The door to Anetho’s place sounded with Lady Duskflame’s rapping upon it. It was perhaps a bit impetuous to show up unannounced rather than wait for an invitation, but matters were coming to a head. Anetho peered up at the door, holding a cloth to his mouth. “Enter!” He called out in a raspy voice, coughing into his rag.
Kuv smiled, door opening and heeled feet taking her inside. She glanced briefly around before her gaze found the speaker sitting behind a desk cluttered with papers, amulets, rings and other assorted magical paraphernalia. He nodded weakly at her, sitting up as straight as he might in his cushioned chair to address her. “Kuvasei, to what do I owe the surprise?”
Kuv kept her demeanor pleasant, though she was deeply worried and a layer of sadness wrapped her mood. “May I sit?” She asked as she approached, clad in a gown of emerald and sapphire that shimmered when she walked.
Anetho pushed himself from the one chair behind the desk and pulled it out a little for her. “…Here you are…” He regarded her kindly, even though his voice was as rough as granite having been subjected to so strenuous a coughing fit. Kuv shook her head, “Anetho.. even I can see you’re not well. Surely I can take a chair different than yours.”
“I broke the rest in a fit of rage.” He confessed. “I don’t think you’d enjoy the sensation of sitting upon embers very much…” He held the cloth to his mouth, stifling a cough as he continued to smile at her. “Politics… They’ll kill you.”
She smiled and took the offered chair, it would have been rude to do otherwise. “What caused the rage,” she asked simply, not wishing to force her way immediately to the difficult subjects. “The very same topic you wrote to me over.” He frowns at her in sincere discontent. “I apologize that I did not write you sooner… But I’ve been rather indisposed…” She crossed her legs. “I can well imagine…Anetho…” She said his name with a note of sadness as her pleasantries ran their course.
“Even I admit this farce has gone to far, but there is nothing I can do in the wake of these charges. They’ve gone beyond my hands. It is a matter befitting military judgement, rather than the judicial system.” He shakes his head, coughing into his blood stained cloth again, before clearing his throat and speaking again. “…All I can do now is testify on his behalf and offer the best appeal that I can…” Kuv looked at him sadness shifting to disbelief and then a tinge of anger. “It’s you who forced this into a military court.. why? What reason could you possibly have?”
He straightened his bow tie and peered down at her. His expression didn’t change much, still bland and neutral. “…What did you ask me to do… Kuvasei?” He moved to the other side of the desk. “What did Astoreth… ask me… to do?” “Anetho, keep my children safe!” He throws his hands into the air. “Anetho, please save me!” He exclaims turning about to kick a scrying orb over. “Magister, commit your mana to the device, we must protect the people!”
Kuv just looked at him, not certain where he was going.
“WELL WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK DID YOU ASK ME TO DO!?”
Kuv kept her voice quiet, “Anetho, I am going to ask you this once and only once. Please do not yell at me, you -will- treat me with respect or I will walk right out that door.” She kept anger out, there was nothing in her tone but the will behind her words, and the self-respect they supported.
He committed his attention more to the rag than to her as he was wracked by an onslaught of whooping coughs before he inhaled sharply and sighed, trying to steady his breathing. “…I told you he was destined to die. I told Astoreth, he was destined to die.. The two of you in your own ways sought me out… I was tasked in protecting him, if I might…” He ran his right hand through his hair with a sigh. “…There is a great tidal wave approaching, and he stands upon the wrong end of it.”
Kuv softened with the drop in volume. “Anetho, we are all destined to die. Have you actually seen, beyond doubt that he is going to perish in this.. tidal wave? Because for certain, if he loses his commission, you’ll be killing his spirit. The Rangers are his life.”
“Do you observe the colors your father carries in his every step? The tabard that rests upon his chest?” He asks quietly, in a defeated manner. “…Yes. Because if I can’t remove him from the board, than an even greater tragedy will befall him upon it…”
And do you predict that every single ranger will be killed? So far, you’ve only portrayed a great battle with the inference of us being on the losing side.”
“There will be a division. A few amongst the Farstriders will likewise be swept up in this tsunami… I’m doing the best I can, in the only methods I know how.” He gritted his teeth. “Clearly… this is never good enough.”
“Do you -know- that father will be killed?”
“Yes. With pristine certainty.”
Kuv nodded slowly, “Then did you consider other options of removing him.. ” softening, “Options that wouldn’t crush him.. and wouldn’t force me to choose between him, and you? Anetho.. please.. please don’t make me choose.”
“I’m trying to -save- his career! Do you know how much coin I’ve spent on his behalf? How many men I’ve been forced to bed with!?”
She shook her head softly, “No.. no I really do not. I only know that tricking him into an appeal he did not request could cost him everything.”
He held the rag to his mouth, stifling another coughing fit. He sighed after a moment. “…And it may cost him so much more if I hadn’t…” He frowned at her. “I’m doing my damndest to maneuver this in a more agreeable manner… But I need you to trust me in this regard. Trust that I’m doing the right thing…” Now it was his turn to plead.
Kuv looked saddened, so very saddened and she rose to place a hand on his arm. “I want to Anetho, Titans I want to.. but it’s not just me who has to trust you. Do you understand? If I stay with you.. with what Dad is going through.. it’s going to kill our relationship. He will only see it as betrayal, and.. honestly, he’d be right to do so. Even if I trust you, I’m still in the same position and I don’t know what to do.”
“I told him as plainly as I am able at present; I’m doing this to protect him. I can’t break it any simpler than that.” He sighs. “You and he will need to await the day of the trial. I can elaborate on everything as soon as it has subsided.”
Kuvasei nodded sadly, her hand falling from his arm to a smallish side-bag from whence she produced a familiar box. This she placed on the desk. “Fix this, Anetho, fix this please, not only with the trial, but with father as well. When he gives his blessing to our courting, you may, if you so choose, gift it again. I’m not above begging for this… but.. I.. cannot bear to see him like this, so.. please.”
“You may not like what the end result is, but you must understand that it is all I can barter for right now… It will not be a permanent affair.”
Kuv forced a smile onto her face, “I hope so.. please make it so, Anetho. You are.. everything I ever wanted in a man.. everything I ever dreamed of.. and then some. I never dreamed I could be so lucky as to have someone like you.. someone with your brilliance, and the depth of your affection to court me.. please.. please don’t let me lose that.. don’t let me lose you.” With these sincere and vulnerable words, she made her way across the room to stand by the door. The box remained upon the table.
He moved to slide into his chair once again, weary and tired. Sweat forming along his forehead. “…Gods only know how terribly this pains me to see you suffer so in the throngs of confusion…” He coughs into his rag again, violently. Blood droplets staining it further.
Kuv paused with the door open, the evening light throwing her form into a partial silhouette. “This is me trusting you Anetho.. when you say you are doing it for the best, I believe you. I’m willing to wait to see it through..and on the other side, when father gives me his blessing, then we can pick up again. Happiness, it is worth the risk.”
He nodded in agreement. “…I hate for you to see me like this…” He mumbled.
“It just makes me look to better days….and for what it’s worth, when I close my eyes, you are not who you appear today, are bright, shining, and brilliant enough that I find myself forced to look away. Goodnight Anetho.” She closed the door and made her way home. She didn’t drive, she walked. About then she really…. really needed the night’s solace.
[Adapted from rp log between Anetho and Kuvasei]