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Merlin Ambrosius

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November 21, Y109 @Semirhage

Suddenly, everything was different. It happened so quickly, the warlock hitting concrete, considerably colder, harder, and darker than the familiarity that came with his old room. The familiarity and the comfort, though even that had fallen away in light of the situation. It was a situation he thought he had understood, terrible as it was. He had made a mistake, he had grown not only confortable with and fond of Ozma, but dependant on him in a way that was a threat to the life he had found here in Downbeat Bay. The life he had with Nemene.No longer, though, was his situation clear to him. There he remained on the ground for a moment, fingers pressing into the stone beneath him. There was a familiarity there, a familiarity in the energy coursing through that earth. It felt like Nemene. It felt like Nemene, but different, but wrong. He sucked in a deep breath, breathed her in and then exhaled sharply, clamoring his way back onto his feet and whirling around, eyes searching and searching for the room that he already knew was gone, for Ozma's familiar face.

Instead, there was Nemene staring coldly back at him in a way that he had never before witnessed in her. This wasn't right. To go so far in her anger, in her fury, to steal him away to somewhere else for ... for what? He didn't understand, but he did know that there was a feeling in the pit of his stomach, a terrible feeling. Fury was something, of course, that Emrys would have understood. She had every right to be upset and in his own guilt, Emrys would have let her scream and shout at him, he would have let her shove him, hit him, and at that point, he only wished she would. Perhaps it would help him see somebody more human in who he was looking at now with wide blue eyes filled to the brim with confusion.

"We could have stayed," he whispered quietly as though trying to tell himself that this was still her, that Ozma hadn't been right along along, that his faith and his determination to see her for who she really was had paid off. "He would have gone." He wouldn't have. Emrys knew that in the same way that he knew deep down all that he had said was right. Nothing had ever felt right even when it had felt good. Even when at peace, his mind would wander and he would wonder. He would wonder why he never saw anybody else, why he never strayed far, why he felt so tied to her that he couldn't even visit his friends on Saint Sacul.

Stood there watching her stiffly, Emrys felt a chill in the air and slipped his arms around his own bare chest.
 
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Semirhage

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Through the gateway, Semirhage dragged Merlin into a lavish living area of a rich hunting lodge. The walls were mahogany, the floor stone, light provided by a wide iron chandelier with not candles, but soft glowbulbs that never flickered or wavered.

In one corner, blending in with the shadows beside and behind a high-backed chair of dark red and thus almost hidden, were three huge black shapes. Wolves, though larger than any natural wolves ought to have been, each lying on the floor with their muzzles on their front paws. As Semirhage and Merlin appeared, their huge heads lifted, glowing silver eyes fixing on their mistress. She didn't spare a thought for where the other Darkhounds were. She didn't care, so long as they didn't cause trouble for her.

Closing the gateway once Merlin was clear of it - though perhaps he ought to have lost a foot to the razor sharp edges, as punishment - Semirhage turned back to face her husband. Her expression remained cold, icy anger etched into every line in her dark face. As Merlin whispered to her, as though too afraid of this alien mood to be comfortable speaking louder, the only change in her expression was a coolly arched eyebrow.

"Would he now?" Her voice held none of Nemene's light, sweet tone. She cocked her head, regarding Merlin with black eyes that glimmered in the light of the glowbulbs. Moving closer with a soft swish of dark skirts around her ankles, she circled around him. "For how long? Until the next time you decide to betray me?" The word snapped through the air. She snorted dryly, shaking her head. "I knew I should not have left you alone."
 
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Merlin Ambrosius

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Slowly, his eyes drifted away from Nemene, surveying his new dimly lit surroundings. They were foreign to him in every way, mood well included. It lacked the bright atmosphere that the house had brought into his life. Instead, he felt as though the dark of the room were looming over him, threatening to come closer and closer, leaving him feeling vulnerable and alone despite the fact that he wasn't alone at all. She was there with him, but for the first time since they had first met, her presence did not come to him as any sort of a comfort. Back then, it hadn't been for a lack of trying, but now-- how long could he blame himself? How long could he blame himself when the signs were all right here in front of him? She was an entirely new person.

At some point, his gaze had paused on those huge heads by the corner of the room, the silver of their eyes piercing through the soft light of the gloomy room. It took him a moment just to tear his attention away from them, but her words drew him back in to find her starting to circle him like a shark might circle her prey.

That was it. He felt like prey.

