Games & Rewards & Preparations

Silence again fills the cabin once the door rustles shut behind the two servants. Kendall lies on his back as they leave, picking something up from his plate at random. Finding himself holding a sugared flower, he begins pulling individual petals from the head to place on his tongue one at a time.

Margot watches with great interest, reminded of the silly game 'he loves me, he loves me not.' Small pieces of fruit find her lips as she watches, wondering whether it was just his habit of eating the morsel or if they had something similar in Chaos.

He lifts his head when the silence stretches beyond his expectation, giving her a quizzical look. The half-stripped flower head dangles inelegantly from one hand. "Are you alright, shayna?"

"Oh, I am well." She smiles. "Watching you eat the flower just reminds me of a….wishing game moon-eyed girls play when they are very fond of a boy." She looks down at her food, trying to force her attention to the plate. Though the syrup was little cloying for her tastes, the fish itself is succulent.

Kendall rolls back onto his side, and pulls a petal from the flower head. "Duty," he says. He puts it in his mouth and pulls another. "Desire." He repeats the process with both words. "There are many others, though."

Margot picks up a similar bud. "He loves me," she says, smiling. "He loves me not." She also repeats the phrases a couple of times. "Like I said, it's a silly little game. Yours seems much more serious."

"Only on the surface. I have heard a variant like yours as well," he admits.

"And are little boys as guilty of playing with the same level of whimsy as the girls?" she asks, leaning over and pressing a kiss to his temple.

The look he gives her betrays puzzlement, expression taking on a quizzical sort of half frown. "Are girls and boys so very different in Amber and your Shadow?" he asks. They had had conversation, at least to some degree, about the differing expectations for women in terms of sex and marriage, and he had read her book on the culture of her Shadow. Yet he still had some trouble fitting the information together with his own experiences in Chaos and Amber.

"Indeed, they are. To pluck petals from a flower while wishing and wanting would be considered a girlish thing to do. Boys are rough and tumble and wouldn't dare be caught writing poetry or making music or painting; unless they were truly gifted or came from…" She pauses to think in terms he could grasp. "A House so noble to make it necessary for him to possess such genteel mannerisms. Still, I think he would be the one to give the girl the flower and yearn to be in her heart when she walks through the rhyme."

"Ah," enlightenment dawns. Sort of. "But the game, for us, is not intended for our own benefit. The choice left up to the chance of a flower, a wishing for another, or mayhap a curse." He pauses, pursing his lips, realizing that would make no sense. "That is, I would pluck the petals to enforce my wish upon another, a repetition to bring power to the incantation."

"So… you would either wish duty or desire upon another… for them to seek it or be burdened by it?" she asks, seeking understanding.

"In essence, yes," he agrees.

"Oh." Margot pauses to think about that idea, not sure she quite grasped the implications. Of course she liked hers better; it revolved around romance. "You mentioned other variations. Are they similar to Duty and Desire?"

"Well, any opposition would do," Kendall says, brushing the flower petals against her chin and along her jaw. Margot smiles, eyes fluttering closed at the sensation as the petals trail a fine dusting of sugar across her skin.

"The repetition is what brings power to the game, or so the old tales would have us believe," he adds. "It is a child's game that hearkens back to the old ways, far in the past, before real Power had been harnessed."

"And as a child, what was your favorite dichotomy?"

He finishes the flower off in one more bite, and he thinks back on the past as he smears some pink-swirled cheese onto a bite of bread with a finger. "I remember torturous living and painless death sometimes," he says after a bit. "Blinding light and endless darkness came up on occasion. More basic would be joy and sorrow, or undaunted hunger and dangerous satiation."

"Children think of such things?" she asks quizzically, curiosity stoked.

"Children are the most cruel beings in the multiverse," he comments.

"Not all children," she objects. "But I have known cruel children in the past."

"There are always exceptions, in any case," he replies agreeably. Lying on his back again, he folds his hands behind his head as he swallows the morsel of cheese and bread. He smiles up at her, either not noticing her gravity or perhaps not sharing it.

"Yes," she concurs, smiling down upon him. "There are exceptions, in most cases."

She leans over to sample his lips, and his tongue darts out to lick the sugary residue from her jaw before she can move away. Margot giggles, blushing as she sits up again. She uses a piece of bread to remove the excess syrup from the fish before nibbling at the delicacy.

