“We should stop to rest you know,” Dan’tai spoke gently, watching the drowess grow more brisk and tense the deeper they went into the forest.
Xull’rae shook her head. Red and white hair was pulled up and back into a loose bun. The armor she wore was form fitting and made of some supple leather, snakeskin perhaps? But it worried the sorcerer that she was so heavily armed. She was gloved, booted and weapons were strapped onto her belt, in sheathes. She looked like a one woman army.
“You’d look much better in a dress,” he paid her a compliment quietly.
Xull’rae threw Dan’tai an annoyed backward glance, “What sense does that make in the heart of elven territory?”
“You’d look very beautiful in something softer, and, less hostile . . .” he said with a tender soft smile.
“That is highly impractical Dan’tai,” Xull’rae said in a dismissive tone.
“Not in the way you move in them,” his tone took on that suggestive teasing lilt.
Xull’rae stopped dead in her tracks and Dan’tai wished he could see her face. When he reached out to touch her shoulder, he did get his wish for she whirled upon him. He expected anger for his teasing, but found her expression full of mischief.
Dan’tai’s charming nature faltered a bit. Being with Xull’rae was . . . fun, fast, and exciting. She never failed to make his heart hammer in his chest for unexpected movements, so agile and limber! The rapid changes in mood, the shifts in expression, they transformed with every little word. She took stock on everything said and snatched so much meaning out of anything, or was it emotion? Since removing the artifact from her, the half-elf knew her to be a psion, but she seemed more secretive than ever.
“The word is mysterious,” Xull’rae gave him a knowing smirk, followed by a wink.
Dan’tai took a step back in shock. She just read his thoughts! He gave an appreciative albeit nervous smile. How many times had she done that?
“Just the once . . . and right now . . .” answered Xull’rae with a wide inviting smile as she took a step forward to his backward one, “and if you keep this up and don’t start talking,” she pressed up against him in a very dominant manner, brinking her face very close to his where her mouth was aligned with his throat, not touching him with her lips, but her breath was tickling his skin. “I’m going to give you a reason to make some . . .noise . . ..”
That was very . . . Dan’tai couldn’t even finish the thought before flushing pink briefly, rubbing the back of his neck, ungluing his tongue from its roost at the roof of his mouth, “Well you are quite cuddly and I do admit I lured you here for,” he cleared his throat gently, “ a similar purpose . . .”
When Xull’rae arched a delicate red eyebrow, very high, those amber eyes went aglow, and Dan’tai shook his head vigorously in apology, “To be romantic. I thought a change of scenery would lift your spirits. Your gardens at your inn are highly impressive and beautiful. I thought you’d like to a bigger one in its natural habitat.”
Xull’rae looked up at him with a dark chuckle, “So you led me here under false pretenses.” It was a statement not a question.
“I wanted to surprise you . . .” a flash of guilt flickered across his pale face and awkwardness were in his mismatched eyes at having lied to her.
“That’s why you wanted me in a dress.” Xull’rae surmised.
Dan’tai wanted to smile, but her eyes nearly froze him and he had to disengage her and move forward quickly to explain, “It’s just up ahead in a grove . . .and I have a dress,” he gave a weak shameless smile that made Xull’rae laugh softly and start stripping.
The half-elf stopped, “What are you doing?” said in half surprise half curiosity.
“I’m not going to ruin the moment,” Xull’rae said playfully, “now hand me the dress.”
Dan’tai grinned and dug out a parcel from his pack, and began to unbuckle her corset as he approached her. “How about I put it on you?”
Xull’rae gave a wayward smile and started to pull the pins from her hair. Her long red and white spilled downward just as Dan’tai unbuckled the back of her armor and had to pry it open with a hard yank. Naughty giggling mingled with the chirping of birds.
* * * * *
Dan’tai was trying to keep the hair from his face as he busied himself trying to buckle his belt back onto his pants when he gently felt fingers gently comb through it then gather it up and held back from him. His dual green eyes looked sideways at the dark Xull’rae in gratefulness while she held his sky blue shirt in her other hand.
“Thank you my crafty fox. You look the epitome of fine grooming,” Dan’tai said in teasing accusation as he slipped on his shirt without buttoning it.
Indeed Xull’rae did, her long think hair had a slight wave to it, but otherwise looked brushed and detangled. She was barefoot, but there were sandals nearby for her to slip on, and the dress . . . he was never more pleased. Dan’tai knew when he saw it in Waterdeep that it would look lovely on Xull’rae. It was sheerer than he expected, or maybe simply misjudged the thickness of the fabric, but he could see more than just her silhouette of her figure from the white gauze like material. Xull’rae’s skin peeked through with fetching contrast without ever molding to her form, and the corset gave that bright splash of color. She would fit right in to the garden up ahead with the vines and pink roses printed on the bodice, and the yellow flowers painted on the bosom of the outfit compliment her eyes and made them . .look at him? No, made them pop, but she was looking at him intently.
“What is it?”
The drowess stared off into the distance beyond him to the grove and then looked up to the canopy of trees, “Do you hear that?”
“I hear birds,” Dan’tai admitted, confused but also curious by the look of wonder on her face. Xull’rae was a very beautiful woman even in anger, but in moments like these when she relaxed the hardness around her eyes and the tightness around her mouth she had such a fresh youthful look to her. It was easy to forget she was evil with such a sweet and soft look.
Xull’rae shook her head and when she looked back at him there was such secrets hidden there that only she knew and wasn’t going to share.
