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    ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

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    Tariq
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    ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Tue May 29, 2018 8:02 pm

    Tariq did not respond to his companion’s weary questions. The urchin was sure to feel the vampire’s lips move into a smile against his cheek. But he remained silent, settling against Fabien with a lazy shift that communicated the conversation was finished.

    They slept, curled like animals in their den, their breath and limbs intertwined. The sun reached its zenith in the sky, the light and noise of the daylight world fading as it reached the walls of their room.

    When the boy awoke, it was to stillness and the setting of the sun. The space at his side was tousled blankets and the incline where his body had been, but the vampire was gone.

    There were no lights kindled in the room; the lamp with the small glass disc to reflect the light sat idle on the shelf. The room was alive with shadow. The quiet, still grey light that only the dying sun produced filtered bloody through the red curtains in the room. The windows concealed beneath the makeshift curtains were open, as evidenced by the breeze drenched with the earthy scent of night that rippled the swathes of cloth. The room appeared to breathe, its crimson walls like the heart of some great beast.

    The cloth in front of the door to the balcony had been pushed aside and the encroaching dark of dusk waited in the gap. The curtains stirred; the room inhaled.

    It was cool, the air saturated with the damp of the storm that had serenaded them through their slumber. The lingering smell of smoke was enough to conjure the vampire’s presence in the mind’s eye, the scent of him copper and chthonic, resinous and primeval. It drove Colombe’s perfumed ghost from every corner. The red walls exhaled.

    Fabien awoke nestled in the thick blankets of the kingly four-poster bed that dominated the room. The dark curtains to his right, against the bedroom wall, had been loosened from their cords and draped along the edge of the bed, leaving only one glimpse of the room exposed between the draping fabric to his left.

    Were his eyes to sweep the room for signs of his companion, they would be disappointed. The vampire’s high boots with their complicated laces idle near the tall wardrobe would offer the only clue as to his whereabouts. The rest of the room remained cryptically unhelpful. A soft breeze fluttered the curtained walls like a coy inhale.

    To the boy’s left sat a small table flanked by two high-backed chairs. They were large enough for the boy to curl up into without touching the floor. The thief’s hoard on the table had changed character since the first time the boy had seen it. The fine silver chain with its ornate key remained, but the rest had vanished, replaced by a handful of miscellaneous coins and thin-banded rings. A gold pocket watch with a broken chain lay as still as the muted shape of a dead bird next to a small piece of ivory that upon close inspection was revealed to be a white tooth, spiked roots and all. A bronze censer with a patina of colourful tarnish rested in the center with a belly full of ash. It did not seem to have been used recently.

    Against the far wall was a large desk on which a different assortment of items were strewn. A thick parchment lay unrolled on its surface, the words written on it in thick, maroon ink indecipherable even had the boy been able to read his mother tongue. Across the top of it lay something that appeared to be a smooth length of blasted wood. Its surface was blackened and pitted with fissures, and one end was split to a sharp point. Two books, their age revealed in cracking leather and thread-worn spines, lay stacked to one side.

    The only other item of interest was the thick iron-bound chest squatting at the foot of the bed. The walls of the room were panelled in wood, and there were odd square-shaped gaps of faded colour as though something heavy had been removed from its habitual position on the walls.

    The gentle breeze stilled. The curtains fell. For the first time, the room appeared to be holding its breath.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Fabien on Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:32 pm

    Fabien slept like a cadaver at the vampire's side. The urchin did not fret, nor murmur with agitation  as he so often did when sleeping in his own chamber. It seemed the press of the vampire's limbs, still and powerful, were enough to chase even the darkest terrors from his dreams.

    The boy eased from sleep, stretching his youthful limbs with a soft groan that coiled its way down his lower back. Without opening his eyes, he reached for the vampire, his agile fingers searching for the smooth stretch of his chest.

    When his palms met only soft sheets and empty air, the youth's heavily shadowed eyes opened. He shifted onto a scrawny elbow,  and eyed the empty space side where his companion had once been.

