The night was still. Silence echoed throughout the halls of the Meliak manor. Within her chambers, the Ambassador sat at her boudoir, dressed in her elegant chiffon nightgown, and gently brushing her soft, dark auburn hair. Yet her soul was not at ease. War had come upon the once peaceful Barony of Riverdale, a war which touched too close to heart. It was Celidie's duty as regent, while the Baron remained missing, to guide and sustain Meliak's forces. Yet she found herself torn between that duty and the will of her heart...
A knock came suddenly at the door of her chambers, and Celidie turned, calling, "Yes?"
"It is Vivinus," came the muffled reply.
The Ambassador eased only slightly, hearing the voice of her trusted friend and confidant, with whom she had requested to speak. "Come in," she called to him, and resumed her nightly ritual, running her brush once again through her soft tresses.
The wooden door creaked open, and the elf stepped forward slightly, remaining just beyond the threshold of the Ambassador's chambers. "You sent for me?" he asked.
"Yes," she replied, her back to him. "I wished to speak with you.. about the battle raging between yourself and the Falling Leaf."
"I have tried hard to maintain the principle that we are a house of peace," the Ambassador continued. "Neutrality has been our stance in all things. We are a merchant house, not fighters."
"Yet we fight when it is necessary," the elf noted.
"Indeed," Celidie continued, giving a slight nod. "And I ask you, is this current battle necessary? It will serve only to tarnish our image, and to increase the void between ourselves and Kisah."
"Tarnish our image?" he inquired. "How can our image be tarnished when we fight a clan that is but a rumor? To others, the Leaf does not even exist."
"Yet that is no excuse."
Vivinus shook his head. "It is they who brought this upon themselves. For some reason, Azaeruil seeks my blood. I will shed his before I give him the satisfaction of seeing mine."
"You will not stay your blade then?" Celidie spoke, a hint of sadness in her eyes.
"I cannot," he confirmed.
She paused then, gazing upon her reflection in the mirror, at Vivinus' form visible just beyond the doorway. And then she turned slightly, parting lips to speak softly these words, "Promise me something..."
He lifted his head, raising an eyebrow inquisitively. "What is that?"
Celidie allowed a brief moment to pass before she spoke again. "That you won't kill him..."
Vivinus blinked, letting out a small scoff. "He is attacking me mercilessly."
"Please," Celidie said, and turned to gaze upon his face.
Vivinus studied carefully the eyes of the Ambassador. "Why do you ask me to show mercy upon Azaeruil?"
"Because I..." Her words faded and she paused, turning away once more.
Taking a step closer, he continued to watch her. "Because...?"
She sat there, turning thoughts over through her head, and then, at last, replied, "Because I would hate to see any harm done to him..."
Vivinus let out a long sigh, and stepped closer once again. "Celidie," he spoke. "Ambassador. You seem to care nothing about this man hunting me down with little reason and attempting to sever my head from my spine. And you seem to care much that I defend myself." He shook his head. "Perhaps you should run into his arms and join the Falling Leaf, if you care more about them than your own companions."
She said nothing, merely sat silently, soft lips pursed, and eyes focused blankly on the floor below.
Vivinus stood, watching her, and at last perked a brow. "Celidie?"
Those lips finally parted, and she replied softly, little more than a whisper, "Yes?"
"I hear no response from you..."
She let out a quiet sigh. "I have no answer..."
"Why is this?"
She then looked up to gaze upon him once more. "I am loyal to Meliak... though I care for him as well... My heart will always belong here, but I do not wish to see him harmed."
Vivinus glowered. "He is a ruthless assassin trying to kill me. And you ask me to spare him? So that I might be the one to perish?"
She shook her head. "What is to say either of you must die?"
"You are asking the defender?"
She frowned, looking into his eyes. "You needn't kill him to defend yourself..."
He watched her. "Celidie, he will not stop attacking me until he is slain. He has told me this himself. I shall not continue to flee from him for eternity, risking my life each and every time, upon a foolish request."
Her eyes narrowed. "Foolish?"
Vivinus stood, unfaltered. "Foolish."
"Asking you to grant mercy is foolish?"
"Yes," he said. "For he will come back again and again, and again and again."
She turned away. A moment passed before she spoke again gently, "It doesn't have to be that way..."
He smirked slightly. "Perhaps you should mention that to the one who seems so intent on taking my life."
Celidie slowly turned again, and gazed upon her confidant. "Vivinus," she spoke. "If you promise me that you will not kill him, I can assure you no harm will fall upon you."
He raised an eyebrow inquistively. "How can you possibly assure that, Celidie? Have you not heard my words? He is hunting me without remorse, and will not rest until I lie slain."
She remained persistent. "I can speak to him... He'll listen, I know he will."
He shook his head. "Azaeruil will not listen to reason. You have not seen the look in his eye as he hunts me down. He sees me as no better than the humans whom he despises. He would like nothing more than to see me dead."
"Still... I must try... Just promise me."
He stood, watching her, yet said nothing.
He turned away. "You are asking me to sacrifice my own life for the sake of our enemy. Does he mean that much to you? That you would rather see me, your friend, housemate, and companion die? All this for the life of a filthy assassin?"
"He is more than that," she said, slowly shaking her head. "You don't know him the way that I do..."
Vivinus glanced over his shoulder, and finally turned, watching her. "You love him," he spoke at last. "Don't you?"
Celidie sat silent, looking up into his eyes. A tear slowly began to form, and she answered softly, "Yes..."
He looked away before gazing upon her face once again. "I am sorry that you feel that way. But I will do what I must. And if it requires his blood to be split, then so be it." He then turned, heading for the open door.
"Vivinus," she called after him. "If you kill him, you'll hurt me..."
He turned. "And if I do not... I will perish. Tell me that would not hurt you as well? Or do I mean nothing to you?"
She continued to watch him, tears glistening in her eyes, before finally allowing herself to look away, ashamed, perhaps, but only she herself would know the truth.
He shook his head sadly. "Goodnight, Ambassador," he spoke, before turning and departing her chambers, closing the door behind him as he left.