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Going to the Faire I

(( Warning: NSFW. heart ))

Zantoris lounged at one of the tables near the door, sipping a mug of Tideskorn mead. He was freshly washed and wearing his civilian clothes, a plain shirt and trousers. The lunch crowd was tapering off a bit, but the staff was still bustling to keep up with demand, so he took his time over the mead while he waited for Marjolaine.

A familiar pair of chilly arms laced around his neck from behind, the ghoul giving him an affectionate squeeze. “Zan! Newly risen from the grave for the second time this … year? Month?”

The shadowcaster twisted in his chair to get one arm around her waist, pulling her in for a kiss. “Man’s got to have a hobby. You want anything to drink, or you want to head for the Faire?”

The risen woman kissed him back, grasping the front of his raiments. She gave him the mildest little shake at his words, reprimanding him before she’d even opened her mouth again. “Don’t act all nonchalant about constantly waltzing with your demise! That said, I’m fine with heading on over.”

He stood so he could embrace her fully. “I’m sorry, darlin. I’m not trying to get myself killed, really.” He held her tightly a moment, reassuring them both, then slipped an arm around her waist and started for the door. “Faire entrance is just south of Goldshire. Between my aversion to heights and your chronic deadness, I thought it might be best to pester Nikana into giving us a summons.”

Marjolaine wanted to be the slightest bit angry at him, but all was forgiven in his embrace. She leaned into his shoulder, looping an arm likewise around his waist as they strolled out of the lounge. “Well, okay … I guess you’re off the hook for now. Oh, I like Miss Nikana! It’ll be great to say hello before hurtling through the Nether.”

Zantoris led her to a quiet spot out of the flow of traffic, where no one would be startled by their disappearance. “Ever been summoned by a warlock?”

“Yeeees…” Marjolaine answered with a curious sort of reluctance. “Is Miss Nikana not an arcanist?”

He chuckled. “No, but I can’t wait to run that one by her.” He pulled out a palm-sized buzzbox and fiddled with it a moment, scowling in concentration, then spoke into it. “Nikana? Aye, we’re ready when you are.” He put the device away. “She’ll start the summons any minute.”

“Hahaha, oh shit, she’s a full-blown warlock! Look, I try not to jump to conclusions or anything … you know some people keep imps as pets now? I think mostly the very rich, bored, and not particularly canny,” the ghoul speculated, awaiting the familiar pulling sensation.

The summons came a moment later. The transition was smooth and gentle, an expert touch. At the other end was a grassy fenced area, with a few fair workers doing tricks, a small tent, and an enormous portal.

Nikana was nearby, a voidwalker looming beyond her. She had eschewed her prudent city garments. Today she wore a backless ankle-length dress of black and deep red, with a plunging neckline, barely meeting standards of modesty. The skirt was slit up the side to reveal her leg up to the thighs. In this outfit she looked every bit a warlock--the silent voidwalker didn’t hurt the image.

Marjolaine took a moment to get her bearings, waving as soon as she noticed Nikana - and it was hard not to take notice of the eye-catching felcaster. “Hi again and thanks a lot for the summon!”

“Hello, Marjolaine. Nice to see you again.” The warlock held a glowing orb and gestured to one of the fair workers, who placed a hand on it. “Please place your hand on the orb and focus your attention on bringing Zantoris here.”

“Right!” the risen woman nodded, doing as she was instructed as her mind turned to the shadowmancer in Dalaran.

Zan appeared a few seconds later. He looked around, smiled at Marj, then caught sight of Nikana. “Holy hell, Nik, you got a permit for those things?”

Nikana put away the orb. “Your charm knows no bounds. Enjoy your afternoon.” She nodded at Marjolaine and headed for the portal to the fair. The voidwalker followed, unbidden.

“Smooth,” Marjolaine grinned, elbowing the former priest’s side. “Bye, Miss Nikana! Thanks again!” she called after the sorceress, lifting her hand to wave.

He chuckled, returning his arm to her waist. “If I didn’t aggravate her she’d think something was wrong. Shall we, m’lady?” He gestured to the enormous portal.

