XCOR: [This night was frigid, despite the month, mother nature was moody as Zypher whence he was without what was betwixt a female’s thighs. I walked the street, shoulders hunched against the howling wind flapping both sides of my duster apart. The meeting with the glymera fool had nay gone as planned. He knew naught more of the rumors pertaining the half breed queen. I scowled catching my reflection in a store’s window. The ruined lip, unkempt hair and clothes that looked centuries old only resulted in me resembling the males that lived upon the Caldwell street. I turned form such a sight and carried upon my way, mayhap hand to hand combat would lessen the sour mood]
PAYNE: [Despite my time on this side, rides in automobiles ne’er became old. I stared at the nights running landscape through the tinted car window, a brief memory of my first trip inside a car flashed through my mind momentarily. I could not help the small smile that curved mine lips when thinking of that time in mine life. It had been with Manuel, of course. Sweet destiny, I had been so…so naive to say the least, to so many things. I suppose still was in a way but so much had change…in a good way, of course. The sound of leather seat rubbed a bit against my jean-clad legs as I shifted on the seat of the Mercedes Fritz so expertly maneuvered through the long winding road headed towards the city until finally mine eyes drank in the million twinkling lights of Caldwell right o’er the hill top. Turning my attention to the quiet Chosen beside me, I was surprised to find her subdued rather than with her usual cheerful disposition and became immediately concerned, laying a gentle hand on her arm. ] For one usually ne’er at a loss for words, you seem rather afar…are you well, Layla?
LAYLA: [As she slipped into the cool leather seat of the Mercedes, Layla couldn’t help but remember that last time she had traveled to the city. ‘Twas a shopping trip with Qhuinn, that went rather well until she had picked up the scent of such a male that made her blood run as hot as coal. She had come forth with the news of her feeding from their enemy, and was left quite abruptly alone in the very car she and her sister were now in. Memories of the bomb and her short span of time spent with Xcor flooded her mind, sending her into quiet contemplation. Her head rested gently against the back of the seat, her petite hands were on her swollen belly as the highway lights casted shadows upon her face beside the window. The soft cadence of Payne’s voice roused her from her reverie. Layla turned her head towards her sister and smiled softly.] I am sorry, sister mine. [The excitement of their travels shown through her sisters crystalline eyes, made her own light up with the possibilities that tonight would serve to be a very pleasant trip, indeed.] ‘Tis nothing, I promise. Seems I am rather tired as of late, but that shall not be of your concern. One cannot help but be excited when in your company sister. When was the last time you have been to the city?
PAYNE: [In the moving shadows of the car, I could sense there was more behind her words than she led on, green eyes set on the loveliest face spoke half-truths but I would let it go, for now.] Verily you are mine concern. You and mine future nephew or niece and certainly when outside of the compound. [A genuine smile twisted the corners of my lips, truly I was expectant of the new young soon to be added to the family. Heavens knew I loved to spoil the small things.] I do not recall the last time I traveled to the city on pleasure, so this shopping trip shall do the both of us good.] My cheeks tinted crimson, I thanked the stars it was dark inside the Mercedes when I thought of that long ago shopping trip to that adult toy store Bella had been so kind to introduced me too…fates, the Chosen Layla would have to be given mouth to mouth resuscitation if ever introduced to ‘The Pink Carousel’ down on 5th. Just then the Mercedes coasted to a stop in front of a brightly lit strip mall with dozens of stores and cafes on either side. “I shall return for you mistresses afore the shops close.” Thanking Fritz, I stepped out of the car first, my eyes ever watchful, my natural tendency to be on alert always on the surface.]