"Stop," he suddenly said, and with his lips parted the way that they were, Emrys looked at her incredulously. "This-- What you're doing, Nemene, we can-- we can talk about this, but I want to-- I want to talk to you, not--" Silence followed, at a loss for words as he gestured toward her. Everything about her was suddenly so different, and he kept hearing Ozma's words in his head. He kept hearing the name Merlin over and over again, the surety of every word that had come from that man's lips. But he wanted to believe there was an explanation, he wanted to believe as this life he had grown so attached to fell apart before his very eyes that there was a reason, that he wasn't just a fool.
 
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She continued to circle him, moving ever closer, black eyes never leaving his as he struggled to speak, insisting that they could talk, that he wanted to talk to her. Semirhage had no interest in talking about what she'd discovered in order to salvage the situation. This entire plan had been a waste of her time. If she'd gone with her gut and just taken him four months ago, she would have broken him into submission long ago.

"Nemene," she said, letting out a cold, sharp laugh as she drew to a halt right in front of him. Sensing the mood in the room, the three huge wolves growled, the deep noise echoing about the room, as they rose to their feet, padding out of the shadows in which they had lain, impossibly long teeth bared and shining in the light.

One hand, suddenly outstretched, was enough to hold them at bay, the beasts stopping where they were, though their silver eyes remained fixed on Merlin. "My name has not been Nemene for over three thousand years." She disliked being referred to as such. Nemene Damendar Boann was the Aes Sedai, the world-famous Restorer who saved people's lives... most of the time. Semirhage was her real identity, the Chosen whose name was synonymous with nightmares, the only Chosen to take the name the public had given her and gladly make it her own. Her eyes bored into Merlin's. "Who is he?"
 
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With each word that left her lips, Emrys found himself filled more and more with dread as his fears came to life before his very eyes. Fears that Ozma had been right all along, and he had known, he had always known. But he hadn't been able to accept it, he hadn't been willing to open his eyes, not fully. In past weeks, he had suspected, perhaps, but her extended absence had thrown everything off, had somehow managed to attach him further to her presence while at the same time leaving him desperate for something. Human contact. Ozma. Emrys didn't know how specific it had all been, but at this point, it didn't matter. No amount of betrayal mattered. Slowly, his guilt was slipping away into something else. His own manner of betrayal, he supposed, as he listened to the growl of the wolves, the sound of her voice confirming to him that her name was not Nemene. Not anymore.

She was focused on Ozma, on his identity, and suddenly, Emrys found himself determined to steer the topic away from him. He didn't want to put the other man in any danger, he couldn't bear the thought of it. And yet, he had willingly dragged himself right into Emrys' mess despite having more of an understanding of his situation than the young warlock himself had even had. How right he had been all along. She wasn't Nemene. She wasn't his wife, she wasn't the person that he knew, but it left him with so many questions.

"... Who are you?" he finally asked her, opting for a question of his own rather than dragging Ozma only further into all of this. What would she have done? Hunted him down like a dog and killed him? Truth be told, Emrys didn't know if such a thing were possible. He was powerful, the most powerful person he had ever met, or the most powerful person his memory would allow him at the very least. He knew that without having been told, without having anything to compare it, too. He had felt his power, tasted his power, and--

And Emrys had denied every attempt Ozma had made in setting him straight, in enlightening him. Now here he stood, with a cold stranger wearing the face of somebody he thought he should have known.
 
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He didn't answer her question. Of course he didn't. He clearly held some affection for the man, if he had been willing to betray his loving, devoted wife for him, and would thus not give up information on him so easily. No matter. He would talk, eventually. He would tell her everything he knew of this other man, and Semirhage would send the Darkhounds after him. No one could escape the hounds once they were on a trail. Before long, she would have both men in hand.

Merlin would watch his other lover writhe. She would force him to watch every degradation of his mind and body she could come up with, knowing that it was entirely his fault for betraying her. A smile touched the corners of her lips at the thought.

"You knew my name once. I'm sure somewhere in that mind of yours it's still there." She moved closer. "I am not your wife, but nor am I just anyone either." Steadily the space closed between them, a hand lifting and long, elegant fingers brushing his cheek in a motion that would have been familiar from his time with her as Nemene, and yet different at the same time. "We were lovers once." Nothing like Emrys and Nemene. Merlin and Semirhage had had a fire, the flame of hatred burning in Merlin's eyes even as his hands had groped and his tongue had been drawn across her skin. Far more satisfying than the lukewarm, bland romance between Emrys and his wife, and if she'd been able to keep hold of him, it would have been even more so.

