Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 5.25.
“Vic? Vicky? Are you already asleep?” Imoen’s quiet voice cuts off Viconia’s trail of thoughts as the drow has found it impossible to find sleep again.
“I am awake… what is it you want, Imoen?” Viconia sighs, turning around to face Imoen, but the latter is looking away from her as she speaks.
“I… I wanted to… no, its nothing… oh, actually I was supposed to be sleeping, silly me,” Imoen yawns theatrically and falls silent.
“Oh no… don’t play these games with me, little one. Nobody disturbs my rest over nothing,” Viconia’s voice takes an edge, “now, I demand that you tell me what you intended to say.”
“Er… I forgot what it was…” Imoen tries to wiggle out.
“It won’t work, Imoen,” Viconia adds a warning, “speak, unless you want to make me angry.”
“Umm… Vic? I just wanted you to ask something… but I’m afraid you won’t like it… promise you won’t be angry, Vic?” Imoen sounds pleading.
“How can I promise that I won’t be angry if I don’t know what your question will be?” Viconia asks, but seeing that Imoen is about to turn away, adds, “very well, I promise… I’ll not be mad at you, regardless of the question.”
“Aww… you are so sweet, Vic…” Imoen purrs, “So… ah, yes… well, I wanted to know, seeing how disdainful you are towards Theo and Jaheira… have you ever been… in love, Vic?”
“In… love? What kind of question is that?”
“Well… you know all that caring about someone stuff and so on…” Imoen sounds just as confused as the Drow beside her…
“Caring about someone… that stirs up memories,” Viconia sighs, “memories, that I never wanted to touch again. Yes… I suppose, I did care about someone, once in the past – my poor, foolish brother. Valas.”
“Why poor, Vic? Something… bad happened to him?”
“You can say that, little one… do you want to hear the tale?” Viconia asks and Imoen hastily confirms her interest with a nod of the head.
“He was… not like any other drow male… He was my childhood friend… perhaps my only friend, ever. He was a shifty and cunning boy, always tended to cause mischief and pull pranks on those stone-faced handmaidens… you remind me of him a bit, Imoen…” Viconia adds with a sigh, before continuing, “He grew up to become a useful wizard…”
“Awww, just like me?” Imoen asks in a hopeful voice.
“Yes… much like you,” Viconia admits after a brief thought, “and he protected and watched over me, and in return I ensured that he was spared many of the indignities that a drow male can be exposed to. In the end, he… saved my life.”
“What happened, Vic? Vic, are you alright?” Imoen asks concerned before sneaking over to rest beside the drow, “Are those tears in your eyes, Vic? Please… tell me everything…”
“I was about to be sacrificed on the Lolth’s altar, Imoen,” Viconia’s voice is trembling, “he… he freed me with his magic and then killed our mother so I could flee. Lolth was outraged about his act of defiance… she… she turned him into a drider, a half-drow, half-spider creature. He was wiped away… replaced by that monster…”
“Aw… I’m so sorry, Vic… you poor thing, lemme hold you and you’ll feel much better,” Imoen wraps her hands around Viconia’s waist and snuggles closer to the Drow. Viconia finds herself too weak to push the young woman away and her lack of strength disgusts her at first, but… the feeling of Imoen’s warm body against hers is much more pleasant than she could ever dare to admit…
“Vicky? But the love you felt for Valas is different from what… for example, what Theo and Jaheira feel for each other… have you ever loved any of your… well… partners in bed?” Imoen silently whispers in Viconia’s ear.
“No, that kind of feelings are a weakness I cannot allow… to leave yourself so dependant from another person is outright disgusting… it only makes one weak and submissive,” Viconia pulls back from Imoen’s embrace, but Imoen draws her back.
“That is… well, that is just a load of bullshit and you know it, Vicky…” Imoen’s voice is more determined than Viconia ever remembers it to be, “just look at Theo and Jaheira – how much strength they draw from each other… love does not make one weaker, it gives you another source of strength… I believe that.”
