Conflicted (v2)

Phalanx (fā′lăngks′), n. A group of people or things of a similar type forming a compact body or brought together for a common purpose.

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Katt Batten
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:15 pm
Location: She isn't hard to find if one knows where to look.

Conflicted (v2)

Post by Katt Batten » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:40 pm

[ 11.15.19 ]

The sun was setting on what was an eerily quiet evening and no amount of roaming was helping her escape the dreaded feeling hanging in her depths. It was odd to her, a feeling familiar and yet she could not remember ever dealing with such a thing. Her light, fading. Not so much her life but rather the bond that was with her brother. It was *her* bond. Nothing he knew about and quite frankly she wasn’t sure how to explain it but the more she doubted it, the more she had trouble clinging to the light that was her brother in her life, the more she felt her sense of self...breaking.

For days now she had trailed random streets of the city, as if looking for an answer that was hidden away. There was no answer - at least one she would like. What she had to say, what she felt meant very little if nothing at all in the scheme of things. A helpless feeling when she could not run from no matter how far she went.

The night flickered off the glassy surface she came upon by chance - the docks where the swell of water nipped at the tattered wood. Normally the sound would sooth but tonight they simply reflected a lapping turmoil that was hidden behind an emotionless mask.

“So this is where you have decided to stop after so many hours of roaming, is it?”

The smooth voice echoed in her ear, causing her head to snap to the side. Had she been followed? No...No there was no sense of that and yet that voice had been as if right at her side. The shoulder opposite to where her attention went, a hand lowered, causing an instant reaction of her hand shooting up to grab and her attention turning to the source. What she was faced with was the visage of a young man in his early 30s with silk white hair and dusky skin, his golden eyes twinkling with amusement and mischief as he watched her reaction.

“Who-” she started but quickly sucked on her words when she felt his fingers curl to her own. She knew his touch and she quickly released. “Damn it, Chaos. Why can’t you stick to one face? You are so damn confusing…”

He laughed, rich and deep, at her reaction while lowering his hand to his side, “I enjoy keeping my precious dark lily on her toes.”

“What do you want?” The words came out in a snap though she didn’t mean it to.

“I can feel you waning,” he answered smoothly as he reached out and collected a few strains of her hair with his long fingers, “You are clinging to something you know is impossible. I am surprised it lasted this long, really.” The black strains of hair trickled from his fingers, looking almost like metal liquid as they fell back into place.

His words struck too deep for her liking and sent a dread that made her throat tight. “I disagree, but that is what has us where we are today, doesn’t it?” She pushed from him and started to walk again, picking a new path to follow if only to get away from *him*.

He sighed and followed after her, “Indeed. So why not drop the façade and come home? Everyone will be thrilled to see you and-”

“No.” The single word was sharp, slicing through anything else he may have had ready to say. “I am home.” While he followed, she made no attempt to slow her steps. It was only when she noticed she was heading for the Red Dragon that she turned step and headed elsewhere. She didn’t want to end up there and bump into her brother...or really anyone. Not with Chaos on tow. “Why do you wa-”

“You already know the answer to that question,” he interrupted her, “It is where you belong. Not here with these fake people. Your so-called brother who can trust you with his things but not what is on his mind or in his heart. And what about your lover, hm? Have you finally wed and settled down with him? No? Children? No?”

“I can’t-”

Chaos waved a dismissive hand, “You know what I mean but what if he placed that engagement ring on your finger in order to ‘take you off the market’. Let me ask you, how do you know it wasn’t on the behest of your brother? To keep you out of trouble, so to speak.”

She raised a brow but didn’t stop. “Clayton met Edward after he met me.”

“Are you sure about that?” Chaos countered quickly.

Actually, she wasn’t. She had never asked, as far as she knew. She knew what Chaos was doing. He was planting seeds of doubt - or rather fertilizing the doubt that was already there.

“He knew you wanted to be with Leo and couldn’t have that…”

She wasn’t sure who the ‘he’ Chaos was speaking of but it was ridiculous. “I already told Clayton I didn’t care. If we don’t get wed, we don’t. I am happy with him.”

