View Full Version : Your Presence Still Lingers Here | 9.23, 1 am | Kat, Eli
07-30-2010, 10:33 PM
Where was she going?
It hardly seemed to matter any longer. Had she even slept? Perhaps she was still dreaming. She was not sure. Dreaming was so hellish now. When she closed her eyes, she saw him as though he was still alive, the memory so vivid she could swear his scent lingered in the air. And then she would open her eyes and he was gone, gone as quickly as he'd been snatched from her, gone before she could do anything to hold him close, to keep him with her. Her heart did what her eyes could not -- It cried endlessly for him. On the outside she was naught but a shell, but on the inside she was dying, hurting, weeping. There was no deeper sorrow, nothing that could compare. When Ariel died she was empty. It was a feeling of nothingness that had driven her to the brink. Remy died and it wasn't empty. It was pain... Real, unbearable, agonizing pain. She wanted to scream... She was screaming... But nobody could hear her.
Her bare feet glided across the wooden deck, her hollow eyes staring out across the moonlit sea. Her fingers danced across the railing, the glow of the pale dogged-star moon casting down on her, making her skin shine like alabaster stone. Her hair, down and in waves, gently brushed by the breeze caressed her back, her neck, her cheeks. Tears she was not aware of streaked her face and without really thinking about it, she pressed herself up, her knee lifting, her foot coming up to the rail. She grabbed hold of a rope and pulled herself up fully, standing straight up precariously as the ship rocked back and forth gently over the ocean waves.
She looked down into the black water. She saw nothing by the foam that broke upon the ship. Calm and frightening all at once... If she jumped now there would be nobody to save her. Not like last time... Not like Remy had. But why would she want to be saved? What did she have to hold her here...? Lifting her foot, she closed her eyes and leaned forward.
07-31-2010, 09:51 PM
Eli had just emerged from his cabin that night, donned only in a light, dirty tunic and leggings. He couldn't sleep, his thoughts muddled by shadows and whispers. It was a beautiful evening, clear, a little foreboding for future bad weather, but that evening was pristine. Being only a knight, he had been given a less luxurious room, one whose door swung open to the deck instead of the corridor below. He often had to deal with the singing of the men on watch in the crow's nest, or the movements of late-night rendezvous on the aft deck, but Eli didn't mind. It kept him near to the fresh sea air, reminding him of the beaches on Strom... not to mention the man could get a little claustrophobic.
So when Katherina Miridian decided to take her fateful step off the side of the boat, she was not alone as previously assumed; Eli had just stepped out of his doorway, hoping to catch some air to relax his tense body, when his eyes caught the woman's movement down the railing. He absently watched her approach the side of the deck, his mind truly elsewhere, when Eli was brought to rapt attention, when Katherina hoisted herself up onto the side. He had but a split second to register what she was doing when, as if she were merely taking a stroll, the young woman stepped off the railing and disappeared from view. Eli paused, unsure if what he saw was real, or if he was being tricked by the feisty Mhare: but in another breath he was to the side of the ship, peering over, looking to see her face come bobbing out of the water.
But it didn't. And so, without really thinking about what he was doing, the knight's mind still addled from exhaustion, Eli took a step back, before pulling himself up onto the lip of the boat's edge and diving in, headfirst, after the fallen maiden.
The slicing of frigid water through Eli's tunic as he hit the waves brought him awake, snapping Eli's attention to his body now being tossed by the waves. He cursed loudly to himself, and sucked in a deep breath, before diving further, kicking to sink his large body. For a few moments, his eyes stung, unable to make anything out in the darkness, but his outstretched fingers grazed what he assumed was fabric, and he could feel tendrils of water-logged hair caressing his face. In an instant, Eli grabbed Katherina's arm, and started kicking to the surface. She hadn't been under that long, and Eli thought she'd still have some semi-conscious state... but why did it seem like she was fighting him, struggling against his grip?
07-31-2010, 11:18 PM
She closed her eyes and let herself be dragged down. Further and further into the dark water, the cold embrace pulling her deeper. It was strange how at peace she seemed, how welcome the water made her feel. Her mind drifted to another place, her heart felt light as though the icy hand of death was tugging her back home, down to where she would make her final resting place. Down where she would breathe no more, where she would succumb, where her soul would find comfort and solace. Perhaps the gods would be kind and in her afterlife she could once again be surrounded by all those she had lost.
And then there was resistance, a tug back. Something, or somebody, was fighting to keep her in her world of pain. A world that no longer made sense to her. She opened her eyes, the salt stinging, and she kicked, struggling to be set free. This was the only way she could escape being a slave to her suffering, to her sorrow. Why would somebody want to pull her back. And then, just as quickly as the waters had welcomed her, she was back at the surface, her lungs drinking in the air, gasping, sobbing. This was not where she wanted to be. This was not what she wanted to be.
