April 23, 2006 at 7:19 am #1994CatherineParticipant
(Thanks and XP to Egeria Fellows)
The ride over to the cemetery had been rather uneventful, and the blind witch had remained rather silent throughout it, and so Octavius had done the same. Still, he followed her through the graveyard gate, and as they wandered between the stones, he said “Well? Now that we're here, are you any more willing to speak on what we were talking about before?”
“More willing, far more willing for that and a great many other subjects, Octavius.” A small smile was made to herself and the congregation of granite and limestone before her, “what then is it that you wish to know first?” She wondered then, for a moment – perhaps two, how he would choose the first topic of conversation among so many he couldn't give a single damn or care of.
Intriguing, how much more willing she was to talk merely by being within the cemetery. It only gave more credence to his already certain belief that she was, in fact, in league with the Morningstar. “Why, begin where you will, my dear Miss Fellows.”
“I could tell you how to swiftly lace a thread, or where the finest silk can be acquired without having to visit the Orient. If you wish to know about those, then we may start with that – however, I trust it is something more, something different, you wish to know. If that is your case, then you need only ask.” Her seat was taken against a raised crypt, just along the edge, and while waiting there with her back turned, she reached a hand down to brush the moss from a nameplate.
“Surely, my dear child, it's not necessary for you to toy with me in such a fashion, and so I'll thank you to dispense with such frivolities. We were speaking on your heretical abilities, and what you see in terms of what the next world holds for others…both those still alive, and those already departed.”
“You speak of Akasha…where the dead do go. And, where some of us wait to.” So concerned with the tending to the forgotten grave that she hardly had attentions enough to spare to lift pale eyes upon him. Yes, toying with him in this manner was quite troublesome and most unfair of her – but aside from that it was a rather dull game.
“Akasha?” It was a laughable suggestion. Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, perhaps, but Akasha? Still, he refrained from partaking in laughter. “Please, go on.”
“I have never called it such, and I find the idea rather silly myself.” Egeria even chuckled herself for what it was worth. “Please, won't you sit with me? The ground is cold and hard enough, the crypt is length enough if you wish to keep your distance.”
“It would do dishonor to the dead to sit upon their resting place, would it not?” A brow quirked upwards. “If you find the idea so silly, why do you think of it in such terms?”
“Because that is what they call it, the dead.” Fingers spread over the stone, patting a little cloud of dust up into the airs. “If that were so, I would not rest here. Now should you care to sit, you may, if not, it is your own comfort to stand I suppose.”
“I'll stand for the time being, though I thank you for your offer. The dead call it Akasha, do they? And what do they tell you of it, then?” It was becoming increasingly difficult not to outright laugh at her.
“It is very different from this life here. Some suffer more, some less. And then, if they find themselves so fortunate – they move on.” Her small sigh left her silent while her hands busied themselves over the grave.
“And what do they move on to, hmm? You did say that you see what the next world holds, and yet you've said naught of it as of yet.”
“I have not yet seen beyond that. Perhaps one day I will…”
“Oh, I'm sure you will, in time. We all will, someday. And yet within…Akasha…as you call it, what have you seen? You've not said anything about what you see there, either, only that some suffer more or less than they did here.”
“It is difficult to explain. It is a simpler matter to show. That is all I can offer to you now. Now you may understand why my life and my station leave even less to be desired. To only see that which lies beyond by mere inches and ever to scratch the surface. Nothing more.”
“And just how would you propose to show such a thing, Egeria? Without, of course, hurrying one along to the life hereafter. Yet, despite seeing only a little beyond this vale of life, are you truly so desirous to be rid of it and on to the next one?”
“Indeed, I am.” The rest to be ignored, and if he did not wish to play this game perhaps she would offer to him another set of rules entirely.
“Then why do you remain in this one?” It wasn't asked in hatred or anger, merely curiosity.
“I do not know…” Though at that moment, pale eyes lifted upon him. “Do you wish to help me on?”