XCOR: [I walked for miles, ne’er seeing or seeing one lesser. My mood choked me, wanting the fight and for once naught one came to me. I glanced up and found myself in a highly populated part of town. Bright lights, store windows adorned with nik naks humans fawned over themselves to buy. I sneered, shifted on my boots to turn to head in the opposite direction when a scent caught my nose. Halted me dead in my tracks… nay.. it couldnae be her? Every fibre of my being woke up in a great rush until I felt as if touched by the scribe herself. Casting a dark gaze in and around the humans, trailing past them all nary giving them a second thought… she was here somewhere, the blood in mine veins was humming with her presence…. a sparkle of blonde hair in the distance… ahh… Layla. My visceral reaction was to storm through the throng of people and command her to return home, was nay safe for one such as she to be out alone. More than obvious she was nay with a warrior… yet then my eyes strayed upon the dark haired female at her side, guiding my chosen, chatting with a smile upon her face… but e’er watchful. Indeed, my chosen had a brotherhood guide after all. And this one I knew. Her stature alone would have gave her away, until I caught sight of her eyes. White as fresh fallen snow. Was it not this female who had broken the news to me that the bloodletter was nay the father I had always thought him to be… aye… my eyes narrowed to dark slits… shifting my body back out of sight but ne’er leaving that of the chosen until they entered a store front decorated in feminine undergarments…I followed at a slower pace. Intent to keeping an eye on both females… for very different reasons]
LAYLA: [Both Layla and Payne exited the vehicle with ease…well, as much ease as she could muster while carrying the extra weight of her young so close to her center of gravity. Once she was standing her full height, Layla inhaled deeply through her nose and smiled at the warmth in the air. Gone were the nights of the harsh cold winter and in their place were eve’s that allowed for her to wear naught but a thin pair of pants and a sleeveless blouse. They linked arms and began walking along the shops until Payne’s eyes lit up before a lingerie shop. Layla smiled and pulled her towards the door.] Verily sister mine, we need to browse herein for a bit, don’t you think? [They both paused and she felt a small sense of unease when her sisters eyes roamed carefully over the throws of people surrounding them on the sidewalk. Her heartbeat rose as memories of who she had spotted when last shopping with Qhuinn, but she quickly quenched the thoughts knowing that the warrior would not appear again, even if her heart had willed it to happen.]
PAYNE: [A sense of foreboding traced icy fingers up my spine, I nodded to Layla before scanning the area and heading into the shop. Once inside I could not shake off the apprehension that almost had me leading the Chosen directly back to the Mercedes, except when she tugged at my arm I glanced down at her beatific smile and opted not to spoil our evening. It was not often we spent time together and asides it wasn’t as if I was without weapon. So I pushed down my edginess and relaxed a little, a warm smile on my lips.] This place is…is so PINK! And such beautiful garments or ‘cute’ as Bella would say.] We walked around the store oooing and aaaing and even giggling over some of the more risque items Layla insisted I purchase.] Verily, sister Manuel will thank thee. Oh, look at these. Mayhap you should try a few to see which would look best. Anything over the robes and Qhuinn’s over-sized shirts you have been living in. Here. [I handed Layla several sleepshirts in different sizes and colors, with sayings on the front in bold letters: ‘Nite Life’ ‘Angel’ ‘Love’, all perfect for her.] Go on, the fitting cubicles are on the far left corner of the store. I shall return with more colors for your choosing, yes?
XCOR: [I didnae give it a seconds thought when I entered the brightly lit store front with its decadently designed feminine regalia where’er the eye landed. Yet my gaze didnae pause on the frilly whatnots. Whence I saw the daughter of the bloodletter turn right I went left, my gait strong as I followed the scent of the chosen,nay e’en sure what I was doing, yet an unearthly pull kept my feet walking in a bold stride until I was in distance of the female, following behind as she entered the small cubicle carrying an armful of items. The deadly silence upon mine back from my lady scythe only served to unnerve me further. One last gaze over my shoulder checking the dark haired female and I was faced with the blonde angel… the hum in my veins intensified until it was all I heard. Madness, aye… I frowned seeing the look on the chosen’s face when she spied me in the wall of mirrors… dipping my head to hide from the glaring lights. whence we had seen each other afore, it was always beneath the darkness of night. I filled up the cubicle but felt no stir to leave. I found myself scowling, the urge to protect this female and her growing young, eyes drifted to her rounded belly… a growl left my throat] why is your primale not protecting you again, chosen?
LAYLA: [Gasping, she whipped around and came face to face with Xcor. She froze and simply stared at him while he attempted to hide his face, but then turned to her. Dearest Virgin in the Fade, had he been following her and her sister? And into such a feminine store? The handful of items were crushed to her chest as if to cover herself, although she was still fully clothed. The growl that grew in his chest as his eyes fell upon her swollen belly should have frightened her, but did not. It only made her blood run hot and her heart speed up a few dozen notches. It was a few moments before she gathered her thoughts.] Xcor! Whatever are you doing herein? Did anyone see you? This is the females dressing room! [Her chin was up and firm. She had not answered his direct question, but verily ‘twas not of his concern. Her brows knitted over her clear green eyes when a bit of anger grew within her. Why did he seem so concerned with the Primale? He still had not answered her and she began to grow even more disturbed.] Well?