"Why?" she demanded, turning around to face her rescuer. "There is nothing for me here! Why did you bring me back!?"
08-01-2010, 12:53 AM
This damn woman was kicking him, and in an effort to subdue her, Eli slipped his arm tightly around her waist, his vice-like grip holding her fast as he kicked them free to the surface. Coming up out of the waves, Eli gasped for air, choking, his lungs screaming. Trying to blink away the saltwater now burning his eyes, Eli could vaguely hear a few crew men from the ship calling out, 'man overboard!' and a choice few alerting that yes, they saw the man in the water.
"Rope!" Eli bellowed up to them, still trying to wipe the water streaming across his face away with one free hand, while the other still held tight to Katherina. They had just assembled some sort of line, and tossed down a rope in the murky water, when Katherina posed her question to him, evidently conscious and aware of their situation. "... What?" was all he could stammer, the brows upon Eli's face knit together in confusion. As they floated momentarily in the choppy waves, Eli searched this woman's face for understanding, as she stared angrily back at him, gasping, choking on the water she swallowed. But at the moment, his primary concern was to get her to safety (whether she wanted that or not, he was suddenly unsure...) and Eli grabbed the rope flipping in the water, trying to haphazardly wrap it around them both for security. The men began heaving back, pulling them up, and Eli was more concentrated on holding on to their way to safety than figuring out why exactly this woman seemed so displeased with being saved.
... He had saved her, right?
08-01-2010, 01:28 AM
He didn't understand. She couldn't expect him to. So she just clung to him, tears stinging her eyes, every part of her body hurting. When they were pulled on deck, her knees gave out beneath her, but she still held fast to him, not even aware that she was doing it. Their feet were on something solid. She wasn't sinking, wasn't being pulled down to her grave, and while she knew it should have come as a relief, it was torture to her. The feeling of disappointment mixed with deep anxiety surfaced and all she could do was cry.
It then registered who had saved her. It was as if her mind had flicked back on and she was suddenly aware of those around her. Looking at Ainsley, she loosened her hold and wiped the tears from her eyes. "I'm sorry," she said, her voice strained. "It's my fault. It's my fault that Remy died... If he hadn't been fighting to protect me... I'm sorry." She knew it had fallen on Eli to protect House Letalis, so perhaps he'd feel better knowing it wasn't his fault that one had fallen. That it was hers.
08-01-2010, 03:26 PM
Eli crouched on the deck beside Katherina, coughing up water, as the crew man brought blankets over for the pair, to keep out the frigid cold. A few men slapped Eli on the back, praising his bravery, but Eli just nodded and waved them off, still staring at Kat while trying to wipe the water from his face. Her words struck a strange chord in Eli, and he watched her cry upon the deck, still gasping for breath from their plunge.
"My lady," Eli began, still crouching beside her on the deck as the crewman dispersed, the momentary excitement already fading, "I'm not sure what to say. I don't... I'm sorry, I don't know you, very well, but I can't help but feeling like this..." He waved his hand from the two of them out to the water. He stumbled over his words, trying to figure out what to say, how to approach this.
"Are you... alright?" he ventured.
08-01-2010, 03:50 PM
She pulled the blanket around her and stared down at the deck, her eyes going in and out of focus as tears and the ocean water blurred her vision. The other men around them did not exist, at least not to her. And she wondered how hard it would be to return to her cabin... Though she dreaded having to face her brothers. The last time had been easy enough to hide from Marcus and Michael. This time, it'd be impossible. Her teeth began to chatter, the blanket not doing much to ward off the cold.
She looked back up at him. "There's n-nothing t-to say," she told him. "A g-good man is d-dead because of m-me." She wasn't exactly certain where he'd been going with his 'feeling.' She was curious, she would admit, but she also didn't want to pry. His thoughts were his business, and if he wanted her to know, he'd tell her.
She closed her eyes and shook her head. "I thought I would be this time... I thought I would b-be okay... But he's d-dead. He's really..."
08-01-2010, 05:55 PM
Eli shook his head slightly, confused. She thought she would be... what? Vividly, he saw again Katherina step up upon the ship's railing, holding onto the rope of balance. She just... stepped off. Like she were taking a walk out onto the air, assuming it would support her weight. What had she been doing? The thought made Eli want to shudder, what her behavior implied. But he didn't want to jump to any conclusions. It was too much, too harsh a reality.
Unsure of what to do to comfort her, Eli reached out his hand towards Katherina. He supposed he could, what, pat her on the back? But that was too forward. So he held out his hand, offering her to take it, if she wanted to. Katherina looked like she was drowning even though they were safely on deck. He felt responsible for her, in this moment. To try and save her... if at all possible.
"What happened to Remy, wasn't your fault. I'm not sure why you'd think that..." Eli spoke, his voice determined. "If he fell protecting you, then he died doing what was right, and just, for him. It is a noble death."
