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Beneath Snow and Ice

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  • Beneath Snow and Ice


    Cold.

    Snow.

    Wind.

    Ice.

    The elements above the city could kill a man, freeze them in seconds, without the proper gear. It was that thought which led to construction of Ac'siel, the largest underground city on Csilla, second in size only to the capitol Csaplar itself. The engineering of the city had been nothing short of genious, a testament of what the Chiss were capable of when they worked together, though relationships seemed very fragile

    Fragility was something each ruling house was familir with. The system worked well when each house served as they were meant to, but history had been filled with examples of what happened when one house sought to change their station. Adoptions and arranged marriages became the way to curb the desire to fight amongst themselves for control. Duty replaced passion, and strategy now seemed more valuable than monetary wealth.

    This was the world Mitth'rac'etarn was born into. The son of Ac'siel's govenor had learned all about the ways of the Chiss people at a verry young age. From the moment he could read, Thrace was indoctirnated in the way of the fragile system, and how the city which existed below the surface played a vital role. Thrace was raised to know he would have to fill a mandatory term of service in the military. It was always an honor to serve with the CEDF. Thrace was preparing himself for orders when the chime to the main entrance of the home rang.

  • #2
    Illegitimate. Dishonored. Unsuitable. The slanderous accounts dripped from the acerbic tongues of her fellow Chiss each time she passed. Their ruthless candor had, at one time, caused her great shame and trepidation. But, her baseborn position within society would dissolve beneath her ardor; brought to its knees by the accomplishments fostered by her cunning and intelligence. Scylla was not without connections, having proclaimed her intent to be acknowledged by the Governor of Ac'siel and more importantly, his Ruling Family. It was a difficult game to play, though; particularly since she was so young, devoid of parents, and lacked resources that would earn her a commission. She had a plan, however. One that involved the Governor's son, Thrace, who she had become acquainted with by chance when they were both very young.

    A plume of steam escaped her lips, the City of Ac'siel still very boreal despite the technological advancements that kept it running and its sequestered location under several layers of ice. Crimson eyes gleamed beneath the fur lined hood resting atop her head, glaring into the durasteel door separating her from the warmth of Thrace's household. The staff was keeping her waiting on purpose, she guessed. Her blood boiled at the thought; she had always been told that it ran hotter than most. Eventually, the portal slid up and a male Chiss she recognized as the family's steward barred her entry.

    "Have you come by unannounced and without invitation again, girl?" The man sneered down at her, making her bite back a heated retort and a petulant glare of her own. She had learned that her temper, something rare among her kind, did not readily sway the opinions of other Chiss; particularly those of the Mitth family.

    "Yes, sir." She ground out, her gloved hands clenching at her sides. He clucked his tongue in disapproval but stepped aside to allow her entry. She stepped past him immediately, nearly clipped by the door as it slid back down into place. He did not take her coat, she removed it and hung it herself, leaving her clad in an unadorned thermal suit, her gloves, and boots. A bit of snow clung to her hair, she'd been to the surface recently, which had been left down to dangle between her shoulder blades. "Mitth'rac'etarn..."

    "Through there, girl." The steward said gruffly, disappearing around a corner to attend, no doubt, more important business. Scylla smoothed back a few charcoal strands of hair from her face and then stepped into the room where Thrace lingered. She offered him an uncertain smile, just the very corner of her mouth turning upward; uncertain as to what his mood was.

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    • #3
      "Close the door," Thrace said looking up from a cluttered desk.

      The Chiss had certain duties in his father's house which would not change until he began to serve his mandatory service years. When doors were open, Thrace was the perfectly stoic Chiss. Behind closed doors, he allowed himself to be less regulated by the fridgidity his people were known for. Scylla was the only one which he knew who could be prone to emotional displays which were not common for her people. While Thrace had never been as emotionally demonstrative as Scylla, he easily identified with the desire to want to be. She was not a proper Chiss, which was what made her intriguing.

      When the door closed, his lips turned up to a small smile. The flimsi tomes were put away, as the record keeping of the last shipment of precious minerals and resources was set to be shipped. Scylla had been coming over unnanonced more frequently as of late, and the male Chiss was interested in knowing why. His azure fingers folded together as they rest on the desk, after the right had gestured for her to sit. Perhaps they would walk the environmentally controlled gardens later, but for now, Thrace was all business.

      "I think this is the fourth time this week. Others will begin talking about a future arrangement, if they haven't already begun."

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      • #4
        "Yes, sir." She said, equal parts sarcasm and seriousness. Her smile fell away as she turned to do as he demanded, both palms taking hold of each door and then folding them into place. A swift about face angled her svelte form toward him again and she swayed slightly as she approached his messy desk. He was smiling now that it was just them and she returned the expression, always pleased when she made that icy exterior give way to something more, as others of her kind might say, 'on her level'.

