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A Man and His Voidsent


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(A look into two characters that never get to be truly played in a public setting. I figured it would be fun to share the unlikely couple!)


The woman didn't know what to expect when she crossed the threshold to her master's domain. There seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary at first. The door opened to allow her entry and she stepped through the Void, the jingle of the golden bangles around her ankles and wrists heralding her arrival long before she spoke. Her long, chin-length raven hair swayed as she looked this way and that in order to peered through the changed surroundings and wreckage.


What was once the vibrant, well-kept interior of a mansion was now something far more dark and dreary. No longer did the floors shine of white marble, but were instead pure stone. The long, golden banisters that framed the staircases connecting the foyer to the second floor were now cast in iron, twisting this way and that with seemingly no reason to their contours. Where once multiple rooms connected the main entryway, there was but the set of stairs and the large double doors that they now framed.


The Keeper's ears perked slightly as she noticed the dark, sullen area in the center of the room. Not far from where she stood, the stone was shattered, cracks webbing out from the center of the destruction and haloing the debris that had been wrought from it. Hidden among the wreckage were the various servants of the house of various races, some easier to tell than others. What she could only presume to be those closest to the destruction were now mere piles of ash. The other, more obvious bodies, were those that had been away from the epicenter and had thus been bruised, shattered, or suffered the loss of limbs. All of them, like many of her Master's experiments, were misshapen in some fashion. 


Some had limbs that were too skinny and bodies that were too fat. Others had features such as eyes and noses and hands where they shouldn't be, while others missed faces entirely or had extras. She scarcely recalled any of the ones she could make out, as few of them ever lived, or "existed" as he liked to call it, for more than a few weeks at a time. It was never something he was capable of perfecting despite how hard he tried. Feeling no trace of her master, she scowled and clasped a hand around the heart-shaped pendant that hung at her neck. She sauntered forward, stepping around the bits and pieces that she had to in order to make it to the large, double doors ahead. She cared little for his experiments, and it more than showed in the way that she shot the discarded limbs, corpses, and chunks of flesh disdainful grimaces.


She continued through the doorway into what was once their dining hall, finding relief that it at least remained where she'd remembered it to be. Despite not being able to sense her master's presence, she knew by now what his destructive rage looked like. The lengthy dining table that they had once sat upon now lay in ruin. What was once an expensive, golden chandelier that served as their lighting now lay amongst the rubble in thousands of pieces of diamonds and glass and iron wreckage. Most notably was the large painting of the two placed over the fireplace in the back of the room.It had been torn asunder, a fine line dividing the two with each half tossed to opposite ends of the hall.


The woman winced as she surveyed the wreckage, only hoping that he had used enough of his wrath on the house and that there would be little left to spare for her. She crept around the shrapnel and flames, fully aware that the thin leather of her boots would do little to protect her bare feet within. She took the only exit that had been given for her, pushing forward into another lengthy hallway covered in paintings on either side. The stone floors seemed to stretch on for forever, though she steadied herself and continued forward.


Bravely she continued down the hallway past the..moving paintings? She stopped once she noticed, peering through the painting to see a blue-haired male, pale of skin and small of stature, meekly shuffling about his room. She moved forward and looked to the next, now of a gorgeous blonde Midlander clad in a white coat. She was far more beautiful than the nerdy male could have possibly acquired on his own, and yet, in the following paintings, the two seemed to be nigh inseparable. In some they laughed, in some they dined together, and in others they lay with one another beneath the sheets. In the last painting the woman was featured in, the skinny male stood alone over a grave.


The walls grew dark and more decrepit after, as did the paintings themselves. No less than a hundred, all stacked about as closely as physical space would allow, featured the blue-haired male hunched over his desk with a stack of books. As the paintings went on, so too did both the male and the stack grow. One in particular forced her to stop again, those large, round eyes of sapphire widening at the sight. She recognized the room. She knew of the circle and the incantation being mouthed by the male within. She faintly recalled the garb he wore and the portal that opened, then watched as she stepped through.


She knew what happened next all too well. In case she'd forgotten, the next series of paintings served as a reminder. The circle broke due to a rookie mistake by the caster. No longer bound, she surged forward and struck him down in a display of power and grace. She proceeded to drink from him, stealing the aetherial energies that kept him alive.. but when she looked into his eyes, she saw not fear, but awe. 


The voidsent did not like what she saw. In fact, she found it to be eerie watching his life played out in the series of paintings. She pushed forward, past more paintings that showed her settled out on his desk and pushing aside his books to get his attention. Others were of him asking questions and she responding to help further his research. Several more still were of her feasting, the two laying in bed with their arms wrapped tightly about one another and writhing in ecstacy. Finally, the last painting was of herself leaning over a counter in a bar. Her lips were dangerously close to a white-haired male clad in a black coat, her eyes closed and her body shivering as she drained his aether. 


