1964-07-08 - King's Men 3: Rising Dawn
Summary: Blackagar and Scarlett catch up on how the planning is going, and put a wrench in the political works.
Related: Plot: King's Men
Theme Song: None
blackagar rogue 

It is easy to be alone in a land harsh and forbidding, beautiful and utterly barren of life save plucky damned humans come to mine the rich coal seams. Mines putter away on the main island of Svalbard. Fishing vessels take to the teeming waters. Very few people venture inland where glaciers bite hard into the ancient foundation rock of a tortured, twisted continent. Those who do find an alien landscape more like Mars than the lush, fertile valleys of Europe and the Americas. But truths of civilisation touch even here. The modest cabins and cottages — huts, really — built by whalers, miners, meteorologists, and the military.

Soviets and Norwegians perch on this scrap of Arctic land, and they watch one another cautiously. But move five miles away from the main settlement, and the world falls back a thousand years. No minecarts or radar dishes there, simply a waste of snow and rock and moss.

Scarlett drifts across the icefield, wrapped up in her habitual green leather jacket. She defies the glacial cyan brightness, the perpetual mists blocking the island off from view. For this reason she chose Nordauslandet, inaccessible to casual sailor or marine biologists or submarines. But now, it serves to conceal her on the crackled, hazardous glacier. Solid ground will be underfoot soon, the dark rock leading to a bleached beach in time.

It’s him she seeks, the one lonely resident for the summer. Karnak is stowed away, either in Longyear or New York or Attilan for all it matters.

Her voice lilts over the air:
“Car je t'aime, t'aime,
T'aime, t'aime
C'est fou c'que j'peux t'aimer
Oui je t'aime t'aime,
T'aime, t'aime
J'peux pas m'en empêcher
Quand bien même,
Même, même, même
Tu viendrais à m'quitter.”

A call from the heart to the other half of the self. A polite means to seek admission to his realm. Call it whatever one wants.


Company, twice in as short a time as he can fathom in this place has Blackagar’s ears perking just slightly at the lilting voice lifting across the barrens. Looking up from the book which has been occupying his time, amongst others of course while in this barren land, his blue eyes reach across the shanty-like shelter. The book is set aside as he slowly rises from where he sits upon the small pile of furs that make up the area he sleeps so that he can move aside the door and step outside, a small smile on his face as he does such.

The French song flows along her dulcet soprano, uplifted with an expertise come from long study. She is familiar with the ebb and flow native to French, and the cresting meter of the song drives ahead on lazy tendrils of a breeze. Clarity suffers only a little. A girl walking on a nearly abandoned island overrun by the odd polar bear and tongues of glacial ice proves an unlikely sight, a fata morgana for the Arctic desert. She travels along the serpentine path, bypassing dangers rather than directly flying over them, until the unimpressive wooden shack comes into view. The pulse at her throat quickens, a fraction, and then she settles in to greet him by raising her hand in a wave. Scarlett trusts the hermit of Nordauslandet will recognize her, flame-tressed hair woven by Arctic windflowers in whispers of white and indigo.

Not until they are sooner in visual range, and thus earshot as they dictate it, will she gesture again. «Hello.»

Simple. But terribly cautious.

Abandoned, self-imposed as it is, on this island after time not just amongst others but particularly one other has taken a small toll on Blackagar. His eyes flicker as he steps across the ice floes that skate the ground, sliding as he closes the distance until he is before Scarlett.

And then, so beyond his normal behavior of patience, hesitation, and measure, he reaches out to place hands upon her cheeks. Barring her preventing him or providing hesitation, the gesture would then be swept further into bringing his lips forward, seeking to greet the woman in full kiss that was denied when her last visit carried with it a guest.

A brush and touch at the least, to bring with it emotions. Loneliness. Longing. Relief.


Separation shines it even moreso, flaming an ember to a fire and in that touch, the woman could feel it radiating from the man.

Dare he actually know the meaning implied by that song… perhaps he does. Scarlett hasn’t ever asked the Midnight King whether he understands French better than fleetingly, only that he roamed in Paris and greater France. A thought to be addressed, later.

Beneath her sleeve, an opal flares to life as a second sun, strobing copper and aqueous fire blossoming on a filigreed cage wrapped around her wrist. Forgiving the momentary shock destroying her restraint, its crackling sensation dims to the cool touch of Blackagar’s hands framing the uplift of her cheekbones, the weight of his gaze meeting hers. Her head tilts slightly to breach the divide between them and properly offer all the silent words they couldn’t say with someone remotely sharing the sign language of his court.