She leaned against his side, giving his shoulder a kiss as she nodded her affirmation. “Let’s! Which games are you interested in?”

“Been years since I’ve seen the fair, they probably don’t even have the ones I remember. I seem to recall a race around the island, if they still have that. And a menagerie.” They stepped through the portal together, into a delightfully gloomy forest trail. Lighted signs pointed the way down the path, each containing a short phrase that gradually formed a rhyme as they progressed:

“Ahead of You, Down the Path. A Majestic, Magical Faire!
Ignore the Darkened, Eerie Woods, Ignore the Eyes That Blink and Stare
Fun & Games & Wondrous Sights! Music & Fireworks to Light Up The Night!
Do Not Stop! You're Nearly There! Behold, My Friend: THE DARKMOON FAIRE!”

“OooOoOo, so dramatic,” Marjolaine giggled, tickling up Zan’s side with spindly fingers to call spiders to mind, falling into a creepy ghost groan as she did so. She released him to rush ahead, mock-fearful of his retaliation as she ducked under one of the signs.

The shadowcaster lunged playfully after her with an overly dramatic “Raawwwrrrr,” chasing her farther down the path until they came in sight of the fair entrance. Distracted, he paused, looking out over the rides and games and colorful attractions. “Wow, most things wind up being smaller than you remember them years later.”

The ghoul ran with her hands plastered to the side of her face in a classic horror pose, though as soon as he paused she followed suit, looking over the flashing lights, spinning rides, and whirling gears. “From here it feels like we’re looking down at one of those model towns.”

She grinned, raising a thumb before “crushing” a speck of a carnie under it, a playful trick of perspective. “So that’s how the corndogs are made…”

“Wait till you try the crunchy frogs.” He put his arm around her again, irrationally wanting to go through the entrance together. “What do you fancy first, darlin? I can get some ride tickets, or games, or whatever you like. Hell, I’ve still got a few hundred gold, that’s loads of cash.” He saw the docks in the distance and pointed. “If I remember right, the race starts and finishes down there, although there’s other places you can watch from all around the island.”

The ghoul was quick to cuddle against him, her chin lifting to look up at the fireworks rising over their heads as they crossed through the entrance intertwined, laughing at the sheer spectacle of it all. “Anybody can enter the race? We should run it! Then we can get you a bite to eat.”

“I have no idea how to race a tallstrider, but I’ll be happy to cheer you on.” He gave her an affectionate squeeze as they strolled past a juggler. “There, the merry-go-round--there’s a race I can handle, none of those things will crash.”

“Me neither,” she admitted, giving his arm a tug as they drew closer to the ride. “Ooh! Look, a wyv--” Marjolaine paused, recalling Zan’s fear of heights just a touch too late, “er, a murloc!”

Before the redhead was able to get her foot anywhere near the entrance to the merry-go-round, however, the goblin overseeing the ride piped up with a hand extended for the pair’s tickets.

Zan laughed. “I can handle riding these wyverns, darlin. There’s the ticket booth, I’ll go grab us some.” He trotted a few yards away to purchase fair tickets, returning with a handful of colorful paper. “Here you go.” He passed half of them over, then gave some to the goblin in charge of the ride.

Marjolaine’s face lit up and she grinned from ear to ear as she fanned out the rainbow of tickets, organizing them into a neat stack soon after as she tucked them into a satchel on her belt. “You’re such a generous date. Oooh, is there a two-seater on this thing?” she asked, hugging the shadowmancer’s arm as they headed in.

“Doesn’t look like it. We’ll just have to pick two side by side and hold hands.” Zan laced his fingers with hers by way of example as they climbed onto the ride. He sat on a wooden gryphon--probably the only time he’d ever ride one without fear.

Thus reassured, the ghoul took her seat in the wyvern next to Zantoris, first reaching over to hold his hand before leaning in further to kiss his knuckles. “Imagine bringing kids here! They’d freak out.”

“Aye, some of the attractions aren’t really kid-friendly.” He grinned over at her. “I hear they’ve added another band, they sound pretty wild.” He laughed again as the ride started up, never releasing his hold on Marj’s hand.

