A/N: I'm quite tired, so I honestly did a free-write for this chapter. Pardon the non-seriousness of this segment.


Pirotess was wearing a magnificent opal ballgown in a sea of the somber silks that the other ladies of the court were wearing. If she had been any other girl, she would have felt she was being superfluous, but nothing was too superfluous for her if it would get the attention of her Lord Ashram. The jewels on her forehead glittered in the dim lighting of the chandelier as she twirled without care of the rhythm set by the quartet. Ashram walked into the room, not wearing his cape or his armour and instead a charming suit made of black silk. He scanned the crowd, disinterested, until he locked eyes with her. Without hesitation, he made his way through the throngs of dancing people never once taking his eyes off of Pirotess. When Ashram reached her, he took up her hand and waist in preparation for a dance and leaned closer to her ear to say in a husky voice,

"Pirotess. Are you skilled in weaponry or at least in magic?"

Pirotess was struck out of her daydreaming by her Lord's question.

"Yes, I am, Lord Ashram." Pirotess faltered, fumbling for the correct answer.

Ashram closed his eyes in slight annoyance as he replied, "That was not a "yes" or "no" question. I'll ask again. Pirotess, are you skilled in weaponry or at least in the magicks?"

Pirotess' ears burnt red with embarrassment. She didn't want to be called out on her daydreaming. "I am skilled in both weaponry and magick, my Lord."

Ashram 'Hmm'd his approval as he read over a letter a messenger had given him just moments before.

"Well then, Pirotess. Bring with you what is needed. We're going to the mainland." Ashram turned on his heel, cape flowing majestically, and walked out of the immaculate entryway of his family home and into the study.

Pirotess exhaled in relief- she hadn't been caught daydreaming, after all. As she stood to go gather her equipment she absently wondered if Ashram ever wore anything besides his armour.


Safely locked away in his windowless study, Ashram peeled himself out of the heavy armour he'd been wearing since the Gods knew when, intent on relaxing for the rest of the day. He sat gingerly in his overly large chair; properly at first, but soon sliding down into a very unpresentable slouch. His stomach chose then to growl relentlessly and Ashram rubbed at his stomach absently, cursing how thin he'd let himself become over his recent trip to and from the mainland. Rolling his neck from side to side, Ashram built up the willpower to stand and looked forlornly at the pile of metal he'd just removed. Damning the black metal plates, Ashram strapped his sword around his hips and donned his cape. He doubted anyone would see, care, or attack him in his home while he went to the kitchen and scavenged for food like the mangy dog he currently felt like.

Just as his unusually ungloved hand touched the handle of the door, a smart rap resounded from the other side. Looking down at his attire, he cursed again. Leather pants, boots, sword, cape. He was practically naked and felt a bit like some flippant boy attending a distorted clerical event. Deciding that today was a wonderful day to damn himself, he opened the door nevertheless, assuming that the messenger boy had forgotten something.

Pirotess' hand froze mid-knock as the study door opened with a particular flourish to reveal an image that put most of her fantasies to shame. Ashram stood regally- naked hands and arms and chest. Pirotess gulped noiselessly as her ears flattened against her head. She felt like she was invading upon some very private and very delectable territory. Her eyes stole moments to rake in Ashram's body before her muddled mind remembered what she had come to ask of her Lord Ashram. Her eyes betrayed her and trained themselves on his protruding hips as she listlessly asked,

"Are you hungry?"
Pirotess cringed. She had not, in fact, meant to say that.

Ashram furrowed his brow- Did this Pirotess actually just-
"Pardon?"

Sensing a moment to redeem herself, Pirotess spoke a little louder, intending to ask when they were to depart for the mainland.

"I asked if you were hungry." Pirotess cringed inwardly as she berated herself. Damnit, not what I came here to ask.

Ashram blinked several times. Pirotess would not have come to ask him something so… flippant. Nonetheless, he responded.
"Yes."