NationStates Jolt Archive

Love on Trial

18-03-2004, 02:42
OOC: Continued from 'Lord G.O.D. in the Garden of Hell ('

I believe in you
I'll give up everything just to find you
I have to be with you to live to breathe
You're taking over me

Ainulindalion existed outside of time and outside of space, and in his power, could manipulate both at will. Nothing was beyond his reach that he had ever tried. Nothing could he conceive of that he could not possess.

He was immortal, timeless. One might even call him a god, though…That would be foolish. I am not a being worthy of worship.

If he had had working eyes, they would have blinked at the last thought. For the first time in the organics’ hours, his thoughts had turned to something other than Gehenna of Tartarus.

His presence filled the bedroom where she was curled up with the avatar form she knew only as ‘Lord Daniels,’ at the moment. He would have to change that when she awoke.

After I do a few other things with her, anyway. This time the avatar did smile in its sleep. She is an amazing woman. He let his mind drift free, wandering back through the times they had met. In all, they had spent less than a full day together, but looking back, it was like a wonderful forever.

You’re too important for anyone
You play the role of all you long to be
But I, I know who you really are
You’re the one who cries when you’re alone

When he first come upon her, they had both been arrogant, and sure of themselves. Both knew everything, and it had not mattered that what they knew was contradictory. He had, of course, been right, because he could see past the lies she had told herself so long that she had believed them.

But he had walked in, sure she would be an easy task. Her fear at his sudden appearance, her confusion, her anger. Just like so, so many others over the ages of the world. She would have been a cure for boredom, for a short time, nothing more. Again, just like many others.

But whatever had called him to aid her that night had not let go of him, it had captured him, and he still was not sure how.

You think that I can’t see right through your eyes
Scared to death to face reality
No one seems to hear your hidden cries
You’re left to face yourself alone

And so, he had showed her what she refused to face herself. He had taken her most painful memory, her most hidden fear, and he had thrown it in her face, because he had known what burying it did. What it had done.

And he had brutalized her with the memory. Thrown it at her anytime her guard was down, bringing it to her unbidden in conferences and meetings, in bed and at mealtimes. She could not have escaped it, no matter how she tried. The images had torn at her mind, and torn her from sleep, brutalizing her body.

He had done it to break her, to destroy her resistance. And when he had started, it had seemed so logical, so routine. Just like everyone else.

But she wasn’t like everyone else. And when he had realized it, he had realized what he was doing to her, how much he was hurting her. But there had not been another way, or he might have been too arrogant, too stubborn, to admit he was wrong, and look for it.

He tried to deny how he felt, to deny she was different from the rest, that she was special. He had nearly succeeded, had tried to face his feelings alone, not imagining for a second what they truly were, or that she shared them.

He recalled vividly the overwhelming hit in the rose garden, hours before, when he had seen what had happened. Her admission of her need, matching one he could never admit to before now.

And after that…

The avatar grinned in its sleep. He thought he had lost her, for a second, though, when he had let what had happened in the park, on the Summer Solstice, slip purely by accident.

You hold on to me love
You know i can't stay long
All i wanted to say was i love you and i'm not afraid
Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?

Closing your eyes to disappear
You pray your dreams will leave you here
But still you wake and know the truth
No one's there

Laying utterly still on top of Gehenna for a moment, Ainulindalion realized she had passed out. When her eyes opened again, his concerned expression vanished as if it had never been, replaced with his love, gleaming in his warm black eyes. “I love you, Gehenna of Tartarus.” He kissed her gently, briefly, smiling down at her as he released her hands to gather her into his caring embrace.

Looking up at him, Gehenna smiled, her eyes for a moment showed her confusion as she blinked herself awake. Seeing him and hearing his words of endearment, filled her heart, feeling so happy that she thought it would burst. Her voice was soft, but it contained the emotion that she felt. "I love you, Lord Daniels." She tilted her head and kissed him, before collapsing back onto the ground, a look of confusion marring her features. "What..?"

“I believe in French it is called le petit mort, love.” He lowered his lips back to hers, kissing her gently. “I suppose I ought to tell you what my real name is, shouldn’t I?” he asked, chuckling, and then with a wicked grin, answered his own question. “But that can wait until morning.” He kissed her again. “I’ll still be here this time.”

"That might be a good idea." She laughed along with him. The thought of him being with her in the morning made her smile, spending the whole night with him, and waking up in his arms, unlike…No, it can't be. She replayed his words, as she looked deep into his eyes, the images of another appeared in his place, the face unseen but the eyes…No… His words continued to pound through her head, it was there, screaming at her, all this time. She frowned, a questioning look in her eyes. "You…?"

His face became the mask she had seen so often from him, emotionless and closed, completely ignoring the fact their bodies were still joined below the waist. He had not intended to tell her, ever. Unless she had figured it out… but she had not, until he slipped. Damn. Hesitantly, he replied, his expression neutral as he confirmed it. “Me.”

Gehenna stared at him, speechless for the second time, her mind awash with so many thoughts that she could not bring any one of them to the front of her mind. "You were the wolf? All this time, all the questions you asked, and it was you." She shivered. "How could you look at me knowing, after all the things you said?" Her confusion took over, but her position left her little room to react. She couldn't run away from him, as her body lay pinned beneath him.

He pushed off the ground into a standing position, the moonlight gleaming off his skin before he turned away from her. He spoke softly. “I didn’t know, then, what it was, but I already loved you, Gehenna. But surely you understand why I couldn’t say anything, why I acted as I did.” He sighed heavily. “I’m sorry. It was probably wrong of me. If you want me to go, just say so.”

Suddenly gaining her freedom, caused Gehenna to experience the opposite effect to the one she desired, rather than feeling pleased that he had left her, she felt alone and empty. Sitting up, she instinctively covers herself with her hands, feeling vulnerable. "I don't want you to go." The thought of him leaving made her feel ill, her stomach churned. Every thing was so pleasant. "But you knew how I felt about what happened. I thought I had s…sex with a stranger, and it was you. If I had known…"

He turned around and looked down at her, the sight of her causing his heart to skip a beat. “If you had know, when it happened, who it was, what would your reaction have been? It was better to let you think it was a stranger. It made it easier to discuss in the abstract, and at that point, you hated me enough already. It would have been impossible to help you if you had known.” He extended his arms down to her, to help her up.

Accepting his hand, she rose from the floor, feeling even more uneasy about her state of undress, she looked about the floor for her clothes, ever now and then staring about her for prying eyes. "I know, I would have hated you if I had known at the time, but…" She looked at him, her heart still beating loudly, not through anger, but for her continued love for him. "I just feel that after all I told you, you could have been honest with me. Did you ever plan to tell me?"

“Before tonight, no, I’d never planned to tell you.” He smiled, and gathered her close to him, his cloak hiding both of their bodies. “I don’t know if I would have after tonight. I imagine I would, because eventually I would have let it slip. So I would have said something. But I haven’t had much time to think about it since the, uh, change in our relationship.” He looked down at her. “I’m sorry.”

Gehenna placed her hand against his face, gently cupping his cheek, the look in her eyes spoke plainly of her love. "I can't forgive you." She looked at him for a moment, and then she smiled. "For there is nothing to forgive. It's in the past, it has been faced and dealt with, and now it is discarded." She grinned wickedly. "Although the memory remains." Leaning forward, she claimed his lips, as she pressed her body against his.

Ainulindalion kissed her soundly, eagerly, passionately, but for the merest moment. He smiled down at her. “Thank you.” He ran his fingers up her back, the pleasant sensation of her body against his causing a response his nudity could not hide. “I think maybe we should go somewhere more private, Gehenna. Someone might find us here.”

Her smile spoke a million words, as she looked into his eyes. "I think you may be right." She suddenly looked about for her clothes, her expression one of concern. "All we need to do is get past the guests and the security without being seen." Her own desire for him was growing, as she stole another brief kiss. "And quickly."

He stepped away from her for a second, and the cape stayed on her shoulders, draping her form in darkness as he stepped out and knelt, gathering up their clothes, skin gleaming, darkly tanned in the moonlight. “Security’s never been a problem for me before,” he said as he worked. When he turned back to her, he had all their clothing stacked in one arm. “Your bedroom?” he asked as he moved back to her.

Gehenna nodded her head, her eyes never leaving his face, except briefly when she had run an admiring glance over his body as he collected their discarded garments, a smile still on her lips as he moved back towards her. "My room is probably the most private, now all we have to do is get there." She raised a questioning eyebrow.

He wrapped his free arm around her cloaked body. He smiled, and gave her directions. “Kiss me, and hang on.”

Looking at him with a bewildered expression, she followed his instructions, happily pressing her lips to his, kissing him passionately as she looped her arms around his neck. Trusting him completely, she let him do whatever he had planned without question.

As her lips touched his, they vanished into thin air, the silent rose and broken blades of grass the only evidence they had been in the garden that night.

He realized, even as it had happened, even now, after the fact, after he had made love to her again, arrived at mutual pleasure enough to tire their organic forms, that he would have to face The Watcher over this.

To have a voice in the back of my head
It’s like a face that I hold inside
A face that awakes when I close my eyes
A face watches every time I lie
A face that laughs every time I fall
(And watches everything)

The thought sent a chill down of fear through him. But it was not the same fear that he had first felt when he had faced The Watcher. The helplessness, the powerlessness. There was none of that now, though it would surely return when he had to face what he had done.

This fear was for him and Gehenna. He was afraid for them. He did not want to lose her, and he did not want her to have to deal with losing him. He knew that she could not.

And he had told her he would come back. He did not want to break his word to her, to hurt her anymore.

He would do everything he could to avoid it.

Have you forgotten all i know
And all we had?
You saw me mourning my love for you
And touched my hand
I knew you loved me then

He had promised he would always come back. And he had promised, the day they had met, that he would be there when she needed him.

And he had kept that first promise. When she had needed him, at the Solstice, at the theater, in the hospital, last night, and for the entire last year, he had been there for her.

He shuddered at the thought, of having learned to love, and of her love, the thought of leaving, abandoning, her. It froze the core of his being.

He had known it was love when she had confessed her feelings for him, but he had loved her since the Solstice, he was sure. He would not forget that night, made all the more special by the fact that she knew now.

No stranger had taken her virginity that night, but the man who now shared her bed, with her full knowledge and vigorous approval.

If only night can hold you where i can see you, my love
Then let me never ever wake again
And maybe tonight, we'll fly so far away
We'll be lost before the dawn

Dawn was fast approaching now, and Ainulindalion abandoned his reflections. It could not be much longer until Gehenna awoke, and he wanted to be looking into her eyes when she did.

He woke the avatar, which slowly cracked its eyes open and gazed down at Gehenna in its arms. Ainulindalion smiled at her, illuminated in the moments before the dawn by only the light of the necklace, whose ruby he had made a firestone, which glowed from internal light, for his present to her on her birthday.

The soft red glow made her more beautiful than ever, at least until the sun’s first rays came in through the window. The caress of dawn upon his love, sleeping in his arms, was the most beautiful thing he had ever, and would ever see.

He waited for her to awaken, so they could continue where they left off the night before.
Gehenna Tartarus
18-03-2004, 15:53
Stepping out into the garden, the chilled air brushed against his face. He walked onto the lawn, his eyes scanning the area as he went, searching. He hadn’t seen her for a while, not since the dances, which he had watched with ever increasing annoyance, not only for the way he had interrupted the dance, but the way he had monopolised her time.

Lord Nefarious had missed their departure. He could not bear to see them dancing so close and had allowed himself to become distracted, and it hadn’t been long before the conversation he was involved in had consumed more time than he had wanted. When he returned to the main ballroom, the dance had already finished. Not sure where to start he had entered several of the anterooms, before finally settling on the garden.

Over to the left, he could see the continued enjoyments of the rest of the guests, happily oblivious of the disappearance of the hostess, could hear their endless chatter and the faint sounds of music.

He knew that his cousin liked to stroll in the garden, it had become a ritual of hers, one that she used almost daily to calm her thoughts. It was also the quietest part of the Palace at the moment, the perfect place for a secret assignation, away from prying eyes. And he was certain that Lord Daniels wanted nothing more than to get her alone. He was up to something, of that Lord Nefarious had no doubt.

The Heir of Tartarus had made it his business to discover all he could of Lord Daniels, and had been far from surprised that he had been unable to find a single trace of him, which in itself was more than a little suspicious. The man’s odd behaviour and arrogance was the other thing that riled Lord Nefarious into action. He did not want such a man having a hold over the Empress. No matter how strong she may think she was, there were some people who could manipulate themselves into anyone’s lives, and gain trust that was undeserved.

As he neared the rose garden, he slowed his pace, listening now for sounds of voices, hoping to clarify their location without giving himself away, not to mention gathering any loose information that they may let slip, especially him. He could hear them in the distance; he assumed they must be at the far side of the garden. Not wanting to give away his advantage, he walked around the outside, huge hedges hiding them all from view of each other.

Nearing the other entrance, Nefarious could hear their voices plainly, though their words were lost to him, just a little too quiet to be made out. Now was his chance to catch them. Stepping through the arch, he found himself looking directly at…nothing. He scanned the area, looking for them. Knowing that they couldn’t have moved that fast, he began to doubt whether he had heard them at all. Just about to give up his endeavour, he noticed something lying on the floor. Bending down, he picked up a single rose, one that he remembered seeing adorning the hair of Gehenna. The trampled grass left little doubt in his mind.

His temper flaring, he returned to the palace, avoiding the main party area. He was no longer in the mood for making pleasantries. His thoughts were filled of Lord Daniels, and just exactly what he would like to do to him…
18-03-2004, 16:30
Ainulindalion watched as the rays of the morning sun slowly crept across the room, illuminating all in their path, including the secrets hidden here. He and the naked Empress he was tangled up with were one such secret. Merely covered in a thin sheet, there would have been no way to disguise what they had been doing the night of the Gehenna’s twenty-second birthday, had someone seen them lying there. But no one did, and no one would. As the shadows changed, Ainulindalion gazed, through an avatar’s eyes, at the woman curled up against him, sleeping with him. The woman he loved. As more time passed, he ran a finger lightly down her spine, and focused his eyes on hers, so he could see them when she first awoke.

Shivering, Gehenna could feel the gentle pull of consciousness, his touch bringing her body to life. Her eyes fluttered open, falling upon his face. Her smile grew, the memories of the previous evening slowly flooding into her mind. "Good morning, Lord Daniels."

He did not answer her verbally, instead, he leaned his head forward and tentatively found her lips with his own, his kiss gentle. His hand, now resting on her hip, moved in small circles, his fingers trailing lightly on her skin, barely touching. After a moment, he drew away, wanting more, but there were certain things he needed to know about the night before first. “Good morning indeed, Gehenna.”

Her heart beat loudly as his presence filtered into her mind, in a curious way she had expected to find herself alone, waking to the morning's harsh light in an empty bed, the memory of the Solstice in her mind. But to her relief he was there, and still held her in his arms. Smiling, her eyes glinting with her love for the man beside her, she raised her hand to his cheek, fingertips caressing his skin, sliding slowly until she traced the shape of his lips, the feel of them still lingering on hers. "I love you." She lost herself in his gaze. "I was afraid…"

His hand slid from her hip to her hair, slowly, moving over her ribs lightly. “Afraid of what, dear heart?” As his fingers tangled in her hair, he pulled her to him, and kissed her harder, but still it was short, almost teasing. “Afraid I’d be gone? What was it you said last night? ‘I really should learn to believe you.’” He smiled and kissed her again. “I love you.”

