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trace of rouge, face of beast

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He is quite the mystery, Raven muses, a behemoth in the garb of a plague doctor; visage obscured but for his mouth, tinted red with greasepaint. The cloak, shimmering velveteen in the candlelight, does little to hide the breadth of his shoulders or the strength of his arms, muscles powerful in a frame no doubt designed for the affray; blood and steel and battle. He stands alone in the antechamber where the single women fawn over prospective suitors, and his lack of interest is intriguing.

Such apathy is what draws her near, past the pirate in leather and man-beast in blue, and the object of her desire stays thus; back straight against a column of stone and his body poised, alert, having taken note of her approach.

“Your costume,” Raven says, fingers gathering deftly at a fold of velvet, “is quite macabre.”

He says nothing, though his eyes – all too blue, like the sky over snow at yuletide – appraise her, lingering on the curve of her breast.

She should feel insulted. She doesn’t. Instead she flushes hot, a fire fanned in her chest, and his rumbling laughter, belying blatant satisfaction, is proof of his regard.

“Would you care for a drink?”

He captures her hand, raising it to his lips. It is chaste, the brush of his mouth, and yet...

“Nyet; only your company,” he says, and she is lost.