RP:Gevurah Interrupted

From HollowWiki

Part of the The God of Undeath Arc

Summary: Immediately after the Halloween Ball, Gevurah and Lanlan return to House D’Artes with special cargo in tow: the corpse that had been animated by an unseen force and turned Kanna, Niix and Mallory undead. Gevurah and Lanlan suspect this is the work of Alithyk Caluss and take the corpse to Gevurah’s private shrine for further examination.

In the shrine, the High Priestess performs a ritual, but Caluss, even at a distance, manages to nullify her priestly powers. Even worse, Caluss reverses the spell and uses it as a portal to snatch Gevurah and take her to another realm where he tries to turn her undead. The High Priestess fights back and just barely escapes with her life. Terrified, she firebombs her shrine and magically quarantines it. (OOC note: This weaknes is an ic secret. Do not assume your character knows this.)

Lanlan and Gevurah misunderstand each other. Emotions run high. Lanlan gives Gevurah the Gris-Gris Talisman.

Xalious Mountain Range

Lanlan delicately lifts the corpse to the spider's abdomen following Gevurah's instructions, and buckles the saddle through its belt loops. With the corpse strapped securely, Lanlan hops into his spot in the saddle right behind Gevurah. With the commotion disappearing in the distance, he can take a moment to examine what's happened. Why was she so cold to him? He's about to place his hands on her hips for stability when she abruptly jerks the reigns and sends the mount running, nearly jerking him out of his seat. He recovers, rights himself, and places his hands on her shoulders instead. Pulling himself close to her ear, "What is going on?"

Gevurah shrugs his hand off her shoulder. She knows what he asks and she seethes at his ignorance, which must surely be feigned. How can he not know? He knows. She does not reply right away, and when she does, her words are abrupt, even by the standards of her native tongue. “What happened to those surfacers is likely the work of Caluss. I’m going to examine the corpse to see if I can discover anything new about Caluss through his power.” She stops as if that’s all she’ll say, but her tongue refuses to be bitten for long. “Don’t worry. I’ll be doing that alone. It won’t interfere with your surface affairs.” She stresses the last word cruelly.

Lanlan pulls his hands back sharply from the prickly creature and shivers. He hoped it wasn't a herald of the demi-god, he knew it was. He felt it.The way his heart skipped, his neck tingled, and an ominous and sudden fear of death creeped into his soul. That was its presence, it was there moments before the cannibalism ensued. And Gevurah knew to be there somehow. But he'd restrain himself from wondering why she didn't bother to warn him. For now. "It already has," he says, refusing to acknowledge her barely veiled implication. "So I -will- be working with you on this. Closely."

Gevurah snarls at Lanlan’s evasiveness which only serves to confirm her suspicions. “You have some nerve insisting on anything. I thought you wanted to work alone. Though not all -that- alone, from the look of it.” She clicks her tongue to guide the spider from the Xalious pass to Southern Sage, where the trees are ancient and the elven magic is thick in the air. The drow, the corpse, and the spider disturb the elven tranquility and vandalize the moonlit floor with their elongated, dark shadows.

Lanlan can't evade this bile for much longer. Or maybe he could, but he doesn't want to. . "I have nerve insist- no, no Gevurah. -You- have nerve. You do not get to be upset at me for standing side by side with my colleagues. My allies." In retrospect, this was possibly something that could get him banished from the guild, siding against another member of the mage's guild? He did restrain from outright attacking her, but he couldn't explain why to Gevurah. She wouldn't tolerate half-measures for her enemies. "I regret that I didn't know she was an enemy. But you haven't been forthcoming with information regarding our enemies lately have you?"

Gevurah twists her body to look back at Lanlan incredulously. “Our enemies?!” she balks, her gaze narrowing on him. She turns back to leading the mount. Her head shakes in disbelief. It takes a moment for the words to come out perfectly wrong. “Last time I saw you, you told me that you didn’t want me involved in your life, just in your bed. The time before that, you let me know that you never wanted to see me again. When did we start sharing common enemies again? And don’t pretend that siding with her was purely collegiate. Moments before you were stuffed in a two-man suit sweating behind her ass! You defended her even as you sided with me, because you knew what I’d do to her if provoked!” The spider slips into the mouth of a shadowy tunnel that leads to the Underdark.

