An Old Warehouse, The Waterfront
It was one of the coldest days of the year in Old Rose Harbor, cold enough that breath escaped one’s mouth in a steaming hiss, cold enough that the scant snow that had tumbled to the ground in the late hours of the day still sat, black and sludgy but frozen, as the night wore on. It was cold enough to be quieter than usual on the streets late at night, the sort of night when those who could stayed indoors, when those who knew better didn’t dare to venture outside.
“Beloved,” Uzoji said, gently, his hands open and wide at his sides. “Perhaps it is not the very best of times – ”
“Flood your – best of times!” Niccolette’s voice rose and shrieked and cracked and carried on. Her eyes were wide, very wide, and fury lanced out of them like a bolt; her field pulsed, a sudden, furious movement, red-shifting the air around her. “I am sick to death of your lies, I am sick to death of being told to wait because now is not the convenient moment!”
The warehouse was cold and empty, squatting alone and half-abandoned at night on the edges of the Waterfront, tucked into the curl of the Rose where the docks began to slide away into beach, to curl out into the heavy shifting waters of the Tincta Basta. At least, it had been cold and empty. The two galdori that stood inside were – or at least one of them was – doing their part to make it considerably less so.
“You are right, my soul,” Uzoji’s voice was calm and soothing. “We will discuss it, later, at length. There is no need for this now.”
“No need?” Niccolette shook her head, long strands of brunette hair bouncing beneath a small black cap. “No need? How do you dare to tell me what I need?” Gloved hands clenched into fists, the expensive black gloves moving smoothly with the motion, without even creasing.
Both galdori came well-prepared against the cold at least; Niccolette wore a fairly simple gray dress, cut of thick expensive wool, with a high color covering her neck and a tight skirt, made ever so slightly fashionable by an asymmetric line across the waist, beneath a very warm looking black cloak, with matching gloves and hat. Uzoji wore thick woolen pants, with what looked like a sweater on his upper body, beneath a heavy black coat that skimmed the ground. His hands were bare, dark and chapped in the cold, and although he wore a hat, much of his shaved bare head gleamed beneath it in the dim light.
A few cold snowflakes fluttered down, seeping through a hole in the warehouse roof, as if the patchy gray sky above couldn’t decide whether or not to keep snowing.
“Niccolette,” Uzoji’s voice sharpened, soft and urgent, never quite without that faint musical lilt typical of Mugroba, even with something like anger seeping into it. “I understand, my moon and stars, truly I do, but you cannot do this now.”
Niccolette’s chest heaved as she stared at him. She felt furious – she was furious. They had been in Old Rose Harbor for less than a day, and already she was sure that Uzoji meant to go and see that whore he had been with last time, a filthy wick. It was bad enough that he slept with other galdori; at least Niccolette could understand such behavior, even if she loathed it. But a wick! Niccolette couldn’t begin to describe or express the pain, the fury, aching in her chest, the way it made her feel – overwhelmed, as if the entire world was crashing and crumbling down around her, as if there were things her husband needed that she couldn’t provide, that she could never provide –
Niccolette screamed, glancing around the warehouse. It was filthy in Old Rose – it was always filthy – and there was a scraped up, discarded boot lying nearby. The small, slight galdor woman snatched it off the ground, and hurled it across the room at her husband.
Uzoji watched it sail past him, turning back to his wife, and sighed.
The frustration on his face, easily visible in the dim lights echoing through the open windows and split roof, only made Niccolette feel worse – more angry, more out of control. She stepped to the side, swooping down again, and fumbled for something else – a half-rotten fruit, by the oozing feel of it between her fingers. She hurled it at Uzoji as well.
“Darling, please,” Uzoji made a face.
“Don’t call me darling!” Niccolette screamed, the endearment like a burning brand against her skin. She fumbled for something else, snatching up a handful of pebbles and flinging them into the air between them, falling, glistening like snowflakes, tumbling to the ground.
“As you like,” Uzoji spread his arms wide, anger blazing from him as well, his heavy, powerful field, throbbing with it. It wasn’t cold in the warehouse, not anymore, and gray piles of snow between them were melting, fast. “Come, then, beloved. Do your worst,” He challenged, almost taunting.
Niccolette stood, shuddering, opposite the small empty space, staring at her husband with dark eyes. Abruptly the tide of anger broke within her, leaving her empty and drained; it seeped from her field as well, leaving it calm and almost dampened once more, cooling the air around her. Uzoji’s responded, fading away to nothing against his skin, leaving only a calm indectal feeling. Niccolette turned away from him, shoulders shaking with the sobs she couldn’t seem to help.
Uzoji crossed the empty space to her, and wrapped his arms around her. They were nearly of a height, the Mugrobi only an inch or two taller than his wife, and he murmured to her now. Niccolette turned in his arms, writhing, and then buried her face against his shoulder and neck, sobbing softly against him.
“We will talk later, my darling,” Uzoji’s hand clasped her hair, bare reddened fingers tangling in the dark strands of it. “For now, please, I need you to focus.”
“Yes,” Niccolette whispered, broken, half-drained. She sniffled, her face red from cold and tears both.
Uzoji pulled back slightly, cupping her cheeks in his hands, gazing into her eyes with a smile. “Thank you,” he kissed her lips, very softly.
“Your hands are freezing,” Niccolette wrinkled her nose, breaking the kiss with a smile. “Where are your gloves, beloved?” She reached into his pocket, pulling them out, and took his hands in hers, sliding the gloves on one finger at a time as Uzoji laughed.