Her fingers drifted down his cheek, towards his chin, until suddenly the tenderness of her touch became something else, fingertips catching his jaw between them and holding tightly, long nails digging into skin. "Things would have continued to go easily as they were, Merlin, if you hadn't betrayed me," she purred, black eyes never leaving his. "Such an act cannot go unpunished." As she spoke the last words, weaves of fire drew around her fingers, until it seemed like her hand itself was burning with an inner fire that seared the skin.
 
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Merlin Ambrosius

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She wouldn't tell him. Another game, perhaps, not so unlike Ozma's where he was meant to rely on himself in order to get answers. Perhaps it would have been better that way from the beginning rather than eating up her sob story and listening to every word that she offered him. A part of him still wondered if this were really real. This sort of thing didn't happen to people like him, or people like anybody. In stories, perhaps. And yet, here he was in the clutches of a woman who felt nothing for him. Or ... something, perhaps, just not what he had thought. Whatever it was, though, wasn't something he knew how to describe or even hope to understand. Why him? Why had she fixated on him?

Because they had once been lovers?

He wracked his mind in a desperate attempt to conjure up a name, a memory, but when he saw her, the only familiarity he could place was the loving wife in that perfect little home. Only none of it was perfect anymore. That perfection had all fallen away and now she was cold and he was cruel. And yet, her touch felt so familiar to what they had shared and he felt himself absently shudder. Briefly, there was even the blind temptation to melt into it, to wake up in a bed beside her to find that everything was okay, that this was all in his head, that Oz had never ...

No. He didn't want that.

Suddenly, what had been a disarmingly gentle touch grew tight and vicious, Emrys' jaw clencing tight at his eyes snapped back to meet hers. They widened a fraction, flitting toward the weaves of fire around her fingertips, and while he could feel fear burning, a surge of anger overwhelmed even that as he suddenly shoved against her, tearing himself away from her grasp, caring little for whether or not her long nails clawed at his skin and left marks or blood in the process. She spoke of betrayal. Her. "I betrayed you?! I don't-- I don't know you! You lied to me, you fed me words and I--" And he had clung to each and every one of them. He had devoted himself to her in ways, in a fit of love, of attachment, of obligation. He drew himself backward, half stumbling as he did, quickly creating distance between them.
 
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He tore himself from her grip, her nails scoring skin, and she let her hand fall back to her side, a thin smile touching her lips. Though he moved backwards, desperate to create space between them, Semirhage closed it once more, gliding after him, every step filled with the elegant grace of a queen in her palace.

"You do know me, you just have to remember," she pointed out smoothly, continuing to drift along in his wake until the wall behind him stopped him going any further.

"Merlin..." The name was purred, pointed, as he didn't seem to have noticed before in amongst everything else that she had used a name other than Emrys. "You have no idea of the effort I have gone to to have you with me... The things I've done to make a life for us." She sighed, almost sadly, as though she had genuinely wished for that life to continue if only he had not betrayed her. "I had wanted to be gentle. But you threw that in my face with your unfaithfulness."

She cocked her head, stopping barely more than a foot from him. "Do you want to see who I really am?" she asked, voice soft, a silky caress.
 
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Merlin Ambrosius

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There was a distinct stinging in his cheeks and although skin had not been broken, there was no denying the marks left. He paid them no mind, though, so focused on the woman so quickly closing the space that he was trying to create. Before he knew it, there was nowhere else to go, a wall stopping him, and yet Emrys found himself pressing further and further back as though he could somehow felt his way into it. He was afraid. He was angry and he was afraid in light of the knowledge that this woman had such reach to take advantage of him.

Merlin. It wasn't the first time that he had heard that name, and he had to wonder to himself what she would have thought had she been aware of the number of times he had heard that name. From Ozma. From a stranger on the streets of Elysium. The name coming from her lips only proved confirmation of his own identity. And yet, it still told him so little. It was a name. It was only a name.

"I want the truth. All that I have ever wanted from you was the truth."
 
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"The truth..." She hummed, before lifting her slender shoulders in a graceful shrug. "As you wish." There was little reluctance at the thought of undoing all of the hard work she had put into things. This level of subterfuge, this was Mairon's area of expertise, not hers. She had done her best, but it had started falling apart, slipping through her fingers. There was no point trying to hold the pieces together.

Her usual methods would work just as well, if not better.

