The war developed rapidly, a blur of chaotic commotion happening all around. The remains of what was left of Cade's legacy would be soon forgotten, a mere distant memory like evening mist clearing come dawn. The war had been won; the feline queen's empire preserved for another day. How she usually revelled in those intoxicating victories and yet this one struck a different chord than the rest. Instead, she was racing through Syn like a wave of destruction, willing to destroy anything within her path, her unconscious mate plucked from the battlefield and within her grasp. She continued up the sprawling familiar steps and into the welcomed quiet solitude of the bedroom that greeted her. It was exactly as they had left it. The bed unmade for perhaps the first time in years, clothing and weapons disordered in the haste they were suddenly awoken.
Movement caught her analyzing, searching gaze, noting the select exotic, non-were felines poking out their heads, sleepily, like they had slept through the entire ordeal. They seemed almost curious by the sudden commotion occurring about the once quiet space, drawn to their master as usual. Yet it was perhaps instinct alone that caused them to maintain their distance. The undercurrent of tension from the vampire queen was palpable, the woman battle-ready even though the battle was over. She would kill any being in that room that was not her mate or the few privileged felines chosen to live there. She had sustained several wounds of her own, but they all paled in comparison to what her mate had endured to ensure that victory. He was gripped firmly in a rare state of unconsciousness that did not relent.
Risque discarded him onto the plush unmade bed, noticing the unnatural way his body reacted to his amassed wounds, the painfilled groans tore through his throat. He was fighting more than what could be seen, more than her mate could heal from with his own enhanced healing. He had endured far worse wounds than this, but it was clear that there was something else preventing him. It had to do with the stake, it had to be. It was then the bone chattering shivers that raked her cowboy's body violently, only alluding to the wrongness that assaulted him.
Vampires didn't get cold like mortals. They didn't get sick. Not in that similar sense. She prodded at his unmoving form, although he remained unresponsive. Wake up, she attempted as if her will was enough to cause those familiar eyes to flutter open.
Her cowboy having done the impossible, not only besting a vampire near three times his age but managed to place himself in danger's way. No, it was not like before. Not like he had in the south or any other time. This time, there was far more on the line than injuries that could be healed from. It was inexplicable. It was madness. It was distinct clarity. It was choice. A desperation that went far beyond anything else. How had he even crossed that field so fast? He was fast, but it was like he was like lightning striking when he returned. There were far too many emotions she couldn't name, far too many variables to consider. Far too many to name.
She forced them from her mind, a battle she nearly lost before she focused on her injured lover. She stripped her lover of his clothes, discarding whatever was concealing the wounds beneath them. She tossed those blood-soaked clothes and weapons without care to the side, putting back the limp, dislocated arm back in his socket with a loud crunch that met her ears. Nothing changed. She noted the wound where the stake had struck looked..... wrong. Not even painting his lips with blood roused her lover. Without blood, he would not adequately heal. "Drink." She demanded, only this was one order he could not fulfill at the moment. It was as she suspected. There was a moment his eye lids fluttered, only barely open to meet her gaze, his lips parted as if attempting to speak only to be sucked back into the riptide of unconsciousness once more. At least he was alive...
She refused to accept that after everything her lover might still be in dire peril. After everything this was how it was to be written?
A frustrated sound ripped from her throat as she called the only being she trusted enough to help, the peculiar shaman that had been on her payroll and had never failed her yet. It was perhaps that reason that it made it easy to overlook his quirks. He was old. Older than even her despite being so woefully short. She might even recommend male platforms for him if he would have listened. Yet, he was the only being she could think of. He could fix this. He would fix this. She wasted no time after placing the thick duvet over Darcy's prone, shivering form, as if that would warm his already cold body. Ezra hardly sounded phased on the phone, even with her own sounding clipped, businesslike, strictly to the point and without a hint of emotion. The only hint of something amiss was the impatient urgency that seasoned her accented words that did not hold their usual melodious tone. The phone went quiet. The healer was on his way. She had nothing else to do but study the ailing form of her cowboy. To stare at the man that would risk everything for her. The man who brazenly admitted love. If there was ever a way to ask for him to prove such a declaration, it was this. But how it tore through her in ways she could not understand.