They went around on the carousel a few times, swapping to different wooden animals--a horse, a murloc, a dragon. Eventually they tired of it and disembarked. Zan immediately put his arm back around Marj’s waist; he wanted physical contact with her as much as possible. The ghoul seemed of a similar mind.

“Here we go.” Zan pointed. “Tonk challenge. Right up your alley, Miss Aspiring Engineer.” He gathered her in for a kiss as they walked over. “Which reminds me, I should show you my new buzzbox later. It’s small enough to carry around with me.”

Marjolaine kissed him back several times, patting down his pockets to feel for the new device. “Where’d you get it? The same person who made the message devices?”

The ghoul moved to the control podium and grinned widely, surveying the buttons on the control pad that found its way into her hands once she’d slipped a few tickets to the booth worker. “Come on, Zan! We can work together until it’s just the two of us left. Then anything goes!”

“You’re on!” Zan acquired his own controller and immediately ran his tonk into a wall. “Shit. I think I’m outclassed.” He managed to extricate the toy and sent it charging in to shoot at Marj’s opponent. “Actually I don’t even know who made it, Nikana found some guy who can do them up custom. You should see hers, it’s even smaller--she’s got more cash to spend on it. And she’s had one made for Kyala that she can wear while shapeshifted, she just hasn’t been able to track her down to give it to her yet.” He managed to help Marjolaine disable several adversaries before one took out his own tonk. “Noooooo!” he wailed dramatically, affecting a swoon. “Oh, the horror! Avenge me, my love!”

Though she knew his words were in jest, Marjolaine’s skin prickled pleasurably at the words. It staggered her enough to cause her tonk to eat a barrage of missiles before she rammed her palm against the joystick, beginning evasive maneuvers. “Hey hey none of that! I have to avenge my man!”

The tried and true circle-and-strafe strategy served the ghoul well, her sparking, smoking tonk somehow the last gadget standing. She cheered, thrusting both hands over her head victoriously, before hugging the shadowmancer around the neck.

Zan cheered with her, wrapping his arms around her waist and lifting her off the ground as they embraced. “My honor is safe!” he declared, and kissed her until the goblin manning the booth chivvied them out to make room for other customers.

“Well then, what next, Tonkmaster?” The shadowcaster put his arm around her waist again. “I know--they’ve got bleachers set up to watch the race at various points around the island, and a few enterprising goblins who will cart you to them for a bit of silver. Why don’t we go watch a few rounds. Then we can come back and work our way up the midway from the other end.” He was actually thinking that the bleachers would be mostly empty, which would provide an opportunity for some snuggling and groping in between watching the racers.

The risen redhead seemed to have at least some inkling of what Zantoris had in mind, smirking as she leaned up to give his earlobe a brief kiss. “Everybody loves a good spectator sport. Want any refreshments or are you good?”

“Got everything I want right here.” He gave her waist a squeeze. The kiss on the earlobe made him even more keen to get his hands on her, but he stifled the urge. Near the piers they found a goblin with a small cart, who cheerfully charged them twenty silver for a ride.

As they settled in for the ride, he added, “Hey, one of the officers on the Broken Shore showed me some more recent dances. I should teach ‘em to you in case we manage to go to Dayshadow’s Winter Veil party.”

“You must’ve been pretty bored during downtime,” she teased, cuddling up against his side and nuzzling his shoulder. All these erroneous KIA reports had her feeling particularly clingy; thankfully the former priest didn’t seem opposed. “I hope we get invited back. That place was incredible! Palatial, even.”

The shadowcaster pulled her closer, until she was almost in his lap. With his other hand he caressed her face and ran his fingers through her hair. “Nikana seems to think we will. She’s already planning our outfits, right down to the bands I’ll have on my hair. Hope you don’t already have something else you wanted to wear.” He spent the rest of the brief ride just kissing and nuzzling.

The cart stopped at a set of bleachers a few miles down the beach. The couple disembarked as a few spectators climbed aboard for the return trip. Zan swept her along to the grassy area behind the bleachers. “Here’s as good a place for a dance less as any.”

“Not a thing!” Marjolaine grinned, giving Zantoris a brief flurry of kisses before gesturing towards the clearing. “Okay, let’s see these slick moves.”

