Unexpected Promise

Phantom sounds echo in Margot's ears below decks while eyes become reacquainted with dim passage ways. Muted ship and crew noises filter from above, much more pleasant in their distance. The smooth wood surrounding them exudes vibrancy and life.

"Now that we have officially cast off, what is it you most look forward to?" she asks as they stroll back to their cabin.

He pauses as the ship tilts with a particularly deep swell, steadying them both with a hand to the wall. "Introducing you to all the wonders of Chaos," he answers.

Her smile could have illuminated the darkened corridor. "Are you truly so easily satisfied?" she asks as she also reaches out to feel the smooth bark. She would have sworn she could feel the life of the ship through her fingers.

A brief flash of a smile dances across the Chaos Lord's face. "Perhaps not completely, yet tis true to an extent. I look forward to seeing my sister and others, visiting certain sites like the Valley of Weeping Glass, and a variety of other activities. But none of those will be new."

"We have only left land and I'm awed by your wonders," she says with hushed sincerity, her eyes following the delicate paths woven in the roots. "It seems that anything the imagination can conjure is possible… and that I will forever be losing my breath at the sight of something remarkable."

"Without doubt," he agrees as the ship stabilizes again and they continue on their way. "Life is far more interesting that way."

Margot detects a new warmth in Kendall's tone, perhaps tied to memory or even affection for those things old and familiar. The soft tenor brought a smile to her lips. She wanted to hear of his favorite places and his favorite pastimes. Did he afford himself such things? she wonders.

"A Valley of Weeping Glass?" she asks. "Real glass?" The question sounded incredibly childish to her ears, but it flung itself into life before she could temper her tongue.

"I suppose it depends on how one might classify 'real' glass?" he observes with a smile as they approach the door to their cabin. "The Valley is surrounded by panes of glass that thrust from the ground in great promontories and bluffs. Smaller pillars and spikes also litter the area within, creating paths and trails. The glass is streaked with colors, so that when the white sunlight hits them, the ground blazes with color."

The door opens itself again with muted rustling and scraping, admitting entry to the cabin at Kendall's behest using the twig key. When they enter, they find some luggage had been delivered in their absence; two chests had been stowed in niches along the wall farthest from the bed.

"Some say the Valley was created during a battle long ago by sorcery gone awry, and the glass possesses the souls of the dead who weep over their fates," he continues. "Yet, I have heard also the Valley is possessed by the souls of those who die of unrequited love, and they weep instead for their broken hearts."

"And what do you believe is trapped in the shards of colored glass?" she asks as he removes her cloak from her shoulders and hangs it on the hook once more. Leaving him to remove his own robe, she moves to the sideboard to fill a glass with a deep plum colored wine from the crystal decanter sitting there. A robust bouquet rises from the glass.

"Oh, the second story is much more tragic and evocative," he replies with a smile, carefully folding his heavy green robe and draping it over the back of a chair. She presents the glass to him and he swirls the liquid before sampling the bouquet, as she had seen him do many times already. He takes a small sip, eyebrows twitching upwards in surprise to find it quite nice in spite of its rather heavy flavor. He offers the glass to her in turn, sliding an arm around her waist and guiding her back over to the bed so she could sit.

She accepts the crystal and her nose crinkles a touch upon her first sip, uncertain whether she likes the flavor or if it was simply…different than what she is accustomed to. Perhaps it was the viscous nature of the liquid. "It sounds like a beautiful place. Sad, but beautiful," she replies wistfully.

She removes her slippers before sitting on the bed again with back against the headboard, leaving room for Kendall to join her either at the head or to return to the foot where he had rested before.

"And you had mentioned the silver rains, as well," she adds as she gets settled. She smiles with the thought of what it must be like to watch her skin become a metallic sheen when caught in a storm. "Are there joyful places of wonder for you as well?"

He also removes his boots before lying down beside her, propped up on one elbow. The fingers of his free hand trace the swirling white design in her dress as he replies. "There is more to the rains of Silver, as well. Gathered in the right conditions, they are a potent aphrodisiac."

"You're teasing me," she smiles, leaning over to kiss his temple. "Aren't you? I mean… what sort of circumstances…." She shakes her head, unable to form her wonder into words.

"I would not tease about such a serious subject," he says. His face becomes solemn though his eyes are still bright with amusement. "If it comes into contact with anything not native to Silver while in its raw form, it can become inert or poisonous. So in order to preserve its special properties, tis gathered in vessels made from the hooves of the ch'ilc beast, a rare and elusive native creature of Silver. Their hooves are fragile, so care is needed in the creation of what become tiny bowls."