    “Monsieur?” The boy rasped softly, his voice still dulled from sleep.  When no reply came, only the faint call of a bird ushering in the dark, the boy felt a twinge of fear.  He turned his head to peer through the gap in the curtains, the room alive with movement around him.

    Aware that he had been left to his own devices, the urchin slipped from the bed and sought his clothes.  His eye at once caught the blackened stain of blood upon the collar, and he turned his hand towards his throat. His fingertips brushed over the  raised bumps where the vampire's teeth had split his skin, and the boy shivered.

    He began to dress lazily before making his way towards the foreboding door. But just as he was about to leave, the boy hesitated, glancing over his shoulder as though something in the room called to him. He turned aside, his grey eyes moving warily across the room. With a sigh he began to slowly make his way towards the table with its tall chairs, his bare feet silent on the floor.

    Fabien's fingertips skimmed the surface of the table, stirring the rings, scraping the key before the tip of his index finger nudged the tooth. His expression changed liked water through wine, his dark eyes wide with grim fascination and something which may have been pity.

    Dieu nous préserve,” he whispered, his heart heavy in his throat. His fingertips brushed over the tooth as if it were a reliquary.

    His hand moved away in nervous flutter, and he turned to look upon the shining watch with its broken chain. The boy plucked it from the table, overturning the smooth surface in his hands as he sought a latch to flip open the lid and examine the smooth face inside.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:26 pm

    The bloodied curtains rolled and sighed as Fabien turned back to the darkening room. This place felt insulated from even the calling birds just outside the balcony. There was no noise from the other side of the door to indicate the activities of the house’s other inhabitants. For all he could gather, he was well and truly alone.

    The tooth on the table rolled easily under the boy’s gentle touch. It was perfectly clean, a gleaming white, and unmistakably human. It was only this last trait that lent it a sinister air.

    There was a curious diversity among the pilfered items - some of the rings were shaped iron and worn smooth by use, while the watch in the boy’s hand was clearly finely-made, a luxury item. There was something crow-like about the hoard, as though the vampire had plucked them for some unfathomable aesthetic value. The hinges gave and the watch cover opened at the application of the boy’s fingers to the latch. His reflection solemnly watched back from the smooth glass that encased the delicate details of the face.

    The pointed hands were still, the hour hand not quite having reached the 2. The mechanical organs were not beating. It was impossible to say if it was broken or simply had not been wound. On the opposite side was a curled engraving that looked to be spelling out a name.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Fabien on Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:47 am

    Fabien's eyes lingered on the soundless timepiece. He brushed his thumb over the indecipherable inscription, and paused to examine his reflection in the polished surface. The expression that greeted him  was one of quiet unease, and disliking the look of it, he carefully closed the case and set the treasure back in its place.  

    The boy sped a hesitant glance over his slim shoulder, and after a pause, took a determined backward step towards the door. As he began to turn slowly away, his limbs  stiffened as though some force worked to prevent his retreat.  He swayed a moment, the flesh of his lower lip caught between his teeth, and his fingers clenched against his hips.

    Peut-être qu'il ne serait pas fâché...” the boy breathed, as he turned his attention towards the vampire's desk.

    He remained still a moment more, fingers clenching and un-clenching, expression fraught with uncertainly. Until at last it seemed that whatever inner conflict the boy had been battling with was suddenly overcome, and he began to edge closer.

    The urchin moved with all the slinking caution of a feral fox, his bony knuckles skimming the edge of the desk as his sharp eyes drifted over the strange assortment of objects. He paused once more, and his slim fingered hand hovered in mid-air before  curling around the piece of blasted wood. With the item firm in his grasp, the boy overturned it with careful interest, testing the sharpness of the point with a school-boyish curiosity.

    Once satisfied, his grey gaze turned toward the aged parchment, if only for the sake of tracing over the shape of a letter with his fingertip. With his examination exhausted, he returned the blackened wood haphazardly back to its place.

    Quel aveugle a le temps de lire?” The urchin whispered, his voice flush with fond amusement.

    Now bold in his investigation, he reached for the first book with a nonchalant air, flipping open the cover first, before delving further into the pages to see if they proved of interest.

