Making Amends

The chamber is quiet, dark, and cozily warm when the princess' dozing maid is startled awake by tapping at the chamber door. She sits up quickly with a gasp, looking about in the darkness to catch her bearings.

The room is illuminated by moonlight from the windows. Desrianne pauses, her eyes adjusting to the dimness, to make sure her skittish movements had not distrubed the young woman lying next to her. But Margot still rested peacefully, arms wrapped around a cinnamon scented pillow.

Sliding out of the bed with great care, Desrianne straightens her garb and smooths her hair as she crosses the room on quiet steps. Slowly, softly, she turns the knob and light spills through the crack she uses to peer out and identify the visitor.

Rory nods to her from the hall. "Lord Kendallarithan will be returning soon," he says. "Is the princess still awake?"

Desrianne glances over her shoulder before stepping through the threshold and pulling the door shut. "Greetings, Master Rory. She has eaten, finally, and is resting. Is it the Lord's expectation that the princess be awake when he returns?"

It took great effort to not have her brow knit or her mouth draw down in a scowl as she inquired after the Lordling. It was easier to speak with the redhead than his master, though that had more to do with professional respect for the what no doubt Rory had to endure on a constant basis. The Chaosian servant must assuredly have patience that knew no bounds.

Rory tilts his head a tad, then shakes it in the negative. "He has not said, but I suspect not. I would inform him of her status either way should he request."

"She has only been resting for mayhap three-quarters an hour. If he wishes to see her, I will rouse her, though I…" The maid pauses to clear her throat and consider her words. "Were I to offer my counsel, I would advise against it. She was still…highly stimulated, and the stress kept her from eating initially and calming enough to consider lying down."

"Lord Kendallarithan's standing instruction before your arrival was for the princess to sleep herself out—" Rory begins, but breaks off as the sound of approaching footsteps reaches them both. Five heartbeats later, the Lord in question comes into view, his pale eyes glowing in the light as he turns gaze from one to the other.

Desrianne acknowledges the Lord's approach with a formal nod and a brief curtsey. "Lord Kendallarithan. Master Rory was just announcing your arrival. As I was explaining to him, Princess Margot has finally consumed her fill and returned to her rest."

Kendall inclines his head to the curtsy and his own servant's bow. "Very good," he acknowledges. "You may be dismissed for now. Rory will see to your accommodations until the princess calls for you." His orders thus delivered, he moves to step past the two servants and enter the bedchamber.

Desrianne's lips press thin and the muscles in her jaw clench, revealing her displeasure at leaving Margot unattended. "She was highly … overwrought, with a great deal of emotion," the maid offers. "She is … calm now, however…"

Kendall stops and blinks in surprise at having the woman speak out of turn to him, but the matron plows on, either not noticing or not caring about any gaffe in protocol she might be committing.

"As you are aware, Lord Kendallarithan, Princess Margot trusts her heart to guide her actions and her conscience, and her heart is pure and generous." She breathes deeply, struggling with the line of protecting Margot's confidence and protecting her from further distress that might arise from the Lordling's insensitive nature.

He stares at her for the space of 10 heartbeats, eyes cold and expression frozen into a frown of displeasure. "If I had required more information regarding the princess' heart, I would have requested it." His unruffled tone is as chill as his eyes.

She clears her throat, and her gaze falls, slightly abashed. The Chaos Lord brushes past both servants to the door and opens it, speaking without turning around. "Rory, attend me after seeing to her arrangements." The door shuts after him, leaving the two servants alone in the hallway.

The soft click of the door stirs the princess slumbering in the Lord's bed. She pulls the pillow closer, and a contented smile curls her lips.

Unclasping the buttons of the robe he had worn for his meeting with Dara, he walks over to the side of the bed while shrugging out of the green velvet. He drapes the garment over the chair vacated by the matron and then sits on the bed so he can study Margot's face for some heartbeats in the moonlight.

Her hair is braided loosely, and a few strands had slipped from the plait. Though still pale, some color had returned to her complexion, lending her face some life; the dark circles had lightened beneath her eyes, the hollowness of her cheeks seemed less so.

