Scene 1.20 - The Height of Emotion
The Kindred Fortress:
Stepping into the hallway of the upper floors, Arik found that the woman was no longer where he'd left her. Her room sat quiet and empty. He wasn't surprised to see that she'd left the room after being left alone so long. He'd already seen that she wasn't one to sit idle to await help.
He sensed she was still somewhere close by as he walked the length of the long corridor. A door stood ajar at the end of it. What he saw when he stepped in the room made his blood curdle in response. As he stood there looking, time seemed suspended all around him.
The room had been decimated. Everything had been incinerated—all except for the bed where a small family of humans lay in silent repose. Who they might have been? He couldn't begin to imagine. Still, it set his heart pounding to see what had become of them. The smallest of such fragile humans… He felt his insides ache for what had become of them.
After all this time, he was still being shown the evidence of what an evil creature he really was deep down inside. Even after a millennium of imprisonment, the past was placed directly before him, proof that what Ratziel said was true. The debt for the crimes he had committed could never truly be repaid.
Unable to look upon them a moment longer, he cast his eyes away to see the woman huddled against the wall by his feet. She was fairly shivering as she held her knees to her chest.
"Look away from them," he ushered her, bending in an effort to help her rise.
Her head shook just once in adamant refusal. She recoiled from him slightly, wanting no help from him at all. Her face was ashen, her eyes awash with unshed tears. Arik swallowed slowly, uncertain how to proceed.
"We never will leave this place, will we?" A violent shiver wracked her small frame as she spoke the words with grim certainty.
The scene in the room spoke for itself, he supposed. It shed light on the truth of the matter that yes, they truly were trapped within this fortress. There was no escaping it. He had no idea what to say in response.
"Why," her voice rose in anger. It was apparent she was unwilling to accept her fate as he ultimately had.
What could he possibly say? What good would it do to tell her that the place was a tomb. Would it help alleviate her fears to realize that he was nearly in league with the devil himself for the role he'd played so many years ago, allowing his temper to spiral so wildly out of control that he'd literally set the world on fire in a fit of rage? How would she view her eternity spent here with him then?
Unwilling to add to her growing despair, he refused to tell her anything of the sort. He was not even certain how much he could safely share with her—with so much about her questionable arrival still a mystery. No, he could tell her nothing more until he learned who she was and why she'd been brought to them.
"There are other matters we need to discuss right now. Come with me," he urged her. He once again bent to take hold of her hand, but she recoiled from his touch, apparently revolted by the thought of it.
"Don't you dare touch me," she hissed up at him. "I saw the contempt in your eyes last night. How dare you?" The chill in her eyes held him frozen in place. "I may not be human, but then, what are you? You will never look upon me like that again when you are the epitome of a demon yourself!"
Demon? He, a demon? Why was that always the immediate conclusion? It irked him to hear the offensive word spoken out loud once more.
He saw the fire and fury returning to her eyes. Perhaps that was the only defense she could muster in response to the insidious fear she must be feeling. His own temper spiked at once, despite understanding her emotions for what they were.
"You will come with me," he dared to insist. Taking hold of her upper arm, he lifted her bodily from the floor.
The moment she was on her feet, Eve's anger boiled over. How dare he lay a hand on her when she'd warned him not to. Unleashing her anger, she lashed out in the only way she knew how. Summoning a force within the palm of her free hand, she slammed it into his chest with all her might. Her satisfaction to see sparks flying at the contact made her feel blissfully satisfied. His response, however, was not what she'd expected at all.
Without even flinching, he took hold of her hand, gripping it as he twisted it effortlessly to rip it from his skin. His head lowered as his eyes bore into hers. His ire had been pricked as he viewed her with great contempt.
"You have a vicious temper," he grated roughly with a small snarl of disapproval. "But, you should know this. These abilities of yours do not weaken me. They make me stronger."
Eve refused to flinch under the deadly light of his intent stare. She was not defenseless against him. She refused to believe it, unwilling to show him an ounce of the fear that suddenly encircled her heart.
Arik could see that they had reached a strange impasse of sorts in that moment. He understood her rage all too well, as well as her stubborn refusal to back down. He could not continue to let it build between them. Instead, he tried reasoning with her once more.
"I must know who you are. Why were you brought here?" Surely she could understand his need for caution. How unreasonable was it to expect she should tell him that much? This was his home! He had to protect it.
Frustration ate at him when she merely continued to bite her tongue, refusing to speak. With a sigh of disgust, he kept a firm grip on her arm to drag her out of the room. Out in the hall, he released her at once. Turning back to the door, he closed it softly and placed a seal around the frame. He never wanted to look upon the sight of it again in his lifetime.
"That's supposed to keep me out," she scoffed arrogantly behind him.
Turning around slowly, he eyed her with increased irritation. "That was for me, not you," he spoke through clenched teeth.
"Whatever," she crossed her arms in utter defiance. "I have nothing to say to you, Demon. Why don't you go back to haunting the dungeons where you belong?"
Oh no, he would not give her the satisfaction of rising to the bait. That she continued to call him that was no more than a futile attempt to try and insult him. He would no longer bow to the insignificant taunt.
