Tuesday, 21 June 2011
06:12:57 PM (GMT)
One of the things that I promised myself I'd do this summer is write. I don't
really have any plans on what (though there are countless things I could write), but
I feel it's still necessary to do so. The feedback is always so lovely on here, so I
hope you don't mind some more trivial spouting now and again.
This is a companion piece to a longer project I'm (supposedly) working on right now.
The characters are not new, but they've been reworked considerably, so they might be
almost unrecognisable to those of you that knew these two when they were still
fledglings. I don't feel the need to explain the background of these two... I don't
think it's necessary to know that to feel the emotion I want to convey here.
The Space Between
"A visit? How unheard of," Lady Grace cooed, lending a lighted flint to a drooping
candle wick as she paced the taupe decks of her chamber. Wisps of willowy, shale
smoke clouded in the humid air, suffocating and stifling like a rip-tide. "Is there
something you forgot to mention at the gathering last night? Or perhaps your
intentions are more personal?"
"On the contrary, my Lady," Lord Aoyama mused, as he glided the sliding door back
into place. With his slender back and shoulders resting against the etched wood, he
let his gentle gaze trail over the woman's lithe body, lingering on every contour and
curve. His companion seemed oblivious to his admiration, at least to his eyes. "Can
one not just enjoy the pleasure of your company?"
"Your sister implied that she was to return to Valor today - I thought you would be
accompanying her. Or is it in your nature to allow a woman to travel alone across the
Lord Aoyama scoffed lightly and cast his dark eyes down at his sandaled feet as he
withheld a chuckle. He knew that Grace was familiar enough with the brashness of his
sister - a woman who would not care to travel in a convoy, and perhaps even
prefer the solitude of a lone horse across the steppes. Grace was teasing him,
and it was a pleasant side of her that he had seen scarce of.
"Sukie has gone on ahead without me, yes. I expressed my desire to see more of the
Capital, and she cared not to stay. She has never been fond of studying culture like
"Enjoy your history, do you Lord Aoyama? Might you be obliged to visit my library
then, whilst you are here; we do have quite a collection on site."
She passed by him then, her subtle scent of wood smoke and plum tempting and arousing
his sense. Just an arm's length away, but always so very slightly out of his
"I would be most grateful," the young Lord bowed, his formalities never growing
tired, strained or forced. "Are you a lover of the written word too, my Lady?"
Though his eyes might have mistaken him, he thought a glimmer of a smile crossed her
thin, claret lips.
"Do I amuse you, my Lady?"
She paused briefly, as if pondering his question, and her own answer.
"It intrigues me how a boy so young can have such refined tastes. I believe
that amuses me slightly, so to speak."
"A boy?" Lord Aoyama questioned, attempting to highlight offence in his tone. "I turn
eighteen this year, my Lady."
"And I, twenty-two," Grace replied courtly, a gentle sigh escaping her lips. She did
not revel in the thought of getting older - the idea of aging, becoming weak,
decrepit, dependant... it repulsed her. "...Has it been four years already?"
Lord Aoyama knew not whether the query was addressed to him or to the all
encompassing night-time, but he chose to answer none the less.
"Yes, four years ago we met, my Lady. The time has passed quickly, has it not?"
Their first encounter, Lord Aoyama remembered transparently well. His boyish self,
barely on the cusp of manhood had been so entranced, so enthralled by this
captivating peacock of a woman that, in an instant, no other human being could
And still, he found himself captivated, with she - the all enveloping taste that he
could never sicken of - his addiction. Oh, how he had waited with baited breathes, in
anxiety for each gathering of the five to come around, just so he could settle his
hunger with that brief glimpse...
"Too quickly, too quickly," Grace murmured, her piercing gaze surprising the young
Lord as it scanned his full height. Her look, for once, was unreadable to him - was
it the fact that, for the first time, she looked upon him as a man, and not a child
in armour? "You have grown handsome," she admitted coldly, barely raising an eyebrow
in interest of his development from adolescent into adult. "Forgive me for not
noticing sooner, Lord Aoyama."
The Lord did not know what to make of her compliment, for she seldom gave them - she
was rarely a woman of many words, let alone those that pleased.
"Thank you, my Lady," he said, though the air was left empty thereafter, ripe with
his own lack of words. Lady Grace breezed across the floor and lit another candle -
the potent smell of incense wafted beneath Lord Aoyama's nostrils, stimulating his
already heightened senses only further.
"...Why are you really here, Lord Aoyama? I dread to think that your reasons can
really be so simple."
"And why can my reasons not be simple, my Lady?" he countered, bravely taking one
step away from the door, and one step towards her supple beauty.
"Believe me when I say that I can read men quite easily, Lord Aoyama. You have never
striked me as a man nothing less than lyrical and complex in your choice of words."
She trailed off, reminding the young Lord of their previous encounter upon the King's
balcony. He had uttered such lines to her there, as the sun illuminated the city and
harbour side... such lines that she had dared not forget.
"Reasons are always simple - it is just that they are often clouded by misleading
words. Trust me... my reason is very simple."
She glanced at him coyly, beneath her spidery, ebony lashes, before fleeting across
the room to light lanterns on the opposite wall.
"I enjoy your company," he continued, announcing the thoughts better left unsaid -
she was as good a reader of people as him, perhaps better. Her smile twitched, the
corners of her upturned lips quivering slightly.