He holds up his index finger and thumb separated by an inch or so of space, demonstrating a vessel that would indeed be tiny, enough to hold only about a tablespoon of liquid.

"Amazing," she says. She sets the goblet down and slides down to rest her head on the pillow and gaze up at him with the eager anticipation of a child's delight.

"Once gathered, the rain must be heated slowly over a blue flame for an extended time without boiling," he continues his description. "Typically the bowl is useless after this process, but the purified liquid then can be transferred to another container and mixed with other substances to keep it stable and preserve it. Then, stored for an entire Cycle in complete darkness before tis safe to consume."

"What would possess someone to learn of such things?" Margot asks, her expression turning thoughtful as her eyes drift toward the ceiling. "Can you imagine the many different trials? Or what they had hoped it would do? Perhaps cure an illness? Or…anything." She sighs, her imagination filled with motives both noble and nefarious. "Is it worth it? The aphrodisiac… all the painstaking cultivation?"

"Tis challenging to find substances with reliable effects on those from the Courts," Kendall explains. "So many variables must be accounted for, with an individual's ability to shift being only one of them. In that context, you can imagine why we expend a great deal of curiosity and research on the topic. I would guess some elements were discovered on purpose, and some on accident. For example, a vial of apparently useless liquid is discovered in storage after a period of time, and is found to have previously undocumented effects."

"Can you imagine, though? I mean, being the first to discover the properties? Especially unintentionally or unexpectedly," she marvels. "I suppose it would have been tested upon an apprentice so the Master may observe and record the findings…" Margot trails off, completely intrigued by this notion.

"No doubt," he agrees. "Given the limitation on its creation, the question of worth takes on even more significance. But those with great investment often take great risks. Clearly such a substance is not needed between us, but between lovers whose spark has fled…? One may seek a sure way to rekindle passion. Or it may be used to place another in a compromising situation, or to attract a lover who is otherwise beyond your means. Tis difficult to procure, so not a route one would take lightly."

The dry, educational portion of his answer being done, Kendall takes the hand at her waist and brings it to his lips. Eyes locked with hers, he presses a kiss against the backs of her fingers. He caresses the tip of her index finger with his tongue and then closes his lips around the end to suck gently.

Margot purrs as his lips encircle the tip of her finger, her eyes fluttering closed. The rest of her fingers cradle his face, her thumb smoothing the length of his jaw. "Is it… quaffed? Massaged?" Her words are soft, voice breathless.

He releases her fingers, chuckling once more and massaging her palm with his thumb. "Tis most effective when tasted directly, either from the vial or when applied to the skin. So I would place some here, perchance," he says, moving their hands to indicate his neck. "And when your lips and tongue found it there, you would be inflamed with desire."

"Here?" she questions, her eyes opening as her fingers tickle against his skin. "And not here or…here?" She strokes the length of his neck and then presses herself upon her elbow so she can lean forward to press lips against the skin behind his ear. "And what if I wished to sample the concoction here? Would it have no effect at all?"

"Mmm… I suspect a great deal of experimentation would be needed to discover the means of greatest efficacy," he says softly, leaning back to study the lines of her face. "I wonder, for example, about application to the lips. It would require… delicacy, not to ingest it on accident before the time was right. But when done properly…. the potential for both lovers to be inflamed as one."

Margot's expression turns thoughtful. "I wonder if you would develop a tolerance for it. One where you would require more of it to achieve the same effect?" She lies back to nestle against his body. There was something deliciously marvelous about puzzling out the properties of this potion. "And how long may the wearer bear it before mere contact with it takes effect of its own? Have you enjoyed this potion?"

Kendall rests his head on his hand, still propped on one elbow. His other arm circles her when she snuggles close, thumb caressing her arm. He shakes his head at her question, lips twitching. "I have never had need to resort to…enhancements…to spark my lovers' passions," he asserts.

"Not having the need to doesn't necessarily prove it has never been experimented with," she points out, giving him a sidelong glance with a wickedly impish grin. "But I meant trying it out of…out of curiosity or just to try something exotic!"

She giggles and picks up a pillow, softly bopping his nose with it. "It sounds like something that…well…aren't you the least bit intrigued?" Her cheeks flush with excitement or embarrassment.

Not for the first time, Kendall wonders what possessed him to promise never to speak falsely to her. "Yes," he admits after a pause, his smile turning a little rueful. He claims the soft pillow and smacks her lightly in turn. "I have…on occasion…considered its possible applications."

