02.26.3014: Hearts and Egos
Summary: Devon and Anabethe argue about matters of hearts and egos.
Date: 28 November 2013
Related: None (yet?)
Anabethe Devon 

Living Quarters Greatroom, the Blackspyre
This room, as the entry to the living quarters of the Khournas family, is about as sumptuous as things get in the Blackspyre. The floor is sheathed in black tile, heated from below by veins of magma running through the tower itself. Deep red carpets have been layered over the tile across most of the expanse of the room, softening footfalls and providing a visual sense of warmth to go along with the physical one. One wall of the greatroom is taken up by a large 'fireplace' where one of the heat-proof transparent tubes filled with lava can be seen pulsing and roiling its way up the tower. Around the other walls are a scattering of drakeskins, paintings of battle and hunt, and shelves of holobooks. Several couches and chairs are gathered in clumps around the room, providing seating for twenty or so with ease. Opposite the lift is a corridor that leads back into the actual living quarters and a private drawing room, with the entrance to the corridor guarded by two men-at-arms at all times.
February 26, 3014

It's been a few days since the brief meeting in the hospital. Bethe has been occupying herself with raids and reports, doing a rather good imitation of her father when it comes to burying her grief at the loss of her sister. While she and Reena may not always have been close, family is family. Losing her has taken its toll. And so, it probably isn't much of a surprise to find her sitting in front of the fireplace, watching the thick flow of magma through the veins of the tower with a half-empty glass of whiskey in her hand.

Devon Khournas has been equally distracted. Shifts in the infirmary, time spent with the other Castellans, and the like. She spent today cloistered behind the door of her apartments, perhaps taking the time to tend to other things that she can do behind closed doors. Now she steps out in that simple gown of lavender silk. Her hair is loose, falling in curling and waving tendrils that have been dyed a soft powder blue. She has not yet noticed Bethe, which is perhaps a good thing as she would have just turned back around and went into her rooms. She heads toward the bar to fetch herself some water.

Stealth is not Anabethe's strength. But she's perfectly capable of taking a drink of whiskey without making an unnecessary amount of noise, and does so for a quiet moment as she looks away from the ruddy glow of the fireplace to watch Devon instead. "So," she finally says, voice soft. "I've been rolling it over in my head. The whole, warning Flint off thing." She spins her glass idly, letting it hang from her fingertips. "And I keep going back and forth between being angry and hurt that you'd go behind my back, and thinking that well, he was your friend first, and you probably meant well. Thing is, I'm not actually sure how much of what I tell myself is true, and how much I'm making up so I don't start a fight."

Devon starts to pour the water, though she does at least look up slightly when Anabethe speaks. She intakes a deep breath, squaring up her shoulders as she finishes filling the cup. She waits quietly to take a sip, and then she turns toward the Young Lady. "Flint was not my friend first… Flint was my dead husband's uncle, and a man who had an influential part in my raising, and someone who I care about very, very deeply… he is my family." She tilts her head. "And I care whether or not someone is putting a member of my family in danger of becoming hurt — whether she knows or cares about the path that lies ahead of them." She takes another swallow of water.

Anabethe takes another drink, swirling the whiskey around her mouth before swallowing. It has the convenient side effect of keeping her from replying immediately. Swallowing, she turns in her chair to more fully face the other woman, still quiet. Oddly, the faintest hint of a smile flickers over her features, tugging at one corner of her lips. "So. You think I'm leading him on and drawing him in with my feminine wiles? Does Flint really strike you as the easily led around by the nose sort?"

"No… I think you both truly care about each other," Devon replies in a cool note as she glances over her shoulder toward the woman now. "But we both know that your father is not going to marry Flint into the Khournas. I love Flint, but he gave up his own duty as heir of House Grantham because he vowed to stay with the Ash Legion, because he wanted to fight, because that's where he belongs. Even once his therapy is done, he's going back. Marah values her brother, and he belongs with the Legion." She shakes her head, frowning now. "What you are doing is going to end in a terrible heartache that Flint will not easily recover from. He still carries the death of Zayne around with him, he will believe until his dying day that he broke a promise because he did not talk to Marah about him marrying me so I would never have to leave House Grantham before Jevon reached out to arrange Victor and I." Devon tilts her head. "Do you honestly think he will ever recover from seeing you marry another? You are being cruel, Anabethe… continuing this affair with Flint. You may think it is worth it, that you will forever cherish the brief, passionate relationship you had with him… but he will carry it with him until the very end. Don't you understand that?"