"I will learn." Gehenna rested her head on his shoulder, as she moved her hand and placed it lightly on his chest, her fingers stroking the area above his heart. "I am so pleased you are here. Today feels…special." She leant forward and kissed him tenderly.

Hungrily he returned the kiss, pulling her atop him with both arms as he pressed his lips to hers, his tongue gently seeking. The longer they kissed, the harder it grew to contain his desire, a heat growing below his waist, burning with passion for the woman he loved.

Returning his kiss with passion, she let her hand move up over his body, her own responding to the touch of his skin against hers. Her tongue moved against his, her thoughts filled with him. Parting their lips, she looked down into his eyes, her desire for him increasing with every moment. "I am having terribly wicked thoughts." She laughed lightly.

He grinned up at her. “Aren’t you the Empress of Hell, love? I’d think you’d have those all the time.” But his hand showed his thoughts were trending in the same direction, as it raced down her spine and cupped her hips to his, and shifted slightly, so the burning intermingled. His black eyes gazed at hers, heavy with love and desire, and slightly red-hued from her necklace’s light.

"Perhaps…but these are entirely new thoughts." Well, not that new. She pressed her body against him, feeling his heat, his desire. Sliding her hand down his chest, her need filled her, making her shiver against him. "I want you." She whispered against his ear, then nibbling his lobe, she slowly worked her way down to his neck, tiny butterfly kisses marking the path.

His desire peaked, causing spasms in his muscles as her professed desire sank into his mind. With his hand, he ground her hips against him, feeling the physical evidence of her desire matching his. “You’re not the only one with wants here, Gehenna.” He kissed her neck softly. “I would suggest that we, uh, work together to see how many can be resolved.”

Gehenna frowned. "I was hoping we had the same ones." She closed her eyes as his mouth came in contact with her flesh, her lips parting as a sigh slipped unbidden from her. "I want to make you happy." She flicked out her tongue, the tip lightly dancing over his skin, teasing.

Ainulindalion felt a heated chill run down his back at the touch of her tongue on him. “I was thinking the same thing about you, dear heart.” His breath was hot on the soft skin of her neck. His fingers trailed lightly down the insider of her thigh, pulling it outward slightly.

“That’s why I figured we could work together, as a couple, to make sure both party’s desires are fulfilled.” He shifted his hips slightly, and then was pressing against her, revealing exactly what desire and working together meant to him at that moment. He began moving his kisses up her neck towards her ear, nibbling softly.

Smiling, Gehenna continued to use her touch against his body, tasting him, savouring him. She placed her hands on his chest, and pushed herself into a sitting position, her legs moving either side of his body. She could feel his desire pressing against her, causing her to shiver involuntarily. She bit her lower lip, her eyes glinting with passion.

With his hands resting on either side of her hips, he smiled up at her, his touch light as it skimmed up her sides, moving upwards, caressing her soft flesh, until it filled his hands. His eyes echoed the desire his hands displayed, as they stayed locked to hers. He had already had more of her than any other, and yet…

He sat up smoothly, bringing his lips to hers forcefully, his arms around her crushing her tightly against him, feeling her necklace bite into his flesh. But his lips and tongue were hungry, and he lost thought of all unpleasant things as his position change enfolded him in the warm silken glove of her body.

Gehenna closed her legs around his body, crossing them at the ankles. Her arms looped around his neck, her fingers playing with his hair. She returned his kiss with equal passion, her skin aflame where her body pressed against his; the effect highlighted by the red glow of her necklace. She trembled in his embrace, her body aching for its release.

He shifted his hands on her now, and arched his back as his hands and hips guided them into dance as old as mankind itself, and older still. His eyes proclaimed his love for her as he broke the kiss, and his body proclaimed his desire, now being fulfilled by her, by their love for one another.

Moving with him, her body found his rhythm, slow and steady, the lust of the previous evening replaced with the pure love that they shared for each other; mutual pleasure more important than their own satisfaction and desire. Breaking the kiss, she looked deep into his eyes, losing herself in his gaze, as she slid her hands up into his hair, fingers entwining.

Opposing hers, Ainulindalion’s hand slid to the side of his love’s head, and carefully balanced there, on just the tips of his fingers. And behind his eyes, behind his love, something glowed, something grew. And then, with an almost audible sound, he let her see his love for her as he joined their minds and souls to each other, a bond only possible with perfect love.

A sigh escaped from her lips as she felt their joining, her eyes closing as she let the feeling flow through her mind, her body trembled as the messages slowly traveled over her. Heartbeat rising, breath raspy, as their bodies entwined, the feeling of wholeness filled her, making her complete.

As the link joined them, allowing them to see each other’s love, they began to rise in it, love fueling greater love, a deeper joining, and more complete oneness, of which their physical love and union was only the tiniest sliver. But it was a constant one, growing with everything else, and as their bond deepened, so too did their pleasure increase.

Gehenna lost herself in him, her mind, body and soul responding to him, everything else outside of them disappeared into nothing, ceased to exist. Time seemed to stand still, as she felt the sensual caress of him, her physical body moving as if in slow motion as she felt the growing wave, the pleasant build up, threatening to unleash its torrent over her.

The closer they grew to the point, the closer to oneness, the more like the other they became, he like her, and Gehenna, like Ainulindalion. And it was this that allowed her to see what happened next.

There was nothingness, everywhere, nowhere, but the nothingness was filled with something. It was filled with love. Two blazing beacons of love, two souls joined by love, their union fully connected. The connections mingled, black and blue, into each other, melting, merging, drawing the two souls closer, ever closer, blazing brighter as the distance dropped.

As the image appeared, Gehenna's eyes flew open; her gaze locked to his, yet what she saw remained the same. She watched in wonder, as her body began to experience every aspect, the feelings overpowering, leading her further and further along that path. She felt a jolt, as her body reacted to his movements, feeling the dam slowly reaching breaking point.

Ainulindalion watched with her as the two souls burned, blue and black no longer separating them, they touched each other, pressing against the other, light intermingling, nothing hidden, nothing held back, no secrets, only love, passion, and together. Completely different, yet the same. The lights grew brighter, still not blinding, as they began to merge, to overlap.

Eyes transfixed, she watched the scene unfold, unsure of it, yet knowing that it related to something special, something that touched her deeper than she had been touched before. Her body trembled against him, burning, as the light grew brighter. She pressed her lips to his, feeding from him as a tiny drip heralded the beginning of the onslaught, that threatened to grip her body.

He felt her lips against his, but it was secondary, the flesh nearly discarded as the scene built towards its climax. The two burning lights flicker, and wavered, then the merged completely, and for the merest instant, they blazed brighter than any star in their combination. Then the light became stronger as the burning souls exploded into each other, union completed.

The light blazed in her eyes, then her body was hit, as the waves crashed over her, taking her through the barrier. She held on tightly to him, riding the torrent as it swept her along. Breaking the kiss, she cried out, before the sound was ripped from her throat as her breath caught. She looked deep in his eyes, focused on him, loving him as her body gave in, unable to stop the flow.

Ainulindalion shouted her name breathlessly as he fought for air against the explosion of pleasure, of pure love for Gehenna, as he rode the wave with her, together, the driving, pulsating action taking everything and giving all in love. His eyes blazed with light as twin suns, reflecting blue and red, fire and ice, love and lust.

Arms clasped around his love, he fell over to his side, bringing her with him, bodies entangled as he could not break his gaze, as he fought for the air love had stolen from him, and replaced with something he needed even more. Gehenna.

Gehenna fought to catch her breath, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she fought to bring her breathing under control, content to lie silent in his arms until she could speak, feeling safe and content. She looked into his eyes, her smile full of love that was matched by the glint in her eyes. Her face was rosy, glowing from her lovemaking; her skin glistened in the early morning light, accentuated by the red tint emanating from the stone around her neck. She tilted her head and gently brushed her lips against his.

His lips pressed back, lightly, mere whispers, breaths of contact with hers as his mind flashed over what had just happened. Never, ever before. He had not known, never dreamed it could be, was meant to be, like that. But he knew with all his heart that was what he would experience every time he was with her, at least, every time they chose to.

The thoughts flashed by before her lips left his though, and he smiled broadly at her. “I love you, Gehenna of Tartarus, with my entire being.”

Raising her hand, she gently caressed his cheek with her fingers, her touch light, as if she feared that he would break. She smiled at him, her eyes lingering on his, unable to break away from them. "I love you too, Lord Daniels." She ran her finger lightly over his chest. "I could stay right here forever, and never need anything else."

He chuckled softly. “I really ought to tell you my real name, I suppose. And as for needing nothing else…” His stomach growled softly, as if on cue. “I didn’t have any dinner last night, love.” He continued looking into her eyes, and made no move to do anything about it. In fact, his only movement was a gentle running of his fingers up and down beside her spine.

A shiver ran up her spine, as his finger moved over her back, a small contented sigh accompanying it. "That's what happens when you arrive late at a party, you miss the food." She laughed lightly, before kissing him, her lips briefly touching his. "Shall I order some breakfast?"

“Probably best.” He lightly kissed her again, keeping the contact brief, perfectly aware of what they would be doing in short order if either’s lips lingered. “But unless you want everyone to know what you were doing last night and this morning, we probably ought to shower.” He grinned at her, looking forward to showering with her.

Gehenna stretched, her eyes lighting up at the thought of a shower. "You get the temperature just right, and I'll call for breakfast." She smiled up into his face. "Anything you'd particularly like? Or shall I just order a selection?"

“A selection sounds good.” He kissed her lightly again, before very reluctantly untangling himself from her, finally ending their union. He ran a hand like a breath of wind across her side as he rolled from the bed, standing naked on the floor. “Don’t take too long, love.” He smiled at her, and padded silently to the bathroom, walking backwards so his eyes never left her.

Laughing lightly, Gehenna watched him until he disappeared into the bathroom, blowing him a kiss before he went out of sight. Rolling over, she reached over and picked up the phone, then hitting a button, she placed her order for breakfast.

Replacing the receiver, she reclined back on the bed, listening to the sound of running water as he prepared the shower. She smiled, knowing that she had never felt so happy as she did at that moment. Pushing herself to the edge of the bed, she placed her feet on the floor, her gaze fixed on the window, looking out into a bright sunshine filled morning. She stood up, not bothering to cover her body with a robe; she followed him into the bathroom, pausing at the door as she stood watching him.

Ainulindalion was sitting, well, floating, in mid air, waiting her for her to come in, the water creating a cloud of steam that swirled around him. He took her arm as his feet returned to the ground, and he pulled her to him as he stepped back into the shower. The water was, somehow, ice cold, despite the steam.

Lost in her confusion, as she watched him float, Gehenna was rudely brought back to her senses as the cold water pummeled against her skin, an involuntarily shiver accompanied by a surprised cry revealed her shock. "I thought I asked for the perfect temperature?" She tilted her head and kissed him, as she felt goosebumps appear on her body.

As her lips touched his, despite the cold water, warmth flooded her body. Not the warmth of desire, but just temperature. As his arms went around her, the goosebumps vanished. The water was steaming of Ainulindalion’s skin. As he broke the kiss, he smiled. “This is the perfect temperature.”

As she looked up at him, she laughed lightly, shaking her head. Her hand reached up to her neck, freeing the necklace that she wore, she placed it on the soap holder. "How do you do that?" She frowned as she looked at him questioningly. "All the conjuring, tricks, and things you do."

He looked at her, almost as if he did not understand the question. Which he did not, to a certain extent. He had no idea why he could do those things. He just willed it, and it happened. “It’s… complicated.” The water was returned to a normal temperature for showering, by now, the shock value worn off. He picked up a bottle of body wash. “You first? Or me?”

"You." She took the bottle from him, and poured a liberal amount on her hands, soaping them up as she stood in front of him. "Complicated?" Placing her hands on his chest, she began to slowly rub them over his skin, the foam remaining as proof of her progress, and massaged his flesh. "Not even a little hint? Or do I have to sign some secret oath not to tell?" She laughed as she looked up into his eyes.

“You do have to promise not to tell, but no signing in blood or anything.” He sighed, and smiled under the work of her hands. It was so pleasant… it reminded him of earlier. Not now! Shower time. “I will explain over breakfast, though, which is when you get to learn all about me.”

At his words, her hands stop suddenly, and she looks blankly into his face, her mind whirling. "Should I be worried? That sounded oddly ominous." She stood, scanning his face. His sigh had not helped ease her mind, in fact, had added to her concern.

“No, no reason to worry, dear heart.” At least, I hope not. He lowered his head and kissed her. “It will just call for a certain amount of changed perceptions of me, on your part.” He picked up the body wash again. “I think it is better if we do this together.” He squirted out a generous dollop, and smeared it over his hands, before he placed them on her stomach.

She continued to stare at him for a moment, looking a little confused and worried, then as he touched her body, she looked at him and smiled, as if he had swept away all her fears. She resumed her attentions, her hands moving over his body, lathering up as she worked away over his flesh, her fingers tracing his memorised form.

His hands moved quickly, scrubbing her down, smiling as he washed her body, unfortunately removing the sweet scent of their lovemaking from their skin as they cleaned each other. He looked down at her, as he finished, covered in white lather, skin peeking through in small bits, hair plastered down with water, and kissed her forehead. “I love you, Gehenna.”

"I love you too, Lo…" She smiled at him, as she recalled that she still didn't know his name. Taking hold of his hands, she pulled them both under the spray, feeling the water run over her body, taking with it the white soap suds, leaving her feeling invigorated.

In the other room, the faint sounds of crockery and cutlery being moved about could be heard, as two members of staff laid out the breakfast that Gehenna had ordered. Their voices could be heard, softly speaking to each other, as they worked quickly to be out of the room by the time their Empress was ready to eat.

She looked up the man beside her, smiling happily at him, as she ran her hand over his cheek, then down to his lips. "Breakfast is served." She leant over and kissed him, then stepped out of the shower, grabbing a clean towel off the rack, before moving to allow him to emerge.

Ainulindalion followed her from the shower, turning it off, and smiled at her before grabbing the towel away from her and beginning to dry her off with it, in most cases fairly professional, but his towel-covered hand lingered in some places, his touch becoming a caress. He was dry by this point, and he reached back and grabbed her necklace from the shower. He moved behind her, turning her away for just a moment, he looped it gently around her neck and refastened it, kissing her neck lightly in the process.

When she could see him again, he was fully dressed in his black, though with a bit of gold woven in, and his sword was hanging on his belt again, and he smiled broadly. “Now, what shall you wear today, dear heart?”

"How…?" Gehenna could not answer for a moment, as her mind registered his appearance. Running her eyes over his body, she recognised his usual attire, or more so the colour. You even look good dressed. She smiled to herself as she continued to appraise his appearance. Giving his question some thought, she looked into his eyes, her own sparkling. "Surprise me."