“But is he happy with *you*? Wasn’t he a married man before?”

She blinked slowly and looked over to the white-haired man. It took her a moment to try to scrounge up that shattered memory but she finally managed, “Yeah. He was. I think.” She hated sounding so unsure. Stupid memory holes.

“Mhm. And wasn’t she killed by someone who his people hate? Someone much like yourself?”

Her eyes narrowed in a glare. “Enough, Chaos. I know what you are doing…”

He shrugged at her. “Not really doing anything other than questioning the life you are choosing. You choose a man who trusts an insane woman’s words over your own despite your experiences and another man who strings you along and is never around, usually doing business at the call of your brother.” His lips turned a thin smile, “You choose these over being where you belong.”

She grunted quietly. “I am treated fine by both the men in my life, thank you very much.” She dismissed his claims rather easily it seemed as they came up to the small tavern. “I am where I want to be and all these deceptions you are trying to weave isn’t going to change that, Chaos. I belong here with my family.”

“What is that saying? ‘The lady doth protest too much?’”

She scratched her cheek while so nonchalantly while giving Chaos the middle-finger.

He laughed and shook his head. “You can’t tell me you haven’t been worried this past year. I have seen you. Dwindling close to death. Nevermind you blatant attempt to just stand there while someone tried to kill you,” he tsked at her, “No fight left, eh?”

“If there was none left, you would have what you want...no?”

Her words were true and he grinned at the fact she knew this. Chaos spotted where they were headed. “Ah, my Dark Lily. What am I going to do with you.”

A low echo of a sound vibrated her throat as she started her way into the building. She hated that Chaos knew so much but she knew how and why. “Chaos. While I...appreciate....what I am going to consider as concern, my life is here. So please stop trying to pull me away or change my mind.” She slid her eyes to him, “And if you dare talk ill about my brother or Clayton again in attempts to change my mind, I am going to make you regret it.”

“My goodness. So be it, my dear but if you change your mind we will be waiting for you,” Chaos didn’t follow her into the building but instead slipped back and turned, heading his way elsewhere for now. From what he briefly saw from the interior, he had no interest in going inside. What he had to say was said, now all he could do was wait.

She didn't watch him go nor did she care. She wanted hot chocolate. It was very rare that she actually felt cold and tonight she felt it to her bones...
Katt Batten
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Re: Conflicted (v2)

Post by Katt Batten » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:46 pm

It was a slow pace that had Katt making her way to the less frequented place. The inn was avoided for a reason - mostly due to the company that was in pace with her. Alongside a tall man walked, dressed in mostly in gold-trimmed black. His dusky skin was a contrast to the stark white hair with strains of silver that peeked here and there. His golden eyes remained focused forward as he spoke quiet tone. For her part, Katt simply listened with a blank stare forward. It was only as they came to the front of the building that she slowed even more and tilted her eyes to the man in her company. The sharp look he earned from her was counted by a sly grin he was far too quick to give.

It's a nice place, he notes with a nod to himself. Rather like the Red Dragon, but...somehow homier. He finally settled on heading over to the hearth, bare feet padding silently upon the floor, waving off the gnomish woman behind the bar asking him for his drink order for the moment. Right now he just wants to warm up and get the feel of this place, and relax. There's been a subtle but noticeable tension in his life lately, something he can't put a finger on, though it has something to do with his beloved and her brother, that much he is certain of.

A low sound echoed in her throat as she turned and headed to the door, letting herself in. While the man in her company did catch the door, he had barely made it a step inside. While he lingered at the door, she continued in a few steps before turning to look over shoulder. It took her a moment or two to look away and follow the scent that was all too familiar to her. Sharp greens landed on Clayton and even as the door shut and the white-haired one retreated into the night, she didn't look away. Well...this was unexpected.

