Esmina slept fitfully. She tossed and turned, being plagued by nightmares that were more of a memory than they were a dream. Bolting upright in a cold sweat, her first reaction was that she was not alone. But it was only Riddick. She remembered that now.
“Bad dreams?” Riddick asked quietly, softly running his fingers up her back.
“You can say that.” she said, getting out of bed. She pulled on a dark, silk robe, the hems coming to her wrists and ankles. “I need to take a walk.” She then picked up her knife, strapping the sheath to one wrist.
“Want some company?” he asked, sitting up.
“Okay then. I’ll just keep it warm for you.” She could hear the smirk in his voice.
“You go ahead and do that.” And with that she walked out the door.
He was unable to go back to sleep, so he lay there alone, reflecting. She was no longer the same girl that he had fallen in love with. She had been through so much, it made her hard in a manner of self-preservation. But there was that spark of sweetness still there. He just had to ignite those embers.
The similarities between she and Kira were unnerving. That was why he had tried to push Jack away after the Kublai Khan. He hadn’t wanted her to go down the same road he had, the same road Esmina had. Everyone he became attached to got hurt. Either through his actions, or from trying to save him from himself.
Just like Esmina.
Riddick rolled onto his side, facing the door. He thought about what she had said, about having been sent to bring him back. She made ideal bait to lure him into a trap. But would she have done it? Could she have actually convinced him to go back? And most importantly, should he? And if so, then why not for revenge?
He threw the rumpled bedding aside and got up, beginning to dress in the dim light. He needed to find her now, to get some answers from her.
The Necromongers of the Necropolis regarded Esmina with disdain as they watched her walk by in just a robe. She was also barefoot, and her hair was a tangled mess. Not the proper appearance for the Lady Consort of the Lord Marshal.
She snorted. Lady Consort… Lady Lord Marshall… What ever title they were to give her. She didn’t know, didn’t care. She had no need for titles or frippery.
She had made her way to the second level of the Necropolis, looking down on the throne room. There were not many people milling around below. Less than what had been there when she had first arrived, anyway. She was not immediately sure if that was because this amounted to their night, or if the conflagration had been because the Lord Marshall had returned.
“Quite intimidating, isn’t it.” Came the gentle voice of the Elemental.
Esmina shrugged. “I’m sure it impresses many.”
The woman drifted to stand next to her at the rail, looking down. “They hope that your presence here will settle him.” She said quietly.
“Caged animals do not settle so easily.” Esmina replied, quieter still.
The Elemental turned away from the rail and began to walk, beckoning for Esmina to follow. “Does Riddick know of your intentions?” She asked, careful to keep her voice low.
Esmina’s answering smile was more of a grimace. “What do you think?”
“I thought as much.” The Elemental replied.
They walked in silence until they came to an unoccupied section, dark and dimly lit. Esmina got the impression that the corridor was little used.
“I’ve been warned about you, Aerian.” Esmina said with a smirk, although it resembled more of a toothy snarl. “You little old spy, assassin.” She whispered.
The Elemental’s face lit with amusement. “I see Dame Vaako is wasting no time.”
Esmina nodded. “She has her gaze fixed.”
The corridor was dark, almost cobwebby from a lack of major use. A perfect place for an ambush.
“Just what are your intentions, Aerian? ” she asked after a lengthy pause.
“I am debating the merits of helping you.” Came the response.
“Help? I neither want nor need your help.”
“Furyans… Defiant to the end…” the matronly woman muttered.
“I’m no Furyan.” Esmina growled.
“A half-breed, then. That would be the only reason for him to go to the lengths that he has for you.”
Esmina lashed out, grabbing the woman and pressing her knife to her throat. “You have no idea what you are talking about.” She snarled through gritted teeth.
The Elemental was calm. “I know of the tortures that you endured at the hands of the Protectorate. That they twisted and tormented you into despising him, Riddick.”
“You know nothing.” Esmina hissed.
“I know that they caused you to miscarry, and robbed you of your ability to become pregnant ever again.”
“Shut up.” The knife pressed against the Elemental’s throat, drawing a thin trickle of blood.
“You also knew my name when we had never met before.” The sting of the cut and the fact that she was bleeding never seemed to register on the woman’s face. “Your mind has been crying out to me, ever since you came on board.”
Frustrated, Esmina pushed the woman away. “Just shut up.” She breathed.
“We Elementals are not psychic by any means, but we keep an open mind. Sometimes that enables us to glean strong psychic impressions from those around us.” She made her voice gentle and soothing.
“You’re crazy, old woman.” Esmina hissed.
“Would you stay with him, you had the option?”
“What do you think?” She growled through gritted teeth, driving her knife into the Elemental’s belly.