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Le Baiser Mortel

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You have your will in your palm

So plant your dreams and wishes now

You must grow strong

No room for wilting flowers ..


She had lied.[/align]


To Solenne, she spoke of the lack of disguises made available to her, she wove the lie, as she did many times afore. Rivienne was not a woman who would simply present herself to the world without thinking two steps ahead of her. At Costa del Sol, she played the part of a new dancer learning the trade; from them she took light garments to fight back the heat of the sun, though they were all too small for a woman of her build, she knew well how to make something become adjustable. Lace and silk, cotton and linen, tunics and skirts. From clotheslines she pulled these free to claim her own. Some were taken from the bags belonging to the dancers present, evening attire that would certainly not be too useful – or so she believes.


Her personal garments were substituted with something lighter for the evenings here, now that she was away from the prying eyes of others. The inn she occupied provided her with stable space for Avenger to rest in and this last minute room for just one evening; that was enough time for her. The innkeeper was given a false name to call her, though it was not completely a farce. “Juliette,” is what she used, a middle name that was seldom mentioned or known to many.


Across the sea, far from her Black Shroud, safety was not always granted. Rivienne knew this, and such thoughts kept her awake at the late hour. In this room she was only accompanied by the small bottle of wine that Nai left her, a token from their meeting in Wineport, and some of the bread and cheeses she managed to take before leaving the gentle embrace of her forest.


The candlelight danced across the room, splashing it with shadows that stretched high to the ceilings. Her silhouette performed a dance against the walls, flickering about as she sat in silence. It was the first time she was given a moment to allow everything to truly sink into her skin. The haunting sounds did not end, nor did the crackling of the flame alleviate her from hearing the laughter and whispers of his voice.


Closing her eyes only caused her to see his face.


Loathing began to sink into the crevices of her heart. Despair was not but a breadth away from pursuing the hatred. Naked hands ran through her cropped hair whilst her gaze settled on the wood grain of the table; she concentrated on the world around her instead, piecing together the sounds of the inn, the pelting rain that began to hit the ceiling.


Among such sounds, the buzzing of conversation filtered through the air and Rivienne, who would not make it a habit to listen in, had little choice. The voices rose, agitation grew heavy in the air, something was amiss for certain.


And her paranoia did well to inform her that this was no mere traveler seeking shelter. By the tone used, and the command it carried, it was someone in search of something.


Or someone.


“She is long of hair, eyes made to match,” the baritone was gravelly, rough to the ears. He was taller than most; dark hair that fell upon broad shoulders, concealing the hard green that made up his gaze. Adorned in leathers, he was a stark contrast to what several individuals wore here in Noscea. He was obviously not a native of the land. The inn-keeper raised his bushy, salt and pepper brows, and gave the man a look over. The last thing he desired was to cause the inquiring fellow to raise his voice any louder than he was, lest he wished for angered patrons in the morn.


“I have several people stayin’ th’ night here, I can’t be bothered to remember all of ‘em.” He chewed at the end of his pipe, thoughtfully looking the man over, but his gaze settled on the pommel of the blade at his hip. “But –”


“But what,” impatience was heavily noticed in his voice as the serpent leaned over the wooden desk; his shadow spreads long across the surface and falls upon the midlander, who looked awfully small before the wildwood.


Rivienne’s frame pressed to the door, hands flat against the grain as she attempted to listen. There came a twitch to her lips at the words shared; seems he was alone, though she wouldn’t place her trust on that thought. Immediately, troublesome thoughts, were of Avenger. He would not allow another to take him, and at the moment, she heard no sound of struggle beyond these walls. He came after her directly, good, he didn’t think to rid of her of the chocobo. Such would be cruel.

But, she wouldn’t put it past Heulioux.


The inn-keeper informed the officer of a particular patron who fits his description, though no longer did she have the length of hair he spoke of. This woman was the one backing away from the door now once his footfalls announced his approach with each creaking plank underneath his heel. Rivienne looked around the room. Her armaments were on the table along with a few documents she had been writing up. A lute rests flat on the bed, a bow leaning against the night-stand with its quiver. Weaponry was of little issue, and the idea of immediately taking the offensive against him was appealing. Long strides took her to the satchel hanging off the arm of her chair and she pulled the ties apart. Quickly, and blindly, she rummaged within the darkness until her fingers took a hold of a few vials. With her back to the door, she busied herself with them, whispering whilst the corks were opened.


