Abandoned (Vignette)

Xanadu Weyr - Secret Garden Refuge
How has this gem stood empty so long? Constructed of hand-chiseled whitestone, this cottage is unique in that it appears to have been here from before the time Xanadu was founded, it's stones bearing a resemblance to the ruins in the old forest. Large windows, flanked by raw wooden shutters faded to a silvery-grey, have thick-leaded diamond panes that allow the meadow's light inside. Pink climbing roses scale the front wall, the porcelain blossoms scenting the air with their delicate fragrance and providing shade over the three shallow stone steps leading to a portico in which an arch-topped door is set.

The space within the cottage - sitting room, kitchenette, sleeping and bathing room - is simple: stone floors are covered in vast rugs in pale, pastel shades and the walls have been painted white. Some spaces have built-in storage: cupboards in the sitting room; counters and a cooling/heating unit for food in the kitchenette. The sitting room has a double-wide, deeply-inset window that make the sunny room perfect for housing potted plants, Isyriath's portion opening off of one side. Comfortable couches in pale pink line two of the walls, standing opposite each other, a long, low table set between them in the centre of the room. On the wall, above one of the couches, hangs a painting of meadow, in which both the cottage and Marel herself feature, the picture signed with a capital M. To the rear of the cottage, the bedroom has French doors that open onto a private retreat formed by a three-walled, flag-stoned courtyard of the same material that makes up the cottage walls. In the centre lies a flower garden, neat rows of tulips and rose bushes planted in fresh soil, a non-functional stone fountain serving as decoration alone, for now.


No, no, no, no. NO! You mustn’t.

She wondered if Isyriath had heard her at all, for he gave not the slightest acknowledgement that she was even there, let alone had called to him. He had never felt so distant from her; had never operated on a level that solely took into account his wants and, for the first time since her Impression, she felt… alone. He would not listen. He would not hear her.

Please, Isyriath. You can’t catch her. You don’t want her. Not really. It’s just a… a… A what? She didn’t have a name for it. You can fight it! Please!

She could taste the blood in her mouth; nearly choked on nothing but air. Marel flung back the sheets of her bed and stumbled from her bedroom, nightdress swirling about her knees as she all but fell into the living room in a daze. Catching the arm of one of the couches to support herself, she tried to focus and swung her gaze towards the door.

Outside. If she could find him, she could stop him.

And yet…

She must not go outside.

While she still had the sense, she propelled herself towards that door and checked that it was locked, then stared wildly about again. The bookcase. Bare feet provided awkward, uncomfortable traction against the floor, but she managed to drag the piece of furniture, books and all, to bar the door - to keep her in more than anyone out. The pain that shot up from the base of her spine spoke of muscles pulled or worse damage, but it also promised that she wouldn’t be moving it again anytime soon, senses that were fading rapidly assuring her that she wouldn’t manage to get the doors to Isyriath’s portion of the cottage open.

Why had she let him insist on staying outside to listen to people, tonight of all nights?

He’d known.

She hadn’t. Rather, she had trusted him not to do exactly what he was doing now.

Isyriath!

Mindless of her summons, she felt her lifemate falter as she wove her way back towards the living room, pain lacing down legs that were half-numb. She knew she was losing the battle the moment her thoughts began to turn to M’kal and everything he should be there with her for and why wasn’t he there and what was she thinking shutting herself in here, when she could be—

Pain. Isyriath had stumbled when she hurt.

She’d left her belt knife on the counter in the kitchen. Kitchen, kitchen, kitchen…

As she grabbed for it, some sense of self-preservation demanded that she not, but the thought of her brown pursuing and wanting (and catching?) Seryth was intolerable.

Confused and overwhelmed, she drove the blade into her left thigh and suddenly saw with perfect clarity.

« MAREL! »

She sank down to the floor, short blade still embedded in her leg. Tilting her head, she stared down at the wound as if it didn’t belong to her at all, watching the slow trickle of blood seep over pale skin. There wasn’t as much of it as she was expecting.

The angry, burning pain registered as a dull throb at the back of her mind, right as the heat of Isyriath’s wanting and intent eased and she became the centre of his world once more.

White-knuckled fingers uncurled from the knife’s handle, one by one.

…That was one way of dealing with things.


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