Strange how I never even comprehended the concept of Jaqueline Carey based fanfiction. I suppose her worlds just seem so complete on their own? In any case, a "Design Your Own Marque" contest in the Nights-Doorstep group over on spawned this little snippet. Hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: I own nothing other than the anonymous courtesan. Everything you recognized belongs to the briliant Jaqueline Carey!

I Bare My Marque

It has been, perhaps a little more than a year since I have last taken a lover. I'm sure you would think that strange for a D'Angeline, and certainly most would agree. And for a Servant of Naamah to have gone so long of her own free will? Most would declare that unthinkable.

But I have done so. I made my marque those twelve months past, and I had not desired a patron since. That is not to say I have not practiced my craft. I am a servant of Naamah, but I have always been a storyteller first. My mother, an Eglantine adept, says it is her influence, and I daresay I must agree, though her own genius was more for verse than prose.

I do not belong to Eglantine House. That was my father's doing; though he'd found a lover and wife in the Night Court, he had not wished his daughter to live the same life her mother did. If I was drawn to Naamah's service, he could hardly argue, but he did not want me raised to the life before I had the chance to live any other.

In the end, it was the life I chose, though it was not one I always desired to lead. Certainly had not for the past year.

Now, though, now the man standing before me had set my blood alight with desire. I smiled languidly as he stepped closer, and I turned my back to him, loosening the fastenings of my dress as I did so. I left the fabric fall from my shoulders and down to my hips, and I heard a heavy sigh from behind me. I grinned outright with the glee of a woman who knew a man desired her.

I felt gentle hands alight on my hips and I shivered as they began to trace their way up the planes of my back, tracing along the lines of my marque. I closed my eyes bringing the image of what he must see before him as he traced each line.

First the unfurling scroll that limned the base of my spine, the parchment lines curling up and around the stems of two paired fronds of lilies of the valley. The lilies spread up my back and across my shoulders like two organic wings. Blossoms draped down from the curled fronds, petals falling softly down the rest of my back. And there, just at the nape of my neck, cradled between the lilies, rose a bright star. Its eight rays spread outward in a golden burst, and the highest point speared up to form the finial.

It was undoubtedly a thing of beauty, one that was a credit to the Marquists' Guild, if I dare say so.

Clearly my lover found it so. He gently turned me to face him and I lifted my face up to his. Infused with the grace of Naamah, I drank in the sweetness of his kiss.