you said, "this i do for you"
The flames had tempted him from his home like a fiery beacon in the night, confusing and exhilarating in tandem. He did not understand it, nor did anyone else — but a sense of self-preservation pushed him forward nonetheless as he fetched buckets full of Her life-giving waters, praying over them to douse the inferno before it leapt to other houses in the Square.

In the midst of his attempts, there was a figure at the corner of his vision, a woman with black-as-night hair and bright eyes that glittered in the firelight. She gave him momentary pause, curiosity quickly shifting to anger.


Through a collaborative effort, the torched house was finally, thoroughly quenched, the flames choking out their final breaths as smoke still billowed into the sky. In the new pitch-dark of the night, the Lorn man approached her from behind when she was alone, away from the Queen — and he snatched her away, his claws obscured in her thin fur as he pulled her behind a building, away from the crowds, away from them all.

Rand had to suppress the instinct to dispatch her on the spot, though he knew that a seemingly senseless murder would put an even bigger target on his back than what was already there.

"Éna," he spoke her name with a vitriol previously unknown as he pressed into her, the smell of cinder and smoke on the both of them tickling his nose.

"You should not be here, whore." He chuffed, a humorless and dry sound.

"I'd start speaking, if I were you, and quickly."

rand is doing an amger
morbid moments never cease
sinister silence gnashes his teeth

OOC: ena immediately personifies the sweat drops emoji || WC: --


Vodeva had been the first to break from her reverent staring, and Alma soon behind her, leaving Éna to her own devices. The building had been reduced to little more than a smudge, smoldering and ash-covered, and she had left once the wood’s fire-eaten timbers merely glowed soft veins of dying red. Nín’s waters had cleansed the square, and now ran dirty and black into the earth.

She’d thought she’d seen a ghost then. No sooner than she had dismissed the  breath of memory had hands found her, forgoing her cloak, the length of her hair, and bedded into the thinness of her coat, whisking her away into a dark, dim alley between buildings.

She captured a lungful of air in a gasp, eyes whaled and wide, as she was twisted towards her aggressor, shoulders colliding with stone and wood of the wall behind her. He was dark, slate-grey, eyes glittering like the embers, but where she had expected that steely strip of pale, ghostly white, the zagging of scars, they came up wrong.

Sometimes, it was hard to tell them apart. Her dark hands flew up to hold his wrists, defensive and attempting her best to appease him, her pink tongue wetting her lips, and his words were a sibilant hiss that sank into her and rattled the acolyte bodily.

It should not have excited her the way it did. Much as the shame had told her to avert her eyes, turn her gaze downward, it kept flitting back up through her dark, long lashes to his severe expression.

”Rand,” Éna had started, though any conviction had been bled from her voice, leaving it airy and thin. ”It has been some time.”

It was an understatement. She drew a soft, shuddering breath.

”I have found you.”

I am not bound by where I'm from, I'm not awake I am not sleeping
as I walk along the in-between of everything come and gone
Oh, she was such a pitiful thing, that Éna.

There was a time that Rand thought her to be the pinnacle of what it meant to be a Lorn woman — god-fearing, subdued, convenient. At one time, she would drop everything at a single word, if he had asked. Some things did not change, it appeared.

But, just like all the others, she had betrayed him, had she not? Was she really so different from them?

Éna wilted like a flower under his spiteful grasp, meek words petering out into a whisper as soon as they left her mouth. He scoffed, muzzle turning downward as he leveled his gaze with hers, fire upon ice.

"You should not be here," he spat, his other hand burying into the long black tresses of her hair, balling it into a closed fist. There was a pressure there, not quite yanking, but it was to keep her in place.

"Last I could recall," the Priest allowed himself to chuckle, but it was unkind and sneering, "you had crawled back to him, hadn't you? Did he grow bored of you, Éna?"

Because, in the end, she had been terribly boring to Rand. After the initial chase, all her substance had dried up. There was no appeal when she had been his.

A growl rumbled in his throat, and he chased away the particularly gruesome thoughts that occurred to him as best as he could manage.

"Tell me how you found this place, woman," he pressed.

morbid moments never cease
sinister silence gnashes his teeth
OOC: sorry for the delay D8 || WC: --

Oh, and she was baleful, and she was pious, and she was meak. Éna was a great deal of things; however, none of them were ever enough. Not enough for her father, nor Rand, nor her cause.

His words cut slow and deep. It was the least she could do to acquiesce, to accept this admonishment for her failures and shortcomings, for, frail as she was, she could find ways better to serve the rivers, and make peace with something and find meaning to the suffering. It had to make sense, after all – these things seldom happened without reason.

