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Private crossing lines

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Jasnah Kholin

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aug. 23, y108

Jasnah strode slowly through the hallways of the Mages’ Guild, skimming over her latest notes. Trying to piece together all the information she’d learned from Anakin Skywalker, which was admittedly easier said than done. When his memory was so full of holes from all the times he’d been in Pandora — this was this third time here, apparently — gathering all the scattered threads and trying to weave them back together was like holding water in your hands.

But she was determined to see her task through, no matter how long it took. And perhaps, if she pieced them together, she could help Anakin regain some control over his life.

Her thoughts were pulled away from her task when she neared Loki’s study and spotted a familiar figure standing in front of his door. Blond-haired and blue-eyed, with a bodice cut just a touch too low and with clothes tailored just a touch too tight, a stack of parchments in her arms. Vanessa Swift, Loki’s assistant.

Who strode into his study without even knocking.

Jasnah pursed her lips, closing her notebook with a small thump. Slipping it into her safepouch, she strode forwards with a determined stride.

Enough was enough, she decided. Over the last three months, she’d watched the woman inch closer to Loki, slowly but surely. Standing closer to him, smiling at him too long. Letting their hands brush when she passed over documents, or leaning over his shoulder to point things out, even touching his shoulder ever so often. All seemingly innocent things, but added together made for far more sinister intentions.

And now she was letting herself into his study without permission?

Jasnah shoved the door open and strode in without so much as a by-your-leave, spotting Swift stooped over Loki’s desk. She jumped, shoving something behind her back and whirling around to face Jasnah, a smile already on her mouth that faded as soon as she spotted who it was.

More evidence, which made Jasnah’s eyes glint dangerously.

“Can I help you, Lady Kholin?” Her tone suggested that she didn’t want to help at all, which was just as well.

“You can start by seeing yourself out.”

“...I beg your pardon?”

“Don’t play coy with me, Miss Swift. You know very well that entering the Archmage’s chambers unannounced is frowned upon, especially after Archmage Khadgar’s murder.” Jasnah stepped closer to the desk, feigning that she was glancing down at the reports, but her attention was on Swift and how she shifted to keep facing Jasnah. “As is going through his reports without permission.”

“But Lady Kholin, it’s my job to handle the Archmage’s day-to-day—”

“I’m not in the mood for games,” she interrupted, voice curt. “Put whatever it is you’re hiding behind your back on the desk.”

“But it’s not—”

“I’m not fond of repeating myself.”

Swift fidgeted, face beet red. Slowly, she placed a flower atop the reports.

“Tell me what this is.”

“A flower, for — for the Archmage.”

“From who?” she demanded, though she already knew the answer.

“A secret admirer,” she said in a rush, face still a bright red.

“We both know that’s a lie,” Jasnah warned her in a steely voice. “I’ve seen the way you look at him, the way you stand as close as possible to him. I had hoped to spare you the embarrassment of a direct confrontation, but I see I was too lenient. Take your flower, return to your chambers, pack your bags, and leave.”

Swift gapsed, staring at her aghast. “Leave? You mean leave the Guild?”

“What did I say about repeating myself? You went too far, especially when you already knew that the Archmage is romantically unavailable. You have until sunset, so leave as swiftly as your name suggests.”

Swift’s lower lip wibbled, tears threatening to well up in her eyes. She turned around and fled, sobbing. Sprinting out of the room, leaving the flower behind.

Jasnah snatched the flower, drawing on the Stormlight contained in her Soulcaster’s smokestone to transform it into a puff of dense black smoke, allowing it to dissipate into the air.
icon artwork by exmakina....................
 
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Loki of Asgard

Guest
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Undertaking the role of the leader amongst the mages in the Guild had been a real privilege for the Asgardian. People had started to trust his judgment and allowed him to focus on a demanding job. Considering the importance of his duties, he strove not to disappoint them.

Surely, a number of individuals continued to make assumption concerning his motives solely based on his bad reputation and actions in other universes. Nevertheless, the God of Mischief had slowly learn not to waste his time by lingering on opinions that did not really matter.

After all, his days and energy were incredibly precious lately. Thankfully, his fellow witches and wizards provided a significant amount of assistance. And although he stubbornly refused to admit his feelings, still he was quite grateful for their unconditional offer to help.

