"Oh, my moon, I'm so sorry... I know you're worried, but please, don't be..."
Another wave of concern from the great cat, and Lomenár's expression grew pained.
"I know... but this... I don't know... I can't seem to stop it or get rid of it. And it frightens me, Isil."
Lomenár suddenly rushed over to the cat and hugged her close, burying her face in Isil's fur. She took a deep breath, inhaling the familiar scent of snow, pinecones and warm feline, trying to calm herself and her racing heart.
"I don't know what to do. I can't tell anyone, can't talk to anyone... not even my closest friend."
Lomenár closed her eyes and rested her cheek against the top of Isil's head.
"What would Nightborne think of me, if she knew? She would kill me, most assuredly..."
Lomenár sat back and released her chokehold on Isil and the great cat rested her head in Lomenár's lap. Lomenár trailed her fingers through Isil's fur, thinking hard. There must be some kind of solution to this problem, something she wasn't seeing. The most obvious one, as well as the easiest one, would be to run away of course. Running had always been her solution of choice before, whenever her troubles seemed too overwhelming, but she also knew that it wasn't a real option this time. This time her troubles would stubbornly follow and cling to her, and there would be nowhere to hide... because you couldn't truly hide from your own heart forever.
And that was the core of the issue, wasn't it? The signs had all been there, but she had refused to acknowledge them. And when she had thought herself safe, to finally be able to let it go, it had pounced on her quite unexpectedly. It was unsettling and frightening and all she wanted to do was to shield herself against it and against the hurt that would inevitably follow. But words had been exchanged and it had been made quite clear that there was no turning back now...
...and the most frightening thing of all was the fact that she didn't -want- to turn back. It went against -everything- she believed in, -everything- she had fought for throughout the years, but a part of her yearned for it. And that yearning was growing stronger and stronger with each passing day, slowly wearing down her resistance.
And wouldn't it be wonderful if she could just let go? Give in, and allow herself to feel? Acknowledge and accept the feelings that were threatening to shatter her and her world into a million tiny pieces?
"Quite simple really, beacuse I care for you."
The words had resounded within her mind for the last several hours and even though it didn't make any sense, she knew them to be true. It was there in the way he'd cared for her when she'd been hurt, it was there in the small signs of respect that he showed towards her and no one else... it was even there in the insults and angry looks that they exchanged on a daily basis.
Lomenár raised her head to stare out across Darnassus. Dawn was fast approaching and she should be sleeping already, but restful sleep had eluded her these past few days and she figured that tonight would be no different. She slowly got to her feet and walked over to the mirror that hung above the small sink and met the gaze of her own reflection. Her eyes were wide and their glow was a dim grey instead of their usual silver. Her skin was paler than usual, almost translucent, and the fresh scars across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose did nothing to help her appearance along. In short, she looked a complete mess. She wasn't a particularly vain person, but she couldn't help the small stab of worry and insecurity that shot through her upon looking at herself in the mirror. But she quickly stomped it down and tried for confidence instead. If he couldn't deal with her appearance, as well as her personality, then he wasn't worthy of her time anyway. She looked like the veteran that she was. She's seen countless battles in her time, and there would, without a doubt, be countless more before the Dark Aspect of Elune came to take her on her last journey. She sighed a bit wistfully at her reflection though before her gaze travelled to the necklace that hung around her throat.
The filigree made out of truesilver that spread out like a thin web around her neck was indeed a work of art and she didn't think that she'd ever worn, let alone owned, anything as fine and beautiful as that necklace. The large emerald in the centre hung low enough that it would be concealed by her armour by day, nestled securely a mere inch above her heart. Lomenár sighed and looked away from the mirror as she remembered how his fingers had carefully brushed through her hair to sweep it aside so that he could fasten the necklace around her neck. She'd held herself completely still, frozen, barely daring to breathe. Even though many years had passed since Lithior's death she was still uncomfortable with other people touching her... Nightborne being an exception to that rule, and it had taken years before Lomenár had been completely at ease with her. But the memory of his touch still brought an unexpected wave of warmth, and she felt her cheeks colour.
Lomenár sighed again, disgusted with herself, and turned her back to the mirror. She should at least try to sleep, perhaps tonight would be different. Perhaps she would be able to escape the dreams and the sense of foreboding that had haunted her sleep ever since the night in Winterspring. She slowly walked over to her bed and beckoned Isil to join her. The bed creaked a little under their combined weight, but Lomenár paid it no heed. She curled tight against Isil, one hand firmly nestled in her friend's fur. She lay there for several moments, her eyes wide open and staring up at the ceiling, before she took a deep breath, closed her eyes and let darkness wash over her.
Lomenár slept fitfully, tossing and turning violently enough that Isil was pushed off the bed. In sleep her hand found the emerald and closed around it, the stone warming to her touch, and she suddenly seemed to breathe and sleep a little easier.