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Seven children are destined to save Pruul and shake the traditions of the territory to their very core. In response, factions have broken the peace of a previously unified territory and violence has erupted across the dessert. It is a battle between the past and the future, the young and the old, and blood won’t stop seeping into the sand.
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Author Topic: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort  (Read 218 times)

Description: tag: Roshan

Offline Ennead al-Bali

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Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« on: Mar 07, 19, 12:45:26 PM »
Of all the Mineborn, Ennead remained closest to Khadijah.  In her absence, because of their shared history, he remained closest to Roshan.  Like Khadijah, she bore his mark, and had since their time together in the mines.  He saw her often enough to renew it, and he had enough talent with the Craft to make more than one person.  Three of the Four that were in play were with the Mineborn.  Of all three that were engaged, he had asked to apply only one, the one on Hadjara, after the attempts on her well being.  Khadi and Roshan were marked in the mines, it was never a question.  His Hunter’s Mark had remained with both of them for the entirety of their time above ground.  Khadi’s he renewed whenever he saw her, thanks to her journeys.

He missed his huntress a great deal, especially now, when hopes were dashed on the regular.

Vashti had hoped to learn from the Bali Queen, something that Ennead had arranged, but that plan might be endangered by the formation of the izar, and the Mineborn Council’s decision to parcel out Queens like like paying a bit of water for the user of a Tabur horse.  Ennead disliked the lack of organization, and the Sabbah were only making things less and less organized by the day.  The Sandworms had clearly been agitated by outside influence, even Ennead could tell that.  How many times had he travelled in the desert with his family before the mines, doing the usual trade circuit, going from place to place, pasis to oasis.  The Sandriders rode them, but everyone knew how to draw them off, a Black Widow and Web that hummed with Craft, placed by a runner and remotely activated by Craft.  It was not a difficult thing to do.  Nor was it difficult to recognize that the worms behavior was abnormal.

There were avenues of escape, if one was careful.

He was going to see Roshan to try and convince to protect herself, to leave if he could convince her to do it.  She was fierce and capable of defending herself in all the ways that a Black Widow could, but she had been his to protect for a very long time now.  Ennead felt that he had to try to give her alternatives, try to safeguard her as Khadi would want him to.  Khadi had his water, but Roshan had been so long a part of that bargain, that the two of them were often linked in his memory.  She knew their animal signals, the ones they had perfected in the mines, and she knew Ennead.  She had known him when whipped in the mines, she had known him after a fight in the mines, and she had known him in Rut.  To keep her safe, he had seen her through her Virgin Night, and fought and killed to keep her intact.  The surface did not change his regard, nor her comfort.

Ennead came to her tents, uncertain if she would even be within, and made the small chittering sound of a mouse found in the arid foothills in the shadow of the mountains.  Roshan would know it was him, if she was there to hear it.  She would feel his aggravation, even as he had walked, others had avoided him, the scent of annoyance and Green Warlord Prince making an effective shield against unnecessary socializing.  Ennead rolled his shoulders, and tried to find some comfort in the familiar scent of the Black Widow he had come to see.

Offline Roshan al-Izar

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #1 on: Mar 09, 19, 07:11:22 PM »
Roshan couldn't say she was happy at the moment.  She couldn't say that the Sabbah hadn't pissed her off.  With what they were currently doing, they could destabilize everything - they could ruin what inroads had been made with other countries.

They could ruin everything.

She stared down at the papers on her lap, her brow furrowing and she felt as if she was going to ... kill something.  Or fuck something.  Or both.  That probably wasn't good.  So, irritated or not, she forced herself to pile it all together and set it to the side.

A few deep breaths, and maybe she could deal with the paperwork again. The people that had made it to teh compound after the Sabbah attack were adding to the numbers that needed to be protected - and there was no doubt in Roshan's mind that they were to be protected.

Just thinking about it, she felt that stirring of temper.  Just thinking about the smoke, and the soot, and the fire?  She wanted to claim strips of flesh from the True Sabbah hides involved.  She could have gladly let herself melt into those fantasies, but then there was that soft sound.  Mouse. 