“Alright.” He waved his hand theatrically. “Blue, I think, to match your wonderful eyes…” A blue dress, exactly the color of her eyes, draped loosely over her form. “Tighter, to show off your exquisite body…” It became formfitting. “A bit more revealing, because I simply love your skin…” The neckline dropped, the sleeves vanished, and a same color mesh band encircled her waist as the right side split from hip to hem. “Beautiful.” The glowing red of the necklace contrast nicely with the blue. “It need something else, though…” He walked around her and stopped behind her. His hand slid in the slit on the hip, and snapped the underwear she had not been wearing against her skin as he lifted her up, and set her back down in matching blue leather sandals, with a slight heel. “Still…. Hmmm.” He gazed at her as he walked back to the front. “Ah!” A light jacket appeared, in a slightly darker blue, that came down to just below the mesh insert, which when closed, would make the outfit appropriate for working in. He bent his head down and kissed her. “Simply perfect.” He smiled, and offered her his arm. “Breakfast, my love?”

Gehenna walked over to the mirror, her hand quickly removing the build up of steam. She stepped back and look at her reflection, her eyes opened wide as she turned around admiring the whole outfit. "Its beautiful." She moved back over to him, brushing her lips against his. "Breakfast sounds wonderful." She slipped her arm through his, as they made their way back into the bedroom.
imported_Sentient Peoples
18-03-2004, 18:06
<Monitoring Tag>
20-03-2004, 02:04
20-03-2004, 02:09
Ainulindalion led the Empress back into her bedroom, and gazed about in the full light of day, eyes skimming over the rumpled sheets of the bed, the clothing casually dropped on the floor, his mixed with hers, though in the shadow of the bed, his was hardly evident. He continued to sweep the room with his gaze, and noted the food set up at the small table, until his gaze fell on…

…the business card he had given her, at their first meeting. His arm slipped around her waist and pulled her against him. “You kept it?” he asked, somewhat surprised.

Gehenna followed his gaze and laughed lightly, her eyes lingering on the card. "Just in case I needed to get hold of you." She returned her eyes to his, smiling lovingly at him. "Of course, you never left your number." She indicated the table with her hand. "Shall we eat?"

He nodded, and led her over to the table. “Yes, let’s eat. But first…” He tilted her head up and kissed her passionately, his lips coming down hard, yet tenderly, upon hers. After a long moment, or perhaps a short one, time seemed to stop when he kissed her, he broke the kiss. “I love you.” He lowered himself slowly into a chair before the selection of food on the table and pulled her into his lap.

"I love you too." Settling against him, she ran her eyes over the plates before them, raising the lids one by one to show what was on offer. The selection varied from cereals to fried goods, the smell of bacon and eggs filling the room. She ran her hand lightly over his thigh, as she pressed her lips lightly against his cheek. "What would you like?"

He settled his arms around her waist and smiled as he rubbed the silken mesh covering her body. “I’ve always been partial to well prepared eggs with cheese and breakfast meats.” As he spoke, the food floated over to them, settling on the table just before Gehenna. “What do you want?” He blinked, then smiled. “To eat.”

Watching the plate move before them, Gehenna stared in disbelief, before turning her head towards, her voice raised in mild surprise. "Are you going to explain how you do that?" She faced back to the table, her gaze passing over the food. "I think I'll have the same."

More food piled onto the plate as he spoke again. “The truth is, I’m not really sure how I do it. I simply will things to happen, and they do. It’s always been that way, since… since the beginning.” He reached out, picked up a piece of bacon, and held it up to his mouth. “I don’t know how else to explain it.” He took a bite of the piece of fried pork.

Gehenna frowned, her mind working overtime to comprehend his words. "So, you do not know how you do it? You just think and it happens?" She pick up a fork and looked at the food in front of her, debating which piece to eat first, although her thoughts were on other things. "Does it run in your family?"

“You might say it ran in my family.” He shrugged slightly. “Or at least, the closest thing I have to a family. No real family in the classical, human sense. But then, I’m not human, either, except at a purely physical level.” He sighed softly, and took another bite. “Do you remember what you learned when you researched me the second time?”

As his words began to sink in, she turned towards him, moving in his lap until she could see his face clearly. "Not…human?" The look she gave him was incredulous. "Not human." She repeated her words, as she lowered her face, her brow furrowing even more as she recalled the report she had read. She raised her eyes her discovery came back into her thoughts. "You mean the information concerning the god…um…" She searched her memory again. "Ainulindalion?" She laughed lightly. "How could I forget?"

He sat and ate the rest of his piece of bacon. “That is my real name. Ainulindalion, or sometimes Balion. There are a whole host of others, including my true name in Valarin, but that one isn’t pronounceable with a human voice range.” He smiled at her. “I’d prefer if you called me Balion, though.”

Opening her mouth, Gehenna found no words would come. She stared at him for a moment searching his face, then she laughed loudly. "Oh, Lord Daniels." She continued in her amusement. "You really shouldn't tease like that." Looking into his eyes, she stopped suddenly. "You are joking, aren't you?" Her voice lowered as she spoke.

Shaking his head, he smiled faintly. “No, I’m not joking, Gehenna of Tartarus.” Despite the smile, his youthful face suddenly looked astonishingly old. It was his eyes, the eyes he allowed to show the full burden of his years at last, the ages of the world spent alone, with nothing to do because of the promise extracted from him. “There are those who would call me a god, and perhaps the term fits.” He shrugged, and his eyes became youthful once more. “I was borne of the world’s beginning, the creation of the world. I realize that is frankly impossible for you to understand this, to understand what I really am, but my physical presence is merely a façade for dealing with people used to a physical reality. But however, whatever I am, know that I love you.”

She placed her hand lightly on his cheek, her fingers caressing. Her eyes were fixed to his as she ran over everything that they had experienced, the things she had seen him do. The roof, the boat, his sudden appearances and disappearances, all sprung to mind as she looked at him. "I don't know what to say." She smiled at him, her feelings showing plainly in her face. "Except I love you." She turned to the table and skewered some food with her fork, raising it to her mouth to take a bite. "So, Lord Da…Balion, what happens now?" Suddenly she was full of fear and confusion, afraid of what she was about to hear.

“Well, I was thinking of kissing you next, then finishing breakfast, myself. Perhaps even telling you a little more about me.” He looked into her eyes, and squeezed his arms around her waist. “Did you have something else in mind, dear heart?”

She shook her head, her smile back on her lips, as she looked at him, her expression still one of mild confusion. "My mind is whirling at the moment, I…" She stood up, running her hand through her hair agitatedly, then began to pace beside the table. "It's not everyday you get introduced to a…god." She laughed nervously.

He smiled, and stood up, and as she drew near, took her in his arms. “You’ve known me for a year, Gehenna, or nearly so. Am I so different from everyone else?” He smiled. “I prefer not to think of myself as a god, though, just merely a non-corporeal life form with nigh on unlimited control of the universe. I’ve never been comfortable with the ‘god’ title.” He kissed her on the forehead softly, then glanced at the food.

"No, you are no different." She placed her arms around him, pressing her body against him, feeling safe in his embrace. "I'm just afraid you…" She raised her eyes to his, the fear glinting in her eyes. "I don't want to lose you." She released him, and pulled him back over to the table, pushing him back into the chair. "Eat first."

Pulling her head down to his, he kissed her softly, then pulled her back into his lap. “I don’t really have to, you know. But you do.” He ate another piece of bacon anyway, though. “As for losing me, that is the one thing I cannot do. I cannot predict the future. The day in the theater, you almost lost me.” He looked deep into her eyes. “Of course, I almost lost you too, so let’s not do that again.”

Although her face returned to a more normal expression, her eyes still told of her confusion. She smiled, trying to recapture the euphoric feeling she had had only moments before. "I don't want to experience what happened in the theatre again. And I definitely do not want to lose you." She reached over and picked up the fork that still had a piece of sausage attached to it, biting and chewing it, suddenly feeling hungry. "Mmm, these are nice."

He smiled as he took a bite as well. “Yes, you have very good chefs in your employ.” Some egg was next. “Only the best for the Empress?” His hand trailed across the thin mesh around her waist, fingers light. He took another bite, for the food was the best he had had in hundreds of years.

She took another bite, using the time to recall everything that had been said, trying to come to terms with events. "I guess this is the thing I'm not allowed to talk about?" As if anyone would believe me, anyway. She pronged another piece of food with her fork, bringing it up to her lips then lowering it again. "So, as old as time." She sighed heavily. "You must have been through this many times?"

“I have had to explain myself many times, though not as many as you might think. I try to limit having to explain myself.” He took another bite. “But this is the first time I’ve had to explain it like this, dear heart. This is the only time I’ve ever had to tell someone that I loved. Most of the others were in the course of jobs.”

"You've never loved before?" She raised her eyebrows questioningly, although her heart strangely beat faster, delighted yet saddened by the news. "Forever is a long time to be lonely." She smiled at him, as she lifted the morsel of food on the fork to his mouth, offering it to him. "You do a lot of these jobs? Like the thing you did for me?"

He took the bite and finished it before replying. “Yes, forever is a long time.” He smiled. “Which is why I am so glad I found you, dear heart.” He lifted a bite into the air for her to eat, though without a fork. “As for a lot of these type of jobs, not really. Maybe a few hundred since I became old enough to understand. But that was before the elves awoke, so my existence has been rather boring.”

She opened her mouth and felt the food touch her tongue, which she chewed sadly. She thought of her own upbringing, the loneliness seemed to go back forever, but he had been alone for more time than she could comprehend. "I want to make your life less boring." She smiled and kissed him, her lips claiming his with a hunger that far outweighed her need for food.

Sometime later, when he broke the kiss, he chuckled softly as he gazed into her beautiful blue eyes. “You’ve already done that.” He kissed her lightly, quickly, teasingly. “We ought to finish eating the food. The chef must have worked hard to make it.” He grinned wickedly. “’sides, if you kiss me like that again, I might have to repair your dress after I tear it off of you.”

"Well, the chef is used to preparing this most mornings, unless I specify, so he will not be offended. And I like the feel of your kiss." She smiled teasingly, her fingers lightly brushing over his lips, before she picked up another piece of sausage and feeding it to Balion. ""So, tell me, do you have a church dedicated to your worship?"

He choked on the sausage at her question. Once he fought down the reaction, he laughed. “A church?” He smiled at her. “No, no church. You’re the only human that knows who I am, though no doubt the people who live on my island with me suspect something.” His smile became a wicked grin again as he spoke softly.

“Though if you want to dedicate a couple of nights a week to joint worship of each other, I’d not object.” The grin shrank but was still there. “A church would likely be a violation of a promise I made long ago, to Eru, not to interfere in the affairs of the world, the workings of empires and states.” His expression clouded over briefly. “That’s why we almost lost each other after I saved you in the theater.”

Her brows furrowed, as his words sank in. "You mean that you were more seriously injured than you made out?" She lowered the fork to the table, her now empty hand moving lightly to his chest. "And this promise? To Eru. Sounds ominous. Should I be…" She swallowed trying to displace the bad feeling that was rising in her body. "Should I be worried?"

“In the theater? No, I wasn’t injured badly.” He tapped his chest. “This form isn’t the real me, remember.” He picked up a knife off of the table, and ran the blade across the palm of his hand, cutting it slightly. He left it just long enough for her to see, and then he healed it completely. “See? Physical injuries are nothing.” He shrugged. “As for Eru…” His face crinkled up as he thought to explain.

“Eru is the Judeo-Christian “Father God,” the Zeus, the Ra. For lack of a better term, he is God, capitalized. As for worried, yes, a little bit. You see, if I violate my promise to Eru again, I will end. I will cease to be. When I saved you by diverting the bullets in the theater, however unintentional it was, I violated the promise.” He smiled grimly. “I only get one more failure.”

Gehenna looked at Balion, her mouth open as she searched for words, her eyes wide with shock. "You almost…ceased to exist…?" She pointed to her chest. "Because of me?" She began to tremble, her stomach churning at the thought. "I was supposed to die…and you changed that?"

Ainulindalion nodded solemnly. “Yes, Gehenna of Tartarus, you were supposed to die that night. But I would do it again, even knowing the consequences of my actions, to protect you.” He hugged her tightly. “But we don’t need to worry about that, love. It isn’t going to happen again. But you needed to know why I was distant that night in the hospital, and why I might not always be able to protect you.”

Gehenna slipped her arms around him, her head resting against his shoulder. Her voice was little more than a whisper. "Promise me?" She moved until she was looking into his eyes. "Promise you won't risk your existence for me." She could feel the tears beginning to well in her eyes. "I couldn't bear to be responsible for anything happening to you."

His hand drifted up to her face, his thumb rested just below her eye as he gazed into the pools of blue, sparkling like fresh water. “I promise you, Gehenna.” His lips softly found hers. “I promise you will not be my end.” His lips found hers again, for longer this time. His fingers moved to prevent the tears.

Then he smiled, and his voice became lighter, to try and break her tears. “Besides, it’d be better for me to let you die. After all, I can bring you back.” He kissed her again. “Am I correct in assuming you can’t do the same for me, dear heart?”

As she nodded her head and smiled, a tear rolled down her cheek. She bit her lip then laughed lightly. "Of course, I've never tried, so you never know." She kissed him passionately, then slipped off his lap, catching his hand. Their lips parted as the distance between them grew, his arm outstretched towards her, as she dragged him slowly from the chair, and guided him towards the bed, stopping when she felt her legs touch the side. Lowering herself into a sitting position, she pulled him down onto the bed, her eyes sparkling with uncontained desire. "I think I need a little more worshipping."

Chuckling, he pushed her back onto the bed, the pile of tangled sheets. He bent down and kissed her passionately, and as his hands found her body underneath him, both of their clothes were gone as easily as they had appeared in the bathroom. “I think that can be arranged, love.”

* * * * *

The sun no longer streamed in the eastern windows, and the day was just more than half gone when Ainulindalion ran his fingers lightly down his love’s spine. Gehenna of Tartarus was curled in the crook of his arm, her naked body pressed against his, both of them gleaming slightly with a faint sheen of sweat and the afterglow of pleasure.

His desire, for the moment, was sated, and he thought hers was too. But he was sure he could summon up some more if she wanted him to. It wouldn’t be any problem at all, actually. She is amazingly beautiful. And very good. “Had enough worshipping, dear heart?”

"Mmm." She traced her fingers over his chest, her touch as light as a summer breeze. Tilting her head, she brushed her lips against his cheek, her eyes gazing lovingly at his profile. "I could stay here forever."

He shivered lightly at her touch, and then turned his head to look at her. “That does sound nice, doesn’t it?” He smiled and his tone became light, joking. “But then Nefy would have to run the country.” His hand sliding down her back slid lower and pinched her lightly. “You’d better get at least some work done today.”

Sitting up, she turned and looked down upon him. She frowned, as she gazed into his eyes. "Are you bored of me already?" Her attempt to sound offended was ruined by the laughter that took over seconds later. "You are right, I should get to the office." She leant down and kissed him. "Nefy?" She laughed a little more. "Nefy will no doubt be waiting to inform me how unchivalrously you treated me, last night." Her eyes glowed as she remembered their antics. "And I may find it hard not to agree with him, even if it was the most enjoyable night of my life."

Ainulindalion smiled up at the naked Empress. “Yes, it was indeed pleasant, dare I say, the best night I have experienced in all my time.” He ran a hand over her perfect form, his eyes drinking it in before returning to hers. “Would you prefer I’d courted you properly, delaying last night by at least some years?”

"No." She shook her head as she spoke, her smile growing. "I don't think I would have wanted to what for years. Not even days." She ran her fingers through her hair, brushing it behind her shoulders, then dropped her hand to her to her necklace, caressing it in her palm. "Will you be here when I get back? I should only be a couple of hours."