Margot's smile falters at his turn in mood. She had only good natured curiosity that sought to fuel her imagination's wild flights of fancy. Why was it, then, that she suddenly felt as though she brushed against something sensitive?

"Well…it's a good thing we aren't in need of such…enhancements," she declares after a cleansing breath, once more stealing the soft bludgeoning device. "It would be an investment wasted. Hmph."

She lies silent for a few moments, collecting her thoughts. "I do want to see the silver rains, though. You described them so beautifully. I don't know if it would be harmful for me to get wet by the silver, not being native and as you said earlier. But, I would like to watch it fall."

He nods, forcing himself to relax again. "You can certainly see them," he agrees. "They are not necessarily toxic, and can be rendered inert, as well. In either case, the rain has a delicious flavor which begs to be sampled in a variety of ways. We shall simply have to experiment with ways for you to experience it."

He pauses for two heartbeats, looking down at her. "Did you wish to see more of the ship?" he asks abruptly. "I have already seen one very similar to this, so it did not occur to me to ask before."

Margot's brows knit together and her lips tug into a slight frown. A few moments pass before she nods. "Yes. I guess I would. It's just…" She shrugs in the awkward pause. "Not knowing how long our travels would take us, I did not want to exhaust all opportunities of discovery immediately. But after several hours of bumping and scraping in the carriages, walking and fresh air and a touch of adventuring would do some good."

Her smile returns. "There will have to be a wardrobe change. I refuse to traipse around this vessel dressed as a porcelain doll. And the sea water can't be good for the gown. Old habits, I suppose. Still, I would prefer something sturdier that is meant to meet the weather rather than dignitaries.This means, of course, you will have the arduous task of helping me undress. "

An eyebrow quirks, any residual tension fading away as mischief returns to his eyes. "Arduous task?" he asks. "Of undressing you? I have accomplished that more than once, and it proved no difficulty at all. But there is no rush, my sweet. The voyage will be quite long. I suspect more than 10 Turns, as time is reckoned in Chaos, unless the Captain or Countess have special means of navigation."

He lies back onto the bed to stare up at the leafy canopy above, and Margot snuggles against him with her head resting on his shoulder.

"Are there other living vehicles other than sea-faring? Are there living buildings?" she asks softly. She laughs. "I feel like a child asking such simple things."

"Yes, and yes," he answers both questions, moving an arm around her shoulders to hold her close. His other hand takes one of hers, bringing it up to kiss the palm and then lay it against his cheek. "There is almost anything you could imagine. The manor in Silver where you will stay is formed on the side of an active volcano, with the lava flowing to create halls and rooms, terraces and all else. The manor has been in a state of flux for generations."

"We're actually going to Silver? Where the rains are?" she sits up to stare down into his luminescent eyes. "Truly?" Disbelief, excitement, joy; there were very few things that Kendall could utter that would have summoned a brighter or grander response.

Kendall smiles in the face of her excitement, affection warming his eyes. He pulls her down against him, meeting her lips with his. "Yes, shayna," he says. "That is my intention, though we may not go there directly. It depends if this ship may go there, or if another means of transportation is needed. We may simply go through the ways."

She smiles brilliantly at the thought, but then her expression changes to a peculiar, questioning look. "The manor is part of a volcano? Isn't that dangerous? Or…extraordinarily hot? Or…"

"The volcano itself is…not in Silver, though the lava is redirected there." He explains, then shakes his head, realizing she would make no sense of that answer. "Tis both complicated and quite simple. The Shadows where we go are not always…complete, as you have experienced. Fragments of worlds are stitched together, and so the volcano is in one place, while the manor is in another, yet the two are connected and interdependent. You shall see when we arrive, but I assure you tis quite safe. I would not willingly place you in danger, Margot."

Her lips brush his once more, lingering and savoring the last of his words. "I know, with all my being, I know," she whispers. She leans back a little and her eyes take on a dreamy quality. "I think it will be … unbelievable. Amazing and gorgeous and evocative. Just saying a place constructed of lava and formed in the side of an active volcano summons the most brilliant images in my mind. But with everything in flux, could you…I don't know…one day wake up to find your bed chamber no longer has a bath? Or an entire wall?"

