Revelations and Realizations

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Revelations and Realizations

Postby Arrens on Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:58 pm

She almost didn't see him there, sitting off to the side of the steps, a bottle of wine on the ground next to him. It wasn't unlike Arrens to enjoy a little alcohol - but something was decidedly off, both with the lack of proper stemware and the expression on his face - sour enough to curdle milk, as the saying went. Aely sat down next to him.

"Love? Ye a'right?"

Arrens chuckled humorlessly and took a sip from the bottle of wine. "Never better, my dear." A cold wind blew, apropos of his mood. Word had reached him of the final push into the heart of Northrend and into the traitor-king's fortress. His thoughts played upon his face like that of a novice card player. She would be going and he would be staying here in Stormwind, safe in the confines of the city walls, away from the cold dread the soldiers would soon be facing.

She'll be leaving, he thought. She'll be leaving...me.

"Liar."

He sighed, looking at the ground in front of his feet. "It's just...I'm worried, dearheart."

"Wir /all/ worrit. I'm goin' in wi' th' best folk I ken." She looked over at him. "Would ye rather be goin' wi' me?"

"I ... well. I would? But... Fel." He cursed sharply. "I don't know. Of course, that seems to be the standard these days, doesn't it?

Aely frowned. "Ye'd like all 'is t' go away, an' f'r th' bloody war t' jus' /end/ a'ready."

"Well...yes. But I'm also a pragmatist. I know that's not likely to happen."

"But tha' dinna mean ye wan' elsewise."

"What I'd truly like is equally as unlikely to happen." His shoulders slumped again, and he eyed his wine bottle warily. "Forgive me, my dear. I'm...I'm not handling this turn of events particularly well, I know."

"Y'r takin' it 's well 's any, love. I've nae been in th' bourbon, 'cause I dinna wan' t' end up
bein' silly an weepy."

"Am I? Am I really?" he asked, his face contorted in a look of pleading desperation. "The fact that all I want to do is take you home with me and hold you until you don't want to leave? That you'll not go to the north anymore? Is that really what you would consider 'taking it well'?" He glanced down a moment before looking up to the sky in a retort to the gods above. "Godsdammit?! Why does the fight against that....that...that fuck have to happen now?!"

Aely didn't reply. The outburst was unexpected, and she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to handle any of this sitting on the steps of the tavern, in full view of anyone going in or out. She cut Arrens a sharp look and stood up, holding her hands out to help him stand as well, then led them both some distance away, off to an alleyway where they would not likely be disturbed. Arrens looked around, warily. The place didn't exactly bring back warm fuzzy feelings, and he was hard pressed to hold back memories of turning into a demon, of being punched by what he would come to learn was Aely's adopted family and of being led, humiliatingly, to the Stockades.

The memory had started to flood forward, particularly as he found himself shoved up against the wall of the alley - only to disappear completely in a kiss, fierce and impatient.

When Aely spoke again, it was low, and intense - not much louder than a whisper but with a sense of importance. "'m goin' 'cause I dinna have a choice. I dinna get t' decide when some grea' fuckery happens, an' when Fordring finally figures out how t' build a big enough batterin' ram t' take down th' door ay th' Citadel."

Flustered, Arrens stuttered. "I...I know. It's just..." Casting his gaze downward, he said, "Aely, I..." He was unable to finish his thought. More emotions played across his face, his eyes half shut, his brow furrowed.

Just admit it.

He continued to stare downward, unable to look at the impassioned paladin in the eyes.

You're a fel-damned fool, Caltrains.

Aely grabbed Arrens by the chin, forcing him to look at her, nervousness and uncertainty in his eyes. "Ye love me. An' y'r afraid t' say it, 'cause ye dinna wan' me t' disappear."

"I..." Arrens sighed, his shoulders slumping even more. "Dammit," he muttered. "Dammit!" he shouted towards the encroaching twilight. Aely looked at him, confusion in her eyes. "I do! Aely, I love you. There. I've said it. And now...now..."

