A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

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 #28226  by Zara Sheppard
Zara stared at him, trying to piece his words together. and then it hit her. He didn't have to say it bluntly or explicitly - she knew what had happened. The way he framed the explanation, bringing up Magda's situation in a way to shift the focus on himself. It was a subtle method to try to imply he was or had been suffering the fate that Magda had feared. It sent a sick feeling to her throat; mouth tasted sour and foul, like she'd just taken a bite out of raw, rotten meat. She couldn't ignore the temptation to ask for details of what he meant, but she knew...she didn't need the details, nor did she really want them.

Without even realising, her throat seemed to close up as tears welled up in her eyes. Taking a deep breath and holding back a mournful shudder, Zara closed her lids, brows furrowed as she attempted to maintain sturdiness in her emotion. But how could she? How could she possibly try to do this when she felt the pinpricks develop to slashes across her chest from the memories.

"You don't have to say it." Zara spoke, voice a little shaky as she looked back to him, suddenly very vulnerable-looking. "I won't force you. But I know what she did to you, and it's not right. It is not right. Do you hear me? You are not to blame for that. I know...I know. You-"

A sob cut her off as she brought a hand up to cover her mouth, trying to stop it.

"Wesley did the same."
 #28227  by Ivan Ramazanov
At first Ivan was not looking at her as she spoke, instead gazing off towards the window, but near the end her shifted his eyes to her, then raised his brows as he saw the tears. He had not meant.... too...

But then she mentioned Wesley and he understood. It hit too close to home, and she had memories of her own.

"I am... sorry he did this to you," said Ivan, looking to her with a serious expression. "It is good he is gone from your life."

Ivan sighed, looked at the bottle in is hand a moment, then got up from his seat and moved onto the sofa with her, resting his arms on his knees and looking her in the eyes as he said, "I feel bad now. I brought up things you wish to forget. I am sorry. Don't worry about my problems. Is not fair to you."

He simply did not know how to communicate with Zara on this level and it make him feel horribly awkward and even guilty for upsetting her. He knew how to fight with her, how to laugh with her, how to fall into bed with her but... not how to be vulnerable, or allow her to be vulnerable around him.
 #28228  by Zara Sheppard
Zara wiped her cheeks, trying to push away her emotions, heaving her breaths a bit.

"I never told anybody. I shouldn't be telling you. You of all people, and yet you're the only one could could possibly understand. I thought to tell Simon but I- no, I never could. And Hugh and Levi...they shouldn't have to deal with that shit. It's all a load of bullshit. Why should I have to forget anything at all? Why should you have to drink to forget?"

Despite her words, she brought the bottle back to her lips, taking some hefty drinks before sniffling.

"Don't feel guilty. I'm grateful; this is the first time I've ever said it. I just wanted you to know that I understand, and we don't need to talk about it, but if you did...I get it." As her words trailed off, she leaned to the side, resting her head on his shoulder, the alcohol making her somewhat drowsy.
 #28229  by Ivan Ramazanov
Ivan shifted and put his arm around her. This just felt wrong... and also kind of right! But this was Zara...

"Is ok." he said. "You are very strong woman. Strongest person I know maybe... After me," he said with a smile. "No one will ever beat me in this," he added.

He couldn't help but make a small joke. That was how he dealt with things.

He gave her a squeeze, then said, "I told you this much, so I am going to tell you more... But I am really having to trust you not to say anything about this, even if she speaks to you about it..." but he was not referring to Astrid.

"Hera was there," he said, pausing for a moment to let that sink in. "She... I don't think she knew what was going on. No, I know she did not. But for some reason she was involved with the Ivers and their... after hours pleasures. She had blind fold and... really knew almost nothing of what was going on around her. And I would not want her to know. Ever. She does not deserve that and... to tell you truth I had a really good moment with her. I mean... it was enjoyable. There were aspects of the entire situation that were... pleasurable to me... which makes entire experience even more fucked up... maybe you understand?" he said, looking at her curiously. He didn't want to assume anything about how Wesley treated her but... he knew she stayed with him, even when she could have found oportunities to leave. At least how he saw it.

"I guess it was all part of Mrs Ivers twisted plan. Very manipulative, very unsettling. Very confusing. You would think being ordered to enjoy someone would be impossible. Maybe is just sigh of how fucked up my own mind really is..."
 #28230  by Zara Sheppard
Zara pressed her lips together, looking up at him and taking another drink, nodding carefully.