He sat facing the flames, settled on the floor, sitting Indian-style, a meditative posture, hands resting lightly on his knees, eyes closed, head bowed slightly, motionless as a statue save for the slow in-and-out of his breathing. Peace was what he sought, an unusual trait for one of his people, who lived so much of their lives in conflict. He heard the door open behind him, then fall closed, but it was a faint thing registering to his senses. It wasn't until that faint scent touched his senses that he stirred, though he didn't look around, a smile touching his lips and suffusing his purring voice with warmth. "Good evening, Kathryn."

"Good evening, Clayton." was murmured quietly to him as she moved to the bar to order a drink. A bottle of water, since she had no clue about the woman behind the bar. Once it was in hand she slowly made her way to the cat in manflesh. "Surprised to see you out and about." She had no clue what he did or was up to nor did she ask. She stopped a few feet behind him and looked to the fire. This felt oddly..familiar.

His shoulders rose and fell once, a quiet gesture. "I felt the need for a change of scenery. There is comfort in the familiar, but new experiences bring life to sleeping senses, allowing one to shed light on...difficult questions." His head turned slightly, not fully looking at her, sampling her scent a moment, and others mingled with it. Interesting. She had not been alone, and the one with her was...unfamiliar to him. "I admit, your presence here is an unexpected pleasure."

"Is that so..." What she was saying that to, was hard to tell. "I wasn't in the mood to go to the inn and bump into people." It took her time to actually lower her eyes to him and focus on him instead of the fire. "Should I go and leave you to your peace?" The offer was left there for him to accept or decline as he wished.

A softly purring chuckle escaped him. "Understandable." There was a pause before he answered, though it somehow did not have the feel of hesitation, but rather seemed a part of his quiet calm, a savoring quality to it as he breathed deeply of her scent. "Please stay, love. Yours is company I am glad to keep."

Her lashes lowered as she eyed him for a moment..two..then moved herself to sit on the floor aside him but not close enough to actually touch. "If you don't mind me asking... How long did you know Edward before we met?" The water was placed between them, in case he'd want to partake in it. She had yet to open it and with him, she didn't mind sharing.

His eyes remained closed, relying on his other senses. Sight was the most distracting and most deceptive of the senses, and he relied on it the least, no matter what form he was in. He shook his head to her question. "I had never met him before knowing you. I had heard of him, of course, but I did not get to know him until well after we started seeing each other."

"Is that so..." She craned her head thoughtfully as she stared at the fire and after a moment she closed her eyes and released a long breath. "So what has been keeping you busy? People are always asking me and I have no idea how to answer them." She was asked a number of questions she couldn't answer.

He pondered that question for a moment, and how to answer it. He wasn't certain what to tell her about things he had learned, how much he should say in regards to...the future. "I have been...seeking answers to a question." It was the truth, insofar as it went. He had actually been looking for someone specific for those answers, but to no avail at this moment. The young man had proved most elusive. "Why do you ask about how long I have known your brother?"

"And what question is that?" Because he left that door open for questioning. His own question had her pursing her lips as if she were considering actually answering. She wasn't entirely sure she wanted to. "I don't remember a lot of things, remember? I was unsure if you knew him in the past before you knew me." She rolled her shoulders slowly. It wasn't a lie.

No, not a lie. But that wasn't the whole reason she'd asked, either. Still, he let it go. He trusted her to tell him the truth, and knew better than to press when she played things close. If it were important, she would let him know. "A question of the future. Of things yet to come."

A brow raised and she opened her eyes to look to him. That was a weird answer. "Hm. A question of the future..." She nodded slowly and she looked back to the fire. "Work-related or something else?" She wasn't really prying but more like just..talking. Maybe it was to keep him from asking more of her own..issue.

He shook his head. "Personal. Something closer to home." His eyes finally opened, some inner decision not quite reached, but perhaps getting close to the point. "Have you ever thought of having a child?"

When he said closer to home she figured it was something to do with his people. Maybe that is where all his time was - him over there. Dealing with people that would rather see her dead. Her lips pursed again, this time in a thought that was ...dark. His question caught her off guard because her lips instantly stopped their pursing and she blinked at him. "Huh?" No, she had heard him but it was clear he had surprised her. "Not that I can remember." She didn't remember the conversation they had right before he decided to ask her to marry him.

