Lips were hot against each other. Fingers trailed down bodies, almost as if their owners were certain that their time together grew short. Bare skin was pressed against scales. Temperature was rising for one, moist heat building deep within until it was in such a concentration that it had to be expelled.
Release for both happened at the same time. Instinctively, the two bodies pressed up against each other, chemicals running through their veins making them yearn for closeness. Both breathed heavily. Both needed to wait for a few minutes until they could think properly again.
Vaarsuvius looked up, arms wrapped firmly around Redcloak’s neck, and kissed the goblin softly before letting a slightly sweaty forehead rest against fogged green scales.
Redcloak closed his eye, keeping the delicate elf pressed against him, lightly playing his claws across pale skin while being careful not to cut it.
The elf shivered gently and drew the blanket tighter around them, looking up and trying to make eye contact. “Redcloak?”
The goblin dipped his head, keeping his eye closed.
“Are you well?”
Redcloak opened his eye and looked down at Vaarsuvius, gaze clouded with thought. “Why do you ask?”
“I am able to read you better than you think, Redcloak. You have been troubled for the past few days.”
Redcloak looked at the wall and ran a hand through the elf’s hair. “You know me well.”
“I like to think that that is a prerequisite for having physical relations with me,” Vaarsuvius said dryly, running thin fingers over the goblin’s scales. “You are upset. I would like to know why.”
“Why do you care about it?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Redcloak kept his eye on the wall, placing his hands lightly on the small of the elf’s back.
“There are some things in my head that I doubt you’ll ever want to know about.” Redcloak looked down, expression difficult to decipher. “Let it go.”
“I do not wish to simply ‘let it go,’ Redcloak. There is something wrong.”
The goblin stared hard at the elf. Vaarsuvius didn’t waver.
Redcloak leaned down and brushed his lips against the elf’s softly. “You confuse me, Vaarsuvius. I’ve never liked being confused.”
“I am not fond of it either.” Vaarsuvius kissed back, trying to feel out what may be the source of the goblin’s distance. “I seem to remember that you were the one who told me to not concern myself with confusion.”
“I was.” Redcloak pulled away, still staring at the elf’s face hard, and slowly, he raised his hand and lightly touched a pale cheek. “Do you care about the dangers of this?”
Vaarsuvius’s head cocked slightly, a slight frown coming over a pale face. “It wouldn’t matter if I did, Redcloak. We are involved in this and I don’t think I could stop even if I wanted to.”
Redcloak was quiet.
“Redcloak, what is wrong?”
He cocked his head, still staring, and his touch on the elf’s face became firmer. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
Vaarsuvius’s confusion was written all over a pale face, but the elf hesitantly touched the goblin’s hand instead of drawing away, knowing Redcloak well enough to realize that something had prompted this and it hadn’t come out of the blue. “You don’t have to yet.”
“I don’t. But I will.”
“I suggest facing that when you must.” Vaarsuvius gave another soft kiss. “Good night.”
“Good night, Vaarsuvius.”
The elf had a feeling that it would be Redcloak who would have the trouble sleeping that night. Vaarsuvius rested a pale face against the goblin’s neck, offering what comfort that could be given, and slipped into a trance.
Jirix stared dumbly out over the city, listening and yet not believing what his subordinate was saying.
The hobgoblin soldier only repeated himself patiently. “Sir, the illusion spells have crumbled. The Resistance is cutting through the castle’s southern defenses. The slaves have overthrown the hobgoblin slavers and stolen their weaponry and are fighting at our western defenses. The elven party is overcoming our northern defenses. The adventurer party has split apart and started annihilating our eastern defenses. They’re making a path to the castle. We think that they mean to get the prisoners. The enemy is outnumbered and outgunned, but we are out-leveled. They won’t be able to take back the castle, but they will be able to infiltrate it and take out a lot of troops.”
“By the Dark One… go and organize the troops until the Supreme Leader gets there! I need to tell him!”
“We need to act now, sir!”
Redcloak and Tsukiko both exchanged glances while Jirix wrung his hands nervously and Xykon leaned against the wall thoughtfully.