A muffled complaint proves benediction between the press of their lips together — “Blacka-” and recited back to true, “-gar”, to prove the world isn’t about to shake itself senseless. Her arms twine around him simply to be sure she isn’t the one stricken by an illusion, adrift on a berg somewhere after colliding with a Soviet sub sneaking from Archangelsk.

«Seeing you. After all this time.» He trails off, they had been apart before but not like this, not when he was forced to retreat himself away. The fear that comes with that, a fear of necessity and fear of himself. «I am sorry. I ..» There’s no further thought, his mind falters and floats for a moment then he reaches for her hands, to take them in his and hold, to touch to be touched.

«How did it go? Were the others open to what was needed?» Yes, business… deal with the business first.

Her lips brush against his jawline and carry up to impart their near silent response, a hushed whisper as low as she can make it. Clawing back some control keeps the bite of her curse from consuming whatever energy Blackagar gives off, his life force a temptation and attraction beyond what her heart sings with. “You did what you had to. I will not have you gainsay your decision. This is what trust is, yes?” Another light kiss to his temple satisfies some cautious need, and the ticklish brush of his scruffy beard grown infinitely longer than what she’s witnessed generates the private curve of a smile.

Moving back so he can see her, she remains with her hands curled around his, fingers sliding in the gaps between his. Scarlett tips her head. “Karnak went to find the others. With any luck, we'll hear something soon about how they fare and what they found. She's very resourceful. Expect she will locate a source and have the pieces you need before you know it. I have gathered my own resources - quietly, not allowing my purpose. I research enough, this isn’t a surprise. They are hopeful.”


Blackagar nods slowly, hands tightening some around her hands as he does so. «Good. Perhaps then I can be free of this accursed island.» He turns to look in the direction of the small shanty he has built for himself, durable enough against the weather and the acquisitions needed to survive within. «It is not the palace you deserve, or the apartment which is our home.»

A pause. A momentary beat as he realizes the phrases, images he uses to speak of their time together. Words such as ‘our home’ resonate loudly in his own mind before he tightens his hands on hers again.


Accursed island brings a faint smile to her mouth, though Scarlett tones down the regret visible there. “I thought Tahiti, but Pacific coral atolls or volcanic islands…” A wobble of her hand negates the idea, still clasped in his. “No holiday there without me.” Mischief is a thunderbolt to blue sky, the wrinkle of her nose doing little to suppress the ignited grin carrying a lightly lopsided quality. Gently brushing her cheek to his, she shakes her head after. Without her fingers free, her loose, fire-kissed tendrils of hair frame her cheekbones how they will. «Home is you.» Simple words, stress by nudging her toe against Blackagar’s foot.

“I need no palace.” Replicating palace is a bit tricky. She has to repeat the word in expressive form multiple times to anchor that down. «You. Wherever is you.»

Smile, sheepish beneath the growth of beard, peeks out as he leans his head down some to gently nudge forehead then nose against hers, affectionate in movement. «You do not have to hide who we are to my people. Even if they judge, I do not care. I have never cared what they do or do not accept of me. And you are of me.»

The expression that glows in his eyes matches the intent of the words, an ownership and claiming, a possessiveness of mate.

«And I know, you did not come here to bring me news. You came here, to bring me you.»

“Information is priceless currency. While your cousin reaches out to others, I intend to visit a few trustworthy friends. At least to be prepared in the event we need some kind of help not otherwise attainable. No doubt we're headed into rough terrain. Someone who knows the lay of the land might help.” Her smile tells all there is to say.

«You have me.» Nuance and entendre in unspoken terms can be tricky, but a spark of pride shows in that particular turn of phrase. Threefold the brighter, she nudges him back to the simple shelter. «I wished not to offend your cousin or be seen to interfere with your talk. You know I respect your right to that.» Not precise as she’d like, but it will do. «But no hiding. Nor am I ashamed, no. Tomorrow, then, she will know who you are to me.»

He turns, guiding by hand and frame towards the shelter that she is nudging towards as well. The rocky ground falls underfoot until he presses the door open to the hutch and reveals inside what he has lived in before in the mountains of Nepal. A simple place with a firepit in the midst, smoldering with heated coals and thick furs draped about the ground creating a soft contrast to the rocks underneath.

«The rocks keep the heat in once warmed.» Blackagar explains upon entering, the interior actually being rather toasty, particularly against the brisk of the outside.

«And you have my trust, of knowing when to speak, and when to listen. When with those who do not know me, providing words when I cannot.»

