Stefen was looking for Vanyel. The Herald wasn't in the room he was sharing with Stefen, nor was he in Savil's room. However, Savil had suggested to check the room that had been assigned to her and Vanyel's rather intimidating friends, who'd been introduced to Stefen as Starwind and Moondance. Stefen had immediately liked Moondance, but found Starwind decidedly frightening. In talking to Vanyel, he'd found out this was a normal reaction to meeting the pair.
Reaching what he thought was the right door, he rapped lightly. There was no answer, but after a second knock, he thought he heard something, so opened the door a crack.
What he saw were two pairs of golden feet over the end of the couch, moving in a way that implied things he shouldn't be seeing. What he must have heard were the soft, breathy moans – and a more than slightly predatory purr.
It wasn't so much that he pushed the door open as that in his startlement he lost his grip on it and it swung inwards. What he saw then were two very beautiful and very naked men entwined on the couch in a way that shouldn't be physically achievable, but apparently was. It would be impossible to discern who was actually on top, not least of all because Stefen found it rather difficult to tell them apart in the first place.
They both looked at him. He was about to stutter out an apology, when one of them spoke. "Bright the day, Bard Stefen. Please do close the door, we are not decent." He realized that was Moondance, who had the softer, kinder voice.
A little stunned, Stefen went to do so.
"You can be on this side of it, if you like." Still Moondance. The two of them were extricating themselves from each other, surprisingly not having to dislocate anything to do so.
Stefen finally managed to speak. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, I was just looking for Van…" he said quickly.
Starwind held up a hand to stop Stefen talking. "It is but a small inconvienience." Moondance handed him his tunic, which he slipped over his head. "You should close the door. We do not wish to offend anyone."
"I'll just be…"
This time it was Moondance that cut him off, smiling a friendly smile. "You have already interrupted, you will do no more damage by staying. We have been meaning to get better aquainted with Vanyel's bonded."
Stefen finally stepped inside and closed the door. He looked sideways at Starwind, who was looking at him in an uncomfortably critical way. Stefen had never felt so throughly analyzed in his life, and considering the whole thing with the Healers wanting to understand his unique talents, that was really saying something.
"Ashke, you are distressing him." Moondance scolded softly, almost tenderly.
"I do not mean to do so." Starwind said, though he did not look very apologetic. "Please, Bard Stefen, sit down," he gestured gracefully to the chair opposite them.
Stefen did so, almost afraid to do otherwise. Starwind still scared him.
"Starwind, would you mind?" Moondance said softly. The two men exchanged a meaningful look – Stefen realized they were Mindspeaking – and Starwind nodded, leaving the room.
There were a few moments silence, then Moondance looked Stefen straight in the eye. "We are not so different, you and I."
Stefen blinked, slightly confused. "… how's that?"
Moondance smiled at him. It seemed he was always smiling. "First and foremost, we have both chosen to take older lovers – or perhaps it is more accurate to say our hearts have chosen for us."
Stefen could not help but return that smile. "Yes, I suppose that's true. How long did it take you to woo Starwind?"
The Tayledras laughed, a sound like bells. "Woo? I did no such thing. Nor did he. It was rather more like we resisted for weeks, and then fell on each other in a frenzy."
"It wasn't so easy with Vanyel." Stefen grinned. "He still insists he's much too old for me. Or that I'm a smitten child. That's what he thought for the longest time."
"Vanyel is exceedingly stubborn. My ashke never dwelled so much on the fact of my age. Once he knew that we were bonded, he accepted we were never to be separated." Moondance said, his voice light and cheerful. "I was the stubborn one. I was sure I didn't deserve Starwind."
"Now there's a problem I never had. All I could focus on was having Vanyel for my own." Stefen said playfully. He found he was enjoying Moondance's company. The Tayledras was very kind, and easy to talk to.
"I am very glad you succeeded, young one." Moondance said in a warm tone. "Words cannot describe how happy I am for Wingbrother Vanyel. He needs what you have to offer so very badly."
"I know what you mean. Right when I saw him, I knew that... I knew how lonely he was. And that I wanted to be the one to get rid of that." Stefen blushed a bit. He had no idea why he would get like that about Vanyel, before he'd met the Herald-Mage, no man could make him blush.
"Such is the essence of being lifebonded. You wish to care for him. I felt that same urge for my Starwind, even during a period in my life when I felt I would never care for anything again." Moondance seemed to positively glow when he mentioned Starwind.