Lanlan echoes a call he heard Gevurah use to halt Halbryn years ago, causing the spider to slow and stop. "You're wrong about -everything-," he says firmly. "Some things I am doing without you. Because I have to. -Not- because I want to. You don't understand! Even though -you- made this choice for me. But I am -not-," he twists away in revulsion, "fraternizing? With a human?" He shakes away the disgust and grumbles, mumbling something before explaining, "At that cabin? I provided our most efficient escape possible. It was just us back there. It's just us and that's all I want."

Gevurah twists at the waist to look at him over her shoulder. “No, I don’t understand.” Her throat tightens as the anger escapes and is replaced with a weakness she only experiences with him. “I don’t understand why you have to do anything without me, or why you think I made that decision for you. Because of what I said about House D’l’sel’dissan?” She grimaces at the memory and is bereft of words. She said what she said, and she meant it. They both know that, so what use is there in pretending she misspoke in anger? She spoke honestly in anger. Their voices echo down the tunnel and attract attention from predators best left unprovoked. They need to get the corpse to a secure location as well, as its rotting flesh is also a beacon to the carrion creatures of the Underdark. She clicks the spider back into motion and takes a turn down a small tunnel. They descend quickly.

Lanlan doesn't actually want to talk about that. And it's good that they shouldn't anymore. He disguises himself quickly as Izzerin, then thinks again, covering the entire space they occupy in a shadow, some dislodged rocks that fell and roll down the slope. Finally it seems like their on the same page about something. They each were horrible to each other. He wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned into her, because it was easier to let himself than to try to stay upright alone.

House D’Artes

Gevurah doesn’t want to talk about what they said to each other either, in part because she believes she was the cruelest of the two. She leans back into Lan and takes a deep, relieved breath. His insistence on taking on projects without her and teaming up with his guildmates instead of her still upsets her, but it feels better to be held by him now and pick at those scabs later. They cross the Underdark undetected thanks to his illusion and their intimate silence. In Trist’oth, she hugs the cavern wall as long as she can before making a beeline for House D’Artes. Lanlan will know to look like someone else without her telling him too. Once inside House D’Artes, will he notice the absence of Daath? She hopes not. The estate is so big. Is it possible he knows already? She doesn’t dare ask. Wasting no time, she takes the corpse to her private temple and orders staff not to come in. Inside the temple, if Lanlan doesn’t immediately drop the illusion, she says “Let me see your face.” The priestess places the corpse at the center of a large bronze bowl that is depressed into the black stone floor. From the shelves she pulls large bottles of blood labeled from different sources: vampire, fae, avian. She pours the blood into the bronze bowl until the corpse is halfway submerged. She throws in other reagents: grave dirt, undead bones, glass, a ruby stone the size of a beetle, and a beetle too. She holds the live beetle in the blood until it drowns then recites a prayer three times. Having completed the ritual, she turns to Lanlan and says, “Now we wait.” These things always take time. The blood shimmers as if dusted with black, bright ash.

Lanlan turns his focus to his disguise and as they approach the safety of Tris'toth the veil on mount and riders fades. Lanlan looks like himself, mostly, but with darker skin, shorter eyebrows, and a deep scar across the bridge of his nose. Hopefully he's disguised as 'no one in particular'. Inside he keeps his head low and his peripherals keen, hoping to confirm the gossip he heard on the surface. He suspected she and her husband had divorced, because she was bringing him here. Yes, it was possible that she simply knew where he was and when he'd be back, but that seemed an unlikely coincidence. He was more committed to his disguise than usual, though, because this work was too important. Normally he stands tall, proud, but as this person, he opted to keep his back hunched and twisted. His gait was uneven, as if his legs were of too very different lengths. A short quick step with his left and a long stride on his right. It looked natural for him to crane his neck down every corridor nosily like this. In Gevurah's private shrine, he answers her by standing tall and shaking loose the disguise. It blurs and fades as he stands straight again. Reluctantly, he helps get the corpse into the bowl, and throws off the gloves he was wearing before he might accidentally touch any other part of himself. "I can wait," he says sensually as he slithers behind her. Seeing her work always got to him, as did the thought that she might've divorced Daath so soon after their soft reconciliation. His arms wrap around her waist and slither up her chest while he watches the bowl for changes with her, and rests his chin on her shoulder.

