|Summary:||Daryl has an unsettling dream.|
|Location: In Daryl's Suconscious?|
|January 10th, 290 A.L.|
This night was a doozy alright. What started as a decent social gathering between nobles had ended with them leaving and an ever increasingly drunk Deputy. Ale seemed to be one of the few things that could make him smile recently, when consumed in enough quantity. Even in his drunken state Daryl realized however, with a common room full of people…Sometimes its just better to head on upstairs and continue drinking behind closed doors. Each 'thunk' of his boots as he ascended the stairs of the Ash and Oak grew heavier, harder to do…But with a bit of effort, and the tolerance of a champion…Finally he makes it to the top
The hallway. While the Deputy knows it normally to be straight, the occasional blur of his vision disorients and twists it, creating more of a maze than a pathway. Daryl steadies himself on the wall, grunting softly as he closes his eyes to try and recover. Bad idea. Even behind closed lids he gets a twisting and twirling feeling, but he steels himself, opening them oncemore. He was no stranger to being this drunk. "..T..Too much," he reminds himself…Though he never really heeded the words when it would come time for another drink. "Too much."
He steps further, swaying slightly as he bumps into a table a little, and bounces off it like a bumper onto the opposite wall. "..Shit," he curses under his breath, turning his glazed green eyes to the door to his left. This was his room, right? His hands shakily take the key from his belt compartment, attempting to align the key with the keyhole. A lunge forward, and it hits the right side and angles off. Another attempt, this time a bit too high. A long blink of his eyes, another push of the key, and it finally finds its mark. He opens the door with a twist, half stumbling in and looking around. The commoner room was just how he left it. He wastes no time in unstrapping the armor around his chest and letting it clatter to the floor beside. One hand covers his face, drifting down it tiredly as he peers over to a small mirror sitting on the counter where the wash basin is.
He raises the handheld reflector to his features, looking at himself. It's a long, hard look, full of scrutiny. A small scoff and he lets the mirror fall from his hands, clattering into the wash basin. He makes his way to the bed, not having the strength or energy to remove the rest of his clothing.
His fingers feel into the compartment of his belt, and he feels something soft. Pulling it out, green eyes study the embroidered cloth that Hafwen had made for a him. A small smile, as he runs his thumb along it. A reminder that he could do -something- right. That he wasn't a lost cause. Not yet. His eyes drift shut, then open, then shut…The cloth is set aside as he lets out an exhale, finally drifting into a drunken sleep…
Slumber comes swiftly, to those who tempt it with strongwine.. and with eyes bigger than their stomachs. At first, it comes as sweet relief; the soothing waves of darkness shutting out the harsh light and gritty, nigh-intolerable passing of each day. For a time, then, Daryl rests peacefully; utterly content in his ignorance. Welcoming the quiet known only in semi-consciousness.
All good things come to an end, of course. And, so the saying goes, to those who wait. Covering all options really, aren't they? Anyway, as time moves on without measure in the world behind the young man's eyes, something begins to trouble his otherwise glorious lack of care. When one drifts off, usually those blurred edges of one's vision are black. Taunting with the velvet promise of nothingness. When one begins to rouse, though, it's that nagging fog of murky white that ebbs across the mind, then clears to reveal whatever truth there might be to fantasy.
"You're going to have a dreadful headache, come morning." The voice is familiar, but all things are difficult to immediately identify when vision itself relies upon imaginings. Gradually, though, the 'world' comes into focus. Sitting cross-legged in the grass opposite where Daryl's sleeping form has been outstretched, framed by a golden backdrop of wheat and dizzying sunlight, Ceinlys smirks down at him in open amusement. Or isit her? A deliberate focusing would confirm it. But she looks different. Less.. burdened. Clad in a simple blouse of white linen and leggings of a pliant dark leather, the young woman looks very much her twenty one years without all that forced propriety and glamour. Those dark tresses, left loose, are tossed about her throat and features by an idle breeze and she plainly couldn't care less. stranger still, she's barefoot. Just as Bastien had been a few days ago.
With her elbows leaning on her knees, she's toying with something in her lap, absentmindedly as her attention remains upon the dreaming Lord, waiting for his response, even if it's nonsensical. Closer inspection reveals there to be a dark grey wolf cub nestled atop her bare ankles, cheerfully gnawing on her knuckles.
'Blessed father watch over her with a ready sword, protect her and keep her safe, for she is innocent…'
'And Crone, in your wisdom you decide it should me my life, for hers…Then I will gladly pay that price.'
