“Why do you do that?”
His deep, raspy voice jolted Lorelei out of her reverie, forcing her to tear her gaze away from the water, towards the speaker.
The assassin's gold and black eyes met her own black and gold eyes. “Why do you stare at the water like that?”
She smiled sadly and turned back towards the water. “Because the water is the home I cannot go back to.”
“Speak plainly sea witch.”
Her laugh was soft and lilting, causing Angor Rot to grumble even as he came to sit besides her at the water's edge.
“I'm more freshwater in origin, but I can adapt easily enough.” She said in response to the nickname.
“You didn't answer my question.”
“Oh come now Angor, you've had to have sense something inhuman about me by now. It's hard to hide, even in this cursed guise.”
Angor growled at her lowly, his senses niggling at him again as she grinned at him what was too wolfish and amused for an ordinary human to have. Too many teeth, and bright eyes that burned through him and held too much knowledge and too many secrets.
“Forgive me if I am reluctant to believe the idea. The last time I dealt with someone of Fey blood, it ended quite poorly for me!”
All too suddenly, her amusement left, replaced by sadness. “Morgana is... Humans with fey ancestry are different to full Fey. Or maybe my time amongst the humans has softened my heart enough to find the mannerisms of my kinsmen detestable. Either way, a Fey will be bound by their own rules and morals, and my own morals and rules have altered themselves.”
Angor growled again, grabbing the woman's arm, engulfing her bicep in his palm with ease. “Just answer the question woman! You Fey creatures are so needlessly wandering with your words!”
Lorelei raised a pale brow at him and used her free hand to push his hand off her arm.
“Apologies Angor dear. Old habits die hard. You ask why I stare at the water the way I do?” She asked, standing up.
“I love the water. To me its freedom and comfort. I can go nearly anywhere the water holds, up down, sideways. The water is home.”
She was waxing poetic, and he was about to snap at her to get to her point until he noticed the phenomena at her feet.
“And I cannot go home, even though I wish to.”
She stood a foot into the surf, but the water dare not douse her skirt or lap at her legs. Instead, it pressed against an invisible barrier, leaving her in a bubble of sorts, high and dry.
The sadness on her face was profound as she reached out to the water, and it dipped away from her reach like a frightened animal. She sighed heavily and came back to reclaim her seat beside him.
Her face morphed into a snarl. “I was cursed. Cursed from feeling the embrace of a pond, lake, or the sea ever again. The closest I can get to feeling deep water around me is drawing the water for a bath.”
Her face smoothed again, and Angor couldn't help but marvel at the intensity of her emotions and how quickly they changed. She stared at where the water lapped at the shore, each wave reaching higher and higher until it crashed softly against his legs and her curse barrier.
He tilted his head softly at her. “But it's not enough, is it?”
She laughed bitterly. “Of course not! A mere bath cannot hope to ease my homesickness, not when its oceans and seas and great lakes I long for! There's a mithril chain tied around my heart, and it always tugs towards the nearest natural body of water. It's the worst during full moons. It feelings like my heart is trying to tear itself from my chest and race towards wherever my impulses bid it.”
Realization dawned quietly onto Angor and he hesitantly hovered a hand over her shoulder.
“With this curse... a part of you is missing, isn't it?”
“Yes.” She answered emphatically. “There's a chasm in me that simply can't be filled. It's dark and cold and-!”
“-Drains you of all warmth?”
She looked towards him, with an almost guarded expression before it melted into bittersweet realization.
“Yes. Just like that. There are some days where I can barely bare it all.”
“And you just lay somewhere cold and dark to wallow?”
Her laugh was a watery one then and she nodded. “Exactly.”
She looked to him with understanding. “Do you randomly lash out with violence too?”
He scoffed, but he couldn't fight the smile growing over finding a kindred spirit. “It's never random. They always deserve it.”
“Mhm, sure they do Angor.”
“They do!” He lightly defended and she laughed brightly.
“Of course they do! They would have eventually anyway.”
The dip in the conversation was a long one, broken only by the water and their breathing. He looked at her from the corner of his eye and tilted his head again.
“What does your other form look like? Since you called this appearance a 'guise'.”
She sighed and laid back, the water that had been behind her fleeing from her approach. “I would love to show you, but that's part of the curse. I can't even get out of this too-tight skin. It's torture to feel my fins and tail pressing against the foreign magic.”
“Tail?” He asked, bemused.
A light dusting of pink, almost too subtle to see, appeared on her cheeks. “...Yes, a tail. It helps get me through water easier, obviously. And yes, it is a different appendage from my lower half.”
“Obviously. I didn't take you for a Mer.”
“You would be surprised how often humans mix that up.”
“Troublesome little things, aren't they?”
“They have their moments.”
Another dip in the conversation. He watched Lorelei's eyes close, listening to the waves no doubt. He let his gaze wander across her body, more taken in by the water battering against the spell barrier. That would explain the buzz of magic whenever he held her. He then turned his gaze to his hands, particularly the ring on his right.
The Inferna Copula purred at him and pulsed in time with his heart. A piece of him stolen and then returned, making him whole again. He looked towards the graying horizon and glanced at the water hovering at the edges of Lorelei's spell barrier again.
He stood up and he felt Lorelei's gaze settle heavy on his shoulders. Glancing down at her, their black and gold eyes held for a moment.
She smiled at him and nodded.
They never truly needed to speak any more. They read each other well enough.
“Thank you for the company tonight, Angor.”
Still, listening to her voice was nice.
“Same to you, Lorelei.” He paused slightly before saying her name and he watched her smile and glance away, cheeks flushing.
Then again, the pink may have been from the approaching dawn.
Either way, he chuckled and knelt down and reached his hand out, brushing his fingers over her jaw and pulse point. Again she smiled and leaned into the touch, a small content sigh caught in her chest.
A soft hand rested on the one he held to her face and the other ghosted up his arm, making her lean forward to brush her finger tips across his chest before going up his neck to his own jaw.
Her thumb stroked his cheek, and he curled his index finger under her chin. It was a quiet, content moment, both simply enjoying the novelty of gentle contact.
Then the small spell was broken as the Fey creature glanced towards the dawn and gently pushed his face towards the inland.
“You've lingered long enough. Steal back to the shadows Angor dear. I'll wait for you yet again.” Her voice had the softness of lovers, and for a moment, Angor was glad stone couldn't blush.
He ran his thumb over her jaw a few times before standing up straight and offering his hand to her, eager to linger even longer and reluctant to leave her presence.
Her lips curled into a small smile and she took his hand, simply holding his hand as she stood again. Smirking slightly, he tugged her closer and leaned his face down to hers, flushed like the dawn yet again. “When next we meet, you'll show me this other form of yours.”
Her lips parted in a silent gasp, but she nodded. “Of course. Whatever you say Angor.”
He lingered for a moment longer, pushing his forehead against hers, before he pulled away and opened a portal behind him, keeping his eyes locked on Lorelei's.
He grinned at her, roguish almost, he hoped. “Until next time.”
With that, he stepped back into the swirling blot of darkness that made his portals. But he noticed that it's inky embrace was … warm.