Her thoughts reached out, gently caressing the outer barriers of Ennead's thoughts.
 For Ennead she would be gentle, and kind, and warm.  For others? Well for most strangers her touch was decidedly more demanding, more dominant, and just... moreEnnead... come in.

The scent of his agitation was enough to have her vanishing those papers away.  It was also enough for her to stand, to let her fingers play against teh fastenings of her robe so that they would loosen and hopefully distract him from his anger.  And his frustration.

Whatever was greatest. 

Ennead was Khadijah's, yes, but he was also Ro's.  And always would be. Are you injured?



Offline Ennead al-Bali

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #2 on: Mar 11, 19, 11:45:55 AM »
Ennead felt the familiar brush of Roshan’s thread.  It was absolutely her.  There were precisely two people whose thoughts he could instantly recognize, one was Khadi and the other was Roshan.  It was a comfort just to feel her there, psychically, against the barriers of his mind.  They had conversed like this often, in the dark, the three of them, or one or the other.  He went into her room as she had invited, and he smiled when he finally saw her.  It was rare that he did not have a smile for his two ladies, the Warlady and the Black Widow.  It was hard to see Khadi as simply a witch, she was his huntress, his warrior, his feral predator let loose in the world.  If Khadi was his hope for the Mineborn and Pruul, Roshan was why he believed in their potential.

She was dressed as though she had been busy, or perhaps even intended to leave.  He had seen Roshan in all states of dress and undress, and he recognized when she was occupied with something.  She always looked good, because she was who she was, but there was ‘staying in’ Black Widow, and ‘Public’ Black Widow, in his experienced.  She had a layer or two more on beneath the silky robe that was loosened over her shoulders, revealing the lines of her clavicles, and the tantalization of her decolletage.  Ennead tilted his head slightly at her question, and he shook his head.  ”No, no physical injury.”

Ennead moved to her, and embraced her warmly, nuzzling her softly as he had done dozens of times before.  He growled low and long, closing his eyes as he breathed in the scent and presence of her with his psychic and physical senses.  It was relaxing, at least a little.  He remained there, though he lowered his voice so as not to be too loud against her skin, so close to her ear.  ”I have spoken with Omid.”  He paused a moment, and straightened to meet her eyes.  ”It is not safe for you and Khadi here, anymore.  There are more dangers than I can protect you from.”  Ennead raised his hand to cup her cheek, and caress her soft, smooth skin, his thumb moving to slowly trace her lower lip.  ”The Council has waited for too long, and now...”  His agitation spiked, he touched his forehead to hers.  ”When did everything become so terribly complicated?”

Offline Roshan al-Izar

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #3 on: Mar 11, 19, 12:09:12 PM »
It is not safe for you and Khadi here, anymore.

Her lips pursed in a small moue and her eyes narrowed - but she did not interrupt Ennead.  The Warlord Prince needed to relax, to let loose his irritation in a way that would not see innocent people dead.  Well, 'innocent' was a relative term.  She wouldn't say that very many were innocent in reality, but that did not mean they deserved Ennead's rage to come loose upon them.

"To live is to be in danger, my Ennead."  Her lips poured those soft whispers against his neck.  He embraced her, his lips so close to her ear that she could feel his breath against her skin, and so she breathed her words against his own.  Their limbs entwined against the other, comfort and closeness all they could offer each other in this moment of time.  "The Council waited because they must.  It is not the Council's place to intervene in a Clan's disputes... not until they effect another Clan.  Else the fears would be real, and we would be accused of being the monsters that we were accused of being."

Her fingers raised, playing through his hair.  "But now the harm has been made - and now we must try to fix their mistakes.  That is why things are complicated, Ennead... because to do things right is always complicated.  I will not run."  She whispered that.

It might hurt his heart to realize she would not run.  But she would not.  "This is my home.  This place is mine, and I will not let them take it.  I am done with being told who I am, or what I am. We have grown our tree, and we will defend our place."  Her fingers played over the back of his neck, and she smiled. 