He smiled at her answer. It wasn't all that different from the way she had answered at first the last time he had asked her, either. "I don't know if you remember or not, but I had children once. A long time ago, now." There was a certain fondness as he said it, as well as a deep sadness. That foray into a "normal" life had ended in tragedy. He hoped it would not be so now. "I asked you the same question, once. You said something similar to what you did just now, but you said it was because you thought you couldn't have them."

Her emotionless mask nearly broke when she heard that but at the same time, she didn't feel at all surprised. "Is that so?" She didn't ask about his wife because now she had a feeling there was something of a loss for him and if anything, she didn't like the idea of bringing him sorrow of bringing about those memories. So why was it now he was asking her about children? Surely the memory was not pleasant. He sort of answered that for her. "Because I cannot. My insides have been fucked up." Something he would likely know.

"Is that so?" His choice of words there was deliberate, a very feline, rather secretive smile on his features. "So...let's just say, for the moment, something changed there. Would you want to?"

He was mocking her but she didn't mind. It kept her mind from..things. Things that were on the brink of snapping her. "I couldn't say I would know. I don't think I would make a very good mother." She blinked slowly. "Clayton. The women of your kind do have the children, right?" He wasn't going to drop on her he was preggo, was he?

He let out a purring chuckle. "Actually, they do...but only if they mate with someone who is not of our kind. My people...we cannot interbreed. Males and females can mate, but we can't have children together." His expression turned a touch more serious. "What if...what if I told you that I've found out that it may be possible?"

Phew. Either he didn't understand her meaning or he answered it with amusement. Good! Her brain might melt if he said he was pregnant. His question had her staring at him for a moment..two..several seconds before she finally spoke. "You mean a way to fix my insides?"

He nodded. "Or perhaps that they have been fixed already. Either by what Renna infected you with, or by the treatment that your brother gave you to get rid of it...my understanding of such things is limited, but...well, I have been doing some reading up on the subject, with some assistance from your brother's ancillary intelligence. Either could have been capable of repairing that sort of damage, in theory." He paused, seeming to struggle with something for a moment, trying to decide.

Her jaw visibly tightened when he spoke Renna's name and her eyes shot to the fire to steel anything else that might have shown. "Are you asking if I want to have a child with you? Is that something you want?" She stopped herself from pointing out a few things, stilling her tongue surprisingly well.

"Would I like to? Certainly. But that is not what I am saying at all. I am saying that I'm reasonably certain it's going to happen." He frowned, looking over at her, his eyes narrowing. "What is on your mind, Kathryn? Has Renna done something else?"

She nearly broke then and there at the question but she managed, by a thread, to hold it to herself. Instead, she focused on his statement. "What do you mean, reasonably certain it is going to happen?" A brow raised but she didn't turn her gaze to him.

He wasn't going to be so easily deterred. In most things he wouldn't push, but seeing that touch of darkness in her sat badly with him. Something had happened, and he was going to get to the bottom of it. "I'll tell if you will."

"Tch." The sound came out flat, "I've been down this road before, dealt with this crap," Just before it wasn't her brother and that settled not so well with her. "After all she has done to him, done to everyone around him..." She hissed out slowly, "But why talk about it? It doesn't matter." She pushed up to her feet. "What bugs me most is him. My brother. He trusts everyone more than he trusts me. Even her. And now I get to see her pull her crap with him. Using his emotions against him. Just.." As quick as the burst happened, she went silent, and instead, a heaviness grew in her general area to the point it was near suffocating to anyone who was in her personal bubble. Lucky for him, she hadn't got so close for him to be in such a bubble. "It's nothing," she mumbled, "nothing worth talking about." She felt betrayed and it was wrecking her core. She exhaled loudly and tilted her eyes to him, expecting her answer now.