A gentle touch to her temple, and he caresses her cheek and jaw with the backs of fingers. Kendall's caress draws a cuddle, like a cat nuzzling affection. Slowly, dark lashes unknit to reveal dark eyes and a dreamy gaze.

"Hullo," she greets him softly.

A smile touches lips at her greeting. "Fair Turning, my sweet," he returns. Hand cups her cheek. "May I join you at your rest?"

Still fogged with sleep, her face turns to brush her lips against the inside of his hand. "I would like that, if that is what you wish. You must be tired. Unless—" Concern knits her brow as her mind starts to shake loose the fog of sleep. "Unless you'd rather have your privacy."

"Shhh…" he soothes her, moving fingers to smooth the wrinkles on her brow. He begins unbuttoning his black shirt with his other hand. "No, shayna. Not necessary. Now sleep."

A sleepy smile forms as she watches him work to remove his shirt. "Your business…" she inquires in a sleep-laden slur. "All is well? May I help you?" Her voice carries an intimacy that could not be denied, though the lustfulness that had driven her earlier had vanished.

He reclaims his other hand, standing again and undoing the rest of his buttons. "We shall speak of that later, Margot," he answers, keeping his voice low and soothing. He pulls off his shirt, putting it with the robe. Trousers are next, and he sits again once he slides them down his legs. "Relax, and I shall join you shortly."

Margot breathes deeply, admiring his appearance but hardly lecherous. As he finishes disrobing, she slips across the bed beneath the sheets to make room for him. And, by the same token, offering him the space that she had warmed. She curls up on her side facing him, pulling the blanket above her shoulders and waiting for Kendall to join her.

Trousers and boots and socks all join the pile of clothes, and he turns to slide under the covers as she moves over. Settling into the warmed spot she had just vacated, he leans close to kiss her lips. An arm around her shoulder invites her to snuggle against him if she wished. "Sleep well, my sweet."

Nothing more need be said. When she turns to snuggle against his chest, a kiss finds its way to the hollow behind her ear. Arms close around her and then all is still.

Some time later, discarded clothes and lingering food are cleared by a silent servant. Heavy drapes are parted and doors opened to admit fresh ocean breezes that meander through the air, preventing the heat of the room from becoming stifling. Starshine glimmers through gossamer curtains that undulate once more in the gentle air movements. Once those small tasks are completed, the two in the bed are left once more alone.

It is some hours before Margot stirs beneath the weight of a very different, very explicit dream. She had shifted through the course of their sleep, though never leaving the protective shield of his arm. Now on her back, his top leg and her inner leg had become entwined, her hip firmly pressed against his member and her head tucked comfortably against him.

Now, his hand woven with hers, she moves them between the loose shirt she wore and her skin, inviting an intimate touch. Her other hand slides within her pants and begins to emulate her dream’s stimulations in her lover's stead. As she falls deeper into her dream, warm lips press her temple in a sleepy caress, and fingers invited to caress skin find their way to her breasts for gentle stimulation. A sigh and shift bring her closer against him before he becomes still, slumber reclaiming him.

His fingers moving against her breast draw her from the dreamscape, though slowly and… enjoyably. It was a delightful way to greet the day; not demanding or lecherous. He simply touched her with intimate affection and drew her closer. Their legs were completely knit together, she noted with her eyes still closed, her toes gently drawing along their small range of motion against his body. One hand now rested against his heart, while the other…

The other hand!

Suddenly, Margot is wide awake. Frozen. Staring up at Kendall, panic grips her, threatening to steal her life where she lay. Yes, that was indeed her hand betwixt her thighs and her fingers covered in her own nectar. Silently, she curses herself as she tries to find calm, her heart threatening to tear itself out of her chest. Cautiously, she untangles her hand from her nether self, cleansing it on the inside of the pants as best as she was able while watching Kendall all the while for any sighs of waking.

Her lover continues to sleep, however, though she could see now that he doesn't look exactly peaceful in sleep. Whatever occupied his mind seemed to dog him into his dreamscape, for his face still possessed a kind of frowning intensity as though he was working through a conundrum.