"It is time that we show our teeth, my Ennead.  But you are smarter with your fangs than many.  So how would you show your teeth?"



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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #4 on: Mar 11, 19, 01:10:37 PM »
Ennead growled, ”To be in danger from starvation, the elements, even worms in the desert when following the caravan routes, but not from the Sabbah.  Not again.”  His eyebrows lowered in annoyance, ”I trained them, as a compromise, to keep you all safe, and when I had to, I killed them.  Men and women I spent months training, I cut down.  I knew their names, their families...”  He trailed off and shook his head, ”I do not regret it, but all of that death, all of that struggle, the death of the Spider, and for what?”  Ennead met Roshan’s eyes, and looked surprised.  ”Making no decision is still a decision, and it was the wrong one.”  He closed his eyes for a moment, ”The Sabbah, the True Sabbah, or whatever they’re calling themselves were not hiding their agenda.  It was far reaching, and should have beens stopped immediately before it had time to take root—every tribe and clan has those of mixed blood.  No Queen or Voice would have stood against action.”

He relaxed a touch when she played with the hair at the back of his neck.  It was short, but the caress of her fingers was something he enjoyed.  ”If you do things right the first time, they are far less complicated.  If a horse is lame, we put it down.  When someone dies, we render them into water to serve their tribe or clan.”  Ennead nuzzled her softly, even brushed his lips against her skin, the gentility at odds with his next words.  ”When I strike, I strike to kill, I do not maim or disable, so that I can be attacked again.  I put an end to the threat.”  He hugged her close, ”The Council should have been as fierce as you and Khadijah are, and were, they should have listened to your instincts.”

Ennead caressed her cheek again, ”I would not have you be anyone than who you are.”  He took a long, deep breath.  ”I trained your warriors.  I trained Lucky.  I trained Omid.  I continued to train those that flocked to the side of the Mineborn, the very same that derided you, but turned to you because of the rains, I trained.  When the first Izar undergo their Trials, most of them will do it will be because I put the knife in their hands.  Lucky continues that now, but shortly after the Council was ratified.  He left.”  He shook his head, ”Without the Clans and Tribes, the Izar are ill-prepared, and strategy is not something to learn while gambling lives.”  Ennead was still irritated, still agitated, and now he was worried.  Roshan was necessary, she was the Izar’s Black Widow, likely to be their Seer, but the Sabbah Widows had years of experience on her.  The Mineborn chances improved with Roshan, without her, Ennead would be happier that she was safe.  He growled again, scooped the Black Widow into his arms, and found a pile of pillows to sit on, with her still close.

”My teeth would already be in flesh.  My enemy would already be dead.  Now, you must react, which always gives the enemy the upper hand.  They have already chosen the battlefield, and the fight will have to come to them.”  Ennead’s lip curled into a slight snarl, ”When the slaves came for you and Roshan in the mines, because they decided you were ripe enough to be taken.  I did not discuss their options.  I killed them before they had the chance to become a problem.”  He held her close, once again, his violent words at odds with the way he nuzzled her, and the way his hands smoothed over the silk of her robe.  ”You will need every Queen, every Voice, every Tribe and Clan, and the True Sabbah should become the next Geiba.  Yes, before you ask, even the children.  Hundreds of children  are not safe by their own words, why should theirs be?”

Ennead rested his head on Roshan’s shoulder, ”I am not certain that I can stay.  I am not certain that I will not kill someone out of hand these days.  There has been no peace for me, whether it is looking for enemies among the faces that turned robes to join you, or making certain that I can find you, Khadi, and even Hadjara if any of you are taken again.”  He grumbled, ”This is not what I fought for.”

Offline Roshan al-Izar

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #5 on: Mar 13, 19, 04:18:11 PM »
"Danger comes from all corners, my Ennead."  She smiled, breathing those words against his neck as she held him close and closed her eyes in comforting companionship.  Yes, part of her mind raced with plans on how to deal with much of that danger - but it didn't change that she truly did want him to be at ease.  His anger might spark her own - and if the Izar were to handle this crisis well they could not act in impulsive anger.