It didn't take long before she heard the telltale signs of someone at her door. How she treated it like it was a threat, at first, only relaxing at the familiar sign that it was her healer. The sound of the familiar lock of that door was clear to her sensitive hearing. As far as she was concerned, at that moment, despite its fallacy... he was late. It didn't matter that he answered her call in record time. She could smell Ezra before she could see him. Picking up on his distinctly unique scent of herbs that followed him everywhere he went. "Ezra, the bedroom." Was all she announced, knowing her voice would carry. His movements were well practiced, her gaze landing upon the pointed wolf ears of that peculiar and ridiculous hood. Of course, he chose to dress as a canine just after a war with them... Of course, that had to be his spirit animal... of all nights. She wondered if he did so on purpose to satisfy his own warped sense of humour or perhaps, he simply didn't care or know. He pushed back the hood, the short man, far cleaner than the pair of vampires. Risque had not even changed from her bloodied, shredded leather suit, beyond removing those silver embellishments as she waited.
Risque was drawn to his hair, that stood out, comprised of the most unusual contrast of silver, white and black. It looked the same from the moment she met him. One might even call it... trendy. But that hair merely reminded her of an inverted skunk. She caught sight of the glare from the short man who eyed the bed with clear disdain. He had always been... opinionated. It was clearly much too high a surface for a man of his stature. He was forced to climb to get onto the bed before his nearly impossible green eyes sliced to her, asking for the offending stake. She pulled it from where she stashed it, to offer him the stake that had been within her mate's side. Ezra quickly eyed it before placing it on the bed without so much as a muttered word. The maddening man seemed committed to his silence. Considered something and yet did not bother to share his thoughts, only state that he had them. Just a warning that Darcy might start to scream. Her lover was many things, but a screamer he wasn't. Her body seemed to tense, displeasure of allowing another being near him. How outrageously possessive she seemed to be over him in that moment. She has no time to question it. If not for their history, she would have not tolerated his closeness to her vulnerable lover. How she wasn't even truly aware of her own hovering. "Just fix him." She confirmed, finally in return.
She could see the eager glint that entered the healer's eye when presented with a new puzzle to solve, how well she understood it even though she did not appreciate that look being directed toward her lover. Risque's gaze narrowed critically upon the other vampire, watched his every move of his inspecting, hovering like she might intervene. He had always fixed anything she had summoned him for. She hardly cared that his methods were far from traditional. She only cared that they worked. But did they have to be so.... Time consuming.
Risque watched as the man peeled back the blankets to expose her cowboy to the air, so he could get a better, up-close and thorough view of his wounded form, in particular the wounded side. Ezra eyed it near delightedly, clapping his hands as he exclaimed a singular word of near flamboyant excitement. He swiftly went into his bag before waving what looked like a stick over the wound. A stick? That was new. He was wasting precious time with a stick. She was just about to object when he said it was a necessary part of the process, as if he knew what she was already about to say. Clear the negative energy, he claimed. He was about to feel a great deal of energy if he continued this level of needless tinkering. She wanted Darcy returned to his former self. Although, it would seem that would not be an immediate process... even for as rapid as they usually healed.
She failed to see how a stick was going to help with a wound, of all things! He muttered those words in an ancient tongue she could not understand. This was ludicrous! The midnight-haired she-devil knew exactly what to do with stick to reduce the negative energy she was currently feeling. If he started to try and heal his energy with Reiki next... she already debated snapping his precious cleansing stick into several pieces. She contained herself, despite the violence that danced within her head. That was no way to treat the vampire she currently needed. Mercifully, the peculiar man placed the offending stick back into the bag as if to save it from its destruction. She had just sliced a vampire in half, she would have no qualms in ending that ridiculous tree limb and yet she did not need the ire of another old vampire. The only ease that began to seep into her was when he began to create a salve made up of various leaves and berries of all things. He looked like a wild mad man as he worked, vigorously pummeling the contents with a mortar and pestle to that desired consistency.
She felt as though he had half the forest upon her bed and forged into that very paste. She already knew his methods were not.... conventional. She had already used some of his own concoctions before with great success. The man near looked feral with his ample hair and ridiculous hood, hunched over his bowl. Just as she was about to inquire what twigs and berries had to do with Darcy's wound. What was wrong with him?? Her mouth parted before he silenced her and simultaneously peered up from the mess of his hair. Do not tell him how to do his job, that he did not tell her how to do hers. Displeasure flashed across her features, lips pursed before he finally answered her unvoiced question. He began offering a long list of mundane injuries and yet none seemed to stand out more than the stake with soaked acid. If the silver stake didn't meet its mark, the poison would surely do more damage to weaken its target. No wonder why it was so painful and if it grazed Darcy's heart, that poison would spread like wildfire. How it could have just as easily been her in that bed, or perhaps the mound of dust that Cade had been reduced to. She felt an irritable sound form within her throat. Cade did not suffer nearly enough. Yet she was far more concerned with what it would take to heal her lover.
