|All the Things Forgotten|
|Summary:||Something for Halloween ;)|
|Lakeshore — Broadmoor|
A brisk breeze meanders in across the waters of the lake, carrying with it a caress of chill and the husky breath of lingering fog. In the distance, only the highest towers of Broadmoor and the grey-green outline of the hills and horizon beyond are visible to the eye and all is quiet. Stiflingly so, as if the rest of the world were held at bay in an eternal moment of solitary stillness.
Standing at the edge of the short, close enough that the lazy waters lap at the trailing lengths of her skirts, Ceinlys wraps her arms about herself more closely, her frost-blue eyes gazing unseeingly out at the nothingness before her. At times, it feels almost as though she stands at the edge of a yawning precipice and the occasional tumutluous drop of leaden weight in her stomach gives the panicked feeling of falling, similar to the jolt that might sometimes stir one from near-sleep.
Ignoring her dark hair as it flits backward from her face at the behest of stirring air, she sighs deeply and closes her eyes, tilting her face upward a little to savor the scents of the early morning - assuming, by the grey light of the rainclouds overhead, that it is such an hour. The feeling of strong, masculine arms enfolding her from behind comes as no surprise and she leans gratefully back against the man's chest, lashes remaining dark upon her cheeks for the time being, as if raising them might break the spell of comfort and security.
The warmth of breath against her neck in an affectionate nuzzle precedes low-timbred words, spoken soft against her ear as she tilts her head fondly toward the source, the ghost of a smile haunting her lips. "..I miss you." The admission is no more surprising than his presence, but it's enough to prompt Ceinlys to a slow turn in the circle of his embrace, her glacial eyes at last fluttering warily open. As if the fog of memory were lifting before her gaze, his features come gradually into view. The line of a solid jaw, lightly stubbled. Dark blonde hair that curls a little at his nape. Eyes as blue and piercing as her own, with a well of sadness in their depths that she cannot face overlong. Instead, she rests her cheek in the hollow of his broad shoulder, while his hands settle at the small of her back, drawing her closer.
"I miss you, too." Her voice, to her ears, sounds faraway. Ethereal, almost. But that could be down to the atmosphere of their surroundings.. or the brutal honesty of her words. Twining her fingers in the fabric of his tunic, she wills him to remain, determined to hold on. "..can I stay?"
Ceinlys senses his smile without seeing it, a kiss pressed to the top of her head. "I wish you could. But not yet. You know that." His hand finds and trails through the lengths of her dark hair, gently but insistently raising her face to his, that he might meet her gaze. The weary sorrow of his expression is almost unbearable, but once entranced she finds she can't look away. Her own hands rise, cupping his jaw and drawing his lips slowly down upon hers, with a hushed whisper of his name. "Diarmud.."
The kiss is a sweet thing, and lingering, with all the promise of passion in a life unlived and the tenderness of a memory never forgotten. For a long moment, she loses herself to it, to him.
And then it all falls apart.
The familiar taste of his mouth against hers becomes the coppery tang of blood. But try as she might, she cannot wrench away. His hold upon her becomes crushing, painful, refusing to release her as her struggles increase. Aware that her own features are twisting in horror and rising fear, Ceinlys pounds fruitlessly against his chest, which becomes cold to the touch beneath her white-knuckled fists, hard as plate. a scream gurgles soundlessly in the back of her throat, choking her. and only then does he draw back, just a fraction, breaking the nightmarish kiss and glaring balefully into her face.
The eyes remain blue, but now it might be a mirror that she looks upon. Gone are the dark-blonde curls, replaced with glossy raven the exact shade of her own. White teeth bare in a snarling sneer as his hand winds tight in her tresses, jerking her bruisingly close as her stomach clenches in genuine terror for the first time in a long while.
His voice. It's so familiar. So capable of adoration and devotion.. yet now it drips with loathing and venom. "Hello, sister." Narrowing his eyes, Aron looks down upon her in that arrogant, possessive way of his, not caring of the stinging pain his twisted embrace inflicts. Indeed, as he continues, he shakes her bodily in a bone-rattling memento of times past. "Have you birthed him a bastard yet?" A gauntleted hand rises, tracing an armor-clad fingertip down her cheek as his lips curl in a smirk. "..you know I'd strangle it in its sleep. Or have you forgotten..?"
