A Question of Fate

From Tenebrae
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lupecyll-Atlon mage's magnificent mansion, afternoon.

It's a rainy day outside, and Auranar has returned home to the Residence. A bowl of stew later, Cor'lana's returned to the comfort of the magnificent mansion that she and Telamon have set up within the house, and it's after a long bath within the mansion's roomy interiors that she finds herself in one of the many rooms, lounging in a long and comfortable bathrobe on a sofa.

It's been almost too much time since she was able to simply... look at the walls of someplace and stare at them. To think. To have the comfort of her thoughts--and his thoughts.

But the last day's thoughts have been... peaceful. It's maybe more accurate to say that her thoughts are at rest, because while Cor'lana still thinks of the swift and decisive intentions she has for Marsward at the earliest opportunity, it's no longer flecked with the pangs of sorrow and thoughts of Zalgiman from that snow-drifting dream, no longer interrupted by her grief and guilt.

She sighs in contentment. And she closes her eyes.

And that's where Telamon finds her, dozing comfortably on the luxurious sofa, her expression exquisitely peaceful. He knows what's haunted her for so many nights, has held her, whispered comfort, kept her head above the water till she could reach the shore. Not a single regret, either. Those vows spoken last year were not just mere words to Tel, but as binding an oath as ever was written.

Quietly, he pads over, dressed in loose-fitting garments of cotton, and he kneels by the sofa. And ever so gently, he begins to stroke his wife's hair, watching her with warmth and love. She'll rouse soon enough --but it warms his heart to see her unburdened now, free to focus on the future. Which, of course, will probably involve a ghastly fate for one Marsward Seraquoix, but as the arvek nar like to say, 'fool around and find out'.

The gentle touch of his fingers in her hair do awaken her in the way that they have so many times before, although she hadn't truly been asleep yet--but with how Telamon knows his wife isn't the heaviest of sleepers, that doesn't much matter. Her violet eyes open and she looks up at him, that feeling of warmth and love returned to him through the mental bond. "Hi, darling," she says softly, before she sits up on the sofa and pats the space next to her for him to sit.

"Pothy's over in the other room." That's at least a relief where the mansion's food stores are concerned. "He's asleep."

His smile lights up his face, like the moon rising in a cloudless evening sky. "Hey there, love." As she sits up, Telamon neatly slides in next to her, folding his arms around her comfortably. "I'm glad you're feeling better," he says, nuzzling fondly. "I won't deny that your account of the communing made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. But I'm glad you've found closure."

He snickers at the mention of Pothy. "I modified the mansion layout after that first time. The servants are always guarding the pantry and food preparation areas, and they won't let him into those areas without my instruction. No 'eat till Pothy pukes a rainbow' here."

Cor'lana smiles back at Telamon, scooting closer into his embrace as he wraps an arm around her. "I know," she replies. "It was... Incredibly unexpected. I had thought that the Harpist's response would have been merely a yes or no, like the other answers mostly were. I had been thinking--maybe I'd ask if he forgives me after that. Maybe I'd ask the Harpist to tell him that I love him in the way that a friend should. I didn't expect to have that final conversation, or... for me to fall apart the way I did in front of him."

And yet as she speaks so candidly on it, she's smiling. "He seemed at rest. That he knew what he'd done, that he'd reflected some on his past life. But--knowing he didn't hold anything against me, or even against you, liberated me at last. It was tragic what happened and how it happened. But... maybe, considering all that had happened, it was meant to be this way."

She looks up at Telamon for a moment. Clearly she's picturing Pothy trying to harass spectral servants, and that brings a further smile to her lips, but then another thought enters. "When we talked yesterday--at Grandfather's house. And you mentioned the norns... I wonder. How much of our lives are really fated."

Telamon nods somberly. "Considering my only encounter with the dead has been Feadril, and he's... I won't say at peace, but he's found some purpose and has learned to live with himself. I think it... worked out as well as it could have. I'm sorry for everything that happened, and all I can do is promise we -won't- try that again, ever. And that I will be the husband you need, in both good and bad times."

Nestled together like this, comfort flowing back and forth through the bond, Tel strokes her hair before tucking her under his chin. Happy place! But then she asks about the norns, and fate, and he looks thoughtful. "I don't know," he says honestly. "I like to think that we make our own fates, because otherwise, what's the point? Predestination is... kind of a depressing idea. Worse, it absolves those who commit evil acts from responsibility. So... maybe with some things, things that matter, maybe fate is involved. But a grand story, already written? No."

"You already are," Cor'lana responds with a small grin as she's tucked into the happy place, nuzzling into him. Her arms go to wrap around the back of his neck, which makes it so that Telamon's 'faerie princess' is well and truly locked in place (and so is he). "The husband I need, that is. Another man would have been insecure the moment I started tossing the word 'love' around to describe what I feel for another man, even if I'd spent every other breath clarifying it's a different love than what I feel for you. I am... blessed, to use a word I have used more earnestly than I ever thought I would, with you, Telamon."

The subject of fate causes her to breathe gently into the base of his neck. "See, I don't think all things are fated," she says. "I don't think they can be. The world is too chaotic and wild for that. I've said my thoughts on it before. But... if a thing such as a norn exists, then some things are surely fated, right?"

The scent of lavender is like a palm for Telamon, and he lets her cling to him, happily trapped and caught. "I knew. Hells, Lana, we both know I've been in this situation -- well, not exactly. Did you think I didn't love Maria? But our paths were separate -- she needed something, someone, that was different from who I was. I still love her, but it's now the fondness, the memories of someone who shaped me into what I am today." He brushes back her hair. "If I feared, it was for you to wound yourself, not for you to stray." He kisses her tenderly, a gentle reminder.