"What other games do children play in Chaos?"

"Mm… games…" He ponders the question as he looks at his plate. "The very young play many learning games. Much learning is better remembered through games. Memory games, shifting games, hiding games, identification games. Then the young of a certain rank, when old enough, are initiated into the Child's Court as we call it. There we begin to learn the games of intrigue and political maneuvering."

"They sound… fun!" Margot's eyes shine at the idea of such games in a place she could barely envision. She reclines to look up at the spring-time canopy as her mind races with imagination. "Yes. Fun. There needn't be a grander word for it. Would you teach me some of them? At least explain them to me? I realize we're too big to play, but wouldn't it be delightful? Chasing one another in a game of hide-and-seek or whatever the Chaosian equivalent is. And memory games would be most helpful if I'm to learn the Courtly graces."

She sighs then, looking wistful. "But, alas, we're too old for such things, aren't we?"

Kendall sits up, his turn now to look down on her with a wistful sort of half smile on his own. He finds himself wondering what she saw when she looked at him. They were such contrasts: Margot with all her youthful enthusiasm seeming so bright and illuminating beside his tarnished skepticism.

"Very well, Margot," he answers after a pause, his quiet acquiescence almost a damper next to her bubbling enthusiasm. "Hide is beyond your abilities, as you are no shifter, but Seek may be modified. And I shall have Rory fetch some books to use for memory exercises."

She stares up at him with surprise in her eyes, her smile drawing her lips from one ear to the other. She expected a brief explanation, but to actually get to play the games? He could have asked her hand in marriage and she would have been equally surprised. "Really? Truly?!"

"Really and truly," he agrees. "That is, if you really and truly wish to."

An arm snakes out from beneath her head and hooks Kendall's neck, drawing him down to her lips with excited energy. She loosens her grasp just enough to stare into his eyes. "I think it would be marvelous. My skills and abilities are barely at a child's level. Does it not make sense to use techniques suited for children that force repetition? And I'll have you know, I was a very good hider when I was a little girl. You don't have to be a shifter…but I suppose turning yourself into a Qur does take hiding to a whole new level," she concedes.

"It does, indeed," Kendall agrees. He carefully avoids the plates of food as he moves around to settle on top of her, blanketing him with his weight and warmth. "Have you found repetition of this sort of activity educational?" he inquires with a quirk of a brow.

"Most definitely…but I couldn't say whether I am a good pupil or a poor one," she returns with a wide-eyed innocence.

He smiles and then kisses her. For quite a long while. Deep and sensual, their lips meet and open without hesitation so that tongues could tease and dance. Their bodies meld together, her lower body shifting to better cradle his weight. One knee bends to drape over his leg and become entangled. Hands massage his rib cage, following their firm lines from the side to where they met his spine all the way to the small of his back before returning the journey to where his shoulder blades meet the bottom of his neck.

Kendall's fingers comb into the unruly hair tumbling back from her temples as he tastes her for countless heartbeats before finally drawing away to smile down on her. "So far, you have been an apt student of much that I have attempted to teach you," he says. "With my tutors, that would mean withholding a slap for a lesson learned. Mayhap you would prefer some other reward."

"A reward?" she inquires with a smile betraying innocent eyes. "I should hardly think a reward is something for the student to select, but rather the master to bestow."

She laughs softly before returning to far more intimate endeavors. The only break in affection comes when breathing became necessary. Margot's hands continue to explore his body while he contents himself with exploring the texture of her hair against skin. She strokes along his spine, working out the tiny knots of stress she found before continuing on. Occasionally, she'd smile against his mouth for no particular reason beyond staring into his eyes, before resuming tenderness once more.

The ship sways and splashes on its quiet journey while they simply bask in each other's arms. Waves curl in the wake, feet tramp above, and contented sighs whisper between them. Clothing is shed as they roll on the soft mattress to find new ways to anoint each other with affection. Kendall is pretty sure he would come up with a suitable reward for her eventually, but that seemed a distant consideration. Of much greater interest is the scent of her hair and how it tickled his arms, the taste of her mouth, cool skin against his.

Her head comes to rest upon his shoulder as her hand traced his side. She wondered how they had gotten to the after glow without all the exertion and release beforehand? She didn't mind in the least, relishing the warm intimacy they shared. "Are you ticklish?" she asks dreamily. "I know you know that I'm ticklish… but I don't recall if you ever disclosed the same."