Stefen nodded. "He doesn't even know how beautiful he is... I mean, I used to be a selfish lover, I suppose. But I don't think I could ever give Vanyel enough. I just want to show him how much I love him, and that he's not old, and how beautiful he is, and..." The Bard blushed again. "You probably don't even want to hear this. I hardly know you, after all."
Moondance gave another laugh. "Oh, it far from bothers me. Many people enjoy talking to me, I think I could make a career out of it if ever I had to," he joked, resting his chin on his hand.
"Don't you get tired of listening to other people's problems?"
Moondance sighed through his nose. "Sometimes it does get a touch trying, I will not lie. But certainly not now. It is hardly problems you are regaling me with, Stefen."
"I suppose that's true."
"So, were you ashamed at the lack of your own experience as compared to your older lover?" Moondance teased.
Stefen burst out laughing. "I have twenty times the experience he does!"
Moondance joined in the laughter. "I would honestly be worried if you did not! It is quite hard to have less sexual experience then our dear Vanyel!"
"And the ridiculous thing is he won't shut up about how my reputation will be ruined if I'm seen with him." Stefen said, still grinning like a loon. "Obviously he doesn't know my reputation, or he'd know his was the one in danger!"
"Oh, I would know nothing about that sort of thing." Moondance said, wearing a rather cheeky smile himself. "Not when my Starwind has taught me everything I know!"
"Has he now?" Stefen retorted slyly. "I'm sure I could teach you a few more things!"
This time it was Moondance who burst into uncontrollable laughter. "Unfortunately, Stefen, I do not think Vanyel would approve. You know what a prude he is." He replied, still laughing.
"Ah, that's true. I'd never have eyes for another anyways." Stefen said, raking a hand through his hair. "Even if they were as pretty as you."
"There is another feeling I completely understand." Moondance said, his eyes growing distant again. "Especially when I was very young, Starwind was all of my world. I could not be seperated from him, to the point where my dependancy became unhealthy. Eventually, I did learn... it was a necessity."
Stefen sighed heavily. "I hate it when Van goes away. I'm always so scared he won't come back. I know it's selfish."
Moondance shook his head reassuringly. "It is normal in a lifebond. I am still loathe to leave Starwind for any period of time. I ache for him if we do not see each other daily. Do not fear, Stefen."
"... I think he loves Tylendel more than me." Stefen admitted after a moment. "Sometimes in his sleep has says his name..."
Again, Moondance shook his head. "Do not worry yourself with this. He does love Tylendel, but Tylendel is his past. You are the present, and his love for you is very great. I have said to Vanyel before that sometimes dreams mean little."
Stefen managed to smile. "Even if he did love Tylendel more, I would still love him just as much... I wouldn't ever care what Van did."
|This time, Moondance nodded. "You must learn to accept these past ghosts. Starwind's first lover died, and though he has long recovered from this loss, it did greatly affect him. Vanyel would not be the Vanyel you love if not for Tylendel."
"I know." Stefen said simply.
Before he could think of anything else to say, there came a knock at the door. Moondance looked up at it, and his gaze became distant, the way Vanyel's did when he was talking to Savil in his head. The door opened, and Vanyel entered, smiling a bit when he saw Stefen.
"There you are, Stef. Savil said you were looking for me. Sorry I disappeared on you like that, I got kidnapped by my father. He wanted my advice." The Herald-Mage said sheepishly, rubbing a hand through his hair. "This is supposed to be a vacation? I'm as in demand here as I am in Haven."
"I would tell you to come to k'Treva for a true vacation, dear Vanyel, but I know you would not accept my offer." Moondance said with a warm smile. "Even if you did, I am quite sure you would insist on helping anyways."
Vanyel chuckled. "You know me too well. Hopefully he hasn't bored you too much, Stefen?" He teased.
"Oh, not at all." Stefen said, grinning as Moondance gave Vanyel a mock-petulant look. "I hope you don't mind if I take my leave now, Moondance. Only..." he gave his lover a sly look. "I haven't seen him all day, and I'd like to tire him out a bit more before we tuck in."
Moondance laughed, standing up as well and heading in the direction Starwind had gone. "Certainly. I myself would rather like to finish what you interrupted."
"... you walked in on them, didn't you?" Vanyel said as he opened the door back to the hallway.
Stefen nodded, feeling rather abashed.
"I wouldn't worry about it." Vanyel said with a grin. "I've done it enough times myself."