The Vicar of Darkness

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1) - VII.

Submitted: April 12, 2019

Reads: 52

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Submitted: April 12, 2019

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Eloise sits in the library. She had been playing Nettle, a number puzzle game often printed in the newspaper. She hates it, but always resorts to playing it whenever she can't convince Preston or Jakub to play Onte with her. She doesn't hate the game itself, but rather her addiction to it.

Preston had joined Eloise in the library about half an hour ago, but he had been reading the same page of his book for the majority of the time. Eloise is tired of waiting for him to bring up whatever it is that is on his mind, so she decides to bring up her own pressing matters.

"My parents are thinking of sending me away."

"They won't. Doctor Harrison is the best around for miles." The blonde young man assures her, hoping that he doesn't sound as unconvincing as he feels.

"Then why are you more fidgety than usual?" Electra lowers her book to look him in the eyes. He averts his gaze in reflex. "Admit it, you think so too."

"Am I usually fidgety?" Preston is not offended but a little irked. "I am not!"

"I've never known you to willingly spend time in here when I'm in here. That is, unless you need to give me my tonic, or want lecture me about something you've already lectured me on a million times before," she confronts him. "Come on, spit it out Nordkov."

"There is no bad news Ms. Desmond. I simply remembered that I wanted to read this book earlier today." The young man is hardly believing himself.

"And that too! You've recently stopped calling me Eloise- but by my last name."

In another life Eloise would have made an excellent detective, Preston thinks.

"It's more professional to call you by your last name." He sighs, finally looking at her.

Eloise is different with Preston than Electra is with Ain. Preston has an idea as to why that is and he feels horrible for knowing what he knows.

"Preston Nordkov, you really are the Count of Duban." She lets the subject drop for now a little vexed. Her attention returning to her book.

While Preston isn't particularly thrilled being compared to a fictional soul-devouring demon, he's content that she lets the subject drop. He started calling Eloise by her last name in hopes of not accidentally calling her Electra. In fact, not slipping up was proving to be more difficult than he initially anticipated.

----

Sir Errol, Electra and Ain sit at the end of a long dinner table       

Sir Errol, Electra and Ain sit at the end of a long dinner table. The new location is fresh and modern compared to the previous Light Palace.

The previous Light Palace was built in the traditional style of D'Hiver Nero. Its furnishings were a clashing combination of D'Hiver Nero and the Opal Ocean's royal colors. The interior of the new castle is a hybrid of the traditional architecture of D'Hiver Nero with adopted inspiration from the island kingdom of Opal Oceans. The colors were exclusively that of D'Hiver Nero.

The Royal guard had been gifted with a grand dining hall of their own. Sir Errol adopted the room as their new home base and held their briefings there. He had been given a desk and an office somewhere, but he enjoys the spacious hall. It is a very open and accessible place, a good leader should be accessible he believes.

"Prince Cyan's cousin, Princess Lilith, will be joining us here at our new location for the next couple of months," he announces to the partners. "The heiress of Winter Wind will be here through the Ostenland Arts Festival. Sir Ain, I am assigning you to her watch for the entirety of your evening shift if that's alright with you? Just for the duration of the holiday weeks."

"Yes sir." Ain nods agreeably, his eyes unconsciously meeting Electra's. Her lip curls into a supportive smile, but it's clear to him that her thoughts are elsewhere.

Sir Errol proceeds to talk to her next. "Electra, I will be leaving for a couple of days tomorrow and I'm assigning you to Prince Cyan's side for the entire night. I know you mentioned that you might too be taking a leave of absence. Do not feel obligated to stay while I'm gone, take care of yourself first alright? Our Royal Guard is prepared to step in whenever needed."

"No problem sir." Electra nods too. She hadn't heard anything from her parents yet. There is a slim chance that they would simply let her be, but until then she will spend all her spare time as Electra.

"Will you be gone through the holiday?" Ain remembers that the festival that kicks off the holidays is coming up soon.