"Ah. I see." He thinks for a time on how to explain. "The volcano is erupting very slowly, so unless you sleep for Cycles at a time, you will not see dramatic changes. The effect is of walls that flow and change their appearance gradually. They are generally the color of onyx streaked with pale gold fire, and while the manor is in flux, some things are kept constant for the comfort of those who stay there. The reason for its location is the view."

He pauses, turning and adjusting them both so that they lay facing each other. She shifts and molds, conforming to his desires with instinctive agility. His lips still carry the essence of the heavy wine when she kisses him; yet, upon his lips she finds it not nearly as offensive.

"Mmmm… you wear the wine well," she remarks when they part for breath. Another brush, then a third, titillating and playful but refusing to commit completely to a deep embrace. He returns the play, merely nibbling her lips and pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth. Fingers weave into the loose strands of her hair, windblown and unruly.

Pulling away a touch, he licks her nose, his eyes sparkling. "You have placed the goblet so far away. Would you care for more?"

Margot giggles as Kendall wets the tip of her nose, the sound both delighted and melodious. Free. "How thoughtless of me," she scolds herself, her cheeks burning as she tries to prevent a smile. Peeling away, she rolls over to collect the glass, careful not to spill it as she rolls back to offer it to him. "Allow me to rectify my transgression."

"You are most kind," Kendall says as accepts the wine from her, carefully holding it steady while she readjusts her dress. He takes a sip of the heavy drink and then leans over to press his lips to hers, intimately sharing the liquid with her.

Lips meet and open. Warmed by his mouth, the heady drink mingles with tongues as the elixir passes down the backs of throats. The tiniest droplets attempt escape at the corner of Margot's mouth, but he moves as though by instinct to capture the rogue droplets before they can make much headway. He kisses the skin of her chin before returning to explore her mouth with lips and tongue.

Deep from the back of her throat, a soft purr resonates between them as Kendall tends to her cleanliness. But then he draws away to look down at her. "I suspect you would be far more comfortable wearing something other than that dress," he observes.

Margot's eyes open with a contented sigh, her smile warm and lazy. "This is an astute observation, My Lord." Her tongue passes slowly over lips to taste the memory of him, her eyes warm with affection. "Have you thoroughly steeled yourself for the unraveling? The unbinding, untying, unbuttoning, unstuffing, unsecuring? There are so many layers, you may come to find there is hardly anything left at all when you're done!"

He looks down at her for the space of five heartbeats, a smile hovering about his expression. "I have no doubt there is more to you than a stuffed dress," he remarks in kind. "Let us find out, shall we?"

He swings his legs over the side of the bed and sets the goblet on the bedside shelf before reaching out a hand to help her to her feet. Margot accepts his hand and slides off the mattress, then moves over to the niche where the luggage had been safely secured. Looking through her chest felt dreadfully overwhelming; she knew not all of their items had been delivered and worse, she did not know what was packed where. Supple lips pull to one side as she cautiously opens the lid.

At first she sees only fancier gowns than what she was wearing, but a closer look reveals a formal riding suit with a long fitted coat that flared at the hip to give the impression of a gown. The high collar with pointed tips would provide a wind-break along the neck. Full shoulders added to the feminine appearance as did the tapered fitted sleeves with dainty pewter buttons. A pale periwinkle blouse of the smoothest silk was packed with the suit.

"This will do," she decides, mostly because she did not wish to search through anything else.

"Very well, my dear," he answers at the end of another sip of wine. He sets the goblet down once more and approaches her, surefooted even with the dipping and swaying of the ship. Turning her around, he begins unlacing her dress with quick and practiced movements. Within heartbeats, the fabric is loosened enough for it to be pushed from her shoulders. Moving around to face her once more, he slides the fabric down over her arms and hips, holding her steady as she steps out of the dress. Once she is free of its confines, he picks it up and drapes it with cursory care over one of the chairs. The floor space in the cabin was too limited to leave clothing around for the servants to tend to.

Next was the underdress, followed by unlacing the corset — a contraption still puzzling to Kendall, but he refrains from commenting on it. He merely unties it and then tosses it to join the dresses on the chair. That left the farthingale, which revealed her finally in chemise, garter, and stockings. There were so many layers of clothing, it rather boggled the mind. He tosses the farthingale with equal disregard over in the general direction of the other clothes, where it lands haphazardly on the chair and then slithers to the floor.

Margot watches her garments fly through the air with disdain and disregard, his abrupt no-nonsense manner causing her lips to curl with an amused smile. There was something so incredibly enchanting about his no frills attitude. Her body relaxes in direct relation to the lack of clothing so that by the time she is down to garter, stockings and chemise, her slender shoulders had lost the rigid tension that held her in stiffly in place.