He slowly shook his head. “I’m not sure. I do promise I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He smiled at her. “But you can’t go to work looking like that. Everyone will know what we were doing, dear heart.”

"I can't expect you to be here all the time. Not that I don't want you to be." She smiled and kept her voice light, yet she could barely hide her disappointment. She never thought that someone leaving would make her feel so empty. "As long as you come back, that's all that matters." Lowering her eyes, she looked at her state of undress, then looked into his eyes. "I don't care who knows what I've been doing." She stroked his cheek slowly with the back of her fingers. "I'm not ashamed. I love you too much to be ashamed."

He smiled at her confession. “I love you too. Too much for you to wander out there and start up a bunch of rumors about yourself and the ‘foreign stranger.’” Waving his hand theatrically, he watched as she was transformed from his wonderful lover into the proper Empress, back in the blue outfit, her hair and makeup done as if hours had been spent on them.

And though he was on the bed, he was dressed too. And then he swung his legs to the side and stood up, pulling her with him, into a passionate kiss, his tongue teasing hers as it slipped between her lips. He broke the kiss after a long moment. “Until I see you later, my love.”

"You make it so hard to leave." Stepping back, she caught hold of his hand and lifted it to her mouth. She planted a kiss on his knuckles, before she gently lowered it, and let it go, her own hand falling to her side. "I'll see you soon, Balion." She ran her gaze over him, memorising every inch of his body, until her eyes met his, a glint of sadness in them.

He took her in his arms and hugged her, and then stepped back, making it clear he intended to leave, his reluctance displayed in his lingering touch, his movement, and his eyes. “Yes, you will. Until later, my love.” And with shocking suddenness, he was gone, as all the times before, leaving something behind this time, his clothes from the night before laying tangled with hers on the floor.

Looking at the air where moments before Balion had stood, she smiled, still picturing his form. She headed towards the door, glancing back briefly as she pulled it open, she stared at the bed and smiled, before walking into the corridor. She couldn't help wonder how much work she would get done with thoughts of him swimming through her mind.
Gehenna Tartarus
20-03-2004, 14:55
The corridors were relatively empty, the odd member of staff walking about their business or talking to colleagues about latest news items. The Empress’ birthday seemed to be high on the list of conversational topics. Although few seemed to have noticed her disappearance, and if they did they were careful not to mention it about the Palace where they could have been overheard.

Gehenna walked straight to her office, acknowledging the people she passed, and smiling or offering brief words to any who commented on the party, her mind slowly turning to the work ahead. Coming from her living quarters, Gehenna entered her office through the adjoining door, nodding at the security detail that resided outside.

Stepping inside, she moved directly to the window, standing watching as people bustled about tidying up from the night before. The only thing left as evidence of the party was the marquee, which was slowly being dismantled by a team of workmen. She continued to stare in their direction, until she moved her gaze over the garden, her eyes lingering a little longer than necessary on the rose garden, a smile playing at her lips.

Breaking her reverie, Gehenna walked over to her desk, and seated herself in her large leather chair, making herself comfortable, before pressing the talk button on the intercom. “Alex, would you come in, please? And bring some coffee.” She picked up a document from the desk, running her eye over the words, as minutes later a knock at the door heralded her secretary’s arrival. “Come in.”

The faired haired man, moved swiftly to the desk, and placed the cup near the Empress then stood waiting for her to speak. She looked up and smiled, as she brought the drink to her lips, savouring the flavour unaware how thirsty she had become. “Anything important I should be aware of?”

“Good morning, Your Majesty.” As if released from a dam, Alex slowly worked his way through a list of calls and news that had filled his morning, as he spoke he handed her the corresponding documentation for her later perusal. “And Lord Nefarious would like to speak to you.” He finished.

“Well, there’s a surprise.” She took another sip of her coffee, as she considered her best course of action. She knew that she couldn’t avoid him forever, but then she didn’t want her pleasant mood to be destroyed so soon.

Alex coughed slightly. “He’s waiting outside.”

Gehenna turned her head towards Alex, a brief look of surprise flashed over her features, replaced with her usual business expression. “Has he been waiting long?” Probably since daybreak, knowing him.

“He’s been there for an hour, although he has been ringing most of the morning.” He looked at his employer questioningly. “Should I show him in?”

Refraining from filling her desire and telling Alex to send him away, Gehenna nodded. Get it over and done with, then it’s out of the way. “Yes, show him in.” She raised her cup for another sip as he moved towards the door, but stopped short of her mouth. “How does he seem this morning?”

Alex stopped and turned as he reached for the handle. “He’s his usual self, Ma’am.” Waiting for her sign of dismissal, he continued on his way as she nodded her head. He closed the door behind him as he left.

Moments later the door opened again as Gehenna gave her consent for entry. She stood as the man entered the room and walked confidently towards the desk. She raised her hand in greeting, and watched with amusement as he brought it up to his lips and kissed it. “Good morning, Gehenna. I trust you slept well?”

She smiled back, a small sigh stifled as she pointed to a chair. “I did indeed, Lord Nefarious.” She watched as he took up the invitation and took the offered seat. “Better than I have for a while. And yourself, did you enjoy the party?” She kept her gaze locked to his face, searching for any telltale signs as to the direction this conversation was going to take.

His expression remained neutral, but for those that knew him, his eyes were a giveaway to his mood, appearing to be several shades darker than usual. “The party was pleasant enough, although there were a few…”

“A few?” She looked at him, a smile at his discomfort threatening to show itself. She stopped and waited for him to continue, until his slight wave of the hand dismissed the discussion. “I found the proceedings most enjoyable. I would go so far as to say that I cannot recall enjoying myself more.” Her eyes sparkled with remembrance. “So, Lord Nefarious, you had something urgent you wished to speak to me about?”

Her cousin cleared his throat before he started. “To be honest, Gehenna, I was a little concerned for your…well-being.” He looked her directly in the eyes. “You seemed to, shall we say, disappear halfway through the evening, and no one saw you again, until now.” He smiled, giving the impression of concern. “Especially after the incident at the theatre.”

At the mention of those words, Gehenna’s face went white, but not for the reason that Nefarious thought, her mind recalling Balion’s take of the situation. “Thank you for your concern, but I assure you, I was never in any danger.” She saw his mouth open to speak again, and cut him off before he could get a single sound out. “I left the party a little early with a headache, I didn’t want to worry anyone so I left quietly.”

“You took a walk in the garden, for some air, first?” He lowered his eyes and began to examine his fingers. “You do like to stroll amongst the roses of an evening.” He raised his eyes to hers, a knowing smile playing on his lips. “You dropped something.” He presented her with the flower she had been wearing in her hair at the party.

“Thank you.” She took it, brought it to her face and breathed in its scent, before lowering it, and twirling it between her fingers. “I wondered what happened to it. It was very kind of you to retrieve it.” She watched the rose spin in her grasp. “Did you want anything else?”

Lord Nefarious rubbed his fingers over his forehead in thought then slowly shook his head. “Now that we know you are safe, we can all go about our usual business, rest assured that no harm has come to you.” He lowered his hand to his lap, his eyes shining in his triumph.

“Well, if you have nothing else to discuss, I will bid you farewell.” She indicated the door as she looked into his face, catching his reply for her dismissal. “Please ask Alex to hold all my calls on your way out, if you wouldn’t mind?” She smiled at him sweetly, while treating him as another member of staff. She kept her eyes fixed to him as he moved to the door.

He turned around suddenly, and spoke. “Did Lord Daniels enjoy the festivities? He seemed to vanish too.”

Gehenna thought for a moment and shrugged slightly. “I’m afraid you will have to ask him next time you see him, I cannot be expected to know the reactions of all my guests, Lord Nefarious.” She smiled again, then turned her attention to the first document on the pile as she heard the door close, confirming his departure. Raising her eyes to the door, she sighed then smiled, grateful that the conversation had gone much better than she thought.

Placing the paperwork back on the desk, she moved back over to the window, and returned her gaze to the rose garden. She lifted the flower back into her view and smiled, as she took another breath of its scent, images of her party coming to mind, especially of him.
21-03-2004, 06:42
She is the most wonderful woman in the universe. That was Ainulindalion’s last thought before he vanished from Gehenna’s bedroom. He had wanted to stay, but keeping her in the bed with him all the time certainly would be violating his promise. After all, she would not be able to run the country while they were making love.

It was not unexpected, entirely, when he did not end up back in the Fortress. The room was familiar, to say the least, though he was certain he had never been in it before. Then he knew he had.

The night of the theater. The night he had almost lost Gehenna. It was just arranged differently. He faced an elevated stand, the kind behind which a tribunal would sit. But only two people sat there.

Well, not exactly people.

One was The Watcher, dark blues and purples, darkness and shadows, rolling and dark. Anger curled in his core, directed at Ainulindalion, and reached out towards him. Balion stood his ground, and the power broke around him, reaching for him, but not touching him. The flaming eyes seemed to reach for Balion’s soul, but again, seemed limited.

Ainulindalion turned his attention away, to examine the other person before him. Pale blond hair, light blue eyes, snow white skin, clothed in naught but a thin sheath of clouds. The most classically pretty woman he had ever seen. Not beautiful as Gehenna, but certainly ‘prettier.’ It was then he realized her features were too regular, too perfect. Symmetrical. It was then Ainulindalion realized who this must be. Winginóna of the People of Ulmo. Aphrodite. Venus. The Goddess of Love.

An odd combination to be sure. But Ainulindalion was clearly standing before a setup meant for three judges, yet only two occupied the outer chairs. The center chair was empty, and a sword lay upon the desk before it. His hand went to his waist, but he already knew what he would, and did, find. His sword was gone, taken from him.

Idly, he considered trying to take the sword from the desk. I wouldn’t suggest it, Ainulindalion. The Watcher and Aphrodite laughed. The sound was sharp in contrast, his chuckle deep and hardly melodious, while hers was naught but a tiny giggle, assaulting the ear in much the same manner as the shattering of crystal bells, that is to say, not at all.

“Why am I here? What did I do this time? I didn’t interfere.”

The Watcher laughed again, and the sound pierced Ainulindalion’s soul with tortured agony. But you did.

Oh, do not torture him so, for we are here to decide what, if anything, he has actually done wrong. We cannot punish him for events over which he has no control.

But he has control over everything and anything he wants it over.


The single word cut through everything, as if it were the very air itself that had spoken. And that, in a sense, was what happened.

There was only One who took no physical form, even in the presence of the others. The One. Eru. Ilúvatar. God. The Father-Creator of the Universe.

No curse in any of his many tongues came close to Ainulindalion’s realization of the trouble he must be in, if Eru Himself were to sit judgment upon him.

Do you know why you are here, Ainulindalion?
Gehenna Tartarus
24-03-2004, 21:40
Several hours later, the sun slowly slipped out of the sky, allowing darkness to claim the land, the faint outline of the moon poking its face out to the world, not yet brave enough to claim its place from its master. The rolling clouds began to gather, threatening to diminish the sunset, hiding it behind a blanket of grey, edging across the great expanse.

The room was silent; not even the crackling of the fire spoilt the pure calm, as the light that came through the window faded fast. The door opened, a flash of brightness thrown over the room from the corridor. A silhouette appeared in the brightened space, caught between the worlds of darkness and light.

Leaving her security outside the door, Gehenna stepped into the room, her hand instantly on the light switch, a light emitting from the small lamp near the bed made the place look cosy and warm, even without the orange glow of the usual flickering flame, although it would not be long before someone came to set a fire in the grate.

Moving towards the bed, her mind swamped with thoughts of its earlier occupation, she looked around her, looking for someone she had expected…no, hoped to find waiting for her. Sitting on the edge, she took off her shoes, lowering first one then the other to the floor, then slipped off her jacket, laying it beside her. Then she allowed her eyes to close, playing his image in her mind's eye, a smile playing on her lips as she slowly undressed him, recalling the feel of him.

Opening her eyes, she laughed lightly at herself over her behaviour, acting like a foolish schoolgirl rather than a…lovesick Empress? But she felt happy, happier than she could ever recall being in her life. She placed her hand on the bed behind her, stroking the place where he had been only hours earlier.

I can see you with me when I’m older. All my lonely nights are over.

She smiled as she thought about him holding her, keeping her safe in his embrace. She could feel his touch on her skin, her body shivering as the pleasure he brought her crept into her mind. She fell back on the bed, her eyes focused not on the ceiling, but the image of his face just above hers, his lips lightly brushing against hers.

A knock at the door made her sit upright, her call to them to enter bringing a sudden end to the peace and quiet. She got up from the bed and walked over to the window, searching the sky as if she expected to see him out there before her. She missed him already, she felt lonely being on her own, unable to explain how she had changed so suddenly.

You are the one. Life has began.

The thought made her smile, for her life had begun, although if she looked back, she would have called that evening in the garden the beginning, when he had first flashed into her world, bringing with him what she thought was nothing but pain and suffering, but now, she knew that she would go through all those sleepless nights and nightmares to have him here with her. To have him love her, and have him to love.

I can see the two of us together. I know I’m going to be with you forever.

Forever was such a long time, and although he would be around that long, she would not, and for a moment the thought made her sad, that one day she really would be parted from him, and no matter how hard she tried, she would not be able to stop the inevitable. In the end, he wouldn’t leave her but she would leave him. She fought to swallow down the lump that was growing in her throat, as she pushed those thoughts away, leaving herself with them now, and the foreseeable future, happy, content, together.

The orange glow from the now lit fire spread over the room, as she heard the soft carpeted footfalls of the two staff members leave as silently as they entered. She could feel the heat from where she stood, seeping through the blue dress she wore, the one he had dress her in. She moved over to the fire, lowering herself into the chair, her eyes hypnotised by the dancing flames, but it wasn’t the fire in the palace she could see, but the one at the Sommer-Sonnenwende, where she had seen the wolf. Had danced with him, had lain with him. She smiled, she could now, but when she had found out that it been him, she had been angry and yet relieved. She found that she could look back on the experience and not feel ashamed, but instead she could enjoy the memory.

And she intended to enjoy all the memories. As much as she had despised his treatment of her, she knew that what he had said was true, and looking back over the last year – Has it really been that long? – they had done so much together, and yet their time together had been short, he rarely spent more than an hour in his company, and yet he had managed to capture her heart.

She raised her eyes to the clock, watching the minute hand sweep around the face, sitting silently as it edged the slow hand around it, the steady ticking calling out the departing seconds, as yet another minute was spent without him. She hadn’t been expecting him to be there when she arrived, but she knew he would come, he had promised.

Returning her thoughts to him, she closed her eyes and let the memories fill her once again, lingering on his touch, his kiss. She smiled, her face lit up with her happiness. She traced her lips gently with her fingertips, reminded of the tenderness and passion that he had displayed. Oh, how she wished she could feel him against her lips.

Oh, the world just goes away when you kiss me.

But at the moment he was away, and as time moved slowly on, she missed him. Her feeling of excited anticipation began to wane, soon replaced by a desire to be in his arms, instead of in the chairs embrace. She moved her hand over her chest, catching hold of the stone resting against her skin. He had altered the ruby she had been wearing, gave it a living glow. She closed her hand around it, feeling his warmth and presence.

