Beautiful and strange


…And out of the darkness came color, and light and something much more altered than what had existed there before in that shadowy place that it had long known as home.”       

Changes.  They’d been subtle at first, but over time they’d become more overt.  His behavior, his activities around the house, his moods, or lack of them.  Something was different, very different.  Even the demons sensed it.  Chobis had never been quieter.  Ghaad still stayed close to her, his daily movements unchanged but he wasn’t his usual self.  If it was possible for a Felhound to mope, then he most certainly had been.

It occurred to Ana that her husband was in a lot of ways a stranger.  She had never understood him, not really, and if she was actually honest, barely at all.  Their entire relationship was even a mystery to her at times, but if there was a lot for them to learn about one another, if nothing else, what they had together was based on raw emotion.  At least, for her it was.

He’d left the Magistry, even.  He hadn’t even told her.  He’d just simply started to be at home more, and eventually he stopped going in to the City during the daylight hours at all.  And when that happened, he’d stay home and lock himself up in one of the closed off rooms that she just stayed away from.  They had never been locked, but they had never been obviously left open either, and so she had just never gone inside.  It was an unspoken rule, perhaps.

Ana knew better than to ask him about the Magistry, as well.  She’d hinted at it, or danced around the issue but not asked him directly why, because she simply knew that he would give her no answer at all, or he’d have explained it in circles in such a way that it would have become nonsensical in any case.

Eventually, one evening, at the end of their nightly stroll through the city, Kaeth had suggested something that had thrown her a little.  He wanted to take her to Shattrath, to visit for a few days.  Shattrath of all places.  She couldn’t imagine any other reason for him to want to visit that city at all, other than to please her, but on the other hand she had to consider that there was more than likely an ulterior motive behind it.  Kaeth rarely did anything unless it served a purpose unto himself, at least partially, and Ana was almost certain that this was no different.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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“Welcome to the City of Light, my Lady.”

“Or welcome back, perhaps, depending on which way you look at it.”

She glanced to him briefly, smiling, and then took a moment to look around.  Apt, maybe, that they should be standing here in this place now, right in the exact spot that they were considering … well, considering the reasons for the last time her feet had touched the tiled tier of the Scryer’s.   Irony, perhaps.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

“I can’t say I appreciate the crummy Draenei architecture, but … yes, I suppose.”

Ana looked at him as he spoke, always looking to read him. His tone gave away nothing, nor his body language. But there was something about the light here that made him appear different to her. His form at least. She regarded him, her eyebrows furrowing a little as she cast her eyes over him, from head to toe, silently. She didn’t speak right away. It was almost as if she was waiting for something.

Eventually he spoke, as always giving nothing away, but addressing her staring at least.

“Something bothering you, my Lady?”

And at what seemed like the strangest time, Ana suddenly recalled a story she had been told as a child, or at least a part of it, triggered by the way he looked and felt to her now, and she closed her eyes for a moment before opening them to look at him again.

Turning her body to face him, drawn almost by the altered aura that surrounded him, she reached out to touch his arm, to trace her fingers along the fabric that covered it. The heavy oppressive sense of darkness that had always cloaked her husband was just simply not there.

She looked up at him, a little wide eyed and questioning, shaking her head slowly.

“Not bothered, no…,” she finally murmured, “a little confused if anything.”

Kaeth took a long pause, inhaled a deep breath in through his nose but remained silent while she continued to look at him, to touch him, inspecting his features closely.  Finally he moved to stand in front of her, and when he spoke in his usual deep monotone voice, nothing had changed there at least, but … maybe it had.  It was softer somehow, yet not.  If pushed to explain it or to recall, she could not.

“You must forgive the deception, my Lady…”

And with those words, spoken in that unnaturally calm, deep tone that she was accustomed to she almost felt as if the world as she knew it was about to turn upside down, again. Nothing that she had seen, nothing that she had felt, nothing that she had experienced while by this mans side since the moment she had laid eyes on him had been simple, or without calculated purpose. He was an absolute enigma unto his himself, and an entire lifetime with the man would most likely only reveal the smallest part of that.

Squeezing her eyes closed, she took a deep breath in and then glanced up at him, raising her hand now to the mask that he wore.  Why did he hide his face from her?

He was a stranger, in so many ways. The thought again struck at her momentarily, and it stung a little, more than a little.  But maybe, just maybe, that was about to change. She looked at him with the unspoken question on the tip of her tongue, her eyes questioning.

He pivoted on his heels to turn towards the elevator, suddenly.

“If you’d please, my Lady.” He said, as he offered her his arm, the way he always did, “we’ve a date.  There is something that you need to see.”

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Ana took his arm, linking her own through it, a familiar movement and walked with him, silently until they reached the outskirts of the city, and there, he turned to her and looked her up and down, reaching out for her with a nod.

”Here, this will be faster if you get on my back.”

She looked at him strangely for a moment, hesitating only because the suggestion itself took her by surprise, but before she could give it any further thought, Kaeth had bent slightly, leaned forward and scooped her up, helping her up to piggy back him.

She giggled when he scooped her up into his arms and started to run. She slipped her short, plump arms around his neck and held on just like he’d told her to, and to her it was all just a game at first, and he ran so fast that the wind bit cold into her cheeks, whipping her hair around, and at some point she stopped giggling and nestled her face into his neck where it was warm.  

Ana was taken back, a long way back when he started to run, the sense of deja vu almost overwhelming her.  She closed her eyes to shut out the sting of the rushing wind in her eyes, her hair loosened, whipping in her face, and she clung onto him tightly, squeezing her legs around him, and pressing her face into the back of his neck as he moved with unnatural speed, but so smoothly and gracefully she would barely feel a thing even as his feet would only touch the ground from time to time to keep up the momentum. She laughed out loud as he wove his way through the trees, and not for one moment was she afraid.

“Where are we going?”  She finally asked into his his ear, pressing her cheek against his and tightening her hold around his shoulders and neck.

He simply laughed and shook his head, and incredibly seemed to move even faster.

“You’ll see.”

((OOC note:  I was listening to a song while I was writing this that reminded me of Kaeth, and the lyrics seemed fitting, hence the title even though it may not appear to fit the post.  “So beautiful and so strange.  Scatter all the pieces, the puzzle will remain the same.” ))

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