Arms come about her waist from behind her, and Kendall presses her against his chest. Lips touch the tip of one ear. She can easily feel the warmth of his body and the beating of his heart through the thin chemise that still covered her. "This feels much more pleasurable," he observes.

Her arms snake around his, hugging him to her. His enveloping warmth remained one of her favorite sensations. A smile forms, ardor lacing her voice. "I agree. Thank you."

With the slightest tilt, her head leans back against his shoulder and she breathes him in before suddenly turning in his arms to hug him fiercely. He holds her close as she snuggles against him, arms curled tightly around her back and shoulders. "Disrobing you took hardly any effort," he reassures her.

There's a moment of silence as she processes what he said, and then a chuckle. "Not for that, though you managed splendidly. I think I will always have you disrobe me from now on." She pauses to enjoy the feelings of happiness and contentment welling up inside her, much as his warmth surrounded her.

"Thank you for…this. All of this. All the risk and headache and challenges. Thank you for…your confidences shared earlier. In the carriage. I haven't the words to express to you how much this…means to me. Gratitude is an anemic substitute, but this is what I have so it is what I share. That, and well…me. With you, that is."

She hesitates and giggles. "That didn't sound nearly as awkward in my head," she adds as she squeezes him again, luxuriating in the sensation of his heart beating against her breast.

He chuckles quietly at her answer. "We shall see if you thank me later," he remarks. "After your head has been stuffed overfull of tedious details on etiquette and protocol within the Courts. Perhaps I shall leave the instruction of that to the Lady Dara. That way you will remain willing to bed me."

She leans back to look up at him with pursed lips. "Hmph. See if I thank you again," she huffs playfully. "You find me amusing? I. Was. Serious. AND. Sincere." Her lips brush his skin between each word. "May I ask you a question?"

Kendall sighs in contentment as she kisses him, inhaling the scent of the sea within her hair. One hand comes up and begins to pull out the hairpins, releasing the locks they held away from her face. "What is it, my sweet?"

"Well…I'm just curious…And if you do not wish to answer, I will understand," Margot prefaces, tipping her head to give him access to the pins. "How seriously did you contemplate siring a child on me?" Her tone is inquisitive, as if she were asking about the color of the harvest moon or the timing of his favorite festival.

The eyebrow quirks again at her question, though he doesn't take his attention away from carefully removing the pins so as to avoid pulling her hair. "In what context?" he asks in return. "If it was asked of me by my father and you were in agreement, I suspect accomplishing the task would be quite enjoyable for both of us."

"Indeed," she agrees, her smile shared in a velvety laugh. "But I was referring to what you mentioned in the carriage. You said you had contemplated it as an option; a political move to increase Chanicut's power? I was just curious as to how seriously you considered that. As you go to the effort of seeing that your seed does not take root, it would seem this concept did not hold fast for any length of time. At least for the present," she says.

"I see. I still consider it an option, for reasons already stated, but not one to pursue at present," he explains. "Right now, there is nothing to be gained, politically or socially, by doing so, since you are an unknown with limited influence or power in the Courts. I was speaking previously about potentials and stratagems, rather than set plans."

Finding the last of the pins, he pulls it out of her hair carefully and adds it to the collection already in hand. His free hand comes up to comb her hair away from her face and he smiles down at her.

She nods a few times, slowly. "I see. I think. That makes sense. I mean, keeping your options open but also your reasons for not pursuing it. Thank you," she says, rising to her tiptoes to kiss him.

He returns the kiss with gentle passion and then releases her so he can go over to the table to deposit the hairpins there. "What prompted the question, Margot?" he inquires.

"Curiosity, mostly," she answers. "I did not ask when we were in the carriage because emotions were high and tempers tested. But then with your arms around me just now and feeling a second heart resonate so close to my own…it reminded me of my previous questions. I know it's silly, but that's the truth of it."

Kendall stares at her for several heartbeats after he sets down the pins. Then reaching out for her hand, he leads her back over to the bed and climbs onto the center. He invites her to join him with a gentle pull so that she lies down next to him as they had been before. There's a bit of shifting and scooting and adjustment, but eventually they are both settled. Propped again on one elbow, he looks down at her for a time as she relaxes against him. His fingers twist tendrils of her hair into corkscrews.

He leans close, one leg weaving with hers. A kiss. Another one. Gentle, light, exploratory. He tastes her lips and caresses the skin of her cheeks with feather-light touches.