She shifts to free one hand, lifting it up to smooth away the lines in his brow with her fingers and press a kiss to his lips before wrapping her arms around him. Kendall stirs, slumber once more disturbed but not broken as she moves about restlessly. His sleeping frown eases at the touch of lips against his, changing briefly to faint smile. He was quite beautiful without the scowl when he slept, she thought. Peaceful; not quite angelic, but certainly glorious to behold.

Burrowing closer, she tucks her head beneath his chin, her lips brushing against his chest with each breath. Her outer arm tightens around him, fingers smoothing the small of his back. Only then as she was finally settled and at peace did she note something very different and very new. There was an…awkwardness pressed uncomfortably against her lower hip. With renewed panic, she slowly moves the arm that pillowed her head between their bodies, only to gasp softly when questing fingers arrive at their destination to find his engorged member extended.

Clearly, he was sleeping. Does his body crave even in his slumber? She was hardly one to judge, given she had wakened with her own hand satisfying her needs. Gently, so as not to disturb him — hopefully — her fingers slide beneath his manhood and guide his erection to rest against his stomach between them. Her fingers remain against him until she had snuggled in to where she was going to settle, to protect him she told herself; but in truth there was something arousing about his arousal, even if he was unaware of it.

Her restless shifting, no matter how slow or careful, and certain…sensations…draw him towards wakefulness. A sigh of contentment escapes him as he shifts to accommodate her snuggling, beginning to caress the skin of her back under her shirt again. Eyes open, and head moves to grace her forehead with his lips. "Fair morn, my sweet," he greets her softly.

Her hand had not quite left its placement, causing her to tense for a moment. "Gracious Day, My Heart," she returns, purring at the touch of his lips. "I am sorry I disturbed you. I tried to find comfort only to be… poked…?" she finishes awkwardly as she brushes his member in demonstration. "I was trying to not cause you discomfort."

Margot is grateful he could not see the crimson she was certain she radiated. Her lips rest against his chest as she breathes him in. "Is this a normal occurrence when you slumber?" she asks. She wanted to retrieve her hand but found it unwilling to leave its location.

Kendall's body shakes with a chuckle at her curiosity. "Yes, shayna," he answers her last question first. "It does happen frequently, perhaps stimulated by the presence of a beautiful woman in my arms. I hope you did not find it… distressing?" There is humor in his voice, since it didn't appear that she had been troubled.

"No… I was… surprised. Do you—" her mind went to her own very vivid dream and the actions that resulted in her unconscious state. "Dream? I mean, for this to happen?" Absently her fingers caress him, not so much to arouse as to bestow intimate affection while speaking of intimate things.

"Sometimes, though few stay within memory upon waking," he replies. He breathes deep, taking the morning into his lungs. The cinnamon-like aroma of the oil he favored, salty fresh air from the sea, and Margot's own fragrance all came together in delightful combination. He falls silent, thinking. It was… strange, this waking. As if Margot had no memory of the events that had terminated their last encounter.

Out of sight of the princess snuggled against his chest, his mouth pulls into a frown as he considers whether he should broach the topic, or leave things as they were. Most likely, it would be best to discuss it with her in a controlled setting, rather than wait to be broadsided unexpectedly with references or another eruption of emotion. Whether now was the best time, though…

"I woke with a dream… that stirred me," she says slowly, breaking his train of thought. She breathes him in, reveling in his warmth and closeness. She knew that they would have to talk and that it would not be of things she wanted to discuss, things that would likely torment her heart; but she did not wish to taint this moment. She wanted to pretend everything was perfect, loving, right. Uncertain where her hand should be, she leaves it where it is for now.

"It was unlike one I had ever experienced before, and I was…" She hesitates, pulling her thoughts together, her lips brushing against him. "You were prominent in the dream and I was enacting what you were doing in the dream." Her words are barely audible, hoping he would catch her meaning. Oh, how she was so embarrassed in her confessions.

"I was afraid that I disturbed you and tried to… calm myself and simply take comfort in your arms when, well, I found you in your state. I truly didn't mean to wake you," she assures him.

His head moves in a nod, brushing against her hair. "Apology accepted," he reassures her, smile returning to face and voice. "Though I am not dismayed and apology is not required."