“I have never heard you speak with such conviction, Imoen,” Viconia chuckles, “but… what would you know of love? And… why are you telling me this?”
“I… don’t know much, if anything, of love, Vic… but I know that I want to find out everything there is to find… and I thought… well, perhaps… I…” the light in the cavern is bright enough for Viconia to see that Imoen’s cheeks have taken a shade of red…
“Imoen… little one… just rest here with me while I think over what you just said,” Viconia’s voice is gentle.
“After we get out of this hole… Do you remember that surprise I promised for you, Imoen? Want to hear what I had in mind?” Viconia asks quietly after a while and Imoen nods excitedly. Viconia leans even closer and her warm breath as she whispers in Imoen’s ear, makes the young mage slightly giddy.
“You really think so, Vic? I mean… isn’t that a little radical?” Imoen sounds unconvinced, but Viconia continues to whisper arguments in her ear until Imoen gives up, “oh… alright… but that will be weird… jeez, I can’t imagine… Vic, are you sure? I wonder what Theo and the others will say…”
“But you do like to surprise your friends, don’t you?” Viconia grins, “now, let us try to resume sleeping… you… you can stay here, with me if you wish…” she adds hesitantly and Imoen smiles broadly.
“Ahem, I apologize for interrupting you, but we should start getting ready,” I look at the two sleeping women, embraced, holding each other close – at my words they wake slowly and disengage from each other as soon as they realize what is going on.
“So… let me guess,” I snicker, “Vic had a bad dream and you came to comfort her, right?”
“I don’t see it being any concern of yours, jaluk,” Viconia retorts angrily, seeing the blush on Imoen’s face.
“I am not concerned,” I shrug, “whatever is going on between you two, I wish you the best. But we have a long road ahead of us and this is perhaps not the best time for…”
“Jaheira up already?” Imoen senses that the conversation is becoming too embarrassing for her and swiftly changes the topic.
“Er… yeah, but she’s a bit… drowsy so don’t hurry too much with your preparations…” now is my turn to blush.
“Ah, so you managed to wear her out… well done, Theo,” Viconia laughs.
“Well… she’s not in her top-form yet…” I laugh back, before retreating back to my sleeping place, where Jaheira is still wallowing around in her blankets.
“What… what was that all about?” Imoen exclaims absentmindedly, watching as I leave.
“I have no idea, whatsoever…” Viconia replies, “as I said, love only makes you act like a complete fool… and Theo is the fool, I meant,” she adds quickly.
I try to stifle the laughter about their cluelessness all the way back... Jaheira is still drowsing as I return, so I choose to sit beside her and play with locks of her hair until she finally opens her sleepy eyes and smiles at me warmly.
“Morning, beautiful,” I chuckle, “rested well? You seem a bit… exhausted…”
“Nonsense…” she mutters, “though I seem to have… ah… misjudged the level of my endurance after that unfortunate mishap in the caves…”
“Oh, worry not… you have always been so strong and unbreakable during our travels so this period of weakness comes as a sudden, unexpected, but also in a way… pleasant change. And I think that you also enjoy being nursed for once, am I right?” I smile before leaning down to kiss her.
“As I have said before…” she exclaims in-between the kisses, “I don’t mind if you take… mmmph… initiative from time to time…”
“Oh, judging by that bickering, Vic and Immy have waked up Eddie,” I conclude, disengaging from her grasp, “we better get moving as he is not known for his enormous patience… if we tarry for too long there will be fireballs flying around soon…”
“Well, it is not that I care of what Edwin thinks, but on the other hand I suppose we should get going,” Jaheira says and tosses aside her blanket leaving me breathless once again… While she slowly and teasingly dresses herself, I vainly try to extinguish the burning flames of desire burning inside me. Having excused myself, I make a short walk to the small pool in the middle of the grotto and dump my head in the ice-cold water…
Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 5.25.
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