She couldn’t say how long she sat in the chair, her eyes flicking between the flames and the window, the steady ticking of the clock sounding out the passage of time, but she was not counting. Slowly, as the moon claimed the sky and the darkening clouds burst forth in their fury, filling the night with thunder and lightning, Gehenna finally gave up her vigil, as sleep swept over her, and soon, she was in the arms of her lover once more.
25-03-2004, 01:22
Ainulindalion stared blankly at the unoccupied center chair behind the raised desk. He knew that was where Eru ‘was,’ as much as a noncorporeal being ‘was’ anywhere. His gazed drifted across the two gods sitting behind the slightly lower desks to either side.

There was no point in lying, though. Both Eru and The Watcher would pick it up immediately, Ainulindalion knew, though he was unsure of Aphrodite. “Not entirely,” he answered.

A loud silence was the reply. But only for a short moment.

That’s not true, The Watcher snarled. You are perfectly well aware that there is only one reason why you would be called to this room again. You…

“… Violated my promise.” As his gaze wandered over the scales on the wall behind the three gods, Ainulindalion’s voice was quiet, but the shear shock of the interruption stunned The Watcher into silence for just a moment. He felt stronger than the last time he had faced The Watcher, though still just as powerless. But an image of Gehenna came to him, and though he suppressed the smile it tried to call up, it sent strength coursing through him.

Then you admit your guilt? You admit to violation of your promise? To…

“No.” Ainulindalion’s soft voice cut off The Watcher again. “I admit to nothing. I am simply acknowledging that violating my promise is the only logical reason for my presence here again.” He paused, and looked directly into The Watcher’s flaming eyes. “But I know of no such violation. So as I said, I don’t exactly know why I am here.”

The Watcher’s eyes flared with anger, white lightning and flame sheeting over his form as he leaned forward, ready to accept the implied challenge of Ainulindalion’s words. You dare challenge…

Oh, shut up. Just tell him why he is here so we can get on with it. I have other things to be doing.

Suppressing as laugh as The Watcher turned his fiery gaze on the Goddess of Love, Ainulindalion deliberately assumed a more casual pose, his body relaxing. That sounds good. Let’s get this over with so I can get back to Gehenna. Ainulindalion’s gazed shift back and forth between the two gods idly as they stared at each other.

The staring contest was broken by The Watcher’s laughter, and the sound tore at Ainulindalion. So sure are you that you are going to leave this room alive?
Gehenna Tartarus
26-03-2004, 20:18
The first rays of sun crept through the window, the faint sound of life could be heard as nature awoke, birds singing in the nearby trees heralding the break of day with the dawn chorus. The darkness was pushed away, another cold night over as the burning glory of day swept over the Palace.

The room had grown cooler, the fire long since gone out and the heating yet to reach its peak temperature. The sunlight, not yet strong enough to chase away the chill, edged its way across the floor. It continued pushing the shadows away, until finally its fingers touched flesh.

A slight shiver and a small sigh as eyelids opened, bringing Gehenna back to the conscious world. She moved her body slowly, stretching away the stiffness that she felt after spending the night in the chair. She yawned, as another chill spread over her skin, causing small bumps to arise. Her eyes instinctively moved over to the clock, catching sight of the earliness of the hour. Then they moved swiftly around the room, searching desperately.

Standing up, stretching some life into her tired body, she finished appraising her surroundings, her heart sinking as she discovered that she was alone. I had hoped… She moved over to the window, gazing over the garden before turning her attention to the sky, her eyes blinking against the light. Where are you?

Sighing again, she walked over to the bathroom, a quick shower to refresh her aching limbs. She couldn’t drag her thoughts away from him, memories flooding her mind, but she knew she couldn’t spend all day lost in thoughts of him, no matter how much she may have wanted to. She had an appointment to keep.

Within an hour she was on a plane to Ord, on the Grand Isla.

* * * * *

The flight had seemed extra long, and the time that she would normally have spent catching up with paperwork and other duties was lost to her lack of concentration. Every time she attempted to read a document, her thoughts turned to Balion and his absence.

Have I grown accustomed to having him around already?

Giving up on the work, Gehenna used the rest of the trip to replay her time with him, the good and the bad, but mostly the good. She would have laughed if someone had said a few weeks ago that she would be in such a state over ‘Lord Daniels’, especially as she had been far from friendly when she had first met him. If she were truthful to herself, she would have admitted that she despised the man when he entered her life almost a year ago. She smiled as his image came to mind.

* * * * *

The rest of the journey was spent in much the same way, until several hours later she pulled up outside the door of a large house, not as old as the Ewige Verdammnis Palace, its appearance more relaxing on the eye. It’s location on the exclusive holiday isle helped to make the place seem inviting and full of warmth, even with the security that surrounded and protected the house and grounds.

Gehenna had fond memories of the house, spending many of her summer months enjoying the beauty that the place had to offer, a short trip from the private beach that dwelt at the rear of the property. Breathing in deep you could taste the salt in the air.

As she reached the doors, they swung open revealing an elderly man, dressed in black. His role of butler unmistakable as he bowed his head to his Empress and escorted her through the hall into a large reception room, nicely decorated in bright colours, bringing the summer inside the house. Walking through the door, her eyes fell upon a lady sitting at the table near the window, the end of her pen resting in between her lips as she composed a letter.

“I hope I’m not disturbing your thoughts?” Gehenna’s voice was light, as she moved over to the seated occupant of the room, the other turning to greet her visitor, rising from her seat.

As the two women neared, they pressed two kisses onto each other’s cheek, before standing back allowing a little space between them. The older woman’s hands sliding down Gehenna’s arms until she held onto her hands, running her eyes over the younger woman, appraising her appearance. “You are looking well, Gehenna,” She raised her eyes until their gazes met. “Very well indeed.”

Gehenna laughed lightly. “And you are looking as wonderful as ever, Mama.” She guided her mother to the couch, where they both sat down. “You did get my message that I was coming?” She closed her hands around her companions, feeling their chill.

“Oh, yes, and I got one from Damien too.” She rose and walked over to her writing desk, searching through a pile of papers.

Gehenna frowned, then sighed slightly. Can that man leave nothing alone? “What did Nefarious have to say?” She got up from the chair and followed Lady Maleficent to the desk, a glint of annoyance in her eyes, though her face was presented with a smile.

Her mother turned and smiled kindly at her daughter. “He’s concerned about you.” She chuckled softly as she heard the young woman sigh heavily. She raised her hand and cupped Gehenna’s cheek. “I, on the other hand, am not worried.” A sparkle appeared in her eyes. “I’m happy for you.”

Gehenna’s expression was one of surprise. “Happy? Whatever for?” Her brows creased as she searched the other’s face for an answer. “What has Nefarious been telling you?”

Lady Maleficent laughed louder, as she lowered her hand. “Oh, it’s not what he’s been saying, it’s what he hasn’t said.” She took hold of her daughter’s hand and led her out into the garden; the sound of crashing waves could be heard in the distance. “I want to hear all about him.”

“Him?” Gehenna raised her eyebrows in wonder, knowing that there was little about herself that her mother failed to guess. She even wondered at times whether her mother knew more than she should. As her mother nodded her head and smiled in answer, Gehenna realised she would just be wasting her breath. “His name is Lord George Daniels.” At least to everyone else he is. “And he’s a very special man, who has done so much for me since we met.”

“Yes, he is special. He’s made you smile.” Lady Maleficent squeezed Gehenna’s hand in hers, her smile kindly and her eyes held a deep knowingness, as if she was looking not at the woman before her, but into the past, a sadness touching her features. “And you deserve to be happy, Gehenna.” Her own brow furrowed. “Although I fear that Damien is not overly impressed with your choice. He seems concerned about this Lord Daniels.” Her face clouded over. “He thinks he’s responsible for your accident.”

Anger flashed over Gehenna’s face, then she shook it away. Her mother was not to blame for her cousin’s paranoia. “Nefarious is just trying to find a reason to dislike him, and we both know why.” She looked out towards the end of the garden, staring out at the horizon, spying the sea beyond the trees. “He has his mind set the same way as Father’s, unfortunately for him, neither will be getting their wish.” She turned back to face her mother. “I love Lord Daniels, and no one, not even Nefarious is going to spoil this for me.” She sighed heavily. “Although I would not be surprised to see him try. He’s already addressed his fears over Lord Daniels’ intentions.”

“And you are sure of his intentions?” The older woman’s eyes were filled with her own concern. She could still remember being told of the attempt on her daughter’s life, how she feared her loss.

Gehenna smiled, her face lit up with the happiness she felt as she thought of Balion. She knew she had nothing to fear from him; she meant as much to him as he meant to her. “Mother, would I love someone who I thought was trying to hurt me?” She leant over and kissed her cheek. “There is nothing to worry about, I am safe and very happy.”

Lady Maleficent returned her smile, the concern almost entirely leaving her face, yet there still remained some doubt. “And that is the most important thing, Gehenna. I have not seen you like this for many years.” She felt the sadness marring her features. “More years than I care to remember.”

“Then forget them, as I intend to.” Gehenna stood up from the bench, and took a deep breath listening to the roaring of the breaking waves. “I feel like a walk on the beach. I haven’t walked barefoot on the sand for more years than I care to remember.”

Offering her mother her arm, the older woman stood up, and laughing, they made their way down the garden.
26-03-2004, 21:32
Ainulindalion, had he been moving, would have stumbled at The Watcher’s question. As it was, he straightened up abruptly from his loose stance and gazed sharply at The Watcher. And with the supreme confidence of a predator, which he did not feel, he smiled, as something clicked inside his head. “Because I have done nothing explicitly in violation of my oath, I am certain I will leave this room alive.” Because if I had, I wouldn’t be standing here awaiting judgment. I would already be dead.

Aphrodite giggled, and Ainulindalion suddenly felt sick inside. He was the only one in the room whose thoughts were hidden from no one. Her giggles was too soon after his thought to be anything other than caused by it. As she smothered the giggle at a fulminating look from The Watcher, she smiled happily at the center chair, and The Watcher on the far side. He’s very intelligent for a careless error. She turned her radiant smile on Ainulindalion, and he gazed back at her with total indifference to her physical beauty. But such dreary, plebian logic, milord.

She’s sitting judgment on me, yet still addresses me as ‘milord’? Ainulindalion blinked, then smiled at her slightly. Of course. She’s a Maia, conditioned to respond to those more powerful than her with slight deference. Which, though I’d never thought about it, includes me. I can’t say I like being addressed that way, but nor can I say I don’t like it. He shrugged, slightly, and let his gaze slip back to The Watcher. “So why am I here?”

The Watcher’s eyes flared with barely restrained hostility, and Ainulindalion felt two lances of flame shoot through him. But he waited calmly all the same, and felt the power of the strike ebb away. The Watcher breathed out, in what could have been generously called a sigh. Very well. We will move on to why you are here. It is my assertion that your affair with the Empress of Tartarus is a violation of your oath, given to Eru in the hour of darkness, upon the Eldar’s dawn, when you swore to not interfere in the affairs of kingdoms of the world, nor empires, not any constructed state. The flame burned brighter in The Watcher’s eyes. And for the many ages since, you have kept that promise, Ainulindalion. But now, you have broken it, in your affair with the Empress, for she is a nation, an empire, in the flesh, and you have interfered.

Ainulindalion’s mind rushed with speed, thoughts blazing by as The Watcher spoke. And one point stood out to him, colored in a field of white. “You have said I have violated my oath in my love for Gehenna, but you left out one important detail. How does my love for the Empress, our love for each other, violate my oath?”
Gehenna Tartarus
27-03-2004, 16:01
Later that evening, Gehenna walked out into the night air, the lights from the house casting their glow over her path. The breeze had picked up, blowing in from over the sea, the rustle through the trees battling to drown out the sound of the waves. She pulled the black cloak around her body, blocking out the chill, making him seem close. If she just closed her eyes she could feel his arms around her, his scent lingering in the fabric.

She lowered herself into a chair, her eyes skimming over the scene in front of her. The sky was clear, the stars starring down at her, watching from their lofty positions, keeping the moon company in its nightly vigil. As a child she used to believe that if she closed her eyes slightly she could see the moon’s face, smiling. But today she was not interested in seeing anyone but him. She knew that he was out there somewhere, and he would find her wherever she was, he always had in the past.

Raising her eyes to the heavens, she wondered where he was, what was keeping him from her side. They had only declared their love for each other two nights ago, but as soon as the words were uttered, it was as if something had happened, had connected her to him, made him a part of her. An important part. She could feel her heartbeat rise at the thought of him, her smile growing on her lips, shining her love in her eyes. The radiance of her feelings for him would guide him to her, how could he fail to feel her need for him.

You promised you would come when I need you. I need you, now.

She pulled the cloak closer around her body, her arms hugging her form, one hand clasping the neckline, her fingers brushing over the necklace he had ‘given’ her. True, it had been a ruby before, but he had changed it, so that it glowed with its own brilliance. She released it from the confines of her clothes, and watched as it cast a red tint over her face and hand. She pressed her lips to the stone, hoping that he could sense the feel of her kiss.

What am I doing? Sitting out in the cold waiting for him? He’ll come back. She laughed lightly to herself. He usually shows up when I least expect him.

Standing, she gave the garden one last look, before entering the house, the warmth instantly touching her body making her shiver from head to foot. She walked silently past rooms, voices could be heard around her, until one slipped into her consciousness bringing her back earth.

“Retiring, Gehenna?” Her mother’s voice came from the direction of the main reception room door. As her daughter turned to face her, the older woman smiled.

Gehenna nodded slowly and sighed happily. “Yes, although I have a few things to do before hand.” Unless he appears… She just managed to stop the knowing smile appearing on her face, although from the look her mother was giving her, she felt that she had possibly read her mind. She moved over to the other woman, and placed a kiss on her cheek. “Goodnight, Mother.” Continuing on her way, she climbed up the stairs, smiling to herself, as she made her way to her room.

When she reached the door, she swung it open, expecting…no, hoping to see him resting on the bed or sitting on the window seat, but the room we empty. She felt her heart sink as the realisation hit her, and she couldn’t fight away the feeling that if he wasn’t here now he wouldn’t be here at all tonight.

He will be here. He will come today. I know he will. He loves me.

Suddenly feeling far from tired, Gehenna moved over to the desk and switched on the laptop that resided there. She began to work on some documents, sending important communiqués, while in between, she entered Ainulindalion into a search function, hoping to bring back any information she could find, losing all track of the work she had planned.

Several hours later, the moon was far into its journey across the night sky, the computer screen flickered, but was unread by any eyes, as Gehenna rested in the chair, her head against its back, lost to the land of dreams, where once again she was wrapped in her now present lover’s arms.
27-03-2004, 22:11
The Watcher chuckled softly. As always, Ainulindalion, you pick up on what is not said. Your question is the essence of the difficulty now before us. You see, I maintain that your previous interaction with Gehenna of Tartarus was a violation of your oath, but I was overruled in that. What you have done, is to become even more involved in Gehenna’s life. Intimately involved. That is too far.

“You would have me deny what I feel for her, what she feels for me?”

Yes, I…

“SHUTUP! I’M NOT FINISHED!” Ainulindalion snarled, his anger beginning to consume him much as it had the previous time he had been before The Watcher.

Balion. Eru’s voice cracked like a thunderbolt, shaking the very air itself.

Ainulindalion caught himself, Eru’s voice giving him time to calm down, to realize that losing his temper was the worst thing he could do with his life hanging in the balance. He let out a long breath, and refocused his argument, eyes not focusing on any of the three chairs, but taking in all of them. “What happens when a nation goes insane? When it breaks down, and loses all hope, and will to survive?”