XCOR: Aye, I know where it is, chosen. Do not think me stupid either that you have nay answered my question [An irrational tick began its heavy beat upon my jaw. She was beauty itself, and also maddening. I chose to answer her, afore her eyes widened any further with shock] I am not invisible, female, I assume I was seen by many humans, aye. If you mean by your female companion, nay, she did not lay eyes upon me. [The brotherhood had known this chosen had been in my care for days not so long ago, no doubt they called it kidnapping, and in such regard I wondered why e’er they allowed her to roam free once more. The Primale truly was less of a male to let his pregnant female out alone, even escorted with the bloodletter’s kin. I reasoned it was nay my business where or what she did or with whom, her rounded belly said she was nay an innocent after all…. but the tick of annoyance weighed heavy upon me. To make amends for what I had caused many months ago, mayhap? I shifted, the small confines of the room growing e’er smaller seemingly to bewilder us both. The scent of her was intoxicating, a struggle nay to lean down to her blond hair and inhale] you…[I cleared the gruffness from my voice] you and your young are well, chosen? [I needed to know if she had had any lasting damage to that fateful night of the bombing, a regret I would carry unto the fade]
LAYLA: [Layla’s chin rose even higher when he seemed to be annoyed with her in having not answered his question. Her hands dropped causing the clothes to pool onto the floor and exposing her complete pregnant self. His question on her well being softened the edges a bit. Did he truly care for her, or was he only worried o’er the Brotherhood since the accident? Her brows furrowed questioningly as he continued to look upon her so intently.] Yes, warrior. I am very well, thank you. The young ‘tis strong and e’er kicking her mahmen. [She wondered if she had just spoken too much, but let the worry go as quickly as she had let go of the clothes. Seeing his face clearly, for the first time, had her aching to reach out and touch his scarred lip. Dearest Scribe, they were already in such a confined space. Would it be so terribly wrong for her to act on her feelings? She knew not if he would ever be so near again and decided to throw caution to the wind, as they say. Closing the small space between them, Layla slowly reached up and brushed her slender fingers over his lips.] Thank you for allowing me to truly see you.
PAYNE: [The sales associate’s chatter was incessant once she had managed to corner me in between the braziers and the body sprays. “You must try this one!” She said covering me in some floral perfume. One whiff and I was sneezing. “Okay maybe not, you seem more like the earthy type scents. How about this one? Your eyes are so cool, where can I get those contacts?” More spraying, my eyes began to water and I waved my hand in front of my face to disperse the air hoping she would notice my surrender.] Enough please. Thank you so much, you have helped… [My smile wavered, mood plummeting to my toes in an instant when above the cloud of lingering perfumes my nose deciphered another peculiar yet familiar scent that had not been there afore. “What the…it’s freezing in here! I think Nancy turned down the air…” The chill she felt was all me but she was oblivious as we went our separate ways and I approached the fitting room with caution. My body tense, coiled like a spring as a rumbled male voice followed by Layla’s caused me to immediately unsheathe mine dagger from the small of my back. Through a visible sliver of drawn curtain, I could make out the form of a broad shoulder male and a bulk of some sort across his back, as if hiding something within…a weapon mayhap but it was his accent that had me riveted when clarity dawned on me with a punch to my gut and I realized who it was, my reaction immediate. Shoving the partition to the side, I was momentarily puzzled when seeing the Chosen abruptly drop her hand in…mid caress? and blush like mad, stepping away seemingly unharmed. Odd but no time to waste I wrapped my fist deep into the back of the male’s hair and yanked hard pressing my dagger tip to his jugular, my voice a deadly rasp by his ear.] Verily, I do not think pink suits you, bastard.