She ignored it and pushed on through the doors to find what she'd been after all this time. The dark-haired male was taller than the one in the paintings, if only by a few inches. His hair matched her own, dark and with a shade of blue along the tips, perhaps the only remnant of what he used to be. His skin was no longer pale and, instead, rivaled her own dark complexion. The room he'd confined himself to was large, he settled atop a small, raised platform in the center. At either side of him rest piles of worn books, many missing the covers and those that had them far from legible. The chair he kept himself to was as elegant as it was menacing, the dark iron twisting this way and that. While he normally kept perfect posture, he now slouched back with both elbows resting on the arms of the chair, fingers steepled together before his face. 


Upon her entry, the male's violet eyes seemed to focus more on her than the doors themselves. Noting his response, or rather lack thereof, a small wave of relief washed over her. That meant she was safe--for now, at any rate. She casually made her way to the edge of his platform and paused, waiting. There was a long moment of silence that passed between the two, his eyes focusing accusingly down to her.


"You are either brave or a fool for coming to me now," he began, his voice docile and void of emotion. "What do you desire of me? I've already foolishly given you everything you could hope for and more, only to have it thrown in my face. I should smite you where you stand." She took note of the eyes that flicked to the necklace she wore, if only briefly. She knew that it was her sanctuary.


"I did not touch him, and he did not touch me. I did not break our contract," she stated with confidence. She held a note of innocence in her tone, boldly stepping atop the platform with him to stand directly before him. 


"Perhaps I should remind you of our bargain, then. You were to take only from me. I have no need of someone that seeks to make a bond with me, only to humiliate me in public when it suits them. I've already dealt with the pain of loss once before. I have little desire to experience it again. Leave me." He gave a small motion of his hand to wave her off as if she were some annoying fly. An air of finality certainly hung in his voice, and she could tell that he still seethed beneath that calm exterior of his. Rather than do as told, which is something he should have been quite used to by now, she settled herself next to his feet in protest.


"Do you believe I can feed solely from you forever? You would be dead in a year. Does it really matter if you harvest from others for me, or if I do it myself? Why, it was only days ago you were encouraging me to feed from others and then some."


The words caused the anger within the Midlander to rise again. He all but shot from his seat. "I gather aether in order to sustain both myself and you, in a far less intimate manner. I told you to feed from those I brought you because I felt you deserved something for being such a good girl. I was RELIEVED when you denied it. You know how I dislike you being with others. You--!"


He froze, leaning back in his seat in order to quell the rising anger the best that he could. Somewhere during his retort, his right hand burst into a display of black and purple flames. His eyes fell shut and he took a moment to gather himself, and only when the flames died down did he continue.


"I had a gift for you. I had planned to give it to you later this eve," he began, reaching across to the stack of books in order to withdraw a parchment of paper. The woman could tell that the paper housed a great deal of aether, though naturally the long-winded male sought to explain it to her. "I managed to have three individuals transfer a great deal of their aether within this page. As you are aware, I have spent weeks with this particular design. It can house a mountain of aether, though it has a fundamental flaw that I have been unable to surpass. If the design is filled past its limit, the lines will break and release it all at once. I wonder.. could you escape in time?"


Her dark eyes widened, though she did her best to maintain her calm. Rather than try and rip the paper from his hands as he had no doubt hoped she would, she slowly stood and moved to settle herself with feline grace in order to find a comfy seat in his lap. She took note that the paper began to glow brighter as she did so, he presumably charging it further. She only had a limited amount of time to calm the man.


"Tell me you're sorry," he demanded. "Tell me you'll never do it again. You HURT me, Shadiyah." Upon the declaration, all rage and anger within the male subsided. He was left only with sadness and despair as he peered up to her. "Why would you seek to do this to me? I've been nothing but good to you, my dearheart. What have I done to wrong you?"


Shadiyah leaned closer to him, nuzzling against his neck and placing a few soft, sweet kisses along the skin. "An explosion is a temporary setback for me, my love. I fear it may be a permanent one for you," she purred into his ear. Her voice dropped to that of a whisper, her lips brushing against his neck as she spoke. "I am sorry, my dearest. I did not mean to hurt you. But how long do you think it will be before you exhaust yourself? All this studying, all this collecting aether for me and giving me your own?"


"Have you no faith in me? In what I am capable of?" he scoffed down at her, pulling back to try and tear himself from her kisses. The anger rose once again. "You claim you love me, and you claim that you wish to be with me. Yet, you have zero trust in me. You think I am some.. simpleton? The same ignorant boy that called out to you so long ago? You think I do not know when this body has had enough!? You are correct. Perhaps it will be a more permanent 'setback' for me. But in the end, I will win. You will feel as betrayed as I do now. You will realize that I will never be able to return to this world, and you will once again be alone, with no one to share your time and no one that loves you as I do. I, on the other hand, will have finally found an end to this madness."