“Right, I’m told this one was very popular a few months ago.” He positioned her facing him and took her hands. “I don’t think dance fads move very fast, so we’ll probably still be fashionable if we’re doing this at the end of the year.” He walked her slowly through the steps and movements, turns and gestures, repeating it with her a few times. Then they went through the dance a little faster, counting aloud to keep time as they maneuvered, and finally tried it at a normal speed. Zan began singing a current favorite about Junglevine wine, accompanying their dance in his pleasant baritone. A kaldorei couple climbed off the bleachers and joined them on the impromptu dance floor. The late afternoon sun lit them all in golden light, shimmering in bands as it filtered through the bleachers, making their dirt floor seem almost as grand as the ballroom at Lord Dayshadow’s estate.

“Zan…” Marjolaine murmured, following the dance smoothly once she’d mastered her footwork over the first few attempts. She deviated from the proper moves at the end, however, so that she could kiss at the priest’s neck while he sang, both to encourage him and to see how long he could continue while being thus distracted. The world felt far grander than even Lord Dayshadow’s ballroom in those moments, yet her mind continued to worry at Zantoris’s history, his doomed attempt at wedded bliss, it stained her enjoyment of the moment into a strangely selfish and undeserving hue.

Zan finished the last chorus and enfolded her in his arms, kissing her temple gently as they continued to sway a bit to the rhythm they had followed. He barely noticed the other couple offer a brief spate of applause before returning to the bleachers. They weren’t really dancing any more, but he didn’t want to go over to the bleachers just yet--he wanted to prolong this moment a little longer, with Marj in his arms as the sun settled into the sea. He began another song, singing quietly so only they could hear, an old song about lovers dancing under the moon. The moon wasn’t out yet, but it still seemed appropriate. He caressed her hair and serenaded her softly in the waning afternoon light.

Marjolaine nestled her face into the crook of the shadowmancer’s neck as he serenaded her, closing her eyes to drink in the moment. She gave his middle a squeeze and swayed with him even after his voice trailed off, her mind abuzz with the perfection of the afternoon and that gnawing feeling that she’d stolen these moments from someone else, even if that person had expired long before she’d ever crossed paths with the Northrend veteran.

“Zan?” she ventured after several moments had gone by, hesitant to disrupt the serenity that blanketed an otherwise chaotic setting, “How old are you?”

“Bout twenty-eight, I think.” The shadowcaster continued to hold her in his embrace; he didn’t want to let go and she didn’t seem to mind. “Why, how old are you? Or is that one of those things I shouldn’t ask a lady?”

“Uhh … are we counting post-death? Then twenty-two. Of course you can ask! You can ask anything,” she laughed, running her fingers across one of his braids. “Just … well, I guess it’ll come out eventually. I spoke with Lexi about … you know. The marriage thing.”

He didn’t loosen his hold around her, but she could hear the change in his breathing at the mention of the subject. “Aye? It’s not a secret, I just… don’t like to talk about it.”

“I know,” she assured him, smiling gently. “Sorry, I know I’m the worst about timing. Just … I want you to be happy, you know? Not just right now, but down the line too. Maybe you could try talking to Lexi about it sometime. Just to see if it helps any.”

“I think Lexi’s got her hands full right now.” He nuzzled her hair. “With people who’ve got a lot more pressing concerns than I have. Don’t fret, darlin. I’m fine.” He looked around at the bleachers, still keeping her snugly in his arms. “Feel like climbing up there for a view of the race?”

The ghoul gave him a skeptical, appraising look, but she knew better than to push it. A sly half-smile crept across her face and she nodded. “You know I do. Let’s go!”

He had to let go of her so they could clamber up the benches, but as soon as they’d settled in a spot he had his arm around her again. He was attentive for signs that she was getting weary of his ceaseless desire for contact, but so far she seemed to welcome it.

The ghoul snuggled into him all the more, the unspoken, yet continuously emerging issue of his mortality at the forefront of her mind. She watched the race with a little grin, pointing as a rainbow-adorned jockey bobbed past. “Aww, gnomes are so cute.” She turned back towards the priest, caressing his cheek as she studied his face. “Is there something on your mind, Zan?”