"Mm. You are quite possibly the most ticklish person I have ever met," he agrees. He restrains himself from running fingers along her side and shattering their peaceful recline. It takes some effort, but her body lying restful against him was far more enjoyable, draped over his chest and one leg with his arm surrounding her. Fingers idly circle and toy with the exposed nipple of one breast, cheek resting against her head so that her scent filled his nostrils as they cuddled together. Feeling satisfied though not yet sated, but that would come later, and more enjoyably for the wait.

"I am not," he adds. "Though, as previously noted, you are welcome to test me." So very long ago and so far away, a most unexpected question in a strangely competitive game. When he tossed her the teasing challenge to test his ticklishness, they had not yet so much as laid lips against lips. She had yearned to; he had easily seen her virgin desire. Yet for all her cravings and curiosity, he would not have predicted so soon to be lying together as lovers, naked above the bedding, and certainly not aboard a ship taking them to Chaos together.

"There would be no fun in doing so now, you would be prepared for the attack." Her reply brings him back to the present, and he feels her lips brush his chest as she breathes in his essence. "But were you ever? I mean, are Chaos children generally ticklish? Is it something they grow out of?"

He shakes his head. "I don't know," he admits. "I have never…it is not something that has come naturally to me, personally, and not something I have been curious to investigate. I could, of course, become ticklish…if I wished."

Margot frowns for a moment, concentrating on his words. "How curious. I suppose you could. Have you never wanted to experience the sensation? There are so many opportunities to experience a moment, not to just think or exist through it. And I think I enjoy doing that with you the most." The arm draped over his chest moves to his flank to squeeze him into a loving hug.

He silently thinks on her words for a time while the hand at her shoulder enjoys the texture of her hair between his fingers. "Do you enjoy being tickled?" he asks. "It always causes people to squirm and try to get away."

"In a way, yes," she answers after some thought. "It makes me squirm and try to get away, but in a fun, playful way. It's torturous, but it makes me laugh so hard tears leak from my eyes and my ribs feel like they will crack. That's if you pin someone down and give them a good tickle until they cry 'Uncle'. But, a tickle is a sensation of touch. The way the wind blows strands of my hair against my skin the right way and I shiver — that's a tickle. Sometimes, when you whisper that I am special to you or call me hay'na and goosepimples race along my skin — that's a tickle. Sometimes when we begin our lovemaking and you caress me in a certain way, it is sensual and still there delicious, torturous tickling sensations just beneath the surface of my skin. I love them all."

"Hm." He turns her words over in his mind for a time. The closest he came to letting go and forgetting self was during orgasm. "I will have to give more thought to the subject. We— I… The prospect of being at someone else's mercy is not a comfortable thought," he adds.

"It does require a deep level of trust in the individual to truly be enjoyed," she admits. "Otherwise, it's just a physical response; action and reaction. Like if you tapped my knee in the correct spot, my lower leg would gently kick. It has no meaning; it just happens. The bliss of it all relates to the emotions and feelings you have for the person you are sharing them with. I would not have nearly enjoyed that day on the cluster of rocks watching the sea and getting splashed if I had been with Corwin; it would have been awkward and I would have felt irritation and distrust. With Bleys, it would have been a fond experience, but completely different than with you. The same is true of my father."

"Was that your first kiss, Margot?" he asks, his tone taking on a sort of velvety distance as he turns his thoughts back to those memories.

She is silent for several moments, and he can sense a slight hint of disappointment when she finally answers. "Officially, I would say yes. You have been many, many firsts in my life. That doesn't sound nearly as enchanting, does it? Being first. Being only. It means that I am left to be taught so much when I suppose others are so readily learned and eager."

Kendall chuckles in his restrained way, turning to kiss the top of her head. "Eager?" he questions. Easing his arm free from her body, he hitches up and rolls over so that she is lying on the bed with him looking down at her again. His free hand comes up to cup her cheek, thumb tracing the lines of her lips. "It is quite possible you will tire of me, eventually," he agrees, or thinks he agrees, since he misunderstands her meaning. "But it is my plan to pique your interest for quite some time to come."

