"So you want to get on the good sides of more Faernsengers, huh? I guess making more money is always good.." Alsiif leaned forward and poked herself in the temple with a finger(claw), and whispered, "Whys that Ilharess lady like you so much anyways? Did you mess up her head or something?"
"Actually, kinda worriede she wuz messin' withe mine..." Neit tried to pass it off as a joke, but as usual, she really sounded more like a spiteful drunk. "You wille tell me ife I'm actin' out of my minde, won'cha?..."
"-And, naw. Bein' all freindly with the Faernsengers will keep the others offe our backs for nowe anyhow. Ife we just offed an Illhares randomly on our own, they'd turn us inside oute." Her hands prepared a new harsh brew for the both of them, so well practiced that she didn't even have to look whilst she was doing it. "Plus Avernus has so many empty towns ripe for the pickin', thate ite coulde be a good place for us ta set up shop, huh?"
Of course by 'empty' she really meant 'not run by Drow at the minute'. But that was the same thing, right?
Ryyna stumbled into the inn and dropped herself on a chair.
Neitar just looked like she really couldn't be bothered repeating herself, and poked a finger against Ryyna's forehead.
A weird feeling of nausia flushed through her brain, then quickly died to nothing...
Alrough, Ryyna did suddenly remember that time that she was Neit, and she explained to Alsiif about how they were going to travel to some place in Avernus called Yathrinser, and kill the Mirrym house Illharess for the Faernsengers. Oh, and they were going to stab shit and exploit the locals... And she might have slept with Aryyna whilst really drunk or something, maybe?... Cigars were nice?...
When the group met up on the following day, Neit was far too drunk to even stay on her pack lizard. The normally fastidiously-dressed lithe statue had barely made an effort at all. There was obviously something serious on her mind, juding by the fact that she had actually managed to become more drunk than she ussually was, combined with the fact that she was for some reason now also completely tight-lipped.
The next day, she didn't turn up at all. Not even back at the hotel. For Alsiif and Ryyna, it was easy enough to believe she had said something sour towards Aryyna at some point and had ended up as that night's 'show of power'.
On the third night, well, she was at Aryyna's again, at the woman's request. But her attitude was as foul as a troglodyte, and she hung at an unfreindly distance, in the dark area behind the pillars within the audience chamber. Her stern and alert red glare beamed out from a shrowd of cigar smoke, awaiting the Ilharess as agitatedly and impatiently as she had ever dared to act about the woman. Her clothes had changed from a soft and agreeable, modest gown, to a metal-spiked leather bodysuit with a large diamond removed at the center to expose the repeating serpent-skeleton tattoos of her solar plexus.
The sharp thing remained silent upon Aryyna's entry. She had the same baleful look on her face as that time Desponia has insulted her. Only now, it didn't look like it was going to remove itself any time soon.
Aryyna entered wearing only a tight miniskirt and a long fur boa. Either Rutherer fur or dyed purple. Tagging along at her heels was a 'small' (which is to say 'larger than a poodle, smaller than a wolf' furry white spider.
Aryyna took Neitar by the hands and walked her over to a divan and pulled her down next to her. The spider immediately crawled over to Neitar's legs. Apparently a gift. "She's for you." Aryyna said with a smile. "Sit, you. We need to talk." Aryyna added, still with a smile but also a heavy sigh."
Neitar looked away to hide her blushing face. It didn't suit the jagged woman's features at all, let alone her current maccabre torturer-witch getup. She didn't react to the spider, either, aside from coiling her features up defensively, into a frigid state... It was plain to see that Neit liked it, but she didn't want to like it. Everything about her tone and posture was as paranoid and constrained as the time they had first met, regardless of how much she was trying to take on the role of 'fearsome Drow bitch' all of a sudden.
"Thank you Illharess. I do not know whate I have done to diserve such a wonderful gifte..." The smoke from her cigar began to billow again as she spoke. Her voice was rather warm, but if that was acting or not was rather hard to tell. "...I guess... You could say these new clothes are for you... Do you like them?..."
I'll break her hold on me yet. A voice rang out at the back of her mind, over and over again. Whatever she wants, she can either expose herself, or just go ahead and finish me off already... This is so pathetic...
"I love it. You look fantastic." Aryyna kissed Neitar deeply, naturally feeling her up a bit as she did.
"We need to talk." She said again with a sigh. "I know you are falling for me, probably already have." She raised a hand up, signalling for Neitar to shut the fuck up. "No, don't deny it. I can tell. I'm older than you. I've been at this much longer. And you are wonderful, Neit. Really. You are beautiful, not the worst lay I've had," Neit was able to understood that coming from someone as old as Aryyna, and who had routinely been with Succubi among other things, that this was a lot more of a compliment than it sounded like, "and a lot of fun when you weren't being a self-deprecating little wannabe-shebali bitch." She gave Neit a sad little smile.