The Watcher gazed at him. You know perfectly well what happens. It becomes dangerously aggressive to the point of self-destructiveness, usually causing a huge amount of damage in the process.

“And how much easier is it for such an event, for such a breakdown to occur in a person?’

Much. The Watcher’s voice was flat, almost as if he did not know where Ainulindalion’s argument was going.

“And so, by your own admission, Gehenna is the Empire of Tartarus, the nation itself, what would have happened had I broken her heart, her trust, after I’d finally taught her how to love and trust again?”

The Watcher’s lack of response was an answer in itself.

“So, would abandoning her, destroying her, and basically ripping her mind and heart apart been a lesser or greater interference in the affairs of nations than what I did, assuming that what I did was indeed interference.”

When you put it that way, Ainulindalion, The Watcher grated, I suppose that it would have been a greater interference in the affairs of all nations to madden her with grief and a broken heart.

Ainulindalion nodded. “That’s what I thought too.”

Aphrodite giggled again. That’s not what you were thinking at the time, though.

“Admittedly, not at the time. I was a little preoccupied.”

Yes, I should say you were. You’re very good at that. I’ve watched you.

He felt his face heat from embarrassment. “You’ve done what?”

The two of you are so good together. How could I not watch such excellent sex? I am the goddess of love, you know.

Aphrodite, please. Can we stay on topic?

The beautiful Maia nodded to The Watcher, who in turn, turned his gaze back to Ainulindalion. Well, we can all see where Aphrodite’s mind is, but back to our situation. Had you never interfered, this would not be an issue. Had you let her die in the theater that day, again, this would not be an issue. Interference built upon interference, and there is only so much we can let slip by. I told you that you only got one mistake more, and now you’ve had it. Goodbye, Ainulindalion. The Watcher raised his hand and pointed it at Balion.

Wait. I have some questions I want to ask him first.
Gehenna Tartarus
28-03-2004, 17:36
Day followed night, followed day, each seemed ever longer than the last. The minutes dragged into hours, the hours into days. The mornings were hard, but the nights, they were harder. For the fourth evening in a row, Gehenna sat at her desk, her duties completed. She had just finished discussing her agenda for the following day, although her mind had already turned to closer considerations.

She had returned home from her visit to her mother full of anticipation and happiness, sure that he would show himself, sure that he must be missing her as much as she was missing him. But her hopes had been crushed when she returned to her room to find it empty, and not even a trace of his being there in her absence.

Slumping back in the chair, she fought to keep her mind turning to him, trying to delay the inevitable. She knew she couldn’t stop him appearing in her mind, couldn’t stop the replay of their night together, reliving the feelings he had awoken in her. Feelings that she thought he had shared. Had his body not spoken to hers, given and taken what they both had to offer?

He isn’t coming back.
“Yes, he is!”

She rose from the chair, too agitated to sit, she needed to move, to spend some of her energy. Walking over to the window, she placed her hand on the frame, her eyes gazing out, watching as the rain fell, the floor already covered with puddles. The weather had been bad since her return, which didn’t help her mood.

A sound behind her brought her out of her thoughts, and drew her attention back to the room. As she turned she expected… But her hopes were shattered, as she discovered the noise was coming from the outer office.

She opened the window, knowing that she had set off some alarm signal in the Palace and would have security flapping around checking cameras and sensors. Breaking her usual pattern tended to bring them all out in a sweat, especially since the shooting. Sighing she stepped out into the rain, feeling the gentle coolness pummelling against her body, her thoughts turning once again to him as she suddenly felt his lathered hands moving over her body. As she walked further into the garden, the memories grew more defined, she could even smell the soap, her skin tingled with remembrance.

“Damn you, Balion!” She could feel her temper rising, as her sense of betrayal grew. If he had wanted to be here he would be, wasn’t that what he had said on their first meeting. “Am I not even worth a moment of your time?”

She took several deep breaths as she moved further from the Palace. Her white blouse soaked in the rain, making it stick closely to her skin, her skirt feeling tight against her legs, hampering her movements. She looked up into the sky; the cloud cover spreading as far as she could see, showing no end to the storm.

“Not even a word!” She shouted into the rain, not concerned whether she could be overheard or not. “Not even a reason! It’s not like you haven’t done it before!” She grabbed a rose as she walked passed, the thorn digging into her hand as she pulled the head from the stem. “You said you loved me!”

She dropped down onto the bench, the one she had been sitting on when she first saw him. Back then she had wanted him to leave, to get out of her life, and he wouldn’t go. Now she wanted him, he refused to come. Perhaps this was part of his game, he seemed to enjoy making her miserable, making her suffer. Was this part of the entertainment, to make her fall in love with him so that he could taunt her, torture her.

It’s just part of his game, he’s toying with you.
“No, he told me…”
That he loved you?
“Yes, he loves me!”

“Balion, where are you? If you can hear me, please…” She ran her hand through her wet hair, as she lowered her eyes to her lap, watching the water begin to pool in her skirt. She stood suddenly, her emotions moving through fear, pain, anger, as she screamed into the night. “At least say goodbye! Is that too much to ask?”

She crushed the rose in her palm, the thorn again sticking into her flesh, making her wince in pain. As her hand opened she let the flower fall onto the ground, trampling it as she walked back to the Palace, her fight slowly leaving her body. She felt empty. She had given him her heart, had opened her soul to him, and he had abandoned her.

You promised me, Balion…You promised…
28-03-2004, 19:28
OOC: I would first like to commend the both of you for such an amazing display of writing talent. I am throughly impressed to see two wonderful writers come together and form perhaps one of the best stories I've read in a long long time. Keep it up! <<TAG>>
29-03-2004, 04:41
He felt his heart tear as The Watcher pronounced his sentence. I’m sorry, Gehenna, so very sorry… And then…

Aphrodite had delayed his death. It was not much. But where there was life, there was hope. As The Watcher dropped his hand, Ainulindalion shifted his gazed to the goddess of love, wondering why she was lengthening his agony.

Very well, Ainulindalion, my first question to you is, if a year ago, you knew where you would be standing today, would you have conducted yourself in the same manner?

That was a tough question, and the mercenary god squeezed his eyes shut, wondering just how he should answer. Would I choose life, or the little time with Gehenna that I have had? That’s startlingly easy. Without opening his eyes, he answered. “I would do the same things, even knowing where they would lead, even knowing they would cost me my very existence.”

He opened his eyes. And sea-foam eyes, framed by cascades of blonde hair stared back at him. Aphrodite stood less than a foot away, examining him. Is he telling the truth, Watcher?

Yes, he is. The Watcher sounded disgusted at having to admit it, but he gave the truth anyway.

Aphrodite stepped closer, and Ainulindalion could feel her body near his, vibrant, powerful, attractive like a black hole, trying to draw him in. But he was who he was. Black holes had no power over him, and neither did Aphrodite. He smiled at her. “Any other questions, Aphro…”

His voice was cut off as she closed the distance between them, wrapping her arms around his neck, and pulled him into a passionate kiss, her lips full and wanton against his, her body, only covered by clouds of vapor, melding against him.

He yanked his head back in surprise. “What the hell?”

Do you not enjoy my kiss? Does my body not arouse you? The goddess was still pressed firmly against him, and Ainulindalion had little method of escape without hurting her, assuming that he could, here, in the trial room. Or perhaps you do not like my form? Would this one be more appealing to you?

As she spoke, her features became slightly less regular, a slight bit of the fullness of her lips vanished, green in her eyes faded darker, into the blue of the deep ocean. The blonde locks falling about her form shortened, darkening, until Aphrodite stared up at Balion from Gehenna’s body. Her lips moved again to his, capturing him in an even more passionate kiss as she offered herself to him, freely given to be freely taken.

Ainulindalion broke away angrily. “You aren’t her. It isn’t her body, or anything about her. It’s something you cannot have, Aphrodite. It is just Gehenna of Tartarus.” He felt a pang in his heart as he said her name.

He missed Gehenna already. He turned back to face the three sitting in judgment. She had resumed her original avatar and looked at Ainulindalion with something very much like respect.

You truly love her, don’t you?
Gehenna Tartarus
30-03-2004, 19:50
Another night gave up it dominance as the dawn broke upon another day. Outside the sky kept up its onslaught as it covered the ground with rain, the hammering of the rain upon the window beat a steady rhythm, the wind howling in the background, the sun buried for another day.

Gehenna sighed as she rolled over onto her back; her eyes opening slowly, as she stretched away another nights sleep. If it could be called sleep, she had spent a long time lying in the bed, staring absentmindedly at the ceiling, waiting, hoping, dreaming. Finally she had given up hope and had slipped into a fitful sleep, her dreams tormented by his absence, his abandonment.

As her anger seeped into her waking mind, she pulled the covers off her body, shivering as the cool air hit her skin. She recalled the images that disrupted her sleep, not through choice, as they arrived unbidden into her semi-consciousness, not yet fully awake to fight them away. He had come to her, to tell her the one thing that she dreaded, the one word that shattered her sleeping heart. He had left, declaring that he had lied about loving her.

“How could I love you? You are not worthy of my love.”

Raising her hand to her face, she felt the traces of the tears that had fallen. She breathed deep, but could not bring her anger under control. In the dream, she had struck him, said things in temper while inside her heart was breaking. The pain could still be felt, tearing at her heart.

“Pull yourself together, Gehenna.” She berated herself as she slowly rose from the bed, and moved over to the window. Pulling open the curtains, she watched the rain fall against the window. “If he can survive without you, you can damn well survive without him.”

Silently promising not to think of him again today, she hit the shower.

* * * * *

Finishing a meeting, Gehenna rose from her seat, and headed off. She had allowed herself a free afternoon, all important issues had been reviewed and her signature had been placed on the bottom of more pieces of paper than she cared to remember. She knew that Alex would get hold of her should anything that needed her immediate attention come to light; it wasn’t as if she could just disappear.

Stepping into a room off the main corridor, Gehenna looked around the sitting room. This room had always held mixed emotions for her. She had been in there the day she became Empress. Her eyes running over the cabinet on the far wall for a moment, as she recalled the day in all its glory and sordidness. She walked over to a bookshelf and picked the first novel that came to hand. It had been a while since she had read anything other than a dossier or report.

Settling into one of the chairs, she opened the book, her eyes scanning over the lines, but her mind was not focused on the words, and it was with some relief that she heard the knock on the door. Looking up as she called them to enter, she placed the book on the seat beside her, eyes turned towards the door, watching as it opened to reveal her visitor.

“Lord Nefarious.” Gehenna kept the smile on her lips. “Please, come in and sit down.” What do you want now? She looked at him, her brows furrowed slightly with concern. “Has something happened?”

Nefarious smiled, his eyes travelling around his surroundings. “Not at all, I just thought I would see how you are.” He turned his attention to her face, revelling in her discomfort. “You seem a little, shall we say, out of sorts lately. I hope nothing is wrong.”

“Out of sorts?” Gehenna laughed lightly, attempting to remain in good humour. Her cousin seemed to share the same ability as Lord Daniels, to rile her with little effort. As the comparison entered her head, she felt her heart ache. I’m not going to think of him. Not today. Not now.

Looking at her, Nefarious just smiled, then nodded slowly. “Gehenna, we all know that you are a fiery woman, but lately…” He mentally pondered, as if working something out in his head. “Since the night of your party I would say, you have been…a little on edge.” He kept his gaze locked to hers, waiting.

Rising to her feet, Gehenna began to walk about the room. She really wasn’t in the mood for her cousin’s insights into her life, the fact that he enjoyed riling her, just made her more angry, which she knew was exactly what he wanted. He was always trying to push her out of control, and she was not about to lose in a battle to him. Turning, she stopped in front of him and gazed down on him.

“Damien, I appreciate your concern, but believe me, I am more than capable of deciding if and when I am on edge.” She smiled at him, her face belying her feelings. “Should I ever require your assistance in the matter, you can be sure, you will be the first to know.” She turned and walked over to the window, not waiting for an answer from him. She was not surprised when he rose moments later and moved over to her.

Resting his hand on the window frame, Nefarious positioned himself so he could see her face. “Something is troubling you, Gehenna.” He turned his head and stared out of the window. “I don’t know why, but I get the feeling it has something to do with Lord Daniels.”

“It has nothing to do with him!” Like a red rag to a bull, his words struck at her. Her anger at Balion’s desertion mixed with the fact that it was her cousin stating the facts that she had been trying so hard to ignore all day. “Why do you have to keep bringing him up?” She faced the man beside her. “You will not mention him again in my presence.”

Nefarious looked dumbfounded. “What has happened?”

“Happened? Why should anything have happened?” She looked into his eyes, her own blazing with anger. Whatever he had been expecting in her reaction it certainly wasn’t this. “I am such tired of you using his name every time you speak to me. If you have a problem with him, then just get it over with, and then drop the subject.”


She moved away from the window, moving over to the fireplace, her hand resting on the mantle. She breathed deeply, fighting her temper. Damn you, Balion! Turning she watched as Nefarious left his spot by the window. She lowered her gaze, eyes focused on the flames in the grate, feeling his disbelieving stare, feeling it pierce into her body.

He furrowed his brows questioningly. “Has he done something? Left perhaps?” He could not hide the contempt and joy at her suffering. If he had indeed left, this would make things much easier.

Without speaking, her hand brushed against an ornament resting on the shelf above the fire, fingers tightening around it, as her temper flared. In one motion the figurine flew through the air, missing Nefarious by mere inches. “Get out! Get out now!”

Standing for a moment just looking at her, Nefarious opened his mouth to speak, until he saw the look on her face, the rage flared in her eyes. And thinking better of it, he moved silently to the door, leaving his cousin alone.

As the door closed behind him, Gehenna slumped to the floor, suddenly feeling devoid of all energy. Her body shook for a moment, before her anger was replaced by sadness, overwhelming her completely. Then with little warning, the tears began to flow…
30-03-2004, 20:32
Ainulindalion stared at Aphrodite. Is she insane? Does she honestly think I would have… His thoughts slid to a halt. She wants me to say it aloud.

“Yes, I love her with all that I am.”

You knew, before you committed yourself to the Empress, what could happen because of it, didn’t you?

“Yes, I did.”

The why did you do it, Ainulindalion? Did you not originally intend to leave, your job completed?

Ainulindalion nodded. “I did.”

What changed your mind? She was pacing back and forth between Ainulindalion and the bench where The Watcher sat.

He was silent for a moment as she walked, eyes on her, but unseeing, his mind racing, trying to discern where she was taking her argument, if that is what it was. “What changed my mind? The truth did. Until Gehenna spoke the words, I did not know the true meaning behind them.”

Where is this going? And why do you care, Aphrodite?

Because of what love is. She turned back to Ainulindalion. And you, who know the structure of the universe, tell me what love is?

“Love is the fundamental force that binds the universe together. From love, Ilúvatar formed the universe, and from love, he holds it together, and from love, he will end it at its time.”

What’s your point? The Watcher’s flaming eyes snapped back and forth between Aphrodite and Balion.

Love is more present in the universe than gravity, and is just as inexhaustible and undefeatable. No one can escape it when they know it is there.

Ainulindalion suddenly saw where Aphrodite was going with the argument. “And as soon as I knew my love for Gehenna, our love for each other, existed, I could no more escape it that any other could. I was locked into it, and nothing I could do would free me.”