Gevurah smirks as Lanlan hunches over for his new role as ‘no one in particular’ and tries her best not to laugh (and fails) at what she assumes is a performance made for her amusement. She’s always enjoyed his antics, especially when they were unnecessary and purely for the fun of it. When he holds her from behind, her body moves in slinky, little movements against him. Her backside gyrates against his groin, her hands slide down his hips, her neck curves towards his lips. In all their years as friends she never expected that he would excite her so physically. His sensuality and sexual confidence has been the most pleasant surprise since they became intimate. Just as their lust is about to hit a fever pitch, the blood around the corpse begins to bubble and burp. “No--” Gevurah gasps as her body suddenly goes still. The blood begins to darken and thicken into a black, slimy sludge. “No, no, no.” She pulls away from Lanlan and kneels at the side of the bowl on all four near the corpse’s side. She reaches into the blood and fishes for something. She yanks her fist out of the sludge and, kneeling, slowly opens her palm to reveal a living beetle. Not unliving, but fully alive. Fear shivers through her like it did the day she first met Caluss. “Lan…” her voice sounds strange, scared. She stands up to show him. “It reversed the death that was made in Vakmatharas’s name,” she whispers. “This explains why Vakmatharas couldn’t kill him.” She can’t remember if she told him that story or not. “Remember, Vakmatharas created Caluss, but he regretted his creation and then he banished him. But why didn’t He kill Caluss? It looks like-” Suddenly, the corpse in the sludge sits up and grabs Gevurah by the ankle, and yanks her with supernatural strength into the bowl. Her head bounces off the floor just before she, the corpse, and the sludge completely disappear, leaving behind a spotless bronze bowl. Eerie silence descends on the shrine that feels impotent without its priestess. Lanlan is there completely alone. One minute passes. Then two. Then three. Then Gevurah snaps back into existence at the center of the bowl, on all floors, in a shallow pool of the black, sticky slime. She doesn’t look up. Her small body twists and buckles in unnatural convulsions that test the limits of her body and make her scream out in pain. Her mind and spirit are partially elsewhere and she’s visibly fighting a battle of which Lanlan can only see one half. The corpse’s hand appears like a translucent wraith around Gevurah’s wrist and she struggles to escape it. Finally! She breaks free of the ghostly hand with such force that she collapses back onto the interior side of the bowl. Her mind and spirit are back in this room, and she’s breathing erratically. Her hands scramble to find purchase to get her out of this slime, but she’s too panicked to find the physical strength or the mental focus to get out of the bowl quickly.

Lanlan sighs in exasperation. He thought they were about to get nasty against the backdrop of her weird magic. Obviously whatever has gone amiss with the ritual would be fixable. "This happens sometimes right?" She's too panicked to hear him, but she shows him the beetle. It's her countenance and voice that fills him with dread. How can she be afraid now? Here? "I don't understand. Tell me what to do." Then the corpse comes back to life, catching them both flatfooted. Her head smacks the floor with him diving after her, and his hands fall over hers, but come up empty. She's gone. "Gevurah." There's no contingency. He rises to his feet. Scans the room. No one's here. Back to the bowl. "Gevie. Gevurah." The bowls polished and clean, he can see a blurry reflection. "Gevurah...! I don't know what to do..." But someone might. He hoped the surface gossip was wrong. It had to be propaganda. They spread it themselves. Daath could be somewhere in the house. "I'll be right back," he whispers. No one's here. At the door, he freezes. Daath would kill him. "He could help," he reminds himself. He can't move. "I can help," he realizes. He scoops up each of the bottles Gevurah used to initiate the ritual, the different types of blood still staining the sides. "Empty," he says peering into one. "Empty, empty. Okay." At the shelves, he checks labels on other bottles. Rapidly picking one up, putting it down, picking one up, dropping it. "No. Is there-! Is this organized with any system at all!?" He looks at one more, full of hope. "No!" He smashes it into the shelf, shattering it. In a rage, he shoves his hands mindlessly against the shelves until it's all a mess of blood and ingredients. He stomps back to the bowl with dripping fists and stares. His veil of rage falters, and he slowly descends to his knees over the bowl. Every second she's gone seems to confirm that she's lost forever. "You can't be gone. Gevurah, don't be gone. Please." Seconds later she reappears. He dives into the bowl, looping his arms under her armpits to haul her out, but she's tethered. She starts convulsing, and he slides into the bowl under her to cushion her thrashing so she can't hurt herself. He's battered a little by swinging hands and her knocking head, but he weathers it until she calms. "Come on!" With his head under her arm, and his hand planted on the outer rim, he helps her find her feet and they climb out of the bowl. But he doesn't let her go.