“Tsukiko, try to cover the south-west. There are only big groups working through that territory, so you don’t have a big chance of running into a PC or a high-level NPC. You should be able to hold it up.” Redcloak was already thinking up any tactics that could possibly be used, gold eye clouded in deep thought.
“I’m on it.” Tsukiko was gone immediately.
“Jirix, get our best mages and clerics to start pooling all their power in stopping the adventurer’s party and the elves. They’re the biggest threat. I’ll go and—”
“Not so fast, Reddy. I need you to do something.”
Redcloak and Jirix looked up in confusion when Xykon straightened, starting to rummage in his robe. “I’m sure I put it in here somewhere… ah!”
He pulled out a dagger and tossed it towards Redcloak. The goblin flinched back but caught it out of the air.
“I was hoping that your hand would get skewered. Oh well.”
Redcloak frowned darkly, making a quick gesture with his hand. “Jirix, go do what I said and tell everyone that I’ll be there in a moment. I apparently need to deal with something else first.”
Jirix nodded and zipped from the room.
Redcloak looked down at the dagger, frowning at the silver handle with skulls carved in. “Xykon, what’s this about? We need to deal with this!”
“The adventurers are only here for your ‘source of information’ and your bitch, and I happen to be spiteful, so I want to make sure they don’t get what they want.” Xykon waved his hand. “I want those prisoners gutted like Christmas turkeys. Now.”
“Excuse me?” Redcloak looked up, heart beginning to race, eye wide.
“Do I need to spell it out for you? Kill the paladin and the elf. Like, real kill. No sissy not-recovering-any-body type of kill, because we all know that the heroes always survive those things. And bind their souls somewhere. Don’t want them being revived.”
“Did I stutter, Reddy?”
Redcloak stared, his mouth opened slightly.
“We wouldn’t want a certain death to be worth nothing, do we?”
Xykon might as well had drawn the knife on Redcloak himself. The goblin flinched back, eye closing and head bowing as though he had been struck.
“Remember where your loyalty lies, bitch.”
Redcloak stared up at Xykon, expression frozen in a combination of pain and surprise, showing far more than the goblin wanted. “…”
“Nice that we understand each other. Gut the little corksuckers. And no handing off the dirty work to soldiers—that’d take the fun out of it.”
Xykon smirked and floated up into the air. “Now I need to go blast some PCs.” He flew out of the window with a loud crackling coming from his phalanges, concentrations of dark energy growing there.
Redcloak looked down and stared at the dagger.
The scientist and the person within stared with him.
He had killed his brother for this. Right-Eye. Right-Eye was dead. His baby brother. He had killed his baby brother for Xykon’s sake. If he didn’t kill Vaarsuvius, wasn’t that somehow an insult to Right-Eye’s memory? Why was an elf he was sleeping with somehow more important than his little brother? If he had killed his brother, then Vaarsuvius shouldn’t be a problem. And besides, the elf could provide information for the adventurers. It was only logical to kill it, the scientist said.
He shouldn’t call Vaarsuvius an ‘it’! He knew what gender the elf was! Vaarsuvius deserved respect at the very least, the person insisted. He cared about Vaarsuvius. There wasn’t a serious reason to kill his lover. He didn’t need to. Xykon was just being sadistic.
His lover? Had he become so soft and sentimental? Had he fallen so low as to use such a mushy term of endearment? No elf deserved to live when his baby brother died.
Just because he had killed one person he loved for Xykon’s sake didn’t mean he needed to kill another!
Love? Love Vaarsuvius? Love an elf? That was such a silly idea that it made the scientist gag.
Xykon was making him do this for his own satisfaction. What right did Redcloak have to extinguish that beautiful fire that burned so brightly in Vaarsuvius?
Right-Eye had died. Vaarsuvius should too.
Not necessarily! He had learned from Right-Eye, hadn’t he? Vaarsuvius didn’t need to die!
Right-Eye was dead.
Did the death of one make him obligated to kill the other?
Redcloak tightened his grip on the dagger and walked towards the staircase.