There was a soft sigh. "Come with me," she murmured, abruptly turning away from Merlin and gliding towards a door in the corner of the room, its wood almost invisible against the beautiful panelling of the surrounding walls. As she reached the door, reaching out a hand to push it open - bypassing her own wards - she paused, not even bothering to look over her shoulder as she spoke again, her voice louder in order to carry across to where she'd left Merlin.

"I would not advice attempting to flee." Others would have, though Merlin had always had a stronger spine than that. It was one of the things she admired about him. "My hounds there will tear you apart before you even reach the door." As if they understood, the three pony-sized wolves growled at Merlin, black fur along the backs of their necks rising.
 
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Abruptly, she turned away from him and Emrys felt his lips part as he sucked in a deep breath as though suddenly remembering that breathing was something that he could, in fact, do. The distance between them made him feel just a touch more secure, but that didn't say very much at all. He couldn't have felt less secure in anything at all. Absently, he found himself curling his arms across his bare chest once more, one hand gripping his shoulder as though for support, as though reminding himself that the only support he had left now was himself. Oz wasn't there for him to cling to.

Fleeing was a thought that crossed his mind, but as though on queue, she warned him. The tell-tale sound of growling drew his attention, and Emrys stared for a couple of seconds at the three sizable creatures before he pushed abruptly away from the room, half stumbling across the way to follow her. Whatever spine that the man she knew had once had, whatever strength it had been she had admired, was admittedly lacking from him in that moment and perhaps had been since the day that they had come across one another in Elysium. No, even before then. Since the day he had awoken with no memory to be found. He felt fear and it was easy, so very easy, to forget the sheer power that he held at his fingertips.

Ozma had never forgotten, and it was he who had reminded him again and again of what he held beneath his sad blank slate of a surface.
 
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She heard his steps stumbling towards her, and smiled to herself, knowing that though Merlin would have tried to either fight back or escape, this Emrys was weak and pitiful in comparison. Of course he came with her.

The door swinging inward revealed a staircase spiralling down into a basement. "Come," she repeated, stepping aside and holding out a hand. As Merlin approached towards her side, her hand moved to the small of his back. The pressure she put there was gentle, but inexorable as she pushed him towards the staircase, swiftly stepping back once he had moved past, blocking his way back so his only choice was to take the spiralling steps.

At the bottom, there was another door. Though there was thick silence, that changed as soon as Semirhage opened the door, breaking the Warding that blocked all sound. Suddenly, they were surrounded by the sounds of soft, agonised moans, and terrified weeping. The corridor that stretched out before them, with doors at intervals on either wall, was far different from the warm panelled wood above; instead, everything was a sterile, harsh white, lit by floating orbs.
 
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The moment her hand was on him, there was the urge to worm himself away from her with the newfound knowledge, or perhaps not so newfound at all, that she was not who she had told him she was. She was not the loving wife who had picked up his broken pieces and put them back together again. Instead, she was somebody else, and it wasn't until they reached the bottom of the staircase and opened the door, he began to slowly understand the nature of who exactly this somebody really was. There soft sounds of pain and terror reached his eyes and Emrys froze in the doorway, his blue eyes wide. The man she had once known would have surged forward, attempted to find a way to ease their pain, to free them from what could only be a terrible sort of captivity. He could not see them, but he could only imagine.

Or maybe that was the past slowly rising to meet him. Maybe this all seemed more familiar to him than he was realizing.

Whatever the case, Emrys did not surge forward, his first instinct was not to free them but instead to back away from the door slowly, to make his way toward the staircase, his hand reaching out blindly until it felt the stone wall that surrounded the spiral staircase they had come down. "Nemene," he whispered as though there were still some hope that she was the woman he had known her to be, but then he was squeezing his eyes shut, shaking his head, telling himself over and over that it wasn't her, that everything about this place, everything that he was afraid to see, afraid to let shatter his perfect image of her further, went against everything that she - that they - had ever stood for.
 
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It was remarkable, how different he was. He had been in places like this before, following her or brought to them by her, and he had always reacted so far differently than the cowering, whimpering mess that was now backing towards the staircase, more concerned about himself than the poor people who had been trapped in her hands for days, weeks, months.

And then he was whispering that name again, the name that her parents had given her when she was born, that she had worn for centuries until people had, in their fear, given her one better.

She turned, her black eyes settling on him, a small, cool smile touching her lips. "What's the matter, my darling husband?" she purred, mockery edging her tone. "You asked who I am. Do you not wish to know?" She chuckled, deep and low in her throat.
 