Gevurah runs on adrenaline. As soon as the drow are outside the bowl, she pries herself away from Lanlan and races to the shelves which Lanlan just destroyed in his rage. Frantic, she picks through the bottles on the floor, swearing at the mess she struggles to make sense of in her panic, until she finds a large tin jar, unscrews it quickly and tosses fistful after fistful of sulfuric powder into the bowl. She blasts a small fireball at the sulfur which erupts into blue flames and toxic smoke. Gevurah grabs Lanlan’s hand and storms out of the room, slamming the reinforced door behind them. The drow are in a small reading room that is faintly lit by faerie fire and adorned with comfortable seating, a bookshelf, and a wine cabinet. From the piping of her corset the priestess retrieves a thin pen knife and cuts into her palm. She smears the blood into a divine symbol of Vakmatharas and recites a 3 word spell in ancient drow. The blood illuminates in pale green then burns the wood. The entire door shimmers in silver waves. Gevurah’s body sags as finally - finally - she feels like the threat is contained. The panic leaks out of her in a long, shuddering breath. She turns to Lanlan and buries herself in his arms. Her face presses into his chest and her body shakes as though she is crying, though she doesn’t make a sound aside from the jagged rhythm of her breath.

Lanlan very reluctantly lets her go. She was finally back, and he couldn't just let her go. But she forces herself away from him, leaving him standing like a statue in front of the bowl. His still dripping hands cradling air in front of him. A distant pang of guilt plagues him as she sifts through the mess he made. He mindlessly follows her into the reading room, still just watching. His panicked, humbled, anxious gaze darts from her to his hands, still floating uselessly palms up above his waist. Finally his tension eases when she embraces him, and slowly his arms bend until his painlessly throbbing hands are curled around her. "I couldn't help. I couldn't do anything."

Gevurah stiffens when Lanlan speaks, specifically at what he chooses to say. Her mind flashes with images of her battle with Caluss over the fate of her soul, a battle she almost lost, and won only by a fluke - won only because she defined the ‘win’ as a successful retreat, as that was her only option. She exhales sharply, dismissively of Lanlan, shakes her head and pulls away until she is just out of his reach. Her eyes are a bit misty, but no tears spill. Nonetheless, her expression is as pained as it would be if she were crying. Leaning away from her lover, she takes the measure of him and shakes her head again. “No, there was nothing for you to do.” Her gaze shifts away towards the door that leads towards the rest of the estate. “I’m going to bathe.” Her tone suggests ‘alone’. She moves towards the door.

Lanlan finds himself again unable to keep her close to him. And this time he doesn't even try. He can feel her weighing his value. After a quick deliberation, she passes a harsh judgement. Her words are a quick execution. His eyes cast down and away, searching, but not seeing anything in front of him. The sentence is just so he nods. He clears his throat. "I-" He clears his throat again. He has to accept his penance, but his body won't do it willingly. But her tone is clear. Her meaning is clear. "That's...a good idea, so will I." While she moves toward the door, he magically disguises himself as the nobody who arrived with the matron of the house. Then he'll follow her out the door, but that's as far as he goes with her. He'll have to endure this layer of sludge until he gets to the surface most likely, assuming he gets there.

Gevurah feels the first pang in her chest when Lanlan doesn’t fight her. The second pang stabs more directly in her heart when he turns down another hall. By the time she’s in her dark stone bathroom, she’s too numb to remember what she came here to do. Her chest thrums with a cocktail of fear, loneliness, heartache and defeat she’s never experienced before. Daath is gone. Lanlan, so wrapped up in his feelings of impotence (her fault) that he forgot to give a crap about what just happened to her, is now gone too. She almost lost her soul to Caluss. She did lose her private shrine. She had to condemn it to keep the God of Undeath at bay. Lanlan left. Her statue is still obliterated. Her city is still in shambles. Her army has been reduced to a third of its former glory. Lanlan left her, like this, after that. She stares at the empty tub for several minutes. It takes her far too long to peel off her foul clothing. She runs the bath, sits in it, but can’t relax. She leans over her bent knees and hides her face in her hands. Only the matron knows whether or not she weeps, or for how long.

