By the time Lord Stormblood appeared, Ana was tense, a little confused and more than mildly incensed. Firstly, where did Felano Glacierwind get off in assuming … well, anything? Prior to this run-in, he had told her that she looked unwell, that if she were any paler she could look like one of his kind, that she was in danger, and the way he looked at her, period, and in fact, not just him, but that bird that was ever present was a little unsettling. It hadn’t escaped her attention the way that creature hovered around him like, what had Kaeth said about Ravens now, that they were harbingers of doom, messengers of death? Something like that, she couldn’t recall the exact words, but it didn’t strike her as far from the truth when she saw the bird, sitting on his shoulder, it’s claws actually sunken in to the plate he wore.
She shuddered, and rubbed at her forehead, suddenly weary, more so mentally than physically, and moved closer to the warlock, for the comfort that the closeness would bring, his own expression a little puzzled and concerned. He looked between the two of them, Ana and Ashenik, and quirked his brows.
“I would’ve trusted that this night has treated you all well, unfortunately it appears it has not? Mister Glacierwind, was it? One of his state often falls victim to the insatiable desire to inflict pain. Irrationality is common, from the rot.” He spoke smoothly, and Ana would have corrected him that his assessment of the situation wasn’t entirely accurate, but then again, it wasn’t inaccurate either, and either way, he continued to speak, adding, “Eyla and I can’t help but feel your distress, Miss Blackcrest, and it makes us … violent.”
He cast his eyes downward to look at the small form that stood between the two of them, the little girl that only the two of them could see, and Ana sighed, smiling at Eyla and slipping her arm through Lord Stormblood’s, then nodding at Ashenik, she felt the need to apologize, following the odd exchange that had occured just minutes earlier between the two of them. She’d actually thought that it would end in blows, but thankfully it had not.
“Not that he is my responsibility, nor that I can be accountable for his manner, but nevertheless, I sincerely apologize if offence was made.”
Ashenik seemed to either ponder these words, or was still focusing on what had taken place minutes earlier between the two of them, and didn’t move to speak for several long moments, but when he did, he appeared to have visibly relaxed somewhat, and this was apparent in both his stance and his voice.
“A death knight ‘warnin’ ye ‘bout bein’ in danger, sounds like a crock o’ shit t’ me. I don’t trust ‘im. I don’t trust his intentions. An’ th’ fact that he was potentially threatenin’ me an’ me family, he was lucky he backed down.”
The familiar tug on Ana’s robes caused her to look down, and Eyla stared up at her from her ghastly, eyeless face, her head cocked unnaturally to one side, the way she looked at her often.
“Mommy… don’t be sad. Daddy will make it better.”
Kaeth looked at her then, his eyebrow quirked further, his curiosity peaked, and Ana sighed, again.
“He …”referring to Felano by way of an explanation she was about to give before changing her mind and then waving her hand dismissively, “there was an almost altercation. We’ll talk about it later, no?”
She wondered what in the world had gotten into Felano that night, and she vowed to find out. She would speak with him alone, as requested and try to figure it out. Something had changed in him, that was for certain. All of them had changed in their own ways though, hadn’t they? Surely the root cause of this tension and mild hositility couldn’t be about the talk they’d had some nights earlier could it?
He loved her.
“I have bared my heart to you, Ana, but your new lover has made it perfectly clear where I stand.”
She’d sighed inwardly at that. She knew, how could she not, that confessing what he had could not have been easy, far from it. And she couldn’t shake the guilt, the genuine guilt that she felt, also, that she was unable to return it. It hadn’t even been a complete surprise, by any means, but faced with the actual words, she wasn’t sure what to say.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
“My new lover, as you refer to him, does not speak for me, Mister Glacierwind. Was there not a time that you and I could just speak plainly to one another? And not so long ago, if I recall …” she paused, thinking about that, and then spoke the words that she didn’t want to, but needed to be voiced. There was no way to sugar coat the truth, and as complex as the entire situation was and had always been, her next words were at least as honest as they could be.
“I’m sorry that I can’t ever seem to say or do, or even feel what you would like me to. You are the only person in this life that can make me feel so hopeless, do you know that? You are the only person I ever walk away from with the sense that I have failed, and am failing you, over and over again. But I can’t…”she shook her head, closing her eyes, inhaling to steady her voice, “I can’t give you what you need, what you want.”
My heart is already taken.
She looked at the man before her, narrowing her eyes momentarily at the raven on his shoulder, and then added.
“I will tell you something, Felano. When I wrote you last, I meant every word written therein. This world would not be the same without you in it. Maybe you will never believe that, but for me it remains the truth. You do mean something to me, but can I define it? I can’t … I wish I could. Perhaps it would make … all of this, easier, no? It seems that our paths have never been the same, and never will be, at least not for the foreseeable future. What does that mean, then, now? That we go our separate ways completely and only think of each other in passing, from time to time, as distant memories only? I just don’t even know anymore…”
Turning her attention back to the conversation at hand, Ana stood back, for the most part quietly as her lover and her friend spoke between themselves, glancing down at Eyla at least once or twice, and shaking her head, pressing her finger to her lips as the little girl clawed at her robes, pointing at the blind man, wanting to know, if, this one was one she needed to take care of, to keep Mommy safe. And Ana smiled at her … daughter, and assured her that Ashenik was a friend. She would reinforce that a little later, in the privacy of their home, just to be sure that no unfortunate incidents would be caused by the manifestation of vengeance at a later date.
And as if to demonstrate his passivity, the man in front of them turned his head to the right, his gaze on neither of them for the moment and Kaeth nodded his approval, relaxing as Eyla did, but he had sensed something different about this man, something that Ana already knew or had seen, but the warlock didn’t miss much. He seemed to have a sense for these things, and this was confirmed when a short while later the three of them parted ways for the evening and he addressed Ashenik with,
“Good evening, feral-kin.”