Did she revel in his presence too, as he did hers? Were these sentences only spoken
as formalities to prove her social aptitude, or were there feelings there, buried
deep beneath an impenetrable surface? Lord Aoyama was left wondering, his mind
plodding slowly across the barren desert that was her unreadable expression.
"Are you frustrated?"
He broke from his hazy stupor in an instant and felt her calculating gaze upon his
face. Yet there was more. More than just the assumption of emotion based on the
outward appearance. She was reading deeper than that, and deeper still. How could one
woman cause the nakedness that throttled him?
"You are silent, Lord Aoyama. Must I presume that I am correct?"
There was no need for him to confirm her suspicions when she already seemed to know
him, inside and out.
"I am frustrated that I am unable to read you at present, my Lady. Usually it is a
skill that I pride myself in. Yet, you appear an incredible judge of character in my
"You are misguided, Lord Aoyama. Do you mistake my intrigue in you for being a
judgement of your own character? Perhaps I do possess the very same ability, but let
me assure you of one thing... it frustrates me that there is a part of
you unreadable to my eyes. Does that ease your mind?"
In a sense, her words did ease his mind. She was intrigued by him - he captivated her
fancy, if only a portion of that which he held for her. Such a remarkable woman, and
yet... so very, very alone.
"Ah, I see it now," she mumbled, lost in the deep folds of her own thoughts. "It's in
your eyes, isn't it? Untainted, unspoiled... how is it that your eyes have not yet
become clouded? How is it that they still burn with such purity?"
She turned her head to look away from him, but her own eyes would not follow. Rooted,
she remained, enthralled by such obsidian depths as his. He was still the innocent
that she so desperately wanted to be.
"Come. Please sit with me a while longer on the veranda."
She pulled away from the warmth provided by the candle light - the chilling night air
beckoned her, the whistling wind and falling, gamboge leaves like an out-stretched
hand to her. A cold chill rippled up the Lord's spine then, but he doubted the autumn
air to be the cause.
His lips were damp - a sure sign of the moisture in the atmosphere, and the storms no
doubt approaching. The plum rains would soon arrive, stirring up the seas into
Grace collapsed delicately onto the damp, taupe decks, sighing heavily as if greatly
fatigued by the day's events. Her slender legs were not folded beneath her, as one
might have expected in formal company, and she sat with a slight slump, her menial
weight supported by one, pallid arm. It eased the young Lord's mind that she was
capable of feeling so relaxed in his company, as he draped his own calves over the
edge of the wooden dais and into the long grass.
"Are you tired, my Lady? You spirits seem to have been suppressed somewhat."
"What spirits?" she teased, though humour was absent from her eyes - it was a dry
sarcasm similar to that only used by the young Lord's sister. Had her dwindling
sincerity rubbed off on the mistress of this household too?
"You sound a lot like my sister when you say that, my Lady," Lord Aoyama murmured,
shaking his head as strands of thick, ebony hair fell across his sculpted features.
"Her influence is truly unprecedented."
"That is true," Grace replied, running her thumb across her alizarin-red lips,
blending the vibrant colour with her pale complexion. "Never before have I met
someone as boisterous as she."
"They say that opposites attract," the Lord mused, resting his caring gaze upon her
face once again.
"Did I mention that she and I are opposites?"
"No, you did not."
A moment of silence passed as something akin to surprise took root in the expression
of the woman who captivated the young Lord so dangerously.
"You tease me, Lord Aoyama."
Perhaps there had been no-one before him to ever tease her - which thus explained the
shock on her face. After all, what fool would dare let slip his guard when confronted
with a woman who could so easily decimate the hearts of men. A smitten fool,
"Please, my Lady, it embarrasses me that you address me by that title when you are my
elder, and the one deserving of far more respect. I would much prefer it if you could
use my given name."
She seemed amused by his request - genuine amusement that, for once, reached her
"Only if you cease with that ridiculous suffix yourself. A compromise is fair, is it
She offered him a smile - something so usually fleeting that the Lord was positively
sure that his heart has floundered. The claws of temptation had sunk deep into his
flesh, it seemed. Unhesitantly, she turned her body towards him, so that her torso
was now facing his own, and not the depths of the outside darkness - again, the mood
had changed so suddenly; the inhibitions, once so dearly clung onto, had faltered.
"I would very much like you to call me Grace when we are not surrounded by those who
need to hear constant formalities, Taiko."
There it was - those two, brief syllables. The sound of his own name from her lips
like molten gold - so rich, so precious. He could not bare the thought of another
man's name to brush her grace her tongue with such intimacy. Not now, not since he
had heard this.
"Grace," he purred, enjoying the feel of the single word in the back of his throat,
revelling in the taste of a long since foreign sound. "You do me too many favours."
Notably, the setting is a feudal Japan-esque place. I didn't want to mention that at
the beginning, so not to disrupt the picture painted in the minds of those who care
to read. Grace and Taiko are special characters to me (as is the infamous sister,
Sukie), so there is no doubt in my head that I write frequently of them. There are
many stories still to tell.
As I wrote this, I listened to: Gackt Ever, Gackt Jesus and The GazettE
Vortex. I can't say it suited it much?
Please R&R or C&C - I don't mind either way.
Just be gentle with meeeee.
Last edited: 11 January 2012