Lanlan is completely devastated. He knew he was worthless when she needed him. But that was never what brought them together! It didn't matter, not now. Caluss came for her. She almost -died-. And he'd never seen her so afraid. It made sense that it could change things. Lanlan couldn't help. Because he couldn't help, he was an unnecessary variable; a liability. Love wasn't enough in this case. Yet, even desolate as he is, he finds resolve. He can fix this. The thought is so encouraging, and he's so sure, and he can't waste any time. He needs to be back here to support her as soon as he can. So he can't -walk- out of the underdark. Alone in a hallway, he turns invisible and makes his way to the stables. He doesn't have time to get permission. He creeps past her guards and silently approaches Gevurah's best lizard, the one she used to ride before she got another spider. He muffles its footfalls, and puts a magical displacement on it. They silently trot out of House D'Artes and speed toward the surface. No one sees the lizard leave, and for one minute, there's an illusionary copy in its place. Then it vanishes without a trace.

Lanlan hasn't even left the stables when he thinks of a reason not to at all. It's too late to help her with what just happened, he knows. But it doesn't matter, if she doesn't like his gift, he'll continue as he was. Once Lanlan's spell fades from the lizard, it appears to the guards like it teleports for no apparent reason, from one side of the room to the other. Again, he becomes the hunched, scarred, aching old drow and hobbles back the door of the reading room. From there he finds the bathroom where he expected Gevurah to be taking a bath. He hesitates a moment before barging in. She might not be happy to see him, but he reminds himself he won't stay long if that's the case. Slowly, he pushes the door open. "...It's Lanlan. I have to give you something."

Gevurah startles at the sound of his voice. She wipes at her eyes and sniffles to clear her stuffed nose. The sound echoes across the large, cavernous bathroom. A square, dark bathtub sits in the middle of the tiled room and can be entered from three sides. “Wait,” she says in a voice that tries its best to mask her weeping, with some success. She sends him a halting glance through her watery periphery then turns her back to him to obscure her swollen eyes from his gaze. With her back still to him, she steps out of the bath on the opposite side of him and wraps herself in a black towel. Standing in a shadow, she looks over one shoulder to expose only her profile to him. Her long white hair drips on the floor. “What is it?”

Lanlan freezes. After a moment, he checks the halls behind him and quietly pulls the door shut. Then he tries not to stare, but he does, with sometimes narrowed, suspicious eyes. He also ignores her command. The most he can do is take the long way to meet her. He stops at a sink, just a bowl of clean water resting on a table, and rinses off the 'Gris-Gris Talisman'. Eyeing her steadily, he says, "It's a necklace." He almost sounds impatient. "What are you doing?"

Gevurah :: “Bathing,” she says with an unexpected lurch in her voice. She looks at the talisman in his hand and recognizes it from the party. She extends a hand to accept the gift and turns the little hex bag in her hands several times, examining it. “It’s good.” Her voice is a little coarser than usual. Normally she would say thank you, but she can’t bring herself to thank him for anything just yet. He should have never left. He’s back, but he brought no heat with him, nothing to thaw her resentment. She remains obscured in a shadowy part of the room. “Is this all you wanted to give me?”

Lanlan inhales deeply as he gets closer, then exhales just as much. Steadily. A fair amount of tension dissipates from his forehead and his eyes soften dramatically, suddenly. He diverts his attention to the draining bathtub, and cranks a pump to cause it to begin filling back up. "No," he says plainly. As the tub starts to fill again, he sits on the edge and dips a hand into the water, wincing as he's reminded of the cuts he gave himself. "Do you know what it does?"