"Had the Council, or the Izar, made a move against the True Sabbah we would have granted them a heavier weight, and more legitimacy.  What they have done now is terrible, but it illuminates who and what they are.  Now the Council can press the other Clans to cut the Sabbah off at their knees.  Their people will suffer if they remain under the True Sabbah's thumbs, but they could leave.  Their tribes and families could approach other Clans and free districts for refuge.  Only by waiting, by allowing their Civil War to take its course, can the Izar and the Council prove to Pruul that the spider's words are false."

She finally pulled back, raising ehr hands to cup his face.  "When you strike, you strike to kill... but that means you must know when to strike to be most effective.  If we acted when you and Lucky wanted us to, yes... we might have ended the threat before they caused such harm.  But we would have simply driven those threats into secrecy and shadow.  They would have plotted and schemed in ways we would not expect.  Now they are in the light, and their faces are known.  NOW they can be struck down, Ennead... and we will be justified in the striking - once our assistance is requested by even one person not tied to us already."

She brushed her thumbs against his cheeks, her eyes narrowing.  "Give me but one word, Ennead, and I will begin to destroy them from the inside.  But a whisper, a promise, a spell... and their soldiers will turn on their own."

She was, after all, Roshan.  She'd laid compulsions in the mines, getting what she wanted with no care for what was right or moral or ethical or honorable.  She had done what she wanted to do, what she needed to do, in order to get what she desired.  Safety, comfort, vengeance.

The Surface had forgotten that.  They had grown fat and complacent on images of a pliable and genteel Roshan.  They admired her naked in the sun and forgot that she was born in the Darkness of Pruul.  They saw just another Black Widow, ill trained and ill prepared for the cruelty of the world - and they forgot that Roshan had been born and raised in that cruelty.  She was not just a nightmare - she was the monster that gave nightmarish people nightmares.

Ennead, she knew, would not have forgotten. 

"Stay with me tonight, Ennead.  Stay and let me listen to your heart and to your words... and perhaps between the two of us we can map out our targets and bring safety to my siblings and to little Fariha together."



Offline Ennead al-Bali

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #6 on: Mar 14, 19, 09:33:37 AM »
Roshan had always been strong, always believed in not only her purpose, but her own will.  She had come to the surface, and made the very bold move of choosing Citadel training, believing the Coven would embrace her as a Black Widow, or ignore her at their peril.  That the Black Widows had deep connections to the Sabbah and the Geiba had never given her a moment of hesitation.  It had been admirable, possibly foolish, but also terribly courageous.  Roshan had returned to all of them the better for it, bolder, stronger, and far more certain of herself than she had ever been.  Ennead had been worried, and proud, and now was no different than then, and that was part of the problem.  He nuzzled her, growling his frustration agains the soft skin at the side of her neck.  Her presence and calm smoothed edges of his anger and frustration, but he could not turn away from it.

”No. We all knew who they were, who the so-called True Sabbah were, the Spider Kissers.  They were not shy about it.  One Spider was destroyed and replaced by dozens, and that destruction was not by Ghanima’s hand alone.  Others had a hand in it, and when you were all chained and doomed to execution, more rose up against it.”  He took a long breath, his hands moving with familiarity and sensitivity, his voice kept low, the words bitten off with a sharp edge.  ”They have been moving against the Sabbah Queen since before her rites of passage, they allowed Queen’s Blood to be shed, in the hopes of inciting another riot.  No, Roshan, the Council—least of all—cannot pretend that the enemy was unknown.  They made their moves boldly and under the sun, announced their enmity for all to hear, and dared the Council to act.”  Ennead growled, long and low and angry, ”The Spider’s falsehoods were proven the day you all brought the rains, the same day Ghanima tore out his heart.”