"Your presence in this fortress may be a danger to the others whom I protect. I must know if you are a threat to them."
"The others? What others? Where are they," she wanted to know.
He could see the wheels suddenly turning in her head and he nearly cursed his stupidity. He had already given away too much information that could be used against them. Anything she learned could be used by the Greys if they came back to retrieve her. She was far too cunning to be trusted and it vexed him that he continued falling into the trap of revealing far more than he should.
Eve realized that he had no intention of answering her questions. That was just fine with her! Let them live in silence for all she cared.
"You might as well just go. I have no intention of telling you anything either. Your existence here means nothing to me. I've been imprisoned alone my entire life, so this is nothing new to me! What I am is my own personal business. It is certainly no concern of yours!"
At once, he dared step closer to her, promising her that she was gravely mistaken. "Everything that lives and breathes within this fortress is my concern—and you will tell me exactly what I want to know. Mark my words."
"No," she ground out on the cusp of an ugly laugh in his face. "I think not."
Her hands suddenly shot forward, driving a powerful burst of energy against his chest that sent him reeling backward and he landed against the sealed door with a dull thud. She dematerialized before his eyes, shifting to the far distant end of the hall before he could blink. Then, she disappeared from his view altogether and he rose to his feet, hot on her trail.
He easily detected her presence within a room near the end of the hall. His patience thinned dangerously as he reached for the latch. It gave easily under his grip, but the door was impossible to budge. She had erected her own seal in order to keep him locked out.
Within the room, Eve was standing in a distant corner, satisfied to hear his curse of outrage. Let him burn with fury, she thought with a wide grin. Then it fell from her face when she sensed the seal beginning to collapse. He was caving in the frame with pure brute strength! It splintered all at once, crashing open and she saw him standing there, breathing heavily from the effort it had taken. Damn him!
This would not be her end! It would be his…
Spying an object on the table in front of her, she released a sharp burst of energy that sent it flying across the room, hurtling full-force at his head. It made its mark, whipping his face to the side upon impact. Instant regret and satisfaction warred within her when she realized what she'd done. If he could be wounded, she suspected he could be killed just as easily as any other being on the planet. Perhaps he was not so omnipotent as he appeared to be.
Taking small victory in the thought, she used her abilities to fling another object in his direction, then another. Both of them missed their mark as he dodged them within inches. With every move, an angry vortex of energy began swirling within his skin. A sinister light began to emanate from every vein and scar that was visible to her across his neck, face and arms. All at once he appeared the image of the true demon that she believed him to be. She swallowed hard, fully beginning to regret her bold decision to try and take him on.
Arik felt his entire being altering as he lost the ability to think rationally. His body was at once alight with power as a force awakened within him—something far more primitive that knew only how to react and respond to what it was sensing in the room. It was the need to hunt prey that dominated his mind now. Never had he encountered an entity that dared to defy him as this woman had. That she was brazen enough to think she could take his life—and he knew that she thought it was possible—left him reeling on the precipice of a dangerous chasm.
If she thought for even one second that she could find sanctuary anywhere within the entire fortress, she was gravely mistaken. She had just awoken a side of his nature that he scarcely recognized, so great was his fury. No part of him was thinking rationally as he viewed her now. This was the part that knew no higher reasoning. It was pure emotion that drove him in this state.
Under the spell of such powerful forces, he deformed into the essence of mist in the air and moved with a preternatural speed that could not be outrun. She reacted with a speed and will of her own then, but even as she shifted out of view, he was already maneuvering in response. He swerved deftly, arching wilding in the air into the bedroom where he'd first brought her. She was at the edge of the bed, her eyes seeking which direction she should flee toward next.
She had no chance to move at all as he encircled her in flight. His entire being swirled around her in a move meant to disorient. It was then that he morphed to stand fully erect before her. His hands took her roughly by the shoulders, shoving her down onto the mattress to imprison her in a way he knew she could not possibly escape.
He descended upon her, his hands raking through her hair, locking themselves on either side of her head. His forehead touched upon hers and he released an intense burst of energy that immediately began weaving around them both. It was a bond he knew she would not be capable of breaking. He had no idea what drove him to trap her so completely in that moment, but it was too late to regret the bold move. He was possessed with madness, unwilling to allow her to escape him again.
Already the energy was weaving around them. From the top of their heads to the tips of their toes, they were deftly tethered together as the energy of his life force bonded with hers, forcing her to submit to him and yield to the power of the unbreakable bond he'd created.
Arik was breathing hard, feeling the energy system of his body blending with hers—blinding him to all else but her in that moment. He had enacted an age old force that had nothing to do with holding another of his kind prisoner. That fact was not lost on him as he felt the effects of it bleeding into his system.
Eve felt the intensity of the connection he had established and she gasped as an intense draw of energy was pulled from the very core of her solar plexus. On the verge of shock, she felt an even bolder, far darker energy begin flooding her entire body. Within seconds it sent her entire body into immediate sensory overload.
"What are you doing?" Before she could think to breathe, the sensations deepened further still and her eyes widened as her vision began to blur. She could not break from his hold. In that moment, she had no desire to ever be parted from him at all!