Arguably, the fact that he was absolved of interference in the previous two events with Gehenna of Tartarus means that he did not interfere, and so, must be judged solely on his current actions. With regard to those actions, the nature of love does not allow for escape, and as such, Ainulindalion could not have escaped what happened in the Garden of the Palace. He had no intent of violation.

He had no intent of violation in the theater, either. But the promise was still violated it.

“What if I didn’t violate it? Even in the theater, I had a choice. I had no choice here. How can I have violated the promise if I was not presented with the ability to not violate it? If there was no choice, there was no violation. Is it conceivable that if I had no choice, I did nothing wrong? Can one commit wrong without choice? And should one be blamed for it, if they can?”
Gehenna Tartarus
31-03-2004, 20:54
Waking up to face another day, Gehenna was in no mood for anything or anybody, having still not really gotten over her argument with Nefarious the previous day. She had never been as angry as she felt then, in fact she was surprised that just one mention on Balion’s name to evoke just emotions in her. She still couldn’t understand how he had come to mean so much to her, to affect her life so much. And how his absence had sense her spiralling out of control.

Nothing can be permanent, nothing set in stone.

Yet she had made it that, had visualised him being with her forever, had allowed herself to dream that she had finally found someone who cared about her, someone who loved her and would have done so whether she be the Empress of Tartarus or just some stranger off the street. He had made her feel special. He had done more in one year than others had been able to do in a lifetime, he had given her a hope, a sense of freedom, a taste of love.

Never try to fool yourself, that you are not alone.

Well she was certainly alone now, had never felt more alone than she had this past week. How could one person go from feeling so safe and secure to being lost and frightened in so short a time? Had her Father been right all along about trusting others, about opening herself up, making herself vulnerable. For that was how she felt, it was how she had reacted yesterday. Her cousin had pressed the wrong button, and she had reacted like before. He had found her vulnerability, and she had been prepared to protect herself.

Know your place don’t chance your arm.

She knew her place, had been forced into it all her life, but for the briefest of moments she had seen more, and had grasped for it with her heart, and had caught it. But she had given too much too quickly, and she had lost him. And she had wanted to give him so much more, had presented her heart to him, and he had taken it, but in doing so, she gave him the ability to crush her.

Your secrets are all known.

But more than that, she had shared with him her fears. Had told him more about herself than she had ever told anyone. And she felt good as soon as the words had passed her lips, sharing them with him, having him understand and not judge had enabled her to face what she had done, and not feel trapped by her memories. But now she was once again caught by her thoughts, not of her Father, but of Balion. He dominated her waking hours and her dreams. No matter where she looked there was something that reminded her of him, and it pained her that he had left, without so much as a goodbye, especially as he had promised. It would have been easy if he had gone that night in the garden, but he had stayed. He had spent the night with her, and they had declared their love for each.

Never cross that great divide.

But it was too late for that now, she had crossed it, had fallen in love with him, even when she thought that he was wrong for her, even though he had hated him. She knew there was no going back, he would remain in her heart for a long time yet, she just hoped that she could bear the pain.

* * * * *

The rest of the day, Gehenna sat in her private sitting room, having decided that she was not going to show her face in public. There were more than enough people around to keep the nation running for one day, and she really couldn’t trust her temper at the moment. The last thing she wanted was for someone to question the reason for her mood, with Nefarious she knew that he would keep the event to himself, would allow it to gently simmer but he would recover, he had a habit of bouncing back.

She had been sitting in the chair for hours, barely acknowledging the staff that had brought in tea and other refreshments. She had a long while ago moved inside her thoughts, wondering exactly she had done to drive him away. But playing over and over their last day together she could see not reason for his desertion.

“There has to be a reason. There has to be.” She shook her head sadly. “He said he would come back, and nothing would stop him…”

Then it hit her, causing her to sit upright, gasping as the thought came to mind. No, it can’t be. But it was a very valid reason, the only one that fit with everything he had said. If he loved her like he said he did, he couldn’t stay away. But if he couldn’t come back…

“No!” She stood up from the chair, her agitation causing her to pace back and forth, her hands wringing each other. She tried to force the image out of her mind but it refused to leave, instead its strength intensified until it consumed her thoughts entirely.

His words echoed through her head, repeating over and over again until she was forced to believe that he had predicted his own fate. He had explained that she had almost caused it to happen to him now, what if her love had violated his oath and he had… She couldn’t bring herself to think it. She shook all over as her fear began to turn into her age-old friend, and anger took over, all focused on one being.

Flinging open the door, Gehenna stepped out onto the balcony, her face turned up to heaven. “You can’t destroy him! He did nothing wrong!” Her voice carried slightly on the wind, if there was anyone near enough to hear, she was not aware of them. “I will not allow you to harm him!”

She fought for breath as she tried to calm herself down, but her fear was overwhelming. “He doesn’t deserve to die! I made him love me, if you have to blame anyone, then blame me!” She shivered, as her eyes scanned the sky, what she was searching for she could not say, but she knew that the person to whom she spoke could hear her.

“Eru!” She suddenly felt strangely calm, knowing that she could not let him suffer for her, hadn’t she made him promise that he wouldn’t. “If it’s what you want…” Her voice was little more than a whisper. “I will never see him again. Just, please, spare his life.”

She opened her mouth to say more, but the ability to speak had been taken from her and she looked up into the sky, her heart breaking at the thought of never seeing him again, but he meant more to her than her own happiness. He had saved her life, the least she could do for the man she loved more than anything in the world, was to attempt to save his…
31-03-2004, 21:46
One can commit wrong without choice. But you’re right. We cannot blame people for things they know nothing about, and over which they have no control. The Watcher’s eyes flared. But your reality is what you make it, Ainulindalion. You are not one who lacks control.

“Love is an objective reality, not subjective. I cannot alter the objective reality. Only Ilúvatar can do that, and you know it.” Once again, as was the custom, Ainulindalion spoke of Eru in the third person, though he was involved in the conversation, and was peripherally being addressed. But it was the way things were done.

So why did you not change Gehenna’s reality, so that she did not love you anymore?

What?! As the echo of Aphrodite’s strangled exclamation faded away, no one could believe The Watcher had just said what he had, and all three other beings in the room were stunned into silence.

After a moment, Ainulindalion managed to find his voice. “Two things. First, we all know that would be playing with free will, the one thing no one may do, and second, you are standing here accusing me of violating my oath by loving Gehenna. I know I would be dead had I attempted to interfere like that, messing up her mind to that extent.”

The Watcher’s eyes narrowed, becoming mere slits of flame. So you are saying that because you had no choice, you should not be punished for your violation?

That is true. Punishment doled out for events beyond the control of those involved would be foolish.

Ainulindalion nodded. “But beyond that, I maintain that without responsibility, there can be no violation, and without choice, there is no responsibility.”

Very well. I can accept that. So you need not die today, Ainulindalion. But tomorrow is another day. The Watcher’s eyes, the flames dimming, flared back up on the last sentence, and Ainulindalion breathed a sigh of relief.

I’m coming back, Gehenna. I’ll be there soon, dear heart.

That isn’t enough, Watcher.

The gaze of fire shifted from the mercenary god to the beautiful Maia. What else do you want? You’ve already saved him.

Undoubtedly, his love will result in further violations of his oath, if nothing else, by his mere presence with the Empress.

Why’s that? The Watcher barked, clearly annoyed.

Because his love will not, cannot, survive without closeness to Gehenna. And if the love fails, you have the same situation he prevented when he loved her in return, her insanity and grief from a broken heart. Would you, having given him permission to have done it once, take it away for the future? He must have a provision by which unintentional interference caused by his mere presence is not to be blamed on him.

I cannot decide that.

Ainulindalion, who had been watching the exchange silently, with a growing sense of hope, knew who that decision rested on. Black, sea-foam, and flaming eyes focused on the center chair.

Unintentional interference that is the natural result of your love for the Empress of Tartarus is not, and will not be, in violation of your oath, Ainulindalion.

Damn it, she’s just Gehenna… not the Empress to me. He breathed a sigh of relief all the same.

I still expect you to avoid interfering when you can, Ainulindalion. Understood?

“Yes, I understand.” Thank you, Aphrodite. He allowed his gaze you float across Aphrodite, the two empty chairs, and then The Watcher. “May I go?”

Aphrodite walked up to the bench, and lifted his sword from the blotter before the center chair. With a provocative swaying of her hips, she walked back to him, teasing him with what he had turned down. When she reached him, she slid her arms around his waist, drawing him against her as she fastened the sword belt, and kissed him on the cheek. Good luck, Balion, she whispered into his ear, her tongue flickering out against the skin.

Ainulindalion looked at her sternly, and she shrunk back from him slightly.

Be gone, Ainulindalion, before your absence causes that which we do not wish.

The room vanished as Ainulindalion flickered out, returning to the room he had left only a few hours previous.

Gehenna is a very lucky human being.

Yes, she is.

I envy you him, Gehenna of Tartarus.
Gehenna Tartarus
02-04-2004, 19:06
The room was quiet; the eeriness of the old dining room was exaggerated by the silence. The large table dominated the room, with several sideboards that contained dishes of food, the steam had long since stopped rising from the contents, each plate left untouched.

Gehenna looked down at her place setting, wondering why she had decided to order dinner. She should have just grabbed a sandwich or something and had it in her room instead. The size of the room led her only to think of her loneliness. She ran her eyes over the other chairs around the table all empty and devoid of occupancy. She sighed heavily, as she leant forward in the chair, then pushed herself slowly up into a standing position.

It had gotten late, the sun had long since set, and the palace had grown steadily empty, yet she could still hear the staff members in the kitchen waiting for her to depart the room and allow them to come in and clean up. Moving slowly towards the door, she wondered how long it would be after she left before they stepped in and began their work.

She walked along the corridor, her usual confident step lost as she pondered her next decision. She would normally return to her suite of rooms, but lately she found it hard to concentrate in them, as her thoughts always seemed to turn to him, and they pained her. They mocked his absence, mocked her state of desertedness. And her bedroom was even worse, not only was she reminded of him in there, but when she closed her eyes his face would appear and torment her there too.

As she walked past one of the outer doors, Gehenna felt her heart sink. Lately she could not bring herself to walk in the garden, even though the weather had changed for the better. She had tried to walk in the rose garden, to take her usual seat, but she had been unable to get near, the sense of him lingered in the air. The memory of him strong, she could almost feel his presence.

But she could not hide from her memories forever, he had told her that. Perhaps this was the final test, which she would fail by trying to take him out of her thoughts. Not that she could. He was implanted deep into her, body and soul. He had become a part of her, and she could not ignore him or make him cease to exist. She loved him.

Sighing loudly, she had no other choice. She had to return to her room, had to sleep in her bed alone. She hoped that over time the feeling would fade. She knew it would never truly disappear.
03-04-2004, 23:38
The room was dim, but not dark, some light still coming in the windows from the outside as the sun slowly vanished behind the horizon, ending its daily journey across the sky. In the dimness, a small spot of darkness appeared, but not for long, for it grew larger almost instantly. Ainulindalion appeared in Gehenna’s bedroom, in the exact spot he had left from. In his mind, he had still seen her standing there, and his heart fell slightly when he saw it was not so. But she had said she would only be gone a few hours, so she should be back soon so he could hold her again.

The clothes had been picked up, and new flowers were in the vase on the table. Apparently, the Palace staff was efficient, though if they had picked up his clothes, rumors were no doubt flying by now. He did not think that Gehenna particularly cared about those rumors, nor did he.

But if Gehenna was not here, there was nothing to do but wait for her, and so he moved to her chair, idly scooping up the business card on his way there, and twirling it between his fingers. Pulling out the chair with a thought, he seated himself, making sure his sword cleared the chair so he could draw it if needed. To pass the time, he amused himself by changing the colors on the card, blacking the paper, with letters of flame, morphing into light blue with glowing greens, to rainbow spectrums then vanishing into ultraviolet and then down into the infrared, and so he continued this until his love returned.

Gehenna finally reached the door to her room, and as she placed her hand on the handle, for the briefest moment, she wondered whether he would be waiting for her, as had become her ritual each night. She shook her head and silently berated herself as she pushed open the door, bidding the security detail goodnight as she walked into the room. She turned her head, her hand instantly moving to the switch, causing the bedside lamp to throw its light upon the room. Closing the door, she finally moved to face the room, and stopped suddenly, her breath catching in her throat as she stared dumbfounded at the chair near the fire. Her gaze was transfixed, as she opened her mouth to speak, but no words would come. It's a dream. It has to be a dream. Her feet were glued to the floor, her body frozen to the spot as she tried to decide whether she was really looking upon him, or whether he was a figment of her imagination.

He felt her presence as she came into the room, and he rose with the fluid grace of the predator he could be and turned to face her, the business card fluttering unnoticed to the floor, restored to how it had been before. He opened his mouth to speak, and something tore through his heart as he saw her expression, silencing him.

Stepping towards her, he extended his arms to enfold her in his loving embrace, sensing something was horribly wrong. Maybe now that she’s had time to think about it, she doesn’t really love me. Maybe The Watcher played with her mind. Maybe… The thoughts flashed through his head in an instant, and he felt hollow inside. But he pushed fear aside, and smiled happily.

She didn't know how long she stood just looking at him, her head spinning as a multitude of emotions swept over her. She swallowed, finally finding her voice, although it sounded weak and unsure. "You came back." She frowned, a look of confusion marring her features, as she ran her eyes over his body. He was dressed exactly how she had last seen him; nothing about him had changed, it was as if had stepped out of her memory. "I had given up…" Her voice faded to nothing.

Ainulindalion’s brow crinkled as he heard her words, perfectly clear, yet they made no sense. Of course I came back, it’s only been a few hours. His extended arms dropped to his sides as he stopped his approach to her, and he suppressed a frown, keeping his smile. He managed to bring his arm back up and set it on her shoulder. “Of course I came back.”

As his hand touched her shoulder, Gehenna flinched, and took a step back. "Just like that?" She felt her old friend return, pushing out the surprise that she had experienced at seeing him, her anger beginning to rise. She looked at him. He doesn't even look sorry. "You come back, and everything is as it was? No explanation? No apology?"

He had noted her different clothing, but had dismissed it, and he had felt her surprise at his presence, and had again, not cared, so happy had he been to be back with her. But the anger was a reminder of old, when they had first met. And it was not a pleasant memory. He stepped forward and placed his hand more firmly on her shoulder, applying a gentle pressure towards him.

“What do you mean?”

"I wonder what I mean?" She looked at him, her anger blazing in her eyes. She couldn't bear this pretence he was displaying. "I cannot believe you have the nerve to stand there and ask." She shook her head in disbelief, before her eyes once again met his. "You know full well what I am talking about. I wouldn't have minded if you had at least sent word. I know you are capable of doing that over long distances." She placed her hand over his and moved it from her shoulder.

But his hand had been in contact with her long enough for him to realize what had changed. More time had passed than he had though. Apparently, considerably more time than the few hours. “Bastards,” he said softly, sounding slightly amused. He focused his eyes on her, and spoke louder. “I must apologize, Gehenna. I was unaware that I was gone for so long. I was kept away.”