He pauses for a breath before adding, "Do you desire to continue with what stirred you?"

His question electrifies her entire body. "Alone…? Not especially…" she answers after a few moments of her pulse racing faster and faster. Another kiss finds his chest, her lips lingering against his skin while her hand upon him begins to explore with increased assertiveness. Her other hand slides from his lower back in a languid circle along his bottom and flank before returning to his back.

Another chuckle shakes him when she replies, though… the thought occurs to him that this had not ended well the previous day. Arms releasing her, he moves back so he can tip her head up with one hand and bring her lips to his. Not so, another thought returns in counter. Their last sexual encounter had ended quite satisfactorily, really. It was afterwards that there had been a problem.

Lips part against hers, inviting her deeper as his hand again travels lower, pulling her leg higher on his and leaving her lower lips accessible to questing fingers. Margot returns his kiss with ardent affection, her lips parting and tongue reaching past his lips to dance with his. There is no resistance as he parts her legs, the ties already loosened from her previous self-study.

Unlike before, she is willing to let Kendall determine how deeply he wishes to entangle himself in morning loving; her body craves him fully but memories of unresolved distress flirt with the back of her mind. Still, his mouth is sweet and his length is strong and before long, her attention is drawn only to the moment.

The loose fabric of her pants prove no hindrance to his efforts to stimulate her, caressing first the soft outer folds for long heartbeats filled with ardent kisses. One finger first, then joined shortly by a second, take up the pulsing rhythm that her waking had interrupted. Her shirt proves more of a hindrance to his explorations, so he pauses their kisses, his free hand pulling the offending fabric up towards her head, and she helps him remove the offending fabric.

Once more, her hand moves to grasp him, this time with certainty and lascivious intent. Her mouth clung to his hungrily as her other arm snakes around his shoulders, holding him close as her hips began to rock against his attentions.

A gentle moan against her lips as her hand returns to him reveals his pleasure at her touch, quickening movements with his fingers below also pressing deeper as she begins to move against him. A third finger increases the pressure. His free hand finds one breast, cupping her while thumb marvels at the sensation of hardened peak. The intensity continues to build within her, he a masterful maestro and she his muse.

Lips break apart as their mutual excitement rises, gasps and moans increase as the temptation grows stronger to pull her astride him and make their union complete. Yet… some thread of caution remains, dogging his thoughts despite his best efforts to ignore safety and abandon himself to Margot's passion. She whimpers against him, but still she could feel it. A pause… a hesitation beyond the self-sacrificing act of seeing her to release.

She pulls away from his ardent kisses, leaving him nonplussed until she begins to remove her pants. This made sense, so he helps her remove the restricting fabric, but once she is bare, she presses him onto his back with her chest against his. One arm propped her head, the elbow anchored to a pillow while legs entwined with his, she looks down on him with a sober expression.

Kendall squints at her in puzzlement, and his expression becomes guarded again, but he waits for her to explain herself. Where yesterday she withdrew as his eyes became distant, she remains close now even though her heart fell and she braced inwardly for what was to come with this conversation. She brushes the backs of her fingers along his temples as she stares into his eyes.

"My Heart… you restrain yourself." She speaks softly, concern in her eyes. "I… It is because of what happened yesterday, is it not?" Margot swallows hard. There had been faint hope, apparently futile now, that they could have just moved past yesterday and joining would have begun the healing process.

He sighs. "Yes." The simple admission is quiet.

"I see glimpses of you being so happy, so at ease." Her smile becomes soft and sad. "Your eyes shine and your face is so free of stress. And then, all of a sudden, it's like…like a candle is snuffed or a door slams shut and it feels like… it feels like…" She draws a ragged breath. "It's like having the warmth of the sun wink out in a single heartbeat."

"I am sorry for yesterday," she continues all in a rush. Her eyes fall from his, her hand soon following to lie against the beating of his heart. "All of it. You were so attentive and patient and nurturing. I wanted you. Needed you. Could not be sated. I don't know what happened except… your eyes were so bright and beautiful and warm… And then they weren't. I still don't know what it was that I did that upset you and if there was any way I could bend time and erase my folly I would. But I swear on my very soul, I never meant to harm or insult or whatever it was that I did that dimmed that glorious shine."

