Commissioned work in progress.
30 Day OTP Challenge [previous][next]
Lieutenant Den Maurlias leaned against the tree, blowing into his gloved hands and hugging his arms to himself as the cutting cold ripped through the dense forest, shaking the trees and their leaves in its wake. His prisoner, Sabin Duvert, sat a few feet from him; as far as the magical chain that bound him to his captor would allow. Den had walked these dark forests many times in his life; but this time it seemed different.
“We’re far enough out that we should be safe,” he said, looking into the woods. He looked over to his ward who was glowering back at him. Sabin crossed his arms and looked out into the darkness. “With the sun setting,” Den continued, “It’s going to get even colder, and fast.”
“Taking me to my exile in the middle of winter doesn’t seem like such a good idea now, does it?” Sabin snarked. Having grown up in the mountainous regions of the Alps in France, he was fairly tolerant of the cold. Nonetheless, it was certainly uncomfortable without a fire or shelter from the wind.
“I’m just following orders,” Den muttered, blowing into his gloved hands again. He was fairly certain they would be far enough out from the Dream Border to not have to worry about Anju, but Sabin’s presence was throwing off his magical detection – a tattoo like marking on his chest – so he was worried that if an Anju did show up, he wouldn’t be able to tell they were coming. This nervousness wasn’t showing on his stoic face, but Sabin could tell. Nervousness was akin to fear: something Sabin could sense. He could feel the twittering, dull, muzzing on his consciousness. “We should make camp.”
Sabin gestured hopelessly, what did he expect him to do? Den sighed and secured his mithril chain-leash to the tree. “Please, don’t make trouble,” the lieutenant said to him sternly. Securing his sword by his side, Den headed out to gather kindling.
The white-haired man sighed in resigned defeat. He had already tried, and the enchanted mithril chain rendered his ability to escape, even in his shadow form, futile. He watched the snow flurries begin to come down and shifted his weight, trying to get more comfortable on the cold, hard ground. He knew his sour attitude was grating on his captor, and deep-down, Sabin knew he should be grateful. All things considered, exile from the Fae Realm was probably the best-scenario for his capture. The sole purpose of the Border Guards was to protect the realm from Anju, and they had no idea how to handle Sabin - a strange half human, half Anju hybrid. Had the Fae held him for all his crimes before his merging, he would have been lucky to escape with his life at all.
Actually, Lieutenant Maurlias was his most vocal advocate. He was instrumental in convincing the Council that he shouldn’t be executed because he hadn’t actually killed any Fae since his merging with the human, and pointing out that executing Sabin would only mean another Anju would eventually come take his place - and this one they wouldn’t be able to reason with.
That’s probably why the Captain of the Guard, Captain Versaine, charged Maurlias with escorting him to the Border to send him back into Reality. Sabin wasn’t a master of subtlety, but he had his suspicions that there was no love lost between Captain Versaine and his first lieutenant.
A few minutes later, Den returned with his kindling and went about making the fire in silence. The hot flames of the campfire went a long way to spare them from the bitter cold, but with the snow coming down harder now, Sabin still found himself shivering heavily. Den had a bedroll layed out by the fire, and had given Sabin a blanket, but the temperate kept dropping without mercy.
“This is very uncharacteristic for this time of year,” Den finally said as the darkness swallowed the forest completely. Even the flames of the fire seemed to have trouble piercing through the thick blackness of the Border forest. His voice was shaking, unable to stop the chattering of his own teeth.
“Well, if I freeze to death, I don’t think your lovely Captain will be too upset,” Sabin growled, pulling the blanket tighter.
Den frowned, but didn’t answer. His bedroll was as close to the fire as he was comfortable moving it, but he still found himself shivering in the uncharacteristic chill of the night air. They waited in silence for what seemed like hours; the minutes slogging by. The cold had plunged long past uncomfortable and was approaching downright painful, even for the more cold-hardy Sabin.
“We need to make sure we stay warm,” Den finally said into the blackness.