XCOR: [My grimace for the chosen almost touching my ugly face turned to that of disdain seeing the reflection in the mirror of the bloodletters daughter. Mayhap the female retook her lessons on stealth manoeuvre for her arrival was clumsy at best. Shock registered on the lovely blondes face…. It caused a gnaw in my chest to know she was embarrassed. Aye… To be seen with me, I couldnae hold blame towards her. I transferred my bulk, turning a slashed sneer upon the female with the whitest eyes, ne’er expecting to be face to face with her again. Our long since association was not pleasant yet I wished no harm to befall her. I removed her hand, assessing her with shrewdness, she was skilled with a blade, and sure she would have used her weapon against me, I wondered then why she did not. Two of my fingers touched the blade moving it idly, taking one slight step in that tiny room that had just become e’er smaller, in front of the chosen, telling myself it was only because she was with young and needed protecting from the trigger temper of her companion… No other reason, aye…. ] I go by Xcor, Payne, daughter of the fearsome warrior Bloodletter… Mayhap you use it, aye… Afore I forgot you are the weaker sex and show you what your little knife can do. [there was no noise from my Lady scythe, a deep frown etched across my face, it caused me worry, so used to the usual hum for the fight she had ne’er let me down all these decades, why now was my beauty silent and forsaken that in which I had always known… I cast a blue gaze upon Layla, silent in the corner, her lovely green eyes darting between us… ] “hello…. Is everything alright in there?” [a shrill voice from outside the cubicle came through clear] “you all can’t be in there, it’s a dressing room not a…. ” [that same voice tapered off, annoyed yet another person was interrupting my speaking with the chosen, my gruff tone joined that with both females and we answered in unison] Yes! [The posturing from the bloodletters offspring didnae go unnoticed, my tone was even… Curious..] of all the dressings rooms in all the world you happen to walk into mine… [was that a grin from the chosen? I kept eyes on the female warrior so couldnae be sure] mayhap you enjoyed our meeting long again and yearn for such again, aye?
PAYNE: The LAST thing we need is to create a scene herein! [A hiss, I whispered as low as I could, my silver eyes narrowed to his blue ones when I caught a glimpse of Layla behind Xcor. Not a hint of terror, nor a trace of fear marked her features. If anything, she tried badly to hide her amusement at his words. Was I missing something? I looked upon his face again, a scowl marred my features when I spoke words dripped in contempt.] Mayhap I shall cut off your balls so as to show how weak I am. Verily, you bore me with your commentary. [The air snapped with tension, the underlining of something else licked around the edges and I did not like it even though I had lowered my blade at this point. Briefly I recalled my last meet with Xcor. How no harm had befallen me, how he had even seemed embarrassed after finding out from my mouth he was not to be the Bloodletters son but deceived throughout his life. It had been an eye-opening encounter for both, yet I had eventually been delivered from harms way….but now as I stood face to face with him again, my fist tightening on the hilt of my dagger, it seemed different. My eyes swept over his stance, the way he stood shielding me away from the Chosen as if I was the one she was in danger from and she…Layla was none too concerned with the giant of a male that stood afore her protectively, if anything she looked almost welcoming of his attentions. Her features flushed, her hands clutched over her heart as if trying to keep it in the cage of her chest….what the fu….] Layla, come. [I ushered the Chosen to my side, the pitch in my voice more commanding than I meant to. Sweet destiny, I was perplexed at their behavior and getting highly annoyed the more time we spent in such close proximity. When Layla shuffled around without so much as batting an eyelash or actually moving, I had to breathe in all the air in the small vicinity to keep from shouting my lungs out.] I do not believe you mean to harm us, do you Xcor? Mayhap, you made a mistake and were just…leaving, yes? YES?
