FULLVIEW PLEASE, I'd really appreciate it.
RIGHT, so this took a few days. I wanted to do a nice painting, and for some reason the subject of Llaalruse and Crassius caught my attention, so I decided to illustrate a little scene that's been in my head for a while. And write it out, for more clarity (read below).
I'm...exceedingly happy with how this came out, plus it was really good practice for working on digital paintings. I'm not exactly requesting critique, but if anyone notices anything SUPER OFF, please say something so I can tweak and fix. It's not perfect, but I like how it feels. Not to sound artsy.
Anyway. On with the short story.Llaalruse sighed and swung her dark, lanky legs off of Crassius' bed, scrubbing her long fingers through her hair. She felt like an idiot, asking him all kinds of vague questions that she already knew the answer to. She was worse than those House gossipers she always hated, doublespeaking to satisfy their curiosity without the courage to just come out and say what they meant. She knew, when she had asked how many people he had slept with, that he was going to respond with some variation on “many”. She was just being a coward, not saying what she really wanted to say.
“Well,” Crassius chimed from behind her, still reclining, unconcerned, on the rumpled sheets. “if you're not going to explain the reasoning beyond your peculiar questions, then I shall assume this is a game, pudding, and,” he paused to let out a sight that sounded more contented than Llaalruse would have liked to hear. “I'm far too sated right now to play.”
“I think I have feelings for you. Er, more than just...this.” She shifted slightly to motion between the two of them, the sight of the naked, aging Imperial sprawled on the bed just adding that much more absurdity to the statement. “And I know that's...crazy, 'cause you sleep with scores of other people--”
“Oh, scores, that's flattering,” he grinned a little, earning a sharp glare.
“--but I just...can't help it. Whenever I think about ev'rybody else you bed, instead of just takin' it as a fact, I get jealous, and I never get jealous,” she added, trying to get her point across. “I don't wanna make things awkward and stupid, but I can't really go without sayin' somethin' anymore.” She turned to face him with a sullen look. Well, she said it anyway. Now she'd have to deal with whatever she messed up by doing so.
Crassius looked back at her almost lazily, the tiniest smile on his face. It seemed as though he looked at her for a long time before finally answering, in a simpering voice, “Pumpkin, I had no idea you were so romantic.”
“Righ', thanks for takin' this seriously, Crassius.” Llaalruse rolled her eyes and shoved herself off the bed. If she was going to finally suck it up and tell him how she felt, she wasn't going to put up with him teasing her about it. So much for staying calm. By the Nine, she was starting to regret this whole thing. Maybe he would drop it now. She hastily started shoving her clothing into a pile for easier access.
“Come now, Llaalruse, how do you expect me to react?” From the sound of it, Crassius had hopped out of bed at last and had started strolling around to meet her on the other side. She shook her head, trying not to be more irritated than she ought to be. Great.
“I don't know, I tol' you I just wanted to say it,” she muttered, fumbling with her undergarments and managing to get nowhere quickly. She felt a hand on her arm, but she staunchly kept her eyes on her clothing. This was embarrassing enough without having to look at Crassius.
“It doesn't seem like an idle comment, pudding.”
“Oh, so now you're questionin' me. Y'didn't seem to care much when I was askin' you other things.”
“You're being awfully passive aggressive, why don't you just tell Uncle Crassius what's wrong?”
Llaalruse threw up her hands and slumped against the wall in a huff. “I told you, I jus' wanted to get it off my chest. Quit tryin' to make it more than it is, it'd be stupid to tell you for any other reason. I jus' wanted you to know, alrigh'?” Stupid, stupid, why had she been stupid enough to mention it at all?
"Look, that's wonderfully sweet of you,” She finally lifted her gaze when Crassius placed himself in front of her, giving her the most sickeningly sweet little smile as he spoke. She gave him a scowl, mostly wanting out of this situation, since Crassius didn't seem to want to drop it after making crap out of her. “but remember that we are but two players in the mysterious world of politics--and we happen to openly be allied when it comes to most issues. I don't rightly know what you expect me to say when you tell me something like that, pumpkin. I can't exactly wed you.”
“I never said I wanted that,” she snapped back, bristling.
“Then what, you want me to be exclusive?” He laughed a little, as if just the idea was completely ridiculous. Ass. “Look, I want you to keep this in your pretty little head. I can't just suddenly stop being who everyone thinks I am. Or who I am, I suppose, to some degree. Most of the House knows me to be some sort of lecher or another, and the Gods know I'm not doing very much to deter this reputation. If I were to suddenly stop having mysterious meetings behind closed doors, it would seem suspicious. Then people would ask questions, and I'd have to think of some way around them...it would be a mess waiting to happen!”
“Right, right, politics, I get it. I'm not an idiot, Crassius. I tol' you I was just sayin' it, I know it can't lead to anything because that'd be bad for appearances, you don' have to tell me like I'm a little kid.” She dropped her gaze again, shuffling her feet like the child she just denied being. He really wasn't telling her anything new, but for some reason, just for that moment, she must have secretly hoped she could change his mind somehow. And she sure felt stupid now.
“If it makes you feel any better,” She looked up to see Crassius wiggling his eyebrows ever so slightly at her. “you might like to know that you're one of a very select set of individuals who I meet with frequently outside of discussing politics.” Was that supposed to be comforting? ...Well, maybe it was, just a little. She tightened her lips a little as Crassius lightly rested his arms on the wall to either side of her. “But as long as we both remain in the public eye, that's the best I can do for you, pudding,” he finished quietly—almost sympathetically.
Llaalruse looked at him for a moment, then managed a small, halfhearted smirk. “...Yeah. Well, that's enough for me.” She leaned forward and kissed the man, his stupid goatee rubbing against her chin, then slipped out of his arms and started getting dressed. Talking about it hadn't really helped, but at least she hadn't ruined whatever they had now.
- - - - -
“Hey, Lal, there's something here for you,” Garluk's gruff voice called from downstairs. Llaalruse looked up from where she was seated, peering at one of her latest acquisitions. “It's addressed to Venan Olethys.”
Not entirely unusual, since she had gotten letters from other House members before. She slipped out of her chair and trotted down the stairs, wondering who had business to discuss with her.
Garluk stood at the door, his large Orcish frame looking somewhat silly as he held a comparatively small bundle of what seemed to be flowers. Llaalruse stared as though he was joking.
“Here,” he said, holding them out to her. “There's a letter with it.”
She frowned and gingerly took the bundle, fishing around for the letter. When her hands met paper, she pulled it out of the flowers and carefully opened the folded parchment. On it, in painstakingly elaborate handwriting, was written, “I got you these, pudding. Wild flowers tend to remind me of you. Love, your secret admirer.”
Llaalruse grinned a little, shaking her head despite the little extra thump her heart gave. “Stupid man.”
Crassius Curio and the Elder Scrolls series belong to Bethesda Softworks
Llaalruse/Venan and Garluk belong to me