His choice of words cut through her like a knife. "I see." She turned as she fought back the sudden rise of tears in her eyes, her throat felt blocked, and her heart ached. "I am pleased that you did not miss me enough to notice how long you were gone." She laughed lightly, before her voice rose slightly in volume. "I, on the other hand, can recall every minute you were gone. Every minute that I had my hopes shattered by your absence." She breathed heavily. "It's so nice to see you were unaffected by mine." Clasping her hands, she moved them agitatedly in front of her, finger entwining and untwining. "How little you must care."

Damn it. Damn you, Watcher. He knew who it would have been, whose sick idea this had to have been. “Gehenna, it isn’t that at all. I told you that I love you, and each minutes was an agony for me as well. But I want you to understand, if I could have been here, I would have. Did you think that I lied? Have I ever lied to you? Ever?”

"The problem is not so much your not being here, but the fact you didn't tell me." She raised her hand to her forehead, then slid it back over her hair. Inside her emotions were all over the place, she wanted to touch him, take him in her arms, yet she also wanted him to suffer, like she had suffered. "Why didn't you tell me? You could have explained you would be gone for that long." She began pacing back and forth, then stopped to look at him. "Not once in that whole week did you think to contact me." She frowned again, the pain she had felt at his absence was shown in her eyes. "You may say you love me, Balion. You may say that you never lie. But your past actions make it so damn hard to believe. Do you know what you put me through? Do you care?"

Ainulindalion blinked. “Gehenna, remember what I told you before I left, during breakfast? About my promise?” His voice was rising, anger beginning to seep into it as the fact that she did not know yet why he had been gone left his mind. “All you can worry about is that I did not contact you, while I have spent the time we have been apart arguing for my life and our future!”

He turned away from her, as much in anger at her as himself, because he knew there was no way she could have known. But he had come, expecting to take her into his arms, to show her his love, and had been refused. His anger flowed much deeper as well, reaching out towards The Watcher, Aphrodite, and even Eru Himself. He trembled with rage, and he hid his face in shame.

Gehenna watched him, her heart skipping a beat, her feelings for him not diminished by her anger. She walked up to him and placed her hand lightly on his back, her fingers trembling as they made contact with him. "Then tell me." She slid her hand up to his shoulder, and turned him to face her, looking into his eyes. "Balion, I only know my worries. How can I appreciate what you've been through if you don't tell me." She lowered her hand to her side. "I am not a god, I can not pull this information from you."

Her reference to pulling thoughts from his mind made him flinch, but he did not pull away. “I…” He swallowed. “I did not mean to be gone. I merely intended to go, so you could get some work done. And like before, I was in a room, a room of judgment. He was there. The one who watches everything I do.” Ainulindalion reached out his arm and put it around his love.

“He said that my love for you violated my promise, that my love for you would be my end. The others were there too. One fought for me, helped me fight, with words, because even I cannot fight there, in that room.” He was babbling, his words would make no sense to her, but they were all he had, except the memories. “We won… which is the only reason I am here.”

He smiled through the tears that had begun to drip down his cheeks. “Dear heart. Gehenna. My love for you is the only thing that saved me. You saved me.”

Looking up into his face, her body trembling as she felt moisture against her skin. She placed her hand lightly on his cheek; her thumb gently brushed away the tears. "My biggest fear is losing you forever. When you mentioned that you might…" She could not mention his possible demise. "If that had happened because of me, I don't know what I would have done." She moved her thumb to his lips, tracing their shape, her hand shaking, as if she couldn't believe he was real. "I do not know what to say."

She could again feel her own tears threatening to fall. Lowering her hand, she reached for his, caressing his palm with her fingers. "Except I'm sorry. In my heart I believed you would come back, but…just seeing you standing there, as if nothing had happened." She smiled slightly. "Exactly as you when you left." She went silent, his words were spinning in her head, making it difficult for her to think straight.

He chuckled, and his tears vanished. “I can see how that might have been disturbing. But from my point of view, its only been a few hours since I left.” He ran his finger around her cheek, tracing the gentle curve down to her lips, and cupped her chin in his fingers, bringing her to face directly into his eyes. “I will always come back, Gehenna. Always.”

"You almost didn't this time." She looked him deep in the eyes, her anger being replaced by fear. The thought of never seeing him again was unbearable, the last week proved how hard it would be for her you cope without him. "What if we do something that violates your oath?" She lowered her head and sighed. "I'm afraid. This time it was a week, next time it could be…forever."

“I’ve not violated my promise, except the night in the theater, in a hundred thousand years, Gehenna.” He drew her close, wrapping his arms around her, enfolding her in his reassuring embrace. “I won’t do it again, dear heart. As a result of my meeting with the others, I can interfere, though never with intention. I won’t go away through an accident.”

He pressed his lips into the top of her head. “And I’m too smart to intentionally violate my oath.” He grinned. “Or even unintentionally, when I’m not with you.”

Gehenna frowned, creases appeared on her forehead. "So is being with me a violation, or just saving my life?" She still was not convinced that something bad would not happen that would part them forever. They had already been given two chances by her reckoning. "What kind of interference? Is this…?" She leaned forward and pressed her lips against his, before parting them both.

Ainulindalion leaned forward slightly, depressed when she ended the kiss, though he did not let her pull away from him. “I don’t know, Gehenna. I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I am allowed unintentional interference that is a natural result of my relationship with you.” He leaned forward to kiss her forehead. “Our love has been cleared. I think it is more like…”

He swallowed. “More like in the theater. That kind of interference. I’ve always been allowed to interfere at a personal level.”

"So all that we've done together, that is not a violation?" She thought for a moment, thinking of the pleasure she had received from her time with him. If something as good as that would risk the life of the man she loved, she felt there was no justice in the world. "I hope that one day I will be able to meet the person …" She paused briefly, eyes questioning whether or not that was the ideal description for his saviour. "…who saved your life, and thank them." She looked up at him, smiling.

He shook his head in answer to her question, and then grinned at the thought of Gehenna meeting Aphrodite. “I think that the two of you would either get along well… or not at all, love.” He bent his head down and kissed her cheek. “But that is all in the past now, and we have the future to look forward to together.” He ran a finger along her spine. “Where should we start?”

For the first time that evening, Gehenna finally felt in control of her emotions, finally able to think straight. She smiled up at him as she guided her finger lightly over the tip of his nose until it came to rest on his lips, tracing their shape. "Right here." She tilted her head, claiming his mouth with barely contained passion, her body awakened by his touch. "Promise me, if ever you go away for a while, that you will get word to me." She looked up at him pleading. "Then I'll know if something like this week has happened again. Promise me you will." She placed her arms around him and held him close, her mouth moving near his ear. "Please don't make me go through this again."

“I will,” he replied, and sealed the promise with a kiss, deeply passionate, before remembering himself. Extending his hand, he summoned the business card to it and held it up, the little white rectangle. “This is how I will let you know. The card will turn black,” as he spoke, the card demonstrated, “and the message will appear in white text on the back.” I love you, it said.

Taking the card in her hand, she looked up at him and smiled, then lowered her gaze until she could read what had appeared on the business card, the words filling her with happiness. "It's a beautiful idea." She kissed him lightly on the cheek, and then looked into his eyes. "I will never do anything to make you violate your oath." She smiled lightly.

Ainulindalion smiled at his only love. “You have to kiss it to make it go back to normal.” He pressed it to her lips to demonstrate and from the lip contact, white spread until the card was it’s normal color, with his titles in black on the front. He tossed it onto the bedside table from which he had gotten it. “I know you won’t, dear heart.”

He smiled and squeezed her tightly. “Now, you know what I’ve been up to in the last week, which will be a rare treat. Most of the time, I won’t be able to tell you.” He felt his smile become a grin. “Mercenary God – Client Privilege. But I don’t know what you’ve been up to.” He sat down in the chair, with her in his lap. “So tell.”

Gehenna made herself comfortable against him, then sighed as she recalled how she had spent her last week without him. She wasn't sure there was a single person who she didn't come down on in one way or another. "Oh, you know how I fill my days. Nothing out of the ordinary for me." She looked at him and smiled, her eyes belying her concern. "I missed you, though."

He smiled back at her as his fingers entwined themselves in her luscious brown locks. “So I had managed to gather,” he said as he tilted his head to rest his cheek against hers. “I missed you too.” His tongue slipped out and ran lightly around the curve of her ear. “I hope you didn’t take it out on anyone, though.”

She turned her face to his and laughed lightly. "And what makes you think I would have taken my frustrations out on anyone?" She furrowed her brow in question. "Although, I may have had a little…disagreement with Lord Nefarious." She smiled, as she looked deep into his eyes, losing herself in them for a moment, before coming back to reality. "But that is an every day occurrence at the best of times."

Ainulindalion chuckled as he licked his lips. “I get the impression Nefy doesn’t like me, dear heart. Do you have any idea why that is?”

"Nefy…" She smiled as she used Balion's nickname for her cousin, "Nefy doesn't really like anyone, so it's not anything personal." She moved her hand up to his neck, her fingers teasingly working their way over his skin, until they came to rest on his cheek. "He was very close to my father, in fact he is like him in many ways, and you know what my father was like." She tilted his head and lightly pressed her lips against his. "You don't need to worry about him."

He smiled broadly, and pressed his lips down on hers again. “I’m not worried about him, as long as him not liking me isn’t going to interfere with us.” His fingers found her spine under her blouse, and began to slowly rub up it. “Now that we each discovered that the other’s week was fairly crappy, what do you say to finishing it pleasantly?”

She looked at him then raised an eyebrow. "So sure are you that I have forgiven you already?" Laughing lightly, she gazed lovingly into his eyes, any doubt that she had not done so was quickly brushed away.

Running his finger lightly back down her spine, he smiled. “If you haven’t, I’m sure I can think of some way to convince you to.” His eyes, connected with hers, blazed with unbounded love and passion, desire darkening them even more than normal, until a grin split his face, and his eyes flashed blue, his lips pressing lightly on hers as he held her against him.

"Oh, and what do you have planned to change my mind?" The look she gave him indicated exactly what she hoped her had planned, as she nibbled her lower lip, releasing it as she smiled, her tongue moving sensually over them, leaving a wet sheen. "And it had better be good, as you have a week's worth of forgiveness to earn."

As he stood with her cradled in his arms, he smiled down at her. “I think it’ll be good, dear heart. Assuming I leave you with enough energy to forgive me when we’re done.” He began moving towards the bed. “So why don’t you just let me show you?”

Looping her arms around his neck, she leant against his body, her eyes fixed to his face, glinting with anticipation. "Well, I can always forgive you in the morning." Her face clouded over suddenly. "You will be here in the morning?"

He nodded as he set her down lightly on the bed. “Any time I spend the night, I will be here in the morning, Gehenna.” He was bent over so her arms did not have to leave his neck, and he lowered his face the rest of the way to hers, lips pressing down hungrily as his hands slid to her hip and thigh, pressing his weight down on top of her.

Gehenna's kiss was full of urgency. The last week had taken its toll, but now she felt that all that pain and misery at his absence was worth it as she felt him against her body. Parting their lips, she looked up at him, breathless. "I love you, Balion." She pulled him back down, claiming his mouth with a passion that demonstrated just how much.

“I love…” His reply was cut off by the renewing of the kiss, to which he had no complaints. Lips hard on hers, he pushed his tongue into her mouth to fence with hers, and suddenly, the bed was not against Gehenna’s back as he pushed them up into the air, floating, with her under him.

As his hand slid up between their bodies, caressing her breasts as it worked open her blouse quickly, eager to touch the flesh the cloth hid from him. “Care for something a bit different this time, my love?” he asked as he broke the kiss, and not awaiting her answer, began working his way down her neck, lightly teasing the skin between his teeth, breath hot.

Feeling her body lose contact with the bed, Gehenna tightened her grip on Balion, her emotions fighting each other for domination of her. Fear of the unknown battled against her love and desire. As soon as his mouth touched her skin, she was committed to whatever he had to offer. Her voice was low and full of yearning as she spoke. "Yes, anything."

He pushed her blouse off of her arms and it fluttered lightly to the bed, and then the rest of their clothing went with it. He rolled them over, bringing her atop him, giving her some support from his body. And giving her a small time to adjust, but not yet be secure, he fastened his lips to hers, his hands electrifying the flesh beneath them as they moved, and he began to prove how much he loved her.


Dusk had faded to night, and night had traveled steadily on towards morning, but neither had noticed the passage of time, for all they had been able to notice something other than one another, it had stood still in their love. Mingled cries of pleasure were fading from the air, as tangled among sheets and clothing, Ainulindalion gazed down at his love.

Her skin was rosy, flushed from exertion and the glowing necklace she still wore, and their heavy breathing echoed harshly in the now still room. His hand rested on the pillow under her head, and came up to stroke her cheek as his breathing began to slow. “I love you, Gehenna of Tartarus.”

Steadying her own breathing, Gehenna looked deep into his eyes, as she lifted her fingers to his lips, the gentlest of caresses traced their shape. "I love you, Balion." She smiled up at him, her face lit up by her feelings. She leant up, and briefly placed a tender kiss, where only moment before her fingers had been. "Thank you for coming back."

Smiling happily down at the naked woman beneath him, his eyes gleamed, full of love and the aftereffects of expressing it. “It was my pleasure.” He kissed the tip of her nose, and rolled them over, cradling her against his side, his arm wrapped around her, fingers trailing along her exposed back. “Am I forgiven?”

"Most definitely." She nestled against his body, her arm moving until it rested on his chest, her finger drawing idly over his skin. She sighed contentedly, as she raised her eyes to his face. "Of course, I tend to get a little forgetful, so you may have to remind me how I came to forgive you, from time to time." Smiling, she placed a kiss on his cheek, before returning her head to rest on his shoulder.

He chuckled softly, continuing to caress her back lightly. “I don’t think that will be a problem.” He lifted his head and softly kissed her cheek with a grin. “But I’ll remind you in the morning all the same.”

"That sounds perfect." She smiled as she continued to stroke her finger over his chest, her happiness overwhelming her. She could not think of a place she would rather be, than in the arms of the man she loved. As she lay against him in the darkness, she realised that the past week had faded into insignificance, his presence brushing all the past memories of her loneliness away. No longer dwelling on the past, she looked towards their future together. The idea of a lifetime with him made her happier than she had ever been.

Moving her hand over his chest, she brought it to rest on his heart; the gentle rhythm felt though her palm, like a clock ticking away the seconds. As she listened to their breathing, the only noise in the room, she began to relax, the last of her energy seeped away, as she fought against the onset of sleep, not wanting to leave him just yet. But no matter how hard she tried, she was knew that the battle was lost, as her eyes slowly closed, the image of his face, the last thing she saw before sleep claimed her.

The softness of the Empress’ body slowly melded against Ainulindalion’s avatar, and he grinned, remembering all the pleasant things the last few hours had contained. He had done them all before, but the memories were much diminished, paling in comparison to what he could do with the woman he loved.

But he had been through much as well, and his body was tired, even if he was not. And so, lightly stroking pale skin illuminated by the moonlight, the white light calling to him in a way the red nestled between her breasts did not, he let the avatar drift into a light sleep. And he watched her, body moving up and down with his avatar’s breathing, and even had the sun caressed her skin, it would be pale to love’s illumination of his soul.
Gehenna Tartarus
16-05-2004, 02:03
[ooc: This story began in Lord God in the Garden of Hell ( and continues in Being Human ( It is also connected to Not a Creature was stirring (]