The gag and blindfold were removed, and Amon fell to his hands and knees on the stone walkway, gasping for breath and coughing, his vision still blurry from the numbing agent. He heard footsteps, and a chuckle. He looked up, but with his vision still fogged over, he couldn’t really make out the person.
“Well, well, well. Amon Medies. You have been busy, haven’t you.”
He knew that elegant, male voice that sounded like it belonged to a god. Squinting, his vision began to slowly clear and he saw a young man with silky black hair slung over one eye, and clean beard, perfect skin, and sharp, deep sapphire eyes: Ra Ravenclaw. He was leaning back against the Shrine of Lyssa, the moonlight casting a silhouette that made him seem almost godlike… clearly on purpose. He wore a royal blue, leather tailcoat that was clasped and buttoned closed over a black turtleneck shirt. The jacket was littered with bronze studs, and bore a bronze eagle crest on the right side of his chest. He also wore black trousers, faded and torn in places that was clearly a style choice, not due to damage. His right earlobe was pierced with a bronze ring. If Amon was being perfectly honest with himself, this edgy, moonlit look on the Ravenclaw heir made him look far more attractive and desirable than was fair. He could see what Harley meant.
Then he recognized the similarities between the gang’s blazers and Ra’s own coat. Comprehension dawned on him.
“Ra…” he gasped, still catching his breath. Ra smirked, “Well, you remember my name at least. That’s a start.”
Amon shook his head harshly to clear the fog. “These are your lackeys?”
Ra laughed, a musical sound. “Well, lackeys is not really the right word. They are agents of House Ravenclaw, part of the NTSD gang.”
Amon knew the name. “That’s a big time gang, according to the seraph. You lead them?”
Ra laughed. “That would be telling, wouldn’t it. And we aren’t really a bad gang now. In actuality, the rumors of us being a criminal group was my idea. The reality is that we serve the queen and strive to improve Kryta through undercover means.” His eyes narrowed, his smirk chilling. “But you aren’t here to ask me questions. Actually, the reverse is true. I have some things I want to ask you, Amon.”
Amon shrugged, confused but not willing to push his luck. “I guess I don’t have a choice, do I?”
Ra smirked. “Nope. Now, let’s begin…”
Glinda turned her eyes back on Harley. “So, Harley. What really happened at Morgan’s Spiral?”
Choking on his suddenly-inhaled bit of tea, Harley glared at the pretty redhead, coughing to clear his throat. “What the hell? Glinda, stop trying to choke me!” The blond purposefully put down his cup of tea, arms crossed over his chest. “I was apprehensive, you know me and heights. But Amon said he’d done it a million times so...I trusted him.” He couldn’t believe he was admitting to trusting someone that he barely knew but there was just something about Amon that pulled at him, made him feel strong but weak at the same time and made everything so different. “Once we got about halfway up, it became a race. I landed on the platform first and well...I was the landing platform, apparently.” His hand came up to touch his chest, where he could still feel Amon’s head butting against his breastbone and the grass against his back. “He got a little flirty and well...I lifted him off of me and…” His face started turning red, blazing straight past his usual pink. “Well, I took that time to get to know him a little better before we headed to Mabon Market.”
There was no way he was admitting to what actually happened before they hit the Market.
Deciding to preserve what was left of his dignity, the messy-haired Ranger forced himself up onto his feet and clasped his hands behind his back, feet spread shoulder-width apart. His clothes were nice but not of the quality that even Harley was used to wearing on a regular basis. The near-military stance was reminiscent of his days in the Nightmare Court and even with the time he had spent training with the Wardens before everything had gone straight to Grenth.
“Well? I’m an open book, Ra. Ask away.” A small smirk graced that pretty face, military stance hiding the nerves he felt in his stomach at being faced with someone with such obvious power. Was Harley part of the NTSD as well? Wait, did that mean all of the people he had met yesterday were in the group? That would make some things make sense… But at the same time, it confused him. He decided to play it safe, see where things went. Something in Ra’s smirk was unsettling. Just how much did the noble know?
Ra stood upright, and walked over to the balcony, seating himself on the railing to look out over Selma District, and the royal crypts before him. “You seem to be very taken with Harley, from what my sources tell me. You really put him through his paces today.”
Amon fought the urge to raise an eyebrow at the raven-haired youth’s statement and forced his gaze to stay straight ahead. He had to remain calm and wait, see what was happening and what kind of trap this pretty little songbird was trying to lead him into. “I don’t really know what you mean. We both had a good time. Harley said he’d be more than happy to see me again anytime I want to…” He didn’t want to think about what Ra meant by putting the blond through his paces. Felt more like the blond put him through his paces.
Aaaaand, yea he was not thinking about that while being interrogated. Nope. Was this going to turn into a ‘what are your intentions’ talk or a ‘run away and never return’ kind of speech? Either way, he didn’t really care. He sincerely hoped it was neither but he had an answer for both if the topics were broached. Oddly enough, it didn’t surprise him that he had been drugged and dragged out to a relatively out-of-the-way area by one of the leaders of the NTSD...the surprising fact was that this NTSD leader was tied to the man that he hoped to be able to call ‘his’.
“Tell me about your ties to the Nightmare Court.”
That threw Amon off balance. Whatever he had been expecting, it certainly was not that. “I…” he stammered, trying to think of an answer that was believable and not confrontational. “I dunno what you mean, my lord.”
Ra’s smirk turned sinister. Amon knew what it meant, and felt his body sag in defeat. Hook, line, and sinker. Ra Ravenclaw had him, and Amon knew that only the whole truth would save him. Maybe.
