Thread: ATM II RPG
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:20 AM   #49
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Assigned to Mordor
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Celuien has just left Hobbiton.
Lūgnūt screeched up to the gates of the Mount Doom Palace and Casino. The Hummer's engine had hardly stopped humming before Panakeia bounded out the door, a stormy expression on her face. The journey from Lūndūn had not been pleasant. Despite the deference granted their official vehicle, they still encountered the traffic jams, construction and road rage typical of a Mordor highway. The unpleasantness of the trip was compounded by Panakeia's dislike of Lūgnūt and his/her/its constant blather about how many procedures were being broken by her unexpected journey. She didn't care about protocol. Her future with Anakron, the only true love she had ever known, was at stake. Regulations could go to Mordor, she thought, before recalling that they already were in Mordor. Her scowl deepened.

Panakeia strode up to one of the Palace guards, Lūgnūt following a few feet behind. Where, she demanded to know, were the negotiations taking place? She was a member of the Grand Anakronist's party and needed to join him at once. A glare in Lūgnūt's direction silenced any protest of her claims by him/her. Directions given, she pushed ahead without a word, contemplating what she would say to Anakron.

She didn't want to be angry. Experience told her that anger was the least effective way to deal with Anakron. He wouldn't understand, and would most likely dismiss her anger as unjustified hysteria. And maybe she was being unreasonable. Anakron was an important official, after all. He had responsibilities. She knew that when they began their relationship. As she pondered their beginnings at the end of the battle with A Slan, the werewolves, Anakron's death and return to the living, Panakeia's anger faded. Yes, she did love him. It would be enough, she decided, to see Anakron. That was all she really wanted. Now that she was here, they could meet after the day's negotiations concluded. The restaurants in the old Resort had been excellent. Roggie's reconstruction, she was sure, would not have neglected so essential an item. Their plans would not be disturbed too badly after all.

Panakeia reached the conference room. Her hand went to the doorknob, and a smile crossed her face in anticipation of seeing Anakron. She pushed the door ajar --- and saw red in every sense of the phrase. A blonde in a scarlet gown (too tight and revealing for a proper lady, Panakeia thought) perched on a table, evidently very trying her best to capture every man present in her snares. And succeeding. Panakeia was sure that Anakron was staring at the woman, and the fire heating her temper went from simmer to high. Unwilling to compromise her ladylike dignity, she swallowed the insults for the vamp that rose in her throat and addressed Anakron in a cool, level voice.

"Anakron. May I speak to you? Alone?"

Anakron's eyes widened slightly at the sudden entrance of the most unexpected Panakeia, dressed to the nines, which he rather approved of, though he thought that she should perhaps have used a little bit of make-up, but he certainly wasn't going to tell her how to perform her toilette. He had been expecting Skittles to re-enter, and found the sudden appearance of Panakeia quite pleasant by comparison.

"Of course." He stood, aware that the ambassadors gathered in the room were watching the two of them with sudden curiosity. Out in the hall, he turned and faced her. She seemed most put out over something. Anakron wondered if some Mordorian orc had done something overly anachronistic and bureaucratic and she had come all this way to complain to the grand anakronist himself. She certainly could have clout if she wanted it, but she either never thought of it, or did not consider it something she wished to involve herself in.

She was staring up at him, her arms crossed in front of her, a look of growing impatience on her face, her foot tapping.

You look ravishing, my dear. He thought of saying it, but thought it inappropriate in the current setting. "What?" he asked, a little ill at ease with how curt his voice sounded.

Panakeia shifted uncomfortably. Anakron's voice sounded terse, a bit short. But why? Was he upset over her arrival? Unhappy to see her? And that blonde - who was she? Was she the reason for Anakron's coldness? Panakeia trembled at the thought of losing Anakron to a mere vamp. But one question at a time, the most easily answered first.

"What?" she echoed in a trembling voice. "I came all the way from Lūndūn, and all you can say is 'what'? Not even a hello? Aren't you glad to see me?" She carefully avoided the crucial question of the woman in the red dress, hoping that Anakron would volunteer a satisfactory explanation before she needed to ask.

Anakron closed his eyes momentarily and felt tautness in his face, felt the muscle below his left eye twitch, and his lips draw down. Stress. He managed a smile so quick it probably looked like a grimace.

"Hello." He swallowed. "Of course I'm glad to see you."

He wanted to reach up and caress her face, smooth away the fear in her eyes, but it would not be appropriate here, with the powerful and influential casting glances their way. He kept his hand at his side.

"This is about our-" He couldn't bring himself to say the word here in this public place, that anakronistic word, date. "-arrangement. I'm sorry I had to break it. It couldn't be helped. These negotiations-" He left his sentence unfinished, nodding toward the room they had just left, willing her to understand.

Panakeia was now convinced of Anakron's displeasure. Despair began to work its way into her thoughts. That odd expression on his face couldn't have been anything other than distaste. Distaste. It couldn't be so. She longed to pour out her fears to Anakron. To be told, with a brush of fingers to her hair, that she was being silly, and to laugh at her foolishness after his reassurance.

But she couldn't. She thought again of the broken dates, of the woman on the other side of the door, and anger mingled with pride took possession of her actions. "Negotiations? Is that what you call this little business?" She pointed at the door. An empty laugh escaped her lips, and Panakeia was startled at the harshness of its echo in the hallway. "Oh yes. It all looked quite diplomatic, especially your friend sitting on the table. Most diplomatic. Is she the head ambassador? Of what nation, pray tell?" No sooner had the words been spoken then she regretted giving them voice. But they could not be undone. Panakeia stiffened, fighting the impulse to apologize.

Anakron was stunned. He stared at Panakeia. Was this the same woman he had found so engaging? So captivating? Jealous of a mere tramp whose dress declared to the world, 'I am using sex to get my way'? Anakron couldn't believe it. For the first time in a long time Anakron spoke before he had thought.

"Maybe I shouldn't be involved with any woman."

As soon as the words were out, he winced. How had he let himself say that? Of all the wrong times to say a thing, this was the wrongest. Anakron didn't even care that his thought was constructed in bad grammar. He waited for the inevitable bad reaction, flinching inside.

Shouldn't be involved with any woman? That last phrase stung Panakeia to the quick. Anakron did have doubts about her. That explained everything from the continually broken dates to his indifferent greeting, and she suddenly felt a drop slipping down the side of her face. Not wanting Anakron to see her tears, Panakeia spun on her heel and fled from his gaze. After wandering for a while, mourning Anakron's rejection, remorse for her rash words gnawing at her conscience, she found a bench in a lonely corner of the Palace and burst into sobs of misery.
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