"What?" She blinks in confusion and then snickers. "No, Kendall. I meant, um…"

She smiles with a mix of embarrassment and pleasure. "I meant that you must find it a dreadful chore to have to instruct me in everything when there must be women who are eager and talented and knowledgeable in the arts of love-making in ways I am not. I give you all that I am and hope it is enough to sate you. I did not mean I was eager to find other lovers; only that other women would be eager to entertain you in theirs and what a relief it would be to not have to be so…patient."

He smirks. "Patient?" He chuffs out a breath as he considers her words. "I must admit, bedding you has been…educational. You know already that I have had many lovers. Truly, I would be hard pressed to account for them all. But this is not said to make you feel lessened or suggest you are merely one of a horde, my sweet. It is to say that you are…"

He looks away into the distance over her shoulder as he chooses a word. "Unique," he finally decides. His gaze returns to her eyes before moving to study her hair, cheeks, and lips.

"But I have told you this before. You are unique in my experience, in many ways, and uniqueness oft holds great value. This is not to reduce you to terms that encompass only your value as a bedmate; merely to continue in the same vein of the conversation."

He pauses again, considering how honest to be; how open and potentially crass. He was not naturally inclined to crudeness, and Margot was still innocent and embarrass-able. He moves his fingers from cheek to shoulder, caressing her arm before raising her hand to his lips.

"I do not wish to embarrass or alarm you, Margot," he continues after laying a kiss against her palm. "But I confess I find your innocence…exciting. Only I have touched you or kissed you or bedded you. I alone have tasted your lips, laid hands to your skin, entered your inner sanctum. And you…so eager and trusting and adventurous. You follow my instruction like a lamb…or a lioness. You need not feel inadequate as my lover, my sweet Margot."

Fingers come to his face and dance around his lips, caressing their texture. Rose colors her cheeks and her eyes soften. She take no offense taken in his words, rather, pleasure at the compliment and maybe a little sense of pride warm her heart. Hitching herself up on her elbows, she replaces her fingers with lips. "Then I shan't," she whispers against him,

He lies down again, content, and snuggles her against his body once more. Fingers tangled in her hair caress her skin, tracing circles against her shoulder until they encounter a small knot left from the mostly-healed wound. Fingertips explore the tiny mark, testing the texture against his skin. "I could diminish this for you if you would like," he comments.

"You have exerted yourself so much," Margot returns, her eyes appreciative but her voice filled with concern. "And it will not be offensive to my eye. If it displeases you, or if it's something you want to do, then you are welcome to. Right now, it can serve as a reminder that not everything which is sweet can not also be dangerous."

"I suspect it will fade on its own in a very short while. Though I am told that scars can be attractive," he observes with amusement coloring his tone.

"Do you find it attractive?" she asks with returned amusement. "I only care to entice your eye."

"Turn over and we shall see," he invites her.

Margot's eyes narrow playfully, a slip of an impish smile curling her lips. "Alright…" Rolling away from him, she rests her head on a nearby pillow with her arms tucked underneath. He takes several heartbeats to stretch when she moves over, reaching high above his head and extending his legs as far as they would. She can hear several joints pop, and then he sits up.

Dark eyes watch him as he climbs to his knees and crawls over to straddle her. He carefully moves her hair out of the way, gathering it up into an unruly clump that he lays over to one side to cover one of her arms and his knee. Leaning over, he holds himself up with one hand against the mattress as he touches the small mark on her shoulder. He inspects it closely for several heartbeats before pressing his lips to the skin there. The kiss moves from there upwards to the tip of her shoulder and the hollow of her neck, and then he sits up.

"I cannot say I find it attractive," he admits. "Though it may be I am not yet accustomed to it. And it is really quite small. Perhaps in time, I will see it as something other than an unfortunate source of pain to you."

He begins to knead the muscles of her shoulders, releasing unrealized tension still stored from the stress of her experience. His fingers expertly press and work to release the tight muscles and relax her, and Margot melts beneath his ministrations. Occasionally, she tenses or winces at particularly tight knot or tendon that resists his efforts, but the discomfort is minor and she quickly succumbs to the peaceful pleasures of his touch.

He works the knots and uneasiness from her shoulders and neck, then moves down to give attention to the rest of her back. He is quiet as he works, concentrating, eventually moving to one arm and then the other. Each hand, leg, and foot also receive his attention. Indeed, almost in echo of their earlier conversation, he appeared to make sure to touch every inch of her back, legs, and arms.

