Title: An Offering
Summary: Phedre has to find respite somewhere, it’s in her nature. Minor spoilers for Kushiel’s Scion, the latest book in the series.
Fandom: Kushiel’s Legacy (book series by Jacqueline Carey)
Pairing/Characters: Phedre no Delaunay/Nicola L’Envers (hints of Phedre/Melisande and Phedre/Joscelin of course)
Tarot: Nine of Cups
“To be free I’ll need my hands tied,” – Megan McCauley, “Fragile”
She loves Joscelin. That is a fact that is never doubted in her mind, never wavered over these years. She loves him, and he loves her in return. Theirs is a quiet flame that burns steady and bright, calm and even. A comfort to see the light never flickering, to turn and find his warmth next to her at night.
But betimes her body craves somewhat more. She prays to the gods that their will be done in her always, she is Kushiel’s Chosen, she cannot deny the lot she has been cast. They have offered her respite thus far, after the horrors of Darsagna, in the arms of her Champion, but now she burns, hungers, for something more. The scarlet mote in her eye and the marque on her back ever present reminders that she was not destined for this domestic life.
She visits the temple, supplicating herself before almighty Kushiel, trembling with desire to serve him to the fullest extent she knows she is capable. She makes her offering and is appeased, calmed for the moment, at peace with her struggling spirit. But it is somewhat like striking a pebble against a mountain; her need will not be satisfied for long.
Phedre never asks Joscelin to hurt her, although she knows that he can see it in her eyes when she looks at his steel vambraces flashing in the sunlight and the twin daggers at his waist. She reads over the words Melisande intended for her son but that he refuses to acknowledge, trembling with the knowledge that she is somewhere, free. She is no so much afraid or angry; she quivers in the anticipation that they will meet again, for she knows that the day will come.
When Nicola arrives in Elua, Phedre receives the missive with a small smile and a growing knot in her stomach. She loves Joscelin, so dearly, but this cannot be denied any longer. She shows him the letter of invitation and her heart swells when he calls for the ink and parchment to form a reply.
Nicola sends a carriage, like she used to do. Phedre smiles to herself as she boards, wrapping her cloak around herself, pulling the hood down once inside. Her eyes glitter in the dark, her hands gripping the fabric in tight fists.
Violet eyes and blonde curls peer into the carriage once it pulls to a stop. Nicola smiles, mirth and a touch of darkness on her lips. She offers Phedre the kiss of greeting, lingering moments longer, inhaling the scent of her friend and betimes lover. “Good to see you, Phedre,” she murmurs, touching her pale fingers to Phedre’s forehead, her shoulder, which she then grips and leads her up the steps and indoors.
Phedre bows her head in acquiescence, breathing somehow freer now that someone has taken control. She removes her cape, folding it over once and hands it to a waiting servant. She watches Nicola’s lips curl nymph-like into a grin when her scant gown is revealed.
“Lovely, lovely,” she murmurs, finger at her lips, violet eyes scanning Phedre’s form. “Would you care for refreshment, my dear?” They step into the parlor where another servant brings them liquor and meat on bread. Nicola’s bright eyes never leave Phedre. They have easily fallen into their old roles, drawing out the time of refreshment, knowing that half of pleasure is in the anticipation.
When a gentle buzz has started through Phedre’s veins, because of the liquor and Nicola’s heady gaze both, she rises from her chair and kneels at Nicola’s feet in one fluid movement. With uplifted, open gaze, she whispers, “You recall my signale, m’lady?”
Nicola levels her gaze. “Hyacinthe,” she says, voice deep with desire. They will not need the signale; Phedre has been to places which Nicola’s vivid imagination cannot even begin to breech. This night will be an offering to Kushiel, to Elua; Love as thou wilt.
Nicola stands, moving to the hallway before the beckons Phedre to follow. She knows this route well, fulfillment awaits. Every step sends tremors through her body, thrills of need, a sense what she so craves lies just beyond reach. But she must play the game in order to find what she craves. Phedre takes a step and for a moment, her eyes flutter closed, revealing a harshly beautiful face, fleschettes in hand, leaning close to whisper—
A servant closes the door behind them, the muffled thud causing Phedre’s eyes to flash open. Nicola is stalking the room, caressing each item in turn, examining them and then shooting meaningful glances in Phedre’s direction as though carefully weighing her decision although Phedre knows that Nicola has made her decision long ago. Her knees go a bit weak, a flare shooting through her core, but she continues standing.
“You remember the ropes, my dear?” Nicola’s voice oozes breeding as she continues looking over the walls, denying Phedre her gaze.
Phedre murmurs in agreement, blood flushing her skin with the physical memory of the agonizing pressure on her Nammah’s pearl, desire manifesting itself as quickly as the memory flares. She can hear Nicola laugh quietly, finally turning to beacon Phedre to her.
There is a rushing of desire in her ears when Nicola moves her to face the wall, ties her wrists tight over her head with that same grating rope and growls “Spread your legs, Phedre,” dragging the whip slowly down her trembling marque, over the roundness of her buttocks. A quick spank with the handle over the supple flesh before a pause and then the blessed release of the crack and snap across her aching back.
Phedre whispers a thanks to the gods as she feels the blood begin to trickle down.