Solo Love Me

Madeira confesses to Chiona

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Love Me

Postby Madeira Craven on May 25th, 2020, 11:22 pm

The night had finally set, and the dark heart of the Hearts Festival was on full display. Crisp mountain air ferried the scent of flowers through the press of adults as they laughed and danced and snuck off to quiet corners. The children had long been put to bed, the more innocent part of the holiday having been indulged while Syna was up. Now that Leth was here it was a different, more sensual scene. Madeira pushed through the crowd of lovers and lovers-to-be alone. She had said goodbye to Dev'ania and the living Autumn for the night, the three women having split up to indulge in more romantic pursuits.

And Madeira's pursuit had a name. A name that rolled off her tongue in a way that made her drug-addled mind want to sing it. Chiona Chiona Chiona. What a perfect creature. Her creature, if tonight went well. And it would. She had prepared for seasons for just this opportunity.

The chilly night air nipped at her exposed shoulders, and she could barely breath in the red dress and corset that were twisting her underdeveloped body into a pleasing shape. The expertly applied cosmetics and brushed out hair had the effect of casually rearranging the bones of her face, erasing the bold colours and harsh lines and making her appearance soft and young. The various lapis ink skulls on her chest and shoulders emitted a gentle glow. Tied around her wrist was a wide red ribbon with a little box tied at the other end. The Craven had never worn battle armor before, but she imagined this is what it felt like. She felt safe behind this forceful impression she had walled around herself.

The drugs helped too, admittedly. A festival was not a festival without hallucinogenics to replace the illusions she no longer saw. And after dosing up with the wildly expensive azure with Autumn she felt quick and bright as she stepped around people and the brilliant hallucinations that surrounded her, heading for the tall tower she could see rising over the architecture of Lhavit. She was unstoppable.

"My my, don't you look pretty, princess."

Suddenly that armour didn't feel as iron clad as she thought as that dark, poisonous voice peeled itself out of the dark behind her, slipping into the cracks. Madeira turned on the spot, a whirl of red gossamer, a protective smile already on her lips. The cordas mark hidden on her tongue felt as rough as sandpaper as she dragged it across her teeth.

"Rotsam. Here to ask me to dance?"

"I don't dance."

The unchallenged Spiritist of Lhavit, Rotsam the Curse Eater, peeled himself out of the shadow of an awning at the edge of the festivities. If she didn't know better, she would guess he didn't know there was a celebration was going on. He was wearing the same faded and worn clothing as always, his shorn hair unadorned. The only concession to the public event seemed to be wearing a shirt over his usually bared chest. She didn't like the way his black eyes looked at her, taking her all in from head to toe. Not in a sexual way, or even a predatory one, but in a way that made her feel like he was looking past all the finery and gazing directly at the soul shivering beneath. His smile beneath them was even less welcome. It wasn't as pretty and fine tunes as her own. His was all sharp edges and shining teeth, a warning that this creature was poisonous.

This was the first time they had stood face to face since Sagallius roared into their lives and tied them together. She wondered where his matching Cordas was. She wondered whether her presence haunted him as much as he haunted her.

"I thought we already were", she rotated with her arms extended, giving him a flourishy little bow.

His smile was dark and sardonic. "I suppose so."

There was a long beat of silence as they watched each other. Her acting was unruffled by the pressure of their shared gaze, but inside she was screaming for him to leave. She had worked so hard for this, don't let this night unravel now.

"What do you want, Rotsam? There in a festival going on and I'm late to the party."

"Of course", the man shoved his calloused hands into his pockets, his eyes never lifting from her. "Who am I to keep the queen from her court."

A dismissal, thank gods. She laughed as she playfully curtsied for him, then with a spin turned to leave. Anybody who had witnessed the exchange would have thought nothing of it. Just acquaintances meeting at a festival. But there was an invisible, undeniable pressure between them. Like storm clouds moving in, threatening rain.

"Hey princess", the Myrian didn't seem to have any shame as he barked at her while she was almost out of earshot, seemingly oblivious to the eyes turned their way. Madeira stopped but didn't look back, only tilting her ear back over her shoulder. Even so she could almost see the sickle smile on his lips, see his dark eyes flash dangerously. "Say hi to that pretty miss Dusk for me."

Gathering her skirts in her fists, Madeira continued on her way, eyes on the Tower, doing everything in her power not to break into a run.
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Love Me

Postby Madeira Craven on May 25th, 2020, 11:24 pm

The Dusk Tower sat resplendent in the middle of Zintila, taller than any other building in the bustling peak. Lamps were lit in every window, looking bright and cheery and empty. None of the students or teachers would be inside on a night like this. Well, there shouldn't be. Madeira was betting her entire night that at least one person had elected to stay behind.

There was no secretary standing guard on the Dusk family's private wing, so Madeira let herself inside. The sprawling estate was broken into many modest apartments, too many for the wealthy family to fill. Her soft dancing shoes echoed quietly in the cavernous hall as she looked for the one familiar apartment she needed.

