I stared at the aftermath of the battle in front of me. He was finally dead; we could be free we could go home. I looked up at Edrim, the almost blackness of his purple skin was almost all consuming in the dim lighting of the ruined theater. The faint glow of his turquoise horns was the only thing illuminating this room besides the spotlights on the stage. A trickle of blood emanating from his mouth, him kneeling on the floor trying to pick up the pieces of his once greatest companion. I knelt next to him and started to gather what I could. I rummaged in my bag for a minute and found a nice little drawstring bag and I offered it to him.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
“I'm fine,” his thick accent heavier somehow. “I really should be asking you that, I'm the healer here.”
“I promise you I'm fine, the other should be as well. I'm pretty sure Sai has been taking care of their wounds.”
“Thank you,” his voice thick with emotion.
He took a moment pouring the pieces into the bag seemingly satisfied that he had gotten them all. I was startled in the moment as he wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. “Thank Eldath, I'm so glad you are alive.”
This startled me so much that my fish popped out, an assortment of rainbow spectral goldfish in a variety of colors. They had been dormant during the fight for their own safety, but now they swirled around me. Jade, my green one who had an odd affection for Edrim, nestled herself on the inner curve of one of his horns.
“Same to you Edrim,” tears welling up in my eyes.
I gripped him closer, and we just stood there for a few minutes. He pulled away.
“Let me check on the others, after I handle that we can figure out us. I know we had a talk a few days ago about what we are or what we want to be, but that was in hypothetical terms. It's a possibility now and one that I want very much. But I'd rather we can talk about this when we're not in the aftermath of a great battle, potentially as we head back to the village would be a good opportunity.”
“I agree, but would it be all right if we stopped by my hometown before going back to your tier? My dad and my grandmother and brother have no idea what has happened. I haven't checked on them in a while, and they're going to be worried if I don't do it soon. I figure what is between us is something important, something I want to pursue for a very long time. It may be way too soon, but I'd like you to meet them.”
“You want me to meet your family?” I couldn't decipher his tone.
“You're right that's a bad idea it's way too soon and we don't even know what we are- “
“I never said, that I would like to see who and what you came from.”
We took a few days to deal with the aftermath. But before long, Edrim and I headed off on our own. Our friends, Sai and Nadra decided to head back and visit Nadra’s home temple. But planned to follow us back to Edrim's orphanage in about a month. After a ship ride to the main land we bought a cart and horse.
“You ready to go Nalypsis?” Edrim looked down at me.
I mock saluted him, before hopping up into the carriage. The journey to my hometown would last about a week, we didn't know how long we will be staying there, but it probably wouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks. We then planned to head home, I felt oddly elated to be able to call it home, so Edrim could get back to work. He had only left his home to earn money to be able to support the orphanage that he ran, he left someone in charge in his stead, but he had already been gone for three months at this point. He needed to get back to work.
When he had left, I had followed. I was a traveling musician, a storyteller if you will, I could journey wherever I pleased. And even then, I had an affection for him. I gave the excuse that I wanted to journey on to the next town, but I had stuck close to him always. I would sometimes stray for a couple of weeks at a time, going to larger cities to earn my own money. But I'd eventually find my way back to him, we never actually stayed in the same building. But now he'd invited me to live in the same building as him. That terrified me.
“So, what's your hometown like?” He jostled me out of my thoughts.
“Well, it's coastal. It's actually primarily made up of humans, but I'd seen some other races integrate in the last few years. I'm glad, at least my little brother gets to grow up not feeling like the oddest kid in the entire class,” I stared down at my hands for a second.
I am a Tiefling, or at least half of me is. My mother was a water Jhinn, so if you wanted to get specific, I am a Water Genasi. If my dark blue skin and pale blue hair and decently large horns did not already ostracize me from the rest of my village, then my large fish like tail, and my vitiligo surely did. I had always lamented that I did not even fit in with my own family, my father is your typical red Tiefling, my grandmother is your typical purple Tiefling. My father's wife, was yet another red Tiefling, and you guessed it-- my little brother was a purple Tiefling having inherited my grandmother's complexion. I on the other hand, inherited a dark blue complexion from my mother. Her having taken the form of the blue Tiefling when her and my father had their tryst. I've inherited a variety of weird traits due to her, but the one weird trait that I didn't was vitiligo I got from my grandmother. We bonded over that, that and music. She is the reason I am a musician.
Edrim and I make a perfect pair honestly, we are both half Tiefling. Unlike me though, his other half is Aasimar. Your perfect balance between the infernal and the celestial but cursed from birth to be fallen thanks to the infernal blood in him. I admit though, the infernal shroud is pretty hot.
I idly plucked the strings of my violin, as I stared at the slowly wilder surroundings as we exited the city. Edrim holding the reins to the horse that was drawing our carriage.
“So, we needed to have a little bit of a talk.”
“Yes, I really think we do. I definitely have feelings for you, and I know we've established that we are something. But I do want to know what your expectations are, and potential future desires. I need to tell you what my limitations are, what my desires are, and what I want,” he turned around with that last part to look at me in the eye. Turquoise met seafoam green.