Gevurah eyes Lanlan warily. What is he playing at? “I heard…” Her posture wavers a little. She’s tired. The fight for her life exhausted her body and her magical reserves. She doesn’t want to stand anymore, but she feels rooted to this spot, hoping for one thing from him and getting another. Her exhaustion chips away at her restraint and composure. Her mind circles his behavior like a dark drain. He’s standing here acting as if she didn’t just go through -that-. “What are you doing? What is your g-game?” Her voice cracks on the word ‘game’ and she turns her face away from him again. Resentment blooms within her the way Lanlan’s blood blooms in the tub. Increasingly she believes he is toying with her. She glares at him a little.

Lanlan gets his hands clean and crosses in front of her without looking at her to pull a clean hand towel from the shelf in front of her. "It's supposed to make you invisible to the undead," he says nonchalantly with his back to her. "I'm not -playing- a game, Gevurah." He turns back around and is about to cross her again to stop the water flowing into the bathtub apparently, then stops abruptly. "Oh! Did you get something in your eyes?" He gingerly goes to dab at them with the little towel. "Mhm. So I know..." He clears his throat while he settles on a different tactic. "Okay listen," he looks at his hands while he folds up the towel, then finds her eyes again. "I don't want to leave tonight."

Gevurah :: At Lanlan’s last assertion, Gevurah frowns suddenly, one of those tight ugly frowns that can only occur when you’ve been wound-up about something in particular and someone tugs on that wound-up chord like Lanlan just did. She doesn’t want him to leave tonight either, but she never learned how to ask anyone for anything, much less something as weak as this embarrassing emotional need. How did they function before she obliterated his self esteem? Can they ever get back there? She presses a hand to her mouth and turns fully away from Lanlan. Her head and shoulders bend into her palms and she sniffs loudly again. She looks up at the ceiling and gasps for air so that she can speak in a guttural, wet voice that tries to sound hard, fierce, cruel, and utterly fails. “I liked you better when you knew why I liked you.”

Lanlan winces and frowns with her. Why can't he do what she wants? Everything he tried to do and be lately, even if it was for her, seemed to pull them apart. He stared through her, parsing through thoughts, ideas of what she might want him to do. Only when her emotions drip out between her palms and weigh her words down with frustration and despair is he shocked out of his head. "I never knew," he answers suddenly, and he circles around and slowly slides his hands over hers and wraps his fingers around. "But I know what reviles you, now. I can change! Be more of who you need me to be." He offers her a fragile smile. "But it'll have to wait. You need me now. Even as I am."

Gevurah watches his hands take hers. He talks about what repulses her and she feels the fight hiss out of her nose like air leaking out of a balloon. Her head shakes slightly, a half-shake. She’s too tired to disagree and explain. They’re so far apart. He still can’t see what she needs, and she has no idea how to articulate what she wants. But then he intuits her need, and her heart leaps a little now that it has his attention. “You should have never left,” she says weakly. Her arms slip around his sides and she leans into him the way she did outside her shrine. The sludge and blood on his clothes stick onto her freshly bathed skin and towel. “I’m so tired, Lan.” She squeezes him then pulls away reluctantly. “Clean up. Stay the night.” Sapped of strength, she drifts towards the vanity to comb her hair, towel off, dress in a silken robe, brood on what she’s lost. She sits on a low stool and slowly untangles her long white hair as she stares at her own reflection in the mirror, occasionally shifting her attention to Lanlan’s reflection behind her.

Lanlan knows she's tired. She must be exhausted. It's the only reason he thought his insistence might work! And yet, he's still astounded. His eyes light up and he leans back into her. He's close to wrapping his arms around her when he becomes aware of the scum. They're suspended awkwardly as he bends his neck into hers. He closes his eyes for a minute to feel as much of her body heat mingle with his as he can. "I know I shouldn't have." He sighs happily, releasing some of the breath he hadn't realized he was keeping in his chest. Then, as is her will, he disrobes and lobs his clothes away in a pile, as far away from himself as he can in this room. Once immersed in the warm water of the bath, he splashes as he roughly hurries to scrape the scum from his skin, and then scrubs a little more for what he can't see. He carefully steps out and grabs a towel, glancing over to Gevurah. He sees her reflection noticing him in the mirror and smiles mischievously, then strides over to her. He's tired too, but too happy to notice. He kneels before her at the stool and rests his hands on her thighs. His slate gray hair falls slightly over his eyes and his eyebrows sag heavily. He pushes them behind his ears. "Is there any room for me to get into that robe with you? I don't have anything else to wear."