Eli paused. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
08-01-2010, 10:36 PM
She stared at his hand, not exactly sure what to do with it for a moment. Then she reached for it, gingerly closing her fingers around his palm. Feeling the contact of another person was... She couldn't describe it. It was nice and painful all at once. Her brows furrowed and she wanted to cry out. But instead she bit her cheek and held it back. He had already done so much for her. She wasn't even sure why, but all she could think of was the dream she had of Ariel and her son being told it was not yet her time. She supposed that was still true and the gods had sent Eli after her for that reason.
"If he hadn't loved me, he wouldn't have fought for me. He'd have fought for himself, and he'd have lived..." She explained. "I know he died a noble death... But he shouldn't have died at all."
She shook her head but then said, "Could you take me to my cabin?"
08-02-2010, 05:46 PM
Eli wanted to say something, to refute Katherina's twisting of the reality of Remy's death, but he could see it in her eyes: the denial. The confusion. The inability to accept the situation for what it was... the senselessness, of such a loss. Eli knew that look, because he had it seen it, it had been there: on his face, in the mirror, in a pool of water, the river, in the reflection of a razor blade, for so long. And so, understanding that now, Eli knew there were no words that could reason with Kat. Nothing he would ever say, would take away the pain.
Without a word, Eli grasped Kat's hand in his own, and helped her up off the deck floor. He moved to stand beside her, making sure the blanket was secure over her shoulders, keeping away the night chill. He offered Katherina his arm, to take her to her cabin. Silently, he let her lead. She would speak when she was ready. And Eli knew she would.
08-03-2010, 12:39 AM
She hardly registered that they were moving at all. She took his arm instinctively, not giving the simple act a thought, and walked as though she were at a funeral. Once half the distance had been closed, she stopped and felt herself get a little faint. Her grip tightened around his arm and she unknowingly leaned into him, her eyes closing and a whimper escaping her lips. "Do you believe in the gods, Sir Ainsley," she asked, looking up at him with tear-filled eyes. "I do... I believe in each and every one of them. And I believe that they do things for a reason. I think they mean to punish me... That I must have done something... For them to take away my husband... my son... and now Remy. He would have been better off if he'd never met me at all," she said sadly.
"I feel like I'm still drowning... You pulled me from the water but I'm sinking even now... I don't want to. I don't want to feel this way... I want to smile again. I want to laugh... It just seems so impossible. But I'm not... I'm not crazy," she said to him, needing somebody to know that. "It just hurts more than I think I can bear."
08-03-2010, 11:31 AM
Eli paused with her, letting Kat lean into his strength, and his support. He wouldn't push her further, and they remained standing quietly together for a few brief moments.
"I do," Eli replied, after a little consideration. "I do. But maybe not in the same way, as dominant religion. I do believe, there are... forces at play, that are beyond our control, beyond our comprehension."
"But I don't think they are malicious in nature. Whatever you may have done in your life, does not deserve such tragedy. And while you may find small comfort in such a... plan, such an explanation for the events of your life, I do not think it wise to confront it as such. Sometimes, things just happen. It sounds awful and senseless but it's true. It doesn't mean you deserve them, or they are a source of punishment. Things just... happen."
Eli sighed, and closed his eyes momentarily. He understood how Kat was feeling, more than she knew. He remembered the sinking feeling, the sense of utter loss; not just of the person in your life, but your entire direction and focus. One never realizes that another person holds them in one place, that there is someone who is the pinnacle of their being until they are... gone, and that person is left drifting in the world, directionless.
"I don't think you are crazy," Eli said softly, resting his free hand atop her own, that remained gripping his arm. "I think you are grieving. Everyone tries to find a different solution. Almost none of them are correct. Only time."
He urged her forward now, to keep moving. Not just for this moment, as they moved to her cabin. But in general. To just keep moving, was a step forward, in so many different ways.
08-04-2010, 01:07 PM
She listened carefully to his words, the sound of his voice. "Remy's death just... happened?" she repeated, closing her eyes against the pain. "It seems so unfair... Senseless, as you say it. He was so young, so vivacious. The only comfort I can take is knowing that those responsible for his death and so many others were punished for their crimes." She thought of what had happened to Raine and Samer and rather than be revolted by the brutality of the display, she felt a sense of justice fulfilled... They got what they deserved. So many women would long weep for the men that were lost. Men would mourn the women, mothers their children. And for what? What was all of this death for?
"I seem to be in a constant state of grief... After my husband died..." She trailed away, looking back out over the water. "I never thought there'd be another. I had grown to love him with my heart and soul in their entirety. But I had realized it too late. He died right before my eyes and I literally felt him slip away from me..." She bit her lip. "Remy didn't slip away... It wasn't gradual like my husband's. He was taken. In one moment he was alive, the next he was gone. It was so sudden... And there was nothing I could do. Nothing I could say. I didn't even get to say good-bye..."