“If I'm being honest, my desires are simple. In the vaguest of terms, I just want to be happy with someone, I want to share a life with somebody where we work to make each other better. In more depth, I desire honesty, kindness, and… intimacy. That last bit in varying degrees,” he nodded at that.
“My sentiments are similar; I think we can both agree that we both want support from our significant other.”
“Nalypsis, do you want this to be a long-term thing? Because I am ready to find somebody to spend my life with, so if you were to be with me, it would be a lifelong commitment,” he probably could tell that I was hesitant.
“I understand that, and I am very very willing to be that. I've never met anyone who can relate to me, who showed me such kindness, and has fully accepted me for who I am. I don't think I ever will again, I don't want to. I... I want you,” I said the last bit in almost a whisper.
“I want you to.” I looked up at him, his back was facing towards me, but I didn't need him to look at me. Those words were enough.
I climbed my way up to the seat next to him at the front of the cart. I leaned against him resting my head on his shoulder, I felt his arm wrap around my waist and settle on my hip. We settled in the silence for a few hours, watching the countryside roll by.
Eventually though, we did need to stop for the night. As dusk approached, we found a fairly flat area of land to park our carriage. I untied the horse and took him to a nearby tree where I fastened his lead for the night. When I came back, Edrim had begun to fasten together the poles for the canopy that went on top of the carriage. I took it upon myself, to unfold the canopy itself and start fastening it to the frame as he built it.
We soon had shelter for the night, and realized very quickly the cart was pretty cramped, at least for two people that were in a very fresh relationship. We figured it was easier Edrim if climbed in first and settled himself, and then I would climb in, and we could adjust ourselves with the pillows and blankets. After some jostling to settle and spread out the blanket and fluff the pillows, we found ourselves face to face with each other. It was the first time I could actually look at him properly since we had established things. I tried to avoid looking at his mouth, but I could see he was trying to do the same thing. He kept looking away and eventually adjusted himself so he was laying on his back looking up. I scooted closer to him, and he turned his head to look at me, our faces mere inches from each other. He looked down again at my mouth and quickly looked up.
“I have the feeling that you’re trying not to kiss me and I give you permission to just do it,” the words slipped out of my mouth before I even realized what I had said. My eyes widening at my own boldness. He looked taken aback for a second, I thought I had stepped too far but then I felt his hand rest on my cheek.
“Are you sure?”
“As sure as I've ever been about anything in my life,” I could feel my cheeks heating up under his hand. We moved forward at the same time, and our lips met. He was soft, but so sure and firm under. I felt his hand wrapper on my back and settle right above my tail. He pulled me slightly closer till we were pressed up against each other, I wrapped my arms around his neck.
This was much better than my first kiss when I was thirteen. Unlike that jerk, Edrim wasn't shoving his tongue down my throat. However, I did feel Edrim’s lip’s part just a little bit at a hesitant tip of his tongue touch my lips. I gave an enthusiastic response by parting my mouth and meeting his tongue with mine. I felt myself heating up quickly, this felt so good I've never felt like this before. But then I felt his hands start to reach a bit more towards my waistband. I paused and pulled off him, and looked him in the eyes. I could see that they were a bit hazy.
“I think we need to slow down a little bit, I like the kissing and I'm enjoying touching very much, but I don't think I'm ready for anything else. At least not yet.” This startled him back.
“You're right, I'm sorry.”
“You're fine don't worry about it; I think we were both getting excited. But I want to take things slowly, I want to be sure of everything so we don't regret it later on,” He looked a little bit nervous. “I'm sorry if you wanted to do more.”
“Please don't be sorry, you're totally right. Besides, I want to remember enjoy and savor it and I'd rather our first time be in a bed in the comforts of our own home, or at least a hotel room. Not in the middle of the field.”
“I personally wouldn't mind it being in the middle of the field, but I get your point.” I snorted, and quickly covered my nose. He full on laughed at that.
“You're cute, you don't need to hide your adorable laugh from me.”
“You think it's adorable, I think it sounds like a bad impression of a pig.”
“It does not,” his laughter petering out to just a chuckle. He placed a hand softly resting against my cheek, stroking it gently with his thumb. “You know, I'm glad we said this, I'm glad we had this conversation. Because now I get to wake up to this every day and fall asleep to it every night.”
“Gods, Edrim,” I stared at him in awe. “I think that's the most romantic thing anybody has ever said ever, and you can quote me on that. I literally collect stories from everywhere, about everything I've never heard anything so beautiful.”
Now he was blushing. It was faintly orange tinted under his skin, the phosphorus pigments that ran him through him caused his internal fluids to glow. He had no explanation for it, but it didn't stop his tongue from glowing orange. His saliva from glowing orange, I wonder what else would glow- no, time to stop that train of thought before it goes anywhere.
“You flatter me, but it's true. I want this. I want you. In any way I can have you. I won’t always know how to do this relationship thing. But I’m open to learn. Especially if it means I can just be near you. I like you a lot Nalypsis and I promise you, we will go at your pace, and I never want to do anything to lose that trust.”
I gave a silent prayer of thanks to Edrim’s goddess Eldath for her bringing him into my life.
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