Gairynzvl did not need to be empathic to understand the man facing him was dangerous and he did not need to delve telepathically to know that one wrong word or movement on his part and he could be facing oblivion. It was not a prospect he fancied, so when his lavender-ice stare met the brooding black glare of the stranger’s he lowered his expansive wings in an instinctual indication of deference. The man bore no weapon, but upon closer examination, he realized the dark raven needed none. Glinting from his sardonic grin, twin fangs as foreboding as any wolves warned the Fey of his lethal capacity; thus he stood silently to choose his words wisely before speaking.
“It was not my purpose to cross to wherever this is,” he offered as diplomatically as he might contrive to sound, glancing round him with undeniable curiosity; “any more than it is my intention to interrupt you.”
“It would only have been an interruption if he’d got away.”
Gairynzvl grinned at that, a swift gesture that drew a matching response. “My name is Gairynzvl,” said the Fey offering his hand. “Might I ask where I am?”
“Jean,” replied the man in black, dropping his victim to the graveled rooftop. “And I often ask myself that very same thing.”
The brooding fellow stalked forward, threw his coattails to one side and took the Fey’s hand. Their handshake was swift, but genuine.
The place was not unpleasant, but neither did it overly appeal. Gairynzvl’s eyes swept the night allowing Jean the freedom to appraise him. Though his wings were distinctly peculiar, his powerful physique suggested, if put to it, he would be a formidable opponent.
“Why does the water run red?” the Fey inquired, his feathers rustling in the breeze.
“Because it’s blood.”
“Blood, you say. Hm, this is indeed a strange and wonderful place.”
“If by strange and wonderful, you mean bordering on dead, then yes.”
“First impressions would suggest this a world not bordering on death but of death, albeit a luxurious one.”
“You should never read too much into first impressions, otherwise I’d be offering you bird seed.”
Gairynzvl did not rise to the bait; Jean’s smirk suggested he was impressed.
The two stood together in silent contemplation, gazing out across the Rhineland as though friends for centuries. But Jean could no more hide his bitterness towards life from Gairynzvl than he could the moon from the sky; such were the Fey’s gifts. Hence, the advantage lay with the newcomer.
Twisting round to gaze at the man who lay unconscious where Jean had dropped him, the Fey could not silence the query that escaped him in a markedly sarcastic tone.
“Friend of yours?”
“On occasion.” Jean’s terse reply warned him to go no further down that path. Scoffing with a grin, Gairynzvl returned the banter of the raven glaring at him speculatively.
“Then, although I may not be here long, I shall endeavor to not make you my friend.”
“That would be wise.” The blunt honesty of his deprecating remark mirrored the flood of anger and resentment that rushed from Jean so forcefully the insightful Fey could scarce defend himself from it. The sensation was one the former Legionnaire was all too familiar with and he frowned upon recognizing the other’s pain, but knew better than to remark on it unless he wished to learn, first hand, just what function his fangs performed.
“Where are you going?”
“The Uunglarda.” Jean shook his head.
“Never heard of it. Beyond the borders of New Europa, is it?” Gairynzvl shook his head, gesturing at the darkness from which he had stepped and Jean noticed, for the first time, how in that spot the shadows wavered and warped like the despoiled waters of the Danube below.
“Beyond this realm, although it, too, is a place of darkness and death, unlike my own realm of Light, life and purpose.” Jean sneered.
“Something some of us will never know.” Gairynzvl’s lavender-ice stare captured Jean’s, piercing him to his core.
“Your lifeforce is certainly unusual, but it is as potent as my own and I suspect your purpose is no different.”
~A Collaboration by Morgan and Richard M. Ankers. Richard’s contributions are highlighted for you in italics to set his writing apart from my own. We hope you will enjoy this collaboration and debut of Character Interactions. Be sure to stop back / watch for upcoming installments.