Once again, he chose her phrase, not done with this line yet. "Is that so? Because I think you are wrong. He has trusted you, with everything most precious to him. The business he built, the people he employs, the world he made for himself...he handed it all over to you when he had to leave to recover from almost dying, love." He stood, turning to face her, reaching out to lay a hand on her shoulder. "And he did that knowing that you were not quite the same as the woman you were before, that you had lost some parts of yourself. He could have given it over to Kyle, or to Leo, people he knew before he met you, before coming to RhyDin. But he chose you." He sighed as he resumed his seat, facing the fire. "I admit, I do not fully understand your brother, or the choices he makes. He reveals little of himself to anyone, perhaps I think for fear that they will not understand, or perhaps that he will drive away those that mean the most to him. Maybe both."

"A business..building can be replaced. I was never really in left anything, Clayton. Kyle kept a close on me to make sure I didn't do anything stupid." She twitched violently when he touched her, something she hadn't done in ages. "He was dying and even she knew that before me. You know how hurtful it was to be told by her that I was going to lose him?" There was so much more she could say but as she said, it was a path she's been down before. "I was here when you two were off doing who the hell knows what. When she pretended to be a 'good person'. With child. Married. A man she killed and the child I have no idea what happened to it. People she's said she's loved and used." He didn't understand. Of course, he didn't. "I could smell him on her when she came to the Tower for help. For him," She didn't even go into how she felt brushed off but she had known how things were going to go before they even happened. "or to kill me. Probably both." She laughed but it was humorless and lacking warmth.

He let out a soft sigh, one that might have had a faint rumble under it, keeping his face turned away from her deliberately. She didn't need to see the pain there. "He didn't tell you about that because he didn't want you to worry. He felt you do that too much already. And she didn't know because he told her. She figured it out for herself. And he left you more than you think. They all answered to you, you know. You were in charge, and there were a couple points that your brother contemplated - rather seriously, I might add - just leaving it all in your hands and being...just Edward." Now he did look up at her, and there was a hint of anger there. And pain with it. "And if you would like to know 'just what the hell' we were doing, you have but to ask." He looked about to say more, but stopped himself, shaking his head and turning to the fire once more, his voice low. "As for what's between him and Renna...I don't know. Something changed in him, and whether it was for the better or worse I cannot say. What I do know is that he saw something in that private hell of his that affected him to his core. That's what it was to him, you know. Hell made real. He told me once that he couldn't believe you charged into that the way you did. I wish I had been there to see it." He sighed, his head bowing slightly. "I bet you were magnificent."

His anger seemed to fuel hers and she practically glared. He had a lot of nerve telling her that when most of the time she had no clue what he and her brother were up to. Even if she did ask. The glare lasted a whole ..two seconds, however. It turned into a stupefied look. Magnificent? "I wouldn't go that far, Clayton. What I did was out of selfishness. I didn't want to lose him and I just wanted that last moment of connection before I lost him forever. Even if it costed my life. He doesn't seem to realize just how important he is to me." She deflated, and it was his doing.

He let out one of his soft purring chuckles. "Love is ultimately selfish, Kathryn...and yet, at the same time, utterly selfless. The truest of contradictions." He looked up at her. "That is you, to your core. I have seen it. Many times, even when at your darkest." He looked back to the fire once again. "I didn't tell you, but there are...unique properties to the memories of my people. We can share them not just with each other and certain others, but with ourselves...see things the way they might have been, in another life. For instance, in all the lives I might have led, you and I have met only in one other than this."

She felt tired. Like he had sucked the energy out of her. For now, the fire was stilled. He had that way with her since the beginning. It was weird to her, really. "So you are saying I am ...selfish and selfless?" Yeah, hello confusion. Your name is Clayton. She shook her head slowly, showing she never heard that before. "All the lives you may have led? That...sounds painful to think about." She craned her head thoughtfully. "How much do you know about these other lives?" While she was nosy about that one, she didn't specify on that one.

He nodded. "It...can be painful..." He smirked a touch. "...though probably not in the way you mean." He shrugged once, his voice softer, and heavy with age. It was sometimes easy to forget he was nearly three hundred years old, even for himself. "Only the present and the past. Enough to know that, if not for you, I would still be alone. But for this life and one other, and in that one, we died together."