Contented silence fills the space, her body relaxing to the point of bonelessness; there was no need to move with urgency, no sense of danger, no doubt that her vulnerability would be honored. It was beyond peaceful, this experience, feeling his warmth travel along her skin; only to miss it when he had moved to another part of her body. She luxuriates in knowing she could find complete serenity with him.

His quiet humming floats over her, barely audible, a sound reflecting a state of relaxation, well-being, possibly even peace. He takes his time over the massage, as much as to enjoy touching her as bringing her enjoyment. But eventually, having done as much as he could in this period of time, he lies down atop her with his warmth blanketing her. A kiss finds its way to the tip of her ear.

"Satisfactory, my lover?" he inquires of her, tone revealing amusement even though the question appears to be quite serious.

Margot presses against him. "Heavenly," she purrs back. "If it is acceptable to you, I would have that be my reward."

He draw a finger across her back as he sits up and moves off of her. "Very well, Margot. Turn over and I will finish your reward."

She presses herself up on an elbow, looking over her shoulder at him with surprise. "There's more?"

"Mmm," he agrees, reaching over to help her turn and settle on her back. Once she is arranged comfortably, he straddles her legs again and begins working the muscles of her thighs, hips, abdomen, and chest.

He looks down into her peaceful face as he works, quiet now; too deep in his thoughts to give rise to music as he delights in the feel of her skin against his fingertips, the flutter of her heartbeat, the swells and curves of her waist, the soft give of her belly. She lay with eyes closed — relaxed, calm, and utterly pliant beneath him. He could just as easily strangle her as make love to her, a contrast that likely made more sense from his background than hers.

Yet somehow, looking at the woman below him lying so open and trusting made him feel…strange. Not lust, or not solely the lust she could arouse in him in mere heartbeats. Was it greed? He couldn't tell, really, having little experience with the impulse himself. He had never felt greedy before. Greed was certainly known in the Courts, and would even be considered a virtue by many there. But Kendall had never needed to feel greedy because he had always had plenty. He had never felt the need to horde, to hide, to grab and keep and steal for fear of scarcity later.

But though Margot appeared to have plenty right now, plenty of trust and sweetness and innocence — all those things he knew he ought to abhor and crush out of her as quickly as possible — yet somehow these things instead stirred tenderness and a gentleness he had never known he possessed.

A contented smile turns up the corners of Margot's mouth though her eyes remain closed. He leans close, hands moving up to her shoulders again to work the muscles on their fronts in the same way as from the back. Lips brush hers in a teasing, tantalizing touch.

"Can you share your thoughts, my sweet?" he murmurs. "You look as though they are good thoughts."

"Mmm….I am…experiencing the moment," she answers in kind. "The warmth and weight of your body resting upon my hips, and reflecting on how much I love that sensation. Noticing how the texture of your skin is different than mine. I'm listening to the ocean, and how the splash is lost against your breathing. There are so many wonderful scents: the sea, the flowers above our heads, the faint memory of love-making… But above all, you. Your scent and all the wonderful feelings, thoughts, and emotions it conjures for me in a single breath."

Her hands come up to rest against his rib cage before sliding up to find his shoulder blades. Slowly, eyelashes feather so she can gaze up at him. "Do you find such things silly?"

"I think you have a poetical way of seeing and expressing things," he answers. "And an appreciation for small things. That can oft be taken as a denigration, but is not meant so."

Finished, for now, with his massage, he stretches out to lie atop her once more, kissing her forehead and then propping some of his weight on his elbows. She seemed to enjoy the weight of his body, but he wanted to take care that it would not be too much and that she could breathe.

"I, too, was feeling enjoyment of the quiet time with you," he adds. "Though I suspect we would both become bored, given enough time with no outside stimulus to bring unknowns into our spheres. But for now, I have found… contentment touching you, speaking with you, and making love to you."

Her fingers slide through his hair and around the shells of his ears, down the sides of his neck to the divot of his collarbone. Her eyes follow her fingers, noting every beautiful aspect of his being.

"I find it hard to believe that I should become bored," she answers. "And it pleases me that you find contentment in these quiet moments."

Her fingers return to his face, smoothing his jaw and drawing him close for a languid kiss. "You look so peaceful. I wish there was a way to give you more of this. Your eyes shine the most vibrant shades of bluish-green and your smiles are….at ease. I treasure these moments."