For example, the Hand of the Archmage carried the burden of certain responsibilities but Jasnah had showed her true value. Aside from a loyal companion, she had gradually become a trustworthy adviser. So, Loki shared the plans he had in mind and listened to her advice.

Moreover, his secretary kept making an admirable effort to leave up to his expectations. Despite suspecting the reason behind her hard work, the God of Lies had deliberately ignored her advances over the past few months. In the end, his heart already belonged to another.

However, the argument between the two women caught him a little unprepared. Perhaps because knew that his fiance had a natural gift to remain in full control of herself, even during the most difficult circumstances. Thus, he decided to stay outside his office and listened.

Swift had indeed gone too far. He wanted to spare her the embarrassment of a confrontation but she had proceeded with her attempts to win moments of intimacy with him. Of course Loki overlooked any flirtatious behavior, except from his Lady’s demonstrations of affection.

The prince heard every single word of the ongoing conversation. A hint of pride crept into his chest due to the fierce comments which Brightness used in order to defend and protect their relationship from intruders. No partner had claimed him with such determination before.

Soon the conversation reached an unfortunate conclusion. Not only his secretary was fired but also banished from the Tower. The Silvertongue stepped towards the entrance of his office and paused where he could see inside the room. A second later Vanessa collided with him.

His gaze focused on his future wife and how she chose to release her frustration. Frankly, he had never seen her abilities wielded in such manner. Nonetheless, watching the way she transformed the flower into a puff of dense black smoke proved both surprising and fascinating.

Then he glanced at the woman who had frozen against his chest. The trickster failed to resist his natural urge for games and his mind created a plan. Teasing his girlfriend while teaching a lesson to the person who was to blame for the whole situation, seemed like a great idea.

His head turned towards the woman before asking with a voice full of concern and loud enough to be heard. “Vanessa, what happened.” The woman just cried and rested her arms against his chest. How dare she touch his like this? Likely, he managed to hide his boiling anger.

He reached up and placed his arms on her shoulder, pushing her gently in order to create some distance between them. Then he placed a hand under her chin, forcing her to look at him. “Tell me.” His words sounded a little commanding, yet, they held a slightly reassuring tone.

‘She ordered me to leave at once. Gave me until sunset.’ The secretary said between sobs. “What?” He replied, his irritation now audible. ‘She attacked me without a reason.’ Each phrase added to his wrath, for he felt how she wanted to exploit the circumstances to her own benefit.

Long strides carried him inside the chamber. “What is the meaning of his?” He asked Jasnah with a deep frown drawn across his features. Vanessa rushed to share her version of the fight. ‘She accused me of sneaking into your office uninvited, of abusing my position at your side.’

People should learn that they had no chance in the attempts to deceive the God of Lies. Vanessa would soon pay for her foolish actions. His eyes stayed fixed upon his future wife with something dangerous glowing behind his emerald orbs. “May I hear your point of view too?”
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Jasnah Kholin

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Jasnah heard movement from behind her and turned, only to find Swift had collided into none other than Loki. It wasn’t a surprise to see him, not when this was his office, but Jasnah couldn’t help but stare at the exchange through narrowed eyes. Pressing her lips into a thin line when Loki touched the woman’s chin, knowing exactly what he was doing. Lulling Swift into a false sense of security, making her think that he was on her side.

Storms, and the way she took the bait without even thinking about what she was saying almost made Jasnah pity her. Almost, because she despised liars far, far more than manipulating someone into revealing their true colors. There was value in twisting a situation to your needs, sometimes. In the end, the truth always won.

“It’s simple,” she said, giving Swift a pointed look. “She’s been trying to tumble into bed with you for months, and it all culminated into her leaving you a flower, though she insisted that she wasn’t your secret admirer when I confronted her about it. I had hoped to spare her the embarrassment of a direct confrontation, but this was one misstep too many.

“And frankly,”
she went on, fixing the woman with a level look, “her attempts to twist the situation to her own gain are revolting. That alone is more than enough reason to cost her position in the Guild, for who knows what other situations she might have twisted to suit her fancy?”
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Loki of Asgard

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His emerald-colored eyes focused upon his future wife, yet, his facial features revealed absolutely no emotion. Instead of choosing a side with limited knowledge regarding the unfortunate events which had unraveled between the two women, the Asgardian remained perfectly calm and listened patiently in order to learn the other side of the story too.