Ennead straightened and met Roshan’s eyes as she cupped his face, he arranged her on his lap, and drew her closer still.  ”The Council flinched, Roshan.”  He smiled gently, almost laughed, ”We knew exactly where to strike, Roshan.  We knew exactly who to eliminate.  This has happened before.  What shadows and rocks can they scurry beneath if every Tribe and Clan is shining their light on them?  Yes.  The Clans and Tribes can now be gathered for a strike, but people have already paid for our hesitation with their lives, and Onn, a city that has stood for centuries, has new scars because of it.”  He grunted, ”We were justified long ago.  Leadership does not wait.  It leads.  It decides.  A bad decision made swiftly, is better than no decision at all.”

He raised his hands as her thumbs brushed his cheeks, and pressed them against his face for a bit longer, before he leaned his forehead against hers.  ”There are those that should be removed from the Izar, some that should disappear.  So many came after the rains, and I was there to meet them while all of you slept.”  Ennead’s nostrils flared, ”I will name them, and those that I suspect you can further investigate.”  He brushed his lips along the line of her jaw, as familiar a line as the first cut in his morning stances, and continued slowly, until he kissed the pulse in her neck and ran his teeth against her skin.  ”I will stay.  Pruul is safer with me in here with you, for now.  Our huntress is safe, and will be, I still feel her, even now, just as I can feel you.”

Offline Roshan al-Izar

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #7 on: Mar 14, 19, 10:37:11 AM »
"I did not flinch." Roshan growled those words, her fingers running up to grasp at his hair, holding him firmly.  "I am trying to honor surface Tradition; because the Bali Voice said it should be done.  I am trying to make peace with the stupid things... so that my family can have a future.  This is our home.  If we do not honor Tradition, at least a little, then the Territory will band together to see us as abominations.  It was, perhaps, a bad decision to not strike at the True Sabbah in the beginning... but Ennead..."

She pulled his hair back, forcing his face back enough to be able to look fully into it.  "If we had interfered then... we would be interfering in Clan business not our own.  If the True Sabbah fight amongst themselves, what right have any of us to interfere?  Would we not prove them right?  That we are trying to rule all of Pruul?"

She brought her free hand up, gently brushing fingertips over those smooth petals.  Ennead, her Warlord Prince and Protector, was a male of violence and rage.  But he was also a male of control, thought, strategy.

"I value your thoughts.  Bring them to me more often."  Roshan leaned forward, gently nipping at those lips.  Feasting on them for a few breaths of time before pulling back just a little bit.  Oh the smile that lit her face as she watched Ennead's expression.  Slowly she let her fingers drift from his hair to his neck, to his tunic.  Slowly she started tugging it away from him.

"Name the ones you do not trust, Ennead... and together we will discover whether they mean us harm or not.  And if they do... we will ensure that they get themselves dead with Lucky and the others none the wiser."  The thought warmed her.  Why bother just killing the bastards that dared to come here, to seek entrance into her Clan, with the idea of betraying them?  No... better to make their deaths useful.

Better to turn the True Sabbah's weapons back against them, and have those enemies feast upon each other's bones. 

His lips feathered along her jaw, and she laughed as she got her hands up under his tunic and against his skin.   Her voice was sultry and low, but she made sure to keep Craft out of it.  She didn't want to use Craft to sway Ennead.. not Ennead.  Not her siblings.  Not her chosen people.

"Stay.  Feel me.  Distract me from the problems of the world for just a little while longer.. and then we can go clean up the mess, Ennead.  You and me, as it should be."




Offline Ennead al-Bali

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #8 on: Mar 14, 19, 01:37:31 PM »
Roshan pulled at his hair, her fingers curling into it for a better grip.  He kept it short, but not too, and this was a reason why.  She did not always do that out of anger.  He bared his teeth when she pulled at his hair.  ”If tradition were the point, there would be no Council.  The Queens and the Voices would rule, as they have for centuries.  Tradition was for the formation of a Clan and Tribes.”  He growled, You may not have flinched, but yours is not the only voice on the Council, and yours is not always the loudest.”  Ennead pulled against her grip, shifting his chin left and right as he mildly strained against the fingers tightened in his dark hair.  ”Every Tribe, every Clan has mixed blood.  I have it, most of the Mineborn have it, the Bali obviously do, the Tabur, they are everywhere.  It is as much a part of Pruul as the sand and the worms.  Tradition is not what kept the Council from taking action.”