        Rather than take a seat in the chair he had signified with an adroit gesture, she canted her hip and rested on the edge of his desk, her torso turned toward him. A small orb with a flat bottom, that served as a paperweight, was taken up and gingerly swiveled between slender fingers. "Well, we wouldn't want that..." She said, flicking him a playful stare and setting down the object with a loud thunk on his desktop. For a low born such as herself, an arrangement of that nature would be incredibly fortuitous. It would do nothing but smear Thrace's reputation in the mud. She had no doubt his father would have her assassinated before those tongues could start wagging.

        But, that didn't mean she couldn't dream. Or, play around behind closed doors. "Besides, I tried to be subtle with my visits but your thrice damned steward always seems to be right where I try to make my entrance. Admit it, you enjoy my visits just as much as I do. You need me to save you from your tedious duties..." She stated matter of factly, her voice dropping lower. "I excite you."

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        • #5
          "Yes, well that thrice damned steward is good at his job," he responded with a frustrated sigh. "He will tell my father you were here again."

          She was not what a proper Chiss should be. Perhaps that is why she was correct. He was excited by her. Her sultry nature was alluring, something that as a Chiss Thrace was meant to ignore, but he could not. She was forward.

          He stood. The rest of the tomes and flimsi documents which he had been studying were now organized. Each book was put back where it had come from. The allotted time for his studies had not been finished, but the interruption was far more appreciated, and wanted. With his back turned to her, he ensured every book was in proper order.

          "I do enjoy your visits, and the fact you have been increasing the frequency of them. I wonder what that is," he stated playfully.

          Turning to face her, Thrace continued his smile. Whatever she could come up with was more exciting than the statistical analysis he was working on. Not everything in life was as simple as a regression analysis. Chiss were not supposed to base decision making off of "feeling." They did not "go with the flow." So why did Scylla?

          "You are not like any Chiss I've ever met. I like that very much. So tell me, Scylla, if you were torn between duty and what you wanted, which would you choose?"

          His hand pressed an the control pannel opposite of the door she had entered earlier. This was a back way out the steward would not think to check. The gardens were beautiful this time of the week, and she had never seen them. They would have privacy there until his father returned, or she snuck out.

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          • #6
            At his own teasing questions about why the frequency of her visits had increased, she mouthed a silent "I'm not telling" before she slid off the edge of his desk. He faced her now, wearing that smile that led her to a great many feelings she knew his father would wholly disapprove of. His question caught her off guard and she had to think about it, pacing around the corner of his desk and stepping up beside him while he impressed a switch; one that opened up a door she had not noticed on her previous visits. It was clear from the expression she now wore that she was curious, intensely so. But, he had asked her a question.

            "Well, since what I want is to be acknowledged and my devotion to that desire dictates that I commit to my duties, I suppose they are hand in hand. But, if it came down to taking what I wanted or being a conscientious little miss, I suppose I'd forsake duty any day." She answered, her eyebrows narrowing together as she considered the convoluted nature of her answer. Needs, wants, desires, duty. It all seemed so complicated when it had to be explained verbally. She'd rather just feel. That, of course, was what made her a black sheep in Chiss society. "At least when it comes to some... things..." She added, flashing him a grin before she started down the corridor he had opened up for them.

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            • #7
              She was so tempting, playing to what he should not "feel." He was Chiss. A good Chiss, perfect actually, aside from the "disastrous friendship" he had. Disastrous, it was the word his father used to describe the relationship he had with Scylla. That made the Chiss want to be around her more. The way she darted ahead of him down the corridor dared him to chase after her. He chased a head to catch up.

              "What if you were told to stop spending time with someone you really liked, because it wasn't," Thrace imitated his father's voice, "'proper for someone of your station to be seen with her.' What then?"

              Thrace did something he shouldn't have done as a proper Chiss. Thrace took his hand and took the smaller, slender hand of the woman his father wanted to stay away from. He didn't look at her, coukdn't yet. He just stopped and pressed another pannel which opened the door to another room, the large gardens. Colors most Chiss did not see under the ice, greens, browns, yellows, reds, blues, pinks. The soil was soft. The room was warm, warm enough that he removed the dark sweater he was wearing.

              "I love it in here. This is the best place on all of the planet. Makes me want to leave and see it for real."

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              • #8
                Scylla could not have held in her laughter if she'd tried when Thrace began imitating his father's voice, doing a far better job at it than he probably cared to admit. She tossed a glance over her shoulder, causing her long sable locks to cascade down her back. "Well, I think I'd tell that person that just because he was boring did not mean that I had to be. Well, that is one thing I'd tell him."