Frozen, Ceinlys can only stare at him, helpless in his grasp. That, apparently, only incenses the infamous knight still further. Shaking her again, then flinging her back away from him in disgust, he slings a careless backhand across her cheek that sends her sprawling to the rocky shore. Tasting blood again, she spits, before casting frightened eyes back around, still lain upon the pebbles, her gown saturated and ruined about her legs and bare feet.
Relief wars with continued worry. Where is he? Lying in wait for her? Behind her?! She whirls to look the other way, utterly lost and as helpless as any other young lady.
The crunching approach of heavy boots across the scattered stones and mud becomes steadily more audible as they draw near. But her limbs seem suddenly immovable; too heavy to budge, as if she were swimming in quicksand. All she can do is watch, as a silhouette takes shape in the mists, striding purposefully toward her. "It's an ever-changing thing, is it not?" comes a voice. Dark eyes penetrate the murky air, settling upon her. She knows his expression is grim before she can make it out. But she doesn't recoil as Aleister comes closer. "Destiny?" Clad in the bloodied armors of his near-fatal battle at Seagard, the Lord lowers himself slowly to hunker on his heels, an elbow resting nonchalantly upon one knee while he regards her in that assessing way of his. And there's the smirk, tugging at his lips. "Are you afraid?"
Ceinlys swallows hard, already aware that her answer will be honest whether she wishes it or not. It's little above a whisper as she struggles to give it. "Yes."
Aleister smiles, studying her for a few beats longer, before rising smoothly back to a stand, offering a hand toward her should she need it. "You should be.." All around them, the thick fog dances and weaves. Broadmoor has long disappeared from sight, leaving only this patch of ground and the nearby lull of the lake's motion upon the shore. Beyond his shoulder, appearing only vaguely, she makes out the Lady Aeliana, smiling sweetly as she toys with a shining blade, twirling it by the point upon one finger. With a shiver, Ceinlys averts her eyes, refusing the Lord's hand and rising by herself, if somewhat unsteadily.
"What do you want from me..?" The words feel as if they echo only within her own mind, but Aleister's expression suggests he heard them quite clearly. Even if he does not deign to answer. Rather, he waits as three other shapes step forth from the void that engulfs. Diarmud comes first, staggering the few steps into view. What can be seen of his face is rotting and decayed, bare to the bone in places, revealing grinning skeletal teeth through torn and rancid flesh. Next is Aron, as formidable and taunting as ever, by his posture alone. To Aleister's other side? Maldred, the bastard knight of Frey. His features are less sharp, less well-recalled. But he's recognisable enough. And he steps over the crumpled body of her darling cousin, Katrin, wiping clean his bloodied blade.
The other three draw their swords and they all advance a step toward her. Ceinlys backs up, involuntarily, toward the water, her heart thudding in her chest and a tear streaking down either cheek. "What do you want!" The words, this time, come forth as a scream, guttural and born of rage that has diminished to long-suffering regret and toil. She has nothing. No weapons. No guards. No hope. Only the four ghouls advancing toward her, in unison.
In the end, it's Maldred who answers her, with that condescending manner that so riles her, needling her senses, prickling the hairs at her nape. And all the while, they keep moving forward, pressing her back, until she's stumbling knee-deep in the waters of the lake.
"The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other."
As one, they lunge. Four shining blades streak through the fog toward her…
"M'lady! M'lady, wake up!" Ceinlys' screaming had woken Brigid abruptly from her peaceful slumber - likely along with half the household. But her mistress was proving decidedly more difficult to rouse. Holding her firmly by the shoulders, the handmaid is vigorously shaking the Steward, increasingly concerned. Has she taken too much Sweetsleep? It can be deadly, if not used with a delicate hand. Ah, no.. her eyes are opening.
Her throat raw, the young lady forces her lashes to flutter open, one hand instinctively dropping to her abdomen, where her child had been carried. Where the blades would have pierced through her slender form only moments before.
"You were dreaming, m'lady." Seeking to soothe her charge, Brigid speaks in reassurance, rather than panic, reaching to smooth down the dark hair that has grown damp with sweat, sweeping it from Ceinlys' brow. It was truly a rare thing to see fear in the noblewoman's eyes. But more unnerving were the hoarse words that fell tearfully, unthinkingly from her lips, before she was even truly aware of herself. Flinging herself toward the startled servant, the Steward tries and fails to calm her breathing, or stem the flow of tearfall upon Brigid's chemise.
"Bastien. Send for Bastien."
All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams. ~ Elias Canetti