"Hmmmm," she purrs against his lips between kisses, hers parting to capture his lower lip to play. Margot doubted she would ever tire of the simple pleasure of languid moments like this. One hand strokes his chest while the other slides from rib to hip in lazy, loving strokes.

Kendall rests her hand against his chest to where the beating of his heart could be felt through the light fabric of his shirt. "Is this the sort of resonating you seek, Margot?" he murmurs the question, moving back a touch so that their noses are barely apart. He looks into her eyes with curiosity in his face.

The intensity of his eyes was so breath-taking. A smile tries to form, faltering bashfully as her teeth clung to her lower lip. She manages to nod. "Yes," she answers, breathless again. "There is something so…beautiful about feeling your heartbeat against mine, to feel them find harmony. And beyond than that, I love how it resonates through me and I can feel it in my muscles and bones almost as if I were a conduit or extension of that life force. Which takes my fuzzy logic down the garden path of shared life force to…well…"

Her gaze drops to their hands against his chest, following their path as she moves both to rest against her belly. "My question from before. People say, mostly old wives tales that get whispered in shadows, you can feel things like the child's heartbeat. But I would not try to follow my stream of consciousness; it is a terrible tangle and you're certain to get quite, quite lost."

His gaze goes to where their hands rest against her belly, silently thinking for a time on her words. He licks his lips, considering his next question, and then his eyes meet hers again. "Is this something you desire, Margot?" he asks quietly, curiosity still evident in his expression.

Margot now takes her turn at silent contemplation. Her eyes flicker between his and the canopy above. Anxiously, fingers of her other hand twirl the edge of her chemise into rosettes, but eventually she sighs and focuses back on him.

"Desire is a curious word," she begins. "This isn't something I have spent restless nights coveting, or giving much thought to at all before meeting you. I drink my tea because I gave my word that I would, to ensure I would not catch child. But, were I to discover I was with child, the discovery would not distress me."

Her hand comes up to trace his cheekbone with a gentle finger as she continues. "On the contrary, I think I would find the revelation a joyous gift. I do not desire to ensnare you with a child and hold you to obligation. No, any fantasies of carrying your heirs would revolve around girlish things like love and romance and not around politics and strategies." The last summons a playful but honest smile.

"Is this something I desire? When time and fate permits? Yes. But I want a child…" She stops short and collects herself with a shake of the head. "I want any child that grows within me to be loved and feel wanted, not conceived solely out of convenience or incident or political gain. I would wish for you to feel more interest and attachment to the process and progeny than duty. That you would have some investment of the heart as well. It's important to me for a child — my…our…"

She falters and closes her eyes, keenly aware of how closely he watched her as she hesitantly feels her way through her answer. "It's important to me."

Kendall remains quiet for many heartbeats once more after she falls silent, turning her words over in his mind before venturing anything in return. The hand not supporting his weight caresses her arm before moving upwards to cup her cheek, his thumb tracing the outline of her lips. Eventually, he asks his questions as best he can, his voice quiet and gentle.

"Why? What is important to you? Why is a child important to you? Is it….Is it a matter of having any child? Or my child?" He had never given much thought to this topic, and struggles to wrap his mind around what she was trying to express or apply it to his own experience.

A smile forms even as her brows crease in concentration. "These are not easy questions to answer," she observes, good humored despite the feelings of awkwardness that her confessions evoked, awkwardness that made it difficult to meet his eyes. "There is only one man's child I wish to carry, and I currently have the pleasure of sharing his bed. But that wish is based on love and desire: my love for him and my desire to create something — no, someone extraordinary. Someone who is both him and me and all together another person on their own."

Slowly, her eyes return to his. "What is important to me is that the child is nurtured. I was the only child born of love to my parents. My siblings were either adopted or magic was connected to their conception. It's important to me to give my child the same love and attention that I had growing up, even if not in the same over-simplistic Shadow. Especially if it is not. I do not want my child to grow up as unaware and naive as I, but I also don't want them to grow up without knowing trust and affection and connection either. It's important to me to have a bond with child and…father."

He studies the play of light on her hair as he works her words slowly through his mind again, trying them out in different configurations and comparing them to his own thoughts. "I cannot…." He trails off, reconsidering what he was going to say. "What if this turns out not to be possible?" he asks her instead.