Kendall says nothing throughout her long confession. It is not an easy silence, however, with tension evident in shoulders and the muscles of his torso. The hand farthest from her curls around to pillow his head while the other comes up below the arm on which she leaned, soothing her back as she speaks. Otherwise he is still and patient.

Margot's fingers idly draw upon his chest. "I don't exactly remember what happened, not fully. It all bleeds together with the dreams I was having. I can only imagine that you were right and I should have listened and not tried to seduce more out of you. I can also only hope that I was not as terrible as the flashes in my mind tell me."

She frowns. "You said something hurtful… I think. It upset me. I'm sorry that I flew into a frenzy. I was distressed and my behavior was unacceptable. It will never happen again. I—" She closes her eyes. "My mind failed me and I failed you. Please forgive me."

He remains still for some heartbeats once she falls silent. There were many things at work in the events of the previous day, and though they related to each other in some ways, in others they did not. The puzzle was how to address the needful things while not neglecting the whole. Even more puzzling was how to decide what held most weight, and where to begin his answer.

Margot's head falls to his chest not far from her hand. His touch is soothing, his quiet, disconcerting. In the back of her mind, she tries to hold onto the counsel Desrianne had given; taking to heart that they come from different places and different backgrounds and there were going to be misunderstandings, most likely over extremely emotional and sensitive topics.

The hand on her back moves with her, holding her close while his other one comes to stroke her head as it rests on his chest. "Your apology is accepted," he says at last, deciding to begin with the most obvious thing. "Thank you, Margot.'

His chest rises up and down in a deep breath before he continues. "I apologize as well, for upsetting you. For hurting you. It was not…my intention."

"Your apology is accepted, My Heart. Thank you," she says softly, her lips brushing against his skin. His breathing soothed her and his touch calmed her, dispelling the building tension.

Another pause before he attempts to explain something that seemed impossible to explain to her. "My explanation of yesterday was insufficient to the task, and I could see that you were overwrought with exhaustion and emotion. That is why I said we should not discuss it then, but wait until a time when Reason had returned to attend our words." His tone is quiet, soft, and gentle.

A second sigh, regretful this time. "I misjudged, and we both paid the price. I was too eager to taste of your passion again, my sweet and passionate Margot. I beg your pardon for my behavior, for letting my own hunger cloud my judgment. That is what causes me to hesitate now, though I confess that your body against mine is like a cool spring after long hours in a desert."

"We are learning. Me, more so," she smiles against his skin. "But errors and mishaps and miscommunications are bound to happen. I think what is important is talking through these times and trying to understand. And to not be afraid…" Her head turns so she can press a kiss to his heart.

"But please, do not let that keep us from being together, My Heart. Please…do not wall off your heart and restrain yourself because of follies in judgment that were not committed with ill-intent or malice." She nuzzles against him before pressing herself up slowly, almost afraid to meet his eyes.

Kendall studies her, eyes flickering over her face before moving to study the wisps of escaping hair and the glow of growing light reflected on her shoulders. Ultimately his gaze settles on her downcast eyes and his expression is serious as he regards her. He shifts so that he can roll onto his side and face her, taking another breath as he decides on the next tack to take.

Margot moves back a little, allowing him to shift to his side. His elbow props up his head while his other arm moves to drape over her shoulder, keeping her close. Her arm slips beneath the pillow while the other strokes finds comfort against the texture of his ribs.

"What you have to understand, Margot, is that I spoke truth yesterday. My intention was not to… to accuse you, but to explain to you. Badly, as it turned out. However, I do not know how to explain this in terms that you will fathom. Trust is not a thing that comes naturally or easily. You know this already, but the implications…" He pauses and sighs, losing his words.

"Then explain it to me now, or after we rise for the day," she invites him. "I will try to understand without the burden of over-stimulation and over-exertion and over-exhaustion. I will ask questions rather than yell and wail and gnash teeth. I know trust is difficult to share… I will try to comprehend the implications, but I beg your patience, Kendall. I am learning… I try to not press for more than you are able or willing to give."