"How long until the poison leaves his body completely?" Risque questioned, finally having something else to focus on. "Do you know anything more about that acid?" Was it witch made? Or something else? Her mind lingered briefly upon that thought.
Ezra continued to further explain that Darcy would have died if he was anything but a vampire. Her question of how long it would take for him to heal was finally answered. Days, maybe longer. Her mind focused on how close her mate had been to death. How just a little further and that stake could have destroyed his heart. Her gaze focused upon her lover as Ezra prattled on about his treatment plan. Darcy would need to be nursed back to health. The woman was hardly a nurse by any means, possessed so few caring bones within her body. Yet she merely nodded, accepting those instructions, making a mental note on everything the healer had said.
She was far superior at breaking things, not putting them back together. "That will not be a problem.." Darcy would not be allowed to feed from the vein. That much would be made clear, her insatiable Darcy did not do small meals. He drank deeply and with fervor. Those instructions were simple. Although, to keep him in bed would be a challenge. Ezra pulled out a syringe of pain medicine, near enthusiastic at the prospect of injecting and stitching him together. The moment the needle slipped into his skin, Darcy's eyes snapped open, growling in warning. Her hand reached for his opposite exposed shoulder closest to her, that movement involuntary. That volatile sound died as relief from pain visibly washed over him. Ezra muttered on, hardly even flinching in the face of warning her Ravager. The ancient shaman merely content to focus on what he was doing.
Those exhausted mismatch gaze shifted towards her. He looked frail, weaker than he had ever been, even his lips appeared paler than she had ever seen him. Even then it was as though he was happy to her, his lips forming into a smile as his gaze settled upon her. He asked if they had won, ignoring the other quiet, diligently working vampire's presence entirely.
"Oui, we won without a doubt. The war is over. Ezra is here to.. help. There were... complications preventing you from healing as you normally would.."
That question what happened to Cade shortly followed. Did he not remember what he had done?
"He is dust, impaled with his own weapon he intended to use on me. Do you not remember?" That last question unbeknownst everyone in that room held far more weight and yet now was not the moment to get into specifics with another vampire in their presence. Darcy abruptly yawned, although it was severed as it gave way into a hiss that tore through him as his body jolted from the awareness of being assaulted. Risque's question all but forgotten. That warning from Ezra that she would be charged more if he bit him.
"Tell him just how much more that would cost." That would certainly cause her cowboy to pause in any state. He was more inclined to listen when money was on the line. Her fingers traced upon her lover's smooth, soft skin of his shoulder idly, like she was petting one of her cats. It was automatic, she truly hadn't even been aware it. "Have you even been bitten by a Ravager, Ezra?" How she had never seen the Shaman squirm before, the man experiencing more than most in his long but colourful life. So countless many were concerned by the brutality of her mate's bite that could crush through bone. Although Ezra was lucky for this particular patient. Ravager vampires rarely gave warning and when they did, it was reckless to ignore it. However, the man simply dove back to his task, his laugh nearly crazed. "Your bedside manner is atrocious." Risque uttered out loud and yet it was the honest truth. What a bizarre little man.
Darcy seemed to settle, the wound hardly hurting any more with the various remedies use to dull the pain. Once finished with his mending, he all but leapt off of the bed, quite proud with himself and his perfect stitches. She looked down upon the boyish looking man with ancient eyes. His build was so slim, with no definition that made him look even younger. Especially in comparison to the rugged manliness of her tall, muscular lover, even in his current state.
It was Ezra's word of warning that caused Risque to pause. He was right. Darcy had never been in such a vulnerable state before. Although how many would truly risk trespassing into that space? War truly brought out the more savage side of her vampires who desired to raise their status. Like they could ever fill the shoes of her lover. Darcy had always been seemingly untouchable, up until that moment.
"They will not be able to touch him." She said definitively, the edge of dark promise and possession stained her words that were meant to the healer but her gaze remained on her cowboy. Even awake, that possessiveness didn't lessen. She would have to make a show of the first one. How less inclined they were to try again when one was so brutally made an example of. Just like that, the shaman was already packed up and ready to leave. He would be back with more medication the following night he claimed. No physical activity. What a demanding creature. There were scant few would attempt to give her an order... But how eager she was to see him go. He did not waste another moment before he placed that ridiculous hood back atop his head and went out the same way he entered. He would send his bill. Just as he always did, promptly.