A prayer he had wished at camp runs through his semi-concious mind, one that had gone unanswered.
As light begins to beam around him, his first response is an idle, low grunt, 'Ughh..' Before he attempts to turn over once more and simply rid the world around him away. Perhaps he thinks he had just gotten too drunk again…Wandered of to only Gods knows where.
When he can't fall back 'asleep' is when he begins to realize the surroundings around him. His eyes flutter open and immediately squint, another grunt of displeasure as a hand goes to shade those eyes from the beating sun. The voice…So familiar. "…Ceinlys..?" He inquires softly, before his eyes adjust enough to take in her form. He starts to realize he's not as groggy as he should be, or hungover. "…Gods. Where am I?…And…" He tries to wrap his head around everything, though can't figure it out yet. Slowly he leans up, eyeing the pup and then her in confusion, "…How did…?" He looks around, as if trying to determine his location…Out in the fields? How far did he wander? Those nagging questions are the only thing that keeps his focus elsewhere, and not where he normally put it when she was around. Her. He shakes his head awake and peers her way for explanation.
Stroking the pup's silky-rough coat with one hand, gathering it in a loose embrace under the chest with the other, Ceinlys chuckles, low in her throat. Either his confusion or his question - maybe both - seems to amuse her. "Does it matter?" she enquires of him in kind. There are no obvious landmarks. In fact nothing seems to exist outside of this neverending field and the little patch of grass they've apparently discovered at the center of it. Tilting her head a little askance, then downward in order to study him through her lashes with mock-solemnity, the Steward adds, "Oh, you're awake, are you? Or.. are you?"
Shrugging, seeming unconcerned by that, the young woman returns to her regard of the stocky little creature she's petting. He - because presumably it is a he - is observing the Ashwood now with bright eyes and a wagging tail, squirming a little. Taking the hint, the young lady sets it down and it gambols across the ground unsteadily, direct for Daryl. "It's quiet here. Stop trying to ruin it with your desire to understand." Freed of the wolf, Ceinlys turns her face upward and closes her eyes for a while, simply basking in the sun's radiant warmth.
Daryl runs a hand along the grass around him, his fingertips gliding over the tops of the blades and then forming a fist in his lap. His free hand extends to rub absently at one of his shoulders, which feels knotted and heavy, burdened. I guess thats what you get for lying in a field. His emerald hues lock on Ceinlys for a few moments and he just shakes his head, "I…I don't know to be…" As she hushes away his questions, he attempts to glide a hand along the pup's coat before gently trying to coax it away. He seems more focused with the woman before him now.
"..I…Suppose your right." Daryl agrees softly, and he looks about with a small, peaceful smile. "…It's nice here." A few moments go by before he settles his gaze on her again, and he just emits a small sigh. Perhaps realizing something, perhaps remembering. "…And I suppose the company is well enough," He chuckles softly. His laugh and smile comes so easy, as if he didn't have a care in the world.
Where -was- he…? The nagging question returns, only to be forced out again. He liked it here.
The cub cheerfully trots off after an investigative sniff at the man's hand, disappearing into the undergrowth of the crops. The continued rustling, though, promises he's not straying too far. "I'm glad you think so." Ceinlys replies, only slowly lowering her gaze back toward him, reluctant, it seems, to forego sunning herself. "It might not remain so pleasant for long. These things never do." True enough, beyond her, silhouetting her slender, luminous form, dark clouds are looming; the threat of thunder not far behind. "But then, you knew that before you came here, didn't you?"
Stretching her legs out now, resting her bare heels in the soft cushion of grass and moss beneath, the young woman doesn't seem concerned. Why would she? She's only here because he's imagining it. What an odd choice of subconscious comfort. Well, beggars can't be choosers, presumably.
That soft sigh garners her attention, in the end. "Have you forgotten how to be happy, Daryl?" There's a sweetness to her tone that, under any other circumstances, would be an ominous warning. But here, it seems quite natural. Genuine. "A wolf should always be the master of his own satisfaction." As if on cue, the pup reappears, haunches first, dragging something from within the stalks of shining wheat. It must be heavy, judging by the effort being put in. But gradually, his prize comes into view. The fresh, bloody corpse of a heron, eyes dull and slender beak agape. It's a fanciful creation; not particularly detailed or realistic. But perhaps there's meaning beyond the obvious. Wagging his tail, the little cub looks round at Daryl, his jaws stained wet and crimson as they fall open in a lolling, canine grin.