He let her pull, let her force his chin up, because she knew he could stop her at any time.  Roshan liked to feel in charge from time to time, and Ennead was content, for the moment, to let her challenge him.  ”You are ruling Pruul.  Are you simply impotent figureheads?  No.  You called for a vote from Queens and their Voices, and you won the day by a slim margin.  Hadjar’s letter talks of ruling, ruling, Ro.  The Queens and the Voices didn’t vote to place you over them with the expectation that you would do nothing.  A bad decision?”  Ennead growled, straining against her grip, ”The Council made no decision.  People are dead, their water wasted, nourishing none.”  He relaxed, and quoted Hadjara’s letter, ” ‘To help soften fears of change, it is proposed that the Council last only seven years, before the question of territory ruling is revisited.  Any decision made by the Council can be undone by the votes of the Voices of each great Clan.’  The Council never called for a vote.”

Ennead’s anger receded a touch as Roshan leaned forward to kiss him, he kissed her back, his teeth capturing her lower lip, scraping flesh before he let her get away.  She pulled away his tunic, and impatient, Ennead vanished her robe, it reappeared fluttering to the floor of her room.  He snorted softly at the mention of value, ”You seem to be the only one.”  He kissed her again, and this time it was Ennead that slid his fingers into the length of her hair, and tugged to lift her chin so he could deepen the kiss.  ”We will take a walk, and I will point the problems out.”  He tugged at her hair again, kissing her throat, nipping and kissing a trail to her bare shoulder and back.  Ennead vanished what remained of her clothes, and is own, and his hands moved over familiar lines and curves, as he lay back on the cushions, pulling her down with him.

Offline Roshan al-Izar

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #9 on: Mar 14, 19, 02:26:27 PM »
That the result of his irritation and her presence was somewhat predictable didn't mean that she didn't enjoy the result.  Ro laid down with Ennead not because it was expected but because she wanted to. 

Was he right?  Had she allowed the idea of Tradition - of pleasing the Bali voice in some fashion - to gain too much traction in her own mind and thus not spoken up more against waiting?  Had she been too afraid of influencing her siblings to really push for what might be best?  It was certainly possible.  She didn't like that it had happened though.  Was it better to be a fire burning bright, no matter how short a burn, than to not burn brightly at all?

Roshan loved the light.  The answer seemed obvious when framed in such a way.

I will be sure to be louder, Ennead.  A promise, a whisper of steel coated in velveteen texture, to be shared between minds.  Did Pruul know what the Mineborn held with Roshan as the spider at its center?  Did Pruul understand how dangerous she could be?  She hoped not.

But she wished that it did, just so that it could fall and kiss Ennead's feet for showing her how to temper her anger with consideration.  Her fingers slid over his chest and hips while she allowed the difference between his smooth skin and his hard body to tease at her attention.

Resolutely she slid a leg over his hips, straddling him and pinning him to the cushions with her body as she let her hands continue their explorations.  That wouldn't keep her from tasting of his kiss and his breath - no, Roshan was a greedy spider when it came to her bedmates - but it did allow her to wrap herself in the scent and sensation of Ennead al-Bali.

Enough about politics for now, Ennead.  That can wait.  We are more important.

Roshan rolled her hips along the hard flesh pressed between them, baring teeth and setting them to his lower lip as she slid him into her body.  The feel of his flesh within and without was all she needed for a sense of peace in this moment.  Her tongue lathed at his lips to soothe them after her rough bite, and she lifted her face just enough to flash him that wicked smile.

"Feel us, Ennead?  We are alive, and we are free."  And we always will be.