"No," she spoke, lifting her own head to get a good look at his face, "Look at yourself. This is the very definition of far past 'enough.' 'Alone.' You say that, and yet I am right here." She lifted both hands to clutch at the collar of his robe and tugged harshly in order to press her lips poignantly to his. The aetherial charge to the page went out the very moment that their lips touched. She knew what it felt like to have him want and desire her, and he slipped his arms--and the page--about her frame in order to pull her closely against his chest and share the kiss in earnest. 


He abruptly broke the kiss, pulling back enough to peer down into those sapphire eyes. "I am like this because of you. Not me. You. YOU did this to me. YOU made me like this. And I last promised you that I would kill you should you ever betray my trust." Suddenly, the flames ignited once more and he tightened his arms around her. "Never again. SAY IT," he commanded, the man's booming voice reverberating off the surrounding walls. He took note of the guilt and fear that passed over her features, and the bond that he'd made with her long ago was enough to let him also feel her shock, anger, and hurt. She scowled and dipped her head to nuzzle more against his neck and gift the skin there with more kisses.


"Never again," she murmured, "I promise."


The moment the words were spoken, the man both stopped channeling and dropped the page to the ground. They remained in silence for a long while, he tired and worn and she relieved that she had managed to circumvent what would have been a rather painful and violent "end." He leaned back against the chair and pulled her along with him. 


"You've all the power in the world to kill me," he whispered to her as he stared off into space. "Why haven't you? And if it is because you lov eme, then how can you claim to not trust me? And if you do both of these things, then why is it you seek sustenance from another? As the one that brought you into this world, it is my duty and responsibility to give such things unto you." The questions he asked brought only more, until he arrived at the ultimate one. A small pause was given, and then he looked down to her. "When I first brought you into this world, why did you not kill me then?"


"I do not trust anyone," she mumbled, finding the far corner of their room to be interesting enough to stare intently at it. "Especially not anyone I love. And whether you want to admit it or not, I know constantly gathering all this aether for me will become taxing on you."


"Then trust me, my dearest one. I will never do anything to harm you so long as you remain good to me." The words, at least, sounded true. His right hand lifted to gently caress his fingers over the smooth, tanned skin of her cheek. "Gathering is not as hard as you would think, and as soon as we have the device, I'll never have to seek aether for you again. I ask only that you trust me, and in return I will do all in my power to make you the happiest woman you've ever been. I love you, my Shadiyah. My dearheart. I never wish to lose you. ... And for a moment, I thought that I had."


He sought to slip his arms around her at about the same time his words caused a sudden realization to flash through her mind. She struggled to break free of his grasp, stumbling backward from his lap and nearly falling onto her rear in an uncharacteristic lack of grace. She shook her head fervently from side to side, slowly backpedaling away from him. "You were going to kill me. You were going to kill both of us."


"Was I?" he queried. "..I would like to believe that I am capable of such things. .. No, I know that I am capable. The average life means very little to me. You know this." He diverted his gaze from her to the paper that now rest on the floor. "I believe I would end myself long before I ended you, my dearest one. It has occurred to me that you are very much an important part of my life now. I have grown accustomed to having you by my side, so used to your prattling and your company and the way that you paw for attention. So used to.. this." 


He made a vague motion towards her, "And you said it yourself. It would not have killed you. It would have hurt, perhaps. But only I would have perished. You..." He paused, pursing his lips in thought. "...Would have likely returned to the void, where you would rest until reconstructed. Yes? Is that how it works?"


His words caused her to pause, suddenly stiffening and wrapping her arms tightly about her slender frame. Her polished fingernails dug into the flesh of her biceps while her upper lip curled into an animalistic snarl. "And so what? You think I could just go on with.. living after that!?" she hissed.


"No, my dearheart. I do not expect such things. I'd be a fool to do so," he began as he slipped from his self-made "throne." She continued her almost subconscious, shuffling retreat--though it was slow enough that he would ultimately catch her. His arms slipped about her frame and the two sank to the ground together, her arms unfurling from herself so that they could wrap about him instead. She held him tightly, head burying into his chest while her shaking hands clung to him. Her show of frailty and weakness forced his arms tightly around her and he cradled her in his lap, gently rocking back and forth to ease her mind.