“What is it?” Dan’tai asked again.
But Xull’rae hitched up the skirt of her dress and darted forward through the thicket, hair flailing behind her like a banner.
Dan’tai gave a start and then chased after her in laughter, grabbing her sandals, but slowed down after some yards away when he saw Xull’rae standing still, mouth agape in awe at the paradise. Everywhere the eye could see was an ocean of greenery. Deep dark leaves, rich bright moss, and the soft thickness of the grass beneath their feet.
He watched as he closed her eyes and did a happy twirl while lifting her face high to the sky and suck in the deepest breath. The half-elf edged closer slightly, whispering down into her ear from behind her, “My cunning fox needs to open her eyes to enjoy the view . . .”
“I can’t,” Xull’rae murmured in rapture, “too many fragrant smells.” Her voice took on a rich, warm tone. “If the heavens have a scent this is it . . .”
Dan’tai chuckled softly, “Must be, because I see a fiery angel before me,” and kissed her cheek.
Xull’rae snickered and bumped him playfully with her buttocks. “I pegged you as a decent liar, not a bad one,” she bent down and plucked up a blue forget-me-not and artfully placed it behind Dan’tai’s slightly tapered ear. “So you always remember me . . .”
He tried to pull her in for a kiss, giving her an attractive warm smile but she backpeddled and trotted to the nearest tree. “This is a galaxy magnolia, isn’t it?”
Dan’tai looked up to the pyramidal shaped purple blossom and nodded. “That’s probably what you smell.”
But Xull’rae was already gone from view, eagerly picking flowers and then sat in the lush grass with her legs tucked underneath her. Dan’tai moved to sit beside her. He found the pink young buds she plucked to be premature, but Xull’rae had a wonderful eye for vibrancy, and so threaded them through her hair stem and all.
“They say this is as close to one gets to see the fabled city of Evereska?” Dan’tai murmured in joy.
“One of the last realms of the true fey,” Xull’rae responded as she petted the grass, feeling it against her fingertips.
“The Eladrin,” nodded Dan’tai,” they say it is the last haven of the fair folk . . . and truly a wondrous and rare beauty . . . like you.”
Xull’rae chuckled softly, but it was the airy type of laughter that said it was a nice sentiment, but not true, a fable, but she turned her head to look over her shoulder at him. “Where do you see us a hundred years from now?”
“What kind of question is that?” he looked at her perplexed.
“A serious one,” Xull’rae replied in earnest, the rich amber hue of her eyes seemed to burn with urgency.
“I –I don’t know,” Dan’tai answered honestly, not sure how to answer such an important and life altering question. He hadn’t given it much thought.
Xull’rae nodded and oddly enough did not look disappointed, but he voice took on a shaky, almost sullen quality. “Do you dream?”
“Of course I do!” Dan’tai chuckled and flopped backward into the grass. His pale torso seemed to match the light and soft colors of spring. “I dream of food usually, it’s rather odd, but occasionally I’ll dream of a soft body against mine.”
Xull’rae situated herself to walk on her knees and lift Dan’tai’s head up to settle it comfortably in her lap. “Quivyre’s.” It wasn’t a question, but a point of gentle fact without any jealousy.
“Krissona too, she’s actually softer than Quiv, but nobody, I’ve EVER met kisses like you do Xull’rae. You don’t just steal breath, you pull at a man’s soul, let him keep it, but it is forever changed.”
The drowess was thoughtfully silent, Dan’tai could tell by the way she was lazily rebraiding his hair. “I also dream of my childhood training, my parents, and flying. Those dreams are fun.” He chuckled.
“Do you think a drow and an elf could work?”
“With their bad blood, I’m not certain,” Dan’tai replied sounding curious.
“What of their offspring? Do you think they could be the bridge of peace.”
Dan’tai closed his eyes, Xull’rae’s touch was very relaxing, her fingers were magic threading though his hair. “It’s a wonderful idea,” his said happily as a drowsy feeling crept up on him like a soothing warm blanket that he knew was the warm sun, the sweet breeze, the soft grass and the comforting presence of Xull’rae.
“Would you like to try and build that bridge?” she asked softly, Dan’tai’s ear tip flickered, did he detect a hint of shyness in her voice. He smiled at first and then his mind began wondering what it would be like to have a half-drow when his eyes snapped open in wide surprise, “You mean . . . you do . . . you want . . .”
“Steal your breath and stir the soul I do indeed,” Xull’rae teased warmly, “And if I cannot keep it then I want a tangible reminder of our time together. I cannot dream, but I do hope for a brighter future.”
Dan’tai sat up then and like a snake Xull’rae coiled her arms around his neck from behind with such graceful speed. She nipped his ear tip and whispered in a voice dripping with sin that made him flush a deep scarlet. “Lay back down. Close your eyes. Let me take care of you . . .”
He swore Xull’rae was more cat than drow! That purr to her voice, the promise it held. A child. And she chose him! Dan’tai sighed in contentment and adoringly closed his eyes. Xull’rae’s hands guided him tenderly back down to her lap. He was utterly speechless, and very wrapped up in how her hands were stroking his hair, his face, his body.
They made sweet love in the grass and it was as if nature itself sang in praise to their union. And after he collapsed, Xull’rae waited till he fell asleep to redress herself and pick more flowers. When she returned he was still sleeping with the forget-me-not still in his hair and that made her smile and get the idea to add more . . . .