Irrylath sent the adventurous youths of Avaric on a quest to find the pearl of Crystalglass.
He knew, of course, that there was no such thing. The pearl of the soul of the world had been destroyed-- but should any of them reach Crystalglass, Aeriel would know he was looking for her.
Irrylath's faith was not misplaced-- a young woman (it would be a woman, he thinks wryly) returns with Aeriel, and surprisingly little fanfare.
She is still remembered, but less by face now than by legend. The next Ravenna, they call her.
He has forbidden anyone to call her that within his hearing.
Now that the Sea-Of-Dust is a sea of water and salt, they harvest oysters, and keep the pearls in treasure chests in Irrylath's palace.
"Didn't anyone wonder why you were looking for another pearl?" Aeriel asks, amused.
They have better things to worry about. Now that Irrylath has abolished slave-trading, hundreds are fighting for jobs and decent wages. He is well aware that his name is a curse in Orm.
Now that she is here, he hardly cares about any of it.
Orders were given for them not to be disturbed. Officially, the King of Avaric and the mistress of Crystalglass are sitting in conference. Unofficially, Irrylath wants one more night with his wife.
He means to be gentle, has planned it out in his head that way, but when she's underneath him he forgets. He bites her shoulder, and Aeriel gasps. Irrylath flinches, struggles for the words to apologize, but she kisses him, and he forgets all over again.
He can tell by the way she touches him that there's been someone else between this time and the last time he was with her. It bothers him, but he can't blame her. He pushes it to the back of his mind, focuses on the little things like the smell of her hair, the feel of her bitten down nails digging into his back. Her hands are shockingly cold at first, and callused from years of rough work, so he warms them with kisses.
Plenty of skin is bared by the shift she wears, but not enough to satisfy him. Irrylath's fingers slip under the skirt, coaxing it off. He remembers a time when she wore clothes wove of contentment and pleasure. He wonders briefly if she lost the skill or if her feelings are no longer light enough to make such clothes.
Aeriel tugs at his hair impatiently, pulling him back into another long kiss. She is clearly as eager for his touch as he is for hers, not shy as before. Irrylath realizes that she doesn't want the tender reunion he imagined-- they are older now, and the world is at once crueler and more forgiving than when they came of age.
It doesn't matter who she was with before: there is something they could not give her that she wants from him, quite desperately.
They roll over, Aeriel straddling him, sliding the robe off his shoulders, her hands caressing his breast as she teases his flesh with little licks. Oh, he had never imagined it like this, but that doesn't mean he can't appreciate her newfound skill. Irrylath takes advantage of the angle to pull her shift off completely.
Aeriel lets out a surprised cry, reflexively covering her breasts. He almost laughs to see a glimpse of the maiden he first met, but moves to reassure her, sitting up so she is awkwardly positioned in his lap. Irrylath kisses her neck, running his thumb over her left arm, while his other arm strokes her back. Slowly, she lowers her arms as she shudders under his ministrations. When he thinks he has soothed her, Irrylath coaxes her to lie back as he takes one of her nipples into his mouth.
She moans, tightening her legs around his hips. Aeriel's hands running through his hair only intensifies his desire. He kisses her other breast, one of his hands continuing what his mouth began. Irrylath would have been more than content to go on, but Aeriel grips his shoulders and pulls herself upright.
He inhales sharply from the sudden shock of her weight focused in his lap. Aeriel's eyes light with mischief as she wraps her arms around his neck. Irrylath moves to kiss her but just then she rolls her hips, and he groans from the sudden fire in his loins. He wants her now, now, but he has to be sure she's ready for him. It's hard to remember when she is finding sensitive spots on his collarbone with her tongue and teeth, but he manages to slip a hand down her backside, finding what he seeks.
"Irrylath, Irrylath," she whimpers as he slides fingers inside her, pressing her mouth against the nape of his neck to muffle her cries. She's as frantic as he is now, hands scrambling to unfasten his trousers while he explores between her thighs.
The King of Avaric has never taken a lover. It is not a decision he regrets.
The satisfaction of Aeriel pushing him onto his back, stroking his loins briefly before letting him inside her-- oh, oh, it's been worth it to wait for her. He has made himself into a creature of precision and restraint, but in his trust it all comes crumbling apart with Aeriel straddling him. Irrylath shudders and moans, and aches with her every movement. When she tightens suddenly, crying out, he bucks up into her, knowing that this lingering warmth is not simply a reaction to her body, glorious as it is.
Panting, Aeriel throws herself down onto him, burying her face in the crook of his neck. He strokes her hair, satisfied, and yet still wanting. "You're still my wife," he murmurs softly.
She turns her head to look at him, a sad smile on her face. "I was wrong to think I would stop loving you with my own heart. After years spent in your breast, it longs for you still."
The pearl of Crystalglass, Irrylath has been told, lives on in Aeriel's blood. He has liberated the slaves in his own country, but he is powerless to liberate his own wife from the burden their false god laid upon her.
His only consolation is that she truly loves him.