    He lingered there a time, until a sudden sharp rippling motion in the curtain walls breathed sharp terror into the boy's heart. With a panicked gasp he pulled away from the desk, dropping the book clumsily at his feet as he turned about to offer swift apologies. His grey eyes flitted about the room in search of the vampire's dark silhouette, but found only the stirring motion of red cloth.

    The youth could feel his pulse in his temples, and his breath continued to leave his throat in a trembling pant. Finally certain he was alone, he released a nervous laugh, and dragged his fingertips through hair which was becoming far too long. He reached for the book, turning it over to check for flaws, before it was carefully returned to its position.

    Or at least, where he thought it had once been.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:03 pm

    The wood in the boy’s curious hands was lightweight. It was the creamy brown of an acorn’s husk and not as smooth as it had appeared to be - his fingers were apt to catch on the cracks in its porous sides. The sharp point of its split end was blackened as though by fire and it left a smudge of dark ash where he tested its sharp point against his skin.

    It was likely only when he turned the cracked edge toward his inquisitive eyes and saw it was hollow that he would realize it was not wood, but a broken shard of bone. It was old, the ash on its pointed end smelling only of dust, and too large to have belonged to anything smaller than a wolf. There were no more clues to its origin.

    The thick maroon ink on the unrolled parchment felt gritty beneath the boy’s fingers. The words were written in a looping language by a neat hand. The unfamiliar characters were interspersed by numbers and were arranged in lists, “k. 80 …… لا تحاول ترجمة هذا k. 12.5 …... إنه الغش,” and so on.

    The pages of the book were no less confounding. He held the smaller of the two that had been resting on the desk’s surface and a perfunctory glance would reveal its rough condition. The cover was cracked, the pages torn and stained sometimes to the point of illegibility. The letters on these weathered pages, at least, would be familiar to the urchin’s roving gaze, although he would not understand their meaning. The spidery hand-writing was consistent throughout, but the character and colour of the ink used fluctuated, as though it were written over a long period of time.

    Occasionally the author devoted space to a simple sketch - although they were clearly intended to be more functional than aesthetic, and might have been more aptly called diagrams - whose subjects were dominated by plants. Here a box accompanied by a flurry of notes segregated a cobweb of tangled roots from a slender stalk. There the spiked flower had been circled and redrawn to emphasize the unusual shape of its many petals. This one was accompanied by a quick outline of it jutting from the side of a tree, that one indicated on a crude ma--

    It was then that the book fell from the boy’s startled hands. It landed heavily on the floor, its brittle pages showering a cloud of dust and flecks of chipped paper to the floor.

    The room was quiet and still, red with the light of the late afternoon. The vampire’s wrath did not fill the room with its heat, and the boy was allowed to slip the book into its place and leave unmolested.

    Should his path eventually take him down the long curve of the stairs, it would not be long until the murmur of a soft voice alerted him to the presence of his host in the foyer at the foot of those stairs. From the sound of the vampire’s instructive tone, it was likely he would find Colombe there as well, engaged in dutifully absorbing the master of the house’s directions.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Fabien on Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:07 pm

    Fabien swept his palms over the front of his shirt, hoping to rid his prying hands of the dust that clung to his skin. He did not bother to look the books over a second time, nor seemed much disturbed by his potential disruption. Books had little use or interest to one who could not read, and had never gained benefit from them.

    Instead, the urchin struck out on a determined route towards the door, his inspection of the vampire's intimate belongings complete.

    But as he passed by the bed, the boy paused, his eyes lowering down towards the sturdy chest. His pace began to slow, until evenyually the urchin dropped to his knees, crouching before the object to see whether it was easily accessible. He swept a palm across the side of the chest, testing the lid for any sign of give.


    If he discovered it locked, no doubt he would continue on his way out to join the vampire and the girl.

    But if it was open... the boy was sure to pry further.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:35 pm

    The chest was large enough to have accommodated the boy, albeit uncomfortably, and smelled of its metallic bindings and the warm fragrance of old wood. Its surface was much pitted and crossed with old wounds. The lid was heavy and although there were thick locks on the face, it opened without much trouble under the boy’s touch, the hinges groaning with the effort of the intrusion.