At the mention of fate, he nods. "I don't think it's that simple. The Watcher and I once spoke on it, and he said it was more like cards, and palming a crucial face card at a key moment. A nudge, to try and get an outcome. It's why he stepped in to help Feadril -- because he'd predicted I would come along, and that Feadril needed to be redeemed."

There's something in the bond for just a second. A tiny flicker of something dark and ugly, a jealousy seed born of what Cor'lana's called before as 'Unseelie feelings', that she then flicks away and replaces with a sort of amusement. "I know," she replies out loud after the kiss. "And I don't fear you straying from me, either--it's other people I tend to be concerned about. But with Maria--I know it's a different feeling than what you have for me, too. I can tell, after all."

She sighs in contentment where she is in his arms. "That's a sensible metaphor, I think," she says. Although admittedly, her thoughts in her head are turning more to that happy sort of fuzz the longer they're together. "I like it a lot. I know I've said before we're fated, Tel--but now I'm picturing us as cards together."

Here, her violet eyes twinkle. "You're the king and I'm the queen, of course," she says.

Telamon simply leans his head against hers. "You're learning still," he says simply. "I grew up around people. I learned what my head said, what my heart said, and how to manage it." His eyes twinkle. "Fortunately, I am happy to pass on my hard-won knowledge. You know that if you ever need my aid..." He raises a hand, and taps his temple with a grin.

"The example the Watcher told me once was something like this," Tel continues. "Imagine you throw a stone at a snake. But you throw poorly. Worse, the stone's headed for a window. But what if you were fast enough to throw -another- stone, deflect the first stone so that it hits the snake instead of the window?" He frowns. "Then increase the complexity of this image by, oh, about five hundred. That's what you're dealing with. The Watcher thinks that's why prophets sometimes go very, very mad."

"I think the only aid I might ever need is if I ever see a woman pawing at you with the full knowledge that you're a married man and you have the autonomy to say no regardless if you're my husband or not, Tel," Cor'lana replies with a small and sarcastic huff. "As in, you having to hold me back from doing something _very_ permanent and lethal." There's a mental image of her doing just that from her expedition to help the Lord of Ears, disintegrating a creature all on her own.

She looks at Telamon for a long moment as she tries to picture... stones hitting snakes. Snakes hitting stones? Stones hitting windows. Something about it all jumbles together in the mental bond and suddenly she's laughing in that way that only a feytouched girl can, compelled to mirth by the strange fuzzing of ideas in her head. "Sorry!" she manages when she can breathe again. She looks mad herself, really.

Telamon snorts. "While I will tolerate a -small- amount of foolishness, I can and will shut down such misbehavior." The mental image is of some random girl being dangled in midair, presumably by Telamon's telekinetic spell, while she reaches desperately for him in frustration. "If only to keep you from wreaking the wrath of the fey upon them."

Tel winces as Lana... doesn't quite follow the analogy, and then gets a case of the giggles. "It's really hard to visualize," he admits. "But suffice to say, the trick is to set one event in motion so that it sets off several others -- in sequence or all at once. I think it requires a bit more focus than I have."

Okay, she's visualizing it _now_, and succeeding. "Sorry," Cor'lana says again, giggling still. "There was just--something about all of that stone-throwing that made me laugh. You know how it is. Sometimes Pothy just looks at me funny and I start laughing my head off." Which is true, Telamon's followed along with the mental thought process she has that results in these fits of fey whimsy. The jumps in logic are truly bizarre at times--but it also keeps her on her feet, as demonstrated with how she handled the communing questions, if not how the communing ended.

"It's... kind of a beautiful thing, no? Like the falling of dominoes that you've prepared to fall," Cor'lana says. "It's a lot of effort, but then you see it all fall into motion and it's _satisfying_."

He chuckles, and hugs her to him. "That's very apt as well, love. It's incredibly complicated, and honestly, it's the sort of thing you'd only set up if you -really- needed to ensure an outcome." Tel grins. "Perhaps like ensuring the meeting, and marriage, of two half-elves? But then, there are possibilities. What if our marriage inspires someone else, or one of our children goes on to do something important? You see how wildly interconnected this sort of thing can be."

Telamon rubs his cheek against hers, before murmuring, "Frankly, I don't want to deal with that sort of thing. It's complicated and I'd be scared I'd muck something up. Just give me a quiet home with my lovely wife and I'm content."

Cor'lana seems more than content with that, too, snuggling against him as he rubs cheeks. She's close, they're warm together. "He did tell me to love you," she says with a somewhat amused note. "And to have a family with you. I guess that's what waiting in the Halls does to a soul--all the hatreds of life fall away. Wouldn't it be nice if all of our enemies were wishing well on us from beyond death."

She looks up at Telamon now with a smile. "I'm thinking a nap's in order," she says. Although there's that glint in her eyes that suggests something might be in order _before_ the nap.

"Then I will wish him well, and pray for him to have a just, but merciful hearing before the Harpist," Telamon replies with a gentle smile. "Love is the sort of thing that I think lingers even beyond death. Beyond the Halls, there is more than just memory." He kisses Cor'lana again, slow and soft. A promise and a benediction.

When they part, and Lana purrs about a nap, Telamon smiles again, this time a more worldly, crooked grin. "Well then, we do have that nice big bed in the master bedroom. Why don't we go and lie down for a bit?"

No matter where they go, life goes on for the Lupecyll-Atlons.