Her silhouette shows her head tilting back, holding the position there for a moment before her hand falls to her features, brushing at her skin. The shadow soon turns to face the door, for the sound of footfall grows louder as it approaches near the door of her chamber.


His shadow peered from underneath it.


She swallowed and pressed her lips together firmly, twisting them into a frown.

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His shadow remained idle. Unmoving was he for a few heartbeats; the space between was separated by one object. The door.


And he made sure to force it ajar with his shoulder with little regard to those who found themselves deep in slumber. Wood cracked and splinters were made, and for a moment, the inn-keeper swore that the storm unleashed a clap of thunder instead. The door did not fly from its hinges, nay, though it swung wide and made sure light would break in, melting away what shadows rested within.


She was against the table with her head dipped low; her golden gaze set downcast to her feet. Ciceroix had his blade drawn from its scabbard the moment his eyes adjusted to the image that stood before him. He had expected a woman viciously ready to strike, what he found was a broken, sad image. The nightgown hung from her naked shoulders, threatening to spill its straps along her forearms. Her legs were desperately trying to remain hidden behind the fabric, though the rip in the raiment exposed the length and muscle she had. He said not a word at first and was satisfied with just watching her for a moment; a woman who claimed the title of Viper took the shape of any ordinary elezen. Unimpressive she was in this light. Nothing significantly was astounding about her, except the fact that under the candle’s touch, he noticed the streaks that ran down her cheeks.


“Rivienne Navarre,” the steel is pointed to the ground as he cautiously approached her. His eyes scanned the vicinity for her arsenal, and he took notice that she had a few blades within her reach, but made little effort to move. Rumors, however, did well to remind him that the serpent was quick to draw steel, and such was noted. Thus his eyes settled on her hands, which were folded before the swell of her rounded hips.


Rivienne Navarre. The name sounds foreign even now.


The breath filled her lungs as she took it in, though it was shaky and weak in doing so. Wet lashes fluttered open as if awakened by a dream, a most somber dream. Her name rang in her ears; but it was not his voice she heard. Lifting her head, the tears which filled the basin of her eyes, finally found freedom at the heat of her cheeks. She was weeping in silence.


“By the Order of the Adder,” he started.


Rivienne pushed away from the desk and took a meek step forward.


“And by the Command of Ser Heulioux,” the blade rose slowly and he began to part his legs, getting to stance.


Calloused fingertips danced lightly along her bare clavicle; a feather’s touch trailed its length, barely brushing the curve of her chest. Her hands fall upon her breast, over the drumming of her weary heart. Ciceroix watched and took in her posture; vulnerable and weak she appeared. This was not a woman who was going to fight her fate.


“I knoweth well what mine punishment involves, for all serpents, who hide in the grass, art made aware of such. Silence wilt fall upon me soon, and I shall no longer feel the woe of sorrows,” Rivienne whispered into the air and met his gaze. Glassy eyes reflect the light that spills within the room, and Ciceroix reaches behind him, with a free hand, to close the door.

“Then you will come with me,” his voice grew softer as they both shared this room alone. Her perfume was evident now, since the door sealed it in. He took it in, the aroma of the forest, the leaves, the flowers and earth. It was her scent.


“If I am to go with thee,” she breathes the words and takes a grip of the fabric that embraces her curvature, “..then allow me a night to thinketh not of the penance I shall pay. Mine husband now rests in the embrace of the Fury, whilst I am damned to the hells below. The bed groweth cold, along with the heart faintly beating within me.”


The offer was laced in her words, Ciceroix was no fool. He knew well that Heulioux was to rid her of breath; why not make her dying wish take bloom, and let him have the final taste of the Viper’s nectar. Duty and pleasure were meant not to blur, but in her state, she accepted already what was to come. There was no turning away, he caught her.


She watched in silence as the blade rose and was pointed back to its sheath. Steel brushed the leather within; the hilt tapped the edge. Ciceroix took a gaze of pity, but a delightful sensation ran through his form when distance shortened between their bodies. A gloved hand sought the curve of her cheek and, with a spark of avarice, he pulled her face close to his own. He smelled the saline of her tears, the sweet perfume of flora that clung to her hair. This Viper was no snake at all, a pathetic, mewling kitten she was.


Malleable under his touch, Rivienne felt her body become his possession. He took the small of her waist and tugged her close to his body. A pointed nose brushed her own and warm breath spills across her parted lips, lips that called forth to his own, beckoning them to join. But her eyes, her eyes were of glass, shimmering, beautifully wet and filled with despair. He looked into them before closing his own and stealing away the breath from her.


