Let me start this by apologizing for the not-so-wonderful writing below, as well as for having the nerve to post something three months late; just saw this today and after reading the introduction, had the theme below spring to my mind. It's horridly written and shouldn't be read by anyone.
You can't say I didn't warn you.“Oh, Kelsey.” Merena shook her head and unsheathed her hunting knife. “You’re forgetting the rules.”
“Th..the rules?” he stammered, his gaze darting wildly around the room. He had to look at something. Her face. Yes. Eye contact was good. The warm sparkle which had always greeted him in the past when their eyes met was gone, however, leaving her grey-green eyes devoid of any emotion save carefully veiled fury. That didn’t bode well. He glanced away, finally settling on fiddling on the robes halfway draped over his lean body.
The grip of the knife was warm, comfortable. It felt..right again, though she hadn't had occasion to use it much since Kylia's birth. Her left hand darted out to snatch a handful of the robes Kelsey had started to drag on. No traveling robes these. Oh, no indeed. No simple merchant would risk ruining that heavy, luxuriant silk whilst traveling the dusty roads.
"Yes, Kelsey. The rules. Yours, I believe." Merena hardly recognized her own voice. From the blanching of Kelsey's already pale skin, he didn't seem to either. "Remember Sil? Bes? Ven? The Rule of Talking?" Her voice was a purr. A thought drifted through Kelsey's mind randomly that if he could have marketed that tone as a piece of cloth, it would have been the finest velvet. Plush, not wool.
Candlelight glinting off the razor-keen blade of Merena's knife brought him quickly back to attention. "Merena," he began, hating the weak note that had crept into his voice. "Merena, I.."
"Sssh. The rules, my love. The rules."
Selecting a particularly fine bit of embroidery with which to begin -- silver threads, even! -- Merena delicately sliced through the smooth fabric of Kelsey's sapphirine robes. She felt him shudder; didn't he remember playing these games before? Never in someone else's bed, of course. The tight smile that affixed itself upon her face faltered momentarily as she thought back over all the good years they’d shared together. Kelsey noticed the softer look and reached up, seeking to touch her cheek, to try to soothe away the fears and fury written in her eyes as he had in the past. Firmly, yet gently, her left hand encircled his wrist, pinning it down to the bed, her right still holding the knife in a light, yet rock-steady grip.
“You know, Kelsey,” she began, letting the keen blade whisper through the heavy silk of his robes, knowing he could feel the cool steel against his flesh, though she didn’t touch him, not quite. “You were the only one for me. There was never anyone else. There couldn’t have been. Only you.”
Kelsey lay naked on the bed now, surrounded by the flowing pool of his deep blue robes. Merena laid the knife on a table beside the bed, unlacing her bodice in a slow, tantalizing manner. As more and more of her creamy flesh appeared, Kelsey found himself wondering why exactly he’d left her alone so much in the first place. It couldn’t have taken her all too long to divest herself of her traveling clothes, however, for Kelsey, it seemed the longest moments of his life.
“Only me?” Kelsey said, trying to control the slight tremor in his voice. “What about Anomen, or Waukeen forbid, that drow you picked up in the Underdark. I saw the way they looked at you, and I know you looked back. I seem to remember you doing a little more than just looking at that wretched knight.”
“Anomen? I listened to him, Kelsey. I tried to help him get over the loss of his sister. Something a friend would do, isn’t it? Is that all you can find to say? ‘Anomen this, Solaufein that.’ I thought you’d gotten over that before we got married. I loved..I love you, Kelsey. Not anyone else.” Merena stretched languorously. In the dim, crimson-hued light of Skie’s boudoir, Kelsey thought she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
“Merena, can you ever forg..” Kelsey started.
Merena laid a finger gently over his lips. “Ssh. It’s time to talk. And I get to go first.”
Even Skie was oddly silent in the chamber below. Keto had long since taken a wailing Kylia off in search of an inn, ostensibly for putting the little one to bed, though Imoen wouldn't have minded joining her friend in seeking the truths that are most clear at the bottom of a bottle. Not one bit. It was too quiet. As gracefully as only another noble could, Nalia murmured something Imoen didn’t quite hear and led Skie out of the room, leaving Imoen alone in her vigil.
"Not gonna leave now," Imoen muttered under her breath. ""S long as my sis needs me, here's where I'll be. Besides, I got a thing or two of my own I want to tell that double, err, triple, err, quadru-oh, that dirty, rotten, cheating sleazebag!" She paced in front of the cold fireplace, not even bothering to pocket one or two of the small, beautiful trinkets so carelessly scattered throughout the chamber. Shadows deepened outside, daylight slowly giving way to darkness as night swallowed the Silvershield estate. At last Imoen curled up in one of the velvet-draped chairs, struggling to keep her eyes open. Even righteous rage could only hold out over exhaustion for so long, though, and before long, her eyes drifted closed.
She woke with a start. Someone had lit a lantern in the otherwise empty room while she slept, a golden pool of light struggling to hold back the encroaching darkness. A sound overhead. Footsteps? A stair groaned as if it, too, resented being awakened in the gloom of night. Imoen sprang from the plush chair and nearly tripped over her own tired feet in her headlong rush to the foot of the steps. Pale, so pale was the figure trudging down the stairs, draped in robes colored black by the darkness.
Imoen's jaw dropped. "Wha-"
"Take Kylia home, Imoen. I'll..be a while."
Imoen watched in stunned silence as the hooded figure slowly stumbled out of the Silvershield mansion, slamming the door with a final, resonant thud. The sound snapped Imoen out of her daze and she ran for the entrance hall. A single crimson splash lay just inside the doorway.
She could hear herself panting, could feel the tears streaming down her cheeks, could sense the wild pounding of her heart as she raced up the stairs to the darkened boudoir. A nightmare,
she told herself. The most terrible one since that bastard had us in those awful cages. I'll never let Keto talk me into trying that pig swill again, so help me, I won't! Only a dream, only a dream, only a..
But, of course, it wasn't. The scene that greeted her eyes as her trembling hands opened the door was too much for her to bear. Imoen, survivor of Spellhold's insanity and Jon Irenicus' worst, Imoen, the one-time daughter of Bhaal, now master rogue turned archmage, Imoen, who had always taken what life gave her and turned it around with a smile, screamed, and screamed, and screamed again. The tortured, animalistic cries of deepest pain and terror. Somewhere outside, lightening crackled through the night sky, illuminating the bloody chaos within the ruined bedroom all too well. Mercifully, Imoen had already slipped into the welcome darkness of unconsciousness.
Rain cascaded from the heavens, the thousandfold tears of a grieving god. The primal screams of thunder and sizzling lightning seemed to threaten to rend the world asunder with their fury. A lone figure stumbled down the road, scarcely knowing whither its steps would lead, seeming not to care. Let the storm cry out for vengeance, for untold grief. Let come what may. Silent amidst the raging storm, the lonely soul plunged deeper into the darkness of the night.
In the end, she told herself that her father's essence must have surfaced once more, that the solar must have been wrong about her being forever free of the dreaded presence. Of course, that was only what she told herself.
Disclaimer: I don't know WHY I wrote this. It's what popped into my head after reading the opening and my writer's soul wouldn't let me escape running with it. Let me add that I DO adore Kelsey, really I do. I seem to kill off many of my pet characters in my own feeble attempts at literature too, however.