She blinked. "An' now? I'm still here."

"And now I"m not sure. Now, I wait for something awful to happen. For you to hate me or for a giant gods-damned infernal to come crashing down upon you, or for you to not come back!" He was nearly shaking as she wrapped her arms around him in a very close embrace.

"Did ye really think tha' sayin' 'at would make me hate ye, air change whate'er will happen up North? Really? All ye've done is make this stronger, harder t' break... An' I love ye in return."

Time seemed to stop as the warlock breathed a deep, body-trembling sigh of relief and kissed her, stress visibly draining from his tensed body after hearing but three little words. "I...I had prayed..."

"Ye had prayed?" she asked, the statement an odd one from the man she had come to know so well, religion not usually part of his experience.

"...that I would one day hear you say that."

Aely smiled gently. "I've been callin' ye "love" f'r a week now."

He shook his head. "It's...it's not the same. Terms of endearment are not the same as admitting affection."

"I s'pose nae. An' y'r right - yeh. 's differen' hearin' it too," she said, her cheeks flushing a light shade of pink.

Arrens smiled and whispered softly, "Gods, you're beautiful..." He paused, taking a short, shallow breath, "...my love."

Aely stammered, her cheeks flushing further. "I... I dinna ken quite wha' t' say t' tha', 'cept t' thank ye."

"You... could tell me again that you love me?" He smiled, a rather mischevious look creeping into the corners of his eyes.

She grinned. "I love ye, Arrens, an' Professor, an' Master Caltrains, an' by whate'er other names ye go by. I love ye."

"If you can promise to continue to say that to me, I shall consider myself the luckiest fool in the world." His face read easily with happiness.

Looking at Arrens with lips curled into a small grin, she said, "I dinna think that'll be o'er hard." He hugged her even tighter, smiling, and they stood for a few moments, wrapped in a warm embrace.

Ye dinna' think tha', no - but what ay other thin's ye've said an' thought? Ye maun nae come back frae all 'is, an' ye ken tha' - e'en wha' ye dinna wan' t' admit it. An what ay things ye've hoped for - now tha' ye may no' see him again.

Suddenly, and seemingly without warning, Aely pulled away, appearing as something Arrens had never seen before: shy. Looking at her with deep concern, Arrens asked, "Did...did I do something wrong?"

"No!" she exclaimed. "No ye dinna. "

"Then...then what troubles you?"

Aely opened her mouth as if to say something, the words not managing to find voice. Arrens peered at her searchingly, letting his fingers run across her cheek. "You can tell me anything."

Oi - now y'r timid. Ye air all talk, lass, if ye canna e'en bring y'rself t' say sommat wha' ye've already said to 'im; do ye fear him - an' y'rself - so much?

She took a moment that seemed to the warlock as if she was preparing to face down telling him something terrible and fearsome. She steeled herself with a breath. "I dinna ken any other way t' ask it, but I wan' ye t' stay wi' me, t'night."

He furrowed his eyebrows. "I had planned to stay here in Stormwind, to see you off in the morning."

"No, tha's nae..." Aely searched for words, trying to find something obvious that he'd still pick up on, knowing he'd likely miss any implied meaning. "Do ye remember th' nigh' we spent, up oan th' ramparts high 'bove th harbor?" Arrens nodded slightly. "I asked ye... well, told ye sommat then. Do ye remember?"

Arrens looked at Aely with confusion. They had sat upon the ramparts a great number of times in the recent past. "Well...there was the anniversary of the Scourge attacks there. And the night when the warlock came and began drinking invisibility elixirs..."

Aely shook her head. "None ay those - 's muir recent, wi' me folded up wi' ye, watchin' th' boats."

Arrens scratched his head trying to recall the exact words. "Forgive me, my dear. I'm a bit overwhelmed this eve." He smiled softly, looking rather sheepish.

Aelflaed took a deep breath, as if to steady herself.