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Did he? Did he wish to know? Did he wish to pursue this subject any further? It was a lot, it was too much in such a short amount of time, too much to carry, too much to try to understand, and already, Emrys could feel himself falling apart, wishing even for the blissful ignorance that had been that house, that fucking house. He was not a brave person, he hadn't been a brave person since the day he had awoken on Saint Sacul, and he had a bleeding heart for others, certainly. It was why the idea of a healer had made such perfect sense for him, but in that particular moment, he was weak, he was self-serving, and he was terrified. For a moment, he stared at the other woman with wide eyes, this woman so familiar and yet now so foreign.

But that didn't seem right either. He felt as though he had been here before. Not in this specific place, not at the bottom of this very specific staircase, but in a situation not so dissimilar. He could picture it all perfectly, the blood, the people in shambles, hanging from the hooks that pierced through their skin. He thought he could even feel it, himself.

Emrys shuddered at the thought of it. He shuddered and, overwhelmed, he took another step back only to misstep on the bottom stair, tumbling to the floor. Letting out a gasp, he scrambled back to his feet, turning on his heel, turning to race up the steps as quickly as his feet would take him in the space that was quite clearly too tight for that sort of an escape.
 
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He said nothing. He just stared at her, and then, in an act so unusual for Merlin, he turned and he did try and flee, despite having heard the sounds of the prisoners that wept and groaned in agony. So cowardly, so self-serving... It was an odd thing to watch, her smile slipping away as she watched him try and escape up the tightly winding spiral steps.

For a moment, it seemed like he might just make it. Semirhage didn't move to pursue him, and she allowed him to get far enough that he was just about to disappear out of sight around the first curve. But then she lashed out, reaching for him with a simple flow of Air, a thick and invisible rope as strong as steel that whipped across the space between them and wound around one of his ankles.

And then it tugged, knocking him off his feet and dragging him down the stone steps with no care or gentleness, and proceeded to reel him in towards Semirhage, who continued to stand exactly where she was without moving, watching the man dragged unceremoniously across the floor towards her.

When he was deposited in front of her, she reached down, seizing a handful of dark hair in elegant yet strong fingers and then pulling his head up towards her. "I had known you were more of a wet blanket without your memories than I am used to," she said slowly, cocking her head and studying him, "but this? This is rather pathetic."
 
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For a moment, he thought there might be hope. He made it up several steps, though he was vaguely aware of the creatures waiting for him at the top and he hadn't managed to work out in his mind what he intended to do to avoid being torn to shreds by her hounds. None of that mattered, though. He didn't make it, in the end, and he knew it the moment he felt that first tug. With a grunt, Emrys hit the ground hard, his head smacking against one of the stairs beneath. Moving a hand to reach for his newfound wound, there wasn't even the chance to do that before he was dragged the rest of the way down the stone steps he had tried to escape on. Eventually, the ground evened out beneath him and before he knew it, he was left there in a heap at the woman's feet.

Pain blossomed in his already aching head as he felt her seize a handful of dark hair in her fingers, yanking his head up towards her, blue eyes staring up at her even as his jaw clenched tight, teeth grinding through the pain of it all. She was right. He knew it. Emrys felt guilt in his heart for having run at all, even now as he lay there on the ground, listening to the sounds of agony on the other side of that door. And he hated that, were he to rewind time, he thought he might do the same thing again out of the sheer fear he felt, never having faced something like this before in his life, never having seen anything like her, anybody so cruel, anybody so twisted.

She was a monster.

But she was right. He was pathetic. He didn't know what to do. He didn't know how he could be useful to these people. There was magic at his fingertips and he didn't know how to use it. All he could do was heal and heal, and he wondered now if there was a reason for that, if there was a reason that Nemene had never encouraged him to learn how to use his magic for any sort of self-defense, anything remotely on the offensive. Even his time with Luke had been less than helpful given the amount of time which had passed since, and even then, his capabilities felt limited.

And yet, a thought echoed away in his mind, a single word that compelled him to reach blindly out with a shaking hand. "Forbærne," came the word calling out to him, and already, he could feel the flames licking at his palm even as his fingers found skin. Her skin, as he wrapped his hand tight around her ankle.
 
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It was unexpected. Merlin without his memories had shown absolutely no capability with any kind of offensive or even defensive magic, and Semirhage had been strict on herself with keeping it that way, being careful never to suggest that he had any ability whatsoever with anything except healing. And so, the hand tightly gripping her ankle, the word that hissed from between his lips and the sudden heat that came off his fingers and palm, they were all unexpected.