She licks her lips. "I try to choose my words so carefully because I do not wish to make you feel ensnared, no matter what my heart yearns for. To see your eyes shine and your face relax and your smile with such freedom; I would do anything to see those things happen… to bring you that joy. Anything. It is a beauty I have never seen before and it lights my very soul."

His expression eases into his faint, gentle smile at her words, and he gives a quiet chuckle. "Very well, Margot," he says, turning his gaze again to admire the loose tendrils of her hair, twisting them about his fingers. "Imagine to yourself, if you can, that you have never in your life met anyone you could wholly believe. It is not necessarily that betrayal lurks behind every sentence… Well, perhaps it does," he acknowledges with some irony touching his tone.

"But it is more than that," he continues without a break. "Every action and every word must be… evaluated. Judged. Cataloged, perhaps, is the proper term. This is something one learns early, Margot, and thoroughly. It is something one does automatically. At all times. To everyone." He pauses now, his eyes rising to meet hers to see how well this was being absorbed. This is how he lived.

It is Margot's turn to remain mostly still save for fingers caressing his skin. "You are correct, I have not been reared in such a fashion. I trust based on what my heart tells me, what my instinct tells me; and perhaps I trust too easily. I do not know how to compartmentalize. Things are not so cleanly severed in my existence. I do not know what I did… but, I understand, I think, that this is what happens when your eyes dim. Is that correct?" she asked gently.

He hesitates, and then he nods. "It is only that there are times when others do not… act… as expected," he continues his explanation, gaze again following his hand as it moves up to smooth the stray hairs back from her forehead and caress her temple. "Those are times when alert is caused."

Another sigh, another shift of his gaze down to her face. But then lips turn upwards in a devilish smile, eyes dropping further to take in her nakedness before him with a salacious expression. His own body reacts to the trend of his thoughts. "I did not dislike or find your invitation distasteful, my sweet. Twas just unexpected from your lips."

"I truly was only being playful. I am sorry that put you on edge," she entreated. "I know it was not something I would normally utter… I just wanted you to ravish me and we were being so mischievous, it seemed fitting for the moment. Next time, should I long for such a powerful response, I will be more forthright and less… gregarious? Dramatic?" She pauses, at a loss for the right term.

He shakes his head a little, still smiling to reassure, but realizing how the misunderstanding could come about. "My dearest," he murmurs. "Do not apologize. You were being exactly delightful. We will both adjust to one another's ways over time, though ways change and flow. Please do not censor your words with me, Margot. Simply realize that some adjustments will be more challenging than others."

"I still find talking … intimately … challenging, but I find lying with you very comforting," she adds softly. "Not only arousing and stimulating, but warming and peaceful and magnificent." She leans forward to press a kiss to the tip of his chin, and when she withdraws, has trouble meeting his gaze again. She wasn't sure she was prepared to share the next part, but she felt compelled to try.

"It is all new and in time," she adds slowly, still keeping her eyes focused on the smooth planes of his chest. "I will learn to express myself plainly, completely, and without hesitation. I know that my opinions and views will evolve as my experiences educate me, but you will always know the truth of my heart. If there is something you do not understand or something that makes you question, I beg you, ask me. It is likely that I have done something innocently without realizing the implications. It is the only way that I will learn to avoid such follies."

He listens to her carefully throughout, and takes the time to think on her words before finally nodding. "And I ask the same of you, Margot. But we shall speak only when both are calm and reason may be accounted for. Are we agreed?"

Her eyes rise to meet his and she nods with a smile, peace coming to her face. "We are agreed."

She slides against him once more, her hand moving along his ribcage to back, and his heartbeat jumps at the unconsciously seductive movement. Pulling back slightly, her face tipped up toward him like a flower seeking the sun, he bends to claim her mouth with his in gentle caresses. Kisses speak between them for countless heartbeats, feeding their excitement until Kendall presses her back to lie on the bed next to him. Releasing her lips, he takes hold of the edge of the blanket bunched at her waist and pulls the confining coverings out of their way.

[Fade to black.]

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Interlude: Creating Accord

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