He chuckled at the gnome, even more colorful than the bird he was riding. “What makes you say that, darlin?” He was aware he was being evasive, but in fact there were a number of things on his mind. He didn’t even know where to start.

“I don’t know,” Marjolaine protested, inclining her head as she studied his face. “It’s your eyes, I think. It looks like you’re ruminating over something back there but I can’t figure out what.”

“You know us shadow types, always brooding.” Zan stroked her face gently with the backs of his fingers. “I dunno, lately I’ve been thinking about what to do with myself other than fighting at the front. For most of a decade I haven’t thought much ahead of the moment, and I seem to have forgotten how.”

The undead woman closed her eyes briefly to lean into Zan’s caress. “It’s easy not to think of anything but battle when you’re constantly in the heat of it. I’m sure you had some big, fanciful dreams at one point … and hey, if you wanted to settle down with a family, you can still do that too!”

“Nah, I mostly thought about pretty mundane stuff.” He grinned a bit. “Getting out of the orphanage, having a room of my own. With a door, even.” He looked thoughtful. “What kind of things did you want?”

“Friends, mostly,” the ghoul said with a grin. “I wanted a place to myself, too … I was mostly on ships when I was a kid. Why not look for a studio or something? It’s a little less of a commitment than a whole house.”

Zan made a reflective “hmm,” leaning over to hug her against him. “It would have to be someplace you could visit, not to mention my Horde pals. That rules out Stormwind.”

Marjolaine nuzzled into his chest, giving his backside a playful squeeze to defuse some of the conversation’s tension. “Hmm. There’s Booty Bay, Gadgetzan … really any of the goblin cities, though Everlook might be too nippy for you. Oh, and there’s Shattrath, but that’s sort of out of the way and depressing.”

He slid his hand down her waist to caress her hip. “I should have kept a little more of that money Redshield gave me, aye? The guys tell me he pays pretty well, guess I’ll have to learn how to save up.” He rested his other hand on her thigh. “Dalaran is probably a bit pricey. Be nice to have some water nearby, you could visit wearing that swimsuit.” He kissed her.

“Just turn on the tub and we’ll pretend,” she teased, kissing him back as she rubbed his lower back.

“Works for me.” He lost the thread of the conversation as they continued to kiss and caress each other.

It only seemed like a few minutes later when the goblin driving the shuttle cart shouted up at them, “Hey, buddy, race is over! You want a ride back or not?” Zan looked around; the bleachers were empty and the sun had almost completely set.

He looked back at Marj, grinning a bit sheepishly. “Lost track of time. You want to ride or walk?”

The ghoul blinked, looking around, surprised that the other couple had left. Or had she imagined them? She shrugged, taking the shadowmancer’s arm to lead him down the bleachers. “Thanks a lot, buddy, but we’re saving up for a sex dungeon.”

With that she continued on down the path, snugly cuddling onto one of Zantoris’s arms.

The goblin cart trotted past them on the way back to the fair. Zan strolled contentedly with Marj close at his side, just enjoying the pleasant evening. Hell, who needed big, fanciful dreams--this was more than enough for him, right here. “They’ll probably start the fireworks soon,” he mused. “Reckon we’ll get a pretty good view of ‘em from here, there aren’t as many lights around.”

“Want to sit?” she asked, pausing to look skyward as the first set of fireworks blossomed across the sky in white, clementine, and chartreuse, and the ghoul laughed and pointed as if Zantoris had any other choice besides seeing them.

Zan looked up as well, laughing with her. “Aye, good idea.” He glanced around and guided them out of the sandy beach into a grassier area. They sat down on the grass, then lay back to get a better view. The lightshow danced and sparked across the night sky, seemingly just for them.

Marjolaine settled in against the former priest’s chest, listening to his heartbeat up close and personal. She watched the blazing and fading lights contentedly for several moments before lifting her head, giving Zan’s chin a playful tweak.