"Then we must ensure that you have many of them in the future," he answers. Anything else that might be said is delayed by kisses and caresses for a time. Eventually, though, a quiet chuckle breaks free. "It would seem as though you are well recovered from your ordeal, my sweet," he comments.

"I have had an extraordinary caretaker tending to my every need. How could I not recover when such tenderness and concern for my well-being are taken to heart?" Her words rise barely above a whisper, intended for his ears alone as if this were a secret.

"You do appear somewhat fragile for now," he observes with a smile. "But I would guess your strength will grow quickly, and soon you will have little need of such care. It seems to me that instilling addiction in you early will ensure much enjoyment for us both later on."

"Addiction?" she inquires. "Whatever do you mean?"

Her smile returns as she shifts to lie next to him, enjoying how their bodies molded and the feeling of skin on skin. She props her head up with one hand, wiping the mask of hair from her face with the other. She presses a kiss to his heart, the beats softly drumming against her lips.

"I wish there was more I could do," she confesses softly, kissing his heart once more before leaning back and resting her hand upon his chest. Her expression is thoughtful, not quite sober, but there was no denying the strong emotions glistening in her eyes: love, worry, devotion.

"I don't know what to do to lighten your burden so that you may shed the creases in your brow," she confesses. "I wish for you so many more moments of contentedness."

"Hmm…" he hums in thought. "You make a very kind offer, Margot. One thing I do consider of great importance is that you establish your relationship with the Lady Dara, particularly in light of this most recent incident. That you have not yet had conversation with her concerns me."

"I will," she vows. Her brow creases. "But I've no idea what to say. According to Rory, nothing was done in malice. How can I punish for something that was not done in malice? And if there is to be punishment, I have no idea what would be suitable. If I am to understand events,"

Margot sits up and leans against the bed. "If I am to understand events, I just had a poor reaction to a harmless piece of fruit. That is not the transgression. That she did not come to my aid when I stumbled away; both you and Rory have come up with plausible reasons…"

"My apologies, Margot," Kendall says when she falls quiet. "I see I have not been clear in my meaning, and I believe you attribute too much to Rory's report."

Margot looks down at him, confusion wrinkling her brow.

"You still do not know whether there was malice involved on the part of the Lady Dara or someone else," he explains. "Even if the berries were not tampered with, it is possible she or someone else knew the effects they would have on you. She has far greater knowledge about Amber due to her former position as a leading member of the invasion, remember."

He sits up as he continues, reaching over to retrieve the plate of food he had abandoned earlier. "You are correct that her transgression here is the lack of attention she gave during your distress. There are any number of reasons to explain why she did not come to your aid, but those reasons are all irrelevant. The only point of relevance is that she did not attend to her duty to safeguard you according to your expectations."

"I have a confession," Margot says after hearing him out. "I feel awful for ordering her to stand down when…earlier. Was that wrong? To make her just…sit there? Did I shame her?"

A long silence follows her question while he ponders what he knows and doesn't about the situation and Dara. He pokes at the items on his plate once or twice as he thinks, but does not eat.

"I think not," he decides at last. "Her place is to safeguard, guide, and also to obey you. She came to your assistance in order to protect you, but you may still judge whether such protection is warranted or not."

He looks up at her, expression curious. "What leads you to ask?"

"I feel like…like she deserves an apology, no different than you or Diona. My ignorance created a very volatile situation. She has shared on more than one occasion that there is no love lost between the two Houses, so ordering her to stand down while your sister very much desired to draw my blood… That seems to me would add insult to injury."

She takes a deep breath and picks up the wineglass from the bedside shelf. "I know she is not my friend, but she does deserve a certain amount of respect and with that comes acknowledgement of my errors as well. She is not some scullery maid trained to be unseen and expect nothing when it comes to respect. She is, as you say, my blade and my guide."

Kendall takes his own deep breath, letting it out in a thoughtful exhalation. "Indeed, then it seems to me that actively working to build a relationship with her is the best course of action for you, one that is critical to prevent such occurrences in the future."

He smiles then as though to reassure her. "You should speak to her in a place where you are comfortable and feel at ease. Here in this cabin would be suitable, and afford as much privacy as is possible under the circumstances."

She nods. "If you do not mind the use of the cabin, then yes, I would feel most at ease here. I do not relish meeting her alone, but I also will not be a slave to my fears. At best, we come to an understanding. At worst, you will not have to concern yourself with introducing me to the Courts." She smiles grimly at the macabre humor.