"Do you honestly think stopping now is going to change that?" Anabethe leans forward, setting her elbows on her knees. "It's too late, Devon. If I'd known after the first time. Maybe the second. Then there might have been a chance. But now? What we feel is what we feel. You're right. It's going to hurt. And it's going to hurt him more than it's going to hurt me, because I've known for a long time that there were things I wasn't going to have." There's a flicker of something in her features, quickly shoved away as she looks down, then back up. "But it's too late to escape that, Devon. So if we're both going to hurt either way, what is there to be gained from doing it sooner?"

Devon tightens her jaw, and the shakes her head. "Because if Flint was able to be the one that stepped back it would spare him from further pain, because he would be the one in charge… not you when you decide to announce that you're getting married." Then she takes another swallow of water, swishing it between her cheeks briefly. She sighs then. "I was giving him an opportunity to be the one who stepped away, because that is the only way to spare his heart… even just a little bit." There is a long, deep silence from the woman before she looks over to the Young Lady. "You are being selfish, Anabethe. You know how this will end, and still you are there. If this ended now, before the banns are announced, you could give him space… but you would rather take whatever you can from him, to suck it all up… after all, it is going to hurt him more than it hurts you, right?"

"Why do you think it would hurt any less for him to step away first?" Anabethe seems genuinely confused, shaking her head slightly. "The who broke up with whom argument is about egos, Devon, and neither of us thinks this is going to end because of egos. When it's over, it's going to be because of duty and politics. Not choice. Not anything one or the other of us has done. Just duty." She drinks again, catching the inside of her cheek between her teeth. "I don't think you get to talk to me about selfish, Devon," she says after a moment, musingly. "All else aside, this is mutual."

"If this means so much to both of you, then do something about it… become Knights only… no longer be Lady and Lord… take on new names, take on new identities," Devon snaps now, her anger seeping through her words. "Move to the Pit, become Knights of the Legion together… would that not allow you both to continue to uphold your duty in the war effort and love one another freely?" She shakes her head, hand falling to her belly. "Then you are both free of the politics of it, both free to do what you wish. Because if you love my Uncle, you should be with him, right?"

"Love doesn't conquer everything, Devon." Anabethe is quiet, sliding back into her chair with a shake of her head. "I have a duty to the Crescent. And the duty I have to millions of people here has to mean more than what two people have between themselves. I'm sorry. It isn't that I don't wish it was different. It isn't that I don't want him. He makes me…better. And that's also why I can't just walk away. Call it selfish if you want." She waves a hand, shrugging slightly. "With him, I'm better. At being the person I need to be for those millions of people."

"What were you saying about egos?" Devon inquires with a tilt of her head. "You don't think that your father can find someone in all of House Khournas that could be raised up as his heir in your stead? Do you think that your people will perish? Is becoming High Lady of the Crescent more important than being with the man you love?" The once-Grantham waves her hand dismissively. "Then you don't deserve him… and you are destroying him." She starts to walk away now, a dark cloud easily forming over her head as she starts for the door to her apartment.

"Could you stop being Awakened because you loved someone?" Anabethe furrows her brows, reaching up to push a hand through her hair. "I love Flint. And one of many reasons is because he makes me a better person. How could I deserve him if I made myself worse to have him? Broke my word to my family, to my people. Failed to follow through on my promises. Walked away from my responsibilities. Quit. I wouldn't be the person he loved anymore. I'm sorry that it's inconvenient. I'm sorry that we're both going to hurt for it. But honestly, it's none of your business. We're both adults. We both know what we're doing. We understand the consequences. We've chosen our path."

"As you say, my Lady," Devon says coldly over her shoulder as she continues to walk to the apartment, stepping through the door so that she can finish her retreat.

Anabethe rolls her eyes, leaning back in her chair again and turning back toward the fireplace. "Yeah," she mutters under her breath, taking another drink. "Fuck you very much, too."

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