    Inside, the dark travelling cloak in which Fabien had first seen the vampire lay neatly folded on top. Tucked beside it were a thick sheath of papers bound together with a frayed leather thong. They appeared to be letters, and closer inspection would confirm the careful handwriting of correspondence. The pommel of what appeared to be a dagger jutted up from the far corner of the chest. Its blade was concealed within a cracked scabbard, its leather dark and stiff with age.

    A sizeable satchel lay beneath the cloak. It appeared to be full, its sides distended with the items inside, but it was belted securely shut and would require a good deal of attention to tease open. If it were jostled, it chimed with the crystalline sound of glass striking glass.


    These items rested on a wooden trunk that occupied the bulk of the chest. It was too heavy for him to lift comfortably, and should he try the lid he would not be so lucky as to find this one unlocked. This wood was lighter, newer, although similarly worn.

    The seams of the wood on the inside of the chest were black with rust or dirt or unidentifiable grime. It was clearly very old, age seeped like the stain of blood into the clouded metal, the almost peppery scent of dust and aged wood. However, its contents were orderly, packed snug to make the most of the space. It was disconcertingly unremarkable. Any person who travelled often might possess such a case.

    It would only be when he went to close the lid that he would be apt to notice the marks on the underside. Trails of splintered wood had been scratched into the bottom of the lid, revealing the lighter wood beneath the tarnish of age. They resembled nothing so much as the marks left by the frantic clawing of fingernails.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Fabien on Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:46 pm

    Fabien's pulse had yet begun to slow, and his fingers had a faint tremble to them as they trailed over the lip of the chest's lid. Despite his reservations, as soon as the boy discovered the chest was easily accessible, he seized upon his chance. The boy heaved the immense lid open, a look of trepidation etched upon his youthful face. When he found the contents, at least on the surface, reasonably common place he released a low breath.

    He reached for the dagger first, slipping it from where it was nestled. His fingers worked to slip the blade free from its ancient scabbard, his head angled with bright interest. When he had satisfied his curiosity, it was returned to its place. From there, the youth paused a moment, his hands held in mid-air as he examined the dark fabric of the vampire's cloak.

    The urchin drew in closer, and slipped the back of his knuckles over the familiar fabric. His touch was slow and gentle, his storm cloud eyes softened by warm affection. He fancied he could detect the vampire's scent, something which he had no words for, but reminded him of autumn night air and something... sharp.

    Fabien dared to delve deeper, his lock-picker's fingertips seizing briefly on the satchel. But after a moment spent plucking idly at the buckle to see if it would give, it was abandoned. He may have pried further, had not the sounds of floorboards creaking on the floors below caused him to pause. Fabien's head turned towards the door, and he slowly began to close the lid. As he did so, the scored marks and strange patterns caught his eye.

    A frown pinched at the boy's young features, followed slowly by a creeping  look of thoughtful disquiet. He reached out, placing his fingertips upon the raw marks until they aligned, and following their unhappy patterns across the aged wood. The fine hairs upon the boy's neck and arms rose, and he quickly shut the lid and began to back away from the great chest.

    Without a single further delay, the boy clambered to his feet and stumbled towards the door.  The bloodied walls trembled about him, their frightful motion hastening his progress until he had broke into a half-run, half-stagger towards the door.

    His fingertips fumbled briefly upon the handle,  and it took some concentrated effort to make his way out in the hallway. He stepped towards the top of the stairs, his chest rising and falling with his sharp breath, and lingered there like a spirited called from the grave.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:47 pm

    Light, scarlet as murder, skittered across the edge of the dagger’s blade. It was clearly sharp, the tip narrowing to a thin point, and unmarked by so much as a speck of rust or age. It slid easily back into its cracked sheath.

    The hinges of the chest groaned as though in reproach when the lid was closed. It was the only sound that disturbed the room beside the incessant whispering of the dreadful curtains. They seemed to laugh softly at the boy as he fled the room.

    The vampire’s voice echoed on the bare walls of the staircase as though he were speaking to a congregation. The boy would be able to catch the occasional snippet as he descended.