Ye started this, better t' jus' finish it and apologize after f'r bein' impulsive an' pushy.

"I tol' ye tha' I would like, someday, t' make love t' ye." She paused for a moment, before continuing, words tumbling rapidly where she could hardly find them before." An' I prob'ly owt nae t' have said anythin'. Dinna change owt, an' I still have t' leave, an' it'll make everythin' muir complicated..."

He noded slightly, pulling away from her embrace. She looked to her shoes. "'m sorry. I owt no' say anythin'."

A million thoughts ran through his head ranging from confusion to embarrassment to elation. He took a moment to collect himself and, he hoped, resolve them. He didn't like her seeming embarrassed or afraid - particularly not of him, and especially not as she left to go face down horrors unimaginable. What would have been a nerve-wracking and embarrassing situation for the warlock but a day ago found him feeling confident, even self-assured.

Arrens coughed slightly and straightened up, running his hands sharply along his vest to straighten it out. "Forgive me if this is a bit forward," he said, leaning in close to Aely. Whispering softly, his voice barely carrying above the wind that blew through the alley, he asked, "Madam Aely, would you do me that honor this evening?"

She blinked and turned several shades of red. "I... canna think ay anythin' I'd wan' muir."

Arrens smiled softly and took Aely's hands in his. "Can...can I take you home?"

She smiled. "I'd like 'at, yes."
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Re: Revelations and Realizations

Postby Aelflaed on Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:59 pm

She stopped short of unlocking the door, half-hesitating. "Would ye come in?"

"I...I think I should like that very much," he said, nervousness creeping around the edges of his voice as he spoke. Aely smiled and opened the door, leading him down the steps quietly so as not to wake the Cross family above.

She unlocked the second door at the bottom of the stairs and walked in, shoving Roger out of the way. The little apartment was, as expected, dimly lit, and she went to build the fire in the stove back up again, giving Arrens a chance to look around. The apartment was quite small, only one real room and a small bath with no tub. A set of shelves and cabinets divided the little kitchen from where she slept, and only a bed and a desk sat against the other wall, with an armor stand in one corner.

She stood up, satisfied with the fire - it would burn for awhile and added a warm half-light to the room.

Well, ye've gone an' done it now. Yeh? Dinna ye remember /y'rself/?

Aely was not usually uncomfortable with people. She was definitely not usually uncomfortable around Arrens, whose steady warmth she'd come to rely on.

She didn't light a lamp.

Ye ken why, too - ye want 'im here, an' yet y'r afraid ay what he'll say. Afraid of 'im nae able t' see past it. Why's it safer in th' dark?

Aely sat down on the bed.

"'s nae much t' look at." She waved a hand around, the little room illuminated with moonlight and the soft red glow from the stove.

Do ye really give 'em that much power yet?

And it wasn't much, but she was fond of the little place. Arrens looked at her, some combination of concern and tension reading in his face.

He's like t' see 'em anyway, an' ye ken wha' he's kind ... An if ye'll listen to y'rself, maun be that ye /need/ this t'night.

Aelflaed sat for a moment as if conflicted, and then turned her back to him. "I've sommat I need ye t' see, 'fore I lose my nerve."

She pulled her shirt up over her head, clutching it across her chest with one arm and pulling her hair forward over her shoulders, trying to ignore the bite of fear that nestled into her stomach.

Her back was strung with countless short scars, each faded now to silvery trails like a web of matted spider's silk. Sharp lines, soot-dark and discolored, banded across her skin like the rungs of a ladder strung along her backbone, and several perfectly round, raised marks dotted the backs of her arms, each with a darkened ring around it.

After a few moments, she spoke - barely above a whisper. "Tha's most. I've others, covered still. An' some wha' dinna show." Time stretched as she waited for his reaction.

Arrens was thankful her face was turned away. Horror and anger played across his face as plain as the moonlight that streamed through the high window, illuminating the room. He approached slowly, cloth-lined boots padding upon the hard floor. Sitting softly down beside her, his weight caused her to lean closer to him on the bed as he traced his fingers lightly upon each of the most prominent scars.