Risque shook her head, listening for the door shutting behind him and then nothing. It was Darcy's voice that drew her back toward him as he tried to move. Already attempting to move, the pain killer clearly was working. He sat, propped up by cushions, a feat he could not accomplish without wincing. Yet pain rarely stopped him. Darcy snatched her hand, interlacing with her own fingers, eying that stake before returning to focus upon her. He had something to say, he declared.
That moment seemed almost far too quiet for the chaos of everything that had transpired. This was the man who had risked his own life for hers. How curious she was for those very words he had to say.
That was abruptly when that declaration that he was fuckin hungry. Of all the things he could have said. Of all she had anticipated. He proved himself to be at the heart of it.... A man. Thinking with his stomach. She blinked. Perhaps this was better than anything else.
How she had far too many words on the tip of her tongue. "Darcy..." No. Now was the time to deal with blood. A far simpler task than to mention the source of those unfamiliar feelings. "Do not attempt to leave this bed. Do not think I won't tie you to it if I must." She warned. "I'm calling up something to eat." She would not be far. Not with Ezra's wise words warning echoing in her mind.
Risque turned away, pausing briefly before reaching for her feline affinity to summon a singular nearby were. She needed blood to heal her own wounds and if she were to share some of it with Darcy, she needed to be fed. With a swiftness she ventured into the 'penthouse', snatching a tall glass from her personal bar. She eyed those metal straws someone had left, stashed to the side... At the last minute, she grabbed one of those too. before she strode to the front door. She could sense that being she summoned on the other side. The hefty door was swung wide after she placed that glass and straw down upon a nearby ledge. A were-tiger in his recently shifted human form was only met by a mere predatory glance, not willing nor had the time to play with her food tonight. Without another word, she grabbed him by the back of the neck. He had taken a beating from the battle, but he would do. His blood was strong. She yanked him forward to her, her own fangs bared and ready to bury into his throat, drinking that fresh, hot blood efficiently, out of necessity to allow her body to heal, not a drop more. Risque then abruptly tugged roughly at his arm with her free hand, unsheathing her fangs from his neck and then tore them into his wrist she yanked to her lips. She ignored any sounds he might have made.
Blood began to flow freely down his arm, gravity taking care of the rest. Grabbing that glass she had set aside, she urged the blood to flow freely into it like he was nothing more than a soda dispenser. The were was soon released from her affinity the moment the she-devil uttered. "Good, now go." She all but pushed him out, closing the door behind him without so much as another glance. Setting a lock in place. She eyed that filled, warm glass and placed a straw inside with a plunk as it met the bottom. It looked comical. A fearsome vampire drinking from a straw. She moved swiftly into the bedroom, drawing to his bedside, licking the blood that pooled in the corner of her mouth.
"There will be more later." She assured pointedly, knowing it would only be enough to hold off the hunger for the moment. Offering him that glass, knowing it was hardly enough to truly satisfy him. She knew her lover did not prefer the flavour of were blood over human. Surely, he did not have the energy to attempt to protest Ezra's clear instructions. She eyed him expectantly with a similar intensity as before, waiting for him to finish every last drop. Risque drew to his side of his bed, neatly sitting on the edge. She would give him her blood later, that could wait.
Multiple days, stuck in this room together she mused. "We prevailed again." She was satisfied as she nearly purred those words and yet it was clear there was something more. Although she was certain, victory for Darcy did not include bed rest and riddled with pain that afforded no pleasure. At least not yet. It was still a victory.. perhaps little else mattered. "That victory is hardly mine...." She added no further elaboration, before catching his mismatched eyes. That phrasing unusual from the feline queen who was many things, but humble was not one of them.
She remembered being furious with both her pet and her mate. The feline queen determined to end that war herself had somehow almost caused her to lose it even though she was fueled with her own fury. Although, none of which she felt now. How so much had changed.. The moment she had been ensnared by warlocks. Giving Tetradore his moment to strike... to give Cade his perfect opportunity to isolate her from her people.
How very close they were to losing and how little of what happened beyond that barrier when Cade and her clashed was unknown. Yet perhaps it hardly mattered when it did not change the outcome. Was he aware of his own vital part? Did he feel that strange sensation that she had?
"Tell me... what happened? After the warlocks unleashed their... assault on me." Her voice like velvet, even though the mention of warlocks was still a sore point for her, she simply had to know what he remembered. The distant sound of a victorious bellow of her vampires below. She stilled in readiness, listening for anything amiss that did not arise. They were undoubtedly celebrating, relishing in their victory, especially when they were more than willing to indulge in those customary rewards. Rewards they would have to wait to indulge in themselves.