Her smile softens, her eyes becoming somber. Taking his hand up with both of hers, she brings his fingers to her lips to press a kiss to their backs. "Desires and what becomes reality are rarely one in the same," she answers softly. "There are many variables in your question, my darling. What if we are forbidden one another? What if my service is done once a child is born and I am cast away? What if I am unable to conceive? What if you simply do not want what I desire?"

Her eyes close as she presses their joined hands to her belly once more. "Kendall, I love you. I desire you and no other. As childish or naive or ridiculous as that may be, that is the whole of it. I have no desire to stand at another man's side or warm another man's bed. I do not wish for another man's hands or lips to know me. Not Fate, not Destiny, not even Death can change that. As such, if there is no future with a child, then…that is what will be. I know you cannot promise me anything. I count each moment with you a blessing and try to live in the present, rather than the future or the past because of it."

Margot clears her lungs with a slow exhale, looking past him at the flowery canopy above them both. The glow returns to her eyes as a dreamy smile softens her expression. "Still, there is something seductive about the notion of so precious a thing growing inside me. A tiny being created in intimacy…feeling it move and watching how it changes the body. It is a beautiful moment in a woman's life; the mother is simply radiant when that precious life quickens within her."

He can't help but contrast the picture of loving beauty that Margot presented right then to another woman he had known recently. He looks down to where their hands still rest at her womb. His fingers find the edge of her chemise, sliding under the fabric to caress her skin. "Do you…think many women feel that way?" he asks.

She smiles as his fingers dance against her skin, looking into his eyes again. "I think many do, yes. Not all, but just as not everyone is suited to be a physician or chancellor or educator, not everyone has the passion or capacity to be a mother. It takes a special person." Her fingers once more caress his face. "I'd like to think I'd make a good mother."

Kendall smiles without looking up. "I imagine it depends on one's definition of 'good'," he observes. "But that is not something to worry about just now, I think."

He pauses another heartbeat, still focusing his gaze on the skin peeking out from under her chemise. "I…" He takes a breath, releasing it slowly. "You have given me much to think about, Margot. I have given the topic of children very little consideration. That is, until recently. I found the prospect of fathering a child was not…entirely…unpleasant," he admits.

"What about fathering a child did you find…" She trails off, struggling to find the correct word. "Acceptable? Appealing?" Her fingers leave his face to comb through his hair. Despite the obvious dissatisfaction with her word choice, her interest remains, curiosity fueling her query.

He meets her eyes for a heartbeat before he looks up and away into the distance, thinking. She can feel tension begin to seep into the muscles of his legs and torso, and he breathes slowly and carefully to manage his discomfort. Shifting around so that he is lying on his back next to her, he takes a second to pull his shirt loose from the band of his trousers and invites her to caress his skin by moving her hand to his side. Fingers slip beneath the fabric as her body molds against his, sensual caresses drawing elaborate scrolls along his ribs as her head rests comfortably on his shoulder.

"The previous…situation," he begins hesitantly, searching for words generic enough to ease his discomfort yet specific enough so that Margot would know what he was referring to. "Was almost entirely…unpleasant. Yet, it made me think about much I had never had occasion to consider previously. My House, my own position. My own…riches."

Her heart ached for him. If Margot could, she would erase such a traumatic experience born of nothing more than a series of unfortunate happenstances spinning wildly out of control. Numerous questions swirled in her mind, making it difficult to choose what to ask, let alone how to ask in a manner that was gentle and still inquisitive. "And…what conclusions did you draw when you contemplated these things?" she asks softly after a time, her tone as soothing as gentle fingers against his skin.

The pause this time is longer, fingers combing through her hair as he ponders her question. "That I wanted my offspring to have many of the same opportunities, the advantages I have had, though the price may on occasion appear high," he answers after a time. "I did not consider siring a child on the Knight to be…sharing or…creating as you described it. It was not intentional, neither of love nor politics."

The notion makes her smile, even with the awful nature of it all. She takes the time to also breathe deeply as she considers how to respond. "A father should want such things for their offspring. I believe the role of parents is to nurture and foster, to educate and prepare their children for whatever they may face as adults. At times this calls for tenderness; other times strict rules and consequence. Both are required from early on in rearing, yet the reward is to watch your child blossom and surpass your own dreams."

"What transpired with the Knight…That was the worst possible of circumstances, but not all siring need be that way. There is wanting a child…needing an heir…having a love so powerful that it manifests in a new being…political alliance…planned social assassination…"

She presses herself up with her other arm so she can look into his eyes, a smile returning to illuminate her face. "As you can easily discern, I favor the 'happily-ever-after' reasons."