    “-ot have to remind you what the consequences of that would be. I en-”

    His voice dipped low and was lost to the house. The window at the landing to the stairs was concealed beneath its thick curtains. A single golden sliver of light penetrated the air like the shaft of a spear. The vampire’s voice became audible once more;

    “-and yours, my dove. That will be all.” And then his voice raised, “Fabien, I have something to ask. Viens ici.”

    Should the boy do as he was bid and finish his descent, his host would come into view near the foot of the stairs. He was not dressed to leave the house. His feet were bare, his long hair unbound and spilling about his shoulders and although his shirt was fresh it bared a good deal of his chest. His scars winked silver about his throat.

    Colombe, to the contrary, wore the attire she only ever donned when leaving the confines of the quiet house, her skirts rustling and her hair hidden beneath a bonnet. She tipped her head back to catch sight of Fabien’s approach. The smile she directed at him wilted as he came into view, the stain of blood at his collar nearly black in the dim light. Her dark gaze flicked to the vampire and back to the boy before she busied herself in fussing with the basket she held in her hand with eyes downcast.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Fabien on Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:10 am

    Fabien descended the stairs in slow, measured steps, his hand resting on  the polished smoothness of the banister. He had lingered at a distance at first, but at the sound of his name he came closer.

    As he drew near, the boy appeared evidently shaken, his feline-sharp eyes wide, and his skin as pale as freshly bleached bones. He met the girl's eyes for little more than a second, but it was enough for his expression to soften, and his hand to begin to rise in quiet greeting.

    But at the sudden change in the Colombe's expression, the boy appeared perplexed, and offered her a questioning look before she withdrew her gaze.

    He stepped closer to his host then, raising his eyes to look upon his sightless gaze.

    There was something different in the way he moved, in the ease with which he stood at the vampire's side.  No doubt  the boy had no awareness of it. He did not realise the way he stepped just a little too near, nor how he no longer appeared to keep a firm, wary distance between himself and the vampire. But there, on the stairway, he leaned in with something terribly like fond familiarity.

    And when he spoke, his voice had a softness to it that had not been there before.

    Oui, Monsieur? What is it?”
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:19 pm

    The vampire’s demeanor had been brooding, contemplative, his shoulders taut and his blank eyes distant as he spoke to Colombe. But as the boy leaned in to make his soft inquiry, the tension of his spine loosened. He responded to the warmth in the boy’s tone as a serpent does to the sight of a mouse. He reached out, as though by instinct, and cupped Fabien’s face in his hand.

    The touch of his hand was warm. His skin was rich with colour, mouth red and eyes attentive despite their inability to see. The blood he had taken had clearly had an effect.

    “Good morning,” he greeted him, his tone quiet and rough with affection. His hand slipped to just below the boy’s chin and he paused. Fabien might have been accustomed enough to his pulse being observed to recognize the covert gesture for what it was.

    Satisfied with what he found, Tariq withdrew his hand and flicked it toward the waiting girl. “Colombe has asked that you accompany her on her errands this evening. As you so seemed to enjoy our stroll last night-” There was a raking of mirth through the words, although it was not unkind. “-I thought I might oblige her. If you would like, bien sûr.”

    Colombe had been watching the pair through her eyelashes, her gaze averted. It was impossible to say what she had gleaned from their interaction. But at her name she inclined her head as though to accept the acknowledgement. Her dark eyes lingered on Fabien. They were as somber as seemed to come naturally to her.

    The vampire continued, “I trust you have the sense to be prudent in what you say where idle ears can hear.” It was, of course, a threat, although his mouth held the words as though they were the sweetest of praise. “And I imagine a change of clothes is in order. She can wait. You may bathe when you return.”

    It was only as an afterthought that he added, “And to eat. S'il vous plaît, eat before you go.”
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Fabien on Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:33 pm

    At the vampire's touch, the boy's lips subtly softened into a half-smile. His pulse was rapid before, and under his host's touch it became ever quicker.  But if the vampire's hands had made the urchin's heart quicken, his words made it fit to burst.

    “You are letting me go out once more?” Fabien responded sharply, almost breathless with pleasure.