Dipping her head to step inside, Scarlett needs a moment for her pupils to spring open wide enough to take in the dimmer interior of the shack. No judgment falls over her features but to acknowledge the ingenuity demonstrated in the design of the firepit. «That is how you keep it warm.» A nod and she touches the walls with her fingers, turning to drop down into a crouch. The coat has to come off, given her skin endures far worse than the cold without any negative effect. Contributing another layer to the ground softens the floor, too.

«Thank you. I trust you to tell me when you need my silence, too.» Gesturing to reinforce the message, the delicate dance of her articulated hand motions comes somewhat smoother than before. Practice matters. She holds out her arms to Blackagar while dropping down to sit onto the furs.

To resist her arms would be impossible. His own coat tossed down within the shanty-like structure, warmed as an igloo would be. Blackagar follows her descent until he is seated. Silence from him is not uncommon, but body silence and silence of the mind is moreso. But in this moment he seems to be wrapped up in the purpose of watching, studying, and gazing at the woman who has joined him. Ventured to where he is and the adoration that begins to emanate from him grows palpable.

Much as she says nothing, that Scarlett missed their connection takes no special talent to read. The momentary closing of her eyes heightens the other senses striving for reassurance in familiarity. Scent, proximity, and other factors provide the intangible pet of her raised fur, in a sense, until she might well purr in relaxation. The actual furs swim about a little to the stirring of her heels for better comfort, and her eyes reopen. “You know I would never leave you. No matter where you are, I’m there with you. We will see through your difficulties right now. It isn't an exile longer than it has to be. Not with others to help you, Blackagar.” Her nose wrinkles slightly; soaking in the nearness does not overcome the one shuddering note of complaint before she can finally relax. “Missing you is hard. This is a gift.”

That studious gaze remains until finally thought and gesture press through. He struggles for a moment, trying to find a way to say cliche in a way that fits. Eventually he simply goes on with his thought, «But this…» He reaches down, to take her hand and guide it over his chest where his heart beats slowly and steadily; which for him may be a quickening. «I need you. I do not claim to know or seek to know how but this time apart has made me realize so deeply what I feel.»

Her hand travels down as he bids, her palm pressed against his shirt and fingers splaying wide across the divisions of his ribs for a maximum surface his heartbeat resonates along. The playful arc of a smile deepens into something else, less wildfire mirth and closer to the true celestial dynamo marking her soul. «You are my north star.» A sentiment captured in what is, for her, quiet acknowledgment softens her visage considerably, losing some of the incipient mischief all over again. «What have you learned?»

«How much I am in love with you.» The thought and impression is made, left to hang in the air. She has said it, but he has notl; still has not ‘said’ it but the carrying of it in his own language as potent as any words could ever be. «Because I am. Not just in love, but I do love you Scarlett.» Hand rises, falls to her cheek. «Enough to fight through all that I have to, to be with you.»

Her cheek rightly should flame. Scarlett’s a redhead, albeit to the auburn spectrum, and her fair complexion is made for rosy sweeps to overtake now and then. Admissions made such happen so rarely that her silence is compelling in its own right, the aching divide swept away in one stroke as if Blackagar knocked all the pieces off the board. “I mean it, when I am yours. Anything that would oppose that…” Her breath is a mildly shaken thing, teased across her constricted throat and wisping along his shoulder as she lays her head there a moment. “We face together. Or should I expect brimstone and lightning?”

«No. Not brimstone, not lightning. Just a whisper.» Blackagar affirms to her. The ending of the promissory threat. Some would threaten fires and lightning. Him? Only the promise of a whisper which carries perhaps the meaning behind it that it should. For fires and lightning would leave something behind, his whisper would not.

«I would deny you nothing if it is in my ability to do such.»

«You promised me stars. Just give me time.» A shaky flutter of her pulse reminds her to guard herself cautiously, not plunge headlong into a future forked so many times the Norns opted to show her the past and a death goddess screamed in pain and frustration staring into that oh so pretty head of Scarlett’s. «Your lifetime ought to be a good start, yes?» The crooked lift of her smile is punctuated by the nip of her teeth. «As long as you wish. No matter what, you have won me, love. I am…» Her voice rises, subtly. “Monk to your monk. I wander where you go.”

The last of the words are closed off as Blackagar’s lips fall onto hers with a passion that may force the bracelet to melt away from the emotion behind it. There is no precision, no delicacy; just emotion of love, surrender, and desperation. Hands fall to cheeks, to touch, to caress as the controlled monk abandons all of said control except that which is necessary to keep the world in one piece. The rest is given away to Scarlett in this kiss.

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