Although the trickster had never expected such a display of jealousy from his fiance, still he was slightly delighted by her reaction. Nevertheless, he managed to properly hide his amusement under a serious facade. What truly started to bother him was whether she doubted his fidelity or just felt threatened by the young secretary’s ability to seduce a man.

Perhaps he was at fault for letting ms. Swift at his side all those months without paying attention to her behavior and advances. However, the Silvertongue had not realized the significance of the whole situation until the moment he heard the confrontation. If the roles were reversed, he would have destroyed anyone who would have dared to court Brightness.

‘I never...’ His assistant rushed to claim. Of course, he had no doubt concerning Jasnah’s honesty. So, he turned around and glanced at Vanessa. “You have the nerve to believe that you are capable of deceiving the God of Lies?” The girl fell silent but he spoke in a cold tone. “You have until nightfall to pack your personal belongings and leave the Tower’s grounds.”

Like a predator, he leaned closer. “You are lucky I am not pursuing a harsher punishment. Now go.” After the secretary ran away, his gaze returned to the lady in front of him. Loki closed the door and approached Jasnah, his body almost touching hers. “Did my decision please you? Or are you still concerned that I am going to let another woman tumble into my bed?”
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Jasnah Kholin

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Jasnah’s expression was unreadable as Loki rounded on the woman, but in truth she was… pleased. For all of Vanessa Swift’s careful machinations over the last few months, employing all the art of feminine wiles she had at her possession, she was truly lacking when it came to direct confrontation. It was almost disappointing that she hadn’t even been worth Jasnah’s frustration all this time… unless Swift was the sort to plot out revenge. Jasnah made a mental note to have someone follow Swift for a time and update her on the woman’s comings and goings. It was better to be safe than sorry, and years of looking over her shoulder back home wouldn’t change Jasnah’s desire for caution, stability and safety.

“I must admit, I’m impressed. She walked right into that, completely unaware you already knew exactly what she was doing. You had her completely fooled,” she said, well aware of how close to her Loki was standing. It was almost amusing how, barely even a year ago, being in such close proximity to him would have felt alarming. Now, it simply felt familiar… and more than welcome, much to her embarrassment.

Even though she knew exactly what he was doing now, too.

“My only concern was that she had the nerve to even try,” she went on, laying her safehand against Loki’s chest. She could feel his heart beating beneath her hand, the faint absence of heat that always lingered about him. “I have no reason to worry about your intentions… though you certainly didn’t deter her advances all this time,” she pointed out, raising an eyebrow. Inviting him to explain himself.
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Loki of Asgard

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Of course he had the secretary fooled. “But not you.” He said, almost as a compliment. He still was the God of Lies. The trickster. Usually, no one could see through his schemes. Perhaps Jasnah had learned to read him a little too well. However, if he really wanted to plan something, not even her would prove capable of predicting his actions.

Her hand against his chest had the power to confuse him, yet, he managed to clear his thoughts. “I felt rather inclined to see how long it would take before you put her in her place.” Loki confessed. “Apparently, you are fierce when you yearn claim what is yours.” His words served as one more way of saying that his heart belonged to her.

Frankly, the God of Mischief felt a little relieved that the lady had not worried about the purity of his intentions. “It pleases me to hear that, for my loyalty to you is absolute. Never doubt it.” One arm curled around her waist as he stepped forward in order to close the remaining distance between their bodies, while the other rested on her hip.

“The only woman I wish to share the rest of my days with, stands right here. In my arms.” A sharp breath entered his lungs. “I will kiss you... Make you my bride.” The Asgardian leaned down and his slightly cold lips grazed the soft skin of her neck. “I will bed you and no other.” Pure lust tinged his deep voice as he spoke against her cheek.

He captured her lips in a long kiss, full of passion and desire. Centuries of experience became quite obvious in his ministration. His attention returned to her neck, his fingertips holding firmly her lower back while keeping her pressed against him. His next couple of step would force her to step backwards until the desk would stop her retreat.
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Jasnah Kholin

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Jasnah had figured that had been what Loki was waiting for, after that display. It was so like him, to sit back and simply watch as things played out. Watching the chaos unfold, as it were. As mischievous as his title suggested. While Jasnah wasn’t usually bothered by his tendency to simply observe – it was, after all, what scholars were wont to do, too – in this case she couldn’t say she’d particularly liked getting tangled into all that.