    He quickly turned his storm cloud eyes back towards Colombe, his weight swaying upon his heels muscles as if he intended to lurch forward and embrace her.

    Oui, Monsieur. You can trust me, Monsieur.” The youth rasped in response, his feet shifting with all the eagerness of a bloodhound about to be let off the leash. He took a few steps forward, as though he meant to head directly towards the door without awaiting further instruction. But at the vampire's words he hesitated and lowered his eyes, plucking at the hem of his shirt with agitated, impatient hands.

    “They are not so dirty yet, are they?”  He enquired softly, his tone perplexed.  It was was only when he once more noticed the wine-dark strain of blood upon his collar that he nodded soberly, his eyes moving towards the girl and lingering on her with quiet intensity. “Ah, oui, as you wish Monsieur. I will find something else.”

    The youth lingered at his host's side, awaiting to be dismissed with limbs tense and his feet stirring like a spring colt adjusting to its first bridle. When the vampire had at last bid him leave, the boy breathed a rapturous 'merci, Monsieur,' and leapt up the stairs to fulfil the vampire's orders.

    Before he was even half-way up the stairs the boy had already pulled his shirt over his head, his spine bare as he sprinted towards his room.

    “I will not be long, Colombe!” He called over one slim shoulder.

    When he arrived in his room, the blood stained garment was left in a bundle upon his bed as he tore into the cupboard in search of something fresh.

    Fabien had barely bothered to unearth the full array of clothes left at his disposable, still too unnerved at wearing the attire of a dead boy. But he gathered a shirt that was newer, and of better cut than the ones he had clung to before. And, now that starvation had been chased from his limbs, it did not hang quite so unbecomingly on his bones.

    He dressed in haste, leaving the shirt half-open at the throat, and half-tucked into his waistband. And, after discovering some boots which were something of a tight fit, the sound of his feet loudly descending the stairs could be heard echoing throughout the house.

    After disappearing into the kitchen, he finally reappeared to join the girl; his tangled, wheat coloured hair obscuring one eye, a cigarette tucked behind one ear, and a look of impish flee illuminating his sharp features.

    Shall we?”
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:13 pm

    There was pleasure writ in the turn of the vampire’s mouth at his guest’s exultation.

    “That is all,” he said softly, releasing him to his preparations without further harrying. His unsighted gaze trailed thoughtfully after the boy long after he had passed from view.

    By the time Fabien returned down the stairs, Tariq was gone, disappeared into some other chamber of the house. Colombe, for her part, had not waited as stoically by the door as the vampire had suggested she would, although she reappeared in time for the boy’s entrance as though drawn by the excited stamping of his boots.

    She eyed him with something inscrutable in her gaze. Apparently he passed muster, for after a moment she turned and led him to the front door.

    The shivering aspen trees greeted them with a dry susurrus of whispers as they stepped into the sun. Should the boy have the notion to turn and examine the shadowed copse of trees before they set off in the other direction, he might glimpse the dark marrow of recently upturned earth at their base.

    It was a beautiful day, although past its prime. Late afternoon light doused the street in hues of gold and amber. It was cool, seasonably so, and the few pedestrians they met wore long sleeves and layers of flapping fabric. No one spared them even a passing glance - there was nothing exceptional about a moneyed man’s son walking with his servant in this quiet part of town, no matter how hastily he appeared to have dressed.

    Colombe walked briskly and kept to the edge of the road. She had few smiles for her companion. She did not meet his eye. They had not gone far, the pointed roof of the house they had left behind still in view, when she stopped short.

    Her breathing was fast as she turned to the boy. She took an abrupt step toward him and paused, swaying gently on her feet. She looked up at him with eyes that were dark as dusk. Then, as if she’d come to some decision, she reached for him, her warm fingers splayed around either side of the fresh wounds at his throat from the night prior. He was certain to feel her shudder.

    This close there was no doubt he could smell her, the fragrant oil on the inside of her wrists. It was not sympathy in her eyes as she examined the marks from the vampire’s teeth, and when she turned that dark gaze on Fabien there was a hard and desperate question in it that did not quite form on her parted lips.
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Fabien on Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:01 am

    Fabien greeted the afternoon light as though it were some secret indulgence. He drank upon the air with, filling his smoke bitten lungs, and stretched his arms towards the lazy swirl of clouds above their heads.  