"Ssshh.. My love," he began. "I would never hurt you. And the truth is, I could never hope to do such a thing. I am powerless against you. You make me want you. You make me need you. You are stronger than I am and so much more than I could ever be. It drives me to you, makes me want you." He leaned forward to place a soft kiss to the top of her head, "You are far too precious to me, my sweetest one. Why would I ever wish to destroy the one thing in this wretched existence that has managed to make me happy?"


Be it through the silent admittance or the fact that his rage had finally subsided, the mansion around them suddenly began to creak and shift. The stone floors slowly turned to marble as Shadiyah had remembered them, though they seemed to be covered with years of dust. A dreary coldness swept through the halls. Both his reassurances and the cold forced her to snuggle into his chest, though deep down she only wished for his comfort. He smiled down to her, pleased by her acceptance. They continued to hold one another for some time, each silently enjoying the other's company.


"You are my world, you know." he spoke, finally breaking their shared silence. She looked up to him to see only a distant, sorrowful smile on his lips. Rather than speak further, he seemed content to become lost in her eyes for several long moments, before leaning forward and placing his lips to hers. The kiss they shared was not fierce and lusting, as they had shared so many times before. It was soft, sweet, loving, and gentle; something she was not entirely used to, and yet, more than thankful that he shared with her. The small smile against his lips would more than tell him that. 


He eventually drew back from her and, with a mere wave of his hand, the power gained thanks to their close proximity, sent the walls of reality crashing and tore another hole into the void. "All that I do is for you. You are not forced to stay with me; you never have been. Thusly, I offer you a choice. You may leave through that gate and become the free soul that your raging instincts tell you to be, never to return. ..Or you may continue to remain here and be mine forever, drinking only from me. Perhaps, with a moment's rest, I could manage us a bed to sleep in."


She in turn lifted her head, albeit somewhat hesitantly, blue eyes staring into his own. She managed a small smile, not even bothering to look at the portal as he opened it. "I suppose you better get started on that bed, then," she answered, curling one corner of her mouth into as much of a grin as she could muster.



[align=center]The next day..[/align]


The resounding voice that filled the cave had vanished, along with the white-haired, trenchcoat-clad midlander that once sat in the center of the ritual circle. What remained was only the large hole that had existed only to swallow him hole, presumably into the depths of the very void that he had been attempted to summon. The masked man, clad in his dark red robes, cut his violet eyes to the individual to his left. He'd only seen the man once before. In truth, he reminded him much of himself. An early practitioner of the arts, it seemed, no more a novice than when he first opened his own rift. ..Only, he had been lucky when he called forth his Mistress. The cost of this particular ritual had been the life of the man's own cousin. With nothing to see further, the robed figure turned and slowly took his leave.


"Where is he!?" the scholar quickly turned, demanding of the parting man.


The robed figure paused in his strides. Without glancing over his shoulder, he spoke, the voice coming out in a low, guttural tone; a likely augmentation of the mask. "Your cousin is gone, swallowed by the very power which he tried to take from himself. I tried to warn him: dabbling in the arts of the void will only lead to one's ruin. This is not the first I've seen it, nor am I afraid it will be the last. You would be wise to focus your research elsewhere, friend, lest you also find yourself torn from this world."


"My research tells me nothing is ever truly lost," the man countered as he stowed away his book. "And neither is Lucan. You helped him find this, against my advice. This is on you, and I bet you know a way to undo it."


The hooded figure smiled wryly beneath the mask. "Perhaps. But that was not part of the deal, was it?"


"..What deal was that?"


"He took the blood of my Mistress, against my desires, to use in this ritual of yours. My part was simply to ensure that it was not misused, and as far as I can tell, it has not been. Be it a flaw in the ritual or the fact that the powers beyond the gate chose otherwise, he met his end. As far as I am concerned, my work here, and with this organization, is done." The tone of his voice was void of emotion, though he certainly enjoyed saying the words. 


"Your Mistress..? Who are you?"


The robed figure saw fit not to answer such things. Instead, he gave only a swipe of his left hand through the air. The bits of aetherial energy he'd captured not moments before during the ritual was released to open a dark portal. Within, the foyer of a mansion with white, marble floors and large, regal stairways draped in a velvet carpet could be seen. "You are correct in presuming that nothing is ever truly lost, but allow me to depart you with these words of advice: The Void has a way of tainting those that seek its power. Should you continue searching for Mister Clarke, I doubt you'll like what it is that returns to you."


And so the robed figure slipped through the gateway and into that regal and extravagant mansion. He moved up the flight of stairs, across the hall and passing several rooms. He opened the door to what was presumably his bedroom, finding Shadiyah lounging lazily in bed with the silken covers only half covering her naked form. 


"More studying?" she asked of him as he entered the room.


"Of course, my love. But first, are you hungry?" He slipped the mask and robe from his frame, then crawled into both the bed and his Mistress' open arms.

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