promises, promises -- Riii Bluebook Session 74

She turns away from Chaedi and begins to strip, feeling comforted by her nearby presence, but also slightly off-balance — despite knowing she would have no way of hearing this private conversation, it was a little odd to have this discussion with someone else in the room.

There’s no sound nor movement from Moreth. Fine. She will just have to make do. She pictures him standing in a corner of their shared mindspace, contemplating a memory (mine? his?) as if it were a particularly melancholic piece of art. His back is strong, but hunched slightly. He looks about as inviting as a depressed lion.

A rising bubble of annoyance — just because you imagine something, doesn’t mean that’s what I’m actually doing.

That very thought brings her back to what she was feeling prior to this. Guilt? Worry? Guilt, one of the worst feelings ever in her opinion. Twice in the span of two days; she’s on a roll. She sinks into the water and closes her eyes, breathing in deeply.

Just because you imagine something…

She knows she should trance., so she can have a proper conversation with him, face to face. But she’s helpless to stop the litany of thoughts spewing out like blasts of eldritch fire. Each one of them hits a wall and shatters, sputtering out a feeble translation of her feelings.

How long has he felt this way?

How did I not notice?

Some answers come back, like echoes, and sparks.

A long, long time.

Because it feels like a part of me, not a part of him.

Well, isn’t it a riot in here. But not the usual riot of the melodramatic and colorful kind, powered purely by desire. This is not unlike that, except the desire to … to …

No wonder we fought for control

Does he even love me?

Or am I just the nearest thing to give him attention —

No! Please, don’t doubt me, not now, not now, I can’t bear it!

I don’t want to doubt you! You think I just — it’s a legitimate concern! Loneliness can be confused with love. And you’ve been alone for …

She inhales shakily, unable to find the words. Maybe hell of a fucking long time. No, it’s still inadequate.

There’s a rising panic in her that she can’t quite tell if it’s hers or Moreth’s, but either way, it feels like it’s getting out of control, something like fireworks going off in her chest.

And then, just like that, it’s like someone plopped a lid on her emotions. It would be hysterically funny, she thinks, if it weren’t her emotions being treated like a pot of stew.

His voice is suddenly strong again, the panic from before gone in an instant. She hears the words of a king.

You know this, my dearest: when the Archfey make a pact, they do not do so lightly. We honour our word.

A flicker of… many emotions, hatred among them, as they both remember the last time a certain Archfey broke a promise.

I have always honoured mine. Will you hear my promise now?

Her thoughts turn to suspicion — a sudden steadiness, after that brief moment of panic? Was it all just theatrics for manipulating her?

But he can’t hide from her, as much as she can from him. She can feel — there, there is the part of him that is manipulative, and over there is the part of him that is afraid, prematurely despairing, terrified that she’ll pull herself away… but then, that isn’t an illogical thing to feel. No, if she searches herself, and his feelings, with the deep bond they have, that bond that can’t hide anything, she knows what he’s feeling perhaps even better than he does.

He’s put aside his panic, his terror, to be her rock when her fear threatens to consume her. He’s decided to be strong for her in this moment, not just because that’s the best thing to do to convince her (whether it is or not), but because, in some degree, he wants to soothe her, to be there for her, and to remove her fear.

He cares. In this moment, Riii is sure he cares; and in this moment, she is sure he believes everything he is telling her.

Inexplicably, that seed of doubt turns to one of fear.

He is too certain. Which means when he is free — he might change his mind. When his world no longer actually revolves around her.

That fear is echoed by him, and it rebounds directly to her. They feed off each other, as always, and this is not going to end well for either of them, she’s got to stop this! She feels his sudden rush to prove, to promise —

I am not — this isn’t — this doesn’t change anything.

Her promise comes first.

I’m still going to kill that bitch. I’m still — the pact will still hold. But …

These are the last safeguards of access to her heart. What he wants to vow to her… once heard, it can never be unheard, right? Surely that is enough. But lesser vows have been broken before. Vows spoken under the covers, declared to the public for all — if it doesn’t matter where or when it was made, then why can’t she —

… I cannot accept this — promise — of, of devotion, or love, not like this. Not how we are right now.

Which brings me to my original question — how long until you are free of me?

There is silence for a few moments, during which he wrests himself back under control.

I… truly, I don’t know. Years, perhaps, or perhaps not — but… I have a… slim theory, my darling. One I haven’t dared venture, for fear of disappointment on both our parts. Perhaps it would be best if I said nothing…

I see.

I can understand that, I suppose.

Moreth struggles, in the silence.

That’s fine. And… I’m sorry I can’t hear your promise now. But I would dearly love to hear it from you in person.

You …. you understand.

I do. Wait for me, my Queen. Whether you believe my promise or not, I have made it, and I will never go back on my word.

She exhales quite shakily, but a lot of tension appears to have abruptly left her. She thinks, somewhat dazedly, that she would really like a hug right about now.

And then, there’s Chaedi.

promises, promises -- Riii Bluebook Session 74

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