August 2nd, 2004

Mask

Pride

Erigo shuffled Aurora into the study, and again her eyes caught the hundreds of ancient books that were carefully organized on his dark shelves. Solidad handed Erigo a data strip, their fingers touching in soft longing. Erigo bowed and left, closing the door behind him. A strand of silver hair fell from Solidads braid as he walked from behind the desk and parted his thick curtains. He leaned against the elaborately carved window frame, his upturned face lit by the soft morning sun.





“You should find a protector.” Solidad crossed his arms against his chest. Aurora clasped her hands and bowed.

“So they say.”

“If you like, I could connect you with willing individuals.” He turned his face towards her, looking sophisticated, lean, and dangerous. Aurora fumbled, concocting her answer.

“Thank you Councilor, you honor me. However, it’s not my peoples way to have a protector.” She saw his purple eyes darken, but she didn’t see him move, didn’t see the chair between them upturn, and she barely had enough time to register his arm around her waist, lifting her, pressing her back against his body.

“This is not your peoples land.” He said softly. His hand curled around her covered throat. “You belong to no one. I could use you with no repercussions.” Aurora shuddered, her breath abruptly short and tense.

“Councilor, please.” He shoved her to the floor. Looking up at him, Aurora thought that he looked like a fierce dancer, slender and tall.

“Your body means nothing to the world.” He was suddenly on top of her, his long legs pinning her to the ground. He ripped her collar like it was cellophane, her coral buttons scattering on the dark carpet. The empty chain lay like a silver snake over her blushed skin. “You are empty and alone.”

“No.” She pressed her hands against his lapels. He caught her arms and forced them above her head, his face surprised.

“Oh! So you struggle now? You want to live?” He shook his head and brought his lips so close to her chest so that she could feel the breath of his words on her skin. “You are so ignorant.” He inhaled and she felt a sharp pain around her heart. “I could kill you, if I desired.”

“Councilor-“

“You beg! You beg to me?” He faced her, purple eyes blazing. “You lead me to believe that you want to live, but that can’t possibly be true, can it? What is it Aurora, what do you want?”

“Solidad, please.” The tears at the corner of her eyes curled around her head and into her hair. He sighed and leaned towards her, lightly kissing her neck.

“You are precious to me, and yet every time you leave my home you are in danger." His lips rested on her skin. “I like you.” He released her hands but she found she was trembling so hard that she couldn’t move to resist. Solidad wiped a sliding tear from her temple with his thumb.





“Do you like this place, Aurora? The purple was bleeding from his pupils to fill his eyes, like a swirling storm. “This is where each member of your family will find themselves if you do not drown the pride of your former lives.” Aurora knew, distantly, that she was hyperventilating. Solidad stroked her hair and kissed her forehead.

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