She shivered but did not pull away.

His mind raced with questions.

Who would do such a thing? What evil minds could cause such horrors in this world? And to Aely, no less, the kindest soul he'd ever met, this woman who had become his most trusted friend, his...beloved.

She turned and leaned against him, wrapped half in her shirt, her muscles tight under his arms. "'m sorry, love. I.. I dinna want ye t' see on accident, an'... " she trailed off. "... an' be sickened."

"Sickened?" he asked. "How could I possibly be repulsed by that? By...you?" He gripped her by her shoulders, turning her towards him, her arm still holding her shirt across her chest as he stared straight into her eyes. "Aely, I...I've fallen in love with you. There is nothing you could show me that would change my mind. These," he said, fingers softly caressing her back, "are a part of you. They've been a part of you long before I ever came along. I love you, scars and all."

Running her fingers along his jaw, she kissed him then, starting - almost demanding - a conversation that didn't need words.
[5.OOC] Beltar: Hammer of What The Fuck Were You Thinking
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Re: Revelations and Realizations

Postby Arrens on Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:01 pm

Roger was not pleased.

He whined.

The tangled figures on the bed didn't move.

He whined again, pushing his nose onto the nearest bit of human flesh he could find, which turned out to be the nape of Arrens' neck. The cold nose pressed deep into the warlock as Roger went for the full effect, whimpering loudly right in Arrens' ear. He jumped. "By the gods!" Disoriented, he looked around. There lying next to him was Aely, her skin bathed in the pale, pre-dawn light, stirring from his shout. He looked down at himself, realizing that he also was without clothing or cover, blankets strewn about the bed, half hanging onto the floor below.

His mind raced. It had been a very long time since he'd been in a similar situation. What was the proper protocol? he wondered. Wake Aely? Let her rest? What time did she have to leave? Will she even want to see me again? When will she be back?

He gently moved Roger out of his way, blindingly feeling around for his trousers which had been misplaced sometime over the course of the previous evening. He found a set of pants and quietly tried slipping them on. "Fel," he cursed quietly. Aely, while close to his height, did not apparently wear the same sized pants as he did. Replacing the pants where he had found them, he stumbled around some more, doing his best to remain quiet and allow her to sleep. He stepped another foot away from the bed when Roger barked and jumped upon him, sending the surprised warlock sprawling to the floor.

Aely sat up at the commotion - half-wrapped in a blanket, sleep still in her eyes, her voice muzzy and soft. "No, Roger, no. No run today. I... " She blinked, recognizing the man laying on the floor, pinned by Roger's enormous front paws, one on each of his shoulders, as he tried to plead his way into a morning run.

"Arrens? /ROGER/. Bad dog! Back off." He whimpered, letting Arrens go. She shuffled over to him, sitting down in a heap of blanket and red curls. "Ye a'right?"

"I...erm...yes, I think so. Are you?" he asked trying desperately to cover himself up in a manner that was both discreet and unassuming. He failed on both counts.

She chuckled, throwing the closest article of clothing she could find at him. "Ne'er better."

He blinked up at her. "I... erm... already tried these. They're yours."

The absurdity of the situation caught her and she fell into a fit of giggles.

He looked at her, confusion evident upon his face even in the dim light. Had he done something last night to warrant such laughter? Had he done something so egregious that all his beloved could do was laugh at him? He asked tentatively, "What...what's so funny?"

"'m sittin on th' ground in nothin' but a blanket. Y'r knocked o'er on th' floor, layin' wi' my pants keepin' ye half decent, an' my poor dog jus' needs t' go relieve 'imself. Ligh'..." She wiped tears from her eyes.

He breathed a sigh of relief and, for a moment, forgot about his current state of undress. "I...erm...yes. Your poor dog. Would you like me to take him out?"

"Ye could... though, I dinna think ye want to jus' yet." She swallowed her laughter for half a moment.