When she finally stood in front of Chiona's door she was unsurprised to realize she wasn't nervous. Her heartbeat was steady, her hands dry beneath her gloves. She had played this scene over in her mind long before Lhelie left the picture. Long before she and Chiona were even friends. Even knowing Rotsam was lurking somewhere on the peak didn't affect her here. She had been planning for this moment for ages, and now that she was here, she was ready.

Madeira gathered the ribbon into her arms, holding the little box in her hand. She took a moment to run her fingers through her hair and dab at the lipstick on her mouth. Everything had to be perfect. She had to be perfect. And once she was sure she was, she knocked on the door.

There was a kind of waiting silence on the other side, and Madeira felt her first pang of doubt. What if she misjudged things? What if Chiona had already left? But that didn't last long as she finally heard hesitant movement on the other side. The door cracked open by centimeters, and Chiona's tawny eye peeked out.

"Madeira?" the name was a question as it left her lips. And on recognizing who it was, she opened the door fully.

Chiona wasn't dressed to celebrate. She wore the same saree robes she wore every day, her hair tied back only enough to keep it out of her way. Even so she was the very personification of beauty to the Spiritist. Healthy and strong from work with the dao sword, with the shining hair and flawless skin that only the wealthy seem able to maintain. A natural beauty through and through, the exact opposite of the carefully cultivated brand Madeira employed. Still, carefully applied beauty was still beauty, and Chiona's eyes visibly widened as she took her in.

"Goodness, Madeira, you look stunning. What are you doing here?"

"Don't tell me you forgot?", Madeira laughed kindly. "It's the Heart's Festival! What are you still doing inside?"

"Oh... that. Tonight's not a good night. I have papers to grade, lesson plans..." Chiona's eyes snapped away from the small woman on her doorstep, her hand trailing lazy arcs as she explained away her evening. But Madeira saw the tightness in her eyes, and knew that weak excuse was just that, an excuse.

Few knew the Dusk heir, the most sought bachelorette of Lhavit, was a lesbian. And even fewer were aware that the secret affair she had with the young daughter of a rival Tower had gone down in flames. Madeira knew all this, because she was the one who secretly shot it down. Chiona confessed the heartbreak to her later, crying on her shoulder in an empty park.

"That can wait. Come on, Chiona, please. You can't just shut yourself away forever. I'm worried about you."

"That's really sweet of you to come all this way, but... Madeira, I cant." Her eyes were dry as she finally met Madeira's eye again, but deep inside she thought she could see a faint howl of old grief. "Go on. Enjoy the party. Someone must be waiting for you." she nodded to the ribbon around Madeira's wrist, putting in the effort to smile.

"Oh", now it was Madeira's turn to break eye contact, as her gaze dropped to the bow she was worrying between her fingers. "No, nobody is waiting for me. This is... this is for you."

Kingdoms rose and fell in the time it took for Chiona to release her sudden intake of breath. The silence between them was so complete she could hear the faint strings of some romantic song playing on the other side of the grounds.

"I... I know it's sudden. I know it's not my place. But I- Chiona, I love you." The words left her mouth like they were made of lead, but once the weight of them passed her lips the Spiritist seemed lighter. She laughed with surprise, her head lifting to look up at the taller woman, the insecurity burning away into a bright, wild joy. "I love you, Chiona. I love your tenacity and your spirit. I love your wild, clever mind. I love your weird sense of humour and every single one of your broken pieces. I can't tell you when it happened. Maybe it was when we were dancing in my classroom. Maybe when you beat the tar out of me in sword practice. Maybe it's been growing steadily since the moment we met. I don't know. I just know that it's the most real, pure thing I have ever felt. You are the reason to make this wonderful city home." She blinked into the light of the lamp on the hallways wall until tears sprung into her eyes, and laughed breathily as she wiped them away with her sleeve

"Please, I don't want you to say it back. I just want you to give me the opportunity to earn it." She untied the box and from inside lifted a beautiful woven crown of blood red flowers. She held the crown and the end of the untied ribbon to Chiona, sure that they both knew exactly what they meant.
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Love Me

Postby Madeira Craven on July 9th, 2020, 1:08 am

Chiona swallowed, opened her mouth, closed it, swallowed again. Madeira watched the movement of her throat with rapt attention. For the first time since standing in front of that door she felt a twinge of doubt.

"Madeira I'm... I'm flattered, but..."

She watched Chiona's cheeks redden even as her own paled beneath the cosmetics. No, no, no, this was all wrong. She had practiced that soliloquy, had put all her acting skills behind it. Don't do this. She had worked so hard. She had done so much. That name, that blasted name, Dusk, was the prize.

"I know you had a female lover before, but what about your children, their father..."

No, she did not want to talk about Allister at a time like this. Her throat closed up at the mention of her long gone bondmate.

"He's not in the picture. It was a mistake from a long time ago. I'm not like that."

The atmosphere between them was suffocating and heavy. Suddenly neither one could look the other in the eye. That romantic music was still playing across the grounds. Madeira prayed it would stop. She couldn't think around the hum of the violin. Salvage this, she begged herself. Salvage this before you throw away your new life with both hands.