Rivienne’s hands rested along her sides; no movement was made toward any of her weapons; she stood still as he took in the inviting warmth from her lips. Her eyes were set on his face, never obscuring her sight as his grip tightened and he threatens to crush her into his frame. When his teeth graze her lower lip, and he pulls back and peppers his wet lips along her stained cheek, down the length of her jaw, until finding the slope of her neck. Quietly he murmurs, sounds that she cares not for, until he begins to breathe heavily.


Each breath becomes a struggle.


And he begins to realize that this was not the excitement taking its hold.

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The air grows thinner and he desperately tries to take a breath while loosening his hold on her. When straightening out his frame, widened eyes nearly bulge from his eyes as he chokes. A hand brushes at his throat, rubbing at his pale flesh before he croaked words at her.


“W-what.. have you done! What have you done, whore!” It comes out pained as he struggled to draw strength. Rivienne no longer sheds tears, the touch of desolation dissipated completely from her wet eyes, they were steeled, sharp and aware of what was happening. With her lashes, resting at half mast, the maiden watched in anticipation to what was to happen next. She made no effort to move, and saw his body language as it spoke volumes of what was to take place.


Rivienne closed her eyes then.


The back of his hand collided with enough force against her cheek and lip to cause blood to break free from her skin. She jerked her head to the side, receiving the impact. The blow caused her skin to burn, the ache would make its mark upon bronze flesh momentarily.


With a fluid, languid motion The Viper turned her head back to him and brushed her fingers along her bruised, broken lip. The blood is smeared twixt her fingers; those same lips spread into a serpentine smile. His eyes stared bewildered as the venom began to swim into his system. The numbness began on the source of where it started, his lips. His skin felt aflame at first, then nothingness spreads and ensnares him. Senses are lost, and she watches it unfold before her.


“Liberated thee from these bonds of servitude, denied thee a chance at seeing thy loved one. To feel their arms around thee, to feel their loving kiss, to see the enamored look in their eyes. Dost thou feel it yet? The fear encompassing thee?” Soft lips, the same ones he yearned to taste, whispered haunting verses to grace his elongated ear as she moved now against him. Her hand sweeps across his hardened jawline as he gasps for air and tries to gain control of his thoughts. Fingers lost feeling as they sought the blade’s hilt, but they found her touch instead. Taking his wrist, she pulls his hand away and holds it at eye-level between them. Using the adjacent hand, she curls her fingers around his own and bends his digits back, causing a crack to resonate into the air. She leaned to his visage and took in the sound, the bitter melody, of his pain.


He cried in agony, his legs threatened to give away underneath him completely; it was nothing compared to the warfare she set in motion within his body.


“Knoweth well in these moments,” she watched his saliva dribble from the corner of his lips, traveling down his cheeks. Red lined his eyes and she could not hear a breath escape him; Ciceroix was suffocating, but the rancor was well lit in his gaze, he had not lost his mind to dismay, nor was he accepting his fate, now. released his broken fingers and took a hold of the blade’s handle as he fell to a knee, clutching at his chest. It was released from its secured home and tossed aside carelessly, with little regard to where the blade would land.


“This face shall haunt thee beyond the realm of death, and by the will of the Commander, thou has’t fallen,” her eyes closed, and in that very second, when her words sank into the ravine of his mind, she spun on her heel to face the desk. The nightgown parts around her legs as she completed the turn and swipes one of her exposed daggers. When she finally faced him, his eyes widened at the glint of metal that candlelight kissed, but it soon vanishes from his sight. Rivienne’s hand struck out to take ownership of his chin, forcing him to look at her. She softened her features then and quietly spoke.

“Do not blink –”


The last words to reach his ears before the blade rips through flesh and bone; the aroma of blood mingled with that of flora and death becomes a delightful perfume. With a push, the blade is forced to turn clockwise, until she is satisfied that his eyes are permanently embedded with her reflection. His face is released, limbs become lifeless, and he is slowly laid to his side on the floor. The blood spills, flowing in rivulets into his hair. He was to die regardless, for the poison Marbella concocted would do well to insure that. But it is Rivienne herself who wished to deliver his death, by her hand.


Kneeling down, the fabric rips along her naked thigh as she pats over his attire, finding the compartment of his uniform where he would keep notes, anything informative to his mission. In a pocket, of his jacket, she didn’t find anything written in parchment, but a pearl. A pearl she plucked away and examined in silence. Whilst that hand is busy, the other pulls at her dagger, freeing it from its buried state within the man’s skull.

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