“I don’t have ties to them anymore other than the fact that they want to kill me.” The Nightmare Court was not something you simply left, especially when you were the first human to join from a sylvari standpoint. “As you obviously already know, my former beloved,” he made sure to use the accepted Sylvari term for a significant other, “fell to the Nightmare Court. As big of a fool as I was back then, I followed him. I only made it two years, managing to remain under the Duchess Faolain’s radar...but Burcilak got higher in the ranks, growing more cruel and vicious and…” Amon paused, head tilting down to hide his eyes with that thick, copper hair. “He was not the man that I loved anymore. I went back home to my father after having to fight my way out and decided to wander Tyria for a while...and now here I am.”
Glinda smirked. “Harley, you know better than to expect me to not notice when you are hiding something from me. What happened with the flirting and after you lifted him off you? Did you do him? Or did he do you?” Her laugh was cute as always, but slightly creepy. “Or both?”
“Glinda! No, we didn’t do any of that!” Harley’s face was going from red to purple again, the blond trying to hide himself behind the curtain of his long hair. “Like I said, we got to know each other a bit better, that’s all I really want to say.”
Glinda laughed. “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
“I am not lying, Glinda!” Harley growled, standing up from the couch and making his way to the large windows looking out onto the garden and spent a moment watching the moonlight filter over the ground. “Nothing like that happened, Glinda. Yes, we...did some exploring,” Amon more than Harley, “but we didn’t...you know my views on that.”
Reth stood up from the armchair, wrapping his arms around Harley from behind. “We know, Harley. We’re just...you never become interested in people lightly. You throw everything you are into being with them and...I just don’t know if Amon is the guy that would be willing to wait for something so serious as marriage before being able to really be intimate with his lover.”
“Beloved.” Harley corrected, blushing when he realized what he said.
Selena raised an eyebrow, grinning widely behind her teacup. “Oh? Getting a pet name already?”
“No, Selena, it’s what the Sylvari call their signific…” Harley paused. “Oh shit…” His hand came up, running through the loose blond hair with a sigh. “Well, that is definitely a talk we’re going to have to have.”
Anise and Jennah both looked slightly confused so Harley decided to elucidate. “The sylvari don’t have marriage. They find the person that they love and they are each other’s beloved, it’s always as simple as that. But that is what they consider ‘marriage’. So if Amon decides he’s in love with me and goes with the Sylvari way he was raised, in his mind we would be as good as married.”
“You’ll just have to make sure he sticks with the Krytan way of doing things, then…” Reth shrugged, not really seeing the issue. If Harley really didn’t want to do something, he wouldn’t do it. Unless it was Ra or Glinda but they were special cases.
Glinda raised a hand in denial. “Uh-uh. Nope. If Amon wants to be serious, he has to follow Ascalonian rules as Harley is part of an Ascalonian house.”
Ugh. Ascalonian rules were far less stringent than Krytan beliefs. It was almost ridiculous the differences that could be seen between the two, even if Harley and Ra had been raised as both and understood the intricacies and similarities that could be found in either culture.
Amon watched the dark-haired youth as he bottled up the emotions that surged forth from any thoughts of his time in the Court and the loss he had suffered there. He just wanted this night to be over with so he could go to sleep and hopefully be able to see Harley tomorrow. “Any other questions, Ra?”
Amon knew he'd gone too far when the smirk vanished in half a second from Ra’s perfect features, turning into a scowl full of regal contempt.
The brunette inwardly sighed, shaking his head before pinching the bridge of his nose between two fingers as if staving off a migraine. “Sorry. When I get emotional, I get nasty.”
Ra’s contemptuous, judging look and the aloof stare didn't leave his face. Even his gang seemed affronted by his tone. When Ra spoke, Amon knew why people feared this young noble. “Be very careful, commoner. With the mere flick of my finger, you would disappear, and no one would ever be the wiser. Even Harley would buy whatever story I chose to tell him for why you just dropped off the face of Tyria. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”
“Crystal.” Amon returned himself behind the Warden mask he had gotten so used to using during his time as a Courtier. “Then I’ll rephrase. Do you have any other inquiries, Lord Ravenclaw?” His tone was the same one he used when talking to Duchess Faolain or the Knights. He had even used the tone with Bercilak a fair few times when the man had been getting particularly belligerent.
Ra’s smirk returned. Before Amon could react, the raven-haired noble reached out and flicked his nose teasingly. “Good boy. Now, we should head back to the estate. Lyssa only knows what Glinda will do if we don't return.” He saw the look on Amon’s face. “She has basically convinced the Seraph that you are a witness in a case she's heading. You can't leave the city until she says so.”
Ra strode passed the stunned Amon, and paused, looking back. “For what it's worth, I think you and Harley make a good pair and you'll do right by him. But for your own safety, please do not mention your Nightmare Court ties anywhere near Glinda.”
Amon blinked, confused. “Ooooookaaaay… why, precisely?”
Ra sighed. “Her mother was a respected nymph from the nymph village in Calaedon. She died at the hands of the Knight of Embers when the Court decimated the village. Glinda has been motherless since she was seven. She hates anyone with even former ties to the Court.”
“Ah.” Amon winced, mentally realizing just what would have probably happened to the woman if she had been ended by the Knight of Embers. That would not have been a pretty way to die. But the Knight didn’t kill just anyone...in an odd way, the Court would have believed they showed respect to the nymph by killing her by Embers’ hand. “Understood. And, I am guessing to not mention this little talk we’ve had with Harley?”
Ra smiled and chuckled. “You catch on quickly, little sparrow. Glinda has plans for you, so when you wake up tomorrow, do exactly as she says. It will spare you the look.”
And with that, they headed back to the Ravenclaw manor.
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