Did he grow bored of you, Éna? The muscles of her jaw tensed, however subtly, teeth grinding however slowly. Words failed her. It was not the first time; and, nor would it be the last. He was correct, after all.

Always correct.

”By hope, and a whim, and, by the grace of Nín, She finally lead me here,” came her answer, outpouring its devotion and reminding him of her true allegiance, and one he could sorely need reprogramming towards. Rand was an insidious creature, she knew, like a poison in the well, leeching into the water. Breath came in a soft gasp at the feeling of those curled fingers, clenched in inky waves of her hair. ”You have not changed at all.”

Her own tone suggested disappointment, if blunted by her own distress.

I am not bound by where I'm from, I'm not awake I am not sleeping
as I walk along the in-between of everything come and gone
He scoffed in her face, openly and without care.

"Of course I haven't," was his immediate reply, ignorant to her fears, her feelings; they were useless things to him. They were not worth his while.

Éna was barely any better. He took pleasure in seeing her squirm under his hand, wounded by his spiteful words.

"If you truly followed Her," he leaned back, letting go of her and gauging her reaction, "you would have left with me that day. But instead, you chose to stay."

Rand had fallen from grace many times. His enemies — "friends," too — believed that each time, he would stay down and learn his place.

Each time, he rose from the ashes, high above them all.

A snort escaped him. He swore he could see where he had ruffled her fur and felt a long strand of hair still wrapped around a finger where he had tugged; not even the hardest he had ever pulled on the woman's hair, when he considered it.

When he thought longer still, Rand could understand that the choice was obvious. There was little doubt in his mind why Éna had come crawling back.

This did not absolve her of her guilt, however.

"You come alone? I find that hard to believe."

morbid moments never cease
sinister silence gnashes his teeth

OOC: -- || WC: --


Lowly, earthbound, her gaze did not seek the molten cinders of his own for a long while yet as he spoke of transgressions, and, in turn, she swallowed the caustic irony of it like a pill. Coara men – in her experience – shared fatal flaws.

”You don’t need to believe me, do you?” she stated, flatly, a surprising and small breath of challenge for the otherwise meek creature that writhed beneath him, the magnifying glass to her paltry ant. But – it was true – Rand believed and served one thing, and one thing only:

Himself. No longer did she hold these foolish whims, thoughts, and flights of fancy that he was the ideal mouthpiece for Nín. No man could know Her suffering as Éna did. No Coara would know the strength which She granted the Lanthir woman when all was lost. This place was no Caledonia. Rand, for all he was worth, had bleed into this soil, and thus, ruined it.

”This land is too far gone from her grace, and fallen from order,” Éna lamented, softly, further, her tone condemning yet appealing to his nature. ”I yearn to fix this – you wish to do the same, you have always been faithful towards her gracious waters.”

A lie. There was a broken pause in their sentencing, before, in her pacified and sibilant tone, she continued:

”But I do not need you to correct these wrongs. I will serve as She demands, with or without your guidance.”

I am not bound by where I'm from, I'm not awake I am not sleeping
as I walk along the in-between of everything come and gone
Defiance, arrogance, provocation; these were traits that Rand often found himself head-to-head with because of his detestable nature, and he dealt with them accordingly, but to hear them from the mouth of Éna, of all people —

He wasn't sure whether to strike her or laugh at her.

In the end, he did not have to choose.

His open hand connected with her cheek in a sharp slap at such insolence, as if she truly thought herself so high and mighty, as if her time in the wilds had opened her eyes to the true nature of things.

She had not faced hardship as he had. She had never had to fight for her faith. Isolated, insulated, earning the pity of all those around her; "You know nothing about Her demands," he hissed, letting his claws linger where they had grazed across her muzzle.

A chuckle escaped him, and he sought to forcibly fix her gaze back to him.

"If you truly knew anything about the Lady," he started, voice low and turbulent, like the gathering of storm clouds over the sea, "then you would not give up so easily on this place. We have been at work, you wench, cultivating new believers for the cause — and you seek to undermine this so readily the moment you step into this Realm? You seek to defy Her will?"

Examining her a bit closer, waiting for the even the smallest tell in her clear blue eyes, he leaned back with a little "ah."

"Perhaps he has ruined you more than I thought," he mused.

"This is not you talking. It is him."

He had always been a godless sort, his brother. Even Éna was not immune to his corruption.

morbid moments never cease
sinister silence gnashes his teeth

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