Dread & Anticipation

The motion of the ship remains steady and even throughout the period of darkness, and there are no birds nearby to awaken them with their chirping. So it isn't until the light grows strong enough to penetrate the cabin that any sense of wakefulness returns to them.

Kendall emerges from sleep first. He lies still in the pre-dawn quiet, assessing the state of his body and contemplating the previous day's events. But his musings are interrupted by a strange shimmering near the door. Attention immediately captured by the glimmering apparition, he levers himself up onto an elbow to look more closely. Wary, but also curious.

The silvery light takes shape. Somewhat. It looks familiar in a way — tall and thin, regal and proud. Feminine, with no doubt. Watching him with a hint of amusement that sparkles at its edges. A fore-shadowing, he realizes…

"Greetings," he says, interested to see if the Watcher would respond or if indeed twas merely an image.

Tis the mirth that responds to his hail which gives a chill of warning. Not his mother's, for never would she be so obvious. Neither his aunts, even those that cared for him. Never his lovers, for none would have such power, or now even care. Only one fits this chortle, a key polished by a loving heart. His sister. A foretelling of a visit!

Kendall's heart trips into double time as the realization strikes. Pleasure and dread were so similar, he could not have said whether he felt gripped by terror or elation. Was this indeed merely a vision, or did she tease him by not responding? He couldn't know for sure from where he rested, and so he carefully pulls his arm from beneath the sleeping princess' head so he could climb from the bed and investigate.

As he moves, so goes this vision… and with a pop it disappears. Yet he knows a foretelling, and the foretold. She was coming. Had come. Was already gone.

Kendall's mind is caught in a frantic scurrying as thoughts race to and fro so quickly he could make no sense of them. Routine comes to his aid: that he could sit up and easily reach for the goblet still sitting on the table next to the bed. He quaffs the liquid inside to calm his nerves and bring moisture to a suddenly dry mouth. Then he sits very still.

The effort to remain sitting and bring order to his thoughts is almost as exhausting as a duel with his brother. Perhaps he exaggerated. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Calm. Center.

He smiles.

Margot, restless without his warmth enveloping her, stirs and slowly comes to consciousness. Her hand and arm were still wounded, but surprisingly not nearly as pained as she had anticipated. She looks over at Kendall and offers a sleepy, contented smile.

"How are you feeling?"

The words come as though from far away, and it takes Kendall several heartbeats to realize Margot is awake and had spoken. He turns to look at her for a half dozen more heartbeats before he frees one hand from the goblet and reaches over to brush the hair back from her cheek.

"Well," he answers. "You?"

"Not as badly as I thought I would," she confesses, a thoughtful look upon her brow. She moves her injured arm and hand experimentally. "I don't care for spiders, but they've made it so I'm only a little stiff. Fascinating."

Sitting up, she smiles. "Do you think today will be less… dramatic… than yesterday?" she asks, her hand gingerly pulling his shirt aside to make sure his chest was healed. Curiosity was a terrible thing, sometimes.

He in turn claims her injured hand to inspect it. Held in the grip of thoughts that swam just below the surface, his face and manner have a distracted air.

"One can hope so, though drama brings excitement and interest," he observes. "I have had enough of dramatic injuries whilst visiting Amber."

Finished with his inspection, he looks up at her again. "Though you may have opportunity to meet another member of my family soon."

"Before we reach land?" she asks. Margot searches his eyes, seeking any indication on whether this was a good thing or bad.

"I do not know," Kendall replies. He turns to pick up the half empty wine bottle on the table and refill the goblet, but then simply holds the vessel, swirling the liquid absently as he stares into the middle distance. "She may be here already, or may not arrive until we are much closer to Chaos. The foretelling was not explicit."

Margot's brows rise, "Foretelling?"

"Hm?" he asks in turn, looking at Margot again as though he's surprised to learn she is still there. "Foretelling?"

He pauses to mentally review the conversation thus far, managing to shake off at least some of his distraction. He offers the goblet to her.

"That is one way of explaining it," he adds. "Time does not travel along predetermined paths in Chaos. She occasionally reveals some of Her secrets, to tease and tantalize those with more limited vision."

Margot did not fully understand save that something had him terribly distracted. "Then if there are new arrivals to be received, there is no time for lounging," she says with a smile, trying to be supportive and understanding despite her obvious lack of such.

Kendall tilts his head at her, a slight smile appearing again. He leans over to taste her lips in a brief kiss, his own still flavored with the wine he had gulped earlier. "We should call for service, then," he agrees.

Setting goblet aside once more, he rises from the bed and stretches, and then rings a little soundless bell that also sat on the bedside shelf. The Chaosian moves this morning with his usual grace and ease, no longer having to take care not to jar sore torso or mind knitting muscles. The rest had been good, making him feel as though he had not even been injured the previous day.

Margot slides from the bed as well and scrubs dark curls away from her face. The rustling at the door alerts them just before it opens, revealing both his manservant and Margot's maid. Both pause upon entering to give their individual salutes. Kendall nods to them both and then moves over to the clear space near the bed so both servants have room to work, leaving Margot to Desrianne's care.

The princess didn't know what it meant to 'maybe' have someone aboard now, but it seemed that Kendall was more than a little distracted by the thought which meant that it had to be someone important… at least to him directly. She asks her maid to choose a suitable garment for a formal meeting. Today, it was a silken suede gown of midnight blue secured with platinum buttons.