Offline Ennead al-Bali

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Re: Old Habits, Sweet Comfort
« Reply #10 on: Mar 15, 19, 12:30:19 PM »
Ennead often spoke with Roshan, particularly when Khadi was away.  She knew him well, and in her own way, was every bit as direct and fierce as he was.  He recognized her strength, because he had seen it firsthand, and she knew his well.  Without first Khadijah, and later Roshan, to protect and serve, he would have been lost in the mines.  He would either be a broken man, so feral all he wanted was to wreak violence and rut, in that order, or he would be have wound up dead.  Protocol saved him, the first pair of tenets; honor, cherish, protect and serve.  He had never seen service as a bad thing; he served Khaid by nursing her back to health, sacrificing so that she would live, and he served Roshan in the same way.  Ennead was serving them still when he bargained to receive his Offering, there down in the salt and darkness, trading his flesh for secret power.

He had spoken his piece to one of the two minds that would hear him, and he hoped his words, like knives, stayed deep in Roshan’s thoughts.  They would give her dreams, perhaps, and maybe grant her insight that the Council seemed to desperately need.  Ennead was chained again, and he disliked the invisible nature of those bindings.  Chained to a Queen traded as a commodity by those that had not right to do so, and chained to Bond Brothers he would rather see bleeding than living.  The Bond remained trouble, a fear of his, despite his surrender to the Darkness, to Vashti, and the primal instincts of the Warlord Prince.  His Darkness made those instincts strong, and his time in the mines had only made them sharper still.  Roshan soothed a part of him, because of who she was.  He had performed her Virgin Night, to further safeguard her from predation, and she had been the focus of his Rut on more than one occasion.  He knew her, and she knew him.

Roshan was also uncomplicated.  Their bond was of shared history and suffering, and that included only one other, who was not present there.  There were no Bonded Males to incite his rage, no confusing Queen to shackle him, only Roshan, her body and her scent.

The Black Widow’s familiar fingertips smoothed over his skin, finding old scars and knew.  He arched beneath her, rising to her touch, and drew those instincts forward in his mind and body.  They kissed, hungrily, Ennead’s passion for Roshan undiminished by time and the change of venue.  Under the ground, or over it, she had been his, and would be again.  Ro pressed him into the cushions, straddling him, and using her body to pin him, so very pleasantly, beneath her.  Ennead’s growl was of a very different tenor when her hands continued to explore him, as she rolled her hips against him, discovering that he was already ready and straining for her.  She bit his lip as theykissed, and managed to reach between them and guide his length into her.  Ennead groaned unabashedly, his hips rising from the cushions beneath him, as his hands gripped her bottom allowing him to enter her as deeply as possible.  His grip, he knew, would leave small bruises, and that prospect only pressed his fingers more tightly into her flesh.

She rose over him, mischievous, powerful and beautiful and he returned her wicked smile with one of his own.  She saw the defined muscles of his abdomen tighten as he lifted his back from the cushions, and reached out to her.  One hand moved from her bottom to knead, one of her breasts, tugging lightly at the tip, as the fingers of his other hand curled tightly into her hair and pulled her down to him for another kiss.  Ennead’s teeth raked her lower lip, before he drew it between his own, and deepened the kiss once again.  He then pulled her lips away by the grip in her hair, and urged her to rise again, releasing her so that his hands could move to her hips as he dug his heels in and bucked upward.  Ennead encouraged Roshan to ride him, guiding her hips to grind against him, as he stretched beneath, his muscles bunching and relaxing as his hips rose to meet her desire.

His fingertips dug into her skin, and he dragged his nails forward, along her thighs.  Ennead’s gold-flecked green eyes gazed into Roshan’s, daring her to respond in kind.  It was an expression she had seen before.  Suddenly, the Warlord Prince beneath her sat up again, his arms encircling her, beneath her aorn, and his hands gripped her shoulders.  He ducked his head, and forced her chin up, so he could bite and nip along her neck.  His grip on her shoulders tightened with every downstroke of her body, giving her all of him with every undulating return.  Ennead growled against her ear, his teeth pressed against the side of her neck.