He shakes his head, his smile turning wry. "I have no doubt you will be able to come to an understanding that does no involve the death of either of you," he says with confidence.

"Well, then. There is no sense delaying this any longer." She leans over to kiss his lips once more and then rises from the bed carefully, much like someone testing the waters of the ocean before stepping into the cool bath. Once satisfied that she could indeed hold her own weight, she moves to one of the trunks.

Kendall watches with amusement as decision is made and Margot immediately rises from the bed to prepare. It hadn't been exactly what he had expected, but it was probably just as well. They had dallied long enough with love play. He finishes eating the food on his plate while she chooses her clothing, and sets aside the plate on the bedside table.

"At this rate, I'll arrive in Chaos with nothing to wear. Literally," she comments as she looks through the trunk. She had grown bored with suits and formality but it seemed like everything inside was either satin, silk, lamb's wool or some other sumptuous fabric or color.

She settles on a red gown with laces at the back, moving back over to the bed as she pulls it over her head. "Would you be so kind?" she asks, turning her back to display the laces.

He moves to the edge of the bed and draws her close so he could lace her gown within easy reach. It takes several tugs, with brief pauses to make sure the fabric was laying correctly, before he ties the laces off in an elaborate knot that dangles laces in several decorative loops. Though advice and admonition alike waited to spring from his mouth, he keeps quiet to see if she had any other questions or anything else to say.

"Civility is probably the best course of action," Margot comments thoughtfully as he works. "An invitation to have a conversation over what has happened thus far. Ask questions and discuss expectations."

"Civility is most likely the approach that will lead to the relationship it seems you desire," he agrees. "A measure of trust, even kinship. She will compete for place as your primary advisor and teacher. You will need to establish boundaries that are firm, yet flexible enough to withstand pressure."

He pauses, turning her around and looking into her face with an earnest expression. "This will not be easy, or come all at once."

She stares into his eyes, her hands coming to rest on his shoulders. "I know." She leans over and inhales the scent of his hair for several moments. "I wish I had half your strength," she confesses to his locks, her voice barely above a whisper.

She lifts her head, moving one hand beneath his chin to tip his eyes to hers. "But I am still a Princess of Amber, and no matter how terrified or uncertain or intimidated I feel, those are to be my secrets alone."

He nods just a little, gazing steadily into her eyes with agreement and understanding. "I can stay… but I believe that would not convey the image you would prefer. She will respond to strength. But I will stay if you strongly prefer…" He trails off, twisting a lock of her loose hair around his forefinger, leaving the option open to her.

A smile of gratitude turns up the corners of her lips. "I will not lie to you and say your presence would not be a comfort. But, I believe at this moment, this is business between a Princess and her Lady and does not require an arbitrator from House Chanicut. Should matters escalate to a point where I need you, either as lover or Lord, I will not hesitate to send for you."

Kendall smiles, hands at her waist pressing her back so he can reach over to ring the small, silent bell summoning Rory. "Very well. I shall dress, then. Is there anything else you feel would help you prepare?" he asks.

"Last minute words of wisdom? Or inspiration? Use of Rory, if it isn't too much trouble… just to bring some refreshments. Desrianne can take care of making the bed." She inhales deep breaths, trying to keep her posture straight and still relaxed.

He stands and combs fingers through his hair, walking over to where water and basin waited. He rinses his fingers and then splashes his face as he waits for his servant to arrive. He nods to her requests. "I fear I have little wisdom or inspiration to offer in this situation," he admits while he dries his hands. "Except, remember: the Lady does have honor. At this point, she has little else."

"It is not my intention to threaten her sense of Honor. Of course…intentions and actions do not always align." Margot moves to the mirror to comb through her hair, enjoying how the black waves cascade over her shoulders against the crimson and cream of her skin. Now, she only had to wait for Rory and Desrianne to arrive.

It takes no time at all for preparations to be made, or that might be how it seems to Margot. Kendall dresses without any sense of urgency, but his usual efficiency keeps things moving. The room is tidied, and once all is near readiness, the Chaos Lord sends one of the trilling beetles nesting near the door to summon Dara to her Lady's presence.

After which, a kiss, and he vacates the room to leave Margot to her business.

Back to list of Kendall's game threads
On the Hunt

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