    The youth had  practically leapt across the threshold like a spring hare, moving upon feet that were uncertain in stiff leather and firm soles. And when he had ceased stumbling his way across the path with a joyous abandoned, he stopped and turned back toward the house, his eyes raised to examine the dark windows of his luxurious prison.

    He fell into step alongside Colombe, his shoulders brushing playfully against his hers, as though he hoped to at least tease a half-smile from her.  So it was with some surprise that he found her facing him, the suddenness of her movements causing him to stumbled to a halt. He arched a dark eyebrow expectantly, and when she hesitated,  his eyes became gentle with concern.

    “Colom-?” The boy began, before his words were cut short. His smile wilted to nothingness upon his lips, and when the girl laid her hand to him, she was sure to feel his throat muscles flex nervously.

    He was not immediately forthcoming, and  flinched when her touch irritated torn nerves that he not yet fully healed.  One hand rose, began to sift nervously through his hair as he averted his eyes. “I … ah- listen, cherié-” He murmured, before swallowing stiffly and forcing himself to meet her eyes.

    His features had become tense, and there was something in his eyes, and the nervous sway of his limbs that was almost remorseful. But, before he attempted an answer, his hands quickly sought her wrist, his touch gentle but firm as he tried to draw her hand away.

    “Let's not talk on it now, Colombe. Not while we're here, together. Let's enjoy our liberté.

    “The marché de nuit will open soon... and perhaps we can find a fish and a little cream for your friend on the rooftops, non?”

    His other hand moved towards his collar, adjusting the fabric there so it better concealed the rosy puncture wounds from view. He drew in closer, his voice wavering somewhat, and so low it was little above a whisper.

    S'il vous plait. I will explain it to you later, I promise.”

    The urchin began to move, and unless the girl had slipped free of his grasp, she was sure to be swept along with him. He began to indicate excitedly to a street sign that was familiar to him.

    “Ah, I know a place not far from here where they sell good tobacco, very cheap.  And what about flowers for your room? Do you have a list, cherié? I am sure Monsieur will not mind if we get some extra. As long as we are not too late back...”
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    Tariq
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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

    Post  Tariq on Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:45 pm

    The gentle touch of Colombe’s fingers along the edges of her friend’s wound was painstakingly cautious. She mirrored his flinch at the contact of skin-on-skin, her movement as delicate and swift as the flit of a dusty moth’s wing. Curiosity shaped the lines of her mouth as she examined the ghost left behind by the vampire’s teeth.

    Her fingertips lingered but she stilled when he bade her to listen. The pitch of her body toward him was intent, mindful. It was clear she was eager to hear what he had to say. Her eyes when Fabien forced himself to meet them were clear and expectant.

    She allowed him to take her hand and move it from the marks on his throat, puzzlement growing in her expression. When he began to speak, she did not immediately recognize the deflection for what it was.

    When it dawned that he would not tell her, disappointment darkened her eyes.

    She shook her hand free of his grasp. When he drew in close to whisper his promise, she shook her head. Her mouth was set in a tight line.

    The stiffness in her demeanour did not seem to be anger so much as some breed of chagrin. Her cheeks had reddened and she did not meet his eye.

    When Fabien began to move, she did not match his speed. With her head bowed, her face was hidden beneath her bonnet as she trailed after him. Her hands were tight on the handle of the basket she carried.

    Her dissatisfaction at his refusal to answer her was clear, but she did not sulk. At the boy’s animated suggestions she nodded inattentively. Her gaze remained on the street. Her steps were purposeful, but not quite so crisp as they had been.

    The sights and sounds of the golden afternoon did not draw the girl’s eye – it was likely she knew this street as intimately as he did, although the dimensions of their familiarity were very different. However, at Fabien’s mention of a list she glanced up and idly reached into a pocket to withdraw it.

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    Re: ** Interlude 6 - Not youth itself thy clemency can gain; vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

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