"Yes...I understand." She said, though perhaps she did not quite get it entirely. She tried to hide the shock on her face; how could Hera be involved with this?! That was bad, for certain. But knowing she had a blindfold on...Zara shook her head, looking away.

"So Hera as well...this is bad, Ivan. Really bad. They can't just do this to people. In fact, what on Earth were they doing with Hera to begin with? Was she there by choice or what? It sounds like she was held captive but..."

She shook her head, running her hand through her hair.

"This is so fucked up." She lamented, bringing the bottle back and downing the last of the contents. She cringed and then gestured to the bag. "Get the other out, we'll need it for this shit. Absolutely disgusting, the pair of them. They're on the same messed up level as Wesley whether they admit it or not."
 #28231  by Ivan Ramazanov
Ivan took his arm off of her as he leaned forward and got the other bottle, opening it up he set it down on the coffee table before saying,

"No... she was there by choice... I... am almost positive from her reactions. You know sometimes I forget she is part of that same group... I don't mean she is demented and twisted in her soul but... she part of the wealthy, privileged, bored out of their minds elite. Getting with Egan started out as pure rebellion and fun in her mind. And then she was sucked in. And she still hasn't learned her lesson. I understand she is lonely, in an unhappy place, had bad childhood but... so did I. My idea of enjoying myself is having good food, drinks, friends, time to myself in gym... because I have to vork hard for anything. Like you. But for Hera, the Ivers, Yorks... They have experienced too much for their own good."

He drank, then said, "You know... I always thought you were crazy to stay with Kingdom... especially with Wesley. I judged you and could not understand. But now I suppose you wonder why I stay so loyal to Nathan? When he is such a sick son of a bitch...Eh? Kyle does. I think he would rather we lost money and that business had to hurt then stay under the Iver thumb. Which is why I can't talk to him. there is already too much tension between him and Nathan. At one time we almost parted ways because of our differences on this."
 #28232  by Zara Sheppard
Zara pursed her lips, wiping under her eyes yet again as she reached to take a drink also, now sharing the bottle.

"Kyle is a good kid at heart. He has always had a good moral compass, but sadly that won't get him far in the world he's decided to participate in. Well...I mean that it gets him to this point. I don't think he could ever be a true leader, or more accurately, be in our positions. He wouldn't want to deal with the likes of Marlowe or Iver directly, but having one of us to filter through is easier."

"I suppose it comes with our positions right? It's lonely. But we're not bored like those above us - we are overwhelmed to the point where we are numb from their actions and misdeeds. I could smell the toxicity from Mrs Iver the moment I set foot in that room. Sadly, you're now on her radar." She glanced up at Ivan, offering a sympathetic smile.

"I think this will be a regular thing for us now. It's a weird understanding I never thought I'd have with another person, and least of all some Russian cad." She smirked a little, clearly trying to joke.
 #28233  by Ivan Ramazanov
Ivan looked at her curiously, then said, "Yes... it is nice to talk to someone who understands. As for Kyle... I would like to give him more credit. You have not seen him as I have. He has strong leadership skills. I could not do as well with out him. I can not say for certain what his future is. Truthfully I think he represses much that is in him out of a fear of what he could be. But... maybe that is flaw in itself," he said with a shrug.

"But as for rest...? It is not so simple. Just as it vas not so simple with you and Marlowe, but for different reasons."

Leaning foward he picked up a bottle agian and said, "I am going to tel you story. Long story. But you are my captive audience so... is too bad for you."

He took a swig, then said, "Long time ago... I am too drunk to count how many years... but I was working for crime boss in Russia. He vas bad. Very bad. The sort who would kill your entire family, children too, if you crossed him. And he treated his employees bad. Would kill someone not involved in causeing trouble in the ranks... just to make point about how little he valued lives. I am not even going to go into details but... I saw many things I would rather not repete. Then... Nathan Iver came along one day. He had supposedly deserted Cleary Company. He came offering my boss his services. Said he would give Cleary Company secrets, and lend his growing skills in the dark arts to my boss, if he would give him a favorable position... He even brought along a follower of his who also desert Cleary Company by the name of Caleb Pryer."

Ivan smiled fondly at the memory, then said, "He quickly made himself a favorite of the boss. He is good actor when he needs to be. He was flattering, subservient... everything my old boss could have wanted. Meanwile... he slowly gained the rest of the employees’ trust, then staged a coup. Convinced enough that it was better under Cleary, better pay, management, etc. There was betrayals, blood, death... In the end Nathan won. Killed my old boss. I had chosen wisely and joined with his movement.”

