Oh Atlas my Little Princess...Elseron thought as he watched her from a distant corridor whilst she shadow boxed with Phaedos. She never did learn that even when he wasn't with her...he was always close. For a woman who had never fought a day in her life she picked up the basic skills well, pivoting on the ball of the foot, driving the punch through with her hips, her left jab looked particularly viscous. When he first realised what they were doing he was going to barge into the room beat that blue eyed half-breed to a pulp and take Atlas back to her room...but he didn't. He just stood and watched as the practiced the basic techniques of disarming weapons from your opponent, watched her do push up until her arms shook. In a bizarre way...he was...proud. Suddenly Atlas turned to the open door. Ducking behind the thick window frame he looked out from Elseron waited for several minutes before daring to glance out of the window. Learn quickly my Princess...we'll need it. He thought turning on his heel and heading down the grand dusty corridor.
Phaedos Elias...There is something about that half-breed. It wasn't him being paranoid, it wasn't because he was getting closer to Atlas than anyone Elseron had ever known...there was just...something! Usually Elseron would have discouraged Atlas from her new love interest, he said new, Elseron couldn't actually remember any boy she had been close to back in Atlantis. Jory liked her, but she didn't feel the same. Usually he would discourage her, at least for now...when Atlantis was safe, and more importantly she was safe...then maybe. But after seeing Elve last night, every feeling had been brought back to the surface. He knew they were always there lurking in the dark recesses of his mind, they had been there since the first time he had laid eyes on her...but Elve had shone a spotlight onto them. Onto just how much he had loved her...onto just how much he still did love her. Who am I to ban Atlas from the few pleasurable hours with her besotted. I am not that cruel. He knew he could be cruel at times, he was strict on her. But...it was only because he loved her...he didn't want to see her hurt.
And she knows that...she must know that...mustn’t she? Rounding a corner Elseron almost tripped over a fallen candelabra when he saw the huge stocky figure of Dante, sitting in a window frame. One leg resting on the rotting sill, his hands clasped around his, his dark yellow eyes staring up at the huge silver disk of the moon as it passed in-between the clouds, bathing the wild grounds of the ancient wreck of a mansion in a pale silver light before disappearing and plunging them once again back into the darkness. 'Dante.' said Elseron regaining his composure and walking towards the young man.
'Sir Elseron...' his voice was like nothing Dante had ever heard, a deep rumbling baritone.
'Oh please...call me Elseron. If anyone in this spirit forsaken world can, it’s you.' Dante nodded but kept his stoic silence as he once again turned his gaze to the moon. Elseron leaned on the rib of the frame sending a massive creak through what seemed like the whole building as he did. 'I don't think I've thanked you yet.' slowly the golden yellow eyes found his and held there for a long moment.
'You needed help,' he said simply with a shrug.
'But you didn't have to help. By doing so you probably brought more suffering onto you...so...thank you Dante.' Elseron held out his hand. In the twilight Elseron wondered if he saw the brief inception of a smile strike over the huge man's face, but he couldn't be sure. As if Elseron were about to lash out at any minute Dante took every movement slow before finally grabbing his forearm in a strong handshake.
'Don't think Elseron that I'm doing this just from the goodness of my heart,'
'Oh I know.' Said Elseron releasing himself from the crushing hands of the young human. 'You get as much protection from your own kind being close to us as we do being close to you. I didn't want to ask you this Dante...but...' a long pause stretched between them as Elseron thumbed through how to phrase his question without sounding offensive.
'Would you like to know what the fuck I am?' laughing at the man's bravado Elseron nodded. Dante lowered his head as if shamed, releasing a long sigh from the tangle of his beard. 'Lycans are brought into the world because of a genetic defect effecting specific coding sequences in the DNA of every cell in the hosts body, this defect can be passed through birth, or as a virus in our saliva. Which is why humans change if they survive a bight...although,' he paused shrugging. 'Bitten Lycans are never as strong as a pureblood Lycan.' rubbing his hands together Elseron could tell he was uncomfortable talking about this, but again to his credit, he continued. 'On rare occasions amongst pureblood families the mutation either occurs on the wrong coding cells...or the mutation occurs on every pair of chromosomes in every cell. When that happens the host's DNA is as genetically different to humans as it is to Lycans...you get an entirely new species. Lycanthropes,' his golden eyes found Elseron again. 'Me.'
'So...you're not human or Lycan?'
'Correct.' nodded Dante. 'I'm a child of two worlds, both of which will call me monster.' he said dryly.
'Why do the Lycan's hunt you?'
'Because they see my kind as an abomination, an imperfection in the bloodlines, a walking talking birth defect that needs to be cleansed.' Elseron raised an eyebrow.
'You don't look like an imperfection to me.' it was barely a compliment. But it still brought a smile to Dante's rugged face before it dropped as quickly as it appeared, his whole body language changing to become aggressive and accusing.
'How do you know I'm not working for the Lycans? How do you know they didn't send me to kidnap your Queen and kill you in your sleep? And don't think for an instant that I couldn't kill you Elseron...because I could.' And I know it. Elseron thought staring into the hard glassy orbs eyes that pierced the darkness like miniature suns. Flecked with tiny oceans of blue.
'Because if you were working for the wolves...you wouldn't have killed them like you did Dante. None of that was clean or civilised. That was rage and fury given physical form. And if that was your plan...you'd have done it already. Or that night in the alleyway...or when we went to see Elve last night...or,'
'You've made your point.' he snapped in annoyance. 'Speaking of the Queen. Where is she?'
'Learning to fight with the half breed.' this time Dante's eyebrow quirked upwards.
'And you're OK with that?' Elseron shrugged.
'The Queen has taken it upon herself...so be it. Bring up in conversation when you next see the half breed how you would like to help her in her training, you're a savage...but a deadly one. She could learn a great deal from you.' Dante nodded and as Elseron took at step closer to him looked at him quizzically. 'Dante I'm going to have to place on you a great burden. My trust. I trust you because I've fought alongside you...I do not trust Phaedos and the dark dweller even less, you are my only friend in this world Dante. And I need you.'
'I'm not going anywhere.' his tone had a hard shell, but beneath Elseron could hear the hidden feeling behind his words.
'Thank you.' pausing Elseron glanced a look behind him. 'When you are around Phaedos...what do you get?' Dante raised his chin in thought.
'He's human...partly...but the other scent I've never come across before.' Me neither my friend.
'Thank you.' Walking down the corridor Elseron found his hand stroking his axe, how long it had been there he couldn't say, but his fingers were brushing the cold steel lines along its top and the runes on its blade.
'Elseron.' called Dante rising from the window frame. Stopping Elseron looked back at his new friend. 'You care for her a great deal don't you?' Atlas.
'More than anything else in this world,' he admitted. 'Good night Dante,' he bowed continuing down the corridor to his room. 'We leave for Elvernoi's mansion at noon tomorrow. Be ready.'