She did huff softly at the words that followed, however. Loki had a possessiveness about him that was trying, at times. She supposed it was only natural, when he’d lived as long as he had. Someone in his unique position, who believed he’d been granted the divine right to exercise his godly nature, would naturally be materialistic, even possessive, of what they saw as theirs. Whatever had permanence, Jasnah had long since noted.

“Next time, you’ll inform me of my involvement in such matters beforehand,” she warned, but she didn’t pull away from him. “As much as you like to watch events unfold, I don’t like getting dragged into pointless jealousy spats. They aren’t worth the time.” In some ways, he was so much like all the nobles back home that she’d come to despise over the years, getting involved in this political machination or that blood feud. And yet, in other ways, he was so unlike them that she sometimes didn’t know what to even expect from him.

Still, after all this time, she understood what he truly meant, for Loki directed his possessiveness towards himself, too. He was hers, and happily so. He liked being hers. Liked it when she claimed him for herself. It was his way of saying he loved her, and while it had taken Jasnah a much longer time to warm up to him, to lower her defenses… she wouldn’t have accepted his marriage proposal if she didn’t love him, too.

“I have no reason to doubt it unless you give me one,” she reminded him, but she smiled up at him as he wound an arm around her, pulling her closer. He’d been nothing but honest with her when proposing to her, telling her of all the things he’d done, all the things he wished that he could have changed. If he’d kept those fears and guilts as secrets, and the truth had come out later? She would have very likely broken everything off between them altogether. He had promised to be forthright with her when proposing to her, and she would hold him to that.

His next words, however, were of a different nature altogether, far more romantic in nature. Jasnah shivered, swallowing thickly. Feeling heat rise to her face, making the chill about his lips as they brushed along her neck even more pronounced. “You certainly have a way with words,” she said, embarrassed at how breathless she sounded.

Then, he was kissing her, and she was quickly kissing him back. They’d kissed before, of course they had. But this particular kiss was far more heated than Jasnah was used to, and she felt like she might burn to a cinder as he held her close, as his mouth trailed back down to her neck. Soon enough, she felt the desk bump against the small of her back and it… it simply felt natural to lean back against it, to pull him down for another kiss as her freehand cupped his cheek and her safehand braced herself back against the desk.

She broke off the kiss long enough to shove aside a few piles of papers, sitting in the space she cleared, before gripping the back of his head and pulling him back down for another kiss.
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Loki of Asgard

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As much as he wanted to reassure her about the measures he would take during a similar situation in the future, still he was a trickster. Therefore, he avoided to reply. “Although I have not given you a reason for doubts, you got jealous because you believe I am worthy of your time. Yet, I did enjoy how you so fiercely declared I am yours.” Then she observed his natural tendency to use his talents of persuasion.

A low chuckle flew from the back of his throat. “The term Silvertongue is not an understatement.” The words dropped to a hoarse whisper. However, her response to his display of pure lust managed to surprise him. Apparently, aside from finding his way into her heart, he had also earned her trust in such matters. The last thing he wanted was to scare her.​

Without much thought he took advantage of her actions and lifted her of the ground, helping her to sit on his desk. As she grabbed the back of his neck and pulled him down for another kiss, he did not struggle. Quite the contrary. The God of Mischief complied with her wishes and stepped even closer with his body pushing gently apart her lower limbs.​

Despite all those months they had spent together, apparently he remained unprepared for a situation like the current one. “You are very brave, my Brightness.” His deep voice sounded husky when he murmured against her dark hair. With his brain lit on fire, the hesitation he usually experienced around her gradually vanished. “How long can I resist you?”

Loki realized that he had already been seduced and every logical thought had been obliterated. “Or fight this burning desire inside me?” His breathing quickened because of her perfume which entered his nose. Suddenly, he began to nuzzle her neck with the delicate touch of his lips. Angling slightly his head to the side, allowed him to come closer and closer.​

“You are my drug.” One glance or a single touch proved enough, and the intoxication seemed an instant result. He found himself in a trance, overpowered by the fair lady. The God of Lies failed to refuse her anything. “My inspiration.” Beyond question, from a point of view, their relationship was a blessing he was not quit sure whether he deserved or not.​

Passion, electricity, chemistry. The decision to start unbuttoning her tunic was beyond his control and a rather bold move. Nonetheless, a part of him wished and hoped for her approval. If she would not stop him, the prince would watch almost mesmerized as his hand would ease the fabric off her shoulders. He would take a brief moment to marvel at the flawless skin and the warmth erupting from her entire body.​
 

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