Sabin looked over to him, his eyes seeing perfectly in the dark. He had tried to huddle up in the curved roots of a nearby tree, but it was doing little to shield him from the cold with his one measly blanket.
With a sigh, and a small uptick of fear Sabin felt, Den pulled back the thicker blanket of his bedroll. Survival training was mandatory for the Borderguards, and this was something he had done many times before, only… never with a captive.
And certainly never with an Anju.
Sabin cocked his head, and found himself grinning deviously despite himself. “Really? You trust me, an Anju?”
Den flustered, clenching his jaw. What choice did he have? It was trust Sabin or freeze. “Would you rather sleep in the snow?”
Sabin shook his head, grabbing his blanket and scooting closer to the Eldhe soldier. He also knew that sharing body heat with a companion was one of the best ways to fight off hypothermia if you caught yourself out in the winter. He slid behind the smaller man in the bedroll, adding his blanket on top for extra protection.
Den stiffened, uncomfortable with an Anju so close… feeling his breath on the back of his neck and the demanding tingle of his mark. He felt an unwelcome blush crawl across his skin as Sabin pulled in incredibly close, hooking his arms around his waist. But he couldn’t deny that it was already much more tolerably warm in the little cocoon of the bedroll.
Sabin didn’t say anything, either, but was grateful for the extra warmth and…the trust. Thought he wouldn’t admit it, part of him was rather touched that the dedicated fusspot Maurlias seemed to truly believe him that he wasn’t a danger; despite his whole life having been dedicated to the extermination of his shadowy species.
It wasn’t long before they were finally able to find sleep. Seeking heat, and comfort, it wasn’t long before their unconscious bodies wrapped up together, shielding each other from the dark, cold, bitter winter storm.
30 Day OTP Challenge - Day One (Holding Hands)
So, I asked my beautiful wife, Arania, if she would do the 30 Day OTP Challenge with our characters Den (http://arania.kamiki.net/Den.htm) and Sabin (http://vl.kamiki.net/sabin.htm), and she agreed only if I would participate, too!
Since I’m a writer, not a artist, I’ll be writing short vignettes and she’ll be illustrating them!
No promises I’ll have a new one everyday, but I will make sure to do all 30 prompts.
Day One: Holding Hands
"Putting Out the Light"
Sabin knew he was twice as lucky as most ‘normal’ people. On some level, he knew in the grand scheme of the Universal Truth, he had no real reason to be upset. He was blessed in so many ways that were virtually unattainable, if not plain incomprehensible, to the normal folk that walked the earth.
Being immortal seems exceptionally appealing on the surface. Actually, being completely honest, even with all the extra pains and complications Sabin’s long life gave him, he still wouldn’t choose differently in the end. But while he got to experience life in a ways most people wouldn’t dream, the mountains may be high but the valley’s were soul-crushingly low. Indeed, an immortal experiences such pains in their life that there would have to be centuries between them, else they wouldn’t have any hopes of coping.
Samantha was the first. Most people are lucky if they manage to find love even for a little while, Sabin got over a hundred years. Prime years, even. Over a century without having to ensure the pain of sickness, slowness, dementia…. no, though she was gone she was as young and beautiful and lively on the day she died as the day Sabin married her.
Sabin had known the chances of finding something like Samantha’s unconditional love again were not in his favor. How selfish could a person to be to ask the unseen forces of the universe to grant him this level of happiness again in a life that already got to experience the wonder of love for ten times longer than that of the normal human? Sabin couldn’t even in good conscious claim to ‘deserve’ it. No, he was no monster like he once was, but he was no saint, either. He didn’t dedicate his hours to some greater purpose, or pour all his wealth into humanitarian efforts.
But, after many years, it had come in the most unexpected form. One that should have been an enemy. Completely different than Sabin had ever imagined - the Eldhe Borderguard gentleman named Den Maurlias. The story of how would-be mortal enemies became lovers throughout the ages is a long one, but like all masterful stories, this one, too, was coming to a close.