“I wouldn't dream of such a thing, my dear Egeria. It's against His law to take the life of another. Perhaps the gravest of sins.”
“Forgive me. I thought that perhaps your query might have been an offering of help…” Another sigh, a pity to that. Fingers picked through the carved letters, and she remembered then how it was she had first learned to read.
“Do you need the help of another? Why, then, do you not seek the assistance of your beau, who seems to have stood you up tonight?”
“I have not seen him, often. Sporadically at best…so then at the expense of your glee and my sorrow, that would not make a man for much of a beau, would it?”
“How unfortunate for you. I shouldn't tell you this, as it is a breach of the sanctity of my calling, but he confessed to loving you.”
“I was not aware that he made confession to your church…”
“He hadn't, in quite some time. But he paid a little visit recently.” He shrugged. “Perhaps, then, if he loves you as deeply as he said, he would be one who could help you along to the next world if you're so eager to leave this one.”
“I do not understand how you would get on to such a subject…”
“Does that truly matter? Does it make any difference one way or another?”
“Because I do know enough to say that I am not a subject that either of you would speak on so freely with others.”
“Well, then perhaps you should ask him about it.”
“I am asking you first..”
“And I'm telling you to ask him if it matters so much to you. I've said too much already.”
“Do you breach the sanctity of your cloth by tormenting him further with the time that we shared in each other's company?”
“Tormenting him? Now why, Miss Fellows, would you even consider I'd do such a horrendous thing as torment a poor old soul such as him?”
“Do not toy with me either. I would think that to be rather unfair for you to do, considering what I know better of your tendencies.”
“My tendencies? Whatever do you mean, my child? And you sit here, demanding answers of me when you've avoided and refused to answer things I've asked of you without making demands?”
“Perhaps this is best ended here…”
“Perhaps so.” He sighed, and shook his head sadly. “Such a pity, that you can't think of a single reason to remain in this life, and yet remain unable to leave it.”
“There, there…” He managed to leave any amusement out of his voice, but, smirking to himself, he stepped closer to her, and patted her on the shoulder.
“There is…something I must confess to you now, Octavius.” She spoke after their silence, and after the crypt stone had been cleaned of the lichen that had grown over the words. “That I feel as though perhaps there is a bit of warlock in you. You have, in some small way, bewitched me to a fascination about you.” And in her own way, she had been.
“Oh?” The smile crept into his voice. “Is that so? Drawn to your opposite, as it were? Well, my dear, if that is the case, I assure you, I've done naught supernatural to bring it about.”
“Please, sit by my side,” her words hesitated well enough, “perchance, lay with me?” Egeria slid down against her side, half drawn over the stone with deep blue taffeta and long dark hair to fall off to one side.
“Do you really draw such comfort here in such a place that you'd prefer to do such a thing out here rather than inside?” Still, he sat upon the stone nonetheless, his earlier hesitation and seeming concern over disturbing the dead vanishing.
“I do. These places have brought to me such comfort and quiet over the years without the stifle of walls.” Egeria reached up for him, smoothing fingers over his cassock and down the length of his sleeve. “Have you not shared such company outside before now? Come, lay with me…”
“Certainly not in a place like this…” Chuckling, his fingers came to rest upon her cheek. “Why the sudden change of heart, my dear?”
“I told you. You must have bewitched me unawares…” Her fingers lifted to catch his wrist, to turn her cheek against the warmth of his hand till she placed a kiss into his palm. “Perhaps you will enjoy the stars from this vantage, as all eyes within this place have long since closed. My love…if, I may call you such for the short duration of this affair, without the meaning attached to it of course.”
He laughed softly at that last. “Without the meaning attached, why would you even desire to call me such? Still, my dear, if it would make you happy, you may.” His fingers stroked against her lips and cheek, and he leaned himself down slowly to recline by her side.