"But I can't. I am sorry, Neit, but I can't." Lolth's tits, did a Drow, an Ilharess no less, just apologize to a social lesser?! "My heart, I belong to another. Me. I gave myself to her. I'm sorry, Neit. I know you want to give yourself to me, and I'd like that, but I can't. I like you too much to take something like that unfairly." She stroked Neit's cheek, her voice shaking a bit.
"Her name was Renora. Renora Quarthas. Kal'daka's," she practically spit the Ilharess' name, "firstborn. I know, I know" she took a deep breath. Was she trying not to cry? "I know the wretched cunt killed her, took her from me, took my Renora, but I'm sorry. I can't. I just can't. I miss her, Neit. I miss her terribly. All the time." She was crying, now. "You are wonderful, Neit, but you aren't my Renora. I'm so sorry, Neitar. I just... I don't want to lead you on. But what you want is something I cannot give. I'm sorry. I'm so very, very sorry."
Neit remained cold and disconnected no matter how close Aryyna got, but her head snapped into eye contact the very moment the Illharress suggested some kind of sick desire was involved. The arcane viper of a woman bit her lip and stared the violet-maned siren before her. She would have slapped and insulted a lesser-ranked woman instantly for such pitiful drivel. Even that was far beyond the nicities that one could have expected from a truly strong, proud, nobiliy intollerant and dutifly puritian Drow woman. This was public beating territory.
But... Neit was too tired to judge. She had been too jaded to trust the possitive feelings in her heart before, so too did the negative urges also fall on deaf ears.
So she sat and listened, unflinching.
How can an Illharess belong to someone? A multitude of bitter questioned continued to lurk about her mind. What was it that she thinks I want? What is it that she has to gain by telling me these things? What is her plan?... For Troglodyte-shit's sake, what is her plan?...
Her arms acted on their own, as angry and confused as her head was. They softly positioned Aryyna's head onto her lap, and stroked her hair slowly and methodically, whilst the stunning demigod of a woman wept before her.
It was... exactly like how she liked to do with Huzhke.
That damn little ugly fucking chitine.
Her heart felt like it split itself from her arteries and dropped down into her chest. She wanted to scream, but suppressed it, and made quick, baredly restrained sobbing exhalation instead. Her first audiable sound in several minutes.
The hands contuned to combfort Aryyna, through Neitar now utterly despised the emmotion that was provoking her to perform it.
"...I... thoughte you were tricking me somehowe..." An impusle of shame mixed with welling sickness, the psion came to a realisation. "...No... Seems I've done a flawlesse job ofe tricking myself... So... please don'te appologise to me of all people..."
"As I have never met thise Renora I cannote speculate... but I am sure ife she earnede your... liking... she muste have been quite special indeede..."
It was an exaggeration. A polite regards. An irrational hate was directed towards that name without a face, in vengence for a love she never wanted or understood in the first place. She knew it was pathetic and pointless, but just like this endearing feeling, it was something she utterly failed to shake.
Arms curled around Arryna's head, she just planted a kiss onto her brow and continued to stroke her hair patiently. Her lips wanted urgently to say more, but the lump in her throat crumpled up her ideas and threw them back.
Not even her solid careless visage could hide away that kind of upheaval.
Aryyna was crying heavily now, apparently not caring about... every single rule, custom, and tradition of Drow culture and society.
"Very special." She blubbered. "My Renora."
After a few more moments of crying and being stroked, Aryyna tried pulling herself together, sitting up, sniffling, and sighing heavily. "I'm sorry, Neit. You have, you have your own life. I just, I just, I just didn't want to, to lead you on. You're wo-wonderful, and you really made, made, me happy, but I can't. I'm sorry. I can't." She forced a joyless smile and placed a hand on Neit's cheek. "Still friends?"
Neit just looked into her lap for a prolonged minute, before finally giving the furry white house spider some attention and placing it into her lap. Through it's chitinous hide gave it formidable weight, the fluffy coat made it as soft as silk. A lump was still lodged in her throat, but at least petting the gangly thing was a means of slowly soothing her raging mind.
"It's like tryinge to pull a deep splinter oute." She finally spoke up again, alrough still gazing at her new pet with truly jaded expression. "You can'te quite decide ife it's even still there, or if it was real at all... But you can feel somethinge... So you keep scratching at ite. Making ite worse."
"I lete them all go, you know. The grimlocks. My Huzhke. All ofe them." Neit then added, finally looking at Aryyna, with a perhaps missplaced bitter expression. "They did not look back... I really thoughte they mighte, but they didn'te... And then I hated you even more. Because you made me realise juste how pathetic I really am."
"...But ife you can be honeste with me... then... then I guess I can at leaste say that means more than Huzhke ever did to me."
Neit did not seem to be able to force herself to smile, but she did reach out and hug Aryyna, embracing her fully. Anything to try and convey at least the smallest ammount of positivity, despite her still overwhelming feeling of jealousy towards this random unseen old lover. It all felt so childish. But beyond just not wanting to be alone, Neit realised the unlikeliness of her finding another Drow to communicate with quite like the Illharess.
"Or at leaste it should say you mean more. But I won't lie. I lovede that fat little fuck to death!"
Slowly, cautiously, a smile attempted to form.