Once again, the crushing, unstoppable, unending forces of time had been more kind to Sabin than most. Eldhe, being of the Fae realm, age significantly slower than humans. Indeed, Den was over 700 years himself. He had seen the world change into nearly unrecognizable versions of itself nearly three times over. And even aging Eldhe do so in a way unlike humans. People grow old quickly, their bodies and minds crumbling away; slipping into death like sands through the hourglass. Thankfully, Eldhe do so with much more grace. They grow grayer, and slower, as time goes by. But it’s a creeping, building, steady decline. Their mind stays sharp, and to a good deal their bodies become only slightly more frail than in their prime. But there is a weariness that begins to show in their eyes; their souls grow old faster than their mortal coils.
An Eldhe knows when it’s their time, and Den was no different. His body had grown weaker so slowly over the last several decades, Sabin would have hardly noticed had he not had the photographic records to be able to compare the years against each other with such harsh reality. But even now, he didn’t look like an “old man,” more of a tired one. He slept for long periods of time. He barely ate, and even then food that would barely be considered a meal; nuts, fruits, and veggies at most. When he was awake, he was quiet, reflective.
Sabin had been sitting in his room for hours. A stack of books and takeout boxes beside him, he was sitting up in his bed reading a novel. Den had been asleep for the better part of the day, but Sabin had refused to leave his side. After all, he had all the time in the world.
But still, Sabin found himself jumping a bit when he felt Den’s hand reach out to grab his own. He had been so still, Sabin didn’t know how long he had been awake. He set down his book and smiled down at his husband. “Hey,” he said quietly with his trademark, lop-sided grin. He squeezed his hand, “Can I get you something?”
“It’s time,” Den said, reaching his other hand over to grasp Sabin’s own.
Sabin felt his chest seize up. “No…” he whispered. He knew this time was coming, but nothing can prepare you for having to face such inevitability.
Den smiled, a gesture he only saved for when he meant it. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“Den…” Sabin felt his eyes immediately start to sting. “I’m not ready… please, hold on…don’t thank me, what are you thanking me for?”
It wasn’t as if Den wanted to die. But life and death is different for Fae than it is for humans. They aren’t shadowed by the looming fear of the great Unknown. They don’t try to bargain with some unseen God, nor do they spend their last days regretting everything they didn’t do. Their last hours are spent in quiet reflection, and acceptance. “I never thought my life would be like this. That I would be this happy. That I would have had this… love, a home, children…Sabin, when I was a young man, before I met you, these were simply dreams.” He paused, “No, not even dreams. I wouldn’t have even dared to hope.”
Sabin squeezed his hands, harder than he probably would have had he been more aware. He learned down and pressed his lips against Dens’. What do you say at a time like this? This had been coming for years, but still Sabin felt as desperate and angry and scared and devastated as when he had learned Samantha was gone. After several moments of silence, silent tears pouring over his face he choked out, “I love you.”
Den freed one of his hands and gently touched Sabin’s face, rubbing his thumb over his cheek. He felt the familiar twitch, triggering Sabin’s four solid red eyes to open from their concealment. Sabin’s face - his real face - was the last thing Den wanted to see before he Slept. “I love you, too,” he said. His eyes closed again, the ghost of a smile still on his lips, and his grip slacked on Sabin’s hands. He was gone; Sabin didn’t even need to check. The last of his fairy glow faded, and he slipped away.
Kamiki Commission - by iPead
So one of Arania’s commissioners gave her some funds for a commission for a wedding present! We finally decided on June and she did a REMARKABLE job.
This is Kamiki and Sabin (obviously) BUT they are dressed in the same outfits we got married in, and in the same place (the Fireplace at the B&B in Vermont we were at).
So eeee <3
I can’t believe its coming up on a year already!
Barnabas! (second sheet)
new sketch sheets c:
Reblogging from source.
Jingoro acting all adorbs (the bottom sheet)