“Because I would not dare chance a thought that you would think of anyone, let alone myself, in such regards. I may not have my eyes, but I have my senses intact still.” A pleasant sound left her, happy for his touch upon her, and happier still for the proximity acquired.
“All of His creatures are capable of feeling love, myself included, whether or not you believe it. And yet you still haven't explained why, if you don't mean it, you'd desire to call me such.”
“I would have liked to have meant it, Octavius…I would have. But I am not a fool, you know…” She lay back along the stone, an affair's rest against the final resting place of Mrs. Abigail Stevens. Her laughter chimed quietly, and she smiled a pretty measure to the thought of it. “I am certain in your own way you have loved all the women you have lain with, I know…but I speak of a different sort.”
“And can you claim to feel that love for me?” His own soft laughter mingled with hers before his lips came into contact with her neck, fingers trailing slow along her arm.
“If I thought you to be capable of it, yes…yes a thousand times over.” She smiled slow, raising her hands to trick their way through his scalp.
“Ah, in other words, you're incapable of giving your own love unconditionally. No matter, I suppose.” His lips kissed their way from her neck to her ear, and nimble fingers loosed the ties of her fabric.
“I do not wish to give such love to those who do not give in return. But no matter as you have said…no matter.” There was nearly a little sigh squeezed from her throat beneath the press of his lips and nimble fingers.
“Until you can risk loving without strings attached,” he whispered, amused, “how can you hope to find whether or not you're loved in return?” Her garments were let to fall to their rest beneath her, and he ran his hands along her skin.
“Do you truly wish to torment me in such a way even now that I give myself so willingly to you?” She whispered slow into his ear, “you truly are a cruel man.” Though there was laughter there still, “but then again, as is true for all those things we cannot ever have – if only wishing would make it so…” Her fingers sunk to her skirts and petticoat, loosened then as they were.
His lips hovered by her ear, brushing against her as he whispered back, “And if I were to tell you that I did?” Slipping past her hands, one of his traveled beneath her skirts, beneath her petticoat.
“Then I may feel quite poorly…” her hand slipped free from her garments, a length of metal barely catching against the light of the moon for as quickly as it was sheathed into the Bishop's gut, “for what I just did to you…Octavius.” Warmth, red warmth. A color she could feel pouring down along her garments. While her hand remained fast upon the dagger's hilt, the other lifted to his cheek to stroke lightly. “Perhaps, if I could have only seen your lips as the words left them…perhaps then I might have trusted in them more. I am sorry…”
His eyes widened in a combination of pain, anger, and surprise as the dagger slid into him. “You…bitch…” he gasped out, staring at her.
Beneath him, limbs strained to become modest once more. To dress and soak beneath the slow pour of his blood. A small little sigh left her, and a heavier breath to follow as she took him gingerly by the shoulders to push him over onto his back. She lifted then from his side, a hand over hilt remaining. “It saddens me, that the only true warmth I have ever felt from you was when your blood spilled from your body…”
He glared at her, growing dizzy as the blood flowed from him. “You'll pay…for this…” his words came slowly, painfully, from between clenched teeth.
“No greater suffering than you have given to me then, or offered to me just moments before now.” She leaned in slow to kiss his lips, and whispered, “I do not fear death, Octavius. Bring it to me as it is this life, this long and lonely life that I will find myself again, and surely so, within the years to come, give me far more chills that the prospect of forever sleeping in the cold ground.”
“There are, as you are so apt to point out, things far worse than death, and I'll be sure they come to you. You and that miserable old fool, both.” Mustering what strength he could, he spat at her, a large gob of his own blood hitting her in the face.
She smiled that pretty, scarlet stained smile and lifted her hand to touch upon her cheek. “The most warmth you have ever given to me…here, your flesh is turning cold, pale, have some of it back…” Upon his brow she etched a little cross against his skin, setting it to glisten by his own blood. She would leave him thereafter, her words almost lamenting her actions as she slipped away among the crypts and shadows.
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