"..wouldn't you agree?" The Steward's further words precede hushed laughter, a sound not unpleasant though extremely rare, to be sure. Glittering blue eyes watch for the man's reaction.
The warm sunlight relaxes him, brings comfort. As she had simply just sat and enjoyed it, he too feels inclined to accept its warmth, legs are spread a bit part, and his casual and nonchalant demeanor is accessible, little worry in his mind. Nothing that made him cold or bitter. No regret or sense of failure. The next sigh is deeper, content. Part of him wishes he could just stay here forever. With her. Was that selfish of him? Was the desire for tranquility and happiness so bad…?
It's shattered when she begins speaking once more, and he nods softly, acknowledging her words, and his respond in but a whisper, "…I know." His eyes fixate on the looming clouds, a hiss of frustration under his breath, "…It seems its been storming a lot lately, I…I just want to remain here for a bit longer. I've been so cold and…Here its so warm." His words almost seem foreign to him, but they roll easily off his tongue, smoothly.
At the rustling of the grass, he looks towards the wheat stalks to see just where that pup went to, when her voice draws him back. It was so easy for her to gain his attention. "Forgotten…? It was taken from me. All of it. Look at me, Ceinlys. What do you see?"
As the pup approaches with the dead bird, and the Ashwood just sighs as if it were a house hold pet, disobeying its master. He moves to step towards the pup and take the Heron away, again trying to usher young wolf from his side. He looks frantically at the Heron, hands outstretching in a fashion that suggests he's unsure what to do. But he wants to help it. "Do you have any water?..Bandages?…I think its still breathing if…If we hurry we can save it," The blood gets on his hands even as he tries to lift the Heron's neck to examine the damage. "…I don't think everyone has that choice. That right. Me least of all." Her laughter causes him some concern, "Whats so funny?" He looks her way, distraught, "Help me?"
"What isn't?" is Ceinlys amused response, even as he's stooping over the wounded creature, getting blood all over himself. He's right, though. It's still alive. Enough to struggle feebly when he lifts its slender neck. Rising gracefully to her feet, the young woman follows after him all the same, bare feet near silent on the lush grass. The cub, seeing as its new toy has been taken away, pads along at her heel, watchfully looking up to her. "Something like that can't be taken from you. You can only relinquish it. Are you really the sort to give up so easily?" Watching, looking down over his shoulder as he tries in vain to quiet the heron, she tilts her head again, oddly akin to the curious little creature now sitting at her feet.
Overhead, the stormclouds roll in with alarming speed, stealing across the sapphire sky. The hues reflect strangely upon the Haigh; accentuating the vivid blue of her eyes, the tumbling raven of her hair. And her clothes.. did they just change? Details are so wont to ebb and shift, in dreams. For now she's wearing her black and midnight ensemble; that sinfully close-fitting bodice and the luxuriously draping skirts. Lowering to rest on her heels alongside Daryl, she doesn't immediately move to aid him, despite the plea. Or maybe because of it. Folding her bare arms atop her knees, she studies him thoughtfully in profile.
"No, not everyone has a choice. But a wolf does. And you are a wolf, by the virtue of the blood in your veins. Why fight it?" Reaching forward, she stills his hand with a light caress of her fingertips, moving them aside and taking the poor bird's neck gently in her own grasp. "A bird, without its wings, is nothing but fragile finery. They are the masters of no other creature. Feared by none. Least of all us." An abrupt wrench, and a twist, and the heron ceases it's struggles. Permanently.
With an absent smile, Ceinlys pushes back her silken mane with one hand, not seeming to realise the smear of blood she leaves across one temple and looking to the young man's eyes with an expression of innocent ignorance. "So tell me. Are you a heron, all flight and fancy and above such things as the fight?" Her eyes darken, narrowing upon him in sudden intensity. "..or are you a wolf?"
The first crack of thunder, right above, threatens to bring the sky down upon them, followed a splitsecond later by a flash of lightning. That momentary illumination reveals spectres, standing in the field that surrounds them, looking on with a sort of reverent expectation. He has to choose.