His eyes stared down into hers, the eyes of a demon who now seemed to be looking into the very depths of her souls—and in fact, Arik was…
Despair… He felt it as a visceral emotion in his mind. Despair and loneliness… It was a blindingly painful sensation as he attempted to merge his thoughts with hers. Anger, fear, regret… It was all she seemed to know. They were all the emotions he knew so well himself, yet in this one moment another foreign emotion was emerging from the depths of her mind. Desire…
His eyes shuttered slightly as it registered within his mind, yet he was still overcome with adrenaline and the overload of anger that still coursed through veins. It all centered on the woman beneath him who could no longer escape him, any more than he could escape her as the bond began uniting them together.
He had stirred a response within her that he had not intended or expected, and it was nothing he had been prepared to feel from her. He was connected to her on a level that no mortal could ever comprehend. Her emotions were blending with his own. Suddenly, there was no distinction between which emotions were his and which were hers. Her desire became his own.
In an instant, nothing else mattered, not the situation they'd been cast in nor her physical appearance that told him she was not one of the Kindred. It was his very soul that recognized her for what she was…
Turning blindly from the moment at hand, he was aware of only one thing. He wanted to feel. Thought played no part in the act. It held no power over him at all. He was enthralled and overcome with the desire merely to feel in response to the demands of the bond he'd wound around them.
Loosening the hands that held her in place, he bent and touched his lips to hers. The incredibly soft silk of her skin beckoned him as a small sound escaped his throat. Too long had he denied this part of himself and he was left feeling exposed and bare in the midst of it all.
Eve felt the press of his lips against hers, unable to process what was happening. She was in shock and disarmed by the thoughts penetrating her mind, unbidden by the natural gift of empathy she possessed. Intense suffering and loneliness… Sadness and despair… It was eclipsed by the burning desire to suddenly touch and feel.
Only moments ago they had been locked in a battle of wills and just like that, it had morphed into something she had never conceived of feeling. She should have been fighting him off from the very start, yet suddenly it was the furthest thought from her mind. Instead, she found herself accepting him, parting willingly from the anger she'd been feeling only seconds ago. Her body was responding of its own accord without protest, welcoming the emotions he was evoking between them.
Her mouth parted and she was moving with him as he took her lips in a kiss that grew wild and fervent all at once. She whimpered, feeling relief and pleasure washing over his mind. His fingers reflexively twined in her hair as he sought more of the sensation, his lips mindlessly gliding over hers time and again.
It was like nothing she had ever experienced. The deep flow of energy between them was cycling in and out of her, driving her over the edge of conscious thought. She had never wanted anything more in her life than to feel such blissful pleasure and she never wanted it to end.
As his kiss grew bolder, one hand released itself from her hair as he snaked it down her body, wending it under the base of her spine. He pulled her body up to meet his, pushing down against her. The connection there began to intensify in the the most remarkable way. Everything from the palm of his hand straight through to the place where their bodies touched was pulsing and throbbing. A small cry escaped her lips at the pleasure it brought her.
Arik shivered. He was quite literally losing his mind. He could feel the waves of her energy pounding against him, rocking his world as he sought to steal more of it, moving against her to heighten the sensation. The energy pulsing against his hand felt hot to the touch, swirling and spiking, building intensely just under the skin where he was holding her.
The sound of helpless abandon in her voice and the feel of her body beneath his, it coupled with the delicious effects of the energy coursing between them—encircling them as it wound around them. It was growing to an unbearable level with each passing second. He felt her energy entering his body, even as he released it back into hers as he writhed against her, unable to resist the powerful nature of it as he continued moving against her. He contracted against her, pulling her into him and each fractional movement increased the strength of what was building between them. It drove him wild with need to reach an inevitable peak that he knew as sitting just out of reach.
Eve felt the weight of it as well, her breaths halting time and again. Her mind and body had become one with the force of it. She was crying out in short bursts, holding onto the edges of his shirtfront, molding her lips fully against his. It was there—this thing she felt driven to seek. It felt so far removed from the mere physical and every fiber of her being yearned for it. Then, her toes were suddenly curling as her body arched up against his.
The world suddenly stopped as he ripped his mouth from hers. For a fraction of an instant, time was suspended around them. Then everything within her suddenly imploded on itself. Her body was convulsing wildly as wave upon wave of an exquisite sort began pulsing out of the center of her being. It was shredding her mind apart from the inside out.
She heard him elicit a sound of agony that she knew she would never forget. It was raw and uninhibited. Her head fell back against the mattress to see giant starbursts flaring behind her closed lids.
Between them, the incredible waves of pounding energy seemed unending and she felt him pressing fully against her, attempting to absorb every last ounce of this mysterious force into himself. His face was pressed into the hollow of her neck as he buried himself there for a time, keening softly in her ear as he rode out the endless minutes with her.
It was slow to recede as her mind and body felt as though she were aloft in space. Gone were thoughts of the strange world in which she found herself. For the first time in her life, Eve felt entirely spent and at peace. Her thoughts dimmed into nothingness as she allowed herself to fully embrace the moment of simply being.
With that, it had all faded away. She felt numb from head to toe, without a single care in the world.