"Oh? Why not?"

She looked down at him intently. "Well, I coul' trade ye my blanket, an' ye could give me my pants... but I dinna think ye want t' venture out like 'at." And collapsed into more giggles, shuffling around until she did find a shirt (hers) and pants (his).

"Ye take Rog' out, an' I'll make coffee?"

Carefully rising from the floor so as not to expose himself further, he slid his pants on - and his foot caught in one of his trouser legs. He fell, sitting down hard upon the mattress, but managed to spring up quickly, proceeding to finish dressing without further incident. "Coffee, yes. Coffee sounds...terrific." Tossing his shirt over his head, he grabbed Roger's leash and took the large dog out.

Standing outside as Roger sniffed to find a perfect spot to mark, Arrens chided himself, Gods, but you're a fool! Get it together, man! She gave herself to you and she's leaving for the North! She was leaving, he knew. And nothing he did was going to change that. His only hope was to put on a brave face when he re-entered her apartment and let her know that he would be there for her when she returned. "When," he said aloud, reinforcing in his mind that she would come back.

Taking a deep breath to steel himself, he gave Roger's leash a gentle tug as the dog happily loped back into Aely's apartment. Closing the door behind him, he felt the leash tighten as Roger bounded down the stairs, Arrens being tugged by the might of the wolfhound.

He found her in the kitchen, halfway through a cup of something she obviously wasn't relishing. There was, however, fresh coffee, and some of the same honey raisin bread she'd sent him in Arathi. He plunked down in one of the chairs, sipping the morning coffee and wondering what to say. His nerves a mess, his stomach in knots, he steadied his gaze upon her. "Aely, I...I don't know what to say. I won't ask you to stay with me, to forget about...about everything going on in the north. Just...please. For the love of the gods, come back in one piece, as radiant as you are this morning?"

Aely set her cup down on the table, settling herself down across his knees. "I'm comin' home. Ye see if I dinna. Ligh'... an', well, I'll have leave t' Dalaran, an' I'll be back 'fore all this is o'er likely, as I'm nae goin' oan full commission, an' if any'ins like t' do well up there it's th' Black an' Red..." She stopped herself.

"An' I'm wanderin'. I /will/ come back. An' ye c'n come up t' see me too."

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her deeply, dizzyingly, letting them both have just a few more moments before facing anything more than each other.
Last edited by Arrens on Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Revelations and Realizations

Postby Beltar on Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:29 pm

It was, one had to admit, a very nice morning in Stormwind, considering the tension in the air over the slowly breaking siege in Icecrown. It was sunny, unseasonably warm and pleasant, and thus a good morning to be outside for one of the last days before the cold would sweep down from the North and bring winter to the South...well, as close as the South ever got to true winter, anyway.

In Old Town Stormwind, Reese Langston busied himself in sweeping off the sidewalk in front of the Pig and Whistle. In the entrance, Beltar Forgebreaker stood, pastry in one hand, large mug of hot mornbrew in the other, while his boar Squealer dozed quietly below him on the steps. Ever since Beltar had relocated from Dalaran back to Stormwind into the Pig's erstwhile basement bunkroom, this had become something of a tradition. Each morning, Reese would work hard cleaning around the front of his tavern--pick up smoke butts and litter, sweep leaves and dust, roust the occasional sleeping drunk--and each morning, Beltar would come outside and provide him no help whatsoever except some conversation to make the time pass faster.

"Reese," Beltar said, his mouth half-full with pastry and crumbs falling into his beard. "Missed a spot 'ere, y'did."

"Forgebreaker," Reese grumbled, looking up and breathing slightly hard from the exertion. "There's a spare broom inside, y'know. You could make yourself useful."

"Now why'd y'want me t'go an' do 'at, Reese?", Beltar grinned back. "'m damned useful. I got m'four-legged friends 'ere providin' y'extra security, y'got a crack shot livin' downstairs case somma th'local vultures decide t'git frisky w'ya what w'boss gone an' all, an' I'm a damn good conversationalwhatyacallit too."