Ivan drummed his fingers a moment on the arm of the sofa, then said, “Back then he was extremely impressive, dangerous, commanding... a leader like no other. I was young. We all were. Myself, some of the others, Caleb... we were pretty fanatical followers of him. Said we would die before betraying him ever. He was our leader until death took us.... and then one of our number betrayed him." Ivan shrugged then said, "He made a dark comment to us about trusting his true secrets and plans to no one. That we had all betrayed our old master so why not him? He would be giving his faith to no one in this world... One of us said we would swear a true oath, bound by magic...." Ivan rolled his eyes a bit, but there was a hint of a smile on his lips.

"It was exciting times and we were all very dramatic and young, as I said. Read to many stories. But Nathan was smart enough to pretend disinterest before concocting a good spell, full of an elaborate oath, full of fancy words to stir a man's heart. And a mark as well. To create comradery."

Touching the place on his chest lightly Ivan said, "You asked me once what tattoo meant... why I got it, and I brushed you off with some generic answer. But this is the mark which binds me forever to Nathan and his service. And also..." Ivan took a sip from his bottle, then said,

"He weaved a compulsion spell into it. It's not imperious but... is rather like an addiction... a tickle in back of mind. Even if I left his service I would not be able to truly shake feelings loyalty to him, or wanting to be, even if I made choice not to be."
 #28235  by Ivan Ramazanov
"Me, Mr Pryer… Mr None of your Merlin damn business..." said Ivan, remembering himself before he spoke more names.

"And don't look so stern. I actually have great deal of respect for Nathan. In this instance? No. I do not respect him for going along with that. But... men do many regrettable things for women they love. And he screwed up bad with her. Had to make it up. He told me as much when he asked me to come back. He vould do anything for her. Would I ever expect him to look out for me over her? No... Of course not. Is the natural order of things. She did not look out for her own servant over him. Petra was defiant, and so now she is dead."

Ivan raised the bottle to his lips, but it was empty.
 #28236  by Zara Sheppard
Zara was drunk. Very drunk at this point. She was almost squinting at him now, speech somewhat lazy as she spoke.

"You are the most honourable man I know." She said suddenly. "And don't think I'm just taking the piss. I mean it. You've been saying for so, so, so long that you are a bad person. I don't believe it. Even less so now. Sure, you was on a rough path to begin with; so was I. Bad situations cause that and you have to act to survive. So we did. But now?"

She lifted her chin.

"You're one of the most empathetic, humorous, charming, sympathetic, selfless men I know. And don't you fucking dare tell anyone I said that. But I used to think you was a good guy in comparison to the others; just thought you was a player that could be okay sometimes. No. Even without others to compare, you are just so...just..."

She ran her hand through her hair, humming slightly before starting to stand, clearly shaking.

"I'm gonna head to bed. Are you coming?"
 #28237  by Ivan Ramazanov
Ivan began a slow smile as she spoke. A true smile. He had never, in a thousand years... thought he would hear such words from her. But catching her wrist as she started to stand he said,

"You know why I started to say I was a bad person? Because it disarms you when I agree. But your words? Now I am one disarmed." And with that he pulled her into an embrace and kissed her on the lips.
 #28238  by Zara Sheppard
Zara wrapped her arms around him, kissing him back, enjoying the feeling of being in his embrace. Alcohol seemed to enhance the sensation, but then again...even when sober, kissing him felt wonderful. Not that she would ever admit that, even to Ivan himself.

She pulled back a little, smiling.

"Come on. Even if we don't do anything, sometimes it's nice to just sleep next to someone. In the morning, we can pretend we hate each other again and all will be back to normal. But tonight? We've been drinking like old friends. Nobody will ever know." She tapped him on the nose and moved once again to stand, taking his hand to pull him along with her.
 #28239  by Ivan Ramazanov
Ivan stood as well, shakily, then said, "How many times must I tell you... you stubborn woman you... I have never hated you..."

It was the best he could do. Nice words to match her own... were not coming to his drunken mind.
 #28240  by Zara Sheppard
Zara laughed a little, rolling her eyes and then began to lead them to the bedroom, stumbling a little as she went. As they reached her room, she let go of his hand and began to fumble out of her shirt, writhing out of her jeans with little to no grace at all. But that was as far as she got before flopping into bed, sitting up, head lulling to the sides.

She stretched out her arm, the other hand patting next to herself on the mattress.

"Get in here." She said.