“Hey … I’m not trying to nag you or anything with all this future talk. I just don’t want you to be a cog in a gear of war, you know? That kind of work is for us dead people, but you’re alive. You can do everything - anything! - on top of sweating and bleeding on a battlefield somewhere. You deserve it.”

She studied his face for a moment before leaning down to peck his brow with an exaggerated ‘mwah’ sound, dulling the edge of her serious tone.

“Hey, I don’t want you to be a cog either, darlin.” Zan cupped the back of her head and pulled her down for a kiss. “And it’s kind of nice to have someone around who cares enough to nag me.” He grinned and rubbed his nose against hers.

After vigorously returning the kiss, the ghoul rubbed noses with Zan, cupping his cheeks in her hands as she grinned. “You really are the sweetest, both in taste and temperament.”

His grin faded a bit, replaced by concern. “Darlin, I can be a right bastard sometimes. I don’t think you’ve ever been around me then, it kind of worries me. You might not like that guy so much.”

“Then I’ll bite him when he shows up,” she answered with a light shrug, smirking to disarm him. “Everybody has their asshole moments. I can’t imagine you being a jerk out of nowhere…”

Zan smiled with her, pulling her close for a kiss and some closeness while they watched the fireworks wind down. He was still concerned, but no need to go on about it. “Fancy a look at the menagerie? Or it sounds like the band is getting ready for a performance.” In the distance they could hear the sounds of music starting up, something loud with a pounding rhythm. He kissed her neck. “See, if I had my own place, this would be the point where I’d invite you back to it.”

“Maybe we could compromise. You could escort me behind a nice, shady bush,” she joked, lightly nipping at his earlobe as she pressed herself against his chest.

“Don’t tempt me, woman. I might take you up on that.” Zan cupped a hand on her rear and pulled her closer.

“Mm … oh reaaaally?” the ghoul smirked up at him before assaulting his neck with a barrage of kisses and light nips. “I don’t know - maybe you really want to see the band. You might be their biggest fan.”

His answer was a low growl, as he pulled her tightly against him to nibble her earlobe and began kissing his way down her neck, hands roaming over her curves, finding their way up under her violet vest and plain tunic beneath.

The ghoul gave a throaty peal of delighted giggles, murmuring, “I can play dirty too…” And to back the statement up, she lightly teased a few nails around the waistband of his pants and the tender skin beneath, finessing the top button open.

The shadowcaster managed to pull his attention away from her for a moment, glancing around to find the treeline. He slipped his arms around her and lurched to his feet, lifting her off the ground and carrying her towards the relative seclusion of the nearby thicket. He scanned the viewpoints of a few small woodland creatures as he strode into the trees, but there was nothing larger than an owl for miles. Out of sight from the beach, he settled back onto the grass with his prize, kissing her more urgently as his hands worked their way under her clothes again.

Marjolaine returned his heated kisses, calming herself enough to remember to take care with his garments, even exaggerating the slow, contemplating nature of disrobing him - at least partially - to further spur him on. She bit down on her lip at one point to stifle mischievous giggles, thrilled that he hadn’t been issuing an idle threat.

Zan pushed her tunic higher so he could move his kisses to her chest, not wanting to disrobe her completely. His hands fumbled with her waistband now, trying to unfasten her trousers by feel so he didn’t have to stop kissing her. He made small moans in his throat as she slowly removed his clothes, frustrated that they couldn’t take them off completely.

The risen woman couldn’t keep up the facade of patience for very long, her hips pushing to his before they’d moved all of the fabric away, and she showered his lips and jaw with increasingly aggressive kisses as the anticipation mounted.

Half in and half out of his clothes, Zan pulled her against him, kissing her almost roughly as they clutched each other. He moaned against her throat as he kissed her, words in another language, holding her tightly as if he could keep her against him forever.

I love you, the ghoul wanted to say, especially as her mind was screaming it, but the words refused to materialize and she imagined it was just as well, as if it would break the moment’s spell and Zan would up and vanish into the Nether, never to be seen again. Instead she kissed him, nipped at his skin, tasted his heat and perspiration and focused on showing him that affection rather than letting the words sneak past her lips.
Topics: zombie love
Lunadelle Moonwhisper
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  • October 15, 2017
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