XCOR: [I looked at the female with a sense of boding perplexity and one of irritation. What kind of training was she receiving from the blind king if she couldnae recognize I was nay threat to the chosen. I scoffed and scowled, eyeing her sternly. Such a pity she had nay been raised with the bloodletter, she would have been a supreme fighter. I was out of patience and could sense the chosen behind me was uncomfortable by such a scene. I turned towards her, keeping the dark haired female in my peripheral as I addressed her] run along, and be a good girl, I shall be having words with Layla afore I take my leave. [when no one moved an inch I cursed scowling deeper] “sir! You cannot be in the ladies changing area, I must ask you to leave before I call my manager” [again the irritation from outside sounded. With no care I bodily moved Payne out of the way and yanked the flimsy curtain back to glare at the petite woman] woman, your voice is shrill and annoying, kindly move away from mine ears. As you can see my companions and I are not doing as you would say hanky or panky, aye? [it seemed as if the scribe herself was putting obstacles in my way of speaking with her daughter. Just as well, I was growing soft around her, I needed my focus back on what was important, my entire mission of being in Caldwell.] needs must depart, chosen. We will meet anon… one day, aye. You and your young be well. [shrewd blue gaze switched to the female who looked so much alike the male I had once thought of as mine own father, voice a stark veiled threat] you will guard this chosen as if she is carrying the secret to the fountain of youth. in her back pocket, I will hear of it if you do not. [a slight sneer, not unimpressed by how she stood up to me, not even Balthazar was foolish enough to do so] until the next time whence we meet… Mayhap your skills for combat will have improved then, aye? [a last look upon the chosen, the ache in my chest and the silence from my scythe equally worry some. I was out of the tight space, through the store giving a last scowl to that dullard clerk and back into the night. To fight and to hunt and to forget this foolish obsession with the blonde]
LAYLA: [The confrontation between the two had Layla on pins and needles, though she managed to maintain a calm facade, or so she thought. She even tried to hide the humor she found in Xcor’s comments to her beloved sister. Worry filled her head briefly as Payne’s eyes darted between her and the warrior, but kept her composure. Verily, she would no doubt be addressing many a question on the drive home. Truth be told, she was both relieved and saddened at the same time to have been interrupted in their time alone. Layla didn’t trust herself around Xcor. Her heart pounded in her chest at the mere scent of him filling the cubicle. The words that transpired between the two were thankfully lacking in death threats, and she found herself breathing a sigh of relief until the male turned to her and said his goodbyes. With a small smile, Layla bowed her head out of habit and watched as his large body exited the small space, then turned her eyes back to those of her sister.] I beg for your forgiveness in my lack of regard for mine own safety. I shall leave these garments here and we can take our leave sister mine.
PAYNE: [Mayhap I counted to ten. Mayhap ten thousand for furious did not begin to cover how I felt upon the curtains falling back leaving Layla and I alone in the dressing room. I wanted to go after Xcor. I wanted to confront him and demand what was to be his purpose and to leave mine family be. To leave Caldwell and ne’er return for whatever his reasons were, it would only end in bloodshed, war. And within our own race at that! It was senseless and it needed to end except my priority was Layla and I could not leave her without escort, so there I stayed while everything in me screamed to go, go, GO. It was not so much his ridiculous jabs at my ability as a fighter that boiled my anger, for he had seen afore what my fists alone could do to our enemy but more his lack of…of care. His ‘give a shit’, pardon my French as my Queen would say, seemed to have taken a leave of absence along with his scruples. Correction, he did care but it was apparent his aim was not for his own safety but for a certain green eyed Chosen whose cheeks had tinted to a deep rose color. By fate, what had just transpired? Layla’s soft voice cut through my rage, I stilled sheathing my weapon and met her gaze. My anger I masked with a perplexity I could only hold so much though my stance clearly gave way when my hands landed on my hips and my brows drew down in perfect arches. Ample time we had spent together on this side not to mention the hundreds of years within the Sanctuary where it was suffice to say, she knew well enough to see through my facade.] There is naught to forgive. However curious I am because I assure you, sister, I am, I shall not ply you with questions herein. [My words clipped, for I wanted us out of there as soon as it was possible. One unwanted visitor was enough to my liking. We shall take our leave. For the safety of you and your unborn young, our trip is indeed over. [Not long after, we gathered our things and much to the chagrin of the sales clerk, exited the store without a purchase in hand. Thankfully, the slick black Mercedes stood parked at the curb we had left earlier its motor purred like a panther, where Fritz awaited our return with a joyous smile that faltered as we drew closer. “Is everything alright, madame?” At his query, Layla met my leveled gaze before averting her eyes, the blush on her cheeks quite obvious before mumbling a yes to the doggen and slipping quietly into the back seat. Call it what one will but my intuition ne’er failed. Secrets swam within the green pools of her eyes and although the drive home was spent in silence, one name seemed to hang in the air betwixt us: Xcor. Indeed, I had many a question including who I was to report this incident to…Wrath? Qhuinn? I sighed, rubbing my face with both hands. Fates, either choice was bound to erupt to volcanic proportions but as the Chosen’s soft snore sounded, I looked over at her sleeping form, her hands protective laid on her belly and decided to let things be…for now.] #UnmaskedDeceit