Yeah if he wouldn't have elaborated on other things she would have so asked what he meant. Instead, she collapsed down to the ground next to him to listen. The pressure that had been in her presence now gone. "You mean in this life." She was plenty sure he would find someone else so hearing him say that was pretty surprising. Not nearly as hearing him say they died together. "I didn't kill you, did I?"

He shook his head at that, looking over at her, his golden green eyes taking in every last detail of her, seeing the changes in her as well as all that was familiar and so precious to him. "You were supposed to, but you couldn't go through with it. I am uncertain as to why. You never showed any hesitation before encountering me, from what I know of that life. But that self saw this life, and despite every warning that there could be no redemption for the creature you were there, my self in that life had to try. And, for the briefest of moments, he succeeded...though it cost him his life, and hers when she tried to get in the way."

Her head tipped faintly as she watched him. There was one word he used that caused her lips to press. Creature. So..in that life she had never changed. That link..that light ..candle..that she had now..was not there. "What..of Edward?" How different could lives be? Well, they were dead for one! "Is that why you were asking me about a child?"

He hesitated a moment, not certain she would like what she heard. He knew she had been told about it, if only briefly, but did she remember that? "The man you know as your brother in this life was not your brother in that one. He chose a much darker path...and it was he who was responsible for our deaths. But, as it turns out, our deaths are what caused his downfall in turn." She caught him by surprise with her second question...he was sure he'd manage to lose her in that long twisting story, but he smiled. Perhaps he shouldn't have been shocked by that. His Kathryn had always been a sharp one. He nodded. "Yes...although, again, perhaps not for the reasons you think. Your...younger self, Sylva. She had an encounter some weeks ago with a young man, along with Ebon and his son, as well as young Mairead. I happened along afterward and they told me what happened, and after making some inquiries of my own, as well as listening to their theories, it appears that the young man...it seems as if he might be our son." He paused for a moment. "From the future."

She didn't remember it and it showed clearly on her face. She had no words for what he had told her and at the same time there was a dread that lingered longer than she would have liked. "I see." Was all she could muster up in the end. As he started to speak of Sylva, her nose wrinkled - faint and brief as it was. She listened to his words but as the last word left his lips she was already, "I'msorrywhatnow?" She flapped a hand slightly, "You mean the other..us..right?"

He shook his head. "No, Kathryn. In that life our relationship, if it could be called such, was measured in days, from our first encounter to our death."

"S-So you mean...this.." Her head was tilted faintly but she wore a clear look of surprise. "I..that isn't possible, Clayton. I..can't.." Her eyes lowered as she placed a hand against her torso. "They..must be mistaken or ..M-Maybe--" It was his child that he thought was dead? That made more sense to her, oddly enough.

He smiled, that one he wore only for her, soft and warm, as he shook his head. "Maybe you couldn't before. But either something has changed, or it will change. It could be possible that they're mistaken, of course, but Ebon and Doran said that this young man had a familiar feel to him, like others they've encountered from the future. That and...I've seen him, Kathryn, some time ago, just briefly, before Sylva's encounter with him. I didn't know it until they described him to me." He reached out to cup her cheek, his thumb touching her temple lightly. "He...he has your eyes."

She was trying to process his words - rather process their meaning. Something so impossible that she never gave real thought to it..was possible? The touch startled her and those eyes he spoke of shot up to him, wide and staring. Whooboy did she need time to process that number. After what seemed like forever of gawking, she leaned her cheek to his touch, "Will..you be coming home tonight?" If not, she was going to find some corner here and sleep there.

He smiled and nodded at that. "Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing." He got to his feet and took her hands in his, helping her up and towards the door

"I am usually home at night." she teased him quietly. "I am just..really tired right now." She squeezed his hand softly. "Th...thank you.."

As the two walked home, from a perch unseen, Chaos sighed. He watched the lovebirds while dragging his nail deep into the flesh of an apple he had pilfered from some stall. She was so close… So close to blooming to that perfect flower he was waiting for.
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