                She was surprised to find his hand upon her own then, her crimson eyes swiveling down to their entwined fingers and then back up to his face; searching his placid expression for any hint of what he was thinking. Until now, touch had always been brief and almost accidental in nature. She opened her mouth to say something teasing but snapped it closed again when a rush of warm air filtered out into the corridor.

                She looked past him to the lush flora amassed in an atrium; having never seen anything quite like it before, she stood transfixed in place while her eyes took in all they could. Her boots sank into the soil, which felt nothing at all like the wet slush she was used to. Her fingers tightened their grip upon his hand and she smiled, genuinely so. "I've never seen its like. To think, there are entire worlds out there that look like this..."

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                • #9
                  "More than you can count or memorize. I've tried," he said looking down to her hand which tightened to his. "Though I am certain I will never see them. Duty demands that I remain here and assume my father's position once I return from military service." The usually stoic face wrinkled at teh forehead. Just thinking about the idea of being "stuck" under the ice for the rest of his life was enough to make Thrace consider the unthinkable. He knew Scylla was smart enough to know what he was getting at. The Chiss was torn between what he wanted and his duty.

                  Today had been the first time he did what he wanted in regards to Scylla being present. There were times when he wanted to throw the societal traditions away and simply take her hand as he had just done. An innocent gesture in some cultures, but scandalous in his. They were not arranged to marry each other, and even then, touch was forbidden until the wedding. An act which was supposed to bring pleasure and intimacy was even reduced to duty. Thrace was tired of "duty." What about the duty he had to himself and his own happiness.

                  He finally let go of her hand. Just the feel of his boots sinking into the ground was enjoyable, but he knew there was another sensation which would make Scylla extremely giddy. It had the first time he tried it so long ago. Thrace sat atop a log which had fallen. The gardener said to let it be as it made the atrium look more realistic. The bark was rough, the surface scratchy, but it was simply used as bench for Thrace to untie the laces of his boots, and remove the socks which were underneath. Barefoot he stood on the mossy grass, and soiled patches of terrain which littered the room. "Go ahead," he said. "You'll love it."

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                  • #10
                    Thrace was not the only one sick of hearing the word 'duty' spoken in relation to his life. Scylla remained silent as he untangled their fingers and then moved across the sprawling lawn to the collapsed trunk of a tree. She watched him with rapt attention, catching onto his intent when he began to undo the shoelaces strung through the holes of his boots. Her eyes dipped down to his bared feet as he rose, a soft smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Then, eager to feel the soft soil and grass sifting between her toes, she reclined on the trunk of the tree as well.

                    Before removing her shoes, she tugged down the front most zipper of her thermal suit a measure. Then, her delicate fingers began the unlacing process. Her socks were stuffed inside her discarded boots and she rose beside him. Her toes flexed in the grass and she sighed in pleasure at the feeling. It was strange how something so simple, especially when considered by an outsider used to the feel of flora against bared flesh, could make her pulse quicken with excitement. "I feel as though we are doing something very naughty and we could be caught at any moment..." She murmured, her lowered eyes rising slowly to meet his. The smile at the corner of her mouth quirked a bit more. "I love it."

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                    • #11
                      Not only did Scylla remove her boots, but her thermal suit was unzipped, first actually. When she bent to unlace her boots, Thrace got a view he was not bargaining for. Her cleavage was showing, and it brought to the surface, feelings and thoughts, which were not appropriate for a Chiss to have. It had been drilled into him that the function of physical intercourse was for procreation, and that he would be matched with a female that had good connections and provide the family with excellent offspring. Of course his parents, his father, would be the judge of who would make excellent children. Thrace was not happy about that.

                      "It does doesn't it," he agreed, then added, "And the way you're weareing that thermal suit right now only adds to that feeling."

                      Thrace paused and considered whether to say what he was thinking. It was just the two of them, and Scylla did have a way of bringing the untraditional personality of Thrace to the front. It was not a long pause.

                      "I love it, and the view," he stated directly.

                      He was being forward, he knew it, but his orders were coming soon, and he knew they would separate them.

                      "I know I have been forward today, but let me be even more so. Do you do these things to cause a reaction with me, because they do. I like it when you, what did that offworlder call it... 'flirt' with me. You are beautiful, and all of this makes me want to throw tradition out the window."

                      Thrace just smiled and sat on the grass and ran his fingers through the blades of green vegitation. He really wished he could run away from the frozen world, duty, and orders. Thrace simply wasn't that brave, not yet.

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