Gevurah :: Lanlan walks over towards Gevurah donning that impish smile she knows so well. She smiles despite her exhaustion and sets the comb down as he kneels before her. She turns fully towards him, parting her legs so that his body is between her knees as her robe comes loose. She takes his face in both her hands and kisses him slowly, deeply, longingly. Through the kiss she says everything that she doesn’t have the courage to say in words. This is how she likes him, this is why she loves him. Any other sexually deviant ideas he may have had (she can guess at which, given his chosen position) she simply doesn’t have the energy for. She leads him to her bed (towels will do for hallway creeping for now, they can figure out fresh clothes for him in the morning). In bed, she curls up against him, kisses him a few more times, then slips into sleep in the cradle of his arm. After a couple of hours her sleep becomes fitful and she’s tormented by Caluss-fueled nightmares. Her face pinches, lips frown, head thrashes, until she startles herself awake, gasping up at the ceiling and covered in a light sheen of sweat. She composes herself with a few quick breaths and a masterful ability to calm her own mind. What is wrong with her? She’s scared witless by this God of Undeath. If it is true that he is immune to her power, then she has every right to be scared, and yet being so terrified feels so unseemly and unlike her. She replays her near-undeath experience from the evening prior, and shivers at the thought that she almost lost her mortality, her warm body, her ability to enjoy other warm bodies like the one beside her. The irony of the priests of death is that while they do not fear death, they still, due to their animal natures, vastly prefer life. She turns towards Lanlan, who was likely awoken by her thrashing, and lures him towards her body, coaxes him into reaffirming that yes, she is still among the living, still capable of enjoying the most base of desires. They pick up where Lanlan’s thoughts left off just hours ago. Low moans, slow rhythms. Her late night tears and his heart-stricken errors have given a new shape to their relationship, though it is not yet clear if this shape is any more sustainable than the last. It doesn’t matter to her now. She just wants his hands, his mouth, his legs, his chest, his back. Once they’re spent, she falls into a restful sleep that stretches well into the late hours of the morning. She doesn’t move a muscle. It’s been years since she slept this deeply.

Lanlan isn't even disappointed. She welcomes him in her hands and into a long sensuous kiss, that tells him exactly how she wants him. 'With me'. Under her blankets, he pulls her close to him and returns her kisses, then absently strokes her hair and rubs her back until her breathing changes and he knows she's asleep. Then he follows, drifting off with the comfortable tickle of her breath on his skin. Even though he's typically a light sleeper, he usually sleeps soundly with her. Something he noticed happily and acknowledged as strange. When he awakens, naturally the first thing he does is inspect his lover. Seeing her peaceful was an amazing and secret privilege, but she wasn't peaceful. He recognized a nightmare. Almost by instinct, he curls a lock of her hair around a finger and whispers senseless syllables. Meaningless, but memorable to him. His eyes rapidly flutter and close, and he opens them next to Gevurah in her dream. His hunch was right, she was being tormented by Caluss. One among hundreds in a legion of pale unblinking, unbreathing dark elves. He gives her a shake, tries to get her attention. Her eyes move to him and he can tell she knows him, but can't bring herself to do anything but march. Before them, they see Caluss's aqueous obsidian shambling to them with heavy steps. "Gevurah!" Lanlan grabs her wrist to take her attention. "This is a dream! Your dream!" It doesn't seem like he can get through to her, so he hugs her from behind and grabs her arms in his hands, lifting them up, pointing them at Caluss. "You have all the power here!" But he had a little bit too. He forced color into her skin, breath into her lungs, and an enormous burst of flame from her hands. Bigger than anything she'd ever done awake, most likely, embellished by the dream. Everything before them disappears under the orange blaze, including Caluss. When the fire stops, he's gone. Nothing but smoke. Then he just holds her against him until she wakes up, and so does he. Lanlan sits up in the bed to wait for her to process, and dutifully reminds her of how great it is to be alive. This time he has no choice, he falls into a dead sleep, and wakes up in the morning. He again extracts his privilege. Quietly admiring the soft features no one gets to see except him. He can't help it so he softly kisses her forehead.