"I should not be in Opal Oceans for long, I expect to be back before then." Their leader answers before taking a sip of the tea sitting in front of him. Ain and Electra catch a whiff of the mint aroma.

"From what I hear, it is an bigger celebration for the people of Osten." Electra knows that her parents have attended in the past. She, herself had never attended however, her parents limited her public appearances. 

The holiday itself, Carov'sl, is a two-week celebration of the Goddess of Art, Carovine. In other cities it was tradition for the upper class to commission the lower classes during these days in order to show tribute to the Goddess who blessed the undeserving world with the arts. This includes all forms of art, not only that considered traditional. 

"Yes it is! I'm positive you will love it too, it is a wonderful time of year. The Light Shows, the Stories, the music, all stellar! It will be more accessible to the general public of D'Hiver Nero now, since we are more centralized." Errol pauses to think, stroking the edge of his jawline where hints of his grey hairs peek. "I definitely want to be back before then in case there's any unexpected trouble, but only time will tell. In the meantime, I am entrusting the two of you with the safety of our royal heirs."

Ain and Electra look at one another in search of the other's assurance. This will be the first time in three years that their team will be separated.

---

 

Eloise sits at her own Einfred piano, thoughtlessly running her fingers down the keys. She loves her instrument, but the one at the new Light Palace sounds worlds better. The pure, silky tones ring like chocolate to the ears. Her own instrument is suffocating in this house.

She knows this is her own imagination, both pianos were crafted by the same master craftsman, with the same wood, same strings, and same keys. The suffocation she hears is that of her own mind.

Midscale, she transitions into a song. The Year without the Moon. Her teacher hates the song because it is fairly basic, but that is why Eloise enjoys it. The melody is repetitive but hypnotic. A lullaby in its own way.

Unable to focus on it, the song unravels and she cuts it short with a firm chord.

"Miss. Desmond do you want to go outside today?" Her doctor's assistant leans against the doorway having been listening. He weighs a medical textbook in his hand playfully, appearing to be in a good mood which makes Eloise suspicious at once.

"Preston Nordkov you've obviously gone mad." She beams, "What is with all this attention you've been giving me as of late?"

Preston shrugs, "I would rather you go outside with me while I can keep an eye on you, as opposed to you sneaking out and risking hurting yourself." He walks over to the window and looks at the clear blue sky. He is certain that he's not being convincing but hopes Eloise will humor him. "Besides soon it will start getting cold, the leaves are more orange than green nowadays."

Eloise is not convinced, Preston was always a horrible liar. She is partial to the idea of spending time with him however, and happily swings herself into her wheelchair. "Well let's go then."

"Hold on, at least wear a coat!" He calls out into the hallway. "Lennet? Can you please fetch Miss. Desmond a coat?"

"The green one please Lennet, thank you!" Eloise claps elated.

"And the sea she misses she, the year he cannot see, another year without the moon       

"And the sea she misses she, the year he cannot see, another year without the moon..."

The air is crisp, and Eloise can hear the sound of autumn leaves that had fallen prematurely crunching under her chair. She half-hums and half-sings the lyrics to the song she was practicing minutes ago. There is a breeze but she is not one to mind the wind.

They reach the pavilion in the center of the garden and Preston lays a blanket on the swing hanging from its stained glass ceiling. He proceeds to help Eloise out of her chair and onto the two-person swing. The young woman always had a scent that reminded the doctor's assistant of apricots. He wonders if Electra smells like apricots too, only he is unable to recall because of the Masking spell.

"I'm a big girl Preston," she jokes, "I can do this by myself." She pulls out two honey butterbuns from under her coat, handing him one.

He hums entranced. Watching her haggle with Jerid, the cook, for the butterbuns had been a spectacle. He imagines she does it often.

"Right. How old are you again Eloise?" Taking a seat next to her, he takes a bite of the butterbun and pulls out the medical textbook from earlier. The creamy center melts in his mouth, it is perfect, consistent to everything else that comes out of the Desmond's kitchen.

