinking down to his knees in front of her chair suddenly made it incredibly clear how much she itched for that kind of release. The sight of him parting her knees would've been enough in itself to tighten her loins and warm her blood a little. Compounded by his subtle use of Craft, it succeeded in changing the rhythm of her breathing just that quickly. Her eyes lulled, holding to his, and the cigarette in her hand was forgotten for the moment.

"You'd better be careful," she told him, just barely above a whisper. "I might learn to like you on your knees, Jon." The half-smile that lifted one side of her lips promised she was teasing him. He gave her an out, an opportunity to prompt him to work fast so that she could be on her way, but she couldn't bring herself to take it. She was already going to be late, and Jon was a good fuck.

"They'll wait," she decided aloud, that little grin rising once more.

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #20 on: Nov 15, 18, 09:56:53 PM »
"I've come to hear that notion a lot these days." Jon admitted as he moved closer to the Black Widow he'd brought into the Court. His hands found their way to her calves as he settled on his knees between her own. Slowly his fingers made their way up her legs, sliding up her thighs. He took his time with it since it was clear they'd not be in a rush, now, and moved them up and down her legs in a slow motion to sensually explore her and 'prime' her, as it were. His touch spread his Craft, and even if it was cheating he'd made sure it'd feel good. "But I think most people just like me however." He grinned up at her as he leaned closer, placing a kiss to her right knee first, then began slowly trailing hot breath and soft kisses up her skin toward the bottom of her skirt.

One hand slowly peeled the edge of it upward, his teeth grazing the inside of her thigh as his face drew closer to the apex of her thighs. His right hand continued to stroke her skin, until he clearly wanted more access and his hand smoothly moved past her hip to grab her seated backside and tugged her closer.

"Hope you have the whole afternoon clear." Jon murmured up toward her, his eyes full of mischef - maybe a bit of arrogant banter - as his tongue slowly slid flat along her inner thigh. He vanished her underwear, if she hadn't done it herself, and pulled her closer to him - seeking out that which he desired most in this moment. "Maybe the evening, too."

Not intent to speak his point with words alone, Jon slowly laid the flat of his tongue along the curve of her clit. He slid it lower, covering the whole of her labia like a warm, wet blanket, and then slid upward with the curve of his tongue. Lapping her up, he took the motion slowly, savoring the taste of her, his cold eyes looking up to stare at her from across her stomach and her top.

The hand that was not firmly resting on her ass slid up her thigh, along her stomach, and up to her right breast to cover it with hands that easily contained murderous intent. He squeezed her tit through top and bra, his tongue continuing to lap up her pleasure nub and her opening like a cat might sweet milk. The other hand that had taken possession of her bottom moved too, taking hold of her left leg and pulled it up over his shoulder, holding her in place with his hand. He took it slow for now - not in a rush, he was building content to feed the fire.

It took a lot to work Kelda up proper, and while it wasn't an easy task, it was one Jon was now fully focused on achieving. When they were done he wanted her to break apart. So if it took a bit longer, well, then it was worth it.

Offline Kelda Voll

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Re: a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb
« Reply #21 on: Nov 15, 18, 10:44:23 PM »
Jon suggested that Kelda hadn't been the first to admire the look of Jon on his knees, and she grinned in response, finding that quite easy to believe. She pulled one more drag from her cigarette and then set it down in the crystal ashtray nearby her hand. But how many of those could actually make it happen at will? she thought, but didn’t ask aloud. He began to caress her legs and she watched him, amused by his arrogance and aroused by the work of his hands. For just a moment there was something calculating in that sienna gaze that held to him, something more complex than the anticipation of sex clicking away behind that gaze.

It'd be almost easy, at this point, she told herself. He trusts me enough. I could've webbed him a dozen times over by now, and he'd never know it. What would it be like, to have Jonothan Harmaa fully harnessed in puppet strings? There were a dozen uses for him she could imagine off the top of her head, only one of which was the one he was currently fulfilling. He was a clever and driven bastard, and while she worried that domestic life was slowly softening the sharp edges that were so appealing in him, she wouldn't make the mistake of thinking him useless, or anything less than dangerous.

He shifted her in her seat and teased her about clearing enough time for him, and her grin returned. A sharply-heeled shoe fell dislodged from one foot, and she ran the ball of that foot along his thigh, towards his groin. She stroked them there as long as her position would allow it, delighting in feeling him rise even as her own body rose.

"As if I could stand you for that long," she teased back, a tsk in her tone despite the smile that remained on her lips. But he chose then to push his face into the warmth between her thighs, and the banter was securely paused for the moment. Her shoulders pushed back against her chair and her lower lip was caught between her teeth. Her eyes lulled but didn't leave him, and her hands flexed against the arms of her seat. She vanished her jacket, but for the moment left the slip-like dress in place.

Something about the sight of him staring up at her made her insides knot up. There was a chill in his stare that was just Jon, she knew, but was rare in these parts. Everyone called Glacians cold, and they were, but not everyone knew just how much passion could exist behind the iciest of facades. She didn't just see murder in his eyes, like so many would. She saw that passion, and hunger, and a determination that she knew would have her doing more than just gripping her chair arms, before long. Across the room, the locks on her door clicked into place. She didn't bother to shield the room, because the webs she kept charged here kept the place soundproofed.

"This does not make us square for those webs," she murmured, before letting her head lay back. Her eyes closed without her permission, but she didn't mind. All the better to experience the way he was waking her body up, twisting her up into that delicious tension that would eventually crest and drown her. She exhaled the breath that'd stalled unintentionally, and then added, "…but it's a damned fine start."

She sank down further in her chair, angling her hips to allow him better access to her, and parting her knees wider for the same reason. One hand dragged lightly up and down his raised arm, digging gently into the flexing muscles of his forearm. The other found its way to his head, where her fingers curled into his hair. Idly, she wondered if she'd missed another dose of his Craft. Or had it just been that long since she'd indulged herself? Either way, he was working with a surprising effectiveness, one that already had her breathing a bit labored.

If she let herself go, it wouldn't be long until he escorted her right over that edge. Selfish, though, she fought to drag this out. She opened her eyes and watched him, let her body relax a little from its climbing tension, tried to make it last longer than it ought.

After all, how often did one get to watch a veritable king work towards one's own pleasure?

 

 

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