"Chiona I-"

"-okay."

Madeira's eyes snapped back up to hers. Both sets, brown staring into blue, looked rather startled.

"Okay", Chiona said again, projecting more confidently. "I'm a little surprised, but... You've always been... attractive, Madeira. And I really enjoy our time together, so... Okay."

Madeira became aware she had stopped breathing. She exhaled with a strangled gasp that twisted a shy smile on Chiona's lips.

"I'm not saying that I return your feelings, only that... well, I'm willing to give it a shot. Everything that happened... with Lehlie... I'm not ready to commit. But you've been there for me through everything, I haven't forgotten. You're been so kind, so... Okay, I accept."

She bent her head, and it took Madeira a tick too long to realize she was waiting for the crown. The Spiritist fumbled with the box and placed the delicate wreath of roses atop Chiona's thick dark hair. The woman straightened and adjusted it awkwardly.

"How do I look?" she teased when it became clear Madeira's words had completely fled her.

"Perfect", Madeira answered with such sincerity that the joking canter of the question changed completely. The Spiritist stood there taking all of her in. A greedy light shone in her eyes to see Chiona wearing that crown, the flowers brighter and more vibrant than any jewel. Her mind was starting to pick back up to speed after that sudden, violent change of direction. Chiona wasn't saying yes to being her lover, she clarified with herself, but she was interested and open to the idea.

Madeira tied both ends of the rejected ribbon around her own wrist, and extended her hand to Chiona. She brought back her smile, and put every emotion behind it: victory, satisfaction, joy. Her mind was singing, mine, mine, mine!

"Okay?"

Chiona laughed, and both finally began settling back down as the conversation passed them.

"Okay."
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Love Me

Postby Madeira Craven on July 9th, 2020, 1:09 am

The city looked different with Chiona on her arm.

The smells were fresher, the flowers brighter. The night was alive and awash with something alive and humming. People did double takes as the two passed, laughing like little girls. Even without her finery Chiona was so painfully visible in this city. The daughter of the wealthiest family in Lhavit. Heir of the mightiest Tower. Madeira wanted to pull her through every crowd just so they could all see and wonder and gossip about who was on her arm.

I will own this city, she silently promised the streets they ran through. Make way for the queens!

"Dance with me!" Madeira dragged Chiona into the crowd around a busking band. Madeira was a terrible dancer, and somehow Chiona was even worse. But the heir was drunk on the three cups of wine she had drunk and the spiritist on her small victory, so they didn't care as they swayed and laughed.

Chiona's crown was askew, she was still wearing her normal robes and her cheeks were red with drink. Madeira was sure she had never seen anything more beautiful.

Her Cordas mark felt itchy in her mouth. With her hand on Chiona's shoulder she experimentally plucked the string that she could feel hovering just on the other side of real. Suddenly she could see it, stretching from Chiona to her from the contact of her hand. A single string, bright as a beam of light, flowed into the heir who laughed on, oblivious.

Eyes bright with wonder, Madeira lifted her hand, seeing the thread connected to her smallest finger, and pulled.

The effect was instantaneous. Chiona hiccupped with shock and stumbled as she was pulled off balance. She fell into Madeira, and the smaller woman was nearly blown off her feet.

But for a moment Chiona was right there, their faces centimeters apart. It was so easy. Madeira closed her eyes and kissed Chiona for the first time.
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Madeira Craven
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Posts: 1601
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Love Me

Postby Madeira Craven on July 9th, 2020, 1:14 am

She wasn't expecting fireworks, but she expected to feel something.

The kiss was chaste, a brush of the lips, until Madeira turned her head and the kiss deepened. She was searching for some spark of feeling- anything at all. But it was just a kiss. Chioan pulled away with a gasp, wide eyed and dizzy. Her mouth was red with Madeira's lipstick.

She knew she didn't love Chiona, not really. Not as much as she loved what she could do for her. But this was...

Madeira faked a shy smile. The two stared at each other as dancers whirled around them. Chiona reached out gently and cupped her jaw with both hands. This time they both saw the kiss coming. Madeira closed her eyes.

She felt nothing.

She remembered the shape of Sanya's poisonous fangs pressed against her lips. She remembered Allister's bristling fur and hungry eyes. She remembered the thrill of holding them between her fragile hands and knowing with such complete certainty that they would not hurt her, that they belonged to her in every way that mattered. The earth moved beneath her as she pressed her lips to their throats, and she understood she was the dangerous one.

Jomi's words came back to her, a sneer in his voice: you never loved anything that wasn't dead or broken first.

Maybe that's why she couldn't find it in herself to love her. Chiona wasn't a monster.

But that changed nothing. Chiona pulled back again and the two women smiled at each other, the picture of young, blossoming love. You will be mine, Madeira silently promised. I will take good care of you.
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Madeira Craven
long may she reign
 
Posts: 1601
Words: 1402855
Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 10
Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (2)
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) Lhavit Seasonal Challenge (1)
2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)


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