Reese just grumbled, as Reese did every morning when a similar exchange took place, and went back to his sweeping.

A lone figure appeared riding up the street by the Pig. Reese and Beltar both recognized it quickly, for it was rather distinctive, and not just for the impressive figure that a fully armored Crusader always carried. Tall, female, red hair... Dame Aely Larsdottir was hard to miss even when in streetclothes - today she dressed for her destination in the North, her Charger kitted out with armor and a full set of baggage, and Roger loping along beside.

The expression on her face, however, was not the expected one of gritty determination but rather matched the half-song she was humming.

"Mornin', Aely," Reese and Beltar said, almost in unison, as she drew roughly even with the postbox outside.

Aely blinked. "Oh! Mornin' ye twa," she smiled broadly at them both as she hopped down, loosely wrapping the Charger's reins around one of the posts. "Hope y'r both well. I'm shippin' out in an hour air so - wanted t' grab a sandwich t' keep th' taste ay home 'round f'r th' trip." She strode by Reese up the stairs, bending down to give Squealer a quick pat on the head, and smiling as she brushed past Beltar, still humming.

Neither man moved for the few seconds Aely was inside. She quickly emerged carrying a well wrapped lunch and a bottle of ale - Stephen hadn't held back for one of his Riders. Stopping to drop a folded letter in the post box, she quickly waved to the two men and the giant boar. A cheerful "Ligh' bless" and she swung up on the Charger - surprisingly nimble, for all the armor - and headed back down the street toward the harbor, strains of a warm, lilting song flitting along behind her.

Reese turned to Beltar. "Was that song what I think..."

The dwarf sighed. "A Northron courtin' reel, from way back up in hills near Stratholme, if I r'member straight. Heard 'em alla time when th' wagons I used t'work on'd come through 'ere 'bout plantin' time, when alla younguns was gettin' randied up cause'a spring."

A slight smile crossed Reese's face. "Do tell."

"'At don't mean shit, son," Beltar snapped. "An' y'know it. Might be she's just inna good mood fer...oi, Perfesser, mornin' t'ya!"

Beltar spotted the tall figure of Arrens Caltrains walking along, deep in thought. Very deep in thought, it seemed, for he didn't even look up.

The dwarf cleared his throat and spoke louder. "Mornin', Perfesser!"

Arrens started and looked over at Beltar as if it took him a half-moment to place just where he was and who he was talking to. "Ah, yes, good morning, Master Forgebreaker, Master Langston," he nodded absently as he headed over to the postbox. He took a few letters out of it, dropping them once, before closing the lid.

"Uh, are you all right, Professor?" Reese asked, struggling not to grin.

"Hmm? Oh, yes, fine, fine, good day to you," Arrens mumbled, waving his hand half in dismissal, half in goodbye as he walked off, also toward the harbor.

Long seconds of silence passed on the steps of the Pig and Whistle before Reese turned to face Beltar, a triumphant look on his face. "Pay up."

"Dammit." Beltar reached in his pouch, pulled out a few coins, and handed them to Reese. "Figgered it'd take longer'n that!"

"Maybe professors are smooth talkers!", Reese crowed as he put the coins in his apron pocket.

Beltar just sat down on a step and grumbled. "Well, hell's teeth, reckon I can't fault 'em none. 'S m'fault fer fergettin' 'at just 'cuz th' Cathedral spouts at 'em 'bout th'Light an'shit an' puts 'em in shiny armor wi' twelve kinds ay work t' do, don't mean 'ey ain't young folk lookin' fer someone t'grab onta. 'Specially if she's shippin' up t' face the Bloody Prince." He chuckled as he finished his mug of mornbrew. "Do have t'say they make a fair couple. Wonder 'f 'ey think they're hidin' somethin', walkin' sep'rate like 'at?" A full laugh now. "Bloody fuckin' obvious, it is. No pun intended!"
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