"You've been working for my family for how many years? Surely you know how old I am?" Eloise pretends to be offended, her mischievous eyes give her away however. She spots the book in his hands. "Don't tell me you are reading that for fun..."

"What? Do you know how old I am?" The fluctuation in his voice shows him to be skeptical of her knowing the answer.

She takes the medical text from him and begins to flip through it. It is a thick book, it is a couple years old but the pages are crisp and well taken care of. "You turned 23 in May." She has anticipated the question and answers with confidence.

"You must really like me." Preston doesn't mean to say this out loud, but he doesn't regret saying it immediately afterward. She doesn't notice him looking at her and resumes looking through his book engrossed.

"On occasion." Eloise goes on lightheartedly, but Preston is sincere. "Wednesdays, from 6 to 7."

Preston isn't entirely dense, he had realized shortly after discovering Electra's true identity that the gentleman she had been so fond of back home was Preston. It is so stupidly obvious now, in addition to incredibly ridiculous. Not her crush on him- his complete ignorance of it.

Eloise studies the pages of his medical text, surprised that it is rather interesting. "I take back what I said, the drawings in here are very fun." She admires the intricate illustrations, the detail put into them is remarkable. She shuts the book with a muted thud and returns it to him.

"You turn 22 in December." He says decisively.

Eloise runs her thumb across the spine of her own book. "Preston am I dying?" She brings herself to ask. She has been meaning to ask for some time now. She feels alright, but she is conscious of her parent's habit of never telling her the whole story.

Lately, everyone around her has been behaving abnormally. She can't tell if it is because of her recent incident or something else entirely. She hasn't gotten word that her parents are particularly concerned over anything. They have to be, they fret over the most fickle matters.

The young man is surprised to hear the question. "Ms. Desmond-" Preston wasn't aware that this is how Eloise has been feeling.

The hints of darkness have been there, naturally. But as Electra of the South, she was continuously bright and eager enlighten those around her. Now that Preston knew that the two were one, he had forgotten about Eloise's inner battle.

"You've been kinder to me these last few days, my parents have been acting strange-" Her voice is caught, "I'm sorry to put you in this spot, but if I am- I want to know."

"Eloise." He looks at her with a grave expression, "You are in perfect health."

"Do you believe that? In earnest Preston?"

"I do."

"Would you swear by it?"

"I would."

She studies his expression; he is serious but Eloise is not sold.

"I don't believe you," she concludes with a huff. "Or rather, I think you believe it, but I don't."

"Eloise why do you think I'm here?" He asks candidly.

She sighs and looks into the distance. "I think you are here because you pity me." She doesn't exactly want to admit that to him, but here she is.

"I do not pity you Ms. Desmond, in fact I envy you slightly."

She returns her gaze to him, jolted a bit by his words.

"There is no breaking a personality like yours Eloise- it's terrifying and hypnotic." Preston knows that he's treading on dangerous territory. He can't stop himself however, it hurt him to think that she was in such a negative head space, alone.

At his words, Eloise feels a pang in her stomach, she doesn't know if she's frightened or excited. In a way, she could say both. Preston is looking Eloise at last, something that hours ago she believed would never happen, is this not what she has been waiting for?

Preston tilts her face closer to his and gives her a light, fleeting kiss. I takes less than a second for his senses to catch up with him, but when they do, the moment falls apart as fast as it had come together.

Eloise anticipated it coming and she didn't stop it, she was curious after all. Eloise does not know how to feel, it is a combined feeling of disappointment and relief. She is relieved that she is disappointed, and disappointed that she is relieved.

"I'm s- I'm sorry-I thought- that this was what I wanted-" She can feel herself tearing up. She stops, confused, inhales, then exhales, something isn't right about this. She clears her voice, "I'm sorry- may we return to the house?" .

Preston nods in what he hopes is an understanding manner.

"That was unarguably inappropriate of me- I'm sorry. Yes, let us go back." He is talking about returning to the Desmond manor, but he also wants to go back to the moment before the kiss so he can take it back. 


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