08-04-2010, 06:47 PM
Eli understood that feeling; the lack of closure, without a proper farewell. Rachel had been mostly gone by the time they let him see her, only able to hold her and whisper parting words as she slipped into unconsciousness, and then death. It was awful. So many nights he lay awake thinking all the things he would have said, if he just had the chance.
"Everything you could have told him, he now knows," Eli said, his voice assertive. He needed to believe that, and he wanted Kat to believe it, too. Now that they were passed on, all veils of mortal life and the trappings of one's mind fell away. The departed knew how the living continued to feel. Upon reaching Katherina's cabin door, Eli paused, hoping to give the woman a moment to compose herself, before he knocked on the door. The knight did not know Michael or Marcus Miridian very well, but he felt they would want to know where there sister was.
"Do you need me to stay?" he asked politely, not wanting to abandon a fallen woman in a situation she felt uncomfortable with.
08-05-2010, 05:11 PM
By the gods, he was lucky Marcus hadn't stabbed him. It was his turn to watch out for Kat and she had vanished. Granted, there was hardly many places she could get to on the ship, but Michael had sent Marcus looking in the bowels of the ship when he had heard the words "Man overboard!" shouted, as their quarters were not too far from the deck. He suspected, though wasn't sure, exactly who it was. The knock at the door raised his suspicions and surely enough, stood in the doorway was both Kat and Eli. Both were absolutely drenched. He quickly grabbed a couple of large towels from a nearby trunk, offering one to Eli and placing the other around Kat's shoulders. He gestured inside as graciously as he could muster. His eyes betrayed no emotion, but had narrowed slightly in calculation.
"Please, come on in. Sit. Get warm." By the gods, let it not be what it looked like. Let it be anything but it seems. Kat...please tell me you just helped pull out Eli and slipped, or something. "So, I take it there's some story here?"
08-06-2010, 03:48 AM
His words were poignant. Incredibly so, and they struck her rather unexpectedly. Then things came crashing back down, and she realized the enormity of what she had just done. She had nearly killed herself... again. Only this time, the reason seemed... sillier than the last two. Ariel had died... but Ariel was her husband. The man she was supposed to spend the rest of her life with and the first man she had come to love. The second reason was... well... something she was still ashamed of. The third? His voice shook her out of her state and she nodded slowly. "I would like for you to stay."
When the door opened, the sight of her brother almost brought on a new bought of tears. Marcus and Michael were going to be so disappointed with her. She pulled the towel around her and walked on in as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened, but unlike Michael, her eyes betrayed everything. She sat, looking up first at Michael and then at Eli. "It is not a story you have not heard before, I think."
08-06-2010, 07:50 PM
Eli gladly accepted Michael's offered blanket, the evening chill beginning to take hold of his wet clothes, but he helped Kat inside the doorway of the cabin. He didn't say a word to Michael, just nodded his head in agreement. This was Kat's problem; her life. He'd let her tell whatever lie she wanted, or speak the truth. She could be the only one to decide to move forward.
The knight let go of his grip on her hand, to let her sit, and watched Katherina decide what to say. He dried his hair, rubbing the blanket over his locks, face, and upper torso. He looked to Michael Miridian, wondering what the man would say.
08-08-2010, 05:26 PM
For the briefest of moments, he considered staying standing. But that notion was a foolish one, for it would look like to Eli like he was trying to intimidate his sister. Neither could he sit too close, for fear of smothering her with overprotectiveness. Why were things so damn complicated!? Instead, he knelt not too far infront of her, so he could talk to her at eye level.
"I...see." He tried his hardest to keep the upset out of his voice, though he didn't exactly think he had done very well. Dammit Michael, you're a worthless brother. You can't even keep your voice steady when she needs you to be strong! And think of what Eli must think. His face and eyes were still perfectly schooled into neutrality, however. He searched out Kat's gaze, trying his best to find something there to help him know what to say, what to do. But there was no hint. He needed to act strong, stoi...
Actually, screw stoic. If Eli didn't understand how worried he was about the fact that his sister had tried to kill herself and so relieved that she was alive, he could go to hell. True, they had never exactly grown up close, but she was his little sister. Surely it was his right to care about her wellbeing. Just because he couldn't think what to say, didn't mean he couldn't think of what to do. He could no longer care about looking prim and proper for the other houses. Instead, he quickly wrapped Kat in the tightest hug he could manage, whispering words so softly that Eli may not have heard them, though he couldn't have given a damn if Eli did or not. This was his sister. His only sister. "Thank the gods you are still with us, Kat." Or, he supposed, thank Eli. But there would come a time and place when to discuss the whole thing with Eli. He just wanted to let his sister know how much he cared first...
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