She was sitting stiffly on a stool, hands held out to either side as they manicured her nails. The polish was dark, black with a red sheen. Like blood. Her hair they were busy twisting and tugging as they fastened it into a severe ponytail the back of her head. For makeup they were forced to settle with a simple charcoal eyeliner and blood-red lipstick, she had not been “properly anesthetized” to pain, so much of their beauty regimens would have to wait.
“Life is antagonistic to the Natural State…” the Purifier began.
Esmina quickly tuned him out. She knew what they were up to, with all of the primping and the preaching. They hoped to use her to get to Riddick. To convince him to take the Oath by making her out to be the Lord Marshall’s consort. She had no desire to belong to someone.
Dame Vaako had since returned from her self-imposed errand of finding Esmina “something suitable” to wear. What she brought back was of a charcoal gray with a rigid bodice and tattered draping. Esmina was then urged to stand, and the flurry to dress her began.
Laces and buckles were done up, compressing her rib cage while holding her spine rigid with a lattice of onyx plating. The end result was that her back was covered up to her neck, while her breasts threatened to spill out of the front.
Meanwhile, leggings were being tugged onto her, hampering her balance. The tattered draping ended at her knees, where the tops of her boots began. It was gauzy stuff, torn into strips so that it wisped when she moved, much like the Elemental. It reminded Esmina too much of a burial shroud.
Dame Vaako stepped back and circled her, arching an eyebrow as she appraised her handiwork. “Not bad, for a Breeder.” she murmured.
It was Esmina’s turn to lift a brow. She knew that along with the pain to surpass all a pain, that those of the Necromonger faith were also sterilized upon conversion. But still, the slur was no less offensive.
Instead of showing her anger and disgust, Esmina smiled sweetly and bowed to Dame Vaako. “I appreciate your kindness in making me feel welcome.” she said.
When Esmina returned to Riddick’s chambers, she entered cautiously. The lights were off, yet she was not alone. She allowed the doors to close behind her, leaving her in the dark. She heard movement in the far corner of the room, trying to softly come closer.
Esmina strode leisurely toward the center of the room, blinking several times in succession, activating the implants in her eyes so that a silver sheen formed across her corneas. Enabling her to see in the dark. This new field of vision allowed her to see the hulking brute trying make his way silently around the room. Esmina smiled toothily. It had been awhile since she had a good fight.
“Well, well. What have we here?” she purred, sidling around to his left. “Perhaps he’s lost?” With that, she struck out at his side before darting away. The Necromonger growled and whirled, chopping at the air with his blade. Esmina only laughed as she circled around to his other side. “Trying to assassinate your Lord Marshall. You should be ashamed.”
“You keep what you kill.” he snarled, lunged toward her direction in the dark.
“Is that so?” she grinned wickedly. “I like your sword.”
When Riddick returned, he found Esmina practicing her katas in the middle of the room. The crumpled form of a Necromonger Elite lay in the corner, wrapped up in a rug. “Never liked that rug.” he smirked.
“I see you’ve made friends.” Esmina said, still practicing.
Riddick chuckled. “Did he give you much trouble?”
“I had a harder time rolling him in the rug.”
“There’s my girl.” he said softly, happy to hear some of her old self.
He carefully studied her as she moved. Her long, dark hair was pulled back into a severe ponytail and he frowned. He didn’t like it when she wore her hair pulled back.. It was too sharp of a look for her, making her look too serious.
Esmina pretended not to hear him, her movements fluid as the sword cut through the air. “This sword is a bit heavy for my liking. I may have to go find another one.”
Riddick had since moved to investigate the body. “What did you have in mind? There’s easier ways.” he said, recognizing the man as one of Vaako’s. Growling under his breath, he drug the body over to the door before tossing it out into the passageway. The man’s head lolled about, neck broken.
Riddick then turned the lights down after securing the door, peeling off his goggles. Esmina stopped her practicing, turning to glance at him.
“Why are you here, Mina?” he asked after coming to a stop in front of her.
Esmina cocked her head to the side, trying to gage his mood. “They sent me to bring you back.” she said simply.
Riddick arched an eyebrow. “Did they now?” He reached out and took the sword from her.
Esmina stepped back, giving him room to test out the blade. “They shipped me off to that triple-sun wasteland to look for proof of your demise.” she said dryly. “I only found a ship missing its power-cells and what used to be a prep area for an emergency skiff.”
Riddick snarled, his teeth glinting in the dim light. “Is that all?”
“And those Bio-Raptors. We lost a couple of guys after finding their leavings in the coring room. They don’t much care for sunlight, or thermal charges for that matter.”
“Good.” Riddick said, handing her back the sword.
“What do you think?”
“I think it’s a bit heavy on the back-end.” Then he changed the subject. “So how is it that I found you on ice?”
Esmina scowled. “That bastard Toombs. He took me prisoner, after seizing my ship.”
Riddick chuckled, not believing what he had just heard. “You can take on a Necromonger Elite, but a no-count Merc could get the drop on you?”
Esmina’s face twisted into a sneer. She didn’t ‘let’ anyone get the drop on her. She hadn’t been in a position of choice. “He didn’t.” she muttered, turning to prop the sword against the bed frame.
The truth of the matter was that she had been in cryo at the time. Toombs had only woke her up long enough to question her as they moved her to another cryo tube. Then he had presumably sacked her ship and then sold it for resources.
Riddick strolled along behind her, an amused smile on his face. “So now that you’ve found me, what’s next?” He took her by the shoulders, leaning into the crook of her neck. “Are you going to take me back?” he asked, inhaling her scent.
Esmina stiffened, cocking her head to the side, away from him. “Those were my orders.” she said, gritting her teeth.
“Were they now?” he murmured, pressing his nose to her ear as his hands moved to rest on her waist.
“Stop.” she hissed. “I said stop!” she then demanded, shoving him away.
Riddick let her go, taking a step back. “Mina, I’m sorry.” he said quietly.
She shook her head and waved him off. “I don’t want to talk about it.” she enunciated.
He reached out and caught her by the hand. “Come here.” he said, repeating himself when she refused and pulling her into a hug. Esmina could only stare blankly into the dim light.