If he had hoped that a small amount of fire was going to have a profound effect on her though, he would be sorely disappointed. She released his hair out of surprise, but there was no pained expression or particularly hurried movement to get away from the conjured fire beyond pulling her ankle out of his grip. The razor-edged smile that touched her lips was amused, but beyond that, rather than displaying any pain at all, the expression was almost exultant.

"So you remembered how to bite back," she purred, plainly not at all bothered by his little display. She could feel the burns on her skin, and she let herself enjoy it. She had spent centuries subjecting herself to all sorts of horrors, things far worse than superficial burns, in order to numb herself to pain before having other channellers sworn to the Shadow Heal her again. She could not be thrown off by something like physical suffering. Pain was her realm. It was what she expected. It was what she looked forward to. "Perhaps we can get more memories out of that head of yours, mm? Perhaps..."

She channelled again, reaching out with weaves of Spirit that stretched across the space between them before he could even think of getting away, caressing his temples before making their way beneath the flesh into the head itself, painless and not even physically felt. Instead of doing what she normally did, and feeding him pain through the dorsal posterior insula of the brain, she used the weaves of Spirit to manipulate the nucleus accumbens, forcing him to feel a wave of pleasure. With Merlin, such a thing had always had a second effect; beyond the manipulation of his brain, he had always found further pleasure, uniquely, through the sensation of saidar pulsing through his mind.

Perhaps feeling it again would remind him of his addictions to saidar and his difficulty in operating without her even before he had ever thought she was his wife.
 
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No affect. It did nothing at all. The burn that was left behind even when she pulled her ankle from his grasp was clear as day, and yet she had not flinched or hissed with pain. Nothing at all and Emrys was left there on the floor, staring wide eyed up at her and bracing himself for what he assumed would be a terrible wave of pain to follow. Instead, he felt a different sensation entirely seeping into him, gaze slowly slipping toward the floor as he pressed his hands into concrete, sucking in a deep breath. It wasn't pain the way that he had expected, and instead, his body felt as though it wanted to sink into it. It wasn't warmth exactly, it wasn't electric the way that Oz's magic felt to him. It was something else. Deep and burnt and intoxicating in a way that had him breathing in deep and then letting it out again as though it might keep him from melting entirely.

None of it felt unfamiliar to him, not really. There had always been a little bit of that there when he had been around Nemene. There had always been a little bit of that charm present, but this wasn't the same thing. Or it was, just ... so much more of it, so much more potent, and it was seeping directly into his veins and while his mind and his magic alike tried to push it back out, to free himself from its grasp, the rest of him wanted more and more. Jaw clenched tight, eyes squeezed shut, there were flashes of something there. Darkness. A room, dimly lit, and her. She wasn't alone. It was her and it was him, and they were--

Suddenly, Emrys was pushing himself to his feet, wide eyed, stumbling backward as he stared at her.

"We were lovers once."

Her words from before echoed in his mind and for a moment, he looked perplexed, or perhaps it was sheer disbelief at what he knew he had seen, at what he could only believe at that point must have been a memory. "... That wasn't-- That wasn't love, it was--" Animalistic. Rough. They'd been up against the wall, on the floor, and he thought in all the vividness of it that he could feel his fingers digging into her. It had been vicious, he had been vicious.
 
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As she fed saidar into him, filling him with magic and with bone-deep pleasure, her eyelids fluttered shut, red lips parting as though she could also feel an echo of that same pleasure. She couldn't; these weaves were much like restorative weaves in that they could not be used on the channellers weaving them. But she could imagine it, imagine that rush of pleasure flooding through his veins, so impossible to ignore.

And then she heard him lurching to his feet, her black eyes opening and fixing on him as he staggered back, to her eyes still connected to her by glowing ropes of saidar. He looked perplexed, shocked, about something, which became clear as he spoke.

For a moment, she merely looked at him, before her lips curved in a predatory smile. "You're remembering more, I see..." she mused, before she moved forward, gliding gracefully across the space he'd put between them. "It was what, Merlin?" She stopped in front of him, one hand snaking out and catching hold of his wrist, aiming to draw him ever nearer with fingers that wrapped around like a vice, nails digging into flesh.

"Of course it wasn't love." She all but sneered the word. "Love is weak. What we had was stronger than that." He had been bound to her, body and mind and soul. He could have been great, with her. He would be great, with her.
 
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It's kind of weird not being Gen Sec anymore.
It's ma' birthday!!! Woo!!



...Man, I'm old xD
So ah...how do you ask somebody you haven't known for a long time to be friends with you...?

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