The Maelstrom Calls - Part 1

A Silent Night

11th October - Montclaire Estate, Highholm - Evening

Tate rolled over in bed pushing away the thick sheets. The fire was dying down in the hearth and would need feeding. He sat taking care not to disturb Emily who lay sleeping at his side. She had returned that morning after scouring the city for her missing employer. It seemed that Jonathan was gone and would not be returning. Tate could had not warmed to the man but still he knew what he had meant to Emily and what this loss would mean to her. He ran the back of his hand over her cheek and reached over to draw the sheets over her bare shoulder.

Softly he walked across the room and crouched to pluck some wood from the basket. Freshly scavenged from the Darklands, the black tangle wood was a form of root that with some effort could be prized from the dead earth. It was not true timber but it served for fuel and heat. It was expensive but there had been a fresh haul brought in a few days past and the lack of toxins in the smoke made it worth the price.

He threw a few faggots into the embers and watched them catch and burn. Reaching out he allowed the flame to warm his fingers almost to the point of pain. It made him feel alive. He glanced back towards the bed... she made him feel alive. Such things were precious. His sister Diana had returned from her ordeal a haunted creature and his father had predictably thrown himself into his work, trying to curry favour with their new masters in the hope of winning mercy for Serenity. Tate held out no such hope.

Emily stirred in the bed and stretched out. "What time is it?" she asked in voice addled by sleep.

"Gone seven." Tate answered as he stood to look down at her. Emily shuffled up to sit in the bed and gathered the sheets around her for warmth and modesty. She grinned at the sight of Tate standing there naked in the fire light and threw a cushion at him. He snatched it out of the air and returned the grin. He walked over to the bed and clambered up to sit next to her. Leaning in she kissed him and raked her nails along his bare chest. He tangled his fingers in her thick dark hair and their eyes locked.

She was first to blink and she pulled away breathless, "Not again, you will exhaust me."

"That's the idea." he whispered leaning in again but this time she batted him away playfully.

"I am hungry."

"Then you shall eat," he replied leaning over for the servants bell. She placed a hand on his and moved it away.

"No let's go out." She said.

"Sure I will use the radio we can book a place at..."

"No." she cut him off, "No, I know a place." She flashed a grin, "Get dressed."

A short while later they were leaving Tates apartment and making their way through the massive house towards the court yard. Moving past the drawing room they heard sounds of shouting from within. Diana and Benjamin. Tate shook his head. They could not hear the words but they could guess the subject. Serenity. Diana had not been there, she could not know the futility of the situation. If Benjamin had tried to intervene... They walked by leaving the voices behind and soon found themselves outside. Tate called over for a footman to prepare their carriage.

"Steam or horse?" the fellow asked.

Tate and Emily exchanged a glance, "Horse." Emily decided and Tate conveyed the order.

They stood then waiting for the carriage to be brought round. Emily reached over and looped her arm through Tates and he drew her close. It was a cold night, and getting colder it seemed. Emily looked up and frowned.

"What is it?" Tate asked.

"It's just odd," she replied, "The Maelstrom.., I have never seen it so... still."

Tate followed her gaze and true enough the every boiling clouds of the Maelstrom were as still as a millpond. It then struck Tate the something else was missing.

"No sound." he murmured. The ever present rumble of distant thunder, the constant companion of all who lived beneath the Maelstrom was absent.

"Gods you are right." Emily breathed and they both stood there in silent wonder as the carriage was brought around. The soft click of the horses hooves and the rumble of carriage wheels brought their attention back to earth.

"Damn strange night sir." the driver called down. "Where are we to?"

Tate gave Emily a questioning look as they climbed up into the carriage.

"Take us to the Wonky Donkey."

The driver laughed out loud at that and drew the reigns. "Aye miss, the Wonky Donkey it is."

As the carriage pulled away into the night Emily and Tate held hands. Their eyes locked once more, but not on each other. They looked towards the still silent clouds of the Maelstrom and wondered...

OOC: Merry Christmas everyone, wanted to get this out last night but the one too many glasses of Christmas cheer sent me to bed earlier that planned :)

P.s. Dear pending player, I have sent you an email. Responding to this is a condition of entry. I will leave your application open for a few more days.

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