Art: 045/100 Themes - Illusion

"Ilujia." Illusion. - 45/100 Themes.

I suck at writing flirting, but I admit, Rivek is a bit of a pervy dick.

Rosmyne is a re-work of an old character who used to be Willow's room-mate (and Rivek's ex) in high school. Now, she is a former servant girl with a penchant for money. She is the kind of woman who hops from man to man to achieve her goals.

As a teenager, she slept with Rivek because she thought he would marry her and give her noble title (no one else was troubled or rebellious enough to sleep with servants). When his title is stripped away, she is coincidentally ruined. As an already "lesser" person who is no longer a virgin, she has lost her social value.

She continues to work at the castle behind the scenes, hidden in shame, until she serves dinner to a handsome prince from the north. Empathetic to her drive for self-worth, Sorian sees value in her still. He tells her he can give her back everything she lost. He buys her, and she willingly undergoes his experimentation. It gives her magic ability to manipulate others' thoughts and dreams through touch.

Slowly, she falls in love with him and the possible royal title he could provide, but he is too wrapped-up in his own quest for power. Both Sorian and Rosmyne are people who define their internal value by rewards from external sources.

At first, I was iffy on re-purposing Rosmyne due to possible "sexploitation," but I think her addition actually rounds out my female cast. Each balances power and gender differently: Willowren has tons of power, but her culture's expectations of women restrict the ways she can express it to traditionally feminine paths. Mirab expresses her inherent power through masculine means. Perrin is born with very little, so she joins the male-dominated military to achieve status. Rosmyne exploits her feminine nature to climb the social ladder.

Specifically, I want Perrin and Rosmyne to serve as contrasts to one another. Perrin is forward - to the point of bullheadedness - in achieving her dreams. Rosmyne is manipulative and uses others to get what she wants.

Also - Rivek verbally denies it, but he highly values his relationship with Willow. So, since Alisian culture treats men and women as military equals, Rivek has no qualms about beating the crap out of a girl who threatens it.


Rivek wandered through the dark corridor. The mage-lights had been extinguished much earlier, so only moonlight guided his passage. He ran his hand along the wall to avoid walking into potentially painful objects. Most of the castle's inhabitants would be asleep by now. He thought he would be as well. He did not understand what kept him awake.

The warm, night air blew in through the marble archways and licked at his bare skin. Given the late hour and lingering summer swelter, he had not bothered to find a shirt. He paused as his hand slid over a familiar carved handle, the door to the great hall. The vaulted ceilings seemed like a much better alternative to the confined corridor.  He had to throw most of his weight into it, but he managed to create enough of a opening to slide sideways in.

Blue light streamed in through the stained glass windows, casting hues that turned the white ground into an ocean floor. As he looked up from the patterns on the tile, his eye caught the glimmering, gold, hem of a piece of cloth. In light, it would have been rich crimson, but the night transformed its shadows into a deep violet. A woman sat in the throne at the front of the room, swathed by this mass of red silk, gazing at the moon. Noticing his entrance, she stood. The cloth fell from her shoulders, revealing her pale skin. She wore nothing.

He laughed. "Willow. I'm not going to lie, but this is pretty odd."

She smiled. "Come here."

He obeyed, stopping at the foot of the throne's platform. "I thought you'd be in bed. As in, I expected you to be in bed until noon tomorrow."

She laughed, and it echoed like bells off the stone walls. She moved closer, leaving only a few inches between their bodies. "Same as you, I couldn't sleep."

"Maybe you should try again." He smirked, doing a poor job of keeping his eyes and hands off her exposed breasts. "Not that you'd get lost in your own house, but if you need someone to take you back to your quarters - well, 'escort' is in my job description."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and left a quick peck where the two scars crossed on his cheek. "Not to dismiss your acts of chivalry, but, no, I'm going to stay here, thank you. It's a nice enough night, isn't it?"

He wrapped one hand around her waist and used the other to brush her long hair out of his face. "You're going to sit naked for an undetermined period of time in a public place that will be quickly populated in a few hours. Good plan."

"That's not what I mean." She threw him a fake, angry glance and pushed him back playfully. He went along with the act and dropped to his knees.

"Then what do you mean?"

"I simply mean I don't want to go back to my room."

He nodded and rolled his eyes, "That seems like kind of a dumb thing to want."

She knelt to meet him and began playing with his dark hair. She ran her hands down his bare abdomen, tracing the scars that ran down it. She paused, just under his navel, before letting her fingers snake slowly downwards again. He tensed.

"Well, since you've been nice enough to let me have what I want," she bowed her head and looked up to meet his eyes, "I can give you what you so desperately want."

With one quick breath, she pressed her lips to his and slipped her tongue between his teeth.

It tasted like iron, ash, and saltpeter. Quickly, he broke the kiss and bit his tongue. He wanted to wash out his mouth. Even his own blood would have tasted better. He spat onto the ground, narrowed his eyes, and wiped his lips.

Cupping his hand around her fair cheek, he leaned in and whispered into her ear, "No, I'm afraid, you can't. Because this is a dream. An illusion. And when I wake up, I am going to make you regret this. Because - sorry, love - but birds like me mate for life."

He nodded toward the silken cloth spread on the floor. "By the way, Rosmyne, her favorite color is green."

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