The slickness of the blood on his hands makes it hard for him to work. It's everywhere, soaking his hands in crimson even as he tries to wipe it away on the grass beside. "If I can just…" He breathes, "I know I can do this I just have to -focus-," Again he wipes away the blood, but the smears remain, there's a disdainful look sent towards the pup, but its almost understanding. It's just doing what comes natural to it…How could he truly get mad? Still he tenses his jaw, emerald eyes falling to the bird once more. He can still save it, he just has to…Just has to…
He cranes his head back pleadingly to her, why wasn't she helping? Wasn't that why she was here? His thoughts vanish as quickly as they come as he notices the change in her appearance…Not the alteration from white to black, but the way it fits her form so snugly, how it accentuates her curves and…The way here eyes contrast so sharply to everything else. He looks up at her, watching as she lowers himself to his level, speaking to him. He's so open to everything she's saying.
He doesn't embrace it at first, as he looks up at the clouds with a defiant glare, then down to the bird in his hands, frail and struggling. There's so much blood on his hands. Her voice echoes in his mind over and over, and he bites his bottom lip, almost as if wanting to drive it out. His hands try to bat hers away a moment, unsure of what she is doing. But shakily, as they are caressed and set aside, they almost seem to go against his will, -helping- to raise the creature into Ceinlys' grasp before that sick -crack- is heard. He gasps softly, looking away as if he's completely and utterly ashamed. But she could always rally his attention back.
His eyes look to her, lost in her gaze, and as she asks him which he is, he just shakes his head at first, looking around him as thunder strikes, then down at the blood thats soaked all over his own hands…In fact, he has more on his than Ceinlys does. His jaw tenses, his eyes flitting back and forth across his fingers.
His fists clench, the crimson liquid seeping out between them as he finds almost a fury within him. "…Wolf." He decides through clenched teeth, before his hands release their tight grip as he moves to stand, one bloody hand wrapping around the woman beside as he stares down at the dead bird. The weaker creature. He bites his bottom lip, to hide something…But it shines through. A wondrous sort of smirk/smile begins to rise, as hard as he tries to fight it. He looks towards her for approval…To ensure he's done the right thing.
For all the time it takes for Daryl to make his realisations and decisions, Ceinlys simply watches him; almost unnervingly still with those ice-cold eyes of hers unwavering from him. There's no reaction for his pleading, nor his fury. She's not here to choose for him.. only to make him realise there's a choice to be made. All around them, the sounds, the rain-heavy scents of the coming storm rumble and snarl protest, pushing him harder and faster.
When, at last, he moves to rise and to place his hand upon her, the macabre, ensanguined and yet utterly desirable valkyrie by his side answers with a beatific smile. And for the first time, it's entirely for him. Not some half-recollection, not a teasing preamble to biting words. She just holds his gaze and radiates her warmth and approval. You'd expect such a change in mood to be accompanied by the return of sunlight and sweetness. But this is Ceinlys he's dreaming of. Those things just don't fit.
With her free hand, she trails a crimson caress down his cheek with her knuckles, then traces the line of his jaw with featherlight fingertips, brushing her thumb oh-so-softly across his lower lip. "..a bird without flight, is a wretched creature. Inevitably doomed, weighted down by it's own shortcomings. But a wolf..?" Leaning forward, she nudges gently at his nose with her own, before smirking into his gaze and turning her cheek, pointedly regarding the cub that is seated patiently in the grass, tongue lolling. "..a wolf always has its teeth. Whether it runs with the pack, or prefers its solitude, it is never without weapons." Resting her forehead gently to the young man's, the Steward slowly returns to that unyielding look upon him, now through sooty lashes that have lowered to half-mast. As if their proximity were not already dangerous enough, she closes the little remaining distance between them with a half-step, leaning, melting against his form as her slender arms snake up and around his neck. Closer still. The sweetness of wine is apparent on her sigh as she speaks his name, and it's inevitable that her lips will be laced with the same temptation. Repeating his name once more, she lets her hand fall softly along his jaw a last time, guiding his mouth to descend upon her own. "Daryl.."
"Daryl. DARYL!" The repetition is suddenly accompanied by a resonating thumping, replacing the thunder that had loomed so dramatically overhead. The longing invitation of the ebon-maned Haigh's sultry cadence, by a hoarse, masculine and distinctly displeased tone from beyond a door. "Get UP! Get yer arse back to the Keep!" Opening his eyes, he would find his bleary gaze settling on the forgotten scrap of embroidery that has, at some point, toppled from his hand onto the pillow beside him. A snarling grey wolf. Well, Ceinlys was right about one thing…
..his head is killing him.