The work of primping and dressing takes little time, considering. Since they had both bathed recently, that step was not entirely necessary. To Margot, though, the time seems to drag a bit for lack of conversation. Kendall speaks quietly to Rory, and while he does remember to speak Thari for Margot's benefit, the words were mostly too quiet for her to hear. It seemed like the Lord explained that he expected a visitor to arrive, and Rory leaves for a time. Other than that, the Chaosian remains lost in his thoughts.

The matron pulls Margot's hair back in an intricate braid secured with platinum barrettes. Tiny hoops adorn her ears. A smile to Desrianne in the mirror and she turns to Kendall for final inspection.

In that moment, the Rhercyn becomes even more real… its walls, floors, and furniture shimmering with life and energy. Flowers bloom above the headboard of the bed as the ship rocks a bit in some giddy glow. The watch beetle at the door comes out of its hole to give a quick warning buzz before going back to tending its brood.

"Kendall?" she glances to him, smoothing her dress. "Will this do?"

She catches him frozen in mid adjustment, fingers hooked into one sleeve to straighten the seam. He stares at the place where the beetle had disappeared with a strange little smile on his face; pleasure mixed with dread, excitement, and maybe a little fear.

His eyes snap to Margot when her voice breaks into his reverie, and he blinks, coming back to the moment. His expression clears as he looks her over, and though it seems as if he doesn't really see her, he does come over to tug her clothes more precisely into place.

"Twill be sufficient," he comments in answer to her question, which is probably meant to be reassuring.

She blinks twice, trying hard not to be put off by his assessment and suddenly feeling extraordinarily insignificant. But there was nothing for it; if he did not wish her to accompany him, he would have stated so. One thing she had learned about her lover, if nothing else, was that he was not afraid to be painfully direct.

Once done with Margot, he takes a few moments in front of the mirror to finalize his own appearance. He is again garbed all in black, his clothing wrapped dramatically around his lean body in contrasting textures of silk and crushed velvet. Dagged hems at waist and sleeves ripple and dance with every movement. And she realizes his hair is longer, falling to his jawline in a simple, straight arrangement.

Finally satisfied, Kendall offers his arm to Margot to escort her back on deck to greet the new day. Taking his arm, she opts to remain quiet, not trying to force a conversation out of the distracted Lord. Whatever or whomever he expected to meet had him radiating a certain … energy or aura… that she had yet to really experience.

Together, Lord and Princess pass through the leafy doorway and back into the dim passageway leading to the deck. His walk is quicker than normal, ensuring they would reach the deck soon. Not as though he is hurrying so much as though the energy coursing through him pushes him to move faster.

"It seems you will have the opportunity to meet my sister, the Lady Diona, before we arrive in Chaos," he remarks with that same undercurrent of excitement in his smooth voice. He pats the fingers that circle his arm and rest against the velvet of his sleeve. "She may already be on board, if the signs are to be trusted."

"What a remarkable opportunity," she returns, trying to keep her emotions under wraps, focusing on mantras from days gone by. "I hope that my presence will not be an unwelcome surprise."

"Remarkable. Yes." His excitement is flavored with apprehension on those words. "I hesitate even to speculate on her purpose in making such a long journey. But she will be delighted to meet you, of that I have no doubt." He turns his faint smile to her, suddenly appearing completely normal.

"I had not known that she was aware of my existence," Margot replies with curiosity lacing her words. "Or that I would be traveling with you. Is there anything that I should know of the Lady Diona prior to meeting her? Or of appropriate greeting customs when someone meets a noble of high esteem that I should adhere to?"

Again, Margot was trying to think ahead and not focus on her own nervousness at meeting Kendall's sister, the woman she had been reminded on more than one occasion 'favored' him. No, she would put on her strongest facade and not let anything said or done force her to break. This. Was. Business. And, she wondered, could it be any more terrifying than meeting the infamous Hellmaiden she now claimed as her Lady in Waiting?

"She learned of you through her own means," he replies, voice dismissive and distracted, not concerned about the details.

He stops them both at the bottom of the steep stairs that lead upwards, taking a few heartbeats for some last-minute primping. She had never seen him quite so, anxious? That didn't seem the right word, but none other would come to mind.

No matter, it wasn't her role to assess. She need only be a solid, composed presence for him. She needed to appreciate that he loved his sister greatly. She needed to pass this test, and prove to Kendall that it was not a mistake to bring her with him and that she could survive and thrive if given the opportunity.

"There is nothing you need concern yourself over in terms of greeting customs," he adds. "You did well with my mother. My sister is not quite so formal with me, but tis best to err on the side of correctness."

Warmth kisses her eyes as she smooths his hair behind his ear. "This is an attractive look," she comments.

Glancing around to see none to spy, she stands on her toes to touch their lips together. "Take from me whatever you require to bring you peace," she whispers, staring up into his eyes.

"Thank you, Margot," he murmurs back, managing once more to center his attention on the woman by his side rather than the one he went eagerly to meet.

He resists the urge to sweep her into his arms and claim her right there in the hallway, an effort that vibrates throughout his body as his lifelong hunger rises with renewed energy, threatening to consume him. Instead, he smiles into her eyes as he steps back, giving them both room. A hand to his hair, sleeve, and the hem of his shirt, and then he offers her his arm again to escort her into the daylight.

Back to the list of Kendall's game threads
Reunion: Meeting Diona

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