"I would never have guessed," he says with a smile to soften the sarcastic tone.

She giggles and leans over to kiss his lips, tender passion flirting between their mouths. "A child is a precious gift. Anyone who thinks otherwise…" She sighs, her expression becoming somber again. "I've seen too many unwanted children and what happens to them. That you wanted to take responsibility for your child and see the babe raised properly…despite everything…It means you are a remarkable man."

Turning fully onto his back, he invites her to lie atop his body, kissing her again. "You are very kind, Margot," he murmurs against her lips. Blue eyes meet brown and silence surrounds them as he studies her, a silence filled only by their breathing and the beating of their hearts against each other.

Margot smiles down at his compliment. Her fingers comb through his hair, peace coming over her expression as her thoughts drift into the land of daydreams, imagining the two of them exploring fantastic places together with his arms around her and happiness embraced. She loved the way his eyes sparkled when he was amused and wished he would laugh. That was something she hoped to draw out of him…in time.

"I think…" he says, breaking the silence so gently the words could almost be lost to the sounds of the sea and the ship. "Perhaps…I would like to share that…experience…with you Margot."

His confession brings her back to the moment with a jolting suddenness. Surprised, she searches his eyes and her hands smooth his hair away from his face. "What are you saying, Kendall?" she asks softly, her wide eyes swirling with love, hope, and uncertainty.

Kendall frowns as he searches for a way to answer her question when indeed he had little grasp of the meaning behind his words. He swallows, takes a breath, focusing on the divot of her collarbone for a time before finally coming up once more to meet her gaze. "I mean that…since you desire it…I would…I would give you a child, Margot," he says at last.

He continues quickly without giving her room to respond. "Not this very heartbeat, and I cannot say when, in true honesty. Nor can I say how the child would be raised, or under what circumstances, but I…"

He pauses, trying to gather his thoughts and make them line up in an orderly fashion, but she leans down to claim his mouth with hers before he can find his voice. The kiss lingers between them, his hands following the soft lines of her back while she caresses his neck. When they finally break apart, her voice is gentle and filled with love.

"I do desire a child," she breathes against his lips. "Your child. But, is this what you desire, My Heart? Do you wish to have a child with me? Or because…" Dark brown search his eyes. "Because I desire your child."

"I don't know," he confesses.

A reassuring smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. Margot presses a lingering kiss between his eyes before immersing herself in the blue pools of his eyes. She brushes the backs of her fingers along his cheek before running the soft pads of her fingertips along his neck. "And that's fine. It's alright to not know."

She searches for a way to tear down the barriers and speak in a way that he would relate to, wishing to help him through something that came so naturally to her. It felt like trying to explain to someone what it felt like to breathe. "What do you know?" she asks at last. "Do you welcome the thought of someday being known as 'father'?"

He shakes his head to the last question, caressing her back under the jumbled locks of hair that lay across them both. "I know nothing about children or parenting," he asserts. "What I do know is when you speak of bearing my child, you look… enchanting."

He smiles up at her as color warms her cheeks and her eyes brighten. Lips connect once more, ardor more evident but still tender. "It's a dream that serenades my heart," she murmurs against his mouth. "To share a child with you. To have a part of you grow within me. It conjures many pleasant thoughts and feelings."

Her answer brings a smile to his face. "Is that…acceptable, then?" he asks. "For you?"

A giddy laugh fills the small space between them. "YES." She kisses him. "Yes." Her voice softens, her second kiss more passionate. "Yes," she breathes against his lips. "When Time and Fate smile upon us, we will have a beautiful child….together," she whispers with loving assurance.

He smiles and nods though anxiety grips him, anxiety called forth by a commitment made without full knowledge of its final shape or repercussions. He pulls her against his chest and claims her mouth with inarticulate desire — for reassurance and solidity in these moments of uncertainty, for a return to the simpler negotiations born of bodies and lusts. She returns his passion, answering his need with her own desire to cement their intimate promise. Already almost bare, it takes mere heartbeats for the lovers to shed their remaining clothes and begin their carnal dance anew.

They wrestle together on fluffy softness as the earthy scent of grass envelopes them. Mouths fuse and then part to taste each others' skin as they find solace in each others' arms. He encourages her small cries while he purrs and moans for her own delight. He plies her with pleasure, drinking from her joy as though from a goblet of the finest wine until finally he can no longer resist his own bliss. Only when he allows himself the promise of decadent release, do their bodies slowly find peace.

Back to list of Kendall's game threads
Intimate Moments

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License